Slash Boxes

SoylentNews is people

posted by martyb on Friday October 06 2017, @11:21AM   Printer-friendly
from the upon-the-shoulders-of-others dept.

There is a story up on by Rob Malda (aka CmdrTaco) reflecting on Slashdot's start twenty years ago, on October 5th, 1997. For those who may be new here, the code driving this site you are reading is based on an old version of slashcode. If it weren't for Rob's efforts starting way back then, there would be no SoylentNews today.

Within a few days of DNS registration, was live. I quickly added polls to answer urgent questions like "How many shots should Kurt drink". While he suffered the results of these polls, I would tail -f on the access_log and the residents of the so-called Geek House would boggle as names like '' and '' streamed forward faster than we could read.

Rapid change followed: traffic soon created real expenses requiring hardware, colocation, and advertising. The code was in constant flux: adding user accounts, moderation, the submissions bin. And of course performance improvements to deal with the unyielding traffic growth. All the while I posted story after story, and our readers matched us with more comments than we thought possible.

My friends began contributing more and more. From code, to old hardware, to posting stories and coordinating advertising, we formed Blockstackers with a purpose. Slashdot went from from something with a stupid name that I was building into something we were building... with the help of thousands of nerds around the world that we would never meet in person.

I first visited Slashdot in its very early days. I saw the creation of UIDs and nicknames... and the database crash which lost all of the accounts so people had to sign up again. (Those with very low UIDs were very much not pleased!)

The code that drive the site you are reading is based on a version of Slashdot's code which they released as open source. Sadly, that version had not been maintained for years, so it had dependencies on out-of-date packages like Apache, and basically fell all over the floor — many long days were spent to get the code into shape. Our updated version of the code, rehash, is available on github.

I suspect I'm not the only one who came to SoylentNews who has many years' experience on Slashdot. Feel free to use this as an opportunity to share your remembrances of the early days there — and of SoylentNews, as well — which will be 44 months old on October 14th.

[Update: As mentioned in the story, these sites do not run or fund themselves. At the time of this writing, we have received approximately $537 towards our goal of $3000.00 for the half-year period ending 2017-12-31. We accept credit card payments and even Bitcoin. If you would like to contribute something to SoylentNews, please take a moment to go to our Subscribe page. The dollar amount is the minimum amount for the stated duration, but you are free to set it to whatever larger value you like. If you don't want the subscription for yourself, some folks make a gift subscription to NCommander who has UID 2. Oh, and in case you were not aware, none of the staff collect any kind of income for their work — we are all volunteers and give freely of our time and energy. --martyb]

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  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by takyon on Friday October 06 2017, @05:32PM (6 children)

    by takyon (881) Subscriber Badge <{takyon} {at} {}> on Friday October 06 2017, @05:32PM (#578157) Journal

    Fundraise off of Slashdot's 20 year anniversary! Braaaghghghghgh!

    The current fundraising goal doesn't look reachable to me. We ought to trim a server or three. But if SN eventually can't raise enough funds and has to be put down, where would I go next?

    Slashdot: I have the account ready to go. With some tinkering, I could get the userscript working over there, although too bad about Unicode support. The site may have sluggish required JavaScript even with ads hidden, I'd have to check that. I could say goodbye to subbing so many subs everyday. Some of you are still there so that's nice. I don't know the extent to which Slashdot bans/hides its most unruly users but I doubt I'd feel the need to test that.

    Reddit: Big user base with more communities mashed together and a decent signal-to-noise ratio depending on the subreddit. Censorship is not only rampant but in many cases automatic (like when I posted a wccftech link in the wrong place). If the censorship was too overbearing on certain subs I could try Voat instead, but I'm afraid that the userbase is too small.

    Hacker News: Haven't commented there before IIRC. Might be amusing to try and troll a VC, assuming any are left there.

    The Register, Ars Technica, AnandTech: I have blown a couple of accounts at The Register into nanny status due to trolling. Waiting for your shit to get approved or arbitrarily deleted is aggravating. Ars Technica covers some of the same ground with relatively high quality so I might make an account there. AnandTech is focused on PC hardware, so I'd probably comment there in combination with other sites.

    NextBigFuture: Decent selection of topics; gets into stuff like transhumanism, space, and EmDrive (as well as cold fusion) a lot. From what I can tell one of the star users of that community, GoatGuy [], is nowhere to be found. I'll say this: If EmDrive is proven to be a real, working technology, then I'll hang out at NBF more. The latest [] (alt []) is that Chinese media/scientists seem to be implying that progress is going great at a level of thrust far above experimental error/noise. If EmDrive 1.0 works, it could have a big effect on space travel, satellites, and asteroid mining. If EmDrive 2.0/3.0 works, it would be the biggest invention of the century.

    *chan: Bad for your psyche, discussions might not be archived depending on the site, lots of noise, much slower depending on the board.

    Dark web equivalent: Everyone is talking about decentralization while using centralized sites. If there was a nice, relatively large news/tech discussion community on .onion, Freenet, i2p, etc. then that might be an ideal replacement. What I expect is that it would be considerably smaller than SN with more noise/hate. But if you want to talk the talk you need to walk the walk.

    [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 []
    Starting Score:    1  point
    Moderation   +2  
       Interesting=2, Total=2
    Extra 'Interesting' Modifier   0  
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   4  
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 06 2017, @05:51PM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 06 2017, @05:51PM (#578175)

    The current fundraising goal doesn't look reachable to me.

    Have some faith, it'll be fine.


    Scratch the faith :- microwaves bouncing around a copper can cannot and do not provide any meaningful thrust.

  • (Score: 2) by acid andy on Friday October 06 2017, @07:24PM (2 children)

    by acid andy (1683) on Friday October 06 2017, @07:24PM (#578254) Journal

    Hacker News: Haven't commented there before IIRC. Might be amusing to try and troll a VC, assuming any are left there.

    What's a VC?

    The thing I don't get about Hacker News that really irritates me every time I read the comments is almost invariably one person posts an interesting comment, another person replies and then the OP never responds in the thread. You get threads with about 8 or more people each posting only one reply and so no real discussion.

    What causes that? Is it short attention spans combined with a high number of posters? It does seem to be full of workaholics so maybe they're just too damn busy to follow up on their thread.

    I also find the naive obsessions with fad diets there very strange. Surely a talented IT professional would possess the critical thinking skills to see through that crap. Maybe it's the naive innocence of youth?

    Make hay whilst the intervening mass is insufficient to inhibit the perceived intensity of incoming solar radiation.