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posted by mattie_p on Monday March 10 2014, @07:47PM   Printer-friendly
from the always-backup-your-website dept.

Update: The staff is in conversation with the buyer right now. More to follow, but at this point it looks to be a benevolent benefactor from the community. More to follow as we get it.

SoylentNews community:

As you know, there is not a lot of information available right now. Barrabas reports that he has sold the and associated domain names, and successfully transferred them, but neither the buyer's name nor the terms of that sale have been disclosed. As spokesperson for the staff of the site during this time, we would like everyone to know the following:

Our current backup plan is to revert to the where the site is actually hosted. If we need to go there for any reason, we will try to notify the site in advance. If it has to go down or we are forced down, we'll be there. We will rebuild the database with some downtime and work from there.

We will send out a mass email to all users from the database informing them of this step should we need to do so.

We do not plan to implement this yet. We (the staff) did not advocate the buyout, but will try and work with the buyer if possible. We do not know the terms on which the domain name was sold.

We the staff will still operate the site, in its current condition on linode, until the community can vote on a new name. Depending on the buyer, we hope we can consider keeping the name the same as an option.

Until we know more information, we would like everyone to remain calm, collected, and civil, while we sort through these issues. Thank you


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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by bryonak on Monday March 10 2014, @08:22PM

    by bryonak (298) on Monday March 10 2014, @08:22PM (#14247)

    I've been around since day 1 on the Wiki and then IRC, but not actively involved (time constraints) so I'm not privy to all internal communication. Still, here's my take:

    John Barrabas made clear that he wanted to run the site as a business, everyone was well aware of that, but almost nobody really agreed. Most people preferred a community driven, open leadership akin to the bazaar model.

    John is (was) highly motivated and skilled enough both socially and technically to pull up quite an impressive organisation from ground up, but the people who followed were more skilled than him especially with technical regards, and soon got "authority by competence" say over where the project should go. This lead to conflicts with John's enterpreneurship.

    There were some incidents like the CentOS vs. Ubuntu choice for the hosts, or the expenses for a gift for the most prolific technical contributor (NCommander), or the buying of .cn and .jp domain names without community feedback. But these are _not_ big problems in and of itself, it's rather that the trouble they caused were symtpoms of the clash between John loosing control over his baby to a majority of contributors who didn't like the direction he was going in, yet still came aboard, and started changing course. I'm fairly certain that up to yesterday, every decision he made was in good faith and supposed to help realise his vision of a $10m website. It's just not what his staff wanted.

    John made concessions along the way and stepped down in the end, but in hindsight it's fairly clear that this constellation couldn't have worked anyway.

    I hope this is a fair account towards John. He's definitely not a bad guy, though his knee-jerk reaction in the last hours, although born out of frustration, was immature. But I wish him the best in his research and thanks for all the hard work!

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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by song-of-the-pogo on Monday March 10 2014, @08:31PM

    by song-of-the-pogo (1315) on Monday March 10 2014, @08:31PM (#14257) Homepage Journal

    Thanks for what appears to be a fair and measured summary.

    "We have met the enemy and he is us."
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by buswolley on Monday March 10 2014, @08:38PM

    by buswolley (848) on Monday March 10 2014, @08:38PM (#14265)

    The thing is, I would not be against a profit driven website, if it respected the community.

    subicular junctures
    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10 2014, @09:02PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10 2014, @09:02PM (#14283)

      I would vote for nonprofit, but with staff drawing a fair wage for part-time or full-time contributions. Note this may need to include pay raises over time since no one should be stuck in a deadend job just to please me.

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Kell on Monday March 10 2014, @10:46PM

        by Kell (292) on Monday March 10 2014, @10:46PM (#14335)

        I agree - we've all just been burned by a company that put profits ahead of its patrons (that's why we're here!) and I think few of us are willing to set ourselves up for the same damn thing to happen again. Bizarrely, that tree has bourne its awkward fruit sooner rather than anyone expected.

        Scientists ask questions. Engineers solve problems.
        • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Non Sequor on Monday March 10 2014, @11:28PM

          by Non Sequor (1005) on Monday March 10 2014, @11:28PM (#14370) Journal

          I'm the AC you replied to and I just want to double down on the idea that, while I don't like the idea of a site like this being another corporate asset, that doesn't mean that it can't be a means for a small group if people to make a decent living. The community should not demand martyrdom from the people running the place.

          If barabbas had laid out for the community the number of hours he anticipated committing to the site per year and what he was hoping to be compensated for that, he probably could have gotten it with a Kickstarter as long as it wasn't too outlandish.

          Write your congressman. Tell him he sucks.
          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Kell on Tuesday March 11 2014, @01:39AM

            by Kell (292) on Tuesday March 11 2014, @01:39AM (#14413)

            I do agree with your points*. To clarify, please don't think that I was advocating that site operators not turn a profit - it's merely a case of the initial intent of the website. Going into a project planning to make money results in a different outlook from creating a community site that happens to turn a profit. Making money isn't inherently bad, if you're going into it saying "This will be a business that delivers a dividend" and everyone else is saying "Let's make something cool for like-minded people" the impedance mismatch will invariable lead to drama.
            *While I think about it, I've seen far more constructive discussion, feedback and (gasp) even consensus on SN than I ever saw in 10 years on Slashdot. It was a rare rare thing there to ever hear someone say "That's a good point, I never thought of it that way", but here it seems to happen much more readily. I am enjoying the smart, earnest conversation!

            Scientists ask questions. Engineers solve problems.
            • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Non Sequor on Tuesday March 11 2014, @02:00AM

              by Non Sequor (1005) on Tuesday March 11 2014, @02:00AM (#14416) Journal

              I agree with the stuff about the community here. I remember some of this from turn of the century era slashdot, (although there were more trolls back then).

              It seems like there should be a way to make this more permanent. Slashdot may have suffered from being a part of the dotcom era. After the ad rates fell off their peak, they ended up chasing different strategies for dealing with that which never left me comfortable that it could keep going forever. Slashdot was a community oriented site, but it was always being forced to jump through hoops to justify its existence to external forces.

              So now, can a site like the slashdot of old operate continuously just by continuing to justify its existence to its community? Drama aside, I think the answer is yes, provided that goal is put front and center.

              Write your congressman. Tell him he sucks.
  • (Score: 2) by umafuckitt on Monday March 10 2014, @08:38PM

    by umafuckitt (20) on Monday March 10 2014, @08:38PM (#14266)

    I too hung around from the start, but dropped out of IRC after a few days, and this is my take on it too.

    • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10 2014, @09:47PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 10 2014, @09:47PM (#14307)

      bashbeta .org
      bashalpha .org
      alphadot .org
      solyentalpha .org
      alphatech .org

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Preston on Tuesday March 11 2014, @01:22AM

    by Preston (4) on Tuesday March 11 2014, @01:22AM (#14408)

    It's worth nothing that John seemed to be very against the idea of incorporating as a 501(c)(3) and establishing a charter to protect both the volunteers and the organization itself.

    I've contributed what I can however I feel it is impeccable that an operating agreement be established to protect the assets of the site.