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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: 4, Insightful) by Appalbarry on Tuesday March 11 2014, @01:01AM

    by Appalbarry (66) on Tuesday March 11 2014, @01:01AM (#14400) Journal

    Actually what we've seen here is pretty much the usual pattern for new not-for-profit entity. It just usually takes more than two weeks for the person driving the new organization to get pushed out the window and blamed for every problem.

    Good on ya Barrabas [] - you managed to pull off something pretty damned amazing. I feel secure in saying that we would not have this site today if it hadn't been for you.

    Now, for the rest of "staff," a little advice.


    You're sounding like spoiled children, and nothing will turn off people like this endless he said/she said whining. Ninety percent of people couldn't care less about internal bickering, and every time you raise it you just send them out the door.

    If Barrabas wants a couple thousand bucks just give it to him, write it off, and move on. It's peanuts in the grand scheme of things, and getting this mess wrapped up quickly will be worth a lot more than that. Once again, ninety percent of people don't care, and especially don't care to listen to people bicker about eligible expenses.

    Be careful what you wish for. Based on what I've seen in the last couple of days you folks on "staff" are probably heading a for a world of self-inflicted pain.

    If you can force out the guy who started the project after only two weeks, you can bet dollars to donuts that at least some of the people on "staff" will find yourselves under similar pressure the first time that someone gets their shorts in a knot.

    It's not about whether or not there were valid reasons (and at this point there's no way that anyone will ever know for sure); it's about establishing an organizational culture that says that leaders should be toppled at the drop of a hat.

    A week ago I though that this site had a very good chance of surviving and thriving. Now, and I'm speaking after decades of non-profit work, I'd give it 50/50 at best.

    It's now your choice: are you professionals, or children?

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  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by willie3204 on Tuesday March 11 2014, @01:26AM

    by willie3204 (826) on Tuesday March 11 2014, @01:26AM (#14412)

    Exactly. Build some structure around this thing before you "staff" people eat yourselves alive.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by TheRaven on Tuesday March 11 2014, @02:09AM

    by TheRaven (270) on Tuesday March 11 2014, @02:09AM (#14423) Journal

    The amount that they seem to have spent on this is ludicrous. There are loads of open-source-friendly hosting companies that would love to donate the VMs in exchange for being able to say that they support a site like this. If they'd registered as a non-profit early, then the hosting company would be able to claim the 'loss' of the VM (at full retail price) as a taxable donation, and so would basically have the publicity for free. Registering as a non-profit is a bit tricky in the US, but a CIC in the UK is very cheap and conveys many of the same benefits (not the tax status, but the hosting company could still write off then VM donation as a loss, which amounts to effectively the same thing).

    While we do seem to have some people who know about Perl, there's a sorry lack of leadership in this project. After the recent set of tantrums, I have little faith in NCommander to be able to manage people, so who do we have who can lead a community and not mess it up?

    Here's a clue for anyone interested in the job: if you're being a good leader in an organisation like this, no one realises that you're doing it. It's not an ego-boosting job, because the only time people are aware of you is when you're doing it wrong. It can be very rewarding, as you see the things that you've created grow, but you can't do it for the recognition.

    sudo mod me up
  • (Score: 4, Informative) by hybristic on Tuesday March 11 2014, @02:19AM

    by hybristic (10) on Tuesday March 11 2014, @02:19AM (#14429) Journal

    While I agree with you completely, where I see this differ is that a large majority of the people who actually got this site up and running are still around. Barrabas absolutely got everyone together, but I distinctly remember NCommander buying up the Linodes this site is currently on out of his own pocket, and all the technical work was done by himself and a few others, not Barrabas. Also, I don't think this was a couple of weeks to drive out the new leader. As someone that can speak to how the team was working before launch, Barrabas was the leader, but everyone took orders from NCommander. I know that the people I was working with are still there, minus zford. So I honestly don't think that its a serious concern that others will walk away from this project on a whim. I think this is more about dust settling.

    • (Score: 1) by willie3204 on Tuesday March 11 2014, @02:31AM

      by willie3204 (826) on Tuesday March 11 2014, @02:31AM (#14434)

      This site is not in need of a bunch of techies to maintain slashcode in order to make it successful long term. It needs a vision and a someone (or group) of people to execute whatever it is we're trying to do here. There has to be SOME leadership.

      Having those original guys who put the site up is good but without any organization or means of maintaining long term support (money) we'll be on another new slashdot community soon...

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by hybristic on Tuesday March 11 2014, @03:18AM

        by hybristic (10) on Tuesday March 11 2014, @03:18AM (#14450) Journal

        I agree with you. I was simply pointing out that this might not be an issue with leadership as a whole, as in no one can lead, and no one is willing to be lead. Just that this leader was probably on his way out in the end, even if no one saw it initially. The dust from launch is finally settling, and now we see where the pieces landed. So now it's up to someone to step up and take charge with what they have. I don't know if anyone is up to the task, but I don't think that people need to be worried about getting forced out over petty issues which the GP was implying. I found the team to be competent and easy to work with for the most part, so if someone competent takes the reigns, I don't forsee any additional fallouts like this one. I could be wrong, my insights are not as up to date as they once were.

        • (Score: 1) by willie3204 on Tuesday March 11 2014, @02:50PM

          by willie3204 (826) on Tuesday March 11 2014, @02:50PM (#14666)

          I hope you're right, hybristic. I also would like to make this my new home.

      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by naubol on Tuesday March 11 2014, @03:58AM

        by naubol (1918) on Tuesday March 11 2014, @03:58AM (#14473)

        What I so dislike about your post is the implicit assumption that techies cannot have vision or possess leadership. There is also the assumption that this doesn't represent SN becoming more organized internally. If there was a split focus between power blocs, eliminating one might bring about the very results you are looking for.

        • (Score: 1) by willie3204 on Tuesday March 11 2014, @02:55PM

          by willie3204 (826) on Tuesday March 11 2014, @02:55PM (#14675)

          That's true and you're right naubol. I'm not saying techies cant have vision rather with so many techies worried about tech (ubuntu vs centos, really?) while the walls are crumbling around them it makes me wonder what exactly that vision is...

          It would be nice if a leader or leaders were chosen quickly to get some confidence back.

          • (Score: 1) by naubol on Tuesday March 11 2014, @05:28PM

            by naubol (1918) on Tuesday March 11 2014, @05:28PM (#14714)

            Ahh, I get more where you were coming from. I am also concerned with where this site is going, because I want so very much for it to succeed. I am willing to give NCommander time to see if he can pull it off, because I found his emails to be calmer in tone (even though he cussed and Barrabas didn't) and more focused on the things I would care about from the site.

            I think I interpreted that issue differently. NCommander's complaints do not seem directed so much at the OS issue but rather at the lack of communication. So, I think it is easy to say the instigating event was about which OS to choose for running the site, but his email seems to focus on the lack of discussion, mediation, and consensus building for which he was looking.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by bd on Tuesday March 11 2014, @09:33AM

    by bd (2773) on Tuesday March 11 2014, @09:33AM (#14555)

    Based on what I've seen in the last couple of days you folks on "staff" are probably heading a for a world of self-inflicted pain.

    I thought the same thing. But then I actually skimmed over the "dirty laundry" that was published and I was quite astonished. Really.

    While Barrabas claimed afterward that he was forced out, basically the team just told him that a 12 people organization would _not_ like to have 6 managers (duh), and would like to be able to _communicate_ with the project leader. At all.

    The project leader basically took the two launch weeks off and wondered why people were pissed. And self-aggrandizing and condescending statements by the "boss" are misplaced, at best, when the "boss" does not do his share of work. During the launch weeks, Barrabas was supposed to write a manifesto to lay out the vision for the site, as well as do the initial steps to incorporate SN. He did not achieve any of this because he claimed to be burned out due to the excessive amount of work he was supposedly doing for the site. After *two weeks*. And without being involved in the technical side of bringing up a slash-based site, or on the editorial side, as far as I can tell. A majority of the rest of the team discovered that the way decisions were made did not work, and asked the project lead to fix it. Barrabas wanted any decision delayed by a few weeks.

    This was not a revolt. The organizational structure did not work, and they frankly told Barrabas that they wanted it fixed. They wanted concrete, grave and immediate problems with the way they had to work to be fixed, in order to be able to do volunteer work. As a result, Barrabas resigned "against his will".

    I am happy to say that I have never had to endure _such_ a dud in a project lead position.

    I think it was wrong to wash the dirty laundry like this. On the other hand I don't know if I would have had the integrity to write a nice follow-up post after such an experience.