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posted by martyb on Thursday February 12 2015, @07:28AM   Printer-friendly
from the Happy-Birthday-To-SN! dept.

Exactly one year ago SoylentNews published its very first story: Welcome to SoylentNews!

And what a year it's been!

It all started with a posting at slashdot where an editor claimed they had "listened to their audience" about complaints about the new Beta version of the site that was being rolled out. Many noted that any changes were cosmetic — that it was the community that made that site what it was. And, in inimical nerd fashion, a "SlashCott" was scheduled from February 10-17 wherein the participants pledged to not visit /. for one whole week.

Others took a more active role. The source code for /. was originally made open source and was available on the internet. Sadly, that code had not been maintained and was several years out of date. Some intrepid souls labored long and hard to locate servers, coordinate activities, and get the code knocked into shape. The goal was to create an alternative site that was free from the manipulations of a corporate overlord.

That first story signified a major accomplishment, but the site was still unstable and many features were incomplete, non-functional, or just plain ugly. Many more days of implementation, debugging, and testing were to follow culminating with SN going live to the world on February 17, 2014: Welcome to the World of Tomorrow... Today!.

Much has happened since that nascent story first graced the 'net. There have been changes in our all-volunteer staff. We had votes for the name of the site. We implemented UTF-8 support so stories and comments can include any valid character. We incorporated as a Public Benefit Corporation — on USA's Independence Day no less! We have an on-line store where you can buy SoylentNews Swag. You can subscribe and help support our site.

By the numbers: Over 5000 accounts have been registered and nearly 5000 stories have been posted to the site. Each story is read from 500-2000 times by logged-in users, and approximately 10 times as many Anonymous Cowards. More importantly, nearly 150,000 comments have been posted by you, our community.

Today, we have a small but dedicated group of volunteers who keep the site running. They keep the OS up-to-date on our servers, maintain our Wiki, e-mail, and IRC channels. They add features and fix bugs in the SN code base. Others edit and publish stories to appear on the site. We have a Board of Directors who take care of the legal sides of things. A treasurer who follows the finances. And there are still others who help in a non-technical, but just as necessary capacity in keeping the site humming along.

So, hats off to all who have helped build this site to what it is today!

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  • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Thursday February 12 2015, @08:56PM

    by The Mighty Buzzard (18) Subscriber Badge <> on Thursday February 12 2015, @08:56PM (#144318) Homepage Journal

    Now we have 'progressed' to a point where the same sort of thing requires a budget, a dedicated effort by a team and an incorporated non-profit umbrella organization. Really?

    The PBC exists so no one person can ever have power enough to lose their mind and take us in a direction the community does not want the site to go. Decisions like major philosophy changes or sale of the site would have to clear a board of directors rather than a single owner, which right now includes both initial investors and a staff member with propositions to expand to include more staff and community members as well.

    As for running a site like this at home? Give it a go if you like. It's technically possible for anyone with a static ip address, fifty bucks or so for a domain name and a cert, and a broadband connection. I do not envy you the amount of work it involves though. You better have a lot of free time in your day.

    My rights don't end where your fear begins.
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  • (Score: 2) by jmorris on Thursday February 12 2015, @09:58PM

    by jmorris (4844) on Thursday February 12 2015, @09:58PM (#144361)

    I do not envy you the amount of work it involves though.

    Which is kinda my point. This site ain't got nothing a BBS didn't have to deal with and only the largest of BBSes had more than the Sysop doing it as a hobby after work and maybe a couple of trusted users to moderate busy message areas or approve uploads. You had your choice of at least a half dozen viable choices of software to run the system on at any point in time, most free (small f) for small sites and low price shareware for the bigger multiline ones. You could decide to put one up, scrounge up a spare 286 (or worse... some ran on 8bit platforms) and be configured and running the same day. Then call up the phone co and order another phone line and you were ready to announce your existence. I gather putting this site together involved somewhat more effort, which is what I'm pondering. Seems to be going the wrong way complexity wise. Probably because it 'just isn't done' anymore, all an end user is expected to do is post to Facebook or perhaps if they are truly ambitious they start a blog on one of the 'free' sites. Nobody hosts content, nobody is expected to do much of anything on their own, everything is to be put into the 'cloud' and 'they' do all the work.

    • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Thursday February 12 2015, @10:04PM

      by The Mighty Buzzard (18) Subscriber Badge <> on Thursday February 12 2015, @10:04PM (#144362) Homepage Journal

      Oh, I get ya now. Yeah, I don't understand that mentality. I gotta build shat.

      My rights don't end where your fear begins.
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by mrcoolbp on Friday February 13 2015, @01:39AM

      by mrcoolbp (68) <> on Friday February 13 2015, @01:39AM (#144441) Homepage

      I'm probably a terrible person to answer this question but here goes anyway:

      SN encompasses more than just slash. We have a mail server, wiki, load balancer, a node for directory services (LDAP / Kerberos), and we have a decent amount of traffic. We actually run 2 more instances of slash, a dev site, and a staff site (an experiment as a system for staff to communicate/collaborate with each other using slash!). We have a self-hosted IRC server, the list goes on.

      Your next question should be "do we need all that??". The short answer is probably not. We are currently looking into reducing the amount of servers we have running. Some of those resources may not be essential to this project, but due to the global volunteer collaborative effort of this project, and our hopes for it to grow, we are reluctant to cut too much functionality and dependibility out of our current setup. I'm working with the admins on reducing our hosting costs, I'm guessing we can knock about 33% of the hosting costs if we really try, but it will take some work. Please stand by.

      (Score:1^½, Radical)