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posted by janrinok on Monday May 22 2023, @04:27PM   Printer-friendly

This is a post that I have suspected that I was going to have to write since late December last year.

You will now know that SoylentNews.org is closing down on 30 June but things have not been standing still behind the scenes since we first became aware of NCommander's decision at the end of last week. In fact, it has been a very busy weekend.

A small group of existing staff are looking at alternative possibilities for a 'replacement' site to keep the flow of stories going and allowing discussions to continue. This is a big task, especially in the 38 days remaining in which to try to achieve it. There are several possibilities which spring to mind, Pipedot for example. I have reached out to Bryan but have not yet received a response. However, things as not as straightforward as they seem. The pipecode is written in Php-5 which some of you will realise is no longer supported. We do not want to become dependant on old software which cannot be maintained into the future; that lesson has been taken aboard and reinforced by NCommander's explanation regarding his decision announced today. There are other options but at the moment it is still a search for what is available out there today which also appears maintainable into the future.

But the first thing we need to know is "Is there still sufficient interest in having a discussion site such as ours?" Do you, the community, still want to have your daily dose of stories and the ability to exchange views with many others on this site? Are there any community members who would be willing to join us in trying to establish such a site? Your views are crucial to everything that we do over the coming days and weeks. So please let us know what you think about whether a site is still required with all the alternative technology available today that simply didn't exist 9 years ago. What form should a new site take? What changes to how we operate are essential for you to continue to remain interested in the future site?

Of course, it cannot be a mirror image of what we have today - which many will see as a good thing! But I hope that we would be able to transfer existing accounts, usernames and passwords directly to any new site that we create. We would also have to start with a relatively simple site and build on that over time.

At the end of the day we would have to restart the voluntary subscriptions but not immediately. We can raise some funds to see us get established without the requirement of a financial commitment from the community. Subscriptions were always sufficient in the past and I don't see why that would not be the case in the future too. The fact that we currently have enough to keep this site going until next year bears witness to that. We have also found that we can significantly reduce our running costs based on our current community rather than being ready for a major stream of new members which never materialises. I have no grandiose ideas of becoming a huge site employing our own journalists but just a community that enjoys the discussions as we have been doing for several years. Nevertheless, we would also be trying to build on our existing community which is beginning to happen on this site now that things have settled down.

So don't hold back - let us know what you think.

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2023, @04:55PM (15 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2023, @04:55PM (#1307367)

    I am. I

    still want to have your daily dose of stories and the ability to exchange views with many others on this site

    But i'm a user, don't have the resources to be a part of establishing the site, so what i want is at the bottom of the barrel, which i understand.

    • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Monday May 22 2023, @04:59PM (10 children)

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2023, @04:59PM (#1307371) Journal

      I am content to know that you would be interested in a new community - which you have confirmed. It would have been easier if you had used your nickname though.....

      Thank you.

      --
      I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by VLM on Monday May 22 2023, @05:02PM (5 children)

        by VLM (445) on Monday May 22 2023, @05:02PM (#1307374)

        When the list of "requirements" for the new thing is drafted, it should include our old friend "Anonymous Coward" as a user as a cultural thing.

        That's an important cultural tradition of SN-ness, makes us what we are, for better (mostly) or worse (sometimes). Its a part of what makes "here".

        • (Score: 3, Funny) by Gaaark on Monday May 22 2023, @08:08PM (4 children)

          by Gaaark (41) on Monday May 22 2023, @08:08PM (#1307442) Journal

          Instead of "Anonymous Coward", is suggest "Robert Thorn", or maybe, lol, "Furniture".

          I am definitely interested (can we keep teh name SoylentNews?).

          Count me in: unfortunately, until i retire i can contribute almost nothing but comments, teh occasional story and a subscription.

          COME ON RETIREMENT! ;)

          --
          --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by inertnet on Monday May 22 2023, @10:06PM

            by inertnet (4071) on Monday May 22 2023, @10:06PM (#1307480) Journal

            Like Soylentnews.org, my official retirement age is also in June. Except that I'm not actually retiring yet, mainly because both my children are still studying for about another year. I'm working so they can start their career with some savings instead of a huge debt like most other students end up with.

            So, yes I'm very much interested in continuing elsewhere, but I can't put in a lot of time.

            P.S. forget about refunds.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 23 2023, @03:56AM (1 child)

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 23 2023, @03:56AM (#1307568)
            How about Robert Weide?
            • (Score: 3, Funny) by pTamok on Tuesday May 23 2023, @02:04PM

              by pTamok (3042) on Tuesday May 23 2023, @02:04PM (#1307659)

              Perhaps Alan Smithee?

          • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Tuesday May 23 2023, @05:02PM

            by Gaaark (41) on Tuesday May 23 2023, @05:02PM (#1307723) Journal

            Furniture
            Furniture
            FURNITURE!
            ;)

            --
            --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
      • (Score: 2) by VanessaE on Monday May 22 2023, @07:29PM

        by VanessaE (3396) <vanessa.e.dannenberg@gmail.com> on Monday May 22 2023, @07:29PM (#1307429) Journal

        Like the above AC, I'm just a user without the needed skills or means; if SN as we know it has to die, I hope someone can come up with a "replacement".

      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Reziac on Tuesday May 23 2023, @03:22AM (2 children)

        by Reziac (2489) on Tuesday May 23 2023, @03:22AM (#1307554) Homepage

        If it's here, I will be too.

        In fact under the Very Sad Announcement, I remarked that the ideal might be to freeze the existing site, and start over with new maintainable code (keeping the name of course), and nothing ported over but our existing logins and the general look-and-feel (which I think contributes mightily to the whole. If I wanted a fediverse, I know where to find 'em.) That way anything creaking doesn't affect the new. We'll fill up the database again soon enough. :)

        Also I think our relatively small size is a feature, not a bug. I can skim down the list of regular commenters and I know nearly all and have interacted with many. We have few true strangers, unlike a very large and busy site. New people still wander in from time to time, but I do not find that "growth" is necessary. Rather, I prefer stability. So I think building for what we have, with some flex but no expectation of Mass Influx, is a good idea.

        Unfortunately I can only contribute my gratitude. Y'all done good. I have no great desire to change anything. It's all comfortable and it works.

        --
        And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday May 24 2023, @08:30PM (1 child)

          by Phoenix666 (552) on Wednesday May 24 2023, @08:30PM (#1308006) Journal

          I would second this. Also, I have technical chops that have acquired some rust, but I would help on the backend if needed. Back in the day I offered to help there, or as an editor, or as a story submitter and the editors asked me to do stories because the other two teams had it under control. At a couple points after that they called for new editors a couple of times, but never for tech help. I wish you guys had so those of us in the community who could help had a long training time before you guys reached your breaking point.

          That said, the central strength of the site from a feature perspective is the moderation system. It's not perfect but it is still worthy of preservation. If a new site succeeds this it would be worth porting that bit over.

          --
          Washington DC delenda est.
          • (Score: 3, Funny) by Reziac on Wednesday May 24 2023, @08:48PM

            by Reziac (2489) on Wednesday May 24 2023, @08:48PM (#1308011) Homepage

            Agreed. And the mod system doesn't just inform you that your words shine or suck. It also shapes the way we interact, mostly to the positive. It's delightful to find good comments so I can spend all my mod points. And its limits prevent mass swings like we see on Reddit.

            Tho I have occasionally wished for a few more mod options, frex, "WTF" :D

            --
            And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by carguy on Monday May 22 2023, @07:36PM (1 child)

      by carguy (568) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2023, @07:36PM (#1307431)

      Seconded. SN includes (generally speaking) a group of good people that I feel comfortable with.

      I'd keep submitting stories when I see something interesting and of course comment on stories and discussions (mostly as AC). While it's been awhile since I donated, that's just sloth--I would be willing to help with a little money when/if the call goes out.

      > ...transfer existing accounts, usernames and passwords directly to any new site that we create.

      Fyi, don't try moving my login to Pipedot...it's the same over there! (breaking for once the rule on never reusing identifiers). I still use the Pipe "Feed" page and every few years have had a short discussion (and appreciation) with Bryan.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by driverless on Monday May 22 2023, @11:24PM

        by driverless (4770) on Monday May 22 2023, @11:24PM (#1307504)

        Yup, it's a more civilised form of the other site, you can have a reasonable discussion in which people express different opinions without it almost immediately descending into name-calling and flames.

    • (Score: 2) by Kymation on Tuesday May 23 2023, @03:05PM

      by Kymation (1047) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 23 2023, @03:05PM (#1307686)

      I have been a member of this site since public signups were first offered. I haven't been very active lately due to personal issues, and now I feel guilty about that. It sounds like a lack of participation is not the main cause of the decision, but still....

      In any case, I am definitely interested in a replacement site, in whatever form it emerges. Count me in.

    • (Score: 2) by DeathMonkey on Tuesday May 23 2023, @05:28PM

      by DeathMonkey (1380) on Tuesday May 23 2023, @05:28PM (#1307733) Journal

      If an alternative is identified I will go there.

  • (Score: 2) by canopic jug on Monday May 22 2023, @04:55PM (4 children)

    by canopic jug (3949) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2023, @04:55PM (#1307368) Journal

    I'd be in for trying to carry something forward and make a new site from this community. The threaded discussions and moderation are what I see as the core of the mechanical part, as well as the minimal affliction of javascript.

    What means are there for the bulk loading of the static pages from the old articles into the Internet Archive or similar service? Static pages ought to be easy to register in the Internet Archive, but the volume combined with the slow nature of the many interactive steps of the manual registration make manual registration infeasible.

    --
    Money is not free speech. Elections should not be auctions.
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by SomeRandomGeek on Monday May 22 2023, @05:53PM (3 children)

      by SomeRandomGeek (856) on Monday May 22 2023, @05:53PM (#1307401)

      The threaded discussions and moderation are what I see as the core of the mechanical part

      I agree. The question is: What modern low maintenance framework can our community migrate to that will support threaded discussions and moderation?

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by VLM on Monday May 22 2023, @04:59PM (12 children)

    by VLM (445) on Monday May 22 2023, @04:59PM (#1307370)

    I was going to write a big long post about modern parliamentary informatics and modern containerization architecture and stuff like that, but I'll just toss out some ideas first:

    1) Before replacing, think about defining. What really makes /. and SN is a feature list including (but not limited to) psuedonyms, moderation, enduser story suggestions, threaded discussion, sorted by time, 'news', etc.

    2) Wider range of software available now. Lots of 'social' software has been written since the 90s. You might be able to replace 95% of this site in a social/interactional sense with a docker install of mattermost or a trello-alike or redmine or something. Is there anything missing at a social level from putting "sn" into a private gitlab install, for those familiar with private gitlab installs imagine we shitpost inside projects in the issues section and stories are new issues and the mods are the only ones permitted to post new issues? Its an interesting mental exercise to see if the goals of SN could be achieved with a FOSS containerized solution like Mattermost. Or just how little extra "helper" would have to be written on top of Redmine to make it "do what SN does although it would look a bit different". For those who don't know Mattermost is pretty much a FOSS slack clone with a built in devops playbook tool that SN (probably) wouldn't need but how much modification of the SN concept would be required to put SN on MM? Imagine a MM where every "SN story" is a new channel and we wipe or lock channels over 48 hrs old. Or replace all of slash code with, essentially, one of a bazillion blogging software 'kits'? I have to admit I find the idea of a private gitlab instance acting as "SN" sounding pretty appealing, or at least its interesting to think about how it would work (or not). The point is you replace the system administration load with "docker pull" more or less. Well probably "docker-compose up -d" but you get the idea.

    3) Some things have changed socially and moderation on the internet in 2023 is just political groupthink alliances based on demographic membership mostly. I don't think one number does it in 2023. Some sort of 3-d point of post quality as a scalar vs political compass vector or something. Or BRUTAL banhammer of conversational political discussion and stick to tech only. "How bout that X86-X architecture?" and ruthless censorship of all discussion of the plandemic or trump derangement syndrome, both diseases still plaguing our civilization. In a world of easy deployment do we need a central site with "politics" vs "tech" tags? The people with TDS can just go to the TDS site; the people wanting to talk 64-bit X86-S arch can go to the tech site. You could federate with links to the pages. I'm just saying a monolith tech and monolith social group is not mandatory anymore; could loosely federate tech with monolith social, or otherwise change the focus. But the days of the monolith might be over; there might never be another Yahoo home page or /. home page.

    4) as a commentary on repeating expecting different results being insanity, I would suggest not reimplementing the same architecture and design but this time using the latest hotness in the small details or you'll be having the same discussion in the future. Seems like the outside world learned a lot about loosely coupled architecture and container based distribution and REST apis and stuff like that. So redoing "SN with exactly the same overall design now using Python and mariadb" isn't going to help long term.

    • (Score: 4, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Monday May 22 2023, @05:17PM (9 children)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday May 22 2023, @05:17PM (#1307382)

      There are many ideas that _might_ make a better community.

      What we have is what made the community we have - I for one vote to try to continue what we have, maybe start "something better" if you've got the time & energy to run it, but do that in parallel and see what happens, actual outcomes involving people are hard to predict.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday May 22 2023, @05:36PM (8 children)

        by VLM (445) on Monday May 22 2023, @05:36PM (#1307393)

        continue what we have

        We're not necessarily disagreeing, well, not entirely. For example imagine this deep behind the scenes architecture instead of privately running one's own mysql cluster with our own DB schema and DB accessing code:

        The backend is a private 'free' community edition gitlab instance with its REST API as seen at

        https://docs.gitlab.com/ee/api/rest/ [gitlab.com]

        The database for gitlab as a docker container is a 'solved' problem as is backup, replication, parallelization, auth, logging, etc. The gitlab people took care of all that. To make it SN-alike, create gitlab projects for "SN topics" and gitlab issues for "SN stories" and our comments are threaded discussion in those GL issues.

        Now I know that doesn't LOOK like SN, but 'someone else' can write the web frontend talking to the gitlab REST API to format to look like SN, complete with rounded corners and no edit button for posts LOL. Or people can log into the private gitlab; its not a 'bad' UI although it doesn't look like SN.

        As a private gitlab install, the admins can just dump the existing SN user database into this private GL instance. In fact I imagine a rather small (well.. large) Python script could dump the historical SN database into a gitlab instance.

        Now that's not the only way to do it, but I was just tossing out the idea that having threaded discussion on a web forum doesn't necessarily imply running one's own mysql cluster or writing one's own API. The gitlab people (and, many others) have done a find job of taking care of all of it up to a nice REST API for threaded discussion.

        Of course this is the classic "I've made this someone elses problem" to write a SN styled and appearing frontend to the GL REST API. I'm not a FE guy. Also this is hardly the "only" way to do this, although GL would work...

        • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday May 22 2023, @05:45PM (5 children)

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday May 22 2023, @05:45PM (#1307398)

          >'someone else' can write the...

          At work, I'm the 'someone else' who tends to pick up the crap that nobody else understands well enough to get it done in a reasonable timeframe. Not that I know anything about the crap, either, but I can usually figure it out.

          Ever notice that "work" is a four letter word?

          --
          🌻🌻 [google.com]
          • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday May 22 2023, @05:52PM (4 children)

            by VLM (445) on Monday May 22 2023, @05:52PM (#1307400)

            LOL I hear you but its a classic glass half full vs glass half empty thing; if someone else with very deep pockets has already written a full REST API with modern backend for threaded moderated discussions, may as well use it rather than try to write/maintain our own backend. At least "someone else" wouldn't have to write/maintain a free backend written by someone else.

            Best part about standards is people like them so much they keep creating new ones, so if a private gitlab "issues as SN stories" is unpossible, well thats fine, do FOSS mattermost with "channels as SN stories", or FOSS project planning like redmine with "project issues as SN stories". Or generic ticketing systems with "trouble tickets as SN stories". Plenty of interesting backend options.

            • (Score: 3, Insightful) by JoeMerchant on Monday May 22 2023, @06:02PM (3 children)

              by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday May 22 2023, @06:02PM (#1307403)

              >if someone else with very deep pockets has already written a full REST API with modern backend for...

              Yeah, there's also a very common choice between: "what does it take to build this thing from scratch" vs "what does it take to configure somebody else's idea of an extensible, maintainable, flexible framework and how many of their legacy bugs and regressions are you going to have to deal with while they issue constant updates and possibly architecture shifts in the name of progress?"

              Some of my favorite FOSS comes from "dead" projects which haven't been maintained in years, because there's no need to: they just work.

              --
              🌻🌻 [google.com]
              • (Score: 2) by VLM on Monday May 22 2023, @06:26PM (2 children)

                by VLM (445) on Monday May 22 2023, @06:26PM (#1307413)

                possibly architecture shifts in the name of progress

                My crazy semi-serious idea: Redundant array of inexpensive threaded discussion backends.

                Its all just REST APIs, why not have the SN-appearing frontend talk to gitlab, MM, redmine, and others all at the same time LOL. They all have moderated threaded discussion articles, kind of.

                Sometimes crazy is fun?

                • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday May 22 2023, @07:15PM (1 child)

                  by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday May 22 2023, @07:15PM (#1307425)

                  Prototype it up on a Raspberry Pi and see how it flies!

                  Someone else asked for hard numbers on actually traffic loads / peaks, etc. I wonder how far we are from being hostable on a home internet connection with a NUC i5 or something similar?

                  --
                  🌻🌻 [google.com]
        • (Score: 2) by driverless on Monday May 22 2023, @11:56PM (1 child)

          by driverless (4770) on Monday May 22 2023, @11:56PM (#1307511)

          I'm perfectly happy with Soylent as it currently stands, it fixes the various eternal bugs in the other site and does the job. It's easy enough to dream up a more cromulent alternative, but then someone has to implement it and maintain it for the rest of eternity.

          Perhaps a starting point might be for the admins to post a brief summary of what's involved in running the site now, to give others an idea of what they'd be getting into. That is, how much ongoing maintenance and effort is required to keep things running if someone else were to take up the reins?

          • (Score: 2) by driverless on Tuesday May 23 2023, @12:01AM

            by driverless (4770) on Tuesday May 23 2023, @12:01AM (#1307512)

            Replying to my own post, the original Shutdown post, which I was still in the process of reading, already answers this question, so ignore the above.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by janrinok on Monday May 22 2023, @05:48PM

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2023, @05:48PM (#1307399) Journal

      I was surprised to read the detail of pipecode - it is designed as a syndicated story source where different sites take the stories and display them, allow their users to comment on them, and the comments are syndicated also. However, we need further information. How does one control unwanted abuse, or what is stopping comments from one site spamming another different site? There may be, and probably are, answers to these questions but without more information we are really guessing.

      We are not intending to replicate what we have today. But that is the very reason why I am seeking the community input as to what is now possible. Your comment has given me much to investigate. Yet even that is also putting the cart before the horse - we are also trying to ascertain how many of our own staff want to stay with the project, how many have (quite deservedly so) had enough and are happy to move on, and how many new staff might we find so that we can judge what is even possible in the future. Ultimately though, it will depend upon if there is sufficient community interest and support to make it all worthwhile.

      I wanted to catch people before they decided that there was no longer any point in sticking around and they started to drift away.

      Nevertheless, I thank you for your comment. You have opened even more avenues of exploration when I thought my task list was quite full.

      --
      I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by dalek on Monday May 22 2023, @10:30PM

      by dalek (15489) on Monday May 22 2023, @10:30PM (#1307489)

      3) Some things have changed socially and moderation on the internet in 2023 is just political groupthink alliances based on demographic membership mostly. I don't think one number does it in 2023. Some sort of 3-d point of post quality as a scalar vs political compass vector or something. Or BRUTAL banhammer of conversational political discussion and stick to tech only. "How bout that X86-X architecture?" and ruthless censorship of all discussion of the plandemic or trump derangement syndrome, both diseases still plaguing our civilization. In a world of easy deployment do we need a central site with "politics" vs "tech" tags? The people with TDS can just go to the TDS site; the people wanting to talk 64-bit X86-S arch can go to the tech site. You could federate with links to the pages. I'm just saying a monolith tech and monolith social group is not mandatory anymore; could loosely federate tech with monolith social, or otherwise change the focus. But the days of the monolith might be over; there might never be another Yahoo home page or /. home page.

      There's some real truth in what you said, but it's a shame you had to mix in some language to incite people such as "plandemic or trump derangement syndrome." That terminology isn't helpful. What you're really saying is to separate the tech from the politics, but that's mostly what happened. The tech was the front page stories and the politics was in the journals.

      You have a very valid point about people tending to upvote and downvote based on agreement or disagreement, and that's true with respect to politics. Many other topics aren't prone to controversy, so the moderation is more likely to be based on the quality of the comment. A lot of the political discussion here was already separated into journals, but some of them generated a lot of controversy, and there were many blatantly bad faith AC comments. I would support banning the discussion of politics when there isn't a plausible link to technology. Yes, that goes for journals, too.

      User-created discussions has been a feature of Slash and Rehash for as long as I can remember. Before journals were added to Slash, there were hidden SIDs where users could discuss anything they wanted. I don't believe there was an index of the hidden SIDs, so journals added a way to coordinate those discussions. Some of these discussions weren't helpful, and Slashdot actually had two hidden SIDs called trolltalk: https://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=20721 and [slashdot.org]https://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=31337 [slashdot.org]. One of those is still active to this day, even though I don't think it's possible to create new hidden SIDs. The name of those hidden SIDs describes exactly what they were, which was discussions about trolling Slashdot. There have to be some limits, but I don't think this feature should ever go away. It can be a place for users to ask tech questions, discuss stories that didn't make it to the front page, talk about sports, or just share life updates. I support allowing anything that's legal other than politics.

      I also don't think Slashdot should be described simply as a news aggregator. Its origins were as Rob Malda's blog, where he shared whatever was interesting to him and wrote his own original content at times. He also spent a lot of time tinkering with the code pretty much right up until when he left the site. It wasn't a generic tech site, and it really focused on stories that were of interest to nerds, specifically those who ran the site. Slashdot isn't that interesting to me now, and a large part of that is because it feels like a generic tech site. There are plenty of places to read about things like NFTs and Meta, if that interested me. But there are very successful YouTube channels based on whatever is of interest to the creator, whether it's retro computing, how hardware works, gaming (sim racing is very cool, though I am very bad at it), or just about anything else. A nerd blog can still work as long as people know it exists, and that last bit might be a challenge. Even so, a site like MLB Trade Rumors [mlbtraderumors.com] is mostly a news aggregator, and it's extremely successful. There might not be a lot of comments on every story, but it still gets a huge amount of traffic. There's a lot of opportunity for a site like SN to work, provided people know about it and that toxicity stays out.

      --
      THIS ACCOUNT IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED
  • (Score: 2) by quietus on Monday May 22 2023, @05:00PM

    by quietus (6328) on Monday May 22 2023, @05:00PM (#1307373) Journal

    What are the (average and) peak data transfer figures per time unit, and similar for number of connections, to the site?

  • (Score: 5, Informative) by JoeMerchant on Monday May 22 2023, @05:02PM (22 children)

    by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday May 22 2023, @05:02PM (#1307375)

    This is my primary community for discussions of... well, anything. I'd like to see the community continue, even if the screen colors or interface details change - though I might miss the chunky old 5 point limited comment rating system.

    I also participate in Reddit, and (grudgingly) a little Facebook, but collectively they get less than half of the time and attention I have put into Soylent.

    >What form should a new site take?

    Whatever the volunteers are willing to maintain. As I have mentioned in the past, I single-handedly moderate a low-effort sub-Reddit. Not suggesting Reddit is a drop-in replacement for SoylentNews, or that moderation of this community will be anywhere near as easy as moderation of my "cute pictures" community on Reddit, but... it has been a very low-effort platform for me to maintain for 12ish years so far, and if the technical upkeep is threatening to disband Soylent altogether, it's one very low effort option. Yes, Reddit will stuff your channel with ads if you become popular, but... my low traffic sub-reddit never sees system ads, and I only have to remove a couple of independent t-shirt sales efforts a week around Christmas season. I don't know where a Soylent sized audience would fall on that particular spectrum of nuisance attraction.

    >What changes to how we operate are essential for you to continue to remain interested in the future site?

    For me, as little change as possible would be the best.

    >being ready for a major stream of new members which never materialises.

    For me, a major stream of new members would most likely dilute the quality/value of the community. I don't object to a little growth / fresh members, but big growth would make Soylent more like those big sites that I put less time / attention into because: it just feels like a vast wasteland there.

    Continuity would be best, for me.

    --
    🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 2) by JoeMerchant on Monday May 22 2023, @05:14PM (1 child)

      by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday May 22 2023, @05:14PM (#1307379)

      Holy frosty piss - there were zero comments when I started writing that, and I doubt it was even 5 minutes before I submitted.

      --
      🌻🌻 [google.com]
      • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Wednesday May 24 2023, @08:54PM

        by Reziac (2489) on Wednesday May 24 2023, @08:54PM (#1308012) Homepage

        Yeah, some naysayers claim SN is dying, but the rather long "See here, it's not that way at all" comment chains that result when we're threatened tend to indicate that it's dying as slowly as BSD. :)

        --
        And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
    • (Score: 5, Informative) by shrewdsheep on Monday May 22 2023, @05:19PM

      by shrewdsheep (5215) on Monday May 22 2023, @05:19PM (#1307384)

      Seconded. Apart from one general news site, SN is my next trusted source for relevant stuff. Thanks to the "great reform" (mainly driven by janirok), SN has become civilized again and is a joy to visit.

      SN: Contributed stories, moderation, journals, and of course, a highly intelligent community

    • (Score: 5, Insightful) by istartedi on Monday May 22 2023, @05:31PM (7 children)

      by istartedi (123) on Monday May 22 2023, @05:31PM (#1307391) Journal

      Whatever we do, please let's not make it a subreddit. I cut ties with reddit. I find it to be one of the more toxic places on the Internet, and the new UI is absolute shite--the very thing this site was created to avoid.

      --
      Appended to the end of comments you post. Max: 120 chars.
      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by istartedi on Monday May 22 2023, @05:34PM (5 children)

        by istartedi (123) on Monday May 22 2023, @05:34PM (#1307392) Journal

        OK, I just realized there was a "don't" there, but not a "do". How about a Mastodon instance? It's new, it catches a lot of traffic from people bailing out of big social media, and it's modern and well maintained by a large community.

        Is there anybody on Soylent running an instance?

        --
        Appended to the end of comments you post. Max: 120 chars.
        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Monday May 22 2023, @05:39PM (1 child)

          by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday May 22 2023, @05:39PM (#1307396)

          I would suggest going with something that somebody has experience with. Mastodon looks cool from a distance, but what's it like to live with long term, really?

          I know it's easy to have a bad experience on Reddit, just like it's easy to get mugged in Spanish Harlem, but... 12 years of moderating a small sub-reddit have been basically pain-free and very little work, for me.

          --
          🌻🌻 [google.com]
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 23 2023, @01:33AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 23 2023, @01:33AM (#1307521)

            just like it's easy to get mugged in Spanish Harlem

            I'm guessing you haven't been to "Spanish Harlem" in decades, as it's not that sort of neighborhood anymore, and hasn't been fro a long time.

            Can you even define the area you're calling "Spanish Harlem?"

        • (Score: 5, Interesting) by VLM on Monday May 22 2023, @05:41PM

          by VLM (445) on Monday May 22 2023, @05:41PM (#1307397)

          How about a Mastodon instance?

          There's also join-lemmy.org, FOSS complete with docker images and ansible automation.

          Note that federation with social media is much like IRC of the olden days; you can run Lemmy all day and federate with your own load balancing/backup servers all day without federating with the overall fediverse. Which might be good? Or bad?

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by hendrikboom on Wednesday May 24 2023, @03:00PM

          by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 24 2023, @03:00PM (#1307917) Homepage Journal

          The mastodon instances I've seen have very dysfunctional interfaces.
          While mastodon is a brilliant idea, I'd like to match the internetworking mechanisms with a very different user interface.
          In particular, I'd like to see a tree-like threaded interface, like we have here, and we used to have on the nanowrimo website before they 'modernized' it.
          And the ability to use mathematical notation, like the mathstodon instance.

        • (Score: 2) by Reziac on Wednesday May 24 2023, @08:58PM

          by Reziac (2489) on Wednesday May 24 2023, @08:58PM (#1308014) Homepage

          There were a few instances (or whatever they call it, been a while) on Mastodon that interested me, but I rather quickly gave up on the whole thing. Did not really care for how the commenting worked, even if I could get INTO the instance, which sometimes seemed impossible.

          And I'm not sure catching a lot of traffic is really what we want. As I say elsewhere, SN is a coffeehouse, not the mall. If I want the mall, I can go to any large forum, reddit, the green site...

          --
          And there is no Alkibiades to come back and save us from ourselves.
      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by JoeMerchant on Monday May 22 2023, @05:36PM

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Monday May 22 2023, @05:36PM (#1307395)

        >I cut ties with reddit. I find it to be one of the more toxic places on the Internet

        I used to live in Miami, and there were plenty of toxic places in the greater Metro area, but as my wife used to say: we stay in our bubble, and it is nice there. Reddit provides reasonably capable filtering tools, and that keeps me seeing mostly stuff I don't mind seeing in the "greater reddit community", and subreddits are very much like independently moderated sites onto themselves - as toxic as the community mods let them become, but many are not toxic at all.

        >and the new UI is absolute shite

        agreed, thus all my bookmarks go to: old.reddit.com - which is at least acceptable IMO.

        --
        🌻🌻 [google.com]
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by looorg on Monday May 22 2023, @06:36PM (6 children)

      by looorg (578) on Monday May 22 2023, @06:36PM (#1307416)

      I think I would agree with most of that. I was about to write a comment in the NC post but withheld it to have a bit of a think about it. A lot of people had already said what I wanted to say anyway so it wasn't very urgent. If it was just Goodbye then I wouldn't want to digress anyway.

      I was probably going to make some lame joke about what I was going to do with all my new free time. But then I realized that the time I spend here is hardly wasted as I do apparently enjoy it. It's somewhat relaxing and in that regard help with other things I have to do. I don't think Reddit would be a suitable replacement. I don't think I would follow there. Hackernews is very limited and perhaps a bit to bare for my taste. It wouldn't fill the SN niche either. There are a few others I do visit but they are language (non-english) specific so they are not really in competition in that regard. They usually run various forum codes from old to, not recommended either really. It feels very clunky. SN in that regards fills a niche of the mix of news, nerd and tech stuff that I don't think I really find elsewhere, not that I spent a great deal of time looking.

      But in some regard I was probably going to ask if no one else had what the replacement site was and if anyone had any suggestions. But still somehow hoped that the next month wasn't just going to be tumbleweed and that something else would pan out. There would be one less tab to have to open in the browser, and that would be kind of sad.

      As I recall it now we (SN) was not the only once to leave the green site. Were we the last holdout or remnant? If not is there anything we can do with those survivors?

      What form should a new site take? What changes to how we operate are essential for you to continue to remain interested in the future site?

      I don't do change. So like now? Or as little change as possible. At least from a visual stand point. I don't really care what runs in the backend and I don't really have any expertise to offer in the area. But I don't want some fancy-schmancy UI running the latest things with browser extensions, script and whatnot. I don't care if it works on my phone, I'm not going to be browsing here on my phone anyway. Big pass on that.

      Starting with the bare essentials and adding things you need later might be the best -- submissions, news/stories, comments, accounts/ac, some kind of moderation. While I don't use the IRC I guess it's a nice thing to have, don't know how much usage it seems. Journals is another thing I don't really use or read. But I gather they are at least somewhat popular or have a legacy to them. But slashdot had a lot of things and I guess a lot of them didn't perhaps age well, not only the code, so cutting them might not be such a big loss in that regard.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2023, @07:52PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 22 2023, @07:52PM (#1307435)

        > Or as little change as possible. ...

        Ditto. Add to the list, VT100 mode -- this green on black is, by far, the most restful tab in my Firefox.

        • (Score: 3, Funny) by hendrikboom on Wednesday May 24 2023, @03:04PM

          by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 24 2023, @03:04PM (#1307920) Homepage Journal

          Green on black VT100 mode is what I use all the time.
          Which gives me a sense of momentary confusion whenever someone mentions the green site.
          For me, this site *is* green.

      • (Score: 2) by owl on Monday May 22 2023, @08:39PM (3 children)

        by owl (15206) on Monday May 22 2023, @08:39PM (#1307452)

        But in some regard I was probably going to ask if no one else had what the replacement site was and if anyone had any suggestions.

        comp.misc on USENET? This is where a third group of "Fuck Beta" green-site folks headed.

        Sign up for Eternal September (or buy a commercial USENET package), pick out a newsreader [wikipedia.org] and start discussing?

        • (Score: 2) by istartedi on Monday May 22 2023, @10:53PM (1 child)

          by istartedi (123) on Monday May 22 2023, @10:53PM (#1307492) Journal

          I would be coming full circle if I did that. My first exposure to the Internet was USENET back in the early 90s, perhaps a year or two before the real Eternal September. "Why would anybody want the WWW. There isn't even a client installed on our Sun workstations, and Gopher has all kinds of information on it".

          In hindsight, the admins probably didn't install the client for *reasons*. They knew. They KNEW!

          --
          Appended to the end of comments you post. Max: 120 chars.
          • (Score: 3, Interesting) by owl on Tuesday May 23 2023, @02:22AM

            by owl (15206) on Tuesday May 23 2023, @02:22AM (#1307529)

            Unless a magic rabbit is pulled from a magic hat, then come June 30 we won't have Soylent anymore to use to discuss.

            USENET has the advantage that no one needs to expend time doing "admin" work on USENET, no one needs to be a corporate president for comp.misc to become the "Ex Soylent space", and if you never want to see posts from X, just plonk them into your newsreader's killfile, and they disappear for you.

        • (Score: 2) by hendrikboom on Wednesday May 24 2023, @03:59PM

          by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 24 2023, @03:59PM (#1307937) Homepage Journal

          Interesting place.

    • (Score: 2) by Barenflimski on Tuesday May 23 2023, @04:44AM

      by Barenflimski (6836) on Tuesday May 23 2023, @04:44AM (#1307575)

      Yup. All that.

    • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Tuesday May 23 2023, @06:46PM (2 children)

      by Freeman (732) on Tuesday May 23 2023, @06:46PM (#1307745) Journal

      While people may be adverse to Discord and it's arguably not a great place for a "News Site". There would essentially be no maintenance, I think? Discord is already used by a lot of people, but certainly wouldn't provide much in the way of anonymity. At least not so far as keeping people safe from bad governments is concerned.

      --
      Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
      • (Score: 3, Touché) by JoeMerchant on Tuesday May 23 2023, @08:30PM (1 child)

        by JoeMerchant (3937) on Tuesday May 23 2023, @08:30PM (#1307757)

        Spoiler Alert: jarinok works with KGB and NCommander is an Interpol sleeper agent.

        Honestly, how would you know?

        The one thing I _am_ sure of: opening a TOR gateway and browsing "the dark web" is a great way to get on all kinds of watchlists, datataps on your landlines and trackers on your SIM cards.

        The FBI only violated their rules for surveillance 280,000 times last year...

        --
        🌻🌻 [google.com]
        • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Wednesday May 24 2023, @06:41PM

          by Freeman (732) on Wednesday May 24 2023, @06:41PM (#1307986) Journal

          "only" that we know about.

          --
          Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Monday May 22 2023, @05:11PM (2 children)

    by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Monday May 22 2023, @05:11PM (#1307376)

    So don't hold back - let us know what you think.

    There ya go.

    Oh and yeah, it's FACEBOOK, not Meta. Meta is the fake name Facebook restructured itself to legally adopt in order to fool everybody into believing that it is more than just old toxic Facebook, and that it's capable of getting into businesses other than social media privacy invasion for middle-aged millenials.

    • (Score: 2) by Rosco P. Coltrane on Monday May 22 2023, @05:36PM

      by Rosco P. Coltrane (4757) on Monday May 22 2023, @05:36PM (#1307394)

      I guess the Facebook joke isn't funny. Oh well...

      Sad to see SN go.

    • (Score: 1) by separatrix on Monday May 29 2023, @08:44AM

      by separatrix (29779) on Monday May 29 2023, @08:44AM (#1308734) Journal

      I also have experience on the boards of multiple not-for-profit 501(c)(3)s. And I'm an American. And this is my firs-- no, wait, now it's my second-ever post. And if I understood more about how to reach the people who could plug me into this organization, I would have used that method to contact whoever is going to be running the place next.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by fliptop on Monday May 22 2023, @05:13PM (3 children)

    by fliptop (1666) on Monday May 22 2023, @05:13PM (#1307378) Journal

    Is there still sufficient interest in having a discussion site such as ours?

    Yes. If we can figure out how to attract new, younger users who prefer to use their phones for everything and want push notifications, I believe the knowledge in the SN community would be beneficial.

    What form should a new site take?

    Front end: Better stylesheet magic so it's readable on any device. Push notifications that aren't limited to the site's message inbox. Back end: Docker containers, development server, and a slow, well tested migration to whatever it takes to jettison the legacy code everyone hates.

    What changes to how we operate are essential for you to continue to remain interested in the future site?

    Better organization in management, I realize we're all volunteers, but if there were one or two people who delegated tasks to other sysadmins / developers it would help keep the messiness wrangled IMHO.

    Just my $0.02.

    --
    Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.
    • (Score: 2) by Fnord666 on Monday May 22 2023, @06:00PM

      by Fnord666 (652) on Monday May 22 2023, @06:00PM (#1307402) Homepage

      Is there still sufficient interest in having a discussion site such as ours?

      Yes. If we can figure out how to attract new, younger users who prefer to use their phones for everything and want push notifications, I believe the knowledge in the SN community would be beneficial.

      What form should a new site take?

      Front end: Better stylesheet magic so it's readable on any device. Push notifications that aren't limited to the site's message inbox. Back end: Docker containers, development server, and a slow, well tested migration to whatever it takes to jettison the legacy code everyone hates.

      What changes to how we operate are essential for you to continue to remain interested in the future site?

      Better organization in management, I realize we're all volunteers, but if there were one or two people who delegated tasks to other sysadmins / developers it would help keep the messiness wrangled IMHO.

      Just my $0.02.

      I agree with this. One of the things that SN was lacking was support for any sort of mobile device. I know that we didn't have any developers to even consider it, but if a new site is spun up it would be nice to be able to read it on my phone when I have a free moment.

    • (Score: 1) by separatrix on Monday May 29 2023, @08:24AM (1 child)

      by separatrix (29779) on Monday May 29 2023, @08:24AM (#1308732) Journal

      "Better organization in management, I realize we're all volunteers, but if there were one or two people who delegated tasks to other sysadmins / developers it would help keep the messiness wrangled IMHO."

      I would like to help with management. I have almost no ability to program, but I have many years experience as a manager of meetings and legal code. I also think slash and rehash are important software that need to continue to exist. I would like to see this site continue, and to be able to use rehash on my own sites -- a privilege I would be happy to buy a license for. Is there room for me in this new SoylentNews scheme?

      • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Monday May 29 2023, @10:31AM

        by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 29 2023, @10:31AM (#1308739) Journal

        I will answer, but not in the order you asked the questions.

        Firstly, I will ensure that those who need to know of your offer do know about it. For the moment, until we have resolved the current problem, there is no immediate need for another layer of management. But the new owner may well see a role for you in the hierarchy, so I will leave that particular decision to him. There are existing procedures to achieve what you are suggesting - they were not followed.

        I would like to see this site continue, and to be able to use rehash on my own sites -- a privilege I would be happy to buy a license for.

        Rehash is available in our github repo [github.com]. No license is required. You are free to use it or fork it into another project. But it comes with a significant amount of technical debt 'built-in'. It requires a version of Apache that is no longer supported. It also relies heavily on a specific version of Mod_Perl which is far from simple to install. Do-able depending on your skill levels, but many others have tried and found the task just too difficult.

        Is there room for me in this new SoylentNews scheme?

        There are roles in the teams for various specialities. If you pigeon hole yourself too precisely then you are limiting the ways in which you can help. The support team is now probably on the minimum number that permit it to function - in fact we have gone below that number in the area of programmers, such that we currently have none who are prepared to work on the Perl code. That may change as others volunteer to help out.

        Can you help? Almost certainly but perhaps not in the areas you are currently suggesting - but as I have said that is someone else's decision.

        I will also send you an email to confirm that we are aware of your offer, and to open up a channel for further questions and discussion.

        --
        I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by barista on Monday May 22 2023, @05:28PM

    by barista (5219) on Monday May 22 2023, @05:28PM (#1307389)

    I stopped visiting Slashdot years ago, but SN has been one of the tech sites I visit on a daily basis, even if I'm only lurking. I hope someone keeps the soylentnews.org domain running, even if it is under new management with new code.

    I like the threaded comments, meta-moderation and karma, so I hope whatever is done in the future keeps those aspects. The moderation system is pretty ingenious and great a great way for a community to express itself while keeping the spammers away.

    From a funding standpoint, maybe consider using Patreon or something similar. I support some other projects via Patreon, so it's personally convenient.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by pTamok on Monday May 22 2023, @06:02PM

    by pTamok (3042) on Monday May 22 2023, @06:02PM (#1307404)

    That's me. And I like SN as it is.

    I have learnt a great deal from SN, and hope that it can be archived in an accessible and searchable way - e.g. via the Internet Archive.

    As for what is done to continue - I have no idea. I have contributed cold hard cash to this place (one of two places I have supported by funding on the Internet), because it is (and was) valuable to me. But I'm enough of an outlier that it isn't a viable business plan. Which is a shame.

    It will give me some time back, as I won't be spending time composing comments, some of which took quite a while. I'm gradually giving up all my 'social media' as the enshittification of the Internet continues. SN is one of four forums in which I comment - and I don't have Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat/TikTok/reddit or any other social medium I follow.

    Thank-you to all the people who worked hard to keep this place going. It was a noble cause, I am saddened we could not get to a sustainable position.

    Ave atque vale. [wikipedia.org]

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Freeman on Monday May 22 2023, @06:23PM (1 child)

    by Freeman (732) on Monday May 22 2023, @06:23PM (#1307411) Journal

    I enjoy a nice place to go that doesn't bombard you with advertisements. I like seeing the random different tech news articles and contributing stories to the queue every now and again. It's unfortunate that the site has required a lot of attention and cost a good amount more than was hoped. I'm not at a point in my life where I could do much more than I have with regards to offering support to SoylentNews or any iteration of the site thereafter. As far as I'm concerned, this is the crowd that enjoyed Slashdot for what it was and moved on to SoylentNews when they sold their souls. Keeping a community together can be tough, especially when money gets involved. I would definitely be glad to join whatever the next iteration of the site ends up being.

    --
    Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by coolgopher on Tuesday May 23 2023, @03:38AM

      by coolgopher (1157) on Tuesday May 23 2023, @03:38AM (#1307564)

      Same. For the most part I've enjoyed interacting with the crowd here, and if the essence of the community and site carries over elsewhere, I'd likely subscribe there fwiw. Alas I am not in a position to dedicate time at this point.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by PastTense on Monday May 22 2023, @06:33PM (14 children)

    by PastTense (6879) on Monday May 22 2023, @06:33PM (#1307415)

    Why don't you and the others in your small group simply take over Soylent News, as NCommander no longer has the interest and/or ability to continue?

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by janrinok on Monday May 22 2023, @07:15PM (13 children)

      by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2023, @07:15PM (#1307426) Journal

      I am not an American. I have no wish to be beholden to US laws which I would have to be if I took over the PBC. If I were an American things might be rather different but I am quite happy as I am thank you.

      If you can find me an American who is prepared to do so then we would be extremely grateful.

      Although we are much smaller now than we once were our staff have been as diverse as our community - we have had people from every continent help manage this site.

      --
      I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
      • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Monday May 22 2023, @09:44PM

        by RS3 (6367) on Monday May 22 2023, @09:44PM (#1307471)

        Do you know, or can you point me to some references for the aforementioned US laws?

        I'll also check with the guy I do admin for- he's super sharp with all of that stuff, and usually knows the efficient routes to getting things done with minimal red tape or liability.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by DeathMonkey on Tuesday May 23 2023, @04:27PM (9 children)

        by DeathMonkey (1380) on Tuesday May 23 2023, @04:27PM (#1307710) Journal

        You could probably shut down the PBC but keep the domain. Run it as a hobby site or set up a new corporate overlord in whatever jurisdiction you want...

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Freeman on Tuesday May 23 2023, @06:43PM

          by Freeman (732) on Tuesday May 23 2023, @06:43PM (#1307744) Journal

          The PBC was there for liability reasons as far as I can tell. Though, perhaps they had grandiose plans of turning SoylentNews into something more. I wouldn't fault them for hoping/trying, but that probably should have never even been a twinkle in the back of their mind(s).

          --
          Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
        • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Wednesday May 24 2023, @06:20AM (7 children)

          by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 24 2023, @06:20AM (#1307837) Journal

          As all the staff appear to be locked out of the system - I am not sure what is happening. It doesn't seem like an error. I thought that the close down date was 30 Jun - but now we cannot do some of our routine tasks either.

          As long as he refuses to transfer the domain we cannot use it elsewhere.

          --
          I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
          • (Score: 2) by quietus on Wednesday May 24 2023, @09:39AM (6 children)

            by quietus (6328) on Wednesday May 24 2023, @09:39AM (#1307862) Journal

            Hmm. I see you posted a story at 08:02am, but I believe this is done through a cron-like system. Are you, and the rest of the staff, still locked out?

            • (Score: 5, Informative) by janrinok on Wednesday May 24 2023, @11:20AM (5 children)

              by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 24 2023, @11:20AM (#1307875) Journal

              The editors use a discrete API with gives very limited access to enable them to process stories. This does not give them any access to the servers or direct access to the database, but is carried out via web pages. Most editors do not need server access. This is all part of the data protection procedures that we employ.

              Stories are usually prepared and queued in advance. Normally this might be 6 - 12 hours before their expected release times but at a weekend we might do it a full day ahead so that we are not working all weekend too. The release of stories is automatic once they have been queued and enabled. Historically, there was usually an editor watching out for breaking news or problems with the stories that have been released. That is not so easy to achieve nowadays but I do keep an eye on the site.

              However, those who fill roles requiring access to one or more of our servers can have ssh access into a specific gateway, and then from there using kerberos to access other servers as limited by the permissions required for their additional roles. It seems that ssh access to the gateway has been stopped, presumably intentionally, by somebody. Nobody can do any maintenance work or access data from the wikis etc, nor can they access their private user accounts.

              I am half expecting to be handed a cardboard box with my family photograph, a stapler, and a half used roll of selotape in it and then to be escorted into meatspace again.

              I genuinely do not know why it has happened, nor can I get access to the servers to find out.

              --
              I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
              • (Score: 2) by quietus on Wednesday May 24 2023, @05:59PM

                by quietus (6328) on Wednesday May 24 2023, @05:59PM (#1307980) Journal

                Thanks for the info. To keep our options open as much as possible, I've registered a domain name, mickey9.com [goodreads.com].

              • (Score: 2) by quietus on Saturday May 27 2023, @07:17AM (3 children)

                by quietus (6328) on Saturday May 27 2023, @07:17AM (#1308440) Journal

                Can you (or hubie) send screenshots of the editor interface to info at mickey9?

                • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Saturday May 27 2023, @07:38AM

                  by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 27 2023, @07:38AM (#1308442) Journal

                  I'll put it on my list for today.... I hope today to have more time to do things than has been the case over the last week.

                  --
                  I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
                • (Score: 2) by janrinok on Saturday May 27 2023, @07:56AM (1 child)

                  by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Saturday May 27 2023, @07:56AM (#1308443) Journal
                  Sent - please confirm receipt. J
                  --
                  I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Freeman on Tuesday May 23 2023, @06:48PM (1 child)

        by Freeman (732) on Tuesday May 23 2023, @06:48PM (#1307747) Journal

        I would be a bit more concerned about European laws than American laws when it comes to running a website. Though, perhaps that's just me not knowing enough about laws in general.

        --
        Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by janrinok on Wednesday May 24 2023, @06:28AM

          by janrinok (52) Subscriber Badge on Wednesday May 24 2023, @06:28AM (#1307840) Journal

          I have looked into this before. The USA wanted to know all my social media accounts, my bank accounts, my home phone number, my mobile phone number, my passport details, a profession history.

          --
          I am not interested in knowing who people are or where they live. My interest starts and stops at our servers.
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by maxwell demon on Monday May 22 2023, @07:29PM (2 children)

    by maxwell demon (1608) on Monday May 22 2023, @07:29PM (#1307428) Journal

    While dormant and not accepting new stuff, Pipedot [pipedot.org] is still up. Does anyone know if the people there are still able and willing to revive their site, so that it may act as replacement of SN? Given that AFAIR they were writing completely new code from the start, I guess their technical debt is by far less.

    --
    The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
    • (Score: 3, Informative) by SurvivorZ on Tuesday May 23 2023, @07:40AM (1 child)

      by SurvivorZ (792) on Tuesday May 23 2023, @07:40AM (#1307612)

      I just analyzed Pipedot’s entire code base, and it’d be absolutely trivial to upgrade to PHP 8. In fact, I think it’s 100% backwards-compatible.

      That said, it doesn’t use modern PHP coding practices at all. In fact, it seems to be coded by a rank amateur. E.g., no composer, etc.

      But the code base is quite tiny, which means changing it piecemeal should be way, way easier than fixing soylent’s garbage codebase.

      The main problem I have with pipecode is that it’s licensened under the AGPL. There’s no way I would ever contribute to a project that uses that terrible license.

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 24 2023, @02:11AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 24 2023, @02:11AM (#1307808)

        IANAL (lawyer), but just reading this overview, https://fossa.com/blog/open-source-software-licenses-101-agpl-license/ [fossa.com] it seems like the main difference between AGPL and regular GPL is in this paragraph?

        Let’s say you create a software program. Another developer takes and modifies it, and then provides access to that modification to paying customers through a software-as-a-service model. Under the GPL v3, that modification would essentially become proprietary because it wasn’t technically distributed. Under AGPL, however, that developer would need to make their modified source code available for download.

        Sounds like the right sort of license for a SN successor to me. Your comments?

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by darkfeline on Monday May 22 2023, @07:53PM (9 children)

    by darkfeline (1030) on Monday May 22 2023, @07:53PM (#1307436) Homepage

    Unfortunately, I don't think volunteer projects like SN can exist without heroes lifting the heavy boulder. In theory, rebuilding SN is "easy" (and well, I have some opinions on practical modern webapp design): containerize it, rewrite it in an easy, no nonsense language like Go. Start with the core features (story submissions, user registration, commenting, mods), then move on to other features like journals.

    But in practice some individual is going to have to volunteer a lot of time to actually do the work. And it doesn't make economic sense when we have reddit, hackernews, etc., so you'd have to be a fool to do it (a.k.a., a hero).

    --
    Join the SDF Public Access UNIX System today!
    • (Score: 3, Touché) by RS3 on Monday May 22 2023, @09:53PM (7 children)

      by RS3 (6367) on Monday May 22 2023, @09:53PM (#1307477)

      You mentioned "containerize", as others have. I think I know what that is, and many forms of it, but could you explain what you mean, how it would be implemented / structured, and most importantly, what are the advantages?

      (just to prime the pump, I see a lot of blurred lines between hypervisors, guest OSes, containers, etc.)

      Regarding recoding- you mentioned "Go" which is hot right now, but perl was hot too, as was Ruby, Python... much maligned (unnecessarily) php... Despite people using the term "futureproof", there's pretty much no such thing. Someone might want to recode the site, but even if they're passionate, want to learn a language, make it a major personal achievement, resume boost, new career, etc., it's likely to take a long time, even if someone follows the current rehash structure.

      I don't think perl is all that bad. NC's concern is all the breakage that will occur once the underlying OS, Apache, mod_perl, etc., are all updated. There are efforts underway...

      • (Score: 4, Funny) by pTamok on Tuesday May 23 2023, @06:33AM (6 children)

        by pTamok (3042) on Tuesday May 23 2023, @06:33AM (#1307594)

        If you want 'futureproof', you write it in COBOL. That language hasn't died for a long, long time.

        • (Score: 4, Funny) by RS3 on Tuesday May 23 2023, @07:24AM (4 children)

          by RS3 (6367) on Tuesday May 23 2023, @07:24AM (#1307607)
          • (Score: 5, Touché) by RS3 on Tuesday May 23 2023, @07:26AM

            by RS3 (6367) on Tuesday May 23 2023, @07:26AM (#1307609)

            PS: I have two of those, so I'll get started real soon.

          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by pTamok on Tuesday May 23 2023, @08:13AM (2 children)

            by pTamok (3042) on Tuesday May 23 2023, @08:13AM (#1307613)

            That plugboard comment is one of the reasons I like this site. A link to really interesting stuff, which is completely separate to the main topic, but follows the digression intelligently.

            Thank you.

            • (Score: 2) by RS3 on Tuesday May 23 2023, @02:54PM (1 child)

              by RS3 (6367) on Tuesday May 23 2023, @02:54PM (#1307683)

              Ding ding ding ding!! Your comment has won you the grand prize of an IBM 402 plugboard, complete with a full rat's nest of jumpers! There are even some wire splitters- you know, code forks in 402 parlance. SN admins will contact you for delivery details. No direct support is included. Consult the Internet for howto videos. Your mileage may vary. Not intended for children under the age of 6. Wear proper protective gear, including rubber-soled shoes and electrically-insulating gloves. Don't program while standing in water or wet areas. No guarantee of results. By reading this you assume all legal liability. Enjoy!

        • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Tuesday May 23 2023, @06:49PM

          by Freeman (732) on Tuesday May 23 2023, @06:49PM (#1307749) Journal

          COBOL was old when I was learning to code. Now, it's just that undead zombie language that could.

          --
          Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and of a good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee"
    • (Score: 2) by NotSanguine on Wednesday May 24 2023, @09:23PM

      But in practice some individual is going to have to volunteer a lot of time to actually do the work. And it doesn't make economic sense when we have reddit, hackernews, etc., so you'd have to be a fool to do it (a.k.a., a hero).

      A fair point. While reddit is, IMNSHO, a cesspool, hackernews (HN) is definitely a bright spot.

      However, HN has a much narrower focus than this site, and while I often find interesting stuff there, my interests are much broader than that of HN.

      What's more, the HN user base (read: moderators) as a group doesn't have much of a sense of humor and tends to downvote anyone who even attempts to make a joke (an actual, real, funny joke, not some low-effort meme or dig at someone or something). Even more, while I am a technical guy, endless stories about js frameworks and crappy SaaS offerings gets kind of tired after a while.

      Which is, frankly, what brought me back to SN after several years in the (metaphorical) wilderness. That said, I am still an active participant on HN and, regardless of the outcome here, will continue that practice.

      I'd like to see SN re-emerge in some form (folks have suggested lemmy and other potential platforms) and would even be willing to spend some time making that work.

      --
      No, no, you're not thinking; you're just being logical. --Niels Bohr
  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by gznork26 on Monday May 22 2023, @07:54PM

    by gznork26 (1159) on Monday May 22 2023, @07:54PM (#1307438) Homepage Journal

    First off, I am interested in remaining in the community.

    A few years ago, a friend died of Covid-19. He was the legal owner and sole admin of a gay community site which was hosted on a commercial server, but backed up to a box in his apartment. We used a bit of social engineering to convince the hosting company to give us access. Once we had that, it became possible for a member of the community to copy the site to his server, where he redirected requests while we shut down the commercial service. Once he had the site working again, he set to work migrating the content to a more maintainable base, and made further improvements. Along the way, some of the community members became admins, and the moderation work was spread around. Finally, the site was moved to a commercial server, and all is well.

    Here at SN, we at least have some time to choose our future, because NCommander is still around, and the site still functions. The site I spoke about froze because of an update applied by the host, so it could not be used to discuss how to proceed. That was all handled through other channels. So lets make good use of the time we do have here, and decide what future we want for SN.

    --
    Khipu were Turing complete.
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by hendrikboom on Monday May 22 2023, @08:19PM (2 children)

    by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Monday May 22 2023, @08:19PM (#1307446) Homepage Journal

    I very much want this site to continue.
    I have some technical ability.
    I've implemented compilers, interpreters, and one of the OSI network protocols.
    But I have no experience with data bases or web servers that interface with them.

    My approach is as much as possible to use statically typed, garbage collected programming languages that do enough heavy static checking to eliminate careless, hard-to find errors.

    This eliminates Perl.

    I would not mind being on a team that designs or implements a replacement for the Soylent News software.

    But it has to be a team -- I don't have wide-enough experience to be able to handle all the necessary aspects of such a system.

    And you can't count on me being around long-term. I'm already 76 years old, and cannot expect to live forever.

    If you want to be able to contact me after this site disappears, please copy down my email address, hendrik@topoi.pooq.com. It is not a secret.

    -- hendrik

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by coolgopher on Tuesday May 23 2023, @03:50AM (1 child)

      by coolgopher (1157) on Tuesday May 23 2023, @03:50AM (#1307567)

      You may not have any database experience, but you clearly have experience that indicates you have the mindset to pick it up should you wish - don't sell yourself short!

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by hendrikboom on Tuesday May 23 2023, @03:34PM

        by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 23 2023, @03:34PM (#1307695) Homepage Journal

        True. But it would go a lot faster in a team that has someone *with* that experience.
        Someone with the experience to know what works well and what doesn't.
        It could save some trial and error.

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