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Quit Slashdot Day?

Keunwoo Lee on Quit Slashdot Day :

I have friends who were once tremendously productive programmers, until they started reading Slashdot. Then, the endless stream of links, updated a dozen times a day no less (so you don’t go once a day to get your fix; instead, you keep a window open and hit reload every twenty minutes or so), steadily seduced them, until they eventually became babbling idiots, dribbling saliva from the corners of their mouths, ranting on the forums about the relative merits of Karma Whores and Anonymous Cowards. Can there be any doubt that this website is anything other than a nefarious ploy to destroy Linux by undermining the productivity of its developers?

Frankly I find Digg to be as good as if not better than slashdot. Slashdot’s advantage basically derives from mindshare. If you have the traffic, you’re also going to have brilliant comments from readers. But readers can be fickle unless you keep giving them material they’re not going to find anywhere else.

Here’s the problem with slashdot. Don’t get me wrong. I love slashdot and even wrote a few articles for them (and will be submitting another one later this week). The problem is that they aren’t publishing original content; they are simply highlighting or republishing. The notable exception was Slashdot interviews, where readers submit questions, and the interviewee responds to the most highly ranked–See the Neil Stephenson interview) . A few years ago Slashdot had what was a pretty cutting edge moderation and filtering system. You can configure the front page to exclude certain topics or content categories. Actually, this doesn’t really change the front page very much, but it adds to the reader’s feeling of empowerment. True, they won the first-to-market advantages, but they have not really improved over the original formula. That’s why boingboing (a site much smaller in scale) is now probably much more successful and popular than slashdot.

Nowadays remarkable stories show up on slashdot later than ever. They run about 20-25 articles a day, and that format can grow very monotonous (even after you configure your custom filters).

Slashdot shines in general topics where it’s useful to hear a cross-section of opinions from the geek world. Legal matters/new tools/ecommerce/security: these topics will be fleshed out extremely well by all the readers. Also, despite the slashdot subculture, slashdot has managed to stay pretty clean from pornographers, spammers and evildoers in general.

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