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Designer on Slashdot Overhaul Plans 469

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the hey-wait-is-he-calling-me-stupid dept.
EdwardianDandy writes "Web designer Khoi Vinh, whose firm Behavior is responsible for the redesign of the Onion, argues on publish.com that an upcoming contest to overhaul Slashdot's look will yield interesting results, but the outcome will suffer because the underlying architecture is off limits." Normally I don't post stuff "About" Slashdot here since I find meta naval gazing very boring, but this article has many good points about architecture and design, even if his whole premise is based on a contest that we haven't spent more than about 5 minutes thinking about, and is mostly just meant to be a fun way for users to contribute themes to Slashdot. If Khoi wants to enter the contest, we'll consider his designs along with everyone else's. (I'm sure we can't afford him tho). And if he (or anyone) wants to make changes more substantial than cosmetic CSS, I'd consider them too. The upcoming Slashdot Redesign contest is intended to be more about design than architecture, but good ideas are good ideas.
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Designer on Slashdot Overhaul Plans

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  • Slash Light (Score:5, Insightful)

    by (1+-sqrt(5))*(2**-1) (868173) <1.61803phi@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @09:34AM (#13816525) Homepage
    A small request: whatever we finally decide to do, let's keep Slash Light.
    • Re:Slash Light (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @10:06AM (#13816811)
      One major thing that brings me back to slashdot, is how easy it is on the eyes. You aren't assaulted with multiple columns of content or gaudy, interleaved ads. It's right to the point, top to bottom. The front page of the onion looks like a bomb went off in the middle of some content. You have stories all over the place. Slashdot also isn't like other tech news sites where you have 20% story, %80 related links or other fluff. It's story, user reaction. Given that most of the site's content, and the whole idea of the site is based on community, anything other than a chronological top down design would ruin what slashdot is.

      If it's not broke, don't fix it.
      • Re:Slash Light (Score:5, Insightful)

        by koekepeer (197127) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @10:23AM (#13816983)
        i think this argument is posed a little bit too black and white.

        aren't we the ones who always speak of freedom of choice being such a wonderful thing? ideally, a good default look and a large degree of customisation in the preferences section would make slashdot something that can be pleasing to *every* eye. already now you can switch off just about anything except for the ads.
        • "aren't we the ones who always speak of freedom of choice being such a wonderful thing?"

          Let's test this, shall we?

          "I think Slashdot's site should look more like Microsoft's!"
      • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @11:03AM (#13817327)
        One major thing that brings me back to slashdot, is how easy it is on the eyes.

        Only if you're colorblind. If you think that purple color in the Games section is easy on the eyes, I'm sorry, but I think you need to see an optometrist immediately.
      • by MarkGriz (520778) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @11:33AM (#13817601)
        "One major thing that brings me back to slashdot, is how easy it is on the eyes"

        How soon we forget...

        Quick, someone post a goatse link.
      • by some guy I know (229718) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @12:17PM (#13817996) Homepage
        One major thing that brings me back to slashdot, is how easy it is on the eyes. You aren't assaulted with multiple columns of content or gaudy, interleaved ads. It's right to the point, top to bottom. [...] Slashdot also isn't like other tech news sites where you have 20% story, %80 related links or other fluff. [...] anything other than a chronological top down design would ruin what slashdot is.
        I agree completely.
        If you want to see an example of bad site design, of what Slashdot should avoid looking like at all costs, just look at publish.com, the site on which the article was posted.
        Click on the link to TFA, and see what a bad web site looks like:
        • The content is strung down a narrow column in the middle, with ugly gray gutters taking up nearly half of the screen real estate on either side.
        • Nearly half of the remaining space is occupied by content that has nothing to do with the article, and half of it is ads,
          formatted
          in such
          narrow
          columns
          that only
          one or
          two words
          per line
          can fit
          in the
          space
          available.
        • The article takes up only about half of the vertical space, with the rest populated by approximately 30-40 billion totally unrelated and totally uninteresting links.
        • The story is interrupted periodically by links to other pages.
          (This is not the same thing as links to other pages appearing within the article text, which is perfectly acceptable.)
        • Most of the pictures appearing on the page are for ads for other content having nothing to do with the article.
          There are actually no pictures on the page at all that have anything to do with the article itself.

        Contrast this with Slashdot's current layout:
        • There is a narrow bar at the top with links to other sites.
          IIRC, you can turn this bar off in your user preferences.
        • There is a narrow column down the left side with a bunch of links to other areas of the site.
        • There are a few (very few!) graphics near the top that link to related topics or sections, and the graphics are halfway decent looking and are actually somewhat indicative of the corresponding link (as opposed to the links on publish.com, many of which are photos of people that I don't know, and in whom I am not the least bit interested).
        • There are several links to external pages, and some of them are to commercial sites, but they are all at least somewhat related to the main article.
        • There is at most one, only mildy obtrusive, ad between the article and the comments.
        • The comments section, which is the main section, takes up over 90% of the horizontal space, and is uniterrupted by ads, extraneous links, and other distracting garbage.
        There is no doubt which site is better.

        I highly recommend that C.T. not listen to the "pros" and "experts", who seem to be responsible for a large portion of the crap commercial web pages infesting the World Wide Web.

        A few other recommendations, not covered in the above:
        • Please let your users pick the color schemes, or at least give them a choice of schemes, so that they can avoid the games.* and it.* color schemes and the like.
        • Please avoid using any Flash or ECMAScript/JavaScript/AnyScript, or at least provide a non-script fallback for those of us who have all of that crap disabled.
        • Allow us to use more character entity references (such as &deg;, &frac12;, etc.) in comments.
        • Don't count markup in sig lines as contributing to the 120-character limit.
          Also, increase the limit to 160 or higher, but don't allow any more than two or three newlines in a sig.
        There are probably some other things, but I can't think of them right now.
      • The front page of the onion looks like a bomb went off in the middle of some content. You have stories all over the place.

        The Onion is laid out like it is because it's a news parody site. As such, it would make sense to mimic other news sites (CNN, ABCNews, CBS, etc) with a featured story on the left, shorter summaries on the right, nav bar to the far left, and so on.
    • I don't think we have to worry about that, seeing as how 'keeping it light' is definitely a current design trend.

      It seems that the programming community has finally agreed that a small decline in performance is a worthwhile tradeoff for clean, elegant code which is easily reflected in the interface of the site.

      And, of course, Ajax and javascript only help to build clean interfaces. Apple's been doing minimalistic interfaces for a long time. The web community cought on shortly after, and even microsoft is
  • Her own? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @09:36AM (#13816543)
    "it's now possible for any enterprising designer to develop a new, production-ready (or nearly ready) 'skin' for the site completely on her own."

    I told you guys! Once we shaped up and went CSS the females would be all over us! I'm talking SKIN!
  • Mind showing off your work-in-progress?
  • Question for oldies. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Almond Paste (838493) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @09:36AM (#13816548)
    How old is the current design? Is this the originial design from whenever this site started? Enlighten me!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @09:37AM (#13816551)
    I find the new Onion design too busy and hard to navigate. The old design was simple, clean and the Infographcs and American Voices were easier to read. Maybe that's just my opinion...
    • Also, the new Onion page doesn't work with Firefox and Flashblock. Something about the code they use to place Flash conditionally pukes and spews code fragments all over the page.

      At least someone finally pulled their head out of their ass long enough to get rid of all the stupid little Flash section headers.
    • by froboy (580500) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @09:58AM (#13816736)
      "isn't very good" is a kind, kind way of putting it. It went from a simple and easy to navigate site to an overgrown mess in the course of a couple months. One of the greatest tragedies of moden web design is the endless need to make sites more complicated and seemingly "busier." A vast majority of what I see on webpages could be just as effective with simple HTML rather than the mess of flash/java/shockwave, etc... that is needlessly being thrown around these days. I agree that it is time to shake things up a bit here at slashdot, I only hope that the powers that be opt to stick with a relatively simple design so that content does not get mired down in window dressing.
      • by eln (21727) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @10:25AM (#13817000) Homepage
        I blame cable news.

        A few years ago, some cable news channel (probably CNNfn) decided to put a little stock ticker at the bottom of the screen all the time. A little distracting, but easy to ignore. Then, news channels decided to put a news ticker there. More distracting, and difficult to pay attention to the anchor while reading the ticker.

        Then, some genius decided to put TWO tickers, and some other crap on the side of the screen. Headline News is the worst at this that I've seen. Now, every time you turn on Headline News, it's like a bomb went off on your screen. It's completely impossible to absorb all of the information they're trying to throw at you all at once.

        This trend toward excessive busy-ness has migrated to the web. On news channels, it's primarily a way to cram in more useless information. On the web, it's primarily a way to cram in more useless advertisements. All of it sacrifices usability.
    • So if we let Khoi go ahead, we will have to click "skip ad" everytime we enter too?
      The onion is unreadable anyway, but I guess that is the trend: Make it unreadable so people will accidentilly click on the ads?
    • by Marx_Mrvelous (532372) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @10:09AM (#13816841) Homepage
      Agreed, I used to read The Onion religiously, but now I don't bother anymore. The new site is a disaster, and it's all about generating revenue through obtrusive ads. The "new" Onion is a corporate shill. I'd be ashamed to be associated with that site, let alone advertise that I created that trainwreck of a perfectly good (great!) site.
      • by SethJohnson (112166) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @11:04AM (#13817332) Homepage Journal


        The new site is a disaster, and it's all about generating revenue through obtrusive ads.

        So a couple years ago I was working in London and I was given a laptop to use by my employer. I decided to download the onion to read offline while riding the train home from work one day. Turns out the page wouldn't render because of a reference to a 3rd-party adserver graphic I hadn't downloaded. To fix it, I opened up my editor and was removing these ad tags from the code. Next thing I know, a man grabbed my laptop off my lab and bolted out of the train.

        Apparently, the Onion REALLY wants you to see those ads and has implemented some pretty excessive means of enforcement.

        Seth
    • by Dr. Digg (143072) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @10:10AM (#13816848)
      The Onion's previous format really fit; now - well, yuck.

      It's another case of a self-proclaimed expert forcing their own perceived expertise on the end-user without bothering to take the end-user into account. I've run into a couple of these. While the good ones can be good, the bad ones lack insight and just move on making the same mistake. Unfortunately, they also have a tendency to move up the corporate ladder.
    • by bonehead (6382) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @10:29AM (#13817036)
      I agree. I stopped reading the Onion quite some time ago when the content started sucking, so I wasn't aware that they had redesigned the site.

      When I pulled it up to check out the new design, my first thought was "Huh? The guy who designed this piece of shit is being quoted as an authority on web design?"

    • Agreed... the new Onion design is one of the most God-awful redesigns I've ever seen. I sometimes don't even bother reading it anymore it's so annoying to navigate. Thus, I'm all for Slashdot going with this guy-- it will free up more time in my day with one less site to read.
  • by rpresser (610529)
    When did the Navy get involved with Slashdot?
    • Slashdot published a story detailing how the use of Windows NT 4 resulted in an aircraft carrier being towed back into port. Ever since than, the US Navy has been infiltrating the Slashbot Army.

      Now the Annapolis Grads are ready to make their move...

      • Aha...you have found us out! Quick, while the still don't suspect us, all the boat schoolers on ./ should...oh hell, I've been retired too long; I can't come up with a plan. Any USNA ./'ers class of '85 or later, just grab this and run with it.
    • TFA says:

      Without the freedom to rethink, for instance, Slashdot's comment threading, or its presentation of search results, or its topic pages, the net effect of a redesign will be considerably less impactful than one might hope for ...

      Impactful? That one ... uh ... "word" makes me think I'm not interested in seeing the type of changes the author has in mind for Slashot.

    • `I was appointed as Army Liaison to the Office of Naval Contemplation.' - Tom Lehrer.
  • hands off! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DustyCase (619304) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @09:38AM (#13816557)
    I hope this guy keeps his hands off of /. because the new Onion design gives me a headache. Swapping a clean, streamlined design for a USA-Today ripoff isn't my idea of progress.
    • Re:hands off! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Waffle Iron (339739)
      I just compared the new layout with an old version of the Onion on the Wayback Machine. IMO, the worst thing about the new layout is that the Onion is supposed to be a collection of jokes. For some reason, looking at a two-dimensional grid of jokes just doesn't work very well.

      The old layout basically had a single column of story headers, so you saw the jokes in a linear fashion. You read one, chuckle, maybe open the story in a background tab, and move on to the next one. In the new layout, I find my eyes d

    • Re:hands off! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by chesapeake (264414)
      The ill-conceived mistake that we call the Onion 'redesign' is absolutely appalling. They lost a reader in me too. It seems to be a very typical mistake: cramming loads of useless crap onto a single page, and making the site look like a clone of a 1920's newspaper. [fordham.edu] That said, the article pages are only moderately bad - like say, about as well designed as a high school student would do. All they need is a few blink tags to top it off.

      What is it with these idiot designers? The web isn't a newspaper, adding ex
  • by grasshoppa (657393) <skennedy&tpno-co,org> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @09:38AM (#13816559) Homepage
    Seriously, this guy needs something else to worry about.

    As I see it, the founders didn't decree anything: There are rules to any contest. And given how much backend work el founders probably wanted to do ( ie: none. If it ain't borked, don't fix it ), this makes perfect sense.
  • Aha! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Zaffo (755234) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @09:43AM (#13816602)
    So he's the one responsible for befouling my precious Onion.

    I realize the debate over homogeneity and efficiency of content/ad presentation is one that will never die, but there's something to be said about the sentimentality attached to site layouts. It's like that old pub you love going to getting remodeled with gear from Ikea or something. There's nothing inherently wrong with it, but it also doesn't feel right, either. :(
    • Re:Aha! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Nqdiddles (805995) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @09:51AM (#13816667) Homepage
      Just doesn't feel right at all anymore.
      The first time I saw the redesigned site I was really confused. Trying to sort the ads from the stories in a page that looks like it's in the middle of rush hour!
      Please slashdot! Don't let that guy anywhere near your site!
  • Not a nub. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Helgunn (923078)
    When I stopped being a nub and actually edited my prefences and figured out what everything is, I made /. good for me and now I have no problems or confusion. :)
  • so.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by ianmassey (743270) * on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @09:44AM (#13816613) Homepage
    In effect, the site's information architecture *IS* up for redesign? possibly? thus negating the limiting factors of the original contest announcement? I agree with the article for the most part, in that good design is generally reliant for usability upon a solid foundation of content structuring underneath, but I think that in Slashdot's case, a hell of a lot of good could come from just scrapping and rewriting the "look and feel" from the ground up. Setting aside complaints about timeliness and originality of content lately, I think that Slashdot's main problem is that if anything, the information it contains is TOO categorized and divided. You could spend an hour just familiarizing yourself with all the various "sections", and that's not even considering shit like "Ask Slashdot" and other regular types of submissions/articles with their own special little names that would confound a newbie to the point of exasperation. There's no good way to simplify a juggernaut like slashdot, there is simply too much out there, and it has too large a community for any 180 degree changes in how it works. I think the best that can be done is a dramatic re-think of the UI, and a reliance on site search to get at the older innards.
  • Navel-gazing (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Speare (84249) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @09:46AM (#13816625) Homepage Journal
    Normally I don't post stuff "About" Slashdot here since I find meta naval gazing very boring,

    This brings many things into sharp focus. Lack of ethical caching of small sites. Lack of basic story duplication review. Lack of basic grammar review. Lack of basic journalistic fact-checking. Troubling comments that charge karma backlash to those who defy the editors. Lack of awareness that Slashdot is expected by its subscribers and would-be subscribers to behave like the professional corporate concern which it is, and not an unpaid hobby blog which it may have been in the distant past.

    Come on, Taco. Some regular "navel gazing" is how things improve over time. Is Slashdot worth so little to you?

    • by RobotRunAmok (595286) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @09:57AM (#13816721)
      D00D, leave my boy Taco alone!! He said "naval gazing." He was talking about taking the afternoon off and watching the Coast Guard maneuvers off the shore of Lake Michigan.

      Guy works hard, wants to slip out early, watch some cool ships sail around, what's the problem?

      Huh?

    • LNUX: Real-Time ECN: 1.35 +0.00 (0.00%) 18 Oct at 9:54AM ET

      Yes, its worth so little to him.
    • Re:Navel-gazing (Score:3, Insightful)

      by goldspider (445116)
      Great post, first rate!

      I think most of the issues people have with Slashdot have nothing to do with the design, but rather the underlying mechanics that run it.

      The CSS upgrade was a great idea, if long overdue. An upgrade to the professionalism of the site owners is also long overdue.

      No this isn't a personal attack on the editors; rather it is a challenge to them to improve Slashdot by paying closer attention to the important details that the parent so thoroughly pointed out. Slashdot is good; but they ca
    • Re:Navel-gazing (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Short Circuit (52384) * <mikemol@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @10:21AM (#13816961) Homepage Journal
      Lack of ethical caching of small sites.

      They give a valid reason for not caching all the links. Your UID is low enough that I expect you know about the FAQ [slashdot.org]. Did you know that they address this [slashdot.org]?

      Lack of basic story duplication review.

      There's an open invitation [slashdot.org] to solutions. As it is, though, a lot of "dupes" are really followups, or revists to old subjects from years past.

      Lack of basic grammar review.

      They have a copy editor [slashdot.org]. At the very least, that's "basic."

      Lack of basic journalistic fact-checking.

      Slashdot is a meta-news site; They don't originate much content. However, they do (usually?) follow links before posting a story, weighing it against what they know. At the very least, that's "basic."

      Besides, I've seen worse out of "respectable" news media.

      Troubling comments that charge karma backlash to those who defy the editors.

      Obviously you don't really care, or you wouldn't have posted.

      Lack of awareness that Slashdot is expected by its subscribers and would-be subscribers to behave like the professional corporate concern which it is, and not an unpaid hobby blog which it may have been in the distant past.

      You're right, it's no longer an unpaid hobby blog. It's now a paid hobby blog. Slashdot was most likely bought to provide additional customers for commercial services.

      Personally, I think you're taking it too seriously. Slashdot was bought because of what it was: A popular tech community with a huge potential audience for tech ads. Changing the community risks alienating the audience, regardless of whether you think the changes are for good or ill.

    • Come on, Taco. Some regular "navel gazing" is how things improve over time. Is Slashdot worth so little to you?

      Rather the reverse I think. All the things you've sited are not likely to change.
      Why? Advertising.

      Dupes bring eyeballs(you never see the low commented stories duped only the big ones). Not checking facts invites the flame wars, trolling, and grammar-Nazis to all come forth and post. All are eye balls looking at the ads. And such things draw people in to view the flame walls and trolling becaus

    • I think the (non-metamoderate-able) overrated mod the parent post got proves his point quite well?
  • Text-only website, yea!
  • No Changes! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Evil W1zard (832703) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @09:51AM (#13816669) Journal
    One of the things I like about this website is the simplicity in viewing it and I really wouldn't want to see much changed. The only thing I would say to change is to kill some of the white space between posted articles and user comments, but that is really a minute nitpick... Slashdot has enough of a following that changing the site won't hurt numbers of visitors IMO but hopefully if they decide to go with a new spread it won't wind up being visually unappealing...
  • by windowpain (211052) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @09:51AM (#13816675) Journal
    Here I am posting a comment and I can't view the story I'm commenting on. That's ridiculous. And it takes too long to learn how to use Slashdot because the most important information is buried among a lot of trivia in the FAQs.

    If Slashdot were a person it would wear taped together glasses, a pocket protector and floods.

    News for nerds indeed.
  • by SumDog (466607) * on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @09:52AM (#13816678) Homepage Journal
    So yesterday I was at home trying to post a comment and I got the following:

    Due to excessive bad posting from this IP or Subnet, comment posting has
    temporarily been disabled. If it's you, consider this a chance to sit in the
    timeout corner . If it's someone else, this is a chance to hunt them down.
    If you think this is unfair, please email moderation@slashdot.org with your
    MD5'd IPID and SubnetID, which are "fbc83eaaddf909965a32494c3cf14021" and "
    0681b6883c7b099b59889c08cb34313a" and (optionally, but preferably) your IP
    number "68.xxx.xxx.xxx http://68.xxx.xxx.xxx/>" and your username "SumDog".

    So I emailed them telling them the problem. I was a subscriber, with decent Karma and I don't troll (although I bet this will be modded as a troll sadly). The response I got was:

    > On 10/17/05, Robert Rozeboom wrote:
    >>
    >> It looks like you share this subnet with a troll, sorry.

    The next day, I am still unable to post from home. I have to ssh into work and use lynx to post a comment. I e-mailed him again and got this response:

    I;m sorry but I can't unblock your subnet.

    Again from Robert Rozeboom. I actually support slashdot, bought a subscription (yea I know it's only $10) and I can't post from home because someone who uses a Comcast cable modem is a troll?! What the fuck?!

    They don't bother to check the individual user, but instead ban an entire sub net. There were several comments I wanted to post yesterday but couldn't, because I didn't want to sit with a damn ssh terminal in lynx retyping my user name and password for each comment (I had cookies turned on in Lynx, but it didn't remember my authentication).

    If I had done something wrong, I could understand. If there was some way I could fix the problem I would. But even if I unplug my cable modem and get a new IP, it will still likely be on the same subnet. I can't change providers, I don't have DSL or any other broadband in my area (not to mention the reconnection and setup fees are insane unless they're running a special offer)

    Before slashdot worries about polishing up the look and feel of their site, they should go back and fix underlying problems with the code, maybe even add spell-check and require users to type in words from images (a.k.a reverse turing test) to prevent abuse from bots.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @10:08AM (#13816825)
      The subnet banning isn't new, the editors know what they're doing and they aren't changing it.

      It's just typical hypocrisy from the editors when they bitch and scream how DRM technologies annoy and frustrate legitimate fair users, while the piracy will still go on. It's exactly what slashcode is doing now. Their filters, timers, bans, blacklists have been expanding all the time, and entrapping more legit users every day. Meanwhile, trolling, and crapflooding still exists.

      Subnet bans are ridiculously amateurish with all the different proxies real trolls can use. And don't get me started with their idiotic comment filters. Talk about kiddy stuff.

    • by brianvan (42539) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @10:09AM (#13816836)
      This is a terrible customer service experience you're detailing, and it's the exact type of customer experience that is frequently mocked here on Slashdot when the (other) big corps engage in it.

      You subscribed to a paid service but you can't get the free part of it. How lame. I'm sorry, but they don't deserve to have your money anymore. You should ask for a refund.

      I'm not trying to pick on Slashdot here. I'm being fair. Even if there is a technical problem, you owe it to your customers to be direct and accommodating about it. I know this is an isolated incident, but this is no way to run a business. It's completely unacceptable and unprofessional.
    • If you paid with your credit card, you could always call them and complain that /. isn't providing you with the service you paid for.
    • Just as an elaboration on the last sentence: The "type in words from images" is a specific type of captcha. A captcha is a hard AI problem, that a human can easily pass but that a computer cannot pass without solving a hard AI problem (which would be great for the field). It is not limited to character recognition, but is rather a class of hard AI problems in general.

      A captcha (perhaps of a differnet form - dare to be creative) could be interesting, but it's already in use for posting when not logged in...

      O

    • This happened to me. I couldn't post to Slashdot for about a year - I think anyone using Telefonica in Spain was banned, which is pretty much anyone in Spain. I emailed Slashdot about it but got no reply.

      Actually I was pleased because it stopped me wasting so much time posting rubbish to Slashdot. Damn you Slashdot for banning me! And damn you for not banning me now!
    • by kasparov (105041) * on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @10:48AM (#13817188)
      Odd, it seems the best thing to do would be
      1. Disable Anonymous posting from the subnet
      2. Disable posting for the specific user if they were logged in
      3. Disable user registration from the subnet so the troll can't just get new usernames
      It still might be a little heavy handed (other users from the subnet wouldn't be able to register--but the only real reason to register is to post which they wouldn't be able to do anyway as it currently is), but it would be better and (I think) still solve the problem.
    • Again from Robert Rozeboom. I actually support slashdot, bought a subscription (yea I know it's only $10) and I can't post from home because someone who uses a Comcast cable modem is a troll?! What the fuck?!

      Instead of complaining about it here why don't you write a nice snail mail letter to Slashdot's parent company [ostg.com] explaining the situation, that you are a paying customer, and that you are not happy. Things will only change if the parent corps management is made aware that they are pissing off custom

  • What the fuck is up with people who make the underlines of hyperlinks DISAPPEAR when you rollover them?! It's one of the stupidest things you can do, design-wise, with a web site. Just change the colour of the text if you must, but don't go changing the friggin' underline for no reason.

    Oh, and the reply box is too tall now. Why have the Name and URL info on separate lines? Hell, even displaying the URL info in the reply box makes no sense: I know what site I put in there, why bother displaying it?
    • by Bogtha (906264) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @10:16AM (#13816911)

      What the fuck is up with people who make the underlines of hyperlinks DISAPPEAR when you rollover them?

      Rollover effects aid usability by giving instant visual feedback the moment the user can activate the link. It has the greatest effect on people who aren't that comfortable using the mouse (newbies, people with arthritis, etc), but it affects everyone to some small degree.

      It's one of the stupidest things you can do, design-wise, with a web site.

      Not true. I can spend all day listing stupider things that people do.

      Just change the colour of the text if you must, but don't go changing the friggin' underline for no reason.

      Why the special attention to the underline? The user already knows it's a link, they've already navigated to it with the mouse and are geetting ready to click it. It's not the same as removing the underlines when you aren't hovering over the link.

      • Yes, I usually reserve my design spite for people who DON'T underline links in the first place. Esp. when they just display the text in another color, and they use that same technique for emphasis. Like I'm supposed to know that when text is in orange it's a link, and when it's in blue it's just to make a point. I'll be damned if I'm going to go hover over every odd-colored word just to see if my cursor changes.
  • A la Kuro5hin.
  • From the Slashdot story: "... the underlying architecture is off limits."

    Why is the architecture off limits?
  • Suggestions:

    Make the page load quickly, it should be easy to read and possibly have the ability to change colours randomly or manually. Maybe have a scheme where the background is black and the text is yellow/green/white?

    The top and left menus may need to be overhauled with more concise headers and more descriptive subsections.

    Maybe have 2 kinds of polls, one is a fun poll and another more scientific poll? Poll on things that might matter such as preferences of computer equipment/brands/confi
  • Ugh, microfonts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bogtha (906264) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @10:00AM (#13816759)

    They call themselves "the definitive authority on web publishing and print", and yet their own site uses teeny tiny 10px fonts? Free clue: design is about balancing form and function. When you use tiny fonts, you sacrifice function. If you forget the balance, it's not design, just art wanking. A 10px font size for the main body of text is not acceptable for something to qualify as well designed.

    • "A 10px font size for the main body of text is not acceptable for something to qualify as well designed."

      I don't know of any browser that doesn't let you change your default font size.

      Hell, if you have a scrollwheel on your mouse, you can change font size in Firefox by holding CTRL and scrolling the wheel...
      • Changing the default size doesn't help if the page authors set it to 10px. The main problem is that 10px varies in size depending on your monitor... real designers would at least specify that in pt or em, to make it scale properly.
      • Re:Ugh, microfonts (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bogtha (906264)

        I don't know of any browser that doesn't let you change your default font size.

        It doesn't use your default font size. It uses 10px font size. I already pointed that out twice, and you even quoted it.

        ...you can change font size in Firefox by...

        Good design doesn't make end users fix the page. Hell, even barely average design doesn't make end users fix the page.

  • by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @10:05AM (#13816799)
    Why aren't the simplest things to improve the site even considered?
    The ASCII-goatse guys need to be IP-banned for life. The GNAA guys need to get a life. The "overrated/underrated" metamod loophole needs to be closed. Storys need to be checked for duplicates, at least a week back. Summaries should summarize. Third grade rules of grammar and spelling should be observed in summaries. Storys should be assigned to the category they belong to. Corel cache links should be supplied for sites that obviously can't take the strain - particularly if they have shown that they can't in the past. Roland Pipaquele (sp) and the Amazon recommendation link trolls should be executed. Storys should be accepted/rejected in a timely manner, and we shouldn't be seeing people posting "I submitted this 20 hours ago, and was rejected".

    I could go on, but I'm sure I've said enough already to be scored a troll-for-life, so I'll quit now.

  • In normal reading, every non-top comment has two links: parent, and reply. This makes sense.
    When you click reply, the comment is shown again above the input textbox, which still makes sense.
    Below the comment, there's one link. And this link says: reply.
    Now why should I want to use the reply link, when my reply form is already right before my nose?
    Noreover, why remove the link to parent (which, unlike the reply link, I actually would use from time to time)?

    Not that it's a big problem, not clicking a pointles
  • Is it just me, or does everyone think that the redesign of the Onion is horrible. The stuff you like to read is made really small and the stuff you don't care about is really big. There is way too much stuff on the screen and a lot of the good stuff is below the fold.

    It's not just that people are used to the old and are mad that it changed, it's that the new design really really sucks.
  • Good work Khoi (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rho (6063) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @10:15AM (#13816899) Homepage Journal
    Your Onion re-design makes me have to scroll horizontally in Safari now! Not much, but my browser's about 1024x768. I'm not sure we should be listening to shit-all this guy has to say. Multi-column layouts just OWN for online newspapers. No, really, it works SO WELL to toss out 15 years of Web development and say, "You know, NEWSPAPERS ARE THE NEW BLACK!"

    Anyway, regarding TFA, that was the biggest load of "Web Designer" horse crap ever shoveled into HTML. Slashdot has been ASS UGLY since 1997. Yet, it's been hugely successful. Why is this? Gosh, it COULDN'T be because of the CONTENT--could it? Not only has Slashdot continued to provide what it's here to provide, it's remained remarkably stable, UI-wise.

    "Rethinking" the architecture is daft. Slashdot has a codebase built to encourage good comments and hide bad ones, but to accept everything that's not scripted spam. That's the architecture. "Rethinking" that is like "rethinking" the design of the nuclear reactor in a submarine while crusing at 20 knots 800 feet down.

    Please keep your Web Designer hands off Slashdot, thanks.

  • Ignore him! (Score:5, Funny)

    by zenmojodaddy (754377) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @10:15AM (#13816901)
    The Onion makes my eyes water.

    *bdumTSH*
  • one suggestion (Score:2, Insightful)

    by yup2000 (182755)
    Slashdot needs a theme that is very neutral... and looks like a legitimate business website...that an IT person might visit. this turquois stuff really stands out at work... shooot... here comes the boss....
  • by opencity (582224) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @10:22AM (#13816971) Homepage
    Probably because I'm an amature but the articles linkage between 'skin' and information architecture is unclear. Without mentioning the functionality he'd like to play with, he comes off like a graphic designer who dips his toe in php every now and then but wants to be running the show. Which reminds me of half the graphic designers I've worked with. The job is, for instance, a shopping cart - and they've done some serious thinking about SQL (or scarier, Actionscript or OOP) so there's an hour or two wasted as they pontificate and then I go home and figure it out. I think it's bred in ad agencies where everyone is trying to build an empire.

    I wanted to pay a guy back by waiting till the end of the project and then saying 'I have some ideas about the fonts' but I'm too nice (lazy)
  • by jellomizer (103300) * on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @10:24AM (#13816985)
    Being able to view submitted and pending stories and able for the comunity to vote for them. I don't know about the rest of you but there were many times when I posted a story that got rejected that the next week it was accecepted by someone else and it was a major thread. Also we will be able to find dupes quicker.

    Secondly being able to edit your posts after you post it for spelling and grammar mistakes and just have the gammar nazis just send you a private message with the spelling and grammar mistakes for you to change if it makes sense.

    Third More moderation options with different values. Like Over and Under Rated should have 1/2 point taken because it slips threw the meta moderation.

    Common non moderators can put points on a message to so moderators can see what other people like or dislike and they can make a decision based off of that.

    Moderators should know what metamoderators did to their moderation so they can reevaluate their actions.

    Mod points shouldn't have a limit (while karma does) but the amount of moderation should go up logarmithicly. So you can get moderations of 6 and 7 but the higer it goes the more moderation it will take to get that high.

    Over and Under rated messages should not be an option for unmoderated messages. Because they were not rated.

    The point of most of my suggestions is to incorage positive posting and not rusing to get first posts early. Many time the comments are worth more then the stories but they are treated like they normal static to them.
  • Whatever "design" is done to slashdot should recognise that the main attraction of the site is text. Not just a few words, but loads of it. Long, dense paragraphs of it. Given that, the design should be simple, clean and appealing, and should let the text occupy most of the screen. It should get out of the way and let the readers read.
  • I'm sure we can't afford him tho

    Which is why you are going to make it a "fun contest" for your readers. That way you get a new design for the price of one subscription/t-shirt (that was also designed by a reader who didn't get paid. Money, that is).
  • by wowbagger (69688) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @10:33AM (#13817067) Homepage Journal
    Rob - you are right that "navel gazing" is bad. But looking down and saying "Dayum - I need to lay off the beer and do some sit-ups" is not.

    Being so focused upon your navel that you DO NOTHING about it is bad. But stepping back once in a while and saying "now, how can I make things better - anybody have any good advice", then implementing that advice is the only way to improve.

    For example - what if you added extra CSS classes to comments, reflecting the moderation adjectives applied and the moderation level - such as

    <li class="comment, level_5, karma_bonus, insightful, interesting, overrated">

    Then, without a server fetch, I could change my displayed comment threshold just by changing my CSS. Think about how much savings the /. servers could see from that.

    You could even add the zoo modifiers, then I could have my friends posts highlighted by changing the background, again, without a server fetch.

    In short, Rob - if you put more of the information the back-end has into the generated HTML, then that would increase the amount of cool stuff WE can do at the browser end.
    • by Hulfs (588819) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @12:48PM (#13818228)
      Then, without a server fetch, I could change my displayed comment threshold just by changing my CSS. Think about how much savings the /. servers could see from that.

      I certainly like your suggestions, but I'm not sure how this would cut down on bandwidth. I read at a comment threshold of 3, which seems to drop 4/5 of the comments/trolls. If slashdot implemented this moderation level css classes AND sent every single comment per article, letting the user's CSS sort out the viewing threshold, I think this would actually result in a much higher bandwidth usage.

      I still think the class idea is great though. You could pretty easily construct visual cues about the funniness of a post or the moderation level by using your own stylesheet. I'd probably use something like a color shade that gets progressively more saturated as the moderation level got higher, or I'd set up a sheet that just showed me +5 funny posts.

  • the outcome will suffer because the underlying architecture is off limits

    So what? This shouldn't be a problem. In fact it should be a good thing. Is he still in the last century? Hasn't he heard of webstandards? A good website will have have content separated from presentation. I don't know if slashdot has that kind of separation, but it should. Anyway take a look at CSS Zen Garden [csszengarden.com] for examples.
  • Having recently overhauled the site's markup to conform to HTML Strict 4.01, Slashdot has now achieved a more or less clean separation of form and content. And thanks to the well-advertised wonders of CSS, it's now possible for any enterprising designer to develop a new, production-ready (or nearly ready) 'skin' for the site completely on her own.

    I will not tolerate another web design article--especially not one that's going to lecture me about underlying architecture--when it starts with a paragraph li

    • ummm.... actually no. most of those enterprise CMS's now use CSS to manage how the content looks. The CSS may be generated and managed by the CMS and stored in a database but it is still CSS and thus subject to all the wonderful things you can do with it. Wordpress, Typo3, movable type, and many other CMS applications all use CSS to style their content. And HTML/XML to structure it. So your rant just shows you really don't know what your talking about. Large operations don't approximate the functionality of
  • by British (51765) <british1500@gmail.com> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @10:39AM (#13817111) Homepage Journal
    Web designer Khoi Vinh, whose firm Behavior is responsible for the redesign of the Onion,

    And what a horrible job you did:

    1. Smearing ads all over the place. I remember seeing not one, but TWO banner ads toting NBC's "The Office" on the same page. you know, in case we didn't see the first one. It's IGN or *insert video game news site here* bad.

    2. The oh-so-classic time-honored tradition of putting ALL the links humanly possible on the main page. If i have to hit Ctrl+F to find something obvious, there's something wrong.

    3. Very little new content. A lot of the bottom of the main page is just links to older content, none of which is available to free users.

    4. Inconsistent overall look compared to the older site.

    Can websites jump the shark?

  • by amper (33785) * on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @10:49AM (#13817199) Journal
    and, of course, it was rejected. I archived to my Journal, but here it is...

    I have found my self wondering of late whether or not the Moderation system of Slashdot (meaning, this site in particular, as opposed to the underlying implementation in Slashcode) would be more effective if a few changes were made.

    For instance, it seems to me from my own experience, that readers are more likely to post in stories that cover a field in which the reader may have a particular expertise, yet the moderation system disallows those same posters from moderating any posts under the same topic. Would it not be more effective to allow moderation to all posts but one's own? Why isn't the moderation system open to all logged in users at all times? Why are we limited to five moderation points at a time? Why is the moderation scale limited to -1 through +5? Why are we limited to single point changes?

    Personally, I have my preferences set to display +4 and above, and most of my own moderation tends to be downward, as I personally feel it is of more value to the community for me to down-mod those posts which I feel do not deserve a 4 or 5 rating. I take my moderation very seriously, and I do not mod on a whim. In fact, many times when I am awarded moderation points, I end up allowing them to expire because I do not feel any affinity for the topics currently being discussed, I do not possess enough expertise in the topics being discussed, or I want to particpate in a debate. Again, those discussions I join tend to be those in which I have particular interest or expertise, and I suspect that many posters here would tell similar tales.

    I submit that changing the moderation system to -2 to +10 would result in a more accurate characterization of the relative quality level of the posts I see. I also think that we need a "-2, Incorrect" moderation type for posts that contain information that is just downright wrong, and perhaps a "+2, Definitive" moderation type for stellar examples. Perhaps other new moderation types would also help. Could we not open the moderation to all users at all times and do away with the five points at a time limitation by simply not allowing a particular user to moderate a particular post more than once?

    I've read the FAQ section on moderation many times, and it still leaves me a bit disappointed. As a 5-digit UID Slashdotter (just a little way over 15 bits at #33785), I've seen Slashdot go through many different phases, and I'm wondering:

    Where does the Slashdot community stand on these issues in 2005?

Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.

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