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Slashdot IRC Forum 428

The IRC forum with CmdrTaco and Hemos is now complete, and a log has been posted. They answered quite a few questions about Slashdot's subscription system, bigger ads, and other assorted stuff. Don't miss the question about pop-up ads.
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Slashdot IRC Forum

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  • by edrugtrader ( 442064 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @08:02PM (#3122060) Homepage
    cmdr... seriously... this isn't going to work. mark this redundant right now...

    1) paypal
    2) tech saavy audience already disables ads
    3) why would i pay to view the content i provide??
    4) why would i ADVERTISE on a site that allows its biggest fans to block the ads?

    this isn't a good idea. period.
    • For this system to be workable, *everyone* doesn't need to contribute. Some people actually like supporting causes they believe in, regardless of whether they could block out the ads, or whatnot. I used to pay out of pocket for electricity on a local pirate radio rig that I used to broadcast off of (I'm clean now, away FCC, away!). Sure, I was paying for myself to work, but hell, I didn't mind.
      • I agree completely.
        With the click of a few buttons, I could block ads from any site I wanted across my LAN. But you know what? I have yet to ad to this list.

        I think most of the people who read slashdot are intelligent enough to realize the cost of running an extremely popular site such as this one.Because of that, they're more than willing to put up with a few banner ads regardless of how easy it would be for them to block it.
    • 3) why would i pay to view the content i provide??

      Scuse me... Yeah, Hi... I don't know if you noticed this, but YOU'RE NOT THE ONLY SLASHDOTTER. You're not paying for content that you provide. You're paying for the ability to see what other people are thinking, what other people believe. You are also being given a forum with which to share your beliefs.

      If you did fail to notice this, then don't worry about paying for a subscription... You have other needs to attend to first...
    • 4) why would i ADVERTISE on a site that allows its biggest fans to block the ads?

      It doesn't make sense to me either. In fact, traditionally, the more subscribers pay to read the publication, the *more* advertisers are willing to pay for ads - because it demonstrates that the readers have purchasing power; it's the reason why newspapers charge for subscriptions, even though the revenue from subscriptions are miniscule compared to advertising revenue - because it demonstrates that the paper is being read by the "right" demographic.

      Allowing subscribers to block ads is going to be counter-productive, some other way should be found to reward subscribers. Maybe like only subscribers get to read jon katz articles or something...
  • Subscriptions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by itsnotme ( 20905 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @08:03PM (#3122069) Homepage
    After hearing/SEEING how much slashdot costs, and knowing that I'd like to keep reading slashdot, I decided to change my opinion from waiting until the BFA's become annoying and just to pay the subscription because I want to SUPPORT slashdot.. hell I dont care about the AD's. I dont block 'em but I also can IGNORE the ones I dont want to see.. (THose Thinkgeek ones rock!)

    But Slashdot folks do go through a bit trying to make sure that the ads are nonintrusive in that they're not popups and so on.. now THOSE would make you want to run away wouldnt that? and they're not using them STILL even with the subscription thing.. so you have to give them some credit in knowing HOW far to go and NOT going over the line.. so why not support them? 5 bucks isnt that much to pay..
    • Re:Subscriptions (Score:5, Interesting)

      by leviramsey ( 248057 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @09:50PM (#3122491) Journal

      Maybe subscribers should be able to see a list of advertisers, with a checkbox allowing them to change the policy from default to explicit allow or deny. The frequency with which allowed ads show up could be based on the relative chances of an ad from that advertiser showing up on an unsubscribed user's page (so if ThinkGeek appears on 10% of the pages of a non-subscribed user, then every tenth page-view where an ad would have been supressed has a ThinkGeek ad). Slashdot then gets the best of both worlds, and it's almost a moderation system for ads.

  • One possibility (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MadFarmAnimalz ( 460972 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @08:09PM (#3122098) Homepage
    I missed the forum thanks to work; there's one idea that had crossed my mind. I acknowledge that /. needs cash flow to keep moving, but there may be a way out of subscriptions.

    Set up polls to gather non-personal data for marketroids, such as what compiler you use and why, what http server you use and why, etc. I'm cerrtain that with some small measure of headscratching, it would be possible to gather information about the geek community to be worth money to a marketing research concern while at the same time keeping it within geek sensibilities, i.e. no 'what is your bank account number' type questions.

    Perhaaps some form of questionnaire to be filled out upon registration, retroactively applicable?

    Study us; we're geeks. We buy stuff. Expensive stuff. Servers. Networking gear. We're the bleeding edge consumers, what the marketing people call 'early adopters'.

    Just don't try to sell us beer.
    • Re:One possibility (Score:4, Insightful)

      by reaper20 ( 23396 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @08:24PM (#3122170) Homepage
      Mod parent up, good points:

      Generic surveys or something would be a good idea. I like the idea of Slashdot being a gathering place for early adopters and geeks - unfortunately trolls and the such bring the site down (try browsing at 0 or something and you'll get the point).

      Generic surveys for subscribers would rock. I'd definately participate if I knew that Tivo was surveying slashdot users. Or a Compaq survey for "what would you want in a rackmount". If anything, some of us are in positions that make purchasing decisions, we need to advertise this.

      Considering that most of us are early adopters of technology, I would *guess* that companies like Tivo, PDA manufacturers, IBM, Compaq, etc. would be lining up to get our input.
      • Re:One possibility (Score:2, Interesting)

        by ergo98 ( 9391 )
        Online surveys are a complete waste of the bits that they are based on : They don't have equal representation of the cross-section of users (i.e. Ask what you favourite OS and the Linux users tend towards being more motivated than the Windows users), and even non-trolls regularly enter false information.
        • Re:One possibility (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Thing 1 ( 178996 )
          Online surveys are a complete waste of the bits that they are based on : They don't have equal representation of the cross-section of users (i.e. Ask what you favourite OS and the Linux users tend towards being more motivated than the Windows users), and even non-trolls regularly enter false information.

          So instead /. could write a few tools to help gather some of this data. Something could watch which programs you run, and the frequency; different connections you make (http, p2p, ftp, etc.). This could then be used anonymously.

          From the parent:

          Set up polls to gather non-personal data for marketroids, such as what compiler you use and why, what http server you use and why, etc.

          Such a tool could work both on Windows and on Linux, and you'd capture most of the entire audience.

          Make the tool open source, so that people are sure there's no funny stuff going on. And you could add security features to it, like firewalling, which would give added value to being a subscriber.

    • Just don't try to sell us beer.

      I'm sure you meant to append "without checking ID" at the end of that.
    • what the marketing people call 'early adopters'...

      And I bet you've got the laserdiscs, CD-I, Sega Genesis, minidisc player and US Robotics x2 modem sitting in the loft to prove it...

    • by Manic Miner ( 81246 ) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @05:29AM (#3123608) Homepage

      I've just been reading the IRC log, and I noticed a type of phrase which I have been taught to avoid uttering myself... "I think what users will want more personalized stuff. E.g. gold star based on what people ahve said me"

      Some people out there might think.. what is wrong with that? Well, the answer is that this isn't reader research, or really asking the slashdot population in general what they really think. It's the same as someone without and UI design training saying.. "I know what users want, I don't need to get a UI expert in"...

      I really think that slashdot ought to put together a proper web survey, not just a silly little poll and some stories where people post comments, a properly survey. Present the options, ask for peoples opinions, find out their views on ad's.. store and analyse the results. Then let make those results public so you have some facts to back up your arguments.

      I like slashdot, and given the right subscription package I probably would subscribe, but please survey the readers, find out what would work the best, and present some real figures and reasons rather than the handwaving we've all had so far

      If I'm going to pay to become part of a user forum, I want some say / influence over the way I pay / what I can pay for. A properly constructed survey will give you the information you need to make a decent informed choice about subscriptions, I think assuming you know what the readership want / like is a dangerous assumption to make, and if you get it wrong a large number of users will either not subscribe, or just walk away.

  • my question (Score:2, Interesting)

    Was slashdot turning a profit before you implemented this annoying advertising/subscription scheme??

    If slashdot is in the red then I really can't hate you guys for not paying out of your pockets to keep the site up and running. But I've heard some anecdotal evidence suggesting that is indeed turning a profit. That would mean VA Linux(or whatever they are called now) is taxing the slashdot users to pay for unprofitable ventures elsewhere.

    Face it guys: VA has NO CHANCE IN HELL of surviving as a company. Their flagship product, Sourceforge, is a joke. Last I checked, VA's net loss was more than their TOTAL REVENUE. You can't come back from that in a quarter, or even a year. Slashdot will be sold to some other company or spun off or something.
    • Re:my question (Score:3, Insightful)

      by RestiffBard ( 110729 )
      ok boob. did you read the log? were you online for the chat? taco said that any money that comes in is tracked and tagged for /. only

    • Re:my question (Score:2, Informative)

      by Tomster ( 5075 )
      VA's net loss was more than their TOTAL REVENUE.

      And someone else recently said VA has about 3-4 months of funding left.

      On the positive side, they are moving towards profitability. (The pessimists amongst you who say they're still hemorrhaging are correct, but they're headed in the right direction.)

      I hope they can reach profitability before having to take more drastic measures to cut expenses (read /l/a/y/o/f/f between the lines). I think SourceForge is a pretty nifty tool, and I'd like to see Slashdot survive as well.


  • Well... (Score:5, Funny)

    by The-Bus ( 138060 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @08:10PM (#3122113)
    As long as I can hit the monkey and still get $20...
  • Slashdot should make comments subscription only.

    They could even do away with the need for moderation.

    I mean, who wants to pay to crapflood?
    • Slashdot should make comments subscription only.

      I assume that you can pay for a subscription? Unfortunately, some of us can't afford the subscription (honestly) and/or have no way to pay-- no credit cards. Believe me, if I had the $$, I'd subscribe, if only to support /.; as it is, I like some of the ads, ignore the others, and pray my dad finds a job.

      Though, I think you're right about comment-subscriptions doing away with the need for moderation. But there are some of us who don't troll, but can't subscribe, either.

  • Friends/Foes (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DavidJA ( 323792 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @08:15PM (#3122131)
    You touches on being able to treat subscribers like Friends/Foes (+1 or -1), but how about the ability to simply ignore a friend/foe or non subscriber???

    I want to read at -1, but I also want to not have to look at the crap that Klerck puts out.
    • I was so happy when I heard about the friend/foe system! Finally I could make my -1 browsing experience good! I could read all the stuff that Taco doesn't think I should read just because it's on a subject more interesting than what the article is about, and I could not see Klerk's pathetic attempts to widen the page! It would be slash-bliss!

      But NOOOOO. It is useless if you aren't browsing at least at 0. But Klerck gets his ass modded down to -1 right quick, which means the Friend/Foe function is really only useful for making people who don't crapflood but who you don't like go away.

      And that's just sad.
  • Avoiding Ads (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ksw2 ( 520093 ) <obeyeater@gma i l . com> on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @08:15PM (#3122132) Homepage
    Never underestimate the willingness of computer folks to circumvent fees, no matter how small the fee is.
  • by reaper20 ( 23396 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @08:16PM (#3122139) Homepage
    Just in case I missed it:

    Do comments display ads by default?
    Do I get penalized for viewing them?
    And if so, am I paying for that?

    Can you explain all this again Taco? Just kidding.

    (ducks and runs)
  • You know what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by neema ( 170845 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @08:28PM (#3122187) Homepage
    Know what? I put that ad-removing code into my user space... read the IRC log and removed it. Specifically when I read this from Hemos:

    "Here's the reality: You block ads. You cost us money. Ultimately, I mean."

    This is where you have to stop and think "Hey... if Slashdot DOES go down because of a lack of profits, where will I turn?"

    Of course, there are other news places to go to. I visit The Register often. However, Slashdot is, despite any errors in editorials or anything... a truly unique news site. For the years I've been reading, I've been pleased overall. We've all encountered bumps in the road, and that bump in the road for users right now is the ads. Now, of course (which I find it ironic that this comes not long after this [], but still) many of you are simply not going to go for the idea of something that was once pratically free and devoid of huge ads to have simply changed on you. You'll cheat the system as much as you can, and for the most part, you'll succeed.

    But how much will that accomplish? Realize the plight slashdot apparently is in, and how they need to raise money, somehow. Subscriptions and ads are that way. And while I disagree with a lot of the way they're going to implement them... why not just pick one way, even if you have qualms with it, and just go with it? Put aside your inflammatory, trolling and goatse links for a second and realize that Slashdot is truly a useful resource. If you're going to visit this site, for once prove that it doesn't take sneaky or unethical buisness for something to survive... merely a good product. That is what Slashdot is, and most of you know it: a very good product.

    While I personally won't be going for a subscription (16 years old = lack of credit card), I will stomach the ads and probably a lot more if they need it to survive.
    • Re:You know what? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by John Whitley ( 6067 )
      "Here's the reality: You block ads. You cost us money. Ultimately, I mean."
      This is an interesting point. Turth be told, I don't mind nonintrusive ads as we've got now. Some of them I even click through and keep in mind for purchases (which is vastly unlike 99.999% of web ads). I'd like to contrast this with ads on -- there's a site there that I've been checking out with quite a bit of useful info (I'm violating some sort of Geek Union bylaw by getting exercise via inline skating..;-). The site is great, but it has the most obnoxious huge popup *casino* ads. I blocked images ( and may put some more thorough measures in place, but... On one hand, I have no guilt about blocking ads from an ad agency I detest (doubleclick) and for services I will never use (a casino)... but I find two things quite sad: the dearth of known good web-content business models, and advertsing mechanisms that have resorted to (virtually) assaulting users just to get their attention.
    • Re:You know what? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by oGMo ( 379 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @09:44PM (#3122471)
      "Here's the reality: You block ads. You cost us money. Ultimately, I mean."

      This is complete BS, actually. Number one fallacy is a false dichotomy: either there are ads, or we make no money. Take a look at IGN []. They are a partially-free, partially-pay site (although they're moving more toward for-pay), and I subscribe to them for $20 a year. And I'm happy to do it, because they have the kind of extra content for subscribers I'm willing to pay for (in addition to just supporting a site that I really like and frequent).

      This plan is complete BS. Assuming people will go for paying for not getting something is stupid. Paying for exclusion is stupid, because I can limit the signal myself, there's no service there. Supporting a site I like or not, I can't help but feel ripped off.

      Now if they moved slashdot to mostly-pay-for-stories, added some good original content, and did some bloody editing, I'd be happy to pay. I mean, slashdot is their only job, right? What exactly the heck do they do all day? Click a story and add a few halfway-literate comments without even checking? This is all fine and I have no complaints if I'm getting it for free. But if you want me to pay, shape up. That's all there is to it.

    • I prefer kuro5hin [] now. It doesn't carry every small science achievement and all the news from the Microsoft case, but it does have a lot more intelligent users and a stronger community. K5 implemented text ads a few days ago, and even people with the option to turn them off are checking them out...
    • You know what else?

      As an experiment I wrote my own (smaller) banner-removal JavaScript and stuck the whole thing inline in the user box. It worked, but it's not going to stay there long, and I'm not going to post it here, as I respect the need of /. to be a self-sufficient business in its own right.

      Before I do much else, one thing I would really like to know is... relatively how much does /. get paid per impression and per click? The ad-removal scripts hide the ads but they are still downloaded (unlike host files) so does /. get a manageable amount of money from that impression? Or is the site oly sustainable when the ads themselves are clicked?

      If it is mostly on a per-click basis, I am seriously considering writing another script... that automatically detects the URL of the top banner ad via a bit of DOM manipulation in JavaScript and requests the document via a small IFrame in my user space. (This would work best for in-page images, iframe ads could get tricky if they're served off different domains). Think about it, supporting /. with every click... and seeing a few interesting products. I'd perhaps even include a small 'pop up larger window' link in there if it looks interesting.

      Is anyone interested in this? It comes back to the per-impression or per-click issue, but I think it could be a useful trick.
    • This is where you have to stop and think "Hey... if Slashdot DOES go down because of a lack of profits, where will I turn?"

      Here's where I will turn: I will turn my computer off, walk outside (that open space with the big bright white thing in the sky) and relish the fact that I am no longer compelled to sit there hitting reload waiting to first post.

      A glad day it will be indeed.
  • Eh....$5, whatever (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rainwalker ( 174354 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @08:30PM (#3122197)
    Seriously, Slashdot is my homepage and I check it perhaps 10-15 times per day. The stories are sometimes questionable but usually interesting, and the comments are usually blatent stupidity or flamebait, but sometimes though-provoking. I decided I'll just block the BFA's so I don't forget to shoot them $5 on a regular basis, but really the ads don't bother me. This is a part of that whole tip jar using, user community supported, huge media comglomerate free thing that the New Internet was supposed to be all about, whats so terrible about tossing in $5? I guess that seems cheap to me, but then again I tend to use the tip jar for all my favorite sites a couple times a year, never much (because I am a poor college student), but I don't want the sites that I enjoy to disappear. just my quick thoughts-
  • Copyright on posts (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SiliconEntity ( 448450 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @08:30PM (#3122200)
    Seems like a good point by homerj at 16:41 in the chat. Posters give slashdot permission to publish their comments, but it's not a blanket grant. Slashdot can't put the comments in a book and sell the book, for example.

    By the same reasoning, wouldn't there be some limits on what slashdot can do to the site and still carry the implied permission by the author? Changing to a for-pay model means that slashdot is now profiting from the site in a way that was not the case when the author posted. Maybe he would not have been willing to use slashdot to publish if he had known that there was money coming in as a pay service, without getting a cut of that money himself.

    Seems to me that slashdot may be stepping over the line in charging for content which was submitted with the understanding that it would be published for no charge. Any lawyers care to comment?
  • Pretty boring (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stonehead ( 87327 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @08:31PM (#3122204)
    I wonder whether CmdrTaco and Hemos really enjoyed the chat. Slashnet was overcrowded by trolls, there were lots of double questions about the ads and subscriptions and I think the Slashdot staff *does* have a mixed feeling on 'going non-free', but they can't go back. According to the logs, already 1,5% of the Slashdot visitors is a paying subscriber.
    I don't want to sound ungrateful for Slashdot, but some crew change might be welcome too. Slashdot has become a habit - the editors no longer feel obliged to fix half-wrong stories, they don't realize that they piss off a customer with every rejected submission and I think CmdrTaco has rejected *lots* of good ideas tonight. He seems to stick on only no-ads and gold stars, and little extra power for subscribers. Come on Taco, you aren't a suit - some things might not be too easy in Slash (submission of polls, access to the submission queue, a trusted net of paying moderators) but they will prove more robust and much cooler than this ripped-out-of-any-book business model. That's my point: Slashdot gets boring. I hate to see this leading weblog go the same road as so many others.. this is not another troll, Slashdot will be as interesting as it ever was, but the specialty is gone. Hey, we're a community! I liked the chat, but Taco hardly *listened* :( I wish him luck nevertheless.
    • I believe Taco is listening all too well.

      Numerous people have said that they would stop reading Slashdot if they had to pay for anything above and beyond ad-removal.

      I do not want subscribers paying for special moderation access. I want it based on positive karma, as it is now.

      Taco has to be very special giving special priviledges to subscribers for fear of pissing off the people who post/submit that do not subscribe and would leave if these were implemented.
      • Re:Pretty boring (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Stonehead ( 87327 )
        Okay, but lots of other people have become angry too on other current reasons. For example because they post 'free' (as in freedom) comments on Slashdot, while Hemos says that replicating Slashdot comments [] is a copyright violation (he is right in that, btw). An option 'this comment is covered by license X' could solve that easily.
        Seriously, what if you require paying moderators to have a karma > 50 ? I think there are a lot of fair options to make interested people pay, without offending the freeloaders.

  • Read the IRC Forum. Basically, they indicate that they gave all of this very little thought. They still have no idea of the complications of advertising.

    It's a kind of intellectual arrogance. Because they know computer things, nothing else can be difficult.
    • Absolutely agreed.

      The fact that they don't actually have a spreadsheet that they can reference to see revenue and costs is just silly. Yes, it ends in a .org -- but if it employs people (and /. does) you need to get your heads out of your ass and make a fucking business plan.

      I'll tell you how to avoid the entire /. ad/subscription mess - run it like a business instead of your after school project. Write a business plan. Do cost projects/analysis -- find out what websites make money. Hell, open up a merchandise store or do some serious bundling with thinkgeek. (More than what is there now)

      With how much readership (especially the types of readers) slashdot gets, it's really pathetic that there has not been a sound path to profitability. They have an entire web community rallying around them and they can't even figure out how much money it costs to run slashdot.

      And on a side note:
      I refuse to subscribe until I am not $rtbl'd and have an apology for receiving that treatment.

      • Exactly. It's amazing. They are doing very well in an extraordinarily lucrative field, but they don't get the benefits because they don't know how to do business.
      • by Gaccm ( 80209 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @09:50PM (#3122493)
        do you think they want to run this as a business? NO WAY. THEY ARE NOT IN THIS FOR THE MONEY BUT FOR THE FUN. The problem is that fun costs money, so they would like heavy slashdot users to donate (this system is MUCH more like a donation system than a subscription system, taco even says that in the article) to help them out. Is that too much to ask? or should they start being like Salon and all the other news sites where you have to pay for the good info? Please tell me which you would rather have.
        • They aren't mutually exclusive. You don't need to not have fun in order to make money. I would prefer to get a solid slashdot and authors that care about the community.

          Not worrying about business and money helps that.
        • If they want a donation from me, they can go non-profit so that I can get a deduction. If they insist on calling themselves a business, then they provide value for my money. So far, the ad/experience equation was okay for me. But the experience is not offset by the new-ads, and it certainly isn't offset by the subscription.

        • Ahem,

          Slashdot went WAY beyond "FUN" when they decided to make a living.

          Whenever hemo's complained about having to cover costs of healthcare, salary and 10 servers i just played him my lil pitty violin.

          Oh darn, having to work and provide a PRODUCT to the consumers BEFORE you ask for payment is that hard?

          Sure slashdot provides a forum, but without the masses, it is just another "Was". There is nothing wrong with making it a legit business.

          IT IS WRONG TO BLAME COSTS ON US. It is wrong for us to Subsidize advertising. I will only pay a subscription whenever i get the benifet of that subscription. Like i have said before, i get some great magazines that i subscribe to, but i don't pay for them to remove the adds, i pay for them WITH the adds because the adds make up the magazine along with the content. If i know i'm in the market for a new GPS with the latest jeppenson airport directory loaded or want to replace the prop on my aircraft i can pickup a private pilot magazine and find a dealer that does just that as well as read some interesting magazines.

          Hell slashdot doesn't even cross market itself. I can't find linux vendors here, they sold off VA. There is TONS of things slashdot could generate revenue from to provide a great service.

          And this is just supposed to be for fun? Living aint easy.
      • I asked a question (that never got sent on, unless asked by someone else). Essentially:

        How can you know 12% of viewers read and post, 3% only post, 4% only read, and 80% only look at front page (for example) yet you can't do something as fundamental as apply overhead? I work for a $3 million business with ~50 employees, and it only takes one or two people to maintain that, and only 3-4 who UNDERSTAND THE COMPANY to make the initial decisions. It's not rocket science. It is something that MBA'S ARE SUPPOSED TO BE ABLE TO DO. Oh, Gasp! Value from an MBA? I'm shocked. Totally shocked.

        Let me also state that we have a hell of a lot more bills than you do, and a hell of a lot more sources of income. If we can do it, so can you (you meaning /. eds).

  • by Dan Crash ( 22904 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @08:37PM (#3122223) Journal
    I just want to say two things:

    First, the notion that "posting is payment enough!" is a troll. Posting doesn't pay the bandwidth bills. I think it's sad that Slashdot has become a victim of its own popularity, but I understand their need to search out new sources of revenue. I'm not even against it.

    On the other hand: Sorry Hemos, Taco, but it doesn't sound like you put *any* thought into this subscription plan at all. (Proof: grep the IRC log for "i dunno", see how many times Taco says it.) Shouldn't you guys have thought this out before you implemented the thing? Isn't that the first rule of programming?

    And, not to be too pointed, but what about asking us what we want? For a site which prides itself on providing community, I'm profoundly disappointed in the way Slashdot rolled this out.

    You had a real chance to change the world here. What is Slashdot supposedly about? Open Source. Imagine if you'd practiced what we all preach: You could've let the Slashdot community propose and moderate the features they most wanted in a subscription service. Like Google, you could have shown all the failing dotcoms that, if you give the customer exactly what they want, you'll be successful where everyone else fails.

    You had a chance to lead the way, and you blew it. The current plan seems like -- forgive me - a Microsoft patch. Poorly thought out, badly implemented, causing more problems than it fixes.

    You could still do this right, you know. And I'll probably pay a few bucks because I know how much I've enjoyed reading Slashdot. But I can't help feeling like this is the beginning of the end. Here's hoping you pull this together, and thanks for the memories if it turns out you can't.
    • Posting doesn't pay the bandwidth bills.

      Sure it does. Without posts no one would pay for slashdot. No one. In true RIAA fashion, slashdot has resorted to profiting off other people's content. Sure, they provide the bandwidth and the name recognition. They market my words. It's starting to sound a hell of a lot like the RIAA now. About the only differences are that the RIAA only takes 99% of the profits, whereas slashdot takes 100%, and that the RIAA is successful, whereas slashdot isn't, yet...

      • Posting doesn't pay the bandwidth bills.
        Sure it does. Without posts no one would pay for slashdot. No one. In true RIAA fashion, slashdot has resorted to profiting off other people's content. Sure, they provide the bandwidth and the name recognition.
        Not only do they provide bandwidth, they provide the servers, the disk space, and the administration. Without the users, no one would use it, but without them providing all this stuff, such a huge site wouldn't be able to survive; the current SlashDot community would be splintered into many, many litle communitues, each of which would be supported by the generosity of someone paying for it out of pocket. SlashDot is losing money right now. If they want to so much as break even, they have to make money somehow.

        Anyways, you don't have to subscribe. You can just put up with the annoyingly big adds, or use JunkBuster, or something. Putting an annoying ad before comments isn't doing anything close to what the RIAA is doing to the artists and listeners.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @08:38PM (#3122226)
    First I was afraid
    I was very sad
    Kept thinking I could never read
    a slashdot full of ads
    But I had oh so many posts
    Smacked down for saying jamie's wrong
    I grew strong
    I learned how to carry on..
    So now there's ads
    More of the same
    I just logged on to find them here
    Between the news and all the flames
    I should have changed my fucking hosts
    I should have switched my uid
    If I had known for just one second
    they'd be back to bother me

    So off I go - I'm out the door
    Just turn around now
    'Cause I'm not reading anymore
    Weren't you the one who hit me with $rtbl
    You think I'm quelled
    You think I'd just go to hell --
    Oh no, not I
    I won't subscribe
    As long as I know how to post
    I know I'll be alive
    I've got all my life to live
    I've got all my posts to give
    I won't subscribe
    I won't subscribe

    It took all the strength I had
    Not to read this thread
    Kept trying hard to ban
    slashdot addiction from my head
    And I spent oh so many nights
    Just posting crap at minus one
    Used to be fun ...
    But now I want to cut and run
    And you see me at
    Another site
    I'm not that stupid little user
    Reading every night
    And so you felt like dropping in
    And just expect me to be free
    Now I'm saving all my comments
    For someone who's loving me

    So off I go - I'm out the door
    Just turn around now
    'Cause I'm not reading anymore
    Weren't you the one who hit me with $rtbl
    You think I'm quelled
    You think I'd just go to hell --
    Oh no, not I
    I won't subscribe
    As long as I know how to post
    I know I'll be alive
    I've got all my life to live
    I've got all my posts to give
    I won't subscribe
    I won't subscribe

    Hey hey...

    Important Stuff:
    Please try to keep posts on topic.
    Try to reply to other people comments instead of starting new threads.
    Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said.
    Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about.
    Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by
    adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page)

    Problems regarding accounts or comment posting should be sent to CowboyNeal.
  • I know that Slashdot is now part of a company, so there are probably gobs of legal issues (albeit, very stupid ones) that go against my idea, but, why not put out the finances of Slashdot for everyone to see? This way the users can see what's really going on, and maybe even develop a solution that does not necessarily charging the small lot of people who actually make Slashdot the place to be?

    Just my idea . . . after all, this is a community that advocates "open" things.
  • to support /. *and* get rid of the stupid ads *and* not pay the submission : modify junkbuster slightly so that, on certain urls (/. ads), instead of filtering them by breaking the download altogether, the url is downloaded and sent straight to /dev/null, and the browser is sent an empty image (or told that the image is not available).

    Time to get coding :)

  • by Dimwit ( 36756 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @08:52PM (#3122276)
    I have to do a radio interview at 10 tonight, and eat dinner.

    I'd like to watch Junkyard wars w/ kathleen ;)

    but I'll keep going for a bit.

    Dear lord, I want this man's life. My fiancee won't even watch a movie with me if it has a computer in it. *sigh* Some bastards have all the luck.

    Now, to be on topic: I think this could've been handled a bit better. I think people would've been more open to the whole thing, had the term "tip jar" been used from the beginning, instead of "subscription"...

    But, what's past is past...
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @08:53PM (#3122278)
    A guy walks into the public library one day... Okay, it isn't the public library anymore, they've been privatized for about a decade, but people still call it that. Anyway, the guy walks into the library, and the head librarian walks up to him.

    "Welcome to the Infotronobeam(r) Public Library! Our increasing costs means we have to look for new sources of income. Unfortunately the ad posters on the ends of the stacks aren't generating enough, and we have to seek financing from those who use our library."

    "Aw, damn," the man says. "You mean you're going to start charging me to borrow books? If you do, I'm just going to leave and go to some other library!"

    "No, no," the librarian says, smiling. "You still get as many books as you want for free."

    "Um, okay... So what exactly do I have to pay for?"

    "Nothing," she says, still smiling. "That is, unless you want me to stop doing... this! WOOP WOOP WOOP WOOP WOOP WOOP WOOP WOOP WOOP WOOP WOOP WOOP!" She draws in a deep breath. "WOOP WOOP WOOP-"

    "Stop! Stop!" the man cries. "Okay, what do I have to do to make you not do... that?"

    "Oh, it's simple! You just pay five Northamericos, and you can check out a hundred books without any audio accompaniment. You can even choose if you only want certain kinds of books... For example, I could be silent in the Non-Fiction section, but shout WOOP when you go into the Childrens Literature section. It's like a tip jar!"

    "Okay... Wait. How is that like a tip jar?"

    "You're giving me a tip for my great service!"

    "The great service of not screaming incessantly?"

    "That's right! So, do you want to put some money in the tip jar?" the librarian asks, holding out the glass jar, shaking it as if in invitation. The few lonely Pentium pieces in the jar rattle. It seems not many have jumped at the opportunity.

    "No, I think I'll pass... I just want to check out books."

    The librarian gets a stern look on her face as she draws in her breath. "WOOP WOOP WOOP WOOP WOOP WOOP..."

    At that point the man remembers he has some earplugs in his pocket. He puts them in his ears, and the woman's screaming dulls down to be almost unnoticeable. Smiling, he goes about looking for a book, with the librarian following, becoming increasingly frustrated. He notices suddenly that everyone else seems to be wearing earplugs as well... He laughs, thinking that the "tip jar" is going to remain pretty empty...

  • is essentially a website that links to news stories that in a short period has grown into a large fan base. Everyone in IT knows that it is very diffuclt to put a meal on the table by running a website alone. What cmdrtaco and the rest of the slashdot moderators, admins, and etc should do is run on their spare time after hours and get regular 9 to 5 jobs. They could make more money by getting regular jobs and working on slashdot on their spare time.

    They could have moderator time slots where moderators work a rotating schedule to scan the stories for ones that should be posted. The slashcode is essentially complete except for ongoing changes to support the new ad based system. So if they got regular jobs they would make more money, still have ad revenue from the banner ad at the top, and they would put slashcode into maintainence mode. It would cut down on the number of headaches, which is always good.
  • by XaXXon ( 202882 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [noxxax]> on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @08:57PM (#3122290) Homepage
    Do you guys plan on offering any payment types other than slashdot?

    And what about a flat payment rate?

    I wish you guys had addressed these important issues in your IRC forum. Also, I can't be bothered to read FAQ's, the original article, the entire web log, or anything else pertaining to the questions I'm asking. Please send me a uu-encoded, ROT13'd, PGP'd, and backwards response to all my questions or I'll keep asking them over and over and over...

  • An excerpt (Score:3, Funny)

    by HongPong ( 226840 ) <hongpong AT hongpong DOT com> on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @08:59PM (#3122298) Homepage
    <CmdrTaco> We hope that enough users want Slashdot to still be here in a few years.
    <hemos> I just don't wnat you to. :)

    Says it all, really, don't it? :-D

    • Re:An excerpt (Score:3, Informative)

      -CmdrTaco- We understand that many users will
      just run junkbuster. Comes with the turf.
      -hemos- That's how it is.
      -CmdrTaco- We hope that enough users want
      Slashdot to still be here in a few years.
      -hemos- I just don't wnat you to. :)
      I meant to the above statement.
      I would like Rob to still be around.

      I see the humor in how it came out, but for all the readers who don't have time to read the whole log I wanted to post the comment in context.
      Personally I am sure I fall in or close to the 3% who would pay out the ass for no ads, My plan... to just continue to look at/ignore the ads, I won't block them, but I can't afford to not look at them, heck /. is my home page on 3 computers, that alone would kill me.

      P.S. reasoning for - instead of brackets is I am to lazy to think about how to post a bracket without it being read by the browser as HTML.
  • New Options (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chrae ( 159904 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @09:05PM (#3122316) Homepage
    Maybe there should be an option for subscribers (or non-subscribers) to moderate ads. Underneath the ads there could be options like:

    • +1 Interesting
      +1 Clever
      +1 Relevant
      -1 Annoying
      -1 Irrelevant
      -1 Stupid

    You don't have to moderate ads, but you can if you want to. I'm sure potential advertisers would just love to get that kind of data. Might increase the value of particular adspace or markets. Like if 90% of people love X's ads and products they'll be much more likely to advertise on slashdot, and I'm sure competing company Y would love that adspace too.

    Just a thought.
    • Yeah, and what happens when those ads are moderated "stupid"? Ad execs aren't interested in hearing anything about themselves, they're not interested in selling the product, they're interested in selling the advertisement to the producer of the product. Granted, having an effective ad will probably get them business, but after they've made the ad, it's a moot point.
      • Re:New Options (Score:2, Insightful)

        by chrae ( 159904 )
        Yeah, and what happens when those ads are moderated "stupid"? Ad execs aren't interested in hearing anything about themselves, they're not interested in selling the product, they're interested in selling the advertisement to the producer of the product. Granted, having an effective ad will probably get them business, but after they've made the ad, it's a moot point.

        Maybe ad execs aren't interested in hearing about thier advertisements, but I'm very sure the people who hire them are. INAB (businessman), but it just seems like there is high demand for this kind of information. Registration cards with everything. Marketing surveys everywhere. Mail in rebates - just fill out this short form, allow 6-8 weeks for delivery. Slashdot is perfect for this sort of thing. Having interactive marketing feedback would be a dream for these people. Hell, OSDN could even sell the code to other sites/advertisers.

        Maybe I'm going overboard here, but it's worth some additional thought, maybe. And hey, if you don't want to be a marketing guinea pig, don't moderate. Don't want to see the ads at all? Help slashdot out with the bandwidth costs then.

        Just a thought.
  • If you're using a filtering proxy like Junkbuster so that you don't have to see the annoying Java/Flash/blink 10,000 times per second/etc. advertisements on other sites, but there are a few sites (such as slashdot) on which you are willing to view advertising because:

    1. You want to support them
    2. They've agreed to not have horribly annoying ads

    Then it's easy. Just go to the proxy configuration page (Advanced -> Proxies) in a recent version of mozilla. Put "" in the "No Proxy for" field. Done.

    I've had to use this at the office since I can't seem to make junkbuster want to work correctly with our message form or fax gateway.

  • What pop up adds? I don't see any.
  • by rufusdufus ( 450462 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @09:31PM (#3122412)
    People who refuse to pay are not mainly in the group of people who begrudge the cost; probably most readers would gladly part with the money and are largely fairly well-to-do. Its the administrative overhead and risk that stops us.

    The 'overhead' refers to filling out forms, tracking the information, and the charges on my credit card. I hate paperwork. This alone is enough to make me leery of participating.

    The risk factor is the true stopper though.

    I won't give any personal information to anybody because I have been abused in too many ways; not just internet sites but the world at large. I have been sold on lists to telemarketers. I have been charged on my credit cards by fly-by-nights. I have been outright robbed using paypal. I have been spammed. I have had my personal computer cracked by warez hackers and chinese dissidents. I have been, and am being, stalked by a [literally] psychotic guy from New Jersey. I have had my bank account compromised; my credit card hijacked.

    In short, my life has been made a living hell by the simple fact that I have given information out to people who all said they wouldn't let it out.

    Thus I believe this is the 'ultimate' reason for the dot com failure; nobody ever solved the problem of easy, fast and trustworthy electronic transactions.

    Until that problem is solved, slashdot won't get my money.
  • by freeweed ( 309734 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @09:37PM (#3122444)
    Wow, FAQs, multiple stories, 3 hours of IRC chat, and people still have 50 million questions, and at least half the comments so far are nothing more than whining and/or trolling.

    Lighten up, people! It's a WEBSITE. A good one, one that I happen to find entertaining and informative, but it's still a website. 300,000+ users a day ain't chump change in the bandwidth game. Keeping a system alive to support that with very little downtime is itself quite an accomplishment (think of how many 'big name' sites have themselves been Slashdotted).

    I have yet to actually see any of these 'new' ads, and something tells me I'll be ignoring them just as I would any other ad within a week. Don't like them? Cough up some dough. Don't like that? LEAVE. Why exactly do people keep posting 'I will not pay for a message board'? Fine, then go. Just please stop whining about it.

    Every time I visit /., I still shake my head in wonder. Geeks who've made money online, and are still making money. Sometimes I wonder if it's just sour grapes from a lot of formerly-employed dot-commers... but let's face it: if Rob was such the uncaring asshole people make him out to be, he would have just sold Slashdot for a big chunk of change. Taco made something cool, made himself at least something of a career out of it, and is STILL DOING IT. Find me more than a handful of people who can claim that over the past 5 years. AND still will take 3 hours to sit on IRC of all the godforsaken holes in the universe to answer the same 5 questions repeatedly.

    Oh well, that was rambling enough. Long story short, if you don't like it, make your own. Whining won't make it any better.

  • Text ads in metafilter are very effective because
    1. Not annoying
    2. cheap (relatively)
    3. interesting

    People (ie. users) pay to put text ads on slashdot. You don't have to charge much, given the popularity of slashdot everyone would want to have their ad on it, for they company, they blog, their site or what ever. Text ads generate money through quantity in numbers of advertisers not in money per ad.

    You could have people pay for text ads on front page (cost more) or by category. Have it as a slashbox, people who choose to subscribe can close it, while the rest of "us" (Thats include me) can have the ads while skimming through slashdot.

    Just make a good payment queue so you can have a diy system.
  • by Wanker ( 17907 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @09:45PM (#3122474)
    Remember the Karma Whores? People would compete to see who could come up with the most Karma points for the sheer joy of saying "my score is bigger than yours".

    I say let's ressurrect this annoying facet of human nature and turn it to Slashdot's advantage. Why not include a symbol along with each subscriber's comments that represents his/her "devotion" to Slashdot, as measured in US Dollars. (Kind of like the "community supporter" program on EZBoard, and similar "marks of recognition" found on other discussion boards.)

    The catch-- these are not earned, they're bought! People could mindlessly compete to see who could get the most impressive widget associated with their name. Hemos could spend hours thinking up new and more interesting associations.

    They would give no special privileges, just bragging rights (and revenue for OSDN).

    For example:
    $10 gets you "open source leech"
    $100 gets you "linux bigot"
    $1000 gets you "kernel hacker"
    $10000 gets you "alpha geek"
    $100000 gets you "better than Hemos"
    $1000000 gets you "new owner of Slashdot"
  • by FrozenFrog ( 539212 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @09:48PM (#3122486)

    Some observations/questions which I found interesting (TI = Time Index):

    TI 15:12 - Someone asks about the costs of running Slashdot. Lots of "it's hard to tell", "hard to calculate", etc from the Slashdot crew. CmdrTaco says they have 12 servers + test boxes and stuff.

    TI 15:43 - Again someone asks how much is costs to keep /. going. And again we get "It's not that simple", "There's no easy answer", etc. Hemos mentions 30 servers. Hemos and Taco start throwing out numbers, and seem to agree that it's "about" $1.5 million per year.

    TI 16:14 - Someone asks if the money from subscriptions will go to help improve infrastructure, bandwidth, costs, etc. Hemos says the money will go into the OSDN bank account. He then says "But the money for Slashdot is tracked". Taco says "The thing is we don't need *more* we just need to keep what we have".

    TI 16:15 - A question is asked about how long /. can keep going at current funding levels, and what happens when the funding runs out. Taco says "I really don't know what happens", "If I were to *guess* I would say VA would sell Slashdot". Hemos says "Basically, VA has 18-24 months, OSDN is near cash flow positive".

    TI 17:16 - Someone asks how much bandwidth /. uses per day. Taco responds "12-20 megabits on the main box, probably half that on the images box", "we were spiking at like 35 (megabits) total".

    Is it just me, or does it seem profoundly odd to anyone that the people who run Slashdot have no idea how much money it costs? Maybe this is the reason they're in financial trouble? They say that /. is part of OSDN, fine. But in *my* company, I know how much money each separate *division* is costing me, and how much revenue it's bringing in. Isn't OSDN a real business with accountants that figure this stuff out and produce quarterly reports and all that other accounting stuff? And if you're a division/section head, like CmdrTaco and/or Hemos are, I find it very hard to believe they don't know how much money they're spending/taking in.

    Slashdot of course has absolutely no obligation to reveal their costs to their users, whether they're subscription based or not. But answering as they did above really makes them look unprofessional IMO. If they don't want to answer, or are prohibited from answering, they should simply state that.

    Personally, I won't pay for a subscription. I'll likely install JunkBuster or something similar. As someone posted on another thread, it's *my* right to choose what's displayed on *my* computer, and if I don't want to see ads, I won't. Just like it's the choice of Slashdot to remove itself as a freely accessible site and become completely closed and subscription only based if they want. If that happens, then I have a choice to pay, or not pay and get my news on the multitude of other tech news sites. It's all about choices, as it should be.

    So exactly how much DOES it cost to run Slashdot per year? :)


    • Maybe the answer is this: They've done computers all their lives, and then Slashdot. They have had no time to learn any other area of life, such as business or advertising or marketing or ...
    • I'll likely install JunkBuster or something similar. As someone posted on another thread, it's *my* right to choose what's displayed on *my* computer, and if I don't want to see ads, I won't.

      You're simply being unfair. It's your right to choose what's displayed on your monitor, but there are certain rules of ethics that you should follow. Nothing is free. Taco and company have to PAY for these resources. You're using them up for free.

      Come on now! Be fair. If you take from Slashdot, give back. It's as simple as that.
    • by Hemos ( 2 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @10:13PM (#3122563) Homepage Journal
      Basically, we run the site. I don't run the company. I'm not the CFO - that's the person who tracks all of that data. I attempted to answer as best I could. If I had to say, 1.5 million is it.

      I also wanted to make my clear my statement about 18 - 24 months; that's current burn rate. That rate has been rapidly getting better - but please look at the filings with the SEC, and make your own judgement.

      • by cybrthng ( 22291 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @11:20PM (#3122736) Journal

        Guess what, i'm not the CFO of the company i work for either, but i understand our SEC fillings, our budgets, our requirements and what is involved to make our cost center profitable.

        Are you saying you don't bother with it or that people are telling you what to do and slashdots "Creative control as promised from the aquisition" is just trying to hide this?

        Heck, i'd subscribe if i knew it was a well thought out and developed process. The problem is i don't see any announcements, i don't see any marketing, i don't see anything accept a few "cocky" people giving mixed answers and then saying "next".

        I'm sorry, but when WE PAY YOUR BILLS, you DON'T TELL US WHAT IS WRONG OR RIGHT. After all, without the "collective us" you wouldn't have advertising revenue or your quasi famous ego's

        Have you already forgotten the customer is always right? Have you forgotten slashdot wouldn't exist without "customers" or visitors in your case?

        Why not just move from advertising all the way? Fire your marketing deparment, drop your "ad servers", loose the image hosting bandwidth costs and just use a self service text add system. Move to an NNTP based system where the content is aggregated much the way any NNTP system is.

        Everyone has opinions, like everyone has an asshole, so there is no wrong or right. The adds have never been obtrussive, if they get obtrussive then i will leave. I'm not paying just to remove advertising simple as that. I would pay however if i saw you cared about the numbers, you cared about revenue, you cared about cost cutting and your cared about the bottom line.

        Instead you guys are still complaining about estimated costs, how you need health care, how you don't sell all your adds how you don't do this or that, but you have never stated HOW YOU COULD MAKE THIS PLACE MORE VALUEABLE AND INCREASE YOUR REVENUES FROM PROVIDING A BETTER PRODUCT.

        That is how business is done my friend. LIke i said, i love slashdot, it was worth supporting in adds, it was worth supporting if subscriptions added value, but you guys chose to remove ads over adding value.

        I buy magazines for the content and Ads, i like to drool over toys i can't afford, it is part of the whole picture. I liked slashdot for the targeted ads, because they notified me of new products and kept me informed of market trends.

        Paying to get rid of part of slashdot is just.. rediculous.
      • Basically, we run the site. I don't run the company. I'm not the CFO - that's the person who tracks all of that data.

        then why were we talking to *you* on irc?

  • by not_cub ( 133206 ) <slashdot-replies.edparcell@com> on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @09:54PM (#3122509) Homepage
    I joined the IRC channel, and read up to this point, when I left in disgust:
    A Score:5 comment, perhaps a few thousand.
    The value of comments is questionable.
    Considering the percentage of readers who care.

    Amazing... Slashdot is composed of two things, the front page, with all the spelling errors and factual mistakes, and the comments pages, with all the user submitted corrections. Now, if you take away the comments pages, you are left with the front page alone, and to me, slashdot becomes almost worthless. With the current levels of fact checking, I could never believe anything posted.

    The value of comments is questionable. If the value of comments is less than the cost of transmitting pages to people, then slashdot will ultimately fail, because it will throw money away with every page served. This is true whether the cost is paid by advertising or by paypal. However, the value of the frontpage alone, is a lot less than it is allied with the comments. The value of the frontpage is almost certainly less than the cost of transmitting it.

    Taco comments clearly indicate that he does not see this value. That he sees, not as an integral and important part of slashdot, but as a burden on bandwidth and processing power. Wake up, Taco: you are not the only person with valuable content contributions to make to slashdot.

    As to hemos, he comes across as a guy seriously unable to do his job. If you've ever worked with one, you know what he mean. He does not seem to be contributing at all to helping slashdot stay afloat. He doesn't have any idea of what to do, or what direction to take. Taco seems to be carrying him.

    Good luck keeping slashdot going guys, but I doubt you are the people to keep it afloat. It will probably die when the .com cash runs out, maybe before if VA kills it first.


  • by autopr0n ( 534291 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @09:59PM (#3122521) Homepage Journal
    Alterslash is actualy a pretty cool site, now that I've seen it. I don't really see how you guys can go after them for the comments when you said yourself you don't have any rights to them, perhaps you should leave it up to the individual posters to take it up with that site if they have a problem with being reposted.

    Of course, the site does give everything the "82%" take from /.
    • by Hemos ( 2 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @10:15PM (#3122572) Homepage Journal
      Read the IRC log. When someone posts a comment, they are granting permission for it to appear on here. If it's taken from here, and mposted some place, we're liable. That's bad. That's how it works - the commenter would take it up with them, but the way the legal system works, we bear responsbility.

      I want to try and find a solution.

      • I may not be a lawyer, but I certainly have had to deal with enough legal mumbo-jumbo to have a fair grasp of it, and I just don't see what you're talking about. Comments are owned by the posters. Obviously we have given slashdot permission to publish them. That hardly creates any liability on your part, or obligation on your part, to police our copyright.

        Put another way, a slashdot poster could conceivably go after them, but I don't see how slashdot has any standing to do that independently, and I certainly don't see how you have any liability or obligation to do that.

  • alterslash (Score:4, Interesting)

    by akb ( 39826 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @10:04PM (#3122534)
    Good forum, it made me nostalgic thinking about how the 'net has grown up.

    Rather than having the suits go after alterslash, wouldn't a much better outcome be to incorporate the value that is added into the site? I think its damn cool and useful, like kernel traffic and its obviously a fan site. He's not making any money.

    If the suits are so uptight then just rip off what's he's doing into slashdot or have him and a few people be editors for stuff.

    The logic you used is scarily like what GM and Walmart say when going after fan sites that have their trademark's in the domain name.
  • by The AtomicPunk ( 450829 ) on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @10:26PM (#3122601)
    I don't mean to insult, but this will probably come across that way. I'm a loyal surfer and certainly appreciate Slashdot as an information source. However ...

    You say that 10-12 people work on Slashdot as their job, plus support from NetOps (which I'm guessing is third party? Exodus?)

    Honestly - I don't get it. What do all these people do? It seems to me that Slashdot isn't run as a business, but instead is still run by a couple of geeky types that had a Fun Idea (TM) that they rode the Dot-Com boom on and don't want to give it up.

    The content is submitted by the readers, the moderation is done by the readers...

    The application is worked on by the community ...

    Stories are posted by 4 "story type people", but the posts are so frequently duplicates, have misspellings, poor grammar, broken URLs, etc - I can't really believe that anyone puts any serious time into it!

    $100-$200k per year of bandwidth at 10mbps? You're getting ** raped **.

    12 machines and some test boxes? C'mon. Most readers have that much in their home. Is the setup that poor that it requires that much hands on maintenance?

    I'm also guessing that the geeks that founded it aren't able to admin machines, configure routers, etc... since we've all read the stories about all the people that get jerked out of bed when the site goes down. :)

    It seems to me that Slash could run with about 3 employees, provided they had breadth of skill.

    Yes, I've done all this before - including the part where you re-evaluate and realize you can do it a LOT cheaper.

    Yes, I could be VERY mistaken in my observations and I welcome corrections.

    I also have no beef with subscriptions. I'll even consider paying. This is just a tangent. :)

    I'd hate to see Slashdot go away, and it seems a great way to do that would be for VA/Andover to take some serious looks at cost cutting... a lot larger companies have run with less.
  • if you don't like it then don't fucking use it. god damn all these posts about taco not knowing what he's doing or not paying attention to the community. shut up already. its his fucking site. let him do as he pleases and if you don't like it theres always kuro5hin.


    grr argh
  • If you sell 18% of the ad banners that are currently displayed and 23% of readers may purchase a subscription [] then you're eliminating 23% from the 72% of ad views that are Unpaid. Thus they aren't loosing any ad revenue and are Still collecting the subscription fee. Unfortunately it means fewer freebie ads for animefu and the like for those of us who don't subscribe.
    18% * 100 = 18
    (72% - 23%)* 100 = 49
    18 / (18 + 49) ~= 27%
    So if everyone who said they had subscribed and everyone who said they would subscribe (if the banners got annoying enough) then the paid banner rate could hit 27%
    This is a win-win situation for a site that isn't selling enough banner ads.
  • by waldoj ( 8229 ) <waldo&jaquith,org> on Wednesday March 06, 2002 @11:14PM (#3122724) Homepage Journal
    I'm glad that an archive of this exists on -- I started logging the IRC session when I saw:

    <Questions> elsie asks: are these gonna be popout ads?

    Though I'm not looking forward to popup ads appearing here, I must say that I will enjoy calling Hemos on this one a couple of years down the line. :)

  • by GiMP ( 10923 ) on Thursday March 07, 2002 @02:17AM (#3123237)
    Bring out your dead. Bring out your dead.

    OSDN: Here's one -- nine pence.
    Slashdot: I'm not dead!
    AC: Here -- he says he's not dead!
    OSDN: Yes, he is.
    Slashdot: I'm not!
    AC: He isn't.
    OSDN: Well, he will be soon, he's very ill.
    Slashdot: I'm getting better!
    OSDN: No, you're not -- you'll be stone dead in a moment.
    Slashdot: I don't want to go in the cart!
    OSDN: Oh, don't be such a baby.
    AC: I can't take him...
    OSDN: Oh, do us a favor...
    AC: I can't.
    OSDN: Well, when is your next round?
    AC: Thursday.
    Slashdot: I think I'll go for a walk.
    OSDN: You're not fooling anyone y'know. Look, isn't there
    something you can do?
    Slashdot: I feel happy... I feel happy.
    [ AC clubs slashdot to death]
    OSDN: Ah, thanks very much.
    AC: Not at all. See you on Thursday.
  • Just wanted to point out this little bit from the IRC logs, at 16:31:

    An accepted story submission is seen by 300,000 people.
    A Score:-1 comment is seen by a few hundred.
    A Score:5 comment, perhaps a few thousand.
    The value of comments is questionable.
    Considering the percentage of readers who care.
    Submissions, I could see a reward.
    Comments, I have a harder time.

    Just want to try and keep things in perspective... or at least keep some view of Taco and Hemo's perspective.

  • by Vortran ( 253538 ) <> on Thursday March 07, 2002 @02:36PM (#3125866) Homepage
    Was that, instead of taking questions one at a time, in the order they came in, our two hosts only answered questions they wanted to answer. At one point, they were ASKING for more questions and rejecting the ones that were coming in. I stayed for the whole thing, waiting for one of my questions to come up. A lot of other people did too.

    Respect for CmdrTaco & Hemos has reached on all-time low in my book. I mean, why didn't they just write their own bloody questions like politicians do?

    I was looking forward to a real IRC dialog. I was very disappointed.

Today is a good day for information-gathering. Read someone else's mail file.