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Ask Rob Malda 405

We last interviewed CmdrTaco, along with Hemos, in January 2000. Slashdot's 10th anniversary seems like a good time to put Rob back on the hot seat. He's older now and married, his former hobby site now has well over one million registered user IDs, and Linux has gone from "upstart" operating system to a normal part of the IT landscape. So ask away, one question per post. Expect to see answers to at least 10 of the highest-moderated questions next week. And if you miss your chance to participate in this interview, don't worry. We'll probably do another one with CmdrTaco sometime between 2014 and 2017. CT: Also the clock is ticking if you want to sign up for a Slashdot 10-Year Anniversary party if you want a T-Shirt or a shot at the $1k ThinkGeek gift certificate.
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Ask Rob Malda

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  • Silly Question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by LiquidCoooled ( 634315 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:01PM (#20868833) Homepage Journal
    I assume that through the ether you have met Kevin Rose, but do you two get along or is it pistols at dawn?
  • Active users? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:01PM (#20868839) Homepage Journal

    Q: How many of those one million registered user IDs are active?

    Explanation: I have seen a fair number of folks that have defected to other platforms/communities to find resources or tools that Slashdot does not provide. I've continued to hang around as I appreciate what Slashdot has to offer, but are there any plans to change anything?

    Oh, and congratulations on 10 years.

    • Re:Active users? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:25PM (#20869311)
      And how many subscribers?
  • by SIIHP ( 1128921 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:03PM (#20868857) Journal
    Ok, that was a little antagonistic, but in all seriousness, why do you allow the kind of unprofessional editing that Kdawson engages in?
  • Have you thought about what you want to do when you decide to retire from the /. admin dept or will you continue to here until your fingers fall off?
  • by Harmonious Botch ( 921977 ) * on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:04PM (#20868889) Homepage Journal
    When will the over/underrated mods be mettamodded?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by garcia ( 6573 )
      Along those lines, "When will long time users, such as myself, who have not had mod points in *years* be given an explanation as to why they haven't seen them?"
      • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:52PM (#20869775)

        Along those lines, "When will long time users, such as myself, who have not had mod points in *years* be given an explanation as to why they haven't seen them?"
        I've only ever gotten mod points once. I figured they were just stingy with them. How often do they come up for most people?
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Roofus ( 15591 )
        Indeed! I haven't had mod points since Jan 2002. The last mod I made was on the infamous post: The first Slashdot troll post investigation []. I have not had a single mod point since.
      • Along those lines, "When will long time users, such as myself, who have not had mod points in *years* be given an explanation as to why they haven't seen them?"

        When will Slashdot stop pretending it's a user moderated site?

        With all the moderation abuse and infinite point exploits, a little moderation transparency would go a long way. What good is the friend/foe tag, if abusers can simply hide who they are, not to mention escape meta-moderation with the overated-tag exploit, even when a comment has not

    • There's a lot of us want an answer to that question.
  • /. Polls (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sepluv ( 641107 ) <[blakesley] [at] []> on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:05PM (#20868891)
    Do the editors bet on which option will win in /. polls and are half of the votes for the CowboyNeal option actually by CowboyNeal repeatedly clicking his mouse. Inquiring minds want to know.
  • Do it again (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Rinisari ( 521266 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:06PM (#20868903) Homepage Journal
    If you were to redo Slashdot all over again, what would you change? I'm not just talking Slash, I'm talking the entire thing.
  • by DAldredge ( 2353 ) <SlashdotEmail@GMail.Com> on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:06PM (#20868913) Journal
    Why has the number of technical articles dropped so much over the years? IOW - why are you trying to turn /. into Digg?
    • by debilo ( 612116 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:23PM (#20869271)

      Why has the number of technical articles dropped so much over the years? IOW - why are you trying to turn /. into Digg?
      Oh, come on. Slashdot may suck at times, but Digg is an utter mess. The majority of the stories posted on the front page of Digg usually resembles an exclamation mark orgy, whoever posts the most wins automatically. The comment system is irritating at best, and really useful comments are rare. Someone once said that he reads Digg for the stories, and Slashdot for the comments. Basically, Digg is without the humor, and Slashdot is lightyears away from turning into Digg.
    • Well you were there from early on. I got in when it was just starting to catch on... The problem is when more people use the site the average IQ of the site moves to the average IQ of the world. Slashdot users are no longer smarter then the average internet user they are just the same the only difference is they are somewhat interested in technology. But that happened when things get popular they try to move to the common ground. Technical Specs and articles have been replaced with cool case mods, to tec
    • by abigor ( 540274 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @03:10PM (#20871923)
      I too wonder about this. I miss the old articles about how to hack this device or how these proposed changes to language X work. All of these RIAA articles, for instance, seem to pander to teenagers, while there are very few articles for technical people anymore.
  • by gevmage ( 213603 ) * on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:06PM (#20868921) Homepage

    Wil Wheaton has written about meeting a famous author, I think it was Larry Niven, and being completely blown away that Niven was at least as jazzed about meeting Wil as vice versa.

    I'm sure you've met lots of folks that us normal mortals only see on TV. Anyone in particular that you were really excited to meet who hyperventilated when they realized who you were?

    • Yeah, it was Larry Niven.

      I wrote about it in my blog [], thusly:

      Around 1987 or 1988, I saw Larry Niven at a convention. I was officially there to be the Star Trek guy, but I didn't have to go on stage for a few hours, and rather than sit in some suite with the rest of the Star Trek people who didn't want to get too close to the masses, I grabbed my backpack and wandered around the convention as nerdy fanboy number 42.

      I bought a ton of crap in the dealer's room (mostly FASA sourcebooks, and some bootleg anime videos IIRC) and on my way down a hallway toward the gaming room, I saw this guy who was dressed in a Space Shuttle flight suit (blue) sitting behind a table that had some books on it.

      Holy shit, it was Larry Niven.

      I walked up to him and the conversation went something like this:

              Me: OMG YOU'RE LARRY NIVEN!

              Him: OMG YOU'RE WESLEY ON STAR TREK!

              Both: CAN I HAVE YOUR AUTOGRAPH!

              Both: YOU WANT MY AUTOGRAPH?!

              Both: YES!

              Me: I don't have a pen.

              Him: It's okay, I have several.

      He pulled a pen out of the shoulder pen-holding pocket thing on his blue Space Shuttle flight suit. I was so out-nerded, it wasn't even funny. I tried to counter-attack by producing my own copy of Ringworld that I had in my backpack, because I carried it with me everywhere in those days, just in case, you know, I felt like reading it. (I am not exaggerating at all. I loved -- and continue to love -- that book that much. For reals.)
      • by smellsofbikes ( 890263 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @04:08PM (#20872673) Journal
        That's a wonderful account, and it's also awesome that you post on slashdot.

        My story isn't as cool, because A: I'm not famous and B: I was a dork, of sorts. But hey, it's my story.

        I was at a sci-fi con, had some art in the art show. Since I grew up without a TV I really didn't know much about what was going on, but my friend was helping organize the con and talked me into going and watching the art auction. We were wandering around, talking about this and that, and walked into a room. There was a strikingly pretty woman sitting in a chair, looking *very* bored, and on the other side of the room, a strikingly handsome man, surrounded by people, talking.

        I've never suffered from either shyness or lack of confidence. So I went over, introduced myself to the pretty blonde lady, and we started talking about art, as it happens. I noticed a couple people look my way, frown, but I didn't think anything of it, until my friend sidled up and said, sotto voice, "dude, you're hitting on Starbuck's girlfriend."

        I said, "who?"

        Some may argue that not knowing who Starbuck was makes me not a dork. But in the land of dorks, well, the clueless man is even more dorky.
  • OMG! (Score:4, Funny)

    by Jello B. ( 950817 ) <> on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:06PM (#20868923) Homepage
    In the recent Wired interview [], it was said that the interview was conducted over the phone, so my question is...

    Does saying "OMG!" out loud make you as much of a dork as I think it does?
  • Considering the FAQ hasn't been updated in almost a year, could you explain exactly what tags do these days? At one time, it seemed to be a vote-based system, now I have no idea how tags show up on articles. Frankly, since I didn't understand it and my tags didn't seem to affect anything, I gave up on using the feature.

    Could we get a definitive answer to how tags work?

    • by timster ( 32400 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:39PM (#20869551)
      The followup question to this is: since the tagging system seems to be a complete failure even when restricted to a small subset of users, what hope remains for its future evolution? At this point, why not just shut it down and give up?

      By 'failure', I mean that the tags we see are generally ridiculously useless (like a "science" tag on a story in the Science section) or otherwise simply degenerate ("haha" seems to be the most common tag). It's hard to imagine what purpose the system would serve even if people were honest with it. Further, the idea of tagging comments as a future moderation system now seems completely horrible.
      • By 'failure', I mean that the tags we see are generally ridiculously useless (like a "science" tag on a story in the Science section) or otherwise simply degenerate ("haha" seems to be the most common tag).

        The tag thing is useless, but at least the old vote-based system was entertaining. I looked at it as a variation on the "from the [xxxx] department". Some of the tags were pretty funny sometimes.

      • by Just Some Guy ( 3352 ) <> on Friday October 05, 2007 @01:41PM (#20870619) Homepage Journal

        since the tagging system seems to be a complete failure...

        I actually kind of like them. When I see an article slathered with "flamebait", "badsummary", "inaccurate", etc. then I have a pretty good idea that it's not worth getting worked up about and that I'll probably read its debunking a few comments down. I think that's a fairly nice service.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Luyseyal ( 3154 )

        By 'failure', I mean that the tags we see are generally ridiculously useless (like a "science" tag on a story in the Science section) or otherwise simply degenerate ("haha" seems to be the most common tag). It's hard to imagine what purpose the system would serve even if people were honest with it. Further, the idea of tagging comments as a future moderation system now seems completely horrible.

        You mean like this very article being tagged "slashdot", possibly the most pointless tag ever?


    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by hansamurai ( 907719 )
      Well, you don't have to only tag for the community as a whole, you can also tag just for yourself. []

      There you can see all the tags you've written and what articles they're attached to. This can be helpful just for sorting through the articles you've read and maybe your thoughts about them at the time.
  • Okay, I'll bite (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Skyshadow ( 508 ) * on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:08PM (#20868943) Homepage
    Something I've been sort of curious about for ages:

    Can you talk a little about how you experienced some of the dotcom insanity, specifically as it unfolded here at Slashdot? For a while, it seemed like Slashdot was about to become wunderkind central -- the sale to VA, the infamous ESR post about uber-wealth, etc. I'd be interested to hear about how that experience translated from your side of the ball.

    Thanks. And nice site you got here.
  • mysql vs postgres (Score:4, Interesting)

    by moderatorrater ( 1095745 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:09PM (#20868981)
    Without getting into a flamewar over what is a highly controversial subject, slashdot runs on mysql, and you've been quoted as saying you would do it with postgres if you could do it all again. I'm just wondering, is that true, do you still feel that way and why?
  • by gevmage ( 213603 ) * on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:10PM (#20868989) Homepage

    Do you have any stores of annoyed sysadmins writing/phoning you and complaining that a link on Slashdot crushed their machines?

    Alternatively, anyone whose exposure on slashdot boosted their popularity/traffic enough that they could retire/change jobs/make a major job change?

  • Mistake (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Keebler71 ( 520908 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:10PM (#20868997) Journal
    What was your biggest mistake in developing this site?

    Related follow-up/Put another way: If you could go back and do one thing differently what would you do?

  • Most-visited sites.. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by B5_geek ( 638928 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:10PM (#20869001)
    What "Top-5" websites are in your daily/hourly must-read rotation? (Not counting RSS)
  • by Xunker ( 6905 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:11PM (#20869013) Homepage Journal
    Ever since GiS [] went away you've become a sort of man-behind-the curtain type persona, and we don't see much in the way of journal updates or news posts about Slashdot or you yoyrself much. One of the last things most of us knew about the "Real Rob Malda" was the article in Wired [] years ago regarding the Andover-cum-VALinux-cum-OSDN-cum-Death-keiretsu IPO.

    Just what the hell do you do all day now, anyway?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:12PM (#20869033)
    What do you actually do? If someone were to follow you to work every day for a month, what would they see you spend your time doing?
  • Show Me the Money! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by HazMathew ( 207212 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:13PM (#20869045)
    What kind of revenue does Slashdot make?
  • by gevmage ( 213603 ) * on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:13PM (#20869057) Homepage
    Your recent journal entry talks about Slashdot becoming very popular very quickly. But at some point later, you realize that transferring slashdot over to a commercial enterprise would make you actual money that you could live off of. We'd love to hear the story of that meeting/phone call/e-mail/whatever.
  • poll answer (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:16PM (#20869109)
    What'd you vote to the current poll? What's YOUR favorite Slashdot "meme"?

    I bet it's Soviet Russia. (In Soviet Russia, CmdrTaco bets on you!)
  • by martyb ( 196687 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:16PM (#20869115)

    When were you most tempted to give up?

    Dealing with a bunch of creative, resourceful, tenacious, stubborn, and sometimes outright hostile nerds, I'm sure there were MANY times when you were tempted to just give up on the whole thing. e.g. page-widening trolls; Church of Scientology; Microsoft source code, or even the release of slash code to the community and the barrage of insults.

    I'm really glad you held on and persevered, but I'd like to know when you were most tempted to throw in the towel, and even more importantly, I'd like to hear the story around how you held on and kept things going.

  • And how will /. fend them off?

    As a longtime /. user, I really like the conversations here much better and find them to be of greater value than at digg. But Digg is more dynamic from a user standpoint, has more stories to choose from (though many are hyped, frivolous), and the conversations are getting slightly better with the tweaks they are applying to the site. I guess I'm really asking if /. is going to become more user oriented in the future or will find another path... or just stay the current cours
  • Decade (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Robotron23 ( 832528 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:18PM (#20869163)
    With the anneversary of Slashdot just celebrated and an entire decade having passed since you created the site, do you ever wonder what Slashdot will be like in another decade; specifically whether after twenty years you'll possess an active role?

    I was thinking what with a family on the horizon plus a lot of other side projects you may bow out after a time; but then again it was kind of inevitable as there's a lot to life besides Slashdot. But nonetheless your insight over tenure is appreciated.

    Anyway, thanks for this site Rob; the amount of laughs and great reads it has given in the four years I've browsed here is beyond measure and a lot of people here would agree that despite flaws this place is unique.
  • Infrastructure (Score:5, Interesting)

    by blhack ( 921171 ) * on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:22PM (#20869253)
    Can you give us any insight into the hardware/platform that slashdot runs on? How many servers does it use? What did you code it in? (a half drunk, coked-up deaf guy screaming HTML into a tin can on a string?) How much bandwidth does it use?

    I know this is more than one question, but my MAIN question is just: "What does it take to run slashdot, hardware/software/bandwidth wise?"
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      FYI: There is an entry in the FAQ: What kind of hardware does Slashdot run on? [], BUT it appears to be rather out-of-date (Last Modified: 6/13/00). Taco, could you please see to having this updated? Thanks!

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      What did you code it in? (a half drunk, coked-up deaf guy screaming HTML into a tin can on a string?) []
  • by pavon ( 30274 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:23PM (#20869257)
    These are probably pretty cliche questions, but I am interested in the answers.

    What is a normal day at slashdot like? How much time do you spend improving slashcode vs picking stories vs the normal computer admin tasks vs other stuff. How are the workload/responsibilities split up among the different staff members? How has this changes over the years?

    I also remember back in the old days, the work you did with Enlightenment, as well as the animated short you made (Duckpins?). I was wondering if you get the chance to do much programing outside of slashcode, or what other hobbies you spend your free time doing now (besides being married).
  • by Anonymous Meoward ( 665631 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:24PM (#20869285)
    If you were in Soviet Russia, would a Beowulf cluster of Natalie Portmans and other insensitive clods as our 1337 new goatse overlords (confirmed by Netcraft as dying) have you naked and petrified with hot grits poured down Cowboy Neal's pants (profit!!!) ?
  • Q&A (Score:3, Funny)

    by Capt James McCarthy ( 860294 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:24PM (#20869293) Journal
    Do you find it ironic when gets /.'ed?


    What are your thoughts on the so-called 'slashdot effect?'
  • by Joe the Lesser ( 533425 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:27PM (#20869339) Homepage Journal
    What do you think the exact turning point was for Slashdot that got the ball rolling. Maybe it happened when it was Chips and Dips, but how did word get out to the professional engineers that told their friends and so on? Did you announce your creation on usenets, was there one loudmouth who advertised for you, do you have any idea how it came to be that this was a mecca for nerds online when it could have just as easily been ignored?

  • by cOdEgUru ( 181536 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:28PM (#20869351) Homepage Journal
    Have you ever regretted starting Slashdot, or invested so much of your time in to this site? Did any actions by your peers, by the community or by your colleagues, as a result of a story posted on Slashdot or related to one, made you ever regret your decision to start Slashdot.

    Anyway, been here a guest since 1999, and a member for the last seven. Enjoyed being part of this community, every single day (or when its non-xenophobic).
  • ... I mean, forget Cmdr Taco, I want to ask questions to this CowboyNeal guy instead :D

  • by MeditationSensation ( 1121241 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:29PM (#20869383) Homepage
    That's my question. Please include pics.
  • by isaac ( 2852 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:31PM (#20869409)
    Would you publish a follow-up story on Junis?

    I found Jon Katz's Message from Kabul [] truly mesmerizing.

    Junis surely must have some interesting thoughts on the state of Afghanistan and his feelings towards the USA today. I'm also interested to know if he ever upgraded from that Commodore he was using to download movies - the one he hid from the Taliban in his chicken coop.


  • Simple Question (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Billosaur ( 927319 ) * <> on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:32PM (#20869433) Journal

    If Google comes to you with a huge pile of cash and says "we want to add Slashdot to out stable of products," perhaps as some kind of competitor to Digg, would you a) be tempted but decline because this is, after all, your baby, b) talk to them a while, negotiate, but ultimately call it off, or c) buy that island you've always wanted and start your own country?

  • by rjamestaylor ( 117847 ) <> on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:33PM (#20869455) Journal
    Slashdot is successful by any measure. You've certainly pioneered many things we now take for granted. Many "slashdot killers" have been attempted and failed or found a different niche. What are the biggest threats to /. success today and going forward?
  • by Mongoose Disciple ( 722373 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:37PM (#20869515)
    Do you still read Slashdot yourself regularly?

    If so, what are your favorite and least favorite things about the community?
  • How much... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Trails ( 629752 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:39PM (#20869555)
    How much do you love tacos?
    • You borrowed your Net Handle from the old management article's throwaway suggestion.

      If someone was so inclined, would you like to be involved in relations with a Commander Taco restaurant?

      (Taco Bell meets Slashdot with Linux Terminals and cheap food...)
  • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:43PM (#20869615)
    Or is the threat of the simply too severe?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ant P. ( 974313 )
      Imagine what Slashdot would be like if people could post images.

      Now imagine if that was real [].

      Still want it here?
  • Is if you secretly stuff the CmdrTaco ballot box option on the poll system from a Windows ME laptop. Silently grinning to yourself, "They'll never know it was me on THIS machine."
  • Did you write some kind of algorithm in the registration page to prevent your party from being a sausage fest?
  • My profile says that I've made 3650 comments to Slashdot over the years. That can't be right, since it would indicate that I've wasted far too much time. What a waste of effort...
  • by mihalis ( 28146 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:48PM (#20869703) Homepage

    When will Slashdot stop posting unsubstantiated, or (sometimes) completely merit-free stories with a question mark at the end, as if that was some kind of excuse?


    who of course reads such things anyway

  • Perl, any regrets? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by conner_bw ( 120497 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @12:57PM (#20869879) Journal
    Originally written by you in the late 90's, what with all the advancements in best practices, the evolution of CPAN, the barrage of Damian Conway "Right Way To Do It" conferences, and Perl 6 forever on the horizon, do you still have the chops to be an active Slash maintainer? Any thoughts about passing on "your baby" to other coders? Any regrets at all?
  • by kebes ( 861706 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @01:02PM (#20869955) Journal
    My question is simple: Do you like the discussions that appear on Slashdot stories? Do you read them?

    My question originates from the fact that, apparently [], you've only commented 368 times. Considering that you've been here "since the beginning," that's not a lot of comments. Avid Slashdotters make about that many comments per year.

    So why don't you participate more in the discussions? Do you not like Slashdot discussions? Or is it just because you prefer reading? Is it because you're too busy? (Aren't we all?) Is it because you worry that any comment you make will be unduly scrutinized, because of your peculiar status within this community? (Do you sometimes post under a different name?)
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by east coast ( 590680 )
      My guess is that they don't like having him read Slashdot while he's at work. A lot of companies have this kind of policy.
  • by astrashe ( 7452 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @01:06PM (#20870021) Journal
    Do you run a Linux box as your primary desktop?

    If so, which distro? If not, what do you run?

  • by hellfire ( 86129 ) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [vdalived]> on Friday October 05, 2007 @01:11PM (#20870095) Homepage
    Many readers seem to have a lot of animosity over certain editors, both in history and present day.

    Years ago, it was JohnKatz and what we considered his pointless inflamatory articles that were rewritten 5 times yet all 5 said the same thing.

    Nowadays, it's people like Zonk and his complete lack of editing, posting the most slanted version of an article or a version which gets the summary completely wrong.

    My question is how to do deal with these complaints? Do you deal with these complaints in any way with more than the filters in preferences that allows you to block articles by a certain editor?
  • Taquestions (Score:4, Interesting)

    by athloi ( 1075845 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @01:19PM (#20870233) Homepage Journal
    First, thanks for a great site. I read something about "20 hour days" keeping the site afloat, and I believe it was required. For those of us who enjoy it daily (along with Dwight Silverman's column []) it can be a real lifeline, especially when work is ultra-boring.

    Just a few questions:

    1. You oversaw the "internet revolution." Beyond Al Gore inventing it, beyond the dot-com hype, beyond the spam and the sockpuppets, what do you think is the future of networked communication? Is it the cloud OS and social networking, or are we rounding another bend?

    2. You've mentioned liking Postgres DBs. What other underrated hardware and software do you enjoy and employ on a regular basis?

    3. What emergent technologies do you watch?

    4. In the Wired interview [], you mention a balance between wise crowd tendencies and dumb crowd tendencies:

    "When you're building a system like this you're balancing the wisdom of the crowds versus the tyranny of the mob. Sometimes a crowd is really smart, but some things don't work so well by committee. Crowds work when you have a tightly knit group of people with similar interests, but when you have a loosely knit community you get 'Man Gets Hit in Crotch With Football.'"

    What have you learned is the balance of this duality? For all of its attempts to be crowd-wisdom propelled, Slashdot does lean on the theory of exceptional individuals, because it has picked editors to filter what makes it to the front page, which cuts down on the "site-rhymes-with-bigg" tendency to put rosy garbage on the front page. Are you satisfied with the balance of your responses to whatever psychological fulcrum keeps a crowd wise and not mobbish?

    5. What if any fiction authors do you enjoy?

    6. I'm a technical writer [], and am curious what you think about the current state of software and hardware documentation. Is it getting better? What are its common failings? Does anyone read it? Will single-sourcing (documentation that appears in print, online help, web sites, flash cards and text messages but uses the same text) change documentation's effectiveness radically?

    7. In the CNET article [], you talk about Slashdot as a community.

    "But to some of our readers, it's a community that's here to discuss issues that are relevant to this community. There is a lot of value. The bulk of our content comes from other people. There are 6,000 or 7,000 comments on a busy day that other people write and just a dozen stories of just a paragraph or two that we actually generate, that are ours."

    As you started out in BBSs, you probably had a prexisting idea of this being important to a resource on technology. Why do you think this is?

    8. In the same interview, you talk about the ability of low-tech websites to take on big roles:

    "I think that it really comes down to the content. If you have content people want, they will tolerate a system that is inferior. Now our system is solid, but back in the day, it wasn't. Look at eBay: That system is the most hodgepodge and clumsy user interface that you will ever find. People use it because it was first and it worked."

    In the world of advertising, people call this branding []. What do you think Slashdot's brand represents, and is it something IT workers will always have in common?

    9. In the Network Administrator interview [], you compare Slashdot to bulletin board systems favorably.

    "Strangely not that far. It's all just a matter of scale. At some level it's all identical."

    You mean in twenty years, not much has changed except the technology? I'd like to hear more on this if you find it compelling.

    • What part of "one question per post" did you not understand? :P

      There are certainly some interesting questions there, but there's no way the editors will choose all of them.
  • Question: Trends (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vinn ( 4370 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @02:15PM (#20871153) Homepage Journal
    You've probably followed more news stories and trends over the past decade than just about anyone else.

    Based on that, what are your predictions for the next 10 years?

    Some technology is obviously going to die a quick and painful death. Some of that technology will be good and some deservedly bad. What's going to catch on? What has staying power? Google has been a golden child the last few years, will that continue? Are there any big turnarounds coming? Who's got good stuff in the pipeline? Don't you dare tell me 2008 is the year of Linux (and I know you won't) - we've both been hearing that marketing crap for the past 10 years.
  • Was slashdot ever... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by rehtonAesoohC ( 954490 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @02:29PM (#20871325) Journal
    Was slashdot ever intended to be a source of income? What caused it to become such?
  • by Shadow Wrought ( 586631 ) * <> on Friday October 05, 2007 @06:01PM (#20874123) Homepage Journal
    10 years worth of comments, at thousands a day, seems like it could be a potential treasure trove of data for geeks if not academics. What do you think about a possible mechanism for people to be able to have access to it beyond the amount that subscribers have?
  • Posting comments (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Petrushka ( 815171 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @06:23PM (#20874321)
    How often do you post comments on Slashdot? I guess I mean: do you post under sockpuppet accounts?
  • Year stamps. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 6350' ( 936630 ) on Friday October 05, 2007 @10:48PM (#20876177)
    This has always bugged me since (my personal) day one: why don't slashdot articles display a year, along with the month and day, in their date? Every now and then I happen upon a link to an article on slashdot (or search back) and have to try to guess at what year the article is from. What gives?

Someone is unenthusiastic about your work.