Understanding slashdot

I’ve been a slashdot reader since the end of 1997, when I discovered it over the dial-up connection I had at the University of Illinois. While back then I visited /. almost daily, nowadays my visits are much less frequent. During this time the slashdot community expanded and changed (if nothing else we’re all 10 years older). Consequently I no longer have a good grip on how objective and well-researched the typical slashdot post is.

This changed last night, when the slashdot story Microsoft Developing News Sorting Based On Political Bias covered one of the projects I’m involved with (i.e., Blews). The coverage provided some interesting insight about /.

First, in spite of the “news for nerds” tag line, slashdot stories are not necessarily new. Over a week before the /. coverage Matt Hurst blogged about the mainstream media picking up Blews in their TechFest coverage; I also had a similar post. So if you’re looking for fresh nerdy news you’d be better off going elsewhere.

Second, the /. comments cover a wide spectrum: some are objective. Others are amusing. Others make me wonder whether a sequel to Mel Gibson’s 1997 Conspiracy Theory is in the works. Yet they are far from being evenly distributed–on the contrary. So if you’re after a reasonable S/N you’d also be better off seeking that elsewhere. (BTW if Blews resonates with you consider attending ICSWM 2008; several folks from the Blews team as well as myself will be there.)

So with old news and poor S/N what are those coming to /. after?

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