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posted by NCommander on Wednesday April 02 2014, @07:35AM   Printer-friendly
from the understanding-the-community dept.
We've gotten some incredible feedback regards to the moderation system and the karma system, and trust me, its not going into /dev/null; I'll have a writeup done by the weekend. However, I've noticed something today that made me sit back, and think for awhile. Our community is healthy and vibrant, and we're far more cohesive as a group than we ever were on the other site. Furthermore, our users are significantly more active here than the other site. Almost all of us are from the other site, but there's a huge difference between us and them.

I can sum up the difference in four words: We ARE a community.

While many of us decried the other site calling us an audience, I'm not sure I can say I was a part of the Slashdot community. I read articles, and comments, but I hadn't moderated (or even logged in) on the other site for years. This wasn't always true; I'm UID 700139 on the other site (registered sometime in 2003), and I was fairly active until 2009. Then I stopped. I didn't even post on the Audience Responses post. I've talked to others on IRC, and it turns out I'm not alone; a LOT of people who are active here were permanent lurkers on the other site.

I need to understand why to keep us a community, and to prevent us from just becoming a passive audience. If you're going to post on any story, let it be this one, and tell me your story. We need to know.
For this request to make sense, I need to make a distinction between not commenting, and lurking. Lurking is people who have user accounts, but don't sign in, never moderate and never post, even on topics that interest them. They are someone who is completely passive on the other site. Its fine that people comment on every single article; even at my most active on the other site, I posted at best one a month. A lot of people just like to read the comments, and perhaps moderate.

There is nothing wrong with that; those people are still part of the community even if they don't speak often. We've had two stories yesterday that broke 100 comments: Moderation: Discussing !(post^moderate) and OK Cupid Protests Against Mozilla CEO. Looking back at the history, nearly every single article we've run discussing the site broke the hundred comment mark. This is incredible because as of writing, we only have 4007 user accounts total, and slashcode reports seeing 54,620 unique IPIDs* for yesterday.

By chance, Slashdot ran the same article at roughly the same time as we did: OKCupid Warns Off Mozilla Firefox Users Over Gay Rights. This is what made me sit up and take notice. Slashdot does not post their stats publicly, but when DICE acquired Freenet, they posted some rough numbers in the official press release. From that article:

Slashdot, a user-generated news, analysis, peer question and professional insight community. Tech professionals moderate the site which averages more than 5,300 comments daily and 3.7 million unique visitors each month.

As I said before, we don't have a really good idea on the number of unique IPIDs visiting the site, but we do have solid numbers for our daily comment counts. Here's the graph as generated by slashcode for a biweekly period:

Biweekly Comment Count Graph

(due to a quirk in slashcode, the graphs don't update until 48 hours later; our comment count for 04/01 was 712 comments total).

Taking in account averages, we're roughly getting a little less than 10% of Slashdot's comment counts, with a considerably smaller user base. As I said, the OkCupid story made me take notice. Here's the comment counts at various scores between the two sites

         | SoylentNews | Slashdot.org |
---------------------------------------
Score -1 |         130 |         1017 |
Score  0 |         130 |         1005 |
Score  1 |         109 |          696 |
Score  2 |          74 |          586 |
Score  3 |          12 |           96 |
Score  4 |           4 |           64 |
Score  5 |           1 |           46 |
---------------------------------------
Furthermore, I took a look at UIDs on the other site, the vast majority of comments came from 6/7 digit UID posters. Looking at CmdrTaco's Retirement Post as well as posts detailing the history of the other site most of the low UIDs are still around, and are simply in perma-lurk mode.

Here's the rub. If Slashdot is really getting 3.7 million unique visitors per month, and there most popular articles only get to 1000-2000 comments (Taco's retirement, and the Audience Responses post both reached 2k), then Slashdot's readership is passive. Like, insanely passive. Let's assume that the average poster posts 5 comments a month (which is an extremely conservative estimate in my opinion). then out of those 3.7M unique visitors, only one person out of a thousand (1060 to be specific) is posting a comment. That's a horrendous ratio, especially for a site that allows anonymous postings.

I don't think this is inherent to the site itself; if we are getting 100-250k unique users (and I don't think its anywhere close to that high), then our numbers are still drastically better than Slashdot's. I suspect for every 100 users, one is posting, and if not, they're at least moderating or using the site. On average, we float 200-300 logged in users at a time, spiking up to 800-1000 in the evenings. On April 1st, we saw 3842 unique users logged in every day (out of 4007!).

I don't want this site to become a passive audience, I want people to be involved, and active in the site. This doesn't mean posting, but moderating, or at the very least, browsing while logged in. I suspect the vast majority of us were in the perma-lurk mode on the other site before coming here, and I want to know why. Tell me your stories so we can be a community, and not just a website with an audience. Let me hear them loud and clear, and tell me if I'm wrong; let me know if you were one of the most active posters on the other site, and if so, what sense of community did you feel over there.

* - due to the way we use varnish for ACs, the number of unqiue IPID per day is likely far higher it is in actuality. Due to our setup, the backend only sees one AC every five minutes + all logged in users.

Related Stories

Moderation: Discussing !(post^moderate) 136 comments
*cough*

Ok, I meant to have an open forum about moderation *way* before this point. I did read the various feedback and comments left on my journal and the last moderation, and have made some changes to the moderation system.

First, mod points now expire after eight hours. I'm willing to extend this to 12 or 16 hours after I'm sure comments will still reach +5 fairly regularly. With luck, we'll get to the point we can extend mod-points to last a full 24 hours which I suspect will end most of the complaining on them vanishing too soon.

Second, I'd like to open the floor to making a more fundamental change to the moderation system. Specifically, allowing people to post AND moderate in the same discussion. We've seen plenty of posts get up to +5, which means 3-4 people gave up their right to post to keep our comments high quality. This was brought up during our last plea for stories, and I wanted to solicit more feedback before unleashing this upon the site.

I've floated the idea on IRC, and it seems there's a fair bit of support for removing the post/moderate split, though we'd need to make some changes to prevent rampant abuse. Here's what was suggested to keep things sane:
  • Mod points won't roll back after a post
  • Moderators can post in the same discussion (either before or after moderating), but can not moderate replies to their posts.

I've heard various ideas such as limiting it only after mods have expended their points (this will require implementing a cooldown to prevent a user from getting points again too soon). I want to hear your feedback, and I'll roll together something for the next major update of the site. Leave your comments

OK Cupid Protests Aginst Mozilla CEO 132 comments
Sir Finkus and keplr writes:

The controversy around Mozilla's new CEO Brendan Eich continues. Eich made a personal $1000 donation to California's Yes on Proposition 8 campaign in 2008. Now, dating site OkCupid has started redirecting Firefox users to a page explaining Eich's views against marriage equality, and asking users to switch to IE, Chrome, or Opera.

The page states:

If individuals like Mr. Eich had their way, then roughly 8% of the relationships we've worked so hard to bring about would be illegal. Equality for gay relationships is personally important to many of us here at OkCupid. But it's professionally important to the entire company. OkCupid is for creating love. Those who seek to deny love and instead enforce misery, shame, and frustration are our enemies, and we wish them nothing but failure.

Visitors are then provided links to alternative browsers, or they can continue to the site by clicking a hyperlink at the bottom of the page.

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by lhsi on Wednesday April 02 2014, @07:43AM

    by lhsi (711) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @07:43AM (#24722)

    On Slashdot, I would read a discussion, see the comments and then note that I did not have anything to add that hadn't already been said. I did moderate from time to time.

    Here I comment a little more where I can and think it adds. As there are less comments there are more opportunities to post something new that has not already been raised.

    I mostly submit stories, however. A lot are from Open Access journals directly to allow the community to comment on it directly, without the slant of any journalist. Some get more comments then others, so its hard to gauge which ones will be an interesting topic and what wont, but I sort of leave that up to the editors :-)

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by The Mighty Buzzard on Wednesday April 02 2014, @07:57AM

      by The Mighty Buzzard (18) Subscriber Badge <themightybuzzard@soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @07:57AM (#24727) Journal

      Fair point. There are enough commenters on the other site that unless you get in early, what you have to say is probably going to be redundant. So you don't bother posting and just read. Then it gets to be a habit. Then it gets to be just how it is.

      Also, there are a limit to the number of comments you can easily follow, even with the userscript to collapse/expand threads. Most of the way-down-the-page comments on the other site are probably never read by anyone but the poster.

      --
      This joke is for the 🖕s
      • (Score: -1, Troll) by Ethanol-fueled on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:31AM

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:31AM (#24819) Journal

        I lurked the other site after a distinguished tenure because I was banned from posting. They even banned me from posting journals after I posted an entry about being banned by the Jew Timothy. However, I did frequently have excellent karma, one time scoring 5 5-point posts(2 as AC) in a single discussion because I was a subject matter expert.

        Every forum needs a resident asshole, one you agree with from time to time while hating yourself for doing so, one who says what others are afraid to.

        The attitude I had with Slashdot was that if the discussions were really worth a shit, they wouldn't need me to waltz in there with a flashy catchphrase and edgy racial epithets.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by The Mighty Buzzard on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:46AM

          by The Mighty Buzzard (18) Subscriber Badge <themightybuzzard@soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:46AM (#24843) Journal

          Every forum needs a resident asshole, one you agree with from time to time while hating yourself for doing so, one who says what others are afraid to.

          Agreed. We really do not need a resident racist though. I don't think anybody does. Racial epithets aren't edgy. They show their users to be ignorant, closed-minded assholes. Ignorance can be cured but not in a closed-minded person, so there's nothing to be gained by talking to them beyond pointing this out. Hence...

          End of conversation.

          --
          This joke is for the 🖕s
          • (Score: 1) by Yog-Yogguth on Thursday April 03 2014, @02:58AM

            by Yog-Yogguth (1862) on Thursday April 03 2014, @02:58AM (#25389) Journal

            If we could all just agree about things from the start this site would already be dead. Right? :3

            Damn right we need "racists" or whatever. We need lots of clashing opposing views. We need people who waste their energy on hating me or anyone else who says they find genital mutilation like circumcision and similar damned offensive because such topics are not kosher or halal to talk about. Or who jump into "thought police" mode at the mention of anyone finding it extremely offensive that people are beheaded and animals bled to death in the name of some severely impotent "god" with serious self-esteem issues. Or who are diligently ready to suppress "illegal opinions" if I find it extremely offensive that most gays don't really want anyone talking about all the gay people that are being hanged each year or that feminists don't want to talk about women being treated as cattle their whole lives. Don't get me wrong: I sadly don't understand women anyway and I've tried several times.

            The list goes on forever and that's just some samples related to one or two silly religions and "interest groups"/people who think it's a super-good idea to politicize sexual preferences :o

            Because it's crucial to teach people to shut up most if not all the time so they don't risk losing their jobs or being threatened with violence or other harassment if they ever say anything wrong or call someone an eskimo or draw a cute cartoon of a black boy with a bone through his afro or headknot (as if blacks don't find that shit funny too; it's no different than Cheech smoking an actual roach by mistake).

            Too much of "society" is already filled with absurd and often stereotypical hypersensitive junk about things that either really shouldn't matter much or really ought to be discussed loudly. And hopefully not by me because I'm damned tired of it all (most topics actually, not just nasty stuff like some of the above) and thoroughly disgusted and that dovetails nicely with why I eventually became a lurker at Slashdot.

            Luckily for me this place is actually something slightly different no matter if the above stays as it was on /. or not, by picking up where Slashdot and code veered into corporate insignificance this place unlocks amazing potential for everyone making everything feel fresh and new again :)

            tl;dr: we need to maintain diversity, that means we need "bad" as well as "good", often that's simply called freedom. Yes that stank of a weird kind of mutated political correctness :X

            --
            Buck Feta? Duck Fice! And Guck Foogle too!
            • (Score: 2) by The Mighty Buzzard on Thursday April 03 2014, @06:16AM

              by The Mighty Buzzard (18) Subscriber Badge <themightybuzzard@soylentnews.org> on Thursday April 03 2014, @06:16AM (#25453) Journal

              I agree about the diversity of opinion. I even agree racists have a right to theirs and to speak it. I simply don't think they're worth listening or speaking to. They've got one stupendously moronic belief that is not subject to rational discussion, so they likely have plenty more. If they're just race trolling, that's not as bad but it's still picking the absolute lowest hanging fruit, so they're worthless even as a troll.

              I've got to stick with my original statement. I've got no use for them and don't believe they enrich the site in any way.

              --
              This joke is for the 🖕s
        • (Score: 2, Funny) by meisterister on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:14AM

          by meisterister (949) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:14AM (#24887)

          Every forum needs a resident asshole

          I'll be that guy... you... uhh cheese...face?

          I'll work on it.

        • (Score: 2) by naubol on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:29AM

          by naubol (1918) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:29AM (#24906)

          At the first, I think I misunderstood you. I generally agree with what you're saying, but I think the "edgy racial epithets" are giving a false first impression. I'm genuinely curious when I ask if you think they're just all in good fun or if there is some sort of intent behind them?

          Regarding being the "resident asshole" who speaks the truth, I could not agree more. Communities need mediators and antagonizers, they're part of the adaptation process. But, the antagonizers have to be clever about it, as if they take it "too far" they lose all traction with the community and thus lose their power to truly antagonize.

          That said, when I mentally delete the "edgy racial epithets" from all of your posts, I tend to enjoy them.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by VLM on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:30AM

          by VLM (445) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:30AM (#24907)

          "Every forum needs a resident asshole"

          Yeah, in theory people thought that would be a great idea. Their outlook was rapidly corrected in practice moments after meeting Mr Goatse, a very prolific poster and former resident of .cx aka Christmas Island. If a reader (noob) has no idea who he is, the reader is better off not meeting him.

          So you may want to rephrase that one. And "Every cup needs its two girls" or "every tub needs its girl" would not necessarily be an improvement.

          • (Score: 1) by modecx on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:38PM

            by modecx (1925) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:38PM (#25044)

            Try this one on: "Every party needs its lemon?"
            Oh, the nostalgia, it's nearly palpable.
            Nearly. Thank God for that.

            • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday April 02 2014, @02:10PM

              by VLM (445) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @02:10PM (#25088)

              There's also a classic goatse quote about if you gaze into the abyss, it gazes back at you, which if you recall the posture and geometry, is true. Although I couldn't weave it into the narrative.

        • (Score: 5, Insightful) by mcgrew on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:06AM

          by mcgrew (701) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:06AM (#24951) Homepage Journal

          I lurked the other site after a distinguished tenure because I was banned from posting.

          And with good reason, you're an offensive little troll whose comments are designed to disgust and inflame.

          Every forum needs a resident asshole

          Bullshit. Assholes are welcome nowhere and needed nowhere. Assholes are only tolerated, and then only when toleration is necessary.

          one you agree with from time to time while hating yourself for doing so, one who says what others are afraid to.

          That's not being an asshole. Posting goatse and GNAA trolls is being an asshole.

          --
          Free Nobots! [mcgrewbooks.com]
      • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Rivenaleem on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:19AM

        by Rivenaleem (3400) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:19AM (#24960)

        I heartily agree with this statement, but I'd like to add that I don't browse the site, I check my RSS from time to time and am often a few days behind and regularly join the topic after a lot of discussion has already taken place.

        The majority of my comments tend to be jokes, as usually all the insightful and informative stuff has already been said. Also, my area of expertise is very narrow, so there are really only a few topics, typically in the world of Pharma, that I would consider myself worthy of chipping in something really meaningful on.

        That is something really worth taking into account. A lot of readers on /. and here are specialists in some area or another and will browse and read a lot, but can't really be relied on to be a source of information outside their own areas

    • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:07AM

      by mhajicek (51) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:07AM (#24729)

      This. However I am odd enough that I often had something unique to add.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by weeds on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:17AM

      by weeds (611) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:17AM (#24741) Journal

      "Same" On the other site I am 1086039. I lurked there for quite a while before I saw a story I thought I could comment on and then signed up and commented. After that I mostly lurked. In most cases either I didn't have anything to add or what I had to say was already said. Based on the comments I did make, I had the "feeling" that if your ID wasn't low enough, you didn't get modded up. It felt like a closed community. There is some sport here over lower id's but it seems to be done with appropriate humor. Submitting stories was nearly impossible as the likelihood that I would get hold of a story soon enough to get it posted was just about nil.
      There is a general feeling that bigger is better, but I would need some convincing on that. A single home page can only carry a finite number of stories per day or per hour. Comments on those stories have a practical limit before one has to move on. So ultimately I think there is a limit to the size of the community that can be active. I suspect you could estimate the "active community" maximum size based on the max number of practical stories you can run per day and the maximum number of unique id's that can comment on the stories (with max practical comments per story). That's a lot of assumptions, but I should think you could get an order of magnitude out of it.
      As you have said, even if everything there is to say on a story has been said and one has nothing to add, log in and moderate. Be part of the community.
      Lastly, I am a huge fan of IRC. When you talk about a healthy community, there has to be dialog. Dialog in the newspaper via letters to the editor, does not suffice. (Now I know that the comments are more than that as there is back and forth) But IRC is more like a town meeting. Here you can have a closer discussion with other posters or site management (members, editors, and even developers) for me this has been a great addition to the community.

      --
      Get the strategic plan going! [dev.soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 2) by elf on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:45AM

        by elf (64) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:45AM (#24764)

        If I had Mod points I'd mod the parent post up. I'd agree 1000 comments isn't something you can easily read and get something out of it and a lot of comments here are actually quite good. It will be interesting to se how things change as the site grows.

        I think IRC throws up some good conversations. I think it would be interesting to have an area which highlights some of the funny / interesting conversations that go on (like bash.org)

        • (Score: 5, Interesting) by Hairyfeet on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:53AM

          by Hairyfeet (75) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {gmail.com}> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:53AM (#24933)

          I disagree. I was at Slash from the old days (like the other poster i lurked for quite awhile) but we would often get 300+ post threads on subjects like CPUs or even file systems, but that was because the mods stayed out of it and let the discussion actually flow naturally. this was before the groupthink and modbombing got bad over there so that mods were only mod-dropping trolls like Goatse and "You must be a stupid nigger" type crap while letting those with differing viewpoints actually defend their positions...it was fricking awesome and even when you didn't agree you LEARNED and left with some serious thoughts on the subject!

          Oh and as for Ethanol Fueled? he got banned because he WAS the guy posting "you must be a stupid nigger" crap so no shit he got banned, he added ZERO to the conversation and only derailed the flow. There is a difference between being a "resident asshole" that has an honest viewpoint that differs from the group and posting shit like "I bet you're a filthy Jew" which the last few months EF was posting at Slash was the extent of his "conversation". While I am against banning ANY form of speech I DO hope that if all EF does is scream racial remarks like a kid learning to swear that he WILL be downmodded to the basement where he belongs.

    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by CoolHand on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:09AM

      by CoolHand (438) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:09AM (#24782)

      I agree with this... I wasn't a "lurker" on the other side by your definition - I would almost always be logged in, and occasionally moderate, but I posted very seldomly. That was normally because there were a couple hundred comments by the time I got through reading the comments, so there wasn't a lot to say.

      I think there is a "critical mass" of comments that can be reached, where most discussion on an article has been had, and after that it can be kind of pointless to add more... So, we haven't quite reached that saturation point on most articles yet, but once we do, I suspect the pattern here will be similar.

      --
      Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job-Douglas Adams
    • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:12AM

      by Hairyfeet (75) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {gmail.com}> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:12AM (#24787)

      Welllll, I think you are CLOSE to nailing it but at least for me there is one MAJOR DIFFERENCE between here and slash, the FUCKING STUPID GROUPTHINK!!!!!!

      On slash you can say the most PANTS ON HEAD RETARDED thing you can possibly imagine and if its 1.- Said in praise of GPL or Linux, 2.- Said in praise of Google, or 3.- Said against Apple, MSFT, Seagate, or any company like FB that is the "2 minutes of hate"? Instant +5. I know some called it "Karma whoring" but that is bullshit, what it was was the fact that Taco let certain groups into the inner circle, they formed clics, and those clics always supported "fellow travelers".

      At least here when I see somebody saying something obviously and easily proven to be outright horseshit? Thanks to modpoints being much more evenly distributed the bullshit and crazy sinks to the bottom, while the well written thoughtful posts, even if they are 100% against the current? Straight to the top. I LIKE THIS ! 1000% PLEASE KEEP!!! Because it is the difference between well thought out dialogs and circle jerks where post after post is obviously written to whore the groupthink or appease the mods.

      So to me that is what makes the difference, here there can be long thought out discussions, whereas with slash every thread just dies because either the mods crush all those that go against groupthink or the trolls derail the thread. Soylent is doing a GREAT job with the former, I hope that their skill in dealing with the latter will be equally great. Hell just the other week I had a TEN PLUS POST DIALOG with other posters here in a thread about CPUs!! Do you have ANY idea how long its been since that happened on Slash? Easily more than 5 years. PLEASE KEEP THIS!!!!!

      • (Score: 4, Informative) by Nerdfest on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:23AM

        by Nerdfest (80) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:23AM (#24804)

        I'm not sure about the Apple thing. I was very regularly modded down just for *questioning* Apple most of the time, much less saying anything derogatory. On occasion I was also modded down for questioning Microsoft, or even pointing out completely factual information, although I think in the case of MS that actually pay people to astroturf many sites.

        As for me, I rarely got mod points for the last 4 years or so, perhaps from posting fairly regularly of their algorithm being broken. In any case, I found I almost never modded down, and I think down-mods should almost be something where you need two or three of the same type to apply a single reduction. Flagging the usual trolls is a different matter.

        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:37AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:37AM (#24829)

          Astroturfing is a good point. As this site grows, it also will get growing attention from paid shills. I hope this site can withstand their attacks.

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Hairyfeet on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:33AM

          by Hairyfeet (75) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {gmail.com}> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:33AM (#24909)

          Which is why I still say AC posts should either be outright banned or at least start with a -1 so that it isn't so easy to shill and troll. It takes...what all of 3 minutes to make an account? and you can put pretty much anything in for data, so you can say you are a 20 year old member of the Dallas Cowboy cheerleaders for all the system cares but at LEAST you have to expend just the tiny amount of effort of making the account before just pouring crap on the screen!

          And as I nice bonus I have noticed that places with no ACs have a LOT less paid shills, as its easy enough to see a shilling pattern in their posting. if the person ONLY posts on a single subject AND always in favor of said corporation who is the subject of that subject? Well it really ain't hard to put 2 and 2 together.

          If you want to keep ACs at least give them a default negative modifier so they actually have to post something thoughtful to get up to the same level as those that took the time to register, that is fair. Otherwise there is no real benefit to registering and we might as well become another chan.

          Oh and one other thing THANK YOU MODS for not having that FUCKING TIMER!!! I am a considerate person and therefor like to answer when someone posts a reply, but I only have a limited amount of time in the day to get on here and that stupid fucking slash timer meant that maybe ONE person out of the dozen that responded to my posts would get a reply, the rest ignored. thanks for not having that stupid crap so when I pop on here before work and see a dozen people have responded in a half a dozen threads I can actually have a DIALOG and discussion with them on the subject, Praise the FSM its a miracle! What a great way to encourage dialog, +1000!!!!

          • (Score: 3, Informative) by Popeidol on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:48AM

            by Popeidol (35) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:48AM (#24923) Homepage Journal

            AC posts start at zero, and regular users start at +1. The solution to avoiding AC posts without merit is to set your threshold to +1, so they have to be modded up before you see them.

            The system you are describing is already in place, just shifted one digit up.

          • (Score: 2) by githaron on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:48AM

            by githaron (581) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:48AM (#24924)

            Another option would be to have a second slider. The first is for non-AC and the second is for AC.

            • (Score: 2) by egcagrac0 on Wednesday April 02 2014, @02:35PM

              by egcagrac0 (2705) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @02:35PM (#25105)

              Or, to add a "reason modifier" for AC.

              Some people may want to further obscure the AC's, some people may want to undo the default, some people may value the comments of the AC's more than the sheeple who log in to post.

          • (Score: 4, Insightful) by moondrake on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:43AM

            by moondrake (2658) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:43AM (#24990)

            I think its a misconception that ACs are trolls. I lurked (without account) for over 13 years on /. And regularly (perhaps once a week occasionally, but perhaps less on other times) commented. I cannot remember that I ever have been modded troll or flamebait. Though sometimes my highly intelligent (feeling particularly modest today) comment was missed because it started at 0.

            In general, my internet behaviour is this: if I see something on some place that I could comment on (most recently a question about some bug in a linux driver that I fixed locally but had not yet bothered to send upstream), I will not comment and help the person out if I have to go through the trouble of registering. I believe I am not alone in that behaviour. Even here on soylent there are some regular ACs (gweg (sp?) for example) that I appreciate. And I think it is a particular bad idea to downmod an AC before you even read what he has to say. So far, there have been plenty of modpoints so if it is not contributing to the discussion, somebody will be happy to pass judgment (IMHO most people like doing this).

            As you point out, it takes little effort to register, so I do not think this should somehow guarantee that people with an account post better comments.

            There is an even more important reason to value AC posts: it allows people in the know about internal affairs to post something very informative. These people may have accounts, or may not and have been referred by others or have stumbled on the site because an issue was discussed there that they know more about. I do not want to see such whistle-blowing or otherwise very informative comments hidden at -1 and feel 0 makes a good compromise.

            Oh, and the claim that places with no ACs have less paid shills sounds unlikely to me, got any evidence for that?

            • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Wednesday April 02 2014, @02:37PM

              by Hairyfeet (75) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {gmail.com}> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @02:37PM (#25108)

              I think you are missing the point friend, which is that its easy to spot patterns when a person has an account but if they can post as AC? they can shill to their heart's content, no way to know if the AC that just posted that loveletter to corp A is the same AC who just posted that second loveletter to corp A or not.

              Believe me I wish it weren't so but we have more than enough evidence to be reasonably certain that all the major corps are paying for "spin control posting" on pretty much any site that crosses their radar. just look at the crapflood of "I heart Windows 8!" AC bombs that hit Slashdot right before the Win 8 release, they even used classic marketing terms like "vertical integration" and "product synergy" that no non marketing drone uses IRL so it was pretty damned obvious yet because they could just crapflood the AC channel there was no way to say who was shilling and who wasn't.

              And I think the other poster nailed it, we need a "no AC" button so that those that believe in the AC system can have it and the rest won't ever have to see it...more choice is of the good, yes?

              • (Score: 2) by moondrake on Wednesday April 02 2014, @02:59PM

                by moondrake (2658) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @02:59PM (#25122)

                I guess it would be possible to hash the IP and add it as a AC "id". Not sure how I feel about such an identifier.

                As for the button, yes, I would not object to it, though I would just feel sorry for the people that use it!

                • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Wednesday April 02 2014, @04:45PM

                  by Hairyfeet (75) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {gmail.com}> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @04:45PM (#25185)

                  Why is that? Look at what ACs have become on the other site, you get such "useful" posts as "You must be a nigger" or like my stalker "die you fat fucker die".

                  With ACs you are completely killing the point of places like this which is dialogs and conversations. if all you want to do is just throw something on the screen and never see it again? That is what yahoo news is for, but with a site like Soylent the appeal, at least for me, is that you can have an actual discussion of the topic at hand. Since the AC will never see a response its a "throw shit and run" post by design.

                  Now if that is what appeals to you? I have no problem with that but it would be nice for those of us who care about conversations not to see ACs.

                  • (Score: 2) by moondrake on Thursday April 03 2014, @03:36AM

                    by moondrake (2658) on Thursday April 03 2014, @03:36AM (#25405)

                    I just accept some crap together with very interesting posts. With ACs, we would never have known the details about Operating Thetan Level Three, for example.

                    And as Ethanol-Fuelled has pointed out quite literally elsewhere, you get the crap with logged in users as well.

                    But I am just rehashing my argument. I fully understand your argument, I just like to point out that not everybody has such an opinion.

                    Furthermore, I would be against such a "hide AC" button for anyone with modpoints.

                    • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Thursday April 03 2014, @06:54AM

                      by Hairyfeet (75) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {gmail.com}> on Thursday April 03 2014, @06:54AM (#25468)

                      Why is that? I can already state I would never waste modpoints on an AC post as there would b ZERO point in doing so. karma exists so that the posters that post thoughtful and considerate posts float to the top while Ethanol and his "you must be a jew" crap sink to the bottom. Again by the very nature of the AC post it does neither, the AC poster gets no karma and can crapflood all the racist or shilling they want and get no penalty for doing so. in fact if you think about it the AC post is almost by design a troll's wet dream, hell go to the other site and pick ANY article and see the signal to noise ratio when it comes to ACs, you are looking at best a 3-4 to 1 crap versus useful.

                      But at the end of the day choice is always of the good and I see no reason those that like AC posting can't have it and those that hate AC posting can't have it blocked, after all we aren't owned by Dice and aren't trying to force shit on the users, are we?

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @05:20PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @05:20PM (#25205)

              there are some regular ACs (gweg (sp?) for example) that I appreciate
              {Deep theatrical bow} 8-)

              (sp?)
              That's gewg_ (phonetically "goog").
              When I first used it online, it was almost uniquely googleable (aside from 2 obscure Working Groups).

              Years ago, I had 2 submissions accepted at the other site and, again, years ago, would occasionally post, sometimes even getting modded up. [google.com]

              -- gewg_

          • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:18PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:18PM (#25063)

            I have an account at the other site (680k range), though I stopped posting under my account because of personally targeted moderation. I could post identical comments in a thread (using my account and as AC) and the one from my account would often get down modded to oblivion, and the AC post would get modded up. So I just posted as AC for the last several years.

            When I used my account I posted often enough, and submitted a few stories a week, so my karma was always good. The only reason I tried to maintain good karma was so my posting rate wouldn't be limited by bad karma. The effort wasn't really worth it, so I just posted as AC and used varying IP addresses (proxies, VPNs, Tor, etc) to get around the AC limits if I wanted to post more than once or twice.

            I haven't posted often here (either under my account or as AC). The environment seems much friendlier, though the lack of other posts kind of limits the "conversation" part of posting. It's a bit of 'the chicken or the egg', but I'll wade in slowly and mostly lurk. Down modding for "I don't like you" or "I disagree" isn't here yet (I don't think), but I'll wait for the paint to dry to see what SN turns in to.

            Oh, and that "every site needs an asshole" who posts the racist crap? The racism has no place here. The asshole? That often depends on which side of the conversation you're on.

            • (Score: 2) by moondrake on Thursday April 03 2014, @03:51AM

              by moondrake (2658) on Thursday April 03 2014, @03:51AM (#25410)

              This is interesting. Suddenly I feel modding is more like peer review in science than I previously realized.

              One solutions some journals applied is that you do double-blind reviews. I think it would be pretty interesting to hide user IDs when you got mod points. Probably wont work well in practice though (view the site without logging in to see who posted what)

              • (Score: 1) by Yog-Yogguth on Thursday April 03 2014, @04:22AM

                by Yog-Yogguth (1862) on Thursday April 03 2014, @04:22AM (#25422) Journal

                Along those lines when this site grows big enough and with liberal supplies of mod points it would be interesting if each moderation would require an identical moderation to take effect, i.e. each mod point would in effect be half a mod point.

                Maybe the server overhead wouldn't be worth it but it would be interesting to see how it worked out :)

                --
                Buck Feta? Duck Fice! And Guck Foogle too!
        • (Score: 2) by Common Joe on Wednesday April 02 2014, @02:46PM

          by Common Joe (33) <{common.joe.0101} {at} {gmail.com}> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @02:46PM (#25113) Journal

          I rarely got mod points for the last 4 years or so, perhaps from posting fairly regularly of their algorithm being broken

          It could very well be the randomizer being broken. I used the C# randomizer recently and thought Man, this is crap. Curious, I had it output random integers between 1 and 10 in a loop 3000 times. I stuffed it into Excel and generated a count and made a line chart. I expected to see each integer generated about 300 times. The result was anything but that. Loops that involved tens of thousands of randomly generated numbers got more level line charts, but I think it can be inferred that it still may not be representative of making good random numbers. I'm not sure what Soylent News or the other site is using to generate random numbers. Might be worth setting up a check to see how good it is.

          • (Score: 1) by Yog-Yogguth on Thursday April 03 2014, @04:17AM

            by Yog-Yogguth (1862) on Thursday April 03 2014, @04:17AM (#25418) Journal

            Random numbers and series don't really work the way you (and just about everyone initially and maybe even much later or occasionally or possibly even always if a field of study/specialization "says so" because it makes everything easier) think they should. The following example is short and trivial but mathematically 11111111 is as just as random as 11010001 despite the fact that 11111111 is a very easily recognizable pattern and thus fails "randomness tests". It's a common trap in statistics too (it's precisely the same thing) and people wade right into it all the time with their eyes wide open no matter how smart they are :)

            Slashdot shouldn't have used randomness (if they did/do, I don't know that), they should use something giving an even distribution when biased according to their preferences (activity levels etc.). Something which in fact is both as non-random and predictable as things get! :D It can of course still be badly broken.

            Likewise cryptography doesn't really want randomness nor even entropy but unpredictability/anti-patterns. So yeah words are misused all over the place just as in most (all?) sciences because it's so damned practical to do so as informal shorthand (and then it sticks).

            --
            Buck Feta? Duck Fice! And Guck Foogle too!
      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by umafuckitt on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:32AM

        by umafuckitt (20) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:32AM (#24822)

        All sites develop groupthink. It'll happen here too if it hasn't already. It's unavoidable.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:57AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:57AM (#24861)

          Actually some people demanding that Slashdot's name is never explicitly used in comments is already a sign of beginning groupthink.

          • (Score: 1) by DECbot on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:33PM

            by DECbot (832) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:33PM (#25071)

            You said the word! You said the word!

            'Tis the word the knights of Soylent cannot stand to hear.

            Stop saying the word!

            --
            • cats~$ sudo su
            • cats~# chown -R us /home/base
        • (Score: 2) by aristarchus on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:26PM

          by aristarchus (2645) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:26PM (#25143)

          I think we can all agree that it won't happen here!

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by mcgrew on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:17AM

        by mcgrew (701) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:17AM (#24958) Homepage Journal

        1.- Said in praise of GPL or Linux, 2.- Said in praise of Google, or 3.- Said against Apple, MSFT, Seagate, or any company like FB that is the "2 minutes of hate"? Instant +5.

        In my experience this is simply incorrect. I was frequently modded down for bashing MS and Apple (and even Sony!) when the bashing was completely warranted, as well as being modded down for favorably comparing Linux over Windows.

        You forget, a lot of folks here and at slashdot owe their paychecks to MS or Apple in one way or another, few can credit their incomes from Linux. You repair Windows machines, don't you? So you have a dog in the fight.

        --
        Free Nobots! [mcgrewbooks.com]
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @04:52PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @04:52PM (#25187)

          Your eye lighted on the same stuff as mine did, brother.
          My reaction, however, was a bit different.

          s/GPL or Linux/openness
          s/Apple, MSFT> /closed-source code

          With MICROS~1 in particular, I see a culture of **let's put in as many bells and whistles as we can and if we have time at the very end we'll try to paste on some "security"**.
          Exploitability has ALWAYS been MICROS~1's giant weakness (if you ignore their abusive business model).
          On top of that, the concept of having to wait until the 2nd Tuesday of next month to get patches has always struck me as insane.

          You repair Windows machines
          That aspect occurred to me as well.
          Yeah, hairyfeet is in the hardware sales & service sector.
          His vantage point is going to be significantly different from the coders who haunt this place.
          Openness in the code and inheritability of software libre is crucial to folks who are able to work at a lower level [googleusercontent.com] (orig) [goodbyemicrosoft.net] and not just dealing with pre-packaged solutions to assemble a final bundle.

          I'll acknowledge that hairyfeet is critical of faults on both sides of the divide, but his bottom line ends up praising the wrong camp IMO.

          ...and he constantly blames Linux/FOSS developers when HARDWARE isn't compatible.
          Obviously, producing device drivers is the responsibility of the HARDWARE manufacturers.
          The fact that the Linux Driver Project manages to reverse-engineer compatibility [googleusercontent.com] (orig) [lwn.net] for so many otherwise-unsupported items, often with no assistance from those manufacturers, deserves kudos on a grand scale.

          The flip side of that is that the manufactures who DON'T provide proper support deserve scorn; hairyfeet chooses instead to blame software developers who are dancing as fast as they can even though all the lights in the room have been left turned off.

          Finally, the manufacturers who DO provide proper FOSS drivers deserve not only your praise, but your money.
          People giving their cash to vendors who provide crappy support just boggles my mind.

          -- gewg_

        • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Wednesday April 02 2014, @05:11PM

          by Hairyfeet (75) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {gmail.com}> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @05:11PM (#25196)

          No I don't as I'm a system builder which MSFT has always treated system builders like dogshit. We get NO discounts, NO support, we pay no differently than if you were to walk into a Best Buy and pick up a copy of Windows so believe me no love there. In fact myself and the other local shops refuse to carry Windows 8/8.1 because we all pretty much agree its shit, not something that a fanboy would be likely to do.

      • (Score: 2) by morgauxo on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:45PM

        by morgauxo (2082) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:45PM (#25049)

        I disagree.

            The other site had plenty of both Apple fanbois and Apple haters. Microsoft fans were a bit harder to find but there were some. Historically it was pretty Linux/GPL friendly but there are plenty now who like to tear down RMS and GPL along with him. A lot of those Mac fans do have some not-so nice things to say about Linux too.

        My experience was that posting for or against any of those topics meant you would get moderated one way or the other. Some good people will mod any post up that makes a valid point regardless of if they agree with the conclusion. Unfortunately many are not like that. It just mattered which group of people find your post first, the ones who agree with you or the opposite.

        If Soylent is going to be any different in this regard as it grows I sure wonder how.

      • (Score: 2) by Tork on Wednesday April 02 2014, @04:35PM

        by Tork (3914) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @04:35PM (#25174)

        Welllll, I think you are CLOSE to nailing it but at least for me there is one MAJOR DIFFERENCE between here and slash, the FUCKING STUPID GROUPTHINK!!!!!!

        I've pondered this problem for a long time and the conclusion I came to, to prevent the GroupThink I mean, is to have actual professional moderators in each thread. The way Slashdot does it right now is they basically give deputy badges to random people on the site and say: "Now go bust somebody!" What do those deputies do? They mod down the people who use the smartphone OS they hate. Imagine what would happen if somebody interested in maintaining civility, as opposed to whatever side of the walled garden they're on, came in and undid the negative mods on posts that clearly didn't deserve it.

        I know my approach doesn't cover all the bases, but it's easy to implement and doesn't actually restrict anybody's freedoms. It just means: "If you spend a mod point unfairly, you might lose it!"

        --
        Slashdolt logic: 1600 x 1200 > 1920 x 1200
    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by kebes on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:23AM

      by kebes (1505) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:23AM (#24805)
      I agree that opportunity is a big part of it. I think it's entirely natural that the "percentage of users who comment" will decrease as the user-base grows:
      - As there are more users and more comments, the opportunity to say something new/different decreases. So a given user is less likely to post.
      - As there are more users and commenters, the pace of commenting rapidly increases. Thus, to get in a comment (and have a chance of it being seen/moderated/appreciated) is more and more difficult (you have to jump on the story as soon as it is posted). If you don't get in 'early', your chances are low. This decreases the likelihood of commenting, because the user feels like it is pointless.
      - As the community grows in size, hostility tends to increase. This is both because for a given percentage of trolls, a bigger community will of course have a large absolute number of trolls. But it's even worse, because in a big community, people feel more anonymous and tend to be less polite. Worse still, trolls tend to gravitate towards large communities so that they can get more attention. The end result is that it decreases one's desire to comment. Even if troll comments are always knocked-down to -1, the community-at-large likely won't read them, but the commenter likely will read them. Even though we all know trolls are idiots, dealing with a bunch of hostile comments (or comments that totally miss the point you were trying to make) gets tiring and causes people to lose interest in commenting.

      It's also worth noting that SN, by the nature of its inception, has created a selection effect: the most motivated people, those most 'passionate' about commenting, were the first to jump over here. As time goes on the demographic will likely shift towards having more lurkers.

      I'm not sure that a decreasing percentage of commenters is in itself a bad thing. It seems somewhat natural. In fact, I think it's necessary to have some subset of people who are lurkers. There's nothing wrong with it (e.g. you may be a lurker on one site but active on another). In open-source software, some users may never contribute code or even bugfixes. But they still play a role (evangelizing, giving the contributors a sense of purpose, ...). It's the same for a website.

      On the other hand, I get the argument that we want the community strongly engaged, and commenting is one obvious measure of engagement (it takes much more effort to post than to just skip). So, I'm all for strategies that make commenting easier and more fun. But I would just caution against trying to maximize a particular metric (like "% commenting"): at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is that we're all enjoying the site.
      • (Score: 1) by CoolHand on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:50AM

        by CoolHand (438) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:50AM (#24926)

        hmmmm...
        I wonder if some sort of "blind commenting" system could be implemented where for the first x amount of time comments aren't displayed -- no one can see them besides moderators. That would give everyone time to put out initial comments without being intimidated by the number of other posts that may cover the same ground.. Moderators could make sure the best well thought out comments covering the same subject matter rise to the top...

        I dunno... just brainstorming

        --
        Anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job-Douglas Adams
        • (Score: 2) by Common Joe on Wednesday April 02 2014, @02:51PM

          by Common Joe (33) <{common.joe.0101} {at} {gmail.com}> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @02:51PM (#25118) Journal

          Interesting. I don't think I agree with trying this, but since we're brainstorming, I have another crazy idea. Don't show the name of the commenter for a fixed amount of time, but allow moderation and replies. Perhaps make an exception for friends or enemies.

          I don't know if I like my own suggestion, but as you said, just brainstorming.

      • (Score: 2) by etherscythe on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:57PM

        by etherscythe (937) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:57PM (#25085)

        I agree with pretty much all of this. I was a long-time lurker on the other site until I finally made an account, and over the course of maybe a year managed to get a few +2's and +3's and a SINGLE +5. Many times I would continue to lurk because someone had made a comment pretty much exactly making the point I would have, in which case it came down to whether I had mod points to give them or not.

        I would add that there's a large convenience factor involved. The other site has inline expansion of comments, which when I am modding and looking for interesting comments to mod up, is a very good thing. Here, I think we see only the more determined commenters sticking out the rougher experience, as well as already having more of the "frontier" personalities as parent post mentions, due to age and circumstances of this site's genesis.

        Right now there aren't so many comments that I feel the need to trim them down with a visibility threshold, but if we get inline expansion and the site userbase goes up, this will probably change. It will probably help encourage discussion when it's easier to keep track of the threads also, so that the same subtopic doesn't spring up in different places and fracture the discussion.

    • (Score: -1) by Bill, Shooter Of Bul on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:41AM

      by Bill, Shooter Of Bul (3170) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:41AM (#24839)

      This, and the fact that at one point this site was broken in such a way that I couldn't comment. With the lower userbase here than on /., moderation is quite a bit more harsh. Slashdot style moderation only works with a higher level of scale.

      Pipedot on the other hand and seems to get that right.

      Also, stop calling it a community. It makes me throw up. Its not the right word for what this is either. This site seems to be a collaborative effort, no doubt. But my requirements for what makes a community are much higher than that. My coworkers and I are not a community. Using that word at this point in the site's history is very disingenuous. Especially with the drama associated with it.

      • (Score: 4, Insightful) by weeds on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:00AM

        by weeds (611) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:00AM (#24867) Journal

        com-mu-ni-ty
        noun
        1. a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
        2. a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.

        By definition, this is a community.
        It may be that none of the above applies to you. That does not make this any less of a community.

        --
        Get the strategic plan going! [dev.soylentnews.org]
      • (Score: 1) by Yog-Yogguth on Thursday April 03 2014, @04:44AM

        by Yog-Yogguth (1862) on Thursday April 03 2014, @04:44AM (#25428) Journal

        Hmm how about a commons? It's what this place really is; a digital commons. And in case that doesn't suit you then another english word: pub :D

        (Why you're currently moderated -1 is beyond me, hopefully someone fixes that here or elsewhere).

        --
        Buck Feta? Duck Fice! And Guck Foogle too!
    • (Score: 1) by Tramii on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:56AM

      by Tramii (920) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:56AM (#24937)

      "On Slashdot, I would read a discussion, see the comments and then note that I did not have anything to add that hadn't already been said. I did moderate from time to time."

      Pretty much this. Any time I have something actually useful/interesting/insightful to post, someone else has already posted it, and so I end up modding them up and moving on. If there comes a time when I have something to say and no one else has said it, I will definitely post it. But for now, I guess I will keep "lurking".

    • (Score: 2) by morgauxo on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:32PM

      by morgauxo (2082) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:32PM (#25041)

      I would agree with this. Also.. even if I didn't see my thought already written by someone else when there is a sea of 1000s of comments already who is going to bother to read mine? I like that Soylent is smaller. But.. with time.. more will arrive.

      Then again I often commented anyway so maybe my thoughts aren't relevant.

  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by fliptop on Wednesday April 02 2014, @07:55AM

    by fliptop (1666) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @07:55AM (#24724) Journal

    I always logged in on /. when reading, but rarely commented unless the discussion was new or I had specific knowledge of a topic and felt my thoughts would be helpful. The problem I see at /. is there's so many users that a discussion gets tons of comments very quickly, and even if you don't count all the GNAA and frosty piss ones, it's difficult to see how adding a comment at the end of a list of 200 or more other ones will ever get read. So what's the point of posting?

    I think SN has attracted an active and involved userbase from /. and these users want this site to succeed so they're apt to participate more. I'd rather read a comment thread w/ 20-30 posts that are of high quality than one that has 200 of which half are "frosty piss" or "mod parent up" types.

    --
    If you have second thoughts about booking a trip to an Indian casino, is it a reservation reservation reservation?
    • (Score: 2, Insightful) by khakipuce on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:33AM

      by khakipuce (233) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:33AM (#24754)

      Me too, unless I felt I could contribute something I didn't bother, here with few comments there is more opportunity to comment.

      One of the worst things that the other site did (and is happening all over the web) is posting videos. Life is too short to sit through a video, I can skim read text to get a quick view on whether it worth me spending time on. That and some of the blatant advertising posts just caused me to avoid those posts, or skim them for a synopsis but then by the time someone had posted a synopsis there were too many other posts to make commenting worthwhile.

      BTW (and may be I shouldn't say this on here) do you still visit the other site? I do but pretty much entirely for alternative headlines. Since SN launched I have contributed very little to /.

      • (Score: 2) by fliptop on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:40AM

        by fliptop (1666) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:40AM (#24761) Journal

        do you still visit the other site?

        I do, but not every day like here (and like I used to do there). In fact, I posted a comment last week and that's something I had not done in many months.

        I browse /. now mostly to "fill in the gaps" although lately there haven't been that many.

        --
        If you have second thoughts about booking a trip to an Indian casino, is it a reservation reservation reservation?
        • (Score: 2) by Hairyfeet on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:02AM

          by Hairyfeet (75) <{bassbeast1968} {at} {gmail.com}> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:02AM (#24942)

          I have all but quit slash myself because its quite obvious that...well "its dying" for lack of a better word. I came to slash because I liked CONVERSATIONS, where posts became actual DIALOGS with people of differing views from all walks of life. Thanks to this I had string theory explained to me by somebody from CERN, talked about low power PC designs from somebody that actually worked at the factory, it was interesting and engaging.

          Now a good 90%+ of posts are never responded to, there aren't any conversations going (unless you call whoring for karma a "conversation") and if you remove the obvious shills, the trolls, and the "frosty piss, mod up" kind of BS? The discussions are all but gone. Its just not an enjoyable place to be which is why I recently removed slash from my bookmarks bar and replaced it with Soylent, at least here actual dialogs and discussion does exist.

          • (Score: 2) by Common Joe on Wednesday April 02 2014, @02:59PM

            by Common Joe (33) <{common.joe.0101} {at} {gmail.com}> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @02:59PM (#25124) Journal

            I get both Soylent News and Slashdot via RSS feed. I start with Soylent News. (Duh. Much higher quality.) I scan the titles and then maybe the summaries if it looks interesting. I'll look at comments if I feel there could be something there. Only higher quality comments pop out in my RSS reader. If I feel like moderating, I'll log in for an interesting story and skim at a lower level looking for things to moderate. If I'm reading a story and something looks like it's worth commenting to, I'll do it. It's much harder to do this kind of thing at Slashdot because I'm drowned out by all the other voices unless I post early. Often, I don't have anything that interesting to say.

            For this story, it looked really important, so I logged in and started commenting.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @05:51PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @05:51PM (#25227)

            slash[...]"its dying"

            Weekends tend to be the lightest days there but it usually spills over to a 2nd page.
            I had grabbed the Google Cache[1] from the previous Sunday;
            the front page over there fit on a single page.
            Yup, it's headed for insignificance and getting there fast.

            [1] No pagehits for /. that way.

            -- gewg_

          • (Score: 2) by mrcoolbp on Friday May 02 2014, @04:48PM

            by mrcoolbp (68) <mrcoolbp@dev.soylentnews.org> on Friday May 02 2014, @04:48PM (#25779)

            test-comment

            --
            (Score:1^½, Radical)
      • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Woods on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:15AM

        by Woods (2726) <woods12@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:15AM (#24791)

        I have /. on my feed reader, and I am consistently about 100 stories behind, which means I am stuck about a week in the past. While it is good to get fully developed conversations in the comments, it means I cannot comment on anything.

        I feel like the down side of SN is that the stories are posted too quickly to allow decent conversation to happen in the comments. I keep seeing stories with less than 10 comments on it, and I keep asking nobody in particular what the point is of the site. Is it to post news stories, or have conversations about news stories.

        Maybe I am just looking at it all incorrectly, and the purpose is to just get the news out there, with the comments being a bonus.

        I guess I am really saying that I use /. solely for the comments and conversations on my favorite subjects, because SN does not have that (Yet). My favorite thread was when a guy who studied octopi all his life just started answering all the random questions everyone was asking, even though I do not really care about the subject, it was still immensely more interesting that the actual story.

        • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:19AM

          by Nerdfest (80) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:19AM (#24961)

          This sounds bang-on with what I'm doing. I'm quite upset about the way they treated the users and I tend to be a little more bitter when I feel wronged. I'm still boybotting Sony for example, and generally avoid Microsoft after the ISO fiasco.

          The do have good stories though, and some of the regulars did not leave and make good comments. That said, I don't comment. The really annoying part if that I finally started getting mod points after the last 4 or 5 years, but I'm really not interested in using them.

          • (Score: 1) by Woods on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:40PM

            by Woods (2726) <woods12@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:40PM (#25046)

            Since I have become eligible for mod points, I have been getting them seemingly every other day on Slashdot. Sometimes as often as twice a day. I never really see the use of them anyway, I always browse at -1 so I can see everything, it is easy enough to just scroll through a trash thread.

            On SN, there are so few comments that every time I get mod points, I have no idea what to do with them. I end up being torn between posting more comments so I have more things to mod, and actually modding things by avoiding posting comments. SN, y u so paradox?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 03 2014, @04:09AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 03 2014, @04:09AM (#25417)

          You reference squidflakes
          He rocks
            http://slashdot.org/~squidflakes [slashdot.org]

            http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=2525242&cid=38 066216 [slashdot.org]

    • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:05PM

      by tangomargarine (667) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:05PM (#25019)

      Does anybody know how to find one's oldest comments on Slashdot? After digging around, the best I could do in their current interface is get to page 65 which cuts off in 2013 and claims "no further comments" after that. And heck, I got an article submission accepted in 2010.

      My google-fu doesn't seem to be strong enough either, as searching on a date yields that date in the article, and Google fights me if I try -2014 -2013 -2012...

      --
      A Discordian is Prohibited of Believing what he reads.
    • (Score: 1) by GeriatricGentleman on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:25PM

      by GeriatricGentleman (1192) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:25PM (#25296)

      I lurked for years. And years. I like reading viewpoints of experts and idiots - and often the dissension (and sometimes the condescension) taught me much.

      I loved how often the ignorance would often be answered with insight and humour. Knowing how stupidity was propogated cheered me considerably (and kept me calm and amused) when dealing with relatives who think Fox news is the real pulpit of truth.

      The commentary on tech, physics, the review of legal cases, chemistry, climate change - all sorts of things...I am smarter because of the insight coming from the community.

      I never registered. Never commented. Even when I felt I had something to contribute.

      But beta was completely unusable. I couldn't lurk and digest the commentary any more. So here I am. I haven't been back to see if beta was abandoned or fixed.

      I registered cos I want to help this place succeed. I don't really want to comment, I just want the richness that comes from many people sharing their knowledge.

      Sigh, ok ok - I guess I can make a comment a week and will try and do a submission a month (that would actually be helping) but in truth, I would rather just pay a subscription and not bother...

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by michealpwalls on Wednesday April 02 2014, @07:56AM

    by michealpwalls (3920) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @07:56AM (#24726) Homepage

    Although I don't claim to have the answer, good question!

    I feel more comfortable here. Here I feel like people might actually read and reply to my comment, so I feel as though I have an opportunity to participate here. Like the comment before mine noted, maybe a lot of it comes down to opportunity. Also a noticeable lack of "noise".

    I lurked /. for a long time. I had an account, although stopped posting (who knows when hehe). When I did post, it would automatically be such a low rating that nobody could see and therefore nobody could reply. I felt like I was talking to myself and/or simply being fed articles by the "editors" and had no place in the discussions.

    ./ turned into a bunch of people agreeing with each other, I found. Maybe it is a moderation thing, but it seems like the not-so-popular commentary are down-voted into the abyss while the same old song and dance bubbles to the top every time.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Kell on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:35AM

      by Kell (292) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:35AM (#24756)

      Hi Michael! I have read your comment and am duly replying to it. :)
       
      I confess, I saw more disagreeing on the other site than I see here - and sometimes virulently flaming disagreement. I like the small-town feel of SN - it's so much more friendly, like it's ok to be civil again.
       
      There's a old saying in website administration: you get the forums you deserve. SN, by nature of its active and deliberate embrace of its community (nee "audience") has attracted the right kind of contributors and the right kind of culture.

      --
      Scientists point out problems. Engineers fix them.
      • (Score: 1) by broggyr on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:18AM

        by broggyr (3589) <broggyrNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:18AM (#24797)

        I disagree!! :D

        Seriously, 'small-town feeling' is an accurate description. I dig it.

        --
        Taking things out of context since 1972.
    • (Score: 1) by meisterister on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:28AM

      by meisterister (949) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:28AM (#24905)

      You bring up a good point about the other site. We really do need to avoid the groupthink here. Perhaps we could have the ability to post in agreement or disagreement, such that both are fairly visible (such as if they are side by side). Furthermore, if someone mods a comment that was posted explicitly in agreement, then they shouldn't be allowed to moderate the comments that were posted in disagreement.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by cmn32480 on Wednesday April 02 2014, @07:57AM

    by cmn32480 (443) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @07:57AM (#24728) Journal

    I too was fairly active at one point on the other site, but became a logged in perma-lurker. I have commented more here since launch then I commented on the other site in the last 5+ years.

    The biggest issue I had on the other site was that it, frankly, got too big. The SNR became so bad that it wasn't worth it. I still read some articles and browsed the comments at -1, but it became a chore to filter the handful of good stuff from the trash.

    Since I came here, I have found a VERY nice SNR. The vast majority of the postings here are quality. The signal degradation will happen as the site grows in popularity, it is inevitable. The process is accelerated buy allowing the AC to post, but this is an important thing in this community, and I think it should stay that way, but the SNR will increase as teh site gains in popularity.

    I know I'm not as invested as some in this site, but it has very quickly become a part of my day, most every day. I'm not exactly sure why, but I actually care that the site does well. Maybe it is because right now it is the one place I have that I don't have to filter the crap (at home I still change diapers, that counts as filtering crap, right?). The commenters haven't gotten really snarky yet, and it is actually a place that the discussion is fostered, instead of becoming a flame war over everything (Even the Apple vs. Samsung discussions haven't been too awful).

    God knows many of the folks on staff have put their entire lives virtually on hold for the last several months. And you all deserve a huge amount of credit for what you have done.

    Short version: The SNR is currently really good, and it seems like the staff and the community want the site to succeed.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:20AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:20AM (#24743)

      Another thing is that Slashdot publish a lot of articles every day so if you haven't logged on in a few days you're quickly 100+ articles behind.

    • (Score: 1) by inyoutees on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:53AM

      by inyoutees (1320) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:53AM (#24768)

      I'm going to reply here because I think I agree that the signal to noise ratio is something nearer the top of the list of answers to your questions than the bottom. I'm not entirely sure how, though.

      My story: 313173 on the other site. No idea when that was, but probably early 00's or late 90's when I first got into open source & computing. I apparently had a comment modded up in 2009 (yay achievements!) but honestly don't really remember if I've posted more than 2-3 times ever on the other site. I think I subscribed at some point, just from a monetary support standpoint, but never really got involved in commenting. I hadn't logged in in years until people started posting about altslashdot, just to find out my UID and how long I'd actually been around. Lurking has a way of making time fly and suddenly you feel old.

      My browsing (historically): I tend to either be busy and not come by at all, or show up 2-4 times throughout the day to make a quick read of whatever has been posted. I'll typically not spend more than 15-30 minutes engaged at a time, which usually means finding one story that piques my interest, reading TFA, and then browsing comments. On high-comment stories I'd limit myself to +4s and +5s, otherwise maybe +3s. Historically I've avoided moderating. I think I've enjoyed comments mostly as a way of learning more about the story/subject, and expanding my perspective. I've been getting out of IT for years now, so I don't often have a dog in the fight, but I still love the subjects. The best parts of the ./ comment system were learning/following some of the posters that I enjoyed, and seeing the best comments bubble to the top in a way that worked. Reddit/etc simply has never really worked for me in that way. Too much time to find the good comments/information, I think.

      My Soylent activity: I'm still not big on the name and probably one of the few still using the altslashdot redirect because I find it easier. But that's beside the point. It's honestly about the same here. Brief visits, where I enjoy reading comments (learning) and the actual story without having to put in a ton of work (remember, this is my "mental break" from real work) trying to find the good information. I am always logged in here, and I moderate every time I have points, which is new(er) for me, but have enjoyed as it feels that it makes more of a difference than on the other site. I typically don't spend more than 3-4 of my points, then go on about my day until my next visit.

      The first few weeks here, I was disappointed when a story only had 10 comments, but I've come around to thinking I don't really miss much on a 10-comment Soylent story compared to a 200-comment story on the other site. (I haven't visited the other site outside of your links in this story, and don't really miss it) I find I browse on lower comment thresholds here (0 or +1 sometimes) which makes me think the signal to noise ratio is a much more important factor than I would have thought if you had randomly asked me on the street. I don't post usually, but want to contribute to the site's success. That said, it's rare for me to 1) have a particularly new/insightful comment that someone else here hasn't already mentioned or is a better expert, and 2) my visits are usually fairly time-limited. This is one of the few sites I gather any news from (no FB, avoid the 24hr news networks like the plague, etc), and I figure if something in the world is important enough, it'll figure out a way to find me. Soylent is a great way for me to be an armchair IT/geek/nerd/whatever without having to work in the field any longer.

      Hope that helps.

    • (Score: 2) by tibman on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:05AM

      by tibman (134) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:05AM (#24877)

      The commenters haven't gotten really snarky yet, and it is actually a place that the discussion is fostered, instead of becoming a flame war over everything..
      I second this. Sometimes i am reluctant to post because my knowledge in the article area isn't enough to defend myself with. You needed some really thick skin on slashdot. Which is probably why so many people posted AC.

      --
      SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
  • (Score: 2) by randmcnatt on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:07AM

    by randmcnatt (671) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:07AM (#24730) Homepage
    I gave up on /. mainly due to the number of articles and sheer quantity (and quality) of comments. By the time I could get to a story I was interested in there would be 100s of comments, and I just didn't have time to read through a fraction of them (I generally enjoy the 1s and 0s as well as any others). The politicization of even the techie-ist of subjects was off-putting. And I was usually unwilling to put out the effort to make a comment knowing it would probably be duplicative or get lost in the morass of comments.

    So far, SN gives me a chance to contribute (one of the topic icons is my design) and allows me to actually read all the comments.
    --
    The Wright brothers were not the first to fly: they were the first to land.
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by kebes on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:35AM

      by kebes (1505) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:35AM (#24826)
      This is true for me also. On /. my contributions decreased over time simply because I became more busy in the rest of my life. It takes quite a bit of effort to compose a meaningful comment on a technical article. I try to make my comments 'count', which usually means I'm doing some web-searches to add links and make sure that my understanding is supported by the facts. The comment becomes a miniature research paper, which takes time and effort to generate. Obviously a purely opinion-based reply is much faster to compose. But even so, I try to proof-read and refine my argument before posting it. In fact, I would say that I only post about 50% of the comments that I compose: frequently I write something but I can tell I'm not being clear enough (and worry that I will be misunderstood), so I just delete the poorly-worded comment and move on to something else.

      Maybe I take commenting too seriously, but I'm sure I'm not the only one (based on the high quality of other comments I see). If I'm busy on a given day, I simply don't have the time to post intelligent replies, so I post nothing at all. SN has reinvigorated me, so I've been trying to make time to engage... but admittedly not as often as I'd like.

      It's obviously impossible for SN to make people less busy in the rest of their lives. But I will say that having a very slick and responsive UI on the site (for reading comments, composing comments, etc.) can help make commenting faster and easier. (E.g. when you preview, it could check links for you and warn you if one of them is malformed, leads to a 404, etc.) Also having feedback that your comment was appreciated of course helps make it feel worthwhile (moderation is one such feedback, of course).
    • (Score: 2) by TheRaven on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:45AM

      by TheRaven (270) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:45AM (#24920) Journal
      I've seen this from a few people and I don't understand it at all. I still frequently comment on the other place because there are enough comments that I'm participating in a discussion. Here, most of the time there are no comments so there's nothing to respond to. Posting just in response to the article is far less interesting than joining in a debate about the article.
      --
      sudo mod me up
      • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:28PM

        by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:28PM (#25037) Homepage Journal

        I think a lot of it is they never see the discussions in the various branches on the other site. I've been involved in a few, but more and more, they just stopped happening, and are IMHO, a rarity. This is further compounded you need to be reading at 1/2, and due to moderation being fucked, its hard to read due to the high S/N.

        --
        Still always moving ...
    • (Score: 1) by Maddog on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:39AM

      by Maddog (690) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:39AM (#24984)

      I've only commented briefly here, but that's because life is too busy. Like others I too want to form a well rounded thought before submitting. I'm usually just browsing the site during brief mind breaks at work, so I cannot commit to lengthy stays. So a site that I can peruse quickly, get a thought out, and then go back to something else works well for my schedule.

      Since the S/N ratio here is much better, it allows me to spend less time parsing through the comments to get to some decent meat.

      Over at Slashdot my only hope was to view at high thresholds, which only provided those comments that passed the group-think filters. The good bits that were at 1-2 never came to the surface and I don't have the time to click "load more, load more, load more, load more" then scroll through the hundreds of comments to get to something good.

      Sometimes smaller is better! I'm curious to see how this site grows.

  • (Score: 1) by AndyTheAbsurd on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:08AM

    by AndyTheAbsurd (3958) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:08AM (#24732)

    There's a lot of things going on over at that over site that are, individually, not a problem, but put together as a whole make me stay out of the discussion and often not even bother with the site at all. The target audience has changed over the years, from the hardcore nerds to a much broader audience. The news stories don't hit the front page as quickly as I feel that they should - when I first discovered the site in the late 1990s, Slashdot would often post links within minutes of them going live on the web; now, you're lucky if something hits the front page two days later. The discussion have become SO huge that they're often impossible to keep track of.

    That's all I can think of right now, but it's still early in the morning and I haven't had a whole lot of caffeine yet.

    Also: We have IRC? Why didn't I notice this earlier?!

    • (Score: 2, Informative) by AndyTheAbsurd on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:31AM

      by AndyTheAbsurd (3958) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:31AM (#24753)

      Oh, another thing that just hit me that annoys me about slashdot: Article summaries that are just the first paragraph of the article pasted into the description. Especially bad when it's a two- or three-paragraph article.

      • (Score: 2) by Blackmoore on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:10AM

        by Blackmoore (57) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:10AM (#24784) Journal

        As a submitter here (something I NEVER did at /.) the quality of the submission is limited to our ability to write.

        and frankly - I'm not a journalist; and it shows. I write stuff up and it looks like some fifth grade level attempt. it's not a language barrier - it's a style i just don't grasp; so it is often better for everyone if i grab some part of the original article and use that to draw people in. Not that i'm happy about it.

        I lurked the old site since the 90's. Occasionally posted snarky comments as an AC. most of time there were too many stories, and so many comments that i felt that my voice really didn't matter to the discussion. every point i would have made was made by other people and usually articulated better than i ever had.

        Here - I'm helping to build a community. if i go back to lurking i'm afraid others will too; and that leads to site death. (I'm looking at you technocrat. Pipedot? you need to work on that)

      • (Score: 3, Insightful) by maxwell demon on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:53PM

        by maxwell demon (1608) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:53PM (#25156)

        There's a good reason to that: If you take the time to write a well-written summary, you can bet on being beaten by someone else doing a quick copy/paste job (I've made very few — unsuccessful — story submissions there, but almost every time this happened). So it's only rational to do it yourself (or not submit further stories at all, which I decided to do): You don't want to waste your time doing a lot of work, only to be beaten by someone doing an easy copy/paste job, and if your copy/paste story doesn't get selected, at least you wasted no time. The result is, of course, even more copy/paste stories, and thus an even higher penalty for writing good summaries.

        --
        The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
        • (Score: 2) by mrcoolbp on Wednesday April 02 2014, @06:35PM

          by mrcoolbp (68) <mrcoolbp@dev.soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @06:35PM (#25246)

          As an editor here I can tell you: a well-written summary is much more likely to be accepted.

          --
          (Score:1^½, Radical)
          • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Wednesday April 02 2014, @06:51PM

            by maxwell demon (1608) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @06:51PM (#25255)

            I guess that's why the stories here are of much higher quality. Note that in this subthread we were discussing a problem of Slashdot.

            --
            The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
  • (Score: 1) by MorbidBBQ on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:09AM

    by MorbidBBQ (3210) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:09AM (#24733)

    I don't comment, because by the time I see an article, my comment has already been said. It might not have been said the same way, maybe with more insight, research, and knowledge - but generally the same.

    It's not worth it to dispute comments I disagree with. Someone has already done it.

    I wish I could moderate more often, but I see how that could be abused.

    • (Score: 1) by spxero on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:26AM

      by spxero (3061) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:26AM (#24750)

      I'm with you- by the time I read the story the hundreds of comments would say what I was going to say or had a question about anyway. I always tried to moderate, but the points were often so few and far between I just stopped logging in at some point.

      I've commented more here in the past two or three weeks than I have in three years over at the other site. To be honest, this community feeling and being smaller is kind of a nice change of pace.

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by irfan on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:10AM

    by irfan (84) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:10AM (#24734)

    I was UID 119388 on that other site, but never ever commented. I think I moderated once. I read the comments (and articles too) not logged in, so that categorises me as a lurker. There were simply so many good comments, that I had no reason to log in, and have my say. Also, I forgot my other-site-password and lost the email account I registered it with along the way, so no hope of ever retrieving that again. But I haven't been over there since SN launched, so I guess I won't ever need it again anyway.

    The beta layout annoyed me as I was mostly there for the comments, so when a movement started forming as a protest, I immediately jumped on to support it. I haven't posted in SN yet (this is my first post), but I have done my share of moderation to support the site. I guess that I feel I need to do my part for SN to become successful.

    • (Score: 2) by mcgrew on Thursday April 03 2014, @09:06AM

      by mcgrew (701) on Thursday April 03 2014, @09:06AM (#25555) Homepage Journal

      Also, I forgot my other-site-password and lost the email account I registered it with along the way, so no hope of ever retrieving that again.

      Don't be so sure. I registered there in the '90s with a 5 digit UID, and got preoccupied with my own web sites and didn't log in for quite a while. Then I found K5, then still a thriving community (Soylent kind of reminds me of the old K5). K5 started filling with trolls and I went back to slashdot. I'd changed ISPs three or four times, and my email address with them, forgot tyhe password and thought that UID was gone forever and re-registered with a six digit UID.

      I mentioned it in a journal and someone suggested I write their help desk. I supplied all the email addresses I'd had, and got the old account back.

      I haven't been there much since soylent started. Like someone mentioned earlier there are too many non-nerds there these days. I mean really, complaining about NASA getting tax money ON A NERD SITE is simply trolling, yet many of these anti-science comments get modded up. It's gotten ridiculous.

      I like it here.

      --
      Free Nobots! [mcgrewbooks.com]
      • (Score: 1) by irfan on Thursday April 03 2014, @09:46AM

        by irfan (84) on Thursday April 03 2014, @09:46AM (#25592)

        Thank you for the information, but I doubt Dice will drop the beta, and since we have SN now, there probably isn't much chance of me going back to the other site (unless it too starts filling up with trolls, which I don't hope).

  • (Score: 2) by sl4shd0rk on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:14AM

    by sl4shd0rk (613) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:14AM (#24737)

    If an article is posted that I simply have no interest in or it's been rehashed a thousand times, I pass over the entire discussion. A reason I'll refrain from posting comments is when many of the threads just get way off-topic in that reddit-esque style where someone makes a comment and then someone else puts a clever spin on a reply with the entire thread dissolving into a slur of puns or innuendo not even resembling a discussion on the original topic. It's clever, random and funny but really, it's just another for of thread hijacking.

  • (Score: 2) by TheloniousToady on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:14AM

    by TheloniousToady (820) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:14AM (#24738)

    Regarding the other site, my story is just the converse of NCommander's. I lurked there for many years but only got an account and began posting there about six months ago. The reason is that whenever I put in a comment as Anonymous Coward, it just disappeared. At first, I thought I had made a mistake, but when that happened repeatedly, I thought, "Why bother wasting my time with this?" So, I continued lurking.

    Knowing what I know now, I understand why AC posts disappeared. Yet I would have created an account and began posting regularly many years before if only there had been some brief blurb explaining that my AC post hadn't really vaporized, but might be promoted and seen. Likewise, there could have been a message to the affect of "please create an account if you would like to see your own posts". In retrospect, it's a darn shame that nobody got to enjoy my thoughts over those many years of lurking due to a simple misunderstanding about how the system worked - one that could have been fixed by showing a sentence or two after each AC post.

    Assuming SN currently works the same way due to its Slashcode heritage, I think this is a simple thing that could be fixed (at some point) that would encourage new account creation: just show a couple of sentences explaining what happened to the comment to an AC each time he posts. Of course, that could/should be omitted for logged-in users who have chosen to post as AC.

    • (Score: 2) by TheloniousToady on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:22AM

      by TheloniousToady (820) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:22AM (#24745)

      Here's a really simple solution: just show something like "Your post hasn't really disappeared. See here [link to another page] for details." Then, have a static page with a full explanation, as well as some encouraging words about why you should create an account. (Most folks resist creating accounts unless they find some real advantage in it that makes it worth their time and trouble.)

      • (Score: 2, Interesting) by len_harms on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:37AM

        by len_harms (1904) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:37AM (#24758) Journal

        I stopped posting using my account a long time ago. As the responses became rather derogatory if you got some detail wrong. It was quite annoying. With huge spirals of why that detail was so wrong. Usually ignoring my original point. So I started posting AC as I just wanted to vent and did not care if anyone responded.

        Some people used the site to get their OCD on. I got tired of being part of that. https://xkcd.com/386/ [xkcd.com]

        Some people were using it to show off how politically connected and up to date they were. Yawn. These discussions usually ended up with particular views modded up and the interesting ones modded down. It is clear someone is 'managing' their image here. Another thing we should keep an eye out for here. As I detest being manipulated.

        I still post on the other site too. As there are good discussions there. But many times they are just hate fests of pedantic where only youtube comments are worse.

        • (Score: 0, Troll) by Grishnakh on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:21AM

          by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:21AM (#24801)

          As the responses became rather derogatory if you got some detail wrong. It was quite annoying. With huge spirals of why that detail was so wrong.

          I hate to break it to you, but this kind of thing is absolutely unavoidable on an internet site populated by techies. That's just the kind of personality many of them have. If you want to avoid that, you should go to Reddit, and only go to subreddits dealing with totally non-tech stuff, like maybe women's issues or something like that (I'm not saying there's anything wrong with a women's issues subreddit, I only say that because off the top of my head it's one place I can think of where you probably won't find any perfectionist geeks with poor social skills.) Of course, the discussion there might not be very interesting to you, but hey, you can't have everything.

          The only reason you're not seeing as much of it here is because the site is still quite small.

          • (Score: 1) by len_harms on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:47AM

            by len_harms (1904) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:47AM (#24844) Journal

            The only reason you're not seeing as much of it here is because the site is still quite small.

            I understand that. However, this happens everywhere and just going to another site does not stop it. Even women's issues you probably would find the nit-picker. People just do it on the internet. There was a small meme going around calling it tool-shedding. As they know something about paint they decide the whole project is wrong.

            About the only place I do not get this sort of thing is on facebook. As they know I will be merciless with them :)

            If you want to avoid that, you should go to Reddit
            I think I will give that a skip :)

            • (Score: 1) by Grishnakh on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:37AM

              by Grishnakh (2831) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:37AM (#24981)

              However, this happens everywhere and just going to another site does not stop it. Even women's issues you probably would find the nit-picker.

              I never said you'd be totally free of pedantry and nit-picking anywhere, but in a women's issues forum, you're far, far less likely to find it, I think, than in a tech forum populated by geeks. One occasional annoying person is not likely to drive you away the way a large population of them will.

              As for Facebook, the reason you don't see it there is because no one ever talks about things of substance there. They just post pictures of their latest meal, their pets, their baby's turds, and other mindless drivel.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:15AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:15AM (#24739)

    I never bothered getting an account anywhere, because by the time I saw an article, there were already 100s of comments, and a few early ones modded up, and everyone had moved on. Even if I had anything insightful to say on a topic, my comment would be so buried I might as well not add it. Too little incentive for people who might have something to add, but aren't quick enough to be one of the first comments.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by threedigits on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:21AM

    by threedigits (607) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:21AM (#24744)

    It should be obvious that most comments in /. come from 6/7 digit IDs. There are 10 times more 6-digit (and 100 times more 7 digit) IDs than 5 or less ones.

    That said, and to be bluntly honest, I think some of the people commenting in Soylent do so because they want to keep it up, not because they feel they have something to say. That's a sign of the site young age, and a bit a consequence of too much focus on comment numbers. For me it's not the number of comments what matters, but the quality.

    The reason I kept reading /. comments was the little gems you could find from from time to time. I have a couple of them saved on my hard drive as word processor documents, and I have learnt about quite a bit of things from "experts" posting directly in reaction to a news item. That's what I would like to see happening to Soylent (or Bacon, Muffin, or whatever).

    • (Score: 2) by WizardFusion on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:27AM

      by WizardFusion (498) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:27AM (#24751)

      This is it for me too.
      I was hardly ever active "over there", but here I actually want to help build this community.
      I comment, I moderate a bit, never posted a story though

      I have noticed that forums have died though, no posts for quite a while (none that I can see anyway)

      • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:20PM

        by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:20PM (#25031) Homepage Journal

        My fault. When I took over, we needed a huge internal org (I won't call it a reorg because we weren't organized before); we didn't have a staff mailing list. I didn't check the forums, and the vast majority of the staff didn't either, so they've been left to atrophey. I rather discuss on slash then in some often unknown forums; we do have this lovely discussion system here ...

        --
        Still always moving ...
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by zocalo on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:52AM

      by zocalo (302) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:52AM (#24766)
      Someone scraped the Slashdot DB at some point and plotted the frequency of posts from the 2/3/4 digit UIDs and there was a definite downward trend there; accounts are clearly going dormant for one reason or another.

      I agree it's mostly all about the quality of the posts more than the quantity, but the same applies to the stories too. There was a lot of frustration about the "Slashvertisements" and other content that seemed to exist just to benefit the site visit counter and thus search ranking and ad revenue. If our new SoylentBaconMuffin overlords can keep posting stories that match what current zeitgeist of what the readers want to see, they'll probably have a winner.

      Another factor is possibly the size of the community. There seems to be a honeymoon period on new forums where everyone is keen and (mostly) friendly, with any disputes all water under the bridge pretty quickly. As the userbase grows, things seem to be become less personal and you start seeing more trolls, flamebait, disputes and the other detritus that plagues large forums. (Perhaps the number of people assigning other posters the "Foe" status might be some kind of bell weather/metric for this, NCommander et al. might want to monitor?) I'd be inclined to let the community grow at a slower rate, rather than trying to spread the word and push on to 5/6/7 digit UIDs and millions of pageviews per day ASAP.
      --
      UNIX? They're not even circumcised! Savages!
    • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:32AM

      by VLM (445) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:32AM (#24820)

      "That's a sign of the site young age"

      Another is lack of history. I'm told this observation is incorrect and no such procedure existed but the feeling on the old site was every tuesday afternoon for MONTH we had to suffer thru yet another astroturf staffed "e-ink is wonderful and taking over the world and LCDs suck" story. And other topics of course.

      This article has gotten a lot of traction. Today. For the first time. We'll see what happens next year if every wednesday morning we have a variation on "why do you lurk?" or if its the impression provided, even if the impression doesn't match reality.

      This is also a symptom of minor evolutionary news. Article #2523 on the general topic of "Apple releases new iDevice; expensive and shiny; takes a PHD to figure out the small incremental changes" well, you can't expect article #2523 to have as many posts as article #2522, so you get a downward trend, no conspiracy theory needec

    • (Score: 1) by SecurityGuy on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:01PM

      by SecurityGuy (1453) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:01PM (#25126)

      Darn it, you beat me to it. Most comments come from 6 or 7 digit UIDs because, well, that's how numbers work. :-)

      I agree, though, I partly come here to comment because I think it'd be a pity to see this place fold just because /. ditched a UI everyone hated. Or at least hasn't switched yet. Whatever.

      That said, I do get something coming here. I haven't cared enough to deliberately compare whether the articles and commentary are better here than there. I still go there sometimes, and still some of the articles are worth reading, and some are not. Here, some are worth reading, and some are not. As long as I get something out of it, I'll probably keep coming back.

      Just don't go all kuro5hin, though. I used to read that ages ago and then it just went wacky.

  • (Score: 1) by Subsentient on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:36AM

    by Subsentient (1111) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:36AM (#24757)

    I felt the folks on /. were less "friendly". You know, overly-pedantic (to the point of near-trolling), condescending, turd sandwiches. Here, that's far less of a problem.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:42AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:42AM (#24918)

      I would agree with this. It was not always so though. Maybe the "audience" changed. Maybe I have grown. Who knows. I used to stay logged in over there. I finally deleted my account a couple years ago. The participants are quite visceral. It became rather annoying to see commentators come out of the wood-works to vilify and outright attack people that did not agree with their narrow view of things. Certain, peculiar, views were especially attacked with severity. I became tired of it all. Although I do like the news stories and some of the comments, it became something I did not want to be a member of any longer.
      As you can tell, I am still feeling this place out for that mentality. It does seem to be prevalent among the "smarter than absolutely everyone else" crowd.

    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:04AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:04AM (#24948)

      Surely the hyphens in "overly-pedantic" and "near-trolling" aren't necessary?

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:11PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:11PM (#25059)

        I see what you did there. ;)

        I definitely agree with the AC a couple posts back. Moreover, philosophically I don't see the need for an account. Who wants karma and the emotional baggage of being tracked and hounded just because of a controversial position you took on a few posts? I appreciate the option to participate as an Anonymous Coward and have my words be taken at face value.

        I never made an account on the other site, so I can't add to that narrative. I can say that I never commented as even an AC over there. I comment here because I want the site to be successful. Once things grow past a certain size, I'll likely sit back with my popcorn once again.

    • (Score: 2) by Marand on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:18PM

      by Marand (1081) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:18PM (#25137)

      I felt the folks on /. were less "friendly". You know, overly-pedantic (to the point of near-trolling), condescending, turd sandwiches. Here, that's far less of a problem.

      This was especially true if you posted as AC. The groupthink was that any post as AC was inferior and not worthy of discussion, simply for being AC. Any merit the post may have had was completely ignored by most. The only people generally willing to respond to an AC were trolls or after a fight, or would preface their comment with "I don't normally respond to AC..." or "Not wasting mod points on AC..." etc. Same thing for high-UIDs, if you didn't have a low enough UID you weren't worthy of acknowledgment.

      My story:

      Originally, I had a five-digit UID, but I didn't use it to post much, mostly lurk. Then I got busy with other things, stopped following Slashdot for a while, and when I came back I realised 1) I forgot my password, 2) my session had expired, and 3) I no longer had access to the email I registered from.

      At first, I tried daily to recall my password and log in; sure, I could have made a new account, but I figured I'd get mine back eventually. While I did this, a few stories came up that I felt like commenting on, so I did so as AC.

      It was little stuff, like answering questions or offering solutions to problems they mentioned having, usually regarding Linux or other open source software. I avoided trolling, tried to be polite even when disagreeing with someone, and always tried to provide something useful with the post. If I wrote the comment and then decided it wasn't providing something useful, I closed the tab and didn't bother. Better stuff than I ever posted while logged in, because back then I mostly lurked; I didn't have a lot of input on most topics, since I didn't know as much at the time.

      I got a few +5's out of it, which isn't exactly easy with the negative attitude against modding ACs on that site, but the entire process was fairly discouraging due to the general attitude against ACs and new accounts. I kept seeing "I don't normally respond to ACs" or "I don't waste mod points on ACs" or even "I don't normally read at 0", along with a lot of anti-anon trolling from registered users.

      Not necessarily to me, but to AC posters in general that tried to contribute meaningfully the same way I was, and just got lumped in with the assholes for their effort.

      As time went on, I quit trying to recover my account as often, until I eventually quit completely. I decided I didn't want to even have a new account; I lost my desire to contribute due to the "us vs. them" and groupthink problems and the hostility that grew from it.

      I went from commenting somewhat regularly to months in between, eventually quitting completely.

      TL;DR: Comments should be weighed by perceived merit, not arbitrary metrics like UIDs, anonymity, or groupthink. AC posters can be meaningful contributors, and how they're treated will determine whether they become community members or find somewhere else to spend their time.

      So far, this site has been much better about that, and I hope it stays that way.

  • (Score: 1) by SlySmiles on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:39AM

    by SlySmiles (3841) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:39AM (#24760)
    Understanding the beast is not simple, the dynamics are very complicated.
    I personally lurked on /. for many years, maybe posting twice in 10 years,and as plenty here have already said the reasons why.
    Don't assume linear growth of posts/users as users grows or direction changes with the same user base.
    All I can assume that building an online community with very disparate people (sure we all might like tech, be programmers etc. but the differences are larger than the similarities) is closer to mysticism than science.
    Oh, and I strongly dislike red header...
    • (Score: 1) by goodie on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:23AM

      by goodie (1877) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:23AM (#24898) Journal

      Couldn't agree more with the title. I've been talking about it over the past few weeks. There is plenty to study from a social point of view on this. By the way, what we know about online communities is still very restricted. However, a couple of things stick out: there is usually a strong but small core of active participants; around that core gravitates an important number of less frequent users and lurkers who come and go but can stay relatively stable from a pure number perspective.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by oodaloop on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:42AM

    by oodaloop (1982) <reversethis-{moc.ohoz} {ta} {ffonimakj}> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:42AM (#24762)

    I'm a nerd. But I'm not a programmer, software developer, or technical professional, so for many articles I would read the comments and learn. On those few articles that pertained to my line of work, I would contribute what I could.

    --
    Many Bothans died to bring you this comment.
    • (Score: 2) by forsythe on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:12AM

      by forsythe (831) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:12AM (#24885)

      This is pretty much my situation (although my field occasionally does come up). Most of the stories I get really interested in are about advances in specialized/niche fields (discoveries of exoplanets, advances in particle physics, changes in internals of a major OS/kernel) that are far beyond my ability. I can't make intelligent comments on those stories aside from "Wow, that's cool!".

      One of the initial draws of The Other Site was that there were intelligent comments beyond "Wow, that's cool", and it's a feature which I'm happy to see has carried over to this site. There are experts in the community who can comment. I don't want to drown out those experts, so unless I can make a useful contribution (or I am overwhelmed with the desire to make a pop culture reference) I lurk.

    • (Score: 2) by tibman on Wednesday April 02 2014, @02:24PM

      by tibman (134) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @02:24PM (#25095)

      Completely agree. You can't be an expert on everything. When an article shows up in your area it is a lot of fun to join the discussion. But trying to converse with other experts outside your knowledge area can be challenging. You can ask questions and post opinions but it is really a fairly one-sided conversation (information/facts flowing in only one direction).

      --
      SN won't survive on lurkers alone. Write comments.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:57AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:57AM (#24772)

    This post made me realize I should probably go ahead and make an account, but the registration form seems to be missing the Nickname field, so I can't.
    (I'm using Chrome if that helps).

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by xlefay on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:08AM

      by xlefay (65) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:08AM (#24781) Journal

      nope, was a mistake on our part. It's being fixed. Sorry about that!

      Also, for everyone else who notices a mistake, please join us on IRC and let us know or report the bug on github! https://github.com/SoylentNews/slashcode/issues [github.com]

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:20AM

      by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:20AM (#24800) Homepage Journal

      Fixed.

      The appropriate parties have been flogged, tarred, and feathered.

      Now if you will excuse me, I have to go remove this tar and feathers, and find some pain killers.

      --
      Still always moving ...
      • (Score: 1) by jcross on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:27AM

        by jcross (4009) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:27AM (#24815)

        Yay, I registered. Thanks for the fast response!

  • (Score: 2, Insightful) by gishzida on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:02AM

    by gishzida (2870) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:02AM (#24774) Journal

    We're small... Many of us are older [I have found myself truly surprised at the number of folks that are nearly my age]. Many of us are experts at what we do [tho' some of us (such as myself) can fake it pretty good too]. The Feta Duck fiasco of the other place seems to have given many of us renewed purpose.

    On the other site I had the number 591028... I rarely saw a three digit or two digit ID post. I listened to the rabble... and read some of the articles... commented occasionally... had "excellent karma"... though I am unaware how that occurred unless they were giving points for just showing up... I think in the 12 or so years I was there I tried to submit one article about Amazon scraping data from Kindle users email... which was rejected... here I've submitted something like 8 articles and 6 were accepted [more users means larger story queue]. I wrote in my journal maybe three times or four over there... here I used it regularly... My comments over there were maybe one or two times a month... yes I was a logged-in user, and yes I doubly did not see any ad nor did I see Beta [except once or twice by my own choice and thought it ugly]. I had no friends there at all. It was as anonymous and as tasteful as a concrete prison.

    I had no reason to leave there except... the whole Beta thing just plain pissed me off... I have gotten tired of "Corporate double-speak" and the "monetization of everything". I'm not Mr. Social. I have very few RL friends. But it seems that imposing their commercialization scheme DICE had become the epitome of all Evil H.R. Drones... My last post there was in response to their Beta post which I will quote here so you don't have to go there:

    ***
    "We want to take our current content and all the stuff that matters to this community and deliver it on a site that still speaks to the interests and habits of our current audience, but that is, at the same time, more accessible and shareable by a wider audience."

    You think we are that dumb? "Wider Audience???? Really?

    So why not just come out and say you want to turn Slashdot into something other than Slashdot because you need to monetize the investment.

    Does telling the truth to your users hurt your sales and marketing training that much? Go ahead... tell us we're fu... ^H^H^H.... going to have to find another web site to replace you. Just be truthful.

    How many times have you been screwed and been told "we're doing this for your own good?' Never? You must be a newbie.

    It is obvious that you are going to give us an unusable site with a "pretty" Metro-style UI because... well because... you've already been given your marching orders.

    Alas. Slashdot."
    ***

    Yesterday you posted some comments about the moderation system... I made a comment and you responded... that kind of "active engagement" by staff is good... but it also seems to be true of others here who are also "actively engaged" as an example one might read wjwlsn's post on moderation [dev.soylentnews.org] and the 25 comments that journal post attracted ... that kind of engagement comes [IMHO] from wanting something better and everyone responding to that because they want the same thing.

    One might think of this as an example of why those who open frontiers were, are, and will be committed to the path and opening and building a new frontier.

    We are still small enough to talk to one another... and listen to the replies... and actually attempt to communicate rather than pigeon hole or talk passed the other. Yes there is a bit of chest bumping and "I disagree -1" down-mods... even so we still want the same thing a good site with good stories and insightful comments

    As for the future... we might need to consider how to become something more that what the other place was [an aggragation / peanut gallery site] by bringing that commitment into our information stream. This might include ways to generate our own stories [using journal posts, book / film / media /hardware reviews, "true stories", "mad" science explanations [some of you out there are well able to actually give the guys at Ars Technica and SciAm a run for their money].

    Community is build by people giving of themselves for something they believe. We need to expand our footprint on the basis of that strength. No I don't want us to be living in the squalor of kiro5hin or the sprawling decadence of Tumblr...

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:01AM

      by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:01AM (#24868) Homepage Journal

      I hadn't seen the journal entry before now, so thanks on the link, and I do have a way for SN to step on its own so to speak. As I said, I still owe the community one manifesto.

      --
      Still always moving ...
  • (Score: 1) by Daiv on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:04AM

    by Daiv (3940) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:04AM (#24776)

    I have been reading the other site since 2005, pretty much daily, and over the last 6 years, multiple times per day. Never created an account. Mostly I read the comments and looked for more insight into explanations of the articles from individual perspectives. I once posted something as an AC because I happen to have over a decade of experience and knowledge on the topic and it never saw the light of day. Absolutely discouraged me from posting ever again. Now I know why, but I don't think it would have made me post much more.

    As said above, many times, by the time I read most of the postings, there were already 100's of posts both on and off topic that already said what I would have added.

    This post is exactly why it was pointless for me to post on the other site.

    • (Score: 1) by dilbert on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:31AM

      by dilbert (444) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:31AM (#24973)

      Same story here. I read Slashdot daily for almost a decade, but never created an account. I posted fewer than 5 times in 10 years, mostly because by the time I was ready to comment, things had already been covered by other posters.

      I participate here because I want to contributes positively to one of the last worthwhile sites on the internet.

      I dislike the name (seriously, SoylentNews?!?), but I enjoy the discussions. I like how SN seems to be run by passionate people who aren't trying to make a quick profit. I like how the site is free from ads/trackers and works well without javascript. I will donate cash once that option becomes available.

      I often post as AC, but do log in to moderate.

  • (Score: 1) by startx on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:05AM

    by startx (1287) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:05AM (#24777)
    On the other side I'm (startx), parens are part of the username, uid 32057. I was force into perma-lurk mode around 2009 (I think) when they broke userids with special characters. I filed several bugs any way I knew how, including the semi-official bug-tracker and emailing every address I could find. They never fixed it, so I never logged in again. In fact if you even try to view my user-page over there it brings a uid of 517688 with no username instead. I avoided that situation here by dropping the parenthesis when I registered, but I do miss them a bit.
    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:08AM

      by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:08AM (#24881) Homepage Journal

      I used some slashfoo to try and find your account on the other site. I think you misremembered your UID, the one you gave me becomes to "Morty". There is however a gap in the UID database; 32056 errors out when I try to access it via the zoo.

      --
      Still always moving ...
      • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:08AM

        by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:08AM (#24882) Homepage Journal

        More specifically:

        "Sorry, you did not specify a valid user."

        --
        Still always moving ...
      • (Score: 1) by startx on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:54AM

        by startx (1287) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:54AM (#24934)

        It's entirely possible I got the uid wrong, I haven't seen it in 4 years :-)

        • (Score: 1) by startx on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:02AM

          by startx (1287) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:02AM (#24944)
          Here [slashdot.org]'s the only story submission I remember getting accepted on the old site. At this point I'm wondering if they just nuked accounts with special characters entirely since you said it doesn't return anything when you check out my likely UID, and the link on my account name in that story points to whocares@/dev/null. Don't nuke my account for no reason and I promise I'll try not to become a perma-lurker here too.
      • (Score: 1) by startx on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:27AM

        by startx (1287) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:27AM (#24967)
        Enough digging through google results led me to this comment [slashdot.org].

        My UID was actually 37027 over there.

    • (Score: 1) by jor on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:07AM

      by jor (1606) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:07AM (#24952)

      Wow, that is great customer service. Says something about the management of that site in recent years.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:05AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:05AM (#24778)

    Most /. ers post everything from an american point of view.
    E.g. "free speech" is more important than "non violent/non hate speech".

    Perhaps in a "world community" it will be different.

    BTW: posting as AC because the create account page is broken (no nickname field).

    • (Score: 3, Informative) by NCommander on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:26AM

      by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:26AM (#24812) Homepage Journal

      Fixed.

      You know, we were wondering why account creation dropped to nothing. Bug accidentally introduced due to stupidity on my part, combined with the fact that the "QA" plan didn't call for actually testing it.

      I'll run a post announcing we fixed it :-/

      --
      Still always moving ...
      • (Score: 2) by cmn32480 on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:04AM

        by cmn32480 (443) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:04AM (#24875) Journal

        An admitted mistake???? This never happened on the other site.

        GOOD FOR YOU NCommander!

      • (Score: 2) by naubol on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:36AM

        by naubol (1918) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:36AM (#24913)

        Lordy..., if you keep responding to people's posts with honesty and to technical issues like this with celerity.... I just might have to have faith in you. And, that will be a terrible thing when you sell this site to some puffed up jobs board.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:10AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:10AM (#24785)

    In the before times of long long ago, I had a registered account over on /. I gave it up, though, when Jon Katz published some of what I wrote in his book, without my permission -- even though "all posts belong to the poster".

    I became that most maligned of creatures: the Anonymous Coward.

    I didn't post much, because I knew hardly anyone would ever read what I wrote. I posted only when it was something that I wanted to have said. Usually it was a quip, a bad joke, a terrible pun. Nothing serious. But upon occasion I would catch myself writing a small novel as a post. Those were the times, I realized, when I was greatly personally opposed to the vast groupthink that was going on in response to a particular article. Those would almost instantly get voted down even beneath the downtrodden level of the AC. I gradually stopped posting even those, as there indeed was no point.

    I do not have an account here. I will never have one. I will post as AC or not at all (and I know many would prefer the latter). This is because while you may think of this as a community, I do not. I have never thought of web boards as communities; but then I've never fit in, either, so that's probably part of it (or it's the genocide jokes... probably still too soon). Plus, frankly, I do not trust you. Don't take that personally; I don't trust anyone anymore.

    I am only posting this to remind you all that there are those who find the site valuable, and the comments here refreshing compared to that old, dying, site... but who are not looking to fit in. I can never remember the words to Kumbaya, anyway.

  • (Score: 2) by GreatAuntAnesthesia on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:12AM

    by GreatAuntAnesthesia (3275) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:12AM (#24786)

    I lurked on the other place for years, never bothered registering an account. When SN appeared I registered immediately. Why?

    It was so I could have a low UID! 3275! Suck it, all you four-thousanders!

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:27AM

      by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:27AM (#24814) Homepage Journal

      Pfft. Late to the party :-)

      --
      Still always moving ...
      • (Score: 2) by mrcoolbp on Wednesday April 02 2014, @06:56PM

        by mrcoolbp (68) <mrcoolbp@dev.soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @06:56PM (#25257)

        Well NC has me beat, but just to round out the digit counts...

        --
        (Score:1^½, Radical)
      • (Score: 1) by bryan on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:51PM

        by bryan (29) <bryan@pipedot.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:51PM (#25288) Homepage Journal

        Although the whole "low-uid" thing is fun for now, while we all have pretty low numbers, the whole discrimination against higher uid's really discourages new members to join. I'm actually considering showing usernames only on Pipedot because of this.

    • (Score: 1) by dr zim on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:34AM

      by dr zim (748) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:34AM (#24825)

      Newbies... sigh.

      • (Score: 3, Interesting) by cmn32480 on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:14AM

        by cmn32480 (443) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:14AM (#24886) Journal

        Damn kids...Get off my lawn!

        • (Score: 1) by dilbert on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:38AM

          by dilbert (444) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:38AM (#24982)
          Replying to this comment because at the moment of posting UID 443, 444, 445 will be in order on the page. Ahh the simple joys of being bored.
  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by VLM on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:15AM

    by VLM (445) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:15AM (#24793)

    Let me tell you a story about a former employer from a long time ago (like decade(s) now). They are a legacy media producer and people pay them quite a bit of money to manufacture printed objects in the hope that end user humans will read those printed objects and be influenced. So they get paid piecework, sorta. It seems fair that 50 million physical ad impressions will cost ten times as much as 5 million physical impressions.

    One day, again far more than a decade ago, a management MBA got his low paid STEM worker drones to do some math, and it was determined the marginal advertising revenue from printing one additional item considerably exceeded the marginal production cost of that item. Every item produced makes a VERY healthy profit, and its the act of production that contractually makes the revenue. So a dumpster was moved into the building to collect the output of the production line. Right off the line, and directly into the trash. Very Large bonus checks were paid out... for awhile.

    Eventually an angry advertiser, curious how supposedly everyone was reading something that independent analysis indicates no one reads, took them to court, and the court took the legacy media producer to the cleaners. Somehow they're still in business, although I can't understand how. Without the dumpster at the output of the assembly line.

    Any similarity between my story and any other situation that could exist, including one discussed in this story, is purely coincidental and nothing is being implied by my rambling story.

    • (Score: 1) by sgleysti on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:22AM

      by sgleysti (56) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:22AM (#24897)

      I read your post because it was a story and marked offtopic. I would love to see where an existentialist/nihilist philosopher could run with that material.

      • (Score: 2) by VLM on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:41AM

        by VLM (445) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:41AM (#24916)

        As a meta commentary it says a lot about sensationalism in the community. If I wrote "They charge advertisers based on their numbers and they're fundamentally in charge of their numbers so if the numbers make no sense they're probably fraudulent numbers, based on my past business experiences" I'd probably have hit +5 in a minute, but not going all Fark-Headline or Fox News Breaking Headline gets me a 0 off topic. And making that point was about 50% of the reason behind my peculiarly worded post. I'd actually have been pissed if I hadn't been downvoted because I wanted to make that point.

        For the legal record I'm not claiming as fact anything other than the motive and opportunity for fraud exist, which is not controversial in the entire industry and does not prove or explain anything WRT one individual situation.

  • (Score: 1) by darthservo on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:26AM

    by darthservo (2423) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:26AM (#24811)

    Mostly the same reasons that others have already mentioned, but since you wanted us to post:

    Signal to noise ratio - as others have mentioned it became difficult to find meaningful comments that didn't float to the top within moments of a new story.

    Ads - I almost hate to bring this up, because they are what often keeps a site up in the first place. But, lately it just seemed like the site was pushing it further than necessary. Inclusion into RSS was asinine - if ads are going to be served, just serve them at the source because we're all interested in the discussion anyway.

    Poor groupthink - to disagree often meant to be downmodded. This isn't necessarily inherent to the site, though. Unfortunately many areas (not just sites) are prey to this. I hope that this can be avoided here and to see it replaced with rational 'agree to disagree' conversation.

    As I reflect on these points, I wonder - can these be avoided with future growth? At what point does a community reach its optimal health, if it does? Demographics have (some) stereotypes - and these sites appeal to specific demographics. Will these same behaviors creep in after so long as an effect of growth because of the audience? Yet, fear of growth can cause elitism (or hipsterism). I personally don't know, just wondering in-post.

    I'll admit, I don't do much contributing, so I suppose I could be considered a lurker here and in other venues as well. My personality is more of the reserved, analytical type and I suppose it carries over in this regard. It's not that I don't have opinions on matters, but I'm very selective about when I do share them. For the most part, I visit here to read up on some posted topics as I likely wouldn't find them on my own, and also some of the ensuing discussion.

    Thanks for the work that has been put into making this site happen!

    --
    "Good judgment seeks balance and progress. Lack of it eventually finds imbalance and frustration." - Dwight D Eisenhower
    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:15PM

      by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:15PM (#25028) Homepage Journal

      I'm becoming of the opinion that no one has tried to build a discussion system for a massive amount of users beyond slashdot, and I've already written at length how /. moderation algo skewed that site. I'm beginning to think I need to look at taking the moderation system, putting it on fucking steroids, and making it so that discussion is beyond a shadow of a doubt the most import thing. Reddit is the closest thing beside slashdot w.r.t. to user comments/article discussion, and they use a +/- system basically groupthink in easy form.

      --
      Still always moving ...
  • (Score: 1) by gidds on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:30AM

    by gidds (589) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:30AM (#24818)

    On The Other Site (which I've been reading since last century), I always logged in, and used to comment a lot, but I did so less and less over the last few years.

    This was mainly due to timing: I'm in Europe, and usually read the site over lunchtime, so by the time I saw a story, everyone had already said everything and moved on; even if I had something new worth saying, by that time no-one would see it. So I found myself effectively disenfranchised.

    I also never moderated. This was ultimately due to the sheer volume of stories and comments: I didn't have time to read every story, nor every comment on those I did read, and so I didn't feel I could do a fair job of moderating. (Moderating just the comments that were already highly-rated would merely have been joining in the groupthink.)

    Right now, things are better here; there aren't so many stories, and they seem to stay 'current' for longer, so folks with day jobs and/or non-US time-zones are at less of a disadvantage. And with fewer comments, good ones are less likely to get lost in the noise.

    So I have very mixed reactions to this story. While it's great that TPTB (The Powers That Be) here are listening to their community and clearly have good intentions, it seems that they aspire to the same level of traffic that turned me off The Other Site.

    Bigger is not always better.

    (Which, coincidentally, is also my feeling on the handling of April Fool's day... But that's another story :)

    • (Score: 2) by umafuckitt on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:35AM

      by umafuckitt (20) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:35AM (#24828)

      I had a similar experience. I started reading /. back in 2005 or so but that was in Europe. Comments were always full by the time I read. Now I live in the US and I finally got an account there a year or two ago. I spend more time here than there, though.

      • (Score: 2) by Common Joe on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:16PM

        by Common Joe (33) <{common.joe.0101} {at} {gmail.com}> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:16PM (#25135) Journal

        Perhaps a little off topic, but I had the opposite experience. After moving to Europe, I found I could get higher rated comments... by posting to new stories that my fellow Americans hadn't read yet because they were sleeping. The stories had to come out during their night time, though.

        • (Score: 2) by umafuckitt on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:26PM

          by umafuckitt (20) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:26PM (#25141)

          Well, I have to admit I didn't even have an account when I was in Europe. Plus, it was 6 years ago that I was there so memory may be playing tricks on me now.

    • (Score: 2) by Popeidol on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:19AM

      by Popeidol (35) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:19AM (#24893) Homepage Journal

      Australia is in a similar boat. Most of the article were posted overnight, so the discussion was fairly well covered by the time I actually got to read it. I posted so rarely that I forgot my initial user account completely and just posted AC.

      While I've changed it up a bit on soylent, usually I only post when I have something to add to the discussion - a viewpoint that hasn't been covered yet, or a specific chunk of knowledge that nobody has mentioned.

      When I write a comment, I always strip out ahout half of the text. Often I delete the whole thing without posting.

      On the other site, conversations were 'complete' very quickly. I posted about every 3 months, when my specialist areas actually came up. The rest of the time it didn't feel like I had much to add.

  • (Score: 1) by linuxrocks123 on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:40AM

    by linuxrocks123 (2557) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:40AM (#24835)

    I guess you would call me "not a lurker". I post on the other site when I feel I have something to say. Typically, I'm replying to a post near the top, so my comment won't be buried right away. It's rare I have something to say that's not in response to something else.

    I think this is my first post here. Hooray :) So, how can I help, well:

    1. I love the red theme.
    2. I think Slashdot's commenting system is pretty good and probably shouldn't be messed with too much.
    3. I don't think the "lurker percentage" is really that much of a problem: like many others have said, most people lurk just because they have nothing to say.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:42AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:42AM (#24989)

      linuxrocks123? Crap, now I have to change my password

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by bradley13 on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:41AM

    by bradley13 (3053) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:41AM (#24838) Homepage

    ...is that it will all be different here at Soylent. As other commenters have already said, this likely won't be true in the long run.

    In the short run, you always get a high percentage of "enthusiasts". Many of these will stay, but - assuming the site is a success - over time you will get a more normal distribution of people. This includes lots of lurkers - it just does.

    What I find cool about the comments I've read is that some people mostly submit stories, some mostly comment and some mostly moderate. Make sure there is space for all of these, and perhaps other things, to maximize user contributions. Personally, I make a few comments, make a point of moderating, and rarely submit stories. Other people have other priorities.

    --
    Everyone is somebody else's weirdo.
    • (Score: 1) by creidiki on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:51AM

      by creidiki (3955) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:51AM (#24928)

      This, yes. It's the same for me here as it is in life, I feel no need to speak unless I have something genuinely new to add. So many people in life are so fixated on being heard that they seem to say the same things over and over, I could just care less. Here and on The Other Site, I do comment, but if I do, it'll either be conversational with someone I know or it will be something that hasn't already been expressed.

      So consider me part of the wave of lurkers arriving because in all honesty I probably won't comment frequently, but I'll be here, moderating up the people who already said what I would have said had I gotten to it first. :)

    • (Score: 2) by everdred on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:52AM

      by everdred (110) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:52AM (#24929) Homepage Journal

      > As other commenters have already said, this likely won't be true in the long run.

      You're probably right, but you're also assuming that SoylentNews will be successful in reaching the masses. What if it never manages to, but retains enough traction among the early users to keep those running it interested in continuing to do so, long-term?

      --
      We don't take no shit from a machine.
  • (Score: 1) by artman on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:45AM

    by artman (1584) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:45AM (#24842)

    One stop shop for nerd news of the day then drive on.

    I was mostly about the articles and didn't even have an account on the other site.
    I mostly signed up on this one for the user settings when reading the comments ( OK and the relatively low uid ).
    I have posted a few times here as I felt is hadn't been said yet.

  • (Score: 1) by dr zim on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:50AM

    by dr zim (748) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:50AM (#24849)

    I comment here more than on the other site simply because with fewer comments, I might be able to actually add something to the discussion, even if sometimes it's just humor. Still, I rarely comment as I often don't have anything to add on most stories.

    I like Soylent and would rather have an article with 10 quality comments than 100 bad ones. When I can't comment, and I have points, I mod. I try to focus on raising comments that add to the discussion, even if I don't agree with their content. When those are modded and I still have points, only then will I mod things down. I mod down for general douchery, off-topicedness, and really terrible writing. I try never to mod down a comment simply because I disagree with the poster. I also try to use 'overrated' instead of things like 'Troll', 'Off Topic'.

    I don't submit because I just don't see that much new stuff in the course of my day, therefore no 'news'.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:52AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:52AM (#24852)

    I seem to just skim the first-tier responses here, because it's too cumbersome to read any more. The threaded responses need to be opened manually, which then doesn't show other threads of discussion, so it's a constant *click link, click link, click link, hit back button, hit back button, click link to other thread, click back button, click back button* and then I'm back to the original response.

    Compared to other sites, where one can view an entire (or multiple) threads of discussion at once, and links exist to shortcut the entire way through an existing thread, it's too much work to actually delve into conversations.

    • (Score: 1) by SlySmiles on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:08AM

      by SlySmiles (3841) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:08AM (#24953)
      Here you go [dev.soylentnews.org]
      I take no credit, but without it the site wouldn't be usable.
      • (Score: 1) by artman on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:39AM

        by artman (1584) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:39AM (#24985)

        I seen this but how do I use it ?

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @07:54PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @07:54PM (#25275)

          In order to make use of a userscript, you first have to have a proper browser which allows their use.
          The browsers I'm familiar with also require the installation of an extension. [google.com]
          Last, you install the userscript.

          To the AC GGP: Selecting &mode=improvedthreaded is another option.

          -- gewg_

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:28PM

      by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:28PM (#25038) Homepage Journal

      Getting us to be less 1997 is a BIG TODO.

      --
      Still always moving ...
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @05:12PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @05:12PM (#25198)

      Did you try switching from "Threaded" to "Nested" mode? I have to admit, I've never actually understood what those words actually mean. But I know I prefer the latter.

      e.g. Here's a URL that should display the "living battery" story's comments in nested mode. http://dev.soylentnews.org/comments.pl?threshold=0&mod e=nested&commentsort=0&op=Change&sid=1029 [dev.soylentnews.org]

  • (Score: 2) by umafuckitt on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:54AM

    by umafuckitt (20) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:54AM (#24854)

    There are only so many comments an article can reasonably support before either a) everything insightful and relevant has been said or b) people start reading only a tiny proportion of all the comments because there are too many. Thus, it would seem reasonable to expect more comments per member on a smaller site like SN, compared to a larger site, like /.

  • (Score: 2) by mmcmonster on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:54AM

    by mmcmonster (401) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:54AM (#24855)

    There's something to be said about statisticians lying...

    There are a lot more 6 and 7 digit UIDs commenting on stories on /. because (wait for it) there are a lot more 6 and 7 digit UIDs than there are 4 5 and digit UIDs. Period. In fact, there are probably an order more 6 digit UIDs than there are 5 digit UIDs. ;-)

    The number of comments on this site are lower. Hopefully the number will continue to grow. Until the number grows, the number of mod points in the 'pool' should be higher so that interesting comments get risen up faster, spurring more conversation.

    I am not a lurker (obviously). But I go into lurk mode when the number of comments on a topic are low and also when I feel I'm going to be insulted based on what I say (even if the replies are tagged as troll (-1)). The first problem should go away as more readers start commenting more. The second is something that anyone commenting on any forum has to deal with.

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:10PM

      by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:10PM (#25024) Homepage Journal

      The math doesn't add up.

      I should be seeing a rough 1/10 distribution in accounts for UIDs 1-5. I'm not. Plus Slash is in the mid 8 UIDs now, and those aren't heavily active either ...

      --
      Still always moving ...
      • (Score: 2) by mmcmonster on Thursday April 03 2014, @05:25AM

        by mmcmonster (401) on Thursday April 03 2014, @05:25AM (#25439)

        You also have to take into account people just growing away from the site.

        UIDs 100K are greater than 10 years old. How many forums that you went to 10 years ago do you still frequent? Also, /. tends to attract (especially in the early days) the older tech crowd. How many of the first 100K died in the last decade?

        Another thing: Earlier on, I created a /. UID with my real name. It's got a 5 digit UID. I realized a couple years later I should be anonymous on the site, given that the things I say may bite me later on. Maybe there are others like me? The web was more trusting earlier on...

        I'm not saying that lurking isn't a real thing. I'm just saying that expecting people from 10-15 years ago to be as active on a site as they were in the beginning is a little unexpected. ;-)

  • (Score: 1) by danmars on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:54AM

    by danmars (3662) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:54AM (#24857)

    1. I got used to Slashdot's comment layout and understood it. On here I have a really hard time telling if a comment is under a hidden comment, in all the modes. You don't seem to have any display mode that makes it easy to tell if 2 replies at the same level are replies to different comments. As someone who never participated in any of the old styles of discussion board, or Slashdot until the mid-to-late 20-aughts, the comment layout is not completely intuitive to me. Which leads me to 2...

    2. I don't want to look like an idiot. I've posted flat-out wrong comments (by accident) on other sites a few times. I wouldn't say it happens often, but with comment history a permanent record, I don't want mistakes floating out there. Being afraid to be permanently wrong means I refrain from posting. You may not subscribe to this worldview, but the world takes all kinds of people.

    3. Nothing in my area of knowledge. I know, for a lot of lurkers, it's just that they don't have a lot to contribute. That's the case for me. If there's something that comes up from my field of work, I'll contribute, because I feel I may have something to offer. Until then, I'm a lot more likely to just read, moderate when possible, vote on polls, etc. Why fill the comments with noise if I don't have anything meaningful to contribute?

    • (Score: 2) by everdred on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:55AM

      by everdred (110) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:55AM (#24936) Homepage Journal

      2. I don't want to look like an idiot. I've posted flat-out wrong comments (by accident) on other sites a few times. I wouldn't say it happens often, but with comment history a permanent record, I don't want mistakes floating out there. Being afraid to be permanently wrong means I refrain from posting. You may not subscribe to this worldview, but the world takes all kinds of people.

      I know the feeling. Are you ever filled with dread when you get notified that someone has replied to a comment you've left?

      --
      We don't take no shit from a machine.
      • (Score: 1) by danmars on Wednesday April 02 2014, @04:04PM

        by danmars (3662) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @04:04PM (#25160)

        I think yours was the first "Reply to:" message I've ever gotten and, yes, a little bit.

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:25PM

      by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:25PM (#25035) Homepage Journal

      1. You probably predate D1 being the default. This discussion system is essentially identical to the original Slashdot one. That being said, even I wish it was slightly less 1997.

      2. This is a fair cop. As I have to be on mailing lists all the time, I've learned to just deal with the flack when it comes back, but I understand why this may disuade users. The Post AC button is there if you want it.

      3. Also fair.

      --
      Still always moving ...
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @05:25PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @05:25PM (#25210)

      On here I have a really hard time telling if a comment is under a hidden comment, in all the modes. You don't seem to have any display mode that makes it easy to tell if 2 replies at the same level are replies to different comments.

      If you're willing to browse at -1, there are no hidden comments.

      For the time being, it's not too bad doing this; there aren't that many -1 comments anyway, and they're mostly just off topic.

      N.B. I don't understand the difference between threaded and nested, but I use the latter.

  • (Score: 2) by JeanCroix on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:57AM

    by JeanCroix (573) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @09:57AM (#24862)

    I'm a high 5-digit UID on the other site; I probably registered there sometime around '99. My slide toward passivity came from a few things, I think; several of which have already been discussed by others:

    1) Sheer volume: I didn't have time to wade through the hundreds of comments already posted to see if someone had already made the point I wanted to raise. I even resorted to keyword searches at times.

    2) Sheer volume, part 2: Even if I did have and post a unique point, it felt like my voice generally got lost in the noise.

    3) Derailment: I'd actually post a unique point, and someone would come along and fixate on a tiny detail of it which was tangential to the real topic, completely taking the discussion far down the wrong rabbit hole. This was done using a lot of strawmen and ad-hominem tactics, usually.

    I'm sure there are more that I'm not thinking of. But I'm already thinking this post will be somewhat lost in the sheer volume, heh.

  • (Score: 2) by bucc5062 on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:01AM

    by bucc5062 (699) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:01AM (#24869)

    I had to go back to /. to check my uid for it's been a while since I last logged in to do anything there. I joined /. around the same time (856482), 2002ish and had lurked a couple of years before.

    At the time I was drawn into /. for the nature of the site. I had never really seen something like it before, a place not only to read/learn about technology but also read commentary that added to the learning and entertainment process (for let's face it, it is a form of entertainment as well). I still remember one of my favorite articles, it was about a guy who built a DIY raised train track in his yard. In between all these "serious" articles were these gems of human creativeness and at times whimsy.

    Then /. changed.

    I don't know when, maybe around 2009, but at some point it got more political, more derogatory, more snobbish. Had that DIY article been even accepted to the front page the commentary would have been more of the snarkish, "why bother", "That is dumb", "I can do it better", then just a general, "cool job man, let's expand that idea". Though I commented a little I found it less interesting to comment for in one sense it seemed like I just was a small voice in a large crowd; a crowd that was becoming less a place to be. /. beta rearing its ugly head was the last straw for me as well. I had already found Ars Technica and other poor substitutes, but when folks began to post about this revolution called SoylentNews I didn't waste any time grabbing my torch and joining the rebels. So far y'all have not disappointed both in overall content, presentation, and most importantly (for me), openness and leadership. Here, when I post I know I may be read and as such, work to be more thoughtful in my presentation. I've submitted at least one article that got accepted (felt cool) and other then the damn red color, like the overall site presentation.

    I hope SN does not become a /. of today and I applaud your attempts to try and build into the model now, ways to avoid or avert such an act. One thought is dump the display of UIDs in posts. it really does not present value to the conversation and can be seen as mainly bragging rights, not because a low number has any better an opinion then a high. I like that I'm 699, but it only means 698 people beat me to a good idea, not that I'm "better" then 3140 or those dirty 4000s (kidding).

    To the editors, as a geek/nerd I love articles about technical stuff, but those DIY articles that may not be so computer oriented, but still geeky are just as cool. Keep it fresh. I even like the humorous one's for the same reason. At times it is easier to comment on those then a intensely technical article that is typically way over my head(unless it becomes a discussion about the impacts. talking tech about a nuclear bomb is one thing, but talking about is there a time to use one which can really get a conversation going).

    TL;DR - Doing a good job so far, keep it open, keep it real, keep it light and when Facebook comes along and offers you a billion dollars, calculate how much every member would get, accept the offer, pay us off, walk away and start baconnews. I'll try for a lower next time.

    --
    The more things change, the more they look the same
    • (Score: 2) by bucc5062 on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:06AM

      by bucc5062 (699) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:06AM (#24878)

      Posting after to toss in two more thoughts, IRC scares me for having been burned in times past by the anonymity and vitriol that can occur in such places, I prefer "letter writing" to "phone conversations". So my second thought, which might be better stated in IRC will come here...

      there were a couple of good things about /., the site. Some java script was not bad in areas like moderating and posting of comments. I know some here do not like JS, but like a goto statement, it can do good or harm just on how it is implemented. I'd hope SN can find that balance and allow no scripters to still have the original feel and folks like me can find a slighter easier functionality without going over to the dark side of Beta.

      --
      The more things change, the more they look the same
      • (Score: 2) by xlefay on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:58AM

        by xlefay (65) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:58AM (#24938) Journal

        I'm sorry to hear that. I'm the team leader of the IRC staff, and I'd love to see you around.

        We try and keep our IRC free and open for all and keep it a nice place for everyone. If you stick around in official channels, you'll find there's generally a nice and clean environment, occasionally there are some bad apples but we generally weed them out quite quickly. We're also planning a karma based system on IRC, where people with negative karma are automatically muted for a specific amount of time (depending on their karma); we're still working that all out.

        --

        In case, anyone ever gets into such a situation in an official channel (e.g. #soylent, #editorial, etc) you can always ping a member of the IRC staff (just /join #help) and we'll see if we can help you.

        --

        Hope this relieves some of your worries!

    • (Score: 1) by len_harms on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:01AM

      by len_harms (1904) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:01AM (#24940) Journal

      I think you nailed it on a lot of the reasons we got bored with the other site.

      Other than the id thing. Its not that big of a deal. I usually used the number on the other site to gauge how 'young/old' the person was. Probably way off. :)

      To the editors stay away from the political/religious stuff and you will find the audience naturally follows you. I have seen it on a couple of other boards where they minimized it and the community came back to life. Instead of arguing over boring topics that no one is going to change their mind over. One board I post on just simple banishes the topics to a 'dmz zone' and lets them argue it out, out of the main boards view.

      • (Score: 2) by Common Joe on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:23PM

        by Common Joe (33) <{common.joe.0101} {at} {gmail.com}> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:23PM (#25138) Journal

        I usually used the number on the other site to gauge how 'young/old' the person was. Probably way off.

        You never know. I'm a 7-digit on Slashdot (2807741), saw a guy post with a 3-digit and happened to piece together he lived in the same city I did. I contacted him and we had lunch together. He's about my age. (He's a nice guy.)

    • (Score: 1) by aiwarrior on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:31AM

      by aiwarrior (1812) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:31AM (#24971)

      I did read your comment and I agree that extremely technical talk can go way out of my head. I also would like the DIY articles to be more common.

  • (Score: 1) by WillAdams on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:01AM

    by WillAdams (1424) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:01AM (#24871)

    Rocking my low 4 digit ID (but bummed I missed a 3 digit one by 425)

  • (Score: 1) by NullPtr on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:03AM

    by NullPtr (3786) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:03AM (#24873)

    Based on Slashdot, and other high-traffic sites, if you don't get one of the first comments, it's very unlikely you'll get a reply. Does anyone even read stories more than a day or two old? They're just not very good places for ongoing conversations. And apart from Slashdot and now this site, I've completely stopped reading/participating in discussions, because the quality is so low (user - rather than developer - comments, memes, trolling) it's just a waste of my time.

    • (Score: 1) by datapharmer on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:27AM

      by datapharmer (2702) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:27AM (#24904)

      I concur. I am also not surprised that the ratio is so low. I know I ready slashdot for years before even bothering to get a user id and would only rarely comment because either someone else already said it, it was too stale of a story for anyone to even see my comment (especially as anonymous coward), or the conversation had digressed into a crazy rant that had nothing to do with the original topic.

      I'm not sure how you fix any of these problems, but I think making an effort at getting anonymous users more involved is well worth taking a stab at. No one wants to put any work into a comment that will never be seen because it is buried at 0 mod points but the long time users don't want to deal with a bunch of spam, hate, or other trolling. I'm not going to suggest how you can handle it, but I can say that slashdot did not handle dealing with troll/spam comments well at all and I can't imagine it would be difficult to do better for your readers/contributors/brethren/audience/cash cows/whatever-you-want-to-call-us.

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:05PM

      by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:05PM (#25018) Homepage Journal

      Comment counts and hit counts suggest that while some users do go after stories once they go off the index, its *not* great. Another place where we're going to have to improve or rethink ...

      --
      Still always moving ...
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @05:58PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @05:58PM (#25230)

        Maybe even just a written policy encouraging people to keep commenting & moderating for a stated amount of time (like 2 days)? e.g.:

        FAQ #42 - Q: How long do stories remain open for comment? A: It's 6 months until they're made read-only. We recognize that realistically no sizeable threads of conversation will carry on for anything like that much time. But we do encourage our commenters and moderators to try to keep things going for at least 2 days, wherever possible.

        At the moment people don't really know how long conversations tend to go on for, unless they pay attention to the comment counts at different times - which I've never done.

         
        Also, possible features to help:

        * an actual list of the stories that we're trying to promote activity in. Generally the last 2 days worth, but some could be kicked out of the list early (e.g. if a follow-up story comes along), and some important ones could stay in for longer. Maybe a little 'active' icon (animated gif !) next to the headlines of active stories, wherever headlines appear on the website. They all appear on the front page, even if some at the bottom are only the headlines.

        * "remind me about this story in 2 days" tickbox, visible in various places, such as on the comment creation page

        * "remind me about this story if it gets this many more comments: " dropdown (1,5,10,20,30). Visible in various places, such as on the comment creation page

  • (Score: 1) by goodie on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:21AM

    by goodie (1877) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:21AM (#24894) Journal

    While I have lurked on the other site for a few years (actually close to 10 or so), I never actually posted any comments or got an account there . Some of the reasons include: clunky UI for AC posting, horrible "discussions" (not in terms of noise, but trolling, fanboyism etc. just not a friendly place), etc.

    Let me explain better. Back in the late 90's I was a frequent poster on a usenet group (hello fr.rec.anime buddies!). And I liked that the users were not too many and that we were relatively tight in terms of understanding one another, and having a good noise/info ratio. Some people disagreed with that and opened another group that would stick to on-topic conversations but I digress. What I feel with SN is that it's the same feeling, perhaps because I got there when it started, but I feel that if you have something interesting/funny/insightful to say, you actually get noticed and people recognize that.

    I'm not chasing after mod points or karma, it's only useful for display and filtering purposes as far as I am concerned, but with SN, I actually sometimes feel like I could contribute to the discussion or react to what somebody has said before.

    It doesn't hurt that topics are not flooded with hundreds of comments, which I think is helped by 2 things: the breadth of the topics, and the quality of submissions over the past couple of weeks. Write-ups are pretty good with links to related stories/points of views etc. which means that often, there is not much left for trolling of criticizing the quality of the submission. And as a result, comments are usually pretty good and display a sort of "netiquette" that I used to appreciated on usenet.

    Not sure this helps, but as far as I can tell, lurking is fun when you want to read up on things rather than actively participate.

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:06PM

      by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:06PM (#25020) Homepage Journal

      The "too many voices" problem; I was already considering this as something we need to address as part of the far far far larger moderation reworks that need to be done. I'm thinking at this point a massive amount of the mod system getting chucked and redesigned.

      --
      Still always moving ...
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:21AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:21AM (#24896)

    " only one person out of a thousand (1060 to be specific) is posting a comment. That's a horrendous ratio, especially for a site that allows anonymous postings."

    That seemed to be the magic of /., they had millions of users so actually one in a thousand was enough to add up. Like web advertising.

    " we're roughly getting a little less than 10% of Slashdot's comment counts, with a considerably smaller user base. "

    so in other words with about 5k users vs a million or even 500k we're doing about a sixth of their volume? 1000x users and only 6x comments? If this can keep up this place will be the most dense commentary site in the world!

    Any comments?

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:30AM

      by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:30AM (#24970) Homepage Journal

      I strongly suspect the ratio is far far worse than that. I chose 5 per poster because it seems like a sane ballpark figure, but on closer inspection, you've got people who post like crazy regularly, then the occassional drive by. If the average active poster on there is closer to 20 or 30 a month (one a day), then the numbers slide by a factor of 10.

      --
      Still always moving ...
  • (Score: 2, Interesting) by Drake_Edgewater on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:36AM

    by Drake_Edgewater (780) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:36AM (#24912) Journal

    At the other site, I also felt that there were enough comments on a topic, and adding my opinion wouldn't make a difference.

    The science news were flooded with comments on politics, or subjects that were barely on topic. That was demotivational too.

    I became interested in SoylentNews since I read that the community will be driven debian-style. That was as encouraging as a long-term friendship.

    Plus, it has its own MUD! How cool is that!

  • (Score: 1) by LordFrito on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:52AM

    by LordFrito (3821) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:52AM (#24930)

    Long time /. lurker. By the time I actually read the post, it's already full of comments, and anything I would want to say has already been said. And here I am again late to the game, saying the same thing everyone else is saying.

    That said, I didn't mind being a lurker *that* much. As a 40+ career engineer/techno-geek who's seen it all, I can talk competently about "technology and stuff that matters". I find tremendous value in listening in on conversations of other like minded people having intelligent discussions about the modern technological state. Lately there seem to be fewer and fewer places online that appeal to me, fewer sites that have anything to say, fewer sites I check regularly. So even though I'd love to be an active contributor, I am happy being a lurker as long as the site stays relevant to me.

    The point I think that is worth making, however, is that, if this site becomes successful, it runs a real risk of inviting in what I'd call "the worst of slashdot" and the rest of the internet. When a site reaches a critical mass it tends to draw in trolls and "pedantic, condescending turd sandwiches" as someone here put it. I'd really hate to see that happen here.

    Online communities are started by a passionate group of people who contribute more to the site than they take, making the whole much greater than the sum of its parts. With enough hard work and a little luck the site grows and draws in others. But once a site reaches a critical mass, the profiteers (hello DICE) and non-contributors begin to arrive, and the site becomes filled with corporate propaganda and group-think, to the point where the people who built/loved the site give up and leave. We've seen it happen to Digg. It's happening to Reddit. Will it happen here?

    I don't know what you call it: monetization, lowest common denominator, the race to the bottom, what have you, but it seems to me that with every year that goes by it seems the content on the internet gets worse and worse. The promise of the internet seems to have been co-opted by powerful forces that do not share the goals or sentiments of the people that built the network in the first place. I can't help but feel that the internet has just become a platform for corporations and the ruling class to disseminate their lies/propaganda/double speak to keep the masses in check. It's a post-modern version of "bread can circuses". I find this trend greatly troubling -- which again is why I value the discussion and perspectives found on sites like Soylent/Slashdot. These sites keep me informed as to what is *really* going on behind the scenes. Communities like this are a very important part of keeping the powers that be "in-check".

    I do know that part of the problem is that the lurkers tend to stand by idly while the bad seeds slowly take over. I also know that those who do take action (overzealous moderators, the most passionate users) may in fact be the biggest contributors to the group-think problem, forcing everyone to toe the line. If any site is going to overcome these obstacles, it needs to address the above two points.

    I don't have the answers. How do we leverage the power of the lurking class to keep this site healthy and relevant? I'm starting to feel that "free discussion" with a low barrier of entry may be part of the problem -- I don't *want* to listen to most people, they have very little to say, so why give them a low barrier of entry? Maybe a subscription based model is the solution, building an environment where most trolls and PR shills find it's not worth their time to pay to play. But how do you do this and still keep it cheap enough not to be a burden on the actual contributors? Maybe some form of meritocracy is the solution -- but who gets to make that decision?

    I believe in the premise that "information wants to be free". But it's gotten to the point where I'd be more than happy to pay if I could find a healthy site that can continually foster these kinds of discussions. And I never thought I'd say that.

    • (Score: 1) by http on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:30AM

      by http (1920) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:30AM (#24969)

      If any site supported by advertising becomes more broadcast oriented instead of participation oriented, it MUST become a race to the bottom. Cf. "Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television", J. Mander.

      • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:08PM

        by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:08PM (#25022) Homepage Journal

        We will only run adversing on this site as an absolute last resort, after requests for donations and such have all failed, and there is no other way to keep us up. I still owe the community a manifesto. Please bear with me, I've got a million things to do, and a million obligations to fulfil.

        --
        Still always moving ...
        • (Score: 1) by LordFrito on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:25PM

          by LordFrito (3821) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:25PM (#25068)

          Well as I said I'd be willing to pay a small fee for a subscription. I think it's the only real way to avoid the advertising model. That or find some "benevolent benefactors" -- which of course you are ultimately beholden to.

          • (Score: 2) by fliptop on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:34PM

            by fliptop (1666) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:34PM (#25149) Journal

            Well as I said I'd be willing to pay a small fee for a subscription

            This thread got me thinking about voting and how politics has become a race to the bottom. Take property taxes, for example. All property owners pay them. In my county, most of the money goes to the school system.

            However, those that run for school board are elected by all voters, whether they're property owners or not. Those that vote but don't own property don't care if taxes go up because they don't pay them (well, they do, if their landlord raises their rent, but most don't make the connection). As a consequence my county's schools are well funded, in fact they practically have money to burn, but the education quality is poor. The kids are catered to in a way that doesn't encourage them to actually learn but instead teaches them to do the bare minimum to "get by."

            My point being that, maybe the subscription model would work if only subscribers were given mod points. Since they have skin in the game, and want a high quality SN website, it would be akin to just the property owners voting for school board members. Just my $0.02.

            --
            If you have second thoughts about booking a trip to an Indian casino, is it a reservation reservation reservation?
            • (Score: 1) by LordFrito on Wednesday April 02 2014, @06:48PM

              by LordFrito (3821) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @06:48PM (#25252)

              maybe the subscription model would work if only subscribers were given mod points. Since they have skin in the game...

              Exactly! Skin in the game is exactly what I'm talking about.

              Totally free discussion with no barrier to entry leads to lowest common denominator discussion - think writing on bar bathroom walls. The trolls ruin it for everyone. Unfortunately it's in our nature, check out this link http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/c limate_desk/2014/02/internet_troll_personality_stu dy_machiavellianism_narcissism_psychopathy.html [slate.com]

              Now if I owned (or was part owner of) those walls, I'd have a lot more motivation to make sure the walls stayed clean and useful. Not having skin in the game is one post-modern societies biggest problems.

              Like all things in life, going to far in the opposite direction doesn't help either. Hopefully we get it together before too long.

    • (Score: 1) by Serial_Priest on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:31AM

      by Serial_Priest (2493) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:31AM (#24972)

      Further to the idea of the Internet amplifying existing power structures, you might be interested in Bruce Schneier's essay on the subject: http://en.collaboratory.de/w/Power_in_the_Age_of_t he_Feudal_Internet [collaboratory.de]

      • (Score: 1) by LordFrito on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:55AM

        by LordFrito (3821) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:55AM (#25001)

        Great article thanks for the link

    • (Score: 1) by kevinl on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:57AM

      by kevinl (3951) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:57AM (#25007)

      The promise of the internet seems to have been co-opted by powerful forces that do not share the goals or sentiments of the people that built the network in the first place. I can't help but feel that the internet has just become a platform for corporations and the ruling class to disseminate their lies/propaganda/double speak to keep the masses in check.

      Absolutely yes. I'm 37 myself and was first online in the BBS era, then migrated to the 'Net when it was still NSFnet. I remember Canter and Spiegel's first Usenet spam.

      I think the only long-term solution will be user-controlled Internet. I wrote a rather lengthy piece [launchpad.net] about it a while ago, but have yet to find time to seriously implement anything. Perhaps Reddit's Meshnet will get there for the physical nodes, with RetroShare-over-I2P for the software stack.

      • (Score: 1) by LordFrito on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:23PM

        by LordFrito (3821) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:23PM (#25067)

        I think the only long-term solution will be user-controlled Internet. I wrote a rather lengthy piece about it a while ago

        Read your article. I absolutely love the promise of encrypted darknets combined with radio meshnets to circumvent centralized control structures and return the network to what it was in the first place. However I'm quite skeptical this will ever happen.

        The #1 question: will the powers that be allow it? Until the darknets reach a magic "critical mass" where the general public see benefit and supports it, they may remain a marginalized tech experiment at best. I think they will be tolerated only until they get large enough to pose a significant threat to the existing power structures. The mainstream press surrounding darknets isn't exactly positive (silk road, etc), so it won't take a tremendous political effort ("save the puppies" act) to shut them down by any means available (outlaw encryption, outlaw use of radio space in this way).

        The surveillance state we've built is extremely effective, to the point where we have to question whether commonly used encryption methods are themselves compromised -- the cat's out of the bag and I'm not sure it's going back in -- so I don't think it'll be as easy to bootstrap a new secure / encrypted network and have it tolerated for long. The nerds were ignored for a long time, but we aren't any longer, and what we build belongs to them.

        I think the following is much more likely: http://boingboing.net/2012/01/10/lockdown.html [boingboing.net]. The walled garden taken to it's logical extreme.

        A few years ago when I dabbled in iPhone programming I was suprised to find the serial port was blocked and I needed permission from Apple (via a security chip and corporate agreement) to use it! We were developing some sales demos that ran on the phone (give the app to potential customers and have them plug it into our product). Apple basically said no to us getting access to the security chips (app was not a product = no volume sales = they aren't interested in playing with us). Now I've been using serial ports for decades -- it's primitive low speed tech -- I couldn't believe that I needed their permission to use it! So I tried building a software modem (using the phones microphone jack) to circumvent -- only to find they had locked this down as well. Bluetooth was designed as a wireless UART -- except that Apple blocked the generic bluetooth UART protocol as well). The only way in was via a WiFi socket, as they have to support TCP/IP. I'm convinced apple would have blocked that as well if they could have and still had a viable product.

        There may not be many tinkerers in the future -- I can see a day where you'll need some sort of government license to actually be able to play with a general purpose computer. It's their network, built for their surveillance, we access it with their permission, using their protocols, and can only run software they approve. Try bootstrapping something on top of that.

        • (Score: 1) by kevinl on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:26PM

          by kevinl (3951) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:26PM (#25144)

          I'm pretty skeptical too, honestly. I originally started NIB as a way to say "there were some awesome components of the BBS world that would rock hard if they existed on modern networks", but more recently I'm seeing lockdown as the likely future too. Really what did it was seeing Reddit go all jingo bananas regarding both the NSA and Crimea. If it had been 1994 on Usenet, I think there would have been a lot more people arguing for Snowden as a hero ala Phil Zimmerman, and also for less recycled Cold War narrative on Putin. If something like Meshnet/RetroShare/NIB really took off using only end-user hardware, I'm sure it would be outlawed.

          I used to be interested in picking up iPhone or Android programming, but over time I'm back to a dumbphone and might even lose that. I'm now turning my cell phone off over the weekends just to have some real private time as it was 20 years ago.

          • (Score: 1) by LordFrito on Wednesday April 02 2014, @07:18PM

            by LordFrito (3821) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @07:18PM (#25262)

            Really what did it was seeing Reddit go all jingo bananas

            Yeah I think the writing is on the wall with Reddit. I think the slide will be slow, but in a few years it will be just another wasted opportunity like Facebook. Shame too cause for a while I really held out hope for that site.

            I'm now turning my cell phone off over the weekends just to have some real private time as it was 20 years ago

            Hey I'm with you there. The funny thing is that seriously miss the days of usenet, geocities, and ugly as hell websites. The internet back then was an exciting adventure -- you never knew where the next link would take you.

            I'm tired of Facebook. I'm tired of shiny touchscreens. I'm tired of apps. It's all form and no substance. I feast on information daily, only to find out that I'm starving. The Zero Theorem anyone? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RyMSRRNHRos [youtube.com]

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:00PM

      by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:00PM (#25013) Homepage Journal

      I'd like to think this fate is avoidable. Debian is a massive project with 10k+ developers, and yet shit moves well. Now if we got to 100k/1M/10M, then maybe our S/N ratio will take a shit, but I'd like for us to develop something relatively similiar to subreddits, so that if the main index collapsing under its own weight, users won't leave the site entirely. More in a future story.

      --
      Still always moving ...
      • (Score: 1) by LordFrito on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:30PM

        by LordFrito (3821) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:30PM (#25069)

        I'd like to think this fate is avoidable.

        I'm glad you see it that way, otherwise you'd be the wrong guy for the job! Not saying it's impossible, just that we need to stay one step ahead of what the short history of the internet has shown us. It's far far easier to plan head than to react too late.
        I'm glad you guys are taking such a proactive stance on this stuff. I love this site and what you guys are trying to do with it and I hope it suceeds in the areas where Slashdot failed.

  • (Score: 1) by aiwarrior on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:03AM

    by aiwarrior (1812) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:03AM (#24945)

    From what I read in the comments, what people appreciate in this site is that the signal is quite high. If so, maybe a binary level karma system would help. Most of the posts here are so interesting that I end up browsing with no threshold in flat mode. I have yet to see a troll, even though I am sure they will come.

    Making a system of clearer notifications on the main page when a comment of yours was replied might help further engagement with old stories and respective public discussions.

    Another interesting insight I think I got from the comments, but that no one suggested, is that people actually like the community small and want to keep it that way. One of the arguments is that in slashdot the community is so big and powerfull(as in insightful) that it feels there is nothing to add.

    I even fantasize about an artificially segregated community, so as to give people the illusion that they still have something to say. Upon commenting or moderating they would have access to the highest rated posts.

    Creating research groups or projects based on a story would be nice also.
    PS: I am a lurker most of the times, even here.

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:59AM

      by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:59AM (#25009) Homepage Journal

      I've gotten a request from the editoral team to bring out the Nexus feature in slash so we'll have topic.dev.soylentnews.org. I plan to make some tweaks before going ahead of this, so we might end up with something that is very similiar if SN and subreddits had a baby. I'll be discussing this "soon"

      --
      Still always moving ...
      • (Score: 1) by aiwarrior on Wednesday April 02 2014, @02:05PM

        by aiwarrior (1812) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @02:05PM (#25086)

        That would be good because it would allow vetted stories and a bigger possibility for niches. It seems the community likes a small number of high quality posts. Topics would segregate the community towards that.

  • (Score: 2) by SuperCharlie on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:13AM

    by SuperCharlie (2939) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:13AM (#24955)

    I will agree with most on the premise that if you arent there right as the article posted over there, it was pretty much already said and done. I did do some commenting when there werent already 50+ comments, but they were pretty rare.
     
    I also found that I censured myself from political and security posts after the Snowden revelations from sheer self-preservation issues... I really do fear posting there is monitored because thems the peeps ya wanna keep track of.. (takes tinfoil hat off)

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:57AM

      by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:57AM (#25008) Homepage Journal

      We've got Tor if you're concerned about your anonymity, and one of the things slashcode DOES do right is hash IPIDs. It wouldn't be THAT difficult to build a rainbow table, but far easier than just plaintext.

      --
      Still always moving ...
  • (Score: 1) by Serial_Priest on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:25AM

    by Serial_Priest (2493) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:25AM (#24966)

    I joined "the other site" at some point in 1998 while in high school, and found it a great focal point for clever, experienced, computer-technology-oriented people. When I (rarely) lurked, it was out of lack of useful things to contribute. As the site's popularity gradually attracted a different userbase that had less interesting/informed conversations, my attention migrated to other forums/channels. It was also clear that the site was being poorly commercialized - in other words, it was no longer about discussing/sharing information, but rather selling the site visitors' data (comments, viewing habits, personal information) to advertisers and tracking companies. The feudal model of the NSA's harem (Google, Facebook, Apple, et al) is the antithesis of what everyone had been working towards throughout the 1980s and 1990s (but that's a whole other discussion.) In any event, I hadn't signed in or commented in years when the marketing drones hammered the final nail into the coffin.

    This site, so far, based on the style and content of the comments and stories and structure, seems promising. I just hope the admins won't pull an Oculus Rift on us.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:36AM

    by Phoenix666 (552) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:36AM (#24979)

    Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid [google.com] had a great and compelling idea wherein it said that somewhere in the replication and elaboration of simple patterns a sort of entanglement occurs and magic happens. That's a bit how this online community thing works. The simple elements of a forum, the ability to comment, moderate, etc., are ubiquitous, but those that become communities are rarer. Slashdot had it once, and then they broke it. They messed with it and messed with it until it collapsed, almost in the way you might mess with a network by randomly removing nodes until you cross a threshold and the network decoheres into disconnected sub-networks. For me, Beta was the final straw. Low UIDs came out of the woodwork with me to protest loudly that it would be the final straw if they persisted, but persist they did. They simply stopped listening to the community and forgot that the community was the value in the site.

    I read Slashdot almost from the beginning. I was fresh out of grad school and had a low 3-digit UID, but the job market back then (as now) sucked and I moved around a lot looking for a break and lost the credentials. By the time I found some stability and re-engaged I had a low 5-digit UID. I always logged in, commented frequently, moderated when I got mod points, and submitted a lot of stories in the early going that were never accepted. The last did not bother me that much because I always learned more from other people's comments than I'm sure anyone ever learned from mine. And that made me feel more loyal to that community than I've ever felt toward any other community in my life, including my church and my masonic lodge. I felt that being part of that community made me a better person than I could ever be on my own. The discussion after Columbine there was a real watershed--all the rage that had bottled up inside me through the years of being a bullied kid in public school and which remained under the surface so many years later came out and seeing so many others there do the same sealed my affection for my peers on the site. It was more powerful than the discussion after 9/11, and I live in Brooklyn and witnessed that happen first hand. When CmdrTaco resigned, I felt like I had lost a brother. Isn't that funny? I never met the guy, but he felt like a member of my family.

    A lot of the other folks commenting on this topic have covered the mechanical aspects, the technical aspects of what made the other site work or not work, and what should be done or not done on Soylent, but I thought I'd speak to the emotional dimension for me that makes all that stuff turn into something that matters and that endures. There is the rational, pragmatic value of what we learn intellectually from each other in a group like this, and then there are the affective ties of shared experience, and the complex dynamic of sameness/otherness/huh?-ness that embroiders that. The former is formed by our individual efforts, collectively experienced here and consists of each of us taking time to comment, moderate, submit stories, contribute to development, or even come to the financial rescue as that blessed anonymous member did. It requires some sacrifice of something--time, effort, money, etc to come true. The latter happens organically along the way and is already happening in the best way it could.

    And in that respect Soylent is already for me four times the community that Slashdot ever was in its heyday. I asked Soylent a question about mass linux installations for my daughter's school in Brooklyn last week and not only did it make the front page, (which would never have happened on Slashdot), but got such amazing feedback that I'm still working through the various recommendations (FOG Server, Foreman/Puppet, DRBL, OEM installation + Pre-Seeding) to see which will work best in the situation. (As an aside, NCommander, thank you for the gracious offer to help while you're in New York. I would hate to suck you into the slippery slope of helping somebody out, but would still like to buy you a beer for all the hard work you've done on Soylent--lemme know when/where). I mean, I'm hooked. Since I first registered on the site, I deleted all my Slashdot bookmarks and have never once looked back.

    That leads me to a thought of how Soylent can extend and preserve that community quality as it grows. Slashdot's submission queue devolved into a republishing machine gamed by PR firms and marketers trying to get as much viral lift for their press releases as possible. There was almost nothing on it that was not originally sourced from a newspaper or said PR/market droids. But submissions like mine I mentioned above not only have a real effect on real people, but have extensibility because maybe somebody in Billings, MT, might be trying to do the same thing at their kid's school. More than that, I think about the DIY/Maker movement I also participate in and know there is a vast ocean of innovation happening right now all around us, all of which is flying under the media/PR radar. I know this community comprises those same tinkerers and creators too, and if we can get posts from even 5% of those of us who are working on projects like that then we'll have more bleeding edge tech talk and innovation and community happening here than anywhere else on the Intertubes.

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:56AM

      by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:56AM (#25002) Homepage Journal

      You know, its funny. I got involved with SN with one line in ##altslashdot: "Hey guys, I've run slash before, need some help?". I probably should be more careful :-).

      The more I dig into slashdot and slashcode, the more I realize the decline and fall of the other site. I don't like to shit on other people, but having really dug into the history of both /. and /code, I'm somewhat disturbed on how it came. DICE might have done us a huge favor, it was the breaking point to split. I wasn't around in the true hayday of the other site, but I lurked for a fair bit before I signed up (I vaguely remember Jon Katz), and I suspect Slashdot could be used as an example on how NOT to build a website. It was really "right time, right place". We've actually had a bit of contact with one of the original slash guys, and got an apology (plus some amazement) that we got the monster to dance.

      For instance, I've always hated the interview format on the other site; it reads like fucking press releases (and has since 2003), so I plan to experiment with it, make it more interesting. I'm mentally getting to the point that if it comes to it, I'm willing to throw moderation entirely and rebuild it from the ground up to have a good S/N ratio. The thing is that most websites just have a discussion system, but don't seem to care much about it (at best you get a reddit like +/-). Sites like ars, with small communities can manage just fine. The trick is, can you have a large community and still have an outstanding S/N ratio?

      --
      Still always moving ...
      • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:54PM

        by Phoenix666 (552) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:54PM (#25325)

        The trick is, can you have a large community and still have an outstanding S/N ratio?

        On a technical level in a discussion forum you need defenses against trolls and deliberate sabotage. The /. moderation system and meta-moderation systems do a pretty good job at that, I feel. There's the other aspect of the S/N ratio, though, that comes down to how many lame/insulting/poorly thought-out comments vs. high quality ones. Without affective ties, shared experience, shared values, and all the other components of human socialization that work to keep us civil and engaged in the real world it's difficult to get a handle on it. For example in the early days of Usenet flamewars would rage and rage for months; the vi vs. emacs holy war is legendary. Slashdot's culture grew organically--it was not planned--but once it had achieved critical mass it became reasonably good at resisting shills and even learned how to incorporate the occasional silliness and missteps into memes and inside jokes that made it stronger. We all know many of them here, such as goatse or hot grits, or the Soviet Russia jokes and the "you insensitive clod!" punchlines. So the efforts we all make now, early on, to encourage the development of such a culture by helping each other out and encouraging good behavior will pay massive dividends on a practical level for years.

        So, I think what you're considering with revamping interviews could be a really excellent plank in that platform. I would be particularly interested in interviews of other members of the site, because I know many of them work in areas that are fascinating. For example in one of the stories today about the best first programming language one guy self-identified as a neuroscientist; Last September at the NY Maker's Faire I heard a lecture by a DARPA team that's working on neural interfaces and since then I've been fascinated by its applications and the potential for neural augmentation, and it would be great to put questions to somebody with subject matter expertise about it. Perhaps a good starting point would be to survey the community, bubble up a half-dozen topics/areas people are curious about, and see if there are any takers who can speak to them. I think that sets the process up for more success than the way Slashdot would do it, which was to randomly materialize someone on the home page that people weren't prepared to put questions to.

        And it seems like doing this stuff is not about re-coding the moderation system, but about putting a slightly different English on the ball.

        Anyway, from what I've seen so far, we're in good shape on all these fronts.

  • (Score: 1) by WanderCat on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:36AM

    by WanderCat (1270) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:36AM (#24980)

    Generally, I:

    1) Read the headlines and some/most/all of the summary, but
    2) Am most interested in the comments; this is what makes this site worth the time involved.
    3) Don't have much to add that hasn't already been said and, thus, don't post often.
    4) Nearly didn't comment here, but this really seems more like a poll, than the usual news/community item.

    I'd say that post/views ratio here is more due to concurrent views and a desire not to reiterate needlessly than passivity.

    The other site? Probably not the case.

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:45AM

      by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:45AM (#24993) Homepage Journal

      This is trying to understand our community. I can make educated guesses all I want, but sometimes the right thing is to put a big question mark up, and ask for people's opinions.

      I understand folks not posting often, but there is a large set of people that are 100% passive. No moderation, not even logged in, and I wanted to see if there was a root cause.

      --
      Still always moving ...
    • (Score: 1) by qwade on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:49PM

      by qwade (1006) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @08:49PM (#25287)

      I'm much the same. I'll read the headlines looking for something interesting, read the summary if so, and then read through the comments. It's pretty rare I follow the link to TFA because it's usually the discussion I find most interesting.

      As such I tend to lurk logged in, moderate when I have points, and rarely submit stories - though that's because I usually don't get the scoop before a similar story appears and by the time I've cranked up the old English class brain cells to write something worth publishing it's already been done.

      I was AC on the other site from the late 90's, finally was forced to create an account to keep a decent comment layout and noticed the slow decline to the current level of groupthink and slashvertisements there. It got to a point where I could read the summary and predict the general trend of the comments it would generate.

  • (Score: 1) by GlennC on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:41AM

    by GlennC (3656) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:41AM (#24986)

    I have one of the last 5 digit ID's on /. and the same nickname there.

    I mostly read and moderate there, mostly because I usually don't have anything to add.

    To be honest, I'll probably do about the same here (assuming I get mod points).

    --
    ...as far as I know (but I don't know that far)
    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:56AM

      by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:56AM (#25005) Homepage Journal

      Side-effect due to a tweak in the mod algo is newer accounts aren't getting points. I discussed this recently, and I'm going to drop the account aging variable in the short term.

      --
      Still always moving ...
      • (Score: 1) by GlennC on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:06PM

        by GlennC (3656) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:06PM (#25056)

        That's cool...I'm in no hurry.

        --
        ...as far as I know (but I don't know that far)
  • (Score: 1) by http on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:46AM

    by http (1920) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:46AM (#24994)

    My practice on /. was, browse at +3 (using Classic, not D2) and switch to -1 if given mod points. I considered moderating occasionally the payment for the days where I don't have to read dreck. I metamoderated regularly until they switched over to an opaque system using +/- referring to the comments, instead of Fair/Unfair referring to the moderations. I commented occasionally, as there were not many times I saw something worth responding to with either useful information, insight, or humour that had not already been responded to so.

    I have no idea how to metamoderate on SNO. Or even if it's possible.

    I noticed that once /. got near the million UID mark, there was a MASSIVE influx of astroturfing accounts. It went from 1 million to 1 1/4 million in just a few month, and hit 2 million extremely rapidly. I suspect some marketing syndicate said, "Hey, look, one million eyeballs! We have a plan for when that happens." Fucking marketers. I wish they'd learn what conviction is and get into honest work, some of which involves advertising.

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:48AM

      by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:48AM (#24996) Homepage Journal

      Incidently, old school metamod came back on the other site. We have the source for metamod, but its broken (it got "firehosed", a feature I detested on the other site), but I think I can reconstruct it. The trick then is doing useful shit with the data.

      --
      Still always moving ...
  • (Score: 1) by scruffybeard on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:59AM

    by scruffybeard (533) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:59AM (#25010)

    The point about the lack of posts from lower UIDs brings to mind a stereotypical scene of a group of Native Americans huddled around a fire to discuss some serious issue facing the tribe. The younger men debating various points, while the old men stare at the fire and listen. Finally, after a heated exchange, one of the old men speaks up, immediately silencing the others. He drops some sage advice and quickly brings consensus.

    My point to this was that as a community develops, you will inevitably find that some members are going to be less likely to enter the fray of a heated debate. The will "lurk", listening to all sides, then drop a comment and leave. I think this is a good thing, and we should be happy if Soylent News achieves this level of diversity.

  • (Score: 1) by tomtomtom on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:59AM

    by tomtomtom (340) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @11:59AM (#25011)

    I started reading the other site back in 1998 or so although I didn't register my current account until maybe 2001 or 2002 (I had an older uid before but lost it). I wouldn't class myself as a lurker as such; however I don't post to many stories.

    One thing which hasn't been mentioned is that over the past 4-5 years the weight of stories on the other site became less and less things I felt interested me - so it wasn't just that I didn't feel I had anything to add or that it had already all been said. These days I still read both sites but I gloss over the headlines on the other sites and don't even read most of the summaries.

    Over time the level of OSS/Linux/Internet/Computing related stories seems to have dropped with an increase in "general" politics stories, science stories, broader tech stories and tech business-type stories. We used to get stories about quite interesting random hardware hacks someone had produced, new release news of the more important OSS projects, etc. Stories you wouldn't see discussed on other sites at all. I'd love to get some of that feel back. It's quite interesting to look back at the headlines from 10 years ago (say) - the subject matter is somehow more something that interests me.

    Hacker News has this feel to some extent in its headlines but the commenter crowd there feels rather too "Silicon Valley" to me - a lot of people who are in startups and care more about "doing it now" than "doing it right" is about the best way I can put it I suppose although that's not quite how I feel. I'd love for this site to become what the old site used to be 10 years ago. That really felt like something I enjoyed reading.

    • (Score: 2) by NCommander on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:02PM

      by NCommander (2) <mcasadevall@dev.soylentnews.org> on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:02PM (#25016) Homepage Journal

      The biggest issue we have right now is that if we run too many stories, they drop off the main page and into the slash equivelent of the ether. This got hilighted by the editoral team, so nexus's (topic.dev.soylentnews.org) are coming back, which will allow us to run stories like this 24/7 without having information overload.

      --
      Still always moving ...
  • (Score: 1) by kevinl on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:28PM

    by kevinl (3951) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:28PM (#25039)

    I was an active commenter for a while on /. but mostly stopped for similar reasons that I no longer attempt edits on Wikipedia or respond to articles critical of US hegemony on Reddit: a large mass of permanent users with more energy and time to get in the last word. Others have mentioned the pedantic-ism and general turdishness. But I want to talk about the other kind of longevity: getting Too Old For This Shit.

    First, I can't delete my Slashdot account. And I know that it has likely been (unconstitutionally: fuck you NSA) collated against my old deleted Reddit accounts, my deleted Facebook and G+ accounts, probably even my deleted LiveJournal and MySpace accounts, and maybe even my old Usenet posts (oh god!). The Slashdot account is one long common thread between all those dead handles. I stopped posting to Slashdot as non-AC because I want that identity to eventually fade. I really would like it if SoylentNews could delete accounts and start over under a new pseudonym.

    Second, the discussions themselves. I would love a community that doesn't care about BSD vs GPL, or Apple vs Samsung, or Mac vs PC, or even (omg) Windows vs Linux. When these kinds of topics come up, I just want the community to generally ignore it or point to a FAQ entry so that all those early-career coders who haven't actually released anything can go to town. I'd also like a community less-focused on software/computer engineering as the One True Nerdkind. There's no one right way to engage in the universe and share what you learn; I'd really love it if folks from the liberal arts programs felt comfortable here without being insulted for having a BA or MFA rather than a BS.

    Finally, the Internet memes. I'm sick of them. Meme pictures, meme phrases, blah blah. It's standard subculture stuff that's been recycled every 7-ish years. The only meme I want to get popular is a response like 'fetch' in Mean Girls: "Stop trying to make { in Soviet Russia, I can haz, I for one welcome our overlord } happen, it's never going to happen!"

    • (Score: 2) by maxwell demon on Wednesday April 02 2014, @04:37PM

      by maxwell demon (1608) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @04:37PM (#25176)

      All that people could get from Slashdot other than my Slashdot identity is my SoylentNews identity (because I've used the same pseudonym here; I never used the same pseudonym anywhere else). Unless, of course, they hack into Slashdot or SoylentNews and get my email address (set to not shown since the beginning). That one of course would open up a whole lot of other information about me.

      --
      The Tao of math: The numbers you can count are not the real numbers.
  • (Score: 1) by BigJ on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:49PM

    by BigJ (3685) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:49PM (#25050)

    I believe that Monoculture causes most of the problems with lurking (at least mine). The only chance to influence the discussion for big sites is right after the article is posted. An hour or so after the article is posted, most insightful comments have been posted, and the Monoculture has manicured and locked-in the postings to conform. There was no ability for me to join the discussion later and provide any additional input (moderating or otherwise); so I read.

    Monoculture is tough to combat. All it takes is a slight shift over 50/50 and moderators can push opposing viewpoints into oblivion. Perhaps what we need is a mod system that emulates organized basketball and football games; where the referees give the outmatched team a leg up by calling more aggressively on the winning team and more leniently on the losing team.

    As posts get more up moderation the value of each additional "mod up" gets less and the value of each additional "mod down" gets more. The opposite would be true for posts that were "down modded".

    Alternative mechanism would be: as posts get more up moderation an additional "mod up" would be more expensive from a mod point perspective and "mod down" would get cheaper. (ex. to move an article from +4 to +5 would take 3 mod points; to move from +5 to +4 would only take 2)

    This would allow for dissenting opinions to still be seen and to continue a good debate throughout the story's lifetime.

  • (Score: 1) by dast on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:54PM

    by dast (1633) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @12:54PM (#25053)

    Way back before the clusterfsck that was beta, what really ruined the other site was the sheer size of the user base. As a long time /. user (and I participed way before ever registered), things were much better with a smaller number of users. With hundreds of comments on any given story, it is almost impossible to have a real discussion. The other site was a victim of its own success.

    I don't want to see this happen to Soylent. Much better to keep the user base small, cohesive, and high quality than to sell out and become a huge news site. That should keep users engaged and cut down on the lurking. When your voice on /. is lost amongst the noise of frosty piss and N Portman grits crap, there isn't much incentive to participate.

  • (Score: 1) by Aiwendil on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:20PM

    by Aiwendil (531) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:20PM (#25065)

    Why I didn't comment ATOS (at the other site):
      FUD:
        Fear - Has what I'm saying been said before?
        Uncertainty - Is this relevant?
        Doubt - Am I good enough at writing?/Is this of interest

    Why I don't moderate:
      Simply fear of messing up the flow of a good dialouge.

    And why I don't submit stories:
      I have no idea how to write a good summary - also about 70% of all news-items I read are in a non-english-language

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:34PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:34PM (#25072)
      If you feel up to it, I would appreciate more articles submitted from an international viewpoint. I don't have the magic answer for what makes a good summary. The guidelines on the wiki [dev.soylentnews.org] are a good primer, though.
      • (Score: 1) by Aiwendil on Wednesday April 02 2014, @06:12PM

        by Aiwendil (531) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @06:12PM (#25235)

        I would love to try actually, but the problem is the part with "high quality translation" when pointing to a non-english article. Automated translations just doesn't cut it.

        For instance I just fed an article* into google translate (from swedish to english) about that the next "upgrade" of BankID (one of the major swedish "online id-cards", it is issued by the banks) will not have linux-support. However the automatic translate botched it to the point where the article was unbearable (albeit still intelligible), and this was just a simple plain-language article.

        * = http://computersweden.idg.se/2.2683/1.554720/banki d-for-linux-slopas [computersweden.idg.se] (sadly enough not an april-fools joke (how I detest that day))

  • (Score: 1) by Scareb on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:20PM

    by Scareb (981) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:20PM (#25066)

    I really like the usage charts and stats that you have compiled, maybe these can become a permanent sidebar nav feature for those of us who are interested?

  • (Score: 1) by zizban on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:30PM

    by zizban (3765) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:30PM (#25070)

    It was the moderation, which got worse and worse as time went on. I remember posting a reply to someone who stated Apple had "finally gotten on the ARM bandwagon" with the iPhone, pointing out Apple had used ARM before in Newtons and got moderated 0, troll. Later I posted that ChromeOS was getting standalone apps, packaged apps, and I got moderated -1 troll. That was the breaking point for me.

    Here I lurk mostly because right now (as others have said) people are saying the things I would say and better than I could have.

    • (Score: 1) by jmoschner on Wednesday April 02 2014, @02:19PM

      by jmoschner (3296) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @02:19PM (#25094)

      Moderation is one reason I didn't post much at /. Not that I was modded down all the time (except when dice went through and modded down then locked threads with negative feedback on beta), but because I usually was getting and using my mod points. Instead of another 'Me Too" post I just modded up comments that were interesting or insightful. Though I avoided topics that were likely to be full of fan-boys as it was not worth wasting points in that area. Instead I focused on areas where there were fewer comments and nobody was giving people props they deserved.

      As an aside, you cannot comment as yourself if you mod. I think that may also influence the number of posts. For example if I mod up one comment in five different stories, those are five stories I cannot comment on. Though I may have contributed to five conversations, by the comment stat alone it doesn't show I have.

  • (Score: 1) by Mix+Master+Nixon on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:47PM

    by Mix+Master+Nixon (763) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @01:47PM (#25081)

    ...really, just haven't had much time for posting online anywhere, nor have I had anything terribly important to add of late. Life has kept me otherwise occupied. I will say that that other site's url has been redirected here in my /etc/hosts file and has been since the boycott.

  • (Score: 1) by Nobiscuit on Wednesday April 02 2014, @02:33PM

    by Nobiscuit (3192) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @02:33PM (#25103)

    For me it is mainly time, once I manage to get on the site, and read a few articles, I generally don't have time to post or find I have anything worthwhile to say. Sometimes it is just the subject matter, I am not an expert in those issues so feel that commenting may be in error, or make a fool of myself. I am sure if a subject came up and I felt comfortable I would post if I had something to say.

    Incidentally this is my first comment/post on SN. So that cherry has been broken. Cheer.
    I don’t recall ever posting on the other site. just lurked.

  • (Score: 2) by dotdotdot on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:09PM

    by dotdotdot (858) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:09PM (#25132)

    A quick look at my stats shows this will be my 74th (non-AC) comment since I joined SN. Glancing unscientifically at other people's stats shows that I'm about average. The highest number of comments from any one person that I saw was just over 400.

  • (Score: 1) by freesword on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:55PM

    by freesword (1018) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @03:55PM (#25158)

    While it's been said before in this discussion repeatedly, I'll actually add in my own experience as a lurker because I feel it might add more clarity to the points already made.

    Firstly I lurk because I initially come to the site to learn what is new. After scanning through the articles I see if anything catches my interest. Then I read the comments and see if I have anything relevant to add. Often I either have nothing to say that I feel adds to the discussion or what I have to say has already been said.

    As a result of this I rarely log in unless I have something to post. Call me lazy, but I see no point logging in and out unless I need to be logged in to do something specific (like posting).

    As for things I might add already having been said, I face a bit of a time bias. I usually do not get here until 1:00 PM Pacific time or later. I've noticed that the majority of posting takes place during US business hours and starts to drop off by 5:00 PM Eastern time (which is 2:00 PM my time). I'm not deterred from posting due to being at the tail end of the active period of an article, but it does mean that anything I have to say has likely already been said by someone else earlier.

    It's been said that lurking can contribute to a deteriorating signal to noise ratio. I see my lurking as trying to not add additional noise.

    I may not be particularly active, but my choice of activity or lack thereof is made with the best best intentions toward the community as a consideration. I want this site to flourish, and if my posts contribute to this great, but I generally feel I contribute more effectively to this site's future with my silence.

    "It's better to be silent and thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt."

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @04:02PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 02 2014, @04:02PM (#25159)

    Basically I'm here because I hoped it would be a site with more focused news than Slashdot -- not in terms of spread of topics, but in terms of, well, less advert-focus and comments that might stay a bit more on-topic. I wasn't too enamoured with the puling over Slashdot Beta (and said so) but I also didn't like it myself and undid the negative moderation on anti-Beta posts. Now I check both sites and comment on stories that I have a useful input on on both sites, an activity which is more likely to result in a decent response here, even if only because there are fewer posts (and given that I tend to comment almost exclusively on physics and astrophysics posts, far less unmitigated drivel).

    Personally I hope Soylent keeps growing and reaches and sustains a critical mass.

    I should probably actually register an account here, too.

  • (Score: 1) by e_armadillo on Wednesday April 02 2014, @04:14PM

    by e_armadillo (3695) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @04:14PM (#25165)

    I was a reader on ./ from almost the beginning, same username there with a UID of 14,304. There were a couple factors that caused me to quit posting, and I would often stop reading for long periods of time.

    1. By the time I could post, even if what I wanted to say seemed unique, it would be buried by the avalanche of previous posts
    2. The venom that came from logged in users, not just AC.

    I like the community here, and I think that in the last month I have posted about as much as I ever did on ./

    But, I fell back to lurking on ./ because it just wasn't any fun to post to what essentially constituted "/dev/null" not because it was moderated down, but because anything that started at a score of "1" would be buried in the noise, or to be told that you were an idiot because you happened to disagree with someone. It just wasn't worth the effort to post. So, I would lurk

    • (Score: 1) by e_armadillo on Wednesday April 02 2014, @04:16PM

      by e_armadillo (3695) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @04:16PM (#25167)

      Ugh, I even previewed, and i see that I typoed every instance of /. :/

  • (Score: 2) by cosurgi on Wednesday April 02 2014, @05:03PM

    by cosurgi (272) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @05:03PM (#25191) Journal

    A person is talking on a stand to a very large crowd. He is telling them: "Repeat after me: I am an Individual". The crowd repeats: "I am an individual". Among the murmur one person shouts loudly "I'm not!".

    Now, on the other site there were far too many people. Why bother replying to someone, when you will never meet this person again?

    There was a friends/foes/freaks mechanisms, to help you remember who is who. And I used it about 5 years go. But afterwards it just stopped making sense. And also all those accounts that I marked as friend or foes were suddenly just long forgotten not-even-acquittances. Seemed like a graveyard. Why bother trying to use it?

    --
    #
    #\ @ ? [adom.de] Colonize Mars [kozicki.pl]
    #
  • (Score: 1) by dereismdave on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:06PM

    by dereismdave (897) on Wednesday April 02 2014, @10:06PM (#25312)

    I choose to be SN's audience. Therefore I Lurk. I grab some popcorn, take a seat, and take in the wonderful show this community provides.I left /. When they labeled all /.ers the audience. They took away all choice.
          On occasion I will log in and post a comment that is opinionated and slightly inappropriate.
          I read every story, every comment, everyday. But I have no idea what could be done to make me a less passive member of this community.

          I am a Lurker. It's my nature.
         

    --
    "If you aren't gonna say exactly how and what you feel, you might as well not say anything at all." - Johnny Cash
  • (Score: 2) by Hyper on Thursday April 03 2014, @04:20AM

    by Hyper (1525) on Thursday April 03 2014, @04:20AM (#25421)

    I lurk to learn. So much is out there that I have never heard of. I can not learn ot all or do it all but I really like watching others talk about it. I spent a month in an Exalted irc chat just soaking up the culture.

  • (Score: 1) by KritonK on Thursday April 03 2014, @06:51AM

    by KritonK (465) on Thursday April 03 2014, @06:51AM (#25467)

    In addition to what previous posters have mentioned, one reason, for which I was discouraged to comment on the other site, was that the few times I got the chance to comment while the discussion was still fresh, and therefore I would expect my comments to be read, as they would be near the top, I found that my comments somehow moved to the bottom of the discussion, where no one would get to read them. I have gotten far more replies to my comments on SN than I ever got on the other site!

  • (Score: 1) by Rich26189 on Thursday April 03 2014, @08:36AM

    by Rich26189 (1377) on Thursday April 03 2014, @08:36AM (#25517)
    I haven't read all or even most of the comments re comments from ACs but I agree those should start at -1 for the reasons stated by others. If you can't be bothered to register/login you're just a child wanting to post some crap and know that others will have to see it even if just to then mentally disregard it. You're nothing more than a vandal.

    To allow for those times when a registered user with some insight or otherwise privileged information that s/he would like to share but not do so using their registered self - there should be a way to mark the posting/comment as AC for a reason. The editors could quickly scan the contents and easily determine whether there is a reason for the AC. If so, it starts at 0, if not, delete it.

    If you want to spout crap as an AC fine, your comments won't be deleted but don't claim you have something important to share and then spout your crap.

    Does this put too much work on the editors or is it a more complex solution than necessary?

    Rich