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Is Slashdot worth reading?

© July 2003 Tony Lawrence
Fri Jul 25 17:57:08 GMT 2003

Before someone thinks I'm totally nuts, I visit Slashdot regularly. It absolutely is "News for Nerds. Stuff that matters" and I wouldn't be without it.

Update: six years later, I don't read it at all. It's been taken over by the great unwashed and is not worth my time.

But the rest of Slashdot..

Frankly, I rarely even bother to look at any comments anymore. No matter how much I filter out (Slashdot rates comments; see below), most of it is just useless junk that isn't worth my time. More than most, in fact: it's so rare that ANY comment is worth reading that, as I said, I mostly don't even look any more.

The problem, I think, is that the lunatics are running the asylum. Apparently what gets to the front page is still filtered by intelligent people, but because the volume of comments has become so large, the rating and filtering of those has been turned over to the masses: everyone who logs in gets to moderate a few posts. Slashdot tries to overcome the rule of the great unwashed by also doing meta-moderation: people also pass judgement on the quality of other moderators judgements; but it isn't enough. With rare exceptions (some topics do attract intelligent commentary more than others) there's too much junk here and not enough substance.

It reminds me of a summer barbecue full of heavy drinkers: a lot of noise, a lot of talking, but little intelligence. Maybe fun once in a great while, probably a blast if you are one of the alcoholics in training, but not something I want to do more than once every few years.

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