Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Slashdot (frequently abbreviated as /.) is a popular technology-related website, updated many times daily with articles that are short summaries of stories on other websites with links to the stories, and provisions for readers to comment on the story. Each story generally receives at least 150 such comments, with especially popular or controversial articles reaching totals of more than 1000. In many ways it resembles a blog. The summaries for the stories are generally submitted by Slashdot's own readers with editors accepting or rejecting these contributions for general posting. The site also sometimes features movie or book reviews, interviews, and "Ask Slashdot": queries from users requesting information from the readership.
The site's slogan is "News for nerds. Stuff that matters." Slashdot is widely criticized for regularly posting inaccurate, highly biased, and/or inflammatory story summaries that incite heated posting, while ignoring serious news or commentary (see Slashdot subculture). It is also famous for the Slashdot effect, when thousands of Slashdot readers read an article and connect to the linked website, flooding it with unexpected traffic, and at times downing the site.
The official reason for the name "Slashdot" is that it was invented to confuse people who try to spell the url of the site (h t t p colon slash slash slashdot dot org) .
Created in September 1997 by Rob Malda, Slashdot is now owned by the Open Source Technology Group, part of VA Software. The site is run primarily by Malda, Jeff "Hemos" Bates (who handles articles and book reviews and sells advertising) and Robin "Roblimo" Miller who helps handle some of the more managerial tasks of the site, as well as posting stories. (See Slashdot history).
Slashdot's core audience is often said to consist of Linux enthusiasts and various other enthusiasts of the open source software movement. However, a poll on Slashdot suggests that approximately half of all Slashdot visitors actually use a Microsoft Windows operating system with only a third using some form of Linux.  It should be noted that polls on Slashdot, like most on the internet, are notoriously unreliable: the disclaimer reads on the bottom of the poll "This whole thing is wildly inaccurate. Rounding errors, ballot stuffers, dynamic IPs, firewalls. If you're using these numbers to do anything important, you're insane." Collecting User-Agent information provided by the users' browser is generally more reliable than the polls; however, it shows a far greater percentage of Microsoft customers than Linux users. Moreover, lots of the stories are related to Microsoft Windows video games or applications, or Microsoft security bulletins. The ongoing assumption that Slashdot is Linux-oriented comes both from historical reasons, and from its famous Gates "Borg" icon.
Slashdot users, frequently called Slashdotters, number in excess of 865,401 registered users. Famous or well-known Slashdotters include actor Wil Wheaton (username "CleverNickName"), id Software programmer John Carmack (username "John Carmack"), GNOME co-founder and Mono's chief architect Miguel de Icaza (username "miguel") and open source evangelist Bruce Perens (username "Bruce Perens"). Also noteworthy is the participation of several engineers from NASA involved in the Mars rover exploration projects.
The software that runs Slashdot is called Slash or slashcode and is released under the terms of the Free Software Foundation's GNU General Public License. Many other websites use various customized versions of this software for their own web forums.
Trolling and moderation
As one of the largest forums on the Internet, trolling and spamming on Slashdot is a highly evolved phenomenon (see Slashdot trolling phenomena). It is an offbeat and complex subculture involving sometimes repetitive and sometimes obscene comments featuring an admixture of Slashdot celebrities and other unusual juvenilia.
There are many famous personalities from Slashdot's older trolling community. Craig McPherson, for example, started the well-known hot grits and naked and petrified memes while OSM and Trollaxor specialized in bizarre creative fiction regarding various Slashdot and Free/Open Source Software personalities. SpiralX, Streetlawyer/John Saul Montoya (jsm), Signal 11, Dumb Marketing Guy (dmg), Seventy Percent, 80md and others typified the classic sense of trolling both under their well-known monikers and a bevy of pseudonyms (or "sock puppets"). While all of the aforementioned may be well-known to Slashdotters, the earliest repeat offender was "MEEPT". Prior to MEEPT's stream of consciousness posts, Slashdot did not require posters to log in in order to attribute a post to a name. MEEPT was one of the last straws that brought about username/password logins and eventually moderation.
Other less-sophisticated forms of Slashdot trolling—often referred to as crapflooding—includes posting of one-liners, ASCII art, and other materials. Several of these trolls set up Geekizoid, a site devoted to exploring and fostering crapflooding memes. Members of the aforementioned classic trolling group created Adequacy.org and continued their formula there until its closing. Another site where trolls gather is Anti-Slash where trolls come to wage jihad on Slashdot.
The Slashdot editors are sometimes accused of posting (and even preferring) stories that are, themselves, thinly-disguised trolls, which encourage large numbers of postings in response, and of accepting kickbacks to post certain stories .
The "pink page of death" is an infamous feature applied to IP addresses that have been used to access Slashdot many times in a short period. It often appears on proxies used for crapflooding. The name "pink page of death" is a reference to the Microsoft Windows Blue screen of death, and prevents users from accessing the site. Entry is only permitted again if the owner of the IP address explains themselves to Malda.
Since trolling is prevalent, a moderation system was implemented, whereby every comment posted (including those posted anonymously) can be "moderated" up or down by randomly chosen moderators, changing the post's score likewise. Slashdot editors, including CmdrTaco, can moderate limitlessly, while those users who are randomly given moderation privileges can only moderate a limited amount. Moderation points added to a comment are also added to a user's karma score. Having high karma gives added bonuses to users, such as the ability to autopost at higher starting values. Conversely, users with low karma have penalties imposed on them. People that post comments designed to get more karma, for example mirroring a linked article, are sometimes referred to as karma whores.
A given comment can have any integer score from −1 to +5, and Slashdot users can set a personal threshold where no comments with a lesser score are displayed. (For example, a person browsing the comments at a threshold of 1 will not see comments with a score of −1 or 0 but will see all others.) Moderators have been known to abuse the ability to increase or decrease the score of comments, and in some cases entire threads of comments have been marked down to −1. Subsequently, a meta-moderation system was implemented to moderate the moderators and help contain abuses. However, Meta-Moderation does not affect Slashdot editors with unlimited mod points. This results in posts being modded down for allegedly political reasons. Many have called for the release of the Meta-Moderation scores of those with unlimited mod points on mods performed in the first 5 minutes after an article is posted.
- Barrapunto — A Spanish-speaking site in the spirit of Slashdot
- PuntBarra — A Catalan-speaking site in the spirit of Slashdot
- Gildot — A Portuguese-speaking site in the spirit of Slashdot
- Linuxfr — A French-speaking site in the spirit of Slashdot
- Symlink.ch — A German-speaking site in the spirit of Slashdot
- SlashCode — Slashdot source code
- Technocrat.net — A similar forum to Slashdot, intended to be more mature, managed by Bruce Perens.
- Kuro5hin — An alternative discussion site founded and visited by Slashdot expatriates.
- Everything2 — Meta-information database run by Slashdot founders.
- Plastic.com — A political news forum running on SlashCode.
- Slashdot front page
- Slashdot Japan — the Japanese version of Slashdot
- Slashcode — homepage of Slashdot's backend software (Slash)
- AlterSlash — a minimal-graphics Slashdot digest
- Zack Bagga — a digest based on the Slashdot RSS feed
- mirrordot — A tool that provides mirrors of all Slashdot stories to avoid the Slashdot effect
- Network Mirror — A site that provides mirrors of all Slashdot stories to avoid the Slashdot effect
- Slashdot Hall of Fame — List of most popular (either posts or views) stories
- newz.dk — A Danish-speaking site in the spirit of Slashdot
- Wup.it — An Italian-speaking site in the spirit of Slashdot
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