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Slashdot

Slashdot is a very popular technology-oriented weblog. Created in September 1997 by Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda it is now owned by the Open Source Development Network, part of VA Software. Most of Slashdot's content consists of short summaries of stories on other websites with links to them, and provisions for readers to comment on the story. These summaries are generally provided by the Slashdot readers, with the editors accepting or rejecting these contributions. Also sometimes featured are movie and book reviews, as well as "Ask Slashdot" queries from users requesting information from the readership.

The name was chosen for its humorous URL, "http://slashdot.org" (or "http-colon-slash-slash-slash-dot-dot-org").

Slashdot is run primarily by Malda, Jeff "Hemos" Bates (who posts stories, sells advertising, and handles the book reviews[?]) and Robin "Roblimo" Miller (who helps handle some of the more managerial[?] tasks of the site, as well as posting stories). The bandwidth is provided by Exodus.Net.

Slashdot's core audience consists of Linux enthusiasts and various other people within the Open Source software movement. Curiously, a poll (http://slashdot.org/pollBooth.pl?qid=848&aid=-1) on Slashdot suggests that almost half of all Slashdot users actually use a Windows operating system with only a third using some form of Linux.

As anonymous posting is allowed on Slashdot (see Anonymous Coward), trolling and spamming on Slashdot is a highly evolved phenomenon. It is a bizarre and complex subculture involving attempts at the "first post", Naked and Petrified Natalie Portman, hot grits, the trolltalk forum and other user-created discussions, goatse.cx, Beowulf clusters, mock-homosexual erotica featuring an admixture of Slashdot celebrities and topics (e.g. Star Trek, Linux, BSD), announcements of Stephen King's death, and other unusual juvenilia. Probably the most famous personalities to have come from Slashdot's 'old school[?]' trolling community are OSM, Trollaxor, Jon Eriksson, Streetlawyer, Gnarphlager, Dumb Marketing Guy, 70%, 80md, I Am Troll and The Lunchtime Troll. They are well-known for their creative writing. A newer breed of 'blue collar' trolls set up Geekizoid - a site devoted to exploring and fostering 'crapflooding', whilst at the more upmarket end of the scale Adequacy.org experimented with other trolling techniques.

Since trolling is prevalent, a moderation system[?] is implemented, whereby every comment posted (including those posted anonymously) can be "moderated" up or down by randomly chosen moderators, changing its score likewise. A given comment can have any integer score between -1 and 5 inclusive, and a Slashdot user can set a personal threshold where no comments with a lesser score are displayed. (For example, a person with a score 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.

The software that runs Slashdot is called Slashcode and is released under 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.

Slashdot users, sometimes called Slashdotters, number in excess of 670,000. Famous or well-known Slashdotters include actor Wil Wheaton (username "CleverNickName (http://slashdot.org/~CleverNickName)"), id Software programmer John Carmack, and self-proclaimed open source leader Bruce Perens.

Nupedia and Wikipedia were Slashdotted (see Slashdot effect) on Thursday July 26, 2001 and Wednesday January 22, 2003 (screenshot).

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