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Slashdot effect

The Slashdot effect is a huge influx of Internet traffic to a website as a result of its being mentioned on Slashdot, a technology news and information site.

Slashdot consists of submitted articles and a self-moderated discussion on each story. In response to the stories, large masses of readers rush to view referenced sites. The ensuing flood of page requests, known as a slashdotting, often exceeds the ability of the site to respond in a timely manner, rendering the site slashdotted and, for many visitors, unavailable for a time, occasionally exceeding the site's bandwidth limitations. "Slashdotted" is sometimes abbreviated as "/.ed".

Major news sites or corporate websites are typically unaffected by the Slashdot effect. Websites that usually fall victim are smaller sites hosted on home servers or those with many large images or movie files. Often times, these websites become unavailable within just a few minutes of an article's posting on Slashdot, even before any comments have been posted.

Few definitive numbers[1] exist regarding the precise magnitude of the Slashdot effect, but estimates put the peak of the mass influx of page requests at anywhere from several hundred to several thousand hits per second. The flood usually peaks when the article is at the top of Slashdot's front page and gradually subsides as the story is superseded by newer items. Traffic usually remains at elevated levels until the article is pushed off the front page, which can take from 12 to 18 hours after its initial posting.

When the targeted website has a community-based structure, the term can also mean the secondary effect of having a large group of users suddenly setting up accounts and starting to participate in the community. While this would normally be considered a good thing, it is generally viewed with disdain by the prior members, as quite often the sheer number of new people brings a lot of the unwanted aspects of Slashdot along with it, such as incessant trolling, vandalism, and newbie-like behavior (See Slashdot trolling phenomena).

The Slashdot effect is similar to a denial of service attack, in that both can cripple or eliminate access to websites. However, while a denial of service attack is a deliberate, malicious onslaught aimed at damaging computer systems and harming the victim's livelihood, the Slashdot effect has been an unintended consequence of Slashdot's popularity that usually subsides fairly quickly.

This name is also sometimes used for traffic floods coming from other news sites.

The Jargon File states that an alternate term for Slashdot effect is "flash crowd".

Relevance to Wikipedia

Wikipedia has been "slashdotted" on July 26, 2001 and January 22, 2003 (screenshot).

Note that after being "slashdotted", Wikipedia can suffer from vandalism and changes of viewpoints in articles which stray from the consensus reached. Join the volunteer fire department to help double check all changes made after slashdottings to ensure that a neutral point-of-view has been maintained.

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