<drdink> Welcome to tonight's SlashNET forum.20:00

Tonight our guests are Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda and Jeff "Hemos" Bates.

They are two of the figures behind Slashdot.org, as you all know.

Topics they'd like to talk about tonight include comment moderation, story selection, code plans, and technical stuff.

If you have a question you'd like to ask, you can submit it to the queue by sending it in a private message to "Questions": /msg Questions <question-here>20:01

Before we get started with queued questions, would either of you like to say anything? Possibly a brief intro as to who you are? CmdrTaco first?
<CmdrTaco> Uhh... we do slashdot.

first question!
<Questions> rfoster asks: How has the Slashdot info structure changed over the last year are you still experiencing growth and what hardware are you running to accommodate these needs?
<hemos> Well, we can answer what hardware we are using now...20:02
<CmdrTaco> The system continues to be refined. We add new hardware.
<hemos> and I can answer the hardware that's coming.
<CmdrTaco> The FAQ lists most of the hardware.

A dozen web servers... a few mysql boxes.
<hemos> The major upgrade for hardware will be webservers/DB readers.
<CmdrTaco> Yeah, we're getting new hardware for the first time in years.20:03
<hemos> Literally.

Like, I think 30 months or so.
<CmdrTaco> We've added a few boxes, but really not much.
<hemos> I mean, yeah, we've added new boxes, but they have been 2 - 3 year old machines.
<Questions> w00t asks: Will /. users ever be able to change the "look and feel" of Slashdot? Such as the colors, and general layout?
<CmdrTaco> Maybe a little, but not much.20:04

It's computationally expensive.
<hemos> The new machines will be 2x P3 1.4 Ghz, with 2 gigs of RAM.
<CmdrTaco> It's programatically tricky.

And only a tiny tiny percentage of users care.

Patches are always welcome tho ;)
<Questions> Aridhol asks: What advice would you give to people trying to start up their own content site(games,news etc...) How did slashdot get so many viewers?20:05
<CmdrTaco> Please don't msg me.
<hemos> Aridhol: Being there first.

And not looking like ass.
<CmdrTaco> Do something other people aren't.
<Questions> reefer asks: Is there any system in place or a plan on developing some system to prevent duplicate posts?
<CmdrTaco> Whatever.20:06

<hemos> Reefer: There is one.
<Questions> jew asks: At LWCE 2000 NYC, you stated that you were considering developing alternate systems of accessing the site's content than HTTP/HTML. You mentioned NNTP. Have you considered or implemented any alternate means of accessing the site, such as RRS? If not, why?
<hemos> It's just that the media spreads stories around.

And there's something like 30,000 stories, so dupes happen...
<CmdrTaco> Well Jew, Patches are always welcome :)
<hemos> Look at the bottom of CNN's top stories - usually that's all dupes.
<CmdrTaco> We don't have time to implement much in the way of other protocols.
<hemos> CmdrTaco: We did try the chat thing with whatever program that was.

Er, not chat.20:07

Discussion thing.
<CmdrTaco> Yeah, we had an IRC bot.

That gated stories & discussions.


That was fun.

Worked really well.

Nobody used it :)

The deal is that other protocols are fun, but HTML/HTTP is bread & butter.
<hemos> Supporting other protocols is a lot of time, but the amount of usage is tiny.
<CmdrTaco> Other stuff is either takes to long to program, support, and to much hardware to run.

We're a budget operation here :)
<hemos> So, it's a matter of picking and choosing what to support.
<CmdrTaco> Patches are welcoem!20:08
<hemos> CmdrTaco: Are you going to make that line a macro?
<CmdrTaco> I should.
<Questions> freeloader asks: "Have you considered rewarding those with good karma with a taste of subscriptions?"
<CmdrTaco> It's in my form email response ;)

freeloader: No, not really.

To easy to game.

Karma isn't worth anything. Why would we change that?20:09
<Questions> OcelotLM asks: Have you considered changing the Games colour scheme to something less garish?
<hemos> Hahahaha
<CmdrTaco> Whateever.

<hemos> You should have seen the first round of it.
<CmdrTaco> (I'm just skipping trolls btw ;)
<Questions> Hypn0tik asks: Have you ever considered changing the target of links in Slashdot to open a new window instead of _self?
<CmdrTaco> No, I hate that.20:10

Window opening is a client side decision.

Not a server side decision.

You want a new window, tell your browser to open the page in one.

I HATE websites that force that opinion on me.
<Questions> zogman asks: what date was your heaviest bandwith, and what was the reason?
<CmdrTaco> Yeah, it could be a user preference, but THATS how much I hate web sites that force new windows on me :)20:11

zogman: I hoenstly don't know.

We're always rate limited by different things.

Sometimes its bandwidth, other times it is CPU, other times RAM.
<hemos> Highest traffic day was like 3.1 million or something wasn't it?
<CmdrTaco> We do 150 gigs on weekdays now.

3.1 million pages, but who knows how much bandwidth.
<hemos> CmdrTaco: Heh. Soon to be lessened. ;)

<CmdrTaco> we're doing 2.5-2.6 million pages on good days.
<Questions> Central1 asks: What have you done to expand slashdot access to portable devices such as pda and cellphones
<CmdrTaco> We supported(ish) Wap and Avantgo and a few others.

But hoenstly its a lot of work, and not very beneficial.

Patches are always welcome!20:13

You can use RSS/RDF/XML feeds.
<hemos> AvantGo is used by like 5000 people per day.

And frankly, most of teh good cell phones now
<CmdrTaco> It's just hard to justify the work on stuff like this...

5,000 users? Thats nothing.
<hemos> just get a cell phone account, and set up your account for that on slahdot to use lite mode.
<CmdrTaco> It's harsh, but when you have limited resources, you have to choose what to work on.

Or, ask for patches!20:14
<hemos> CmdrTaco: You needy needy man.
<CmdrTaco> I don't need NUTHIN

But they just have so much WANT ;)
<Questions> limerickey asks: What happened to John Katz?
<CmdrTaco> We had to let him go during a round of layoffs last summer.

We miss him, and were sad to see him go.20:15

He added a lot to Slashdot, and it was really unfortunate.
<hemos> Well, that and he wanted to write more about dogs.
<CmdrTaco> Yes, also the dogs.
<hemos> Since Running To the mountain, he's written two more books about dogs.

Jon and I still talk semi-regular.

To be frank,20:16
<CmdrTaco> He's a really cool human.
<Questions> sebi asks: Did you ever consider adjusting the amount of moderator points based on Metamoderation results (like add a point for every 100 fair metamods, subtract one for every 5 unfair ones ore something like that)
<hemos> the acerbic nature of some of the people also turned him off.

both in terms of writing, and in terms of people's impressions.
<CmdrTaco> thats a very broad description, but at its core,

what you are asking is does M2 affect getting M1 points.

And yes, it does.

If you meta modearte, you will get more mod points.20:17

It isn't 1 point for 100 fairs or anything.

But it's a lot.

If you moderate good, and meta moderate whenever it is offered to you, you can get mod points fairly quickly.
<Questions> adpowers asks: Slashdot has a heavy slant toward open and free technologies. Why haven't you guys adopted PNGs or some other image format instead of sticking with GIFs?
<CmdrTaco> Because PNG still doesn't work worth shit with most browsers.20:18

We're idealists when possible, but practical when we have to be.
<Questions> theLinGer asks: What percent of website hits originate from Internet Explorer?
<CmdrTaco> Shit, I just looked this up an hour ago.

50% MSIE ish.
<hemos> CmdrTaco: I'll find it a second.20:19
<Questions> Asterax asks: Has SlashDot ever considered adding a "How-To" section, specifically deemed for those insane, completely out-of-the-way hacks?
<CmdrTaco> 35% Moz, 2% Konq

Honestly, thats outside of our focus.

We're news, not an index.
<Questions> TheKubrix asks: What you think about allowing users to add their picture to their user profile?20:20
<CmdrTaco> Oh that'd be swell.

I'm sure it would be very nice and never abused.
<hemos> TheKubrix: Go look at Everything2's user pictures.
<Questions> Bruce_Perens asks: If you had unlimited CPU cycles (an manpower), what features would you like to add?
<hemos> OK, FYI: Windows is 72% of traffic on Slashdot.
<CmdrTaco> We have a feature list on SourceForge that lists many desirable features.20:21

I have a host of moderation improvements I'd love to do.
<hemos> I'd love to have bigger/better journaling stuff.
<CmdrTaco> Mainly I'd settle for just lowering our system requirements so we can scale better.

Smoother journaling functionality would be smooth.
<hemos> Basically, all of what livejournal does.20:22
<CmdrTaco> See, redundant and redundant too!
<hemos> Forums.
<CmdrTaco> I'd like to integrate the Zoo system with a spamfilter ;)
<hemos> Yeah.

That'd be really nice.

Lesse...have a better version of knowing when people are on and off.
<Questions> Ymgve asks: Has there been any incidents where you had to delete/alter comments, apart from the scientology case?
<hemos> Scrolling conversations.
<CmdrTaco> IM.
<hemos> CmdrTaco: Yeah.20:23
<CmdrTaco> A handful of clear copyright violations, but relatively few.
<hemos> Ymgve: The most notable was a government thing.
<CmdrTaco> Considering we have 50,000 comments a month, I'm surprised we don't have more problems.
<hemos> Mainly, the fact that things20:24
<CmdrTaco> It's not cool when the Secret Service calls you and is spending our tax dollars not able to tell the difference between a joke and a threat.
<hemos> drop off quickly when they leave the main page means most companies and such chill out.
<CmdrTaco> But all in all, legal issues are rare.

Thank god, because they are by FAR the worst part of the job.
<Questions> rfoster asks: are you still using Perl to power your frontend script? if so have you thought of using anything else in the recent months/years/etc.?20:25
<CmdrTaco> cvs.slashcode.com

Live it. Love it.

Perl is da bomb.

643 people. Wow.20:26
<Questions> dr_awktagon asks: okay now CmdrTaco told some folks to use RSS/RDF for their cell phone.. how about complete RSS feeds (all stories, full submission text with links) for subscribers! *beg*
<CmdrTaco> That is very possible.

In fact, qutie likely.

The issue with stuff like that is we need to stem abuse.
<hemos> dr_awktagon: nice nick, btw.20:27
<CmdrTaco> Paging Dr Octagon.
<hemos> And yeah, that does sound good.
* CmdrTaco scratches.
<CmdrTaco> There are a ahandful of issues.

I don't know if the RSS code is optimized to be executed in real time.

But thats certainly something we could do someday.20:28

Other things first!

(Story of our lives)
<Questions> lexiyntax asks: What's the status on porting slashcode to work with other databases? Is the database a bottleneck in slashcode that is likely to make a difference, or is there something else that you feel could be done to improve performance more?
<CmdrTaco> It's possible, but of no interest to us.

MySQL works well for our needs.
<hemos> For the time being MySQL works well.
<CmdrTaco> The DB logic is abstracted from the look & feel, so ports are relatively easy.20:29
<hemos> If we start to reach the point in size and features that we need to look elsewhere, we could port semi-easily.
<CmdrTaco> There have been oracle and postgresql projects at different points
<hemos> But, for the short time future, we'll be OK.
<CmdrTaco> but not our deal.

We only have time to support US :)
<Questions> Heywood asks: So what's the biggest carrot you can toss our way tonight as far as coming attractions?
<CmdrTaco> Candy?20:30

Honestly most of our major TODO items are performance related. Bug fixes and optimizations.
<hemos> New subscription stuff.

Lesse...Games section is already live.20:31
<CmdrTaco> We barely have time to keep ahead of bugs.
<Questions> Adam9 asks: If you were to rewrite Slashcode from the beginning, would you change anything significant in the architecture of it?
<CmdrTaco> We essentially *did* rewrite it when we went to 2.0.

If I had my druthers, I'd strip out the template stuff.

It's a performacne hit.

But then Slash would be only for Slashdot.20:32

And thats no good for OSDN, or for others sharing our code.
<hemos> That's our main coming attraction: More optimization == faster running site.
<CmdrTaco> Ever since like March,

when we had a few stories get 4,000 comments, a lot of our work has gone towards making the site work cool on large discussions.20:33

Hopefully thats the real carrot... a few more weeks of optimization, and then a 4k discussion won't crap out ;)
<Questions> TrollBridge asks: Despite the junk that trolls (as I myself once was) have posted in the past, is it a fair statement to say they have indirectly contributed to the polishing of the Slashcode?
<hemos> Uh....20:34
<CmdrTaco> I'm sure there is no web discussion system that is harder to crapflood than Slashdot.

So thanks for making us have to waste our time writing that code.

We COULD have had RSS for subscribers or NNTP interfaces or something.
<hemos> I can say personally that the trolls have taken time away from my kids birthda's.

So, I hope you feel very proud of that.
<Questions> mmh asks: Will there ever be a section dedicated to site issues and discussions? Stuff like Slashcode updates, hardware issues, suggestions, etc. Whenever things come up in regular stories, people posting about it are off topic. It would be nice to have a place for this (and a place that you guys read to get the suggestions).20:35
<hemos> What I would say is the trolls have made it so that we haven't made features
<CmdrTaco> www.slashcode.com has some of that.
<hemos> but instead have had to think of ways to stop people from accessing the site.
<CmdrTaco> My journal has some more of that.

It sucks having to program stuff to prevent a crapflood when we COULD be adding cool fun new shit for folks.

but oh well.
<hemos> The problem with one section for discussing is that20:36

then no works gets done.
<CmdrTaco> I don't foresee a Slashdot section dedicated to Slashdot.

There are only so many hours in the day,

I can't spend all of them talking about what I do,
<hemos> Because it's navel gazing at its finest.
<CmdrTaco> and then still have time left to DO anything.

We're not 50 people here.

And I don't want to read a website about Slashdot.

I hate reading websites where half hte content is discussion about the website.

CNN isn't about CNN.20:37

many community driven content sites are OBSESSED with themselves.

I'd rather not be.

A couple forums a year. A journal entry a week. A few hudnred emails a day.

Isn't that enough :)
<Questions> darkpixel asks: With so much DB access on the site (and DB queries being expensive), do you have any caching going on? Do you use an opensource app like memcached (http://www.danga.com/memcached/)?
<CmdrTaco> We're actively looking at memcached now.20:38

We have a pretty sophisticated system now.

Essentially a master writer replicating to a few reader DBs.

It's really cool.

But I'm REALLY interested in what memcached could do.

Unfortunately we come back to that time thing.

To really research it and test it, we're talking about a week of work.20:39

To really optimize and implement, several more.

We need a week just to know if it COULD work ;)

I know the perception is that we're very fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants,

but we have 3 programmers who also have to do a lot of the admin type stuff.

And they all write for Slashdot, answer tech support emails,20:40

Combine that with the required 2 hours per day that they are required to spend complimenting me and my greatness, and you it's hard to get things done fast.
<Questions> pwrlnkid asks: Have you given any thought to allowing subscribers to see the story queue and "moderate it". Seems to be an easy way on your parts to get rid of dupes or old news.
<CmdrTaco> FAQ!20:41


<Questions> CrackMonkey asks: Will slashdot ever support message pointers, so that users don't need to search through verbose discussions just to figure out which postings are new?
<CmdrTaco> Mmm. Scotch.
<hemos> Man, I'm getting a G&T.
<CmdrTaco> Thats a feature that we could do.

Again, it's a little trickier than just a date stamp, but we could do it.20:42

Someone could submit a patch.

Had to get a beverage. Sorry for the lag.20:43
<hemos> Yeah, the patch situation is a fun one.

Because the reality is that hardly anyone submits pathces.
<Questions> cyathere asks: How large is Slashdot's Database with all the stories since you started it?
<hemos> Yeah, I made me a G&T.
<CmdrTaco> 2-4 gigs.

Mostly log stuff for moderation.
<hemos> So, yeah, the code is open...but really that just means people donwload it and install it.
<CmdrTaco> We don't get many patches. Which is really unfortunate.20:44
<hemos> Yeah, essentially we have all the costs of being OSS

without any of the benefits.
<CmdrTaco> We spend a lot of time making the system (relatively) easy to install for others, but we're not actively getting a lot of benefit back.

We do it more out of a labor of love than for business reasons.

We really WANT this thing to be open source. We think its cool.20:45
<hemos> Because we end up supporting people using it, but get nothing back.

Frankly, if I were deciding it strictly on business merits, it's current status as open source is a lot of work without much back.
<CmdrTaco> There is no other open source CMS that will work on the scale of slash.

But most people just want a dinky little site.

They can use one of the *nuke clones.

They don't need a steak, they're cool with hamburger ;)
<Questions> cygnus asks: CmdrTaco, what happened the Multia that used to run Slashdot?20:46
<hemos> But, as Rob sez: it's a labor of love.
<CmdrTaco> Ariel :)
<hemos> Oh, poor Ariel.

Ariel is...somewhere.
<CmdrTaco> I left it at my old employer.
<CmdrTaco> I couldn't take her with me because she was serving SMTP for hte office.
<hemos> Boyhowdy, is she gonna be pretty when I'm finished with her.
<CmdrTaco> I left, and she was the mail server for a year or more, but I never got her back.20:47

She is posessed illegitimately by one of a handful of people, but they won't fess up and give her back ;)

Triton is web server for almost a year,

Jeff has been rebuilding him.
<hemos> BETTER




When I'm done, multi-SCSI CDR
<CmdrTaco> It's this horrible stack of SCSI drives.
<hemos> 3 excternal SCSI drives20:48
<CmdrTaco> This thing ran Slahsdot for almost a year.
<hemos> 4 internal SCSI drives.
<CmdrTaco> Jeff wants to put it on ebay.
<hemos> Turning it on sounds like a jet engine.
<CmdrTaco> It was the last single PC that served Slashdot.

It was replaced with like 3 boxes.

On its last day, it served like 700,000 pages.

One box.

It was a trouper.
<hemos> Yep.

And it's a dual P133.
<Questions> GoldSpider asks: Overall, would you say the quality of user-submitted content has increased or decreased lately?
<CmdrTaco> I think its a wash.20:49

You get some good, you get some bad.
<hemos> Yeah, about the same.
<CmdrTaco> Always true.

Sumemrs slow down.
<hemos> The number has stayed mainly constant, I think.

barring summer coming.
<CmdrTaco> You will see crappier stories on Slashdot during summer.

Just 'cuz less happens.
<hemos> Like you will all over the media.
<CmdrTaco> August is the worst.

But come sept.20:50

It gets better.

Circle of Life baby ;)
<Questions> rkz asks: what % of slashdot readers come from outside the USA
<CmdrTaco> hemos: Do you know offhand? Less than a quarter?
<hemos> CmdrTaco: I'll get it a second.
<CmdrTaco> A contenental breakdown would be great.

Lets move on while jeff loads the stats page.20:51
<hemos> North America (US & CA) is 66%.

Europe is 10%

South Pacific is 2, South America >1, Africa is .1, Asia is 1

and unresolved is 19%
<Questions> CompactDick asks: Will non-subscribers get a secure login?20:52
<hemos> Rough numbers, obviously, but that's the average.
<CmdrTaco> https works for subscribers.

Has for months.

<hemos> CmdrTaco: Uh, reread it.
<CmdrTaco> Thats our plug! Subscribe, and get SSL :)
<hemos> CompactDick: No. Gimme yer money! :)
<Questions> espo asks: how many articles a day do editors sift though?20:53
<CmdrTaco> 300-500.
<hemos> espo: ~500 submissions on the high end.

weekends 250 - 325
<Questions> gerrynjr asks: Have you considered starting a slashdot voulenteer group? It could consist of writers, proofreader, or other roles, but of voulenteers...
<hemos> Sorta considered it.20:54

It's hard to figure out how to factor that in.
<CmdrTaco> One kinda exists.

Its called my INBOX.
<hemos> Because it's hard to rely on volunteers vs employees

in terms of what you can ask people.
<CmdrTaco> Subscribers see stories a few minutes early.

And they submit a lot of corrections.

It's really cool- that really works well.
<hemos> Hell, I'd love to have a group of volunteers work on some of the feature requests.

yeah, the whole subscriber/daddypants e-mail has helped.20:55
<CmdrTaco> Yeah, I'd rather volunteers submit patches than anything else.
<hemos> Believe it or not, it's meant less dupe stories.

They can be "The Feature Posse" or something like that.
<CmdrTaco> But don't worry, there are plenty mroe dupes in store for everyone to complain about ;)
<Questions> Adam9 asks: Have you ever retracted a story posted on the main page? If so, for what reason?
<CmdrTaco> We remove stories occasionally,
<hemos> Serriously, if a group of people took that on, I'd be willing to recognize them for their efforts.20:56
<CmdrTaco> but not usually after they've been up for a few minutes.
<hemos> Adam9: Usually if it's only subscribers, and it's a dupe or something.
<CmdrTaco> If a story has 30 comments, I'll just correct it.
<hemos> Adam9: But usually we just correct it.
<CmdrTaco> Or say "Ooops, this is wrong"

but if there are 3 comments, fuck it. I'll delete it.
<hemos> If the correction appears after the story has been off the page, we reference it in Slashback.
<CmdrTaco> Doesn't happen very often.

And frankly if a story is wrong, the comments say so.

Slashdot stories are not just the paragraph that the author writes.20:57

They are also comments doing real time fact checking ;)
<Questions> coolvibe asks: does slashdot use FreeBSD? was it ever considered?
<hemos> We did use FreeBSD at one point.

When Sin was working for/with us.20:58
<CmdrTaco> Yeah, it served all the images.

Worked great.
<hemos> That was on one of the machines.
<CmdrTaco> But like most unix work, it comes down to what you like.
<hemos> Hah. Looking at the stats, we have as many readers for the US military domains as South America and Africa combined.
<CmdrTaco> It doesn't matter all that much.
<hemos> Hell, I'm using OSX; does that make me a BSD user?
<CmdrTaco> and more unresolved than the whole rest of the world combined :)

We should move to Unresolved. I bet they have great weather.20:59
<hemos> I heard the streets are paved with gold in Unresolved.

And it's always summer.
<Questions> erigol asks: Have you considered setting up a slashdot Wiki, since Wiki's are, like, the rage, and stuff.
<CmdrTaco> Wiki is silly. Not scalalble.
<hemos> Wiki's make me want to guage my eyes out.

gouge, even.
<CmdrTaco> They're fun for small groups.
<hemos> No, I like the idea.
<CmdrTaco> Slashdot is for millions.
<hemos> And yeah, for smaller groups is great.21:00

But we spent the 3 years scaling up to this level of users
<CmdrTaco> Thats the thing that people don't understand-
<hemos> and I'd hate to do the same thing over again with a different technology.
<CmdrTaco> the rules are different when you have 5,000 users vs 350,000 each day.

What works @5,000 is ludicrous at 350,000.

You don't lock your doors in a town with a population of 5,000... but at a quartermilllion people, thats just stupid :)21:01
<hemos> Further updates in the stats world:
<Questions> Seq asks: Have you considered putting patch credits on slashdot for those who have written patches? It might motivate some.
<hemos> Despite the spam in my inbox, .biz domains represent...0% of the readers.
<CmdrTaco> "This 4 line diff brought to you by bob?"

I wouldn't put it in the code, but I'd faq major contributions.21:02

But we don't credit ourselves that way either.

"This comment HTML template brought to you by pudge!"

"This optimized article/index caching system by Krow!"

Isn't one ad per page enough? :)21:03
<hemos> Hah.

FAQing would be cool, or readme.
<Questions> darkpixel asks: Being such a huge site that is watched by geeks all over the world, I'm sure you've become a target for hackers from time to time. What are some of the security measures you have in place, and how do you keep on top of all the logs?
<hemos> If that's what it took to get people to write patches, that'd be fine with me.
<CmdrTaco> Yazz could answer that better than me.
<hemos> Yeah, Aaton are you in here?

Yeah, he is.21:04
<CmdrTaco> We filter a lot of evil out.
<Aaton> yep
<CmdrTaco> But mostly we just do the logical stuff, like checking your strings for overflows and stuff.
<hemos> Aaton: wanna talk about the security side?
<Aaton> wasn't reading... let me look
<hemos> Is precision/jab/regs here either?
<CmdrTaco> This is Yazz, OSDN Sysadmin Extraordinaire.
<hemos> Those, and Aaton are our NetOps.
<CmdrTaco> He maintains 50 odd boxes.

Linux.com, SourceForge.net, Slashdot, Freshmeat.

He sleeps relatively little.21:05
<Aaton> humm... we get hit alot but we block even more...
<hemos> CmdrTaco: You mean 190 boxen.
<CmdrTaco> geezus.

A LOT of boxes.
<hemos> Yeah, we block a crap ton of traffic.

That helps out a lot.

Personally, I just block nearly everything.

And our office network comes courtesty of CowboyNeal Security.
<CmdrTaco> Users in .d bitching that we post Microsoft Ads ;)21:06
<hemos> Hah.
<CmdrTaco> I can't understand why that offends people. I find it hilarious.
<hemos> The irony of that is amazing.
<CmdrTaco> SCO shoudl advertise with us.
<Aaton> our setup has bridging firewalls and the loadbalancer only know a few ports that it lets in... the rest is just keeping your version of software updated
<CmdrTaco> Thanks man.21:07
<Questions> Cephalien asks: Out of curiosity: Do you think that the ever-growing popularity of Slashdot, and the occasionally negative publicity offered there towards certain companies (Microsoft comes to mind), do you think that those companies might intentionally seed people to post comments? If so, how often, and how much do you think that effects the overall 'feel' of the comments about a story?
<CmdrTaco> I'm sure it happens to some degree.
<Aaton> CmdrTaco: no problem21:08
<CmdrTaco> But astrotrufing by a major corporation will never outnumber Slashdot's population.

Slashdot readers are skeptics. if they disagree, they say so.

But I'm sure that some of what you see in comments are biased.

Some with experience, some iwth money.21:09
<hemos> But I think there's enough general population

that they can find the fakes.
<CmdrTaco> Whatever. Everyone is biased. You still need to read everything and take it with a grain of salt. This is the internet.
<Questions> gerrynjr asks: Do you think that slashdot has changed it's original purpose of "News for Nerds, Stuff that Matters." to aan alternate one?
<CmdrTaco> Whoring for money?21:10
<hemos> Well, I think we've chilled out a bit.
<CmdrTaco> I think we might be (gasp) more mature.

I'll look at a story and ask "What is gonna come of this?"

And if it'll just be a flamewar, then fuck it, I'll pick something else.

But some flamewars are fun.

Other stories matter, so I'll overlook flame.21:11
<hemos> Right.

Learning that flame wars don't actually do anything was a growing experience.
<CmdrTaco> Like, back in the day we'd post a story that was essentially a petition.
<hemos> So, yeah, I thin kthe major change is chilling out.
<CmdrTaco> I no longer hold any value in a petition.
<hemos> But, yeah, petitions stories have no valuye.

<CmdrTaco> Web petitions are stupid. I delete them all.21:12
<hemos> They have no meaning to a company/organization/political party.
<CmdrTaco> Speak with words, or with your dollars.
<hemos> They matter about as much as e-mailing your thoughts to your representative in congress/parliament.
<CmdrTaco> Emailing congress is dumb.
<hemos> E-mail is the garbage of the political process.
<CmdrTaco> Fax. Snailmail. Paper makes things go.
<hemos> it's ignored.
<CmdrTaco> Phone calls, even better.
<hemos> Give your money to the EFF.
<Questions> iocc asks: What bandwidth does slashdot got? What technology is used? FDDI? Ethernet? 4xT3 lines or something like that?21:13
<hemos> Show up in their office when they have office hours in your district.

Slashdot is in the OSDN Cluster.
<CmdrTaco> Whats the pipe out of our cage at Exodus?
<hemos> 130 Mbs

Redunant, burstable blah blah

I think we can go up to 1 Gbps if we want.21:14

And no

the budget doesn't want to. :)
<CmdrTaco> More traffic != More Money :)
<Questions> rockntroll asks: Which is the worst story, ever, that you remember letting slip onto the front page?21:15
<hemos> Stephen King.
<CmdrTaco> Hemos is Homeless?
<hemos> Hahahaha

That story is a classic, thank you very much.
<CmdrTaco> Classic like a FOX!
<Questions> ivan asks: As a webmaster, I sometimes fear that slashdot will link to my pages and my ISP will bill me for hundreds of dollars for exceeding my bandwidth limit. Is there any way I can inform the slashdot editors to never link to me?
<CmdrTaco> Nope.


You're on the internet.21:16

You can ask. But we won't promise anything.
<hemos> Because then it's not just Slashdot

you should e-mail CNN

or NY Times

they do stories less often

but they still have the ability to mash a server.

the Slashdot effect name is from the days when those places had less traffic.

I'd bet nearly anything that NY Times, if it links in a story generates as much traffic as Slashdot

but just does it over a longer amount of time.
<Questions> theLinGer_ asks: Is there any way to track down the IP address of an anonymous poster, for example in the event of a lawsuit?21:17
<CmdrTaco> Maybe.

If we could brute force the entire IP address space.

So far it hasn't happened.
<hemos> We wouldn't, I think, unless we really had to.

And frankly, with Carnivore in place, the government doesn't need to do that.21:18
<Questions> TheKubrix asks: To date, what has been the most critical emergency that has occured to the Slashdot network?
<CmdrTaco> Big brother doesn't need our permission to spy ;)

We've been cracked a few times.

Lost power to the cage.

I kicked the server and knocked it over once.

Well, I caught it.21:19

But that tower was top heavy, and it was under a desk.
<hemos> You're so graceful.
<CmdrTaco> Honestly, the things that scare me are legal & social, not technical.
<Questions> dv asks: for yazz: what tools do you use to keep on top of that amount of machines? do you update all the software individually across all boxes? presumably depending on purpose there configs vary quite a lot...
<CmdrTaco> Aaton: you still hanging out?21:20
<Aaton> well to keep track for the longest time it was a spread sheet
<CmdrTaco> Very High Tech.
<Aaton> we uses MON for monitoring the sites for Disk/IO/http etc
<hemos> And then it was Aaton's brain. :)21:21
<CmdrTaco> My scotch is fading!
<Aaton> I can't remember ppls names or spell but I know what 10.x.x.x is doing of the top of my head
<CmdrTaco> I need a refill!
<hemos> Hah.

Next question!
<Questions> stevens asks: What does a typical /. developer's dev environment look like? Full copy on a workstation? Accounts on a dev server farm?21:22
<weebl> dupe sorry
<CmdrTaco> Yes.
<Questions> lethalwp asks: www.slashdot.org resolves only to 1 ip, how do you forward the requests to the different webservers?
<hemos> Black Magik.
<CmdrTaco> Everyone has test installations squirreled awya.

<hemos> Uh, are we answering the first question or the second?21:23
<CmdrTaco> Actually, FAQ the drinking game probably covers this ;)

We have a load balancer.

Drink your drinks, #forum.d!
<hemos> weebl: READY!21:24
<Questions> espo asks: would you consider moving /. over to IPv6 to move the adoption process along (since the geek masses could get the ball rolling)?
<hemos> I gots to get me another g&t soon.
<CmdrTaco> Someone donating a IPv6 Hardware?

Sounds like a donation!

This is more a biz decision than anything. How much would it cost to do. How much time. How many users benefit.21:25
<hemos> Haha.


We've tgalked about it.
<CmdrTaco> How about I2?
<hemos> But if we did it, it would be all of OSDN.

Which is a formidable endevaour.

Because, for instance, we have all of those project pages on SF.net
<CmdrTaco> Why stop at IPv6! Let's do I2!
<hemos> CmdrTaco: Sssshhhh! Those are the voices talking to you.

So, I think we will...but it's a pretty massive endeavour right now for....well....being on IPv6.21:26
<CmdrTaco> Please note, an I2 + IPv6 installation will need to be run to my home for testing & evaluation.
<Questions> zeno asks: Who had the idea for the random Futurama quote HTTP header that gets sent with every response from your website?
<CmdrTaco> I think pudge did that one.

The 2.x code base was known internally by futurama themed codenames.21:27
<hemos> Yeah, that was pudge.
<CmdrTaco> The major versions were from the character that the release was named after.

Fry, Bender,

I want my Zapf Brannigan release.

And Kif.
<Questions> Harrison asks: Why did you pick MySQL? and not one of the other OS databases?
<CmdrTaco> Because in 1997, Postgresql sucked.21:28

And changing is harder than staying the same.

Every DB has issues.

OSS or not.

Good at this. Bad at that.
<hemos> Like Vacumming.

on Postgres.
<CmdrTaco> We know our DB, so we can work around its shortcomings.
<Questions> Charon_x8 asks: did slashdot get slashdotted during Slammer?21:29
<CmdrTaco> nope.
<Questions> zeon asks: I know that userid's keep growing.. but are the number of active posters on slashdot increasing or decreasing?
<CmdrTaco> Its growing.

Not 1:1 with the number of UIDs, but its growing.

More tied to the number of readers.21:30

Hoenstly UIDs are largely wasted. Probably a third of them are real.

The ratio of logged in to anonymous traffic remains relatively sonstant.

And as page counts grow, so do logged in users.
<Questions> VicViper asks: What are some of the most requested things that we will never see on Slashdot?
<CmdrTaco> I don't want to say something will "Never" appear on Slashdot.21:31

If someone could convince me, I'd do anything.

Moderation with names attached?

Open Submissions Queue?

But few people understand the scope of such changes.
<hemos> Unrestricited access to all of the content of the site, with no limitations?
<CmdrTaco> We'll never go back to no user accounts ;)

Some users ask for that.21:32

"Slashdot sucks ever since you added user accounts"

"Get rid of them"

I get about 1 user a week who says Subscriptions make them hate Slashdot.

My favorite was the guy who explained that he has never viewed a banner ad on Slashdot, but he finds subscriptions offensive so he's leaving.21:33

I'm like THANK YOU.

less pages to serve.

Subscriptions are a great way for users to support the site, but get something too.

If you don't want them, we're cool with that.

But to be OFFENDED by it? Thats FUNNY to me.
<Questions> drdink asks: Do you store your web logs in SQL or in a file? Do you have a custom log analyzer, or do you use something commercial?21:34
<CmdrTaco> I think the answers are yes, yes, yes, and no.

Some is SQL. Some is text. Some is custom. Some is off the shelf. I don't think anything is commercial21:35
<Questions> aconole asks: What censorship issues, if any, do you think slashdot will face with more and more restrictive and invasive US laws being passed?
<hemos> The DMCA is the main one.
<CmdrTaco> More DMCA violation issues.
<hemos> Because if a company can present clear legal documentation

and the psoter is unwilling to fight it we *cannot* fight it.

That's part of it.

So, I think that'll be the major issue.21:36

People who post things that violate the DMCA,
<CmdrTaco> And anonymous users don't have any way to be contacted.
<hemos> and are unreachable or don't want to fight it.

So, then we have to yank it.
<CmdrTaco> If a DMCA violation is an AC post, we have to yank it.
<hemos> I don't think it's going to get much worse then the DMCA for the time being.
<Questions> zeon asks: could you ever be convinced to turn off anonymous posting for a higher quality discussion?21:37
<CmdrTaco> Someday it may have to happen.

It won't be something I do lightly.

And it won't be to have a "Higher Quality Discussion"

It will be because crapflooders wreck it for everyone.

We've made it almost 6 years this way, and I hope we can keep it.21:38

But that depends on those who make their hobbys abusing the site.

There are a variety of other steps I'd like to try.

For example, throttling AC.21:39

What's sad is that anonymous posting serves a very important purpose.

It exists so that you can say thigns that might be held against you.

But that shouldn't be carte blanche to be fuckwit.

And 99% of the time, thats what it is used for.

It's hard to justify that level of abuse.
<hemos> Right.

The only reason it's still around is because of actually believing it has a purpose21:40
<CmdrTaco> But also, AC posting has the built in advantage of being posting at Score:0.
<hemos> but it's an abused system.
<CmdrTaco> So the vast vast VAST majority of AC posts are only seen by people who actively seek them out by changing their user preferences.

If we forced all posters to log in, they'd just post their shit at Score:1,

and then everyone would have to see it, and more mod points would be needed to shovel that crap out the way.21:41
<hemos> But then would be under a user account that would be seen.
<CmdrTaco> And disposed of each day.

It's unfortunate:

You get to a certain size, and some people just can't resist peeing in the public pool.21:42

Which really sucks because there are occaisonally legit reasons for AC and I'd hate to lose out on that.
<Questions> theLinGer_ asks: What do you think of people using Mozilla to block banner ads on slashdot? (a slashdot story covered exactly how to do this via css, setting them to display:none)
<hemos> E.g. people posting from insid eof their company

and not wanting to be tracked.
<CmdrTaco> I don't really have a huge opinion either way.21:43

People are gonna do it. I can't really stop them.
<hemos> theLinGer_ Well, it's their choice; but like Rob said before,
<CmdrTaco> If it becomes a huge problem, we'll have to make things more obtrusive for everyone.
<hemos> I don't consider them to be actual functioning members of the site then.

As they cost money, for us, then literally.21:44

So, I'm not going to cry if they leave.

And yeah, if the percentage got to off, we'd have to do other measure for advertising.
<CmdrTaco> Whatever you say about Slashdot, if you're not paying for it, it wouldn't kill you to load a few banner ads.
<hemos> As it stands, Slashdot's ad blocking is the exact average as the rest of the Internet.
<CmdrTaco> I didn't know that. Neat ;)21:45
<Questions> jjshoe asks: what would you like to say to everyone who complains about your us site being us centric?
<CmdrTaco> We are.

See earlier comments from Jeff:

66% US, and like 18% unresolved?
<hemos> I encourage Spanish speakers to visit barrapunto.
<CmdrTaco> And japanese folks to read slashdot.jp!

<hemos> Domo!21:46
<CmdrTaco> I mean, we have to be realistic.
<hemos> The reality as well is that we are all mostly Americans/Europeans.
<CmdrTaco> I bet 75% of all our readers are in the US.

Our advertisers are in the US.

Our sales people are inthe US.
<hemos> And, frankly, it's not fiscally possible for us to cover the rest of the planet.
<CmdrTaco> The people SUBMITTING STORIES are in the US.
<hemos> CmdrTaco: That's not entirely true.

There'a good number that are outside of the US: In Canada or Europe.21:47
<CmdrTaco> But is it 75% true? :)
<hemos> No.
<CmdrTaco> Seriously?
<hemos> Oh, moneywise.

Yeah, prolly.
<CmdrTaco> 25% of our advertising comes from europe?
<hemos> Most advertisers are within the US.

There are advertisers outside.
<CmdrTaco> Sure.
<hemos> But the reality is that yes, we are vast majority North American oriented.
<CmdrTaco> It's not something we go out of our way to be.

And there are other issues as well:21:48

Like simple regional specificity.

If something affects a relatively small part of the world, thats a strike against it.

In terms of story selection.

If I'm looking at a story that is like "A tradeshow in botswana expects 100 attendees!"

and I'm comparing that with another story submission, well you have to factor in the number of interested folks when picking a story.21:49

I'll be the rules occasional.

Hell, I'll break them.

But those are expeptions.
<Questions> EncyclopediaBrown asks: Do you have stats on the most common article display settings, for example, do most set threshhold +1 or higher?
<CmdrTaco> Was Sally Enc.Browns lady friend?21:50

I don't have stats at my fingertips.

But the vast majority by far for everyone is whatever the default is.

2/3rds of visitors never change anything.

So that makes getting real numbers hard.21:51

Since its hard to tell people who are to lazy to change it, apart from people who have just decided that Score:1, Nested, is the best option :)
<Questions> Charon_x8 asks: how many individuals are in the slashdot inner circle?
<CmdrTaco> Hrm. I wonder what the inner circle is.

CVS commit access? Daddy pants?21:52

6 people share daddy pants.

So those are the main story posters.

About that many have CVS commit.

Some overlap ;)
<Questions> ubikdood asks: Comment moderation seems a huge task on slashdot. How many people are currently working on moderation ? (or is there a lot of automatic processing)21:53
<CmdrTaco> Oh geez.
<hemos> Depends on how many people are reading that day.
<CmdrTaco> It's all automated.
<hemos> ;)
<CmdrTaco> Authors have infinite mod points.
<hemos> Automation is the name of the game: Dole out the points.
<CmdrTaco> <maniacal laughter goes here>

thousand odd people get mod points every day.21:54

Looks like they're running out of questions.


We have more words than all 614 of you!21:55
<Questions> coolvibe asks: what are your current favourite caffeinated beverages?
<CmdrTaco> Coffee.

By the gallon.
<hemos> Wonderful coffee.
<CmdrTaco> I wish they made caffienated scotch.
<hemos> I also like Dr. Pepper.21:56
<CmdrTaco> I've never had any of the energy drinks thinkgeek sells.

I should get the caffiene sampler.

But I try to quit caffiene every 6 months or so.

That never works.

Someone msg'd me and asked about Gifting Subscriptions.

We're working on that.

Itson the list.

Like so many features we'd love to do... optimization & security always takes precedence over new features.21:57

you fuyckers.

I shouldn't have answered the /msg.

I just got 30 more.21:58
<drdink> That concludes our moderated forum with CmdrTaco and Hemos.

We will now unmoderate this channel, and our forum guests are welcome to stay or depart at their leisure.

We'd like to thank CmdrTaco, Hemos, Aaton, and the rest of the Slashdot crew and also everybody for attending and submitting questions.

A log of this forum will be available shortly from http://www.slashnet.org/
<hemos> dying...under.....messages....
<drdink> All past forum logs are available at http://www.slashnet.org/forums/

Thanks again.