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Encyclopedia
Slashdot is a technology-related news website owned by Geeknet, Inc. The site, which bills itself as "News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters", features user-submitted and ‑evaluated current affairs
Current affairs (news format)
Current Affairs is a genre of broadcast journalism where the emphasis is on detailed analysis and discussion of news stories that have recently occurred or are ongoing at the time of broadcast....

 news stories about science- and technology-related topics. Each story has a comments section attached to it. Slashdot was founded in 1997 as a blog
Blog
A blog is a type of website or part of a website supposed to be updated with new content from time to time. Blogs are usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video. Entries are commonly displayed in...

, Chips & Dips, by Hope College
Hope College
Hope College is a medium-sized , private, residential liberal arts college located in downtown Holland, Michigan, a few miles from Lake Michigan. It was opened in 1851 as the Pioneer School by Dutch immigrants four years after the community was first settled...

 computer science student Rob Malda
Rob Malda
Rob Malda , also known as CmdrTaco, is founder and former editor-in-chief of the website Slashdot. He is a graduate of Hope College and Holland Christian High School....

, also known as "Commander Taco" and fellow classmate Jeff Bates
Jeff Bates (Slashdot)
Jeff Bates, also known as hemos, is the co-founder of Slashdot along with Rob Malda . Bates graduated from Holland Christian High School in 1994 and received a Bachelor's degree in History from Hope College in 1998....

, also known as "Hemos". The name "Slashdot" is described by Malda as "a sort of obnoxious parody of a URL", chosen to confuse those who tried to pronounce the URL
Uniform Resource Locator
In computing, a uniform resource locator or universal resource locator is a specific character string that constitutes a reference to an Internet resource....

 of the site ("h-t-t-p-colon-slash-slash-slashdot-dot-org").

Summaries of stories and links to news articles are submitted by Slashdot's own readers, and each story becomes the topic of a threaded discussion among users. Discussion is moderated by a user-based moderation system. Randomly selected moderators assign points of either −1 or +1 to each comment, based on whether the comment is perceived as either normal, offtopic, insightful, redundant, interesting, or troll (among others). The site's comment and moderation system is administered by its own content management system
Content management system
A content management system is a system providing a collection of procedures used to manage work flow in a collaborative environment. These procedures can be manual or computer-based...

, Slash, which is available under the GNU General Public License
GNU General Public License
The GNU General Public License is the most widely used free software license, originally written by Richard Stallman for the GNU Project....

.

Slashdot's traffic is estimated at approximately 5.5 million users per month, and the site has won more than 20 awards, including People's Voice Awards
Webby Awards
A Webby Award is an international award presented annually by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences for excellence on the Internet with categories in websites, interactive advertising, online film and video, and mobile....

 in 2000 for Best Community Site and Best News Site. Occasionally, a story will link to a server causing a large surge of traffic, which can overwhelm some smaller or independent sites. This phenomenon is known as the "Slashdot effect
Slashdot effect
The Slashdot effect, also known as slashdotting, occurs when a popular website links to a smaller site, causing a massive increase in traffic. This overloads the smaller site, causing it to slow down or even temporarily close. The name stems from the huge influx of web traffic that results from...

".

History


The origins of the site now known as Slashdot date back to July 1997, when Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda
Rob Malda
Rob Malda , also known as CmdrTaco, is founder and former editor-in-chief of the website Slashdot. He is a graduate of Hope College and Holland Christian High School....

 started a personal website called Chips & Dips, which featured a single "rant" each day about something that interested him – typically something to do with Linux
Linux
Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

 or open-source
Open source
The term open source describes practices in production and development that promote access to the end product's source materials. Some consider open source a philosophy, others consider it a pragmatic methodology...

 software. At the time, Malda was a student at Hope College
Hope College
Hope College is a medium-sized , private, residential liberal arts college located in downtown Holland, Michigan, a few miles from Lake Michigan. It was opened in 1851 as the Pioneer School by Dutch immigrants four years after the community was first settled...

 in Holland, Michigan
Holland, Michigan
Holland is a city in the western region of the Lower Peninsula of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is situated near the eastern shore of Lake Michigan on Lake Macatawa, which is fed by the Macatawa River ....

, majoring in computer science. The site became Slashdot in September 1997 under the moniker, "News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters," and quickly became a hotspot on the Web for news and information of interest to computer geek
Geek
The word geek is a slang term, with different meanings ranging from "a computer expert or enthusiast" to "a carnival performer who performs sensationally morbid or disgusting acts", with a general pejorative meaning of "a peculiar or otherwise dislikable person, esp[ecially] one who is perceived to...

s. The name "Slashdot" came from a somewhat "obnoxious parody of a URL
Uniform Resource Locator
In computing, a uniform resource locator or universal resource locator is a specific character string that constitutes a reference to an Internet resource....

" – when Malda registered the domain, he desired to make a name that was "silly and unpronounceable" – try pronouncing out, "h-t-t-p-colon-slash-slash-slashdot-dot-org".

By June 1998, the site was seeing as many as 100,000 page views per day, and advertisers began to take notice. By December 1998, Slashdot had net revenues of $18,000, yet its Internet profile was higher, and revenues were expected to increase. On June 29, 1999, the site was sold to Linux
Linux
Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

 megasite Andover.net for $1.5 million in cash and $7 million in Andover stock at the IPO
Initial public offering
An initial public offering or stock market launch, is the first sale of stock by a private company to the public. It can be used by either small or large companies to raise expansion capital and become publicly traded enterprises...

 price. Part of the deal was contingent upon the continued employment of Rob Malda and Jeff Bates and on "the achievement of certain milestones". With the acquisition of Slashdot, Andover.net could now advertise itself as "the leading Linux/Open Source destination on the Internet". Andover.net eventually merged with VA Linux on February 3, 2000, which changed its name to SourceForge, Inc.
SourceForge
SourceForge Enterprise Edition is a collaborative revision control and software development management system. It provides a front-end to a range of software development lifecycle services and integrates with a number of free software / open source software applications .While originally itself...

 on May 24, 2007, and became Geeknet, Inc.
Geeknet
Geeknet, Inc. is a Mountain View, California company that owns several computer tech-related websites and the online retailer ThinkGeek. Formerly known as VA Research, VA Linux Systems, VA Software, and SourceForge, Inc., it was founded in 1993.-VA Research:VA Research was founded in November...

 on November 4, 2009.

Slashdot's 10,000th article was posted after two and a half years on February 24, 2000, and the 100,000th article was posted on December 11, 2009 after 12 years online. During the first 12 years, the most active story with the most responses posted was the post-2004 US Presidential Election
United States presidential election, 2004
The United States presidential election of 2004 was the United States' 55th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 2, 2004. Republican Party candidate and incumbent President George W. Bush defeated Democratic Party candidate John Kerry, the then-junior U.S. Senator...

 article "Kerry Concedes Election To Bush" with 5,687 posts. This followed the creation of a new article section, politics.slashdot.org, created at the start of the 2004 election on September 7, 2004. Many of the most popular stories are political, with "Strike on Iraq" (March 19, 2003) the second-most-active article and "Barack Obama Wins US Presidency" (November 5, 2008) the third-most-active. The rest of the 10 most active articles are an article announcing the 2005 London bombings
7 July 2005 London bombings
The 7 July 2005 London bombings were a series of co-ordinated suicide attacks in the United Kingdom, targeting civilians using London's public transport system during the morning rush hour....

, and several articles about Evolution
Evolution
Evolution is any change across successive generations in the heritable characteristics of biological populations. Evolutionary processes give rise to diversity at every level of biological organisation, including species, individual organisms and molecules such as DNA and proteins.Life on Earth...

 vs. Intelligent Design
Intelligent design
Intelligent design is the proposition that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection." It is a form of creationism and a contemporary adaptation of the traditional teleological argument for...

, Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein
Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti was the fifth President of Iraq, serving in this capacity from 16 July 1979 until 9 April 2003...

's capture, and Fahrenheit 9/11
Fahrenheit 9/11
Fahrenheit 9/11 is a 2004 documentary film by American filmmaker and political commentator Michael Moore. The film takes a critical look at the presidency of George W. Bush, the War on Terror, and its coverage in the news media...

. Articles about Microsoft
Microsoft
Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

 and its Windows Operating System are popular—a thread posted in 2002 titled "What's Keeping You On Windows?" was the 10th-most-active story, and an article about Windows 2000/NT4 source-code leaks the most visited article with more than 680,000 hits.

Some controversy erupted on March 9, 2001 after an anonymous user
Anonymous post
An anonymous post is an entry on a bulletin board system, Internet forum or message board, blog, or other discussion forum without a screen name or more commonly by using a non-identifiable pseudonym....

 posted the full text of Scientology
Scientology
Scientology is a body of beliefs and related practices created by science fiction and fantasy author L. Ron Hubbard , starting in 1952, as a successor to his earlier self-help system, Dianetics...

's "Operating Thetan Level Three" (OT III) document in a comment attached to a Slashdot article. The Church of Scientology
Church of Scientology
The Church of Scientology is an organization devoted to the practice and the promotion of the Scientology belief system. The Church of Scientology International is the Church of Scientology's parent organization, and is responsible for the overall ecclesiastical management, dissemination and...

 demanded that Slashdot remove the document under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act
Digital Millennium Copyright Act
The Digital Millennium Copyright Act is a United States copyright law that implements two 1996 treaties of the World Intellectual Property Organization . It criminalizes production and dissemination of technology, devices, or services intended to circumvent measures that control access to...

. A week later, in a long article, Slashdot editors explained their decision to remove the page while providing links and information on how to get the document from other sources.

Slashdot Japan was launched on May 28, 2001 (although the first article was published April 5, 2001) and is an official offshoot of the US-based Web site. The site is currently owned by OSDN-Japan, Inc., and carries some of the US-based Slashdot articles as well as localized stories. An external site, todhsalS, has reported selected stories published on Slashdot Japan in English since March 1, 2009.

On Valentine's Day
Valentine's Day
Saint Valentine's Day, commonly shortened to Valentine's Day, is an annual commemoration held on February 14 celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. The day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Saint Valentine, and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 496...

 2002, founder Rob Malda proposed to longtime girlfriend Kathleen Fent using the front page of Slashdot. They were married on December 8, 2002, in Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas is the most populous city in the U.S. state of Nevada and is also the county seat of Clark County, Nevada. Las Vegas is an internationally renowned major resort city for gambling, shopping, and fine dining. The city bills itself as The Entertainment Capital of the World, and is famous...

.

Slashdot implemented a subscription service on March 1, 2002. Slashdot's subscription model works by allowing users to pay a small fee to be able to view pages without banner ads, starting at a rate of $5 per 1,000 page views – non-subscribers may still view articles and respond to comments, with banner ads in place. On March 6, 2003, subscribers were given the ability to see articles 10 to 20 minutes before they are released to the public.

Slashdot altered its threaded discussion forum display software to explicitly show domains for links in articles, because "users made a sport out of tricking unsuspecting readers into visiting [Goatse.cx
Goatse.cx
Goatse.cx , often referred to simply as "Goatse", was originally an Internet shock site. Its front page featured a picture, entitled hello.jpg, showing a naked man stretching his anus with both hands, to approximately the width of his hand. The inside of his rectum is also clearly visible...

]."
In observance of April Fools' Day
April Fools' Day
April Fools' Day is celebrated in different countries around the world on April 1 every year. Sometimes referred to as All Fools' Day, April 1 is not a national holiday, but is widely recognized and celebrated as a day when many people play all kinds of jokes and foolishness...

 (April 1) in 2006, Slashdot temporarily changed its signature teal color theme to a warm palette of bubblegum pink and changed its masthead
Masthead
-Media:* the masthead , a list, usually found on the editorial page of a newspaper or other periodical, listing the publisher, editorial board, advertising rates, etc....

 from the usual, "News for Nerds" motto to, "OMG!!! Ponies!!!" Editors joked that this was done to increase female readership. In another supposed April Fools' Day joke, User Achievement tags were introduced on April 1, 2009. This system allowed users to be tagged with various achievements, such as "The Tagger" for tagging a story or "Member of the {1,2,3,4,5} Digit UID Club" for having a Slashdot UID consisting of a certain number of digits. While it was posted on April Fools' Day to allow for certain joke achievements, the system is real.

Slashdot unveiled its newly redesigned site on June 4, 2006, following a CSS Redesign Competition. The winner of the competition was Alex Bendiken, who built on the initial CSS framework of the site. The new site looks similar to the old one but is more polished with more rounded curves, collapsible menus, and updated fonts. On November 9 that same year, Malda wrote that Slashdot attained 16,777,215 (or 224 − 1) comments, which broke the database for three hours until the administrators fixed the issue.

On January 25, 2011, Malda announced that the site launched its third major redesign in its 13.5-year history, which gutted the HTML
HTML
HyperText Markup Language is the predominant markup language for web pages. HTML elements are the basic building-blocks of webpages....

 and CSS
CSS
-Computing:*Cascading Style Sheets, a language used to describe the style of document presentations in web development*Central Structure Store in the PHIGS 3D API*Closed source software, software that is not distributed with source code...

, and updated the graphics.

On August 25, 2011, Malda announced that he was resigning as Editor-in-Chief of Slashdot, effective immediately. He did not mention any immediate plans for the future, other than spending more time with his family, catching up on some reading, and possibly writing a book. His final farewell message received over 1,400 posts within 24 hours on the site.

Team



The site is owned by Geeknet, Inc. and was run by its founder, Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda
Rob Malda
Rob Malda , also known as CmdrTaco, is founder and former editor-in-chief of the website Slashdot. He is a graduate of Hope College and Holland Christian High School....

, from 1998 until 2011. He shared editorial responsibilities with several other editors including Timothy Lord, Patrick "Scuttlemonkey" McGarry, Jeff "Soulskill" Boehm, Rob "Samzenpus" Rozeboom, and Keith Dawson. Jonathan "cowboyneal" Pater is another popular editor of Slashdot, who came to work for Slashdot as a programmer and systems administrator. His online nickname (handle), CowboyNeal, is inspired by a Grateful Dead
Grateful Dead
The Grateful Dead was an American rock band formed in 1965 in the San Francisco Bay Area. The band was known for its unique and eclectic style, which fused elements of rock, folk, bluegrass, blues, reggae, country, improvisational jazz, psychedelia, and space rock, and for live performances of long...

 tribute to Neal Cassady
Neal Cassady
Neal Leon Cassady was a major figure of the Beat Generation of the 1950s and the psychedelic movement of the 1960s. He served as the model for the character Dean Moriarty in Jack Kerouac's novel On the Road....

 in their song, "That’s It for the Other One". He is best known as the target of the usual comic poll option when he was in charge of the polls.

Slash and peer moderation


The administration of the site uses the Slash source code and database, a content management system
Content management system
A content management system is a system providing a collection of procedures used to manage work flow in a collaborative environment. These procedures can be manual or computer-based...

 available under the GNU General Public License
GNU General Public License
The GNU General Public License is the most widely used free software license, originally written by Richard Stallman for the GNU Project....

. Slashdot's editors are primarily responsible for selecting the primary stories daily; they provide a one-paragraph summary for each and a link to an external site where the story originated. Each story becomes the topic for a threaded discussion among the site's users. A user-based moderation system
Moderation system
On Internet websites which invite users to post comments, a moderation system is the method the webmaster chooses to sort contributions which are irrelevant, obscene, illegal, or insulting with regards to useful or informative contributions....

 is employed to filter out abusive comments. Every comment is initially given a score of -1 to +2, with a default score of +1 for registered users, 0 for anonymous users (Anonymous Coward), +2 for users with high "karma", or −1 for users with low "karma". As moderators read comments attached to articles, they click to moderate the comment, either up (+1) or down (−1). Moderators may choose to attach a particular descriptor to the comments as well, such as normal, offtopic, flamebait, troll, redundant, insightful, interesting, informative, funny, overrated, or underrated, with each corresponding to a -1 or +1 rating. So a comment may be seen to have a rating of "+1 insightful" or "-1 troll".

Moderation points add to a user's karma, and users with high "karma" are eligible to become moderators themselves. The system does not promote regular users as "moderators" and instead assigns five moderation points at a time to users based on the number of comments they have entered in the system – once a user's moderation points are used up, they can no longer moderate articles (though they can be assigned more moderation points at a later date). Paid staff editors have an unlimited number of moderation points.

A given comment can have any integer score from -1 to +5, and registered users of Slashdot can set a personal threshold so that no comments with a lesser score are displayed. For instance, a user reading Slashdot at level +5 will only see the highest rated stories, while a user reading at level -1 will see a more "unfiltered, anarchic version".

A meta-moderation system
Meta-moderation system
A meta-moderation system is an arrangement used on some Internet websites which invite user comments.Users rate how good a job moderators are doing. The most famous site with such a feature is Slashdot...

 was implemented on September 7, 1999, to moderate the moderators and help contain abuses in the moderation system. Meta-moderators are presented with a set of moderations that they may rate as either fair or unfair. For each moderation, the meta-moderator sees the original comment and the reason assigned by the moderator (e.g. troll, funny), and the meta-moderator can click to see the context of comments surrounding the one that was moderated.

Features


Slashdot features discussion forums on a variety of technology- and science-related topics, or "News for Nerds", as its motto states. The site is well known for its bias towards the open source software movement. Articles are divided into the following sections:
  • Apple – news related to products from Apple Inc., such as Mac OS X
    Mac OS X
    Mac OS X is a series of Unix-based operating systems and graphical user interfaces developed, marketed, and sold by Apple Inc. Since 2002, has been included with all new Macintosh computer systems...

     or iPod
    IPod
    iPod is a line of portable media players created and marketed by Apple Inc. The product line-up currently consists of the hard drive-based iPod Classic, the touchscreen iPod Touch, the compact iPod Nano, and the ultra-compact iPod Shuffle...

    .
  • Ask Slashdot – articles that seek advice from users about jobs, computer hardware, software glitches, philosophical problems, or more.
  • Book Reviews – original book reviews on (not necessarily) tech books.
  • BSD – news about the various modern versions of UNIX
    Unix
    Unix is a multitasking, multi-user computer operating system originally developed in 1969 by a group of AT&T employees at Bell Labs, including Ken Thompson, Dennis Ritchie, Brian Kernighan, Douglas McIlroy, and Joe Ossanna...

     derived from the UCB distribution
    University of California, Berkeley
    The University of California, Berkeley , is a teaching and research university established in 1868 and located in Berkeley, California, USA...

    .
  • Developers – news about software or programming.
  • Features – original, feature-length articles.
  • Games – gaming news.
  • Geeks in Space – a web audio broadcast featuring several of the editors of Slashdot (outdated; no new episodes have been posted recently).
  • Idle – miscellaneous and humorous articles, pictures, and videos.
  • Interviews – interviews with various people related to science and technology.
  • Information Technology (IT) – anything that people with "Information Technology" in their job description might be interested to know.
  • Linux – news specific to the Linux
    Linux
    Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

     operating system (any variant or distribution).
  • Politics – news relevant to politics of the United States
    Politics of the United States
    The United States is a federal constitutional republic, in which the President of the United States , Congress, and judiciary share powers reserved to the national government, and the federal government shares sovereignty with the state governments.The executive branch is headed by the President...

    . It was created primarily to cover the 2004 United States Presidential Election
    United States presidential election, 2004
    The United States presidential election of 2004 was the United States' 55th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 2, 2004. Republican Party candidate and incumbent President George W. Bush defeated Democratic Party candidate John Kerry, the then-junior U.S. Senator...

    , but now exists for occasional stories that are related to US Politics.
  • Polls – a poll is usually run on the site in the right-hand margin, asking users their choice on a variety of topics. In the earlier years of the site, one of the options that could be selected was CowboyNeal, the handle of Jonathan Pater, an administrator of the site. This became known as the CowboyNeal option. During the summer of 2005, he stopped being in charge of the polls, and as a result the CowboyNeal option disappeared.
  • Science – news on science-related topics (e.g. cool technology, space telescope observations, interesting medical research).
  • Your Rights Online (YRO) – news on topics pertaining to internet privacy
    Internet privacy
    Internet privacy involves the right or mandate of personal privacy concerning the storing, repurposing, providing to third-parties, and displaying of information pertaining to oneself via the Internet. Privacy can entail both Personally Identifying Information or non-PII information such as a...

     and digital rights
    Digital rights
    The term digital rights describes the permissions of individuals legitimately to perform actions involving the use of a computer, any electronic device, or a communications network...

    .

Tags


Slashdot uses a system of "tags" where users can categorize a story to group them together and sorting them. Tags are written in all lowercase, with no spaces, and limited to 64 characters. For example, articles could be tagged as being about security or mozilla. Some articles are tagged with longer tags, such as whatcouldpossiblygowrong (expressing the perception of catastrophic risk), suddenoutbreakofcommonsense (used when the community feels that the subject has finally figured out something obvious), correlationnotcausation (used when scientific articles lack direct evidence; see correlation does not imply causation
Correlation does not imply causation
"Correlation does not imply causation" is a phrase used in science and statistics to emphasize that correlation between two variables does not automatically imply that one causes the other "Correlation does not imply causation" (related to "ignoring a common cause" and questionable cause) is a...

), or getyourasstomars (commonly seen in articles about Mars
Mars
Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun in the Solar System. The planet is named after the Roman god of war, Mars. It is often described as the "Red Planet", as the iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance...

 or space exploration
Space exploration
Space exploration is the use of space technology to explore outer space. Physical exploration of space is conducted both by human spaceflights and by robotic spacecraft....

).

Culture




As an online community with primarily user-generated content, many in-jokes and internet meme
Internet meme
The term Internet meme is used to describe a concept that spreads via the Internet. The term is a reference to the concept of memes, although the latter concept refers to a much broader category of cultural information.-Description:...

s have developed over the course of the site's history. A popular meme (based on an unscientific Slashdot user poll) is, "In Soviet Russia, noun verb you!" The phrase was actually originated by Ukrainian-born
Ukraine
Ukraine is a country in Eastern Europe. It has an area of 603,628 km², making it the second largest contiguous country on the European continent, after Russia...

 comedian
Comedian
A comedian or comic is a person who seeks to entertain an audience, primarily by making them laugh. This might be through jokes or amusing situations, or acting a fool, as in slapstick, or employing prop comedy...

 Yakov Smirnoff
Yakov Smirnoff
Yakov Naumovich Pokhis , better known as Yakov Smirnoff, is a Ukrainian-born American comedian, painter and teacher. He was popular in the 1980s for comedy performances in which he used irony and word play to contrast life under the Communist regime in his native Soviet Union with life in the...

 as his famous Russian reversal – "In America, you can always find a party. In Soviet Russia, The Party can always find you!" Other popular memes usually pertain to computing or technology, such as "Imagine a Beowulf cluster of these", "But does it run Linux
Linux
Linux is a Unix-like computer operating system assembled under the model of free and open source software development and distribution. The defining component of any Linux system is the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released October 5, 1991 by Linus Torvalds...

?", or "Netcraft
Netcraft
Netcraft is an Internet services company based in Bath, England.Netcraft provides web server and web hosting market-share analysis, including web server and operating system detection...

 now confirms: BSD (or some other software package or item) is dying." Some users will also refer to seemingly innocent remarks by correcting them and adding "you insensitive clod!" to the statement – a reference to a February 14, 1986, Calvin & Hobbes cartoon or the 11th season The Simpsons
The Simpsons
The Simpsons is an American animated sitcom created by Matt Groening for the Fox Broadcasting Company. The series is a satirical parody of a middle class American lifestyle epitomized by its family of the same name, which consists of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie...

 episode, Last Tap Dance in Springfield
Last Tap Dance in Springfield
"Last Tap Dance in Springfield" is the twentieth episode of the eleventh season of the American animated sitcom The Simpsons. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on May 7, 2000. In the episode, Lisa decides to sign up for tap dancing lessons after being inspired by a film...

, wherein Frink exclaims to Homer, "I was merely trying to spare the girl's feelings, you insensitive clod!" Users will also typically refer to articles referring to data storage and data capacity by inquiring how much it is in units of Libraries of Congress.

Slashdotters often use the abbreviation TFA which stands for The fucking article or RTFA (Read the fucking article), which itself is derived from the abbreviation RTFM
RTFM
RTFM is an initialism for the direction "Read The Fucking Manual". This instruction is sometimes given in response to a question when the person being asked believes that the question could be easily answered by reading the relevant user's manual or instructions...

. Usage of this abbreviation often exposes comments from posters without reading the article linked to the main story.

Slashdotters typically like to mock United States Senator Ted Stevens
Ted Stevens
Theodore Fulton "Ted" Stevens, Sr. was a United States Senator from Alaska, serving from December 24, 1968, until January 3, 2009, and thus the longest-serving Republican senator in history...

' 2006 description of the Internet as a "series of tubes
Series of tubes
"Series of tubes" is a phrase coined originally as an analogy by then-United States Senator Ted Stevens to describe the Internet in the context of opposing network neutrality. On June 28, 2006, he used this metaphor to criticize a proposed amendment to a committee bill...

" or Microsoft
Microsoft
Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

 CEO Steve Ballmer
Steve Ballmer
Steven Anthony "Steve" Ballmer is an American business magnate. He is the chief executive officer of Microsoft, having held that post since January 2000. , his personal wealth is estimated at US$13.9 billion, ranking number 19 on the Forbes 400.-Early life:Ballmer was born in Detroit, Michigan to...

's chair-throwing incident from 2005. Microsoft
Microsoft
Microsoft Corporation is an American public multinational corporation headquartered in Redmond, Washington, USA that develops, manufactures, licenses, and supports a wide range of products and services predominantly related to computing through its various product divisions...

 founder Bill Gates
Bill Gates
William Henry "Bill" Gates III is an American business magnate, investor, philanthropist, and author. Gates is the former CEO and current chairman of Microsoft, the software company he founded with Paul Allen...

 is a popular target of jokes by Slashdotters, and all stories about Microsoft are identified with a graphic of Gates looking like a Borg
Borg (Star Trek)
The Borg are a fictional pseudo-race of cybernetic organisms depicted in the Star Trek universe associated with Star Trek.Whereas cybernetics are used by other races in the science fiction world to repair bodily damage and birth defects, the Borg use enforced cybernetic enhancement as a means of...

 from Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Star Trek: The Next Generation is an American science fiction television series created by Gene Roddenberry as part of the Star Trek franchise. Roddenberry, Rick Berman, and Michael Piller served as executive producers at different times throughout the production...

. Many Slashdotters have long talked about the supposed release of Duke Nukem Forever
Duke Nukem Forever
Duke Nukem Forever is a 2011 first-person shooter video game for Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 developed by 3D Realms and Triptych Games and finished by Gearbox Software and Piranha Games...

, which was promised in 1997 but was delayed indefinitely (the game was eventually released in 2011). References to the game are commonly brought up in other articles about software packages that are not yet in production even though the announced delivery date has long passed (see vaporware
Vaporware
Vaporware is a term in the computer industry that describes a product, typically computer hardware or software, that is announced to the general public but is never actually released nor officially canceled. Vaporware is also a term sometimes used to describe events that are announced or predicted,...

).

Having a low Slashdot user identifier (user ID) is highly valued since they are assigned sequentially; having one is a sign that someone has an older account and has contributed to the site longer. For Slashdot's 10-year anniversary in 2007, one of the items auctioned off in the charity auction for the Electronic Frontier Foundation
Electronic Frontier Foundation
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is an international non-profit digital rights advocacy and legal organization based in the United States...

 was a 3-digit Slashdot user ID.

Traffic and publicity



As of 2006, Slashdot had approximately 5.5 million users per month. As of November 2011, the site's Alexa rank
Alexa Internet
Alexa Internet, Inc. is a California-based subsidiary company of Amazon.com that is known for its toolbar and Web site. Once installed, the toolbar collects data on browsing behavior which is transmitted to the Web site where it is stored and analyzed and is the basis for the company's Web traffic...

 is 1,465, with the average user spending 3.3 minutes per day on the site and 45,393 sites linking in. The primary stories on the site consist of a short synopsis paragraph, a link to the original story, and a lengthy discussion section, all contributed by users. Discussion on stories can get up to 10,000 posts per day. Slashdot has been considered a pioneer in user-driven content, influencing other sites such as Google News
Google News
Google News is a free news aggregator provided by Google Inc, selecting recent items from thousands of publications by an automatic aggregation algorithm....

 and Wikipedia. However, there has been a dip in readership recently, primarily due to the increase of technology-related blogs and twitter feeds. Approximately 50% of Slashdot's traffic consists of people who simply check out the headlines and click through, while the other 50% participates in discussion boards and takes part in the community. Many users who see a link in a story on the site click on the link, leading to the site getting swamped by heavy traffic and the server collapsing. This is known as the "Slashdot effect
Slashdot effect
The Slashdot effect, also known as slashdotting, occurs when a popular website links to a smaller site, causing a massive increase in traffic. This overloads the smaller site, causing it to slow down or even temporarily close. The name stems from the huge influx of web traffic that results from...

", a term which was first coined on February 15, 1999 that refers to an article about a "new generation of niche Web portals driving unprecedented amounts of traffic to sites of interest". Today, most major websites can handle the surge of traffic, but the effect continues to occur on smaller or independent sites. These sites are then said to have been Slashdotted.

Slashdot has received over twenty awards, including People's Voice Awards
Webby Awards
A Webby Award is an international award presented annually by The International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences for excellence on the Internet with categories in websites, interactive advertising, online film and video, and mobile....

 in 2000 in both of the categories for which it was nominated (Best Community Site and Best News Site). It was also voted as one of Newsweek
Newsweek
Newsweek is an American weekly news magazine published in New York City. It is distributed throughout the United States and internationally. It is the second-largest news weekly magazine in the U.S., having trailed Time in circulation and advertising revenue for most of its existence...

s favorite technology Web sites and rated in Yahoo's Top 100 Web sites as the "Best Geek Hangout" (2001). The main antagonists in the 2004 novel
Novel
A novel is a book of long narrative in literary prose. The genre has historical roots both in the fields of the medieval and early modern romance and in the tradition of the novella. The latter supplied the present generic term in the late 18th century....

 Century Rain
Century Rain
Century Rain is a 2004 noir science fiction alternate history mystery novel by Welsh author Alastair Reynolds .- Plot summary :...

, by Alastair Reynolds
Alastair Reynolds
Alastair Preston Reynolds is a British science fiction author. He specialises in dark hard science fiction and space opera. He spent his early years in Cornwall, moved back to Wales before going to Newcastle, where he read physics and astronomy. Afterwards, he earned a PhD from St Andrews, Scotland...

 – The Slashers – are named after Slashdot users. The site was mentioned briefly in the 2000 novel Cosmonaut Keep
Cosmonaut Keep
Cosmonaut Keep , a science fiction novel by Ken MacLeod.It is the first novel in the Engines of Light Trilogy, a 2001 nominee for the Arthur C...

, written by Ken MacLeod
Ken MacLeod
Ken MacLeod , is a Scottish science fiction writer.MacLeod was born in Stornoway. He graduated from Glasgow University with a degree in zoology and has worked as a computer programmer and written a masters thesis on biomechanics....

. Several celebrities have stated that they either checked the website regularly or participated in its discussion forums using an account. Some of these celebrities include: Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak
Steve Wozniak
Stephen Gary "Woz" Wozniak is an American computer engineer and programmer who founded Apple Computer, Co. with Steve Jobs and Ronald Wayne...

, writer and actor Wil Wheaton
Wil Wheaton
Richard William "Wil" Wheaton III is an American actor and writer. As an actor, he is best known for his portrayals of Wesley Crusher on the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, Gordie Lachance in the film Stand by Me and Joey Trotta in Toy Soldiers...

, and id Software
Id Software
Id Software is an American video game development company with its headquarters in Richardson, Texas. The company was founded in 1991 by four members of the computer company Softdisk: programmers John Carmack and John Romero, game designer Tom Hall, and artist Adrian Carmack...

 technical director John Carmack.

External links