A question for Slashdot readers

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Vince Maskeeper, May 27, 2003.

  1. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    I was, at first, tempted to post this in the PC area, but since it really has nothing to do with computers or technology, rather a general question about a website- figured it would play better in this area.

    I am a relatively regular visitor to /. - and am considering integrating a similar "headline" system into the relaunch of my website (www.musicianassist.com). I was sitting down today to write the scripting and the DB backend and do some basic designs and I realized I hadn't really considered the "talkback" portion of the system that Slashdot offers.

    Since I never personally post or read the feedback for the news items, I just read the news items, I forgot they were even there. Which made me wonder how other slashdot visitors saw that system. I'm not all that interested in the extra code it would take to flesh out the feedback portion- I'm more interested in the headlines element.

    So- Do other Slashdot visitor work like me- skipping the feedback and discussions in favor of skimming tyhe headlines? How important do you see the feedback/discussion element to the usefulness of such a system? Would a similar system, with just user submitted headlines for a particular interest be worthwhile- or should I just leave it out?

    -Vince
     
  2. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    It really depends on your intentions for your website. While many people visit /. for the news, I think what really helped its success is the discussion. More recently I find myself reading the comments less and less, mostly because of time, but also because the number of postings makes it difficult to weed through the noise. I think in the end it would be helpful. If you come across some news item, and other people have found other articles that are more in depth, it would give them a way to add that to your story so other viewers could get more info.

    I have to wonder why you are designing something like this though. Slashcode is open source, and there are numerous other blogging apps available that give you this basic function. I use Movable Type which is fairly easy to work with. It can also provide you a link to put in your toolbar so that whenever you visit a site you are interested in posting on your website, you click the button and it starts a new entry for you. Plus it allows that RAS stuff or whatever that is called so your viewers can syndicate your site.
     
  3. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    This is an interesting point-- I think it would be useful for people to post followups- but I'm thinking somehow allowing an "attached" submission to once again go through a moderation system, that would just offer more in depth information and would be associated with the original post.

    I'm just a bit apprehensive, as I envision the signal to noise ratio in any of these "non moderated" systems of feedback will be extremely low-- just look at Slashdot now and for a worse case, AICN.

    -Vince
     
  4. Keith Mickunas

    Keith Mickunas Cinematographer

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    Hmm, I see what you're getting at. That is a bit of a puzzler, I'm not sure which model would fit you right. Movabletype is definitely not the answer for you. I don't know if fark is public or not, but they also allow users to submit stories which are approved and added to the main page, then people can comment.

    Based on what you want, I would suggest having a link at the end of each story which could be like "Add info". When the person clicks on that it could pop up a form, have the person provide additional links and comments, and then submit it to you with a link to the original story so when you approve it it would be added.
     
  5. Vince Maskeeper

    Vince Maskeeper Producer

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    That's where I'm thinking as well. Figure allow attaching followups on the same topic and have them be threaded along with the original article. Best of both worlds- moderated content keeps info tight and concise while updating allows a bit more info to be shared once a headline is started.

    I'm still wondering about the usefulness of the "talkback" section for more general discussion. Again, I guess what I'm trying to ask is: How important is this section, both in terms of reading and posting, to the casual slashdot reader. If it seems that this section is really what makes or breaks the page for most readers (as admittedly I can't stand it)-- then I might reconsider doing the project at all.

    Thanks for your input- has been helpful.

    -Vince
     
  6. Leila Dougan

    Leila Dougan Screenwriter

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    I love the talkback section of /. But not just because I can read other people's comments, but because it has a rating system. I set my threshold to 4 and above so when I read the comments, I only get the well written and thought out responses. It really does reduce noise.

    But, it comes with a price. You need to have a large user base to do the moderating or at least be willing to moderate yourself (as you know, a very time consuming task). I think with /. it works well because there are thousands of people who volunteer to moderate. If your site doesn't have a whole lot of traffic, it may be best to hold off on the discussion aspect until you do. I would rather a site have either no discussion or the option for excellent discussion, as opposed to having nothing but flames.
     
  7. Jonny K

    Jonny K Second Unit

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    I only read headlines. I'm sure the conversations going on are interesting, but I have too little time in my life to read 200 posts on Slashdot for every news item they have. Sometimes I skim.


    Jonny K. [​IMG]
     
  8. Steve Owen

    Steve Owen Second Unit

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    I'm a regular reader and contributor to Slashdot discussions, and I really like the discusson and moderation system. But there's a critical mass of readers that must be maintained for it to be effective.

    Anyway Vince, I think you want to look into Slashcode which is the scripting language that runs Slashdot. I belive it includes the story posting aspects as well as the comments and moderation. Pretty much the whole ball-o-wax. Plenty more info on http://slashcode.com/.

    -Steve
     
  9. Jay Heyl

    Jay Heyl Stunt Coordinator

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    I scan the /. headlines regularly and often check out at least some of the comments on the stories I find interesting. Occasionally I actually learn a thing or two from the comments. Without the comments /. wouldn't be much different from several dozen other news collection sites.
     
  10. Greg Rowe

    Greg Rowe Stunt Coordinator

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    I am a regular reader of slashdot. I always read the comments for interesting headlines. You can easily filter out noise by reading only comments that have been moderated to +4 or more.

    Slashcode has a LOT of features. Don't forget that every slashdot reader has a journal, lists of friends and foes, and TONS of personalized settings.

    If you are looking for something that is a bit simpler perhaps phpnuke or postnuke might work for you? I've never used either but it's on my todo list.

    Greg
     
  11. Steve Enemark

    Steve Enemark Second Unit

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    I generally get more out of the /. discussions than the actual articles (often, because the websites the articles are from have been "slashdotted" out of existence by the time I get there). I wish the HTF would institute a ranking system for the posts like Slashdot's, and the signal-to-noise ratio would improve drastically...
     
  12. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    Sam Posten
    Regular reader, occaissional comment reader, never post.

    Sam
     

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