January 10, 2004

I broke the slashdot habit...

It’s true. After five years of reading nearly every day and a year of at least a few times a week I’m kicking the habit. I’m not reading it anymore unless someone I respect forwards me a link to a rare decent and thoughtful discussion where people don’t call each other morons with their first posts.

Why dump it? It got to the point quite some time ago where every discussion was a shallow and distasteful replica of one that occurred before. The acrimony and name-calling drives away people who might have something original to say (a strength of the early slashdot), which just turns it into a vicious cycle. And I figure that I'm reading enough and varied blogs now that people will repost useful links found there (which apparently happened with the Mac OS X history entry I posted a few days ago). Plus I don't have the time to waste on this kind of technology landscape meandering anymore. It takes a lot of time to sort the wheat from the chaff, and while my chaff detectors are better than they used to be (a function more of age than smarts in my case), it's still too long.

Plus I think it's just too big. Online communities really haven't found a way that I've seen to scale and they try to solve it with technological means -- rating systems, moderation, meta-moderation, etc. I don't know if that's a solvable problem today. I think it was possible with Bulletin Board Systems -- there was a higher barrier to entry and you'd tend to devote most of your time to one or two systems, getting to know people there. Plus you always had something in common with everyone -- you lived in the same area -- and people who broke the rules were much easier to permanently ban. Internet communities have none of these strengths and many more weaknesses.

So anyway, if you're scratching your head wondering why I'm posting something already found on slashdot (kind of a blogging faux pas), now you know.

Next: Mock frameworks in Perl
Previous: brian on Perl certification