, sometimes abbreviated
, is a technology-related news website
owned by Geeknet,
It features user-submitted and editor-evaluated current affairs
news with a
" slant. Each story on the site has an
-style comments section
attached. The name "Slashdot" is described by the site's owners as
"a sort of obnoxious parody of a URL", chosen to confuse those who
tried to pronounce the URL
of the site ("h-t-t-p-colon-slash-slash-slashdot-dot-org").
The summaries for the stories are generally submitted by Slashdot's
own readers with editors accepting or rejecting these contributions
for general posting. Slashdot itself is well known for its pro-open
source bias. Though the site predates the modern concept of the
, Slashdot's architecture is similar to
that of modern blogs. The content management system
, has long been available
under the GNU General Public
Created in September 1997 by Rob "CmdrTaco"
, Slashdot is now owned by Geeknet, Inc.
The site is run primarily by
Malda, Jeff "Hemos" Bates
handles articles and book reviews and sells advertising) and
Robin "Roblimo" Miller
who helps handle some
of the more managerial tasks of the site, as well as posting
stories. The site is headquartered in Dexter,
To prevent abusive comments, a moderation system
has been implemented
whereby every comment posted (including those posted anonymously)
has a starting score which can be incremented or decremented by
semi-randomly chosen moderators
moderating, the moderator chooses a given descriptor (such as
"insightful", "funny", "troll
each descriptor has a positive or negative value associated with
it. As such, posts not only are scored, but characterized ("20%
insightful, 80% interesting"). Users can configure the value of
each descriptor. The descriptors available are normal, offtopic,
flamebait, troll, redundant, insightful, interesting, informative,
funny, overrated, and underrated.
Moderation points add to a user's karma. Having high karma gives
one bonus point to posts made by that author. Being a registered
poster adds one more, so that the highest normally achieved
starting score is two. Conversely, users with low karma have
penalties imposed on them.
People that post comments designed to get more karma, for example
mirroring a linked article or presenting a banal groupthink opinion
or lame joke, are often referred to as karma whores. Those who can
moderate are selected by their karma score and possibly other
factors such as number of meta moderations. Slashdot editors,
including Rob Malda
A given comment can have any integer score from −1 to +5, and
Slashdot users can set a personal threshold where no comments with
a lesser score are displayed. A person browsing the comments at a
threshold of 1 will not see comments with a score of −1 or 0 but
will see all others.
A meta-moderation system
implemented to moderate the moderators and help contain abuses.
However, meta-moderation does not address bias problems, e.g. where
moderators tend to overlook comments that don't already have a high
score (e.g. new comments).
implemented in the Slash
Content management system
and hence is generally used by all the sites that use this
All posts with scores −1 through 3 are hidden by default when not
Although the moderation system usually works well, it is not immune
to abuse. It is possible for a group of moderators to moderate down
positions they oppose and vote up posts they agree with. This can
result in a biased discussion.
Meta-moderation is a Slashdot mechanism whereby a reader can
volunteer to review the correctness of moderation decisions. The
reader is presented with eight to ten moderation decisions made by
other readers and is asked to say whether or not those moderation
choices were fair, by reading the post which was moderated and
considering the moderation given.
The correctness of users' initial moderations, as determined by the
users who are meta-moderating them, affects how often the initial
moderators are given moderation points, so a reader who moderates
but constantly has their moderation decisions marked incorrect
under meta-moderation will only infrequently be given moderation
Slashdot has about 5.5 million users per month, and encourages its
readers to read the articles linked to in the summary. This leads
to a sudden upsurge in people visiting any website linked to, a
phenomenon known as the "Slashdot
". Sometimes the website's server
is unable to cope with the level of
traffic, and the site becomes unresponsive: the site is said to be
The demand on the servers is reduced as the Slashdot story is moved
down or off the front page from new stories being posted. Some
webmasters have responded (either before or during a Slashdotting)
by replacing dynamic content with static content on that page, to
reduce the load and allow their servers to handle more requests.
Rarely, a webmaster will take the entire page down or replace it
with a blank page temporarily if the traffic is not wanted. Today,
most major websites can handle the surge of traffic, but
Slashdotting continues to occur on smaller or independent
, Slashdot articles are divided into the following sections:
- Apple • Articles related to products
Inc., such as Mac OS X, iPod, as well as items that directly compete with those
- Ask Slashdot • Articles that seek advice from the
Slashdot readership about jobs, computer hardware, software
glitches, philosophical problems, etc.
- Backslash • This section contains editor's picks of
best comments from a recent popular article, primarily intended for
those who do not want to read hundreds of high-moderated comments
from the original thread.
- Books • This section is for original book reviews on
(not necessarily) tech books.
- Developers • News about the software, or anything that
directly affects the practice of programming. (e.g. new programming
languages, useful techniques, licensing issues)
- Idle • A page dedicated to humorous articles,
pictures, and videos on the internet.
- Interviews • Slashdot occasionally has interviews with
various people. Questions are posted as comments in an initial
story and 10 highly rated questions are sent to the interviewee;
the answers are posted in a follow up story.
- Information Technology (IT) • Anything that people
with "Information Technology" in their job description might be
interested to know.
- Linux • The Linux section is for news specific to
- Politics • This section is for news relevant to United
States government politics. It was created primarily to cover the
2004 US Presidential Election, but now exists for occasional
stories that are related to U.S. Politics.
- Science • This is the place for science articles. Cool
technology, space telescope observations, interesting medical
- Your Rights Online (YRO) • News affecting your ability
to live as a free, responsible person online. Such examples are
Spam, invasions of privacy, and onerous licenses. Copyrights,
patents, intellectual property, and other lawsuits often appear
sections are still posted to,
although they no longer enjoy a place in the main site navigation.
The Geeks in Space
section was a web audio broadcast
featuring several of the editors of Slashdot; there have been no
recent updates to this section.
One recurring problem is the frequency of reposts (also known as
"dupes"), where editors approve articles for the front page, often
slightly re-worded, that have previously appeared on the site. One
proposed solution is to have mandatory procedures to search for
Slashdot dupes before an article is published.
Slashdot has also been accused of "dumbing down" since introducing
a new "idle" section in 2008. Typically articles from the "idle"
section are tagged "stupid," "idleispants," or "pleasestop." Often
the comments express contempt for the section and the fact that it
was posted on the front page.
Over time, Slashdot has developed many in-jokes, quotes, puns and
memes which regularly feature on the website.
- "In Soviet Russia, <thing> <action> you!" (the
Yakov Smirnoff Russian Reversal)
- Goatse (For years, a common tactic of
Slashdot pranksters was to place comments with links which appeared
to be article-relevant sites but were in fact links to the
goatse.cx site, which featured nothing but a shock image.)
- "Hot Grits" Troll (Referring to a probably apocryphal
story about Southern women pouring hot grits mixed with lye into the pants of unfaithful male lovers to maim them; usually combined with Natalie Portman
- “Imagine a Beowulf cluster
of those” (Slashdot's early history coincided with the rise to
prominence of the Linux-based parallel computing Beowulf system;
speculation about powerful new computers arrayed in a Beowulf
cluster quickly became an overused comment.)
- “You must be new here.” (Invoked frequently after a poster
complains of a common Slashdot issue such as duplicate stories or
perceived bias by certain editors) first mention in 1999
- “But does it run Linux?” (especially regarding Linux
- "I, for one, welcome our new <thing> overlords." (Often
facetiously used in reference to technology that is supposedly
going to become universal and inevitable. This references the
Simpsons episode Deep Space Homer in which reporter Kent Brockman welcomes what he believes to be
"our new insect overlords" but which are in fact only ants.)
- "I don't believe in censorsh%!$*%& [NO CARRIER]"
(referencing a NO CARRIER signal from a
- "Warning! Do not look into laser with remaining eye!" (with the
word "laser" replaced by any other dangerous optical device). This
is a joke that invokes the image of peering into an infrared laser to see if it's on, in the same
way that one may stare down a hosepipe to see if it's blocked.
- “I <cite silly personal offense>, you
insensitive clod!” which originates from a Calvin and
Hobbes comic strip dated 1986-02-14
- Defective by Design
(Referring to Microsoft products, DRM, or any technology that
undermines the user's best interests)
- 'Junis' referencing the infamous story , in which an Afghani
named 'Junis' purportedly was back online via his Commodore
computer. Used to describe doubt of authenticity of a posted claim,
such as 'Junis, is that you?"
- "<Some action>. Cancel or Allow?" (Referring to
Windows Vista’s User Account Control, which is reputed
to frequently ask for permission to perform an action.)
- "Stephen King is dead" variants
(Referring to a popular early Slashdot troll which claimed to be
posting breaking news that author Stephen King had died)
- The high system requirements for Microsoft Windows
Vista or the game Crysis. Frequently
appears in response to articles on supercomputing.
- References to Steve Ballmer
throwing a chair.
- References to William Shatner's
halting vocal style when a user is deemed to have either overused
or incorrectly used commas.
- Most of the online polls seen on Slashdot include an option to
vote for CowboyNeal, the account name of
editor Jonathan Pater, with contributors feigning outrage when it
is left off.
- “In Korea, only old people use ” ( origin)
- References to the Back to the
- "itsatrap" tag
and comment (sometimes "I have a bad feeling about this.."),
reciting quotes from Admiral Ackbar
and Han Solo from Star Wars. Usually used with articles
describing a "generous" or "benevolent" act by a company or entity
not usually known for either, and maybe as an allusion that the act
has a negative ulterior motive. (example: "Microsoft To Open Source Some of
- “There. Fixed that for you.” or "FTFY". Used after humorously or insightfully
modifying the parent post.
- "Sharks with frickin' laser beams attached to their heads."
Quoting Dr. Evil in
Powers: International Man of Mystery. Inevitably appearing
in comments on any story involving laser technology (or sharks).
Often alluded to simply as "fricken' lasers".
- "BSD is dying" lengthy, frequently
repeated troll post which explains that the BSD family of operating
systems are moribund. The general form "Netcraft confirms it: <some software> is
dying" might also be spotted. Example: 
- Libraries of Congress as a measure of data capacity. Such as in an
article about a new hard disk capacity breakthrough "How many
Libraries of Congress is that?". Relates to the amount of data that
would be required to store a digitized version of the library.
- References to the release of game Duke Nukem Forever, which was first
promised in 1997. This took the place of the earlier long delayed
but eventually delivered Daikatana.
- Users often humorously ask for an explanation of a difficult
subject to be restated in the form of a car analogy.
Slashdot also has a system of "tags" where users can categorize a
story with a lowercase tag with no spaces, limited to 64
Additionally, the ID of the Slashdot user is sometimes regarded as
a sign of how Leet
the user is, although this
is not taken very literally. Having a user ID that is a prime number
or other significant mathematical
number is also valued. Some people have successfully sold their
Slashdot ID (usually because it was a low 4-digit or smaller),
although the website's policy on this isn't clear. Slashdot assigns
user ID numbers in the order that the user registered; i.e., lower
user ID numbers correspond to older accounts. A 3 digit user ID was
among a number of items that were auctioned for the benefit of the
Recently, a Slashdot community poll indicated that the 'In
meme is considered the most popular in
Slashdot's first 10 years. The grits meme received the fewest
While Slashdot's core audience is often said to consist of Linux
enthusiasts and various other enthusiasts of the
software movement, there is
a significant Windows audience as well. A 2002 poll on Slashdot
suggests that approximately half of all Slashdot visitors use
, a third use some
form of Linux
, and above ten percent use
Mac OS X
. In 2008 only 32% claimed to not
use Windows. Polls on Slashdot, like most on the Internet, may be
unreliable (all Slashdot polls include the disclaimer If you're
using these numbers to do anything important, you're
As the "News for Nerds," tagline implies, many of Slashdot's
articles deal with scientific subjects and events, among the others
Famous or well-known active "Slashdotters" include:
Several engineers from NASA involved in the Mars
rover exploration projects have also participated
in Slashdot's forums.
Appearances in books
Slashdot has been named, either directly or indirectly, in a number
Appearances in popular fiction
Slashdot has been used or mentioned in a number of fictional works,
Slashdot Japan is owned by OSDN, Inc. (part of SunBridge Corp.
(ex-part of VA Linux Systems Japan, the subsidiaries of Geeknet, Inc.
) ), led by Oliver M. Bolzer
. It started beta test on 2001-05-09,
and began operation on 2001-05-28. However, the first Slashdot
Japan news article was published on 2001-04-05.
The site carries some of the original Slashdot articles, and
localized Japanese news. An external site named Backslashdot
reports selected stories of Slashdot Japan in English since
- July 1997 - short-lived forerunner to
Slashdot, called "Chips & Dips"
- September 1997 - Slashdot is created.
- December 31, 1997 - First archived Slashdot
- February 2, 1998 - Slashdot begins accepting
- May 13, 1998 - Slashdot introduces the "Ask
- September 14, 1998 - Slashdot is hacked.
- February 1, 1999 - The Slashdot effect is first mentioned.
- June 29, 1999 - Slashdot is acquired by
- September 7, 1999 - Meta-moderation is
introduced to Slashdot.
- September 10, 1999 - Slashdot announces the
addition of the "Your Rights Online" section.
- October 15, 1999 - Slashdot announces the
addition of two new sections: Apache and BSD.
- February 3, 2000 - Andover.net, Slashdot's
parent company, merges with Linux company
- February 24, 2000 - Slashdot's 10,000th
article is posted.
- May 2000 - Slashdot is the victim of a
week-long Distributed Denial-of-Service attack.
- September 28, 2000 - Slashdot is hacked
- March 9, 2001 - An anonymous poster posts the
full text of Scientology's OT III
("Operating Thetan Level Three") document in a comment attached to
a Slashdot article. The Church of
Scientology then demanded that the Slashdot editors remove the
post under the Digital
Millennium Copyright Act. A week later, in a long article, the
Slashdot editors explained their decision to remove the page while
providing links and information on how to get the document from
- August 18, 2001 - Slashcode 2.2 is released, which allows for
comment notification, journals, and UNIX-style
- January 2, 2002 - Slashdot introduces the
"zoo" system, allowing the marking of users as "friend" and
- January 16 - January 30, 2002 - An off-topic
post purported to be detailing the results of an investigation into
Slashdot trolling phenomena becomes itself the subject of a
"moderation war" and ends up being
moderated a record 851 times (as well as getting 268 direct
replies). The editors are accused of indiscriminately modding down
all the posts in the thread collectively as well as permanently
banning anyone who moderated the post up from moderating or
- March 1, 2002 - Slashdot begins a subscription
service, where subscribers are given special perks in exchange for
a small fee.
- March 6, 2003 - Slashdot subscribers are given
the ability to see articles 10–20 minutes before they are released
to the general public.
- August 18, 2004 - Slashdot has its ten
millionth user posting.
- September 7, 2004 - Slashdot "goes political"
and creates a new politics subsection, two months before the U.S.
2004 presidential election.
- April 8, 2005 - Slashdot introduces "day
passes", allowing all users to enjoy the benefits of subscribers
for the duration of one day if they watch a commercial.
- September 22, 2005 - Slashdot begins using
HTML 4.01 and CSS on its pages, replacing the aging HTML 3.2-based
system which had been in place for many years.
- April 1, 2006 - OMG!!!
Ponies!!! pink theme is used for the day, some users
report eye strain. The theme can be applied to the current Slashdot
layout using the Slashdotter Firefox extension.
- June 4, 2006 - A new design is implemented
following a contest.
- September 2, 2006 - richardcpeterson registers
as Slashdot's one millionth member.
- November 9, 2006 - Slashdot reaches 16,777,215
(or 224 − 1) comments, temporarily breaking the
- October 2, 2007 - Slashdot marks its 10 years
- April 1, 2009 - User Achievement tags
introduced, with CmdrTaco presenting it as an April Fool's Day
- July 23, 2009 - Slashdot is hacked for the
third time in just over ten years
- Favicon of Slashdot.org
- Slashdot FAQ: What does the name "Slashdot" mean?
- Interview with Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda
- Source: Slashdot's Meta-moderation section of the FAQ:
- On the matter of Slashdot story selection - At
that day, complaints about Slashdot story selection process were
appearing on all published stories, which prompted a response from
- Slashdot | Message From Kabul
- Ladies and Gentlemen, I present to you:
- Slashdot Poll
- Slashdot Poll: My Main Computer
- Slashdot Poll: If Windows 7 Releases Next Year
- Wind River Systems BSDi
- Slashdot | Become 007 On The Internet
- Slashdot | Ask Slashdot:The Debut
- Slashdot | Slashdot Gets Hacked
- Slashdot | Beware of the Slashdot Effect
- Slashdot | Slashdot Acquired by
- Slashdot | Slashdot's Meta Moderation
- Slashdot | Slashdot's 10,000th Story
- Slashdot | The Slashdot DDoS: What
- Slashdot | Yup, Somebody Cracked Slashdot
- Slashdot | Scientologists Force Comment Off
- Slashdot | Welcome to Slashdot 2.2
- Slashdot | Slashdot Code Update
- Slashdot | Slashdot Subscribers Now See The
- NSLU2 Now More Useful
- Slashdot | Slashdot Goes Political: Announcing
- Slashdot: News for nerds, stuff that matters
- Slashdotter :: Now I Have a Blog Too
- Slashdot | Slashdot CSS Redesign Winner
- richardcpeterson - Slashdot User
- Bar Performer Arrested For Copyright
- Rumsfeld Stepping Down
- Slashdot | Slashdot Posting Bug Infuriates Haggard
- Slashdot | Slashdot defaced on July 23rd