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Who does this?

Slashdot was originally created in September of 1997 by Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda. Today it is owned by OSTG, which, in turn is owned by VA Software.

Slashdot is run primarily by me and by Jeff "Hemos" Bates, who posts stories and manages other sites for OSTG.

Slashcode is wrangled and various other deeds of a technical nature are committed by the OSTG Slashteam: Jamie McCarthy, Chris "Pudge" Nandor, Brian "Krow" Aker, and Jon "CowboyNeal" Pater.

Editorial responsibilities are still handled by Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda, along with the rest of the Slashdot Authors: Jeff "Hemos" Bates, Timothy Lord (Managing Editor), Cliff Wood (Ask Slashdot Editor), Michael Sims, Jamie McCarthy (YRO Sectior), Simon "Simoniker" Carless (Games Section) and Jon 'CowboyNeal' Pater (Editor at Very Large).

Our bandwidth and co-loc comes from Exodus.Net, and our hardware comes from VA Linux Systems. (You can learn more about our setup here.)

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 2/07/02

What does the name "Slashdot" mean?

"Slashdot" is a sort of obnoxious parody of a URL. When I originally registered the domain, I wanted to make the URL silly, and unpronounceable. Try reading out the full URL to http://slashdot.org and you'll see what I mean. Of course my cocky little joke has turned around and bit me in the butt because now I am called upon constantly to tell people my URL or email address. I can't tell you how many people respond confused "So do I spell out the 'dot' or is that just a period?"

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 10/29/00

Do Rob and Jeff ever regret the decision to sell Slashdot?

Yes and no. It's difficult for the reader to grasp exactly how big and complex an operation running Slashdot has become. While we do sometimes experience a little nostalgia for the old days, Slashdot at its present readership level simply couldn't exist without the infrastructure that OSTG provides. Also, the fact that OSTG has taken over things like network operations and advertising sales means that we can work on the things that we enjoy, like posting stories and code development.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 10/21/00

Now that you have sold it, does this mean you've become corporate drones?

No.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 10/21/00

If you're not corporate drones, whose idea was the Slashdot PT Cruiser?

Marketing. Personally, we (Rob and Jeff) think the Slashdot Cruiser was a really stupid idea, and if they'd asked us about it, we'd have told them so. Usually the marketing department consults with us about promotional ideas, but they're not required to, and in this case they didn't. Given that the reaction to it has been largely negative, we expect they've learned their lesson.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 10/21/00

I would like Slashdot to...

Please see the Suggestions section.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/13/00

A lot of people have the impression you spend more time arguing with the Slashdot readers than listening to them. Do you think this is true, and if not, why do so many people have this idea?

On average, I spend 20-30 hours a week just reading email about Slashdot. I listen, I just don't always do what other people think I should do, and sometimes people get angry and vocal about that. I can't please everyone.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 10/28/00

A lot of Slashdot readers don't feel sufficiently included in how things are done. Is there any possibility of getting more meta-discussion about Slashdot happening?

We're not opposed to meta-discussion, but the problem is that we don't have the time to both run Slashdot, and talk about running Slashdot. It's a question of time constraints.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 10/28/00

How much traffic does Slashdot serve?

Slashdot typically serves 80 million pages per month. We serve around 3 million pages on weekdays, and slightly less on weekends.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 7/12/04

Why has Slashdot become so successful?

Slashdot is successful for the same reasons anything else is. We provided something that was needed before anyone else did, and we worked (and continue to work ) our butts off to make it as good as it could be.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 10/28/00

Where did the nicknames "CmdrTaco" and "Hemos" come from?

Why is that question so important to every friggin' reporter that wants to bother us? "CmdrTaco" is a reference to a Dave Barry article where he lists places not to take a date. Among them is any place called "The Commander Taco" or something like that. My nickname on my local BBSs was 'Icarus' but unfortunately when I started using the Internet in high school, I found my name already taken.

"Hemos" is a mangling of a plant found on Michigan dunes. I don't get it either. Jeff's a weird guy.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/13/00

Why do reporters care where your nickname comes from?

Frankly I'm not quite sure, but here is my theory: In the real world, people have names ("Bob," "George," "Archibald") that they are given at birth. They are as a general rule quite uninteresting.

Reporters need an "angle." They want to make things interesting, and if you interview a guy named "Bob" you can't really ask him about his name ("Yeah, in a past life I was a cork.") because he didn't choose it. But in the geek world, we tend to pick nicknames for ourselves. The reporters think to themselves "Ooo! A name like CmdrTaco must be significant and will allow me to provide a window into this person's soul!"

The irony is that most geeks don't hold huge significance to their nicks. I mean, they are protective of them, and they want them to be unique (there are a zillion Bobs out there, but very few CmdrTacos... well, except on Quake and EverQuest servers where apparently there are people who pretend to be me all the time). Whenever a reporter asks me the question, I think, "Shit, this guy has no clue at all!" It's just such a cliche of a question (along with "How long have you been doing this?" and my personal favorite "What is Slashdot?").

So if you're a reporter, don't bother asking geeks about their nicks. It usually wastes both of our time.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/13/00

What is this "Free Speech/Free Beer" thing that I see discussed in the comments?

This is a shorthand expression that refers to one of the core debates in the Free Software and Open Source movement. It stems from a shortcoming in the English language: the word "free" has two meanings. The first is "free" as in "free speech." This is the Latin word "Liber." When you see "free speech," the writer is talking about a fundamental human right like freedom of speech.

The other half is easy to understand for cheapskates. Beer costs money. "Free beer" just means that someone doesn't want to pay money for something.

The other aspect to this is the subtle difference between the Open Source Initiative and The Free Software Foundation. OSI believes that software can be developed better if it is done in the open. The FSF believes that it is ethically wrong for software to be closed. This is, of course, an oversimplification, but you get the idea.

The zealots are pretty loud on all of these points, and understanding them is critical to understanding many of the central debates on Slashdot.

If you want to learn more about this issue, you might start by checking out the following websites:

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/30/00

What is the "Slashdot Effect?"

When Slashdot links a site, often a lot of readers will hit the link to read the story or see the purty pictures. This can easily throw thousands of hits at the site in minutes. Most of the time, large professional websites have no problem with this, but often a site we link will be a smaller site, used to getting only a few thousand hits a day. When all those Slashdot readers start crashing the party, it can saturate the site completely, causing the site to buckle under the strain. When this happens, the site is said to be "Slashdotted."

Recently, the terms "Slashdot Effect" and "Slashdotted" have been used more generally to refer to any short-term traffic jam at a website.

We could conceivably cache pages, but that's a whole different ball of wax.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/13/00

What's the coolest story Slashdot's ever had?

This one.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 03/06/02

Will there be any more episodes of "Geeks in Space"?

"Geeks in Space" is getting harder to do because people are in town less and less. Still, when people are around, we'll try to get them out. If you want to know more about "Geeks in Space" check out the radio section of slashdot. You can go to here to listen to the most recent episodes or go straight to the old archived episodes.

Answered by: Robo
Last Modified: 12/17/01

What's your exact attitude about the hidden sids?

I put 'em there. Use them. Enjoy them.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 10/28/00

Who/What is CowboyNeal?

He's just this guy, ya know?

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 03/18/02

I thought everyone on Slashdot hated the RIAA, the MPAA, and Microsoft. Why do you keep hyping CDs, movies, and Windows games?

Big corporations are what they are. They sell us cool stuff with one hand and tighten the screws on our freedoms with the other. We hate them every morning and love them every afternoon, and vice versa. This is part of living in the modern world: you take your yin with your yang and try to figure out how to do what's right the best you can. If you think it has to be all one way or the other, that's cool, share your opinions, but don't expect everyone else to think the same.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 04/02/02


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