November 07, 2007

It's coming up to Slashdot's 10th anniversary. So here's an interview with Cmdr Taco

He sounds happy enough, but I can't help thinking Slashdot as a brand which was / is really under-exploited. Malder sounds positively over-conservative when he talks about not wanting to change a working formula. I stopped reading Slashdot regularly years ago. Although I still "respect" it, and if it managed to excite me, I'd go back there.

But it just keeps on doing the same thing. Compare /. with, say, O'Reilly . Slashdot had the technical reputation and audience that could have made it a serious competitor to O'Reilly in the whole publishing geek-books, organizing conferences and inventing new memes game. Why didn't it?

(Of course, Tim O'Reilly is very, very clever and uses his publishing company brilliantly. (The only people who seem to have managed to generate any similar excitement in this area are the Rubyistas in Pragmatic Programmers / 37 Signals.) )

And it's strangely defensive to say that Slashdot isn't trying to be Digg or Reddit etc. The point is, these guys used to be innovators (Everything 2?) why aren't they playing with new ideas? Why no Slashdot social network, or publishing company, or cool use of social software on Sourceforge? (They're buying their wiki from someone else.) Why no code-search like Koders? Why does ThinkGeek seem to be selling a lot of tat novelties when it could have been experimenting with user-contributed T-shirts like Threadless or promoting serious hobbyist electronics the way O'Reilly does with Make?

Someone with some attitude could still do something dramatic and exciting with Slashdot / Sourceforge. I'd like to see it.
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