On Thu, 3 Feb 2011, George Taft wrote:
> An Open Letter to the Developers of Slashdot, and What's Left of the
> Slashcode Community --
> I'm an avid reader of Slashdot. I don't comment much, but I've always
> been impressed by Slashdot's moderation system. It manages what should
> be an unmanageable task: ensuring a civil discussion among thousands
> and thousands of users.
> I've come into a situation where I now need a system much like
> Slashdot's: an extensible and scalable readership-moderated online
> discussion forum. Lo and behold, Slashdot make Slash open source years
> ago. They even got an O'Reilly book.
> But Slashcode was never the priority of the coders. The last official
> release is, what, nine years old? There's been much more modern code
> released, but even that's a couple of years old. What little traces I
> can find of other sites using Slash involve those sites migrating to
> something else. This message is evidently the first post on
> slashcode-general in almost a year. The coders have written that
> management of the open-source branch of the codebase is still not
> their priority. And so the userbase has almost disappeared, like so
> many Mac clones.
> Over the past three months, I've tried to install Slash myself, and I
> run into the sorts of problems that are documented elsewhere. I relied
> on the woefully out-of-date alternate install document at
. And I still don't know: am I using the right
> distro...is there a best distro? Is this version of Perl too new? This
> version of MySQL or Apache? Why is this thing not working...and why is
> it so hard to make work? The friend who's been helping me through this
> process has constantly grumbled about the suite's age, its reliance on
> aged platforms, and wouldn't I like to try something more modern?
> Nevertheless, no one can name me a CMS that does as good or better a
> job of moderation. (I desperately wish someone could, because I'd be
> pleased to go use that.) The coders have given their reasoning for why
> they still use Perl and Apache 1.3: because they still work. Slashdot
> is living proof that Slashcode works. I buy their logic.
> I believe so strongly in its value as a discussion-moderating tool
> that I'm pledging to volunteer time to revive the Slashcode project.
> I'm asking for help from whoever will give it.
> I'm at best a feral coder. (I found a bug in installing 2.52 the other
> night, a typo that screws up the install at the creation of the
> "Preview" table. I was able to fix it and get the whole install done,
> but it took forever and it only half-works.) But I know what good user
> interface design looks like, and I'm an excellent writer and
> documenter. I'd like at least to help make the installation more
> Perhaps it's naive of me to think that this email will make something
> happen. But if you have even a smidgen of interest in making Slash
> accessible to a slightly more general audience, please, please post
> here. Let's begin this project anew.