[www.FinchHaven.com]

Hideously out-of-date, but still amazingly relevant! This is from about July of 2000 :-/


Fight AC Spam on Slashdot!


OK, you say, what's this all about?



slashdot.org, or /. as it's often refered to in inner circles, is the somewhat-famous "News for Nerds: Stuff that matters" website that is now often trumpeted as a sounding board for the Linux and Open Source communities.

I've been on at /. for a good while now as talks_to_birds -- my user number is #2488, which is interesting in that there are now user numbers well up in the 200,000 range...



OK: so here's the deal:

At /. you can create a user name, and sign on as a specific user, (well, hell, you could have a coupla different personas, but that's another matter..) and make your posts, and everybody kinda gets to know who you are, and it's all munchy and like that...

BUT: it's also always been possible to post to /. as an Anonymous Coward, or AC for short.

So you can post anonymously, and no one ever knows who you are (OK: sure Commander Taco and the guys can trace IP #'s, but that's not the point).

A long long long time ago, the very issue of AC posting was a topic in and of itself, but no one's gotten into it lately, and a long long long time ago the whole deal was supposed to be this:

The Anonymous Coward sign-on was intended to allow the freedom of expression that comes with anonymity.

In other words, you could be free to say whatever you wanted, because The Man® couldn't find out who you were, and so you were free to speak your mind...

And a lot of people bought into that, and so it went.



But anyway, the AC issue went away, we were gonna keep AC posts, and time passed...

...and now, it's now, and now what we have as a general rule is the simple fact that for most topics on /. the vast majority of posts are by AC's, and the vast majority of them are pure bullshit.

Spam.

Diarrhea of the brain.

Period.

Now, we're having posted to every topic, over and over again, such gems as:

The topic for today is: The Gay Flu

 (Score:0, Troll)
 by Anonymous Coward on 10:17 Saturday 22 July 2000 PDT

Hello kids!  Today's topic is the gay flu, alsko known as HIV.
HIV causes AIDS. HIV came about from one of those gay party
islands in the caribbean - gay men...

and the ever-popular:

OOGs journey

 (Score:0, Troll)
 by Anonymous Coward on 10:13 Saturday 22 July 2000 PDT

 Continued from this poorly moderated post... 

As OOG_THE_CAVEMAN awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself
transformed in the computer lab into a Harvard law student.  He was lying
on his clothed, as if it were wrapped in a business suit, back, and when
he lifted his head a little...

and who can forget the classic:

The effect on the Community

 (Score:1)
 by Anonymous Coward on 9:54 Saturday 22 July 2000 PDT

This is having an important effect on the open source community.
I've studied it and have come to several conclusions, which
are illustrated in the following articles.

 1. Forbes Magazine article 
 2. "Microsoft on the Defensive" 
 3. "Reflections on the Cathedral and the Bazaar" 

This last one is posted again and again and again and again (as in fact all of these examples are..) and contains no substance whatsoever, entirely aside from being totally off-topic to the thread being posted-to...


You notice the (Score:1)?

Posts to /. are given a score, which can be moderated up or down by users with sign-ons -- I've moderated many times, and my turn comes up automagically maybe every 10 days or so...

AC posts start out at 0; logged-on posts start out at 1; and the moderators adjust posts upward or downward to taste.



Well, Bobby, that would all work kinda OK, in theory, except that now the sheer volume of the AC spam is so great that the moderators have a real problem keeping up with it.

And except that that's not what the moderators are supposed to be doing, anyway.

So what happens is some of this crap gets moderated down (Score:0 Troll) and that supposedly is gonna make it less visible.

But the less-visible deal only works if you're a registered user, and if you change your personal settings to Threshold: 2. This lets you just cruise right on by all the nonsense, and all you ever see is a  2 replies beneath your current threshold  and you've got the tinted windows rolled up tight on your stretch limo and you never even know that the riff-raff is out there!

Cool!

Ignore the problem!

AC spam? Who cares!

"Problem? I don't see no stinkin' problem!"

OK: you don't see a problem, but I do (now returning to point above, newcomers)...

Any newcomer to /. is seeing a tremendous pool of crap, with very little substance in it.



I think that's a problem, and here's why: /., whether it knows it or cares, or whether its supporters know or care, has become a defacto spokes-person (spokes-site?) for the Linux and Open Source community.

What you have here is a setup for any newcomer to view the Linux and Open Source communities as a bunch of (I gonna be blunt, here..) total f*cking idiots.

/. must look like a bunch of total f*cking idiots to any outsider, these days


Just the previous week I submitted a proposed article to  Ask Slashdot.

The proposed topic: AC/Free Speech, redux...

The principal point:

At that I was being charitable...

And so far my submittal hasn't seen the light of day.


As I started working into this whole topic, I took direct action by replying to some typical, blatant AC spam with the following:

Re:OOGs journey

 (Score:2)
 by talks_to_birds (jsage@finschhaffen.com) on 10:50 Saturday 22 July 2000 PDT
 (User #2488 Info) http://www.finchhaven.com/pages/acspam.htm

 FIGHT!
 For your right!
 To ban AC spam! 

 Desperate times call for desperate actions! 

 t_t_b 
 -- 
 I think not; therefore I ain't  
 Spamdot: Spam for nerds; stuff that doesn't matter!

My idea was that, as a signed-on user, my posts would continue to score as 2's, and they would certainly remain visible over the 1's and 0's scores for the AC posts I was responding to, and maybe we could begin a dialog.

Yeah, right.

Most of my posts used to start at 2 (good karma?), as did this new series, but it wasn't long before any post on this theme was appearing at 1 or 0, and all my new posts now are starting out at 1.

A form of the legendary /. bitchslap? Or it could be that who ever's moderating lately just doesn't consider this issue important...

At any rate, I did receive one actual reply, from an AC, of course, which was interesting in it's own:

 Re:More news here

 (Score:1)
 by Anonymous Coward on 10:25 Saturday 22 July 2000 PDT

 Well maybe if all the Linux fucknuts didnt think that Linux
 is a gift from God maybe we would post on topic.

hmmm...

A distinctly anti-Linux tenor there, don't you think?



Oh, yeah..

OK: some conclusions:

  1. Bottom line:  /. and andover.net (/.'s owner..) could care less about the AC spam because at the core of it, they're only concerned about getting more and more eyeball-time for their banner ads

  2. We're suffering from a major discrediting of the Linux and Open Source movements, at the Linux and Open Source's most public forum, at the hands of a bunch of Linux-bashing Windows cut-and-paste k1dd13s, but it doesn't matter, because: see #1

  3. and nothing about this is gonna change, because: see #1

It's interesting to think that a long long time ago on /., the Really Big Problem was First Post! posts.

Now we have this incredible amount of pure bullshit, spread thickly throughout every single topic, to the tune of 75% to 85% of all posts on all topics ranking at 1 or under, and nobody in charge seems to care.

/. has turned into just one more god damn portal! Get the volume; get the eyeballs; we need numbers! We need big numbers!

It's not quality that counts any longer at /., it's quantity:


"Sir! News from the server rooms! Posts are up 15% this month!"

"Hot Damn! Raise the advertising rates!"

(Walks off stage right, humming "We're in the money")


So that's what I think...

But hey! You have a nice day!


[www.FinchHaven.com]

Hideously out-of-date, but still amazingly relevant! This is from about July of 2000 :-/


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