Related link: http://modfoo.com
This is both a confessional, and a repentance. It is a coming to grips with the fact that websites have been trying to emulate slashdot for years and to it’s credit it has endured while imitators withered. It is an acknowledgement that none other will be slashdot and that none more should try. This is a declaration to be the anti-slashdot.
When I write anti-slashdot, I don’t mean literally just slashdot. I mean slashdot and everyone who has tried to imitate it. It’s easy to try, but hard to succeed. The formula has been setup a news CMS, publish a paragraph on breaking news in your geeky genre, add a pithy opinion. Repeat.
I like slashdot, but “Thou Shalt Not Imitate Slashdot” should be an eleventh commandment, but for the internet.
I run a geeky news site, with some success, called OSDir.com. While running it I’ve spoken with so many other news site maintainers I’ve lost count. They all echo the same feelings, “How do I become like slashdot? How can I complete with slashdot?”
They’ve all been toiling away in silent envy under the strain of wanting to crush other websites with a mere link to them from their frontpage. They want other geeks to whisper as they come in the room at conventions. They want everyone to want their story to be on their site.
Wait. Not only is thus ultimately futile, but is it truly worth doing? Re-examine what you are spending your time doing. You are not going to be slashdot. Forget it. Be happy with your digestible bits.
Once, someone told me that they were going to run a geeky weblog and didn’t want to even hint at trying to be slashdot for fear of the ridicule.
mod_foo is the anti-slashdot. Not out of giving up, but from wanting to do something different. Trying to become slashdot is a lost cause. Accepting it as so is liberating, and has given me the clarity of thought to come up with the idea behind mod_foo.
Where slashdots (they) are quick digestible bits of news, mod_foo will be deeper, where they aim to kill servers mod_foo will make mirrors and torrents, where the discussions end with a downed server mod_foo can continue the discussion, where an editor biases the news mod_foo will embrace the wishes of its readers, where they want as many readers as possible mod_foo will seek a better, fuller story.
In the wise words of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, let it be.