Late last night Slashdot introduced the 3rd version of it’s site since inception, without any warning or formal announcement. What a travesty. It looks OK, except for that fact that there is waaaaay too much whitespace and an unnecessary sidebar that apparently cannot be disabled. The previous D2 discussion system was appalling and it was the only site I was aware of that could consistently lock up any of the major browsers on a modern computer. Despite being a tech site, it has some of the most inefficient code possible. I am using Firefox 4 Beta 9, although many people are reporting the new site completely locks up older browsers.
One of the biggest problems I had with the D2 system was that there was no way to have all comments expanded, or even to load all comments with all below a certain threshold abbreviated. Instead, I had to manually click get more comments several times dependant on the total amount of comments. I liked the D2 system because of the dynamic reply functionality and the ability to expand abbreviated comments on the fly. The old D1 system needs to load each abbreviated comment as a new page, which is frustrating. By trying to be modern and be all Web 2.0 Slashdot has failed horribly, and managed to be among the most unusable sites on the web.
The noticeable changes they have added seem to be an option to include information from your WoW account in your profile and the ability to associate your account with an OpenID. The OpenID integration is mighty nice, but the WoW integration has to be among the most useless ‘enhancements’ ever. With over 100 errors in the W3C validation and people reporting many bugs for years not to mention the asinine lack of support for international character sets, they spend time developing WoW integration.
Aside from the very obvious technical incompetence on display, the editing has always been criticized and shows no signs of improvement. The constant misspellings and appalling use of language are simply not acceptable for one of the most visited technology sites on the web. Not to mention the dupes, with a story commonly being submitted a second or third time and being published without anything new being added. Additionally they often omit interesting tech stories altogether while making sure to publish a story that might involve someone’s civil liberties possibly being trampled, despite the lack of facts or verifications.
There is also the problem with the constant spam such as with idiots like APK or the Michael Kristopeit idiots. I’ve heard of actual accounts being banned without any recourse, yet the spammers and trolls go free reign. It’s one thing if Slashdot is to be a self-moderated community but quite another if they decide to interfere only for users they don’t like, rather than taking action to rid the community of spam and such.
I don’t know if I will keep using Slashdot, as I already made a commitment to spend less time on the site. I have been on the site since 1997 or so, and have learned an awful lot over the years and even at present the community has some extremely knowledge people that I have had a great many interesting discussions with. The way things are going however I may have to find a replacement tech/science/politics site that isn’t full of idiots like at Digg or Reddit while having a pleasant interface for discussing interesting stories. Ideally Slashdot will get their act together and allow the level of configuration needed, otherwise….suggestions?