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Who does this?

Slashdot was originally created in September of 1997 by Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda. Today it is owned by Andover.net, which, in turn is owned by VA Linux Systems.

Slashdot is run primarily by me and by Jeff "Hemos" Bates, who posts stories, sells advertising, and handles the book reviews.

Slashcode is wrangled and various other deeds of a technical nature are committed by the Andover geek team: Adam Green, Patrick "CaptTofu" Galbraith, Chris "Pudge" Nandor, Kurt Grey, Scoop, Liz, BSD-Pat, PatG, and Jon "Cowboy Neal" Pater.

On the editorial side, Robin "Roblimo" Miller has recently come on board to help us handle some of the more managerial sides of the site, as well as (surprise!) posting stories. The rest of the Slashdot editorial team consists of Timothy Lord (Managing Editor), Emmett Plant (Staff Reporter), Cliff Wood (Ask Slashdot Editor), Michael Sims and Jamie McCarthy (YRO Section Editors), and Jon 'CowboyNeal' Pater (Editor at Very Large).

Our bandwidth and co-loc comes from Exodus.Net, and our hardware comes from VA Linux Systems. (You can learn more about our setup here.)

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/26/00

I would like Slashdot to...

Please see the Suggestions section.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/13/00

How much traffic does Slashdot serve?

Slashdot serves 30 million pages per month.

Answered by:
Last Modified: 6/13/00

Where did the nicknames "CmdrTaco" and "Hemos" come from?

Why is that question so important to every friggin' reporter that wants to bother us? "CmdrTaco" is a reference to a Dave Barry article where he lists places not to take a date. Among them is any place called "The Commander Taco" or something like that. My nickname on my local BBSs was 'Icarus' but unfortunately when I started using the Internet in high school, I found my name already taken.

"Hemos" is a mangling of a plant found on Michigan dunes. I don't get it either. Jeff's a weird guy.

Answered by:
Last Modified: 6/13/00

Why do reporters care where your nickname comes from?

Frankly I'm not quite sure, but here is my theory: In the real world, people have names ("Bob," "George," "Archibald") that they are given at birth. They are as a general rule quite uninteresting.

Reporters need an "angle." They want to make things interesting, and if you interview a guy named "Bob" you can't really ask him about his name ("Yeah, in a past life I was a cork.") because he didn't choose it. But in the geek world, we tend to pick nicknames for ourselves. The reporters think to themselves "Ooo! A name like CmdrTaco must be significant and will allow me to provide a window into this person's soul!"

The irony is that most geeks don't hold huge significance to their nicks. I mean, they are protective of them, and they want them to be unique (there are a zillion Bobs out there, but very few CmdrTacos... well, except on Quake and EverQuest servers where apparently there are people who pretend to be me all the time). Whenever a reporter asks me the question, I think, "Shit, this guy has no clue at all!" It's just such a cliche of a question (along with "How long have you been doing this?" and my personal favorite "What is Slashdot?").

So if you're a reporter, don't bother asking geeks about their nicks. It usually wastes both of our time.

Answered by:
Last Modified: 6/13/00

What is this "Free Speech/Free Beer" thing that I see discussed in the comments?

This is a shorthand expression that refers to one of the core debates in the Free Software and Open Source movement. It stems from a shortcoming in the English language: the word "free" has two meanings. The first is "free" as in "free speech." This is the Latin word "Liber." When you see "free speech," the writer is talking about a fundamental human right like freedom of speech.

The other half is easy to understand for cheapskates. Beer costs money. "Free beer" just means that someone doesn't want to pay money for something.

The other aspect to this is the subtle difference between the Open Source Initiative and The Free Software Foundation. OSI believes that software can be developed better if it is done in the open. The FSF believes that it is ethically wrong for software to be closed. This is, of course, an oversimplification, but you get the idea.

The zealots are pretty loud on all of these points, and understanding them is critical to understanding many of the central debates on Slashdot.

If you want to learn more about this issue, you might start by checking out the following websites:

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/30/00

What is the "Slashdot Effect?"

When Slashdot links a site, often a lot of readers will hit the link to read the story or see the purty pictures. This can easily throw thousands of hits at the site in minutes. Most of the time, large professional websites have no problem with this, but often a site we link will be a smaller site, used to getting only a few thousand hits a day. When all those Slashdot readers start crashing the party, it can saturate the site completely, causing the site to buckle under the strain. When this happens, the site is said to be "Slashdotted."

Recently, the terms "Slashdot Effect" and "Slashdotted" have been used more generally to refer to any short-term traffic jam at a website.

We could conceivably cache pages, but that's a whole different ball of wax.

Answered by: CmdrTaco
Last Modified: 6/13/00

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