April 04, 2005

Slashdot Reject

The topic of the power of the keepers of the media gates is a good occasion for me to give an update on my "Slashdot Prospect" inquiry of a few weeks ago. This concerned whether the recent "Slashdot Editor Upgrade" boded well for me to submit articles again.

Sadly, my query seems to have to been treated to a big fat Minus-One (i.e., ignored). So I'm assuming nothing has changed for me. And don't plan to pursue the question further.

But if I'm such an important accomplished DMCA-winning net-freedom-fighter, how come I can't get a little respect here?

[More reasoning in extended entry]

There's an old joke, that if a therapy patient is late for an appointment, he's hostile, if he is early, he's anxious, if he is exactly on time, he's compulsive. That sums up my Is-it-safe-to-go-back-to-Slashdot? dilemma these days - whatever I do is likely going to be used to attack me. My choice is just a matter of which personal attack should it be:

1) Not trying hard enough - too defeatist, didn't even make the effort, whiner.

2) Trying too hard - wasn't good enough, didn't do it right, submit-spammer.

Let us ponder the various merits and demerits of each case. Now, in theory, option #2 could lead to success of getting submitted articles accepted. In theory. But I believe it's an extremely reasonable position to take that, given the history associated with unfortunate events, prudence dictates some caution. Moreover, it's a tar baby. I'll always be criticized that whatever material I submit is not good enough (after all, there's much competition). Which leads to temptation to push the legal envelope in terms of investigations, in order to show the critics (who will never be satisfied anyway). In my view, the argument for theoretical success is more than outweighed by those extremely high negatives.

In contrast, option #1 is notable for what it's not, as in, not a lot of work. I won't be forever dealing with a swamp of fault-finding. I think I have a pretty good simple reply to the attackers, that certainly satisfies me in my own mind. It's very clean and straightforward - if I can't even get a reply of "It's OK now", I can't be expected to assume it's OK now (and such a reply would be minimal common courtesy).

Note I'm not 100.0% banned from having mentions appear in Slashdot, the problem isn't quite so extreme. But I've never been able to figure out the exact politics of it all. And frankly, I've stopped trying. It's definitely not the simple flame of do-something-newsworthy, because the coverage black-out (till the very end) of my DMCA saga was outright based on grudge-holding (and I bitterly resent it).

The marginalization has significant implications. It shows, objectively, unarguably, just how little my work has been valued overall (note not to the tiny fan audience which is reading this, thanks, but *overall*).

By Seth Finkelstein | posted in activism | on April 04, 2005 09:19 PM (Infothought permalink)
Seth Finkelstein's Infothought blog (Wikipedia, Google, censorware, and an inside view of net-politics) - Syndicate site (subscribe, RSS)

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It's Slashdot.

Nobody reads Slashdot anymore.

You don't need to care.

Posted by: Name and email address are required. at April 4, 2005 10:47 PM

Unfortunately, in fact, hundreds of thousands of people read Slashdot. Now, that's not the end of the story - after all, a large number of people read the National Enquirer too. But, still, it has a huge programmer/net-issues audience, including many, many, journalists.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at April 4, 2005 11:03 PM

Well I for one don't read slashdot unless its a story that was picked up on some news agregator and it looks to have some interest to me as well as have something to say. Which most of the time means it ends up on the same level as subsription required. IE I don't read it.

Posted by: Trent at April 5, 2005 12:46 AM

I appreciate the sentiments. But mathematically, there are two ways of looking at the situation:

a) Approximately 99.99% of the world does not read Slashdot.

b) Several *hundred thousand* people do.

Of course it's never as good as it once was. Nothing is.

However, the reach and power is undeniable. And to have that venue mostly (though not completely) closed to me out of pure ill-will, well, let's just say it has an effect.

If I spend hundreds of dollars out of my own pocket while unemployed to do net-freedom-fighting, devote huge amounts of time, do a 22-hour trip, win an upset victory as my censorware opponent spectacularly self-destructs - I want the reputation-credit. Hundreds of thousands of people should hear that achievement, and would have, if a grudge wasn't being held against me. That matters. And it matters very concretely, in terms of (not) getting a funding grant or credentialed academic position.

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein at April 5, 2005 02:38 AM