Story 2014-07-09 3Q2 Soylent News Incorporates

Soylent News Incorporates

in pipedot on (#3Q2)
Good news from our friends over at Soylent News! They have finished their incorporation as a Public Benefit Corporation under the "SoylentNews PBC" name. While this structure is not a full 501(c) Non-Profit Organization, it does convey the founding idea of "we aren't just another company out to maximize profits and screw our users" while also being significantly easier to setup (no tax exemption issues to deal with.)

Pipedot and Soylent News both launched at nearly at the same time in reaction to Slashdot's obnoxious disregard of its user base. While each site has its own strengths, they both fill nearly the exact same roll as an alternative to Slashdot. Because I don't want to split our already rather small community and duplicate the same effort, I'd suggest everyone reading Pipedot to look at Soylent News for daily news and discussion.

This does not mean that I'm abandoning Pipedot or stopping the development of the code rewrite project - I'm just giving notice to Pipedot readers that I'm focusing my efforts on development and not on posting a dozen news articles every day / excessively advertising for new users / recruiting new staff / etc... Of course, if you do want to help out, or submit a news article, or help spread the word - by all means, please do!

Pipecode continues to add features and functionality and will continue to progress for the foreseeable future. For example: users can now upload images, share news links, micro-blog their status and other nifty things well beyond what Slashdot ever offered. Our wonderful editor (zafiro17) has volunteered his own website as a guinea pig for the upcoming syndication support. Soon, articles and comments will no longer be tied to a single host and flow in a larger "network" of servers.
Reply 36 comments

My two cents ... (Score: 5, Interesting)

by on 2014-07-09 06:22 (#2CA)

So, NCommander here from SN. I've always considered Pipedot and SN to be sister sites, with Pipedot going live a few days before we managed to get /code running fully, and much closer in spirit to the original Slashdot than we are, since Slashdot essentially stated as one guy writing his own CMS, and posting articles submitted by the community that he found interesting. If memory serves, Pipedot's genesis actually predates the "Fuck beta" protest since I vaguely remember comments on the Beta journal about forking off from Slashdot, and the very beginning of was basically the original Pipedot logo plus "Index goes here" and some test content" when I first checked out

For those who weren't with us at the beginning, the "Fuck Beta" protest essentially caused users to go in four directions, SoylentNews, pipedot, technocrat (which appears to be dead), and the comp.misc newsgroup. Of these four, SN is the largest, likely since we were able to harness the existing legacy slashcode codebase and managed to launch with a (mostly) feature complete site. This is not to knock bryan, I'm *hugely* impressed on what he accomplished as an essentially a one man team; writing something as complex as a /code replacement should not be understated; to put this in context, the protest was a week long boycott of slashdot and building anything as complex in such a short period of time is extremely difficult.

The fact is, in a broad sense, SN is going down the road different to Pipedot. We've got a mission, and we're doing our best to fulfill it one step at a time; we're not Slashdot, and we're not Pipedot, while we have common origins, and common ground, we both intend to make sure we listen to our community, and not become what /. became. Bryan's comment on SN about how he felt about adversing was enough to make me write a *large* section about it because I see Pipedot as the model of what Slashdot was at its best. I even read much of the bitching of SN here! (and yes, we've fixed some issues from said bitching).

The fact is our end goals are diferent, pipedot intends to be a better slashdot, SoylentNews intends to be a source of journalism, and we're slowly (and in some cases,, unexpectly) getting there. If we ever manage to get an API for our database coded, I don't think the staff (or I) would have any issue if you spooled in our articles directly (obviously, we have to get a license on new content hammered out before you could do that, but that's on our TODO).

I'll be very sad if Pipedot closes up shop, as it is the closest of the Slashdot spinoffs to the original. Pipecode makes it possible for mere mortals to run a slashcode-like site without making the necessary blood sacarifices required to get /code going, and I hope you the best success on continuing your dev project and keeping your community engaged and involved. Keep fighting the good fight, and I'll be rooting for success all the way :-).

Re: My two cents ... (Score: 2, Interesting)

by on 2014-07-09 10:30 (#2CG)

NComander, I am wondering if SoylentNews should/could adopt the pipedot source code? I really love the clean design, and that it is not based on perl. This hopefully makes the codebase easiert to maintain.

Now, I have not seen either the slashcode nor the pipedot source code so I might be talking out of my ass here - but I think it would be good do have something truly our own and without tons of baggage and history attached.

Re: My two cents ... (Score: 2, Informative)

by on 2014-07-09 10:52 (#2CH)

I wrote a very lengthy reply on this subject on SN when Pipecode was released ( I haven't looked recently to see how it looks under the hood, but there are quite a few reasons beyond those I listed to keep Slashcode

For instance, slashcode uses *extensive* use of memcache to prevent database access by storing a ton of information on every database load, this prevents us from hitting the backend at all when loading comments. The codebase is known to scale, and scale *stupidly* well (it does power afterall :-)).

I won't mind retheming SN, and we'd discussed the possibility of doing a constest to do exactly that, since we now have the technical ability to have multiple skins active on the site at once (which was suprisingly trivial to do, which really gives beta no excuse)

As for the perl bit, join the club. None of us like Perl, but the general feeling is we loose too much by dumping slashcode :-/

Re: My two cents ... (Score: -1, Troll)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-07-10 00:20 (#2DX)

None of us like Perl, but the general feeling is we loose too much ...

One gets the feeling neither perl nor English are among your core competencies.

Re: My two cents ... (Score: 1)

by on 2014-07-10 06:09 (#2E4)

Thanks for the response - I can understand that currently the balance is in slashcodes favor. I wish I had the time to get involved myself.

Re: My two cents ... (Score: 1)

by on 2014-07-09 19:09 (#2D9)

Are there still drama posts every day? That's when I quit.

Happily went back to slashdot, and I'm reading pipedot on the side.

Re: My two cents ... (Score: 1)

by on 2014-07-09 20:09 (#2DE)

I think the drama has largely died down. Current issues are that the posts are all over the map, and the quality of the comments is a bit weak (too much one-off snide remarks; a white bread sandwich with no meat if you know what I mean). That will change over time. I find Slashdot comment quality degrading as well. If they keep it up it will be Reddit with a shittier comment system over at /. if they don't do something.

I really, really like Pipedot. (Score: 5, Interesting)

by on 2014-07-09 06:34 (#2CB)

The site is so much cleaner and faster than SN (or That Other Site) that there's no comparison. I understand and approve of |. and SN not trying to be the same kind of site and directly compete with each other, but I really hope |. keeps going as a good discussion site in general.

Re: I really, really like Pipedot. (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-07-09 06:47 (#2CC)

Indeed. I can't seem to stand SN as it is.

What is the 3rd number in the list 34, one, 39 and 39?
39 or 39?

Re: I really, really like Pipedot. (Score: 1)

by on 2014-07-09 10:54 (#2CJ)

Care to be more specific?

We do take usability bugs pretty seriously (though our frontend skills are a bit lacking on dev ATM).

Re: I really, really like Pipedot. (Score: 1)

by on 2014-07-09 11:46 (#2CK)

Define (SN) "frontend skills a bit lacking" please?

frontend (Score: 0)

by on 2014-07-09 22:07 (#2DK)

The 'frontend' to a web app is things like the html, css and javascript. The 'backend' is the database, and the logic in between.

Re: frontend (Score: 2, Informative)

by on 2014-07-12 06:20 (#2FA)

I was asking for more details about the SN dev frontend skills being lacking... not asking what a frontend is.

Re: I really, really like Pipedot. (Score: 1)

by on 2014-07-09 23:09 (#2DR)

I can't speak for AC, but for myself there's no one big thing that makes SN difficult to use, just a bunch of little annoyances that add up. Basically, identify any look-and-feel difference between |. and SN, and if you want to make SN better, make it more |.-like. This is not to say I don't like SN. I do! It's just that on SN, I put up with the interface to get to the content, while on |. the interface is a pleasure in itself.

Re: I really, really like Pipedot. (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-07-10 13:46 (#2EA)

I can speak for myself, assuming I am AC.
But what you mentioned pretty much sums it.
The layout feels clunky and doesn't seem to look as good as \. classic on my monitor.
These are a few points I can make in this instant, but I'm not sure fixing those alone would make it more usable.
1. When clicking a folded title I end up with the comment page rather than unfolding it (+ button does this). Where as on /. it just unfold that comment.
2. Folded comments seem to take too much space (Is space lining set to double?) and at times they span over multiple lines.
3. There is blank space under the article before the comments start, which at times can be quite big.

Re: I really, really like Pipedot. (Score: 3)

by on 2014-07-09 10:22 (#2CF)

FYI, I will continue to post articles here. But the submit button is at the top right, and I'll make an effort to ensure anything submitted makes it to the front page for discussion. I'm not giving it up. Keep Pipedot on your RSS readers and keep reading!

Good sports (Score: 2)

by on 2014-07-09 07:43 (#2CD)

I'm a SN and |. /. reader. Where as /. ignores you both it is good to see you both co-operating to build on each others strengths, there is enough room on the net for all. I predict good things for both sites and wish you both well.

Very cool! (Score: 1)

by on 2014-07-09 10:16 (#2CE)

Very impressed to see such gentlemanly cooperation between sites. I think it's natural and awesome that two spin-off sites will each head in different directions and will essentially complement each other. When it's simply nerds interested in good communication and information sharing, it doesn't have to be a winner-takes-all battle to the finish, and when it's not a commercial entity desperate for ad-clicks in order to justify its existence suddenly all the pressure is off.

I will continue to contribute to both sites in hopes that both thrive, each on the basis of their own merits. No reason these two parallel experiments can't continue to advance, being inspired by and challenged by the other. Long life to Pipedot, long life to Soylent! Long life to Usenet! Rest in Peace, Technocrat!

I Try To Follow Your Suggestion, But SN is Not Usable (Score: 3, Informative)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-07-09 15:21 (#2CS)

"I'd suggest everyone reading Pipedot to look at Soylent News for daily news and discussion."

I try, but Soylent makes it hard. It's just an ugly, big text, and poorly formatted site, with less usability and less information density than Pipedot or even EITHER version of Slashdot.

Yes, that's even after the "improvements" (which as far as I can tell consist of awkward "+" buttons to optionally expand the bad default threaded display).

I appreciate what they're trying to do from an ethical and communal perspective, but the current presentation and interface is just NOT good. If they would completely adopt Pipedot's front end and do away with their current horrible interface I would be SO happy. Obviously the feed there is jumping and the audience is a bit larger.

I don't know if Bryan and NC have discussed a real merge, but they should. :)

Re: I Try To Follow Your Suggestion, But SN is Not Usable (Score: 1)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-07-09 15:31 (#2CV)

Oh, and please take NCommander up on his offer to mirror the SN feed! It's a great interim compromise solution, and will keep Pipedot from dying off.

I, for one, would much prefer using this site to comment on the articles from SN.

Community poll - what kinds of articles? (Score: 2)

by on 2014-07-09 15:50 (#2CX)

Glad to see all the people chiming in with support for Pipedot - as Bryan says, this isn't the end of Pipedot, but he's apparently going to put his time and energy into the coding, and that leaves it up to us to make it a good place.

Good time to ask again what kind of articles we should be posting here. There are so many forums out there, and it's annoying to see the Pipe so frequently empty.

Or, if it's a matter of additional site functionality, what would it be?

I dig Pipedot because the software makes the site hugely readable and useable on my smartphone and tablet, and great on the desktop, too. I like the comment flow, the fact you can stay anonymous at will and on any given post, and that users can have a feed. Some of the social networky stuff isn't my cup of tea, but it certainly appeals to others.

In sum, no reason we can't keep this site going. But let's keep a steady stream of interesting articles flowing through this site. We've got a great interface but a small community. SN has a great community but an interface I don't like. Help get the word out, invite your friends, link to your blog posts, whatever. Get people coming here and the place will build.

Re: Community poll - what kinds of articles? (Score: 1)

by on 2014-07-09 15:56 (#2CZ)

As I mention in another post: real geek articles, and not too many. Not the crap that spouts on /. or SN.

Ugh. Focus. (Score: 2)

by on 2014-07-09 15:53 (#2CY)

I like pipedot because it seems to be tech focused and real.

I dislike soylent because it seems to be random. Seriously, TSA articles and (from today): "Why Does Everyone Look Hotter in Sunglasses?"

I don't want 20 stories/day about crap. If I wanted that, I'd read . I want 0-5 stories a day about real geek stuff.

Re: Ugh. Focus. (Score: 2, Insightful)

by on 2014-07-09 18:03 (#2D3)

I'll take your comment as a compliment then - I think editorial focus and the like tend to be the effect of the editors' work and the quality of the submissions. The selection of articles you see is basically the result of me putzing around on the web and choosing stuff that interests me that I think would be interesting to discuss. If you wish we were discussing other things, I'll do my part if everyone else submits quality articles.

This is also, I think, the result of being able to build up a user/reader base from the ground up instead of inheriting a bunch of Slashdot refugees and trying to make everyone happy. I don't envy NCommander and all they've had to do over there to keep everyone satisfied without the ship's crew mutineeing. In fact, they're doing great work given the circumstances.

0-5 articles per day about tech stuff isn't hard to do. Let's pitch in!

Re: Ugh. Focus. (Score: 1)

by on 2014-07-09 19:15 (#2DA)

Are you in favour of articles about personal rights/privacy issues? These make a lot of waves on slashdot, but the discussions there predictably devolve into people shouting at each other since the audience is so big. Or are we keeping this purely tech related? I was hesitating to post articles earlier since I haven't really seen that kind of subject end up on pipedot.

Re: Ugh. Focus. (Score: 3, Insightful)

by on 2014-07-09 20:08 (#2DD)

I'm a volunteer. Bryan codes the site and I'm just doing what I like to do (and when I'm tired of doing it, I'll stop!). If we had the luxury of a stream of stuff in the Pipe I'd be more selective, but for the moment I'm more than happy to take privacy articles too. It's not my opinion that counts, it's the rest of the readers (all of us). If it seems clear no one likes that stuff, we'll stop posting it.

Ideally though, let's stay away from the borderline paranoiac stuff and the unfounded conspiracy theories. But to the extent it's tech related, I'm game - i liked that stuff on /. and often learned quite a bit from the discussion.

Re: Ugh. Focus. (Score: 2, Insightful)

by on 2014-07-09 19:19 (#2DB)

That sunglass article is just shameful. This is the kind of thing that I expect on my facebook feed. I don't read my facebook feed.

The day I quit soylent for slashdot (yes, we can say it, it's not Voldemort) is when I went back on slashdot, just to check, and saw a really insightful story about apple becoming one of the world's leading producers of saphire. I compared it to the content of the SN frontpage. Right click > delete bookmark.

Re: Ugh. Focus. (Score: 2, Insightful)

by on 2014-07-09 22:16 (#2DM)

A useful feature for both SN and |. would be to let users filter the stories shown on the main page by topic, like you can in /.
I intend to add this feature to - letting people 'subscribe' to groups and then only see posts made in those groups, it's already implemented for email notifications.
This would make the site more focused on your interests.

Re: Ugh. Focus. (Score: 2, Insightful)

by on 2014-07-10 06:48 (#2E5)

And that's a fine idea, but I don't think it serves the general purpose of giving a site a reason to exist. I don't think "post whatever you want" and let users filter out the crap is a good plan. I think a site needs a focus to be useful to anyone.

And sure, there will be topics around that focus that people will want to filter - but I'm pretty sure that there already exist plenty of sites that cover everything and make users do the filtering.

Re: Ugh. Focus. (Score: 0)

by Anonymous Coward on 2014-07-10 14:39 (#2EC)

I totally agree. I went to SN when /. became unbearable but the choice of articles on SN is just not good. It often feels like half of them are trying to be subtle political articles without being overtly political and that really really annoys me. The other half don't feel at all related to anything nerdy, geeky, or technical. It was at some point a few weeks ago that I decided I couldn't take less than 10% of the articles being decent any more and left for |. The rate of articles posted here might be a tad slow at times but they are quality posts like we used get on /. waaaaay back in the day (for reference, my /. user ID is low five digits and I already been lurking for more than a year when I finally created an account). I have been around /. for a long time so I've had plenty of time to figure out what I like and |. is way closer to that than SN has been and the trend is continuing in both directions for both sites. Sad really that SN seemed like it was going to be like the good old days of /. but their choice of "news" is just not nerdy enough.

Re: Ugh. Focus. (Score: 1)

by on 2014-07-10 16:49 (#2EF)

I have to agree that "just accept everything and let the users filter it out" isn't a great strategy - it means until users join, decide they like it, make an account, learn how to filter and then actually choose their own settings, they're bombarded with a shitstream of randomness. It takes a bit of editorial control from the get-go to ensure your site looks good. Kind of like having a hot wife who doesn't let you wear one of your stupid t-shirts out of the house, just to keep you looking good.

If you come here from a twitter or Google Plus post (I'm posting both place, by the way, to try to get the word out), you should see a (1) well-designed site with (2) an interesting/useful layout and (3) moderation system, and (4) a choice of interesting articles that have led to (5) quality conversation with (6) smart people. Good coding gets you #1, #2, and #3, good editing gets you #4 and hopefully #5, and hopefully that attracts the attention of #6, who help strengthen #5.

If we all provide the good conversation and interesting stream of articles, this place will grow on its own.

Re: Ugh. Focus. (Score: 1)

by on 2014-07-10 18:03 (#2EJ)

It takes a bit of editorial control from the get-go to ensure your site looks good.
And that's where I disagree. I think it takes a LOT of editorial control - rejecting a LOT of articles.

Re: Ugh. Focus. (Score: 1)

by on 2014-07-10 21:29 (#2EP)

Yeah, fair enough. And that means engaging in the luxury of pissing off people who have submitted stuff (not a show-stopper, but it's harder when you have fewer submitters), as well as a good sense of "what's this site going to be about?" I think we're off to a great start, by the way - hoping to make this into something awesome.

not realy interesting comment... (Score: 1)

by on 2014-08-07 20:53 (#2S3)

I finally did register to show my commitement...
Previous of that I was a lurker from the early stages and I tried to follow SN also but I could not stand "the noise" over there...

PS: I'm not english speaker...