How to make Slashdot work for you

A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post about how you can make digg work for you (admittedly the hard way, as opposed to the sending links around to a group of mates with a designated time for everyone to digg something).  So this week I decided that I should probably write one about Slashdot.  I think that I’ll probably do it in the same style as last time as well (not that you’re particularly interested), so that means we’ll start with the basics and go into a bit more detail.  As you may well have noticed I have had success on Slashdot before (hey it is a bit of an ego trip, so I mention it as often as possible).

Basic Premise:

Ok – this is a bit more complicated than Digg, but a bit simpler at the same time.

People submit things to Slashdot (these can be logged in or not) – more on that later.

A group of people picked by Slashdot decide what is worthy of going up on the front page.

Everyone else makes lots of comments about it which get voted up or down by moderators (different to the above) and meta moderators.

Posts that don’t get put up on the home page are usually lost.

What happens when you register with Slashdot?

When you register with Slashdot you get a whole profile that works completely differently to Digg.  It’s really easy to do.  Just by filling in a few details on the create a new profile page, including your moniker.  Be careful with this – your moniker will be the thing that links to your web page if your posts go to the front page.  If you can get you something that is good anchor text then this will be of benefit in the future.  Mine is (rather predictably) whencanistop.

When you create your account you get ‘karma’.  This starts at ‘neutral’, but can change.  If you want the long version of this, you can read slashdot’s help.  The basics of it are – the more you comment (when logged in) the more likely people are to moderate your comments up.  The more your comments are moderated up, the higher your karma.  The higher your karma, the more likely you are to get moderator points (meaning that you can moderate people’s comments up or down).  Also the more your submissions get posted, the higher your karma gets put to.

Be wary though – your karma may go down as well as up.  If you make comments that aren’t in context and get moderated down then your karma may not be so good – this was introduced to stop people having flame wars.  Also anyone moderating you up as ‘funny’ will not give you extra karma – as they say “You have to be smart, not just a smart-ass.”

For a guide on how to get your karma up – read the excellent FAQ section.

I think that having good karma means that you are more likely to get your submissions posted to the front page.  But they claim that this isn’t true.

You can also:

  • Add people as friends, foes, fans or freaks (these are people who you have added as a friend, people who you have added as a foe, people who have added you as a friend and people who have added you as a foe). You can use this to work out if submitters of comments are people you like or who like you
  • You can create a journal in which you can put anything. No really, anything you want. Anyone can read it though, so that might alter what you want to put in there. Vice versa though, you can read anyone’s journal. In fact, you can subscribe to it if they are your friend
  • You can also submit your journal as a front page post if you wish – this can mean you can create a log of all your entries, even if they don’t get on the front page

Just as a note – you can submit without logging in and you can post comments without logging in.  You do tend to get referred to as an ‘Anonymous Coward’ if you do this.  And anything that gets moderated doesn’t count towards your karma.

How do you submit things to Slashdot?

This is surprisingly easy.  Go to the slashdot submission page and fill in the form.  No really it is that simple.  There are a few things that you need to consider though:

  • Your username is not important to the story
  • Your email or url is not necessarily important to the story (it can be if you want, I suppose)
  • The url is the url that you want to specifically link to (you can have more than one though remember)
  • Your Subject is the bit that people see as the title of the story and really sells your post.  Make people want to read it on the firehose.  This will mean that to get it posted it has to be good
  • The section and topic will determine where it appears on slashdot in addition to the front page.  For example some people limit their pages just to show the subjects they are interested in
  • The scoop is the most important thing here.  Make sure you put your link it in.  You can give your link some good quality anchor text and some text that is going to encourage people to comment on the story.  You want to sell it as much as possible here.  This is the bit where you need to have read previous submissions on similar subjects to find out what is going to be good

What if the page has already been submitted to Slashdot?

As far as I am aware – you can’t submit a page to slashdot that someone else already has.  So you’ll find out fairly quickly.

What is comment moderation and meta moderation

When you submit a comment on Slashdot your comment starts off with a moderation total of 0 (for those that are not logged in or have bad karma) +1 (for thos logged in with ok karma) or +2 (for those logged in with good karma).

If the moderators like your comment, then they will moderate it up by upwards by telling you that you were insightful or interesting.  If they think that your comment was funny, they might moderate it up this way too.  However if they think it is offtopic, troll or flaimbait then they will moderate it down as this.  Moderating something upwards means that it moves up or down one for each moderation.  Many users will only look at comments that have a high moderation score, so the better your comment the more likely people will to read it (and respond to it).

As your karma goes up (with more comments moderated up and stories submitted) you are more likely to get the chance to do some moderation.  If you do get the chance – you will get 5 moderation points (meaning you can moderate five comments up or down by one) and they will last 3 days.  Use them wisely – however you can’t comment in discussions you’ve moderated and vice versa (otherwise you could moderate your own comments up or down).

Meta moderation is something that happens to just the top users.  It is effectively moderating the moderation.  If you moderate badly (ie say something is interesting when it’s not, or that it is a troll when it is not) then the meta moderators will pick this up and apply their own moderation.  This could affect your karma too.  Basically you should be careful with your moderation – with great power comes great responsibility.

Is there any spam etiquette?

Obviously everyone is aware that the first rule of spam is don’t spam.  But in this case this is not necessarily as true as in others.  If you look at some of the posts up there, you’ll notice that the posters always seem to post from the same site.  There is nothing particularly unusual in this – I spend most of my time reading the same half dozen websites that I’d think I’d consider posting from (hey this is news for Nerds – you’re not going to get anything from Cosmo on here).  I’d be wary about repeatedly submitting things that aren’t ever going to make it.

Look at smiv – he has submitted 70 odd stories and most of them appear to be from the bbc – but a large number have been rejected.  Also look at holy_calamity he has had over 180 submissions – but lots of them aren’t being posted.  I think the main rule in this case is not to give up hope.

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