Sunday morning I posted a lengthy musing on the writings of a couple of people in the Linux / Open Source movement and what it meant to me. I asked someone (who will remain nameless, but is free to stick his hand up if he wants to) who is a Linux fellow traveler what he thought of my thoughts. He brought my little epistle to the attention of Slashdot.
Oh. My. God.
I think this one post generated more comments than all of the rest of the posts I've made in almost two years on Live Journal. It certainly set a high-water mark for anonymous posts that will probably stand for a good long time (we can conclude that the set of people who are active Slashdot readers and the set of people who are LJ users have a very small intersection). Many of the comments were thoughtful; a bunch were appreciative; and a bunch demonstrated that the commentator had only just skimmed my post. Oh, and then there were a couple of fist fights. Between Slashdotters in anonymous comments in my LJ. About their own pieces of trivia. Looking at this unfold I felt like a barkeep eyeing some unruly customers, reaching for the scattergun under the bar, and thinking of telling them "You there! Take that ruckus outside!"
Then there was the maelstrom of commentary on Slashdot itself. At this point there are 451 comments. A survey shows that most of them are infighting over which distro has this or that and how this or that is better (or worse) than some thing in Windows. Many of them kicked straight off into debating the articles I linked; few of them even noticed what I wrote. And there is a big contingent of people who think that Nicholas Petreley is a horse's ass. Though the "Nick has it right" crowd was represented too. My hands-down favorite of all of the wasted bandwidth is this:
i have a question (Score:1)
by moochfish (822730) on Monday March 13, @04:38PM (#14910998)
Sorry, I'm really not trying to troll here, but who the heck is the author? The article summary doesn't say jack about this. It looks like a random rant on some dude's Livejournal to an article he read. What am I missing here and why is this slashdot news worthy again?
Ok, there are a couple of cool aspects to this. An excerpt from my post was on the home page of Slashdot for a few hours, and one of the people who commented in my LJ was Dominic Humphries - the author of one of the two articles that spurred my writing. And I'm indirectly responsible for Linux Journal's site getting Slashdotted I linked to both source articles and such a thundering herd of Slashdotters charged over to read Nick Petreley's piece that they brought that LJ's site to its knees.
I am, however, profoundly glad that the collective attention span of the Slashdotterotti is as short as it is intense. And I'm also glad that I don't host my own blog on one of my servers. I can picture the little DSL line that feeds the servers going eek! *THUD* during the height of the storm.