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Chapter 5. LEADERSHIP: The Buck Stops He... > CASE STUDY Power to the People: The ...

CASE STUDY Power to the People: The Slashdot Moderator System

Rob Malda (a.k.a. CmdrTaco, founder and head honcho of Slashdot) had a dilemma. His homegrown Web site, Slashdot, was taking off fast. Every day brought more posts, more page hits, more press coverage, more enthusiastic members signing up. Everything was going great—except that Rob was being lobbied by two distinct special interest groups, with diametrically opposed needs. Many loyal Slashdot readers were longtime Usenet geeks, who considered the comments associated with each Slashdot story to be a newsgroup and thus felt obligated to read every post. But Slashdot was also attracting an increasing number of busy and influential people who wanted to skim the cream and read only the best comments. And Slashdot was growing bigger and busier, so the good stuff was becoming increasingly hard to find.

Rob needed a fair and impartial way to weed out the dross and highlight the best posts, and he wanted a system that could grow along with the site. He’d already hand-picked a few loyal Slashdot members to mark the best and worst comments, but the volume of activity was fast outstripping the abilities of his volunteer editorial team. And he didn’t want to get into the endless cycle of finding, training, and managing new moderators for a rapidly growing site.


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