Anyone who’s visited slashdot for more than three minutes already realizes that you can expect about as much quality as you would get from a box of kitty litter.
Still, for a site that is pro-geek, and run by geeks, you think they’d take more pride in their work. Especially considering how amazingly popular it is. Unfortunately, that’s not the case, and doesn’t seem like it ever will be, because there are bugs in their scripts that have been there for years.
I actually don’t visit slashdot.org any more, not since I found alterslash.org instead. AlterSlash sums up the articles nicely and gives me the comments with the highest thread responses, along with the funniest (the *real* reason to read slashdot) and most “insightful” comments.
Even though I’m happy with the alter-site, every now and then I hop back to Slashdot just to see if they’ve fixed a few bugs yet. It’s like going to Wal-Mart though — nothing ever gets better, and you keep wondering why you are coming back.
The bug I want to harp on tonight affects the “comments” summary totals. Now, since I read slashdot mainly for the comments (someday I’ll start a site called +5 Funny), I figure I can skim the frontpage and quickly gather how many there are in a story. Each article entry is followed by a “Read More” link, then “X of Y comments”, with X and Y being more links. The difference between the three URLs is that the first one links just to the ID of the story in the querystring. The second link adds “threshold=4″ to the list of variables (in this case, 4 being my minimum threshold to display comments rated than that or higher), and the third adds threshold=-1, to display all the comments.
Now, the great thing here is this — the numbers are always wrong.
As an example, here’s one from http://linux.slashdot.org/ Right now the top story is “Linux beats Windows to Intel iMac”. With my threshold, it says ( Read More… | 32 of 418 comments ). So, I click on 32, which takes me to this page: http://linux.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/02/16/2025243&threshold=4
Lo and behold, the first line above the comments says this — Threshold: 4: 24 comments. Whoops. I guess they’re too busy posting dupes to fix bugs.
What’s it even better is if you click on the Threshold select menu, it says 24 comments for everything underneath that level as well. If I change it to another level, then it shows the comments for that threshold, but the bug still exists for any amount underneath them.
Gotta love slashdot. It’s known for many things, but certainly not it’s attention to detail.