I don’t remember quite when I first started in on Slashdot. My UID is below 125K, so I was kind of late to the party. I think I came in on a link back from one of the incarnations of Mac OS Rumors back in the old days.
For me, Slashdot was the daily diary of the boom. The emergence of Linux, the famous Halloween memo, the return of Jobs, the Mozilla project, the new Star Wars movies, all kinds of things. Slashdot was indispensable. That green layout exists in my mind behind a loop of HFS songs, Eddie from Ohio, and my earliest MP3 downloads, all playing out on the screen of a PowerBook G3 running Mac OS 8.6. The days when I would do ridiculous shit like try to club together an external SCSI drive so I could try to book my PowerMac 6100 into MkLinux…and then try to telnet into it from work.
Slashdot was also the first place I saw community moderation on a message board. And it pretty much worked. You could set your filter at +3 and pretty much be assured of skipping the dross that plagues almost every other comment forum on the Internet. It was innovative, to say the least, and I wish it existed on more sites.
I don’t know when it dropped out of my regular rotation. It still has pride of place in the “Geek” folder on my bookmark bar, although the days when I run through those folders are long gone thanks to RSS. I last commented on the site one time in July last year. Before that, my prior-most comment was in 2007, and before that in 2004, so it’s not like I was a particularly active member lately; it probably didn’t survive the transition to an Apple job where sitting at a desk hitting refresh was no longer a daily option.
But hearing that Rob Malda – whose infamous proposal to his girlfriend inspired part of mine – is stepping away from the monster he created? Even if it’s not part of my life now, it really struck home how long it’s been since those early days in DC, and how long I’ve been gone from there, and – most of all – how many years I have in the industry now. Next year makes fifteen.
Where does the time go?