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Slashdot founder Rob “CmdrTaco” Malda retires

Posted by on 25/08/2011


Slashdot’s Founder Rob “CmdrTaco” Malda has announced his resignation from 14 year old tech news aggregate website because he considers himself “old.”

He gave a pretty detailed outline as to how Slashdot grew up from just a small project into a business, a very fun business. As of now though, Malda has given up all his rights to the front end administration, mainly so he doesn’t get held back. While he doesn’t have any jobs lined up on the back burner, he felt that Slashdot would only hold him back from something new.

Slashdot has always been one of the most respected sources for technology news. Anyone could submit stories in the Recent in the recent section, where moderators would hand pick stories for the front page (where all the action really is). Since Slashdot gained so much popularity back in 1999, the term being “slashdotted” soon became quite well-known among the webmaster community. Since most news webservers were no where as powerful as today’s, sites would easily be crippled due to the influx of traffic coming from a Slashdot post.

They have always maintained a healthy community of geeks and tech lovers, but some critics have deemed them as ancient with the growth of more modern sites like Digg and Reddit. Nonetheless, they still are an influential community and have made quite a name for themselves. Below you can read Rob’s entire blog post.

After 14 years and over 15,000 stories posted, it’s finally time for me to say Good-Bye to Slashdot. I created this place with my best friends in a run down house while still in college. Since then it has grown to be read by more than a million people, and has served Billions and Billions of Pages (yes, in my head I hear the voice). During my tenure I have done my best to keep Slashdot firmly grounded in its origins, but now it’s time for someone else to come aboard and find the *future*. Personally I don’t have any plans, but if you need to get ahold of me for any reason, you can find me as @cmdrtaco on twitter or Rob Malda on Google+. You could also update my mail address to be malda at cmdrtaco dot net. Hit the link below if you want to read some nostalgic saccharine crap that I need to get out of my system before I sign off for the last time.

It was the summer of ’97 and I was a college kid working part time as a programmer at an ad agency. I wrote a simple CMS: practically my first perl program (I was so happy to not have to write in anything Microsoft!). I got an old DEC Alpha Multia in exchange for some freelance Java work. I stuffed it under my desk at work and registered the domain name in October. Jeff “Hemos” Bates chipped in on the registration fee. Within months we were serving thousands of people per day on a system that looked remarkably similar to the Slashdot you see today. It was simple: I just was sharing stories that I stumbled on with a small group of friends.

When I wrote the essay “Simple Solutions” a few months later, we doubled in traffic almost overnight. New hardware had to be purchased. Soon we exceeded the bandwidth capacity of our ISP and had to start co-locating. This meant banner ads. I barely made it through the end of college, working night and day on a site that was growing so fast, it was all I could do to keep up. We started making a little money and I eventually was able to quit my job and dedicate myself full-time to Slashdot. I barely graduated. Soon my friends followed me, eventually forming our company Blockstackers.

As my little hobby became a full blown business, it became clear that we needed help. The burden of running Sales and Marketing and HR it was to much for us. Slashdot was sold to Andover in ’99. Since Slashdot was founded, my business card has read Blockstackers, Andover,, VA Linux Systems, VA Software, OSDN, OSTG, SourceForge, and finally Geeknet. My title has changed several times: from my first card which read “Lies and Misinformation”, until today when my title read “Editor-in-Chief of”. During that entire time, my job has been some version of the same thing: Make Slashdot Great. I always did my best, and I’d like to think that I got it right more often than not.

In the last 14 years, Slashdot has covered so many amazing events: The explosion of Linux. The rise of Google. The return of Apple. The Dot Com Bubble. The DMCA. 9/11. Wars. Elections. Numerous successful Shuttle Launches and one Disaster. Scientific Breakthroughs galore. Cool toys. Web2.0! Social Networking. Blogging! Podcasting! Micro-Blogging! The Lord of the Rings being filmed and an entire trilogy of new Star Wars. OMG Ponies!! So many moments that I could run this paragraph for hours with moments where we shared something important, meaningful, or just stupid. But the most important to me was my marriage proposal to Kathleen. Slashdot has posted Over 114,000 stories so far. And there will be many more to come. I just won’t be the one picking them.

Slashdot has been read by kernel engineers and billionaires. By sys-admins and CEOs. By high school kids and government bureaucrats. But what brings so many of them together is that we are nerds. It never ceases to amaze me the similarities that I find between us all when I climb out of my dungeon and go meet readers. From the inside of some of the most wonderful places on earth, to conference halls with useless wireless connections, to cube farms, you guys always reminded me of why I started this thing in the first place. We share something important and unquantifiable.

The internet has changed dramatically since I started here, and that’s part of my reason for leaving. For me, the Slashdot of today is fused to the Slashdot of the past. This makes it really hard to objectively consider the future of the site. While my corporate overlords and I haven’t seen eye to eye on every decision in the last decade, I am certain that Jeff Drobick and the other executives at Geeknet will do their best. I am unquestionably confident in the abilities of the Slashdot editors and engineers- some of whom have been here just short of forever. They have proven themselves in the best and worst of conditions to be capable and dedicated.

As part of my resignation, after this story appears I will lose the ability to post. For me, this is the most bitter pill to swallow. Posting stories has always been my favorite part of the job. I created Slashdot to share these stories with my friends from IRC and school. It was never ‘work’. Now I will have to go cold turkey. I’m walking away from the soapbox I built. I wish I could continue to post stories forever, but those closest to me know that if I maintained the ability to post, I’d never move on. I’ll continue to read Slashdot and hopefully my occasional story submissions will make the cut. My old mantra: News for Nerds, Stuff that Matters still holds true here today. Nobody does it better.

As for what’s next, I really don’t know. I don’t have a job lined up. I have no plans. I’m gonna spend some time with my boys and my wife. Read some books that have been on my shelf forever. Maybe it’s time to write a book of my own.

If you want to get ahold of me, my email is now malda at cmdrtaco dot net. Geeknet has graciously agreed to continue to forward malda at slashdot dot org forever, but you should still update your address books if you care. I’m available on twitter as @cmdrtaco and Google+. My homepage hasn’t been updated in a decade, but it’s still And since I’m going to have to find a job in a few months, I’m on LinkedIn as well.

Thanks to everyone who helped build Slashdot over the years: the list is far to long to fit in this textfield but you know who you are, and you all know that I’ve got your back in a knife fight. Lastly, thanks to every Slashdot reader for giving me your time all these years. I hope I’ve wasted it efficiently and enjoyably.

Pants are optional.


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