Slashdot Firehose

Slashdot is summoning everyone for a new service that they have dubbed Firehose. The service has some strong similarities to social news site Digg, but at the same time they also have some unique features. Firehose is basically a hub where the user-submitted stories appear for others to vote on, and as more people vote on them they start to move up the color spectrum.

As you can see in the screenshot above, there is a color slider located at the top of Firehose. This is used to filter out the quality of stories as voted on by other users. If you see a story with a red ring next to it that means that it is highly ranked, but one that is violet or black means that it’s not even worth looking at.

You have to be a registered user to enable most of the features (including voting), but visitors are more than welcome to browse around the submissions.

So is Slashdot trying to take on Digg? Here’s what they had to say in their post about Firehose:

Well first of all, we’re happy to use good ideas when we see them. Countless websites have knocked off our cool ideas, just like we joyously took ideas from those that came before us. But ultimately the idea here is not to imitate any other social network news site. We feel that the editorial layer that exists on top of Slashdot is important. But we also think that having many eyeballs will help us more efficiently sort through the ever increasing volume of content on this here internet of ours. That’s why we’ll aim to strike a balance. Slashdot stories will continue to be posted by our editors. We will use the advice given to us by our readers. Sometimes we will agree, and other times we won’t. You are welcome to read more or less editor content depending on your tastes.

So how new is this idea? Actually Slashdot has been working on it since the end of last year, and when they first started out it used a thumbs up/down system that really reminded me of Digg. They’ve since revamped some things, and worked out a few kinks, but the general concept is still the same.

I don’t think that this is going to affect the quality of the articles that Slashdot posts since the editors will still be making the final judgment call, but I’m wondering how much it will actually help them?

Thanks for the tip Curtiss!