Slashdot effectInternet term which refers to the huge influx of Internet traffic to a website as a result of its being mentioned on Slashdot, a popular technology news and information site. It can be generalized to refer to any time a popular website links to another one. Typically, less robust sites are unable to cope with the huge increase in traffic and become unavailable — either their bandwidth is consumed or their servers are unable to cope with the high strain.
Slashdot consists of submitted articles and a self-moderated discussion on each story. In response to the stories, large masses of readers simultaneously rush to view referenced sites. The ensuing flood of page requests, known as a slashdotting, often exceeds the ability of the site to respond in a timely manner, rendering the site slashdotted and, for many visitors, unavailable for a time, occasionally exceeding the site's bandwidth limitations or causing servers to slow down. "Slashdotted" is sometimes abbreviated as "/.ed".
Major news sites or corporate websites are typically unaffected by the Slashdot effect because they have been engineered to serve large numbers of requests. Websites that usually fall victim are smaller sites hosted on home servers or those with many large images or movie files. These websites often become unavailable within just a few minutes of an article's posting on Slashdot, even before any comments have been posted.
Few definitive numbersclass="external">[1 exist regarding the precise magnitude of the Slashdot effect, but estimates put the peak of the mass influx of page requests at anywhere from several hundred to several thousand hits per second. The flood usually peaks when the article is at the top of Slashdot's front page and gradually subsides as the story is superseded by newer items. Traffic usually remains at elevated levels until the article is pushed off the front page, which can take from 12 to 18 hours after its initial posting. However, certain things get bogged down for longer time. This all depends on the number of people posting, and for how long the story stays interesting. The wedding proposal of Slashdot founder CmdrTaco and the announcement of Windows 2000 and Windows NT 4 source code leaks were a couple of more active stories.
When the targeted website has a community-based structure, the term can also refer to the secondary effect of having a large group of users suddenly setting up accounts and starting to participate in the community. While this would normally be considered a good thing, it is generally viewed with disdain by the prior members, as quite often the sheer number of new people brings a lot of the unwanted aspects of Slashdot along with it, such as incessant trolling, vandalism, and newbie-like behavior (see Slashdot trolling phenomena).
The Slashdot effect is similar to a denial of service attack, in that both can cripple or eliminate access to websites. However, while a denial of service attack is a deliberate, malicious onslaught aimed at damaging computer systems and harming the victim's livelihood, the Slashdot effect is an unintended consequence of Slashdot's popularity that usually subsides fairly quickly.
The Jargon File states that an alternate term for Slashdot effect is "flash crowd", the title of a 1973 science fiction story by Larry Niven in which cheap teleportation allows large numbers of people to gather almost instantaneously at the locations of newsworthy events around the world.
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2 External links
Wikipedia has been "slashdotted" on:
Relevance to Wikipedia
Wikipedia has been "slashdotted" on:vandalism and changes of viewpoints in articles that stray from the consensus reached. Join the volunteer fire department to help double check all changes made after slashdottings to ensure that a neutral point-of-view is maintained.