There once was a time that Slashdot was the nexus of news from the technologists in the trenches. To have your online article"Slashdotted" was akin to receiving heavy airplay on the radio. I've seen some of my posts obtain signficantly more traffic after being picked up in Slashdot threads.
Increasingly, though, Slashdot's technology news and content amplification abilities have been rendered irrelevant.
The culprits are many:
The rise of all-enveloping tech blogs- (perhaps even some of our own at ZDNet) that have made it a point to develop some of the same in-the-trenches sourcing as Slashdot has been known for. To put it bluntly, the Slashdot thread-starter of 2004 is now the TechCrunch, TechDirt, Engadget, or ZDNet commenter or tipster of 2006.
The rise of specialty tech blogs written by insiders-Rather than route their opinions and observations through a conduit such as Slashdot, lots of in-the-know techies are spreading the news and views via their own blogs.
Digg, the new Netscape, Reddit, etc.- This is the place to go to for tech news that really matters to nerds. The amplification capabilities of these resources is considerable. My piece on who might buy YouTube really took off page view-wise after Digg picked it up. Two years ago, there was no Digg, you dig?
Techmeme- This is the place where techies go to get news. When your article or post makes Techmeme, you're already on the merry-go-round toward lots of links and online chatter that expands upon itself.
Wikipedia- When major, or even key niche technology buzz happens these days, you are likely to see an added or revised Wikipedia entry go up within hours. To revise a reference I drew earlier in this post, the Slashdot thread-starter of 2004 is the Wikipedia contributor of 2006.
Slashdot is ugly- At the same time that these resources have developed cool graphical backdrops for their content, Slashdot's admittedly improved user interface is still the key to gobs of unfocused content and branch-laden threads that sometimes slouch toward tangential irrelevance.
Sorry to shoot down an icon, but Slashdot, you've rapidly become irrelevant.