It's for nerds, stupid

Politics.slashdot.org, a new Web site from the technology and news forum Slashdot.org, could be a boon to political pundits who love seeing page views skyrocket after their story gets picked up. Insiders call it the "Slashdot effect." But the big debate could be over whether articles featuring Ralph Nader will siphon away page views from pro-Kerry story submissions, or will one lucky poster have their Slashdot story become Bush's October Surprise?

Slashdot, the 4 million member technology and news discussion network that flourished under the phrase "News for Nerds," has entered the political arena with the launch of a new section, located on the Net at politics.slashdot.org.

The section has been tag lined with a slogan reminiscent of the original, "Politics for Nerds. Your Vote Matters."

Slashdot founder and director Rob Malda said the Slashdot audience was searching for a forum that provided news and discussion "without media spin" for the upcoming election. Known in some office circles as the "digital water cooler," Slashdot is a non-partisan, independent site dedicated to covering technology, science and cultural news.

"Slashdot itself historically was only able to cover politics when it directly intersected with our traditional 'News for Nerds' subject matter," Malda said. "The creation of politics.slashdot.org lets us take our hyperactive discussion forums and apply them specifically to the election."

According to those at Slashdot, the new section provides a forum for vigorous debate and commentary and gives their passionate and information-hungry audience access to political news and articles that may have gone underreported or ignored in other media outlets.

The site is already up and running, with separate in-depth interviews with Libertarian Party candidate Michael Badnarik, and Green Party candidate David Cobb already filed.

Additional coverage of little-known or underreported stories, such as the blocking of overseas ISPs from a federally funded voter assistance site, enables the audience to get news that they might otherwise not have access.

"Our readers are extremely interested in this type of information, and have shown their interest by generating over 1 million page views in the first month alone," said Patrick Ferrell, general manager of the Open Source Technology Group, the parent group of Slashdot.org.

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