What it seems to represent is essentially open-source journalism. People fight to make their submission the one out of those 700 each day that will make it to the front page with a byline. “The ego value of that is huge,” says Jeff Bates, OSTG’s vice president of editorial operations and one of Slashdot’s two co-founders.
Creating something of tremendous widespread utility for the ego value is a new phenomenon in contemporary business. It’s part of what motivates open-source software programmers. As a well-paid professional journalist, when I hear that ego alone motivates contributors to a news site with 5.5 million unique visitors a month, I find it a bit unnerving, but unquestionably exciting.