If you have been, in any way, involved in the Internet in the past decade or so you’ll know the name CmdrTaco. His real name is Rob Malda and he started Slashdot, a news aggregation site and proto-blog in 1997 after building his own CMS in perl.
Malda and his crew defined the early geekosphere and, back before behemoths like Gawker, Weblogs Inc, and, well us, roamed the Earth, the worst and best thing a server could be is Slashdotted: worst because the sheer deluge of traffic tore down your site and best because, well, the creme of the Internet was knocking on your door.
Writing about guys like Malda is a little bit like talking about inside baseball: their presence – or lack thereof – is mostly felt by us bloggers and to the average person their doings are pretty boring. However, he played a defining role in many of the conversations we engage in every day.
In his goodbye post he describes quite succinctly one of worst feelings an Internet personality can have: the inability to post anymore.
As part of my resignation, after this story appears I will lose the ability to post. For me, this is the most bitter pill to swallow. Posting stories has always been my favorite part of the job. I created Slashdot to share these stories with my friends from IRC and school. It was never ‘work’. Now I will have to go cold turkey. I’m walking away from the soapbox I built. I wish I could continue to post stories forever, but those closest to me know that if I maintained the ability to post, I’d never move on. I’ll continue to read Slashdot and hopefully my occasional story submissions will make the cut. My old mantra: News for Nerds, Stuff that Matters still holds true here today. Nobody does it better.
As for what’s next, I really don’t know. I don’t have a job lined up. I have no plans. I’m gonna spend some time with my boys and my wife. Read some books that have been on my shelf forever. Maybe it’s time to write a book of my own.
I personally remember emailing Malda about my “new” news site, BigWideLogic, a phpnuke installation that I wanted to use to write about Linux. I think I asked him something stupid like “Can you write about my new endeavor?” He told me to shut my site down and write for Slashdot (for free) instead. I didn’t take him up on the offer, but I appreciated his honesty and his method of curt, borderline-insulting interaction has served me well in my own career.