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Anatomy of a Slashdotting

I was on the phone around 19:30 last night, just chatting away, while looking at the computer screen's Terminal window which was tailing the Apache web log of my platohistory.org website, when after a few minutes I noticed a change in the rate of site traffic, from measured-in-geologic-time to merely snail's-pace. (Hey, if you have a typically quiet site, there is a vast difference between geologic and snail's pace.)

"Hmm, I think I might be seeing the beginnings of a slashdot. Wait, hang on," I said on the phone, the other party puzzled as to what I meant. I looked closely at the screen: yep, the referrers flying by were "slashdot.org". I fired up a browser, went to Slashdot, but .... nothing there.

Over the next few minutes there were a few more trickles from slashdot, but nothing to write home abou--- WAIT, OMIGOD, NO, NO, OH THE HUMANITY, OH, HOLY SH--

"Omigod I'm being slashdotted!" I said on the phone, "This is awesome!"

I watched as the web log spewed out new requests, the window scrolling madly as The Eye of Sauron turned its gaze on my lowly platohistory website. Being slashdotted is a thing to behold.

Anatomy of a Slashdotting

All during the night, every hour or so, Slashdot would publish a yet-newer article that would push the PLATO article further down their homepage. Witness, I pray thee, the consequences of being pushed down the Slashdot homepage: the traffic goes down precisely as one's link goes down. And then, around 10am, the firehose becomes a garden hose, and then a straw, where it remains probably for the rest of the day.

That was fun. Must try that again sometime.

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