What is SLASHDOT EFFECT? What does SLASHDOT EFFECT mean? SLASHDOT EFFECT meaning & explanation

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What is SLASHDOT EFFECT? What does SLASHDOT EFFECT mean? SLASHDOT EFFECT meaning – SLASHDOT EFFECT definition – SLASHDOT EFFECT explanation.

Source: Wikipedia.org article, adapted under license.

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The Slashdot effect, also known as slashdotting, occurs when a popular website links to a smaller website, causing a massive increase in traffic. This overloads the smaller site, causing it to slow down or even temporarily become unavailable. The name stems from the huge influx of web traffic which would result from the technology news site Slashdot linking to websites. The name, however, is somewhat dated, as flash crowds from Slashdot were reported to be diminishing as of 2005 due to competition from similar sites. The effect has been associated with other websites or metablogs such as Fark, Digg, Drudge Report, Imgur, Reddit, and Twitter, leading to terms such as being “farked” or “drudged”, being under the “Reddit effect”—or receiving a “hug of death” from the site in question. Google Doodles, which link to search results on the doodle topic, also result in high increases of traffic from the search results page. Typically, less robust sites are unable to cope with the huge increase in traffic and become unavailable – common causes are lack of sufficient data bandwidth, servers that fail to cope with the high number of requests, and traffic quotas. Sites that are maintained on shared hosting services often fail when confronted with the Slashdot effect.

A flash crowd is a more generic term without using any specific name that describes a network phenomenon where a network or host suddenly receives a lot of traffic. This is sometimes due to the appearance of a website on a blog or news column.

According to the Jargon File, the term “Slashdot effect” refers to phenomenon of a website becoming virtually unreachable because too many people are hitting it after the site was mentioned in an interesting article on the popular Slashdot news service. It was later extended to describe any similar effect from being listed on a popular site, similar to the more generic term, flash crowd, which is a more appropriate term.

The term “flash crowd” was coined in 1973 by Larry Niven in his science fiction short story, Flash Crowd. It predicted that a consequence of inexpensive teleportation would be huge crowds materializing almost instantly at the sites of interesting news stories. Twenty years later, the term became commonly used on the Internet to describe exponential spikes in website or server usage when it passes a certain threshold of popular interest. This effect was anticipated years earlier in 1956 in Alfred Bester’s novel The Stars My Destination.

The Reddit effect has also been used to describe viral crowd fundraising efforts in addition to the surge in web traffic.

Sites such as Slashdot, Digg, Reddit, StumbleUpon and Fark consist of brief submitted stories and a self-moderated discussion on each story. The typical submission introduces a news item or website of interest by linking to it. In response, large masses of readers tend to simultaneously rush to view the referenced sites. The ensuing flood of page requests from readers can exceed the site’s available bandwidth or the ability of its servers to respond, and render the site temporarily unreachable.

Major news sites or corporate websites are typically engineered to serve large numbers of requests and therefore do not normally exhibit this effect. Websites that fall victim may be hosted on home servers, offer large images or movie files or have inefficiently generated dynamic content (e.g. many database hits for every web hit even if all web hits are requesting the same page). These websites often became unavailable within a few minutes of a story’s appearance, even before any comments had been posted. Occasionally, paying Slashdot subscribers (who have access to stories before non-paying users) rendered a site unavailable even before the story was posted for the general readership.

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