Most of the innovations in Slash came about to make the user experience more pleasant—for example, user accounts, moderation, meta-moderation, and comment filters. If the central concept of Slash publishing is the Story, the most important item in the site as a whole is the individual user. Though posting Stories is the most visible administrative activity, managing users (and their expectations) will have the greatest effect on the future of the site.
Slash encourages user participation on a level rarely matched elsewhere. The simple act of registration bestows the power to customize Slashboxes, maintain a posting history, keep a public journal (since Version 2.2), and develop community standards for comments. The trick is to try to channel user participation so that it is constructive and interesting.
Anonymity is the first bugaboo to consider. By default, Slash allows users without accounts to post comments, credited to the Anonymous User. This act is similar to providing paint and paintbrushes for random passers-by to create a wall mural. Users with valid accounts can also choose to post their comments anonymously. In either case, folks can provide valuable information or what some might call “utter rubbish” with little fear of retaliation.
Though creating an account is very simple, even three or four steps will immediately weed out drive-by users. If commenting on a Story as the Anonymous User is nodding at fellow pedestrians, ...