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Rusty Foster Isn't Dead 162

Posted by timothy
from the pass-it-on dept.
While he was vacationing with his wife, Kuro5hin founder Rusty Foster was killed — at least in the eyes of Facebook. NBC News details how it happened: a "pal" pranked both Foster and Facebook by notifying the social site of Foster's supposed death, providing as documentation the obituary of another, much older man by the same name. Getting the Facebook version of his life back took some doing; based on this article it seems much easier to convince Facebook that you're dead than that you're alive.
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Rusty Foster Isn't Dead

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  • Slow News Day (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Frosty Piss (770223) *

    This sort of story needs to be tagged "Slow News Day".

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      First, Rusty's well known in the nerd world. Second, there was a submission yesterday "Rusty Foster is Dead" which sort of startled me. Third, if you didn't want to see the story posted you could have tagged it "slow news day" in the firehose. Fourth, you're in the minority -- it was voted up. Sixth, you didn't have to click the link. Seventh and most important, TFA was a good one and worth a read. How can FB be so sloppy? Doesn't anyone there have database experience? Names are terrible identifiers!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 05, 2013 @01:33AM (#42485399)

    While he's not dead, his site certainly is.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by jamstar7 (694492)
      Pretty much, yeah. Couple neckbeards still post their blogs there, but I was just over there, and the latest article was from Dec 17th of last year. The article at the end of the page was a year old.

      So much for culture and geek tech 'down in the trenches'.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      A shame, too. I always enjoyed K5 back when it attracted some interesting posts/posters.

  • by Arno Stark (2789795) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @01:38AM (#42485423)
    received bad karma for it. Looks like the repost made it to the front page. I contacted Rusty on Twitter after it was found out to be a hoax, but he blocked my account. Before he blocked me, he admitted he knew Josh did it. I think it was done on purpose for free publicity for Kuro5hin and Rusty Foster to breath life into their dying web site.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Nothing could breathe life into it.

      Been dead too long and lost too much momentum - the crowds have simply moved on.

      • by tinkerton (199273)

        the crowds have simply moved on.

        Actually the way I recall it, the idea at some point was that "now that we got rid of the softies, this site will really be good."

        • by mcgrew (92797) *

          I left in '05 after being continually annoyed by admin Pete Jongular, nigga, and a few other trolls and assholes. Plus, after /. instituted user journals there just wasn't any reason to go there any more.

          • by tinkerton (199273)

            That's about the time I left as well.

          • by spiralx (97066) *

            That was a couple of years after a significant proportion of the site's regular diary section users upped and left en masse for a new site run by hulver which was basically centered around the journal section, allowed users more options when posting, and deleted anyone who kept causing problems. This was in 2003 if I remember correctly. This was a big chunk of community, and that's hard to replace quickly.

            However given that after Rusty's big appeal he pretty much seemed to stop giving a fuck about the site

            • by mcgrew (92797) *

              I was one of the first to be at HuSi, but didn't stay long. Like you, between 2002 and 2005 I'm not sure I came to /. at all, I was away long enough that when I came back I had to get a new account because I couldn't remember the PW or remember what ISP and email I was using (/. staff cleared it up and I'm using the original account now).

              They used to call my diary "the mansion in the middle of the diary ghetto." I still link some of the old diaries and stories there.

              • by spiralx (97066) *

                The years 2002 to 2005 were the low point here, people seem to forget all the crap-flooding, page-widening, GNAA manifestos an large amounts of racist,/homophobic/etc one line posts, Signal 11 and karma whoring, at least one cut and paste story involving eating crap in each article... lol, I had forgotten a lot of that :)

                I lost the use of the email account I first signed up for here about a year afterwards, went through two more before getting the current gmail account and only changed my email address here

                • by mcgrew (92797) *

                  The years 2002 to 2005 were the low point here

                  I guess I was lucky to have missed it, I was away from /. for about that period. I don't remember, but it may have been why I started going to k5.

                  I collected quite a few k5 diaries into a book, "The Paxil Diaries". I reformatted it, of course. I posted it on the Pirate Bay if you want a copy.

                  • by spiralx (97066) *

                    I stopped posting on /. at around that point - the crap-flooders invaded sid=k22320inchfan (the successor to sid=trolltalk) and made our little place where we posted links to our trolls and generally hung out useless. I think Rusty and Scoop was what probably gave us the idea for starting Adequacy, so we pretty much abandoned /. en masse for there, and that lasted another two years before we decided to close it. I kept reading /. but only once in a while, k5 and Adequacy were enough.

                    Nowadays I read ./. ever

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 05, 2013 @01:45AM (#42485449)

    Kuro5hin is still online.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Arno Stark (2789795)
      I guess even trolls need a web site to hang out on that only supports ASCII text, no images, and a broken cancel button?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 05, 2013 @01:45AM (#42485453)

    Just as Rusty was getting his FB life back on track, Zygna shut down Petville and he lost his pets too.

    A truly tragic story...

    • by shentino (1139071)

      serves the fools right for investing in it in the first place.

      Anyone spending real money for virtual goods deserves to be shafted.

  • I am not sure I would.

  • fuckin fine by me

  • Shitfest of Kuro5hin (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Seumas (6865) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @02:24AM (#42485629)

    I stopped over at Kuro5hin a couple years ago. Curious as to how things had come along, since I last was there. It used to be a decent mix of deep content, generated by its users. Usually heavily tech oriented and definitely geek oriented, otherwise.

    HOLY SHIT WHAT HAS IT BECOME?!

    When I last looked, it was just article after article about the most vile shit that makes the comments on articles that drudgereport links to look intelligent. It was just a bunch of crap by anti-abortion nuts, anti-gay nuts, and shit about Sandra Fluke being a slutty cunt. I am completely baffled as to what happened. It used to be on par with slashdot. Maybe even better, in some ways. Now it looks like it's just a place of navel-gazing propoganda for hate-filled truthers, birthers, anti-everything idiots. I thought it had been attacked, actually, and returned a couple weeks later to see if they had fixed their website. Then I googled a bit and found that it had been in this disgusting state of ruin for *years* and nobody really knew why.

    • by plover (150551) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @02:36AM (#42485689) Homepage Journal

      A lot of people bitch about the slashdot moderation system being crap, but when you see sites like kuro5hin fail like that, you have to consider that it adds huge value.

      • K5 had a pretty good moderation system as well. Part of the problem may be that K5 had a notoriously high signal to noise ratio, compared to slashdot. Posting was slow and the site aimed for the high end of the market so to speak. As a result it had few members and when people started to leave it changed quickly.

        • by martin-boundary (547041) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @04:22AM (#42486043)
          K5's demise was self inflicted. Rusty pissed off the regulars when he took donations and didn't improve the site. Instead, he went off to work for daily kos. The site's main attraction, the moderation queue which filtered out crappy articles was ruined by making the rules too easy. The diaries was the worst idea ever - just a blog roll with trivial personal content nobody cares about. Worst of all, the trolls weren't actively terminated.

          I'm surprised the site has "survived" this long - it's been a troll crapfest for at least 8 years now, longer than it was a great site. A great shame.

          • by Seumas (6865)

            Wow, I didn't realize all of that. I had forgotten about K5 for so long, until I saw it mentioned one day. It's really hard to say it has "survived', of course. I mean, it looks like someone's abandoned blog that has been over-taken by spambots. There is zero content on there and it's a solid mix of idiotic and incoherent. If you remember K5 during its prime and you return today, you seriously think something is wrong with the site -- like you've somehow wound up at a domain squatter's site or something. I

            • by bedouin (248624)

              I mean, Slashdot is a shadow of its former self and, other than that, there's nothing -- unless you accept Reddit, which has basically become the 1990s AOL hub of internet forums. Blech.

              I actually like Slashdot in its current state: the community is not absurdly large, nor is it stagnant. Most of the comments are fairly intelligent, something I quickly realized when Digg became a phenomenon and was able to contrast both user bases: well structured paragraphs and sentences, versus one line quips. I read many articles that may not be pertinent to me, just because the comments here often help me understand the subject better. There's teens here, but there's also real old schoolers here. I

          • by tinkerton (199273)

            Worst of all, the trolls weren't actively terminated.

            I think it would have been against the spirit of the project to do so. As I recall it -but it's been a while- Rusty made a point of it that he wasn't going to delete the trolls himself. that delivering the tools for the community to fix itself was as far as he would go. Then if the community fixed itself, cool. If they didn't, that was their choice and a lesson for the others.

            • by maynard (3337)

              > As I recall it -but it's been a while- Rusty made a point of it that he wasn't going to delete the trolls himself.

              No. Rusty actively deleted accounts from people who _weren't_ trolls. He threw his hat in with the worst of the worst on the net and drove off his best users and potential customers. He took a hot internet property, one that could have been profitable and socially valuable, and drove it into the ground for reasons entirely his own. Now the site is cobwebs and tumbleweeds.

              • by tinkerton (199273)

                Which year are you talking about? I stopped following it when I left, around 2005 or 2006 .

                • by maynard (3337) <j...maynard...gelinas@@@gmail...com> on Saturday January 05, 2013 @09:52AM (#42487241) Journal

                  There were several waves of mass exodus. It's been a long time, but maybe in '03 a bunch of regular users left to go hang out at Hulver's Site to avoid pervasive and cruel trolling.

                  http://www.hulver.com/scoop/ [hulver.com]

                  Rusty waved sayonara to some of his most active and committed community members then. Hulver put it up just for the old community to hang out and didn't pursue general readership or expansion. It's still around and arguably more active than K5 is now, though also pretty slow.

                  By '05-'06 K5 was nothing but a trollfest. At that point, I believe rusty was actively seeking large readership and advertising revenue by promoting troll content. For example, there was that "Fuck Natalee Holloway" article, which generated vast numbers of page views. From there the site continued its slide downhill, as rusty pursued more and more salacious material to drive traffic. It became a business model. Those who objected had their accounts summarily shitcanned one by one.

                  I think rusty was of the opinion that the general community couldn't write well, and he was interested in attracting professionally written material. But he didn't care about substantive content - per se - only prose style. Many of the site trolls were actually good prose writers, so he coddled them.

                  But a troll's interest was not in crafting useful content that would drive sustained readership. The interest is in shocking and offending the sensibilities of average readers. And so K5 transitioned from publishing useful - if marginally well written - articles about computing, technology, and social issues to the kind of thing that might drive short-term bursts of high traffic by an offended and angry anonymous readership.

                  rusty made the bet that if he sacrificed an active community producing marginal but useful content in order to coddle those who produce offensive but quality written offensive material, that his site could generate the pageviews necessary for a successful business model. He was wrong.

                  Now it looks as though they're engaged in a publicity effort to generate a burst of final advertising revenue. For example, we have this story. And at the same time on reddit over in /r/WTF we see this story hit:

                  http://www.reddit.com/r/WTF/comments/15ye9g/girls_guide_towtf_really/ [reddit.com]

                  Which generated significant short burst traffic to the site. Timed within a day of each other. But it's a story about bestiality with dogs. Seriously.

                  And I suppose writing in character a bogus female first person account of having sex with her dog is probably more fun than detailing the latest OS tricks or talking industrial policy. But Slashdot is still around and kicking. It still provides at least a marginal service to its user community that has meaning beyond just pissing people off. K5? Not so. And that's why rusty's site is dead while Slashdot employes people and retains a large user base.

                  Because a to run a successful forum the community _does_ matter more than a few well written - if obscene - articles.

                  May rusty enjoy his well deserved obscurity.

                  • By '05-'06 K5 was nothing but a trollfest. At that point, I believe rusty was actively seeking large readership and advertising revenue by promoting troll content. For example, there was that "Fuck Natalee Holloway" article, which generated vast numbers of page views. From there the site continued its slide downhill, as rusty pursued more and more salacious material to drive traffic. It became a business model. Those who objected had their accounts summarily shitcanned one by one.

                    Thank you! I was trying to remember what finally drove me away from K5: It was that garbage "Fuck Natalee Holloway" post and the crap that followed.

                    I'd been there since 2001, and I think that really was the deathknell. I went back occasionally, but it was nothing but the same small gang of trolls flaming each other

                    Good riddance to that site

                  • by tinkerton (199273)

                    Thanks, that's a pretty interesting account.

                  • by spiralx (97066) *

                    Thanks, I'd not really paid attention to k5 after leaving for HuSi in 2003 or so, sad and quite shocking to see what it has become now, although the decline was obvious when HuSi started. As an ex-k5 regular and ex-Adequacy editor, the site is a shitpit nowadays.

                  • by Rogerborg (306625)

                    K5 was doomed when the K5ARP hung up tehir hat.

                    Anyway, I'm sure that 2013 will finally see the Collaborative Media Foundation [kuro5hin.org] take off.

              • Yup! IMHO, the trolls weren't the real problem. The exodus of the non-trolls, and Rusty charging for new K5 accounts was the problem. If you have 12 trolls among 1,000 real users, it's not bad. If you have 12 trolls among 20 users, you're screwed, even with just the same amount of trolling.

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            It wasn't just Rusty, the admins were retards. I was once banned for crapflooding (Pete Jongular is a retarded asshole). Rusty told me he didn't know how it happened and blamed a bug when I posted six stories at once and five were voted to the front page.

            How to kill a web site: piss off your users. Sites are a dime a dozen, eyeballs are precious.

            • How to kill a web site: piss off your users. Sites are a dime a dozen, eyeballs are precious.

              Yeah this is why I can't believe Bruce Perens killed off technocrat.net. It had a great bunch of users and if I had been thinking ahead I would have created a subreddit to move them on to.

        • by TheLink (130905) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @05:51AM (#42486293) Journal
          Doesn't matter if you have a good moderation system if you have crappy moderators. The Slashdot admins do ban some people from moderating. The moderation at Kuro5hin was presumably done by sock puppets of various warring factions.

          FWIW I've stopped getting mod points for years. Maybe I was a crap moderator. But whatever it is, Slashdot is doing better than kuro5hin.

          That said, Slashdot does seem to be declining in quality - lots of troll stories that seem to be designed just to get comments and hits. Heck sometimes I think they purposely leave in or even add editing errors to generate more comments. So the top 25% of the comments end up being comments about the crappy editing and nothing to do with the story.
          • by Kjella (173770) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @07:03AM (#42486507) Homepage

            FWIW I've stopped getting mod points for years. Maybe I was a crap moderator. But whatever it is, Slashdot is doing better than kuro5hin.

            Try metamoderating, I have excellent karma but pretty much never get mod points. If I do then I usually get a batch of mod points soon after. I don't generally bother since the people who want to troll the mod system use non-moderated choices like "-1, Overrated" anyway.

          • by mcgrew (92797) *

            Heck sometimes I think they purposely leave in or even add editing errors to generate more comments.

            Why would they do that? It's not like they collect money every time a comment is posted.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            The Slashdot admins do ban some people from moderating

            But not the Shills. One wonders if one can buy modpoints.

            • by spiralx (97066) *

              You actually think there are paid shills here? I've seem this meme become common here in the last three or four years, and I still think it's ridiculous.

              I've been here since 2000 and really can't say the overall feel is much different than it ever was. There's less hardcore nerd stuff and more political stuff (although everything becomes political here due to strong opinions lol), but tone and signal-to-noise are about the same IMO. In fact there's way less zero-content posts and crapflooding nowadays than

              • by plover (150551)

                Just to pick a nit or two, shills != trolls. And I agree that there's a lot less trolling now than there was 10 years ago, (hard to say since most of the true crap gets flagged or effectively downmodded pretty quickly) but I think political shilling has increased.

                I'd love a "-1, Political" moderation. Even a "+1, Political that I agree with" moderation would be good so I could personally do the whole -6 downmod on any comment so marked.

                • by spiralx (97066) *

                  I wrote a "slashdot trolling HOWTO" a decade ago lol, I know what the two words mean - not sure where you thought I'd got the two confused...?

                  The one mention of politics was meant to be about all the Alpha Nerd behaviour here - instead of "rep" or "cred" or "coolness" it's intelligence, but it's still the same set of touchy pride and insecurity over status that leads to people wanting to be part of a "gang", and then prove their gang is better than anyone else's. You end up with people spending hours arguin

      • by b1t r0t (216468)

        I think part of the problem is that K5 has a mod system that lets everybody, even new accounts, rate every post with no limits, which encourages sock-puppeting and circle-jerking. (Kind of like... Digg and Reddit? Two down, one to go.)

        Slashdot literally makes you lurk more, as an important factor in getting mod points is simply reading a lot of articles. Among other things, this makes it difficult for sock puppet accounts to ever get mod points. I guess it does require a certain critical mass of users to w

        • by spiralx (97066) *

          But unless you had an average moderation of less than 1 on a post, it really didn't make a lot of difference what the score was, so why bother using sock-puppets? Plus, moderators deleted accounts doing that, or at least they did when I was posting there.

    • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @05:32AM (#42486231) Homepage
      I always wondered whatever became of the low budget Filipina horror movie in DC.
    • by b1t r0t (216468)
      In may ways it's been a pale shadow of adequacy.org, but with a lot more lame troll articles. It's also Michael D. Crawford's aspergement and abuse blog, and Sye's bad poetry aspergement blog. And watching for the inevitable idiot who pays $5 for a new account to plaster spam or a press release for something stupid, and we all get to laugh at the "nullo". Sometimes there's an article that's a good enough troll for everybody to agree to put it on the front page. I particularly like the phrase "Schizoasshole
      • by spiralx (97066) *

        As one of Adequacy's editors, thanks! We enjoyed it, wrote some good stuff, and ended it before it could start turning into work rather than fun.

        But you've reminded me of Michael D Crawford and his antics now, lol.

    • Slashdot is still alive, but it's slowly moving in that direction. We still have the tech stories, but the comment-baiting, political stories tend to get the most comments.

    • by spiralx (97066) *

      I don't post there any more, but lots of the regulars are still active over at Hulver's site [slashdot.org], although it's focussed more around the journals than articles. There was a switch en masse in 2003 after things started going downhill, but just like you when I last looked at k5 (about six months ago) I was shocked by the sheer level of crap that is now the only thing on there. Rusty might not be dead, but since his appeal all those years ago he might as well have been.

  • by Required Snark (1702878) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @02:26AM (#42485645)
    In Joseph Heller's Catch-22 the flight surgeon, Doc Daneeka, is declared dead even though he is very much alive and waking around.

    One day when Yossarian is staring over the skyline and wondering where Clevinger and Orr are, McWatt suddenly skims over the surface of the water and slices Kid Sampson in half with his propeller. Chaos ensues at the grotesque sight. Yossarian yells futilely at McWatt to come down. His cries are useless as McWatt flies higher and higher and then flies into a mountain. In response to these deaths, Colonel Cathcart increases the number of missions to sixty-five.

    When Colonel Cathcart finds out that Doc Daneeka is dead, he increases the number of missions to seventy. Sergeant Towser is the first one to realize Doc Daneeka is dead. He tells Gus and Wes, and when they take Doc Daneeka’s temperature, it is half a degree lower that the usual 96.8 degrees--when Doc Daneeka, who is actually still alive, complains about being cold, they point out that he has been dead all this time, but never realized it until now. Doc Daneeka screams with anger when they say they will tell his wife that he is dead. At first, Mrs. Daneeka is very upset when she finds out. She then receives conflicting letters from her husband and from the War Department regarding the life of her husband. But as Mrs. Daneeka begins to receive widow pensions and other monetary benefits, she appreciates her new measure of wealth.

    Meanwhile, Doc Daneeka is considered dead by the squadron, and he has to depend on Milo and Sergeant Towser for food. He is ostracized by everyone and almost starves to death. He writes a final intense appeal to his wife, but she moves away with the children when she receives the generic official notification from the army of his death.

    http://www.gradesaver.com/catch22/study-guide/section5/ [gradesaver.com]

    • It makes you wonder if we technicians aren't creating a new class of 'codeless' people -like the 'homeless'- those who fall through the gaps of the system, in this case because they have their digital ID revoked. They wouldn't have a way to get in the system again, because lacking an identification they wouldn't be able to use even the basic communication tools.

      • It makes you wonder if we technicians aren't creating a new class of 'codeless' people -like the 'homeless'- those who fall through the gaps of the system, in this case because they have their digital ID revoked. They wouldn't have a way to get in the system again, because lacking an identification they wouldn't be able to use even the basic communication tools.

        As was prophesied by Sandra Bullock's The Net; Arguably one of the most unintentionally funny screwball comedies, doing for computing what Weird Science did for biology. Except Weird Science was intentionally ridiculous and funny. The only thing missing was Bullock's character being physically attacked by her a mouse infected with a trojan virus installed via a hacker by sending AOL internets to her modem browser by firing a bullet at her bathtub. A silly and contrived explanation when everyone knows openin

  • Or a human right. As long as you don't need facebook to get a job, file a criminal report, register a car or whatnot, I can't lose any sleep over this. It's just a website, folks.

  • by RKBA (622932) on Saturday January 05, 2013 @04:02AM (#42485977)
    I wrote "Deceased" on a junk mail envelope hoping that they would stop sending junk to me, and put the envelope back into my mailbox. A day or two later I stopped getting any mail at all! The post office was returning ALL of my mail because they assumed I was actually dead. Convincing them otherwise cost a lot of time and trouble.
    • by Seumas (6865)

      That actually got a loud laugh out of me. Thanks. :)

      Even three years after buying this house, I still get mail for the old owners, every day. And the people who lived here before that (almost 15 years ago). It just never stops. I do everything online, so 95% of mail is literally just someone else's junk. I tried stamping it with a "NO LONGER AT THIS ADDRESS". Still nothing.

      So, I've taken to using the time when I'm on long holds for operators or something to write intricate stories on envelopes, before stamp

      • Usually things about the recipient having a gender reassignment surgery and moving to Vegas or reassessing their life and joining the French Foreign Legion.

        Good, you're opening their mail-someday there could be money inside.

  • While he was vacationing with his wife

    ...he's resting.

  • I put my facebook account on hiatus about a year ago, I was considering deleting it entirely soon. This sounds like a much better state to leave it in.

  • Losing Facebook access is merely an inconvenience. But in other contexts being erroneously declared dead can have serious consequences [wikipedia.org].
  • If this is a publicity stunt, it's certainly horribly misguided. It's been a while since I last went there so I just headed over to kuro5hin to see what if anything is going on. The place is an absolute dump now. There is little if any content, just an endless stream of trash posts and comments. It doesn't look as if Rusty or in fact any other moderators mind at all.

    For some reason this really gets to me. With all the residual fame and search engine glory it would be so damn easy to just go in there, throw

Put no trust in cryptic comments.

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