Rob Malda, a.k.a. CmdrTaco, leaves Slashdot

Tech site's creator steps down after 14 years, says it's time for someone else to take charge

It's the end of an era at Slashdot as Rob "CmdrTaco" Malda announced Thursday that he is leaving the site that he created.

"After 14 years and over 15,000 stories posted, it's finally time for me to say Good-Bye to Slashdot," Malda posted on the Slashdot site. "I created this place with my best friends in a run down house while still in college.... During my tenure I have done my best to keep Slashdot firmly grounded in its origins, but now it's time for someone else to come aboard and find the *future*."

Maldo wrote that he had no plans, except to spend more time with his wife and sons.

His announcement had generated more than 930 comments by 2 p.m. Eastern time on Thursday. And that's what the best posts did on the techie news site. They got people -- usually the highly geeky set -- discussing hot topics of the day. Anything from the cloud and Google's new social networking site to security breaches and robotics was fair game for the techies who commented on Slashdot.

However, the site has seen a dip in readership recently, and now might be a good time for new leadership to step in, said Zeus Kerravala, an analyst at Yankee Group.

"Slashdot was a real pioneer on the Internet," said Kerravala. "They were the de facto place for geeks to go for info. But since then there have been hundreds of blog sites, Twitter feeds, etc. focused on geek information. I think it's time for new leadership there."

Kerravala said he's hoping that someone with a greater background in business, rather than a full-on techie, will take over the site.

"Perhaps [Slashdot could] become an aggregator for other resources, meaning partnerships and integration into other social networking sites or blogs," Kerravala said. "More integration will be important. The new CEO should have a business development background.

"That will take it from being niche to being big," he added.

However, many of the comments under Malda's post today are from people who are sorry to see him leave. Many of the commenters noted that Malda's resignation came just a day after the tech industry was rocked by Steve Jobs announcing that he is resigning as Apple's CEO.

"This is like the Internet going into retirement," wrote one person. And another wrote, "I could write a long rambling ode, but I think I'll just say thanks for the last 14 years. You did good."

Sharon Gaudin covers the Internet and Web 2.0, emerging technologies, and desktop and laptop chips for Computerworld. Follow Sharon on Twitter at @sgaudin, or subscribe to Sharon's RSS feed . Her email address is sgaudin@computerworld.com.

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