Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Combined Arms

Most of the techie community is aware of and reads regularly the entries posted on Slashdot. Good stuff over there, specifically related to the technology front. They have a humongous readership and something interesting happens when someone gets a mention in one of their posts. It's called The Slashdot Effect.

::::::::Slashdot consists of submitted articles and a self-moderated discussion on each story. In response to the stories, large masses of readers simultaneously rush to view referenced sites. The ensuing flood of page requests, known as a slashdotting, often exceeds the ability of the site to respond in a timely manner, rendering the site slashdotted and, for many visitors, unavailable for a time, occasionally exceeding the site's bandwidth limitations or causing servers to slow down. "Slashdotted" is sometimes abbreviated as "/.ed."::::::::

Just as the tech community is familiar with Slashdot, the blogosphere is quite familiar with Glenn Reynolds of the Instapundit blog. Getting a mention on his site results in what the blogosphere has dubbed an Instalanche.

::::::::Because of its popularity, an Instapundit link to another site can cause the traffic of that site to spike. Such an increase is often referred to as an "instalanche", an Instapundit avalanche.::::::::

Picture for a moment, then, what happens when a story gets covered by both Slashdot and Instapundit. I give you the story of 2004 MN4, a chunk of rock almost a half-kilometer wide zipping along through space and which, for a brief period, concern existed that it might just whack into the Earth. (Newest figures show that's not gonna happen this time.) I can only imagine the heat put off by the routers and web servers of the NASA site as the bone-jarring thunder of an Instalanche enhanced and surrounded by the seething electrical nimbus of the Slashdot Effect came crashing down on their circuits. Gads... Glad I'm not the administrator.