The question posed to the geek community was originally technical one: Can news sites handle the traffic of millions of users during a major event? For now the general consensus is “no” (according to Keynote, CNN.com, NYTimes.com and ABCNews.com were unavailable for at least an hour following the 9/11 attacks). But there is a broader exchange about the nature of online news and it’s ability to bring understanding to a community.
While TV’s ability to deliver the unfathomable images was unmatched, the Slashdotters feel their online community delivers something other online media can’t:
"If the Internet had a higher percentage of useful sites for news (not just talking jpeg-heads, but innovative ways of conveying the STORIES that the news represents), then not one of them would be loaded down and the backbones would be the only bottleneck. Notice that so many of us flocked to Slashdot when the towers fell? Wonder why? Because Slashdot, for good or ill, is our community’s storyteller, and we instinctively come here to understand how our community is reacting.” - ajsThe rush of to analyze and package the news does indeed sometimes comes off as inauthentic. Perhaps what people need in a crisis, after the facts have been told, is a sense of community and an ear for the stories it tells.