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Fair enough, but even if pg said it I still disagree with the premise, albeit respectfully. You can have a site with a simple layout which features the content without having ugliness be a conscious design principle. The problem lies in the assumption that plain design will "repel" one kind of user, but attract another, I don't believe it does.



> You can have a site with a simple layout which features the content without having ugliness be a conscious design principle.

That I agree 100% with. I too believe that. Hell, I find myself liking simple layouts more than what's the usual startup trend for pretty backgrounds (and background videos; whoever does that deserves to have their Internet access limited to crappy 3G modem with fixed rate of $0.1/MB) and fluff.

Personally, I think HN is actually too simple. Reddit seems uglier, but they have lots of very small features that greatly support discussion on the site. I actually think that the interface for general discussion on-line lies somewhere between HN and Reddit - simple but useful tree-like forum.


One thing i've found odd about HN is that the only really customizable feature for logged in account seems to be the background color of the top bar, after you get enough karma. Just imagine how many complaints people wouldn't be making if they could adjust the default text size, line height or some other colors?


Yeah. I don't really understand why this feature even exists. Maybe it's some artifact of HN's history, pg experimenting with that particular part of HN's engine in Arc or something? Because this and all the other things you've mentioned can be accomplished by user setting up an additional CSS for the website client-side, with an implicit assumption that audience here is generally smart enough to figure out how to do this.

Also, the orange bar is basically the single visual element that makes HN HN, so I don't know why people would even like to customize it...

There's some mystery here.


Back in the day, Myspace would embed any arbitrary CSS you pasted into your profile. I'm not suggesting Hacker News make itself that hackable (it would be hilarious, though, if they added that "feature" to the thread submission form) but it seems like it should be a bit more hackable than it is, given its nature.




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