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Ask HN: Does Hacker News make you overwhelmed or frustrated or worried?
27 points by pshyco on Dec 13, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 17 comments
After being a HN regular for more than two years, I've now changed the way I think. That is the only way I can get over this and stop going crazy.

When you scroll through all these pointers and read some of them, I used to feel like I'm the worst programmer in this world. I know nothing. While I'm fixing these bugs, changing label names and doing CRUD on web, others are making millions with startups, writing books, making cool softwares etc etc.

Now I'm changing the way I think.

There are 1000s of posts in HN. It touches many subjects. I'm just an OK programmer, not a superstar or rock star as they say. I try my best to do my job and improve myself and enjoy life.

Out of 30 posts on the main page as I see now, one is about games industry, one about anti-virus, radio technology, Elm, Apk Tool (whatever that is) - none of these matter to me at this time and I don't worry about it. I don't have to learn that. I dnt have to make another tool. Yeah its nice to know things but its not necessary.

This is how I think these days and I'm at ease. No pressure no rush.

There was a time -- before the commercial internet -- when I was under the delusion that I was "keeping up" with computing and it's technology. But now I think William Gibson is right:

  The future is already here —  
  it's just not very evenly      
He was then, too. On the other hand, William Faulkner was also right:

  The past is never dead.
  It's not even past.
But I'll add that the past isn't very evenly distributed either. The Cambrian explosion has a positive feedback loop: between any two technologies there is a niche in which another technology may develop. There's not just a combinatorial explosion of technologies, tools, and ideas...it's fueling itself.

For better or worse, most of the explosion will die because the system is brittle. Niches have dependencies and a tool that sits lives in the space between Angular, Docker, ClojureScript and Less is exceptionally fragile and has nowhere to grow.

Yes, in a way. It's both a blessing and a curse. I definitely learn a lot of cool stuff from browsing here, and I enjoy the comments and discussion (most of the time). I would definitely say HN has added value to my life. BUT... on the flip side, yeah, it has also added stress and fear and confusion, etc in other ways.

The feeling of needing to churn constantly to "keep up" with tech is probably exacerbated by hanging out here so much. And I find myself drawn off onto a lot of tangents, reading books or papers or articles or something that I found here, that aren't necessarily something that I Really Need To Do Right Now. And since I want to learn every programming language, use every database, try every tool, play with every neat new gadget, etc., that I come across, I definitely feel overwhelmed sometimes and HN adds to that.

But, I figure it it wasn't HN, it'd be something else. I subscribe to the Apache Incubator mailing list and just the new project proposals there leave me with the same feeling sometimes. And if I wasn't on HN, I'd be on Reddit or something, or even just checking Google News, and I'd still feel overwhelmed and frustrated at times. I've just kinda learned to deal with it. shrug

I went through this with Slashdot back in 1997. Then a little from reddit and finally hacker news. You have to look at this like it is a tabloid or at best as a news junkie. It doesn't help that apps, tech and startups have been celebritified. Also tech is constantly changing unlike medicine or the law where years of study get you to the top. So the trick is to specialize and focus on your niche and ignore everything else.

I dunno. When I first joined, I felt on the outside and like I wasn't a "real" programmer or whatever. Then I realized I felt that way because I wasn't making anything, just reading. So I started making things and spending more time programming. After doing that, I found I didn't care as much about what all the Bay-area startups are doing or getting a job at the next unicorn - it's just not who I am. And I'm happy now. I learn about new tools here, I learn about new ways of doing things, I find new software I can use and new products to make my life better. And that makes me happy. I'd love to be over in the Bay area, barely able to afford rent despite my 5-6 figure programming job; I'd also love to be a trust fund baby who had no idea what having a job was even like.

As a programmer in my 50s I'm comfortable with my coding skills and am now interested in broader material so I filter HN by 'software' and that gives me just 20 hits a day which is feels manageable.

Do you do this manually? If not, care to share your filter?

Would be nice if you could share your filter. I tried doing search with the texbox at the bottom of page but results didn't look pretty/

Not OP, but using google search tools, I got this:


It displays ~15 results

I'm better than some, I'm worse than some, neither of those matter because at the end of the day, if I'm getting paid for doing my job then that's what counts. I'm not changing the world, I'm not curing cancer and I'm not solving homelessness and world hunger. But that's okay, I'm getting by as a married father of 4 in a single income house. And my wife and children are all healthy and happy. So at the end of the day that's what counts.

I find it frustrating and encouraging. Mostly, I think, people who do not know what they are talking about dominate discussion.

I tend to like it. I'm competitive by nature so seeing what everyone else is doing gives me motivation to keep striving and seeing my goals higher. I may not ever catch up and be in the talking edge, but it at least keeps me on my toes and prevents stagnation.

I find some great posts on the new section that rarely make front page. Its my luck that I find them given the speed at which new posts are added. To answer your question, maybe a little overwhelmed at times but hey fake it till you make it

This is great hahaha, I thought I was the only one feeling that way, such a relief. I'm doing the same thing as You.

No, that's a recurring theme, on "ASK/Tell" actually. I believe that most programmers feel that way, but I am not sure if it's a matter of personal treat or skill.

After scan HackerNews, I should go to San Fransico Bay area, otherwise, I am not in the tech industry.

The feeling you are describing I have when I happen to visit FB - which I don't do very often, and I try to use it only one way - to send or share. Never to read the "what's new". It makes me feel depressed. It has become a space of self admiration, where everyone is so perfect, so happy, so successful, traveling the world, meeting new fascinating people, partying and making out with hot chicks. It's a fantasy world that hits some structures in your brain hundreds of times more powerfully than tv commercials.

I have the luxury of studying humanities (getting another degree) and not programming anymore for work. That's an absolutely great situation. I can learn useless languages, outdated technologies and not worry about deadlines. Programming is a nice break from reading medieval sources on development of mysticism.

You say: "overwhelmed or frustrated or worried?". My perspective is different. Of course there are some people who will make a handsome passive income, or become very successful and earn shitloads of money. But it's more the matter of luck, like winning a lottery, rather than of consistently working towards your goal. Success seems random, chaotic at best. And HN has a very high concentration of people obsessed with success stories.

I don't believe in IT anymore - unlike many people here do. For example I don't think Google is doing a good job with the ads business - I live abroad on a scholarship in a country where I don't speak the language, and YouTube serves me advertisements of expensive cars I will not buy, in a language I don't understand, or commercials targeted for woman. They are wasting my time and their money. But still I am a consumer nevertheless and have my 500 euros to squander. The ads I stumble upon have NEVER tempted me to click on them. They are perfectly irrelevant. Or I get ads of products I have already bought. Pointless, don't you think?

There are web sites that take 10-15 seconds to load, then my laptop starts to roar, gets boiling hot executing Flash and JS. That's an absurd!

For me what's going on in the IT world is just a tech bubble. Nothing to be frustrated or worried about.

And there are millions of things we have to fix in the world (I live in Scandinavia. Today I tried to make a report about a car break-in for over 30 minutes and then I gave up. The post office did not inform me, that there was a parcel waiting for me since Thursday...) And you want an intelligent Deep Learning algorithm. We are still struggling with providing drinking water to a large percentage of humanity.

So the wonderful things presented over here are not really revolutionizing anything. They are mostly admirable toys, but let's not be too crazy about them.

PS: My friend's laptop has broken and since then he goes to the library, reads 3 books a week, takes notes. Blogs and wikipedia proved to be of little value. In short - less Facebook, more productivity ;)

I very much agree with you. I wish I could do something else rather than sitting on my bum all day staring at these two screens. But I can't, got bills to pay.

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