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Tell HN: readwriteweb.com Canvassing HN'ers for their 'HN Love' (jacquesmattheij.com)
101 points by jacquesm 2031 days ago | 79 comments



All of these meta-police postings are starting to get ridiculous.

I get that you're outraged because someone asked you to read or post something, or vote for something; but come on - surely you have a little more faith in the intelligence of the people here that you don't think that we're just going to blindly submit things because someone has asked us to.

This sort of submission doesn't accomplish anything except starting arguments. Even if a thousand people vote this up, nobody is going to stop asking other people to vote for their submissions, nobody is going to stop emailing people from out of the blue and asking for them to submit stories, nobody is going to stop posting links to their submissions from other sites with a plea to upvote it.

Instead, the top story is now about how someone was once again done wrong by the dark and terrible forces of the internets, conspiring to destroy the very fabric of Hacker News.

It's the sort of story where everyone can weigh in, because there's no barrier to entry for having an opinion. You can already see the race to the right margin starting, and this has only been up for 2 hours.

Good content has its way of making it to the front page. I can generally tell when I submit something if it's going to make it to the front page; I haven't had to ask anyone for any votes and yet they get there.

I guess I'm a little irritated about the insinuation that we don't have the capability to make decisions as to whether or not we vote or submit something. The suggestion that we can't is just getting old.

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As several people have pointed out, the core 'problem' is that it opens the door for less scrupulous activity in the future. I think we all have a mutual respect for the intellectual capabilities of the current HN'ers in regard to not blindly submitting or upvoting stuff.

However you can't ignore the fact that as HN gets more readers there's more skin in the game for startups. Getting your story to the front page could get you some of the momentum you need to attract that first angel investor, or to find your first seed group of alpha users. There are plenty of forces that will tend to corrupt the process as HN gains more readership.

We can't just consider the issue at hand, you must also consider the precedent this sort of thing sets and how that could evolve in the future.

Edit: I find it a tad ironic that the people saying this stuff isn't happening are also linking your comment in IRC and asking for it to be upvoted. Point being: it just rings false to 'lobby' for votes. Nothing personal, just an observational, I get that it is at least partly tongue in cheek.

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I'm not so sure that a dangerous precedent is being set here. Don't you think it's far easier (and more harmful to the community) to game the killing of stories than to game the promoting of stories?

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Just because one is bad doesn't mean the other isn't. I'd argue that neither are particularly desirable, however, there are less reasons to kill content than there are to promote your content to the front page. It may make sense to kill content in the narrow band where that content competes with your own startup and/or blog, but beyond that there doesn't seem to be much reason for it.

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Dear HN folks, Marshall Kirkpatrick, lead writer at RWW here. Just wanted to let you know that we're reading your thoughts here and looking into this situation. We like HN not just for the readership it has sent us over the years but also for the quality content from other sites that we find here and the good discussion in comments. I just woke up and don't know what more to say about this right now, but please do know that the integrity of the collective news discovery and promotion process is something we think is important.

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I find the drama tedious. There's already enough of it in the world. Why hype more?

This site is very simple. Post article/comment. Get feedback. Post more. Why make it more complicated than that?

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Because if we allow this type of behavior, that formula no longer works. Those who simply post an article will never make it to the front page, because they don't have the clout and/or group to get their post voted up.

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You do realize that your comment was essentially a meta-meta-policing comment? And you wrote nearly as much as he did.

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Also, now there is a story about the site on HN. Congrats, free PR. Leaving it alone would have been better.

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When people ask for marketing advice on HN, one of the things I always suggest is getting to know bloggers in your niche because, hey, help them help you. This is generally fairly well-received advice here, and has been practiced by many folks successfully. (I really like Peldi's pitch emails. They're on his blog somewhere, and are very worthy of emulation.)

I am unsure in what relevant respect contacting someone to post something to HN is different than contacting someone to post on their blog. Is it that we have a reflexive allergy to being marketed to? I find that people generally don't mind, as long as they're buying what you're selling. For example, every once in a while I get an email from startups about the new foozit they're working on, particularly for A/B testing.

Heck yes, I want to hear about that. Please, send me email. I understand you're not sending it to me because you woke up this morning and decided "What can I selflessly do to brighten Patrick's day?" That's OK -- we're all businessmen here. If you know my name and have given enough individualized attention to believe I will like it, I'll at least give it a looksie. (Running /bingo/ against whois records does not count as personalized attention -- and no, I'm also not impressed that you have a fake female persona do the letter.)

While it is extremely unlikely that I'd ever submit something from ReadWriteWeb or your tech blog of choice (simply because if it was worth reading y'all would all have already seen it probably days in advance of me), I wouldn't feel particularly dirty submitting something that I discovered via an email. I mean, since you guys are my main source of startup/software/etc news, and I don't submit duplicates, eliminating the "somebody told me about this" route would pretty much mean that the only way to find something to submit would be to write it myself.

Not that I have a problem with that, either. :)

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Accounts are free, what stops someone from posting it by themselves? If it's good it will float to the top (or at least, it should).

By asking 'well known' people in the community to submit stuff for them they're trying to ride the reputation of others in order to maximize their exposure, while at the same time hiding the fact that these are not 'natural' submissions.

It's like using other HN users as your personal sock puppets.

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Rather than using an identifiable person for my example I'll use non-existent Bob. Suppose Bob has been here for the last 3 years and has a bazillion karma and is well known to everyone as The Freaking Man on the subject of email marketing. (Sidenote: Do we have a Bob here? We could really use a Bob here. Show yourself, Bob!)

Anyhow, suppose some random email startup convinces Bob that their thingee is worthwhile enough to post about. Yes, I would trust that endorsement more than I'd trust randomHacker123's post. That is because Bob's endorsement matters to me, because I can use it as a filter for things I am likely to enjoy.

I understand they're using Bob's endorsement to maximize their exposure. I'm just not troubled by that. Bob's endorsement matters to me, at least on the subject of email marketing. He's doing the work sifting through the email marketing pitches so I don't have to. Yay! Bully for Bob.

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I've found it hard to find a convincing argument why posts should be anonymous, most of them seemed pretty contrived, but I think you may have just found one.

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I must admit I hadn't considered people actually pay attention to who submits stuff. I don't. The HN interface makes it too painful to do so.. no avatars for quick visual scanning, etc. It sounds like work.

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Nobody who is an expert on e-mail marketing would ever wander in here. They'd be too busy driving their Ferrari. I came in here by accident and came away with a prime example of why Hacker Newspaper doesn't link to comment threads. For every one intelligent comment by you, Patrick, there's a hundred by a bunch of people getting into bicker-y little soap operas about who voted for who. I study the Bobs and I can tell you they're all too busy for that shit. :-) I'm a little too busy for it myself.

Anyway, for the record, I will happily get any story on the front page of Hacker News for the right price. I'm not kidding, I've done it before, on purpose. I once set out to teabag Hacker News and get a story about my own balls on the front page. It only took me two attempts. My e-mail is gilesb@gmail.com and I am more than happy to take your ducats.

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I'm glad you've finally stated outright that this community means nothing to you other than being a great place to advertise. I think it was already fairly obvious... but thanks for clearing up any doubt. You realize that paid upvote rings are a large part of what killed digg, and are killing reddit? And they will kill HN, if they become common enough. It may seem innocent and fun while you personally do it, but before long the front page is nothing but posts about balls, and who wants to read that?

Feel free to rag on all the "drama" it creates, but that's because people here actually care about the quality of this site. Is that stupid? Naive? To you, clearly. But I think it's perfectly reasonable to desire that your favorite stomping ground not become just another place where the almighty dollar trumps all.

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Well done for falling into Giles' trap...

Standard response: don't feed the trolls (even the well-known trolls)

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I'm well aware of the possibility that he could be trolling, but I also don't doubt that he'd do all he could to push an article to the front page for money. Obviously I can't control his actions, but what do you suggest we do? If we all just ignore him, it might work, but it also might suggest to people on the fence about the issues that the HN community doesn't care about that kind of behavior.

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Dude, when it comes to Giles, it's not a "possibility that he could be trolling". It's a certainty. :-)

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So what does that mean exactly? That because he's "always trolling," any attempt to argue with him is a waste of time? It seems like an easy cop-out, like declaring "I'm an asshole," before being a dick, and somehow thinking that excuses the behavior.

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seriously. what a waste of time.

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Your logic's terrible.

_this community means nothing to you other than being a great place to advertise._

That conflates a community with a site, and attention-seeking with profit-seeking.

_before long the front page is nothing but posts about balls_

How long is before long? I actually think that would take a while, although I'd certainly be impressed if it happened overnight.

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Obviously "nothing but posts about balls" was an exaggeration, but I don't think it's an impossible scenario. When digg first started, it wasn't all that different from HN, and reddit was very similar. Today digg has the 12 lost photos of Christie Brinkley on the front page. No, the change won't take place over night, but it has happened other places, and I have no reason to doubt it could happen here.

As for conflating a community with a site, I fail to see the problem. This site does have a community, and I'd hate to see that community change dramatically. I suppose the community could just meet somewhere else if this site goes down the drain, but I'd much rather avoid an exodus if possible.

And I'm not conflating attention-seeking with profit-seeking, actually. You just presented an offer to all of HN (and the entire internet, really) that you'll get their post to the front page for the right dollar amount. Seems pretty profit-seeking to me. Were you kidding? Trying to get a rise out of us? Maybe, I don't know. But even if it was a joke, I didn't find it particularly funny, because that behavior has ruined sites before.

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You can subscribe to Patrick's HN comment feed on searchyc. I highly recommend doing that (for a couple different people); that's how I read comments here for the most part.

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now that's a good idea.

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"Natural" submissions? What are "natural" submissions? Submissions that arose naturally out of the movements of the Great Magnet? Every article that ends up on here ends up here because someone (whether the author or not) has deliberately submitted it, and other people have deliberately upvoted it. This is true whether or not the person who submitted it was the author, and whether or not they were asked by the author if they would be willing to submit the article. Who are you to declare one set of articles "natural" and the other "unnatural"?

I think you need to get off your puritanical high horse about "keeping HN pure". You're doing more harm than good. So far, the main HN problem I see with "canvassing" or "voting rings" or whatever other cabalistic conspiration theory you think up, is the fact that you're polluting HN with these pointless finger-pointing exercises.

There's far more a problem of awesome posts getting zero upvotes than of crappy posts getting too many. Far too many times I stumble on something that is a great, great post, I submit it, and I find that it was submitted 2 days ago and got no upvotes. This sucks.

* TO CLARIFY:

If anyone runs a blog and thinks their last post is AWESOME and they reckon HN will love it, but for whatever reason they don't wish to post it under their own nickname, please DO send it to me. I will read it, and if I like it and I feel it is indeed an AWESOME post worth putting up on HN, I will post it.

PS: I will not post things that I don't think are in fact worth posting.

PPS: If you can't figure out my contact details by yourself, then you can't send me stuff.

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Daniel,

You are simply mad with me because I pointed out your little group voting each others stuff up under the banner of being 'the defenders of HN', whereas that sort of behaviour is a part of the problem, not part of the solution.

I'm sure you didn't like that but to pretend I'm making it up is really funny, here is a transcript of #startups:

<swombat> http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1103439

<swombat> fuck jacquesm.

<wheels> swombat: +1 for mention of the great magnet.

<raz> who is that?

<wheels> And clearing up that there is no cabal.

<swombat> there is no cabal, just a more efficient mechanism for bringing cool articles to the attention of more than 1 person so that they have a snowflake's chance in hell of actually being read

<wheels> raz: It's like the force, except that it wipes your hard drive.

<tomh-> free upvote for your comment swombat

<tomh-> that jaques guy has to know his place and stop being such an asshat

<raz> ya, belt him!

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This makes it sound like some secret society or something. It's the #startups channel on Freenode, which has been posted here about a bajillion times and has more than 100 people in it, most of them HN regulars.

The Defenders of HN, like much of what's said in the channel is tongue in cheek.

And for the record, and I think this goes for any of the regulars in there, sure, if somebody mentions an article that I like and points it out in there, I'll vote it up. If somebody mentions an article that's crap, I won't. I do the same on HN by subscribing to the RSS feeds (via searchyc) of a handful of HN users that I find consistently post stuff I want to read.

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If you feel like we (#startups) are part of the problem and not part solution, then feel free to reveal yourself in the channel and confront us with what bothers you.

As I see it, #startups is a channel which has very smart people involved in the startups community including many people working for YC companies. As the channel is realtime we have the great opportunity to point others to interesting stories before they will go to hackernews and see what's new themselves. Certainly not all people will just up vote articles blindly without seeing if it's actually a good article. Just like I think swombat's response was good, I gave him an up vote. If you sticked around in our channel longer you would know that we often joke about taking money and "giving free upvotes". Hiding in the channel anonymously and posting the logs on this channel is exactly why people get annoyed with the content you submit which in turn results in calling names (which I should also apologize for) in an informal semi-private setting..

The people in the channel submit interesting and relevant articles on regular base and I think those submissions are one of the main reasons I visit this site on a daily base. The channel is certainly part of the solution and not the problem. We submit good content, why worry about the way it happens?

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> If you feel like we (#startups) are part of the problem and not part solution, then feel free to reveal yourself in the channel and confront us with what bothers you.

This discussion was started in the open and I'd prefer to keep it in the open. I don't like 'backchannels', what I have to say can stand the light of day.

> As I see it, #startups is a channel which has very smart people involved in the startups community including many people working for YC companies.

Nobody denies that.

> As the channel is realtime we have the great opportunity to point others to interesting stories before they will go to hackernews and see what's new themselves.

Which is fine up to a point, and that's where our disagreement probably begins.

> Certainly not all people will just up vote articles blindly without seeing if it's actually a good article.

But some do, and it is more than enough to make a noticeable difference, and not always for the better.

If it were always for the better that would be one thing but plenty of times the upvotes are based on 'who' and not on 'what'.

Invariably the biggest effort to 'upvote' centers around self posts by the people from #startups, even when their stuff is pretty lame.

It rarely happens that the power of #startups is used to 'rescue' a really good post from falling of the new page without upvotes, but it does occasionally happen.

> Just like I think swombat's response was good, I gave him an up vote.

That's fine with me. But let's be fair here, there has been enough 'anti jacquesm' sentiment on #startups to fill a couple of buckets with. The reason why I decided to post that bit of log is simply because I'm being told to my face I'm making this up while it's happening right under my nose.

For the record, I started hanging out in #startups after receiving several emails with a bunch of stuff that was said behind my back, so I got curious what you guys are up to, this was right after some weird emails to my address regarding HN and I figured maybe that's where the source lies.

> If you sticked around in our channel longer you would know that we often joke about taking money and "giving free upvotes".

You joke about it, and at the same time there is plenty of it happening. If everybody on HN would hang out in #startups it would be a different thing, elsewhere in this thread someone claims that

> The folks on #startups are the HN community.

but that would be off by at least two orders of magnitude.

> Hiding in the channel anonymously and posting the logs on this channel is exactly why people get annoyed with the content you submit which in turn results in calling names (which I should also apologize for) in an informal semi-private setting..

I think you have the order confused here, I first received a bunch of logs by email which suggested that there was a fairly concerted effort to downvote my stuff, no matter whether it was on topic or not. This has happened to more than one person on HN, so my feeling at the time was that #startups is not only used to promote content but also to squelch certain individuals.

I'm not sure about the latter, but given some of the stuff said in #startups and the resulting votes on those comments I would conclude that the accent is on upvotes but that group-downvotes definitely do happen if only occasionally.

If you have absolutely never ganged up on someone in a group setting then of course this does not apply to you.

> The people in the channel submit interesting and relevant articles on regular base and I think those submissions are one of the main reasons I visit this site on a daily base.

There is plenty of stuff submitted by others, that do not hang out in #startups that sinks without a trace, if you wanted to upvote interesting stuff then you could do that by basically scanning the new page every couple of hours.

#startups is for the most part limiting the bundling of upvotes to a relatively small group of people.

There are two positive effects from the group there, the one is flagging spam, the other is to upvote interesting articles, but as I said elsewhere that is the beginning of an arms race that eventually will spiral out of control.

I can probably muster plenty of upvotes because of the people on HN that I know or have met but I would never ever dream of doing that.

I once mailed someone about something I wrote and it was immediately interpreted as 'oh, I'll vote your stuff up', I never did that again.

> the channel is certainly part of the solution and not the problem. We submit good content, why worry about the way it happens?

I'm not sure that I'm able to explain this well enough, but let me try:

When a society forms, around a theme or some set of common interests the idea is that the 'one man one vote' principle will guide that society to stay on the rails.

If a small group of people, even with the best of intentions starts to control a dis-proportionally large part of the conversation we are well under way to 'stage 2', which will culminate in people using voting rings, botnets and all kinds of other strategies to drown out each other in the battle for control of the homepage.

Already there is substantial code in the HN core to deal with that sort of thing.

You are accelerating that process, and possibly the decline.

I think this falls under 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions'.

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I think this falls under 'the road to hell is paved with good intentions'.

That's an easy statement to make. How do you know that your well-intentioned crusade doesn't cause more harm than good?

Historically, I've found that self-righteous crusades cause a lot more problems than they solve.

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I can comment on all of your statements, but I just want to say that you have to realize that there are other channels to point people at interesting content other than the /new link. Whether you like it or not, there are people who link their submissions on any of those channels and might ask to upvote it. Just like it happens on all other communities. #startups is not an organised voting ring. The regulars only upvote/flag/downvote people/submissions if they would do the same thing as if they stumbled on that content in "the natural" way.

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The people in the channel submit interesting and relevant articles on regular base and I think those submissions are one of the main reasons I visit this site on a daily base.

and. crucially. nobody forces anyone in the channel to upvote or post anything. I only ever upvote links posted in #startups if I think they're interesting, which is exactly the same criteria I use on any HN link.

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Hardly. This "voting ring", as you call it, is responsible for many great articles getting notice. It is not responsible for any crap articles getting upvotes.

Also, apologies for the "fuck jacquesm", but I do get annoyed by puritanism and other moral crusades.

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I understand - and even respect - what you are trying to do.

But I think you're going about it in the exact opposite way, you are starting an 'arms race', which will eventually runaway with voting blocks controlling what gets posted on HN.

That site is called 'Digg' I believe.

The first group of guys that gets away with it will engender the second and the third, after all, if it's ok that you do it why would it not be ok for other groups to do it?

I've seen first hand how effective it is what you are doing but I simply disagree with it, even if it is content that I like.

To pretend that I'm 'making it up' is disingenuous, especially since you - of all people - are most aware that it is very real.

No need to apologize, I'm not made of sugar, I just like to know what rules we're playing by.

Essentially you're saying HN is fair game and you can gang together your votes in order to gain effective control of the site to maintain a certain character, and I would like us all to retain our individuality in order to do exactly the same.

So we disagree - strongly - about the means but definitely not about the goal.

You are trying to create a solution by staging a 'behind the scenes coup' I would like a solution that creates a level playing field for everybody.

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I've seen first hand how effective it is what you are doing but I simply disagree with it, even if it is content that I like.

Translation: "What you're doing works, but I disagree with it based on abstract principles, even though I like the results."

You are trying to create a solution by staging a 'behind the scenes coup' I would like a solution that creates a level playing field for everybody.

We already have a level playing field: it's called "Google". The point of a site like HN is not to create some kind of abstractly idealist "level playing field", but to provide content that people (me included) want to read.

Ultimately, you could disagree with what we do on the basis of "fairness" - but actually our system is more fair. There are many cases where someone brought up an excellent link that was from a site never before posted on HN, and/or posted by an unknown user. We're actually achieving the aim of fairness even more. Remember, this is an open channel, everyone (you included) is welcome to show up and be a part of it. There's no "karma check" at the front door. Hell, some people on #startups don't even have HN users.

Unlike the digg cabal that you compare us to, joining this channel requires only that you fire up your IRC client and join freenode#startups. And no one is under any obligation to vote up anything. Hardly a voting ring, I'd say.

I see us as an optimisation mechanism to help great content get to the front page - there's nothing dodgy about it at all. Which is why, unlike your earlier suggestion, I am not "mad because you pointed out our little group". I think it's bad form in general to post stuff from an IRC channel onto a public forum, but I'm not made of sugar either.

In fact, I'd say, please do join us there (and this applies to anyone reading this). We're a friendly bunch and very welcoming, and a lot of the most active HN users hang out there. Find us here:

chat.freenode.net:6667

Channel: #startups

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Those without a IRC client or behind restrictive firewalls can use the webchat: http://webchat.freenode.net/

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The thing is, I think even this really overstates what actually happens there. I'd guess maybe 10-20 votes on any given day to all of HN stem from things being mentioned in there. It's not like the channel actually controls the site. If it's a conspiracy, it's a pretty ineffective one.

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> If it's a conspiracy, it's a pretty ineffective one.

That's what they want you to think.

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And there I was thinking we actually made a difference some of the time...

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What coup? The folks on #startups are the HN community.

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HN numbers over 20,000 people, more than 2,500 are 'regulars', #startups is about 100 people.

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I didn't mean that they were the only people on the site, I meant that whatever the people on #startups are doing, they've been doing for a long time. Far from staging a coup, they're already an embedded power and have been a fundamental part of shaping the site into whatever it currently is.

Which I'm fine with. I've been much more disappointed with newbie contributions than anything I've noticed from the #startups crew. I don't want democracy here, I want quality.

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> If it's good it will float to the top (or at least, it should)

I think that's part of the problem. (not that it justifies things).

Asking a mate for a bit of support or to help (see wolfire comments below) is fine IMO. But contacting fairly random individuals with the aim the build a relationship and get you to post stuff is clearly well over the line.

(ironically they can't have done much research into the community because anyone who did would realise that your a poor target for this kind of social engineering :P)

Incidentally I've had some completely unrelated contact with the French part of RWW and I find them charming and ethical. :) Could be just one bad egg?

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You're getting a bit meta here. I disapprove of this post, and the post asking if you should post this. Just post it on your blog and that's it. Don't create discussion that contributes little - this is not a tabloid.

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The fact that a company - any company - is not posting material on its own behalf suggests that it is attempting to rely the poster's reputation to get it promoted rather than pure the merit of the article quality.

I don't particularly see anything wrong with this as long as there is a degree of transparency and the poster adds an initial comment to the effect that:

Bob from example.com asked me to post this and since it is clearly neat, I have.

or

Bob from example.com asked me to post this and since he paid me $500, I have.

... as appropriate.

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The issue there is that unless you're posting a link to a blog entry you wrote (that allows you to make that such a disclaimer), HN will only display the link. I don't think we should start encouraging content-less blog entries that allow us to fully disclose that we're being told to post something. Just post it if it's worth posting, don't if it's not.

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It's easy enough to drop a comment, if it's highly relevant, it will be upvoted to near the top of the heap.

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Post the link. Add an HN comment.

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It's possible that it's more insidious than simply trying to get high-profile users to submit links to their articles. When you try to submit a duplicate link, the system will redirect you to the older submission and cause you to automatically upvote it. If you can get a handful of people to 'submit' the same link, you've managed to boost your article's ranking and likely will get it on the front page.

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I am not that high profile and I have been approached because I have a midrange karma.

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I've been on the leader board for a couple of years, and I do get plenty of random requests about starting HN meetups (I host Hackers and Founders -- Silicon Valley ). I also get a number of random pings to give feedback on people's sites, which I'm generally happy to do.

That being said, I've never been approached to submit a post.

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It doesn't matter how much karma you have though - the top users were probably targeted because the leaderboard was a convenient list of active users.

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Hey Jacques, I just read your post and as per my email, I sent you my article for feedback. I DO want to do a better job in writing stories that are useful to the HN community and this is why I reached out in the first place. It was never my intention to undermine any aspects of the community, if anything I asked you for your advice in honor of your position as a community leader. I have no problem nominating my own stories, but your nomination and feedback tells me if an article is a good resource for entrepreneurs and programmers. Thanks in any case for your initial email on trends. For those of you who do want to let me know what stories you'd like to see written in 2010, I'm grateful for your feedback.

Dana Oshiro

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Hey Dana,

Thanks for posting here.

I'm not a community leader by any stretch of the imagination, as I already wrote to you, just someone that in episodes spends way too much of his time on HN.

My 'nomination' will never be given to stuff I'm asked to submit because that already stacks the deck, I'm no longer unbiased towards what you wrote.

I'll post the stuff that I find on the net while surfing, irrespective of the source of my relationship with a source.

As a rule, if someone mails me their submissions I'll read but not upvote, unless it is excellent stuff.

If I come across readwriteweb articles that really interest me - and not through my inbox - then I'll definitely post it, or upvote it, but otherwise definitely not.

I understand that the pragmatic view is that 'everbody does it' but I simply don't feel comfortable with doing this.

It suggests some kind of collusion, possibly in the long term a quid-pro-quo and I like to be independent.

Over the years I've had plenty of press on my projects but not once was there any kind of behind the scenes dealing going on, and I frown on the cozy relationships that some press people build with people in the industry. Having press contacts is one thing, getting too close is imo not good.

As for HN, I'd expect readwriteweb.com content to be caught by enough people to be submitted anyway if it warrants that, I doubt you'd need to go out and solicit it (I could be wrong there), so for that you really don't need me or any other HN user specifically.

The best 'nomination' you can get here is to simply post your stuff and see what sinks and what swims. It's far from perfect, good stuff will fail plenty of times and fluff will rise to the surface but on the whole it is better than anywhere else, and to carefully read the comments, there is plenty of really good feedback there.

best regards,

Jacques

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Thanks Jacques. I appreciate the discussion and I've learned a ton about the community in this process. Thanks HN.

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Ah shoot. RWW and VentureBeat were the only blogs I really trusted in the startup space. Needless to say, all respect lost for RWW. And it's not like RWW could be added to the banned domains list, because they actually write a lot of stuff people are interested in.

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Eh, I'd support adding them to the banned domains list. Why don't we have another poll?

If not the banned domains list, perhaps pg could nofollow their links for a while?

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One bad apple does not a blacklist make, surely?

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What is the big deal here?

It is a very well known fact that in most of the social news websites people always contact the users with the most reputation ask them to submit/upvote their articles.

If you want to get featured in Techcruch or RWW or any high profile blog, you have to send them emails to get their attention (opposed to they noticing you because you are a promising startup).

This is the way the world works. There is no point in blaming someone who comes from that world for contacting you privately. If you think it is against the spirits of HN, great; now let Dana Oshiro understand the same by telling him this privately.

There is nothing black hat in what he did. It is what they always do. It is their standard operating procedure - contacting powerful people in other fields and build a reputation from there.

I don't want to sound as if I don't care about the quality of HN. I do. I just want to suggest that people from outside may not know these norms and it is not polite to disgrace them in public like this.

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I suspect the disconnect may be much simpler. In many online communities, unlike Hacker News, it's seen as imprudent to post your own stuff.

With HN's roots in the startup community, it's much more in the DNA for people to have an angle they're trying to hustle and there's never been a vibe of don't-self-promote. It may just be that the relative outsiders don't know that it's all good to post their own stuff here.

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I'm glad this was posted.

Articles have been written about this sort of thing -- and more direct vote-swapping -- on Digg and Reddit. If I'd stopped to think about it, I'd have realized it's bound to happen here to some extent. But I didn't.

I feel sorry for Dana Oshiro if this is ventureblogging SOP, but maybe the threat of exposure will make attempts to manipulate rankings less attractive in the future.

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If it’s not a big deal then posting this isn’t ‘disgracing them in public’ surely?

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"Hi John, over here there is no need to talk so loud to get attention"

Vs

"Hey everyone, did you ever notice John talking loudly to get attention?"

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I don't think there's any shame to discussing this in public and I don't think any less of RWW or Dana for inadvertently sparking it. It affirms what the HN community values and let's "outsiders" know what expectations are. This isn't a witch-hunt, it's just public discourse.

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Color me naive, but I didn't realize that was SOP. Good to know though... good to know.

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> If you want to get featured in Techcruch or RWW or any high profile blog, you have to send them emails to get their

> attention (opposed to they noticing you because you are a promising startup).

I don't know about Techcrunch, but RWW started featuring my company without me contacting them at all, and with zero PR push other than word-of-mouth. It's possible to be too cynical about the process.

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Just a data point: I'm in the top 100 (though not top 10 likes jacquesm!), know a couple of people at RWW (not the person involved with this, though), and I've never been approached by anyone randomly at RWW or anywhere else with the intention of gaming or posting to HN.

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I think it's naive to assume there's anything that happens on HN that isn't socially engineered in some way.

Sounds glib, but render down the actions and incentives of participation on the site. In a business-focused environment where there's opportunity to influence a large group, whether for direct commercial gain or reputation-building, competition will necessarily arise.

We're all socially engineering each other all the time.

Take away posting attribution and karma and it mightn't be that way, but those are big incentives for continued participation, once a person is invested. Could the site exist without them?

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Wolfire regularly approaches me to post their blog posting to HN. The blogs are really interesting and seem to be very popular so I really don't feel bad about posting it for them. In fact I don't do much distortion either I mainly just post it with the regular title.

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I will take full responsibility for this. I felt weird submitting my own content, so I asked my friend to submit it on my behalf, which is obviously much worse. I have since learned that submitting your own content is encouraged, so I am basically a dumb ass and humbly apologize to the HN community and to zitterbewegung for asking him in the first place.

-Jeff from Wolfire

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Spoken like a man, thanks for that.

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Hey Jacques - Well, we've certainly got egg on our face now. =)

In Dana's defense, she wasn't asking for a submission. She was trying to put the story on your radar in the event that you were interested in the topic.

I'm sorry you saw this as her trying to turn HN into Digg - which RWW certainly doesn't want to do. We'll be submitting our own stuff from now on.

In the end, whether you're talking about Digg, Twitter, Reddit, or a more niche site such as HN or Slashdot, the best content comes from active members of the community. I guess ReadWriteWeb needs to have more startup writers as active participants, not just content creators.

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Yea after my suggestion :-)

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Even wolfire? Why can't they just post the stuff themselves? I mean I find the wolfire blog to be very very very interesting, and I don't really see the need for them to use a proxy to post for them. The articles would be quite popular on their own merit.

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I am old friends with the person who created the site. I don't know why they went though me apparently I have a good track record for posting.

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Didn't you ever wonder why they don't post the stuff themselves?

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I don't know why they kept on approaching me. I am old friends with the person. I started posting for him on reddit.com . They could have done my job with their own account.

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I think all the valid points have been made; maybe it's time to flag this out of existence(meta).

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