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Never, ever, ever reply to replies. It's a no-win. Your reply, no matter how eloquently written, no matter how correct, can not change anyone's opinions. At best, you spend a lot of time writing an essay in reply to comments which will be ignored. At worst, the community decides you are wrong and pummels your opinion into the ground, damaging your reputation or worse. So replies have at best, near zero or worse, negative value.

Top-level comments are okay, but they should be written well enough to stand on it's own, without further clarification. It's not worth the time, mental energy and stress to reply for the tiny value comment replies offer.

If someone has a serious question, private forums (email, chat) are universally better. Comment chains lose all context and worse, stick around forever.

HN threads are supposed to be conversations. It wouldn't be much of a conversation if people never replied to each other.

I think you've seriously misjudged what the actual purpose of a forum is.

I disagree.

At least it seems that they follow their own principles ;-)

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