|Like everyone else, HN has been on a political binge lately. As an experiment, we're going to try something new and have a cleanse. Starting today, it's Political Detox Week on HN.|
For one week, political stories are off-topic. Please flag them. Please also flag political threads on non-political stories. For our part, we'll kill such stories and threads when we see them. Then we'll watch together to see what happens.
Why? Political conflicts cause harm here. The values of Hacker News are intellectual curiosity and thoughtful conversation. Those things are lost when political emotions seize control. Our values are fragile—they're like plants that get forgotten, then trampled and scorched in combat. HN is a garden, politics is war by other means, and war and gardening don't mix.
Worse, these harsher patterns can spread through the rest of the culture, threatening the community as a whole. A detox week seems like a good way to strengthen the immune system and to see how HN functions under altered conditions.
Why don't we have some politics but discuss it in thoughtful ways? Well, that's exactly what the HN guidelines call for, but it's insufficient to stop people from flaming each other when political conflicts activate the primitive brain. Under such conditions, we become tribal creatures, not intellectually curious ones. We can't be both at the same time.
A community like HN deteriorates when new developments dilute or poison what it originally stood for. We don't want that to happen, so let's all get clear on what this site is for. What Hacker News is: a place for stories that gratify intellectual curiosity and civil, substantive comments. What it is not: a political, ideological, national, racial, or religious battlefield.
Have at this in the thread and if you have concerns we'll try to allay them. This really is an experiment; we don't have an opinion yet about longer-term changes. Our hope is that we can learn together by watching what happens when we try something new.