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Show HN: News from Reddit (fastnews.me)
124 points by salmaanp on Jan 5, 2017 | hide | past | web | favorite | 71 comments

I guess I'll be the first to deliver negative feedback.

Technically, it's well-designed. It's a fine-looking product that is easy and compelling to use. The key-point summary is a good feature. That's all granted.

However, I think this is a bad product to build. The past weeks and months have shown us that we probably need more long-form content and less short-form content, where the loss of details robs us of important nuances. Just reading the headlines -- and that is what this product allows you to do very efficiently -- does not necessarily make the user better-informed, but it dangerously gives the user the probably-false impression that they are now actually informed.

I would encourage you to think not just about the problems you would like your product to solve, but also the problems that your product might contribute to.

Thanks for your insight. I have actually given this a thought.

The first point is that the site is not posting super new content, but stuff that is already popular and has a fair bit of discussion around it.

Another thing is that I ran https://www.reddit.com/user/samacharbot2 for quite some time and what would happen was many people never actually read the article but just made assumptions from the headline. The summary actually helped a lot and even became a starting point of discussion.

I agree that half baked information can be sometimes harmful than no information at all. Ideally how I'd like the website to be used is that people who find a summary interesting go and click the actual article.

Hope you understand my perspective.

Irish leader doesn’t regret calling Trump “racist and dangerous”

that's not news.

Go into the reddit comments and you'll see how the article itself is a bit misleading as well

r/news comments i avoid like the plague. i have that sub blocked on my front page (along with r/politics and "popular" candidate subs including but not limited to the bern, hillary, and trump). life's too short for any of that shit.

Building a product is more about creating what people will use than it is about creating what is good for them, and products that prioritize the former will generally outcompete products that focus on the latter.

Fixing that equation probably requires a deep restructuring of how companies get attention, growth, and revenue.

But if your product is ad supported you have the incentive to make it as inefficient as possible as long as it stays interesting. I wonder if there is a market for a paid or freemium product that is designed for efficiency instead of clickbait.

I don't think short articles or even just headlines is bad. The only issue is that they are horribly misleading and/or biased. I sometimes like to read Wikipedia's Current Events page (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portal:Current_events) which is also just short summaries of news. But in Wikipedia's famous neutral style.

Reddit in particular likes to upvote things I wouldn't consider news. At one point, 50% of the articles were of the format "mildly important person says something reddit agrees with."

I just went to that wikipedia page and I like it a lot. I like the idea of getting a current event, no context, just the facts, and then maybe moving on to read about it later from a publication of my choosing. It's kinda like the Yahoo! News digest without the editorializing (and it has a refreshing lack of Trump tweets).

This idea that suddenly the average US citizen "cares about the truth" and fake news destroyed the outcome of the election somehow is incredible. It would be funny if it wasn't tragic and dangerous.

Why do engineers have so poor understanding of social sciences? Is there anything in math-driven jobs that inhibits approaching topics without trying to mathematize them?

"Is there anything in math-driven jobs that inhibits approaching topics without trying to mathematize them?"

A hangover from logical positivism - in a nutshell, the dogma that any statement that is not falsifiable through observation is actually without meaning.

I'm trying to switch off reddit like news sources. I've found longform.org to be amazing in the meanwhile. Strongly recommended.

This three tier system is basically what the Economist does in its print edition, so he's got some good company.

Is it a bad product? A product's goal is not to do the moral good thing (in which you are right, long and detailed is better) but find the addictive stuff and make it cheap and consumable (which this product seems to do); think Coca Cola (great product, doesn't worry about its healthiness if not forced).

What a horribly depressing view of business, design, and life in general.

I feel you've held a horribly unrealistic view of business.

Business is at best amoral & often actively immoral. For those of us with a conscience, we must sacrifice profit in the name of not being horrible people, or allow capitalism to turn us into horrible people.

It's not an easy decision.

Just choosing the White Knight Suit for yourself doesn't solve it though, since too many morally good decisions also F up other people around you.

Looking like a good person and being a good person aren't the same thing. They often conflict.

For anyone else interested in the code, I believe these are the repos -

Backend https://github.com/SalmaanP/news_backend

Frontend https://github.com/SalmaanP/news_website

Woah! I did not know that about killing PID -1. That is not behaviour I'd expect.

This developer uses Python though, which seems like it does the correct thing in raising an error instead of just returning a -1. I'd have to look through the Python code to be sure through:


Very nice looking - I wonder if the India link could be changeable to a geographical region more interesting to the reader (with maybe India as the default).

Thank you! Yes i was planning to do all major countries which have active subreddits. Just started with india since it has lots of news articles posted everyday.

It would be good if this was user-configurable, e.g., via the URL (or, heck, a cookie), not only for countries, but topics, e.g., privacy.

I like the idea of some customization.

(While on the subject of customization: Am I crazy or does the theme choice not "stick"?)

how was the summary points done? is it through processing the text through ML or Reddit does provide with key summary points or some 3rd party service?

How accurate is the summary points?

There's a comment above that links to the repos for the source code, but it looks like it uses the python package Sumy to do the summaries.


cool, I will check it out.

If this pulls news stories from reddit, it's going to be very biased, US centric, and left leaning. Great concept, just questioning using reddit as a source.

Very clean web app. I like the layout.

I personally don't use Reddit very much after their warrant canary issue .. and the CEO that edited comments. Kinda lame since the only similar alternative is kinda a cespool for racism coughcoughGoatscough.

Thanks for opening up the source too. I can see a lot of potential uses for this. You might want to add vim swap and .log to your .gitignore though. :-P

Looks pretty neat! I will take a look at the site over the coming days and report back with feedback :)

Side comment, I am wondering why you've bothered with putting your email as: salmaanpehlari[at]gmail[dot]com considering you've got the raw email address in the source code of that anchor.

Haha, I put it there before adding the about page. Forgot about that...going to fix it right away.

Really glad you liked the first impressions!

great idea! I personally love the keypoints part, I like to stay updated with news but not so much read every single article, so this is great for me. My feedback:

- Work a bit more on the design, specially on mobile. On my iPhone 6s Plus, when I open the page I can only see 1 article, what I like about HN or Reddit is that you can quickly scan with your eyes what you are interested on, as a list. If that is your target audience then you should probably give a similar experience.

- Not a bit fan of the whole "popup" to see the bullet points, I would hide and show them under the title

- I would add an icon to click directly to the reddit comments next to the button

- I think this is a great site to be turn into an mobile app

Keep up the good work!

Impressive! I like the clean layout, and with KeyPoints, the page isn't nearly as ad-infested as it could be.

One suggestion: Have you considered adding the Reddit thumbnail to each article? May help break up the page a bit.

Aren't you the author of samacharbot2? Good stuff mate.

Looks very nice, may I ask why you don't use https? Setting up the certificate should be easy and free with letsencrypt.

Cool. Lose the giant headlines, lose the columns, move the reddit button to where the green button is now, lose the modal.

With the demise of Breaking News (breakingnews.com) I have been looking for a simple, clean global headline aggregator.

News! isn't a drop-in replacement (I liked the 'curated' aspects of BN), but News! is going on my short list of replacements.

Any feedback is appreciated!

I think the keypoint generator is well made, but the presentation has some serious problems.

The next and previous buttons should not drift so far apart, they should be next to each other, close to where the next button is at the start.

It would also be nice if when you went to fastnews.me/subject it would search for the subject. You could also add a recently searched items to the right of the search for the last 3 or 5 items.

Using the website would flow better if you were to have the bullet points display on hovering over the descriptive text.

The summary algorithm seems to work pretty well, so you might want to add the functionality to use it on individual subreddits, in which you could utilize the fastnews.me/r/ to access. Although this would generate some problems since most of these would probably have to be generated by a user request I think it would be really useful.

Thanks for the feedback!

search with /subject sounds like a good idea, i will certainly do that.

Right now I'll add more subreddits and put /r/subreddit for later as that will require bit more resources.

I'll keep tweaking the UI and keep your points in mind. Thanks again!

Cool idea!

At the moment I can't see how old are the items – I really miss dates.

Also, pagination with Next/Prev buttons is ambiguous. Replacing the labels with Older/Newer would make it clear, in which direction in the timeline I'm moving.

I very much like the summaries. It would be great if they had unique URLs. This way I could share the URL of the story summary.

Doing unique URL's will be hard, i am running only on a single instance right now.

I will add dates soon, and change the button labels.

I like this, and would use it on my phone whilst travelling. However, I'd only use the Technology feed - would it be possible to add hard links so I can bookmark it directly - i.e. fastnews.me/technology ?

Also - an RSS feed of each category would be the icing on the cake!

you can now view fastnews.me/technology directly.

RSS is next. :)

There is a lot of ancillary information provided when you read the news on Reddit. You can see a lot more information about the link, i.e. how popular was it, what do people say about it etc.

That gets lost here.

Clicking "News!" resets theme to light. I don't think that's intended.

ah yes!...bug, apologies.

No need to apologize, bugs are unavoidable.

I'd like full titles of articles, and drop the slide in animation.

Actually some titles were really large, and they messed up the entire layout so had to put a limit. Will experiment with it though.

Does the animation lag, or is it annoying?

I think it'd be best if you went with either:

1) Full rows per article, so you can put in a longer title and the design looks the same regardless of if you are on a phone or desktop.


2) Keep this layout, but use flexbox to ensure that the read more button is in the same location at all times. Truncate title length with ellipses, but let us click the ellipses to see the whole thing.

As for the animation... it's problematic on larger screens because the content has a lot of white space on the left side, and everything is centrally placed. This makes the animation appear to take different times depending on your screen size (I know, it likely technically is the same time, but that's not how our eyes see it). Inconsistent user experience is generally bad, unless it is intentionally done.

It might be better to have a side from the top, which would be consistent across all screen sizes....

I'm not sure how it works on mobile. Can we swipe left / right to see more articles? From the animation, it'd appear like we should be able to.

No lag, just seems like an unnecessary flourish. The page feels like it is is loading very fast, so I'd rather it be readable immediately.

The animation to me isn't required, perhaps a fade in would be better vs sliding from the side.

Don't truncate the headlines so much please

I'd love to see it served over HTTPS.

nice work, good job. whenever something happens in turkey, i visit /r/worldnews to see how it is reflected in the world media and perceived by other people. with your tool, it's going to be a lot easier for me to do so.

with that said, there's a bug with the next button. /r/world is selected, i search turkey, i go down and press next, it brings back the home of /r/world. same happens without a search keyword as well. (or maybe there's just no data)

Loving it. The bullet summaries are very well done.

Thank you!

Love the whole experience! Key point summary is nifty; would appreciate a technical blog post :)

Thanks! There's some information in the about page for now. I'll write a bit more in detail soon.

This is great. Really clean and easy to use. Awesome work.

This was exactly what I was looking for. Excellent.

Nice work , fellow spartan.

This is great. Awesome job.

What's the point of reading this and not Reddit itself?

It doesn't look nor function like Reddit at all.

What's the point of drinking from a straw instead of directly from the cup?

The key points derived from some kind of text summarizer aren't there in reddit.

Nice work!


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