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[flagged] Ask HN: What Happened to the Hacker News Colour Scheme?
96 points by CM30 on July 12, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 56 comments
It's suddenly gone all grey, with the logo blacked out as if it's being censored.

Is there American event that's happening that I don't understand? Is it a reference to the net neutrality arguments going on at the moment?

What's the story here?

It's a trick to get someone curious enough to make a post asking about the change, thereby triggering an extensive discussion about the important issue of net neutrality.

Maybe so. If so, here's some thoughts I don't see anyone else saying - The economist in me says that with deregulation of the Internet, we may see net prices, costs, and weight of data-transmission go down, and total value creation go up.

Poor consumers may get cheaper options subsidized by firms like Facebook and Google. Wealthy power users will probably wind up paying more to get out of subsidized channels. (Does Usenet already kinda do this?)

I stopped watching cable because I hated paying for a service that made me a product that channels could sell for advertising.

I really should take more control of my online habits anyways. Maybe this would help me do that.

I think the internet should be made a public good. Basic access (e.g. a default ADSL of 5 MB/s downstream and 1 MB/s upstream) should be provided without any kind of restraint or caveat (e.g. your data sold to the highest bidder, facebook access only, etc.) in every household or citizen in civilised societies, without any kind of authentication, authorization or identification.

IMHO that's truer as more public offices and services offer or will start offering Internet-only services.

If you'd enshrined those speeds 10 years ago, you would have chosen lower numbers and we'd have a basic uniform service that was slower. Have we reached the "good enough point" with basic speeds that we should draw a line in the sand now?

> [...] we should draw a line in the sand now?

No, we should not. Numbers should be different in every era IMHO.

You don't have to use "IMHO" so much, nobody takes your opinions as fact.

Your comment doesn't add much value to this conversation. Can we please refrain from adding argumentative comments for no reason?

i know its supposed to be a general truth, that regulation raises costs. i mean how can it not, since in the absence of regulation costs would be minimized.

but can you explain why forcing Netflix (just for an example) to negotiate transit with every provider large enough to demand it helps lower any costs? presumably transit competition?

or how turning 'the internet' from a generic access method into a giant menu with a checkbox by every internet address helps lower cost? maybe because we'd be forced to examine all the options and our spending habits and select only the bundles we need?

and what about transitive services...probably need to shift pretty hard away from the whole micro services model, maybe i don't subscribe to the particular oauth channel your application needs.

doesn't this additional server and client side provisioning requirement create a huge barrier to entry? doesn't that weaken the whole competition argument?

i guess what i'd really love to see is some kind of defense for the cable-tv model of the internet beyond 'regulation bad, free markets good'

> i know its supposed to be a general truth, that regulation raises costs. i mean how can it not, since in the absence of regulation costs would be minimized.

There's lots of cases where a lack of regulation causes higher prices. Such as monopolies and oligopolies.

Remember that companies seek to maximise profit above all else. They only lower prices if it helps them to maxmise profits.

We have heterogenous consumers - for example: One user accesses email a couple of times a day. Another constantly views twitter and loads heavy home-pages of their news sites. Another bounces around on sports news and streaming games (perhaps illegally). Another watches Youtube and Netflix, while scanning Facebook. Another mostly torrents.

Right now, we have user pays.

I think deregulation could/will rebalance these things.

- Our emailer will get a cheaper package.

- The news sites will get pressure to lighten up - more video compression, more care about image sizes.

- Youtube will probably be forced to share ad revenue with ISPs - probably leading to more ads.

- The illicit video streamers will probably be very unhappy as their bandwidth goes way down.

- The torrenters will probably be asked to pay more.

- Maybe we get more infrastructure.

- Maybe we get monopolies busted up.

IDK, all of this is speculation. So are all the loudly trumpeted possible downsides (of which I am truly fearful as well.)

But I just want some non-hysterical even-handed exposition. Is that too much to ask?

thats kind of what i was asking for (some concrete argument)

aren't all the things you bring up solved by usage based billing in the current model? thats pretty different than selective transit.

Deregulation could lead to lower prices and more options but in practice it often does the opposite. What will probably happen is that a lower tier of internet service is offered for a price under the current level. That lower tier will be limited in such as way as to be close to unusable for more than the most casual user. The next level will resemble what is currently more or less standard but it will cost more than you'd pay now. There will be some ludicrous all-you-can-eat option for double the price of the above, but those who subscribe to it will soon find out that even that option is limited in some ways, limits which can be lifted by paying 'a small fee' - per limited service.

There is an optimum somewhere between totally regulated and totally unregulated. As to whether the current situation in the US resembles that optimum I'll leave for the reader to decide but it should not come as a surprise if the incumbents in the 'net sector start abusing their market power as soon as restrictions are lifted.

I think it's better for the Internet to remain open, especially with the tendency of this sort of "choice" to become more a dictate that works out against the customer's favor, especially when a small number of players (ISPs) are involved. But I'm with you in feeling like I could probably drop my usage of it to a tiny fraction of what it is now, with little or no harm to my overall quality of life.

That may have to do with remembering life pre-Web. It was basically fine. Really. Impulsive consumption was harder and we were comfortable not having constant, instant, total access to all the world's trivia. So it was kinda better.

Either that, or YC just ran out of magenta and yellow toner.

So it sounds like the traditions on the first night of Passover for the Jews :)


Well, why is today different from all other days? :)

If it is... Well, it works!

Are you involved?

It is about Net Neutrality, the black bar links to https://www.battleforthenet.com/

Oh the bar is grey too?! I have it grey by default, so I know I'm logged in or not, so I didn't notice.

Edit: It IS my grey (#969696) - looking at the source, the topbar colour you set in your profile, overrides anything done in the css (which in this case is #828282) - So I don't see it anyway.... have I missed out on great non-orange bars in the past then? /sadpanda

An interesting corner case. Maybe we should check for custom topcolor #969696 and make the bar something else for those (edit: 7) users.

I feel 100% special now :)

You're not in the 7 though! did you just change it?

Erm... now I'm totally confused!

it's #CCCCCC now! It definitely wasn't that yesterday. And TBH I can't recall exactly what colour grey I set it to originally!

When I looked at the source yesterday it was:

  <td bgcolor="#969696">
now it's

  <td bgcolor="#CCCCCC">
I'm going mad!

It's possible that we introduced a bug somehow when we overrode the top color yesterday. If so, it's likely that #cccccc was what you originally had, since I can't think of why the software would have put that in there.

I have a different color set and it is still gray for me, so I'm not sure why you're missing this one.

I believe the bar is red every Christmas season.

Yes. If you click the black bar, all will be explained.

Yeah, realised that a short while after I posted the topic.

Still not quite sure about how net neutrality ties into the colour scheme and style choice though. Seems like it'd work better for something like the Edward Snowden leaks or what not.

Maybe they could have made it feel like the site was only half loaded with a banner underneath saying "please upgrade your internet connection to view the rest of this site"?

I think it's probably a throwback to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protests_against_SOPA_and_PIPA

I don't remember what HN did in 2012, this might be an example of code re-use...

Not code re-use, but we decided to follow what HN did in 2012: https://web.archive.org/web/20120118204946/http://news.ycomb....

BTW I think there's a (long standing) issue with your CSS: I'm always writing black on dark gray when I'm on Firefox under KDE with the Breeze Dark theme, and I think it's because you probably specified a black foreground color for form elements, and assumed the background to be always white (it isn't!)...

So you decided to block the link to the front page with no way around except typing the URL? Stunning.

Come on you guys, that's a bit harsh. Let me see if we can make something else link to HN for you.

Edit: ok, the Y logo now links to back to HN's home page.

Don't know if you check these 5 days later, but you never reverted this change.

Yeah, I appreciate the net neutrality support but the lack of a front page link has made browsing very annoying today.

Isn't that kind of the point? One day of annoyance to educate people that aren't familiar seems like a decent trade-off. Then again, the HN community is probably the one community that is sufficiently well-versed enough in the subject to not need the reminder.

I can't tell if this is sarcasm, this took me literally 3 seconds to route around using CMD+L and typing "news." and hitting enter. I'm all for good UX but this seems supremely picky.

It's really annoying on mobile. Fortunately, my Firefox already has HN on the "quick dial", so it's two taps for me - address bar and quick dial link.

I apologize for not having CMD on my iPad.

You do have a finger you can use to tap the address bar though.

Or the back button?

As I already wrote in my first comment. And now?

This has been working as a great alternative-noprocrast for me today.

It's a "blackout" not censorship.

We are experts at UX on HN, every one of us hence the intuitive black bar. I was wondering who has died? It could have been anyone. Fortunately it wasn't.

It should have intermittent "hacker news down" pages showing up when you refresh, with a message that this is a show and asking you to refresh a few times, and then the page going away.

UPDATE: I see HN just did that. Got the "HN is down" page several times :)

That was quick!

Solidarity with government regulation.

These questions happen with the "black bar" that pays respects to a recently-passed tech luminary. Sure would be nice if there was a mouseover, tooltip, extra paragraph, HTML comment... something to tell the user what was up.

This is better than the black bar, as at least the link is changed. Otherwise it's: the bar is black. Somebody passed away.

Totally with the story, I just put in my vote in support.

However the blacked out title is confusing. It is noticeable definitely but does NOT tell me to click on it, just looks like there is a bug. In fact I opened HN in another browser to confirm.

There should be an icon for net neutrality - like the pink ribbon.

Reddit idea with logo is pretty good too to get attention. If you didn't seen it just visit reddit.

Some lazy dev just threw out some error. Corrupted frontend developer #@)%@#*!

Do click on the black bar!

Net Neutrality protest?

You must not have the upgraded user account plan. It covers the bandwidth levies that certain high-traffic sites must pay to guarantee the full experience. Otherwise, ISP's have to degrade service for everyone to ensure "optimal" experience. /s

It's Net Neutrality and a call to action.

This picture - making the rounds on reddit - hits the nail on the head: https://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_asset/file/4252153/w...

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