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Often designers put their hearts into things that look like junk to people on the outside, or otherwise are not appreciated or have practical downsides. This is particularly well documented in architecture, see

https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/learning-las-vegas

https://www.amazon.com/Death-Life-Great-American-Cities/dp/0...

and also

https://www.amazon.com/Visual-Display-Quantitative-Informati...

I think there is nothing wrong with the "design" of reddit and HN. Those designs do the job; I think in most cases the design is just a container for the content. People come to these sites because they want to enjoy the discussion, not because they want to enjoy art.

If anybody has a complaint about the design of HN, it is that they have a hard time reading it on phones with small screens.




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