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Ask HN: Why do you keep coming back to Hacker News?
30 points by user-on1 9 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 63 comments

It's the best community surrounding general tech discussion _as well as_ its impact on society that I know. It isn't overrun by trolls. And it has a simple, clean UI with no infinite scroll, and even has noprocrast in an age when most sites are desperate for as many minutes of your life as they can take.

> It's the best community surrounding general tech discussion

Do you mean IT, or really tech in general?

For example, I don't see that many posts here about biotech.

It primarily, but interesting topics from across the spectrum pop up.

Quality of content. If I want quantity, I go to Reddit.

And by quality, I don't just mean articles... there are some excellent critiques and well thought out discussions here. People will actually discuss things in a respectful manner even if they differ on opinion. (Relative to other sites)

I second this! The value of HN is in its users and community. It amazes me how some very toxic subjects are actually reasonably (to a degree) discussed here.

I also really like that the user base, for the most part, requires statements to be backed up by facts and sources. That is something I don't see often enough on the web.

edit: spelling

Wisdom of the user base. There are many topics - some not even necessarily related to programming that I will do a "search term site:news.ycombinator.com" Google query on if I want to find some really great information and insight.

Solid discussions. I learn much more from the random comment here and there than from the articles. Not all comments are like this, but a very high percentage compared with other discussion forums.

The best comments are sometimes tangential and sometimes may not get upvotes, but they offer a perspective that I had not considered.

I'm addicted to low effort novel information-- like more addicted than I've ever gotten to Scary Epidemic-Causing Drugs-- and this site provides lots of low-effort information in the content and in the comments. The clean UI and possible relevance to my job bias HN over less targeted competitors

What HN has going for it is its large user base of above-average intelligence who are willing to share their thoughts on a variety of subjects, both within the realm of IT as well as outside of it. On the former many here can speak from experience, on the latter this is often more debatable but the discussion is interesting nevertheless.

What HN has going against it is the ever-present phenomenon of group think in many areas: the large crowd of Apple fans ready to defend anything no matter how fruity, the spectre of political correctness looming over anything related to, well, politics, the frequent killing-off of items which counter the current narrative on some subject, etc. While annoying these factors do not (yet) outweigh the positives.

I do visit HN through my own news aggregator, negating the popularity contest of articles rising and falling on the front page. This is, in my opinion, a good thing as it undoes some of the effects of the mentioned group think.

I don't comment here but have read for years now. I avoid commenting because I generally have very little knowledge on the posts or have anything worthwhile adding that hasn't been already mentioned. I love learning little bits about a lot rather than a lot about a little and am happy with the balance I find here between debate, information and humor.

While I'm actually commenting for once I'd just like to say thanks to everyone here for all the wise words and pieces of knowledge you have passed on over all the times I've been visiting and hope to keep reading for a long time to come.

I'll also add that I'm reluctant to ever mention this place on other sites that I do participate in out of fear of bringing in people who are more likely to turn the place into something like a reddit comment section rather than a very easy read of straightforward information from people who are knowledgeable on what they are discussing, rather than a race to the bottom of puns and trolling.

It's one of the few tech sites left on the Internet where there doesn't seem to be an underlying narrative driven by politics.

I'm looking at you TheVerge/Recode/Reddit.

Don't forget Wired, who also sacrificed objectivity and impartiality a long time ago

Aligns pretty well with my interests. I wish it was a little more social. Also, it's difficult sometimes to contact other users about something they submitted.

It’d be nice if high karma could unlock DM capabilities.

Some people don't want to be social.

If they do, there's the 'About' field in the profile they can set with appropriate contact information.

I'm addicted to getting new content, hoping to read something new, that'd give me a high of finding quality content.

In other news, I'm very fucked up that I allow myself to fall into these positive feedback loops that can diminish my quality of life.

Because, insofar as relatively large non-specialist (comparatively speaking) news aggregators go, HN is the only one where smart, well-spoken individuals still form a meaningful part of the user base. In fact, apart from a few highly specialized subreddits, this is the last major site where I still read comments at all, and I learn something new on a pleasantly frequent basis.

Also, it happens to be the last major news-related website I know of with what I would call "good web design". That helps more than I'd care to admit.

It's a combination of the links that get posted, the people who post here, and the moderation.

It's apparently enough of a draw to have me lurking on this place nearly daily for almost 10(!!) years.

It's my primary source of tech - news, actual code to browse, new things to play with in downtime. I keep my skills sharp by coding and I keep my knowledge sharp by visiting HN probably too many times a day

Edit: As to why here over other places - there's rarely any pun chains. Nothing puts me off a discussion more than pun chains

I know that I'll find something interesting to read, and I'll probably learn something new at the same time.

But importantly you don't always find really interesting stuff. It is a slot machine of news that may or may not give you a dopamine hit.

I learned that random was better than guaranteed here!


If you are the smartest in the room then you are in the wrong room. Being part of HN is being in the right room.

...because it is (generally) the inverse of the "don't read the comments" advice that works so well over the rest of the net.

I'm mostly looking at headlines, reading a couple of comments to get the gist, and then reading articles only if there is interesting commentary.

Hacker culture preferring facts, logic and deep discussions. Bad comments go to the bottom or get hidden and usually doesn't bother you. Thankfully great administration by dang. And as a Lisper the service running on a Lisp dialect is a big plus :)

One of the things I like is when I come to this site, my Ghostery icon has a zero on it.

The reason why I come back to HN, is for the articles, and also the comments on the articles. I find some of the articles to be quite interesting, and informative. I also really like to read the comments on articles. Sometimes I wind up reading the comments first. People sometimes drop interesting nuggets of information that make HN worth coming back to.

Learning from topical anecdotes. Whenever some new complex deployment tool is posted, the comments are full of people posting things like "We solve this problem at my company with Ansible and systemd" and "If you're on AWS, you can use

  ecs-cli compose service up
with your existing Docker Compose files."

wait can you seriously do that?

You mean the ecs-cli bit? Yes, but I don't mean to imply that there isn't a bit of setup before you do it. Still, it's a pretty short path to set up initially, and then updates are dead simple. Check out the tutorial [0] if you're interested.

[0]: http://docs.aws.amazon.com/AmazonECS/latest/developerguide/E...

Useful information, and then informed comments about it. The comments might inform me that what looks to me like a good idea has pitfalls; they might propose similar products with advantages or better suited to my need; or they might articulate a position, held by a large group, that I hadn't considered.

I can find some inspiration about projects, people solving problems, some that I know about, some that I did not know existed.

I can read opinions about issues I have thought about and cared about and get a new perspective.

I can get annoyed because someone wrote something wonderful and then a bunch of people nit pick it to death.

Literally the only place I've been able to find that successfully keeps comments sections on topic.

This is only because of the hard work of the mods (dang and sctb).

It usually has higher quality material, and far superior comments and discussions, compared to the easily gamed, largely trolled, and heavily spammed alternatives.

Also, the user base is usually data driven and fact centric, which is increasingly rare in the post-fact era.

I like that I can get a sample of opinions/ideas/experiences from a bunch of smart people which may uncover a hidden variable I wasn’t aware of. A big part of that is that HN has been able to avoid a lower standard as it’s grown.

+ It's a decent, 'curated' selection of usually non-political topics.

+ Most comments made by people on the internet are ridiculous, emotional, uninformative rants. On HN, people seem to be smart enough to make informed points.

Weakness of will.

"I can resist anything but temptation."

I lurk on here and don't really contribute (mostly due to time constraints). I keep coming back because of the quality of comments and discussions and the positive way people treat each other.

I'm able to procrastinate at the office and claim I'm working

HN is a great funnel that sieves important content to the forefront. It is MY way of staying abreast of what is new and important in the world.

I like it for the non-tech part (apart from where it becomes techy again in a technotopian delusional way of thinking tech can fix everything)

My favorite posts are the “Show HN”, or other Github projects, launch announcements, etc that I wouldn’t find elsewhere.

It's a nice source of news that, for the most part, are not filled with as much bias as other media sources.

I use the RSS feed for interesting tech news. I rarely use or even read the comments.

Masochism combined with a morbid desire to know what my peers think, mostly.

Same as others said, decent posts here. Like Reddit, just for tech. I do wish it would live up to the name "hacker news' and post more IT security related articles, a vast majority of all submissions have to do with coding.

"Hacker" in the HN sense doesn't refer to the IT security variety, it's closer to rapid prototype coder.

I think the blue collar meaning of the work "hack" is far more appropriate...

Skews young and inexperienced but smart and focused.

The inside baseball is super interesting sometimes

Small reason, to know what's going on in tech.

Big reason: to read the comments[1], not articles (most are trash and can be summarized in 4 sentences) surrounding interesting topics. I actually really like when socially controversial or political topics come up on HN, though I know some others don't, because the discourse level is so much higher than say, Reddit or NYT comments. I want to hear smart people comment on these things much more than I want to hear a magazine article pontificate/give a singular opinion/blame people.[2]

I think there is huge value in this community, you guys debating, mentioning interesting stuff, inspiring or encouraging, etc, way more value than if I spent 30 mins a day devouring other "new content" sources.

I used to be addicted to reading the news, and for what? I think we gain next to nothing from it. It's trash, fear-mongering, clickbait and submarines. Try going without it completely for two months and you'll realize you missed absolutely nothing except the crisis in X and how celebrity Y hates Z now and you should too. It's all trash.

But good communities with commentary and solid rules? Real back and forth, articles with instant skepticism and poignant additions? Way more valuable and interesting. That's why I keep coming back.

Thanks for commenting, everyone.


[1] Sometimes if there is someone I think makes a lot of great contributions, I'll go to their comments page and read the last few comments they made, example: https://news.ycombinator.com/threads?id=gwern

Sadly almost all the users I really liked have stopped commenting.

[2] A good example of what I'm talking about is the Boston Review article that this article is complaining about: http://slatestarcodex.com/2017/10/09/in-favor-of-futurism-be... (I think the whole SSC article is worth reading)

Has the right frequency of news rotation.

Good question - i perceive quality of OPs are dropping but the discourse in said posts are pretty gud

I like reading people's opinions from the bubble that they live in.

It's even more fun to share an opinions from outside that bubble and they're forced to actually have actual discussion about it (because that's how this site works) rather than just name calling and down-voting.

due to the content related to tech stuff

looking for a side project

I don't think there's another site out there that really encapsulates what HN offers, maybe lobste.rs

I don't know

I like tech talk

Why down vote me?

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