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> by the same group of people

Don't think it's the same group of people, it feels like intelligent and mentally healthy individuals have been opting to abstain from online discussions in general over the last few years in droves after realizing their time and energy and better spent elsewhere. Especially with the trend of comments being taken out of context to attack individuals employers/livelihood. That leaves the young, socially broken and depressed (myself included).

Ah! I think you are onto something there. I noticed it as well; Reddit is the worst offender as even serious and well founded comments are butchered and lighthearted/funny ones are upvoted in the 10000s. If you have better stuff to do, you will just think; fuck it then I don't answer. I would love to have good discussions with new peers online, but doing that in open court seems to attract the weirdos so I just go do something else.

So that said; where do people go online who want to have serious (tech) discussions? Must be some secret place with a person like Linus kicking everyone out he doesn't like at first offense.

So far this seems the best we have, and this is the only community I really will comment in. I think keeping up such a community means we have to ensure that the serios and well founded comments are upvoted, and the lazy/annoying/"funny" comments are kept off.

Personally I found Hacker News to be the best place for serious and thought-out comments. Research and critical thinking is rewarded (most of the time), while silly jokes (when not embedded in more substantial comments) and inflammatory content are frowned upon. It's actually a joy to read comments here, while I really dread —and often avoid— it on other sites.

Apart from that, technical forums for specific topics, like the ones for certain Linux distributions or other open source projects, have their merits; but they are naturally limited in the breadth of topics discussed. (Some might have very interesting and broad off-topic discussions though)

I largely agree, but HN has some blind spots in this regard - most discussions about the workplace, open plans, working from home and especially interviewing almost invariably descends into angry rants and borderline conspiracy theory. My gut feeling is that this had been pretty constant, but the comparison of this thread with two years ago suggests otherwise.

I've also had a couple of brushes recently where what I considered reasonably calm and uncontroversial posts on a technical subject got alternating up and down votes for hours. I don't recall that happening before.

I can't count the number of times recently that I've starting composing a comment on here, only to decide against posting it due to laziness and/or disinterest in the response. In fact, just a minute ago, while writing this comment, I decided not to post this comment, hit the back button and started scrolling on. But then a minute later realized what I was doing and decided to come back and comment.

Maybe that's just a sign of my growing older, but I think some of it might be the degradation of the community's general moral.

I do this all the time. It's a form of rubber ducking.

Articulating myself, to myself, even if I don't share it, is often worthwhile. Why do I agree? Disagree? Is my observation novel? Enough to share?

Once I figure out what I'm thinking, do I care enough to share? Is the recipient worth my time? Do I really want to interrupt someone who's digging themselves into a hole?


Here. It's the best we've got.

This has been my view for a while too. Most internet forums I use are a shadow of their former selves.

When I first started browsing hn I was blown away with how smart and insightful the posts were. Ideas I had never thought of and quite a few I struggled to even comprehend.

It's very rare to see that now days.

Are you sure it's not because you're better educated and harder to impress? I thought the same thing until I did a deep dive on some old articles and the comments weren't noticably different.

Probably a factor, I also think it's partly because the forums I use at the moment used to be programming centric, but have since broadened their appeal. Hn to Tech business, reddit to literally everything. Lobste.rs has been a fantastic alternative for decent discussion

Thanks for pointing out Lobste.rs. I had never seen it before. It looks like it adds back some of the good ideas from the Slashdot of yore.

Everyone thinks this.

I was the hub of a PC-Relay network (the FidoNet era), a moderator on CompuServe, and very active on various game boards. It's never been any different.

Social circles have a life cycle, span.

When the current one sours, go find the next one. Or start a new one with some friends.

I think Clay Shirky's article about a group being its own worst enemy applies. Probably monkeyspheres too.

The Life Cycle of Social Circles... you got a book title there ;)

And what's with music and TV now? When I was younger everything was good, but now it's bad.

Yeah nar, false dichotomy imo

Oh please. Everyone online is far stupider and more insane than before? There's an assertion wanting for evidence.

As the internet population increased the mean intelligence went down. Such an obvious and expected trend, I have to wonder if you're ok. Maybe you're so well-trained that you stop thinking when you jump to a conclusion.

That's only obvious if you take it as a given that the more money you have the smarter you are. Besides that, has there been a large change in the portion of the population with Internet access since 2016? And, besides that, the supposed "proof" the Internet has gotten stupider is becoming critical of Google.

> That's only obvious if you take it as a given that the more money you have the smarter you are.

Intelligence isn't a ladder, so that wouldn't make sense in any context. Effective understanding of the relationship of Google vs God vs a domestic country's population vs yourself, does require some sophistication that involves general intelligence (in aggregate) and education. There are correlations with median income and these factors. As the population of the world gains access, simplistic fears about shadowy organizations are bound to gain ground from a myriad of historical and cultural parallels, as the median education level falls (among other associated factors, like wealth).

I think both of the parent comments are intended to be sarcastic, but I could be wrong.

I find it hard to tell.

> That leaves the young, socially broken and depressed (myself included).

But also the stubborn, the foolhardy, and the idealistic.

Yes, that's what lsmarigo said.

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