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Ask HN: How do you manage to go through so much of good content posted on HN?
59 points by sbmthakur on Feb 9, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 74 comments
A lot of good content is posted on HN. However, I am unable to read/watch most of it. I do use Pocket to store articles for future reading. But the list gets big too quickly and I find it overwhelming to finish all of it.

Any specific technique or tool you use to manage all this content?

I mainly read the comments, rarely the articles themselves. (That's not to say that I don't read articles in general — I do, but I mostly find them via Twitter.) Usually, I'm much more interested in what the community has to say about a given topic or issue than I am about the object-level news.

The problem about this is that a LOT of users that seem knowledgeable pull shit out of their ass. I've seen this many times here: I read the article and then the comments and they just end up being elaborate bullshit based on a title and previous "knowledge" (often refuted by the article itself) rather than informed discussion.

This goes both ways. Articles aren't always 100% trustworthy either, and in that case a commenter might just as well offer a valid counterpoint or correction(s).

As with anything, be reasonable. If you're really interested, then use whatever content is available to educate yourself, be it comments, the article itself, or independent research.

I agree, the cases that bother me are the ones where it's painfully obvious the commenter didn't read the article. I enjoy reading counterpoints and is one of the main reasons I read the comments.

The quality of the comments might make me read the article, but that is 1 in 10. I admire the fast groups of subjectmatterexperts who will quickly prais or debunk the content of the articles and post links that are even more interesting.

Further, I use https://theoldreader.com to subscribe to the RSS feed, makes all my "monitoring" a lot easier.

Reading other comments here, it seems that nearly all HN users read the comments and not the article. If no one is reading the actual article, then that means HN users are reacting to an article title and to each other (also reacting to an article title)?

This seems to be a common thing with aggregators in general. As someone who's seen their work posted to Reddit and other sites (or has posted it there themselves), the aggregator topics seem to get a lot more views and comments than the source article does.

I think in many cases, the system comes down to "upvote the topic and comment if I agree with the premise (or what seems to be it), or downvote the article and comment if I disagree with the premise (or what I think it seems to be)"

This is because you are reading comments of people that write comments. People that write comments, (usually) read comments. There are lots of people that read comments that don't write comments and probably even more that don't read comments and click on the links.

For the last group, the votes and number of comments are just signals for how good the link is - they don't care about the comments.

It is not that simple. For one, I only put the first comment under an article after reading it. Which does not happen until I am interested in the topic.

I mostly rely on top level commenters replying to the article content, often with quotes, and then go down into discussion from there.

Same. I use hckrnews.com to have an up-to-date list of recent topics discussed on HN, quickly skim it for headlines that stand out, but mostly focusing on highly-commented posts (50+ when in the morning, 20+ later on in the day), and I read comments first.

I would also add:

http://www.daemonology.net/hn-daily/ (HN daily top 10 links archived since 2010)

https://hnews.xyz/ (HN with thumbnails -> deeper HN skimming)

Normally I don't do this but: third here, didn't expect it to be so common.

Probably the difference for me is that I live in Europe so I tend to catch up to a bunch of posts from the evening/night in the US during my morning coffee and then open hckrnews.com again by the end of the afternoon when some new posts begin to crop up.

I'll read the articles with interesting headlines but always jump to the comments first, some articles that I really think could help me in the future (or deserve further reading or research) I will save to my todo-list or in my Pocket account and then set a reminder to re-read/research in a given day when I'm free.

Woow. I too do the same. But I browse only 1st page in morning (30+) and later I went thr' other pages.

hckrnews.com looks cool. Thanks for sharing.

I don't have a technique to manage all this content. I've been working on the opposite. Here are some disconnected thoughts.

First, realize you don't need (or can't) known everything. There's too much content out there. You'll get overloaded and burn out.

Not everything is useful to you. Sure, it's always good to read about things outside one's bubble to get new insights, but that will occur naturally if you're a curious person. Fight that urge.

After trying to minimize the amount of things that go into your to-read bucket, you'll notice you still have too much to read. Filter again and be okay with missing something. When you actually have an issue in front of you, you'll know how to find the solution. No need to cram everything into your brain.

> Filter again and be okay with missing something.

Yes, this is key. You just have to accept that there is vastly more interesting material in the world than you can ever possibly digest. Then be very discerning about what you pick.

I don't even try to read most of it. Just let it flow past.

On a work-day morning while I'm drinking my coffee and waiting for my brain to boot-up, I go through the current pain page and open the comment pages for any interesting posts/articles. I read the comments to see what the community here thinks, and then maybe flip to the article itself. The decision to do this is mostly based on how the comments look, so I'm using them to get a precis, but sometimes I go to the article anyway. Then I dip-in several times during the day, treating the main page like a twitter-style firehose. Just snack on a couple of articles and reactions, then back to work.

I sometimes read HN at the weekend - when in my experience it has a different vibe, with more thoughtful, longer content. Then I find myself spending more time on the articles and less on the comments.

I mostly just try to let what I read filter into my kind of ambient awareness of HN-type subjects, rather than remembering it. I occasionally flag something a favourite, and even less occasionally bookmark something, but I very rarely go back to old content as there just isn't time.

Okay this might get weird.

I was (am) kind of perfectionist. So I used to feel pressured by the sheer amount of content and feeling what I was missing. I have been doing mindfulness for a month now and it has helped me come to terms with this overload of information.

Now, I don't get bogged by the fact that I missed reading something. Previously I used to read every topic possible - cryptocurrency, finance, technology, blog posts or writeups - even about technology which I am sure I am never going to work on. Now I focus on stuff that really matter to me - finance (mainly personal finance) and technology. Others, like politics etc I simply ignore.

I use the RSS feeds (https://hnrss.org/) for the HN front page and also for the Show HN (I find the average quality of all Show HNs to be surprisingly high - ever of those that don't make it to the front page).

To read the feed, I use Feedly, that fetches pictures from the linked pages that sometimes give a bit more context about the submissions.

This is almost exactly what I do. I recommend it. Except I use a feed direly on HN... I didn't use an third party scripts or websites. I can't figure out how to get the URL out of feedly though.

As a pro tip for anyone reading. Pressing "j" will go to the next article and "k" will go back one so you can really quickly skim headlines.

One pet peeve is that the RSS feed doesn't contain anything useful in the body so when skimming you have to reply entirely on title.

Ignore most of it!

In the grand scheme of things, most of the 'good' content really is not that good. It might be interesting - or more interesting that what you should be working on, but a year from now most of it will be irrelevant.

You can save a lot of time by ignoring it.

Why do you think you need to finish all of it? There is a lot of content out there that you haven't seen, and I presume you don't worry about that. The fact that some of it has been posted to HN shouldn't mean that not seeing it suddenly becomes a problem.

I use an RSS feed, skim the headlines for what's interesting, and either read it then or save it to pocket. This also means that after a few days, I end up with 1000+ articles, but I can skim them 100s at a time.

A life-long practice from lower-tier websites like Reddit of seeing way too much content go past to ever try and catch up with everything. When I was young and 9gag came to existence I remember being able of seeing everything that was posted by checking it out once a day. I learned to give up back then, and now on a vastly more interesting website like HN I enjoy finding interesting bits every day but don't expect to know about everything that happened.

I try to limit myself to things that actually pertain to me.

In the morning, I get a coffee and open up all the interesting articles into tabs on hckrnews.com, which I then stack (using Vivaldi browser).

I'll go through these tabs during the day when I need a break or have some downtime. The HN tab stack is helpful because I know the other open tabs have something to do with work.

If I'm intrigued by what I read in the article, I'll read comments on HN, but often I completely ignore them.

Any specific technique or tool you use to manage all this content?

I am medically handicapped. I spend a lot of time convalescing. HN helps minimize the degree to which I go stir crazy while doing so.

I don't recommend it as a method.

I know from long experience that the assumption is that those doing a lot of X are overachievers to be emulated and their perceived accomplishments to be aspired to. Such perceptions aren't necessarily accurate.

I made an IFTTT recipe that would email me the links to the HN story based on specific keywords in its title like "learn", "how to", "books" etc. And I check my emails mostly once a day, so by the time I click the link in the email, most of the time, I would find a good number of quality comments to read and enjoy.

I also use Pocket - each evening I go through my RSS reader (HN is included) and click what looks interesting, I skim the article (10 secs) and if it indeed looks interesting/useful/valuable I save it to Pocket and I add a label. Labels help me to revisit Pocket in a more systematic way and I also re-filter Pocket from time to time.

Can you or anyone recommend some good RSS readers these days? Thanks.

If you happen to run your own server, give https://tt-rss.org a try. It is straightforward and has all the essentials I expect in an RSS reader. There are mobile clients too. I’ve used it for a number of years with good results and almost no maintenance.

Newsblur - https://www.newsblur.com/ -- been using it since Google Reader was discontinued and never looked back!

I'm a pretty much happy user of Feedly

Inoreader is by far the best option!

I follow @newssyc20 and @newssyc300 Twitter bots (there's also 50, 100, 150).

They deliver the HN headlines that reach those many points to my Twitter TL.

[update] Then, if I click through to the HN post from the tweet, I read the first few comments at the top and then the bottom most comments. Finally, if I'm still interested, I'll read the actual article.

I use hn.algolia, if there's some topic I am interested in searching there usually fives me the most relevant HN link

This reminds me of the explore vs exploit dilemma:


I'm still working on understanding this trade-off better... It seems to be a pretty good lens for looking at things, though.

Skim, read comments, and for things I want to remember, add them to an appropriate Are.na channel.

For longer articles I want to read eventually but know I won't get to for a long time, I use the "Save this page" feature of Inoreader[2].

Since I've started using Inoreader, I haven't gone back to any of these articles, but I'm ok with this – I tend to review the cache every 6-months to a year when I happen to have uninterrupted free time (like between jobs or on vacation). Previously I had Are.na channels called "To Read 1", "To Read 2", and so on.

[1] https://are.na

[2] https://www.inoreader.com/

I learned very quickly that most of it isn't actually very good (ie its outside my sphere of understanding so if it's well written it can seem good when actually later you come back to it and realise it was garbage) or relevant to me so I ignore most of it.

Consider subscribing to the weekly email newsletter of the most upvoted posts [1], or finetune an RSS feed [2] (you can filter posts with 100+ upvotes for example, or only Show HN posts, or whatever).

If you're using mastodon, you can follow my HackerNewsBot [3], or the same thing on twitter [4].

[1] https://hndigest.com/

[2] https://hnrss.org/

[3] https://mastodon.social/@HackerNewsBot

[4] https://twitter.com/newsyc100

I have no specific technique to manage all of good contents on HN. If I find a post or thread that has a good content, I usually upvote or favorite it. But, as you said before, it will grow bigger and bigger as a list on your "upvoted submission" section profile.

I think using Pocket or other bookmarking tool is one of the method because you can give a tag or keyword to your bookmarked content (searchable).

Well, at the end, I agree with someone who said you don't need know everything. Our brains have a limit. Choose the topic that suits with you.

Firefox mostly, but I get what you are asking for. Ultimately my brain, I know I should bookmark more great links, but I guess in the end I just hope I remember them.

Besides that, just have my own forked merge of exolymph's and m4tthumphrey's replies.

As in another discussion, it's just part of life.. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16338723 . If it wasn't HN, it would be slashdot, or ars, or medium, or searching deep into the web for ghost hosts.

Excuse me for replying to myself, but on a different topic. What ever happened to bookmarklets?

LPT for those that enjoy going insane by reading things at super speed: http://spritzinc.com/get-spritz . [no affiliation]

I use http://hckrnews.com/ as an interface.

Depending on how much time I have, I filter by Top 10 / Top 20 or "All posts".

Liberal use of the “hide” button. If the headline doesn’t grab me (or I know it’s a topic I find tedious) click hide and it disappears. Come back to the page later in the day and see what’s fresh, repeat.

There’s enough great stuff that I wouldn’t find any other way to make it worth repeat visits.

And often the comments are much more valuable, like when someone has a link to a website or SaaS or software and the comments are like “this sucks you should try X” and goes off in exhaustive detail as to why that person holds that conviction.

I share to pocket on my phone and create a backlog of interesting articles. Since they're cached I'm able to read some of the lighter ones on the tube to and from work. Worth noting that my backlog grows faster than I can read it.

Unlike the top comment on this post I mainly dont pay attention to the comments apart from an initial glance and I only save the article link to pocket. That's the opposite of my browsing habits on Reddit where I usually pay attention to the comments more than the articles.

Watch the headline,

Like it ? Skim the article with interest. Read the comments.

Meh ? Skim it fast. Read the comments.

Nope ? Read the comments.

My brain works in a very strange manner, I cannot chose what it remembers, it does that for me, and most of the time what I will remember won't be that important or useful to me, since I have no real control over that I like to learn and discover as much as I can in the hopes I might remember something interesting to pop out in a conversation and such.

I just scan the titles on Feedly, Open the titles I find interesting. Read the ones I really find interesting and bounce out of the ones where the titles were interesting by the item is actually boring.

But I can't catch up if I miss even one day. So there are periods where I have a 1000 unread items and I just skip them.

same way I manage other things, which is sort of the opposite of what one might do in SEO management - I drop the long tail, and only focus on what's left. Of course the contents of what's left depends on your personal priorities of what you find to be important. Now if that also becomes too much, rinse and repeat.

My feed reader uses a massive blacklist to filters headlines. I only click on headlines that appear interesting to me.

I open up links to articles that seem interesting to me at that moment, skim through and find out if it is indeed still interesting, leave it in a browser tab to come to later. I come back to my browser tabs and ask myself if I still am interested in the article. Close it if the answer isn't a resounding yes.

RSS reader. I use Feedly to subscribe HN altogether with dozen of other sources and receive somewhat around a hundred posts daily. I read through all headlines. But only go through a few that really interest me.

It doesn't help much with filtering content but it help you make sure you don't miss anything interesting.

I first filter front-page submissions based on number of comments.

Out of those, I focus mostly on things that will be immediately useful or relevant, and avoid reading stuff that merely piques my curiosity.

With these two criteria applied, I find that I only have two or three submissions per day to read. It's quite nice.

I also use Pocket, but when the list grows to be too big (around 10 items or so) then I will not consume any more articles by way of Feedly or Hacker News until the list is groomed.

I find this to work well for me as I have an incentive to keep my Pocket empty or at the very least not overwhelmingly filled.

RSS reader (self-hosted CommaFeed), quick glance at comments when a headline catches my eye, then opening the article or not, most likely in a new tab to check out later. With those two big filters, the amount of stuff that's actually interesting to me seems manageable.

Don't. It really doesn't matter.

Productivity (if that's your metric) is limited by your ability to continually make good decisions. You can't integrate and apply all the knowledge in any useful sense. Trying to probably makes you less productive and/or happy.

If you read hackernews from emacs, it doesn't matter if you read everything. Everyone around you will fear you. https://github.com/clarete/hackernews.el

I use feedly to manage rss. I like to read comments about the article more than the article itself.

There isn't really that much good content anymore... So it really is easy nowadays. A few years ago I used to constantly have to be saving stuff to read later... but now it is constantly just non-tech related crap, unfortunately.

Catch the highlights! There are some tools that will send you eg newsletters with the top items. You can't read everything! Better to both consume and to also produce. Doing one or the other too much is worse than doing the right amount of both.

I ignore most of the articles posted. I get this intuitive "itch to read" when I see an interesting topic and that is a sufficient filter to me. It's not like this is important, anyway, it's mostly only news and blogposts :)

I use the Hacker News trigger in IFTTT to filter out top articles related to TypeScript, Python, or Go, and send them to my private slack.


My technique is to simply keep checking back every few hours and never go past page 1.

I skim quickly through articles at work, and those I think may be interesting I email them to myself so I can read them in the evening.

I never read any of those in the evening. But for some reason I keep doing the above. :)

http://www.waybackhn.com/ - it shows you only 30 most popular articles for this day.

Mostly I just reminisce about getting then monthly print version. Those were the curated days when I didn’t need to worry about missing an interesting article.

Maybe try a pull method rather than push - just use https://hn.algolia.com search!

I keep checking titles of submission. If it seems appealing, then go through comments. If initial comments are interesting then go through original article.

You don't.

I try to only read things that are applicable to what I'm trying to do now.

The rest, if interesting or useful later, can be bookmarked using tools like diigo, pocket, etc.

I think it's not about "good" or "bad" but rather relevant or irrelevant. What is relevant to you is in part for you to decide.

I read through half and then bookmark everything. I have years of articles to go through. So, I don't actually manage it, and really need to.

I ignore most of it.

I've created a slack channel and configured an RSS reader that periodically sends new posts to that channel. I find it quite useful because it is push model rather than pull, which avoids switching context just to check if there is anything interesting. Another positive thing posts remain in the slack which allows sharing, threading, pinning, favouriting, searching etc.

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