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Ask HN: Will this community avoid an Eternal September?
7 points by w0de0 11 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 10 comments
If so, how?

Is it not a risk for this community? Why?

Is the idea too nebulous for this to be a meaningful question?

Reference: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eternal_September

Regret to inform you that HN's Eternal September passed circa 2011. Before that, according to my recollection, the community was mostly YC founders and employees. Discussions were mostly about web startups, ideas, and tech. Tone was professional, comments were substantive, and people used their real names. Best of all, people were free to share their experiences without being harangued at every turn by the "citation needed" and "my science is more science than your science" cargo cults that became entrenched here at some point.

You're a couple of years out, I joined in March 2009, the week of the big Erlang post push to dissuade all the new posters where eventually pg asked everyone to stop posting Erlang items:


I think that was the beginning of the eternal september. I think I found it via a mention on Coding Horror.

From my perspective, HN is now much more developer centric and less startup centric, and my impression is the change started happening pretty much when product hunt launched. These days you rarely see a show on the front page and there are a lot less business-y startup articles, at least during EU hours.

Like, right now, I would say there isn't a single startup article on the front page, where it used to be 40/40/20 dev/startup/random interesting stuff, it's now more like 75/5/20.

You get a lot more startup content by looking on Ask HN than by looking at the front page.

Almost forgot: Paul Graham used to comment frequently, and now he comments never.

He's too busy since he joined the resistance...

We're something like 8 years beyond HN's Eternal September, and seem to be doing fine.

Early on, this was a place for entrepreneurs to share actionable advice about building startups and software businesses. Over time, the developer-friendly nature and hostility-free discussion attracted refugees from Slashdot and Reddit.

Over time, other people from those communities trickled across, and many of them were just average developer folk without any real interest in all this entrepreneuring. But there was the occasional Haskell story here that they could discuss, so they stuck around.

Eventually, the less civil members of those now empty communities arrived, bringing their attitude and inclination to snark and pun threads with them. You'll notice them voted down by the grown-ups, but less frequently than before.

Still, it's a generally good vibe, and nothing yet has emerged to take its place.

But it's a little late to worry about the word getting out. This is now the most popular place on the internet to discuss tech.

> "Every September, a large number of incoming freshmen would acquire access to Usenet for the first time, taking time to become accustomed to Usenet's standards of conduct and "netiquette". After a month or so, these new users would either learn to comply with the networks' social norms or tire of using the service."

This phenomenon is unlikely to occur in a moderated forum. Articles and comments that violate HN's social norms (off-topic, uncivil, etc.) get flagged pretty quickly. Users whose behavior is persistently bad get banned.

Your question assumes it hasn't happened already...

I think that has already been answered by http://www.n-gate.com/hackernews/ rather conclusively.

I think the author doesn't read the same comments that I do. It is easy enough to have a deeply cynical view of the world, especially if you chose to ignore all things that contradict your cynicism.

A fun read every once in a while, but reads a bit repetitively^^

I love what he did if he gets hackernews as referrer though :P

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