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Ask HN: What are some niche communities you enjoy?
437 points by lainon 3 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 342 comments



SCP Foundation. Never really participated, but I love to read them.

http://scp-wiki.wikidot.com/

It's basically a group of people writing formal reports on various paranormal things that the fictional SCP Foundation Secures, Contains and Protects (us from). Kind of like reading the paperwork and after-mission reports of SHIELD.

From Wikipedia:

The SCP Foundation is a fictional organization that is the subject of a web-based collaborative writing project of the same name. The stories generated by the project describe the exploits of the Foundation, supposedly responsible for containing individuals, entities, locations, and objects that violate natural law (referred to as SCPs). The main written works on the SCP Foundation website are articles written in the style of structured internal documentation about the contained SCPs. The website also contains thousands of "Foundation Tales", short stories set within the universe of the SCP Foundation.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCP_Foundation


> Kind of like reading the paperwork and after-mission reports of SHIELD.

A comparison to SHIELD would be misleading, I think, in that it would suggest an aesthetic/ideology of "heroism" behind the work that's not there. SCP paints a picture of a cynical and dystopian organization, with little concern for loss-of-life of its test subjects.

I would compare SCP more to the Half-Life universe's Black Mesa and Aperture Science research facilities. Or to the Cube movies. Or, I suppose, to The Syndicate from the X-Files (though in that case the comparison would be to the parts of the military doing security and ops under them.)


That's a little unfair, insomuch as one of the main premises of the SCPverse is that the monsters and phenomena they're fighting really are bad enough to justify that level of cynicism and paranoia.

I'd say it's closer to (the paperwork and after-action reports from) The Laundry Files by Charles Stross.


Paranoia, sure. But the SCP organization uses D-rank personnel for things that regular research labs would use rats for.


Good point. I was thinking just of 084s, but you're right that SCP is very unlike SHIELD. Your comparisons are much better.


yes yes YES yes

I love the SCP Foundation.


[flagged]


some left-baiter making a video doesn't count as drama.


That's certainly a video in search of a problem. Not exactly the most unbiased source, either.


Amazed it hasn't come up yet considering the overlap with engineering communities.

Video game speedrunning - playing a video game over and over, trying to beat it in the fastest time possible. It scratches an engineering itch to know miniscule little details and optimizations about a game that you love, and be collaborating/competing with others, working to push down times. It has a chill social aspect to it, where you stream on twitch and your friends watch your attempts, talk about the techniques, and hang out with you while you practice. A lot of incredibly bright, talented and kind geeks. Some of the real scientists behind the scenes are brilliant engineers who poke at ram values and theorycraft routes based on manipulated RNG seeds.

I got into the scene from participating in a speedgaming tournament (http://speedgaming.org/events/), which forced me to learn a game and made me several great friends.

Since then I've gotten deep into a zelda randomizer (http://alttpr.com/) that has a vibrant and passionate community. A really smart engineer realized that you could randomize the items in the game by breaking it down into a dependency graph, so that the game is different every time. You race on the same seed as someone else, and you win by efficiently routing your item checks, better faster at the game, and/or making good gambles. It's one part speedrunning, one part poker.


Guilty of also falling for this insanely rad community. I don't have the time nor constitution to participate, but watching an occasional breakdown of glitch detection, shortcuts, hacks and other such time savers, is a lesson in outside the box thinking. Speedrunners capitalize on pixels and milliseconds and there's something I love about that level of attention (in occasional doses).


And this is why I enjoy "TAS" or "tool assisted speedruns".

People will basically write a program to do the speedruns for them with literal microsecond precision. My favorite are watching super Mario 64 TAS runs.

Stuff like a special way that they can jump perfectly on some slopes to build up hilariously high speed values then using that to launch across the map all in a fraction of a second.

There is also a Pokemon run where the guy built a way to input arbritrary code during a first generation Pokemon (red or blue) run, and used it to program in the opening to the next generation of the games among other things things.


> Stuff like a special way that they can jump perfectly on some slopes to build up hilariously high speed values then using that to launch across the map all in a fraction of a second.

"...But before that, we have to talk about alternate universes."


Context, for those not aware: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kpk2tdsPh0A. This specific quote is at around 10:35.


On a related note of Youtube videos about Mario games that I never thought I'd watch the full duration of but that turned out to be strangely fascinating, here is the World Record History of Super Mario Sunshine any%: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oudZMniib08


There are also those to do tool-assisted speedruns, where they play a game and complete it frame-by-frame, doing precise inputs that a human might not be capable of in order to show the theoretically best time that a game can be completed in.


Far beyond what "might not be capable".

Some TAS runs do things like abuse the order that the console would read inputs to do multiple inputs in a single "frame".


Randomizers are a really cool and growing community. That Zelda randomizer is probably the most famous one, but programs exist for a significant number of old classics. Not only are they fun to play, but development of them combines both romhacking with modern sensibilities which is really neat.


could you give a few examples of some interesting ones?


This isn't really my scene, but the Link to the Past // Super Metroid randomiser[1], where you keep switching between the two games, potentially discovering items from one in the other, is something that is impressive that it's even technically possible.

[1] https://kotaku.com/inside-the-wild-new-mash-up-of-link-to-th...


Some of the more well known ones are Final Fantasy, A Link to the Past, and Pokemon.

Here is a comprehensive list of games that currently have randomizers written for them.

Full disclosure, I've written two of the Kirby randomizers ;)


I didn't realize I cared about speed-running until I saw this YouTube video from Summoning Salt about N64's Mario Kart level: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y99Wj-NStok


His level 4-2 vid is pretty crazy, 20 minute video about 9 seconds of gameplay https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1AHCaokqhg


His progression videos are awesome! There's not great documentation of this stuff, so it's cool to see if you get into a speedrun that has a lot of history behind it.


I get a kick out of pinpointing the exact location of photos or paintings. A couple of communities exists for this:

* Geoguessr (I don't participate in this one much, street view is pretty limiting)

* The Dish's "View from My Window" archive. A now defunct blog series where readers would submit photos from their window. Very difficult. Users often pinpoint the exact window from which the photo was taken. http://dish.andrewsullivan.com/vfyw-contest/

* SkyScraperCity's Guess the City contest. A daily contest to guess the city. Also this is a precious internet 2.0 forum. https://www.skyscrapercity.com/

* North Korea enthusiasts pinpointing the exact location of Kim Jung Un in official DPRK photos.

* r/whereisthis helps Reddit users locate photos, also allows content just for fun.

* r/PictureGame a more open contest, not necessarily a geolocation task.


Hey there, I'm the founder of a small travel app (www.r3d.city) that is essentially a virtual geocaching/treasure hunt platform. We're just about to come out of beta, and one of the new features is seeded historical photos; e.g. heritage sites in the 1920s. We're putting a lot of work into geotagging these photos directly onto the capture location, you might find it interesting. The idea is that as you walk around some historical location, you can view images of that location from N years ago, from the exact point of view (or near enough) where that photo was taken.


What kind of tools do you generally use? I’m assuming a search engine to identify particular landmarks/stores/etc, and personal knowledge, but what else?


I heard of people looking at the position of stars (on night photos) and the sun to guess the latitude.

There was a story during the 2016 US election campaign where someone had a webcam pointed at a flag for some of the parties, and some folks managed to find the location by observing the stars and drove there and changed the flag, or something like that.

Edit: link to the story: https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/d7eddj/4chan-does-first-g...


My favourite if a little harsh description of 4chan is weaponised autism.

Literally in one case https://www.quora.com/How-did-4chan-get-the-coordinates-of-a...


There's a tomscott video on this during the most recent eclipse, how people determined his location. Its got some really interesting tidbits

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cGqEBvlmFAQ


I'm surprised you didn't also mention geocaching


Geoguessr was a hit with my family. My wife and kids loved to play it.


https://reddit.com/r/openbsd_gaming

We just (10 minutes ago) finished playing a round of Quake 2. Some games are streamed (https://www.twitch.tv/thfrw/videos/all | https://www.twitch.tv/communities/openbsd_gaming | https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCF2MeFBWJoFZtz0ADX3Us0Q/vid...), we even have some more modern FNA games and a list of games available on GoG for the platform (https://www.gog.com/mix/openbsd_engine_available). We generally hang out on irc #openbsd-gaming @ freenode.


Thank you for posting this! The tenacity of the OpenBSD community keeps on impressing me.


This is a great community, very welcoming.


I've been playing Go (the board game) for a while now and I really enjoy it. I just got back from the US Go Congress. I wrote a blog post about it (https://blog.urth.org/2018/07/29/my-u-s-go-congress-trip/).

For more info on Go, check out:

* Learn the rules - http://www.usgo.org/learn-play

* Online Go Server - https://online-go.com/ - my personal favorite place to play online (other servers are not Linux-friendly or their software is awful)

* /r/baduk (Go = Japanese, Baduk = Korean, Weiqi = Chinese) - https://www.reddit.com/r/baduk

There's been a lot of progress getting computers to play Go over the last few years, and it's only about 2 years since we've had a computer capable of beating professionals (Alpha Go). Nowadays you can run a better-than-all-pros program on your desktop if you have a decent GPU. Check out https://github.com/featurecat/lizzie for a frontend to Leela Zero, the underlying Go playing program.


Online-go.com is, for anyone that played go online before its inception, a breath of fresh air. There’s really no way to overstate how it’s changed the experience of online play.


Could you explain? What was bad before, and what has been solved by this website.


SDF Public Access UNIX System - sdf.org

It's a free shell service, with paid addons. It has been around since 1987 and retains a lot of the charm of the BBS world. It does this while offering very modern things like Mastodon federated social media, SQL storage, VOIP, and has amateur radio, minecraft, and a ton of other stuff. There really is something for everyone.

I appreciate all of the stuff listed above, but what I personally LOVE most about SDF is that it runs on NetBSD and offers a ton of packages from all the different open source and free software communities. BSD packages, GNU packages, home grown packages.

It's just a very friendly and fun place. I am 'rmusial' on there too. Feel free to say hello!


I am Nihil, Dopewars world champion!!!

(SDF holds the only public leaderboard I'm aware of / care about)


That's another thing I love, I've been on there since 2003 and I had no idea that was a thing.

Very cool to meet you world champion Nihil


I've signed up for an account and played around a bit and while I love so much about the whole idea of it I don't really know what to do.


In my opinion that's part of the fun. SDF is almost like a unix system meets a MUD/MMORPG. You can read through some of the FAQs on sdf.org, but there is so much to just stumble on and discover.

Some fun first things are setup VOIP, check out anonradio, and type 'games' at your shell. Have some fun!


I love SDF, I've been on there for years. However I'm finding breakages and outages are getting a bit more frequent. Are you having a similar experience?


I haven't had any recent issues. I know to support net neutrality they recently had a blackout of sorts (https://mastodon.sdf.org/@SDF/100254429655079937) and some thought it was an outage.


I love it, thanks for your sharing.


SONGFIGHT![0]

This is a shameless plug for the venerable bi-weekly songwriting and recording competition known as SongFight!

The idea is, every couple of weeks over at the SongFight website they announce a new song title, from then you have roughly 10 days to write and record an original song with that title. After the deadline expires, the new songs are posted to the site and voting begins. Anyone on the Internet with a unique IP address can vote, and there are usually anywhere between 75 to 250 votes cast for a given fight. Also at that time the votes for the previous competition are posted and the winner(s) are announced. Winners enjoy the smug satisfaction of a job well done.

Everyone who participates enjoys the benefits of having a firm deadline, and a good reason to write and record a song, as well as a motivation for doing a good job.

Members of the SongFight community often review the songs submitted for the fight over on the forums[1], so it can also be a place to get detailed feedback and constructive criticism about your songwriting.

[0]: https://songfight.org

[1]: https://songfight.net/forums/viewforum.php?f=3


5-6 years ago I was a part of a 30-ish person Skype group that organized a weekly "30 Minute Music Challenge". Every Sunday, a loose theme would be announced ("loss", "slow music", etc), and then you had 30 minutes to write, perform, and mix/render a song and drop it into the Skype chat. After 30 minutes, we'd all join a voice call where each song would be played in succession and anyone could give short impromptu feedback (usually just in the form of encouragement/amazement at whoever managed to pull off something decent in such a short timeframe).

It was pretty great because it was small enough to where we could have special themes like "imitate the style of another artist in the group" and we actually knew each other well enough to where you could do that, and then when listening, you could tell pretty easily "ah, this person is imitating Wallacoloo's style". And even though what you make over the course of 30 minutes is undeniably crap, sometimes the core of it would make for material that you could expand into an actual song over the next week.

The bronies also had a similar take on this type of thing titled Toast Beard. Whenever a new episode of My Little Pony aired, you'd have a week to create an "episode response" - e.g. remixing any musical acts from that show, vocal splicing the characters, or original works that were related in some other way.

Both of these are, to my knowledge, defunct (although, it's possible they just evolved into different things; I didn't keep up). But they were really fun because they were small groups both with a lot of personality, not serious in the least, and they encouraged a good deal of experimentation. It certainly was something you did for the experience and where the outcome really didn't matter a whole lot.


This is a great concept for musicians, however I’m sure it took awhile to build up the user base. Cool to see more niche music communities floating around the web. I run a similar site www.synthshare.com except for producers to get feedback on their music.


http://osdev.org/

Hobbyist Operating Systems Development!

We also have forums: http://f.osdev.org/ and IRC: Freenode/#osdev !


Came here to post this. I've been lurking (and occasionally, although rarely, posting) on that site since I was a teenager. It got me into low-level programming to the point where I even bought some ARM boards and a Sunblade workstation just to play around with different architectures—I have got to refurbish that Sunblade at some point; OpenBSD ran fantastically on it, and being able to code bootsectors in Forth was pretty cool.

Haven't been on there as much since I started university though, my interests shifted towards physics/maths. I'm trying to get back into it because it's a fun hobby and I need a distraction from work/college; I started a kernel towards the end of spring, but unfortunately got distracted by exams. I want to try get in running userspace programs as soon as possible, but I'd like to get the syscall API nailed down first as I don't want to have to rewrite drivers (it's a microkernel) if I decide at some point to rewrite the kernel in rust (currently in C, but I like rust's type-system—the combo of a rust kernel + haskell userspace is also something I've been contemplating, but will probably have to wait a few years)


I have always wanted to be part of something like this, but didn't know it existed! Thanks for sharing, you might see me there :)


Glad to hear! Feel free to ping me on IRC (nick: lkurusa) anytime you feel stuck or just want to chat. We are happy to help you get going!


Such a welcoming sentiment - makes me really want to be part of #osdev!


Hey man, I always wanted to write my own OS like xv6. Can I bother you?


hey! of course, join us on Freenode's #osdev channel :)


Lately i have become obsessed with the internet of artisan horticulture. Just fruiting plants so far:

> exotic banana cultivar discussion

>> bananas.org

> exotic fig cultivar discussion

>> ourfigs.org

>> General tropical fruit discussion

> tropicalfruitforum.com

> weird explorer, a (semi)-edible fruit reviewer

>> https://www.youtube.com/channel/UChsbD6Clp-ZPqKwXJR3V7DQ

> the amazon of rare and unusual plants

>> logees.com

(although for more obscure plants you often have to find a more local seller on a forum)

So far I have bought a bunchosia armeniaca (a fruit that supposedly tastes like peanut butter) and a petite strain of figs which I am currently trying to fruit.

This does not even touch obvious subcultures like bonsai trees.


You might also enjoy: - Baobabs.com aka Le Jardin Naturel - RarePalmSeeds.com - PalmTalk.org - Palmpedia.net


Wow! If you know how someone in the Midwest USA could get a Gros Michel or two to eat, contact me.


You can get some from https://miamifruit.org/products/gros-michel-banana-box-pre-o... . They are very expensive, but if you're in to trying different varieties, maybe worth splitting it with some friends. FWIW, I think you would have a more satisfying taste experience with one of the dozens of varieties you'll find in a Thai/SE Asia-focused grocery store.


Southern Ontario (real / traditional) screamo.

Screamo is a very small community but extremely passionate and active.

For example a great show with well known out of town bands in Toronto is about 50-100 people.

But we have people driving from New Jersey to waterloo (not knowing anyone) to see a show with respire, ostraca and Terry green.

I've been involved in music for quite some time but never seen a fanbase this dedicated..

Currently there is a fest in Toronto (new friends fest) where you see people from all over NA with ages ranging 20-40s putting everything into making emotional hardcore.

Watching a band play in a small packed record shop where the band has <1 meter space from the crowd, complemented with a slippery floor from the sweat / condensation, talking about growing up and losing their loved ones to mental illnesses while playing their hearts out was incredibly powerful to watch and I imagine therapeutic to the band.

I've been trying to start to document the scene via live recordings - here's a shared folder

https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1KJj448eWVQgXSqw94Gfs...

Favourites so far are Dianacrawls, Hundreds of AU, Terry Green

But there are many amazing acts


I used to follow this community about ten years ago. I decided to try to see what remained and all I could find was the SoulSeek community, which is still around.

I'm near NYC, so getting to see Cap'n Jazz last year and the various outfits the City of Caterpillar/pg.99 guys play in has been fun, but I'm out of the loop nowadays. Check out Pianos Become the Teeth if you haven't, they're from the East coast and have followed the typical progression from hardcore to indie emo that seems common in this space.

There's a long-held opinion/joke that there's an emo revival about every decade, so I'm holding out.

Thanks for this.


I'm doing a similar thing with the quite a bit larger Melbourne Garage Rock scene here https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCL3h3EjrCD3BmsZr1-rXtIA

Trying to get to some hardcore shows in squats - I've learned a lot about people from hardcore shows.


I like /r/mechanicalkeyboards and /r/fountainpens; I'll have a few weeks where I'm really active (at least consuming) there and then I'll kind of leave them for a while. Recently I've been getting involved in indoor vermicomposting and browsing some forums on that. I also tend to keep an eye on communities related to snails, since I'm working on an amateur snail simulation in my spare time (and just like snails).


You might like /r/mechanicalheadpens


I've long noticed the connection between liking fountain pens and mechanical keyboards, but never noticed the tie to head phones. (I'm sitting here wearing some.)

Maybe the personality trait influencing this is a higher sensitivity to tactile experience. I wonder what other tastes this group might share. Of course, nice notebooks/pads go with the pens. I have an inclination toward boardgames with hefty dice, and I'm very choosy regarding my coffee mugs.


I'm into all those things including heavy dice and being choosy about my coffee mug. Also magic the gathering card sleeves and the choice of land art.

And now that I think about it, everything physical I own really.


There's a good chance you could finally be the push to get me to post on /r/mechanicalheadpens and subscribe. I've been on all three individually for years and known about /r/mechanicalheadpens for about as long, but never really thought about it as being its own community rather than just a novelty until seeing it in this context.


This is...eerily perfect. It's so interesting that these interests overlap frequently enough to warrant their own subreddit.


Wow thank you.


how complicated are snails to simulate? could you share a bit more?


I think this depends on the resolution you're talking about, as well as how true you want to stay to the biological reality. If we talk about simulating a snail at the cellular level this would be incredibly complicated - check out OpenWorm as an example of scope (a project which works to simulate the C. elegans).

My own simulation is much more amateur than this, with lesser fidelity. As a layperson to the biology of snails _and_ to life simulation itself, I am pretty much just...winging it. My level of detail goes beyond a _typical_ gamified sandbox-esque simulation, but not to the level of accuracy and detail as OpenWorm. I have a basic genetics system, a basic brain where sensory inputs go from receptors through several "neurons" as the snail reacts to the world, a sensory/short term/long term memory system, a rudimentary organ system, and a rudimentary macro/micronutrient system for the snails. All of these are developed on the fly with little biological backing, but I'm aiming to make them as flexible as possible in approach so that when the systems are in place technically I could focus on research (we have a lot of data about snails!) and tailor the specific values to fit something realistic for a common land snail species. For example, I have no idea what a realistic basal metabolic rate is for a Cornu aspersum snail is, so right now I just implemented the concept of BMR and plugged in a value.

All of this is already implemented in the original PHP version of this simulation, which I am now rewriting from scratch in Go (I thought it would be fun to learn Go, plus I think rewriting the whole simulation now that many current systems are designed would not hurt - the PHP version is messy as I was designing rudimentary systems while building it). With the Go version I am taking a different approach. With the PHP version I started with the UI side of things - a simple website where you could make a simple "snail". Then I made the snail more and more detailed from there. With the Go version I have a better view of what I want my actual simulation to look like, so I am starting with the server-side implementation of the organism simulation itself and exposing APIs which different clients could then consume (starting with a very simple CLI for basic interaction with the simulation). This way I can support a multitude of clients - some focusing on more observational/"scientific" purposes, others which could be more gamified, all using the same organism sim in the backend and choosing what aspects to expose to the user.

The purpose of the project is my own entertainment and learning as a developer - so many things go into a simulation, there is always more to discover both biologically and in terms of the technical implementation. I am invested enough in the project to attend life simulation related conferences at my own cost, but without any real time pressure in terms of the development cycle, nor any attempts to limit my scope. I basically implement what sounds interesting to me, or interesting to learn about.

That was probably way more boring than you were hoping, but if you're still interested I do have a dev log here (which I should update more often, but I've been on a five-week vacation and took a detour into a self-modifying simulation experiment based on a paper so haven't focused on the snails as much as I'd like): http://liza.io/categories/snails


"That was probably way more boring than you were hoping"

Heck no, that was really interesting. These odd, deep comments are one of the reasons I love Hacker News. I doubt I'll follow the project but enjoyed your description of it. I'd probably read a summary of the finished work, too, if it proved useful for real-world data or even amateur simulation builders.


Thank you! I think having it provide some useful real-world data in any domain would feel like the epitome of personal achievement for me with this. That is not my single-minded purpose with the project and it is interesting enough to just work on it for its own sake, but that long-shot hope does inform part of the overall direction.


This comment is another "please don't stop" reply. The very, very rare occasion when Hacker News flashes up a gem of a true hacker keeps me coming back. Skinner's box has me trapped here.

I look forward to the underwater snail simulation so I can understand what caused our snail to die in our short-lived fish tank experiment. :(

No doubt, though, the little apple snail was more interesting than the beta fish he shared the tank with!


Thank you! I appreciate your taking the time to leave an encouraging comment. I'm afraid I have to disappoint you in that the simulation is not one of aquatic snails, but land snails (although I did have some thoughts about maybe making a mixed simulation, the organism can largely be reused...but that's not in the near future)


This is the most interesting comment I've seen on hn in a while, keep up the awesome work!


I really enjoy mechanical keyboards but the community around it makes it so tempting to keep spending more money on building different ones xD at least to me.


/r/mk is such a great community. Very friendly, great jokes, and so many pictures of unique keyboards and keys.


I used to frequent geekhack.org quite a bit for mechanical keyboard stuff


Various youtube metalworking channels including AvE and This Old Tony:

https://www.youtube.com/user/arduinoversusevil https://www.youtube.com/user/featony

Smart, unusual, and entertaining.


Surely that list includes Clickspring as well.


I would also add the Beyond the Press channel (especially some of the older videos) and Project Farm


Stefan Gotteswinter also does some very fine and interesting work, though his videos are a bit more long-form.


If you like watching chips fly I’d add Edge Precision and NYC CNC to the channel list as well.


Same. Abom as well and /r/skookum a bit.


AvE is hilarious!


I have enjoyed watching the electronic badge scene at Defcon unfold this year. I don't know how long its been a scene, but some of the badges are pretty impressive mesh networks, blockchains, and breathalyzers. It really brings to mind something like the demo or 'zine scenes of old. It's spreading to the other conventions and meetups it will be interesting to see how far it will go.

If you search #badgelife on twitter you can see some of the action unfold. https://twitter.com/hashtag/badgelife

@hacker_hermit has compiled a list https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1NgPj-GdSLcI1Rb2Q2sJ5...

Kerry Scharfglass has a video which explains some of the history and process: https://youtu.be/PUvh5-_HJJg

Pretty cool stuff, maybe one of these days I'll find a Conch of Sobriety.


Are they sold anywhere? I can see them becoming very collectible, and fast.


Typically only at events, sometimes left-overs are sold or auctioned off or given away otherwise.


Aren't they all self-designed?


Thanks for the link to Kerry's talk, that was an excellent insight into a cool project that I didn't know I wanted to see until I was seeing it :)


Maybe a bit unusual for this community, but

Historical Firearms and the Development thereof: /r/ForgottenWeapons

as well as /r/guns in general.

Also, https://www.reddit.com/r/aimdownsights/top/?sort=top&t=all is worth checking out.


I love Forgotten Weapons. I'm not even a gun nut, never owned one, but something about watching him explain the history and mechanical functioning of each firearm is so relaxing and satisfying.


Also C&Rsenal: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UClq1dvO44aNovUUy0SiSDOQ

For 1st World War guns.


Same here. Can't stand /r/firearms though. I wish there were better gun communities out there.

And I wish guns weren't so expensive. I'm at the point where I have insurance on my gun collection alone.


I'm the same. I'm a leftie who enjoys guns (the machines themselves and the physical discipline to use them safely and effectively), but I despise what you might call "gun culture" especially here in the USA.

I wish I could find a good group of like minded who could just focus on the sport without descending into endless political posturing.


/r/guns is great for that reason exactly. You get some annoying folks in the comments, but never anything about politics and the whole "libtard bashing" thing isn't done there.

Im with ya. Live in one of the most liberal cities in the states, definitely lean liberal, but love guns too.


/r/weekendgunnit ?


I like to stay updated of what the Kindle hacking community is up to.

https://www.mobileread.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=150

My PW3 Kindle got way better with the many hacks I've learned there.


What can you do with a jailbroken Kindle?


With a jailbroken Kindle you can, for instance, install koreader[1], a feature-rich alternative ebook reader application that enhances the somewhat limited capabilities of Kindle’s native reader.

For instance, with koreader you can open djvus, epubs, fb2 (if you’re onto those formats), but what makes koreader especially appealing to me is that it is a far better pdf reader than Kindle’s native.

Or you can look for a pool of available hacks[2] that make Kindle’s overall usage far more suited to your own particular needs. One example is the screensavers hack that allows you to choose either to use your own images (somewhat interesting if you’re onto customizing them to your tastes); or you can, as I prefer, to use that last displayed screen as the screensaver, as this allows you to keep a book’s opened page in display while you are taking notes or doing some other book research related task.

Some of these new features are now so essential to my Kindle’s experience that I can’t imagine myself using an original one without jailbreaking it. Also, I have my Kindle since 2015 and I’m in no hurry to get a newer or more capable model. As it is, it is very tailored to my academic needs.

[1] https://github.com/koreader/koreader

[2] https://www.mobileread.com/forums/showthread.php?t=180113


Is this old XKCD [1] still true? Or have all the cell signals serving it shut down?

[1] https://xkcd.com/548/


I just got out my Kindle Keyboard (Kindle 3) and tried it out... the 3G still works! It's a bit slow, but you can launch the browser from the Experimental window, choose the Wikipedia bookmark, and it still loads. I was able to search for the entry for the above referenced book and read it.

(That said, it's probably the first time I've used my Kindle Keyboard in months. I mostly use my phone or Samsung tablet for reading Kindle now.)


> but what makes koreader especially appealing to me is that it is a far better pdf reader than Kindle’s native

Same! On-the-fly column splitting, text reflow, and contrast adjustment makes reading academic papers much more pleasant.


I highly recommend koreader. I use it on a Kobo Aura HD, and it's really excellent. It's much nicer for lots of things than staring at a computer monitor.


There was a frontpage yesterday about literary clock.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17688324


At one point I was considering jailbreaking and writing a couple apps for the current PW, but after digging around the “Kindle Developer’s Corner” all I found were hacks to install, not really any comprehensible resources about how to develop for the devices.


I was looking at this yesterday and I also use a PW3. It seemed you actually have to open the case for physical access to jailbreak it. Did you do that? I punted.


Since it is somewhat risky if you’re not completely sure of what you are doing (as is my case, since I would be almost blindly following steps), and since there is a software hack to jailbreak it, I preferred the latter.

But the community there is very helpful and I’m convinced that if I were to physically hack it, I would find enough help there to guide me through.


I'm a homebrew (beer) nerd. The global community is very warm and welcoming for people at all levels. Everyone is interested in building each other up, and it promotes experimentation and precision. As far as niche communities go, there's a very strong but surprisingly small underground of sour beer enthusiasts. http://www.milkthefunk.com/ is an online forum and massive wiki dedicated to discovering and sharing new methods into souring beer. Some of the most well known sour beer brewers contribute and use it as a resource.


I made it to "sour beer enthusiasts" before I realized you weren't talking about writing homebrew software for game consoles/handhelds.


haha! I went back and edited it to avoid confusion. :)


Milk the funk is such a wonderful resource, even if you don’t particularly like sour beers.


Motorcycles.

It's a passion that cuts right across society and political outlook. There are people of almost every persuasion into bikes. You end up communicating with people who do very different jobs to you, vote very differently, in fact view the whole world very differently. Gets you out of your bubble.


I agree. I do a lot of dirt biking (off-road motorcycling), and absolutely love it. Lots of great people to meet and ride with, fantastic exercise, and you see lots of backcountry that very few people ever experience. Also, if you maintain your own bikes, you learn how to do mechanical things.


Are there any online communities you can recommend?


Adventure Rider (advrider.com) is a fun one if you're interested in that niche of the already niche motorcycle hobby.


We are trying to build one for the global Harley-Davidson community:

https://porky.co

It’s just in live MVP right now, but launching in September down in the Southern Hemisphere market by market, then hopefully up north for 2019 Spring if we can scale down here.


Thumpertalk is great for offroad, supermoto and such. Gixxer.com is for Suzuki GSXR, but great people and a lots of knowledge


Okay, there are a few here, so I apologise for how long the list might be. Either way:

1. Wario Forums

https://warioforums.com/

A site I run about the Wario Land and WarioWare franchises, which covers everything from the games content to their universe to the tech involved in the games and their design.

The level of dedication to the series honestly surprises even me sometimes, especially given that we've done stuff like reconstructed the soundtracks in original quality by seeking out the samples used from commercial sample packs and merging them with the MIDIs from the games, found tons of unused content in the games by datamining the files and what not and are basically working on a complex level editor for Wario Land 4 right now, basically disassembling the whole game in the process.

2. Various fan game development/ROM hacking communities (Mario Fan Games Galaxy, SMW Central, ROM Hacking.net el all)

Because to me, the world of fan game, ROM hack and game mod development feels a lot like the web development scene in the 80s and early 90s, where everyone was building interesting things for the fun of it rather than because there was a commercial incentive.

The fact you legally can't make money in these fields may have actually helped keep them interesting, and to some degree makes them a bit like the open source community for game development.

3. TCRF

https://tcrf.net/

What can I say? It's fascinating to see all the early unused ideas for games, as well as old data found on the discs/cartridges/whatever.

4. The Lost Media Wiki

https://lostmediawiki.com/Home

For much the same reason as above, except instead of focusing on unused content, it focuses on unreleased or hard to find works instead. It can be interesting reading about media that say, aired once about 20 years ago and hasn't been seen since, or what not.

5. Hacker Forums

https://hackerforums.co/

What? It's basically Hacker News in traditional forum form, and was launched here a few months ago.

But yeah, those are just a few of the ones I enjoy.


https://oulipo.social/

It's a mastadon instance where you're not allowed to use the letter 'e'. Tbh I've not been there much lately, but it's fun and has fun people on it. Although not too many people are active there, because it's quite hard work.

A possible winner of the nicheness competition?


Amazing. A friend of mine gave me the book "A Void" [1] by Georges Perec a few years ago that follows the same constraint. A little research and it turns out to be because he was a member of that community [2].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Void

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oulipo


reddit.com/r/Avoid5


Furries

The best part is you not only get to hang out with lots of fluffy animal people (who often share your variety of not quite cis and straight), you get to bring all your hobbies along. Lots of furry musicians, programmers, writers, etc.


My furry friends throw awesome parties and are some of the most creative people I know. I've gotten a lot better at DJing thanks to them :)


This is interesting.. I've only ever heard bad (well odd) things about them mainly on reddit but I admit I'm quite ignorant on literally everything to do with that culture.

Could you please shed some more light on this community? Maybe a link that describes it properly - I can google but could stumble upon maybe an unfactual website without knowing it.

A community that encourages niceness is something I haven't really heard of before yet sounds super interesting - that's not to say that a community has to explicitly say they're nice to be nice. I know I've had my fair share of going out of my comfort zone meeting others and not knowing whether they are "that" person or not. Although maybe it's good for me to come to terms with knowing that not everyone is friendly and that that's okay.


A lot of the niceness comes from furries being majority LGBTQ+, so they know what it's like to be shut out of things, talked down to, and generally treated poorly for no good reason.

One good place to start is with the main furry wiki's own definitions: http://en.wikifur.com/wiki/Furry and http://en.wikifur.com/wiki/Furry_fandom


Furries are basically the bulk of my usable professional network. It's great.


Now I'm curious about what you do professionally.


My favorite thing about the furry fandom is that, for most fandoms, the thing you share is that you're a fan of something, whether that's a TV show or an artist or whatever.

The biggest thing that furries have in common is that they are fans of each other. There's no other central rallying point.

It's a culture that encourages niceness.


Sometimes I wish I was one because it seems like in a tight knit community like that you can make some really good friends that will have your back and help you out.


There's no entry fee or test. Sometimes furries will even adopt people! Go look up Boozy Badger for a recent example.

You can just decide you're a furry and find an entry point into the community. There's even a furry making new ones with every match in the fighting game community.


All you have to do to be a furry is... decide to be a furry. That's it! The culture is super welcoming.


How do you deal with the unfavorable thermal properties of those suits?


It can be very difficult.

Solutions range from wearing a cooling vest that contains gel packs (you freeze them before wearing them) to fursuits with integrated cooling fans. (Often they vent through the ears.)


Fursuiters are a tiny part of the community. Most people can't afford the $1-17k they cost even if they want one.

I don't know what they use to keep cool.


Ludum Dare. Four times a year a few thousand people create an entire game in 2 or 3 days, and then spend around a week playing and judging all the games made by others.


Ludum Dare is fun but it feels too vast sometimes - very rarely do I interact with a person more than once.


And for anybody interested, next one is this weekend!


http://lesswrong.com/ although I wonder if it's still considered niche.


The best niche communities on the internet would get worse if attention was drawn to them. They're good because they're hard to find and membership is self selecting and/or invite-only. This is true, as far as I can tell, for communities on nearly any topic/subject matter.


I disagree. The best niche communities are good because they are niche, not because they're hard to find. It's the focus and passion of the members that makes them what they are, and the ultra-niche nature of those communities is what ensures that people who aren't actually interested will stay away.

If it's impossible to find outside of word of mouth with acquantainces, then the purpose of the internet has been defeated. Why have the ability to connect all of these people with a common interest if you're going to refuse to let serendipity happen?


I said "hard to find" not "impossible to find". Start with being in the subreddit or relevant other high-traffic high-SEO community for the subject, and see what other places the good members are discussing (often a discord, IRC channel, Slack, forum or similar). Recurse a few times, and each time you do you'll get a higher signal-to-noise ratio, higher expertise, lower abuse/garbage behavior, etc

If you just link random people directly, you'll inevitably get some folks that can't read the atmosphere and just generally walk all over the flowerbeds without realizing what they're doing. AKA they need to "lurk moar"


Following the SEO gradient downwards is a great way to find the best parts of the internet.


The idea behind HN is to prove your assertions wrong. I would say at least until now it is working well.


If you're suggesting hacker news is a "niche" community, then we're likely talking about different scales of niche-ness. HN has a few orders of magnitude higher traffic and larger target audience than the types of communities I had in mind.


Coffee. https://www.home-barista.com

Love how interactive the community is. Everybody is pretty much obsessed with coffee and you learn so much. From water, to coffee beans, to machines.


On that, read "Extracts from the Club Diary", by Charles Stross.[1]

[1] http://www.antipope.org/charlie/fiction/coffee.html


Searching for interesting patterns in Conway's Game of Life, and other cellular automata.

http://conwaylife.com/forums/


Does http://www.metafilter.com count as a niche community? If so, that. Great discussions enabled by a small fee to join and active paid moderators.

Also http://www.owbn.net international live action roleplaying (LARP) network of games, mostly in the US and Brazil. I have friends from all over I've made through it, and as an introvert who sometimes struggled socially when I was younger, it's done wonders for my ability to socialize and understand others.

  Also my writing, persuasive ability, and organizational ability are much much better thanks to having taking part in it's management in the past.


I am a train geek. Waiting for the kid to become a teenager and start ignoring his father so I can be a volunteer at ABPF (Brazilian Railroad Preservation Society). Meanwhile, I go to places where there used to be railways or stations, take photos, write about these things and the history. Since it's been a long-neglected subject, people crave for any bits of information.


This work is even more crucial now that the Brazilian road system is collapsing. I can totally see investment being poured into railways again. Reminding people of how effective that system was can help speeding development!


If you post them somewhere, I'd love to read.


Sure!

https://epxx.co/artigos/ "Railroads" section. Most material is in pt_BR but I have translated some of them to en.


Same here!


Muff Wiggler - a forum for modular synth enthusiasts

https://www.muffwiggler.com


You may also enjoy lines:

https://llllllll.co

The main focus was/is Brian Crabtree’s Monome modules (https://monome.org) but it’s a fascinating community generally.

I can’t really afford any of this stuff (I use VCV Rack and Reaktor), but the design quality of Monome’s hardware is simply staggering.


That's a great community. Everyone's level-headed (no pun intended) and not at all snobby or elitist about various modules.


One of my favorite (and most expensive) hobbies!


Neverending GAS...


Just came across this yesterday while planning my new rig!


The set of people building their own roguelike games must surely be one of the smaller subsets of humanity, but if you're in it, the r/roguelikedev subreddit is great.


Top Chess Engine Championship: http://tcec.chessdom.com/season13/live.php and the amazing community project of LCZero to replicate Alpha Zero results in Chess: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!forum/lczero


Also there’s a big community wiki of chess programming knowledge of anybody is interested in the more traditional engines:

https://www.chessprogramming.org/Main_Page


Is there a sense that LCZero will eventually catch up to the top traditional contenders like Stockfish, it is there a possibility of a bottleneck with the machine learning?


I would argue that the Alpha Zero algorithm does well at learning chess via self play to get to a master level, but the high level chess engines are super-optimized for their specific domain problem and so will remain out of reach.


Leela and AlphaZero are already comfortable beyond master level and into the 3200s in ELO terms, at least. As for the best engines today (who I've no doubt we'll see win out at TCEC - Wasp has already been holding its own in division 4) I think they're super optimized on one axis - search, but not optimized very much (in the grand scheme of things) on the other - evaluation.

AlphaZero and LCZero show have orders of magnitude better evaluation is available and can go toe to toe with existing engines despite radically fewer nodes searched. I wouldn't be surprised however, after this current generation of NNs get good, if the traiditional Alpha-Beta engines can't encode _some_ of the more subtle positional knowledge they've picked up, in a way that works quickly with their current architectures.


And I expect the flip side is also true - radically better hardware and algorithms for both training and executing neural networks. Even after that, I think there’s a huge gap in the market for a system that not only sees tactics deeply and had an almost flawless positional sense, but can explain and train humans in what it sees.


https://www.reddit.com/r/rational - a community about "rationalist" fiction, inspired by HPMOR. A lot of amazing authors and awesome stories, also cool discussion on related topics.

https://www.reddit.com/r/low_poly - a subreddit for 3d low-poly art. Really simple and beautiful artworks. You can easily get into voxel art with MagicaVoxel, or you can try Silo to model low-poly stuff.


/r/low_poly is beautiful! Thank you for that. Why is Silo (http://nevercenter.com/silo/ --- is that the right URL?) particularly well suited for low-poly art?


The trans community. A lot of us are nerdy as hell and we're consummate biohackers who can tell you shit about your endocrine system that will astonish.


What's that one biohack that's universally applicable that everyone should do, and what are the enhancements you'll see from it?


There isn't one, at least not straightforwardly.

There's a meta-hack, of sorts, however, that is:

"You don't have to be this way, and you don't have to do what others expect of you. You can change, and you don't have to ask permission. They will make you pay for it -- your friends, spouses, colleagues, institutions -- but the cost of the alternative can be higher still. Be free."


Everything else is just causistry and tactics, and must be tailored bespoke.


One of the oldest hacker communities.


Trans engineers (myself included) are basically my entire social circle at this point :) there's lots of us in the bay and most of us are awesome


Link?


Back in the day, I loved flipcode (https://www.flipcode.com/), for pure, development-oriented content. r/gamedev was pretty good in the early days, but quickly turned into something I no longer read (reasoning here: https://www.reddit.com/r/gamedev/comments/3zd4nq/my_opinion_...)


Mastodon is basically like Twitter was 8 years ago. Except it’s also a really cool tech platform as well.


Mastodon is what Twitter could have been without having to serve the interests of people shoveling millions into it. The interests of people shoveling ones and tens of dollars into Mastodon are well-aligned with the users because they're the same people.




Very cool! I'm into medium format and 35mm, although my cameras need to be dusted off and brought out for fresh air.


Geocaching! Along with the already mentioned Ingress, it’s helped me find so many obscure yet beautiful and interesting locations. The local community is great too, and there is a certain thrill of mischief snooping around for a tiny magnet inside a city trying not to be spotted.


I race Spec Miata in SCCA San Francisco region.

The Spec Miata class has ~35 cars in a given race here in the Bay Area. It's probably the biggest amateur class out there. The community is very vibrant and racing is a blast.


My hobby is sim racing, because I don't have the time or money to devote to real world racing at the moment. The sim I've put the most time into is iRacing and I'm just wondering if you've ever given it a shot and if so how'd you'd rate the iRacing simulation of the MX5?


I don’t find racing sims very good. Most of the data you have to use is physical - how to balance the car, how the rear end is moving, how the front tires have lost grip and you need to unwind a bit to make the turn...


Cell phone "phreaking" and ESN/MEID/IMEI crew, they're fun but it's now gotten to the point where it's for profit vs how Qualcomm doesn't care.

Half the people are privacy adverse, the other half just profitters.

Still, interesting to modify and manipulate hardware and software on cell phones, although the scene is very different (and more complicated) then 05 (where you could replace the $SYS.ESN file in Hex and checksum to get a new valid ESN)


Any links?


Does the name Mark Bernay ring a bell? He was one of the giants of the "blue box" era. From Slate: "According the New York Times obituary of Apple founder Steve Jobs, after reading [Ron] Rosenbaum's [Esquire] article, Jobs and his partner in founding Apple, Steve Wozniak, 'collaborated on building and selling blue boxes, devices that were widely used for making free — and illegal — phone calls. They raised a total of $6,000 from the effort.'" Rosenbaum article: http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/the_spectator/2011/... IRL Mark Bernay (http://www.wideweb.com/phonetrips/; https://twitter.com/phonetrips?lang=en) is Richard Kashdan: https://www.facebook.com/PhoneTrips Very cool guy, alive and well in San Francisco


Reboot.love

I operate a community for robotics hobbyists interested in doing work for social change. Want to work on cool robots while contributing to open source hardware and software for robots that can help people? If so come check out http://reboot.love


Nanowrimo, I love trying to write 50k words in 30 days every November. I usually fail but there's great camaraderie and a year long build up


I've found my way into a vaguely similar group lately. Fairly even split of writers, artists, readers, and people passionate about typesetting. Some people use it for help in editing, or proof reading, etc. But the most interesting thing the group does is to take stories in an existing digital format (could be something somebody there wrote, or more frequently something that was written elsewhere but shared in this group), make cover and/or chapter art for the book, typeset it, and then crowd-fund a small printrun.

Sometimes whoever deals with the actual logistics of the printing and shipping will throw in something extra. In one case, the story was centered around a musician, and the guy who shipped the books also included an audio CD with his interpretation of the songs the character would have performed. In another case, there have been riddles and puzzles included on the first or last pages.


Xenharminic has a lot of nice info about alternative musical tuning systems. (Note: they are in the process of migrating away from wikispaces. I'm not sure what the current state of the processes is.)

http://xenharmonic.wikispaces.com/



No way of verifying user's experiences :/

Could be just a bunch of roleplayers.


I don't necessarily go there to read other people's stories. My interest was in learning how to do it myself and once I successfully experienced it a few times my perspective on the possibility of other peoples stories was changed


Not sure if is a niche, I enjoy reading about well-reasoned fights between characters: http://vsbattles.wikia.com/


It’s quieted down a lot in the last few weeks, but I set up https://hackerforums.co to compliment this site for longer running/traditional bulletin board style forum conversations.


Your forum is very fast, did you do anything specific to make it that way? :)


That’s just the magic of using old php forum software. This is just phpBB running behind nginx on a cheap digitalocean droplet. It’s just not using a bunch of heavy JavaScript or anything like most modern software, so even though it’s not a SPA it is still very speedy.


Just signed up!


Welcome!


Extreme privacy :)

For me, fortunately, it's just a game. But I like to think that maybe I'm helping people where it's all too real.

Bottom line, though, it's just fun :)

And by the way, Mirimir is just a persona. In meatspace, I'm a very private person, but not in any remarkable way.


Same - except I refer to it as "recreational paranoia"...


I live on and repair /removate a canal boat in the UK. It's like a hidden village threaded through London. Extraordinary experience.


Looks like such a great experience! How are you getting on power-wise? solar panels? Internet connection? Mobile data?


Not the OP, but you can watch videos of how one guy has his boat configured here:

https://www.journeywithjono.com/

See the "Fit-Out" section. He goes into a lot of detail.


How can I come stay with you for a spell?


Not sure if it's considered 'niche', but I enjoy /r/mechanicalkeyboards


MUDs. Roguelikes. Dwarf Fortress. Retro games in general.



https://reddit.com/r/whatisthisthing

It's damn impressive how quickly some of the most obscure requests are answered due to the sheer number of eyes looking at them.


Podcasters! I'm cheating a bit with this answer, because this is really the industry I've worked in for the past 3+ years. But it still strikes me what camaraderie there is between audio producers, and even great goodwill/respect between tech platforms that are ostensibly competitors. I think both phenomena are a function of the fact that the industry is more concerned with growth, improving podcasting tech, and attracting new listeners/advertisers (rather than just competing for existing ears/dollars). Result: podcasters genuinely try to help each other, and enjoy meeting like-minded souls at meet-ups. Also, see online communities like "Podcast Movement Community - For Podcasters" Facebook group (14,000+ members) and many more online groups with thousands of members. There's a StackOverflow-level generosity of knowledge/advice sharing. Example: I shared this "Grateful for friendships" post after an industry conference https://www.instagram.com/p/BlxX3pjgr06/?taken-by=awesoundap...


Paper notebooks and wood cased pencils. Writing with natural things knowing they’re not 1’s and 0’s and they will likely be around for a long time is fascinating.


Weather forums run by serious weather geeks, some of which are actual professionals. Especially towards and during extreme weather events these are a lot of fun.


Because it's been a nagging question of mine...would you have any general guidance on where to find historical weather forecasts for a particular location? I'd like to look at how accurate the forecasts were n days out, but I'm not having any luck so far. I can grab historical actual temp data, buy I can't figure out what the weekly temp forecasts were 3 years ago today.


I'm also interested in knowing these communities. My brother is transferring from storm conversion research to data science and statistics.


Oh damn thats my jam. Which ones do you recommend?


Also interested, any pointers?


This one is pretty good for Pacific Northwest http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/

Another interesting specialist weather site to look at (not a community per se): https://www.windy.com/


I'm in Israel so they're just local ones in Hebrew.


does this get more fun because of climate change or less fun?


/fit/ and /g/ on 4chan


I’ve always been horrified by the white supremacism, homophobia, sexism, etc. ad nauseam on 4chan. To the extent that I don’t want to poke around it too much.

What are those communities like? What’s the benefit compared to Reddit/wherever else?


The amount of garbage is pretty highly dependent on the board - the entire site isn't /pol/. If you're willing to be your own content filter and can handle a lower signal to noise ratio than a curated community there are a lot of good posts. It's DEFINITELY not for everyone though.

For example, 4chan has some of the most up-to-date English language discussions around for a lot of Japanese fandoms. If you want to discuss new releases of obscure japanese noise bands, you probably want to be /mu/. If you're not on /mu/ and are on some other platform, you're probably just going to get a regurgitated version of the discussion from /mu/ anyway, with an increased propogation delay and someone else doing the cherrypicking. (Note: I'm just using "Japanese noise bands" as an example, I don't know if that particular discussion on /mu/ is good, or if the relevant low-latency discussion is on Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit, etc these days)


It's cancer. I like the idea of 4chan, but when you experience it you realise it's full of the most nasty, unpleasant, vile, and very childish people online. Among those, some truly wonderful and knowledgeable people.

You grow out of it.


if you're easily upset by things you disagree with then it probably isn't for you, but anonymous discussions (especially on the less popular, more niche boards) have their own dynamics and strengths. it allows more room for experimenting and trying out arguments, because it's not attached to your identity or post history. the kind of asabiyah[1] that arises on them is fairly unique as well imo, because without persistent individual identity people can't focus on building reputation or status. instead, you collaboratively develop the 'anon' archetype and hash out hivemind consensus.

in many ways they feel like the freest place on the internet to me. there's hardly any moderation, and it feels like a frontier. none of this is to say they're for everyone or even preferable for most people, because frontiers aren't. it wasn't so long ago that much more of the internet was like this, and hopefully someday soon there will be a new frontier.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asabiyyah


4chan is anonymous, thus fewer consequences, thus more anarchy. The question of who is posting offensive content and why is worthy of debate. Some boards are relatively unpolluted and interesting e.g. /trv, /diy.


That's exactly why I love 4chan. It has an uncensored rawness of what people really think and what goes on in their minds. Feels so refreshing when they don't hold up their masks of social acceptable thought filtering.


The foremost item in that list is relatively new to the website as a whole, and it's at ends with the rest of the website. There's plenty of infighting about people from that camp staying in their camp and not bringing their garbage to other boards, but that never ends well because of the fanatic dogma that the people in that group subscribe to. However, the latter two items in your list have been present since day 1, although there's an actual homosexual board for people of that group now. Overall, the entire website used to be better 8 years ago, with some of the last good events and posts on that site being around 6 years ago.

> What are those communities like?

Die-hard enthusiasts, a smattering of experts, and people somewhere in between: all on the website to goof around. Asking to be spoon-fed knowledge is a sure-fire way to derail a thread into people telling you to buzz off (I've used kinder words here) and google whatever it is you're looking to know. However, if you demonstrate to the posters your competency by speaking on the material, you'll be in good company. Sometimes, that's not enough. Lurking was a HUGE part of the website, and people used to be shamed for being from another community and treating the site like their other community. Nowadays, not so much. Again, it was somewhat better years ago, though the past contained its own share of troublesome repeat posters.

> What’s the benefit compared to Reddit/wherever else?

You'll get actual opinions from actual humans. No one has a Reddit board mod breathing down their neck, ready to shadowban posters for "violations" at their whim. In the past, posters have been surprisingly generous, offering books, games, software, and their own FTP servers for sharing. Because of the "die-hard enthusiast" air, there's still a sense of holding the content of their hobbies to a higher standard. I've found many people aggressively funny in the past, but nowadays many seem to be slaves to the board stereotypes and in-jokes. You won't see any "I CANT EVEN xD" like on Tumblr, threads aren't a popularity/points contest like they are on Reddit, and you won't see any posts going "DAE MEMES?!" like on both of those sites among others. Posts on 4chan are also way less self-serving because of the culture of Anonymous, while it's a common (and sometimes correct, based on some of the posts I read on the programming boards on Reddit) assumption that everyone who posts on Reddit is looking for an ego boost in some manner. Note that the picture I've painted of the posting on 4chan is not always like this.

To access the benefits, there are a few hoops to jump through: be able to privately/mentally dismiss someone as a fool and move on with your life instead of allowing yourself to be bogged down by what they post (someone else will inevitably end up fighting that person anyway), find the boards YOU want to browse (using 4chan as a whole is not a prerequisite to the site), lurk for some time before you post, and be aware that many of the boards on 4chan just aren't good. Usable boards in the modern day include: /vg/ for repeating threads on specific games, /tg/ for traditional games, /a/ and/or /jp/ for Otaku culture, /o/ if you like cars, any of the smaller or less traveled boards like /trv/ or /out/. For most of the other boards on 4chan, you're better off just using Reddit these days.


I'm a fan of /k/. Definitely more juvenile but a great place to go to get an honest opinion with a surprisingly knowledgeable community.


Birding

While recently I've been less involved due to work/family commitments, it's fun to always be on the lookout. I've also enjoyed tallying birds by sound while running outdoors.

http://ebird.org Also, http://xeno-canto.org (the "mysteries" section can be fun)


Two very niche ones I follow on Reddit.

/r/CasualUK: Light-hearted UK chat, free from politics. Very wholesome if you're from the UK, and a great distraction from what a shit-show the country can be at times.

/r/bjj: The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu subreddit. If you've ever been interested in taking up a martial art I recommend checking it out, and seeing if there are any gyms in your area.


Thank you for introducing me to CasualUK. This looks incredible.


> /r/CasualUK

Another plug for this. Always get a laugh from there.


https://aoezone.net , home to pro / semi-pro Age of Empires 2


to me, Pro == making-a-living-at

How does one be Pro at AoE?


Some are casters, like T90[0]. They stream a couple of hours of AoE2 commentary every day on Twitch. They collect income from Twitch subscriptions and donations and also Youtube ad revenue. It's very hard work for not a lot of money.

A very small handful of top players plays it full time. Viper[1] is the "top guy" currently and he streams on Twitch. So his income is Twitch + Youtube + tournament winnings.

[0] https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCZUT79WUUpZlZ-XMF7l4CFg

[1] https://www.youtube.com/user/TheViperAOC


There are about ~5 people that do AoE2 full-time. The #1 player in the world, TheViper, has over 1000 subscribers on Twitch (~$4 / mo each after twitch fees). So that's $50k/year just in Twitch subscribers. He probably averages another $25k/year in tournament winnings, and at least that in donations, probably a lot more. So at least ~$100k / yr.

T90Official (USA) and MembTV (Spain) are both full-time casters of pro & semi-pro matches, and they probably make $75k and $50k respectively per year, based on their sub counts and what I know of their donations.


fetlife -- Like a kinky facebook, where everyone can ask really embarrassing questions and discover:

1) misconceptions

2) that there are others like them.

3) others have the same problem as well.

I have found good work-related question discussions like: "How can I say something nice to a woman without crossing any personal boundary lines." (A question that is hard to get a good answer from HR training); "How can I break up with someone I work with"

There is also the "Kinky And Geeky" group: (https://fetlife.com/groups/81) and the "Kinky & Geeky Convention Circuit" (https://fetlife.com/groups/121830) which are good for meeting up with others randomly.


bogleheads.org -- DIY personal finance and investing discussion site.

Discussions can take you fairly far into the weeds but you learn a heck of a lot.


reddit.com/r/proceduralgeneration


Thanks for this.


I recently wrote a ranty blog post about how much I love the online “future of programming” community http://futureofcoding.org/essays/sissies


A game I used to play as a teenager: Quakeworld Teamfortress. There are a few discord channels for the various countries where people still play (US: https://discord.gg/FStt9pw, Brazil: https://discord.gg/Ew3NY2Z, Australia: https://discord.gg/amed6v) with organised games happening on particular days each week. What's great is that development/new maps are still being made.


Wow, I used to play this all the time in Australia too.. maybe I'll try and join some games.


yep. still alive

the QuakeWorld discord is http://discord.quake.world feel free to join


I enjoy lurking some niche subs

/r/waifuism is probably my favorite


I love painting miniatures. It's a kind of meditation for me.. the attentional to detail. It's a little bit like pruning a bonsai tree.

The community at http://www.reddit.com/r/minipainting is wonderful and always willing to provide constructive feedback if you ask genuinely. Also http://www.coolminiornot.com to see some of the amazing work other people are doing (or just to feel bad about your own).

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