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“12 years ago today, I finished writing Hacker News” (twitter.com)
389 points by theCricketer 5 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 192 comments

"Finished" is the right word. Apart from small UI tweaks it's still the same site as in 2007...

And that's part of what makes HN great! I can't help but think that a team of Very Serious Expensive UX Professionals would have made a mess of HN thrice over by this time. (Can't you just imagine the 2010 rewrite in Java and GWT, and the 2014 redesign as an Angular SPA with sophisticated giant web fonts all over the place?)

The only thing I miss are comment reply notifications. Someone might reply to something I wrote in comments a week ago and I have to visit my comment history periodically to check that.

It doesn't have to be an active notification. Just add a numeric field added to user account that means "you got N new replies" and show it in the top-right corner next to my username. Once I see it, I will go and browse through comments to find it. When you open your comments page, it would reset this number to zero.

I honestly don't mind the lack of comment reply notifications because I find that it makes conversations less aggressive than on sites like reddit which do that.

Less of a feeling of a mandated reply, more opportunities for other users to speak up on your behalf.

> I find that it makes conversations less aggressive

This is a really interesting perspective on it that I hadn't considered. I have long been annoyed by the lack of comment notifications but now that you put it that way I think you're right. This actually may be a feature of HN rather than a bug. Thanks for sharing that point.

This might be the most meta comment chain on HN.

This entire thread itself is pretty meta :)

This reply is quite clever, but at the current nesting level, nobody will notice.

Unless it is the most upvoted comment

And behold, it is :)

No, mgiannopoulos[0], there is no limit on nesting replies that I'm aware of. I'm nesting another one now!

There is rate-limiting, though, which is probably what you hit. Wait a bit, and you can reply. Or click the "XX minutes ago", and I've found you can reply there.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18186528

Strange way for rate limiting, allowing replies on one comment but not another.

I got this far, may as well continue the nesting experiment.

Yeah, this is still at the top for me. Moving it along! I wonder how far it would have to go before it starts having problems. Or before apps start having problems. Doing this from my phone, and the comments are starting to get fairly difficult to read.

Well, I should at least help this scientific experiment...

For Science!

I realized I commented with another account, so I guess I'll post again...


I noticed dreamcompiler! And apparently there is a limit to the nesting of replies (which is why i’m replying to the parent comment) ?!

Agreed. At first, I thought I wanted notifications, but now I let it slide, and watch how the conversation moves, often to an unexpected direction.

I increasingly find that I'm happy to let it go that way, rather than 'defending a position'. This, of course, makes the need for comment notifications less important.

If someone engages with me near the post time on Reddit, then I have no issues ignoring them or responding respectfully.

If someone counterpoints something I wrote 30+ days ago... nobody else is reading so it is now a cage match.

I like Quora for this. The threat of a BNBR ding is eternal and the panopticon unwavering. As a result every interaction becomes an opportunity for reflection.

My version of being Nice and Respectful tends to skew toward "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all".

Which topics still have a good experience on Quora? I find the quality of the discussion, especially the quality of many of the questions themselves, to be quite low. They need more aggressive community moderation to filter out duplicates, miscategorizations and nonsense before potential answerers are notified/requested. It makes the site look bad.

Almost every day I get an email that says something like "nerflad, so-and-so requested your answer to the question 'how dows computer work?'". Nearly all of the music questions are especially asinine and I just don't have the patience.

Like so many others, I have completely stopped using Quora. Yes, occasionally there are still diamonds in the rough and Alan Kay will pop in to say something, but these kinds of interactions are the exception rather than the norm.

Stack Overflow's moderation is considered Draconian by a lot of people, but it's their lifeblood in my opinion. Q+A sites need a hedge against the descent into Yahoo Answers madness.

I don't follow topics, I follow people. I'll read anything by Thierry Etienne Joseph Rotty, Dima Vorobiev, Franklin Veaux, Jenny Hawkins, Alex Cooper, among others. Following topics just gravitates you towards the cesspool that any large internet community has.

I'm really careful about getting into discussions with people, particularly because I'm often operating in the atheism-theism debate. My default response, like you, is to not engage. When I do, I try to pick my words carefully. The second the interaction turns hostile, I'll report if warranted but in any case immediately disengage.

What is a BNBR ding? DuckDuckGo didn't turn anything up for me.

Agreed, the "red envelope" of reddit is designed to elicit a visceral reaction.

The main reason I'd like that functionality is so I can read the responses.

Sometimes karma changes are an indicator you got responses but not always.

Click your username-> comments, and you get above list of your comments, ordered by time. I think it’s perfect. I don’t like having little notification icons everywhere.

Isn't that the same thing as "Threads" in the header?

Whaat! Yes, it is. I’ve never clicked the “threads” link, it would seem.

Whoa! Same, I guess I never clicked "Threads". Even things as simple as HN can still have more buttons/links than a lot of people will actually use.

I think the “threads” page fulfils that purpose.

Someone might reply to something I wrote in comments a week ago

If you leave a lot of comments, going back a week to check your comments is quite the burden. In practice, this means you may never see such replies.

There used to be a 3rd party HN comment notify service and it went down. It was replaced with a different one. I seem to no longer be getting those either here lately. Not sure when it stopped, but recent-ish.

It doesn't matter that much for current, active discussions. But it does mean I am vastly less likely to have any idea that someone replied to something of mine from a few days back and that has to potential to have me ignoring someone asking a good faith question, among other things. That is something that somewhat bothers me.

4chan doesn't have reply notification either and I wonder if the theory applies there..

Only if you post cats.

And here I thought nobody replied because I was always right on this internets.

I like this mentality. Notifications are inherently disruptive and can cause agitation by their mere existence.

I host http://hnreplies.com which provides comment reply notifications by email, FYI.

What happens if I sign up and then decide later I want to disconnect your service?

There's a button at the bottom of each email to unsubscribe.

You should check out HN Replies (http://hnreplies.com). Not done by me and just a happy user. I don't comment a lot but it works pretty nicely whenever I do.

http://www.hnreplies.com is a great solution for this. Been using it for a while, works perfectly usually with a few minutes of lag.

IMO this should be a core feature. But I’m just happy to have something that works.

"Just add a numeric field added to user account that means "you got N new replies" and show it in the top-right corner next to my username. "

I would like that too. I don't mind not having E-mail notifications but a simple indicator would be very useful.

I agree completely. I use https://hnnotify.xyz/ which emails me periodically with all my new replies (other similar services exist, my friend happened to make this one).

I think that is a better way to do it because it prevents long chains of comments that start looking like a conversation between two people.

Also, checking manually in peace is better than getting distracted by notifications.

This can also help with that (in part) - https://littlebirdie.io - if you plug your own username in there.

There's hnreplies.com for that ;).

When you'd load the page, you'd see blank, gray bars where the text should go while a "now loading" icon spins for a good 5 seconds, slowly feeding in the text. On mobile, text would be so big it only fits 7 lines on screen, 5 words on each. The menu bar at the top would stay up there as you scroll and eat a good 20% of vertical space at all times. Articles would load in thumbnail images that sometimes break and push the text outside the window and you couldn't scroll to read it because that's disabled for some CSS hack.

The bottom half of the page would be covered by a popover that says, “Please download the mobile app. Pretty please?” And it would pop on your screen every time you view a new page.

It would scale to your screen, and tapping anywhere on the message body would take you to an app store. The 'close' button would be a fixed 10px square, grey on a black background. It would take at least 2 seconds to load in, and would jump around several times during that process with the button already active.

And once you manage to close out of that/click on it and back out of the app store there will be a small ovular request to open in the mobile app with an even tinier Close button.

I for one would like to see some improvements. Here is my wishlist:

1. Markdown support

2. More profile capabilities. e.g. avatars, vanity URLs, link to your GitHub, Twitter, Stack Overflow, blog, etc.

3. Automatically create cache link for articles in case their hosts go down after being linked from HN.

4. Revision history for comments.

> 2. More profile capabilities... link to your GitHub, Twitter, Stack Overflow, blog, etc.

All they really need to do for that is make URLs into links in the "about" section. They already do this for comments; I'm not sure why they don't do that for profiles.

I would dislike all of this except markdown support.

cache links sounds like an okay idea.

OTOH, the avatars sounds like a horrible idea to me.

I'm neutral on the markdown one, it wouldn't be too bad but it might end up making comments look like mini-articles rather than just comments.

I'm opposed to markdown for that reason. It's a bit of a shame that the existing formatting isn't aligned to markdown syntax, and I think lots of people don't know the

  code trick.
But otherwise, I'm grateful to not have posts using headers, multipart essays with horizontal rules, or that "every word a hyperlink" style that people use when they want to intensify a statement by implying it's densely sourced or describing a common issue. The informal standards HN has worked out seem sufficient for the conversations I value most here:

- this is sufficient for bullets

- since people don't bullet whole paragraphs

1. this works for numbers

2. for the same reason

> And this is just fine for pseudo-blockquotes, which can be much longer.

And the lack of embedded links encourages human-readable URLs that are either sources[1], or inline links to a page people might want to visit after reading the comment: https://news.ycombinator.com/formatdoc

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

It's a bit arbitrary what's supported, but HN has always felt to me like a display of how working within constraints can improve quality.

> but HN has always felt to me like a display of how working within constraints can improve quality.

Definitely in the same boat. When I started reading through this rare opportunity for legitimate meta discussion I was about to advertise the missing vote direction indication on the unvote button. Because it's so easy to hit the wrong direction on mobile and that would be an elegant way to fix it.

But now I think that even this might be more feature than bug: knowing that there is a chance that it might have been just clumsy upvoters makes it easier to do the right thing when getting downvoted.

I think that just having a proper code block, that worked on mobile, would help a lot.

Bringing over the markup for monospacing would actually be really nice, yeah. It is irritating that code can't be inlined and requires an unusual input like leading spaces to mark out.

Even cache links? Why?

I dislike them all, except for someone else's comment above about comment reply notifications - which doesn't even have to be active, just a number next to your username at the top when reloading a page.

If they would add some hackernews enhancement suite extensions natively, that would be nice

I prefer userflairs over avatars. Ability to tag certain users would be convenient as well, incase I want to follow certain opinions.

I feel mixed about inbox system in hackernews. I prefer not having it actually. Because I don't feel like I have to read anything replied back to me, I do it of my own volition

I actually like hackernews as is, less features is better.

Markdown support would certainly be useful for longer comments.

It's my top feature request, I mean you have to be able to post inline links, bullet points, code segments, etc on a site like this. IMO.

You can already do all of your examples. URLs are autolinked, bullet points just require \n\n, and there's a 4-space prefix for preformatted text.

I think extraneous formatting would just create more incentives to write long, pretentious, streams of consciousness comments where someone just screams from their soap box instead of actually engaging anyone.

That is:


- Bullet list - Item 2

    And preformatting which you DON'T want for quotes because they are very annoying to read on mobile

You forgot to hit Enter twice between each list item.

5. Comment reply notifications

6. Responsive design so the site doesn't suck on mobile

What else?

Honestly there's probably a _ton_ of stuff that could be improved, but given how change-averse the typical HN user seems to be perhaps just leaving it as it is _is_ the best idea.

http://hn.premii.com is a nice way to read HN responsively on mobile web.

You have to pop out to comment though.

> 6. Responsive design so the site doesn't suck on mobile

It's responsive on my end, I think they changed it this year.

5. And tagging.

I'd like to remove technical posts from my front page, since I'm not technical. Either I'd like to follow certain tags and only see content related to them, or at least be able to mark tags I don't want to see.

>3. Automatically create cache link

I just implemented this, drinking the hnrss post firehose and archiving each link at archive.is. Great idea!

And an easier way to collapse comments on mobile

This, please. I switched to Firefox mobile and now can't even click the link without zooming in.

I just want comment collapsing on mobile, or a way to quickly scroll to the next branch of comments.

Easier than the [-] next to each comment? If you have javascript enabled, they should show up.

Not sure how it could be improved?

It's tiny and right next to a couple of other links, so very difficult to press on mobile.

That's a miniature game embedded in the mobile version of the site.


The main purpose of avatars is to track you. Please, HN, do not add avatars.

Huh? How is an avatar different from a username in that regard?

Maybe you're referring to Gravatars?

depends on who is hosting the images. you are right, i mostly meant gravatars.

Here is mine:

- cap karma at 1000 points

- get rid of the leaderboard

Other than that I wouldn't change a thing.

> cap karma at 1000 points


> get rid of the leaderboard


People want to see the podium only when they win. In other words, if you aren't leading the leaderboard, you don't want it.

I would like root level comments collapsed by default.

Avatars! Just use Reddit..?

I never get the idea for avatars. And in fact I more than often use Adblock to block any of those on the websites I visit frequently. Can any one shed the light on why they like it?

The only real selling point is it allows you to distinguish users apart from one another really quickly in a threaded conversation.

Sometimes someone other than the original commentator replies and unless you're paying attention to the user names you may make a presumption based on assuming they're the same person.

I kind of like that on HN I read through without necessarily paying attention to who is who. I focus on the comment or discussion rather than the personalities, and if I want to argue with a person rather than a point I have to go back & look at which comments are theirs.

It could be simpler to use a different color for their name, like with new users having a green color: When a user comments more than once in the same subtree, change the username color in all their comments. Leave single commenters as grey.

This should be pretty easy to do with a greasemonkey script.

The unofficial HN mobile app "Materialistic" does something similar to this.

It's a way to personalize your account and a way for people to easily recognize an online identity across comments, articles and communities. It helps you discover that @asaph on HN is the same person as @asaph on GitHub, Twitter, Stack Overflow, etc.

One of the features of HN is that identity is downplayed. Personally, I think that this encourages engaging with the arguments that someone makes, rather than who they are.

It's also a throwback to the old internet where pseudonymity was normal. It's refreshing to see usernames like AdmiralAsshat and TooMuchToDo.

Why does it matter if they're the same? Identity is vastly overrated in my opinion.

it's a way to track you.

Like when they re-did the Slashdot interface. I remember it was crap and I stopped using it then. That's probably 10 years ago now.

The Reddit redesign has been a turn off.

It doesn't help that it was rolled out as the default well before simple existing features like "rankings other than 'hot' on user pages" were implemented.

But destroying old CSS and then not displaying sidebar text in the new default view is what's going to have serious consequences. For all the talk about customization and moderator tools, they've made it so that new users won't see sidebars of rules, useful links, or related subs. Talk about undermining engagement and useful contributions...

More recently there's the imgur redesign. But it's still usable at least.

The giant ad at the top definitely doesn’t help things, especially since it seems to randomly expand and contract as you go about your business...

The whole pattern of ads that 'scale down' as you scroll is horrid. It's a jarring event, usually doesn't happen smoothly as intended, and it almost always heralds an object that's going to follow you down the page. Nothing except maybe tactful menu bars should follow a user scrolling down a page of static text.

Well just look at the recent Reddit redesign. It made the site much slower without adding any apparent improvement to usability.

They really dropped the ball, going for a single page application approach without emphasizing performance.

I mean I believe SPA's can be more performant and snappy than non-SPA's, but you have to have server-side rendering for the initial page load and minimize the amount of JS used. And then make sure rendering is fast; iirc they had inline styling everywhere a while ago (styled components?), and now nonsensical css classes (which, if they're unique, is probably good for css performance but probably still suboptimal).

They have also added a lot pop-ups, incredible amount of JS, suggestions to login (I use it mostly in incognito) and install their mobile app (if you use it on mobile). Such a mess.

I don't know how you can use reddit while not logged in. The all the default subreddits, I find, are garbage. It's just page after page of memes.

You can visit specific subreddits.

This is true. If you have those bookmarked it's a good strategy.

The front page is to be avoided at all costs.

Reddit's mobile site is also intentionally user-hostile to try to get them to use the app. Although that's not a part of the recent redesign, they had that for a long time now.

When they did the redesign, the first thing I did was Google on how to get the old interface back. That, and some custom CSS, means I get to see Reddit how I like it.

Does HN still run on a single server? [1]

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5229522


I'm not sure that describing Cloudflare's massive worldwide network as a single server is completely accurate.

We stopped using Cloudflare a while ago.

Curious: why?


Makes sense.

Too bad that you guys don't write software that makes current hardware appear inadequate :)

As my kids grow up, go to college and move away... at least I can count on the HN gui to be the same until I die.

It really is so much better without all of the "modern" cruft.

I didn’t join until 2015, but I often go to http://tenyearsago.io/ [1] and I’m amazed about how little HN has changed in ten years.

[1] I have nothing to do with that site. I found out about it via a “Show HN” a few years ago.

Not only hasn't the GUI changed, the reposts and comments are the same, too (sorry couldn't resist).

Hey now, as a Don't-Take-Myself-Too Serious Moderately-Well-Paid UX Professional much of my job is trying to get sites to something as simple as this one.

I would do something about some of the text contrast here though. Maybe an additional form of feedback when editing a comment as well.

I agree. The only changes I would make to the UX is a larger font by default and make the visited links a different colour. I find it hard to easily see what I visited when looking at the list.

I have to browse HN at 150% magnification but it zooms really well, since it's basically just text. The dark theme makes clicked on links pretty obvious, grey vs white.

Here's a vote for a smaller font, I browse at 90%. Font size on mobile is good though.

I can't help but think a solid UX pro would know that the site's audience is a bunch of coders who dream in .txt files and would have acted accordingly. Wasn't this site designed to attract the hoodie and conference Tee crowd to YC projects in the first place?

(PS: this post is loving and in jest)

I'd only improve how it works on mobile devices, specifically making the collapse buttons [-] wider and some links larger. Just to make it easier to use for fatter fingers.

I wrote a firefox extension to do this for me, bit buggy but it helps a lot.

Agree. Techwise, interesting - what were some challenges that were solved? From the outside it seems like a webapp you could find in some PHP beginner's tutorial.

Actually, I wouldn’t read HN if it wasn’t for the “professional UI designers” who built apps on the top of HN :)

These are all marketing gimmicks demanded by PO's. UX people do the opposite.

it does what its meant to do and nothing more. I would never frequent it as much if it got ux and ui updates a la new reddit and new gmail.

HN is a perfect example of an classic, evergreen product. Or call it a crocodile product, as crocodiles are somewhat location-loyal.

Are there more examples of products that did (on purpose) not change significantly?

If you consider the sentiment on the recent GMail redesign, Facebook, .. it often appears that product managers are the only ones that want to change the product and its appeal. I think Reddit also had the crocodile concept for long time. Google‘s main search page changed minor since the past 10 years. I guess there are more examples (Quora, Craigslist, Wikipedia..?)

@pavlov your examples capture the could-be quite well.

> Are there more examples of products that did (on purpose) not change significantly?

I think Craigslist would be the classic example of a simple design that hasn't changed significantly over its lifetime.

It may not be popular to bring it up here, but the Drudge Report remains very similar to how it has looked for over 20 years.

Here's a look at the site on a random(ish) day in 2001: https://web.archive.org/web/20010119181300/http://www.drudge...

Amazon and ebay are good examples of sites that have made very slow, incremental changes over the years.

I don't know, Amazon seems pretty bloated at times. The page may look similar to old Amazon pages but there is just so much happening I'm overwhelmed. "Related Items" " People who bought this also looked at", multiple sections of "Sponsored Items", "Customers Also Bought", "Frequently Bought together". Sigh. Just show me this product and the information about it (specs, reviews, questions [and don't show me any questions which were just answered with "I don't know"])

The overwhelming is especially prevalent on AWS - I get super confused every time I do work there. So many buttons, services, etc. It's for that reason primarily that I prefer using GCP as it is kept a bit more similar.

Google Search?

Nope. The search box UI looks very similar, but the UX has changed a ton.

From not being able to use "+" in queries to how your queries are interpreted to what you actually get as your results (from map results to AMP articles, there's a whole spectrum), it's very much a different product these days.

In the Netherlands an early very (1998) popular web page is http://www.startpagina.nl , and it's still popular with non-tech savvy people. http://www.nu.nl (1999) is the country's most popular news page, http://www.marktplaats.nl (1999) the most popular Craig's list / Ebay equivalent.

They have all tweaked their UI over two decades if you look closely but make sure they look more or less the same as ever.

Actually Teletext ( https://nos.nl/teletekst ) is still used by many and it looks exactly like it does on TV.

Teletekst is an outlier, because it did not start as a web page, but the design has been consistent over the years and I still use the site and the app for news, TV guide and weather forecast daily!

https://www.gratiz.nl/ (1996) also never changed its winning recipe.

MP got reworked extensively, they did keep their colorscheme.

Counter opinion: I think of hn as a perfect example of a non-product. I can't think of anything positive about hn that isn't ultimately traceable to its nature of not being a product.

As an avid redditor, I wish they preserved the crocodile concept. I can't bring myself to like their "new reddit" and always keep going back to "old.reddit.com/...".

Their leadership has this notion that people just don't like change, and that's why they use old. To me, I just don't like the new design. It's painful, old is simple, clear, and quick.

I think of this tweet every time reddit tries to redirect me to the new layout (NSFW): https://twitter.com/dril/status/1022669063674363904?lang=en

https://www.erowid.org doesn't seem to have changed much in the past 2 decades

As someone who started using internet in 1997. (I still consider myself green) - this is a perfect website.

Could it use improvement? Yes. Does it need it? No.

Simple, fast, does one thing and does it great, has no featuritis and overblown annoying "UX" that current web suffers from.

God, exactly. I don't come to news aggregators to see user profiles. I don't come for chat. I don't come for suggested articles. I don't come for any of the 'new' features people seem to want to cram into every god damned thing (Reddit, I'm looking at you).

I come because there will be insight into articles/stories that I won't get from any other site. And all you need for that is a simple threaded discussion.

I love how HN is actually done. How often does one give oneself permission to call anything but the smallest project done? I know I rarely do. It seems very healthy, for both the community and for Paul Graham individually, that something like HN can be done.

Really nice place here. I read it daily and constantly learn new technos and trends. Thanks Paul

Anyone else using http://hckrnews.com/ ?

That is the main way I interact with hackernews.

Before using it, I was checking the website more frequently, fearing I might lose some popular post. Much like other social apps make you do - facebook, twitter, reddit...

But with the 'top 20' and 'top 10', I know I can be 2 days without checking it, and I will still see the most popular posts.

I don't like when apps incentivize/reward time on the app. It's the same reason why I've never played MMOs.

And he made his last comment 3 years ago.

I still remember reading his posts here, didn't expect them to be so long in the past.

Do you think he might post under another account?

I doubt it, since he's still active on Twitter.

I test my internet connection with HN. It is more reliable than Google these days.

It's gotten to the point where "news.yc" is the thing I type into an address field on a reflex.

I thought I was the only one. It's so reliable and a page load is only 20kb most times!

1- Better comment markup support 2- More comments per page 3- Start page auto collapsed so only to level shows 4- verbatim sucks especially on mobile and too difficult to actual use for code 5- This was a list with numbers and is now trashed 6- make hiding work across devices

Wow, I wish I found HN when it launched. I can't begin to describe how much it has shaped my life, my outlook and my career in the few years I've been (mostly) lurking here.

Thank you Paul and everyone else involved.

Thank you fellow HNers <3

One bug, which I think can be fixed in css, is losing scroll position on device rotation (iPhone). I think iOS should fix it for sites, but until then.

One feature that would be nice is seeing new comments in popular posts without having to look for them. (Not threads, just unrelated new ones)

And I'm still the only one in the last two jobs I've had that even knew of this sites existence, which he aptly points out in his tweet about the value of Reddit vs "Startup News".

>> (I delayed launching it till Feb 07, IIRC because the Reddits worried it would mess up their acquisition by Conde Nast.)

Did they think it was a competitor or something?

I wish the login page, which contains two <form> tags, didn't have identical fieldnames in the two forms, "acct" and "pw" - it confuses 1Password, which always wants to fill in and submit the "Create Account" form when I'm trying go log in, which naturally then gives me an error "That username is taken. Please choose another."

This actually seems to be a duplicate, though it got a lot more traction than the previous post I know of:


Hacker News can achieve perfection only after they figure out how to automate the merger of duplicate posts and their comments. This might be a problem for machine learning.

I happen to like its messy imperfection. Wo unto us should they ever achieve perfection and stop having tolerance for imperfect people and their endless typos, auto-corrupt BS, misreadings of what the other commenter meant and myriad other human shortcomings.

Aside undeadly.org the only other website on the internet in 2018 that doesn't leave any cookies in my browser. I am still amazed by that fact and applaud it.

I see five in mine.

And six months after it was released I joined, coming in from a google search "startup advice", I think.

Twelve years. Wow.

Dang some of these other guys are old.

Translation: I'm proud of what i created. It's holding up well.

Potato, potato.

Can we please have blockquote syntax now?

and it's a beauty! no more features needed! not even markdown! it's finished!

Does HN make money?

It's funded by a VC who has made billions off of being an early investor in e.g. dropbox, reddit, heroku, stripe, airbnb, firebase, gitlab, etc - they make a shitton, maybe not directly from HN but definitely indirectly.

If nothing else, it probably is/was a fairly good marketing tool for YC.

HN is marketing for YC startups and also a hiring platform for YC.

Can I turn around this question and ask how much does it cost to run HN?

This I definitely want to know. I figure PG has no problem funding HN but how much does it cost to run HN? It wouldn't surprise me if it's bills are footed by someone else though, like reddit or somebody whose grateful to ycombinator.

One server, probably < $100/month

Are they any full time admins/mods of HN? Probably wrong, I get the feeling those who moderates are doing it during their idle time while working at YC?

dang works for full-time to moderate HN as per https://blog.ycombinator.com/meet-the-people-taking-over-hac...

2 mods, at least $100k/yr

Does it perform an important function for YC?

Well, it probably does indirectly.

Anyway, it feels somewhat more scholarly than reddit.

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