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I agree with what you're saying, and it's been severe enough that I've taken to either not bothering to comment, or simply deleting my comment because HN had apparently deemed it that bereft of value.

The circle-jerk behavior is what is damaging the credibility of the startup scene and it's making it harder for me to convince my fellow programmers that it's the place to be.

I don't think just low karma users are guilty of down-voting in inappropriate situations. I had a discussion with Justin Kan awhile back and he was demonstrating the viewpoint that you're finding problematic.

I second that! HN has become a bit of a echo chamber; more or less as a direct result of the decision to have down-vote privileges scale with the number of HN commenters, thus disproportionally weighting down-votes in the direction of those who have been properly cloned. Although, I must say, the echo chamber effect is not as bad here as it is on (for example) the Derek Sivers blog [[ http://sivers.org/blog ]].

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