Almost no one I know takes anything anybody says here seriously, even if the content stream is marginally better than the alternatives.
The focus has shifted from intelligent and thoughtful writing seeded by your essays, to business-oriented boosterism fed by a provincial navel-gazing audience who fail to censure themselves.
I'm someone who's already had a failed business, and even when my finances were falling apart, I loved the thrill of it.
I love hacker culture and ambitious people. I plan to begin work on another idea soon.
However, the situation here is untenable and the utility I once extracted from being exposed to this community is being destroyed for the sake of a minority's craven ambition and desire to fit in with the shibboleths of those around them. I am not by any means alone. Everyone I know who follows the kind of news and interests that is discussed here has been increasingly disenchanted over the past year with hackernews.
This is not a site or community unto itself, it serves a real purpose for YC and everyone is aware of this. You might call it a garden.
The garden needs pruning.
The top stories don't seem visibly worse than they were in the good old days, whenever those were. There are more dumb and/or mean comments than there used to be, but they usually end up at the bottom of the page.
We probably agree more than we don't. I might as well drop this albatross since I don't have any real conclusions to draw or ideas to advocate.
Back to code.
It's not untenable. If you don't like the community, leave! If you know a lot of people who are disenchanted with hackernews, great! Start something new for you to chat. You could even import the hackernews front page so you have something interesting to chat about.
But for me, this site still by and large works. Yes, there is some useless fanboyism in a few places, but this place is not a cult locked in a warehouse. And you can avoid the worse of it easily enough - just avoid discussion of shibboleth topics where the S/N drops and wait until it's a post on someone's blog instead of techcrunch.
I'm also intrigued - can you link to a discussion where you feel a craven minority destroyed the utility, or is it more of a general feeling, hard to pinpoint and reason about? Can you suggest who needs pruning and how it should be done?
Finally, community is what people put into it. So, what are you putting in Chris? You say you had a failed business. Could you do a post on what went wrong and how it would go better next time? That's the kind of thing that makes hacker news great.
I mean really, the instant youtube/$SITE_WITHOUT_AJAX_SEARCH thing is just the beast parodying itself and doing my work for me.
The complete lack of any real sound discussion or criticism regarding the absurd fad is exemplary of what I'm talking about.
If the goal is to gather, educate, and grow people who might build something soon as well as groom a community of hackers, then yes, it is untenable.
To claim otherwise is disingenuous.
I don't give a damn if you're polite. I care if you're correct and have something to contribute.
I could detail and log the ridiculousness, but there's no point. Take a gander through my comments and look at what of it has been downvoted, that'll give you some idea.
Do you want me to register a domain and build a site documenting the circle-jerk conversations here? It's not like anyone would care but me.
Really, it's sad to be in a community where you don't actually feel good.