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Thank you to dang and sctb
950 points by sama on Nov 22, 2018 | hide | past | favorite | 123 comments
Dan and Scott do an incredible amount of work behind the scenes to make Hacker News what it is. I have never met two more thoughtful community stewards. They usually get more hate than thanks, which they deal with cheerfully. This community means a lot to a lot of people.

So today I wanted to say thanks, on behalf of the HN community.

They have both chastised me for "funny" (to me) or intemperate comments. Sometimes I agree, sometimes I don't. But I have never, never felt that they had anything but the interest of the HN community as a whole.

I have never, ever seen any online community moderated better or even remotely close to as well as HN.

I am deeply thankful for HN. It is a surprisingly important part of my life, almost solely because of them.

Well said, about the highest praise I think can be given for HN moderation (or moderation anywhere really) is that, like much of the best IT and security work and such, it's often like air: noticeable mainly through the continued existence of what it supports, or in its rare absences. The evidence of how hard a balance it is to strike even on a project mailing list or IRC channel let alone a bit public site is there in how many communities have collapsed over the years. Yet HN has continued to be, to be I guess different from the norm in terms of the intellectually stimulating things you can see and fascinating people you can come across, agree or not. It doesn't try to be everything or grow farther but do its thing well and it generally succeeds. The guidelines are human [1]. At this scale that continuing is itself pretty amazing and testament to what has to go on behind the scenes. So thank you to the team for that!

1: Perhaps this one more then anything is maybe my favorite nugget:

>"Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that's easier to criticize. Assume good faith."

This really does make such a different to repeat to myself. And even if the other person is not in fact acting in good faith, it doesn't hurt to try first and then disengage with reason rather then pure emotion.

Generally very much enjoy the moderation here (enough liberty to let side things slide when needed, enough control that it remains of good quality), but in terms of community that is made to produce quality content through efficient moderation, the benevolent dictators of askhistorians are still far ahead of anything else though. The content of that sub would be worth paying a subscription for.

/r/AskHistorians is a very particular type of community. It's super interesting and I'm glad it exists, but if no other types of communities existed I would be very sad.

You are entitled to your opinions but your assertions are blantantly wrong: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18514873

Even assuming everything you say is 100% right, that wouldn't make any of those 'assertions' wrong, it seems to me.

dang has to be one of the most patient and civil mods I've ever come across on an internet forum of any kind. I try and mimic his style on assets that I have mod duties on.

as someone whose writing ends up on here from time to time, I really appreciate the HN mods' work to keep discussion on topic & constructive. It's obviously a tough job and every time I've emailed them with a concern they've been very helpful.

And as an aside, I absolutely love your writing.

Ditto!! Your writing is AMAZING!

Yes, thanks! The level of conversation here is unmatched. The set of things Dan and Scott have done to improve upon even the historical baseline are amazing (e.g., resubmit to front page for good submissions that got missed). HN is where I’ve turned for years for honest discussion, and thanks to our moderators I expect it will be for years to come.

dang really is a great moderator. He's got a good eye for spotting problematic behavior, and a level head for dealing with it. He's set me straight in the past, and I'm glad he did. The way he remains both professional and empathetic, even when dealing with sensitive users and topics, really exudes the best of hacker news ethos. Here's to you, dang!


I vouched for (undeaded) your comment, since I think the flagging/downvoting runs contrary to the principles of discourse we're (at least implicitly) celebrating here, smelling of tribalism/favoritism. Just because you view someone favorably, and someone else claims something negative about that person, doesn't mean you just get to flagbomb them into oblivion.

The right response here is simply to ask for further substantiation, as danso did. It's not clear to me that the mods are directly responsible for what you've experienced. If you haven't, I would contact them for clarification.

smelling of tribalism/favoritism.

Downvoting something for complaining about votes is fairly normal. Downvote baiting on top is flagworthy. I imagine lots of people quite sensibly apply these as a matter of course.

With some exceptions I downvote any comment that complains about downvotes. I'm not 100% comfortable about it, and I might change my approach, but so far rigorously applying the rules seems to be working. I'm willing to bet I'm not the only one to do so.

One imagines they do. I'm not sure that's what's going on here, though.

Why wouldn't exactly that be going on here? It's a grade-A downvotable, flaggable comment.

Jesus Christ.

Suppose he is being treated unfairly by the mods. Is that not worth complaining about?

I don't give a crap about some silly "downvote every comment complaining about downvotes" rule. Complaining about downvotes was frowned upon because people get inexplicably downvoted as a matter of course here, and the frequency of complaints was deemed sufficiently detracting to warrant being frowned upon. Being treated unfairly by the mods, however, is another matter entirely.

I haven't seen a preponderance of evidence suggesting the complaint was ill-founded, and the guy's tenure and comment history (what I looked through of it) do not suggest he's an ill-mannered troll, so I reserve judgement as to whether the complaint is in the wrong. Like any reasonable person would.

I have, they have admitted it in public comments to me already.

I didn't downvote but I think others might have because you leveled an allegation so vague as to be irrefutable. I think dang has been a great mod and have only seen the interactions that involve me, or have been upvoted. Doesn't mean I wouldn't be interested in seeing substantive criticism from those who've experienced differently.

If there were a search engine that, say, turned up comment-pairs where dang replied to chris_wot, then it would be easy to get a sampling of their (public) interactions. I doubt any normal search engines (or even hn.algolia.com) do it. (And both posters are active enough that going through history is impractical. BTW, as one data point, 14 of dang's last 36 comments contain the word "please".) Perhaps someone has a database of HN comments that could be queried in such a way. But yeah, in the absence of links or a pointer to such a database, it's not substantiated and so the reader's evaluation is going to depend primarily on their prior opinions.

It wouldn't cover situations where the mods took action or retaliated without publicly commenting. But to your question about a queryable database, such a thing exists on BigQuery: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17471117

edit: apparently it's updated daily, with 18,507,035 comments as of now: https://bigquery.cloud.google.com/table/bigquery-public-data...

It’s kind of hard to do. Almost certainly dang or another mod would rate limit or shadow ban me.

It’s their site to do as they will, but it strikes me as interesting that they are held up as saints when they are anything but. Note that I’m not saying they are monsters either, but as someone on the receiving end of dang’s conduct I personally cannot agree with this post. It’s not like they are really accountable for their actions.

> Almost certainly dang or another mod would rate limit or shadow ban me.

See that's where you lose me, I'm afraid. This is why it's vague to the point of being irrefutable.

They're just regular mods. On a toxic one-up community. I'd like then to at least have a courtesy of mentioning when someone is (shadow) banned.

I think they don't shadow ban people anymore since sometime after pg left.

I am somewhat rate limited it seems for reasons but I won't complain. I'm possibly more annoying than them.

> I think they don't shadow ban people anymore since sometime after pg left.

That's false. They also take away your individual ability to post a thread or upvote. They do this silently.

One feature on HN that was implemented a while ago now, but often crosses my mind to give thanks for is being able to collapse and expand comment threads. The fact that the site remembers them across page reloads is also a nice and useful touch.

So thanks to those responsible.

The implementation is quite interesting :) https://news.ycombinator.com/hn.js

Lol are you serious? That is a basic requirement of a thread. It’s embarrassing they didn’t have it before.

Their nicks don't ring a bell with me, and I've been here for ~2 years.

Which probably means that what they're doing is a good thing though, not a lot of flame wars going on! (Or alternatively, I just stay away from articles that might cause need for more moderation).

But thanks! Good mods are crucial for a place like this

You've probably seen them post and just not realised they were mods. They don't come in swinging their weight around all HURR DURR I'M A MOD, they tend to just politely remind people to be civil and constructive.

You probably don't have showdead enabled. Unlike other places bans come with an explanation - so I see them fairly often following flagged posts.

Good idea, I should turn that on! Thanks for the suggestion.

Oh indeed, that is disabled for me, good point!

There is a decent amount of community moderation through downvotes and flags, plus some algos deciding to kill certain comments (they can be seen with the showdead optuon)

While I know how hard these people work, I really cannot support your enthusiasm. The users are often banned at slightest opportunities and they are not even informed what they did wrong or the fact that they just got banned. They would just get dreaded “your are posting too fast” error and all their future posts and comments are automatically de-ranked forever with no recourse or appeal to these higher powers. I felt this was very similar to being placed on no-fly list which we as hacker community deride so much as infallible authoritarianism.

As HN community is more and more becoming group think (watch how this post will be downvoted) and laying these extra layers of super powers punishing anyone ad hock doesn’t help. In few posts when I wrote non-popular opinion very respectfully these folks expressed their displeasure. Mods should NEVER do that.

The sign of such required moderators is indicator of how broken the algorithms driving HN. Instead of fixing these fundamental tech issues, the powers behind HN have doubled down on exercising heavy handed dictatorships. The least they could have done but never have bothered is to at least tell people they punish what they did wrong, how do they fix it and get back in community. The best they could have done would b ego open source HN and have honest discussions about various issues we have as community so more brain power is available to solve these issues. That’s the hacker way.

Update: Great! Group thinkers are already getting busy at casting downvotes.

>They would just get dreaded “your are posting too fast” error and all their future posts and comments are automatically de-ranked forever with no recourse or appeal to these higher powers.

Hear hear. This is by far the worst part of HN. It makes me very annoyed, more than any discussion on this site has, to see that I'm posting too fast... By having a discussion or responding to multiple people. What a horrible restriction.

HN is open source and you can see how they put a flag on your account if they think you argue too much.

The users are often banned at slightest opportunities

Do you have any evidence whatever for that?

Thank you Dan and Scott!

I appreciate the understanding, i once added a "post to HN" button to my RSS feed service and i posted too much..

I received a ban and only afterwards it seemed i was posting too much, but explained the situation and was met with understanding. Now, i'm much more considerate.

Thanks for the human moderation and keeping the quality on HN as good as possible.

I don't always agree with their moderation decisions, but am ever grateful for their fine work in maintaining the best discussion board on the Internet. Deepest thanks to you guys!

Hackernews and freenode are the best tech communities I've come across. Don't know where I'd be without the tremendous generosity of the persons in these communities. Currently interviewing with multiple companies from the who's hiring thread.

And to be on topic, I'm not as familiar with sctb, but Dan's comments have always been nothing but constructive. They're never disparaging, they seem primarily to be nudges towards decent behavior. Thank you Dan!

I'll keep an eye out for you Scott ;-).

Cheers all, and happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating today.

Although Ive seen questionable decisions occasionally, over 99% of what Ive seen with showdead on was a tremendous volume of useless or negative comments HN is better of without. That's on top of work to stop things like vote manipulations. dang also intervened to calm my ass down in some scruffles. Agreeing or disagreeing, he always respinded to my questions or gripes in email with thoughtful points.

So, thanks Dan and Scott for all the good work you do keeping the comment sections higher quality than most of the Internet. :)

Dang has done a very good job I must say -- haven't noticed sctb, which means he did a good job as well, not drawing attention to the moderation (which is what happens when it's done badly).

sctb is a bit newer (since about a year or so?).

4+ years actually :)

And for Arc too!


Thanks Dan + Scott!

As a tribute to Dang, whose name you say when you make a mistake, here are some of my favorite Far Side cartoons:

Some Weirdo: https://i.pinimg.com/564x/f8/74/40/f8744035e15d69eb8fd4c70de...

Monster Jobs: https://i.pinimg.com/564x/21/81/3e/21813e975f2aa35259246eeca...

Vultures: https://i.pinimg.com/564x/e4/d2/f3/e4d2f3b47c3de90e1a084d94a...

Construction Birds at Lunch: https://i.pinimg.com/564x/3b/c5/fd/3bc5fd323e791b6879529e6a5...

Blizard's A-Comin': https://i.pinimg.com/736x/61/f9/bb/61f9bb66cc0e79f06246876ba...

The Creeps: https://i.pinimg.com/originals/5a/1c/5e/5a1c5ef2e9ab19d27970...

Superman In His Later Years: https://i.pinimg.com/564x/86/95/a7/8695a7c1cfffb69bc3b92c980...

Before Paper and Scissors: https://i.pinimg.com/564x/a4/cf/ab/a4cfabe6847546e52343d4d15...

Sorry, Buddy: https://i.pinimg.com/564x/49/6b/3a/496b3a234ddeca894887b249e...

Nerd! ...: https://i.pinimg.com/564x/c9/08/a0/c908a02a8dfa42db9973f743b...

The Thanksgiving themed one that I googled and googled and googled for but couldn't find, which was taped to my mom's refrigerator, was the disappointed bird standing in front of the open refrigerator, lamenting: "Dang, somebody ate the middle out of the daddy longlegs!"

Cool, thank you for those. My personal favorites 'Roger Screws Up', 'Mr. Blanchard' and 'Car!', but no 'Dang!' in there.

i wonder if the Monster Jobs cartoon was the impetus for Monster.com

I just hope I wasn't the inspiration for the "Some Weirdo" one.

Thanks guys. And — despite the fact that every time I say the phrase on HN I get downvoted to hell — I'm going to say it: not all heroes wear capes ;)

Wait, you're telling me these guys don't have capes yet? I'm sensing some great gift ideas for the YC secret-santa this year.

Dan and Scott, thank you for thoughtful moderation, patches, and your cheerful goodwill.

What we don’t see is all the goodwill and interesting discussion that is suppressed by the mods.

And fwiw it’s pretty disgusting that people feel the need to kiss up to them all the time on HN, but it’s like supplicating before anyone with power, it’s done for a reason and it’s an ugly aspect of humanity.

Countless times I’ve seen interesting submissions buried, either by some behind-the-scenes process or via a title change that reverts to the authors boring or misleading title.

There are surely some griefers who need to be policed, but the HN mods are accountable to nobody and there is no public record of their actions which might reveal improprieties or abuse of the trust placed in them by pg and the community.

So I am thankful for any good intentions they may have, but sadly the evidence suggests that at least one of them is a bully who abuses the authoritarian power and lack of accountability.

I’m not arguing that moderation isn’t necessary, just that unaccountable and non-transparent moderation decisions are a recipe for corruption and abuse of power.

Basically, HN is run like Singapore. It’s very tidy but there is an authoritarian dimension that is unsettling. HN thrives when the mods are busy with other things and don’t have time to taze every so called flame war and “fix” every title.

This is by far my favorite pocket of the internet and much thanks goes to the team that keeps the culture alive and well!

You generally only hear the complaints, but I think most of us agree that the community is much better because of them.

Thank you guys! Your nicknames look like some UNIXy command line tools. :P

dang has great taste in fiction. I enjoyed our brief discussion of character names in Pynchon and Peake.

Here's why I remember this: no one I know in real life reads fiction. I know plenty of people who read non-fiction (political stuff mostly), but no one in my circle takes the time to just sit back on a rainy Saturday and read something someone else made up. Even my wife is reading Bob Woodward's "Fear", and we aren't even American. So yeah, that little interaction made my day.

yay pynchon! i buy trystero coffee just for the name (you have to be in the know to find it (but it's not that hard)).

Ha, that is excellent. I once thought that Pierce Inverarity would be a great name for a beer. It would be peak hipster pretentiousness: a brewery whose beers were named for Pynchon characters. Unfortunately, they'd probably all be IPAs.

Promoting quality discussion and letting people share their experiences in a professional manner makes me a daily reader of HN. Thank you for your work!

Hear hear! Thanks to dang and sctb, and to everyone who keeps this site up and running, AND to the incredibly thoughtful and interesting commenters!

Indeed, thank you! I'm always impressed how quick and precise they reply when reached out to via e-mail, too.

Thanks from my side. I have added only few comments but a regular visitor of this site for years now. A friend introduced me to this forum.

I think moderators are doing an excellent job to keep this forum decent and interesting.

Of course I also thank the people who make this forum and share interesting information.

Thank you dang and sctb. Your effort is instrumental in keeping HN the cool place that it is :)

Hear hear. Like so many of us here, I deeply appreciate all they do to keep the hive humming.

Wow, I never knew dang was named Dan. I always said it as the word dang in my head

I think they're good mods, but I don't think this thread is appropriate, nor would I want to have put them in the position of deciding whether to delete it bt making it, as the OP did.

The odds of the mods deleting it seem pretty slim seeing as the author of the post is their boss man.

The thread need not be deleted anyway. Nothing wrong with thanking some of the people that keep the site running smoothly. Especially on a day dedicated to giving thanks.

If we want to be technical, I think there's also an argument to be made that moderation of online forms is a hard problem that "good hackers would find interesting" which would arguably satisfy the guideline that

> On-Topic: Anything that good hackers would find interesting.

and if there's a broad community sense that moderation is particularly good here, there may be something interesting to be learned from that.

In any event, it's (American) thanksgiving and they're about the best mods I've seen!

The user "sama" (the OP) is Sam Altman, president of Y Combinator.

waits for low quality comment and dang's response

Also thanks for being so super responsive and helpful to emails queries too. I've gotten replies from dang in matter of minutes! Amazing how well they do it.

Here here, you are both doing a tough job really well.

As importantly, I think they were doing a good job before and have improved. Not every successful person makes that effort. Great work guys.

Thank you Dan and Scott! Your work on HN is deeply appreciated! You keep us all civil and on topic tirelessly.

I can't reply to them and would't want to, but the sputtering Tourettes of accusations from disgruntled shadow banned trolls in this thread is music to my ears -- the moderators are doing a bang-up job, and the system works!

Thank you for "forcing San Fransisco liberal social justice politics down everyone's throat", you "west coast liberal elite echo chamber". Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries!!! ;)

Yep moderation is a thankless job, so today we ah, give thanks, as it were!

Thanks, Dan and Scott!

Yea, thanks to everyone who keeps this site rolling !

I’d like to express my gratitude as well.

kudos! moderation is a lot of work that you typically only notice when it isn't happening. thanks a lot!

Patient, smart, consistent. Thanks.

They're awesome -- thank you!

fantastic job, great mods. thanks for your hard work.

Thank you both.

same here. thanks guys!

I do not post my thoughts on certain topics any more because I know I'll get banned for it. So you can thank them for your echo chamber.

I have plenty of contrarian opinion on things, such as thinking Tesla is massively overvalued and their autopilot a scam, or my views on apple, etc... And while I may be down voted when posting them never ever have I feared a ban.

Maybe to find the issue you should pay less attention to your opinion and more to how you express it. Disagreeing with people is okay, even on the Internet there isn't always a side that's right and one that's wrong.

If you want an example, I have one at hand

No, trust me. It doesn't matter what languages I use to express myself, if I post about one specific topic I'll be banned every time. There are probably others too but you'll never know because the moderation is opaque.

I don't think dang is a good mod. They've removed my ability to downvote or make a new thread.

In fact, they remind me of Stackoverflow community.

I didn't ran into problem with sctb tho, i think he's fine. But dang, she needs tone down her impulse of over moderating everything.

I don't agree with all their methods and opinions. Most threads which hurt business are deranked and removed. Specially, the ones which discuss the dark side of the startups, after all YC has to make sure no one rocks their boat.

And the ones which discuss sexual harrasment or racism in YC Startups or Valley startups, are removed from the first page faster.

Lifestyle business threads are also removed from first page so that no entrepreneur might imagine that something is possible without VC funding.

Pretty, sure these guys get paid for their work. I don't see why should we be thankful afterall it's free market. If they don't like their job, someone else will.

The purpose of this forum is to attract talent from all around the world to silicon valley and mining the bright people who comment there for ideas for next billion dollar startup which YC guys will fund as they got those investors on their side.

Rest of us really don't benefit in material way other than probably a feeling of winning an argument on internet and raising testosterone/dopamine a bit.

dang has (nicely) called me out a couple of times for making comments that were rude or not productive. I’m glad that they’re trying to keep this place civil.

He called me out at least once, too. But the time he did, well, I pretty much deserved it...


Looking at your screenshot you post elsewhere (https://ibb.co/hoSMHK), I have to agree with them insofar as you need to know when to quit.

Running a forum is hard work and everyone wants to devolve every mod decision into rules lawyering, like "well, then why wasn't this specific thing in the rules?"

No, there can't be a rule for literally everything, so you're just going to have to be an adult and take it on the chin when the mods make a decision and double down on it. I completely empathize with dang's final post, that your "legalistic gambit" is a waste of everyone's time, and often the platform people like to spring off some sort of "omg the mod tyranny" campaign.

That happened over 70 days ago. Maybe it's time to let it go and learn to live with the fact that your tiny comment was flagged. Looking at your post history, you've lived through much worse, respectfully.

The "legalistic gambit" is definitely a real thing. I've just learned the other day that there's a neologism for this: "sealioning" [1], defined as

> pursuing people with persistent requests for evidence or repeated questions, while maintaining a pretense of civility

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

You nailed it. That's precisely what he's doing, and he knows it and is doing it on purpose (see below -- or better yet, don't bother). He doesn't really mean anything he says, and his civility is just a shallow pretense. The fact that he's shadow banned shows how well the moderation system works! Thank you again, moderators!

Sounds like an unfounded presumption of bad faith.

Like presuming everyone male will act just like the chimpanzees in your study? Do you have any studies of female chimpanzees you want to claim predict the behavior of all the women on HN?

It's an observed and documented behavioral pattern, it's not a presumption of motive. No reasonable interpretation of my original comment implies that one should assume all males will act like chimpanzees. Interesting and productive discussion can't be had without paying attention to the nuance of what is being discussed.

Observed and documented behavior in chimpanzees or humans? So where's your observation based documentation that humans behave the same as chimpanzees?

Or is your point just baseless name calling and dehumanization: that you think the humans on HN behave like chimps, but you don't have any proof of that, just proof of how chimps behave?

If you just want to call people chimps, then just call people chimps and take your licks for that, but stop beating around the bushes like such a chimp.

Looks like you blew a seal!


It's well known that there is a lot of shared behavior among apes. We look for patterns in behavior across species to better understand that behavior. I never name-called or dehumanized anyone and to think I did is an unprovoked and uncharitible interpretation of my initial statement. My goal was to frame the behavior Jacques observed in an objective scientific context. My goal was never to "call people chimps." Do you think it's possible for someone to point out shared behavior between humans and other apes without malicious intentions?

Wow, you really are the archetypal sea lion, aren't you?

You've seen the cartoon of course, haven't you? Of course you have, because you're acting exactly as the cartoon describes, and you are well aware of what you're doing, while pretending you don't know, and that you never heard of the term, even after it's been pointed out to you several times.


Now that I've given you a link and explained it to you yet again, your pretense of not knowing what we're talking about when we accuse you of sea-lioning is no longer valid, so give it up.

Failure to acknowledge that you've read the definition of that term, understand what it means, and how it perfectly describes what you're doing, constitutes an admission of guilt that you're not arguing in good faith.

So how do you expect me to respond now that I've seen this cartoon? I genuinely have no ill will towards you or anyone, I'm simply trying to defend what I think is right in what I think is the most reasonable and civil way possible. Accusing someone of "sea lioning" is creating a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation, if you're criticizing them for being reasonable and civil, how else should they defend themselves?

Is it possible to bring up ape behavioral studies without being accused of bad intentions? What do you propose is the best way to go about it?


Wow, no counter argument. Just shut down discussion. Okay

No, not okay. Just stop.


Now you've lost all pretense of being reasonable and civil, and you're proven beyond a doubt that you understand precisely what sea lioning is, and that you're doing it consciously and on purpose, and that you're not arguing in good faith, and that your intentions are bad.

Concur ..

From the OSS (CIA) Simple Sabotage Manual: https://www.cia.gov/news-information/featured-story-archive/...

(1) Insist on doing everything through"channels." Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.

(2) Make "speeches," Talk as frequently as possible and at great length., Illustrate your. points.. by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences. Never hesitate to make a few appropriate "patriotic" comments

(3) When possible, refer all matters to committees, for "further study and consideration." Attempt to make the committees as large as possible - never less than five.

(4) Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.

(5) Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions. . . .

While I don’t agree with @comesee, I don’t see his comments are offensive/vulgar language. Even the parent comment states very short and simple fact:

> dang called me a troll after I simply asked him exactly what it was about my comment that warranted it being removed.

Why do you think this tiny little comment worthy of immediate massive downvotes so that no one even can upvote it any more?

Is it your expectation that people commenting here must submit themselves to popular opinion? Is diverging from group think or disagreeing with mods punishable by immediate shadow banning?

1. Because the comment didn't stop there. Why leave off the bit on the end? Because it would ruin your case? 2. Because, with what I've learnt of dang, the comment you quoted is certain to be not the whole story, to the point of being false. I'd wager a lot of money on that.


It was 'important' for me because you quoted only part of the comment, then made a point of how tiny and short the comment was, how there was no reason to downvote. The part you left off was why I downvoted. Now somehow that proves your conspiracy theory right.

It's unpleasant reading people taking out their axes to grind, especially on this page. "Boo hoo, they treat me so badly, it's a horrible place" etc.. That's why people downvote. The mods seem admirable here to me, very much so. And of course on this page you will find people who appreciate them, that's the theme of the page. No conspiracy theory needed. And most people here really like HN, don't think it's awful, or we wouldn't be here. So why are you here? If what you say is right, then life's too short to waste at a place like this, isn't it. Maybe look at what you've 'turned into'.

Yes, you're right about the moral police part, I'm trying hard to stop doing this. I try to help like this and usually just get downvoted. Plus it just adds more at-best-useless comments to the site. But it is hard not to want to refute what seem unjust, unfair accusations, of the site or people on here, when I see them. But the best answer is just to downvote and/or flag, as recommended in the guidelines, I guess. Ok bye.

> Maybe look at what you've 'turned into'. [..] Ok bye.

Notice how that's apparently perfectly fine to say, but someone critical of something on HN would have to get lucky to be able to speak like that, as demonstrated in this thread.

Yeah, the whole country is an echo chamber right now. Everybody saying "Thanks for this", "Thanks for that", "Thank you", "Thank you too", "Why, you're welcome", "Here, have something to eat", "Pass the turkey please", "Here, have some more turkey!", "This is excellent turkey, thank you!", "You're welcome!"

"please don't post shallow dismissals"

Another highly selectively enforced rule.

The full thread https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17517514

That was an interesting comment, it's a pity it went out like this.


Codified laws are always interpreted by judges. Our legal system is not a computer program; humans are in the loop, and that is a feature, not a bug.

It's a forum with two moderators, not a civilization with a multi-tiered court justice system to interpret the laws.

You're going to have to live with that.

If you disagree so much, maybe it's time to go somewhere else and spare the rest of us from your permanent, belabored grudge. Like, boo hoo. Seriously. Hopefully you find something else to spend your precious time on earth worrying about.

Well, two active moderators (dang&sctb) and one administrator with unused moderative powers (pg).

Some amount of randomness/inconsistency is to be expected for the reasons you're indicating. As you said, it's just some moderators, not a court system.

But, when that arbitrariness always, always favors one set of viewpoints and suppresses others according to content, then in becomes a problem. That's not randomness, that's bias.

Eg: Person A says controversial opinion X, person B counters with controversial opinion Y. This can lead to a flame war. But which controversial opinion gets censored? The one the mods disagree with. And the excuse it, to prevent a flame war. Which is valid. But it's always the same side of the discussion that gets silenced by power.

The pre-judged outcome really drains the life and value from a lot of the most enervating discussions around here. I'd rather have read "flamewar" (as long as it's not personal) than an enforced echo chamber.


Notice how abstract you're getting trying to defend yourself. It's because you know it's unreasonable, so if you speak abstractly enough, you hope you can liken your little crusade here to some axiom of civilization. Maybe you think you're Rosa Parks.

That nobody else really cares will be a critical life lesson for you.

This isn't a public forum; it's a private one. If you don't agree with the opinions of the moderators or the culture here, you're welcome to build a competitive site.

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