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Hacker News Highlights, August to November 2018 (ycombinator.com)
413 points by craigcannon 10 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 53 comments

My personal favorite (which I was involved in), was people willing to openly test one my applications:


It was fun / exciting to see it work, plus from all the emails I got there was a lot of interest. I personally enjoy the collaborative nature of Hacker News, although these posts are also interesting and highlight the breadth of knowledge here.

From the list in the post, my personal favorite was meeting Rick Jay: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18555353

For anyone else who couldn't figure out what's going on, the context is that the app he built (https://hnprofile.com/) has a disabled (for privacy reasons) feature that can figure out alternate HN accounts based on speech patterns.

Here's the link to the comments: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17942981

This is great. I have never seen this posted before on HN so I did a search and saw these have been put together sporadically for at least the last three years with seemingly little engagement. I wonder why that is. These posts highlight some of the best things about this website/community. I would love to see them more often or have them receive more promotion.

If engagement is the priority, my suggestion would be to build this curation into HN itself instead of using a post on a separate blog. Give the admins a way to tag a comment as highlighted, then present those comments in some visually distinct way and add a link to the nav that jumps you to a list of all highlighted comments.

After reading the post, I feel like maybe not everything needs to be optimized for well-defined priorities. :)

You can subscribe to receive the emails. I do and often there's pretty interesting stuff in there.

Is the subscribe link at the bottom of that page specifically for this type of stuff? There is nothing visually connecting that to the article and it only uses the vague phrase "updates from Y Combinator". I am one of those HN users who comes here for the tech topics much more than the startup topics. I therefore don't have much interest in Y Combinator outside of being thankful that they host this site. I don't really want every blog entry they post to be emailed to me but I will happily sign up if it is more this type of content.

It's all the blog entries, but usually formatted fairly well. There aren't too many blog entries (five or so), and typically ones that make HN are highlighted more.

All that being said, I see your point.

There's an RSS/Atom feed, so you could set up a filter in IFTTT or a similar app or service.

> these have been put together sporadically for at least the last three years with seemingly little engagement. I wonder why that is.

Because HN readers are more likely to engage with the comments themselves?

I did not intend to read this from beginning to the end. Talk about a sticky article.

Consider quoting the text directly though. Making images of text is probably the most inaccessible thing imaginable. Should take less than a hundred lines of CSS to create a believable HN container in a div.

> Making images of text is probably the most inaccessible thing imaginable.

Agreed. I love the concept of this site, but it would load significantly faster and provide better user experience if it utilized text instead. Loading this website took me 9.41 seconds.

Images don't scale, and people using screenreaders would be out of luck, for starters.

If you click on the images, it'll open to the actual comment in text form.

While load times for images are worse, this format provides some handy advantages, namely the ability to look through that thread and see more context, read the related article, etc.

No advantages that a css/html rendered version of the same thing doesn't have, with the loss of accessibility that you'd get using the alternative approach.

This is just "the easy way out". Justifying it otherwise is wrong, in my opinion...

This would be an easy thing to do and everyday occurrence if we had proper, first-class-citizen transclusion [1] mechanisms as part of the Web standards and their implementations.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transclusion#History_and_imple...

That's fair, and true from an engineering perspective. I imagine for YC it comes down to, as with nearly every other company, a prioritization problem.

With the exception of companies like FB with millions of users, the priority of creating a css/html rendered version of text to prevent people from having to click through to copy is quite low.

I suppose I'm defending the image as being the more useful of the two "easy way outs" that are likely to be implemented. :)

It does fit easily with the (admittedly terrible) ubiquitous trend of sharing posts between social networks through screenshots.

Sharing the image retains attribution and source. Sharing the text alone opens channels of abuse and lack of context... I like this option more, personally.

I think the idea was reproducing the same visual as the image (attribution and all) but using HTML/CSS instead.

A good example is Raymond Chen's blog The Old New Thing; just look at the Windows dialog in this post: https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/oldnewthing/20181016-00/?p=... It's all pure HTML.

On top of that, someone could probably script this process to extract the text from a link or create this page from a series of links automatically. Well, at least the quotes and links if they want to hand-write the intro or ending. The result would help both for people with weak/slow connections and any impairments that tools assist with.

Not that I'm for screen shot, I imagine they wrote a quick script that went through a list of links to the comment and produced the screenshot (which also resized the height of the window to fit the full comment).

The script probably utilized an integration with a screen capture library. I'd imagine someone can write a script to parse html and dig out the comment, but the screen capture script was probably faster to write.

A slower method would be to copy and paste the text by hand...

Gee, if only Hacker News had an API to extract the text and associated metadata from a comment, so that it could be presented in a textual way rather than as an image…

haha true.

Or just copy paste the text to the image alt="" and voilà.

Hacker News generates a list of “best comments” that updates based on the rank and age of the comments:


These are great. I also try to collect interesting discussions and comments at https://www.reddit.com/r/HNDepthHub

I would appreciate other contributors.

This is great. Thank you.

I really like the concept of this article and would love to see this quarterly, bi-monthly, or monthly!

I also would prefer if the comment text were rendered in actual text instead of screenshots, as the low resolution is really obvious. Hope true text makes it into the next one of these.

Tap/click the rendered text and it will link to the original text post.

Thank you so much for doing this for the community. I recognized a few comments that I'd read previously but a lot of them were new. I can't read everything simply because I've got lines of code to write in between multiple visits to HN daily!

I'm surprised that I could recall reading some of the comments :)

I kinda did the same with all of my favorite comments (not including screenshots on my desktop/my phone) and compiled what should be a pretty good guide for me. But if I have to put another quote in: It's hard to act according to my knowledge/thinking. https://raihansaputra.com/hn-wisdom/

I probably get downvoted to hell for this, but: although the picks were interesting I didn't think they were as good for making it worth putting a list together. Looking at hn front page and checking through the comments I find something on similar excitement levels perhaps every third day.

Don't mean to discourage the authors, simply saying how I felt.

A lot of these comments were from people with incredible first hand experience of the topic at hand. The crash bandicoot dev for instance. These kind of comments do crop up from time to time, but I really enjoyed having them in a single condensed place, as I ended up missing the majority of them in the wild.

The computer-crashing portfolio comment was hilarious! (Hadn't seen that one myself.)

They didn't pick the best comment from the thread on bad codebases, but that whole discussion was ... enlightening.

Instead of screenshotting, I'd love it if HN comments were embeddable like social media posts. Wouldn't it be a minimal project to extend the HN codebase for it?

It'd be nice if Hacker News had automated pages that showed the most upvoted and the most voted (up or down) comments for {time period}.

Hacker News does have a dynamically updated page for the “best comments”:


You can use the search page at the bottom of the page

Format of the screenshots reminded me a lot of embedded Twitter posts - would love to see embeddable HN comments :)

I appreciate a curated list such as this. Only a few were items were familiar to me.

Nobody made some Advent of HN with the 24 best links of the year?

This self gratification is a bit distasteful.

These would be cool if the comments were embedded to make the page more accessible, rather than just screenshots (granted, there are links).

> Here are some of our favorite Hacker News comments

a) Who is 'our'? And why is HN typically opaque like this? [1]

b) Why are they some of your favorite comments? Reasons?

[1] As I have noted in the past in comments I have made the mods don't even say they are mods. It's like a secret society where you have to figure it out over time or be clued in. Example dang's profile [2] doesn't say he is a mod. Even PG's profile said 'bug fixer'. [3]

Why have people infer the relationship. What's preventing anyone from coming up with a handle and the acting like a mod?

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=dang

[3] https://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=pg

a) For this one, it's just an opaque Y Combinator. A highlights post is about the highlights.

b) 'Cause we thought they were interesting. Don't you think some of these are interesting?

> Why have people infer the relationship.

'Cause It's like a secret society where you have to figure it out over time or be clued in.

> What's preventing anyone from coming up with a handle and the acting like a mod?

Nothing! It's a community site, and communities can function surprisingly well without too much ceremony.

> Don't you think some of these are interesting?

Because there is so much that someone can read it is usually helpful to have additional information so you can decide if it's worth reading.

Now I am not a Bill Gates fan in any way, and I am not saying you should go into the depth that he does, but as an example look at what he does when he recommends a book. He doesn't just say 'this is something I find interesting'.


> 'Cause It's like a secret society where you have to figure it out over time or be clued in.

Hah well this thinking is similar to, say, Twitter which on purpose makes things difficult for the ordinary man and the beginner. Will note that Apple took a different attitude with the iphone in 2007 and we know how that ended up.

So sure why not be more welcoming to newcomers?

> Because there is so much that someone can read it is usually helpful to have additional information so you can decide if it's worth reading.

I think the intention is for the one-line description to let the reader know what they're getting into. At some point you just have to take the plunge and read the one-or-two-paragraph comment and let the chips fall where they may.

> So sure why not be more welcoming to newcomers?

We definitely want to be welcoming! That's one reason we don't wave a big mod flag around and instead use our own language to communicate what needs to be communicated. Hacker News isn't a product like Twitter or an iPhone. It's not a fancy thing like that—we're just trying to have interesting discussions.

FYI for those who don’t know, you’re an official HN mod, per this official HN post:


(“dang” being the only other active mod that I am aware of)

Also needs mention: N-gate.com

re The Shipping Forecast: people actually have to leave London because of Brexit? O_o

The Conservative government's "hostile environment" host of policies and rhetoric can be quite distasteful to immigrants just trying to live and work in the UK.

I wasn't aware. I came to work in London a year ago and at our company it's like nothing ever happened, which might change I guess.

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