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Ask HN: What is your favorite HN post?
324 points by JunaidBhai 76 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 73 comments
Recent, old, perhaps anything that is interesting to read.

Some of my actually favorited posts:

jjoonathan on Oct 6, 2014 on: Glut of postdoc researchers stirs quiet crisis in ... https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8416875, "For most people it's not, but some people subscribe to the notion that choice implies consent/endorsement/approval ..."

scardine 12 months ago on: Ask HN: My company plans an ICO despite my opposit... https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16126082, "Like almost all problems in life you have only 4 options: ..."

graycat on Mar 28, 2015 on: The FedEx Problem https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9282104, "Yes, at FedEx, we considered that problem for about three seconds before we noticed that we also needed: ..."

Animats on Nov 21, 2015 on: How a little bit of TCP knowledge is essential https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10608356, "That still irks me. The real problem is not tinygram prevention. It's ACK delays, and that stupid fixed timer. ..."

Just learnt something new about TCP, thank you :-) (See also this post: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9048947)

And discovered that Animats is in fact John Nagle...

That #4 option hit too close to home. Thanks for bringing it up.

Yudkowsky Ambition Scale


How Do I Start Being a Consultant?


Bane's rule, you don't understand a distributed computing problem until you can get it to fit on a single machine first.


Edit: Thanks detaro for telling me how to link to individual comments.

> Also, how do I link to individual comments

Click on the timestamp next to the username

The first is an amazing hubris detector.

The "going deep" post reminds me of the "programmer-archaeologist" role from the Vernor Vinge novels, where a long-running spacefaring civilisation has built up a very large amount of code on which their magic nanotech runs. This provides opportunities to dig for long-forgotten things .. or exploits.


> That reminds me of Peter Thiel's Venn diagram of 'Sounds like a bad idea' and 'Is a good idea'. It's a pretty slim area in the middle and the 'Sounds like' part means it's hard to know until you do it.

I wonder which startup PG is referring to in the first link...

Also, wow, all those comments of people plugging their level 3 and above startups did NOT age well

Direct link to Bane's rule post: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8902739

“I have a slight fascination with sweeteners.”


"The 4-color map theory is bunk," [0] a comment in which a user boldly refutes modern mathematics and, when faced with contradictory evidence, continues to double down on his assertions.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16862553

Sometimes I feel like the colored version of that map should be the official logo of all Internet message boards.

…more like the un-colored one. :-D

Quality entertainment. Unfortunately, the original post is flagged.

You can change your user settings to see dead posts.

That is an amazing and amazingly amusing comment thread that I’m going to add to my favorites. It shouldn’t have been flag-killed IMHO. The user attempted to produce a counter-proof — it’s just that he was hilariously wrong.

Since you bring it up, and since I was just looking at your favorited comments, I wonder if you could clarify: Should we attach any significance to the fact that your 3 most recent saved favorites are all [dead]? It makes me think that your opinion of what a good comment is may not agree with the official position, and that you might have suggestions for how the moderation could be improved.

I use the favorite-function for posts more than I do for comments, because generally great posts contain more than one great comment in the discussion anyway. I haven't really used it for comments, so I guess I've decided to use it for comments that shock/make me laugh :).

For the aforementioned comment about 4-color-map theory, I thought it shouldn't be debunked because the person seemed to attempt to substantively debate (until he apparently gave up). I mean, the comment should have been downvoted to oblivion for being so definitively wrong. I just associate flag-killing with comments that are obviously abusive.

There is no official position!

Something can be dead because it is flagged, in which case a bunch of people didn't like it (for valid reasons or not...) or because the user is new and all their stuff is marked dead until someone comes along and vouches.

I think "The 4-color map theory is bunk" could become a movement, like flat earth.

This was definitely my favorite from the past year at least.

These are from my notes (the quotes below may be boring but related discussions are good imo):

"My working theory is something like “romanticism/emotionalism vs. abstract rationalism”; if you’re writing something that benefits from immediate experience and emotional input (e.g. Kafka writing about nightmarish bureaucracy after working all day in an insurance firm) then it is better to write at night, after the events of the day have happened and your mind has been operating for 12+ hours." https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18369337

"Classes get in the way between the programmer and the problem. They force you to reify your thinking into "things" (classes) that demand names and citizenship rights, so to speak, in the system. These "things" don't really exist, but we act like they do, and so increasingly see the problem in terms of the classes we've defined." https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3717715

"One thing that I find sorely missing in many teams is onboarding documentation. So when you come in, document everything that you need to do (required permissions, development environment setup, mailinglists, subscriptions) and how to do it." https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17353854

"The real value of Flask is that it makes you appreciate what Django does by default. When I first started learning Python / web frameworks, I went with Flask because it was smaller and "simpler". As my project grew however, I had to organize it. I was basically imitating what Django gives you by default, though less cleanly." https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16935441

@cperciva in this thread: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=35079

Those two comments come up frequently, but it's worth noting that in the whole preceding thread 'cperciva was being a pretty massively arrogant jerk.

That thread is a classic example of why the most capable people aren't necessarily the ones you should want to work with.

I like to think that was my lowest point on HN and I've been less of a jerk ever since.

I considered deleting my comments, but decided instead to keep them to remind myself to behave better.

The whole thread is a goldmine. The founder of Dropbox offering him a job when they were just starting out:


I've compiled mine (which are mostly comments) on my blog: https://raihansaputra.com/hn-wisdom. It's hard to say that I am following those advice though. The gap between knowing and action is hard to cross, somehow.

This looks great. Will save it somewhere.

Really good

Nice work!

While correct. New posts happen all the time.

Also, new people frequent here all the time, and opinions can change.

The end of the comic was great.

Should HN allow one's favourites to be shared?

Your favorites are publically shared: https://news.ycombinator.com/favorites?id=yitchelle

It’s upvotes that are private to each user.

Did not know that. Thanks for the enlightenment.

All the criticism in the Dropbox post: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8863

Ironically much of the criticism and skepticism was dead on, but that didn't stop Dropbox from becoming a very successful startup, though I think the ultimate future of the company is not certain as of yet.

pretty epic one!

my favorite by far was the very first thread on the Snowden revelations: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5830633

comment by comment you could sense the earth shattering awareness slowly setting in, or how the HN crowd suddenly went from unquestionable faith in big government to "oh lord what have we done".

On the whole, this is one of the more edifying political threads I've read around here...

I'd like to ask a parallel meta-question: How can we make better use of HN's existing 'favorite' feature?

Currently, we have the option to click on 'favorite' to add submissions or comments to a publicly visible list. Occasionally (a couple times a month?) I do this for comments that I think are excellent: https://news.ycombinator.com/favorites?id=nkurz&comments=t

Some other users do the same, but I don't really know how many, because there isn't really an interface to explore this. It looks like about half the top of the "leaders" list make use of this feature, although in some cases these might just be accidental clicks.

Anyway, it would seem like there should be some great way to make use of this information, but I don't know what it would be. A simple list of recently favorited comments? Marking on the comments that have been favorited? Just more prominence to what a user's favorites are?

Probably there is some even better way: How can we make better use of HN's 'favorite' feature?

Good point; personally, I'd like: 1. Ability to rename and/or annotate my favourite 2. Ability to put them in folders / hierarchical structure

(Mind you, easily fixed on personal level by simply bookmarking them in browser itself instead, but doesn't help HN)

I use this feature a lot. I've also tried to 'hack' discoverability in the past: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12098525

I really enjoy the, "what's your stack?" threads that pop up every now and then. It's always interesting to see what people are using, how they're using it, and why they made the decisions they did.

I think about this "tech has it so much better" take often: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11370776

I can't find it anymore, but from it I learned for the first time that functional programming can be understood simply as programming using component-oriented design - from then on, my favorite programming concept. I have a huge interest in software composition, so here's at least something I could find that explains it well:


Posted a mere three hours before this thread, regarding writing code in a language more reliable than Bash.


I’m not sure if this is #1 but this is one of my favorites.

“What're the best-designed things you've ever used?”


I read that as "You're the best-designed thing you've ever used", which sounds like a inspirational poster in a church office, so I expected a bunch of rants about intelligent design :)

See also the YC curated selection of HN highlights[0] and also an algorithmically generated list of (recent) best comments[1].

[0] https://blog.ycombinator.com/category/hacker-news/

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/bestcomments

This is a great one

particularly, this comment: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18856271

Lets say you were just hired as the President of a furniture company. The owner says he knows it's good furniture but even despite huge investments they can't seem to sell any furniture. Your job is to turn things around...


I have really enjoyed reading peoples recommendations on what they have learned and how they have grown, this post on "What has the past 12 months taught you?" is really interesting: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=17316120

Here's my favorite comment, which I believe deserves status as a law of the internet: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1012082

This one, about the "medicinal benefits" of Cinnabon: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15615654

You can view everyone's favorites in their profiles. [1]

[1] - https://news.ycombinator.com/favorites?id=JunaidBhai

This is an all-time gold:

"Did you win the Putnam?"

Yes, I did.


x0x0 on: Canada to Scrap IBM Payroll Plan Gone Awry Costing... https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16495504

> Humans are very good at holding lots of exceptions in our heads and, in the absence of clear rules, doing reasonable things. Computers are shit at both of the above.

I've always loved the posts where people share their side projects that are making them $xxx / month.

ry_ry imagines a possible future for the kernel after Linus is gone.


Funny and very well written.

Edit: pasted a wrong link, fixed the context


Blue, thanks for asking.

I was positive people would come along and not catch the meaning of my comment.

What do you mean, like mine? What are the odds!

Same as my favourite drink #C0FFEE

The ballooning one

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