Honestly, everything else feels like an unfulfilling facebook-like time sink. Current events, advertising, new libraries of random languages I don't use, echo chamber issues, self-serving content where "experts" sell you their perspective for ad revenue.
The site shows all the top page articles since last 8hrs. I am not sure if this will be useful for hn readers.
I am the author.
Also, I think someone should work on a personalization engine for hn.
it lets me be sure I’ve read all the “interesting stuff”
1) More content related to what you read/open
2) Removal of posts similar to a given post (e.g. please no more js rant)
3) Something more?
The problem is that stuff that interests me isn't always the stuff with the most upvotes or the most comments. I constantly find articles that are relevant to my interests or area of expertise and aren't in the "Top 10" or "Top 50%" (hckrnews.com definitions).
That's why I suggest that some ML-trained tagging and recommendation system would be helpful delivering HN content of interest.
The trouble is people don't agree on what those are!
The next article in that series
never went viral because it was too emotionally positive. (E.g. rather than complain about the danger of A.I. in the hands of Google/Facebook/Baidu why not apply it to your own needs?)
I get sick of the all the "I competed in Kaggle and all I got was this lousy T-Shirt" posts that you see on HN, but HN readers who look at that article superficially might not realize that I am solving my own problem, facing down the issues of applying ML to a business problem which has not been carefully curated.
But if downvoted comments are effectively hidden away, a downvote becomes a tool of censorship, a political weapon to punish and banish opposing views. It turns the community to an echo chamber and discourage me to contribute any view that might offend the mainstream groupthink - which is not a unique emergent spirit of the community, but heavily influenced by the demographics of the site.
Many of my votes are upvotes to unfairly downvoted, high effort comments.
I believe they also say please don’t comment explaining why you downvoted.
I think this is tied to the insight that the quality of the discussion tends to be inversely proportional to comment depth.
Hacker News posts also drop in rankings if the comments start to exceed the upvotes.
I think all of these ideas interact to make Hacker News different from other discussion boards, and although it may be counterintuitive, it seems to have had an overall positive effect.
Edit: either I misremember the guidelines, or they have been updated. I may have conflated Paul Graham’s essay about Hacker News, and various other discussions, with the “official” guidelines. Either way I think what I wrote above reflects underlying patterns/guidance that has influenced Hacker News.
You shouldn't comment why you downvoted, so much on why you disagree in the first place. The thing is that there are always someone who disagrees. Especially when judging something based on a few sentences. I would say at least 10% of my comments where someone responds they have something else in mind than I did when writing it. Disagreeing over click doesn't make much sense.
At what point do you take responsibility for writing something easily misunderstood?
I'm not meaning this as any form of snark. I think anyone who writes anything has to consider to what extent it can be misconstrued and where the line is after which they won't be even more pedantic, just to avoid being read poorly.
What I think mostly happens instead is that you start adapt what you write to please the crowd. Sometimes that is a good thing, if it leads to things like being more polite or making better argument, but often it means being either more controversial or writing more vaguely to balance upvote and downvotes.
When the primary concern should really be writing decent comments, even if only one person might find it interesting and some small percentage of the crowd disagrees.
One of many things I disagree with re structure of HN.
I too upvote valuable/thoughtful/insightful comments that I disagree with.
Personally I want a range of opinions, and specifically desire to hear opposing opinions; deterring well made opposing comments goes against that.
Do you have a link handy?
dang also linked "things pg said about downvotes", it might be one of those: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16131314.
I've been around here longer than it seems (lost account); we used to have visible vote scores too, which I preferred, some comments on this subject mention what I'd call right-voting, which is no longer easy.
Other sites with similar, though less rigid moderation systems have fallen deep. Slashdot is a good example. I know it since it was founded and it used to be great. But starting from 2012 or so it went into a downwards spiral. For a while, during the US election cycle, it was almost completely overtaken by bots and trolls, and even though they've been fighting hard to improve the signal-to-noise ratio by tweaking their moderation assignment algorithms, it is barely worth visiting nowadays.
I'd rather let my ego be hurt a little bit by being unfairly downvoted from time to time than having to deal with hundreds of opinion posts. People tend to overestimate the value of their opinions, and the vast majority opinion posts are redundant anyway. I like HN because it keeps political discussions away and focuses more on informative content and discussions among adults than on opinions.
There are also certain topics that simply seem to be impossible to discuss on the Internet. Frankly speaking, in the 25 years or so I'm on the Internet, I cannot remember a single meaningful or insightful discussion of US politics, hate speech, religious faith vs. science, gun laws, abortion, and climate change. I've also never experienced a good discussion of political positions in general on the Internet and also have no desire to participate in such discussions. Maybe there was some information, some useful link to statistics or literature here and there, but overall the quality of the discussion of such topics is abysmal. If it's already hard to have fruitful conversation about an issue face to face, then the topic for sure will not work on the Internet, and I can gladly do without these discussions on social media sites.
As long as HN has a number assigned to everyone that people interpret as significant, I'm completely for downvoting without any explanations. The fact that both upvoting and downvoting are anonymous (to the one getting the votes) ties directly with this, IMO.
One of: off-topic, incorrect, me-too, troll, spam.
I bet though a lot of people would still use incorrect for disagreements.
I always thought slashdot had a great moderation system where +5 was the max a post could get and everyone only had a few votes every few weeks so you had to be careful. The upvotes also had reasons like (insightful, funny, interesting ..) so a user could sort by those.
One of: off-topic, incorrect, me-too, troll, spam
Drive by downvoting is often by people who aren't willing to pause and share their why.
It might not be easy to reflect on whether one is as open minded or comfortable to look at their own views, or openly entertain a viewpoint that isn't their own.
Innovative and disruptive thought may not exist in agreeable form even for a place as forward thinking as HN may imagine itself to be.
I'm sure HN has grown audience and in general appeal over same period
Both that wider appeal and my loss of interest is due to subject shift of content. From mostly high s/n, tech and startup articles to human interest, "life hacks", and long form. From stuff that is directly useful (to a niche audience), to generally applicable entertainment.
As they say (paraphrasing), don't visit places you loved as a child, to avoid killing happy memories.
Could you suggest a suitable replacement?
Or, perhaps certain publications like the Guardian, Bloomberg and others have discovered HN as a "guerilla marketing" platform and are posting clickbait-ish articles...
Absolutely nothing has changed about HN; some might even argue that is part of the problem.
not a single front page article is motivating enough
I'm comparing the front page today to the front page from years ago. And stating it is less interesting to me because it is more broadly interesting. The content has moved from niche to mainstream
I also have a very good experience on Twitter, being careful only to tweet constructive things, and curating my feed. (I'm interested in political news, and find that following only Kyle Griffin gives me all the signal and none of the noise).
That said, though I can tune my personal experiences in these ways, I feel like I'm pissing into the wind. All of the digital content business is relentlessly optimizing for clicks and engagement at the expense of everything else, so I think it's increasingly difficult to filter for quality. I try to spend more time with print, but I find it hard to resist the immediacy of digital.
I tend to do the same, but my interests are strongly aligned with my politics. Personally, I'm a strong advocate for gun rights and reducing the size of government in all areas. When I post on HN I always try to stay as fact-based as possible, to minimize the "emotional power" of the words I use, and generally to be as respectful as possible. For me, it's more like corresponding in an academic setting than a social one.
I'll also add that this approach has resulted in many excellent discussions with people I wouldn't have encountered on the other sites I frequent.
When I do post my own opinions - because sometimes, the opinion itself is the reason that I'm compelled to post at all - I make sure that I explicitly recognize that it is in fact my opinion instead of presenting it as fact.
> All of the digital content business is relentlessly optimizing for clicks and engagement
This is what makes HN special to me. HN isn't trying to directly monetize the content. It's beneficial to YC because it builds a community, and it's beneficial to members of that community because of the professional connections that are created and maintained here -- but no one is making any more or less money based on how long people spend reading or writing comments.
There's a firearms forum that I frequent that is like this. I believe it's mostly by virtue of it being so large, but strongly suspect that the financial barrier to entry for the hobby favors successful professionals. Unlike HN, though, the S/N is not always high. You'll often find a thread with a dozen extreme or downright incorrect posts for every high-quality, knowledgeable one. It's a useful resource, but you have to have a well-developed filter to use it effectively.
This. I would love to see more sites experimenting with transparent, interrogable but impactful moderation schemes that actively shape conversation.
They have transparent moderation, and - I believe - you have to state a reason for downvoting.
Yep, you do. I find the quality of discussions there to be worlds above HN. Downvote brigades are basically nonexistent. I don't know if it's because you have to go through an extra step to downvote someone and commentors don't want to be publicly labeled as 'troll' or 'spam', but they are doing seems to be working.
IMO it is very transparent:
Anyone can invite and everyone can see who invited who. No secrets or murky procedures there?
They are often about things that I have long forgot about but have/had an interest in (e.g, programming on TI-84s).
I can’t work on everything that I want but at least I get to read about others doing it.
There must be some software analyzing comments based on different parameters (length, downvotes, scans of problematic words/phrases, and more...machine learning/AI too?) and flagging them in a queue for attention.
Metafilter is another example of a small-ish, highly moderated community that does a thorough job with a small handful of dedicated moderators.
The oldest comment on the first page of https://news.ycombinator.com/newcomments was posted 15 minutes ago. Reading through all of them took me 5 minutes. Ignoring the fact that posting frequency varies throughout the day, reading every comment would require a single person to spend 8 hours a day every day. So it seems possible to moderate HN like that, but I really wouldn't want to be in dang's shoes monitoring the contextless comment stream all day.
Crowdsourced via the flag button, which acts as a "superpowered downvote" even though it's not presented as such.
It's sort of the worst possible tech news/discussion site, except for all the others. It's also a bit fragile. If a key hundred or so of the top commenters (not highest karma because karma grossly overweights submissions vs. comments) stopped participating here, I and probably many others would no longer find it "just good enough" to bother. It's really only a matter of time before that happens.
HN is not really a place to fight the flame wars. Typically the flame war is not related to topic, but underlaying issue (topic being for example Ubuntu release XY, but the flames revolving around state of Linux desktop).
Basically every story will have people who seem more interested of hearing themselves speak, snipe by down voting or one liners, don't make an effort or don't reply at all or can't leave the discussion to those who actually find it interesting. It is those attitudes or expressions that should be moderated, not topics.
As a result, we will end up with closely selected, safe, politically correct article on the main page where debate can be kept to a minimal on safe topics.
I do agree that this automatic de-ranking as soon as a post is considered to be controversial is unexpected and not a feature I like.
Explicit right-wing drivel like overt racism have no chance, thankfully. But having written a tech & politics column for 15 years in my native country, I can read my old stuff and see how my politics have developed. And while I have moved a bit on issues like diversity, I feel the tech community has moved somewhat in the opposite direction, or perhaps towards a sort of cynical, self-focused sort of populism.
To use one example that’s almost purely about technology: the GPL used to have many proponents in the slashdot era. These days, anything not MIT licensed is quickly derided as “socialism” or “against freedom”. The general understanding of issues also seems to have gone downhill. It appears, for example, that very people even understand the motivation behind GPL 3.0.
"More comments than its score" looks like a nice indicator, though there is probably a threshold, otherwise any new story would probably trigger it.
The hard part of the website it seems is not just the "CRUD" part but all the intelligence to make it feel "seamless" (because without it it would be a spam and flame fest)
The challenges of course keep evolving and I have my worries about some of those (influence by 3rd parties mainly and some discussions that maybe should be allowed but aren't - though that's more on the editorial line of the site)
I know that the latter will probably be something really interesting or even awe-inspiring that doesn’t leave much to be discussed. While the former is (sometimes) a sign that the comment section will be more interesting than the article. At the very least I can expect different, well-argued viewpoints, and reading a thoughtful argument is something I enjoy.
high score and very few comments
This is actually the only forum I bother with, having tried a few over the years.
Just see how the moderation and commenting system works on both. And I have to say the cheap humour of /. got old already.
I‘m looking for publications with medium to highly technical articles about practical technology, esp. material science, manufacturing, IT, automotive, robotics, clean tech etc., but without all the product placement, cultural and political topics and alarmist trends.
HN used to be very close to optimal for me, except for the (logical) focus on programming, but recently there‘s just too much politics, climate, „look at my amazing 100 line project“ and self-help stuff to weed out. Any recommendations?
There's no other place online that would actually attempt an honest discussion about "non-kosher" topics, and the mods are killing that chance by shadow banning
We only like strong moderation when it enforces our biases and political leanings.
My experience on HN has been much the same. There's a range of ideas here and some are more controversial than others, but they're pretty much always relevant to the interests of the community. I appreciate the relatively tight focus and that's what keeps HN feeling like a high signal-to-noise place to me.
I like strong moderation even when it sometimes catches, as it has, topics that suit my biases and leanings. Just as with the more strongly moderated reddits, it's the price of achieving a decent factual discussion. Without it there's a predictable race to the bottom. Without it HN would be just another barely moderated reddit with little appeal.