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How Hacker News Stays Interesting (jameshfisher.com)
227 points by zwischenzug 20 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 112 comments

Articles by individuals about self discovery are my favourite. "Here's something I learned. Here's how I learned it. Here's how things are different because I learned it." Especially when it's not cutting edge stuff. Especially when it's by individuals who aren't serial bloggers.

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.

One can argue that those are the best bits of the Hero's Journey plot structure

I'm reading the hero with one thousand faces right now. Absolutely enchanting.

Reminds me I need to do a reread of that this year. Probably will appreciate it a lot more, which is saying something given how I felt towards it when I first read it.

I didn't make that connection but you're absolutely right.

check this out https://www.8hrs.xyz/

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.

Interesting. Maybe try to add longer time windows like http://www.hckrnews.com

Also, I think someone should work on a personalization engine for hn.

hckrnews.com is the exclusive way in which I read Hacker News.

It is for me as well. I like the chronological order, and it lets me be sure I’ve read all the “interesting stuff”. I read HM a lot, though, and for people who pop in only once a day or even a few times each week, the default view makes much more sense.

  it lets me be sure I’ve read all the “interesting stuff”
How can you be sure their curation exactly matches your interests?

What would you like to have in such a system?

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?


Sometimes I check HN once or every few days. hckrnews.com allows me to go back in time and see stuff that hit the front page.

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.

Not all top page articles have (enough) comments. I'm here for the comments, not for the articles :-P

bookmarked by me as x8h

Is the issue esoteric languages or just languages you don’t use? Which languages do you use?

My point is more that it's not like I signed up for news about certain languages. So unless I use them all, there will always be some amount of noise.

Everybody has their pet peeve about things that are "too popular" on Hacker News, see this classic:


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.

A major pet peeve are downvotes on perfectly polite comments from people who have different opinions about the topic you are commenting on. If downvotes were merely used to order comments, I could understand trying to deprioritize unpopular or factually incorrect views.

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.

The rub here is that the guidelines specifically say a downvote can indicate simple disagreement.

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.

> I believe they also say please don’t comment explaining why you downvoted.

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.

Say someone downvotes because they disagree, but they misunderstood what you wrote ...

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.

It is almost impossible to have something mean the same to everyone. That it doesn't is sort of the point of having a discussion in the first place. There are plenty of evidence on hacker news that people will have different, let's say perspectives, on even the most carefully crafted articles.

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.

The current HN guidelines don’t say anything about how to vote on comments.

The site owner (pg) has previously indicated that he encourages downvoting to indicate disagreement.

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.

> The site owner (pg) has previously indicated that he encourages downvoting to indicate disagreement.

Do you have a link handy?

This is _not_ the instance of support for disagree->downvote that I recall, but https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18408095 links to another instance and recent citing of that use of downvotes by "dang" (main overt moderator AFAICT).

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.

To me, the fact that HN is one of the few remaining community-driven sites worth reading is proof enough that its system of downvoting and flagging works very well.

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.

I up vote comments that add data or insight to the topic. I downvote comments that are rude, show the commenter did not read the link, or are clearly factually incorrect in a demonstrable way. I try very much to avoid giving a down vote because I just plan disagree. I have my perfectly reasonable comments downvoted in the past becase someone did just not agree and I do find that frustrating.

I don't vote very often, but when I do it's usually based on tone more than anything else. I'm much more likely to upvote a comment with which I strongly disagree that's well-presented than I am a comment in agreement.

In your profile, you can set "showdead" to "yes" in order to see all comments. Admittedly, you still can't respond at that point, but I think this gets pretty close to the "merely used to order comments" situation.

I have showdead enabled. Dead comments are rare, surprisingly non-trollish and higher quality than normal comments on other websites.

So much this. Downvotes are not for disagreements, they should be used for trolls, shills and bigots. If the comment adds a view you don't agree with, write an answer or ignore it. Downvoting in this case doesn't adds value. Reddit suffers the same problem.

Which is why it would make sense to write a reason why you're downvoting. A lot of people wouldn't have energy to write an explanation when downvoting on a knee jerk reaction.

People in general care about karma points and don't like the score to go down. People also take downvoting personally, and when someone comments and explains why they downvoted, they're susceptible to "revenge downvoting" by several accounts (owned by or related to the one who was originally down voted) on many of the downvoter's comments across threads. This in turn would cause distress to the downvoter.

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.

There's another site similar to hackernews and their downvote button requires a reason.

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
I suggested such a metric for flags to dang over a year ago, and I wouldn't assume that I was the first to do so.

This could be a neat experiment, especially at lower karma/patience levels.

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.

Would be nice to be able to vote at two dimensions: quality and agreement/disagreement.

Sort by controversial

I don't know what the aggregate behavior is, but I rarely see hidden comments, and so they are an automatic "must see" for me. I would say that I am more likely to see a hidden comment than a low voted one.

It hasn't. Declined a lot over past five years. There are days now not a single front page article is motivating enough for me to click on it.

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.

Perhaps, it is not HN that changed but you've grown up.

As they say (paraphrasing), don't visit places you loved as a child, to avoid killing happy memories.

Conversely, visiting your childhood home, where you were miserable, can trigger an episode of major depression. Speaking from experience.

I completely agree with the assessment and reasoning as to why. It bothered me for a long time, then I sort of came to accept that's how it is now. I've run lots of thought experiments on how it could be changed to improve the s/n. It's difficult because newer more mainstream content interested parties outnumber those looking for in-depth articles. I've made a simple re-ordering/filtering of posts[0] that makes it easier to separate types of posts.

[0] https://hackerer.news

I agree, there seem to be fewer in depth articles. It could be that the audience is changing to a less technical audience, or just getting older.

Could you suggest a suitable replacement?

> It could be that the audience is changing to a less technical audience, or just getting older.

Or, perhaps certain publications like the Guardian, Bloomberg and others have discovered HN as a "guerilla marketing" platform and are posting clickbait-ish articles...

And certain sites have essentially all their content shoveled onto HN every day by one or two submitters.

Could your perception of depth have just changed over time?

If you don't visit HN too frequently, try jumping several pages in. I don't have quantitative evidence to support this, but my experience is that useful content spends a while loitering around the 100-250 mark, while lower s/n posts zip past that range more quickly. The tradeoff is not being able to contribute to discussion it while it's still hot.

Yeah, as a frequent user of /best, I have a similar problem. But I still prefer to read /best most of the time.

I am the first person to say that HN isn't special, but to say it's substantially changed in any way is a flat out lie. I've been here for 10 years, and the front page the day I joined could pass for a front page any day this week.

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
Judging the overall quality of the day's submittals by glancing at the HN front page is like dismissing the content of a newspaper because the front page above the fold headlines don't interest you.

I'm not judging the quality. I didn't even make any state on quality.

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

HN threads should be tagged by category... Maybe automatically based on who comments or upvotes, or content.. and threads should be presented to the user based on interests.

I like it better being a mixed grab bag as it is. We already have other sites like reddit for narrowly tailored experiences.

I find the converse of the observation is true as well. I often post things about potentially controversial topics (Rust advocacy, undefined behavior, the suitability of Electron for UI), but I am always very careful to avoid provocative statements. In fact, I usually send around a draft and reword anything that is at risk for being misunderstood. As a result, I often see lower engagement in comments than I would expect for comparable material. Like probably about 0.01% of content creators, I take that as a positive metric.

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 often post things about potentially controversial topics (Rust advocacy, undefined behavior, the suitability of Electron for UI), but I am always very careful to avoid provocative statements.

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.

My favorite posts are the ones about passive-income, and anything science related. Especially in the latter I'm amazed by the diversity of the people commenting in here. You can pick the most advanced and niche topic and there will always be an expert here who can elaborate on the subject. There's no other place like HN in the entire web.

> You can pick the most advanced and niche topic and there will always be an expert here who can elaborate on the subject.

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.

FWIW, I like being the resident retired neurosurgical anesthesiologist here.

Well there's r/askscience and r/askhistorians which are similar on that matter.

> If you want to blame Facebook and YouTube for allowing the spread of wild conspiracy theories, it’s hard to also blame calmer forums like Hacker News for moderation.

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.

> 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.

Being invite-only is a less transparent form of moderation.


IMO it is very transparent:

Anyone can invite and everyone can see who invited who. No secrets or murky procedures there?

My favorites are the Show HN. I get to see something that someone else built and read about how they did it.

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.

What I’m most interested in is knowing how moderation works behind the scenes. It can’t be that dang and sctb (and other mods I don’t know about) read every single comment. Yet they rely to comments that violate the guidelines and warn users.

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.

I think that it would be entirely practical to skim every new comment on HN given a simple chronological list without threading. HN isn’t actually that big.

Metafilter is another example of a small-ish, highly moderated community that does a thorough job with a small handful of dedicated moderators.

> I think that it would be entirely practical to skim every new comment on HN given a simple chronological list without threading. HN isn’t actually that big.

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.

Read, sure, but skimming for the things that moderators call people out for took me about 30 seconds.

Well the article mentions that a thread with more comments than upvotes is ranked lower. In this case it was the top thread for an hour or so before being thrown to #26. This is interesting and I personally never upvote or downvote individual threads, but maybe I'll start.

> how moderation works

Crowdsourced via the flag button, which acts as a "superpowered downvote" even though it's not presented as such.

Yup. This or several downvotes even if the flag isn't triggered (though I think it usually is)

They don't read every comment, as they're quick to point out.

The internals of how HN does this are pretty interesting. Is there a write up about the back-end somewhere? Maybe with screenshots or walk-throughs on what it means to be an admin on HN? I would find that interesting.

Peer pressure, pure and simple. Yes, there are tons of people who talk loudly and rudely about topics they don't really understand at all. There's plenty of stalking and brigading that people get away with. But there are also just enough people who are informed and articulate to make it worthwhile anyway. The karma/vote/flag system is, similarly, just good enough to make their comments more visible most of the time.

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.

I think that was a bit of a weird conclusion. The "flame war detector" is terrible. What is does is cave to the will of the flamers and create a positive feedback loop for them. They will then go on to post on other topics, which why even the most benign posts will have crap comments. It is what it is, but certainly not even close to ideal.

I don’t really see this happening. IMHO There are relatively few really bad comments in most discussions - maybe they get downvoted quickly?

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).

It isn't that the comments are extremely bad. It is that the same attitude of essentially "not caring about the community" carries over into less controversial discussions. Which makes hacker news very noise for people who do want to have decent discussions, share information or whatnot.

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.

agree with you. The issue with this is that anything even close to a little bit controversial will start to go down faster.

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.

Maybe an option would be to have a setting to automatically hide "flame wars" if the user does not wish to see those? We already have the manual "hide", but this would hide some posts automatically.

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.

Assuming today’s typical use of “politically correct”, it really works in the opposite. I. e. stories about racism or sexism in the tech industry have almost no chance of reaching this audience, that could actually have the power to effect change. Meanwhile, stories and comments cynically portaying all of the “mainstream media” as corrupt, biased, and incompetent routinely rise to the top because that POV is now almost universally seen as uncontroversial fact.

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.

Yeah, if you want to hide a post you don't like you can just start an interesting and controversial discussion/flamewar in the comment thread - and the post will be deleted right away.

Good to know

"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)

“More comments than its score” is something that jumps out at me when I skim the front page. So, for that matter, is “high score and very few comments”.

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
...can also indicate vote fraud / self-promotion.

IMO it works because the moderation keeps things civil and polite. It's not just a question of saying things that are true, the tone of how things are said seems to matter. People get tired of debates where there's a lot of sarcasm.

This is actually the only forum I bother with, having tried a few over the years.

My favorites are the highly rated and vetted learning resources or canonical resources for a given topic. It’s gem hunting for knowledge and it pays off frequently.

Hacker News is really good! I consider it like a pre-buyout Slashdot in its golden era.

To be honest they are different sites. Born of different times (and even 5yrs on the web is a lot)

Just see how the moderation and commenting system works on both. And I have to say the cheap humour of /. got old already.

It is like a beowulf cluster of interesting stories and comments

What else is there?

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?

I'd argue this is how HN hits a glass ceiling. Somehow the moderators of HN think the community is mature enough to have meaningful discussions, but completely immature and unable to handle topics that the mods don't consider kosher.

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

I feel like one mandatory rule on HN should be explicit : Don't upvote because you agree the post, but because it add value to the discussion.

BTW, I consider the quoted moderator response to be very well-written itself.

I've often wondered if well implemented shadowban works.

>Thanks to moderation, when I open news.ycombinator.com right now, I’m pleased to see interesting new posts about C, Chopin, and concurrency; and no new posts about fake news, anti-vaxxers, or Flat Earth.

We only like strong moderation when it enforces our biases and political leanings.

I disagree with "only". I've been a moderator on a couple of game forums, and my line with people who got too heavily into politics was, "We're here to talk about the game. I'm not here to judge political views, but discussing politics isn't the purpose of this forum. So please take that conversation somewhere more suited for it."

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'm surprised this has been your experience, I've found that HN veers quite often into politics.

I didn't say it didn't. Politics is often relevant to the HN discussion in ways it wasn't on my forums. Chinese manufacturing, Russian information campaigns, Israeli intelligence, US patent cases, etc.

Simply not true.

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.

I think the comment was comparing HN to Reddit. It gets incredibly tiresome to browse /r/all and see several top posts about "look how dumb this anti-vaxxer/flat earther/MLM is", or see an article and wonder what people have to comment, and all the comments are some movie reference, low effort meme, etc.

You can visit more than one site with news/links to satisfy your curiosity, and I'm sure many people here do. And even more importantly the guidelines are explicit here - you know well what you will not find on this site (example: "If they'd cover it on TV news, it's probably off-topic"). I think the trouble starts when people are tricked into believing that whatever they're seeing is a fair sample of the world while in reality it's not.

That's the point of moderation: to enforce our shared bias and leanings so that we're more likely to see the content we want to see. Strong moderation may restrict the quantity and quality of discussions that lie outside our bias and leanings, but it protects us from being overwhelmed by them too. As a community our bias implicitly endorses C, Chopin, and concurrency as valid topics for discussion.

While this is true, the anti-vaccine debate and the flat earth debate is verifiably settled and only continues because people refuse to accept it. Diversity of opinion is great for society, but if it gets in the way of verifiable AND verified fact, I'm not sure how diversity of opinion is helpful.

maybe you have become blind to the torrent of posts about facebook.

Number of posts about Facebook on the front page right now: Zero.


See a post you don't like? Somehow manage to make it have more comments than upvotes and it's gone. I don't see any potential for abuse here /s

The stories that generate flame wars don't go away as long as they align with Dang's and other moderators political views.

Do you have data that supports this assertion, or is it anecdotal?

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