Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
New ‘past’ link on HN front page (ycombinator.com)
350 points by Y_Y 30 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 174 comments

I'm actually really interested in this addition. I'm just going back to 'big' days, such as financial crash. When I started HS when I finished HS, when I started College. A few articles are interesting, it's definitely better than bumbling around Algolia.

Edit: One great link is this one

> Google Making Extraordinary Counteroffers To Stop Flow Of Employees To Facebook [1]


>>no reason their stock won’t hit $100 billion in total valuation over the next couple of years.

>That's got to be a joke.

Love it!

I had to look this up, here's FB's historical market cap: https://ycharts.com/companies/FB/market_cap

> Love it!

Worth remembering these little snippets of history next time someone pooh-poohs your idea.

I like it. It seems to surface more unusually good stories -- but is that a problem?

Won't the list end up dominated by a handful of winner-take-all stories, lingering throughout the entire day at the top of the list, rather than an ongoing series of slightly-less-popular stories popping in and out?

If there's always going to be better stories with the "sorted by time spent" view, does that create a danger that everyone will just devote their attention to those few high-grade stories, and ignore all of the rest?

It's just a list of past front pages. Once each day is over, its front page never changes. Does that answer your question?

(Well, it's not exactly a list of past front pages, because what appears on /front was never the actual front page at any point. Since that's always changing, we take a kind of average.)

Yeah, I was confused about how this works. But if the link appears at the bottom of the page, then this new page will be more of an afterthought (after reading the current front page and upvoting its stories at that moment in time).

Not new; just the link at the top is new. The hard part was what to call it. Since the point is to give people more to read, 'more' seemed right.



Edit: Oh, also: "more" fits with the "More" links you see at the bottom of the front page and other places, clicking which takes you back to previous posts.

Edit 2: Ok, you guys have convinced me you don't like "more", so let's go with "past". That word is overloaded with 'past' links that point to HN searches, but perhaps those meanings are compatible.

I guess an answer would be to call it "old", given its placement next to "new" (and the fact that it lets you browse old stories).

or "past".

Ok, we'll go with that for now.

I rejected it originally because there are already 'past' links on thread pages that point to HN Search, but perhaps those meanings are compatible.

I think it works well. The context seems clear to me, since the top text is time-based.

Thanks for the reordering also.

I like both of these options (more than "more")

It’s neither past nor old but rather it shows the full current day first. Rather top posted grouped by day. So maybe a new ‘top’ IMO.

Or call it 'archive' may be!

or 'history' ;-)

Since it looks up a specific day, how about “pastdays”.

I think they’re trying to keep each nav item a single word.


I like it. But it seems to default to today's date with options to readily explore "this date in history."

So I will suggest: Date

Alternately, I will suggest Top since it defaults to Stories from (today's date), ordered by how long they were on the front page.

Hopefully if enough people toss out suggestions, one will turn out to be a real improvement over more.

Maybe Explore?

I think it’s a perfect opportunity to hackerishly use "car | cdr" or "head | tail"

Thanks! Just a reminder, don't forget to add a "hide" button under each post. Some of us use "hide" a lot. :)

Just curious what purpose you use hide for? It's a feature I've always kinda ignored. (If I don't want to see a story, I just keep scrolling.)

It's good for personal bookkeeping. Whether you've already read a story, the comments or just have no interest - it's nice to get off your page so you don't have the unnecessary clutter and/or distraction.

Ok, added.

BTW: If there was something to reduce accidental hits on hide and flag, that would be great.

On mobile touch screens, being right under the main links they can get hit a surprising number of times and then you've got to go fumble around to undo it.

Maybe a "comfortable" setting a la Gmail?

It keeps the normies away.

Just kidding (mostly).

Oh, there's a hide button ...!

On the name question, perhaps: previously. As in when tv shows continuing a story was novel, and they'd do a "Previously, on Buffy..."

I like it, except that it's too long.

Maybe "top", since it's the top posts from that date?

I think "more" is a confusing choice because you already have a "More" link at the bottom of the page that goes to the next page.

"Afore" would be nice, but it's too esoteric. How about "Ahead" ? Synonym of previously, as well as goes with the idea, like "Go ahead and read another story"

That, or: "ere". Length equal to "new" :)

What about "previous"? Same length as "comments".

What about “Prev”?

What about just 'recent'?

But what if you go back 5 years?

Some other alternatives:

- By Date

- Date

- Rewind

- History (confusing?)

- Archive

- Old (new | old)

i think -Recap should be on that list, since it really is a recap of what's happening.

Time Machine (tm)



Surely "top" would be more suitable. Now when I want the second page of "more" I have to ask for more more.

On seeing the title I clicked the "more" button on the bottom of the front page and was confused why it seemed the same.

I would say "top" has different connotations.

More more doesn't seem so bad? It's between more and more more more.

Yeah, feels more like a "top". The current homepage is like Reddit's "hot", and the new "more" is like Reddit's "top".

How do you compute "time spent there?"

I believe it just means how long the entry stayed on the front page. There shouldn't be anything special about computing this number.

Ah, that makes sense. I'd initially interpreted it as some kind of engagement metric.

Yes, I see how that was ambiguous. Have changed the language—is it clearer now?

If anyone can figure out how to make it shorter, let me know. It feels a bit wordy now.

yep - I missed that concept too.

"...ordered by {time spent there}->(how long it was on the front page)"

How about "prior"?

Hmm. I like that! It's bookish but not pretentious.


It's organized by days, so how about "daily"? Nice short word that is intuitive to me.

or daily top / top daily

Seems like an archive feature? Since you can go back to see the contents of front pages from previous days. But "Front Page Archive" doesn't necessary condense well into single word unless you're going to call it /archive.

Snapshot. Or Time Capsule. It’s really like a glimpse of the most important news on that specific day. More just feels like moving to the next page.

Really cool concept in my opinion; no matter what the name is.

Agree. More is too often used to display 'more options', which is what I thought this was going to be. I tailgated on your Snapshot and "Time Capsule" suggestions (which I liked) to try to find other one word alternatives. Came up with the following:

cache, record, timecard, log, chronicle, registry, diary, chronology, timeline, calendar, register, log and archive.

I'm partial to snapshot, archive and timeline - as one word substitutes.

i would have picked today or maybe front.

more could be confused with the more link at the bottom and it doesn't really tell the whole story.

i discovered front by accident when the above announcement came up in a search, and i have been using it ever since to keep up with the top hits of the day. it actually helps me to read less and limit my time on hackernews.

Personally, I would call it "time" as a dual-meaning single word that references both the ability to go to a specific day and the fact that it is computed based on time spent (and maybe also "go here if you find yourself with some extra time to sink in").

Shouldn't the URL slug also be "more", then?

/front seems like the right URL for what's there. But we can't put a 'front' link on the front page.

it may look odd, but hackernews readers are inquisitive, and will check it out. on the other hand i would guess that most will ignore more thinking it's the same as the more link at the bottom.

actually the problem with front is not on the front page but on all others where it will make people think that it goes to the front page...

It would be more clear to call it time travel.

would "browse" be a poor description? given the functionality to move back/forward.

'digest' as in 'Reader's Digest' and what has already been digested.

Past is better. Not great, but better than more. Thanks for listening!

Are new features still implemented in Arc?


At least it’s not called “less”.

well, i do use /front to spend less time on hn, so that would actually work for me :-)

déjà vu

Only now I realized that I use https://hckrnews.com for so many years that I have come to think of it as the actual HN front page. It's hard to imagine something better.

Yes! I love https://hckrnews.com, and the ability to come back later in the day and catch up on anything that was on the front page, and not worry about missing out.

I also echo the sentiment of being used to that site as the HN homepage.

Do you mean that we're not all typings news.ycombinator.com ? That's kind of tripping me out. And where is this new 'more' button?

I personally use http://hackerne.ws

Are you? I'm just typing new<ret>. Or not even that; HN is often just CTRL+SHIFT+T away...

For me just typing "n" suffices for autocomplete....maybe I should pay more attention to my habits.

I type hack or hacker or hacker n (depending on other history). URL bar does the rest.

For me the front page is the "last 24 hours" view on hn.algolia.com.


It can also show the stories from arbitrary periods including single days like in the new "more" feature being discussed but it orders them by points rather than how long they were on the (real) front page.

Lately, I have a feeling that hckrnews surfaces the wrong type of posts - stuff that quickly reaches 3 points. But it's often flamebait, clickbait or some useless drama. I often go back to the home page to find posts that don't appear on hckrnews but are quite interesting in a niche or need to be fully digested to appreciate.

That said I also love hckrnews for checking what's new after a longer time

I use http://hn.premii.com/

I believed it to be more popular but it seems no one has mentioned that site so far...

The colour scheme is painful. Both on 'day' mode and night mode

I feel that the top navigation "more" link could be renamed into "popular by date" or "yesterday's popular". Those labels appear more accurate to me and better convey the functionality of the current top "more" link. Moreover having two links with the same name on the same page which behave differently seems misleading.

In fact, I was wondering why someone would want to change the 'More' link at the bottom of the page. Took me a moment to realize there is another one in the header now.

Or 'old' - it's already next to 'new'.

I love that HN doesn't change for change's sake. One problem I have with tech orgs is that inevitably their designers will find work to do, necessary or not.

So when things do change, I like that it's very methodical and usually quite minor.

Methodical or just overly cautious? It took ages to get the `[-]`/collapse tree link, and the other IMO obvious QoL improvement -- a 'parent' link to a) get to the root node of a discussion tree that no longer interests the reader and then to b) use the mentioned '[-]' to collapse it all -- might take even longer.

2007-02-18 seems to be the day it started.

Out of curiosity : Under a particular day's story, why do we see stories from the next day too ?

Eg : https://news.ycombinator.com/front?day=2018-02-21 This shows some post from 02-22 too.

That does seem odd. I'll look into it.

Edit: it's because the /front pages were dividing up days differently than the story timestamps, which use UTC. I've made everything use UTC now.

What's the difference between?




I didn't know the latter existed until right now.

The first one is in the present and the second shows how it was in the past.

I like the "Time Machine" feature of going back 1 (to N) year(s) in the past, it brings a lot of insight as to how technologies and trends evolved (for those of us who have only recently joined Hacker News).

This is one area when the functionally can really be improved over what reddit implements. Having a moving window of time to sort within is an amazingly useful feature for sorting out trends or lost articles. The expanded granularity would be very much appreciated.

Also with Reddit being able to trace causality between memes and such would be interesting.

This is broken... when I put in tomorrow's date, it says it doesn't have that data....

I don't understand what I'm looking at, other than the option to view the page as it appeared a day, month, or year back... or a day in the future somehow?

Normal HN but time-bound: front page as it appeared on day x. Submissions ordered by time spent in the front page.

I think the message on top takes too much space and would prefer something like

<y <d <m (2019-02-22) d> m> y>


<<< << < (2019-02-22) > >> >>>


< < < (2019-02-22) > > >

But that's just me.

I like these first two suggestions

I'm curious how the algorithm works, as it doesn't seem to work as I'd expected.

My first thought was to go back and look at the day I launched my startup with at Show HN [1], which got over 700 points and was at #1 from roughly noon to 2 AM the next day (PT). Sure enough, this post shows up in the #2 slot on the day I posted it (Sept 5, 2013) [2], but it doesn't show up at all on the following day [3].

This is strange because it was at #1 at the beginning of this day (assuming that's midnight PT) and was on the front page for much of that day. Even when you go hundreds of entries down into the Sept 6 page, it doesn't show up.

Any idea how the algorithm works that it's generating these results?

1: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6335784

2: https://news.ycombinator.com/front?day=2013-09-05

3: https://news.ycombinator.com/front?day=2013-09-06

We only started logging the front page on 2014-11-11. For days before that, what you're seeing is the stories which were submitted on that day, ordered by vote score. (Not necessarily publicly visible points, though, because some votes get dropped for various reasons.) Since your story was submitted on Sept 5, 2013, that's the day it shows up.

If you look at https://news.ycombinator.com/front?day=2014-11-11 vs. https://news.ycombinator.com/front?day=2014-11-10, you'll notice that the text description changes at the top.

Thanks, that makes sense!

It’s probably rendering what would be “front page” given the same data but with today’s engine.

It would be interesting to see how everything is being cached for a particular day, though.

That’s certainly a possibility, and it’s quite possible that the current algorithm either has more gravity or is not as favorable to Show HN posts. Either change would explain why this particular post would be treated as if it hadn’t been on the front page at all on the day after posting.

If this is the case, it should be clarified that this feature uses the current algorithm, which may not reflect how things ranked on a given day.

Any plans to update the official Hacker News API? I’d love more features, such as ability to reply and upvote, but more importantly, the API currently requires using a really old version of Firebase SDK. The rest API is an alternative, but it doesn’t work well due to the design of the API needing a whole network call per post/comment.

We're going to replace it with a new API that just gives a JSON version of any HN URL. Will that work?

That would be incredible. Please give substantial warning before taking down the Firebase API though!

We will. But can you be specific? How long would count as substantial warning?

I’d say allow at least 3 months overlap between releasing the JSON API and killing the Firebase API. 6+ months would be ideal. Lots of apps need updating!

Yes dang, thank you!

I'm curious what's the reasoning behind adding this link? To me it makes HN much easier to catch up. I see this as the "slow media" movement: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slow_media

I like to explore it more visually. https://hnews.xyz/ Is that something you might consider adding in the future? ( I’m the author of https://hnews.xyz )

The rendered screenshots are a super nice feature.

I have a few dozen HN apps (yours included) saved in this Pinboard collection for those looking for more alternative clients.


I wish there was a hn viewer integrated with Outline. something like, for each new article on front, check whether it can be outlined and, if it can, just display it without redirecting to the original site. That would protect against slashdotted sites, paywalls, annoying gdpr consent pop ups, sorry but we don't like europe pages, all kinds of tracking and js heavy websites (especially if you're on i.e. Lynx) etc. This could be done either by redirecting to the Outline website or using its API (see the network traffic for details on how it works). Also a HN that would be essentially a list of check boxes ordered by time and an "add selected to Pocket" button would be nice too.

Both of those ideas sound awesome.

I am a heavy Instapaper user but really liking Outline / Hypothesis lately.

What's hypothesis? Tried searching for it on Google but couldn't find anything, as it's such a common word.

Hypothesis is the company who makes the open highlighter / web annotation software on Outline. [I believe they also run Outline but I can't find this made apparent anywhere. It could be that Outline just uses the Hypothesis annotator client.]

If you register for a free account on Hypothesis (sometimes stylized Hypothes.is), you can leave private or public highlights and annotations while reading on Outline, and if you install their browser extension on any webpage.

Genius (YC S11) (formerly Rap Genius) started down the path of creating a global web annotator but pivoted into a media company to monetize. Hypothesis is basically what Genius could have become if they continued with the vision of annotating the entire web and fully built out the product. The company itself is a non-profit and their code is open source.




If I were them, I wouldn't publish the fact that they're running outline very widely considering the dirty tricks that service employs, i.e. to show wsj articles to non-subscribers etc. I like the fact that someone finally has the guts, but if I were them, I wouldn't reveal myself that easily.

The most important feature that HN would need in my opinion is a "top of last X" view, as Reddit introduced with the redesign.

It's MUCH to easy to miss interesting stories if you don't check the site at least twice a day.

I think the UI is kinda awkward to use. If I want to input a specific date I have to manipulate the URL? Gets really annoying with mobile. Also it would be nice to somehow see the past dates somehow visualized. Maybe how much total activity there was per day, or what types of topics were discussed. Now I am just going blind without any sense of direction what lies ahead. It's very refreshing feature and all but I will probably only use it for past day's submissions since going farther fishing for interesting submissions is too laborious.

It would be cool to see links from previous days/months/years point to an archived version of the link (if possible). If you go back a substantial amount of time, you end up hitting a lot of broken links.

Could be a quick Greasemonkey/Tampermonkey script hack to grab the date from the URL and links to the nearest Wayback Machine version using https://archive.org/help/wayback_api.php

It'd be nice if the "title" field of the link submit form would have a tiny little bit of javascript to count how many characters are in the field.

It does if you go over 80, which is the limit. Does that not suffice?

I've never seen it do it. EFF headlines are notoriously long and a PITA to edit if I can't see what I'm doing.

I like “more” on top, it does makes sense. The link on the bottom perhaps should be renamed to next to avoid confusion.

Just my 2 cents!

I wrote a browser extension a while ago that adds more of these lesser known HN pages to the nav. I like having a way to get to all of them individually from the top of every page.


Isn't it confusing to have the word [more] twice on the front page, but doing different things depending on if its at the top or the bottom?

I like the function, but some how "by date" feels more "more" than "more" does.

This is cool, thank you! Would “days” be a good name as it allows you to browse a set of days?

It doesn’t seem like posts you’ve hidden from the front page are reflected here. I guess they don’t really need to be since this is more archival in nature.

Hmm, maybe they should be. I'll make a note to look at that.

This is great. I always wished I could see front pages from the past.

The only downside is that getting bored of the current front page is sometimes the only reason I get off HN when I'm procrastinating and this makes it easier to prolong that. :)

Interesting!! Very first day of HN has 10 posts.


interesting. I found this article about HN from Feb 2007


Cool! I just found this feature yesterday or the day before, thanks to a post listing all the less documented HN features.

Have you found the new placement to be affecting the site/database load at all?

May I ask you to link such thread. Am not able to find it on algolia


I searched Google for "site:news.ycombinator.com features" and limited the search to past week.

Any chance all the lists[1] will get their own RSS feeds?


Kinda surprised someone hasn't built that already on top of the existing API.

see hnrss.org. I use it along with an iOS shortcut that retrieves the articles for me, concatenates to a big txt file, uploads to dropbox so that I can read later on whatever I want and automatically starts reading with the build-in tts.

I like the feature but the name is not great :) As some others have suggested "Archive" or "History" sound better in my humble opinion.

Please consider a "first" and "latest" day in these options ... or let everyone go back years and find out the first day 2007-02-18

The first day is actually https://news.ycombinator.com/front?day=2006-10-09.

In the first few months, there were quite a few days where nothing was posted (see the difference between https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=61 and 62). If /front works for a day, but shows no stories, that means HN existed but there were no stories that day.

The navigation links work until they point outside the ultimate beginning or end of the data, and then stop appearing. That was a bit tricky to get right as I recall.

Can’t stop it from happening but sad that most of the links are broken. Would be nice to go back on a link and actually read it.

Not essential, but IWBNI date selection respected user timezone. It’s 23/2 here in the Pacific; seeing 21/2 as “yesterday” felt wrong.

I hear you, but proper timezone support is one of those things we've shied away from over the years. It's hard to get right and our dev resources are too limited. So mostly we just work with UTC. I'm sorry—I know it can create a bit of an outsider feeling, which is definitely not intended.

Very nice and useful. Well done guys!

Could an option be added to change the time granularity? e.g. by week, month and year?

Good idea. I'll add it to the list.

Feature request: Filtering out domains that you don't want to see on the home page

Is there a public API for this?

There is also a More in the bottom of the front page. This more and that more.

Are you sure it's not "this more" and "self more" ?

By the way, I sometimes miss the "parent" link on comments.

Nice, but can we please have a dark theme for iPad?

My hacker news spin https://8hrs.xyz does something similar to this newly added more btn. Why add this now ???


Could you please stop posting unsubstantive comments to HN? We eventually ban accounts that keep doing this, and have had to ask you before.

We detached this comment from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=19230951 and marked it off-topic.

Yeaaaaah but it was on topic, in a chain of threads making fun how unsubstantive people’s skepticism was back in 2010

Your team tells me that upvotes/downvotes are noisy, but once you have downvotes it is unsubstantive and the account is rate limited


Your team also never explains how you mods interpret a guideline or substantiation, just unilaterally say it violates and pray for classical conditioning as if you want community standards to be decided by the community

If you are judging this primarily by flags and downvotes, you arent noticing that a lot of the collective conscious is just incorrect. It isnt as open to ideas as you might think

I'm happy to explain how we interpret specific cases, but not as part of a litigation process in which explanation only leads to more objections. If you want a serious answer, you'll need to do more to establish good faith.


We've banned this account for trolling.

If you don't want to be banned, you're welcome to email hn@ycombinator.com and give us reason to believe that you'll follow the rules in the future.


And thus HN became a perfect museum of silicon valley trends, hypes, and deaths.

By 2026 HN will discover never-ending scroll.

I hope not, that's a usability nightmare when you're trying to find something.

How many people actually look at the front page rather than just use the RSS feed?


I largely browse using the front page. I am not looking to keep up with every article ever, I just look for a few interesting things to read, then close it and move on with my day.

I also find the design and web layout to be very pleasing.

My RSS reading habits never recovered from GR's demise... but maybe one of these days.

"I am not looking to keep up with every article ever"

HN's RSS feed does not post every article ever, but just those that make it to the front page.

It's an alternate way of accessing the same articles, but I find it much more powerful and useful than using a web browser for the following reasons:

1 - I have a local archive of the titles of and links to each article that does not depend on HN. So if HN ever goes away, I can still access them all.

2 - I don't need to click through and wait for multiple web pages to load to browse through my archives.

3 - Newsboat, the terminal-based RSS reader I use is far faster and more responsive than any web browser, on my old, slow laptop.

4 - Newsboat is also way more powerful and extensible in ways that a plain web page is not. I can easily do things like tagging and filtering, I can delete articles that I don't want to see while saving the ones I do without actually having to open up the destination web page, and a lot more.

5 - I can locally search through articles without telling any external search engine company what I'm searching for. This is a small but important way to practice defense-in-depth in the realm of privacy.

At some point I'll probably try switching to reading RSS feeds from within Emacs, which should be even more flexible and powerful.

Thanks for sharing Newsboat!

> How many people actually look at the front page rather than just use the RSS feed?

What do you use for RSS? After Google Reader shut down, I assumed very few people continued using RSS.

I use Newsboat[1][2], a standalone RSS reader that I use in the terminal. It's an actively developed fork of Newbeuter.

[1] - https://newsboat.org/

[2] - https://github.com/newsboat/newsboat

I've been reasonably happy with (the free version of) Feedly. It's not perfect, but it's done the job for me as a Google Reader replacement.

They are also a lot of Twitter accounts that relay HN posts / comments.

And the /r/HackerNews subreddit for those who are reddit-inclined.


Applications are open for YC Summer 2019

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact