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I don't know about traffic, but we tend to downweight meta posts, including ones about getting to the top of HN, because as a genre they're too samey and HN thrives on diffs. This post is an exception though, partly because the project resonated with the community in an unusual way, and partly because of the heart with which the story is written.

You're right that it isn't a marketing strategy. It's too much of a lottery. Worse, when projects or startups try to get attention that way, they make themselves less interesting.

> You're completely right that it isn't a marketing strategy, though.

Have you thought about creating a formal program to preflight more in-depth content? It's hard to justify spending 100 hours writing a blog post when the chances of having more than zero people see it depend on whether or not Elon Musk smoked weed that day or whatever. I realize it's partly just impossible to predict what people will be interested in, but that could be a way to encourage people to create more interesting stuff.

Yes, I've thought about that a lot. I agree with you that the economics are off—not in terms of money, but time and energy and attention. If that could change, then the pool of interesting projects and articles might grow, which would be great for us all.

How would you go about it?

I think it's fine just to have people submit proposals, getting the proposal approved, and then creating the content and having the final post approved, rejected, or getting suggested edits. This could either be done by the mods or by some sort of rotating panel. Then the final content could be treated like the jobs postings, where there is a separate tab for preflighted content and it lives on the front page for at least some minimum amount of time, longer if there is engagement.

It could also be interesting to try something like Edge.org, where different people create content around a given question or theme.

Isn’t this where persistence pays off? Don’t spend 100 hours writing a blog post: spend 100 hours writing 100 blog posts. Then keep going. People will notice, word will spread, and you’ll find yourself here (or wherever) organically.

If your stuff is any good, of course.

That's exactly the problem though; the incentives push people to write a hundred 1-hour blog posts rather than one 100-hour blog post. But everyone would be better off if people just wrote one or two really good posts a year.

I agree with your last sentence, but the natural way to get to write great posts is to hone your skills writing dozens of ok posts first.

> HN thrives on diffs

It's a device for distilling novelty in the world into /bestcomments.

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