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Ask HN: What are your other favorite communities other than Hacker News?
115 points by burtonator on May 27, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 99 comments
Curious what other sites you use to get your news and daily geek fix from.

More interested in communities where everyone can participate. Forums, etc.

Not necessarily news sites.

For me I get most of the value from HN from what you guys have to say.

I spend a lot of time on Reddit, though I know HN likes to hate on it. There are lots of subreddits that I enjoy participating in there and I can curate what I want to be part of. I have a multireddit specifically for memes and jokes, some for the different video games I play, and one big multireddit for guns and related stuff.

The website is moderately usable but an independent app called Apollo really makes it a pleasant experience on my iOS devices. Hoping for a macOS port sometime.

Edit to add some specific communities:

/r/GunDeals is one of my favorites, but is incredibly dangerous to my wallet.

/r/CCW is a great resource for concealed carriers.

I know it's childish, but the various meme subreddits can be hilarious at times. I like /r/historymemes /r/grimdank (warhammer memes) and /r/lotrmemes among others.

I also keep subscribed to /r/Clojure and others but I get most of my professional news from HN.

/r/DestinyTheGame and /r/DestinyLore are fun but the former can get a little salty when things in game are changed.

'The Well' - https://www.well.com/

'Hackaday' - https://hackaday.com/

'Slashdot' - https://slashdot.org/

'Stackoverflow' - https://stackoverflow.com/

Also, haven't used it for a while, but IRC is still going. #math on freenode is apparently still fairly good, according to a few people I know.

Is the well worth paying for? What's the community like?

I tend to drop in to read some of the public discussions, especially 'The State of the World' every January, ever since that started. I haven't ever paid to join, but if I ever get around to fleshing out some of my writing, I intend to make the effort. It seems to be of most use as an authors group.

edit - here's a link to 'The State of the World, 2019' - https://people.well.com/conf/inkwell.vue/topics/506/State-of... - it should give you a bit of an idea of the kind of community they have.

As of a few years ago, I’ve taken up espresso as a (unfortunately expensive, but fun) side hobby. One of the communities I visit is home-barista, it’s a wonderful community full of people who love coffee, enjoy making it and sharing their recipes and get the hands deep in the more technical aspects of coffee-making. Other good forums are: coffeesnobs (australian, not as snobby as it sounds) and coffee-geek (European).

The beauty behind all this is that third wave coffee has really taken off and with it has followed a really cool, friendly, very global crowd.

https://relevant.community/relevant/top has a good mix of technology and culture/society content similar to HN.

The voting is based on a pagerank reputation system. Users earn reputation from getting thier comments upvoted and, in turn, increase the rank of the posts they upvote. This makes rankings sybil-resistant making manipulation harder and moderation easier. So far its been a great way to keep communities focused and resistant to mob mentality.

Each community manages their own reputation system (admins are in the personalization vector).

There is also a prediction-market mechanism overlayed on top of the rankings — you can bet on post's relevance within a given community (this is abstracted from the UX at the moment).

Disclosure, I'm the founder.

Interesting. Could you explain the prediction market/betting system in more detail? Can users wager Coins, upvotes, or repuptation that they get back multiplied by some factor that depends on the success of the post they bet on, or do I misunderstand?

Also, TIL of the concept of a Sybil attack, AKA sock-puppeting: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sybil_attack

> an attack wherein a reputation system is subverted by forging identities in peer-to-peer networks [...] named after the subject of the [1973] book Sybil, a case study of a woman diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder. The name was suggested in or before 2002 by Brian Zill at Microsoft Research

Users can wager Relevant Coins (not reputation) on the quality of posts. This is done via a 'bonding curve market maker' (https://blog.relevant.community/how-to-make-bonding-curves-f...). The market maker mints 'shares' in exchange for staking Relevant Coins. The more shares are outstanding the more expensive they are, thereby rewarding early participants.

Not that the actual ranking of the post is determined via the pagerank algorithm which is independent of the coins and betting.

If the post has a higher ranking than average it gets a portion of the newly minted tokens — kind of like block rewards. These rewards get distributed to all the users that staked on the post proportional to the amount of shares they own. Everyone also gets their original tokens back. So in reality this it's prediction market 'light'. All users pay a 'tax' on their token balance via the inflation rate and but get a chance to win a portion of the pot by participating in curation.

The betting mechanism is similar to and inspired by Steemit. Except they don't use reputation ranking to resolve the market. Steemit posts are ranked by how many tokens were staked on them, so a whale can basically force the market and get all the rewards — self-fulfilling prophecy. In our case its is more akin to an actual prediction market where the prediction is separate from outcome. At scale the prediction market can actually be a useful way to surface recommendations.


Mercilessly tightly curated email, mastodon, diaspora, and reddit.

But really: books. Mostly books.

This. I feel like the secret to being meaningfully informed is maintaining a balanced signal:noise ratio.

Over time, I’ve come to realize that this is fundamentally impossible without “mercilessly tight” moderation, and tools/services that give you that power (RSS, email), because the state of the world is 1 part signal to 99 parts noise.

Books, and by extension libraries, are a viscerally physical representation of this principle. Much of what’s in a library is noise, but the signals are sustained, dense, and often unlike anything you can find on the web. However, like the web, signal tends to cluster around certain authors and publishers. There’s still a moderation problem (picking the right book), but over time your verification algorithm (is this book signal or noise?) gets faster and “mercilessly tight”.

I don’t have much of a conclusion, but I’ll end with questions this raises for me. I wonder how this idea interacts with “echo chambers”? Aren’t we constructing personal ones with these tools and resources? Is that necessarily a bad thing?

There are a lot of books. Many are bullshit. Most are not worth (and never can be) read.[1] Going to primary sources helps, they're almost aways preferred to commentaries, though guides and maps may help. I span new material via bibliographies and citations frequently. This helps, somewhat, to burst bubbles.

I'm currently curating from a listing of 25k+ law articles on a topic of interest. Availability of those (free, online) has a huge influence. Thanks to the Library of Alexandra (Sci-Hub) and LibGen.

Adler's How to Read a Book is quite useful -- the synoptic approach especially.[2]

Making rapid assessments of suitability is crucial. Being prepared to revisit those assessments, either way, later, also. Developing indicators of crap or possible gold help immensely. Again, see Adler.

I spend considerabe time with older sources. They're often known to be wrong or inaccurate, but:

* The path they reveal in development of understanding is often hugely useful. To understand the bug, it helps to know how it came to be.

* The rhetorical and ideological battles to which they may have been part is usually now known, often spent. Literature -- science, technology, fiction, philosophy -- is all tremendously ideological, and being removed from the frame under which it was constructed, or being aware of it, helps immensely.

* One often finds one's own crazy notions expresed there, sometimes partially, sometimes far more clearly. I've generally found that the questions I've been most concerned with are in fact long-standing ones.

* Much current discussion retreads older thinking, though aparently unconsciousy and/or in complete ignorance.

The Copyright Abyss -- many materials published since 1924 -- is aboth a hinderance and a blessing. It's not complete (LibGen, Sci-Hub, ZLibrary, Open Library via Archive.org), but it is sufficiently effective that it tends to force consideration of earlier works.



1. The US Library of Congress houses 24 million catalogued books and over 168 million items in total.[3] Its annual reports show about 300,000 new book additions annually, a remarkably stable rate, since the 1950s.[4] Bowker issues about 300k ISBNs annually to traditional publishers, and another million to 'untraditional" (self-published) authors.[6] Google have estimated 129 million books were published, ever.[7] And there's the question of how many books can matter, culturally. About 3/4 of Americans read at least a bok a year,[8] which suggests a floor somewhere around 60 books over a lifetime. Given that there are other informational channels, how much information must be transmitted intergenerationally to preserve culture -- technically, socially, values, etc? "Of the making of many books there is no end, and much study is a weariness of the flesh."

2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/How_to_Read_a_Book

3. https://loc.gov/about/general-information/#year-at-a-glance

4. https://loc.gov/about/reports-and-budgets/annual-reports/ http://catalog.hathitrust.org/Record/000072049 [4]

5. One of the exceedingly rare cases in which Hathi Trust is actually useful.

6. http://www.bowker.com/tools-resources/Bowker-Data.html

7. http://booksearch.blogspot.com/2010/08/books-of-world-stand-...

8. https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2015/10/19/slightly-fe...

Books are good; no arguing that.

I am however very much interested in how you find the email lists to curate.

People who help me develop thoughts. They're not lists. Generally 1:1.

Has to be someone with curiosity, something to contibute, willingness to correspond (I'm a pseudonymous space alien cat, acquired taste), consideration of my time (and likewise). It's a small set.

Can't believe nobody has mentioned https://www.techmeme.com/river yet.

Metafilter https://metafilter.com still has interesting comments and occasionally unique content, besides the links which bubble up everywhere. It's pretty heavily politically left, which, along with heavy moderation has driven away a lot users over the years, but sometimes still has some nuggets you don't see on other aggregators. It is much more of a community than most of the other sites, with lots of rules and sub-sites, but I've only read the comments.

Twitter has been surprisingly useful since I started using last year. If you only follow accounts in a specific area of interest it really allows you to discover new things. The hard part is dealing with power poster/users since they can quickly dominate your feed, but they also can bring in new areas of interest. It's too bad they don't have better tagging curation tools.

Serializer https://serializer.io/ is a meta-aggregator which grabs stuff from HN, Ars, some Reddit forms and others, not sure if this counts or not.

Refugees from the UK's Guardian newspaper talk board ended up here: https://justthetalk.com/

Big enough to be interesting, small enough to become familiar with individual posters.

Skyscraperpage for local development news. Cyburbia for urban planning in general.

News and community are two very different things to me. I get a lot of news from Ars Technica but their forum community is extremely toxic and mob-driven, not helped by the active side-taking of their staff.

Platforms I love like Imgur can be very useful but I think the use of point ratings on comments discourages honesty and turns discussion into point-hoarding pageantry.

MechanicalKeyboards on reddit hands down :)

FountainPens and Programmer_humor

bogleheads.org for investments and personal finance advice.




It's a slower-moving site with lots of CompSci and programmer-focused stuff. People also regularly share what projects they work on, what's going on in their life, or maybe what they're reading. Still has a small community feel despite over 10,000 views a day.

Lobsters and Hacker News are my must reads each day. They're both great. :)

I just saw Lobsters can send new stories and comments as plain text emails. With an advanced MUA (e.g. mutt) you could probably implement your own scoring algorithm.

(I'd appreciate an invitation, too: <hnname>@secure.mailbox.org)

Update: got an invitation. Thanks!

It doesn't look like lobsters have enough content for everyday reading..

Some days, the front page won't change much if at all from previous day. There will be stuff in Recent and Comments coming in that might be highly interesting. Some of these people will drop a whopper of a comment days after it's posted. I usually have stuff to read every day.

Checking now, fro added a paper on fuzzing for side channels in CPU's 30 min ago. Might have missed it if I just looked at morning feed but not later in day.

I've got Lobsters (and HN, and barnacl.es) hooked into my RSS reader. It updates when it updates, and I still get the good stuff :-)

I’ve been lurking for months but don’t have an account yet. Do you (or someone else) happen to have an invite to spare? Would be very appreciated. Email in my bio.

I'd also appreciate one phil@upvalue.io if anyone happens to have one. Have been lurking for a while and interested in participating.

Can I get an invite? danielecook at gmail dot com

Can't recommend https://lobste.rs enough. If anybody has an invite to give out I'd thoroughly appreciate it.


EDIT: removed email


EDIT: Removed email

i did messe. tried with me now.

Thank you. Much appreciated.

Not sure how it holds up today, but a few years ago Yospos on Something Awful was a dumpster filled with nuggets of gold.


Aside for stupid memes, every now and then there is a story that temporarily cures my impostor syndrome / helps my everyday struggle seem like a fun day at the beach compared to crap some (fellow 3rd world) developers have to go through to make a living.

Mostly indiehackers, which I check out daily along with HN. With HN and IH I already spend a lot of time everyday, not sure if I could handle another community. Although from time to time I checkout r/startups.

Reddit : /r/programming

Twitter : to follow some personalities in the field I'm currently interested in

Telegram : I like the devs network, mainly the Linux group chat of this network

I forgot the irc channel of emacs on freenode network.


Disclaimer: I'm one of the founders.


Because knowing how to handle money is a multiplier. Among the ways to spend your time, it's got a high payback.

Twitter is a double edged tool. It can be terrorific as it can be fantastic depending on who you follow


I have curated it to the point where I almost never see anything political and there is a lot of really good content. It's all computer vision, computer graphics, demoscene, black/grey hat and startupy type stuff.

How do you curate Twitter? I have my account inactive since forever because I wasn't able to deal with the flood of messages.

Make sure you are super careful who you follow, Mute a lot of people and use the "I don't like this tweet" judiciously.

I signed up to Twitter and followed exactly one account: Material-UI (a React component framework). I don't login to Twitter very much, I redirect the email notifications to my RSS feed. Every third email has no content related to Material-UI, it's just random ads-as-tweets about TV shows, movies and US politics.

mrmoneymustache forum

personal finance and so much more.


Neopets.com :)


lobste.rs is basically HN without the politics.

Although it began that way, that's 100% inaccurate today. Most threads have low noise with high civility. The biggest, meta debates are about whether politics should be included or about a politically-incorrect topic/comment. The last debate had the voting majority, the politically-correct folks, push for every thread to allow for making political points or calling people out. Which they do here and there with debates following.

Most of the time it's chill, though. Just pointing out that it has a specific, political leaning that readers here may like, not like, or not care one way or the other.

"The last debate had the voting majority, the politically-correct folks, push for every thread to allow for making political points or calling people out."

It'd be interesting to have a reddit/HN type comment threading but allow users to flag their own comments as political in nature or not, and also let users decide whether they'd like to see political discussion (account/Subreddit basis, with a toggle at the top of all posts).

Whether or not to allow political discussions is one of the more common tricky points in these forums it seems.

So is it becoming impossible to have an interesting site without politics? Makes sense because some people are determined to introduce it wherever they go, there's always a way to do it and no good way to avoid it. Specially when there's a karma system that enables the up/downvotes wars.

tildes.net is similar in that it’s good but it does have politics

Very interested in getting in on taht when it starts opening up. To me there's a crisis of credibility in modern media, especially social media - contributors are so ephemerial and pseudonymous, it's too easy for sockpuppets, bots, paid posters, etc. to masquerade as journalists and average citizens.

A system that focuses on exclusivity and controlling who has the algorithmic equivalent of credibility on their platform is very interesting to me.

yeah it’s been working pretty well and it’s been almost a year. the only thing it needs really is more users.

Sadly its invite only and I know nobody with an invite. If anyone fancies throwing one my way it'd be appreciated.

(Tildes is my site)

You (and anyone else) are welcome to email me for an invite. It's not intended to be difficult to get one, I just want to keep it under control and avoid any giant floods of users/bots.

Please read the announcement post for some general info about the site's goals, and the info for requesting an invite is in there: https://blog.tildes.net/announcing-tildes

The hand them out on their subreddit. Took me three minutes from posting to getting an invite from one of the owners of tildes


Yeah, tildes is definitely a cool space.

Any chance I could grab an invite code from one of you guys? Interested in this, looks like a cool place.

Sent you one via your contact form.

I would also love to be able to visit this place if anyone has a spare invite, thanks!

I always liked the look of lobste.rs but never knew anyone active there who could invite me (I've spent the last few years working at tiny startups and haven't spent nearly enough time networking with others outside my immediate circle).

what's your email?

Hi ,

It would be great if you could provide me an invite as well. I do not know anybody there hence unable to join the community. My email id is methusala8 at gmail dot com


Hey! Do you mind sending me one too, if you have any left? :)

---- Thank you very much. :) ---


I think you already got me :) That's why I took it out.

May I also ask for an invitation? My mail is my current pseudo on HN followed by @riseup.net

Thank you by advance. Regards.


I know I am going to sound greedy and stupid, but here’s me anyways entc dot engineer at gmail dot com.



Hi there! I'd also appreciate an invite. Email is in my website.


Awesome! Thanks!






Thank you very much!


Much appreciated! (I've not seen it come through yet but I'll keep an eye out for it).

you should have received it. tried another invite.

hey do you mind inviting me too? email in my profile.

Sent you an invite

Thanks man seen the invite.

It seems like you are shadow banned. I vouched for your comments here but like, other people might not see your future comments.

Technical writers don’t have any strong online forums, I’ve been working on cultivating reddit.com/r/technicalwriting as our main watering hole.

I’ve recently started browsing reddit.com/r/webdev and am finding it to be a pretty lively source of web development discussion.

Twitter gets a lot of flak but I find it helpful for getting a pulse on different communities.


> I get most of the value from HN from what you guys have to say.

If you’d like to cultivate HN as a place where women and non-binary people also contribute, consider using “you all” instead of “you guys”.

Edit: Looks like I’m getting downvoted for the “you guys” comment, which I expected. I know that it’s usually just an old habit but I also know that being thoughtful and correcting that old habit means a lot to some people. Considering that we’re talking about online communities it seemed relevant to bring attention to here.

I thought "guys" was accepted as gender-neutral now, like "dude".

That said, in trying to force congruence in my idiolect, I once referred to a woman as "this guy", and it felt so wrong. It still feels wrong. My mind reels in disgust as I'm typing these words right now. It doesn't work. So maybe we need to go the other way. But why does "dude" work?

Also, everyone becoming agender when? It's the best way to cut the knot and have egalitarianism. Seriously I mean come on already.

Unless the concept of gender is a psychological technology that gives people with gender dysphoria a target to aim at while they reconcile their inscrutable brain-body disagreements and so abolishing gender would harm their therapy. Unless² those disagreements stem from our still having genders. Let's hope that what it is because damn. Unless³ gender is also a biologically-salient component of people to the point where we can't ignore it without it resurfacing and re-creating the problems we tried to get rid of it to begin with for. I hate everything.[0]

0: http://www.chicagonow.com/listing-beyond-forty/2017/05/40-ge...

> I once referred to a woman as "this guy", and it felt so wrong

"Guys" might be considered gender-neutral, but "guy" is not.

Re "you guys", this is a great suggestion. It takes little to do so, and it's a simple way to show courtesy to others.

I also appreciate the manner in which you suggested it. You didn't condemn or assume someone was anyone in bad faith; you simply pointed out a way that they might want to be purposeful about their words.

I am going to get banned for this, but 4chan's /g/ is unironically a nice place

No, it's not. It's a terrible place full of extremely dumb and sad (but technologically curious) kids.

But it can be hilarious. Yesterday, there was an HN post and a /g/ thread about Intel's new CPU, and the discussion was so parallel -- the same noises of neuroticism and pessimism, but in HN delivered in pedantic paragraphs and on /g/ distilled in crude, biting brevity.

For that reason, I linked the thread and got downboated. I don't regret it.

I have some tildes invites. Shoot me an email at yesreply (at) hoomane (dot) org with just a link to another profile of yours to make sure we keep the community full of nice humans. I’ll send you back one to the email you used.

https://hoomane.org/ and https://www.hoomane.org/ seem to be down at the moment. HN's "hug of death", or simply some downtime?

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