A core part of browsing Hacker News or Reddit is opening the links and reading the articles, which are web pages. Once I'm opening web pages, then I want to be able to bookmark them, arrange them in tabs, find them in my history, have them saved in sessions by my session manager extension, configure how they are handled by my ad blocker, search for related information, and so on. In other words, I want a web browser.
The same issue applies the other way around, too. When I follow a link _to_ Hacker News, I want it to show up consistently. I don't want to end up with some Hacker News pages in browser tabs and some in a separate app, and then have trouble remembering where to find that page I was looking at yesterday.
I get that it can be nice to have a slimmed-down UI for specific purposes. But I'm puzzled by this particular use case because there is no neatly contained navigation sandbox — as soon as you follow a couple of links, you're just browsing the Web.
So why won't there be an inexorable push to expand Yack's feature set until it is a browser? Why won't users eventually switch back to using their regular browsers?
I want just a 'web browser'. What we've got today are network-native application runtimes that happen to run over the web. There are some cases where that's good, but for "reading an article", it's somewhere between "a waste" and "a channel ripe for abuse".
You talk about bookmarks, tabs, history, etc. I rarely use those for articles I see on HN. I use web browsers for a few very distinct use cases. (They just all happen to be delivered over the web because, I don't know, nobody wants to write applications any more.) "Reading an article" doesn't require bookmarks/tabs/history. I read it, and then I'm done. I mostly read HN in Private Browsing specifically so it doesn't litter up my history with some article I only want to see once. I mostly use Reader Mode, when possible, because I don't want any other junk besides the article. A full 2019 web browser for reading an article is a liability, not a feature. I rarely follow any links from them.
Saying that one needs to "configure an ad blocker" to read articles on the internet almost sounds like an admission of failure.
There shouldn't be an "inexorable" drive to make this into a full web browser, any more than there is for an email program. Email programs display HTML and let you click links, too. They are specific to one type of data, and display it using native controls. Nobody is browsing the web in Mail.app. They are browsing the web in their regular browsers, for the types of online experiences that require that.
But having to install a completely new browser for your desktop isn't? Installing uBlock Origin solves all your problems with trackers all over the web. Installing this electron app solves it for a few sites.
Keeping conversations going and following threads that don't just live inside forums but also commenting sections etc. is something very difficult and annoying with a web browser.
This could be a solution to keep conversations going longer than one keeps the tab/window with the according thread open.
In the future, it will allow users to curate their own feed and share it with others. For example; you can create a feed that has posts from specific channels on YouTube, subbreddits on Reddit and people on Twitter.