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Ask HN: Where to “hang out” online these days?
36 points by dfischer 31 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 35 comments
I miss the old feel of IRC. I crave something like HN but an alternative. It could be a site, forum, chat, or something I can’t conceive.

Where’s a cool place to hang out these days online and discover interesting content, and people?

Maybe it’s still IRC but I haven’t used it in a long time. Maybe a few recommendations?


Somewhat related:

I've been thinking about organizing a snail mail letter writing initiative. Less about fancy stationary and pens and group writing sessions, more about one on one correspondence. I'd post a reading list, or a specific topic, and we'd spend a good chunk of time going back and forth to whatever end. Maybe in time, I'd share addresses (with permission) with other writers when I notice a common thread so that the conversation can branch out. I'd like to think this would be a good way to share ideas, and to learn through the act of writing, one thought after the other. And it would be a great way to practice handwriting.

Having had the luxury of stepping away from the screen for a few months to sort out what it is technology is doing to my nervous system, I've been heads down reading Jacques Ellul, Jean Baudrillard, Lewis Mumford, Marshall McLuhan, Neil Postman, Daniel Boorstin, Carl Jung, Alan Hayakawa, C. W. Mills, Guy Debord, Wendell Berry, Hans Magnus Enzensberger, and all sorts of philosophy from Schopenhauer to Spinoza.

To be honest, I am having a hard time finding people to talk about this stuff with. That's where the idea comes from. On one hand, it seems like people don't read much these days. So there's that. And on the other hand, I haven't found many people who seem concerned about how our habits, behaviors, and thought patterns are changing in response to our digital environments.

Perhaps letter writing is too much to ask? I thought a physical note, and actually having a single person to write to, opposed to an unknown audience, would be a nice change of pace. That said, I suppose this might also take shape in a private Discourse community, or Basecamp message board, or something like that. A space where paragraphs and punctuation are required to participate.

If you are interested in letters, let me know? Or if you are interested in helping me whip up a digital space where we can hear ourselves think, let me know?

>To be honest, I am having a hard time finding people to talk about this stuff with.

Hi man, I get you. I recently had a long vacation break and started reading lots of things that had in the 'someday' queue. I'm fascinated by all of that but have absolutely no one to talk to about it (they're related to what you wrote, like Ellul).

We should get along, drop me an email at alex@<HN-username>.com

Hey, I'm following up on this thread, even though its a bit late, because I'm really interested in this idea of snailmail and such ideas for topics of discussion. Is it OK for me to e-mail you about this? I'm not currently reading like I want to, but I think having a snail mail reading discussion thing would be awesome. Maybe we can loop in the other user who also replied to this comment thread?

I love this!! I still try to send snail mail as often as possible -- everyone love recieving it. But the problem is that I rarely ever get a reply back and... well, its a bit frustrating to send letters and postcards without reply. So finding a community like this, where I could not only enjoy writing/recieving letters, but also talk about interesting things! 10/10.

I'm interested in this. I'm a reader, maybe not the same stuff you are reading. Snail mail is something I miss.

Hi! Its a bit late, but I'm following up on this thread. If you're interested, feel free to reach out to me and we can coordinate to start writing some snail mail! Perhaps we can also coordinate with the other commenter above? You can reach me at hclent1 the at symbol gmail :-)

IRC is nice. The really simple technical requirement to access IRC is still a barrier. (30 years+ later!)

Not Reddit. Reddit is gone, it used to be nice. Maybe some extreme niches are okay, but generally, no.

HN is okay for now, but is getting popular. We're already afraid of bots and state actors when we get posted on Chinese social media....

4Chan is 4chan, some niche boards are great, but media bias.

*chan derivatives, lean far to one side on the political spectrum. Great to compare and contrast, but who knows what the intention is.

>Not Reddit. Reddit is gone, it used to be nice.

How is IRC still nice but Reddit "gone"? Most IRC channels are a ghost town full of idlers. There are plenty of niche communities on Reddit (not just 'extreme' ones) that have high quality content. IMO Reddit is perfectly fine if you know what you're looking for.

>4Chan is 4chan, some niche boards are great, but media bias.

When you curate the boards effectively, you can come across some nice generals for your interests.

/diy/ is my favorite board and the only reason I go to 4chan. There are plenty of knowledgeable people there eager to help.

Libraries. Books.

Online's gotten too damned polluted. HN is somewhat holding it together, but is limited.

I have a small number of correspondants I keep in touch with through email. Have been in the process of bailing from Reddit and (re)launching a blog for ... two years. Selecting and rolling your own site is somewhat painful (particularly if you're picky), though the GitLab option is still the one I prefer.

A handful of RSS feeds, though the crap consistency of feeds (boilerplate, full/no content, tagged/not tagged) means a lot of cleanup is required. Though I've got a pretty good Phosphor X11 screensaver app feeder ;-)

Niche phpbb forums still exist.

I recommend searching for a relevant search term using this: http://boardreader.com/

It’s a search engine dedicated to message boards.

Too bad there's no way to exclude sites (particularly reddit) from the search

I've seen Spectrum pop-up a few times, there is a way to search for communities too. https://spectrum.chat/

Slack has active channels. Finding them can be a challenge. Try: https://slofile.com/

I'll likely be the one business guy chiming in with this but I've really enjoyed following topics and influencers on LinkedIn. The content is surprisingly helpful with way less trolling than other communities. That may not last but for now it's worth a look...


Much better than Discord and doesn't suck you dry of your data.

What's IRC? is that a site?

Wow. I'm 31 and never thought I'd feel like one of the old timers here.

IRC is where all the best programming discussion used to happen. Maybe it still does.

It was even better for being catfished than Facebook... Back then no one had modems to send ugly selfies. :/

Internet Relay Chat.

It has been around for decades. There are many people who still use IRC, especially those in technology. Freenode is a popular server with channels for a variety of interests like video games, C++ and Linux.

It's a chat protocol. Very old fashioned. You'd need to download an irc client and connect to a network and then find channels with topics that interest you.

If you miss IRC maybe scour through the networks on https://netsplit.de, find some channels you’d be remotely interested in and hang out in them.

If you can get an invite to Telepath (https://apps.apple.com/us/app/telepath/id1185104828), you should check that out. The founders have the product in private beta but you can get on the waitlist. Not sure when it'll be more public. It's a community based product with interesting people on it. You can "hang out" in the different communities.

It's not a great solution, but I share a slack channel with my extended friends group. It all revolves around personal projects, so we kind of meetup sometimes to work on our own things in the same space, maybe collaborate. It's definitely not like IRC, but I'm not sure if big bubbles of interesting people are an achievable goal anymore.

I’ve gone back to IRC over the last 12 months. And I seem to hear more and more people taking about it so maybe it’s making a comeback. Maybe the slight technical barrier to entry will work out to be a good thing.

discord. reddit sucks these days, it's over the hill.

I agree massively with this. That’s actually what prompted me to post this. How do you discover things in Discord? Recommend anything?

I'm also curious about this! I would love to know how to discover things in Discord. I'm only a part of 1 or 2 Discord channels, but I learned about them from podcasts that advertised them.

I still enjoy the tech channels on irc.freenode.net

I've really been enjoying Tildes: https://tildes.net/

It's somewhat similar to Reddit (and was started by a former Reddit admin), but values quality content and discussion over "fluff" content. The users on there are wonderful, and I've had some very good discussions about both tech and non-tech topics. This blog post has some good info on it's philosophy and what makes it different: https://blog.tildes.net/announcing-tildes

IRC is still in use. So is NNTP, but it look like perhaps not as much as IRC and other stuff.

Discord channels specific to your interests and/or strictly moderated, niche subreddits.

Any specific subreddits that you would recommend?

Just depends on what's relevant to your interests. Some of the ones I'm subscribed to and read most frequently are r/TennesseePolitics, r/LowFantasyGaming, r/BlackMetal, r/PureASOIAF, r/pugs and, unfortunately, r/PetLoss at the moment. These are all relevant to my ongoing interests, but more importantly they're (almost) as specific as possible. When you narrow the scope (e.g. r/PureASOIAF instead of r/books or r/asoiaf), you tend to have better discussions and stricter moderation.

I hang out on Discord servers, but none are tech related.

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