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Ask HN: How often do you vote on posts in the “new” tab?
110 points by alexmint on Oct 12, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 44 comments
I am curious how posts from the "new" tab ever make it to the front page. Most posts there have 1 or 2 upvotes only and the posts disappear within an hour. With such low votes on the new posts, how do they ever come to the front page at all?

I see there are many interesting posts in the "new" tab. I vote on them but they don't stand a chance to come on the front page because I am the only one voting.

Do HN members really look at the "new" tab to see what interesting posts are there and upvote them? Or do you only see the front page and upvote posts there?

Somewhat off topic, but I would welcome having a very small section of 2-3 randomly selected posts from “new” show up on top of the regular home page.

That way “doing my part” in scanning over the enormous volume of new posts becomes frictionless.

They do this, but it shows up on the bottom of the front page and it isn’t random.


Only one of my submissions made it to the front page and that's how it got there.

> and it isn’t random.

that might be a problem

and I think it is a problem by looking at the posts on the front page with very low vote counts... they appear to be ads sometimes.

Yeah I've often thought this would be a good idea as well. Maybe they could be annotated somehow, e.g. blue color title, similar to how new users are green.

they already do that.

I almost never even browse by New, but when I post a post I wish more people did heh

Sites like Reddit and HN really need to display new and popular posts/comments side by side. HN already gives new comments a chance by putting them at the top, but they could take it further.

As often as possible. Otherwise the front page is dominated by big media sites like The NY Times, which frankly is about as anti-“Hacker” as it gets.

The paywall thing is making my HN experience worse over time. The "web" link doesn't work to get past it anymore.

Posts on the Front Page got there by being voted on when on the "newest" page, there is (almost) no other way of getting there. So everything you see on the Front Page was once taking its chances on getting noted on the "newest" page, and succeeded.

And to answer your question, I always visit "newest", and if there's something there I like, or that I think is informative, useful, or relevant, then I upvote it.

There must be others who do the same, otherwise nothing would reach the Front Page. They may be a minority, though.

No. If someone submits a link that’s been submitted recently their submission upvotes the original. I’d wager that that’s how most links hit the front page.

> If someone submits a link that’s been submitted recently their submission upvotes the original.

I have done some experiments on that and it's not always the case. There have been times when I have an old version of "newest" loaded, inadvertently submitted the same link, been taken to the existing submission, and seen that the points on the submission haven't changed. So that's not the whole story, even for that part.

> I’d wager that that’s how most links hit the front page.

It would be interesting to know the statistics.

This may work for some sites like big newspapers like the NYT), sites like TechCrunch, or big announcements like a new Apple product. Without any evidence, I'm sure that most (80%/90%?) of the post that reach the front page get there accumulating votes or by the "second chance" [1]

[1] I don't remember the official name. The explanation by dang was linked in other comment. I'll copy it here https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11662380 The details are part of the secret sauce, so the details may have changed.

Imgur's community once made an experiment: people browsing ‘new’ were to upvote everything at all, to show the frontpage crowd what garbage they deal with. It sorta worked in that regard, but actually stuff that was upvoted to the very top turned out to be most delightfully wacky, more so than I've seen on the web in years, before or since. That night was the best time Imgur has delivered, for me. A part of it is that on Imgur, you mostly only glance at pics for a second to get the crux and move on (at least before all the videos). Not wade through a text for ten minutes.

They also had (maybe still do?) the phenomenon of ‘late night Imgur’: when most US normies are off to sleep, only weirdos are there, and lots of strange stuff is floating to the front page. Mostly taking some frightening form.

But in fact, ‘new’ on Imgur is an unending stream of complete trash: no-effort meme pics made by teens spiced up with thousand-time reposts. I have no idea how anyone can be browsing that.

I often start with the new page, I enjoy as much the flagged and dead links which can reveal some interesting tangential subjects to HN that piqued my interest :)

Only when I am super addicted to HN and only when I am submitting I am going through the New Tab.

Think the current system is broken and have the feeling that in the early votes is too much bias (either through high karma folks, maybe internal hidden push votes etc from HN internal circles eg. admins, alumina).

Btw very good question and I’d love to see someone from HN giving an official statement plus comment how much HN-internal bias might influence the early votes.

To answer the question, I occasionally browse new and upvote posts. Probably around 30%-40% of my upvotes are from new.

However, my understanding was that newer posts got mixed in to the front page, so posts worthy of upvotes have a chance to receive them. Example: this very post, as of time of me writing this, has only 10 upvotes and was on the front page for me, in between two posts with hundreds of upvotes.

> this very post ... has only 10 upvotes and was on the front page for me, in between two posts with hundreds of upvotes.

That's common, as the "score" for a post is (very roughly) points divided by time. So a newer post with fewer points can still have the same "score" as an older post with many more points, giving the effect you've seen without the cause you posit.

So what you say about the mixing may be true, but is not evidenced by the example you've quoted.

If that's the case, then what you gave is the reason, is it not? A post made 1 minute ago will have 100x the score a post made 100 minutes ago, and this boost in score at a young age will cause a young post with only 1 or 2 upvotes to hit the first few pages for a short time, giving it a chance to get more upvotes if it's a good post.

No, because there are other factors mixed in, such as requiring a minimum number of upvotes by contributors not recognised as being in a voting ring, and beating the "gravity" factor. There are also penalties applied for certain types of posts and sources, boosts applied for certain types of posts, and penalties for some conditions. For example, when a post hits 40 posts, if the number of comments exceeds the number of points, a "probable flame war" penalty is applied.

So it's not the case that posts from the new page "get mixed in" to the Front Page, they get there on merit based on getting enough votes in a short enough time. To say they get "mixed in" implies that they are simply plucked from the "Newest" page and put on the Front Page regardless of votes. And that's not the case.


After going through a few pages on the main page (or until I start seeing posts I’ve already seen) then I go to the “new” tab. I read a lot of those and upvote the ones I think should be visible on the front pages. If it’s something that’s really interesting/useful I try to comment so as to give it a bit more visibility. I like to think that most HN users do the same :-)

I use https://github.com/dickmao/nnhackernews as my newsreader, and so my default view is "new". The filtering is the most naive possible (only show brand new submissions or comments for articles you've read). When I wake up, there are 200-300 new submissions on the queue. Of those I might click through on 1-2. The morning ritual takes about 2-3 minutes. In my haste I'm sure I'm skipping some interesting-to-me items.

The holy grail is of course a toutiao filter. Netnews has always been needles-in-haystacks since Usenet. The migration from nntp to http has imo made the problem worse. At least with reddit's subreddit granularizing, one stands a chance of getting read. With HN's monolithic "news" category, it's all pretty random.

To be frank I never visit the new tab, only the home page and I don't bother going to page 2, like the majority of members I believe.

On the other hand, I actively hide threads I'm not interested in, like petty politics or things that have absolutely nothing to do with technology.

I have had friends tell me when they are going to post on new, and upvote. I do tend to look at new when they mention this. I'm sure a large chunk of the stuff that gets on the front page has a similar initial boost.

I do quite often, both because my content addiction requires more than the front page provides and my vanity likes the idea that my comment will be read by a lot of people if the post makes it to the front page.

A couple of times a day I scroll down looking for the interesting things that might be lost, upvoting generously.

Perhaps you could double down and do a HN Poll post to find out?

Can you tell me how to create an HN Poll?

Or if someone is familiar with creating an HN poll, would you please create it and share the link here?

You need a minimum amount of karma to create a poll. If you search you can probably find an estimate of the required level, I don't know it offhand. Then you can search for how to create a poll (probably the same search will give you both answers).

Edit: Here's a start:


Edit: I don't know why you were downvoted, so I upvoted to compensate. It's a reasonable question, although it is answered by doing a quick search.

Update: I'm going to make a point to go through the new page more often and upvote development/programming/comp-sci related articles. I have a feeling a lot of us complaining about that HN front page is containing less-and-less hacking related articles are the same ones that never go through new and upvote stuff :|

I use HN as a link aggregator almost exclusively. My ritual in the morning is to check the "new" tab all the way back to where the links (and their order) start getting familiar. I do this a few more times during the day. Rarely read the comments. Upvote links to math/tech books that I find to be great. For "fun times" I prefer 4chan and youtube.

I browse the "new" tab almost every time I browse HN, every 2-3 days, usually 2-3 pages back. I almost always find some interesting stuff there, some days more so than in the "main" tab. I regularly upvote stuff. Also, like others said, I also browse it right after I submit a new link, but that's because it's shown right after I submit.

You can vote on things? Thanks for letting us know.

Perhaps you are unaware, but your comment comes across as having a sarcastic tone, which is possibly misplaced. As such, people are likely to downvote you, which will delay your acquisition of karma, and hence your ability to do all sorts of things on the site.

You (username Rounin) don't have enough “karma” yet to vote.

Voting cartels. That's the only way anything gets any attention anywhere these days.

Mostly when I submit something myself and then I come back to it during the day. So take a look at my submission list, multiply that by 3, and that's how many votes I gave to the new tab, presumably.

I generally never browse by new and I think these kind of posts tend to attract replies from users who do.

I do. Mostly when I am posting, I will scroll down and read a few of the posts.

Otherwise I will check it maybe once a day.

Every so often when I tell myself I have nothing better to do, like while falling asleep.

I usually read HN every day over breakfast. I only look at the new tab about once a month.

Once every two months I'll vote 3-5 times in 'new'.

Thanks for that, I'll try to remember to do that more often.

Hah, I forgot about it. So here's an upvote to the reminder.

Is there a new tab :P

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