Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Alt.techcrunch.die.die.die (motd.org)
52 points by _hgt1 on June 10, 2008 | hide | past | web | favorite | 62 comments

This is the top story on Hacker News? Embarrassing.

Should I add downvotes on stories, for users over a certain karma threshold?

Hello. I'm a lurker but I registered to make this comment, because I feel pretty strongly about it.

I can understand that the tone of the article is one that you might not want to represent Hacker News, but I think the article subject is on point and worth considering.

I have been fortunate enough to live under a rock and not follow techcrunch at all, until I started reading HN (I'm a recent reddit lurker, and as reddit continues to become digg my clicks seem to be heading elsewhere). The TC articles I've seen in the last few weeks have all been phoned-in armchair architecture drivel and whining about del.icio.us's release schedule (seriously, who cares?)

I think the upmods to the article in question here are specific backlash against TC's quality falling faster than my west coast (USA) home's value. I'd be concerned that downmods would lead to moderation warring, and that would just bring this site one intellectual hop closer to reddit (and thereby digg).

I humbly suggest waiting for HN's traffic (using the metric of your choice) to increase 20% before reconsidering downmods. If HN develops a tradition of tuesday morning "your site sucks" rants then you absolutely have my support -- but please don't react to one or a small number of articles in what could be a very permanent and culture-shifting way.

This isn't a small number of articles; it's a growing trend that started about four months ago.

I often wonder what it takes to "convert a lurker". (It may be interesting to see what kinds of threads have people's first comments.)

Now that you're speaking, don't stop. Welcome, iigs.

If it took 5 downmods to negate an upmod would that fix the moderation warring problem?

Yes. Please.

A couple week trial period couldn't hurt. What's there to lose?

+1 to a trial period. Give it a month, collect some data, publish it, and see how things worked out.

It's worth a try. If story downvotes existed, stories like this might not even be upvoted... I suspect most of its upvotes reflect pent-up demand for downvotes on previous TC material.

This also might be a case where two-axis voting [1][2] could help. People could 'agree' (on the left-right agree-disagree axis) but also 'demote' (or no-vote) on the up-down promote-demote axis. The message would then be, "I agree but enough already!"

[1] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=117196

[2] http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=126917

I think it's just an anti-TC sensibility that's emerging with the recent focus on twitter's troubles. TC seemed necessary when it was promoting startup efforts. But technical critiques seems well-beyond its niche (and I'll admit a bit terrifying to someone developing an application).

I constantly find myself wanting to downvote specific stories. My only other choice is to upvote everything around it, which isn't what I really mean to do.

I didn't vote it up myself, but I'm not surprised that on a slow news day, something about TC would get voted up by a lot of people interested in tech (especially web) startup news.

A lot of people ask for downvotes when they're particularly annoyed by a particular story, but they're always told to just go vote up something good.

A more moderate change might be to allow people to undo their upvotes if they decide the story wasn't worth saving after all.

You have more data and experience than anybody else. Try out what you think will be best and undo it if it doesn't work.

It might make sense to keep upvote and downvote counters separate until either goes over a certain threshold and only then combine them.

That's to prevent deliberate sinking of freshly posted stories by a small, but coordinated effort.

No, it will lead to more herd behavior. If people can't use upvotes reasonably, what makes you think they will use downvotes reasonably?

I think this story rose to the top because it's aligned with the eigenvector of TC-related talk at HN. Hive mind has awakened and achieved a stable thread of thought. Over time we will see more of those stable waves forming. I have twice purposely clickbaited to the top of HN, and several times at reddit - the eigenvectors of the hive mind aren't hard to see and exploit, but after a certain point it's not clear who exploits whom. :-)

The only way to stop it is restrict the community.

I agree, and I wrote the damned thing.

Since you seem in support of having a down arrow, and you never really intended to get your article to the front page, then what that says is that you were less concerned about submitting something of value than you were about promoting your writing. You shouldn't have submitted it in the first place.

Either that or you just wrote the piece knowing that it'd appeal to the growing anti-arrington/tc sentiment here, so you knew it was an easy climb to the top.

I'm getting extremely irritated by this sort of stuff. Many of you are doing exactly what you're criticizing Arrington/TC of doing - childish gossip and name calling. There's much more important, worthwhile and fulfilling shit to discuss.

I don't think relying solely on everyone's ability to restrain themselves is very reliable.

Especially since the ones you'd wish they restrained themselves the most are usually those less able to do so. (as an extreme example, ask a spammer to avoid spamming you...)

You risk a 'bury brigade' forming as seen at Digg. Maybe make the downmod arrows randomly provided to random people?

The thing that scares me already with the current system is seeing completely reasonable comments being downvoted simply because someone disagrees with the argument, and not on the merit or value it adds to the conversation. On a much larger scale, I can't say what this will do to submissions; it's possible someone will post a completely appropriate blog entry that's more of an editorial than a report or product review, only to end up receiving numerous downvotes because of a differing opinion.

But I'm with everyone else when I say to give it a trial period and see how it goes. It's the only equitable way to see how things will work out.

Make users' votes on stories public. Presumably, the purpose of upvotes is to indicate that a story will be of value to other readers. If that's the case, users should be willing to put their names behind their suggestion. Users will theoretically be less willing to vote for stories that other people won't find useful.

This solution doesn't scale, but it's quicker to implement than giving a higher weight to the votes of people who have voted for editor-selected good stories in the past. I don't like downvotes on anything.

The problem with a direct downvote mechanism is tuning it properly. If it's too weak then it won't do much good and if it's too powerful then it could potentially do harm.

I think a better idea would be to allow the editors or leaders to have some way to enable the story downvote button for the rest of the community. Perhaps after two or three leaders downvote an article, the button would be enabled for everyone.

I'd suggest requiring everyone who submits a story to justify its relevance via the text box, ignoring all story submissions that don't have accompanying text (the exact opposite of how it currently works). That should deter a lot of impulse submissions, requiring users to think about why a story is worth posting here. And it should cultivate voting practices that maintain a stronger eye towards community relevance, as opposed to general interest. I.e., don't upvote unless the submitter successfully argues their case.

Restricting upvoting controls to a story's dedicated comments page would also deter impulse upvoting and force users to check out the justification.

I think down votes are still a bad idea. Just one more way to game the system.

I'd also publicize that "vote up if you like candy" posts will be deleted. That's the only danger of the story downvote that I see--that it will be used for reddit-style popularity polls.


One thing you might also try is allow the top n posters (nickb and company?) to enable downvoting on certain articles, whereupon the rest of us can pile on if we like.

How does that differ from allowing nickb et al to just bury an article? I can assure you, if some articles have downmodding available and others do not, those articles will be insta-gibbed off of the front few pages.

It would allow an article to remain if it has overwhelming popular support.

Give editors downvotes. This is less powerful than marking something dead. I would also give the functionality to anyone in the top 1%.

I tend to agree with the article, especially the "impatience factor".

What I especially don't like is the practice of "private beta invitations". I am wasting time reading "news" about features of some new online service, only to find out that it's not available yet, but Techcrunch has "50 free invitations for its readers". It's a win-win-lost situation - startup got publicity, TC is "first to report it", but I wasted my time.

What I think TC got right is the blog-like format + discussions + quick reporting. But the content stinks. I hope competition will take him over.

I think they need to decide whether they want to be a personal blog for Arrington's uninformed self-injection or real journalism. Right now, I think they're pretending to the latter while operating as the former.

I don't read Techcrunch unless someone points me to a story that sounds like it might be interesting which is rare. However, people seem to read, and their traffic hasn't suffered, so I doubt that the site is going to change anything soon. For that matter, who cares what Techcruch is writing about. By moaning about it here, we're giving it airtime that could be used for something more useful. Ignore it, and perhaps others will too over time (or they'll change their focus).

Yes, the site has influence, but to think it's the only way to get noticed is only adding fuel to the fire.

Look they even get reprinted in the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/05...

> By moaning about it here, we're giving it airtime that could be used for something more useful. Ignore it

yes, sorry. I'm slightly horrified that my rant is #1 on HN. In a nice way though.

TechCrunch's quality has gone down over the last year. The problem is that Arrington has critical mass, and not following TechCrunch could keep you out of the loop on some important stories or conversations.

At some point though, I won't be able to handle it and will unsubscribe, regardless of how many people follow his news.

Important stories like Twitter's downtime or del.iciou.us not pushing new software when Arrington decides they should?

I never followed TC, I just go here. Interesting worthwhile stories make it to the front page.

"Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people."

--Eleanor Roosevelt

To be honest I hope del.icio.us 2.0 never launches. Usually Yahoo has a knack of making things less usable. I really think they have a solid offering now (that is what made it purchasable) I would hate it to be another yahoo tv.

However I hardly go there, usually a track for me. so they could get some more traffic there if they changed their site but the service within the browser and distributed bookmarks will always be their main point.

Am I the only one who finds that TechCrunch is unreachable most of the time? I assume its server is overwhelmed with traffic. Possibly the problem is on my end, but I don't have problems with other sites. I find it strange that the guy who complains about Twitter's downtime seems to have some of his own to deal with.

I could always access the site without any problems and didn't see any issues.

not for me either, might just be you. sorry.

a blessing in disguise

I hate Arrington as much as the next guy, but I know first-hand that 1. The database architecture of delicious is outmoded (i.e. thought up by Josh for a much more limited use) and as a result 2. they simply cannot get the 2.0 version to work (i.e. scale).

They are in the news business and need to make entertaining stories. I don't see the big deal - all news outlets try to make as much drama as possible, and Arrington seems to be good with words. It's the way of the news.

well isn't it better to just ignore TC? I mean it's easy to critique something, where once we had insight all we have now is backchatter.

And seriously, this doesn't deserve to be on YC.

It's clear that Techcrunch is preparing to buy Valleywag.

Is it just me or did these types of articles start appearing once Arrington started promoting HN on TC?

Alternatives to TechCrunch, choose one, be happy:

CenterNetworks Mashable! VentureBeat Read/Write Web

Can anybody give reasons to favor one of those four above the others?

Mashable I would advise against. It's full of fluff articles, and sometime a year or two ago had the inexplicable idea of turning into a social network itself. It's a mess of a site and its writing is no better.

Though I don't follow many blogs anymore, period, R/WW writes fewer articles, but it tends to do a much better job with making sure the articles it DOES write are good. It's fairly high-quality.

Mashable sucks a lot, their posts are just derivative of whatever PR piece is sent to their email. They implemented a social network to get them more pageviews but it's now turned into a porn den.

VentureBeat started out by just reporting VC money and so on but switched. I liked him when he was with Mercury News but I haven't really been visiting his site as the other ones pretty much covers it.

Allen Stern wants to be like Michael Arrington and he's done a good job thus far. He breaks news every now and then and provides great analysis.

Silicon Alley Insider is shaping up to be a great tech news source. Topical, on point, and constantly updated.

And as much shit as Valleywag gets around these parts, they're still a top read in my book if you're an outsider in the Valley and want to pretend you fit in.

>They implemented a social network to get them more pageviews but it's now turned into a porn den.

The story of the internet.

Where's my $15 billion valuation?

Its problem is the commenting system. Needs something like Digg.

They also need some kind of comment moderation but I guess if there is no moderation in the blog post what can you expect :?

If Arrington is after traffic, people would stick around to read and participate in comments moreso if it was actually usable.

Regarding the posts, I think better comments would encourage more cooperation by the websites who are profiled as the comments could be more valuable.

Disqus is the answer to all commenting systems! :)

Tell Arrington!

he should know already

There is a TechCrunch developer in the house:



I do think we have more interesting things to talk about here.

TechCrunch needs a comment system like the one used here @ hackernews.

It will then be more fun.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact