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Salmon is disappearing. (nytimes.com)
22 points by echair on June 10, 2008 | hide | past | web | favorite | 30 comments

Is the downvote arrow almost ready to go? This isn't "hacker" news. It isn't even "news" if you keep up with current events or go to the grocery store.

I think there's a huge danger in downvoting. People dismiss things more quickly than they come to appreciate them, especially hackers. It may still be better if people just vote for what they like.

There are far too few people watching the 'new' feed now. Isn't there some way to improve the incentives on issuing the first few votes?

"Isn't there some way to improve the incentives on issuing the first few votes?"

Making the "new" link on the header bar much more prominent?

i discovered the 'new' link several months after i joined. the reason is because i thought new stories automatically appeared on the front page, and would simply sink fairly fast if nobody upvoted them. but it turns out they first arrive in some sort of purgatory from whence they must be uplifted

It's a bit of a stretch as far as relevance to the hacker/entrepreneur community goes, although this suddenly makes me realize that the same is true for almost all of those astronomy and theoretical physics stories that get submitted here. But they're more traditionally geeky subjects so nobody complains. Go fig.

Well, there's democracy and then there's mobocracy.

Democracy says that this place is peopled with hackers and if the hacker citizens upvote a story then it is, ipso facto, of interest to hackers.

Mobocracy says that demi-hackers trickle in and start upvoting stories and posting comments that attract quasi-hackers. The quasi-hackers then attract non-hackers and you eventually no longer have a narrow community. The stories that appeal to the lowest common denominator then rise to the top, due to sheer statistics.

> Democracy says that this place is peopled with hackers and if the hacker citizens upvote a story then it is, ipso facto, of interest to hackers.

1. Not all hackers share the same interests. Just 'cause some hackers upvoted a story doesn't imply that the story is of interest to (1) hackers as a category, or even (2) the hacker community found at Hacker News. You're conflating two uses of the word 'hackers' with your "ipso facto": one referring to a specific subset of hackers, the other referring to hackers as a whole.

2. Mobocracies are just democracies characterized by unruliness and impulsiveness: it's perfectly feasible to have a mobocracy composed entirely of hackers. You don't need demi- or quasi-hackers to cause the problems we've been seeing, and it's not clear that this is in fact the cause for deterioration in relevance of submitted stories. I wouldn't be surprised if most of it comes from hackers who just aren't being thoughtful about what they submit.

This suggests an interesting way of looking at the problem, namely "How do we make the site less interesting for non-hackers?"

Perhaps require solving a hacker-related "captcha" for submitting stories or posting until your karma has passed a certain threshold. For example, fix a line of code or enter the order of complexity of an algorithm.

Sweet! Then we'd get major practice in for our Google interview as well. Don't forget puzzles involving sparrows, rowboats, candles, and ropes for those of us who might be elsewhere-bound.

people in academic disciplines have known for years that the best way to to get joe public to leave you alone is to make your interests seem really boring.

This all assumes that non-hackers are to blame. I haven't seen any evidence that this is the case.

Didn't you get the handbook? Hackers are supposed to care about astronomy, physics, and math also. Not fish.

I dunno; when I read this one, my thought was "so long, and thanks for being fish", which is sufficiently hackish for my tastes.

What I got out of it was some dink in New York is upset because Lox is $2.50 an ounce. I probably wouldn't have minded the article so much if it wasn't an op-ed piece.

haha, same here. Isn't it "thanks for all the fish?"

Not when you're talking to the fish. :-)

I thought it was interesting that the problem wasn't simply overfishing, as I'd previously assumed.

Nature is one of the most interesting complex systems we know.

I've linked to this before and not many people seem to appreciate it, but for what it's worth:


"To rid salmon of the lice, fish farmers spike their feed with a strong pesticide called emamectin benzoate, which when administered to rats and dogs causes tremors, spinal deterioration and muscle atrophy ... In other words, the farmed salmon in nearly every American supermarket may contain this pesticide"

Salmon is or salmon are? A meese or a mouse?

Both. Salmon (the fish) are disappearing, while salmon (the meat) is also disappearing.

I was actually looking at that myself, and wanted to comment on it (but the recent spree of downmodding folks for semantics kept me from saying anything).

Yes, I've noticed that. Seems as if people are feeling more free with the down arrow in general. I'm not sure I like it. I'm no karma whore, but I do like my karma points.

Personally, I reserve a down vote for comments that are particularly stupid of 4chan-y.

I too wanted to comment on the salmon is/are thing. I enjoy the vagaries of all languages, programming or otherwise.

i agree with that. i've often curbed my commenting lately, because these days i seem to get downvoted capriciously for any little thing.

i think our original community values are getting diluted.

I posted an Ask PG submission about the use of downvote.


Damn! That's why I can't get into Twitter again!

I vociferously disagree. This is social hacker news. This article talks about the externalized costs of buying salmon that are not represented accurately enough, thus highlighting a huge problem/unmet need.

This is the community, if one exists that has the ability to create the technical hacks necessary to create social change. We can create tools/systems to solve problems like these, e.g., measuring externalized costs that prices do not/cannot account for. Until we more accurately represent costs/effects in our behaviors/purchases, it will be difficult to effectively promote positive behavior, i.e., solving the big problem.

Hmm... does ballet count as social hacker news? No? Oh well, I can link to several sci-fi book reviews on Amazon instead.

(Move along. Nothing to see here. All of you redders and diggers can go back home now.)

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