Funny, before jacquesm retired from hn last week: 90,001 unique visitors and 2 million page views per day.
(just kidding - we miss you, jacquesm. ping us sometime)
Frankly if HN had an option to ignore all posts from the top 10 leaderboard I would opt in to that; I am sick and tired of this entirely irrelevant person-specific drama.
> As we approach HN's fourth birthday, traffic is now around 90 thousand unique visitors and 1 million page views on weekdays. (Http requests and page views are identical except for votes, of which there are about 25 thousand on a weekday.)
Interesting, interesting... btw, one set of stats I was curious on - got any numbers on how many people who browse are registered and what percent of registered users vote? I'd be fascinated to hear about it if the numbers are handy and not confidential.
Thanks again and congrats on news.yc and all the recent cool developments and successes at incubating.
gzipping this thread page results in a 5x size decrease.
Can't blame pg though. He's just a product of his computational adolescence. In another 15 years, we'll still be using CSS and divs while the kids move on to 3D direct brain interface temporal markup languages.
This page gzip'd: http://www.google.com/search?q=30+*+1e6+*+(52KB-10KB)
Front page gzip'd: http://www.google.com/search?q=30+*+1e6+*+(25KB-5KB)
So probably not worth it :)
It actually creates the impression of a faster site even if the real time to load is the same.
Considering the only thing necessary to enable gzip is to enable it in the front facing web server and that it uses barely any cpu at all on level 4 I don't see why anyone wouldn't use it.
Somewhat more is necessary in this case.
As for the HTML suggestion, I'd skip that one, it's just a few bytes per comment and needs actual code changes.
I'm actually really surprised by this .. does anyone know the rationale/reason for such poor markup and lack of optimisation?
However, the site is not fast, seriously, a site that's so simple containing just a few text should be blazingly fast. It does not take too much science to reach this goal.
I understand that it can be interesting running it via an Arc program, but you hit millions of page views, and there are people that are using this site every day to get together, to share their knowledge, and so forth, and it's a shame that there is to wait too much at every page view.
Being the layout very simple to render, no graphics, there are all the prerequisites to make the HN experience "google alike" from the point of view of latency.
So I tried form UK (linode server):
Ping latency from linode is 100 ms.
So my bad experience is clearly the combination of two things: HN is slow generating pages, taking something like one third of second to generate the home page. Add this to the latency and you are half a second for the home, and more for than 600 ms for comment pages.
This in the UK. In Italy there is apparently also some bandwidth issue, and since the markup is pretty verbose compared to the content, this could be dramatically improved too.
For instance Google.co.uk is served in 73 ms from the same place.
My blog takes 300 ms from my crappy ASDL (the same where hacker news takes 1.4 seconds).
There are huge margins for improvements.
I wonder if pg would accept a yc news written in python/redis :)
Btw I've no precise idea about the software stack HN use, I'm just proposing a quality change, that is faster, the mean it is achieved is another (very interesting) topic.
I'll repeat (the gist of) my comment in a less crowded context (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2157384):
First-year users will only vote on what they see, and if they don't consistently use the classic view - which I expect very few would - then they will most likely only vote on what everyone else has voted on. Thus, classic wouldn't be expected to be significantly different from the regular home page, and thus it cannot measure any decline.
That's not true unless those users are somehow compelled to upvote a constant number of stories, which they're not. I upvote a smaller proportion of stories on the frontpage than I used to.
Assuming that the number of first-year users' votes is noise compared to votes from newer users, and that first-year users vote mostly on items on the front page, then looking their votes alone should just give a different sort order to that front page. That's my intuition, without taking into account ranking algorithms using quadratic decay etc., but I'm not sure there's a good reason to think that would change things.
As a new user, most of my votes are on the "New" section rather than the homepage. I vote up the things that I think other people should (on New), rather than what everyone is going to see anyways because its up on the front page.
I do think that some sort of weight system for upvotes would be an interesting feature.
barrkel is extrapolating his own behavior as an older member: he tends to only consider front page items for upvotes.
Thus, new users determine what makes the front page, all users help determine the front page ordering, and "classic" view reflects how old users would order the front page.
The question is whether barrkel's voting patterns are an appropriate model for older members. Personally (as another older member), I visit "New" perhaps once a week, but when I do I'm much more likely to vote up a story that I find to have even a little bit of value. I only vote up front page stories that I find extraordinarily useful or interesting.
There is no reason to assume that the interaction model used by barrkel and me are representative of all older members, so while his argument is interesting, it's not very well supported.
This evidence can be interpreted in (at least) two ways, (a) that most voting occurs based on the front page, or (b) that the front page topic themes, and by extrapolation user tastes, have remained consistent over time.
I (based on my own voting, and now yours too, but also the number of votes front-page articles get vs stuff that doesn't make it to the front page, evident from resubmission successes etc.) would guess that hypothesis (a) is more likely than hypothesis (b); but in any case, the fact that there's an alternative explanation for the similarity in the two front pages means that PG's hypothesis of (b) is on shaky ground.
In short, I'm sure the value it represents now is far greater than what one could garner from trying to directly monetize it. Just look at any of pgs posts - people upvote the bejeezus out of them: he can instantly and effortlessly access thousands of high quality eyeballs.
There are surely people that would pay egregious sums of money to have this kind of community in any vertical, and tech startups are pretty hot - I struggle to even fathom what could possibly constitute a fair price for jeopardizing that.
[edit: Google says it's spelled 'bejeezus']
Thanks for keeping it good.
As a new user, I'm quite surprised with how civil and helpful everyone is.
Often times when you put a lot of extremely intelligent and strong-minded people in the same place, things can get heated really quickly. Granted, strong-minded people are usually not offended easily.
As a side note, does anyone know what kind of hardware setup they are using to serve up HN?
edit: can't help but presume my intention was lost on the downvoters. not all jokes are purposeless.
While there are still some intellectual safe havens on reddit, the majority of the site is now dick jokes and pun threads. Not that reddit doesn't still contribute informative comments, just that the signal-to-noise ratio has definitely shifted over the years.
HN, by contrast, tends to be intellectual by default, with the odd tasteful joke or pun thrown in for good measure where appropriate.
I really like this place, and I'd hate for it to become ruined by an excess of new users.
(and yes, I know you were just making a TSN joke)
though, now that we've shifted, i agree with you- but also have hope that pageviews are not the deciding factor of community downfall!
Onboarding new users into the HN culture is relatively easy when you're dealing with a steady but slow intake. I'll admit that I can be an ass on reddit and my highest karma posts have mostly been stupid jokes, but I take things serious on HN because HN presents itself as a serious place.
When you get a significant stream of new users, it can be harder to keep them all in line. If you get a bunch of new folks together voting up their own brand of inane crap, it'll start to pollute the front page. A polluted front page sets a bad tone for newer users, because they think that sort of thing is tolerated.
HN has systems in place to stop this of course, like the ability of some users to kill a post outright and the karmic threshold for downvoting, but there will likely come a time when that isn't enough anymore.
I agree that pageviews are generally a good thing, but HN isn't advertising-funded in the traditional sense (by that I only mean that HN does serve as an advertising platform for YC companies to an extent) so having high pageviews probably isn't high on PG's goals list. HN is pretty unique in that respect, and that's a distinct part of its charm.
Maybe a better metric would be to track only the first few votes that stories get to see if the same ones would make it to the front page?
Quirky communities with strong personalities are more interesting.
(I'm still quite happy with HN though :)
This site has been around for long enough that certain older posts on that page have some ambiguity.
This is the real story. I noticed that about 4 months ago the nature of Hacker News seemed to veer out of its original emphasis and now it's back to what it used to be.
That's impressive. Congrats.
So why is it still PR6 ? I guess the 136 Errors and 6 warning(s) from the HTML Validator give a big penalty.
Please do not change the site.
Like having a car that leaks oil all around the engine compartment and have the manufacturer explain that this is fine as most passengers don't look in there. Then finding that a gasket alteration could fix it but the manufacturer isn't bothered because, well what's a bit of oil [bandwidth] and mess [sloppy markup] when the car still runs.
I don't know the system that the site runs on but assuming that the presentation layer is abstracted from the base logic it should be easy to fix at least some basics (doctype, font tags, gzip, etags, expire headers) even if one didn't go the whole hog and rip out the tables.
I'm not at all suggesting to alter the visual appearance incidentally I like the minimalist design.
When computers first appeared, everyone wrote code in machine language. People thought that's what programs were. When the first compilers appeared, I'm sure a lot of people were grossed out by how ugly and inefficient their output was compared to the hand-written machine language code they were used to. But people who thought that were solving the wrong problem. What matters is how the code looks to the programmer writing it, not how it looks to the machine executing it.
People who think HTML should be elegant are making the same mistake. HTML is object code. What matters is the representation the programmer sees, which in this case is the source of HN, which is quite concise.
Concerning oneself with HTML is different to fussing over optimising assembler in a regular computer because the mark-up is being pushed along many pipelines which are handling other data traffic, limiting the speed of data transfer limits processes involved in the presentation of the page.
I guess it's like optimising machine code to be run on a massively parallel computer in which real-time operation is desired.
In your analogy the compiler isn't [generally] producing the same assembly as if the code were hand-optimised. Clearly there's a play-off but if you could cut your transport across a data bus significantly with a couple of cheap and simple optimisations (either direct to the compiler or to it's output) then it's quite likely that you would, isn't it?
The main thing for me anyway was the surprise of finding this here. To add to my other poor analogy it's like going round to dinner at a famous chef's house and finding that they ordered the food in and just reheated it; just not what you expect. Sure you get a hot meal at the end of it, sure it might be nice, it's just you expected more.
I agree with you that eventually something else will come out and we will flock there to get away from HN once it gets to the point where it's mostly fluff articles about Apple and politics.