This is in the FAQ at https://news.ycombinator.com/newsfaq.html and there's more explanation here:
If you're seeing paywalled articles where there was no workaround, please let us know (firstname.lastname@example.org is best). But if you're seeing paywalled articles with workarounds, that's normal. Please don't post about it, since it's off-topic and has been discussed many times. We all know the paywalls suck. It's just that HN would suck worse without NYT, WSJ, Economist, etc., articles.
The decision (and community consensus) is that paywalled sites are OK if there is a known workaround.
Usually someone will post a workaround in the comments.
Usually the workaround involves https://archive.is.
If none exists, the article shouldn't be on HN and you should flag it.
Longtime HN users accept that this is the least-worst resolution to the issue.
The more-worst version would be that nothing with a paywall is ever allowed, meaning that content from some of the world's leading publications (NY Times, Washington Post, The Economist, WSJ) would never be seen here.
HN could never claim to be a place for discussing the most important topics if those publications were excluded.
Could someone try to negotiate a pooled deal with the WSJ based on a valid HN cookie with >X internet points? Or just a single subscription with the agreement that it would be scraped and self-hosted by the community?
I bet there's a flag that toggles paywalls on articles and is easier for providers to implement than restrictive access.
Using our fund - we could then pay the provider. Assuming that an average top HN post gets 10K views - and each user pays $.05 per viewing. That makes a total of $500. We would give the provider an upfront payment of say $500 dollars based on estimations. A $20 contribution to the fund means almost 400 articles [enough for more than a year] on front-page paywalled subscriptions for a user.
So the spiel to providers are - we'll pay you $500 for 6 hours of free article read time. That's all they need to know. We handle collecting funds on our side from actual readers.
It's actually genius because content providers can write and support articles catered to a particular community and are incentivized because they don't have to worry about conversion of users to paid subscribers.
However, a lot of interesting and cool stuff is posted outside of the realms of professional journalism. I mostly come here for the cool new product, an interesting blog article, or a research paper.
In my opinion, corporate journalism is more noise than good content here.
Will we? Probably not.
FYI: F12 > application > clear all site data works like 80% of time.
There could be a correlation of it being a pivotal article and having a paid business model.
Might also lift discussions standards (pot meet kettle) if everyone could RTFA.
Also, some of you may not know it but you can access the news for free through your local library. For example, I get the NY Times online via the Santa Clara County Library.
The OP is not really weighing in on the value of pay walls, nor whether or not they actually ensure "good journalism." The issue being raised here is that posting pay-walled links increases friction for, I would imagine, the overwhelming majority of users of the site.
I wouldn't expect people from, say, India, or even Brazil, to be able to get the NYT from their public libraries. They have their own newspapers to subsidize.
Median individual income in the United States is $865.
If you are a highly paid engineer imagine writing a check for 3k for news. Poorer people could use the library if they had time between their 2 jobs.
(I do pay for those I really like, but for those in which I only read an occasional article or two, I don’t particularly feel like subscribing)
If your argument should be applicable for content posted on a link aggregator followers should either subscripe to everything, turning the link aggregator into a money cow, or they will hit the wall so often that the aggregator becomes futile.
Not very much? How much time do you really spend clicking "Back" after hitting a paywall?
Most have very simple workarounds and/or someone will post an archive or outline link in the comments.
While I'll occasionally click on an archive.is link, ethically (and legally) it's not great to mirror someone else's paid content for free.