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If you don't already, you should browse HN with ShowDead turned on. There are people who have been banned for years and blissfully post comments several times per week completely unaware that almost nobody is seeing their comments.

Often, the comments they're posting into the black hole are indicative of why they were banned in the first place but if I see a comment that is dead and it does add to the conversation then I vouch for it which un-deads it.






I don't think many people are unaware. Sometimes when I see dead comments I trace their comment history back to the point they were banned. Cause I'm curious how those subterranean dwellers got that way. Almost invariably they were reprimanded by dang, repeatedly, and refused to change their ways, or to write to HN saying they'd change their ways. I don't recall seeing someone just mysteriously banned without an obvious refusal to behave decently/put some effort into their comments. The white dead comments don't start at some random point, they start with the person being told they are banned, and what to do about it.

Although I did see a fairly new account the other day with every comment dead, from the very first one, with no visible mod intervention; I figured it was from being a sockpuppet or someone with a track record.

p.s. I wouldn't want showdead on all the time! I use this "HN ungrey" bookmarklet to see whited-out comments on a page. Also it's useful to read comments that have just been voted down enough to be hard to read:

  javascript:(function(){var i,x=document.querySelectorAll(".commtext");for (i=0;i<x.length;i++) x[i].className='commtext c00'})();
For other sites–on the topic of useful bookmarklets–this one, "Kill Element", is a lifesaver. On any site with an annoying fixed window thing on the screen, like a "cookies?" popup etc, just click on the bookmarklet then on the offending element and it disappears! Hugely satisfying, and instant. Enjoy!

  javascript:for(var i=0; i<(document.getElementsByTagName('a')).length; i++) {(document.getElementsByTagName('a')[i]).style.pointerEvents = 'none';}function handler(e) {e = e || window.event;var target = e.target || e.srcElement;target.style.display = 'none';document.removeEventListener('click', handler, false);cursor('default');for(var i=0; i<(document.getElementsByTagName('a')).length; i++) {(document.getElementsByTagName('a')[i]).style.pointerEvents = 'initial';}}document.addEventListener('click', handler, false);cursor('crosshair');function cursor(cur) { document.body.style.cursor = cur; }

I browse HN with showdead. I encounter very few hidden comments and I regularly vouch for comments by new accounts that were apparently caught in some kind of spam filter.

Perhaps different people get shown different dead comments?

I browse with showdead too, the few really bad ones are also usually at the very bottom of the thread, which I don't see often ;)

I've had it on for a while. IMO, there aren't that many dead comments, and most are clearly dead for good reason. I suppose I like it, as a check that the mods aren't doing anything funny.

Then again, it's always possible that there's another, deeper "dead" in there, and only the really lousy spam shows up on "showdead". But that way lies paranoia.


I just checked, and I have ShowDead on, so I must have had it on for a rather long time since I don’t at all remember hearing about it or turning it on. I also don’t recall seeing a dead comment, or perhaps I don’t know how to identify them.

It just says [dead] next to the time when the comment was posted or something like that.

How do you turn on the ShowDead settings? I don't see that in my settings page..

Between email and noprocrast?

It may be that you need a certain amount of karma to get that option.

It will be nice if there was an option to post underground comments on per comment basis that aren't subject to moderation :)



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