If you see a Show HN (or any submission!) that's particularly good and isn't getting attention, let us know at email@example.com. We'll take a look and maybe put it in the second-chance pool (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=11662380), so it will get a random placement on HN's front page.
The best such suggestions come from people who aren't personally connected to the article or project, but just ran across it.
And as you browse, it's worth keeping the Show HN guidelines in mind, particularly those around commenting https://news.ycombinator.com/showhn.html (which I actually had never seen before clicking on that spike in 2014...)
The problem with using this site to look for some of those things is that those things were usually not mentioned in the title. I’m glad that HN still has a lot of “mystery” titles where you don’t know what you’re going to get when you click a link.
The fairly literal definition of "posts on the front page get more votes than they used to", which is usually the effect of more users being on the site but occasionally also users upvoting more than they used to.
(Of course karma is silly and no one cares very much about it, but it's not nothing, and as long as we have it we should have a system with better circulation.)
Edit: I should add that when you see a [dead] post that shouldn't be dead, you can vouch for it by clicking on its timestamp, then clicking 'vouch' at the top of its page. Those links only appear there, just like 'flag' links on comments.
My submission and comment history is sporadic because of that. Most of the time, I’m happy to soak up what’s being said by some really clever, experienced people (and HN has a lot of quality talk by lots of smart people). But sometimes there’s a question worth asking or a point worth making and that’s when best to comment.
Karma goes up and down but if you’re polite, it’s mostly up - even if people don’t agree with you, they will appreciate a well thought out and respectable argument. Especially one that makes you think, regardless of how contrarian it is.
Don’t feel compelled to submit or comment or build karma!
From a quality point of view, the best submissions are on obscure topics that haven't been discussed much before. But quality and karma-earning aren't exactly the same thing!
Actually the main thing I think karma measures is time spent on HN (at least among the minority who make posts).
Commenting is a decent way! If you opportunistically roam threads, it's not that hard to get quite a bit on each thread.
However, the stories are way quicker as long as you're not submitting them at the wrong time of day (if you check through the profiles of people who submit non-spam and non-political posts frequently, which stories of theirs made it to the front page can almost entirely be predicted by checking /past and seeing if anything submitted +/- 20 minutes from it made it there, outside of the case where they get manually boosted there).
I think submissions could be improved with some simple fixes (famous last words), but it's definitely not terribly difficult to get decent amounts of karma that way if you've got your mind set on it.
(I should mention that if I don't actively optimize for karma; I exclusively skim threads on the front page for a while and leave comments, coming back a couple times to catch new additions and respond to replies. If you're really trying to rack up karma and can can string a couple of words together on a variety of topics, there's a number of more aggressive karma accumulation strategies you could employ. They're not nearly as enjoyable.)
Also, I just want to point out, as someone who plausibly had the fastest accumulation of karma during the first months of having an account,* that "and those who accumulate it the fastest" may not be quite accurate.
* (I actually got called out for it by three different people; my first five thousand points were achieved within (-/+ 5) ninety days of making the account, and that was with fifteen days of not posting anything (my account was made on 91919, which is a palindrome I find nice); my first thousand was within thirty days of making the account.)
I've mentioned it before, but I silently keep track of people I often see around on Hacker News–what they like to talk about, any affiliations they've mentioned, their positions on perennial topics. Think of it like those extensions that let you put tags next to people's names, except I use a browser that killed its extension community in cold blood so I keep this around in my head instead. An extension wouldn't be of much help, anyways: I find it very difficult to remember to read usernames, so I frequently end up in the curious situation where I'm reading a comment and think "this sounds like something so-and-so would say…wait, yes, it's them" (in certain cases, this can be "this sounds like so-and-so's writing style").
All this is a long way to essentially say that I am quite familiar with prolific users, especially ones that I see submitting things to the homepage or participating in comment threads that I frequent (which is a large subset of what ends up on the front page), so I was well aware of your incredibly rapid karma accumulation within weeks of the creation of your account. I factored this in to my statement above, which I will admit I haven't actually run the numbers on precisely but still stand behind unless you've happen to have done the math on this and would like to share. Here's why I think that comments come out ahead.
Hacker News is a fairly small community, but even inside it there are people who interact with it disproportionately and accumulate karma quickly and readily. As far as I can tell, both of us are in the top dozen or so karma accumulators on the site, which means that we're averaging 20-50 karma a day. I personally have been not very consistent–I didn't use Hacker News too much when I started out (I was a lurker for a couple of months before even registering, so I wasn't used to commenting)–and this year until about spring I was on-and-off with my contributions, reading a bit more or a bit less depending on outside workload, and at one point not being on the site at all for a month as a bet. These days I'm on fairly often, so I get a decent amount of karma consistently.
If we look at other top users, I think the pattern is similar. 'tptacek has a truly insane average of something like 70 karma a day going back all the way to 2007 (although I think he's slowed down slightly right now?), which is like the top quartile of what I get on average. Other users, including you, have more reasonable but still fairly high numbers as far as I can tell.
Taking this into account, I still think that comments make up the majority of karma for most of these users, for a number of reasons one of which is probably the fact that stories are downranked when calculating karma by something like 2x AFAIK. If you go through 'tptacek's or 'jacquesm's profiles right now, you'll notice that they post stories once in a while, and they even hit the front page occasionally, but not nearly enough to make up more than a small fraction of their karma. I think even you, whom I used to recall got things on the front page once or twice a week, would have a hard time accumulating karma that quickly if you also didn't comment abundantly.
I'm not saying it's impossible to get karma through stories, but it's uncommon and among the top posters I think there's perhaps one that doesn't comment at all, a few that post stories frequently, and the remainder who submit rarely if at all.
Which is to say: a significant factor in karma accumulation is just how long you've been on the site.
We should just get rid of it altogether!
I also want to change HN's leaderboard to show leaders by different criteria, including on (say) a weekly/monthly/yearly/alltime basis. Maybe that would help bring in some fresh air.
Speaking of the leaderboard, I was actually curious how it was organized: there are some people missing from it that I would expect to be there, like 'pg. How is that list generated?
Writing comments is easier, but links are definitely more bang for the buck if that's what you're going for.
Joking aside, there would indeed be legitimate value in such enhancements (browse by insightful, irony, etc).
The quality of discussion on the former seemed to go down after that feature was added. The quality on the latter has always been controversial.
Also, encouraging more irony than there already is on HN would be bad; encouraging low-effort sorts of things like 'oh wow that's ironic' and 'x is bad y is good' would lead to drastic and noticeable dives in the quality of discussion. HN's lack of choice for comment sorting is one of its benefits.
I was thinking more of offering reasons for downvotes due to the apparent increase in tribalism and what not, although I didn't exactly use the best examples.
But then, there's a lot of bickering about other things that could perhaps be addressed to some degree by this approach.
One idea I was thinking was to just occasionally run some threads in this mode, and see if it has an effect on culture & thinking styles (predudgement, mind reading, baseless assertions of fact, etc)
Just a thought.
Perhaps you are right, but that is an epistemic question. Perhaps people really can never get along ever again, and we should just spare the effort and let the tides of fate carry us where they may. After all, it's not our responsibility here at HN, is it. We have no responsibilities at all, other than adhering to the HN Guidelines, and even that is little more than a suggestion.
Note the rules for "Show HN" state:
> Show HN is a way to share something that you've made on Hacker News.
> Show HN is for something you've made that other people can play with. HN users can try it out, give you feedback, and ask questions in the thread.
The person who submitted does not appear to be the original author (who is Todd W. Schneider). Interesting content though.
But that caused a lot of confusions indeed. Glad that dang has changed the title to be a more appropriate one.
Ironic that that is still number one. A shady way to submit a bug, but props to HN for not burying it or punishing the submitter.