Sure, maybe some high-quality niche articles don't get a ton of attention, but that's the nature of writing about niche topics.
After hiding upvote and comment counts, I've found myself reading more of those high-quality niche articles that I wouldn't have clicked on previously. I've also found myself reading post titles more thoroughly and reading articles first instead of immediately jumping into the comment section to get summary/judgement.
Perhaps this extension is unnecessary if you have more self control that I do ;).
That's also the reason I create a newsletter to list all the creative content of the day which didn't get visibility https://hnblogs.substack.com/
I see this same scenario played out in many forums where a very good, high quality comment is made which quotes what "someone" said and subsequently heavily down voted because of the person that said it. In other words, the message is quashed because of the person that said it, and not because of the message itself... this is a sad testament to online dialogue.
Thankfully someone below our published some userstyles below.
That's how it's supposed to be used. This also applies to other platforms that have some social media or online discourse component (e.g. reddit, twitter, etc.).
But since there is no barrier to entry to these platforms, any "slob in a smelly t-shirt" can post comments and upvote/downvote at will, regardles of how unqualified their opinion may be.
I've noticed the more egregious forms of this on HN recently, where a commenter will cherry-pick a snippet of comment made by another user in an unrelated post from weeks prior in an attempt to discredit them in a current post.
The term "undeserved downvote" can't even exist, as the guidelines state that downvoting for mere disagreement is acceptable. But, what is that if not censorship and promoting groupthink?
If one disagrees, then why not encourage them to engage and explain vs submarining the comment with which they disagree? And, if content is unacceptable for some other reason, then flagging is still available.
I'm new here and just getting the feel. I definitely immediatly turned on viewing of dead comments. How else to get an understanding of the dynamics of this place?
I've been downvoted for comments that I feel were honest and accurate of the way I think and feel, but are definitely outside the HN overton window. I find this a valuable signal, and potentially what I can bring to HN.
I've also been downvoted for comments that I feel were a bit too pointed or flame bate style. That is a valuable signal also.
So I'm trying to maximize the number of the first type of downvote while minimizing the second. Score goes up and down, someday I'll get that pony.
After some time, and upon realizing that the downvotimg scheme here encourages groupthink, I decided that as long as I'm offering my honest ideas in good faith, then it's probably a good indicator if my karma stays roughly where it is. Let some agree and others disagree. In fact, maybe a slight decrease over time is preferable. This means people are at least challenged and encouraged to consider their position.
Frankly, if this were a community wherein disagreement never occured, then it would be extraordinarily boring: just a bunch of people sitting around head-nodding and upvoting each other. You need a variety of opinions to keep things stimulating.
So, I find it interesting that the very thing that keeps a community engaging is actively discouraged.
And, that the word "hacker" appears in the community's name is whatever comes after ironic.
How can I alert the big wigs that they have an accessibility issue, as I assume anyone visiting with a text browser also has the same issue?
I'd say either talk to dang about it or use the support link in the footer: email@example.com
The "first" kind of comments are easy to detect, so I think they wouldn't be a big problem
The chances that a post written later in the game will become one of the most voted because it's really a good comment are close to none anyway
Another interesting feature would be highlight and prioritize content written by users you follow, based on some simple rule like how many votes you gave them before or how many interactions you already had in the past
But downvotes are a prize and a status, you have to reach a certain amount of karma points to be able to downvote something so I guess unfortunately they are here to stay
With this kind of system, you could even boost downvoted comments as long as they also receive upvotes, encouraging more diverse discourse. If we want an online space that doesn't become an echo chamber, we need to make it okay to respectfully disagree.
: https://pol.is/home - pol.is uses votes to find common ground between divisive groups
An exception to that assumption might be if people have unique additional insights that could enrichen a topic, so they're commenting a lot while not necessarily disagreeing. But, such enrichment has notable value in its own right, so is probably worth surfacing as well. Engagement should breed engagement.
>If we want an online space that doesn't become an echo chamber, we need to make it okay to respectfully disagree.
And, that's what it all boils down to. So, the central point is to encourage people to engage and reply with their respectful disagreement vs issue downvotes into a blackbox. The only way to get diverse discourse is to encourage actual discourse. Downvotes are an explicit discouragement of it.
Congratulations, you invented Usenet. :)
Back in the day we didn't have voting, we had kill filters. If you didn't like another user, you'd have your reader filter out their messages. There were far fewer kids on my lawn in those days as well.
In late 80s I was actively involved in some of the BBS of my city, that also gave access to Usenet, engaging mainly in cyberpunk, science fiction and C programming
Eternal September is still going on
I've used a similar extension on another forum, and the issue it addressed for me was that 1) upvotes aren't worth reacting to (for several different reasons) 2) it's hard to not react to them in some way if you see them. If you believe the first point, hiding them completely is simply the best solution.
As for why they're not worth reacting to. People have already mentioned they cause people to focus on what's already popular. They can also create feelings of inclusion/exclusion that lead to hive-minds, and mildly addictive slot-machine-like reinforcement (which people have extensively discussed in relation to Facebook likes).
What would be interesting is if up/down votes had a weighting based upon engagement upon that post/thread. For example if somebody comments on that post/thread then their vote up or down would hold more value than somebody who had not commented.
Unsure how that would play out, but certainly be interesting. Sadly their maybe a downside I can think of and that would be that it may encourage more fluff comments, just to garner that extra clout.
Active moderation somewhat suppresses this pattern but it still happens.
I think what happens is we learn to "play to the crowd" when posting comments, knowing certain "inside the box" ruminations will garner support. This seems almost like a form of self-censorship that we are doing, sometimes without even realising it.
Is there really any definition of a "vote"? It is ambiguous. Better that we ask commenters "Is this what you mean?" Many times voters are probably misinterpreting comments. It is quite challenging to write comments where every single reader gleans the same meaning.
Another idea is you could pull new comments from the Firebase endpoint and insert them into their respective threads, randomising the order, or maybe just have chronological order. It would be an interesting experiment, if nothing else.
The web today has seemingly become a series of filtered, ordered "lists" where the top spots are the only content that is deemed to matter (and, for the vast majority, the only content that is seen). Not saying this is necessarily ill-advised, but one has to consider the effects, which are becoming more difficult to understand as we lose the ability to choose non-opinionated ordering (alpha, chronological, etc.).
I’ve observed two interesting outcomes from this, even as someone who has challenged himself to seek clarity and understanding by asking more questions:
- People who ask for clarification are downvoted heavily for reasons that I can’t assume (this happened a few weeks ago, it was a positive interaction with the person who inquired of me, and I enjoyed the back and forth: their questions were relevant, they sought clarity and they were polite and deferential, I told them as much-yet all of their posts in our conversational bivouac were heavily downvoted by parties never revealed themselves or what their problems with the questions were)
- People who are asked for clarification take it as a sneaky and underhanded attack (this happened two days ago, I asked someone if they could expand on a one-line comment because I was having trouble understanding the intention of the comment, someone else came along and called me a troll).
Both of these are anecdotes, but not isolated ones, if you’ll permit the examples as far as pleasant conversation here will allow. I don’t have solutions, it’s just...there’s an awful lot of assuming going on even when people ask questions is my observation.
Part of why I’m on HN is to follow the community and understand what the community finds important.
In practice I read submissions that look interesting to me and I also read those that received an unusually high number of votes, even if I find them uninteresting or disagree with them.
Another thing it does which I think helps a lot is automatically collapses subreplies.
Now you can only see that a comment is voted higher or lower than its siblings, if any. The vote count could show you that HN thought a comment was 50 times better than a sibling, or whatever. Of course it's subjected to biases, but rank-order voting is as well in basically the same ways, but the absolute count just gives you more information.
(re: a bias towards first-mover advantage specifically, we should obviously have an exponentially weighted moving average of the votes over time decayed to the current timestamp rather than an absolute vote count, of course.)
But how those main social networks did it, with likes or other shallow simplifications of human response, with not showing stuff from those I follow in a linear order, instead pushing "engaging" content to my face, is just terrible.
I do realize that in using HN in this way I'm "leeching" off of hn curators work rather than contributing to curating new things myself...
Something like  is more useful than hiding information.
This is an interesting topic. I’m working on a new discussion site (sqwok.im) and I explicitly opted to exclude voting. Instead to determine importance I’m using a combination of signals like live activity, publish date, etc, with plans to include further ones at a later time. I echo the sentiments from other commenters and even pg himself in regards to groupthink, and I feel that there’s room for exploration on other alternatives.
But for me, upvote and comment counts bias my perception of a post. I'm choosing to hide these counts so I can read articles uninfluenced by the number of points they have relative to other posts on the front page.
How do you choose books to read or topics to study? Sincere question
More votes than comments = something worth reading and seems to be valid content.
Less votes than comments = seems to have invalid points with a big dicussion.
HNs "quality index" for each post can be "calculated" by everyone. Without these numbers you don't know these kind of informations. The title of a post should always be in the focus, thats for sure. But thats why it has a larger font.
With books, I mostly read based on individual recommendations (or references). It's more natural to me than going with what's popular though it doesn't exclude it. It has the bonus of being an imperfect quality filter which mixes the good (as determined by people I trust) with the unusual.
To be honest, when I have read books based specifically on popularity I've been thoroughly disappointed. Reading Thinking Fast and Slow was mostly challenging with a mixture of bad examples and bad terminology ("systems 1 and 2"). I enjoyed the book a whole lot more near the end when it was discussing the incompleteness of/problems with economics. Some of my distaste for the earlier parts possibly comes from exposure to critics beforehand (e.g. Gerd Gigerenzer) and to the optical illusions. Similarly Surely You're Joking, Mr Feynman! can be amusing but a lot of the stories boil down to "aren't I clever?".
news.ycombinator.com##html .pagetop:style(color: rgba(0,0,0,0) !important;)
news.ycombinator.com##html .default .commtext:style(color: black !important)
pg has an ongoing theme over on Twitter on the perils of groupthink. I find that ironic given that this very prominent platform that is associated with him encourages just that.
Feel free to downvote this one :)
Well, if that downvoting was for disagreement, then the lesson you would've learned is not to stray too far from the group's thinking.
>Feel free to downvote this one
You won't get a downvote from me. For some time I didn't downvote at all. If I issue an occasional downvote now it's for what I consider overt bad faith, but never for disagreement.
Sure, maybe some high-quality niche articles don't get a ton of attention, but that's the nature of writing about niche topics.