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> As the site has become popular so the population of exceptional individuals has become diluted.

As someone who has made the journey from slashdot to reddit to hacker news starting from 90s, I have strong believe that right now, somewhere, a new community site for programmers is rising. I only need to find it.

Whatever new thing pops up, it needs to be severely moderated and it needs to charge for membership. Those things will maintain the quality. HN used to downvote comments that were fark/reddit like clever but mostly meaningless comments to oblivion. Just the other day I saw an entire pun thread on HN. The political posts also have been pretty terrible and utterly, circle-jerk style, one-sided.

I've heard it's Quora.

Personally, I've been trying to focus more on coding than on reading about coding. After 5 years bouncing between different programming sites, I think I've learned most of what can be learned in 15-minute blogpost soundbites. The really interesting stuff requires that I buckle down for an afternoon with a textbook or editor window.

I get the same feeling as you. I only recently discovered HN and at first I was put off by the large amount of noise. After sticking with it for a while, I now get a better feeling for what's worth reading and what doesn't deserve a second glance. Like you say though, I'm sure somewhere, well guarded from the unwashed masses, there's an utopian community of smart people having smart conversation, much like how RoG describes the early HN to have been.

Check out Forrst. It might be what you are looking for. http://forrst.com/

Wrong type of community for me personally. It's mostly designers and not enough interesting stuff from an engineering perspective. One too many HTML5 CSS3 show off links. I'm more interested in systems programming topics.

I would say Forrst tends to be tilted towards web development but of the 30 most recent code snippet posts only two were design related.

I applied, out of curiosity, but I have to say I'm a bit apprehensive about an invite-only community. The insistence on having a Gravatar almost feels cultish.

Forrst is does not require a Gravatar and how does the use of Gravatar in an way resemble a cult?

Invite-only, and one must fill out an application? I'd pass, based on that alone. Under such circumstances, I would have never been able to enjoy HN, for example.

If there is a strong desire for an "exclusive" community, how about requiring people to pay to use it?

Growing communities is incredibly difficult and Forrst choose to do so through invites and an application process.

Charging to get access to a community is not really a viable option until you have the community built to charge access to.

I'm also a Reddit refugee, which has been taken over by troll, derp, meme, and pun.

I've seen this so many times before, though. It's one of the basic rules of the internet; every community will converge to 4chan. Hell, even 4chan couldn't get rid of their 'cancer'.

I would like to see a HN-style board which does not have a public client, but rather only a public protocol specification. Only people who can actually implement the protocol would be allowed to join. The only thing I haven't figured out yet is how to stop people from publishing open source clients - I'm thinking angry nerd death squads.

> The only thing I haven't figured out yet is how to stop people from publishing open source clients

Forget about that - someone will create a web interface for the protocol and you're back to square one.

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