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Ask HN: How long have you been on HN and have you learned a lot
19 points by marisalopez 44 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 26 comments
I'm new to...everything, i only started working "coding" wise half a year ago. I haven't been to school for this but im always curious on how to learn more than just online lectures. Have you learned a lot from HN?



A few years now. I have another account that I used to use. I have definitely learned alot, but I can't specifically tell you what I've learned. I think HN and reddit is good for giving you perspectives. You often come across thoughts and ideas that are completely different from your way of thinking. It's more of a feeling you take away, rather some hard knowledge.

HN is also good at introducing you to different topics you haven't heard of before. However, it's up to you to do research on your own if you want to learn more about it. I wouldn't say HN is great for deep learning, but it is great for getting an idea of the general landscape. GraphQL, GPT-3, and PG essays are some things I came across here before anywhere else.


Joined 6 years ago, lurking perhaps a year or two before that. Lots of introductions to topics that I may not have come across otherwise, many of which shaped my career. As others have noted, the signal to noise ratio is very high in comparison to other sites. Overall I think it allows you to find "positive" distractions - yes you will come here to deliberately kill time, but more often than not you'll have something to show for it.

In addition, when your particular technical niche comes up you can be assured of high quality discussion.


>Overall I think it allows you to find "positive" distractions - yes you will come here to deliberately kill time, but more often than not you'll have something to show for it.

Yes! If you're going to spend time in unguided leisure reading, why not make it something interesting, and informative, instead of click-bait stuff that rots your mind. 8)


Created this account around 9 years ago (I've been in tech for 20 years or so). Never really used the site up until the past couple of years though, when I got in the habit of browsing it regularly (along with Reddit and a few other venues I'd ignored - went on a mini-binge of expanding my tech/social news sources).

Don't know that I've gained a lot of hard/useful knowledge necessarily, it's more an occasional source of interesting news and informed commentary, within the subset of interests HN revolves around. Have gathered some background material on specific topics of interest to me (HCI, workspaces, personal knowledge management).

I don't submit much or engage in discussion very often (this post being an exception, trying to move the consumption/creation needle a bit), but HN is an excellent resource. The simplicity of its UI and general model is refreshing, and the signal-to-noise ratio and quality of both contributors and moderation is very high.

There's also a zeitgeist aspect; I know if anything of significance happens within a range of interests, I'll likely hear about it here.

Overall though, HN is more a source of news and intellectual stimulation for me than a learning resource. It's an excellent and pretty unique one though, would miss it if it was gone.


New readers should note that it’s a very pessimistic community that doesn’t represent the average person in tech. For example the very loud minority with disabled JavaScript (because it’s the enemy) complaining that sites don’t work without it and that the web is dead. While in the real world no one cares.

I _have_ learned a lot and continue to use this site every day. The negativity can be mentally draining though.


>For example the very loud minority with disabled JavaScript (because it’s the enemy) complaining that sites don’t work without it and that the web is dead. While in the real world no one cares.

I'm one of those people. I guess people with slow connections, security-conscious, screen-reader users, users of text-mode browsers, and users of older devices, are not part of the real world for you.

Many people outside of HN care about this issue, they just don't know how to verbalize it because they don't know what JS is. Instead, they see it as "site doesn't work" or "site tells me to fuck off because my browser isn't good enough."

It's not "negativity", it's wanting to make the Web an accessible place for everyone, not just people with fast hardware on fast connections.

To me, "negativity" is writing off an opinion because I don't know how to writer a proper website with progressive enhancement.


Yes. In general it’s also fairly cynical with new technologies and at times pro environment to the point of being anti-human. (At least going by the top comments)

But if you keep that in mind, you’re going to have a great time here.


I don‘t find it pessimistic as such, although there is a vocal nostalgia for „the web as it used to be“ (i.e. pre-2000).

My bigger gripe is the prevailing tech-hubris, thinking that any problem can be solved with the right technology if you throw sufficiently smart people at it.

I‘m not sure how useful the concept of an „average person in tech“ is. HN is certainly not average in that it does have a strongly pronounced dominant subculture, but at the same time there is a very wide variety of people on this site.


P.S. I think the key to understanding „HN culture“ is to realise that it sees itself as a continuation of the „hacker culture“ started by the earliest computer nerds, back in the 50s. There is a pretty direct line that can be drawn from those early computing labs, through the early Internet and the FOSS movement, to Silicon Valley startup culture, to HN.


Been here since 2015.

Like others, I most value HN for the discussions. They‘re civil, and there are often serious domain experts participating. I like how that exposes me to quite a breadth of knowledge and opinions.

In terms of learning, it‘s very much a breadth-first approach. You‘ll hear about plenty of topics and new developments (and thankfully not just from tech), but it‘s the wrong place if you want to learn about any one topic in detail.

Also, over time you‘ll figure out the various likes and dislikes of the „HN crowd“. Like any other community, we have our preferences and biases, our little squabbles and unspoken taboos, that do quite strongly influence the topics you‘ll find here amd the way they‘re discussed.


Over 9 years. Yes, the first few years, I have absolutely learned a lot. Got exposed to many new programming and startup concepts I probably wouldn't have otherwise. Would often find new ideas here and spend a lot of time digging deeper.

Nowadays, I don't know. Not many things surprise me on here anymore. Some of it is surely just knowing more. But I do feel like HN "missed" some big developments. Crypto/blockchain is one example of a major trend that got very little coverage.


The moderators here keep the signal to noise ratio higher than almost anywhere else on the internet. I've learned a number of things here, and I try to add value to the comments, though I don't always succeed. Read as many of the articles as you can, even if they don't seem interesting... the titles never convey the whole story, and the good ones are sometimes things I'd automatically skip if it wasn't for the discussion.

[Edit] I've been here since February of 2019


5 years, I think. I got one interview with a YC company, which I noped from after seeing the work conditions. While there are good recommendations and some nice books, I honestly think I can live without HN. It's a positive thing, but hasn't been lifechanging, not as much as the resources from Y Combinator and its partners.

The most memorable things were discovering AI Dungeon from Show HN and finding out about Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Repair.


What do you like about zen and the art of motorcycle repair? I didn’t get too much out of that book so I’m worried I missed something.


I think I've been lurking for almost 8 years. I only recently started an account.

Hacker News has helped me learn to be a better programmer in mostly two ways:

1) Be enthusiastic and write honestly about what interests you. Keeping notes is helpful.

2) Hacker News is a community. The dialogue is mostly good for the topics I'm interested in. It is easier to do things and learn things when you listen to people.


About 7 years I think (with another account before this one). I appreciate the range I can dip into.

Learning through participation and active application of content is going to be higher than only observing propositional knowledge and feeling like you 'know' stuff.


Probably about 5 years between this account and a prior one. I lurk a lot and frankly can’t comprehend 90% of the posts since I’m not an engineer, but I learn a lot and wish I could contribute more. It’s my favorite community online.


I've been reading off and on for about a decade. Lots of cool stuff has come up over the years. I've pretty learnt that I'm always the dumbest one in the room.


Since 2009. I learned stuff about Linux and AI as well as human interest stuff. I like it because our moderator (dang) keeps things civil. The users are fairly adult in their discussions.


Lurking for years, have recently started an account. I often use the Algolia search at the bottom of the page; I mostly look in the comments and not for articles.


A few years. Not really. HN isn’t focussed enough to learn any particular area. It’s more a place of interesting random discussion.


I learned that there are many others working on something similar to what I'm working on, and they have many great ideas.


Almost 10 years, once in a while it become boring and then I skip it for a week, otherwise great platform with intellectual people.


Just today. I posted a link. The trend these days everywhere else is to bark "SPAM!" ...


Yes, 'Ask' tab has lot to learn.


long, and lots.




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