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Typing is kinda difficult for me on most days, so I don't comment much. I vote a little bit on comments, when I bother to read them, but I tend to vote-up more on submissions. I've also have been known to do a lot of flagging on the /newest queue (and even triggering the "excessive flagger" threshold).

I do try to remember to make new submissions for all to enjoy, but the irony is, this means I'm off somewhere else looking for interesting stuff rather than finding it here. The stuff that I find interesting is new tech, engineering, security and science developments (i.e. hacking up new solutions and analysis) along with a small splattering of business.

The speed of churn on the /newest queue means some of my submissions are not even seen. On average, there's maybe two or three other people here with similar interests to mine, or better said, they appreciated the submission enough to up-vote. But that is on average, so plenty of my submissions vanish into obscurity with no notice. --This is not a complaint. Other people have other interests, and the fast queue progression should be expected when there is no barrier to entry.

The trouble is, the fast queue means submitters get very little USEFUL feedback. If you post some link-baited controversy, getting 1000+ points on the submission is not too unusual, but it probably isn't noteworthy new hacking. The good hacking stuff on HN seldom hits the main /news page, instead it's buried deeply in the /newest queue. --It has always been like this. Blame human nature. If you look at /classic or do some HN spelunking by item?id= or hit archive.org for old snapshots, you'll find the main /news page has neither improved nor declined.

I think gaining points for submissions is unfair. In my opinion, I think a submission just says, "Hey, I thought this was interesting, and you might too." When a submission is sincere, it's just a friendly gesture with good intentions. But we all know how good intentions work. Whether or not the submissions is ever seen by others here, or more importantly, is interesting hacking to them is generally unknown, even to the submitter. The displayed up-votes on submissions are really just a popularity contest feeding on link-baited controversy.

Another reason why gaining points for submissions is unfair is a submission has vastly superior visibility compared to a comment. I believe PG has some secret sauce running to address the visibility discrepancy. As far as I've been able to divine through observation, points from submissions don't count towards the "average" listed in your profile. Well, it seems that way on my account, but I think even older and more active commenting members (grellas) may have their average calculated with both submissions and comments. (Don't get me wrong, when grellas posts, I read it, and usually up-vote. I doubt I'm alone on that so his exceedingly high average might be warranted from comments alone).

So the display of points on submissions fails to be particularly valuable metric. Similar could be said for the display of points on comments. I refuse to care what other people think of you or your statements, and I would prefer avoid being biased by displayed points so I make up my own mind on whether or not I find your comment interesting.

For notes, it was tptacek that made the suggestion to remove the display of comment points in the "Stave Off The Decline of HN" thread from PG. I thought his idea was brilliant, possibly because I had the same idea, but as usual, tptacek thought of and posted it first. If you want a discussion to be useful, turning it into a game is entirely counter-productive. Worse yet, the display of points creates an unfair game due to manipulations of visibility, cognitive bias and other factors.

Since the removal of comment points being displayed, there has been far less one-up-manship in the discussions, and people are more polite because they are not competing for points in a game. You are now more free to just state your opinion without worrying about whether or not others will agree or disagree with you. As long as you're not being an ass about it, you can generally post uncommon or even controversial opinions without repercussions.

Some have (repeatedly) argued that the lack of displayed comment points results in a loss of context or loss of a valuable metric for deciding what is worth reading. I'd argue the opposite (and slightly less popular view) that displayed comment points fail to offer any real usefulness and are mostly harmful. --Just like whether or not my submissions are interesting, the usefulness of displayed comment points is a very subjective matter of opinion. Some find it helpful, but others consider it harmful.

To you, my opinion about comment points does not matter. You already have your own opinion. And there is the very reason why displaying comment points doesn't really matter.




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