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I've noticed the same. Most of my posts that have been massively upvoted were suggestions or small corrections. The posts in which I take time to explain something non-trivial generally end up with 2-3 votes at most.

Amount of karma is not a measure of interestingness of the contribution, it's used mainly as an 'agree' button.

This is almost certainly caused by the decision to hide comment score. If people could see that this kind of comment (f.ex. a small correction) already had its fair share of upvotes they would leave it at that, but as it is now everybody who sees it upvotes it.

What's the difference? Are we running out of upvotes?

1. If, now or in the future, the HN comment-ordering algorithm pays attention to children's scores, then you get the following pathology: A says something slightly wrong, B makes a small correction, B's comment gets massively upvoted because everyone upvotes it, so that subthread gets treated as highly-scored even though there's nothing terribly insightful or interesting about it. (You could, but probably wouldn't, get the following even worse follow-on pathology: people start putting mistakes into their comments so that this will happen and they'll get extra visibility.)

2. People get more karma for posting minor corrections than for posting substantive comments. That's arguably unfair, and again it has a possible follow-on pathology: making nitpicking more popular and carefully thought-out insightful comments less popular.

I've noticed no such change in my own comment scores with or without scores displayed. I think it's a problem intrinsic to comment voting systems. I see the same problem at all such websites I've frequented.

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