It implies that the users of HN a subset of the overall nutjob population, but one worth addressing at least ;)
If someone who is not a nutjob is spouting the theory it will get debunked, regardless of placement on Hacker News. If Hacker News were in the nutjob category, it would be irrelevant in the flowchart. The chart would simply point from "repeated by a nutjob"->"Am I bored?"
Hacker News only takes effect if a nutjob's theory winds up on Hacker News, which based on the chart, is more akin to "Are they a nutjob?"->"No" (but not quite the same). So, while something does not need to be on Hacker News to be debunked, placement on Hacker News will result in a theory being debunked. Thus, the article implies that Hacker News is a community made up of people who are expressly not nutjobs.
- Claiming that your email newsletter's Gmail reputation affects your ranking: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2600933 I did a full debunk here: http://goo.gl/6A8f9
- Claiming that Hacker News was penalized by Panda: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2595704 I did a full debunk here: http://goo.gl/7Tw9o
- There was an SEO blog that had a headline "Google Copying Bing's Image Results? Google Cheating Bing?" at http://www.seroundtable.com/google-indexing-bing-13477.html when in fact it was just images on bing.net and Bing neglected to have a robots.txt file. We have a policy against search results in search results, so we were happy to remove the images in less than a day. The SEO blogger changed the headline to be less sensational.
- Oh, one more debunk: http://allthingsd.com/20110527/google-no-government-investig... The webspam team continues to take manual action to remove spam in the same way that we have for the last decade.
Those are the four debunks that come to mind from the last week or so. Sigh.
There's probably been (many) more, too (there's usually plently).
A lot of them come from sudden up and downs, with no apparent changes by the webmaster, as Google does "quality" changes. So people wonder and Google loves to spread FUD.
And in many ways, that's how it is - you do some experiments, and by the time you have something definitive (you think, at least), the rules change and your experiments are potentially no longer valid. Even Einstein would be no match for a world where C kept changing at random.
There's no point in pretending to 'know' things about SEO, because unless you've worked at one of the big search companies, you can't really know what you're talking about. And in the few cases you do, there's no guarantee that the same will hold true tomorrow. In face, the more people 'know' something about SEO, the more likely that particular rule will change.
And no, I don't claim to be an SEO expert - I just tire of hearing the outlandish claims from 'experts' charging gobs of money from unsuspecting hopefuls.
Systems comprised of vast numbers of highly interconnected, constantly self-modifying feedback loops exhibit chaotic behaviour. Who'd have thought it?
Ummm...how does that explain sites that stayed more or less with a range for many years? This is what Amit Singhal said, your site is "high quality" one month, junk quality the next and then back to "high quality" and deserving of better rankings without changing a freaking thing. In fact they are sure that they called everyone's demoted site "low quality." That's the truth.