- temporal, like news, announcements, analysis and discussion on current events. It's usually irrelevant after a while, it gets stale fast.
- atemporal, like essays, history, theory, articles, knowledge in general that while it may get superseded, expanded or invalidated over time, it's interesting content that you learn from, from a current or historical perspective.
While the first kind tends to get more attention due to the clickbaity nature, I much prefer the second kind and wonder if a site focused solely on that would be more interesting.
It's about keeping them honest. You know the latter have value if you see their themes and lessons play out frequently in the former.
A decent test of the most useful theory is how often it's relevant and referenced in shallow quick fire current events discussions.
It's a selection of essays that were written for the LessWrong community, and the community voted for the best essays 2 years after publication, ensuring that only the 'atemporal' ones got into it.
Nothing has the lack of persistence that news does. (Though a surprising amount of "news", for reasons closely related to this rapid-staling and unpredictable nature of it, is actually repackaged evergreen or procedural content.)
At the same time, there's little that's as timeless as highly-insightful observations or commentary. These can live on for years, decades, centuries, or millennia.
(I suspect that copyright attacks both ends of this equation, by creating moats around current material to keep it in flow, and by denying markets to older material, which would otherwise compete with the new. This has limits imposed by works which were in fact subject to copyright in the first place, which is most works published since January 1, 1926, in the US.)
I'm finding classic works, philosophy, and much academic publishing to be far more interesting than news, of late.
You do get a large response of unqualified opinions, anecdotes and repetitive arguments/flamewars but, amongst the 'noise', you can roughly cluster voices, average out within clusters and get an idea of the range of (mostly) intellectual opinions held.
This 'fuzzy' information won't be neatly laid out as with the atemporal articles but to me it acts almost like a primary resource surveying what the HN community (whatever that represents in reality) believes at a point in time.
Suggest: two sites
/classic uses the same ranking system as the regular front page but only counts votes from early users, defined as accounts that were created before Feb 13, 2008.
I'm guessing this is an attempt at getting around the Eternal September phenomenon, or at least an experiment around this idea.
So I think people should make Lindy Libraries - reading resources that have stood the test of time. Here are a few I have been collecting: https://codingcareer.circle.so/c/lindy-library
I think there are situations where ephemerous knowledge is useful. For example, knowing about a security vulnerability: its profitability is much higher before the issue gets fixed, which can happen anytime (be it two hours or two years).
Another example: imagine you know insert-influential-billonaire is going to tweet about insert-trendy-currency, this information is completely irrelevant for the future, but you can certainly use it to make money.
It's worth mentioning these two examples, however, can provide longer-lasting knowledge as a by-product too.
Would be cool if HN had its own web archive after 100 comments or so.
Perhaps if the bot sends the page to the archive immediately but instead of posting the comment immediately waits a few days (until the last day comments are allowed), it will not so controversial because it will add no noise to the conversation.
It's better to send an email to the mods with the idea before implementing it, because the bot may get banned.
Old articles that have been discussed heavily, improved upon, circumstances changed, technology evolution especially, are mostly lame to revisit on a site that still should weigh heavily towards current events/news developments.
I'm just getting tired of sifting thru resurfaced old posts from 2016 or whatever
I wonder if maybe the Y logo top left should be removed as it might mislead users into thinking it's a legitimate extension of HN?
Oh, and "(1900..2010).each do |year|" is not good:
"Linux is obsolete (1992)": https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8942175
"If the GNU kernel had been ready last spring, I'd not have bothered to even start my project: the fact is that it wasn't and still isn't. Linux wins heavily on points of being available now."
Is he referring to GNU Hurd that is still unfinished?
Hacker News Classics (2018) - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=22004066 - Jan 2020 (42 comments)
Show HN: Hacker News Classics - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16442888 - Feb 2018 (107 comments)
HN could optimize the layout for mobile a bit. I'm mostly reading on my smartphone and the links are all sooo small, I can barely hit them with my thumb.
Mods: we need a way to fix deadlinks
Example: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1140283 redirects to wrong place.
Correct new link is https://lockhaven.edu/~dsimanek/hollow/tamarack.htm
Occasionally I'll post archive.org links or similar alternatives as pinned top comments, so readers looking at the old thread can have access to the article. In the past we've changed the top link to archive.org also, but I'd rather not encourage that.
I think this is web-boosterism. Consider another candidate for greatest library in history of the world: the British Library. 200 million items, most of them available to read at 45 minutes notice, centrally located in one of the worlds most important cities.
I'm bet that 99% of what is on this page is in the BL. Is 99% of what is in the BL on the web?
EDIT: For context, here is some of the stuff in the BL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Library#Highlights_of_...
The Internet offers a unique value proposition the British Library does not: it's globally available, for free, and in the case of Wikipedia might even come in your native tongue. It also offers video content, live or otherwise, on any Internet connected device you happen to own.
The British Library doesn't compare, but it sure is an exceptional resource.
a lot of the time
You clearly can't (though India no special shortage of excellent libraries). But how important is access? Is the chip shop down the road from you the Worlds Greatest Restaurant just because it's the easiest to get to? Or is that place in Paris with 3 Michelin stars better?
The web-as-a-library relies on people creating good stuff and paying for it to be on the web for free. It just doesn't happen that often and Wikipedia is, I'm afraid, not the last word on human knowledge.
I'm sure a certain library in Alexandria would have appreciated off-site backups :)
That's not necessarily a good thing. Think of a fire.