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Tell HN: Coming soon – “Meet the Batch” threads for parallel Launch HNs
272 points by dang 13 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 91 comments
Each YC startup gets one chance to do a Launch HN thread that gets placed on HN's front page [1]. This is one of the three things that HN gives back to YC in exchange for funding it [2]. We started doing these in 2017 and they've worked out pretty well over the years [3], I think mostly because they're more interesting than job ads. However, they have to be written in a special way for that to work (more on this below).

Problem: HN's front page can only accommodate a fixed number of startups while YC keeps funding more (700+ a year and growing). We do two Launch HNs a day during the stampede before each Demo Day, but I think we overdid that in W21, and even 2 per day all year, which is out of the question, still wouldn't be enough.

Other problem: I work with the startups to edit their launch texts into a form that HN is more likely to find interesting. Mostly this consists of cajoling, persuading, and (when that fails) forcing them not to sound like marketing, sales, or PR. If you'd like to see the instructions we give founders about this, they're at [4].

Founders are used to talking to customers and investors, and those styles are terrible for HN, so most Launch HNs need a lot of editing. Unlike the front page, this work should be scalable, but it has to be done by someone who's familiar with what HN likes and what its conventions are, and it hasn't (yet) proven easy to train anyone to do it—you sort of have to dip them in the vat of HN over and over until they get steeped, and most people don't want to be dipped in a vat, or at least not this vat. So in practice I still do the editing and am still the bottleneck. 40 startups are currently in the pipe and it's backing up faster than I can process them.

Hence, new idea time: we're going to try aggregate launch threads for YC startups, tentatively called "Meet the Batch". These will be like Launch HNs, but with more than one startup, and shorter blurbs. Each startup will post its blurb as a comment and then HN readers can discuss and interact with the ones they find interesting.

Since each of these will be in lieu of a Launch HN, the number of frontpage threads won't go up, but throughput will. We have no idea how well it will work—it's just an experiment. We'll probably start with one per week and do traditional Launch HNs the rest of the time.

Which startups will get standalone Launch HNs vs. being in the aggregate threads? I'll decide that based mostly on what I think HN is likely to find interesting. That's not the same thing as which startups are good (or I think are good!) so please don't take it as that sort of signal.

So anyway, that's the plan. I wanted to give you all a heads-up, first so you know what to expect, and second so we can answer any questions and have any meta discussion now, instead of later when comments should really be about the startups. If you have questions, feedback, flames, or hounds to unleash, have at it—also, any ideas about how we can do any of this better are most welcome.

p.s. Late Sunday is the HN equivalent of a Friday news drop but it's the only spare time I had. We might re-up this thread tomorrow (a la [5]) so others get the info.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/launches

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/newsfaq.html#yc - the other two are job ads and orange usernames.

[3] Past posts about this: https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&qu...

[4] https://news.ycombinator.com/yli.html

[5] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26998308






Here is a crazy idea, kinda like how subreddits on reddit work. Use the separate Launch HN page[0], with just the launch threads (one per company). Put the one that is currently at the top on the main home page (or maybe two, or maybe treat it like a stack and pop the top on a regular basis skipping ones that have already appeared).

That way people who are interested in launches (like me) can check out the launch page, but everyone else will still see the most popular launches. Then you don't have to guess which ones will be popular.

Maybe once a week have an automatic summary thread for all the ones that didn't make the home page similar to what you describe above, with one per comment.

As for you being the editing bottleneck, why not teach the partners how to do the editing so they can be the first step, and then maybe you just do a final pass after the partners have hopefully mostly gotten it good?

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/launches


> Use the separate Launch HN page

I’ve never even seen that page until you posted it, and it doesn’t show up in the top or bottom nav bars. If this was linked up top like Show and Ask, then I’d look at it way more regularly.

Add it to the top bar, have a random one display (not posted, but pinned/displayed) at the top of the front page for each load. Considering it’s HNs core purpose I don’t think anyone would complain about having a sticky random Launch HN at the top during launch season?


Some stuff is not documented, /launches is one of them.

https://github.com/minimaxir/hacker-news-undocumented

The launches page is in this section:

https://github.com/minimaxir/hacker-news-undocumented#hacker...


"Undocumented" is a bit much, "hard to find" is more accurate.

Bunch of pages (including /launches) is listed on the "Lists" page (https://news.ycombinator.com/lists), which is linked in the bottom navbar.


Ok, good idea—thanks! Will consider.

(Except for the partners part. I don't have that kind of access!)


I think what jedberg's idea was is that the partner that mentors that specific startup helps the startup with their first draft. They know the startup well, and (presumably) know what works well on HN too. Saving you a bunch of time "mentoring" the startup founders with HN etiquette.

Unless you already got that, in which case, ignore this message ;-)


My guess is that many partners are not hardcore users and will make silly mistakes, like using "Amazing! Amazing! Amazing!" to highlight how amazing is the new startup.

Perhaps the error will not be so obvious :) , but a good HN post need a balance of technical and not technical stuff.


Ha!

I was already typing this before your comment articulated it excellently.

Dang, I am assuming how people see comments is randomised? So the part 2 of the comment (those that did not make it will all have an equal chance to be seen).

Assuming it is not asking for too much customisation, these summary threads can go down much slower than the usual one person Launch HN.


That’s a simple and elegant solution. I believe this is much like how threads prefixed ‘Ask HN’ already work, too?

Feedback-wise, here's mine: I'm not sure this is a good idea, as it means discussion will be drowned out & mixed up if you combine multiple different startups into one thread.

I personally don't mind seeing more Launch HNs concurrently, as the voting system will quickly clear out the non-interesting ones. And if they are interesting, they why not? It's more interesting/insightful/thought-provoking content for the front page which fits the intent of the site, and comment threads are often a goldmine of information even if the startup of the post itself is irrelevant to you.


I'm not sure it's a good idea either, for the reason you say. Actually it's a long-established principle that lists don't make great HN posts (https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&sor...). So we may well end up doing what you suggest—we'll have to see.

However, it would still leave open the problem of editing work, which is currently unsolved. I'm hoping that the Meet the Batch threads will involve much less of that per startup. Letting the startups present themselves unfiltered to HN is a really bad idea, because most founders don't understand the culture here and naively step into HN the same way they would, say, ProductHunt—or worse, repeat their Demo Day pitch. This is a very efficient way to get yourself flagged and flamed, and also is a risk for YC (imagine "I don't understand how YC can possibly fund such #@!&*" comments x 1000).

We explain the difference clearly enough at https://news.ycombinator.com/yli.html, but an explanation isn't enough. It needs collaborative work in practice. Personally I think not sounding like an ad and speaking as a person rather than a brand is good practice throughout life, not just Launch HNs, but I'll settle for getting Launch HNs right; that's turns out to be hard enough.


Perhaps this has been answered elsewhere but can you limit the top level comments to be startup introductions so that these introductions don’t get mixed with other comments at the top level?

That's the sort of thing we can do, but only if it turns out to be a problem. Good case of "I never write a line of code that isn't needed" --pg

I like the explanation you put into [4] in the OP (original post?). Is it possible (necessary?) you could provide some examples of what you mean so that the founders could see exactly how things did/didn't work out for others in the past?

It might save everyone a lot of time/effort. (Or I could be wrong)


It's on my list to do just that. I want a two-column page with lots of "don't do this" examples in the left column and "do this instead" in the right column. You're quite correct: if it's possible to teach this at all, it would be through examples.

Could you have people volunteer to help startups with their Launch HN threads? Maybe it could be a "karma perk" like downvoting is?

Or maybe you've just been "doing things that don't scale" until it has no longer scaled, and now it's time to bring in some fresh blood to help share the load.

I'm sure that having somebody on payroll to help companies get in front of HN would be easy to justify in the budget. :)

It's not super sexy because it's not an automated solution, but sometimes automation just isn't the right answer.


> However, it would still leave open the problem of editing work

Quick thought: What happens if you only minimally edit the posts, but instead brand them as "sponsored?" Maybe even tweak the colors on the sponsored posts?

Perhaps start each post with some kind of boilerplate disclaimer. Something like, "Hacker News is sponsored by YCombinator. Every YCombinator startup gets an opportunity to have a 'Launch HN' post. Today, Hacker News is brought to you by..."

(And then timebox your editing to XX minutes / company.)


I think HN would "see through a cheap ploy like that", as Monty Python once said about God.

People come here for interesting things to read. The point of the editing is to make the Launch HN texts interesting rather than annoying *. Adding disclaimers wouldn't make ad copy less annoying, so I doubt it would help. It's a clever idea though.

* though a lot of commenters are saying they're too long ("longwinded" and "bedtime story" are two terms sticking in my mind)...maybe we've been trying too hard.


> the problem of editing work, which is currently unsolved

Why not hire writers/editors to do it? Although you are currently doing a fantastic job at this, your limited time may be better spent training a team of paid editors rather than doing the editing yourself?


Dang could train the writers/editors but due to the way posts on HN need to be interesting dang might need to train the writer/editor a lot or find a rarer type of writer/editors which will probably cost more.

Writing/editing skills aren't enough. Just as important, maybe more important, is being steeped in HN culture—hence the analogy about being dipped in a vat. Or, here's another analogy: writing about your startup for HN is like walking through a minefield. There are a lot of ways to blow yourself up. Only some of those have to do with bad writing as such.

I get what you're saying, but professional editors, properly trained, would certainly grasp not only the style but the spirit of the HN community. Or you can hire HN members. And in any case you'd still have the final word.

I think you can keep it focused as long as there is good isolation between each startup. So, my thought is this:

- Make each startup have a top level comment.

- In the OP self text, include the company name, tagline, and intro paragraph. Below that, link to their top level comment.

- Each top level comment would have the same name, tagline, paragraph content, so you'd always have it available.

In the end, each startup would have a page laid out very similar to the usual Launch HN posts, but they wouldn't be drowned out by the sheer number of them on the front page.


Good idea!

I agree, I'm concerned that this will make the threads a bit of a mess...

As another (unsolicited) idea, how about having them overwhelm the main page and let the voting system sort it out -- but also add a top-level tab for "Meet the Batch" to give a bit more visibility and longevity. This seems like an appropriate use of HN for YC, and if anything increases the value given to the batch companies, rather than (slightly) diluting it.


I’ve never reflected on why the Launch HNs are so interesting to read, but after looking through the guidelines it makes sense. Learning about a company in the tone of someone speaking to peers instead of selling to an audience is a breath of fresh air. Thanks for all the editing work you put in to make that happen.

the standard format seems to be getting stale to my ears. they all start out with the founding myth, told bedtime story style, which wears on the feelers after a while. i'd suggest getting even more direct and succinct by leaving out the myth: "after running into [this stupid problem] a few dozen times, we decided to try to solve it with [this hopefully novel solution]. it grew [in this direction] to become [our product]." then maybe relate two or three relevant, novel, non-obvious details as conversation starters, along with the requisite who (by, and for), what (major features/options), and how much.

I have been getting tired of the format as well. I notice that the first couple clarifying comments by the founders in their launch thread tend to be more candid, revealing and pique my curiousity if the idea is good. One of my favorite pieces of writing advice is to make the conclusion the introduction. Perhaps these startups should let themselves get beaten up in a test launch and then replace their intros with their comments. :)

> the standard format seems to be getting stale to my ears

Really? Not to mine. It still sounds very fresh and so different from what one reads everywhere else.


I have noticed they are in a distinctive style of “Hi we are X … some background about us … the problem we identified … how we solve it … we think there is a market because …”

I haven’t read the guidelines but that’s the pattern I’ve seen.

I’ve always assumed this is how they also communicated to VCs and potential employees about their history and vision. It’s sad if they have to be more salesy for those people.


> I work with the startups to edit their launch texts into a form that HN is more likely to find interesting. Mostly this consists of cajoling, persuading, and (when that fails) forcing them not to sound like marketing, sales, or PR.

When I read a launch HN I'm always surprised how it's usually a very personal, specific, engaging story about the problem and how the team wanted to address it.

I thought founders were in general excellent writers; but in fact it's the editing! Really well done (no sarcasm: it's positively excellent).


Well thank you!

Some commenters have been reporting that the blurbs are too long, and that they find the backstories annoying. My impression was always that HN tends to appreciate inside details and obscure aspects of the story or problem. Would be interested to hear your and others' take on that.


Some people in this thread did complain about the fact that they find the formula somewhat predictable and that they are growing tired of it.

I am strongly in the other camp. I really like those Launch HN and the backstory is what I like the most. Many times the description of the product is underwhelming (because we never ran into that specific problem ourselves), and then when one understands where the founders are coming from it's enlightening. We walk in their shoes. It makes the problem ours.

Don't take away the backstory! ;-)


I think limiting the word count would help. Say 250 words.

The format is ok, sometimes it seems a lot of unnecessary details are added. This encourages skimming through thereby making important aspects vulnerable to skipping.

Again, with the reality that there will be more startups launching, limiting the word count will be helpful and make people read more launches.


The intrinsic problem is you have a finite amount attention and an increasing number of startups. I'm not sure how much aggregated threads actually solve that (not at all IMO).

I think you just let them go at it with Launch HN's and let the upvotes fall where they will.

Re: Writing Launch HNs -- My idea: set a lower character limit on what they're allowed to submit and you'll have less to edit. If there's more information that people want to know, create the expectation that they should just ask in the comments.


> If there's more information that people want to know, create the expectation that they should just ask in the comments.

To expand on this, it may be the case that less is more here. Making the description be very short (a paragraph or so - no more than 200 words total) and being emphatic that the founders need to be available to respond to comments will result in greater engagement I'm sure.

If in the course of discussion, the same question keeps popping up, adding a FAQ or some addendum edits to the body should work to fix that.


While not directly commented on the point above, I would like to publicly recognize dang for his Herculean effort to manage HN and process all of the Launch HN posts. He is an absolute champion and is a unmatched pillar that makes this community run.

Thank you dang!


I don't know what's in the pipeline, but might there be a way to broadly batch them by topic? If it would be a topic one is generally not interested one wouldn't need to check all the individual ones to see if they are interesting. Could also be helpful if the blurbs are all at the top in the description, as the comment section will probably get pretty long and then it might not be so easy to go through the list, esp. on mobile. Also thanks a lot for your work .

To judge by how bad a job of co-ordinating all this I have been doing, I don't think it's likely that the threads will be organized by topic any time soon. However, the things you mention are the sort of direction we could possibly evolve in if the experiment proves worth keeping.

About you being the bottleneck, the only problem I see is editing being so much work for you.

IMO it should be the startup job to write a Launch HN that fits the guidelines, and your job should be only to properly document / maintain the guidelines, and decide whether a post is “ready” or not, giving minimal feedback.

There are hundreds of Launch HN that startups can already read to learn how to do it the right way.

If they don’t and their post is not ready, just say “no”.

That’s something that you might be able to scale much better than having to edit all posts yourself.

If a startup marketing / PR team doesn’t have the skills or time to create a proper Launch HN, then that’s a problem that the startup should fix and it’s IMOa skill worth learning for them.

Let them learn this.


Good point, only delegation will work. It's in the startup's best interest to do a good job at this. Unless they don't consider the HN readers to be their target audience, in which case it's not relevant here anyhow.

Doing other people's job, trying to make it perfect and getting behind with a growing backlog is a recipe for a burnout...


I'm sort of stuck on / amazed at the idea that YC is turning out 700 startups a year that don't have a clue how to write a prospectus that HN is interested in - without forcefully rewriting and bumping it. Not that this is the right place to ask about commercial viability. But the only conclusion I can draw is that these are bad ideas, or at least shot through with holes. If that's the case then the fair thing to do would be to let them surface and be subject to the same criticism as everyone else's semi-decent ideas. That's the service HN provides. If the idea is that by giving them special treatment or keeping them on the front page artificially, there's some other more private service being provided, then that's at real friction with the core values of HN and the (stated) values of YC.

My view would be you should probably treat them all equally, though. To the extent they get more lingering time on the front page than a "Show HN" they shouldn't be prioritized based on your (dang's) theories. Not that I think you'd be wrong to weigh them on the hoof, but you're setting yourself up for disaster with that.

My suggestion would be: Whatever the algo is for keeping them on the front page for a day, cap it at 1/day and shorten the time for each exceeding it. If they have 365*2/year, then it's l/2 day each. That gives every one equal time, without bias, and puts the onus on the generators to create good enough content.

Just my 2¢. Godspeed you.

[edit] Just to clarify, what I mean is that personally getting involved in judgment calls about time on the front page - even though or especially because you may already be trying to help them shape their pitch - exposes you to a whole ton of negativity and blame, with basically no upside at all. And I realize you're doing this out of goodwill. I think there's a basic truth and honesty in the upvoting on this site, and so did the founder. To the extent you're bending rules for the golden startups, the only sensible thing to do is bend them evenly. Herding them into a ghetto (subreddit) won't be acceptable, probably. It's always been sink or swim, and I think PG said that pretty early on. If there are more fish in the pond, that's their choice; it just changes the buoyancy.


Your edit is interesting and I want to respond to it too:

> personally getting involved in judgment calls about time on the front page - even though or especially because you may already be trying to help them shape their pitch - exposes you to a whole ton of negativity and blame, with basically no upside at all. And I realize you're doing this out of goodwill.

It has less to do with goodwill and more to do with risk. If we repeatedly put YC startups in front of HN in a way that creates negative impressions with this audience, we'd be training HN to have a negative view of YC startups and ultimately of YC. That's the worst thing we could do. It would be far better to launch no startups at all.

The relationship between HN and YC is subtle, delicate, and exceedingly important. It's important to both sides, but much more to HN than YC. One can imagine YC without HN, but not HN without YC.

I could write an essay if not a book about this, but the bottom line is that managing existential risks to HN is the most important part of my job, and having the relationship between HN and YC grow sour from either direction would be a major such risk.


I think you may be underestimating how weird HN is. Founders are optimizing for customers, as they should. The fact that HN reacts to that with "I'm not your customer, buddy" is more on us than them.

I mean... I think I know. There's a reason I never submitted any of my apps to HN. Submitting work here is basically requesting the harshest possible criticism from the smartest of your peers. That's what makes it so valuable. Arguably, anything that tinkers with that is diluting the site's value. You can count on it being intelligent / productive criticism, but nothing more. Maybe if people love it, HN could be a good pool for finding coders to help with a project. Investment? Users or googlers to tip a big corporation toward your service?? No way. This is a place to get your bubble burst and be ripped apart; that's what makes it great, it's how people grow. It's art school for grownups. I like to know I have the chance to speak with people smarter than me, and I'm a fan of hearing a harsh critique with lots of insight. That should really be the only thing people expect, if they're approaching this site for a review of their work. [edit] which is to say, HN users aren't and will never be customers. No one should launch a startup thinking that. HN users are good for only one thing: Telling you how your work could be better.

I hope (and also believe) that HN isn't quite that harsh. People post a lot of friendly and supportive comments as well. But there's a cognitive bias we all have where negative things make deeper impressions than positive ones, so even 10% negative probably counts for as much as 90% positive.

A lot of it has to do with the initial conditions of how you present; as it says at https://news.ycombinator.com/yli.html, if you try to sell this audience, they will close the tab (and maybe flame you first). But just telling about the project in a factual and personal way - what problem it solves, how you came to work on it, and explaining what's different about the solution, tends to seed discussion in a good direction.

I wish you'd submit some of your apps to HN! If you want to run a draft by me at hn@ycombinator.com, I'm always happy to help HN users (whether they're YC founders or not) in the same sort of way. I just can't necessarily reply very quickly.


> mostly because they're more interesting than job ads

This made me think actually, I love reading everything like this, and seeing new startups, but what is the goal of “meet the batch”?

I always assumed it was part getting them customers, and part encouraging more people from the HN community to apply to YC. But is it also a goal to get people to work for the startups? Because that’s something I haven’t thought about in such context. But it would make sense as well I think. I am not familiar with what actually happens during YC, is it only the team that applied or do many of them start employing people while they are still in YC?


Most startups are too early-stage to be hiring during YC. If all goes well, they raise money at Demo Day and then are in a position to hire after the batch. But YC does fund some startups who are further along, and occasionally they hope to attract potential employees with their Launch HN.

The goal of "Meet the Batch" is simply to distribute HN-launchiness to more startups than we can do with standalone threads. It will of course be more diluted by being spread further (I think Jerry Weinberg used to call that the Law of Peanut Butter), but hopefully still useful, and the startups retain their chance to do a standalone Launch HN in the future.

As for why startups launch on HN at all, I suppose it's to attract (1) customers and (2) investors—hopefully in that order—in addition to the hiring case just mentioned.


My only worry is the pagination limits. If you combine enough startups into a meet the batch, how many will reasonably stay on the first page of comments?

Hmm good point. I guess we'll have to see if it's a problem in practice.

I do not think this helps in engagement from the HN community if you want that for Launch HN. I do not interact with so many of them but with a few I really connect. But that is because the entire thread is dedicated to them. Perhaps it is me and my attention issues but I jump between comments a lot.

When all the comments are about the same startup then jumping is less of a problem. With each comment thread being for a different startup, I feel I will lose focus too quickly. I am not sure to be honest, this is just my gut feeling. I can also understand how the current situation is not working out so there is no way other than trying new Launch HN ideas.

Also, it seems you will end up being called the "gate keeper". I hate that term and a lot of people simply will throw their tomatoes/eggs at you.


I personally wouldn't mind seeing two launch HNs per day, it's only a few pixels of my screen and occasionally one of those launch HNs will become a Stripe or an Airbnb so it's interesting to get to know these startups before they start making headlines.

I hope the experiment works!

It's likely you have thought of this and decided against, but curious to hear your reasoning. Why would this this not work similar to the 'Show' section? i.e. a dedicated page for YC startups.

Interesting posts naturally float to the front page from 'Show', past a certain threshold. Potentially this could act as the filter to decide if a full 'Launch HN' (complete with your editing expertise!) Would be worthwhile.


It's also an option, but HN follows a power law (doesn't everything?) and the front page sits at the top of the power-law pole. Also, the current idea is also an experiment in solving the editing problem, which I described above and at https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27877627, which a separate section of top-level posts would not do.

The Startup section could hypothetically be limited to the shorter blurbs you mentioned.

Also, deciding what should make a full 'Show HN' is extra work for yourself. Solving that by measuring real interest is presumably the only way this scales.

Nevertheless, we all really appreciate you 'doing something that doesn't scale' in editing posts to this point, it's been quite the burden the last 2 batches!


Although not affiliated with YC in any way, I’d add to the voices that don’t mind seeing two Launch HN a day. The uninteresting post will be lost and the interesting one will generate a deeper discussion. Having startups publish a blurb will only push them to try yo market themselves in other ways more aggressively (adding comments everywhere about the services they provide, which will get downvoted of course, but still)

Great idea, looking forward to reading about the next batch

If we do this every week it will hopefully be less overwhelming than the press reports on Demo Day, which usually take the form "Meet 75 of the 350 startups that launched on day 1" and then again the next day.

Good write-up. Nice way to solve a difficult problem, or try to anyway, and thanks for posting the instructions!

Even though you don't intend to, it would definitely paint a picture that if an individual post is made for a company they have more clout or value than the batched ones. So please be mindful of that.

Is "Launch HN" a "regulated" (for the lack of a better word) concept uniquely for YC startups, or can anyone also submit those for their own (bootstrapped or non-YC-funded) companies?

It's restricted to YC startups. I'd love to open it to non-YC startups but we haven't figured out a way to do that which wouldn't end up being the same thing as Show HN (https://news.ycombinator.com/show), which already exists.

For the rest of us punters:

- "Show HN: "

- "Ask HN: "

- "Tell HN: "


I really don't like the idea of HN being bifurcated in this way ("punters"). I think it's bad for community and community is incomparably more important than juicing HN like a lemon [1]. Therefore my long-term intention is very much to figure out a way to have all this not be restricted just to YC startups—and to make this a win-win by having it lead to YC getting to fund more startups too.

[1] https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&so...


As a YC alum, I would love to see less favoritism to YC companies, including the job posts (with 300+ companies in a batch, YC is becoming less of a signal of quality). I hope your long term intentions pan out.

Is there a list somewhere for all YC startups since conception of the scheme with key metrics, so thinking.

Name | Desc| Incorporated In | URL | YC Vintage | Funding | Raising | ...

Would genuinely like to see this as a UK Angel.


I think it's a great idea! Small question: since you're batching launches because there are too much of them, are you planning to do the same with job ads?

No, those are managed in an entirely different way - they go into a queue and the software places them on the front page at fixed intervals.

I think it's good that something is being done. I stopped reading the Launch HNs a while ago because most of them just aren't interesting anymore and they are too long winded.

I think this new idea has a lot of potential, but brevity will be critical. A blunt, 2 paragraph max comment with a tldr on the startup and zero marketing/PR fluff would be awesome and I'd definitely read that thread. Just my two cents of course.


I agree that Launch HNs are too long-winded. I think they should be short, and expounding on things should be done in the comments through answering questions.

I know a couple of yc founders who would be willing to help edit. Scaling editing sounds hard but it might be worth a try!

As dang mentions in the post, the YC founders themselves aren't necessarily the best suited to edit these kinds of posts, which is why they're taking so long to process.

That being said, I agree that attempting to scale/crowdsource the editing might be a very good idea, and will at the very least (hopefully) reduce the amount of work needed by dang.


Why not do batches for all startups and if there is sufficient interest for one then create its own Launch HN? I know you said don't use this as a signal, but I'd be hard pressed if that actually happened, not to mention the impact on the morale of the teams that are batched.

I would like for each startup to have its own thread, but not for each thread to take up space on the front page. I think this could work if "meet the batch" were a list of titles with a corresponding link to the longer, typical Launch post.

No doubt a naive question, but: Are Launch HN posts shown only to certain users? I’ve been reading HN regularly for two years and check the front page several times a day, and I can’t recall ever seeing or reading a Launch HN.

They happen a fair bit[0], you probably just glossed over them maybe.

[0] https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&qu...


I just tried looking through HN when not logged in, and I did in fact find several Launch HNs, the first as the 102th post. However, when I looked through the same pages when logged in, those Launch HNs did not appear; they were also not on my “Hidden” list. (I regularly hide YC hiring announcements, and those did show up on my “Hidden” list.) So I think my impression that I was not seeing Launch HNs was correct.

I just tried changing my “showdead” setting to “yes.” The Launch HNs now appeared when I was logged in, and they continued to appear after I changed the “showdead” setting back to “no.”

So the “showdead” setting of “no” seems to have been hiding the Launch HNs for me, and changing that setting from “no” to “yes” and back to “no” seems to have fixed the problem, at least for now.

Edit: “Launches” now appears for me as the last category on the “Lists” page [1], too. I'm nearly certain that the category didn’t appear on that page previously.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/lists


There's no way that "showdead" should be affecting which Launch HN posts you see, since those aren't dead.

You're right that we only expanded /lists recently. That was when https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26998308 came out.


I’ve been around HN since long before Launch HN became a thing, and I have to say my eyes are more drawn to “Show HN” posts. I don’t do it on purpose, but I just tend to focus more on the older post type.

Same here! Launch HN are usually way silly and boring compared to Show HNs. If I was a YC startup, I would skip doing Launch HN and do Show HN on my own.

Just an idea, some founders may have good karma already/know HN audience enough. Maybe these should be rewarded with a Launch HN, unedited or little edited.

Yes - occasionally a launch text doesn't need any editing at all. I always tell them how rare that is.

Thanks, dang!

I think you should pin the Launch HN thread to the top of HN for a week or so.

Please don't do this.

Just my input, nothing more, nothing less.

I understand that YC is how HN supports itself, but this (as well as the YC company hiring posts) just feel like somewhat of a violation of the implicit contract between HN and its users. I would prefer that the YC posts rise or fall based on votes like (almost) everything else.


I'll give it two hours of that until "Show HN: browser extension to hide all Launch HN threads, forever".

I thought this is about multi-threaded processing of batch jobs.

Maybe also try and fix having to paginate the threads.

Oh yes that's coming. I realize it's taking forever, but the other side of that coin is that once it happens, most people forget that it took forever. Soon it feels like it was always that way. HN didn't use to paginate long threads and then it did and someday it won't again.

Why not a “launch hn” link at the top of the page?

Love the idea!



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