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Tell HN: Consider listing your contact details
266 points by cpach 56 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 189 comments
TL;DR: Consider listing your contact details in your HN profile!

There are lots of interesting conversations happening here on HN. But sometimes people might want to continue the discussions even after threads fall of the front page.

Have you considered listing your contact details on HN so that people can get in touch with you more easily?

If you want to do that, please note that it’s not enough to fill in the email field on your profile. Only the HN admins can see that field.

If you want others to see your e-mail address etc, you need to explicitly put it in the about text area.

Some members want to keep a low profile and I certainly respect that. But please consider what you might be missing. There’s also no requirement to use your main e-mail address. One could also use an alternative e-mail in order to stay pseudonymous.

There are just so many interesting people here so I thought that one might not want to miss out on all interesting connections that could occur. For example, interesting job offers are not uncommon here.

Just my 2¢ though, do what thou wilt. Peace!

1. I say so much exploratory shit on here, just to see where that line of thought goes. No effing way I'd want people to really know how stupid or childish I can be whilst trying different crazy thoughts or behaviors. I prefer freedom to explore ideas without consequences thank you! If that is anti-HN, then by all means, delete me and block my IP. I'll just go back to lurking.

2. I don't want my personal id'ing info ever floating around associated with lengthy diary. Seems like a gargantuan attack surface. Maybe I'm just paranoid.

EDIT: FYI: This is the ONLY social media website I post on. Period. Nothing else. No reddit. No linkedin. No FB. No tweeting. Nada.

EDIT#2: DanG's reply messages directly to me have really changed my dynamic, I've become slightly less hot-headed and come to see why HN is a great place. No other social media site "taught me" this, even from a guy who spent plenty of time on CompuServe and usenet.

It's not anti-HN. But consider using a separate gmail address. I had one for awhile and lots of people reached out.

Nowadays no one seems to reach out because I've become super boring. :) But it can be fun when it happens.

EDIT: Oh. I didn't have my email in my profile. Welp, that'd do it too.

No. That’s a horrible idea. Maybe dang should add an HN messaging feature that should be disabled by default. But, I think that’s another horrible idea.

Same here - also an old usenet / bbs hand, and HN is the only "social network" I'm on (although it really isn't one by most definitions). As you pointed out, the moderation here is stellar and the mod's personal touch makes all the difference. I too say dumb things, drunkpost sometimes, miscommunicate, etc. I think the thing here is it's not a steaming septic tank like twitter or reddit. People go to those places, look around, rightly conclude it's a dump and start acting badly in response. Here, you know not to sully the place. Also, here, it's a bit elite. That word is often used as a slur, but this isn't an economic elite necessarily, it's a self-selecting elite whose status is mainly predicated on their accomplishments and their ability to communicate. The world needs more spaces like that; and the impulse, therefore, is to behave yourself and not ruin it for everyone.

I grew up around Las Vegas, and I have a theory about why it's become so trashy. Vegas always attracted lower and middle class people, lots of whom were probably prone to bad behavior outside the hotel/casino. But you used to have to dress well to be allowed in. And dressing in your Sunday clothes, and being around everyone else dressed well, has the effect of putting people on their best behavior. It's the definition of civilizing. Now, people are allowed to wear shorts and tank tops, and they act like schmucks. These things are far more related than most people credit. They're not any more uncouth than their parents, they just feel like they own the place. Which is a mistake to let them feel, if you're trying to run a decent joint.

Perhaps people in civilized clothes make more rational choices about money. Not great for the casinos... So come one come all, wear your flip flops wear your tank tops, as long as you spend those bucks on the tables we cool.

My mom's side of the family were all casino employees from the 60s through the 90s, and this was their take on the subject. And they were all blue collar people, not snobs. Vegas used to be a place where a guy who worked in an auto shop in Tulsa could take his wife and feel like a king and queen for the weekend, and those were generally the bread and butter of the casinos. The lowering of the dress code and the advent of kid-friendly amusements went hand in hand, but those were the two key factors in the decline in civility.

My partner and I were invited by a magician I knew one night to see him perform at the Magic Castle in Los Angeles, about five years ago. They have a very strict dress code, and apart from weddings or funerals I think it was the first time I had worn black tie in a long time. Certainly in a social situation where everyone else was. And it stands out as a really magical night, in part because I realized when I was there, this is how the world used to be. It's a mark of respect to present yourself well. You feel great about yourself, and you feel great about the people you talk to. You're on your best behavior. You might all be any kind of schmuck any other day of the week, but right now, you're performing civilized behavior with each other. And that's what people used to do in Vegas. And that's a really important thing we don't perform anymore, especially on social media; in my lifetime, our society went from suits and politesse, to shorts and badmouthing, to laying in a basement, naked and shitposting. It used to be nonconformist to show up underdressed, and nonconformity had social consequences and required a certain ability to reason and explain it, which if you're the Dude you can get away with. Now I'm the last white man* who wears black tie when I go out in downtown Vegas, and I just do it because it feels good.

* The only people who still dress well and hold themselves well in Vegas are Black people. This is actually true in a lot of other situations, such as, when I used to be a taxi driver, they tipped much better than any other group. And I think it's because they still have a culture that values self-respect and evaluates others by their personal standards, in a way white America has become lazy and forgotten. I say this, considering that my racist uncles used to speak openly about trying to make sure certain casinos and bars didn't attract too many Black people, because it would drive away white business - up to the point of playing country music to drive them away. But stroll up Fremont and check out the white people with their beer bellies hanging out of t-shirts and absolutely no class, then take a look at what the snappily-dressed Black people are up to...

All of this is a very tortured metaphor for why a bit of preparation and self-respect translate into more respect for others, a more civil society as a whole, and here I am, drunkposting what I'm sure is going to irritate people. And yet. At least here I can try to make a case to people I respect, and use more than 140 characters to wind my way there. It's like the airlines. It used to cost a fortune for normal people to fly, so it was a treat, and they treated it as such. Now they knock out the flight attendant's teeth. A person flying Ryan Air might conclude we as a species don't deserve to be treated any better than animals. But charge those people a little more, make them wear a good suit, and tell them they'll have their privileges taken away if they misbehave, and suddenly you have a civilization.

That's great, thanks! I was had a feeling that, and was hoping that, some casino employees or someone with experience in the industry would reply to this comment. :)

I totally am with you on the importance of dressing. And how dressing can completely transform how you feel.

I'm also totally with you about the racial and cultural differences in dressing standards. I noticed the same trend, I think, in Australia with people of ethnic Chinese background. They tend to dress well in the casino, seemingly at a higher proportion than other races-cultures.

I'm with you also on your theory about the why of the different dress customs. I'm guessing that, also, some of this observation of black people and Chinese people dressing more fancily than 'locals' (even when they are locals themselves) might be a consciousness of the fact that they were looked down on by locals in the past, and a desire to defend against being seen like that by 'dressing above' how they're scared people might see them. I think also Chinese cultures are more hierarchical- and status-conscious than 'Western' cultures (in the present), and this factors too. I wonder if this might be also true of black, ethnically 'African' cultures, but I don't know. And I noticed a similar effect with myself in HK: when I dressed well, the local people gave me more respect and more space, than if I dressed casually and not as fancily.

Your story has inspired me to up my dressing game. Thanks for this reminder! :D

I'm also a real fan of your last paragraph. 'drunkposting' or not, it's really well written. Loved it! :)

BTW the vibe I got reading your grandparent comment was that your wife / mom's side of the family was black. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Thanks. It's good to remember the clothes make the man, especially after the pandemic. I recently showed up to meet a friend for drinks; I was wearing a $30 vintage sports coat and he was wearing cat pajamas with kids stains on them; it's obviously a bit of a statement. And I was momentarily surprised he wasn't embarrassed, but he makes three times more money than me so it's just his fuck-you pajamas, I guess. Not to me; to society in general. Then again, that's the norm in America now, and I'm the outlier.

And maybe it is about coming from blue collar / poorer places and wanting to not be one of them. I think you're very right about the consciousness of having been looked down on, motivating you to to dress better. To stand out in the crowd. My grandparents were Jewish refugees, my grandpa was a tailor. My ex is Chicana, and her dad grew up in East LA, was a Zoot Suit guy. I've talked with him for hours about that ghetto need to stand out, be smarter, dress sharp, keep your wits about you. I do credit that. But in the end, it amounts to having mutual respect with the people around you.

I backpacked in Argentina and Australia for two years, and then spent a few years in Southeast Asia. In that whole time, I never bought new jeans. I was walking around Vietnam with so many holes in my pants, I had to either be a bum or a rock star. Little children followed me around, and I think adults were a little scared of me. Eventually my ex and I wound up in France dressed the same way and they wouldn't seat us in a restaurant, or they were rude if they did. I said, hell. Enough of this grubby shit. I took $2k out of the bank and we went shopping and bought really nice clothes; we hadn't been shopping for five or six years, so we deserved it. I went to Armand Thiery. Still have one of those jackets. Sure it's like the upper echelon of a French version of H&M, but it's freakin light years better-made than anything you can get in the States. And then it was like night and day. Oui Madame, oui Monseur. And it dawned on me... it really wasn't that they thought we were poor or something; clearly, we weren't that poor if we were back at a good restaurant, tipping well. It was that we thought we were making a statement by being above "dressing up", but really we had been disrespecting the place. Now we were trying to look good, and that made them feel good to serve us, instead of them feeling shitty about it. I'm a bit embarrassed about this period of my life, because with what I knew I should have been willing to acknowledge this sooner, but I've seen the whole pattern now, and maybe that's something you have to do in your 20s. If we were a bit more important, then they were more important. The impression I get in America is no one's really trying to make anyone else around them feel good anymore, and so no one feels good.

Nice to talk with a like mind, and thank you for the kind feedback.

Yeah, I enjoyed it, too. Thank you! :)

I love your story about France, backpacking, clothes. And your reflections on America.

The impression I get in America is no one's really trying to make anyone else around them feel good anymore, and so no one feels good.

Sounds to me like some of the best stuff Chuck Palahniuk would say :)

I remember seeing some machine learning algorithm posted here a while back that did an amazing job fingerprinting writing samples. It could use that fingerprint to match up accounts from multiple different sites. Some people here had it correctly find their Reddit profile based off nothing but their public HN data.

If you are writing extensively both anonymously and non-anonymously, you should probably assume that someone motivated enough could match the two together either presently or in the near future as such technology becomes more widespread.

My name here is my name on Reddit is my name on GitHub is my name in real life. I’ve never believed it was possible to be totally anonymous on someone else’s server, so it’s good to have the reminder that I’m absolutely not every time I post anything.

This evidence is inadmissible in general public. You can't go on Twitter, say that the writing style of that and this person is 98% similar per the state of the art SGERT model and convince the public with that. It's also trivial to for a doxing target to dismiss this evidence as another flaky piece of software that's confusing writing styles. This kind of software is useful, but for more specialized purposes: forensics, intelligence.

You don't need any evidence at all to convince the online public of anything it wants to believe, especially if it gives it a target for vitriol. I have to agree with my sibling commenter that believing otherwise is naive given the wealth of evidence to the contrary.

I'd really hate to ruin your naïveté...but sufficiently riled-up mobs have gone after individuals for much, much flimsier evidence than "because this AI says so".

In this case a made up evidence would suffice.

After they're identified, keen humans will go looking for stronger clues. Maybe the different accounts told the same anecdotes or show they have the same set of opinions or knowledge or the posting times are similar but never coincident or whatever other human-readable evidence.

Yes. The time of day the user posts can reveal to their time zone. People often leave comments that reveal their age or gender. If the user mentions a business or product name, it might only available in certain part of the world. Many people reuse account names on other services and their content their may have more clues... etc.

> some machine learning algorithm

A friend of mine asked GPT-3 to mimic a text written by "nindalf". It was so good that I thought it had plagiarised something I had actually written on HN. But it was only mimicking the style of my comments.

I purposefully adopt different writing styles and spellings and misspellings on different platforms to thwart this.

Can you find that?

I don't know the link but it probably used features from a field called stylometry.


It's been used to discover the author of disputed novels from the past.

Yeah, I tried that and it completely struck out. Gave a "similarity score" of .992 or .993 for ten other accounts that weren't mine. Detected a big fat zero of my old accounts (I rotate them regularly).

AI is hype deep-fried in hypesauce.

Did not worked for me either.

We might be the edge cases though and in general it works. In the way autonomous driving works in general, just not in unexpected situations ...

> In the way autonomous driving works in general, just not in unexpected situations ...

I see what you did there :)

That wasn't the one I was referencing. I was talking about a post that was at least a couple years old. I can't seem to find it at the moment.

ah okay I remember that, it was hugged to death when it was trending, nice to be able to check it out

The author almost immediately took the site down and packaged it as part of some social media analysis tool. I can't seem to find the actual post at the moment.

I have two accounts.

1) Creative account - Allows me to express ideas that are wild, uncharaceristic of myself and learn from people's responses and many times downvotes. I try to be nice. Many times I am wrong.

2) Real name account where I share things that align with my career goals, public image and 'on the record' perception.

I prefer using my creative account (this) more often than not. I hope this isn't against HN rules.

This may not work. As of a month ago, someone put out a product demonstrating that alters can be easily connected to accounts of the same author.

> This may not work. As of a month ago, someone put out a product demonstrating that alters can be easily connected to accounts of the same author.


I suppose at some point someone will develop some kind of program to make vocabulary/phrasing suggestions to mute the effectiveness of such a thing.

You only need plausible deniability.

Alters can be easily connected, but having separate accounts like parent described can be useful nonetheless. For example, one well-known Rust developer has a day Twitter and a night Twitter which is good, because many are probably interested in one, but not the other. Generally, cramming too different kind of content into one account can be equally detrimental for the writer and the readers.

My impression was that it wasn’t very accurate.

I remember seeing a throwaway hn account stating it was used by multiple people.

Could help, as long as you trust each other.

> I say so much exploratory shit on here, just to see where that line of thought goes

While understandable, this is in essence trolling. I.e making people reply to you as though you mean what you say, when actually you don't.

I've seen other comments here saying the same thing and it makes me wonder how prevalent this is here.

Trolling is done in bad faith.

Exploratory discussion is (hopefully) done in good faith.

Allowing for rough corners and prickly spikes makes it possible to have more efficient and productive interactions. But only if participants act in good faith and put on their thick skin hat. Having to self-censor and shave of anything protruding is limiting and inefficient.

This is not an endorsement to misbehave.

> While understandable, this is in essence trolling.

That's not at all trolling, not even in essence.

Trolling is deliberately trying to anger someone in order to provoke them to respond, not trying different arguments to see if you can make it work to determine if that is what you really believe, or if you have a rational point of view.

While there certainly is a gray area there, which is clearly different for the two of us, I think discussion boards have been around long enough for a reasonable smell test.

Sounds more like bouncing ideas off others before having fully thought them through. That’s not trolling in my opinion.

The choice of being publicly known carries consequences. Simple automated scraping opens you up to spam, adds another data point to your marketing profile, and so on. If you convey a strong opinion, you run the risk of attracting an outrage mob, or a swatting, or harassment by bored trolls.

As virtuous as being unmasked might seem, the risk/reward is skewed exponentially toward the negative. I think the stigma of anonymity is a fallacious aspersion, and that much of the communication we engage in suffers from prejudices rooted in reputation and pigeonholed identity. Let ideas stand alone, free of the baggage of misplaced suspicion and uncharitable bias.

Until or unless the asymmetric consequences are brought to parity, we're human... let that be enough.

I agree completely, and I'm not using my real name on here or in any public forum. But I suspect you may have responded to the wrong comment.

The app I use is quirky - you're right, I intended to reply to the same content you did. 100% agree with you!

Those who are public also suffer for not concealing their identity. I’ve heard a number of times from celebrity interviews that people on the internet are cowards and ‘would never have the courage to say what they said in public’ - as if that’s irrational. We know the cost of honesty and opinions in our society. Our civilization works because we all work hard to preserve the peace via politeness.

However, important topics need to be discussed in a serious way. How do we do it without disturbing the peace? Anonymity is what works.

Lastly, it’s been a proven method of therapy. Confessional, things like support groups (AA), stuff like this is only possible because we honor this principle of concealment.

Blind app is literally a support group at the moment. Everyone there seems to be suffering from work stress. Compare each Blind post to the LinkedIn counter part, how can they be so different? The truth isn’t lining up, but I’m glad we get to see just how different the discourse becomes when your real life reputation is not constantly under threat.

Give people a chance to talk without having to look over their backs constantly.

That's not what trolling is.

I'm of the same mind on this. It would be ridiculously easy to identify who I am with some tangential info on me.

I'm here to talk about tech and related stuff. It's ok that people don't know who I am. I don't need random stuff coming at my employer.

You can create a free email account that you use just for HN and forward it to your normal mail. If you get a mail from a HN user, just log into your HN email and reply (or don't)

I did not realize this is how email worked, thank you!

I don't see a direct reply to you by dang.

DanG will occasionally, when deemed appropriate, contact people directly by email. Not seeing a reply here is no indication.

It's not even only removal-moderation: dang even emailed me directly to encourage me to repost an interesting link because he thought it didn't get enough attention first time around.

He's seriously one of the best moderators I've ever seen.

Second that. HN is a great site that is one of the very few I check every day!

My Twitter is epic. Always real name, always in some kind of trouble when people drag online to offline as though it’s a dark secret and indicates deep rage.

Account is marked X rated, indicates comedy/parody, and can be linked to my old life as a pretty good software engineer in open source and SV.

The hidden F response needs more real name love from the rich, because bad prescidents are being set legally with me and I can afford to do nothing, not even show up to the hearings. Freeze, Flight, Fight, F——.

OpenTable vs. Iverson, Santa Clara, CA, USA 2019-20.

One can find my personal contact details from this account but I will not answer unknowns. God allows me to have my reasons for this, which can be an attack from lawyers in itself.

Homelessness + Pandemic + Slander + Motivated criminals + Unforgiving commercial dependencies = hard mode, and yet I Tweet insane on real name.

I can come back as pandemic eases, and the legal syatem needs love so others less fortunate than me can dig their way out in general. And me, 3 year saga sofar.

Draft of the open source book PDF:


Twitter is “Potty @____” same handle in blank. We potty out bad food, and bad thoughts alike. I just show my toilet and others sunscribe. I want it all out, children acquire automatic behaviours before Age 7. To retrain requires space for potty without consequence.

If things go right I will break the system and not go to jail and be able to choose my vocation freely.

“Jesus never sinned and kicked over at least one table:” How much is this exaggerated? Okay, we can logically argue if Jesus is real, I am not bent on that but as a Christ (not a Messiah, as we see on Twitter; partially a security move, no ambiguity).

Christ consciousness can be entered via choices and habits, so to those who have experienced it the truth of the situation and contrast may still be seen as holy, yet holiness is contextual and critics often differ greatly.

I got banned from Bay Area Clojure after years of 100% Pro behavior when a new attendant found my non-secret account and complained, rather than socializing at the event it would seem.

I claim this is holy while the call comes. My name was tarnished before all this, and I disagree that it should be a death sentence. To others: I never feel fear beyond realizing I am afraid and choosing loving action. I do use the triggers as Tweets, because fellow humans often share triggers—short form POV homelessness with consent.

If you’ve read this far, dug up garbage: I hope we can cross paths when the time is right. God protects. Day 1,200ish with no fear despite much movement. Peace and be well.

I see another comment mentions finger printing: yes. I assumed so in the past past when I used Pen names still, but I realized that it was put with awareness of Machine Learning. Nothing will haunt me, and this should be normal. They try, but do they do not because each attack is an opportunity for growth.

Use of Public space is required to travel between or to a firsr Private space.

Was this machine generated?

This was quite bizarre. I don't know whether to report it or not, given current HN guidance.

I think the poster is having some personal difficulties in their life, let's be kind.

Ah, right you are then.

No, it looks like the poster is going through a tough time right now.

I always felt like the rather disconnected nature of HN (i.e. no mail notifications, no bell to inform you about replies, ...) is a big part of what makes HN a better social media platform than most others.

Still, I agree that sometimes it would be nice to be able contact someone directly.

Honestly I have no idea how HN is not overrun with spam and crap comments. It’s too easy to register anonymously similarly to Reddit. I suppose the “boring content” and lack of images keeps some people away.

Really strict moderation is the key. It does work on the parts of reddit that use it. r/AskHistorians is a stellar resource, although the price is that it is not a forum.

Over the years a fair number of people have contacted me through HN. Only one time did I feel like the person was trying to sell me something, all the other interactions were positive. So I'd recommend doing this.

I’m opposite. Of the ~5 times I got cold emailed based on my HN profile it was someone asking me if I’d be interested in a product of their startup.

Why is that bad? This is a startup forum at the end of the day.

It doesn’t feel like a startup forum anymore. When is the last time you’ve seen a post about improving a landing page? It’s more of a general tech forum now.

It was always an "anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity" forum (at least since I was first aware of it), but it grew out of a startup incubator, so the early focus was inevitable.

No, I would also say that it definitely used to be far more focused on starting a tech startup, with tech as a sideline, now it's the opposite.

I feel the shift started happening around the time product hunt got popular, so a couple of years before you joined.

You repeated what I said with different words. We're in agreement. And my original account was from 2010. I lurked long before that.

Two days ago....


But yeah, it got very little comments and they were mostly negative.

Oh, I missed that one. But the frontpage used to be full of posts like that.

Actually I am here for the brilliant community, comments and the content. Not even 1% of me cares about startups.

To anyone doing this; please stop. Cold-contact unsolicited outreach for sales is spam. It is not appreciated. The only thing worse than adding me to some newsletter are the ones who keep nagging when I don't reply.

I disagree with you there. There's definitely a way to do it right.

Copy-pasted templates are never appreciated, but hand-written, personalised outreach that considers the recipient's situation can go down well.

And unfortunately, people who hand write personalised outreach don't know if the recipient is like you or the parent poster.

Careful. This is getting into GDPR territory.

In what way?

Article 4-11:

> Consent of the data subject means any freely given, specific, informed and unambiguous indication of the data subject’s wishes by which he or she, by a statement or by a clear affirmative action, signifies agreement to the processing of personal data relating to him or her.

And 6-1:

> Processing shall be lawful only if and to the extent that at least one of the following applies:

> the data subject has given consent to the processing of his or her personal data for one or more specific purposes;

So whether consent is given or not depends on what people would write in their HN bio next to their email.

I'm not a lawyer, but I don't think Googling a person's email address and contacting them in regards to something they posted on HN qualifies as "processing of personal data".

This is exactly what GDPR is for.


> Examples of processing include:

> [..]

> sending promotional emails*;

> [..]

It's like Quora's pitches-masquerading-as-answers coming directly to you, I'd believe.

Yeah same here. I've received emails saying things like:

"I see from your hacker news comments you're interested in scaling startups, our project/product .."


I’ve had that happen a few times. At the very least HN outreach is personalized.

Next up: personalized HN/<insert forum here> outreach as a service.

I was recently contacted about helping shaping an alternative search engine by posting one unusual page.

A few mails. They were responsive when I asked questions back.

Yes, maybe a sales pitch but I found it interesting.

Other than that a few people hqve asked me about lobste.rs invites and I generally give them after looking a few pages back in their comment history to try to verify I don't let in anyone with a trollish or hostile attitude.

Were the products somewhat relevant to your interests?

I never got any email despite having my email available on my profile.

Hello, Searchable Guy.

Just fixed that for you. :)

How did you fix it for him? Did you submit his email to a spam not?

No, they didn't.

I instead got a smiley :) and that made my day.

If you use a gmail account, how do you know when someone subs you to a spam list vs just having a gmail account? It's incredible how fast a new gmail account starts receiving spam.

I have a old Gmail account from years ago I don't use as my main account anymore. It's amazing how much spam messages it gets. I swear my main account with Fastmail receives a tiny fraction of the spam despite the address for that account being available in plain text in mailing list archives and the like.

Remember, it's a feature, not a bug. Cynic me suggests that when you register a gmail account, G autmatically sends that out to all of its ad buyers. "It's a twofer!"

Same here.

Got quite some emails from people inquiring about my services.

But as a DevRel consultant, my target client group is on HN probably quite often.

Mine are discoverable with a few jumps. I find it the appropriate amount of indirection to make sure people actually feel motivated enough to.

It’s worked well. Gotten a handful of really high quality interactions.

Go to your website, email shown on about page. That's not that indirect at all to me, but also I like it that way (in general it occasionally happens that I want to PM someone; most often I find an empty bio unfortunately).

Yep. I’m not talking making it a maze. Just a couple jumps so you clearly are interested in talking. Not just spamming or resume dumping or something.

This is the same for me, though so far I have been contacted once in 6 years. And that was someone asking my email in a thread. So, I guess I'm not interesting enough to be worth the effort?

I have about 10x as much "karma" (i.e. I waste a lot more time here; I don't think these cumulative points say much about the positive or negative impact of my presence) and get not that many emails either. More than you though, since I'm more visible I guess. Perhaps one per year? Either we are both uninteresting or it's just normal to keep the main conversation here instead of moving to email.

I stripped my website down to nothing after someone did this, because I left one too many crumbtrails and they were able to pin down an email address. It's not their fault I slipped up on that, so I didn't take any harm from it, but it was definitely a reminder that I'm not interested in my connection to HN spreading beyond HN.

However, I still absolutely endorse the suggestion made here, if unasked contact is of interest to you, especially if you're looking for a job.

In the current climate of marauding twitter mobs in constant search of food for their outrage cycle, I think I'd better not give them more information than necessary.

> In the current climate of marauding twitter mobs in constant search of food for their outrage cycle, I think I'd better not give them more information than necessary.

One of the best ways to do that is to avoid persistent online identity. It's probably the best way to emulate ephemerality on the internet nowadays. IMHO, there's very little reason to link any online identities together or to use any one for too long.

And on HN you can’t change your name, so hope you’ve made that decision to obfuscate when you’ve signed up.

I've thought about setting up an email alias, but then I remember that nothing I say is important or interesting enough.

I feel the same way. Despite this comment, I'm far more reticent to share an opinion, and I don't find that I have so many great unknown facts to enlighten others. I do like getting one or two "Internet points" on HN over the years, though :)

That's just a feeling you have. I know, because I had it too. I'd be surprised if it's not a typical self-criticism phenomenom that is common to most people, just like the famous impostor syndrome.

But just like 95% of people here seem to have a more interesting and knowledgeable opinion that mine, there is always people for whom you are part of that 5%. Just don't be shy of participating. You'll learn more and faster from others. And some interesting conversations will happen, in public or private, for sure.

I'd like that to be true, but if your world experience is different than the general US population things wont work out well for you.

I feel the same thing. I’m so accustomed to lurking that I sometimes even forget to upvote some posts I’ve really enjoyed. But then I realize it’s no big deal because usually at that point in time most people have already performed the filtering. Sometimes I do vote though but it’s not consistent and I’m not sure why it feels like there’s a barrier for making it into a habit.

well, I've had my email address on mine for a while, and all it does is confirm I have nothing important or interesting enough for anyone to follow up on! But then, I've never really wanted to contact anyone else either, if I've had questions, I've asked them on here.

> If you want to do that, please note that it’s not enough to fill in the email field on your profile. Only the HN admins can see that field. If you want others to see your e-mail address etc, you need to explicitly put it in the about text area.

It's been on my list to add a note about this to the profile pages. I've done that now. Thanks cpach!


Yeah, no. Not until this twitter mob bs stops. One off color or worse, misinterpreted, comment can wreck your life.

The profile page should really mention that the email address isn’t publicly visible. I’ve been confused about that in the past, and I’ve seen others as well.

Before you enter your email there is this.

> Please put a valid address in the email field, or we won't be able to send you a new password if you forget yours. Your address is only visible to you and us. Crawlers and other users can't see it.

Many people would sign up and later decide they feel comfortable putting their email in an accessible location and silently fail to accomplish that when they go to profile page (long after signup) and see “oh, it’s already there” (only it isn’t viewable to others).


If you want to do that, please note that it’s not enough to fill in the email field on your profile. Only the HN admins can see that field

I didn't know that; thanks for pointing it out. I just added my email to "About."

I'm quite happy not to be contacted about what I say on this forum. I have neither the time nor the inclination to engage more deeply than I do by commenting here. I've been on HN for most of a decade now, and in that time I've had people figure out who I was a couple of times. They were quite polite about it, not creepy, but I prefer being able to disengage from this forum completely and not have it intrude on the rest of my life. This is low-effort recreation for me. I have a job I love and friends to match; I'm not out to find either on the internet.

I've had some really great connections through HN. I hope it stays authentic and spam-free.

Having observed the quality of the commentary here, particularly my own, I would not want to be friends with someone who posts here. Game-ified bloviating is no virtue.

Your comment sounds very close to that old Groucho Marx quote: "I would never join any club that would have me as a member."

I used to and it was nice, even got some business referrals, but then I had someone get mad at me on here and try to come after my business. The lesson of the 40 years of the web is that we can't have nice things because the 1% that are assholes ruin it for everybody.

I've had my info in my profile for quite some time. I've gotten almost no spam as a result, and have had a handful of pleasant discussions with people from here. Once in a blue moon I get an email that says something like "I saw your comment on FOO and just wanted to say how much I appreciated your take" or something like that. Or one that says "You gave me some advice in the thread on BAR and it was really useful, thanks", etc. Those are the ones I really appreciate.

Haven't gotten many (if any) that lead to much of anything from a career/business standpoint, but you never know what could happen some day.

My handle pretty much unmasks me. I was pinged at work as the result of a post or two (thankfully in a good way).

I kinda like that if you want to reach me you at least have to Google my handle. Just about the right amount of indirection I think.

I wonder how much "first contact" is missed because of emails going straight to spam...

I use my real name and list my employer, so I should hope that people can figure out my contact info.

But yes, I have made some interesting contacts on here.

I don't see enough upsides in having an email in my HN profile to counter the potential problems. I guess if I saw any incentives on HN for people to email me useful things, I'd at least put up a pseudonymous address. Turning it into a way to meet and start direct conversations with each other seems like more of a LinkedIn thing.

I do list my personal info. I used to get contacted by interesting folks. Back then HN was a very different community - circa 2010 and earlier. These days it’s a lot more popular and more like Reddit with populist up or downvotes. So honestly I’d say it’s not worth it. Sorry. And… see you at the bottom of this comment thread (too).

I don’t think it’s changed that much. The internet and social context have, but the content posted and the discussions are still really good here despite complaints to the contrary.

I have link to my, ahem, "technical blog" and my real name is in the copyright notice. I also happen to most likely be the single person with such a name on LinkedIn, so it's fairly easy to reach me.

I'm not putting any more effort into this because I don't think I'm that interesting.

I read your latest post about linters and not liking ceremony involved in setting up eslint. Have you tried deno lint by any chance?


You can use it via the deno binary as well.

I don't use LinkedIn so I couldn't contact you there. Maybe adding an email on your site would be nice alternative.

For those interested in posts about linters, looks like this is the post:


Thanks. I believe Deno to be DOA, but I guess the real platform is the tools we made along the way.

I'd like to recommend having a personal site (not simply a professional portfolio) as well. I read through people's accounts on forums often, and it's nice to have an external place to go where they have a stronger stake of ownership and more autonomy to model themselves.

Also, HMU, yo.

It’s a good idea I think, yet I’ve never been emailed in the 11 years I’ve been here. Maybe the things I say aren’t interesting enough :). Then again, I never emailed anyone either. I did have one scary encounter a few years ago on HN where someone tried to aggressively dox me, that led me to remove my email completely, but now I just obfuscate it a bit.

I guess my main concern these days is that I said a lot of things on HN that I sort of regret now. Way too cynical and negative at times. I’m not sure I’d want a future employer going through my comment history! So I try not to make my personal link too obvious, and I suggest the same unless you are always guarded in what you say here.

While I feel atrociously impolite pinging people who've never asked me anything out of the blue, I do enjoy sending a small thank-you email to people who've, often inadvertently, brought me down a rabbit hole I wasn't aware of before.


A different venue maybe, but I can only imagine the horror when a snowflake blizzard of sensitive people come together to form a downvote brigade with your contact details.

HN is well separated from the real world and I will keep it that way and happily accept my downvotes.

Getting cold emails from random HN'ers is so rare that I don't list an email because of that. (I experimented with emails in my bio on other accounts and can tell you for certain: people rarely reach out, if at all). I chat privately with a close cadre of friends that I have organically grown over years and I'm happy with my lot. Making friends with random HN'ers is not one of my goals on here. Besides, we can solve problems on HN itself and keep things out of email.

It would be great if HN had a "request contact infor button" -- and one would get a notification alert that another HN account holder had requested to see ones contact.

Despite the spam threat, you can get valuable contacts. So I'll do it someday.

P.S. My github profile is the same, so I got 10-20 strange followers - definitely HN-users :)

I've gotten Twitter follows and a few Patreon/Ko-fi supporters through it, but nobody's ever emailed me through it.

How do you know your follows are from your HN profile?

I recognize the name, or it's someone in tech. It's not always a 100% certain thing.

Just a heads up that if you do list your contact details, be prepared for some spamming. I have a sep address for this and have gotten a fair amount of spam to it, I assume from the email being harvested.

To be fair, I've also had some interesting jobs sent my way and a few interesting discussions too.

So someone can scrape the site and build a huge DB of developers contact details to recruit/spam?


Do you consider an anon protonmail account (with notification of inbox msgs going to actual email) sufficient for anonymous "deaddrop" communication ?

Not snowden-level certified, sure...but is it good enough for most use cases not involving state actors / opsec activity?

I agree, personally I've left my email address there, though the only email I've ever received was a rant how I bash javascript and I'm wrong and it's in fact the future of CS(along with some things about my ass and whatnot lol)...

I’ve enjoyed the interactions I’ve had with people from HN. My suggestion? Use a Matrix address

Meh. I’ve had my contact info here for years. The only time anyone has contacted me is the one time Paul G asked me to stop running a scraping bot experiment I was running for a bit many years ago.

I’ll do that when I can remove comments being attributed to this account. There’s a huge history of comments that benefit exactly nobody but potential adversaries. Huge histories are stupid.

I've had a few contact me outside of HN, but I've made it simple - I use the same username on Twitter, Gmail, etc as I use here (and stated as much in my profile)

> please note that it’s not enough to fill in the email field on your profile. Only the HN admins can see that field.

Whoa TIL. Was this a recent change?

Nope, but HN recently added a notice right next to it to let you know it's the case.

I don't know how useful this is in HN, but if github had something to sent a direct message to someone it would be very helpful.

Sorry; this isn’t a social network (thankfully)

Or HN could build private messaging

I think one of the key successes of HN is that it doesn't try to be more than it is, and does what it does well.

> do what thou wilt

love is the law, & etc.

I recently fell into the rabbit hole of Aleister Crowley... it just keeps going and going. I wonder what he and the world might be like had he been born in the bay area in the 70's.

As someone who was into Crowley when I was 13-14 (and then read up on him again as an adult)- he was a genuinely interesting person, kind of a Renaissance man for his time, while of course also being an utter loon. For instance he was a genuine mountaineer, not just a dilettante, and I believe held a record on K2 for a time. He was also pretty ahead of his time in absorbing wisdom from Indian & Chinese cultures, something that was probably less appreciated in a more Western-centric era. He was also kinda ahead of his time with hard drugs....

Interestingly, he met L Ron Hubbard towards the end of his life, and apparently judged the man as a con artist, FWIW

But how can i troll then

Good idea. I'm in.

This seems ill-advised as it mostly serves to increase the attack surface for data miners and spammers.

It’s entirely optional of course! However, I’m fairly sure that no spammer has scraped my address from here.

And obfuscation is possible for those inclined.

For example, no spammer will (in practice) parse this contact information:

  echo 'Y0B0dW5uZWw1My5uZXQ=' | base64 --decode
But for a human HN reader it’s fairly easy to decode.

I would think twice about executing bash code from people's profiles. Sure, the prior probability of trolls is pretty low on HN, and I know that your specific snippet is safe, but it's easy to get fooled, even if you think you know what you are doing. See https://superuser.com/questions/996795/how-and-why-is-this-s....

While I agree with you about executing snippets of unknown origin not being a good idea, I expect that the average HN user would at most need to copy the part in quotes, and they would be already familiar with the rest of that line.

> copy the part in quotes

...which would still get you pwned for the snippet in the question I linked.

Again, I know that for someone reasonably familiar with base64 and bash it's obvious that the base64 example is indeed safe. Maybe you want to filter out people that don't have that level of familiarity (or aren't naive enough to execute bash code they don't fully understand). That's both very arbitrary and unnecessary though - HN is quite diverse. But of course, it's also up to everyone what they do or don't put in their profile.

I stand corrected, thanks for the link, from that one I followed this link which is even more interesting as it explains the process of creating that snippet: https://www.vidarholen.net/contents/blog/?p=766

> I would think twice about executing bash code from people's profiles

Perl is better, safest language, write only

Also works with tr

    echo "fgbr@bczx.9c" | tr 'rbgfcxz9' 'plehodus'

This version doesn't require the knowledge of any system or programming language:

"To obtain my e-mail address reverse the following text from left to right, letter by letter: moc.elpmaxe@raboof".

Note that grandparent cpach, if you check their profile, is actually relying on the good old (dot) (at) obfuscation system, and not the base64 command they proposed in the comment.

This sort of thing has worked in specific Usenet newsgroups. If you're posting to comp.unix.programmer or comp.unix.shell, everyone there understands what it is, and that it's safe.

Then in the next newsgroup over, like comp.lang.lisp, you have the Lisp version of it, and so on.

Not so sure about HN. Sure it's "Hacker" News, but the audience is a bit broader than just native speakers of Unixese. You never know who might go looking for you through your HN profile.

> I’m fairly sure that no spammer has scraped my address from here.

In my HN profile, I use a unique throw-away address that is specific to this site.

It's been harvested in the past. I think only once? At most twice, in any case.

My currently installed alias, the one with a 997-169-9629 local part before the domain, was created on "2020-07-01 16:14 PDT". Almost exactly a year and a month ago. It was used for a couple of legitimate mails; no spam so far.

Similar stats for me since 2016:

- only one piece of complete spam

- one targeted commercial outreach (which actually ended up being useful)

- four people following up on comments that ended up being interesting conversations. I even went for coffee with one.

- one person who evidently confused my username and thought I was @pg

I like this. Base64 it is!

Mine's a bookmarklet.

I'm going to err on the side of caution and just leave my account blank. I don't see why I should put my neck on the line to improve someone else's browsing experience.

While you are of course entitled to protect your privacy however you see fit, the original post was suggesting that _both of you_ might benefit from further interactions.

hmm. not sure it’s ill-advised. I have a “burner” email in the about box and all the conversation I’ve had up until now were productive. YMMV

You can have a more public facing email.


I don’t follow. What do you mean…?

They mean that a comment made now could come back to cancel them later.

People who disagree with your politics may try to dox you and get you fired.

You can't be sure something you say today won't be used against you tomorrow. Cancel culture is growing. Best to be pseudo-anonymous.

Naming names of dissenter or others who wish to up-end the status quo. So, you don't what identifiable information out there.

Good thing my account is fully anomym-ized

I usually fuzz true details (am I 40? am I 47? Do I live in Chennai? Mumbai? Thailand?) about myself when sharing an anecdote here. Or eventually create a new account after I feel like I've shared too much on one. Pretty paranoid I guess.

Did an identity thief write this post...

Nope :)

Ive definitely beer dropped a couple of hundred dollars of ETH or XLM to people who gave me good info. If you leave a crypto address, I might do that too.

To be frank, all public social sites have resulted in less honest discourse. LinkedIn is a cesspool. The public blogs posted here by identifiable people are often fluffy and part of their self-branding strategy. The public people on Twitter virtue signal relentlessly.

Anonymity is it’s own type of filter where you can say bullshit and also have your bullshit called out. It’s something we have to protect. This is very important for adults who understand enough about life to self censor out of politeness. It’s not an issue for the kids on Reddit because they are kids who like to talk shit anyway all day. But for working professional? Yeah, sorry, the adult thing to do is not bring our identity into it.

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