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on Sept 8, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite



It honestly depends on what's submitted. Do I consider "Never Forget" type posts irrelevant? Yes. However, I suspect there will be a few good pieces analyzing the fallout of that event released soonish. Those can be relevant. Now if only we had a method to determine what is and isn't relevant on this site.


I don't necessarily think there should be an outright ban, but I do think we should try to maintain a good standard for what we submit. Here's my personal stab at it.

DON'T SUBMIT: 1) If it adds nothing new to the discussion. Just a regurgitation of things already said. 2) If it's something that can be obtained very easily elsewhere. Already on NY Times, CNN, etc. 3) If it amounts to nothing more than a tribute. (Nothing wrong with these intrinsically, but this isn't really the forum for them.) 4) If it is overtly politically charged.

DO SUBMIT: 1) If it provides a genuinely new or original analysis of the event itself, what lessons can be learned, what lessons should have been learned, etc. 2) If it is thought provoking and has the potential to spark meaningful discussion.

I think if we followed these (or similar) guidelines then that would cut out the majority of the fluff pieces, so that anything 9/11-related that does make it through the filter will be better received.

tl;dr - Think before you post.


I think you're right, but I doubt any discussion of 9/11 will meet your "do submit" criteria. The incident has been analyzed so much for the past decade that there won't be anything new to say until it starts to pass into history many decades from now.


I think the most obvious thing to do is to let the community decide (by flagging 9/11 posts). Maybe people should see this as a not-so-subtle hint that the flag link can be seen as a way to downvote posts.

On a more personal note, however, I wouldn't mind it if the mods were a little extra strict with regards to relevance.


On a more personal note, however, I wouldn't mind it if the mods were a little extra strict with regards to relevance.

Sure, but that has nothing to do with any particular event.


Seriously? There have been four articles about Arrington on the front page at a time all week and we're terrified that the ten year anniversary of maybe the most significant moment in American history that's happened in most of our lifetimes will distract us from entreporn about who just got funded to help people take pictures of food?

Second thought. Great idea, but let's pivot. I'm just gonna walk away from HN for the coming days instead.


I'm quite serious in suggesting that the bar for 9/11 stories should be very high and not driven my emotion. Personally, I am bored with the coverage and believe there will be ample coverage elsewhere.


Okay. High bar, no emotion. Got it. What metrics should we use then?

Emotion's out, so that leaves word count, spelling & grammar, font choice, or distance in miles the author lives from the center of Palo Alto. I dunno. I'm open to other suggestions.

I think it's getting a little out of hand. There this entre-automaton thing happening that bums me out. I get that HN is here to scratch a specific itch. But that itch is (fundamentally) the desire to create value. New value. FOR PEOPLE.

You know, people out there. (looks out window, rubs eyes).

They make decisions based on emotion all the time (and so do I). So if the monotony of impending 9/11 anniversary stories has you really troubled, maybe you can at least look at it as some sort of anthropological study. Customer research?

Seriously, I do find it at least a little bit ironic that you're afraid that something this important to that many people is going to distract you from.. you know, building things to sell to them.


I think you read a lot into my simple desire to keep HN focussed on its core topics (technology and start ups) while the tide of 9/11 stories arrives.

1. I disagree with the contention that the anniversary is as important to as many people as you imply. It is important and should be commemorated with quiet, personal reflection IMHO and not a media onslaught.

2. Even if I am wrong about 1 it doesn't mean that HN is the place for its commemoration.


Why would a site that ostensibly operates under democratic rule need to ban anything?


I don't think HN has ever claimed to operate by "democratic rule". Community input is leveraged – via both the voting/flagging mechanisms, and discussions and solicitations of ideas. But rule is by YC/PG.


Agreed. Banhammers should be used sparingly and in obvious cases.


It's not undemocratic if most of us agree. e.g. Democratic countries ban murder. See: tyranny of the majority.


His point is the majority can just not vote things up where as a ban would be have to be implemented by pg based on the opinion of a subset of the majority. So since voting provides the majority with a means to eliminate the 9/11 posts why would a ban be necessary.


Frankly, that worked fine for years but recently HN has been going to shit. Being more conscientious as a community about encouraging intellectually stimulating discussion and discouraging demagoguery and sentimentality is something worth talking about.


Agreed, the very concept seems reprehensible amongst this group. Unless John Graham-Cunning is suddenly losing faith in HN community for being able to self-police itself on this kind of drudgery, then I say we let it be.


My opinion: not exactly. It's obvious that 9/11 had a huge emotional impact on a lot of people, and while I don't want to do a disservice to those affected, I don't think that's the sort of thing that belongs on HN when it comes to articles or comments.

What I do believe are very appropriate posts are technology related ones that we would normally be interested in on a day to day basis, but with the afterthought of knowing that 9/11 served as an extreme case. Things that come to mind are airline security, building construction, communications during / after disasters, and our political rights with respect to technology.


I'm in favor of this but I also suspect they'll be some more relevant content which could get blocked. I agree let the community decide by flagging or voting up.


If this is your concern you should encourage people to pay special attention to the "New" section on that day. A handful of people can make sure anything that would be overlooked gets to the front page.

You can count me in.


Good idea Tom.


I think flagging should work, but if I had to ban something I'd rather choose the Techcrunch drama stories.


Yes. Considering that:

1. Coverage similar acts (for example, ones covering the January Tucson shooting) gets removed at the time of the event.

2. The subject will be over-covered in totality elsewhere

I doubt that coverage of 9/11 would meet the "interesting and unique" criteria that HN news items should live up to.


Relevant to which part of the group exactly?

- Those who comment? (These are hopefully looking for good content/topic for which to discuss)

- Those who lurk? (It should not matter for this group, they will just skip over the topics if need be.)

- Those who up vote? (This group in terms of the front page will push it to top and may not necessarily even read the article)

Since the group is actually all of the above, then the long tail new users (1 year and less) [I am assuming it is a long tail, it would be great to have data to back this] will be dominant and no matter what you do once it massively popular (not necessarily on topic) it will remain on the front page.

My personal workaround is to assume the users who signed up earlier in HN maintain a certain scope and flag and vote as appropriate and roll with news.ycombinator.com/classic for the next few days until it dies down.


I don't mind a ban personally, but it's just one day out of the year. I can tolerate it if we are inundated with 9/11 stories, if that is what the collective thinks is relevant.


Multiply that by every other big event and holiday.

That isn't what this site is for, and we should be savagely flagging anything that doesn't fit the profile. Or this will turn into another Slashdot/Digg/Reddit/etc that is flooded with non-tech stories. It'll mean another site pops up, and we all migrate there and repeat the business.


Posts like this make me want to jump out of a window, no pun intended. It doesn't meet my requirement for basic human decency and compassion. We should "set the bar higher".


You lecture me on human decency and compassion and joke about jumping out of the window when referring to 9/11?


My comment is a commentary on the ridiculousness of your post. I found it dimwitted and short sighted. When has censorship ever solved anything. Shocker humor is lost on someone from the UK. If you said it was in bad taste, I might agree, but that's not really the point. You suggest censorship in a country founded on democratic ideals... about a topic related to an event... in a country you're not from.


For what it's worth, I agree with him, and I've barely left the United States in my whole life.

HN isn't a country founded on democratic ideals, it's a social news site intended for intellectually stimulating discussion. It's not intended for political demagoguery or sentimentality, which is what 99% of stories about 9/11 are going to be.


1. It's not censorship if the community here were to decide that it wanted to have no 9/11 stories. Censorship is government driven. This is far from censorship. It's a discussion.

2. You suggest that my opinion of 9/11 is invalid because I am not American. You object to 'censorship' but are happy with excluding opinion based on national origin. Odd.


I'm honestly shocked so many of you would love a ban on "this" topic over another. Remind yourself when Comcast throttles your internet.


I can't believe anyone would post this, even with a disclaimer.

That said, what's your Meyer-Briggs? For my own personal research, not being snarky, I just have a hypothesis. :)


Why do you have a hard time believing that? Perhaps your Meyer-Briggs would reveal the answer.


Now see, I did what you did and was down voted into oblivion. I posed an insensitive question prefaced with a disclaimer. Instead of a polite answer, I got what you got, a bunch of trolls.




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