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I am surprised you would think of it as 'stealing' users. More likely you are trying to avoid too many of a certain type of user that is only on HN because reddit is down.

I imagine that too many new users on one day is a troublesome idea regardless of what site they’re from or why they arrive here.

It’s as simple as noting that new users are new and still learning from everyone else around them. When everybody is new, it’s hard to get a feel for the current culture and style.

I imagine that it would probably work on a permanent basis to gate new accounts to a certain fixed value per day or proportion of new to old accounts, e.g. .1% per day or whatever.

Personally, I came here from Reddit 1,791 days ago, so I will be the first to say that I hope we don’t have an “anti-Redditor refugee” policy, whether express or implied. Far better to demonstrate through action and voting what we value as a culture and welcome as many people to the site as we can handle without diluting our ability to teach by example.

The idea of the percentage based gate was implemented on Slashdot to guard moderator privilege and it worked well.

"new users are new and still learning from everyone else around them. When everybody is new, it’s hard to get a feel for the current culture and style"

More could be done to explain the culture in addition to what is now on newsguidelines.html and the faq.

I am surprised you would think of it as 'stealing' users.

This is almost surely an example of euphemism in the service of politeness. My favorite example of Paul Graham wording in the service of saying something firm nicely is "When disagreeing, please reply to the argument instead of calling names. E.g. 'That is an idiotic thing to say; 1 + 1 is 2, not 3' can be shortened to '1 + 1 is 2, not 3.'" I love the use of "can be shortened to" there, as if pg's only concern is saving people extra keystrokes. I think the polite phrase "stealing users" here similarly leaves another idea unexpressed.

I assume he wrote it between the lines to be less offensive. It's not that we want to push people away, just signal that they should think before posting more than on Reddit.

Adianoeta is my latest favorite vocabulary word.


This appears to be what is referred to in politics as a "dog whistle": http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dog-whistle_politics

That implies that the message was intended to be interpreted in that way, and this is all not some hypothetical misguided intellectual class warfare burbling to the surface.

It seems to me like a gesture that Reddit will probably appreciate (though I don't know whether they'd say so out loud, politeness probably requires them to say something like "Why, PG, good sir, you didn't have to do that!") and so I see no reason to question the truth of PG's stated motive.

Wasn't there something in Methods of Rationality about this? A discussion between Quirrel and Harry, if I recall correctly.

The relevant thing here is not whether pg's stated motive is consistent with his actions, let alone whether reddit will appreciate his actions, but whether the mind-states corresponding to that motive are the most probable of those that would result in his saying what he did.

A good reason to question his motive is the fact that HN and reddit are not necessarily substitutes for each other; another is the fact that he's well aware (as others have pointed out) of differences between the two communities that he wants to preserve.

I never really liked how some HN users like to distinguish themselves as 'not Reddit'...

...but the two aren't mutually exclusive. After all, if Reddit users permanently migrate here, it actually does mean that Reddit's owners and admins are paying for their stand.

I couldn't agree more--I browse both HN and Reddit. I think the purpose of the two boards are different and I'm fine with that.

one is for trolling, one is for conversation...

My mind is blown by the self-negation of this comment. If it was deliberate, my hat is off to you.

I have a hard time telling which one is for which, sometimes.

sadly, this too seems to be true much of the time:

one is for fun, one is for pedantry

No it's not stealing users. It's copying users. You see, stealing implies....

There's something cheeky about it, almost-- "Well, we wouldn't want to steal any of your users, haha!" wink

All in good fun, though, I suppose :)

Better then Erlang posts, I guess. Also having this as the most voted post kind of ruined the subtlety of the gesture...

Yes i guess that was a wise move but i think i would consider myself to be what you would call "Reddit crowd". But not all of them are like that. Its about culture and it usually takes some time for people to adapt to a new "culture".

I'm in the "reddit crowd" too, but I carry myself differently here. I imagine most people who visit both sites would agree. Here, I use my name, I avoid memes, and I think much harder before I put my opinion online (largely because I'm using my name). I make silly jokes all the time in real life, because that's just part of what I do, but this isn't the forum for it. reddit can't have a thread without it devolving into silliness, which is fun in its own way but not what I come here for.

I think it's a good point. When Mashable creates articles to help people thwart the Wikipedia black-out, I personally find that despicable.

Of course, the main difference is that allowing users to register would be a passive act, whereas Mashable is actively "profiting" on the SOPA black-out.

It can't be "stealing" since Reddit accounts don't expire when one opens another account on HN...

Time is a limited quantity for even the most prolific Redditor. Let HN not deprive them of it unnecessarily! :-)

I think that reddit would consider it stealing users as well as not wanting that type of user. I mean...can I combine those theories...am I allowed to do that?

Regardless of whether this was a kind gesture or a defensive move, I think it was very well stated, and an excellent example of diplomacy. I think I learned something from it.

"an excellent example of diplomacy"

I don't know whether it was for diplomacy or not (it could be but only pg can answer that). But if it was done for a reason other than the stated "stealing" what's wrong with just saying "we have heavy volume today because of other sites that are down including reddit so I decided to turn off new account creation".

That's honest and avoids any chance of double speak.

Edit (based on comment below which I can't reply to):

Saying that my statement is honest is not the same as saying what was done is not honest.

Why do you assume he's not being honest and then criticize him for that? Could it be that pg is trying not to be a dick?

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