My hope is at least on HN, if your project is cool, it will get traction without asking friends to upvote your entry (which happens a lot most of the times). Am I too idealistic?
Please share your story if you used to be a nobody and just posted your project/startup on hacker news, and it got significant traction just because people thought the project was cool, without any social factors involved. I think a lot of people on HN wonder about this too, and it needs to be demystified. Thanks!
It's different when you're talking about your own project - I only submitted general news stuff. I understand that it can really sting if your project doesn't get picked up. There could be many reasons for it and, unless you're one of the top-ten superstars around here, I don't believe HN familiarity plays a big role in a story's success.
The main thing about the /newest section is that it is very low quality. It's dominated by spam and trash, so it's easy to overlook interesting stuff in there. Due to the high rate of new submissions a new entry doesn't last very long. Even good links vanish in record time if nobody sees them in the first few minutes.
In my opinion the main reason why good links do not get picked up is purely technical. Ideally, only accounts with good karma would be allowed to submit links to the queue and there should be harder limits on the number of things you can submit in a certain timeframe. That being said, HN's success rate is still pretty high regardless. Personally, when I see a "Show HN:" article I make it a point to vote it up (if the project isn't totally lame).
One thing I did that might have helped- I tweeted a link to both the blog post and the HN entry, and was retweeted by MapBox, the makers of the software I was discussing. It didn't generate a ton of traffic, but it might have generated those 3 or 4 upvotes you need to get going.
Before Hacker News I used to be big in the digg community where to get to the front page it was "easy", but you needed to build a huge network of friends to do that and upvote each other. I hated that. When I came to hacker news a year ago I vowed to never do that and hoped this community was pure... which.. well I think is what you're questioning here.
Anyway according to my stats it looks like I've submitted 46 links.. 5 or 6 of them (I think) hit the front page (they have more then 10 points). Other then one or two (not the ones that hit) I don't share the links around.
At the end of the day again I think we should have the poll. As members of the community we need to make sure we're going over the 'new' section.. I try do it at least a couple of times a week myself.
No conspiracy. Just an original article.
Here it is:
I don't submit often, but my bit successes were 3 blog posts for 21, 23, and 69 points.
I think it is a bit of a crap shoot whether or not a good story on the /new page will get traction though. It requires a bit of luck and timing for the right people to be reading /new at that time and take interest and read it
On the other hand I see a lot of things making the FP that seem to be mostly title bait. I wonder if some people simply upvote some things just to save it for late basically voting on the title only.
I wonder how an experiment with randomly displaying an item from the /new page at the top of the front page would work. Reddit does this and while I'm certainly not advocating becoming more like reddit, I can see the value of it.
Also, would be nice if you could share around how many upvotes there were, and how quickly it happened. Thanks :)
I submitted a story the other day which was dead on-topic for this community and timely and I thought would certainly make it to the homepage here but it got one vote and disappeared. Yet someone submitted a story from my blog some months ago that shocked me anyone cared at all. Finally yesterday I made an "offer" post. I was giving advice away for free and it didn't receive one single vote.
The bottom line is that large groups are fickle and trying to predict the "what" and "why" about the homepage is difficult and largely unproductive.
So it's not just the question of whether it's interesting or controversial. It requires more than that, and that's what I'm trying to learn.
Anyway, what I am curious about is not whether this type of thing happens or not (because it does happen, quite often, unlike you think).
What I am curious about is: are there any couter-examples? Has anyone just put their stuff on HN without telling their friends to upvote and it got traction? I am specifically asking this question to those who have made the front page. My projects have made the front page in the past a couple of times, but I still don't know the answer because most of the times I tweeted or emailed my friends to check it out after posting on HN.
I'm wondering if a completely isolated person can come along and make it on HN.
It seems like you're trying to figure out all the variables that go into a high profile post. Quite frankly, I don't see the point in that.
Is it possible for an unknown to get on the first page and get exposure? Of course it is. Does that mean he's "made it on HN"? I don't even know what that means.
In the end, my point is simply this; stop spending so much time worrying about how people make the front page of HN and focus on your project.
This is a forum for discussion, not Valhalla.
Here's what I think: I think Hacker news is the only influential site that functions as a place to help small but interesting projects get discovered in a democratic manner. You could just email about your startup to Techcrunch,Mashable,The Next Web, et al., but you still need to pass through their editorial filter.
What I find intriguing about Hacker News is that the filter is democratic (and focused on Startup culture), and relies less on social proof. A lot of companies get multiple coverage on larger tech blogs because they have funding from famous VC and angels. With Hacker News, you don't need social proof. You just need a good idea and good execution, at least this is what I want to believe.
As I said, for "the people in the know", HN works differently than the rest of the world. A lot of people post on Hacker News "hoping" to reach the front page, but for example the guys at YCombinator (or entrepreneurs who are their friends) don't need to worry so much about it because they already have enough karma to push their post up to the front page. It's almost taken for granted.
Well that's how the world is run, and that's why being in Silicon Valley is so attractive, but I think Hacker News provides a platform that's larger than that, and just wanted to know if any counter examples exist: Just a small startup out of nowhere posting on HN, and getting huge traction.
I get upset because, from a marketing standpoint, it isn't even that important or advantageous. You're far better off targeting sites directly in your vertical than aiming for exposure on more general sites like HN.