Hacker News new | comments | show | ask | jobs | submit login

I realize this comment may not be popular, but I gotta ask this. How come every burp that comes out of 37signals lands on the front page of HN?

(Conformist... Yeah... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4CggHUypjY)

EDIT: I guess I'm just allergic to cults.




(I'm the author of the original post, and obviously I work at 37signals, so feel free to take what I say with a grain of salt.)

Why do posts make it to the front page? Because enough people upvote them, so there must be something that appeals to at least some people. If you have comments on how I could have made this post more interesting or relevant to you, or improvements in my writing style, I'd certainly appreciate hearing them. You can reach me at noah@37signals.com.


I'm sorry if I have offended you, that was not my intention. There is nothing terribly wrong with the post. It's fine. That is not the point. My point is that there seems to be a certain cult following to several persons/companies in the industry among HN readers, which doesn't entirely surprise me, but does disappoint me. I think this community should be more free-thinking and not drink anyone's KoolAid. In fact, I'd like to see posts coming from from certain figures given a much more critical treatment than a reverent one. HN is full of useful, insightful critique, but there could be more of it, and we can do away with the unnecessary reverence.


Absolutely no offense taken, and I actually share your desire to avoid KoolAid drinking. Every post should be evaluated on it's merits, and while I can only speak for myself, I hope that things that I write only end up on the front page when they have sufficient merit.


Also, there is a problem with the voting process here (and on other sites, obviously) in general. If everyone upvote what they like, this is almost certain to ensure that the most interesting stuff never makes it to the front page, because I may like something that is truly original and thought-provoking, and also something nice about, say, GitHub (I'm just focusing on GitHub as an example. They're A-OK). The result is that the mainstream stuff gets lots and lots of votes, but what really interests us doesn't. What you don't upvote is just as important as what you do. I've just posted (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3559105) an interesting lecture by Noga Alon about voting paradoxes.

In addition, I think (though I may be wrong) the HN algorithm makes second chances nearly impossible. If something doesn't make it to the front page within a couple of hours since its posting (or even 30 minutes), it never will.


Actually, I think the way a post gets to the front page is this: first, it has to get about 4 upvotes during the half hour or so it stays on the first "newest" page (depending on the time of day this could be longer). This is the critical point. After that, most upvotes are received by posts that have made it to the front page and are somehow distributed among them, possibly based on merit, points for discussion etc. But it's that crucial stage of getting those 4 votes or so in such a short period of time that excludes much of the good stuff, and lets "brand-names" a certain spot.

In addition (once on the front page) there's this whole cult following thing. E.g., anything about GitHub is certain to get a whole-lotta love.


Hey Noah, I can't speak for the OP but I will speak for myself here as I share a similar sentiment. You can't please everyone all the time and I wouldn't expect anyone to start taking advice on how to make a post more relevant to me personally. I would simply find another blog that fits my interests. There are plenty. You know the audience and you did a good job of engaging them. Your writing style is great too. You totally captured the 37Signals voice while still making it your own.

Now, what I was talking about is a pattern I see where posts from particular sources end up here very frequently. When I see that happen I start to wonder if they're here because they truly are great articles or just because they came from a particular source with a lot of clout. There's nothing wrong with this in and of itself, it just makes me wonder if we're starting to give particular sources a free pass, allowing them to ride the wave of their previous successes without really evaluating if the latest article truly is worthy of so much recognition. For me, the test would be to put the same article on an unknown blog and see if people still feel the same way about it.

Please know, that there's nothing about the content or style of your post that I object to at all. My mind just goes off in that direction after seeing any source on the front page very frequently in a short period of time. And you're right that this on the front page because the majority found it appealing. We have a great community here and I trust them to choose what's good. I want to thank you for posting this comment here because it forced me to be honest with myself and ask, "what made me react so negatively/too critically to this post being here?" and while the reason I mentioned earlier is still true I have to admit that there are two less than desirable traits or attitudes that I let slip out.

The first was plain old jealousy. The "I wish I was successful and cool like 37Signals" type jealousy. The second was negativity for negativity's sake. It was like I just had to go against the grain here for the sake of going against the grain. I'm also in a bad mood today which doesn't help. I think I have to admit I was partly just being petty and that's not cool. Rather than delete my previous comment I'll just man up and admit I was letting my inner asshole/troll slip out and maybe others will be able to learn from me and catch themselves when theirs slip out. Anyway, it wasn't a bad post at all and I'm surprised you even took the time to respond to this unwarranted negativity.


This is honest self analysis, and perhaps some of it applies to me as well, but the fact remains that it's hard to rely on HN's front page for the best stuff here. The "unwarranted negativity" perhaps relates to how I chose to express my reservations, but I used harsh statements simply to get attention to the subject.


I appreciate your sentiment, and I think 37signals does get more attention than they deserve on many occasions. However, the superior tone of your comment really rubs me the wrong way. Calling people who find value in something you don't doesn't immediately make them 'cultists'.


At least your comment is popular with me. The reason for this is most likely because at some point in time 37Signals proved themselves to have very interesting, important advice to give. We could all learn a lot from them. Once an entity establishes themselves as a credible source like 37Signals has there's this trend where people stop thinking critically about what they're currently saying and just assume everything they say and do is top quality because they've already established themselves.

This is true of any popular figure/entity that has earned some authority in an area. PG, for example, could bust in here and tell us the world is flat and a decent amount of people will support that statement (nothing against him, just a hypothetical example). Now, I really really respect 37Signals, I adored Rework, and a lot of their posts are really great but lately I've started to notice the same thing as you, pron. Not every post of theirs is a gem worthy f this front page and I've started to notice a smugness in them that I don't really like but I'm just one guy who has not earned the same respect and authority as them so I suppose I don't have much room to talk here.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: