That said, it really pisses me off that you were down voted like you were. There seems to be a rash of that on HN now. You were contributing to the conversation and backing up your argument with numbers. Right or wrong, that doesn't deserve a drive by dismissal.
The voting buttons mean "More or less of this content on HN", not "I agree or disagree". If you disagree, post a reply. You might teach the OP something, or might even learn that you're wrong, as I have plenty of times on HN.
Edit: I've turned this into an Ask HN thread here, since I think it would be helpful to have a discussion about this:
PG posted that comment five years ago; reflexive downvoting just wasn't a problem then like it is now, so I'd be interested in hearing if he's still got the same opinion - it wouldn't change mine, though.
 It's easy to look at the past through rose colored glasses, but that's not what I'm doing in this case. I actually think most of HN has improved with its new size. Niche areas are more likely to have discussions between experts, there are more people like Grellas who write lengthy and insightful commentary, a significant number of startups get successfully launched on HN, and we still managed to do all that without making too many of the original core users leave. That said, get off my lawn.
Edit: Now you're being downvoted. This is ridiculous.
But they shouldn't do this either. Personally, I try to downvote--or at least not upvote--comments which I agree with but which add nothing to the discussion. (I'm sure I'm far from consistent, of course.)
I mean, the functional use of votes is to organize the comments page. It just makes zero sense to organize the page based on the average opinion of the community rather than constructiveness/usefulness of the comments.
PG is wrong here.
At the very least, if someone down-votes they should reply as to why they disagree. There a great sense of loss when you say something factual and relevant and get down-voted without explanation.
When I've brought these issues up in the past, the conversation usually resolves with "don't worry about karma." And, I don't, but it does change the community, and about that I worry.
Basically, the community will turn into whatever is rewarded. If you reward hive-mindedness, that's what you'll get. If you reward interesting discourse, that's what you'll get.
It turns a downvote from 'I disagree' to 'I disagree and everybody else you should too'. You have to be willing to risk your own karma to take away somebody else's.
For instance the way HN works now afaik, somebody could post 'me too' comments to get enough karma to downvote, then turn around, downvote all posts supporting some idea they dislike, and there would be no way for other posters to correct this or know it was happening.
FYI, I think that this is supposed to be automatically detected and nullified by the website software, although I can't speak to the details.
Informative - I agree, but you may be full of shit
Interesting - I agree, stick it to those other guys
Funny - I agree, either schadenfreude or grits
Idealistically, humans would only vote based on content quality and not their personal opinions. But Slashdot is certainly the counter example on why this doesn't actually work
So "Insightful" as an "I agree, completely" on something that is not insightful may be metamoderated out.
It's basically impossible to do that if the value is only "+1".
Also, there are more important things to consider than an OCD-fueled (yes, this affects me, too) obsession with UI symmetry, like overall discussion quality.
Does anyone actually believes this is the approach we should be taking?
My theory is that while the risk of being down modded on HN is a helpful factor in keeping discussions more courteous than on an out-and-out anonymous forum, the same cannot be said of down votes, which are in fact anonymous. As a result, users tend to be more careless or perhaps even callous in the use of down votes. I'm not sure what the solution is though: making down votes transparent might help in creating a bit more discreetness in their use, but might spill things over into flame wars into the comments themselves when exercised. Still, I think it's the total anonymity that causes its over use.
If I could make decent money doing what I love, working with like minded people and changing the world for the better, I would take even smaller odds / profit ratios.
Add to that the open source projects they fund, the shares they gave away to the likes of Linus, you have a company with a much better conscious than Microsoft.
Don't we all? If you include my stack as part of my software, then really I only write like 1% ... I didn't write the OS, the SQL server, the http daemon, and the billion other things I'm dependent on. That's just how software works.
2) Ars had a great article about this one month ago http://arstechnica.com/business/news/2012/02/how-red-hat-kil...
Not knocking open source. Just saying the Kumbaya business plan didn't really work out.
The argument is, contributing to open source helps solve your problem in a more sustainable way. Maintaining your own fork of Linux isn't feasible, so you contribute patches back to the mainline. But doing this can be ... daunting, so you might be better paying some third party to handle this for you. Thus Red Hat.
Now, your competitors get a free ride on your patch, but presumably they didn't have your problem or have sunk money into an alternative solution, so it's not like they get the same benefit you did.
I'd rather have a slow growing (yet growing) open company than a fast burn private enterprise that shrivels up because of the offensive for profit schemata.