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I Up Vote Every 'Show HN' Post and You Should Too (tortillasinbed.tumblr.com)
282 points by ZanderEarth32 2023 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 84 comments

Show HN is just another marketing tool and quite a few people treat it as such. I upvote Show HN posts that are good, upvoting them all because they're "putting themselves out there" is silly; it assumes HN is a very small community of people only here for personal improvement.

I disagree. Show HN would be just another marketing tool if you were looking for people to use your app. But usually when you do a Show HN you're looking for feedback and criticism. You're bringing it before it's really ready for wide release, or when you feel it could use improvement. Or just want someone to puncture your bubble of love for your creation and let you know how everyone else feels about it.

HN is a community of people who build things. When you bring something you've built to them, you're looking for their opinions on it. Not just advertising to them.

Edit, as an example here's my own Show HN: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4053786

I'm not looking for people to use it. How many HNers are really my target market? Very few. I'm looking for opinions on the design, the feature set I've chosen, my implementation of them and advice on how I could build its community.

I suspect it's already been flagged by someone, since I can't seem to comment on it though. :/

That's a nice view but it's the wrong one. Applications and websites gain users and popularity through sharing, whether that's individuals on Twitter and Facebook or on blogs. HN is a community of technology minded people, it's not a community of creators. There are a lot of creators here but they are not the majority.

Make a project -> launch it on hn with a Show HN (a free way to get traffic, as this post has proven) -> if the app/website is good people from HN will share it and it'll make it to blogs.

"Show HN" is absolutely an easy way to launch a product, HN has millions of users, this isn't a quaint little community any more. Yes "Show HN" should be about sharing creations and getting feedback and it does provide that, but it also provides a great launch. I'm not ashamed to admit that my personal launch plan for any "cool" website/app I launched is a "Show HN".

I think you are both right as long as it is a matter of "usually" instead of "always". I am very loose about upvoting a show me post. Still, sometimes the poster should have gone through a round of showing friends and doing improvements before bringing it here. In other words "show me" posts are easy for me to upvote, regular stories need to be really good.

I agree with you.

"someone took a risk and put themselves out there for judgement"

People don't build things to never see the light of day. People build things that they hope other people will use. Bringing it to HN is basically a huge show and tell/brag fest.

Show HN: I used (x language) to build this in (random time)

Sometimes it's exactly what is needed to push a personal project to completion.

For example, I had my own "Show HN" time for nyan-mode for Emacs [1], and while I was thinking about playing around with Elisp anyway, I don't think I would have motivation to finish it, if it was not for the thought that I can do a "Show HN" with it.

I don't want to say that this was HN-targeted. It's more that when you know there is an audience that could a) appreciate, b) comment and c) actually use what you are building, it gives a lot more of a drive to actually finish the project.

[1] - http://nyan-mode.buildsomethingamazing.com/

i'm guilty of something: when i submit a "Show HN" entry, and i see it drop of the "new" list too fast (within 5 to 10 minutes) without any(!) upvotes, i delete it and wait for a better time.

my rationalizing behind that:

a) I'm sad that i didn't get any feedback on my latest weekend project. (That's the emotional part)

b) But also i believe that the timing was just bad. 5 to 10 minutes isn't much of a window.

deleting gives the opportunity to resubmit it.

said that: i know that this is kinda "gaming HN" and should probably not be possible. (@pg)

my vote/like/+1 for a http://news.ycombinator.com/show view.

p.s.: shameless self promotion: here is my latest "Show HN" submission https://news.ycombinator.com/edit?id=4053553

I don't think you should feel guilty for that at all. In fact I'd encourage it.

Voting systems which are based on momentum are inherently fickle. Whether or not people see the story at all comes down to whether or not it gets votes in the first few minutes after being posted.

If you really think your thing is worth attention, I say go ahead and try again later. We can flag spam; you're not hurting anyone.

I sometimes do that even for articles that aren't "Show HN". The oldest article on the newest page is currently 31 minutes, so if your submission doesn't get at least a few upvotes within 31 minutes, it will never be seen.

I've previously said that there should be some kind of algorithm for that page other than "here are the latest entries", such as "here are the randomized latest entries over the past few hours without enough upvotes to reach the front page, removing the entries that are on the front page, removing most-likely-spam entries that have at least one flag and were submitted by a new account, and (maybe) giving weight to submitters with higher account ages or karma scores."

I suppose the fairest way would be to try to equalize the number of eyeballs that have a chance to look at each submission headline on 'new'. So removing stories from 'new' once they can be seen on the front page, but also somehow adjusting for periods of low 'new' page views, and peak submission times.

I have been working on my webapp for 3 yrs and knowing that lot of weekend projects get decent exposure on the front page, I had my hopes high.

I submitted my app couple of times but never made it. It seems like my website is flagged. It is a great tool for startups and small businesses.

Do you see anything wrong with the web app that it deserved to be flagged? https://my.infocaptor.com

If you submitted for the purpose of feedback, I'll give you some very frank feedback. The marketing copy on the homepage is terrible. You need to speak to the potential customer in plain English. Like:

"Extract key insights from your business with an online dashboard".

The primary button that you want people to click says "warning", which tells me not to click it. There are instructions on how to click a button. The next section is why you built the business, not why I need this product.

My advice would be to read up on the basics of marketing, and then study the marketing copy on every successful SaaS business you know about.

"Terrible" is really harsh, don't you think?

I got 50/50 feedback on being greatest "demonstrable" and sales page comment and "what does it do?" kind of questions.

I agree the "warning" bell is stopper but again I would not have gathered interesting stats. And why does every web app have to follow each other. I like to be different and experiments new stuff. If i fail, i will make adjustments to it.

I'm in similar shoes. Been working on an app for about 2 years and submitted it a couple of times after major updates in order to get feedback on the changes. After the original submission it started to just fall off the front page with out any votes or even many click throughs (according to Google Analytics). Which makes me wonder if it's impossible to resubmit something -- even if the old submission is months or years old or if it's been deleted.

Even today, in this atmosphere of upvoting Show HN posts, it fell right off the new page.

Happened to me as well, I even got it to the front page, but for some reason it disappeared from there in a matter of minutes: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4045377

+1 for a "show" only view too

that's an interesting issue. wonder if it'd be useful (or just abused) to have a "Show HN" link-filter on top for people who are interested in those kinds of posts (which I'm hoping to Show NH something soon too, so certainly a biased opinion)

>a) I'm sad that i didn't get any feedback on my latest weekend project. (That's the emotional part)

Then you should also join this HN Facebook group and post your project there as well:


More likely to get seen by other HNers if your HN post drops off too fast.

Although I agree with the sentiment, I think its not necessarily correct, if every Show HN is upvoted regardless of what you think, we can end up with a situation where we have a bunch of Show HN links in top 10 which are nothing except the person putting themselves out there. Maybe this is not a possibility with the standard of the HN community, but blindly upvoting for the sake of someone putting themselves out there seems a bit crazy.

This is a very real possibility but my logic is that not everyone will up vote every 'Show HN' post, and assuming the number of 'Show' posts doesn't increase at a rapid rate, it should hopefully stay within reason. Of course, this might just be me looking at HN through rose tinted frames. The last thing I'd want is for the front page to become spam. My hope is to only get more people to support their fellow hackers, not to ruin the community.

I fully agree with that sentiment, and I apologize if my comment was in anyway taking away from the article, I do support it, but I think for my own self as a result, I'll make a more noticeable attempt to upvote those that I like.

I often find I'll read a post, enjoy it, but feel my upvote is not really necessary. In that way, I feel innovation and "putting yourself out there" should be rewarded more by myself anyway.

Actually it's exactly what happened.

I agree (having seen my own Show HN disappear with only one upvote).

One of the most useful things in the community is the wide range of talent and expertise. Reading through comments on the Show HN posts is a great way to learn a lot very quickly.

They also tend to spark off interesting discussions.

So I'm joining the 'Upvote Show HN posts' club.

Thank you. I was a bit sad when my own Show HN vanished without a vote or feedback, so I'm happy to see not only this article, but also people in the comments here who can relate to that.

Guessed that was worth an answer, and not just a +1.

I also cruise "newest" and make it a point to view and upvote any credible "Show HN" posts. However, you do get the odd post that abuses "Show HN". Sometimes, they are just "Show HN: This Cool Link I Found", "Show HN: A site I found but had no hand in making", etc. Before everyone goes blindly upvoting, make sure you take the time to follow the link and make sure it's on topic...

Very true. People should at least click through to check out the project, even briefly, just to vet that it is a real project. Without this small step, the front page could become polluted with junk very quickly.

I cruise the "newest" so I can check out all the new posts that likely are not going to make it into my feed. A "Show HN" isn't special other than it is someone's project rather than an article.

I would suggest a separate category for Show HN. Would make the whole thing easier. Also, Im not sure how Show HN is "news" as such.

So we have: Hacker News new | threads | comments | ask | jobs | submit

Why not just add a Show HN bit?

This would be great. I'd love to have a place to go to check out the current state of the art. There's a huge amount to learn from other people's projects.

Additionally, votes cast there would be meaningful in terms of seeing which projects the community approves of - as opposed to on the front page, where the level of randomness in vote allocation is pretty huge.

People shouldn't have to wake up at 6am to post their cool weekend project for vote-optimization reasons if they just want some smart people's feedback.

My thoughts exactly. We have an "ask" section, so why not a "show"?

I love this thought and am joining your club. I think:

1. If you built it, you should get to show it to other makers.

2. You should get blunt, honest feedback that allows you to improve.

Good job ruining the front page today, hopefully it won't last.

Yeah, the entire front page is now Show HN...

Perhaps we could have a category? Like /ask, but /show?

Not everyone can be an astronaut. This community is built on doing awesome stuff, and sadly that pretty much entails that if you worked really hard and ultimately failed then your work is of little consequence.

A well thought out post detailing why you failed and why you don't think you will next time is a different story, though.

But even if your project and/or idea is rubbish it is still nice to get some feedback as opposed to 0 up-votes and complete radio silence.

The only way to improve is to get some criticism and work on fixing identified problems.

Totally. I'm not saying don't submit.

I'm just saying blindly upvoting everyone who tries undermines the whole point of having a karma system in the first place.

I started Hacker Newsletter (http://hackernewsletter.com) about two years ago for a similar reason. I wanted to highlight "Show HN" posts more and collect them each week. I still do that, but found that I have to be more picky these days as there are more projects than ever and a lot of them seem half-baked.

I would also add, don't be too harsh when criticizing someone's new project. It seems to happen way too often. Bringing up problems is great, but do it in a way that will help the creator.

I love this mentality and appreciate that there are people like you here. I'm so glad I found HN- and I can't wait to Show HN my upcoming projects

My only worry is people starting spam "Show HN", hoping for the obliged up-votes.

Completely agree.

Show HN ought to be a top level tab, for a site labelled "Hacker News"! Think of it like a KickStarter, but just for kicks (mostly) :)

Well now there are 5 Show HN's on the front page.

Well done.

Ok, now there are many more than 5 Show HN's on the front page.

I wonder if everyone was like oh a post to make everyone feel guilty about letting Show HN's slide, let me show HN something and reap the benefits. Good thinking.

It's up to 13 now. Getting kind of ridiculous at this point.

And now they're all gone?

At http://news.ycombinator.com/ask, you can see all of the Ask HN submissions. Is there something similar for Show HN?

If not, I think that'd be quite nice to have.

I built http://www.hnshowcase.com for this purpose. It finds all Show HN posts via the search API and displays a thumbnail of each project page.

A) That's awesome. B) It's sad to look at the points for those posts, maybe due to the lack of visibility or the idea, but 2, 1, 4, 10, 2 ,3,3, 1,2, 2, 1, 85 (oooh)

Wow, good job. A search function would be great (apologies if I missed it).

Thanks for the feedback!

This is great. Thanks! The thumbnail preview is helpful.

Any chance of an RSS feed?

Not yet. I'll try to add that as part of next batch of updates.

That is nice!

I usually just use the search function


I am sure someone will give a good reason for not doing this but as a note... I do actively seek out these threads. I love seeing what people are creating and the discussions are often enlightening.

One of the best things is also when people write blogs and submit them to HN. It differentiates our feed from just mirroring what you'd see in Slashdot or Reddit.

We did our "Show HN" post today. Not sure if this article helped us or hurt us. We dropped like a stone in the new section then made it to the front page briefly. The highest was 20. Then suddenly dropped to the third page and falling.

I think the title was all wrong. Not sure what the policy is for resubmitting?

Here is our post


Up votes are nice but would really like some feedback

I will assume this is why my feed is now blowing up with Show HN posts. I up vote on substance... not because the title started with "Show HN"

Interesting, looks like pg killed this story.

I'd divide the front page in four sections: hot, new, ask, show, with 20 posts each.

It's time for a fresh new look.

Maybe you could mock that up and "Show HN"

How about this


Let me know if you like it so I can post it in "Show HN"

* better seen in modern browsers like safari, chrome and firefox

* nothing works, this is just a mockup, stop clicking on links

Can I rant? I have had about two show HN's without a single upvote or comment. It's like no one sees them. It's kind of discouraging but i will keep doing it. The next one will be a long exposure camera app in opera mobile, finished proof of concept yesterday. :P

I, like OP, also upvote "Show HN" posts on the basis that people should be encouraged to ship. It worked on me as well.

But anyway, could somebody explain this:


Is this a result of this thread?

the problem with this strategy being used by many is presently apparent on the homepage. i would estimate over 60% of the stories are Show HN. I personally come here for technology news, so this makes HN less valuable to me as a user.

Judging from the front page, you've converted a few people haha. I was sad to see my Show HN project fall off the new page after just four votes a few months ago, so I'm sure a lot of people appreciate this.

It's getting more and more crowded. I guess the number of show hn posts overall is higher as well.

Heh, now half the front page is Show HN, which doesn't seem right either.

Doesn't it? Figure ~200k readers. Figure ~1% of readers are working on something this year they might like to Show HN. 2,000 / 365 = ~5 projects posted per day.

These numbers are obviously just guesses, but there should probably be several Show HNs on the front page at all times.

this is awesome this has got more attention.

I submitted my project yesteday (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4048636) to get some feedback and got zero comments and 1 upvote. Not sure what i did wrong, but I think you really need some friends for immediate upvotes to get some serious exposure.

Whats interesting is that I posted the same project on reddit/startups and reddit/entreperneurs and got over 30 really useful comments and 30 upvotes.

Wow. Front page to 141 in the space of a lunch break. Flag seems a bit broken.

It seems that the backlash of this was too heavy handed - there are no ShowHN posts on the front page now.

Yea, not sure what happened.

you can use http://www.myezapp.com/pub/help/hackernews.ws to build custom tools. one example/test case that collects Show HN stories are at http://testblog1-myblog.blogspot.com/

disclaimer: i build the site and appreciate any feedbacks.

And it seems to be working! http://d.pr/i/3oxM

the quality of content on HN is inversely proportional to this idea catching on IMO.

The whole upvote thing is like a freemarket concept to ideas. I guess if enough people decide to upvote something even though it isn't interesting (to them) then it will be more likely to reduce the quality of the front page if we all share the same idea on what is interesting or not... which is I guess the point of voting and having a community of like minded individuals.

Personally, I don't think people would sustain upvoting things they don't like.

And suddenly there's a problem: a majority of 'show HN' on the front page ... ;)

This is without doubt the best fad ever to hit HN. I hope it keeps up.

sometimes the truth hurts people's feelings! If they spend 10 or 20 hours making something and it's total shit, don't tell them! If you tell them it's not good, they might fix it! Make sure you tell everyone everything they make is good, so that they never can never recognize when they're on the wrong track. Surely there can be no drawbacks to engaging in a positive-only, harmonious love-fest, free of criticism and negative sentiment.

I'm upvoting this.

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