Anyways, the appeal of Hacker News is the occasional interesting technical story, and the high quality comment threads that accompany it. Here's the LuaJIT author talking about implementing interpreters in C vs. Assembly:
http://article.gmane.org/gmane.comp.lang.lua.general/75426 and the accompanying discussion I remember reading on Hacker
You'll have to take my word for it, but there's a high technical barrier to appreciating this story, and it's accompanied by high quality discussion. If you enjoy reading about that kind of thing, it's well worth sifting through the startup launch pages, endless vim bullshit, reposts and blogspam, limitless iterations on "women in tech", and "how we scaled dick.ly with node and mongo" fluff pieces to find that delicious technical meat.
For example, some posts talk about Puppet or Chef in the title. I didn't recognize those the first time so I look. Having learned something, even though others may know all of the embedded content, I up vote. The next time I may skip over it, having already went through the discovery process, but other people come across it and derive value. Hence the cycle continues.
This is why I think anything that happens in 4chan should stay there: because the very culture of 4chan only makes sense there. When you take it to a site like HN, where anonymity is less common, you make the discussion unilateral. A HN user is probably not going to say everything they think about /g/ under an username that's associated with their real name elsewhere. So we have /g/ telling everything that's wrong with HN (with the usual hyperbole) but not HN telling everything that/s wrong with /g/, either for fear of reprisal or fear of a ban.
I don't really frequent /g/, but I suppose that we could point out their flaws and stereotypes too, like they do to us (that HN is too supportive of Apple, that we're entrepreneur wannabes, that we take ourselves too seriously, that we're "design hipsters" (?)) but since we don't have the absolute anonymity and brazen attitude of 4chan, we'll never make this discussion truly honest.
As for their complaint about our pretentiousness: when you're writing under your name, or for your company, there's no way of not being a little pretentious and taking yourself too seriously.
It's not really a competition about who can criticize the other the best, though. They don't even try to be the same: one is a BBS where news is welcome among other things, the other is a news aggregator. But, in any case, criticism about 4chan is welcome and more relevant on 4chan (in the very thread this story links to, if you want) than here. I think it's natural that Hacker News gets criticized elsewhere: people have high expectations of a news aggregator (especially with a reputation like this one) - of 4chan, not quite.
Upvoting because you agree and downvoting because you don't is still the biggest problem with ranking posts and comments . If it can be fixed, the fix would have to somehow remove the emotional aspect of voting.
That said, I don't fully agree that the article didn't deserve to be on the front page of Hacker News. For me, and possibly other startup workers HN is a source of inspiration.
Any article related to problems, solutions and technology themes in general might serve as inspiration to a great startup idea. Wether it's the millionth article about bitcoin, or a post about Timmy stuck in a well.
The one complaint that I definitely have about the HN quo is how it feels like conversations are trying to be transposed onto the medium; someone posts a PHP/Apple/Olympics rant and then half the top links are swallowed by thinly veiled 'responses'. It seems like the wrong approach, splitting multiple conversations on the some topic.
Love it or hate it, it's the new self-promotion/branding via blogging. If a controversial article makes it to the top of a popular or niche internet forum like HN, and you have something of substance to say about it, it's infinitely better to post your thoughts on your own blog instead of in the comments of the social news submission.
The niche forum sees it, and you can claim credit in the comments, associating your handle with your blog. But more people may see it - potential clients, employees, funders, cofounders, employees, etc - and it's good way of beating writer's block and adding content to your professional blog.
I've seen questions about how to do something in linux/windows downvoted (replying to people who suggested homebrew or macports)
The best rule on whether to upvote I've seen is this:
"Please do not vote comments up or down based mainly on whether you agree with them, unless the comment consists of a proposal and you wish to register your opinion regarding the proposal.
"Instead, vote on comments to the degree to which they improve the accuracy of your map. For example, a comment that you agree with that says nothing new should be voted down or left alone. A comment you initially disagree with that causes you to update some in favor of the author's opinion should be voted up."
I think there is a technical fix: two orthogonal upvotes. One upvote/downvote pair for agreement, another for whether the post/comment added value. It's a pretty simple fix and I think it would work, but it could have other unwanted side-effects.
This could still perhaps be solved technically, although it would take a lot of effort and is probably not worth it.
You can detect cheaters. People who give up/downvotes on the "value add" dimension that are not well correlated with the community's opinion of value add would be detected as cheaters, or at least detected as users who do not share the same values as the community.
Much harder to do, but possible, is to detect cheating in agreement by analyzing trends. Users who agreed with story A, B, and C may have a 90% chance of agreeing with story D. A user who bucks these trends enough can be detected as cheating or randomly voting.
I'll contribute $10 for somebody to add this feature. Where's the "tip" jar?
I'd just like to see how that played out.
What I'd like to see is article downvoting. As it stands there is no user-inflicted punishment for posting a sensationalized or otherwise terrible article
It works. I see that it works. It helps sustain a community. If you browse with showdead on, you don't run across a lot of dead content that doesn't deserve to be dead.
However I've personally been hellbanned by an automated script. (I think the problem was that I was posting fast enough to be mistaken for being a spammer.) But it turns out that there are people who browse with showdead on for kicks. One of them saw that I had been hellbanned, replied to me saying that I had, and told me to talk to pg about it. I sent pg an email, he confirmed that I had been hellbanned by accident, and he undid it.
Unintended mistakes happen. I am proof of it. If a mistake happens to you, it really helps if you are an established member of the community. But the automated scripts are improved over time, and I suspect that the error rate goes down over time. And I think that the mechanism on the whole does improve the site.
As far as I can tell, he was hellbanned for 2 bad comments. Both are bad, yes, but he's regularly been posting well since. Having other users tell them to email PG or make a new account is not a sustainable solution for this.
We should have an "unflag" option for wrongly hellbanned users if they can be autobanned. The community of HN generally drives away trolls by its very nature. I rarely see banned troll posts, because they simply don't bother here. I do see banned posts by decent posters who simply made a mistake or two at the start.
Details on my profile. I felt cheated because I had no heavily downvoted comments.
Hellban by script: very bad idea.
I still feel bad about losethos. Wish we could help him/her somehow.
One thing that sorta bugs me is karma arbitrageurs. Stuff that runs on HN turns up within a day on TrueReddit et al and vice versa.
If there was a buck in it I'd write a bot to do it.
I think the real story is that as usual anything that involves 4chan gets upvoted to the top here, indicating there might be some significant overlap between the two userbases, as much as they might both dislike it.
Here's a link to the archive in case it 404s: http://archive.installgentoo.net/g/thread/26490724
At this point, criticizing Hacker News is low-hanging fruit - and as a result gets a lot of karma.
Well, if this comment even shows up, I guess that's it for this account, too. Oh well. To each their own.
The comment in question, the "Heh.", is gone -- and so is the comment it was a response to, something about Chomsky being about politics, not science, even more flamebaity than my "heh."
Not that it matters. It's their site: they can do what they want, I can try to get around it until I get bored of that. No hard feelings, but also not a whole lot respect.
> "have you moderated a forum before and dealt with abusive trolls who keep coming back?"
Have you ever been censored for disagreeing? Did that make you a.) more or b.) less of a pain in the ass? But actually, I just make a new account when I want to speak my mind on something, more often than not it's offering a correction or a link. So yeah, I keep coming back. And why not.
You can't just define anyone who gets banned as troll, spammer, or otherwise malicious. That's not what those words mean.
But fair enough. I can imagine a moderator seeing your comment show up at http://news.ycombinator.com/newcomments then either reflexively banning or seeing your karma is sub-100 before doing so.
> Have you ever been censored for disagreeing?
Are you saying your "heh" was disagreement? In any case, yes, and it makes me shrug--it doesn't affect my pain-in-the-ass attribute. If I want my opinion online and google-able, I have places to put it where it won't be censored. If I want to debate, I've found HN is useful for quite a lot of subjects but still shies from those which pretty much everywhere with a karma system shies from (so that includes academia)--HN is nevertheless fairly tolerant if you have a coherent point to make, at least for a while. Even moldbug (http://news.ycombinator.com/threads?id=moldbug) lasted for quite a while with all his controversy before he got hellbanned. His case of banning is one of several I strongly disagree with, but that's not enough to discount the entire concept of hellbanning. Of course it's not a perfect system--e.g. it'd be nice if HN users with >10k karma could reverse one.
Most likely the system just lost that part of the thread. On a big site like this, performance is usually more important than data integrity, so the odd loss of comments is considered acceptable.
From the point of view of a reader, however, having information about what will likely get moderated be scattered rather than gathered in one place decreases a reader's exposure to text written by people who have not read a lot of comment sections.
In short, your HN comment is a bit clueless.
But you're right, it's for example this passive-aggressive condescension by people who don't even know what they're talking about, but want to give their 2 cents anyway, I don't play very nice with.
Note I did say "(willful?)" Thanks for clearing that question up.
Also, the irony of the functional similarity of your post and its parent is left as an exercise. (Though you're probably feeling too righteous to get it and would be furious if you did.)
mind = boggled.
I am more than willing to out myself. The discussion is exactly proving the point why 4chan is such a fascinating place. Sure it has lots of "distortion" but in the end it is one of the few places that does not sugar coat reality and the absence of any "punishments" produce raw insights. That is why the only "communities" I am somewhat active on are hn and 4chan. One because it provides a more supportive environment, the other because it isn't afraid to go there where it hurts. I never could find a reason to join those in-betweeners ala Reddit.
Well, I'm sitting on a 15 day ban right now, so I'm not a 4chan user at the moment.
> sitting on a 15 day ban...
Out of curiosity, what earns one a 15 day ban on 4chan?
* This is what HN thinks, what does reddit think
* LoL @ reddit, what do you think HN?
...when the communities are healthy, each has an interesting perspective to add.
If that is the case, you will have no trouble citing 2 successful trolls in HN comments.
Google, Archive.org, and my best attempt at HNSearch API ( http://api.thriftdb.com/api.hnsearch.com/items?id=2534649... ) didn't tell me what was in https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2534649 either.
I did not see evidence of that in your 2 examples. Maybe if you indicate which participant(s) you consider the troll(s), . . .
I wish everything had less information and traffic to consume.
What is this board populated with? Unemployed japanophiles and life failures
I see this all as nothing but the continued dilution of the terms to nothingness.
Since you're attempting to accuse me of something I didn't do, I didn't downvote anyone, I commented.
 The main three authors of essays that I typically think of as classical sources on the term "hacker" are esr: http://www.catb.org/~esr/faqs/hacker-howto.html
and, of course, pg: http://www.paulgraham.com/gba.html
Labels like 'hacker' do nothing to further anything, and generally aren't impressive to anyone who doesn't assign the label to themselves. Build cool shit and that's impressive.
It's not just me: I want other people to strive for a thing that no longer has a name.
I don't feel like I'm adequately articulating myself here. Perhaps it shouldn't matter that we're missing a word. But I feel like it does anyway.
I don't feel like the Olympics demonstrate the hacker spirit, although it's likely that some of the athletes have it.
I nearly said "that's a good hack" about something the other day, but edited my speech in mid thought - I am sure the audience would have taken "hack" to mean "wtfpwn", which wasn't at all what I meant...
So I made a HN post to discuss 4chan's post discussing HN posts.