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One possible solution (that you might already be doing) is to make the value of the vote proportional to how long the user has been a member, especially down-votes. That solves the problem of more recent arrivals not having the same qualities as the original members.

To be very clear so as to prevent conspiracy theories, this is something that we never did on reddit because we didn't want to put that much power into the hands of the older users. However, HN has a different philosophy and it might make sense here.

To say it one more time, reddit doesn't do this and never did.




It will never be as simple as throwing in a single tweak like that.

Google is the best example to learn from. Search is a misnomer, Google is about ranking. They've put many PhD-centuries of effort into deciding which of the three million matches to put first (ranking). Choosing the three million matches (search) isn't where Google adds its value.

Lots of lessons have been learned there, I'm sure HN can tap into that pool of knowledge by opening up data to the right people.

HN is an awesome resource. I often read the comments before the articles because I expect them to be more useful. It's completely worthwhile to invest a lot of effort in maintaining that greatness as it scales.


...says the new guy to the old guy.

Sorry I couldn't help myself.


(haha - I totally misunderstood, my apologies)

EDIT: (total rewrite)

The cool thing about using metrics and machine learning is that the results speak for themselves and opinions and factions are less important. Intead of guessing what matters in advance, you get to discover what matters after the fact.


Relax buddy. No need to get so defensive. It's just a notable coincidence when debating the merits of age-weighted voting.


On one hand, it seems like having the value tied to the voter's karma would make more sense, since someone here from the beginning with little karma says very little about their contributions or judgement.

On the other hand, either of these solutions seems destined to increase the inevitable echo-chamber herd mentality groupthink that already tries to creep into any community.


That would leave people like me out.

I often find the news here, so I'm very unlikely to submit something. And I only comment when I feel like I'm going to add value to the community or discussion, which isn't that frequently. So I have a clear judgement on when I contribute, it's not much or often, but it tends to present some value.

I've had an account for 2.5 years, and used the service for even longer, yet my karma is still less than 300.


I echo this sentiment. I have been here longer and does not comment unless I have something of value to say, but do actively vote on stories or comments. People whom I know in real life and frequent here have the same usage pattern too. I would hazard a guess that there is a substantial amount of people in this category. So a purely karma based approach may not be sufficient.


About the same here. I'm a member for ~3.5 years and don't comment very often, not to say very seldom (my karma is at 23 points). When I write down my thoughts, I really want to add value to a thread, which I also feel isn't very often. Humble or shy - don't know.

I do frequently vote up good articles regarding programming, hacking, startups, and such things. That's the things I'm interested in since I was a young boy and that's my daily life. I'm a freelancing coder (yes, I see that term as positive, same way as hacking) since '96 and tried my own startups since then over and over. That said, I value good and constructive and sometimes also funny comments and being able to upvote them I frequently do so.

Are my upvotes even counted? I don't know, I don't really care. But I admit it gives a bit of a strange feeling to be "less worth" in a community where you participate - we can argue about that - daily.

Nevermind, just wanted to say.

Small addendum: After submitting this comment I remembered that I wanted to add that I'm from Europe and people not being from the States and therefore in a different timezone often experience to comment on already discussed topics (this also happens on Reddit a lot). Maybe this is also a part of why I'm not commenting that much.


Having things tied to the users karma will result in the StackOverflow type issues. There are some high score moderators that close questions that really should be left open. e.g. i don't agree with most of their decisions however i don't have enough karma ( or time to chase karma) to become the same level.

I see the necessity of moderating however there has to be other considerations. i.e a number of lower karma users can override the high karma users decisions.


I agree with this. It degrades relatively quickly into a Wikipedia core group of elite editors kind of thing, where the disconnected ideals of a clique dominate.


Wasn't Digg killed by "power users" with all the power? I worry this might happen here too.


I don't think so. HN has been hell banning for some time, often quite unjustly, but the general quality hasn't been affected by it.


Are you sure? I can see a correlation between the rise of hell banning and the decline in general quality.


I recently started browsing with dead links active and have noticed a couple of seeming hellbans on people where it really didn't feel warranted to me based on the recent history around where they got hellbanned.

Of course, this forum isn't a public commons so the moderators can ban whoever they want, but there are some cases where it seems fairly arbitrary.


While it is often unjust, it is often extremely just also. Personally, I don't know if the tone has really changed. I do know that I see less demonstrations of work done on the front page. That's a shame :(


But that would only work to a certain extent. All you would need is one lucky submission (think Steve Jobs' passing) to get around this.


Perhaps only consider the karma earned from comments and exclude the karma earned from article submissions.


Interesting because I'm experiencing part of the problem that others are discussing here. You see I disagree with your idea but there is no way to indicate that w/o downvoting (which I didn't do). And to simply reply by saying "I disagree" isn't appropriate either. And maybe I don't want to take the time to detail exactly why I disagree but would like you to know that? But you don't because all you see is a net number positive or negative.

(By the way I would summarize why I disagree now that I've written the above as simply that it seems like a "last man over the bridge" advantage. I mean it's entirely possible that some distinguished person whose vote should count would be greatly disadvantaged by the weighting system you propose.)

I hate to complicate things but there doesn't appear to be anyway to solve this issue w/o the ability to indicate more clearly what you feel is positive or negative about a comments. One up/down button simply can't cover everything.


Too few votes for the number of comments. Lack of feedback is disenfranchising (unless you fake vote counts for comment-makers to see, which could have a worse effect of giving the wrong signals.)

Also, you can't count on there being proportional amounts of activity among the earlier users currently. Any cross section of the earlier user group could have stopped being active on the site.


My thought is that each registered user should be able to choose their own weighting of comments (from age-of-membership, average-karma-per-post, combinations of upvotes and downvotes, etc). Would this not make HN much more vibrant and allow a broader-range of discussion within the same thread?


That would be an ideal case, but turns out to be extremely difficult at scale.




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