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I can't downvote you. But I think that this is a prime example of the snarky comments that people are complaining about that are hurting HN's comment quality.

I absolutely agree. And I let myself sink to a bit of a troll here; but I don't expect much meaningful discussion can be had on this particular topic so I allowed myself (perhaps undeservedly) to express my indignation in a rather toxic way.

One man's snarky comment is another man's sarcastic wit.

Only when the comment is indeed intended to be a sarcasm. If you want to mark the comment sarcasm you have plenty of methods, e.g. </sarcasm>.

For years and years writers have been able to employ sarcasm and dark wit without resorting to blatant labels tipping off the reader, "Joke ahead!"

Why now is this linguistic bludgeon required?

When I read your comment I agreed. After reading the many comments down-thread which missed rather obvious sarcasm, I reluctantly disagree.

I hate to be all "in the old days", but, really, threads on HN didn't used to be full of snark and jokes, which obviated this problem. I miss that.

Perhaps we should all start assuming that any blunt, snarky comment is really meant as a piss-take. E.g., if you read "Apple is a bunch of blatant design thieves", assume that no one could intend that at face value, so it's really facetious joking meant to express the opposite.

We'll all feel a lot better, and the blunt and snarky will realize that their posts are having the reverse effect expected.

OK, well, we'll at least all feel better.

Because most people don't have the ability to write clearly enough to express their intent, and also because there are so many literal minded people out there. Labels and smileys serve the same purpose as laugh tracks on TV programmes, they tell the stupid how to react.

The way that snarky comments can hurt the community is by hurting people's feelings and making people feel reluctant to show off what they're up to. "Show HN" posts in particular are one of the coolest things about HN, and if people feel like they're going to get torn open just for putting themselves out there, they are unlikely to do so.

So there's nothing intrinsically wrong about snarky comments. It's when the snarky comments are targeted at individuals undeserving of such harshness that there's a problem.

If someone makes a "Show HN" post, and you think their work is incompetent, or that the problem they're solving isn't important, that doesn't excuse being snarky at them.

If, on the other hand, they have blatantly ripped off someone else's work, snarkiness would be fine (assuming you have damned good reason to believe that they did so intentionally, and that they did not ask permission).

We should be happy to make people worry about unethical behavior here before posting, because the ethics of your behavior can usually be assessed by introspection. We should not make people think twice about their work being incompetent before posting, because competence cannot easily be judged through introspection. Only by actually posting and seeing constructive feedback will someone be able to know how they can improve.

Of course, this applies to more than Show HN posts; people who read HN can also have their work posted by other people. The point is that we don't really need to worry about hurting Apple's feelings over blatantly ripping off someone else's work.

Snarky comments have always existed on HN. Whether they are downvoted or upvoted is up to the community.

I think you spelled "sarcasm" wrong...

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