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Ask HN: How do you read Hacker news?
14 points by acedanger on Nov 2, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 14 comments
tl;dr - Do you read the story or the comments first?

tl - I'm a new HackerNews user. I love it. The posts are interesting and the comments are (usually) thought-provoking and typically provide more information that the original article.

When I first started lurking here, I would open the article in a new tab and then read it. Then I started opening both the article and the comments in their own tabs. I would then read the article first, then the comments.

Over the past few days, I noticed that I've shifted a bit, opening both the article and the comments in new tabs, but reading the comments first.

So my question to you, seasoned HN users, is "how do you do it?" Generally speaking, article or comments first?

First of all, welcome to HN Pete -- I didn't realize you were on here.

Secondly, to answer the question, whichever appeals to me more. If it's a new programming language, or a new library, I'll generally go to the comments first and look to see the general opinion of it.

If the title is abstract, or not clear as to what it is, then I might open the article first (example from yesterday, "Do You Wanna Touch[1]"

If the title sounds appealing, or straightforward, like today's "Here's the simple rule you need to know when using a foreign ATM[2]", then I'll likely open the article first.

Generally, I open both in new tabs and close them as I consume them.

While I normally don't comment on the article before reading it, I sometimes comment on other comments without having read the article. If there's an article about Python, and somebody says, for example "But Python doesn't even have a print function", I can safely comment on that without having read the article.

[1] - http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2012/11/do-you-wanna-touch....

[2] - http://transferwise.com/blog/2012-11/choose-local-currency-a...

Thanks Barry, I think my profile says I've been here all of 49 days at this point (or sometime in the recent few days).

I've heard of HN for a long time but never visited. Now it's my go to site for interesting and tech-related things.

Comments first. If the comments are interesting enough, I read the article. I never comment without reading the article.

Yep, the comments usually tell you whether the article is worth reading.

0 comments on something probably reduces my click-through rate by 75%.

Agreed, I never comment without reading the article first.

I come to the HN web site on slow work days or when I need a breather and generally look at front page stories or glance over the Ask HN list.

I noticed what seemed like a pattern: stories with a high ratio of points to comments were often more valuable and the discussions more interesting. Entries with more comments than upvotes are frequently pop culture-y or bike shedding discussions.

So to try and see a "best of" without lower value discussions I threw together a Twitter feed that lists stories with high points and a high point to comment ratio: https://twitter.com/HighSNHN

Thanks for this awesome twitter account.

I usually go to


where <user_id> is an admirable user who's opinion I respect. I generally start with patio11 to see what he's read/commented on. My theory is that if he commented on it, I probably want to read it because he's smart and wouldn't comment on garbage.

I have a few users bookmarked this way on my primary pc but I don't have access to the bookmarks right now and I can't remember their usernames.

I think you should always read the article first so you have context. If you only read the title first, and then read the comments, you might be getting misleading information.

The problem with reading the comments is the sheer amount of them that are crammed into a small space. I have setup a user style sheet to change the font to 16px and the line-height to 24px. If you spend a lot of time reading the comments, you may want to considering doing the same.

I'll try that. Thanks for the suggestion.

Look at the link/article first. If I'm interested in the topic I'll read comments.

I read both the main page and occasionally switch to new topics only.

That's about it...

Read the article, then back button (caches are friends). If it was a worthwhile article, I click the link to the comments. Never more than one tab related to HN, keeps tabs organized.

Oh, and Hi :) I lurk a lot too.

Sometimes article first, sometimes first few comments to see if article is worth reading. e.g. the link about 'Linus not reading code' was quite a misnomer and I should have checked the comments first. Also, i use Pentadactyl which allows for vim keys -- works great on this clean, imageless site.

I tried loading HN in elinks, but the More button gives an error?

Strangely, I don't see a box to post. Only one or two posts have a "reply" link, so I had to use that.

I generally read articles first but quite a few articles I've already read something similar so then just read comments.

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