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The front page of HN almost exactly 5 years ago (archive.org)
150 points by buckwild on Nov 10, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 54 comments

A few notes as I read through this:

- Passwords are still just as broken now as they were then.

- Functional programming is still widely discussed, though the focus is more on Lisp than Clojure/Haskell/etc.

- Fourth post is the usual, somewhat sensationalist, this commonly-accepted thing is bad! sort of headline that makes the rounds here every so often.

- This post on syntax highlighting [1] reminds me of another recent one [2].

- 37signals is there with another sage-like statement on the business.

- Article on women in tech in slot #13.

- Woah, is that Clojure there in #14? And on SourceForge, even. It's come a long way since then.

- Fears about government invasion of privacy abound.

- Hey, MySpace! That spam "epidemic" never quite subsided, it seems.

- Interesting mathematical discussion in slot #24. When reading the headline, I almost expected to read "stackoverflow.com" in the domain slot. Goes to show how popular that sort of post is here nowadays.

As someone who wasn't around back then, it's interesting to look back on this now and see what the site I love now was like five years ago.

[1] http://web.archive.org/web/20071110115358/http://drinkbroken...

[2] http://www.kyleisom.net/blog/2012/10/17/syntax-off/

Discussions on functional programming--particularly Lisp and Erlang--seem much more prevalent then than now. Which is really too bad: functional programming seems to have gotten significantly more awesome in the recent past.

As a simple indicator, there are only two articles about functional programming on the front page, and they're both fairly shallow, general and not current. They're also related: same author and similar subjects.

I'm sure it's just a function (heh) of HN's growing userbase and more diverse audience. Still, I really would like more functional programming stuff. I even vote on interesting FP articles on new, but it often isn't enough, especially because the new page moves fairly quickly and I don't go there that often.

But yeah, ignoring the relative proportions of subjects, the front page actually seems fairly similar to the current one.

If you want to follow a particular topic in the "new" articles, you could try doing what I do - I follow the RSS feed at http://news.ycombinator.com/rss using Google Reader, and since the search in Google Reader results in the feed and query going in the URL, you can bookmark that search. For instance, you could bookmark http://www.google.com/reader/view/#search/functional//feed%2...

By the way, Reader has many of the same awesome keyboard shortcuts as Gmail - you can use j and k to go up and down in the list, 1/2/3 to switch views, v to open the link, etc. (Try hitting ?)

I remember much more Haskell and probably FP talk on HN some years ago too. Although HN back then was just as prone to getting fixated on a topic for a few days and flooded with stuff about it as it is now.

I follow http://www.reddit.com/r/haskell/ , which has much more meaty FP topics than hit HN these days. For example, "Files are to Mounts as Abstract Data Types are to Dependency Injection" and "Video:Duncan Coutts on Cloud Haskell" are two I'm looking forward to digging into.

Interesting how the articles on the HN homepage are almost timeless. Many of those articles I find just as interesting as the one's posted on today's homepage (perhaps more interesting since there's more programming and less consumer tech news).

A lot of good content is buried in archives of good blogs/news sites, and popular aggregators such as Flipboard completely ignore anything but the freshest materials. I worked on FavoritePosts.com a while back, it basically helps you discover older content that's otherwise invisible due to our existing content consumption habits. Maybe I should launch what I have so far.. It's like Prismatic for older stuff.

Yeah do it!

I've been thinking about how those who up-vote stories on HN very carefully have an enormous wealth of interesting content in the "saved stories" section their profiles. It's such a shame that this is value is locked away: Somebody could generate pages and pages of amazingly interesting content based on other people who upvote similar to themselves.

One way I used to "detect" good content was by keeping track of the amount of discussion content items generated (ie. blog comments, Reddit/HN submissions and discussion activity). There are other mechanisms including the social elements similar to how Prismatic works.

I'm currently working on a related startup that we actually applied to YC W13 with, so we'll see what happens next. The current version of FavoritePosts will require a couple of weeks before I can launch it as an MVP.

But thanks guys for the encouragement! I'll start dusting off the codebase to see exactly where I'm at.

That could be amazing - a user picks 3 other HN users, and gets a weighted list of their saved stories.

I would also be interested in something like that. The 37signals article for example is probably just as useful today as it was then. We need an aggregator of timeless articles.

Please do!

I second!

Totally true. I caught myself exploring some of the "old" links myself.

I created HnEasy.com a few weeks ago. My objective was to give an easy way to find the best Hacker news posts and comments since 2007. I use it to catch up on hacker news every few days. I hope you find it of value.

Resolution of the MIT lawsuit: http://tech.mit.edu/V130/N14/statasuit.html

"Innovative New Rails Host: Online IDE, Web Console, Instantly Live"

It's been five years since the launch of Heroku?

> Heroku is owned by Salesforce.com.

Well, you learn something new every day.

I work at Heroku and sometimes forget sometimes. They're very supportive and very hands-off.

6th item on the list --> "8 points by hhm 9 hours ago"

Wow, talk about points inflation!

Interesting that you mention that.

hhm was my previous username, but I lost its password now. Probably after switching accounts some years ago, after becoming a little paranoid about internet identity (I even sent a mail asking pg to remove that account... he was smarter than me and said he wouldn't do that; thanks pg). I now realize I shouldn't care so much about that really.

By that time, I realized that it might be easy to get into the leaderboard just by posting quality links of stuff I was interested into. I put some effort into that by some time and I reached (I think) the 10th place. I stored a screenshot about that, named something like "and-what-was-that-for.jpg" that I can't find right now. But I remember noticing a couple things about that experience:

- how empty it was after I achieved that random objective... it was just some score, and it didn't serve any useful purpose, so once I achieved it I couldn't feel too happy about it

and the most interesting bit:

- it was very easy to get into, say, the 20th or 15th spot. But then raising into the 10th spot was much harder. I understood that people between 15 - 200 weren't trying to reach that kind of score, or they weren't trying too hard. People don't compete too much. Then when approximating the 10th spot, I found that it was getting increasingly harder. I'm sure somebody trying to get into the 1st or 2nd spot would have to spend an amazing amount of work into that.

It was just a game I played for some short span of time, then I quit. Now I miss that account a little bit :)

I know that feeling all too well.

A few months ago I decided to focus on high quality comments after feeling like I was contributing to the HN noise a bit too much.

As a proxy for that, I tracked my average comment score, trying to get it above 10.

Today it's 14.93, which is quite high - only 4 of the top 100 are higher.

I think my comment quality has risen substantially, but I also subconsciously started making decisions based on score - not posting on topics that were sliding down the front page, or where there were already hundreds of comments but I did have something to say.

In short, the gamification overtook the original goal, and the tail was wagging the dog.

I've now started using a much simpler method - taking a deep breath before hitting reply, and trashing the comment if I don't think I'm adding anything to the conversation. I like this way more.

This is (I think) my fifth account here - the rest have all been hellbanned, sometimes because I deserved it, sometimes not.

The first couple of times I was banned it hurt me maybe more than one would expect. I took it personally, I thought about it deeply, I really took it as a wake-up call. I thought long and hard about what was wrong with my personality that the (IMO) best community on the web would actively act to expel me.

One of my later accounts, I acted like you're describing. I tried hard to stay "on message" and to write the kind of things I theorised HN would want to hear.

I think I snapped at one point and yelled at someone. That account is, of course, now hellbanned along with all the rest. I don't even remember the username. By the way, my first account here was either on the leaderboard or maybe a few points off. It was a long time ago.

These days I am more zen-like about the whole thing. I mostly write what I want. I do try not to be abusive - my character is flawed enough that sometimes that's what comes naturally. If I get banned, well, that's life. But I do what you say, taking a second to think about whether my comment adds something - if it doesn't, I just delete it and move on. I think that's perhaps a sign of maturity, when you're willing to throw away your own words (that you might have spent half an hour perfecting) because you recognise they're probably more destructive than constructive to the community you respect.

Did pg give a reason for not wanting to remove the account or did he ever write about why he wouldn't delete accounts? I have my guesses but I'm curious what his specific reasons would be.

I'm guessing simply because he could not verify that he was the account holder.

Of course there could be numerous curatorial reasons, but that first one would seem to be a deal-breaker regardless.

I asked if he could either remove my account or comments. He said that the comments are part of other people's conversations, so he didn't want to remove all of them (later he asked if I had some specific comments I wanted to remove, and what were my reasons to want to remove all of them). By then I realized he was right.

And that $28 mln pmarca donated to Stanford Hospital materialized in Marc and Laura Andreessen Emergency Department http://stanfordhospital.org/clinicsmedServices/medicalServic...

Next to Lucille Packard Children's Hospital, an impressive testimony of how technology affects the lives of people in Bay Area beyond technology per se.

Ahh a post by nickb. I remember making a thread a few years ago asking about what happened to him.

I wonder if that person chose the baby or the startup.

I don't know about the baby, but he definitely quit his startup.

2007: http://web.archive.org/web/20071012022938/http://www.shelfma...

Now: http://www.shelfmade.net/

Either that or he learned Japanese

If you like this you'll enjoy my HN Wayback newsletter: http://waybackletter.com

Any predictions for front page headlines of Hacker News 2017? I'm going to guess we'll see stories about Lisp, women in tech, and patents. I'm going to assume those are three separate articles. :)

Digression: A woman in tech successfully patented Lisp. Given the deteriorating state of patent law, I wouldn't be surprised if it is in the same article.

2017. I would hope it will be some discussion of quantum computers. It's a topic that never ceases to amaze me.

Good things don't change. I guess the bugs haven't changed either, e.g. the "More" link at the bottom is still broken wrt expired link if you let HN sit for any length of time.

That did change, though; since then I've made the More link static for users who aren't logged in, which is what the Wayback Machine is showing us.

For anyone interested, a link to easily browse the best posts since 5 years: http://www.hneasy.com/index.php?type=posts&hours=70000

The "next 20 posts" link goes to localhost...

Thank you. It's fixed. Left and right arrow should hopefully work to browse.

If that was the front page today, I would not have thought anything was amiss.

What I like about HN is the simplicity and quality of content it has offered since so many years. I heard about HN only about a year ago and have been regularly reading it. The insights and inspiration it offers to newcomers is simply awesome.

The homepage looks just as it looked 5 years ago. That is something worth applauding. It just proves quality and simplicity always win in the longterm.

So basically nothing has changed?

And here I was operating under the illusion that we were innovating...

Oh well, time to go and make a new photo uploading site.

I was hoping to see at least one person showing off their HN re-design. ;)

My interest is piqued by at least two articles about avoiding a co founder, and one with the sort of research behind it that would be a blog post now

If anything, this shows that HN hasn't strayed very far from where it was, despite complaints to the contrary.

There aren't enough political, human interest, and torrent-related stories. Must be a fake.

When it was live then you only needed like 10+ upvotes to get on the front page

Funny to see so many front page articles with no comments.

I remember reading Reddit before it even had support for comments!

E.g. http://web.archive.org/web/20050809014858/http://reddit.com/

congrats heroku on 5 years. you make my life easier.

Wow. Looks very much like the front page today!


You posted the wrong link.

Wow it still looks so similar.

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