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Ask HN: Was Hacker News "better" in the "early days"? If so, how?
3 points by drelihan 1466 days ago | hide | past | web | 3 comments | favorite
Sorry for the overuse of quotation marks... I've only been reading Hacker News for the past year or so and I really enjoy reading it. From time to time, I'll see a comment complaining that Hacker News is not what is used to be, that is has turned into something trashy, that discussions used to be more intellectual, etc. For you long time readers/contributors to HN, I'd love to get your perspective and thoughts on how HN has evolved. Thanks!

Yes, all of what you said. It's absolutely changed as it became popular - I'd guess most of the new users over the past 1-2 years have heard about it via reddit and thus you get that same commenting style/quality here:

  - lots of puns in replies

  - people being very snarky

  - people who downvote b/c they disagree

  - people who reply just to point out mistakes

  - lots of "+1 here too" replies

  - a mean tone in many replies 

  - people who upvote off-topic stories

  - people who submit/upvote White House petitions

  - increase in psuedonyms like "throwaway235" or "anonymous354"
I think most of the old timers prefer the old days because we don't enjoy the above. In 2009, for example, HN was HN and reddit was reddit and you went to each for different reasons. Today nearly every non-Ask HN post on HN is either on reddit soon after or on reddit first. I'm not saying that the above didn't exist on the "old" HN - it did - but it was much less common.

That being said, I'm one of those who believes that not showing comment scores causes some of this behavior. Not my site so I don't get a "vote" per se but I do not agree that hiding comment scores has made things better.

I'm only in the 4.5 year club, but I'd say story submissions are better now, but comments are worse. HN also goes through fashion trends. I remember when it was full of Ruby on Rails posts and Bitcoin posts. Now they pop up, but less frequently. For obvious reasons Aaron Swartz and related submissions will dominate for a while. Dunno what the next trend will be.

I think comments you saw are from people on HN before reddit steal it

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