If it was always worse then every developer doing this must be stupid. Here are some ways in which a filesystem is "better":
- Zero administration
- Only configuration setting is the directory
- Trivial to test
- Trivial to examine with existing tools, backup, modify etc
- Works with any operating system, language, platform, libraries etc
- Good performance characteristics and well tuned by the operating system
- Easy for any developer to understand
- No dependencies
- Security model is trivial to understand and is a base part of operating system
- Data is not externally accessible
Many existing databases have attributes that aren't desirable. For example they tend to care about data integrity and durability, at the expense of other things (eg increased administration, performance). For a use case like HN, losing 1 out of every 1,000 comments wouldn't be that big a deal - it isn't a bank.
Consider the development, deployment and administrative differences between doing "hello world" with a filesystem versus an existing database. Of course this doesn't always mean filesystems should be used. Developers should be practical and prudent.