I'm new to HN and think it's an awesome forum, but the fact that people like me (non-hacker who wishes he could understand even half the stuff discussed here) are finding out about it probably means that it's left behind its early adopter phase for good and is now in "early majority" mode, for better or worse.
I like StarCraft and I love analogies so how's this for one:
People who originally built and pioneered the Internet were the Xel'Naga, the original users of the Internet pre-September 1993 are the Protoss, and all the newbs who have flooded the Internet since are the Zerg.
And then you have Terrans like me who are fragmented, caught in the middle, and have to choose sides. I choose to protect and fight for the Internet.
6 years is 2190 or 2191 with 1 leap year or 2192 with 2 leap years.
As of writing I created my account 2170 days ago. It is by far my most visited site (at least once a day). Sure the content isn't as great as it use to be, but I expect that with the increase in traffic and submissions. It is still head and shoulders above the rest though.
I know that I was reading Reddit at the time, but I think I read about News.ycombinator on another site - Perhaps Techcrunch?
One of the things that really flavored the early community was that many (most?) of the members were also applicants to YC, so were both a) very interested in startups, and b) all trying to be on their best behavior.
I recall at the time being concerned anytime a post didn't get at least 5 votes, because it meant that I likely wasn't contributing to the conversation substantively enough.
The site's flavor has changed a lot over time - From YC applicants, to general Startup News, to a more broad Hacker News, but it's still one of my favorite communities.
Keeping a community like this together and preventing its degradation over a 6 year period is a remarkable achievement.
Let's also remember that this isn't just a site that lists current topics of interest; there's also the search feature. It's a great source of links to interesting views on various topics. For instance, whenever I encounter some tech-related topic where scepticism or additional information is hard to find, I search for HN threads on that topic and very often find more detail than I know what to do with.
As someone who is a heavy redditor -- I remember one of my first comments here got downvoted pretty quickly as it was just a snarky, "meme-like" comment that I learned pretty quickly had no place here on HN.
I've appreciated the strict distinction between the two communities, both of which have been extremely enjoyable for varying reasons.
You have a great point with regard to search, however, when attempting to look at some older posts on my mobile phone I was very irritated to find out that after opening more than a few of the older posts it blocked me out and told me to use the API!
We're not talking 100 page requests here... we're talking less than 15, but they were all older posts (some a few years).
I found this place in the referrer stats for one of my blog entries (45 days after this place was launched, it seems). The discussion on my articles here here was so much more constructive than it had been for the same articles over on Reddit that I started checking back more and more often, eventually just giving up on Reddit entirely.
Funny thing that I didn't notice at the time: The article in question was submitted by "pg". Wow!
That's funny, it always felt to me like it was "Startup News" for a lot longer than 6 months. If I had to guess and couldn't look it up, I would have said 1-2 years. Interesting how powerful first impressions can be.
Congrats for completing 6 wonderful years. I regularly read HN since past 1-2 years. It's been a valuable source for providing news about startups and programming. I also contribute my own articles to HN and the HN community has been extremely helpful in making me a decent writer.
In the past year, unique IPs seem to be increasing while the number of page views has only increased slightly.
Quick analysis would be that HN is continuing to attract new people to the site, but people aren't surfing within HN as much. It makes sense given the assumption that most people probably surf the HN front page as those are where the more relevant stories are showcased and then post articles from time to time.
From another perspective, people are decreasing their engagement with HN. They may not be wandering into the "Ask", "New", or "Jobs" columns.
Just thought I'd share some quick statistical analysis that went through my head when looking at the graph...nonetheless, Happy 6th Birthday HN! It's remarkable at how quickly its grown and moreover, how it has remained a resourceful tool to so many people!
That seems to me a fairly consistent ratio of 10 pages per ip (per day).
So your conjecture is we have doubled the number of pages each person views but doubled the number of devices viewed on too, so no overall change to the ratio.
Is there any way to see growth of registered accounts over time - it might serve as a proxy for "lurkers" and might indicate the proportion of actual people to unique IPs? Ie if accounts has grown half as fast as uniq IPs it's reasonable to assume we all have two devices and look at twice as many pages. If it's a similar growth pattern, we spend less time on HN.
(of course if you track accounts and IPs that would help more:-)
Whenever there's a tech-related thing (product, framework, company, or what have you) I need to know more about, one of the first things I do is google "site:news.ycombinator.com <thing>." Almost always fetches a lot of insightful content that I doubt can be found anywhere else as quickly.
Perhaps you should post the stats, after subtracting out the bot visits, from the stats.
For our daily stats we do that. Also (internally) report the bot visit counts. For example yesterday we had:
Bot name No. of visits
User-Agent=Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; Googlebot/2.1; +http://www.google.com/bot.html), 95000*
User-Agent=Mozilla/5.0 (compatible; bingbot/2.0; +http://www.bing.com/bingbot.htm), 700*
Wow, I joined almost 4 years ago... I went from slashdot (3 digit ID) through a totally non-productive fark/digg phase to here. I guess I missed the reddit bandwagon although the company is based in the same building I work in now. :) I prefer the tech focused sites and not the general "cool stuff" sites, and while sub-reddits meet that goal, I guess there's too much "other" stuff going on there which is a distraction.
Even after 18 years in the software building biz (as a developer) I still have so much to learn, and one of the things about this site is that I'm exposed to new technology and programming languages, great presenters and ideas. I still want to be doing this in another 20 years and I feel like the stuff I see on HN really helps keep me motivated (despite the distraction at times, which I mitigate by running through an HN rss feed filter that only shows posts with a certain number of points or more). For example, right now I'm reading about Kanren. :)
Happy Birthday HN! Despite the complaints I see here every now and then that the content is going to hell and becoming another reddit, I dont think there exists a better site that can both simultaneously waste free time and make you better informed. :) I don't think I can remember a day that I haven't visited at least once.
That was my first question, what are the occasional big spikes (not the weekend drops in traffic)? Interestingly, spikes in page views and unique page views do not correspond well, although sometimes they're slightly offset from each other.
I wonder how many people from the 1st year of HN are still active commenters today? I wasn't here from the start, but did get in pretty early (in the first year?); I've seen many names come and go! But in the early days, I did not pay too much attention to the usernames....
The answer to this question is probably evident to some, but I have a hard time figuring it out: what causes the regular spike+drop which seems to occur 3-4 times a month? Is a certain day of the week a "dead day" (maybe Sundays)?
Looking at that growth, I can only imagine how many startups were launched because of HN. HN played a huge role in convincing me to quit my corporate job and join a startup, and then later start my own.
I came here in may or june of 2007. Was led here via watching Justin.TV when that first started; launched my first start up there, yet back then I had zero technical skills. Tough to do a start-up when you don't know how to code, especially back then in my area.
Overall I been an avid(addicted) read since - thanks!
Yes i mean that: there is no useful information in seeing these weekly spikes, and having points for days rather than weeks makes chart uselessly wide. Just averaging data in weekly intervals will make the chart way smaller and more readable.