Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
gus_massa on Mar 12, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite

I disagree. It was still an interesting story and the resulting discussion was both interesting and educational.

Suppressing that kind of discussion would make HN a less valuable place, not more valuable.

I agree with this. I have upvoted stories that were factually inaccurate because of the resulting discussion here.

Crazy claims tend to produce some really interesting stuff.

I agree with you both. True - OP has a good point that it's worth getting the "community vibe" on a discussion/article to form a solid opinion of the subject. But also agree with you that interesting stories are worth sharing - regardless of how controversial they may be.


"Please don't submit comments complaining that a submission is inappropriate for the site. If you think something is spam or offtopic, flag it by going to its page and clicking on the "flag" link. (Not all users will see this; there is a karma threshold.) If you flag something, please don't also comment that you did."

How is this germane?

"Please don't submit comments complaining that a submission is inappropriate for the site."

Though, strictly speaking, it was a post and not a comment that was submitted.

Posts like the bacterial fossils spark all kinds of interesting discussion, and are obviously of interest to HNers. Asking people not to vote for interesting articles that will prompt discussion seems counter-intuitive.

Plus, the Bad Astronomy post that is also on the front page probably wouldn't have made it there without the original post. I really enjoyed the follow-up, so I think the whole thing was worth it.

The top story on HN as of this comment is a Slate article debunking the bacteria claim, validating not only the newsworthiness of the original story, but also highlighting the full-arc drama HNers got to follow by seeing both stories featured prominently on the front page.

On the other hand, let's consider scenarios where your concern might be totally valid -- say, if the same article was simply link-bait to a spammer's penny stock advertisement. In that case the article might pop fast to the top of HN, but likely just as quickly flagged and removed. So, flagging of articles that are crass advertising, flaming link-bait or just plain inappropriate for HN is the remedy there.

The question is -- is there a case where a story is appropriate for HN and not likely to get flagged, but also is not nearly as worthy or compelling as the title suggests?

I'm having a hard time coming up with that scenario, but in true HN-form I'm willing to be corrected. While I disagree with your statement that "It would be a very interesting result IF it were confirmed to be true," (and that seems to be the emerging consensus), I pose the question back to you and HNers -- what would be the scenario where reading the comments prior to upvoting would help improve the quality of story on HN page one, where flagging is also not the appropriate remedy?

The problem is that many of us have lost our flagging privileges (accidentally tapping "unflag" after tapping "flag" really quickly seems to remove flagging abilities), so by the time the right people can flag the article it might already have the upvotes to stay at the top.

This is why i prefer the reddit model that a vote can be retracted/changed, it allows for a change in vote as the circumstances change. Which would also solve 'accidental downvote' occurrences.

Sometimes I want to upvote not the article, but the discussion. The button doesn't let you show that nuance.

You're assuming that I am not capable of making my own judgement on how credible it sounds. For example, I just upvoted the Bad Astronomy takedown of that article based entirely on reading the first page - I think it should be upvoted independent of what other people think.

Now, sometimes I will check the comments before upvoting. But not always.

The important thing is not what the other people think, but what information the other people add. In that article, some of the first comments were something like: "The authors published recently another paper [link 1] that bas soon debunked [link 2]." That is information that is interesting to judge the plausibility of the new claims, and that information is not present in the original article.

Sometimes the post is very clear and came from a credible source. But in the other case, it's better to read the post and read the information/links provided in the comments and then make your own opinion.

We are in violent agreement on your second paragraph - my point was that sometimes I will check the comments before upvoting, if I think the submission smells fishy. But I'm not going to follow a "always check comments first" rule, and nor do I think everyone else should.

Ironically, I felt inclined to upvote this from the main page, but upon reading the comments no longer do

How about not upvoting the article if you haven't read it and verifying its sources? Reading the comments, specifically, has little to do with it.

I appreciate the idea but couldn't disagree more, this would only influence group think, 'hivemind' like voting on articles even more. It is better to read the article, formulate your own opinion, vote, and then read the comments/discuss with others.

I was thinking about this earlier and I have to agree. I sometimes jump the gun and upvote before reading the comments.

I also disagree. Although not the rule, there are occasionally interesting articles who's comment threads have been hijacked, and are misguided, politically movitivated, wrong and/or the conversation is broken in some other way.

I'm up voting the articles, not their comment thread. (And as such I have no obligation to read the comments at all.)

Hacker News is a user curated news site, not a forum.

I can't agree with this- HN is absolutely a discussion forum, that revolves around the user submitted 'news' (which is often blog opinion). I have gained much more from reading the comments here than the articles submitted.

This almost feels like voting based off the results of voting. Read the article, if you find it interesting, up vote. It seems like a pretty simple system. I don't think that other people's comments should play a part in determining whether I feel a story is interesting, but that is the great thing about a vote. You get to determine the criteria for distributing it.

In some cases, a wrong story is still worth the read, even if just for the comments on HN.

Btw., your link gives HTTP 404.

I suspect the 404 is due to the switch to https.

I don't see a problem with this - this is a classic problem with systems where people can vote - it becomes a popularity contest, almost by definition.

So all it really is is a popularity contest, it has nothing to do with validity or value...

(insert some political rage about politicians not being leaders her)

Of course I had to read all the comments here before deciding whether or not to upvote this submission.

I didn't think the story you mention needed an upvote (it was getting plenty), but I also didn't think it deserved a flag, because the story source is (usually) a reliable source, and the story itself had some balance. I thought the best response to that story was to look up some other information on the same topic and to post that in a comment, and to upvote all of the other comments that were well informed about the topic. (I try to upvote every good comment I find in any thread. The single best way we can improve the quality of HN is by upvoting the good stuff more.)

Because I have read all the comments that were here as I posted this comment, I should perhaps respectfully disagree with some of the ideas expressed in the comments. I asked once soon after I joined HN (probably about early 2009) whether stories should be submitted for disagreement. The consensus then was NO, if a submitter of a story thinks the story is dubious, the story shouldn't be submitted at all. Submitting a story is an endorsement of some aspect of the story's content and its treatment of the topic. I flag stories that are low-quality stories. In my experience, such stories rarely produce good threads of comments. (As above, I thought the story asked about in this thread was good enough to discuss, coming from a reliable source, and I discussed it.)

Other participants here on HN have over the years identified a set of sources that consistently produces lousy stories that generate low-quality discussions. Those are press-release aggregation sites that are just part of the science hype cycle.


PhysOrg appears to have been banned as a site to submit from by Reddit. ScienceDaily is just a press release recycling service, nothing more. I learned from other participants here on HN that there are better sites to submit from.

Comments about PhysOrg:


"Yes Physorg definitely has some of the worst articles on the internet."


"Straight from the European Space Agency, cutting out the physorg blogspam:

http://www.spacetelescope.org/news/heic1116/ (press release),

http://www.spacetelescope.org/videos/heic1116a/ (video),

http://www.spacetelescope.org/static/archives/releases/scien... (paper).

"PhysOrg: just say no."


"The physorg article summary is wrong, I think."


"Phys.org is vacuous and often flat wrong."

Comments about ScienceDaily:



"Original article (to which ScienceDaily has added precisely nothing):


"Underlying paper in Science (paywalled):


"Brief writeup from Nature discussing this paper and a couple of others on similar topics:



"Everything I've ever seen on HN -- I don't know about Reddit -- from ScienceDaily has been a cut-and-paste copy of something else available from nearer the original source. In some cases ScienceDaily's copy is distinctly worse than the original because it lacks relevant links, enlightening pictures, etc.

" . . . . if you find something there and feel like sharing it, it's pretty much always best to take ten seconds to find the original source and submit that instead of ScienceDaily."

Comments about both PhysOrg and ScienceDaily:


"Why hasn't sciencedaily.com or physorg been banned from HN yet?"


"Original source:


"What ScienceDaily has added to this: (1) They've removed one of the figures. (2) They've removed links to the Hinode and SOHO websites. (3) They've added lots of largely irrelevant links of their own, all of course to their own site(s).

"Please, everyone: stop linking to ScienceDaily and PhysOrg."


"Those sources don't have RSS feeds, and ScienceDaily and PhysOrg have a bad habit of not linking to such things."


"Added value in PhysOrg article: zero.

"Please, everyone, stop submitting links from PhysOrg and ScienceDaily. I have never ever ever seen anything on those sites that isn't either (1) bullshit or (2) a recycled press release with zero (or often negative) added value. (Sometimes it's both at once.) It only takes ten seconds' googling to find the original source."

Maybe you should think in terms of "interesting" instead of "upvote".

But a fix might be that an item can only be marked interesting on the item page, not on the overview pages.

Downvote this story. The discussion shows that it was wrong to post it.

When I upvote something I'm just giving my approval for the content being on the front page, it doesn't mean I believe or agree with what is written. I missed that submission but if I had seen it and the comments were good, that would be a reason I would upvote it. Even if I agreed that the article was bogus.

P.S. I just upvoted this even though I disagree with you ;)

Me too, It's nice to have a good skeptical vetting filter. Some of the best discussions I've seen are cases where the OP's link (or the subject of) was eviscerated by commenters here. Maybe I am doing it wrong, but I don't equate the upvote to friendface's "like" button. I often upvote replies with which I disagree as a show of appreciation for a good discussion. I also don't put a lot of stock in the top post. There are a few commenters here who have a knack for getting their comment to the top of the page, often by making a contentious almost trollish post and then I guess, getting the benefit of the shitstorm that follows in the replies to their post.

Registration is open for Startup School 2019. Classes start July 22nd.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact