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This seems like a bit of attention whoring. If the guy wants to come back to the scene, which he very obviously does, then just do it. These occasionally cryptic updates should be reserved for the new releases of half life and portal. Not for a Ruby programmer who had a nervous breakdown and has now decided to return to public life. It is annoyingly cocky to be posting what he does and to assume the community will go through the time to behold his crypted messages and even more saddening that everyone is going for it hook line and sinker.

HN is not for this kind of stuff and it should be flagged. Tech news; not personal drama.

Also worth nothing- Jonathan Gillette never vanished into thin air. _why was just his made up character. Like kermit the frog.

Nonsense. Hacker News is about Hacking:

from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacker_(programmer_subculture)

"A hacker is someone who loves to program or who enjoys playful cleverness, or a combination of the two. The act of engaging in activities (such as programming or other media) in a spirit of playfulness and exploration is termed hacking."

What _why is doing definitely fits that definition.


If anyone's guilty of seeking attention, it's me (who posted this link) and all the people upvoting this. I posted the link. All _why has done is make changes to his website, and I and many others have been following the puzzles he's created.

There's nothing I've done that could command such attention. I suspect the same might be true for you.


All _why has done is make changes to his website

Yes, but knowing full well that they would be read and discussed and linked by thousands of people.

That's the whole point on doing it on his website -- ie on a publication medium. If he did it on his hard drive, nobody would have noticed.

That said, why nobody worries that those sounds like the texts of a depressed man, maybe even someone about to do something D.F Wallace style?

Everybody merely assume this is just playful clues to some cool new project, while they don't read that way to me.


What parts lead you to believe these are words of someone is who about to off themselves? I ask because nothing about the text strikes me as someone who's depressed. It's all a bit absurd, maybe, but I didn't feel sadness.


Well, stuff like:

"Also, is it too late to be real?"

"she did a feature on individuals who had left society and, in the process, had eliminated every trace of themselves."

"Maybe it's me. I'm a relic which is already out of his time in the present age. Maybe I am what is holding things back, maybe I am already not of any relevance. Good things to consider."

"That's a lot, but I think he could have doone it, even alone, even with tuberculosis. Imagine Kafka's fiendish little face rubbing his hands over that fire! Seems fun. Or he could have hidden it inside an old 32-bit PowerPC. No one's going to look there. Just goes to show that you can't trust people who aren't you. Of course he didn't want them burned. That was just Kafka, writing his own death. The ending has his signature on it. Reality's kind of a medium, maybe greater than paper."



_why's stuff has always been dark. In the poignant guide, he talks about suicide.


which could be argued that it's even more reason to be concerned.


Clearly a lot of us care about it, so it should be here. If you don't like it, don't read it.

People care enough about half life and portal that their cryptic games are part of the fun. The same goes for _why. It isn't cocky, perhaps there are many people doing it right now, and none of us know because no one is paying attention to them.

But we value _why. You may not, that's your judgement to make.


Thank you for offering your thoughtful and constructive feedback. Your unbiased assessment of our content is valuable to the Hacker News community.


Can't imagine why _why might have left in the first place :P


I don't entirely disagree with you but..

HN is not for this kind of stuff and it should be flagged. Tech news; not personal drama.

The guidelines on HN are frequently ignored but in this case I think it might "gratifies one's intellectual curiosity" even in just the way it's been released and encoded.

In contrast, the Boston news was huge on here the other day yet ran against the "if they'd cover it on TV news, it's probably off-topic" suggestion and the "stories about crime" guideline, but much of HN's flavor, like it or not, lies in what actually makes it to the front page rather than what is strictly valid HN content.


Or, perhaps he simply finds it amusing to post his ever-odd thoughts and watch the reaction. Does that have to be cocky?

Or, perhaps I give him a pass for whatever he does, because I enjoy his personality. In any case, it doesn't seem to me that such vitriol is necessary toward another human being, and fellow hacker. If you find him so annoying, why are you paying so much attention?


You don't have any understanding of his mind. You are dismissive and rude. Your response is what the community needs less of, not _why.


Where's your sense of the romantic?


Why are you so angry and judgmental? Can't he just do what he wants? I mean I don't sit around wringing my hands about how annoying Justin Bieber is.


I don't take that comment as being made out of anger, or as an attempt to be judgmental, or anything of that sort.

Whether it's deserved or not, the drama and idolization the Ruby community tends to exhibit can get kind of annoying to others.

I don't think that anyone would really object to discussion of _who, or Zed, or DHH, or whatever the current drama-of-the-day is, as long as it's done within a Ruby-specific mailing list, IRC channel, conference or other locale.

However, once this starts spilling over into more general discussion forums, it can be seen as disruptive and out-of-place by some.


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