See the G+ outrage lately: there are three articles about that at the top of the frontpage that say exactly the same thing with exactly the same comments. It's reddit/4chan tier "pitchforking".
The problem seems to be that the community is growing quickly and as a consequence the upvoted articles are those who cater to the lowest common denominator and it keeps getting lower. It's a problem all successful communities face.
The usual solution might be to migrate towards a smaller community as you propose, but the problem then is that you have to rebuild everything from scratch over and over again.
IMO a simpler solution would be to make a "meta-HN" which would just add an other layer of moderation on top of the existing HN:
- Remove all "drama/politics" entries
- Merge entries about the same topic under a single item.
Then just link to the usual HN comment threads. I find the quality of comments usually reflects the quality of the article so I think it would work well for me. No need to rebuild everything from scratch and rebuild the community.
The HN you once liked is still there, it's just getting increasingly buried it low-relevance contents.
I love posts about algorithms and anything about Go or Python 'cause I use those; people's snazzy tech demos are always cool; startup/career stuff can be fine but isn't super relevant to me. It's just weird that to get to the bits I like I load a page that also has a lot of strident arguments about the things I shouldn't or must do, the things people are quitting, the things folks are mad at each other over, etc.
It's still an interesting problem, though. You might help address it with distinct kinds of vote (relevant vs. agree), or a randomized rather than static list to show people some things outside their filter bubble, a change folks have already proposed for other reasons (it would spread some votes to things off the homepage).
I'm not sure even the naïve implementation would be so bad, though. Things from HN that have actually improved my life haven't really had a component of agreement/disagreement; often they were, e.g., tips or new things to play with or interesting CS or math.
Worse, two were based on the same guy at G+ raving about the whole thing.
I'm a little curious about how the stories hit the front page and have stayed up so long. I don't know if it's fully organic, if Google's reputation has really suffered that much, if it's specific to the HN community, or if someone at WaggEd woke up Saturday morning, glanced at HN's submission queue, and decided they needed some nudging. Or Apple, or Oracle, or Facebook, or even some of the privacy rights groups (though Google's slightly late-to-the-game but strident opposition to NSA/PRISM surveillance seems commendable).
But by HN's metric of what's worthy of consideration, the story seems to resonate. And I have to say for myself, having worked in the tech field for a few decades and watched data, surveillance, and analytic capabilities mushroom, I think it's a damned good thing for people to be questioning.
That said: I'm partial to Reddit myself, if you find the right subs. And if you're into the whole drama thing, their personal information policy ain't bad either.
1. I happen to be that guy. And I'm pretty much just as amazed as anyone.
2. Microsoft's PR firm. Or whomever they use for online reputation management.
3. That being: stuff which makes the front page.
/r/bicycling, /r/motorcycles and /r/autos are all great, but /r/justrolledintotheshop is brilliant because of how specific it is and how there's always new content - ie. picutres of idiotic things customers bring to their mechanics. /r/scooters is not great because the community is too small.
The subreddit for my phone is of interest. Programming languages that I'm trying to learn - Python, Scala. Skills I'm interested in - welding, CNC machinery.
Well, that's a good start if you're into things on wheels and programming, anyway.
http://www.reddit.com//r/DepthHub/ is a great highlighter for introductions to quality subreddits. Its how I found /r/AskHistorians/
http://www.reddit.com//r/BestOf/ is good too.
Other than that it depends on your particular interests.
There is an outstanding problem that subreddits I would love exist but are hard to find. However that does also protect them and their mods from the slavering hordes of captioned gif posts.
I'd start by, say looking at a set of current tech sites, seeing what current articles appeal to you most, and searching for those at Reddit. Look for the subs they turn up in and check out the conversation.
I'm actually mostly following subs that don't have to do with IT issues (programming, systems admin/DevOps, or networking) as I'm finding my interests lie elsewhere. One rule of Reddit is that if you can imagine it, there's a subreddit for it.
One G+ feature I'd liked was the fact that my posts there formed their own channel, a feature somewhat lacking on Reddit. I've created my own user subreddit as a place I can post and curate my own links or discussions. Not sure if I'll keep it but it's an interesting idea.
> Poll: How do you feel about making HN invite only? (5 years ago)
> Ask HN: Is it just me, or are HN comments becoming more and more negative? (4 years ago)
> Why people complain about the quality of Hacker News (4 years ago)
> Ask HN: (Yet Another) HN Comment Quality Going Down? (3 years ago)
> Hacker News Needs Honeypots (2 years ago)
Edit: The moderation on this site is as iron-fisted as ever. The problem here is perception.
Looking forward to a dataset to show me otherwise. One that clearly defines the subjective nature of "quality" and "degradation" of comments.
To put it simply, if you want lots of karma points, don't bother responding to submissions (presumably in an attempt to help someone with a problem, or contribute to the conversation). Instead just find some "hot" controversial articles on some other tech related news sites and submit them instead. If this is true, then it should not be surprising that there is more "white noise" here at HackerNews, as this approach facilitates submitting stories instead of contributing to conversations.
My recommendation (if anyone cares), break karma points up into two separate values, one related to submitting articles/stories (which is valuable), and another related to submitting comments (which is also valuable). Then I would remove any reference of points from the system (make them hidden from users) as to remove any desire to "game the system" for points. This would result in a system where points do not influence how people contribute to the community.
from itertools import groupby
better_hn = sorted(hn, key=topic)
better_hn = [topic, len(list(submissions))
for topic, submissions in groupby(better_hn)]
for line in better_hn:
No it's not. It's a problem all large and free communities face.
Try looking for private communities, and the quality is much higher.
To get into these types of communities, you have to pass an interview or maybe pay monthly (I don't belong to these types, but I've heard good stuff about their quality).
e.g. want a good business community?
Maybe have a fee for $100/month, so you have people who can afford that join.
want a good programming community? Maybe have open source contribution requirements.
Or just interviews in general will filter out a lot of crappy users.
If you can pay something that's related to the niche, it shows you have expertise in the niche.
For example, if you can pay $100/month for a business forum, than that shows you are at least somewhat serious and interested in business, and more likely, you are already successful at it.
If you can pay via open source contributions to the OS community, and that's a requirement for a software community, it shows at least you can code decently.
It doesn't have to be a "Do X" type of test either, it can just be an interview to hear their experience, their attitude, etc..
>Or, how does inability/unwillingness to pay or prove yourself in some other way relate to an inability to make worthwhile contributions?
You design a test to filter out people that you don't want in your community. If people fail that test, then it should already signal an inability to make worthwhile contributions. It might give false negatives for users that would have been good, but the test should not give too many false negatives.
That's not even getting into the discussion of whether programming knowledge is the only field of value for contributors to HN.
That said, it would be interesting if people had to put an answer to fizzbuzz in an area of their profile once they hit the karma threshold in order to get voting rights, (can't be null) and then peers could vote/comment on the answer.
One option would be to give out some of the data that is behind HN, namely the information about who has upvoted which article. This should make it possible to create mashup which would try to learn whose thoughts about interesting arcticles match mine.
(No need to disclose the actual usernames, some anonymous identifier would be enough)
A lot of people are recommending r/programming. r/programming is why I quit Reddit a few years ago. It's all "computer-related cult wars" rather than actual discussion about programming. Everyone goes through that stage in their programming career, but it's not interesting to read about, and most people eventually grow out of it. Not r/programming.
/r/webdev /r/web_design /r/frontend
It also moves a lot slower, so if you miss a few days, it's fine. Just one page or so of links will show you all the best from those few days.
Apart from that the #1 story is just another stupid adver-article written for HN. The story is by differential.io and submitted by joshowens who works there. The same story was submitted to HN by the author with his coworker joshowens shilling in the comments -
This kind of exploitation is happening a lot, "Next HN" will hopefully be more discerning about its members' motivations.
I figure I only read about 10% of the posts on HN, and focus on the ones about actual technologies I might use or evaluate. And honestly, that 10% is all I have time to read anyway, so it works out just right.
The only better option is to go to reddit and subscribe to all the relevant tech subreddits you're interested in and unsubscribe from everything else. That's more like drinking from the firehose though, requires more mental overhead in filtering only the absolutely most useful and relevant.
Also, http://pineapple.io if you just want cool tech and no discussions.
So far it has been very good signal to noise...
The only question is, how do we do it ?
How many tags would be sufficient to classify most posts? Startup, marketing, programming, science, politics, ... That's actually a quite hard problem!
Here are my additional addictions (in order of preference):
dying place (although I still read it): http://slashdot.org
Although it's just programming (the rules say that if there's no code in the link, then you shouldn't post it).
We built Theneeds with a similar idea in mind, that people should come and just find interesting stuff, personalized according to their interests (we learn from users' activity to get smarter about what the interests really are).
We focus on a broader range of topics than just tech & science, thought there is a good selection about that too.
The background can be turned off, but we actually decided to keep it on by default. We think that it creates a more "full-immersion" experience and helps not going OT (out of need actually ;). We don't have numbers to support this, but... that's the idea!
But, it also has some disadvantage such as spammers first attack, moderators are not so active, sometime you can find unusual stuffs.
We're also on irc: #Techendo on Freenode!
Why not just hire a bunch of people with taste to choose the content?