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That's as much of a problem as it is IMHO because hacker news doesn't appear to be designed to handle a wide variety of topics, a broad userbase and complexity of discussion.

The first is stifled by the lack of metadata (tags, categories, subboards, pick your poison) so everything rises or sinks within the same channel.

A broader userbase means groups of people who want to see posts about x and others who think x is destroying the community, and the strife caused by what may be the inevitable fact that some users want variety and others want bubbles.

This leading to the third problem, complex threads which can in practice be composed of more than 40 comments and more comments than upvotes without necessarily being a flamewar. Hacker news appears to be set up to promote upvotes and comments directly to the OP post, and discourage discussion between users. If that's what their ideal model represents then they should just move to a flat commenting system which makes it more obvious, visually.

I disagree that limiting a website for discussion on a small set of topics - an "information bubble" - is necessarily a bad thing. A web site can be designed to become a platform for a wide variety of topics (like Reddit) - or it can be designed for a small subset.

The internet is the platform that provides the variety: Hacker News for some topics, and for example RCGroups, SpaceFlightNow, or hundreds of other topical forums for others.

While it is silly to complain about "community X is going downhill", I do miss the old "information bubble" that HN was many years ago. The YC alumnus Reddit has taken over the role of a general link-sharing and discussion on every possible topic platform for every topic - but there is no longer any website (that I know of) focused on the advice, thoughts and discussion of technology startups mostly by founders of technology startups.

But for that to work you'd need a lot more restriction on signup and posting rules than currently exist, practically a closed, invitation only network. I'm not arguing that it's necessarily bad, I agree with you - the programming and technology content from professionals is why I'm here, it is unique. But there are a lot of people here who aren't startup founders, as an inevitable consequence of the site's popularity and the practically nonexistent bar on entry.

Invitation-only schemes only delay the inevitable, yet make the early members even more insufferably vocal about the gilded days of yore, the comments even more thoroughly interleaved with links to the Eternal September wiki page.

Are there any downsides to the subreddit approach? If not, wouldn't that be a good solution to the broad userbase problem?

Downsides would probably be that the site as a whole might appear slower, and people might tend towards isolating themselves in sub-communities. Also if this is making money for pg as it is there's always the problem of killing the goose that lays the golden egg I suppose.

Tags for posts might serve the same purpose but allow the community to remain more cohesive.

Thank you

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