Do you have any opinion about Svbtle itself, incidentally? Have you tried using it? What do you feel are its advantages and disadvantages compared to Medium?
Isn't this what you do for a living?
I wasn't attacking Dustin Curtis, I don't know him, I know of him and I have no problem with him whatsoever. I think people are too quick when it comes to interpreting the intent of someone else's words. But that's understandable as gauging intent of words without the voice can be very difficult and easy to misinterpret, especially on the Internet and a site like Hacker News.
What I meant by elitist was a blogging platform that only allowed people that Dustin or whoever else hand-picked and determined were good enough to be allowed to use and publish on the Svbtle platform is in my opinion quite an elitist thing to do. "I think you're good enough to use my website" it's like a tech company like Apple choosing who gets to use their products and who doesn't based on how they look or where they live.
At the same time, it's Dustin's right to choose who uses Svbtle, it was a unique take on blogging when it made its debut and its his darling. I won't judge him for it, but I standby my choice of words calling his approach an elitist attitude. That's just my opinion, don't hate on me for it.
I haven't used Svbtle long enough to form a substantial opinion as I already use Medium and am active on Quora, but what I've seen is quite nice. The interface is great, I've always been a fan of the overall aesthetic of the site from day one. I've got nothing bad to say about it. It's just another blogging platform to me, a well-built one.
However, I don't think Svbtle has any competitive edge left to compete with other established players in the competitive blogging platform niche. It's an overdone thing, even Ghost has failed to live up to its own hype as a blogging platform because people are used to the likes of Wordpress and don't want to use something new and unknown. Perhaps if Svbtle were to open source itself like Wordpress they might be able to compete in the space.
I believe my comment was mostly fair, I am sorry if I offended anyone, but honesty is the best policy. If I called Dustin Curtis a fat elitist slob then maybe all of the disdain in the comments beneath me would be warranted.
In fact, in some small way, even when I get linked to a post on an Svbtle-hosted blog, I get an off putting feeling just knowing that this was one of those people who was "better" than me, since they were allowed to have a Svbtle blog, and I was not. I often even lost interest in the author's content because of this nagging feeling.
Running a beta period to test your theories is one thing, but the entire platform was packaged and advertised as a walled garden for those whom were better than the rest of us. This is what soured it for me.
It was even more infuriating because I actually LOVED the features they were previewing.
I remain somewhat on the fence about Svbtle. I admire much of it but there's a rather unrelating sameness starting to manifest itself in the web design world--the pastels, rounded corners and dropped vowels of a few years ago have given way to monochrome color schemes, large text, and vast swaths of whitespace. While this is an improvement in readability, the biggest difference between Medium and Svbtle for readers rather than authors is serif text vs. sans serif, and that Medium appears to have better image handling.
To their credit, they were on this trend early. But, I agree...it has lost any sort of cachet it might have had, designwise. Unfortunately, for them perhaps.
The social-cachet-to-build-buzz to then sell-out business plan. Seems to be heading into its final phase with indeterminate success on the first two.
> I wasn't attacking Dustin Curtis, I don't know him, I know of him and I have no problem with him whatsoever
Not sure how this could be interpreted in any other way whatsoever. Your other points are very fair.
There's also the matter of Dustin Curtis' negative reaction to the creation of WP themes and other Svbtle lookalikes, which many people felt was undue/misplaced.
This is unfair, and lacks imagination.
CEO X can run a company with an "elitist" strategy or not. And he can be critiqued for that strategy, or not. It is a giant leap (of bad logic) to jump to personal conclusions about CEO X based on his strategy. You are making that poor leap. The poster was trying to not due this, to his credit.
There are various flavours of elitism, and frankly the political ones are pretty remote from the run-of-the mill business strategy that inspires many, including the likes of Svbtle. You can read up all about in this look at the marketing of nightlife in NYC.
 Elitist, by some standards. Run of the mill, by others.
Is that true? Does it have no features that some users prefer?
Edit: I'm not really familiar with the particular politics here, but attitude of authors is not a trivial thing. Similarly, the wealth of GPL/BSD/MIT-licensed software that we all benefit from is strongly linked to the attitude of the authors.
I don't like the way Microsoft does business, and I think Steve Ballmer is an egotistical prick, so I don't buy their products. I don't use Windows on my devices (including phone), I don't use Skype, I don't own an xbox and therefore I don't use xbox live, etc.
I'm not interested in the "actual qualities" of Windows Phone or Metro UI because I don't want to support Microsoft with my dollars.
Have I made a mistake, pg?
I don't know much at all about RMS, but I will agree that Linus is a jerk.
The difference of course is that Linus doesn't head a company that engages in predatory business practices, ships spyware and DRM (malware) in its operating systems, etc.
So I can overlook the fact that Linus occasionally says mean things to people over the internet. I don't think Linus has ever thrown a chair across his office when someone wanted to leave Linux. Can't say the same for Ballmer, who has very real personality issues: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xR-P6HPZgMs
Finally, I know that this comments+karma format encourages extreme pedantry so let me pre-empt you:
The fact that I choose not to use Microsoft products because I don't like Microsoft or Ballmer doesn't mean I am required to abstain from ALL products whose authors have engaged in behaviour I don't like.
More often than not it's a "lesser of $num evils" situation.
Disregarding that, strictly speaking, the onus is on pg to show that you made a mistake (if this were a debate)
In general, statements and actions of the authors do seem to be extremely irrelevant components of software quality.
Uhh... no. Not really.
Having read it now, though, I don't care if I've made what someone else considers to be a mistake. My operating system choice suits me just fine.
I guess I just don't understand the purpose of asking this.
Because my operating system choice hasn't let me down or hindered me in any significant way?
I gave the "I don't care" response because I don't know how else to answer your question. "a mistake" is so nebulously defined that in this context it has nearly no meaning to me. Can you give an example of what you mean when you say "a mistake"?
"His motives"? Really? What are you thinking here? Fame? Fortune? Pull the other one.
While I agree with pg in that perhaps this shouldn't be your first consideration in picking software, there clearly is significant reason to consider your opinion of the authors.
But that's not really relevant here. It's a blogging platform among a sea of blogging platforms.
I always write on Svtble (because it's better and it's mine) and sometimes post on it later as a Medium post so I can submit to collections. But they are NOT one in the same, not at all.
"Invitation only" model sometime works and kudos for him for trying that.
This was just a way how to make something different in very very crowded space. It did not work, so he is trying "plan B".
What is wrong with that? He is just trying to make something and we are here putting him down? Why not some encouragements?
> Until now, we’ve been an exclusive platform open only to approved users. We took this initial approach because we wanted to ensure that the software worked, first of all, and that the platform was seeded with great content by seasoned and experienced authors.
but if you remember the original svbtle announcement, that is disingenuous. dustin deliberately tried to build up some sense of exclusivity in the "cachet of belonging to a selective group" rather than in the "starting off small" sense. to me that came across as manipulative and a little sketchy (i always wonder, subconsciously, what is wrong with your product if it has to be sold on the premise that not everyone can get it). to a lot of other people, it came across as elitist (just read some of the other comments here). either way, he took a nice piece of software and gave it an unnecessarily blot, but since that blot was deliberately highlighted you can't blame people here for the conversation choosing to focus on it.
"Until now, we’ve been an exclusive platform open only to approved users. We took this initial approach because we wanted to ensure that the software worked, first of all, and that the platform was seeded with great content by seasoned and experienced authors."
I used to own an iPhone 4S and switched to a Nexus 5 this christmas, because Android interested me and I wanted a change. I like Android overall much better and the N5 is a great phone, but I still agree with his points about the screen. It IS pretty frustrating trying to reach with one hand. The extra screen real-estate makes it worth it for me, though.
Apropos of nothing, I guess..
It makes me sad that it's the top-voted comment
Not necessarily. It's also less than an hour old, so that helps to make it raise.
My first question is: "who is this for?"
The interface, and experience look great. But who needs this? Who is pulling out their hair looking for a new hosted publishing platform that they don't control?
Maybe this is a "hair-on-fire" (Patio11) problem for some folks - but I couldn't tell from the blog post.
I think this is a mistake a lot of us make when we're marketing, writing about our products: we go through the features, but don't identify who the product is for.
Medium beat Svbtle to the punch, though.
How does having an account restrict you, in the context of being a writer wishing to publicise your work?
If you aren't already a Twitter user, it's simpler to have the option of making a Medium account.
Unless Twitter gives Medium more information about usera on authentication than I think they do, I don't know how Medium could possible verify the owners of each blog.
This is true of virtually every "good design" over the years. At the beginning people almost always thought it was superior in some way.
In other words, they became the most valuable company in the world, even though they have a tiny share of the market in almost every segment they're in other than the mobile handset space, because enough people are willing to pay the "Apple Tax".
Were any other company responsible for making the new Mac Pro, it would have been met with devastating reviews. Correlation, however, and people somehow reach to find a way to make a case for why it is actually a good design.
Ever hear of Frog Design?
Frog Design was the main motivation behind Apple hardware design..look up its history its a great read on the true story of Industrial design at Apple
I've been using Svbtle for a while now, and for me, the killer is this, in order: On my own domain, looks great, and hosted by someone else.
I care that I'm not putting content I care about into a closed platform. I'd never post to Medium.
I'm a backend kind of developer, so knowing how to design something myself is awkward. I could pay someone to do it, but I'd still have to implement it.
While I am a backend developer, the last thing I want to do is deal with ANOTHER project to yak shave and suck up more of my time. Hosting it myself is a no-go.
I assume that this will be a Freemium product and I also think that the "pro" version will have some features that I would sooner or later need, at least that's my experience with other platforms I tested.
One example being Google's App engine, which turned out to be rather expensive compared to competitors and didn't justify that for me. Investing a lot of hours in a platform that you don't end up using is not that satisfying.
I assume that the initial product was built around the "seasoned and experienced authors" who initially populated the site. And the founder, Dustin Curtis.
It seems that this was built for a very small group of people. But like many products that start out with a small number of people who love it... this could also be appreciated and used by others.
I am not a serious writer, but I hate writing in square spaces ui because its distracting. I might not have been able to articulate this because I'm not a serious writer - But in hind sight I realize that I usually write in word and then paste into squarespace. Svbtle eliminates this process - it makes writing simpler.
So yes. Built for a specific sub set. But with features that everyone can appreciate.
For example, imagine if the blog post / homepage looked something like this:
"Blogging built for developers"
-"Having trouble building a technical audience?"
-"Want to properly format your posts with syntax highlighting?"
-"Need support for code snippets?"
"Then this platform is for you"
There's also a few references in the announcement post today mentioning writers' identity (free custom domain support, full name on everything) that could appeal to some people turned off by Medium's "nice article you just read now here's something else by someone completely different" approach.
Basically, what I see today is a side project growing up. Hard to see that as a bad thing.
Svbtle does have that aspect (it calls itself "a new kind of magazine"), but seems to put a lot of energy into pleasing the writers.
Using Wordpress to simply serve up my content and manage comments has been working so far. I'm in between being locked in and lazy so I haven't bothered moving to something like Ghost.
It is _definitely_ for me to try and find out.
I've been wanting a very simple, minimalistic platform to blog. I _thought_ the reason I've abandoned my wordpress blog is because I dislike how complex and advanced it is. I want the simplest thing ever.
Svbtle looked like that thing since it first came out. I'll find out soon enough.
> I like it, but noticing a few problems so far. Can’t tab while writing markdown. No live preview for markdown (may or may not be a problem). No confirmation of saving changes if you close the tab/navigate away. Drag and drop to upload images works okay, but Cmd+V doesn’t.
> Fenced blocks don’t do syntax highlighting (for Go at least).
> Can’t see invisible whitespace.
> The rest is good.
> Also, I don't see a way to export your content, nor a way to delete your account.
Also, did you really just index your citations by zero? :)
And this time it's going to be done right!
In addition to that, I've found Google+ to follow some of the people that write about topics I am interested in.
$ cat << EOF > blog-post-n.html
My post here
$ scp blog-post-n.html myserver:public_html
Master index? What for?
Chronological display of posts? Tags? You have so much content you need so much stuff to organize it?
Don't need menus, headers, consistent style. Use plain html.
Comments? God no. You'll have spam, you'll have to manage it. What you want is a contact page with your email address and your phone number. Everyone knows how to use those.
Search? This means you have too much stuff. Trim, keep the good stuff only.
Analytics? Server logs.
But in general, Wordpress is rife with inconsistent UIs, plugins that cause each other problems, and attempting to be all things to all people. It's moved way, way past being just a blog engine.
This isn't the type of marketing copy that makes me want to use the product, and in-fact drives me away from it. Contrast with Medium's more neutral, objective copy: https://medium.com/p/8d615d86ac04
Personally, I prefer a more matter-of-fact approach. The less bullshit I get in a marketing pitch, the less I worry that they need to bullshit me to cover up for issues I haven't yet discovered. But then, I'm not in Svbtle's target market; I'm very unlikely to use a hosted platform to publish.
Huh. I've never thought of it in those words, its a great explanation for the tone of writing has been driving me batty. The first self-congratulatory superfluous adjective I see puts me directly into "I'm being lied to" mode.
Definitely! Having just got back from watching the X Games, the comparison that springs to mind is that this sort of thing bugs me the way any opinion column published in any Aspen CO newspaper bugs me. "When I think about how perceptive and fortunate I am to have chosen to live in such a wonderful community..."
I'm sure they were great people and I loved my neighborhood in the suburbs but it and Boulder were anything but diverse from an ethic or cultural point of view.
I grew up in a ski town. I bet the locals fucking love him.
I thought the next section of copy was even more off-putting. "It cares about your identity." Because your name appears on the article and you can use your own domain and avatar. How is that differentiated from any platform that allegedly doesn't care about your identity?
Writers shouldn’t be defined by the brands of their publishers...
And yet, every svtble blog I've seen is very clearly a svtble page first, text content second, and any consideration for personal identity a distant third. I don't really have an issue with that but why feature such a ridiculous claim?
That seems like a rather bizarre idea to attribute to Svbtle. It seems clear to me that the "you" in their copy is someone who is likely to be interested in their product. That's an extremely common wording in marketing copy.
The kudos concept is different, the fact that people are writing him emails and tweets about decrementing their counts for a meaningless number is petty.
The "Elitism" invite-only being such an issue is silly. HN and reddit started with small groups of people that weren't connected to a larger social sphere, so they slowly grew organically with the content they wanted. Google does invite-only for their projects (Gmail, G+, etc) as a way to both fix issues early with minimal user impact and to scale properly. Medium did the same thing. To say the dcurtis should've made it open for everyone at the beginning is disingenuous. Curating a small community and taking feedback from them, along with having readers connected to a larger social sphere (HN) means it can grow slowly while focusing on its core users, especially as a side project.
Appreciate what others are doing, even if you don't agree with it. Don't follow the herd. Just because Medium opened its gates doesn't mean they're the end-all be-all of blogging. I made a svbtle account because I want to see how they evolve and capture what Medium is missing.
So perhaps the dismissiveness is primarily proof that HN is populated largely by humans, with all their usual tendencies, not 'bots nor aliens.
If you find petty that people complain about non-intended kudos, by the same logic you should also find petty to have introduced such a pointless anti-pattern in the first place.
Besides, kudos are not that different from karma points or likes. Knowingly adulterating such a crucial signaling component of an online community is short-sighted and needlessly detrimental.
PS: Reddit didn't grow organically, it was heavily content and user seeded by the admins. http://motherboard.vice.com/read/how-reddit-got-huge-tons-of...
Are non-undoable likes the logical progression to the likes-only-no-dislikes method of social media validation?
I forgot why I don't click links to svbtle but thanks HN for reminding me why :)
You cannot undo an upvote (you can unflag posts and articles though). This is particularly a problem when using HN on mobile devices where distinguishing up and down votes is all but impossible. I'll often make multiple wrong clicks trying to navigate to a link or vote on an item. It's frustrating.
Subtle's interface is doubly deceptive: it lies to the user and it misrepresents the consequences of those lies. Makes me lose a lot of trust and faith in the product, actually. As well as those who use it.
Funny how things brand you.
The atom feed will represent the compiled and rendered end content. If I have, say, source code snippets, that leaves me in a position of needing to parse out the original code so I can redo it in whatever new highlighting syntax my new blog uses. I might end up with resized images instead of originals, etc etc etc. It's not a real substitute for a proper backend export.
This is why I'm such a huge fan of Octopress and nothing has been able to pull me away from it. Everything's in a git repo. Backups are one command. All my original text is safe in Markdown format.
It might not look as cool as Medium or Svbtle, or have all the features, but it's relatively easy to use, and more importantly immune to platform lock-in.
I'm hoping that this trend will be catch on and will get more hosted services supporting export functionality in the future.
But really, I'm just going to put all my stuff on someone else's servers and wait for them to be acquired and shut down? It is 2014 after all. How many times has this happened?
Aside: I think this is a great blogging platform that turns quite a few people away because of Dustin's bravado.
> We want to encourage people to write stuff that has lasting impact. I think dates can just add an extra piece of messy context for some articles. What kind of increased emphasis do you want to see?
The more I though about it, the more I realized my desire to see dates is because that is what I know. In retrospect, the best writings I've read didn't need date information to make them impactful and I admire Svbtle more for standing out this way.
Further, even if you constantly have amazing ideas, not all of your blogs are timeless.
Dating is not a messy context. Dates add to journalistic integrity.
Dates can also help when someone is talking about a technology which might have iterated past the point that their article is even relevant.
Language is very much context-dependent. Providing less context usually only helps misunderstandings.
"Lasting impact" that can't stand up for itself, needs to generate a little confusion first.
It's similar to svbtle in its simplicity.
How well has Silvrback held up under heavy load?
Now I use Medium and I have no interest in it — and most people I know (who blog) do the same these days.
Also I think that the copyright is (better) protected on Svbtle. All in all it seems like a better option to me.
It was super popular for a few months - then fell off completely. Seems strange that the one main differentiator for the network has now been removed.
During the American Renaissance, architects used the old latin alphabet, which had no U. That's why you see things like PVBLIC LIBRARY in old cities. Eg: http://i.imgur.com/p4RS9My.jpg
So, "Svbtle" is "Subtle" and "Bvlgari" is "Bulgari" etc.
U and V have a long complicated history. If you'd like to learn more: http://medievalwriting.50megs.com/scripts/letters/historyuv....
That might not be entirely right, but I believe I'm close. You'd have to look up the evolution of the latin alphabet I suppose.
Edit: So to answer your question, I believe it's pronounced 'subtle' :)
Nothing so intriguing about it, really.
Edit: Also, the sign up page itself has a confusing user interface.
Considering it is svbtle, I decided to give a lot more thought to my post. If that's the effect it gives me, providing more effort and quality to my own thoughts, then it's worth it.
Oops.. I was using wp-svbtle all this time. Ah well, same thing to me :)
I know Svbtle supports embedding Youtube videos, but I thought this would be a good thread to mention this extension in case some people use some other system.
I also (and this is purely a personal thing) find that much whitespace like staring into a lamp I suspect I'd be using something like stylish in short order (might be nice to have something like a night mode, readability does this really well see here.. http://i.imgur.com/dTMrqId.png )
That it handles zooming really all the way up to an insane level is great (I'm 34 this year and my eyes are crap..) and it looks really nice on my old Nexus 7 1st gen.
This sentence might not be true. Writing is partly about sharing ideas and partly about discovering them. In an essay at least, most of the ideas reveal themselves after you start writing. And half of those you start with turn out to be wrong. So you want to keep writing until you bump onto the right ones. It's figuring out the truth you're after. Sharing something untrue isn't as valuable.
If you had a writing tool good at getting you to share and one good at getting you to write, the latter could be a better tool.
That's not to say Svbtle does a bad job at getting you to write. But the distinction is important enough for any writing tool to consider.
In svbtle, there is a lot of really bright and really dark areas, and I find this to be very distracting and annoying. Ideally for me, the whole website would be a lot darker and the text and boxes would be just bright enough to be visible, not full white but a more tame grey.
PS: This one is more in tune with how the brain works. Pretty radical idea for a writing interface. https://vimeo.com/66995098
TLDR: If I was invited to Svbtle then it isn't a good sign.
You could email everything too, so a zip file full of images and a quick paragraph in email would get formatted as a nice blog post with photo gallery.
Everything (mostly) just worked and was awesome.
Svbtle used to self-identify your work as selected to some extent. Now, what's the differentiator between your work and everything else?
Don't say "content" please. That's obvious. But a link was more dependable to me if it was from Svbtle. Not anymore.
A very simple and practical example where Markdown offers no help: how can you change rtl and ltr directions of the text without CSS?
There are a lot of options right now... Any ideas or suggestions?