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Wow, this seems like a rather large change -- with a lot of dynamics and moving parts -- for what seems like a relatively minor problem on HN. Not that there aren't bad comments, but bad comments get a lukewarm response, and insightful comments seem to do pretty well. Comments that get more airtime than they might deserve will still get approved by someone (and upvoted/downvoted accordingly)

The bigger problem to me seems to be that great comments that come in a few hours after the posting of a hot submission will almost never reach the top of the comment stack, because older comments that are decent enough will inevitably keep getting upvotes by every new reader of the thread. I'm not sure what the best tweak for that is, but the proposed feature at hand would seem to exacerbate the situation.

Note: OK, I've realized I made the archetypical dickish HN comment ("OK the OP is interesting but on a tangent, why don't we all discuss this other thing I care about?")...but I do think the proposed feature will have a direct impact on the circulation of fresh, insightful comments. I'm a 1000+ Karma user, but after I've read a thread a couple of times, I probably won't re-check it...I can't be the only HN'er who has this lack of attention span...and so this queue, even if perfectly implemented, would seem even more to suppress new comments (unintentionally)




It sounds to me like an excuse to drastically slow down discussion under the guise of improving the community. Imagine this scenario, which feels plausible to me: "good" discussions on HN don't offer much value to HN stakeholders, but "bad" ones (whether regarding employment discrimination, or bad press for YC companies, etc.) pose a credible threat to HN stakeholders. Then, anything that simply dampers discussions, even if it does so at a constant rate across all types of discussions and comments, if good for HN stakeholders. Shutting HN down altogether would do the same, but might itself result in bad press throughout the community.


While I am willing to give pg and company the benefit of the doubt, I would consider what you said to probably be the most noticeable difference that would matter to the bottom line of the parties involved who have felt the brunt of such situations.

With this new system, I can't imagine YC companies being called out on their dirty closets like they have in the past (any maybe indirectly large swaths of people who are employed by big co's who are power users on HN with those stories, or in general up and coming companies people engage with in the community).

I know some may feel I'm over exaggerating (because there are the passive bans through blocking upvoting/downvoting effects for comments/posts/polls, filters, hellbanning, etc.) , but I feel like until now, I have taken the information access, discussion that goes on here and all the interesting people this board attracts for granted. I just don't see it being the same place to discus/mention ideas/concepts and ask questions if pg and co decide to stick with it, and it just becoming more watered down onanism that it can increasingly be and has been on track to becoming more of up until today. But this is the internet, and moments like these may inspire someone to offer other environments.

On another note: I'm finding it really fascinating to be able to experiment with social systems like this. I'm excited to see the posts of people analyzing the affect of a change like this via the search api or scraping.


> "after I've read a thread a couple of times, I probably won't re-check it"

It's funny, since we lost usenet 10+ years ago, we lost reader software that show which comments are new since you last time looked at a thread.

In this sense, the software we had in the 90's was technically superior to the web forums we have today.


To be fair other web forums have that capability.


You hit on a important thing for me. I know the "quality if the comments" thing gets talked about a lot but I think it is much ado about nothing. I think it, like you say, a minor problem.


I agree. I don't understand what problem pg is trying to solve here.




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