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"Let me know how I can help" – a proposal to HN (tomcritchlow.com)
193 points by topcat31 on Apr 11, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 74 comments

Just to clarify:

a) You're suggesting that we start an HMO meme on Hacker News which clearly means "I'm looking for help, this is what I'm looking for help with"

b) This post is the first one and it's your list of things?

If so: Cool :) I can't help with any, but I thought that this clarification may help others.

I was also wondering to myself: would this be a good idea for a monthly thread a la Jobs/Freelancers/Open Source? I decided that it probably wouldn't be, because you'd end up with a difficult-to-read list of things that people may or may not need help with.

Articles like Tom's which include specific requests are probably the best format for such things. We don't want any information overload, right?

That is exactly what I'm proposing :) but I'm also proposing that it's helpful to always have this list top of mind so if you meet someone IRL and they say "let me know how I can help" you can give them some specific ways they can help.

I find it really works for serendipity!

About your question 4 -- Interior designers sometimes direct art purchases. The specialist whose sole job is to do this, usually for wealthy clients, or corporate clients, is called an art consultant. I know someone, for example, who directs art purchases for rooms of boutique hotels. That can add up fast.

> Articles like Tom's which include specific requests are probably the best format for such things. We don't want any information overload, right?

But most people's articles will never make the homepage. By having one posts (like the jobs threads), you keep all the information in one place and it gets better visibility. It's the opposite of overload; it's consolidation.

Also, those posts request a specific format (eg, starting with "LOOKING FOR WORK / Location") which helps others easily scan through the list and find what's relevant to them. The same can be done with HMO lists.

Maybe you're right. My concern is that it'll just become completely un-navigable, whereas if it's something that people need to post proper posts about they're going to be more serious about it. But I see your point. Why don't we give it a go and see what happens?

Tom, this was your idea - you wanna do it?

I agree - I'm very lucky to be on the homepage but a monthly HMO post would be a great idea.

Well, I thought it'd be more appropriate for you to do it, but someone got there first: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7573172

Sorry dan, I stepped away from my computer for a few mins (crucial mistake!) glad there's another thread going on. I'll up-bump!

I've been wanting something like this forever. I hope this discussion gets it going on HN. I think it can greatly enhance the rate of product development. I've got one (or two) I'm well along on but I need specific help and I'd be all over it to help find that.

you helped by clarifying :)

I'd actually like to see a monthly post along these lines, in the same was as the "Who's hiring" or "Freelancers required/available" posts. I don't think it works as well on a post by post basis but as a collection it'd make for good scanning.

http://www.weekendhacker.net is solving exactly that problem (by trading skills)

We have a little under 10K subscribers and although we haven't been as active recently we are ramping up with some new features too.

Disclaimer: I am the creator.

I second this, it sounds like a good way to do it. A monthly thread where people can post projects they'd like help on and a way to get in touch if you're willing to help.

I created a repo so people could post and get on site http://prefinem.github.io/HelpMeOut/

We have build http://DoerHub.com to tackle this head on. You post whatever projects you are working on (hackers, researchers, scientists, are are 50%+ of the community, but there are also marketers, subject matter experts, designers, etc). Examples:

http://www.doerhub.com/for/doerhub (dogfooding)






Whoever sees your project can help in little or big ways, from joining the team to becoming an advisor or a beta user. Teams are soon getting public/private collaboration tools inside projects as well.

At the same time your profile shows what areas you are great at or looking for help in/learning in, example: http://doerhubassets.s3.amazonaws.com/assets/badge-67f14a8ee...

So you can really easily see people you have a lot in common with and share complementary skills with. An app with real-time chat and serendipity matching is in the works as well. It is entirely free, we haven't made a cent with it but some amazing projects are now in beta because of our work and people who would have never ever met otherwise (a hacker and a surgeon for example) are now doing projects together. There are growing past 600+ doers already and 80+ projects as of yesterday. You are welcome to join.

We don't spread it randomly. Instead we mention it only to communities of doers we respect and would want to work with and I hope you will do the same if you join in.

Totally random, unsolicited, off-topic feedback: this project seems cool and I suspect I might well be interested in using it, and I just bounced because I couldn't figure out how to explore it a bit without signing up. Basically exactly the same thing as https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7489870

This is probably a weird irrational hangup, but I tend to assign a fair amount of weight to account creation, and am in general extremely unlikely to register for anything before I am certain that I actually want it. I lurked HN and reddit for, like, a year each before I finally was compelled to create accounts due to people being wrong on the internet. I am unlikely to join your community if I can't lurk anonymously for a while first.

I have no idea whether this makes me strange, of if there is a substantial chunk of the population who acts similarly.

I also was interested to see what's going on; it sounded intriguing to me. "I want to see what some of the projects are. Maybe I can find a side project to work on!"

Then when I saw that I wasn't going to get squat without giving first via signing up, closed it. I only wanted to take a minute or two here in between tasks, and signing up is a commitment to me.

Sounds irrational, arguably, but here's my rationale: My email box is currently flooded by dozens of emails from countless little things I've signed up for at some time in the past under similar situations. Periodically, I go clear them all out and try to unsubscribe, but it's like pulling weeds-- a project that never ends.

Mentally I was prepared to give the site a minute or two, but the requirement to sign up before I can even see what's up is a deal breaker to me-- I wasn't planning to spend that kind of time.

Then I make a liar out of myself by coming here and typing for several minutes. In any case, I love the idea, and I bet a lot of other people are, like myself, looking to connect with other people that want to give and take on various kinds of projects.

Thank you, this is great. Posting cold to people who don't know the site is not normal for us. We were trying to create a "club of doers" experience - we do everything we can to help the doers who are using the site with their projects so that they share it with other doers they respect and invite others. However I saw several posts that really ask for the problems we are solving, and felt compelled to offer the site as a resource. We really want to make the landing page experience as clear as possible. I am taking notes. feedback@doerhub.com is also red constantly (I also work until 5 am most nights to implement the updates). Please, write me if you are open to seeing the next iteration of the page as well. Ping me if we can assist you in any ways as well. You guys are doing us a huge favor!

This is going to be even more true for me in the future, and I was already pretty intolerant in this respect. I just used LastPass to get a list of all the passwords I should change after Heartbleed, and the list is terrifying - I can't believe how many things I've had to sign up for. My bar for getting any sort of credentials from me has just gone way up.

Does the GitHub connect help? We're thinking of adding Linkedin and Facebook as an option. Would those help?

I think that's trying to solve the wrong problem. The problem is that the closed, unbrowsable site makes it impossible for us visitors to tell whether it has any relevance to us at all, so we bounce right away. The front page has only very vague, general information and an unreadably small screenshot, instead of the actual projects and people which would solve the problem completely.

I think what the front page needs instead of what it has (or as well but right up the top) is a list of active, interesting projects like you posted here, and a link to browse all public projects.

You guys have sold me. Will put that up asap and update everyone.

Love the concept. I'll also add my own remarks:

-I agree with the parent remark. You can't even give someone a link to a project.

-The Purchase and Ownership sections of the EULA are a bit odd.

-Discoverability of projects is poor.

-Interest tags seem a bit random. I want to add programming to my profile. What do I pick? programming? web dev? X language?

We have fuzzy matching and graph and weigh relationships between terms so if you do Perl it will tie up to programming. Get as specific as you need to be, we do the rest and get better every day.

"You can't even give someone a link to a project." You can actually give links to projects that want to have a public link. The ones I've shared above have enabled public links to their projects for sharing - they show prominently on the project page. A project creator can also chose not to have a public link for project they want to just share with doerhub people and not with the outside.

Really appreciate the feedback. (you can also email us at feedback@doerhub.com ) We're thinking about doing that and will ask users as well. The primary reason is because we are making it personal - if you show are great at Perl and want to know more about Marketing we are trying to show you people and projects who know more about the latter and are looking for help in the former. For an early outside prototype (cheaply hosted so traffic crash is likely) you can see here: http://peoplesearch-doerhub.herokuapp.com/viz/ . We want to make people luckier by default, instead of just browsing a growing number of projects in unrelated areas.

I think that being able to browse a little - some kind of search function, perhaps - before signing up would be great.

We'll add an option for project leaders who want their projects explicitly promoted outside of DoerHub to be able to chose to be featured. We keep the quality of the network really high, so some want to stay inside. There are actually entire universities using DoerHub for cross-discipline projects, and some of them want to stay in a closed environment.

It would be really nice to have a "Explore" feature similar to github, where you can see projects, and maybe be able to search for tags. A big call to action button on the main page linking to the explore area would really allow people to look at projects and see how the site is getting used.

I love the idea. It really sounds awesome but no matter how often I visit, I can't stop myself from bouncing within the first minute. I'm by no means a designer or a ui expert, but it just feels so damn uninviting. The fonts are too small for me and the content is full of buzzwords, marketing speak, and the whole "connect, lead, mentor, impact, reinvent" thing sort of exhausted me. Connecting with others should be easy. Reading that made me feel like you added friction instead of removed it. All in all, the whole site feels very "global corporate" instead of grassroots movement.

Sorry if that came off overly harsh. I wish I had suggestions to give instead of just criticisms but design really isn't my forte. I can tell what works on me but not how to fix what doesn't.

Shameless plug...I liked DoerHub, but wanted a simpler UI...so I built http://lilhelp.org this weekend. Whatcha think?

This is awesome! Thank you! Would you be open to pinging me at feedback@doerhub.com? I would love to follow up with you.

Unsolicited respectful feedback: if I landed on your homepage without the context of this HN article, I wouldn't really understand what you're offering. Lot of jargon on the homepage. Even with the context, I'm not quite sure what I'm looking at on http://www.doerhub.com/for/doerhub I will probably investigate further because I have a vague idea of what DoerHub is and that it might be useful to me, but I wouldn't if I landed there cold.

Would you mind sending me a quick email to feedback@doerhub.com ? I would love to get your feedback on the next iteration of the page.

Interesting idea. I prefer to work with people in my local area, is there a way to filter on that? I'm thinking of ways to foster more cooperation in the local startup scene and a sub-set of something like this might be an interesting option. Just a thought.

Yep, we ask for location and have local functionality for universities and hackathons. Will need to open it up more for self organized groups.

Sounds awesome.

Please make a web based chat. Nothing worse than being forced to type on a phone when I'm already on a computer

Yes - that's mostly done already and it's coming!

HTTPS on the signup form (or everywhere)?


Is this oral surgery on a ship? The "FR137" marker and door structure suggest that it is.

I think it's oral boards exam for surgery people, not oral surgery. The photo is uploaded by the project creator and the project is now in beta after the two founders met on DoerHub as far as I know. A hacker reached out to the surgeon who posted the project.

Could you elaborate on the github permissions required if I sign in via that method? Write access to all public repos is what I'm interested in particularly.

We are about to give you the ability to pull in your GitHub repos and turn them into doerhub projects you can then open up for contributions from your non hacker friends and other subject-matter expert doers.

When you say "local" I assume you mean local to Brooklyn, NY. Might have been wise to mention that.

Framing does seem to be a dark art in the creative world. Framing local to where I am in the UK is expensive and there isn't anything [anymore] between the expensive, custom, wait-a-few-days, framing and IKEA.

Perhaps I should try and make a robot-controlled cross-cutting mitre saw and start a new business.

Ha, yes indeed I wasn't quite expecting an international audience from HN to swing by when I wrote it! Local is indeed Brooklyn, NY.

Actually, a 3D fabricating shop that did custom framing is not at all a bad idea. It costs a lot of money to frame things well and if you can do custom dimensions using robots you might be on to a winner!

for photos someone has done a site for relatively inexpensive, high quality custom built frames in the US. Mostly customizable and an example of a kludgy gui from yesteryear, that could easily be improved. They did put a youtube video on how to order on the front page.

I have no affiliation, but have bought frames there.


I'm still regularly amazed at the diversity of people who read and post on HN. There are artists, doctors, triathletes, cartoonists, real estate agents, veterans, vagabonds, marketers, ... And you may never know they're reading unless there's some catalyst to make the connection.

A monthly HMO post can be that catalyst.

And this can be the first. Just don't use this opportunity to purely pitch your product.

> There are artists, doctors, triathletes, cartoonists, real estate agents, veterans, vagabonds, marketers...

There's even computer programmers on here too.

Yes, most of us share a common area of interest (hacking, programming, and often startups). I meant to say there are programmers here who are also artists, doctors, ...

There are also people who browse HN who are not programmers, like myself (a mechanical engineer). I may not read all of the same posts as programmers, but the "intellectually stimulating" guideline for news posts & the overall level of discussion here seem to make it worth my while

I wonder should there be a "Monthly non-Programmers chat" thread? Something where the conversation is by people/hackers who don't self-identify as programmers/sysadmins/techies to talk about things they are doing.

It could give us programmers new insights.

I like this idea - explicitly trying to cross-pollinate ideas from programmers to arts folks etc etc.

I've actually been working on an app to help create these serendipitous situations for a month. Exactly the same concept, but perhaps developed further.

And for the record:

I can help with JavaScript things and with honing your ideas. And I need help with JavaScripty things and honing my ideas.

London-based if anybody wants to get in touch and discuss changing the world or just creating something awesome!

Great! I love serendipity. As the other comment said - can you share early progress? Maybe HN can help! Or email me and I'll take a look :) Always happy to help out (also I used to live in London so might be able to connect you with folks)

Still in-the-works, or do you want to share it with HN?

Perhaps we can help you hone this idea!

Still in the works! Hope to have a prototype in a week or two, though.

I'm working at the moment, but I'm putting in 5 hours on most nights trying to get it done. Would love to meet people in a weeks time when the first prototype is done and I can get feedback though. :)

I've been working on a website for almost 2 years (on&off). I'm right there at the final push to get it live, but I think I'm just a little burnt out from it. One of the things I'm struggling with is the pricing model I want to use. I'm trying to find that balance of a simple pricing scheme that scales well.

My site was made to run leagues & tourneys, and I'm a single founder. If anyone would like to talk with me on my business model ideas, my email is in my profile.

I've been working on some web programming with a coworking space in Nashville, TN that has a focus on artists and creatives. I think they would be interested in your service.

I can't provide feedback on their behalf, really, but I'd be happy to introduce you to them.

Also, I really love the idea of the HMO meme. The rate problems can be solved when pushed to a distributed, diverse audience such as HN is amazing.

Here's hoping "who's hiring"-type of recurring threads get popular, they bring a new sense of community and value to HN IMO.

They could all be organised on the same day, saving lots of time for those who don't want to be on HN too often!

Trying (and failing) to think of a snappy pun, like "Who's Hiring Whosdays", but there are no H-sounding days... Job Jobsdays!

Wow thiat turned out to to be something different from what I was expecting. I cringe every time I hear (or read) the words "Let me know how I can help" because that was the SIGNATURE phrase of one of the most useless, incompetent people I've ever worked with in my life. Nearly every email and converstation with this guy ended with that phrase. I now view it as a throwaway line of someone who doesn't have anything really helpful to offer.

Like the who is hiring threads, may be we could post 'Help HN' thread once a month, at the beginning of the month

What a nice idea! Inspired me to quickly create a very simple and basic tool. If there is sufficient interest, I will add additional features like categories, leaderboards, profiles, social login, ratings etc. If anyone wants to help me out, email me. :)


Cool idea!

As for me, I've been working on a career finding tool to help people find good career fits. It's almost done, and I'm excited about launching it. But I'm not sure how to get the word out about it.

If you have any ideas, or would like to try it!, my email is dgurevich5 [at] gmail.com

Sorry I can't really provide an intro but I'm sure these guys could answer some of your questions. (they seem like good people) http://www.artsicle.com/

Thanks dude! I'll reach out to them. Not sure if they'd look at us as competitors but I'll try and make an intro

This is great. For a community that so often looks to speak with target customers / audiences, we can really help each out either whether it's sharing our own experience or connecting people.

Here's to HMO :)

I always have people asking me if I can do X or Y, and I have to say no, and that I also don't know anyone who can do those things. This could be a good place to connect those dots.


- Some experience working with customer service. I will

- Any type of remote, non-technical (think business) work. I like finance and Analytics.


- Analytics help (setup and mostly data interpretation, telling the story of your traffic)

You should talk to my friend who's doing Wallrent here in Toronto: http://wallrent.com

his email: richardsondx [at] gmail.com

HMO HN: security for node based website.

How about this format?

I think a monthly or weekly thread would make more sense (same as the "who's hiring" posts).

> bearded, plaid-shirt-wearing startup guy

You just described every coder in Portland. I can send you a few truckloads if you need them.

I really like it. People want to help. Give them a way to help!


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