> Currently fighting what appear to be some rather aggressive spammers.
Maybe 2009 was better still, but the site is immensely better than 2-3 years ago when the front page was full of 10 identical stories from fluffy blogspammers most of the time.
However, they've also gotten a lot less good. Comments now fall in a middle range of mostly not abjectly stupid or offensive, but also not amazingly insightful.
Twitter is pretty much where I go for the extremes of good/bad, now. It's easy enough to filter out the bad -- what I really care about in comments is the quality of the top 0.1%.
Other than setting it up, my questions would be a.) How to filter out comments that give away when they were posted ("wow, didn't expect them to announce a smaller ipad!") b.) How to deal with comments that are part of a chain (and therefore their relevance may not be visible on their own) c.) How many comments would one person need to rate to get a statistically sound reading of what period in HN's history they think is better
The disappearance of grellas is a major factor against this recently.
50+ avg comment karma can't happen weekly. Substantive comments require waiting for substantive stories, which are relatively rare.
The drill is usually:
Site goes down
Look at logs to see what's different
Fix the bug, improve performance, or block evil traffic
Number One Rule of Webdesign: "Never change your webdesign."
I guess temptation must be there. To add a few new items in the menubar. To add infinite scrolling that won't quite load all the time. Cross-promote some BS. Remove some functionality that the users loved. Move things around because the focus group was manipulated into liking that better.
I can only assume the most positive things about the people running this site!
Probably we'll come up with ways to record the more formulaic moderator interventions (such as burying an item as a duplicate) that don't involve adding comments to threads.
A long time ago in pg's "Stave Off The Decline" submission, tptacek
suggested a "sincere flag" for submissions/comments that you could set
so you get no karma for the post. At the moment, I wish it existed.
Edit: Add reference
tptacek was shooting from the hip that day, and posting a lot of his
ideas (and regular annoyances), one per post, in rapid succession, but
without the time needed for a lot of planning or analysis.
His idea of "sincere flag" could be improved by combining limits and
disincentives to prevent high-karma accounts from just always setting
the "sincere flag". There could be the usual limit of a karma threshold
for the feature. There could be a limit on how many times or how often
the flag could be used. There could also be a disincentive such as
making each down-vote or flag cost a lot more (10x/100x/1000x), or
making the use of the flag cost something substantial like -X% of all
With the right combination of limits and disincentives, his idea might
work, and only be used on special occasions rather than be (ab)used
As luck would have it elsewhere on HN I am hemorrhaging karma at the moment for expressing an unwelcome opinion. I am not ashamed of the content or the manner in which I expressed my opinion so I have no intention of deleting my comments. As far as I am concerned by clicking the reply button I am implicitly stating that my comment is sincere. It seems that HN could introduce an implicit sincere flag if commenters did not get a refund for deleting karma-negative comments.
Unpopular opinions are always tough situation. Part of the problem stems
from "up" and "down" votes meaning different things in different
contexts. For example, up-voting a submission is a way to say "thanks"
for submitting it. This usage is problematic since the opposite of
"thanks" really doesn't exist. The typical negation "No Thanks" is not
strong enough, and "flag" is far too strong. For submissions, there is
no down-vote. In contrast, votes on comments are often used differently,
such as an up-vote being used to show "agreement", and a down-vote
being used to show "disagreement". The contrasting usage of votes
results in both user-centric context and submission/comment context
influencing what each vote means.
No, it's false.
The most obvious effects of karma, that downvoting blanks out a comment, that you can downvote at a certain threshold, and that the threads are sorted by karma, don't require actually being able to see the number assigned to a poster.
If there was something equivalent to Reddit Gold for HN, I'd be glad to buy some, so that I can distinguish a particularly good comment or post.
It would just be a Super-Upvote for the comments that you wish you could upvote more than once.
HN Gold could be nothing more than some text - "you recieved HN Gold for this post" - and a tally of how many posts you've had gilded; with a leader board of people who have received HN Gold.
It would provide small income to the website and hopefully encourage better posts. People might take the extra time to find a good URL to support their post or to give extra information.
We don't need to promote elitism to encourage better comments. We just need to encourage better comments.
Also, as a small critique specific to HN Gold itself: there's no way to prevent someone from gilding their own comments. (They can just use an alt account and a different credit card to get around any account-specific self-gilding restriction, for example.) Suffice to say, self-gilding would be detrimental to the commenting ecosystem here on HN.
I just wanted some way to say 'awesome job' for a good comment and help support the site. If someone's got a better idea, I'd be open to that.
/going to be downvoted/moderated for this. don't care.
(But of course I might be mistaken, and in this community perhaps someone has a thoughtful reason for disagreeing with this general principle.)
And yes, it's embarrassing and I'd fix it if I could:
On the bright side, people getting timeouts/failures on HN and
wondering what's happening now know that the site is getting
attacked by spammers.