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Tell HN: Don't ask for upvotes
178 points by sama on July 1, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 100 comments
A lot of people ask us why their submission gets kicked off the front page. The answer is almost always that it trips our voting ring detector.

Please occasionally read /newest so interesting stories that don't solicit upvotes can still get on the front page.

Sam I think you have great power to give /newest more views if you'd consider minor redesigns.

Perhaps you could dither stories so the front-page list goes top/new/top/new/top/new, etc, but that is potentially very messy.

Or perhaps instead, the front-page can show 30 top stories, then a line break, then 30 new stories, all on the front page. Long-scrolling pages are in fashion, after all.

These aren't well-developed ideas, but the point remains that the inertia of being one click away means that a huge percentage of people will never even look at /newest, never-mind up-vote interesting stories.

Please consider changes to modify the median behavior. It's within your power and would do us all good. It's worth an experiment, isn't it?

Just splice a random /newest entry into a front page on every load.

This gets extra eyes on them and helps float good stories up. Optionally mark them green, just like HN currently marks noob users.

If you have ideas on how to improve the front page, a great thing to do is to send them to hn@ycombinator.com. Dan and Nick are super responsive, and you might be able to have a more productive conversation in email than on a thread.

Posting it here helps accumulating other people upvotes, which, presumably, Dan and Nick can see on their end. It also opens subject to a wider discussion, which is hardly a bad thing. Meta threads are pretty damn useful if you ask me.

I agree, and I actually like the meta-threads, but I've had much more success talking to Dan privately than I have in trying to motivate changes with public comments. I think if you're really serious about a suggestion, mailing Dan is the right way to go.

If there's one consistent thing I've read from Dan in his tenure of publicly moderating the site, it's "please mail hn@ycombinator.com about this stuff". I'm just heading him off here. :)

Would two columns be too messy? Left one is top, right one is new?

Honestly though, having 20 green new stories at the bottom of the front page would be great and would increase my interaction with the site.

This is a great suggestion. Or the bottom 5 are newest or something like that.

I check the front page a couple of times a day but don't take the time to go any further.


I use HN only for the front page and I occasionally upvote or downvote comments. I'd be totally willing to have one link from the /newest in a different color on the front-page and if it's good I would upvote it. The action could be a bit more explicit [Keep on front-page?]

> Optionally mark them green, just like HN currently marks noob users.

Love this suggestion. +1

Another option is a 2-column layout (for non-mobile devices). The normal front page on the left, with the blast of new articles in the right column. Perhaps for mobile devices the new articles could go under the top stories, with some sort of obvious demarcation between them.

It's even already implemented as the Hacker News UX extension: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/hacker-news-ux/chn...

I like it a lot, it would be great to have it that way by default.

This seems like the best option to me.

good ideas here and in the responses. we will consider.

I suggested[0] the same thing a few months ago with a visual example of what I had in mind. Here it is again as a reminder: https://i.imgur.com/ZNQTn7q.png (I still think it's a great idea!).

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7612737

somewhat related, you could use collaborative filtering. I've blogged about my thoughts and experiments with it in the past: http://williamedwardscoder.tumblr.com/post/15581427232/self-...

You can show some random unrated stories at the very top of the list, and then stories sorted by collaborative filtering.

In my prototyping it worked super-well.

Interesting concept. One think that popped to my mind immediately is that you need to avoid accidentally creating filter bubbles, i.e. locking everyone in their own personalized stream that shows only what they like and already agree with. It's dangerous for the mind.

Another thing is that a lot of value people like me derive from hanging out here are the random things you get to discover here - things that one wouldn't ever think about before and thus never upvote something similar. So it would be good to leave some place to splice in some random submissions that are not related to one's personal preferences.

Re filter bubbling, the scheme as envisaged actually broadens it. It shows some random unrated stories at the very top of the list so everyone is constantly exposed to things not in their filter bubble deliberately.

I heard reddit tried that once but it didn't work well for some reasons. I can't find a link to the story at the moment.

any thoughts on actually creating a discussion board/forum. because there are a fair many of those types of posts. (Show HN, questions etc.)But,there are a lot of news/off site type posts and they don't seem to go together.

I like the idea of adding a sample of new stories to the front. It would guarantee a number of extremely low quality submissions on the front though, which might affect the overall percieved quality of HN.

It also might be a problem if simply submitting to HN guarantees a decent number of pageviews.

Perhaps new, but filtered to exclude certain sites that get a lot of attention here anyway.

I like the idea of simply appending a subset of the /new stories to the end of the front page. Make it clear they're brand new (should also be obvious from the low vote count).

I really like this idea. Just occasionally throw in some random "new" pages to users and see what gets read / upvoted. I'm sure that most users don't check the "new" page.

Some observations:

1. Almost no one reads the new page. For proof, go to the new page and count up the total number of votes that all the stories on the new page have received in the last hour.

2. There is a VERY short time window (typically about an hour nowadays) during which a story either gets enough votes to end up on the home page (half a dozen or so seems to be enough) or drops off the first new page, after which it will never be seen again.

3. Once a story arrives on the home page, there is a very good chance that it will stay there for a while (longer than an hour anyway).

4. As a result, there is an EXTREMELY strong incentive when one has posted a story to send out an email to one's friends saying, "I just posted this to HN, please take a look and upvote it if you think it deserves it." [1]

5. A story that gets a lot of votes as a result isn't necessarily a bad story. So a voting ring detector is likely to generate false positives.

6. Simply asking people to go read the new page isn't going to fix the problem. Figuring out what to do instead isn't easy.


[1] Last year I did an experiment where I wrote a series of six blog posts all related to a single topic. I posted all six to HN. Three of them I sent out an email announcement, and three of them I didn't. The first three all ended up on the home page, ultimately garnering many tens of votes. The other three never got a single vote.

Low vote counts on the new page don't prove nobody goes there. An alternative explanation is that 90% of the new page is crap that really doesn't deserve a single vote. (Just did this experiment, and only found one of the 30 submissions interesting enough to even click on).

It is true that you need to get something like 5-6 votes in the first hour to get to the front page. But that's not a very large amount, and it's definitely possible to get across that threshold without soliciting for votes, so clearly there are a decent amount of people reading /newest. (About a third of my submissions made the front page, and it's kind of obvious in retrospect why many of the others failed. I never asked anyone to vote for any of those submissions).

> Low vote counts on the new page don't prove nobody goes there.

True, which is why I did that experiment. The odds of getting the results I did by accident are one in 64, which counts as a statistically significant result.

I'd be curious to hear more about how YC companies handle voting so they get their content on the front page. From what I've heard, they get a lot of help to promote content.

Totally makes sense seeing as HN is built around YC, but in that light makes it a bit disingenuous to ask the community to not solicit help from their group to promote content.

I don't know what's "fair" or "unfair" in this context, but suggesting that Sam's comment is "disingenuous" is unproductive, because the voting ring detector isn't going anywhere. It's one of those things where most of us only see the occasional annoying side effect, but we don't notice the avalanche of crap that it's keeping off the front page.

You can probably safely assume that the decision to keep aggressively penalizing voting rings (and things that to the detector look like rings) is made and isn't changing.

With that in mind, read Sam's comment as "here's how not to get stung by the detector", not as an appeal to change your behavior for his sake. He's trying to help.

YC companies complain the most often because they trigger the voting ring when they ask their batchmates to votes them up :)

As a counter argument, I haven't seen any ycombinator company NOT make it on the front page. I am not saying this is a collusion or anything but wanted to point out that there are people with knowledge who do this all the time and can get away with it because they know how it works. They would send a message like "Please go to HN and look for such and such title and vote it up. I can't post the link because of voting ring algorithm". And I see these people always show up on the front page. When this is the reality, how can one NOT do this? The people who try to play fair are the ones who will lose. I agree with you that it's not good to ask for upvotes but people who already know how it works will keep doing it, and the people who don't will just lose like they always have. Also I wonder what you do with those YC company guys who complain about getting detected as voting ring. Do you just let their posts stay buried or do you give them a second chance? If you are going to ask people to cooperate, I think it's crucial to have some transparency. Otherwise, no matter what you ask, nothing will change.

As a person who discovers lots of cool projects through showHN posts, I hope you could come up with a solution for this, really.

I realize you may discount this, coming from HN staff, but I'd like to try to ease your worries a little.

> there are people with knowledge who do this all the time and can get away with it because they know how it works.

I believe you that people say they know how it works, but unless I'm extremely mistaken, most really don't. We see evidence all the time of people trying (but failing) to sneak around HN's anti-ring systems. That's not to say some don't succeed. Some probably do. I'd like very much to get better at catching them.

> And I see these people always show up on the front page.

When you see that, we'd like to know about it. There is a lot that we can (and will) do to investigate those cases. Don't forget that even when the ring detector misses something, there's still a lot of data we can look at if we know to. So please, everyone, email hn@ycombinator.com when someone is gaming HN.

Our goal is to have the best stories on the front page [1]. We don't all agree about what the best stories are, but I think we can agree that they're usually not ones that are only here because someone is promoting something. When we say we want people to vote for things they're interested in, that's not the kind of interest we're talking about.

> Do you just let their posts stay buried or do you give them a second chance?

Good question. We occasionally override the ring penalty when a story has clear merit for HN. (I've commented to that effect in perhaps a dozen of those threads.) But that goes for any story, not just a YC co's. And we're pretty stingy about it.

1. That's also, by the way, our primary idea of how HN as a forum can help YC as a business. If HN has the best quality content, the best quality people will want to be here, and some of them will start startups that YC funds. I'm not saying we do have the best quality content—there's a lot to be desired. I'm saying that this is HN's global optimum and we're not interested in trading that away for something less.

Fair enough, that's good to know :)

Other than "jobs" we get no help promoting content.

I actually think being a YC company can hurt you because all your YC buddies vote for you and then it appears that your cohort is a voting ring. I actually have to tell people NOT to vote for my posts sometimes, lest I trigger the HN Gods' wrath.

Do you really believe it's a disadvantage?

I guess I wouldn't call it a disadvantage because saying "boo hoo, my friend and I from YC up vote ourselves too much and we get hit by the voting ring detector" is obliviousness by omission. I assume my links do well on HN because I went through YC and have written about going through YC.

My real point is to highlight: (1) There is no advantage on HN to going through YC. The only changes are (a) You have access to the part of the site that lets you book office hours (b) You can see other YC users and (c) You can post jobs. I know of no other benefit. My co-founders can't, for example, down vote comments because they don't have the karma. (2) A significant percentage of active users are YC alums, YC alums that know me, or people who know me personally, so once something I post hits the front page I ask my co-workers and my friends to NOT up vote me. I do that because historically my items have gotten thrown off the home page and I write blog posts so people will read the posts.

> From what I've heard, they get a lot of help to promote content.

They don't from us (the people running HN). The only help HN gives YC cos are (a) being able to post job ads and (b) YC founders' names appear in orange to other YC founders.

YC startups routinely get hit hard by HN's ring detector.

Perhaps promoted content should be labelled as such, eg an orange 1px border around the listing. If adding a new story in to the mix that could have a green 1px border to highlight it was out of normal flow too.

Job listings are the only promoted content. They're distinguished by the lack of vote arrows.

So contrary to the discussion YC companies don't get any preferential treatment on HN?

To the extent we're able to be objective, we try to be. YC founders and companies get their titles edited and suffer the same penalties as everyone else. The only advantage YC founders and companies might have is the ability to recognize each other from the orange names.

Just everyone in the office independently voting on something can trigger it, which is unfortunate since it was not even planned.

I think at this point, they have a network large enough to kick off the newest page to the front page pretty quickly.

I usually read the newest page, but usually it has a lot of 1-point stories, and many of them are almost-spam or almost-dupe.

Another user proposed a newest page with a >2-points filter (someone else think that it’s interesting). See for example http://hnapp.com/filter/d3a308f2ac9a071c0bf174e0c1a8fd22

But that would mean that stories with only one point never get seen, and hence never get up-voted, and hence nothing gets to the 2-point page. It seems necessary that people should read "newest" and up-vote things they think are of value.

I agree. I usually read the (unfiltered) newest page, but sometime this is useful to find a story that was submitted 12 hours ago and only got 2 points. Perhaps the problem is that there are 928 stories submitted in the last 24 hours.

There is much to read, especially things that only get one up-vote, or even none at all. I simply click through the "More" link on the "newest" page gestalting the titles - there's nothing I can think of that would substantially improve on that.

Of course, that might simply be my lack of imagination.

I use HN Search to find interesting stories I might have missed in the last 24 hours. Often these 1 or 2 point stories are very interesting and merely got lost in the stream.

How does anything get on that list then if nobody ever sees the 1-point submission (without asking for votes).

exactly. that's the true terror of pagerank -- not that spammers are putting in millions of junk links, but that it makes legitimate people stop linking.

A link gets a point every time it is submitted. So it's quite possible for a link to get more than 1 point without the link ever being seen.

Text submissions would be stuck at 1 point, though.

When I read the newest page I usually ignore the points. Most of the stories are 1-point or 2-point anyway. What I scan for is the comments. If the story is on newest and already has a few comments it's often worth reading in my experience.

> Please occasionally read /newest so interesting stories that don't solicit upvotes can still get on the front page.

In theory this is good, but in practice it's hard. Here's a suggestion for how to make it easier in practice: redirect 1/3 of the visits from the start page to /newest. As a regular and medium-karma user, I would know why this happens, and I personally wouldn't mind it.

I prefer /newest. I'd rather see stuff unfiltered. Plus you can comment on stuff without 150 other comments. so it feels like your comments are heard.

I think they're read more than one realizes even if it doesn't gather upvotes

On a full sized monitor, most titles go only about halfway across the screen. I think with a little tweaking, you could have two columns on the front page: One with the current front page code, one with the newest stories. You might have to have titles wrap for longer titles or make some other tweaks to make this work. But that might cut back on the need to ask folks to look at new stuff.

Generally speaking, if you can write the code, you can make the rules people have to follow (though it does require some deep thinking, data, etc at times). If you want to compel x behavior, then compel it. If you want to forbid y behavior, then deny the ability in some way where possible. Writing the code makes you "god" for your little world: You decide the local "physics". Deciding the local physics is going to generally get you better results than asking people to please do x or please don't do y.

I did something similar for an RSS reader I was building based on bayesian filtering, a col-4 column on the right with the "live" feed and a main col-8 column with the filtered feed, meaning all the matches. It looked pretty good in landscape mode.

What does count as a voting ring?

If I post a link to HN on twitter and people upvote the submission coming from twitter,does it count as a voting ring?

You're never going to get a totally straight answer, because things like voting ring detectors rely in practice on obscurity; if you knew the exact details, it would be much easier to game the system.

Makes it rather hard to debug or avoid posting in a bad way.

Yes it does. You take the good with the bad. You can always ask hn@ycombinator.com about your submission; if it gets a bunch of upvotes but winds up 30 pages down the site, that's a pretty good indicator that something happened.

Yep. I think that's just kind of an unavoidable side-effect of the service offered. It'd be interesting to know the statistics of what sort of stuff gets blocked.

It's probably better to up vote from the feed. When you click on a link from the feed, you're generally going directly to the article. You hit the browser back button to get back to hackernews; chances are if the article seemed interesting, you would then hit the up vote button. When's the last time you hit the up vote button on a comment page?

People have very different workflows, it's very dangerous to assume that the way you use the site is the way everyone uses it. (Probably 90-95% of my article votes are from the comments page, and I never use the back button to return to the front page.)

Almost all my upvotes come from the comments page. If an article looks interesting, it gets opened in one tab, followed by the comments page to see what people said about it. Look at the article, then go to the comments, may as well upvote whilst there.

I do similarly except that I just start with opening comment pages in different tabs, then go through them one-by-one, opening article from the comment thread, and upvoting there if I find it interesting. Saves me on number of tabs opened at the same time, which matters for me because in Chrome, after you hit ~ two dozens of open tabs, the favicon disappears which makes them pretty much unusable.

Always the same people giving upvotes to a certain user.

Of course, the alternative is just to submit something to HN and..... hope for the best? Sure, THAT sounds reasonable to a bunch of type-a founders.

I think it's reasonable that somebody promotes their HN post. The takeaway is just to be careful about how you share and how widely and with whom.

I made the front page last week (for a few hours) for a side project that I launched with a friend. Several up-votes shortly after we posted it got us to the bottom of the front page, and organic traffic took it from there.

I remember the early days of digg and people tend to see social news sites as a mechanism to get a wave of traffic. What they don't always think about is providing value to the social sites.

HN is probably better than most about not letting much crap on the home page, but these sites are almost universally terrible at surfacing new content so that it has a good opportunity to get up voted.

The selfish human response is to get your friends to vote for you (just like you get your friends to vote for you in real life actually). It's just that there are so few actual people looking at the submitted stories that it wouldn't take much to astroturf your way on to the front page without a voting ring filter.

The best solution is very likely to have a better interface for surfacing submitted stories to a wider audience. Or, incentivize people to actually look at the new section. Maybe extra points for voting or commenting before it hits front page.

I don't think it would take much to solve this problem, but this isn't a policy or filter problem, it's a human problem and your system needs to work with the user psychology that naturally exists on HN (and similar sites).

Reddit seemed to solve this by making subreddits a bigger part of the site, but I don't know how HN would incorporate such an idea without losing the site identity.

This post just motivated me to go through /newest and upvote few things. Thank you.

Everyone, let's take a minute now and go through the new submissions and move some fresh things onto the front page. Let this also become a habit, until mods tweak HN interface to reduce the effort it requires.

Is there actually any dataset of upon which the accuracy of this detector is measured and improved? Or is it just some hard-coded rules?

For example, does it really differentiate between people who ask for votes, and people who just vote up the content of someone they recognize?

I wonder how many false positives there are.

If the OP is still reading, why didn't this at least get onto the Ask HN page? I wasn't asking for upvotes, but it seemed to fall like a stone without ever having a chance to get views... ?


If legit submissions are getting booted by your voting-ring detector so often that you need to ask readers to take action to prevent it, then the detector is broken. It's not the readers' responsibility to change our habits to make up for your broken mechanisms.

Currently, it seems you need either a lot of good luck or upvoting friends to make it to front page. Why not use some categorization so every link makes it it's category's page and has chance of reaching front page?

Sam, Does saying "discuss on hn: link" at the bottom of a blog post violate your voting ring detector or any other terms of service? I couldn't find anything about that.

What do you think about soliciting upvotes by sending people to /newest? Among other things, as a side-effect they might upvote other stories as well.

What gets me is that unless you are really interested in GO, Haskell, dislike Microsoft, think you can write a real encrypted instant messaging system in JavaScript crypto, and have a libertarian leaning you will never have enough karma/points to downvote other people.

It encourages group think in the extreme.

Also, at around 180 gold stars/dingles it just stops.

I mean seriously...there is a vast amount of consensus around a set of things here that are just impermeable. Yes I have read "the approach to comments" and it sounds like you guys think that "resisting decline" means everyone basically has the same opinion but everyone gets to restate it to each other in "civil" and interesting ways.

EDIT: You also have to really be into crypto-currency...it also helps if you mention hayek while talking about it. You rebel.

I have never written a line of Go, and have only a casual acquaintance with Haskell. I'm not a Microsoft fan but spend approximately zero HN time bashing them. I would not attempt to write any sort of crypto anything in Javascript. I am not a libertarian. I am slightly interested in crypto-currency but have never owned any. I think Hayek is way overrated.

My karma score is approaching 8000, and I promise it's enough to downvote other people.

I dare say there is some groupthink on HN. There is groupthink everywhere where like-minded people congregate. But I've seen a very wide range of ideas treated with respect here, and pretty much the same very wide range of ideas treated with contempt, depending on who happens to be reading and responding.

Well congratulations on that, and I swear I'm not trying to be snide here, but you've been on HN for 6 years.

If you are a new user and you actually want to communicate with people...and hold a minority opinion...you will be downvoted out of visibility.

> If you are a new user and you actually want to communicate with people...and hold a minority opinion...you will be downvoted out of visibility.

I was a new user. I hold many minority opinions (including ones diametrically opposed to those you have named as critical points of HN consensus, particularly on the issue of political ideology), and have expressed them from very early in my time on HN. I haven't been downvoted out of visibility.

I suspect that you are both misattributing the cause of the karma hit your earlier account took and falsely generalizing from that misattribution.

I wasn't looking for congratulations, I was pointing out that your claim is factually incorrect. I hold plenty of the opinions you say are minority opinions. So far as I know, I was neither much more nor much less typical of the HN population when I was new here than I am now. But I did OK and continue to do so.

It's perfectly obvious that holding a minority opinion can't guarantee getting downvoted into oblivion, for the boring reason that you can hold that opinion without expressing it, and in that case no one can possibly downvote you for it.

Of course you might (very reasonably) not want to censor yourself to that extent. Very well: all you need do is have some other things you can talk interesting about besides your shortlist of pet dislikes. Then the upvotes you get from being interesting on other topics will outweigh the downvotes you allegedly get from daring not to be a libertarian. Although, I repeat: I'm not a libertarian, I've dared to express not-libertarian views more than once, and I don't recall ever getting wiped out by downvotes as a result. I've seen plenty of other not-libertarian comments that aren't invisibly light grey. So you might consider the possibility that what you got hammered for was not the mere fact of expressing an unpopular opinion, but something about how you expressed it.

Now, even the approach outlined in the previous paragraph might not be enough, if what you say about your pet dislikes gets you not merely downvoted but hellbanned. (That's the thing where your comments are invisible except to you, the moderators, and people with the "showdead" feature turned on, so you never get any karma or any replies ever again.)

But -- barring cockups and miscarriages of justice, both of which inevitably happen but are pretty rare -- that will only happen if what you say is not merely unpopular but particularly stupid, or repeatedly boring, or something else of the sort to attract the attention of a moderator and make them think "This person is not adding anything positive to HN by being there". So don't do that. Be civil. Be interesting. Don't try to turn HN into a political flamewar. It's not really that difficult.

I often disagree with other posters here on HN - sometimes just to play devil's advocate and stimulate conversation around a certain point or points.

I've been down-voted just a few times for expressing my opinion when I present a well-reasoned, logical argument. (Unfortunately I've been down-voted many times trying to be funny or posting a comment that's taken in an offensive way). I think you'll find that having a debate or even just a conversation with more than one side being taken is often the best way to see the whole subject.

I am none of the things you mentioned (well, I'm not really a Microsoft booster) and I got downvote privileges within 3 months of opening my account. I'm not sure what it is you've been doing to draw ire, but it's far from universal.

Your own biases are showing. I am interested in none of those things, not even the bits in your edit (and in particular, think that libertarianism is damagingly naive), yet I accrue a few votes here and there. I have plenty of karma. Seriously, the downvote mechanism is overrated anyway, and is one of the most poorly implemented features of HN - if you're using access to that as a yardstick for value on the site, I'd suggest reviewing your expectations.

I accrued 188 points on my last account before it just stopped, like I was invisible...so I logged in with another account and couldn't even see my other posts.

I'm not saying that I want to downvote people...I'm saying that you haven't been downvoted into oblivion because you don't disagree with people.

Start commenting with a contrary opinion and you'll see what I'm talking about.

Also..."Your own biases are showing" might sounds like a reasonable and measured thing to say to someone, when you say it to yourself in your head, but its not. Somehow the rest of you have no bias?

And are you saying that I should ignore conservations that I disagree with to protect my votes...??? That's exactly what I was saying happens here. It's a self censorship that leads to this massive amount of consensus on everything from posts to comments.

> Start commenting with a contrary opinion and you'll see what I'm talking about.

I've been involved in a number of highly controversial threads, often disagreeing with the dominant view expressed in the thread, don't meet most of the standards you suggest are required to gain significant positive karma [1], and yet have over 10K karma with a current avg of 2.55.

> And are you saying that I should ignore conservations that I disagree with to protect my votes...???

I would suggest that its not disagreement with your opinions that is causing you to accumulate negative karma.

> It's a self censorship that leads to this massive amount of consensus on everything from posts to comments.

I don't see this consensus you are complaining about (and its interesting that the people complaining about supposed consensus here don't agree on what that consensus is. I suspect that's because the complaints tend to come from people that are -- likely unconsciously -- overweighting the prominence of the views that they disagree with and thus seeing a hostile consensus, and a different hostile consensus that other people see.)

[1] in this post: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7973724

When you are accusing other people of being biased and pandering to groupthink, it's entirely reasonable for others to point out your own biases. If you think it's hurtful to say, then you should re-examine your own commentary, because you're calling the entire community insular and biased.

And yes, your problem on your previous account was hellbanning, not downmodding per se. It is easy to get the two confused, because it's not easy to get clear info about either. Anyway, if you want to see my opinion on downmodding here, check my profile - it agrees with some of what you say about downvoting, but that is a separate issue to the stereotypes you're throwing out. The profile could probably do with updating, but it's been the same words for over two years (there used to be another section on humour, but that's loosened up a bit, so I removed it).

I loathe the downmodding system here, but it doesn't follow that this means the community is all about groupthink or the stereotypes you're promoting.

> I accrued 188 points on my last account before it just stopped, like I was invisible...so I logged in with another account and couldn't even see my other posts.

Herein lies your problem. You don't get that from disagreeing with the group or challenging the status quo; as far as I can tell, you need to have serious problems with the form, not the content of your comments to achieve that state.

If you literally couldn't see your other posts, wouldn't that suggest that your other profile was hellbanned or something, not that people just stopped upvoting you?

I like Microsoft; I think Bitcoin is stupid. I'm not particularly (for HN) libertarian.

I don't get many downvotes and when I do I can usually understand why.

Perhaps people expressing minority views are just doing so in sub-optimal ways?

(Having said that I tend to agree that any threads that are MS vs Google vs Apple are death.)

Is downvoting other people an important part of HN, though? It's important that someone is doing it responsibly to keep things clean, but upvoting gems and adding value to discussion through intelligent comments seem like they would be far more valuable activities for HN.

Well, that's kind of my point. You are at the mercy of people who disagree with you if you are in the minority. If you disagree with the consensus you will be downvoted to the point that you can't be seen anymore.

I think that differing views add value.

Having contrary opinions just disappear so that everyone can keep restating the same thing to each other is really frustrating.

EDIT: Clarification...

Fair enough. I see the theory of that. Does it happen in practice? Are there comments that were intelligent, adding to the discussion, not being mean, and so on... which were then downvoted to the point where they couldn't be seen?

I don't think I've seen it happen on HN, but I have seen it on other sites. I hypothesize that there is actually a craving for intelligent but unusual viewpoints on HN.

And so now i'm being downvoted, because you know...disagreement isn't cool.

How can I save this...Who wants to talk about Rust? Huh? Anybody? Bitcoin? That god damn NSA? Amirite?

In this case, disagreement isn't the problem, it's being snarky that is.

Complaining about downvotes isn't cool either.

Not if what a downvote means changed that drastically recently. I never complained about downvotes, because I believed in the community collective wisdom. However, in the past few weeks, I've seen many cases of downvotes being used to basically communicate that "I disagree with you and your six-paragraphs, coherent, civil post, which is even on-topic, but I'm too lazy to write my own comment explaining why, so have a downvote."

I'm seriously thinking on putting some effort into collecting some examples and starting a discussion on the topic, because it's IMHO very bad tendency.

EDIT: Although in the case of your parent post downvotes are understandable.

pg has said many times in the past that it's OK to downvote for disagreement -- even if a comment is civil, coherent, on-topic, etc. (I usually prefer to voice disagreement in such a case, but don't always have the time/energy.)

It's usually self-correcting. A lot more people can upvote than downvote, and most people don't like seeing good comments in the gray.

Fuck you.


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