Please occasionally read /newest so interesting stories that don't solicit upvotes can still get on the front page.
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?
This gets extra eyes on them and helps float good stories up. Optionally mark them green, just like HN currently marks noob users.
If there's one consistent thing I've read from Dan in his tenure of publicly moderating the site, it's "please mail email@example.com about this stuff". I'm just heading him off here. :)
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.
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?]
Love this suggestion. +1
I like it a lot, it would be great to have it that way by default.
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.
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.
It also might be a problem if simply submitting to HN guarantees a decent number of pageviews.
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." 
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.
 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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
As a person who discovers lots of cool projects through showHN posts, I hope you could come up with a solution for this, really.
> 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 firstname.lastname@example.org when someone is gaming HN.
Our goal is to have the best stories on the front page . 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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Of course, that might simply be my lack of imagination.
Text submissions would be stuck at 1 point, though.
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.
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.
If I post a link to HN on twitter and people upvote the submission coming from twitter,does it count as a voting ring?
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.
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.
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.
For example, does it really differentiate between people who ask for votes, and people who just vote up the content of someone they recognize?
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.
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.
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.
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'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'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.
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 , 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.)
 in this post: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7973724
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
How can I save this...Who wants to talk about Rust? Huh? Anybody? Bitcoin? That god damn NSA? Amirite?
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.
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.