Allow me to emphasize something from the Show HN Guidelines:
> Be respectful. Anyone sharing creative work is making a contribution, however modest.
> Ask questions out of curiosity. Don't cross-examine.
> Instead of "you're doing it wrong", suggest alternatives. When someone is learning, help them learn more.
> When something isn't good, you needn't pretend that it is. But in that case, consider saying nothing.
The comments section of Show HN posts are not an invitation for you to tear someone apart for your own self-aggrandizing glory. If you want to be helpful, be constructive. If you don't want to be helpful, don't bother.
In addition, a friendly reminder to us all...
When you see a Show HN, assume that whoever created it, perhaps not unlike you, is working to drive his or her dreams into existence. Each post represents a dream, a personal story, a literal piece of their Life.
For many of us, perhaps the majority of us, that means grinding at the mine during the day, returning home after perhaps a long commute, spending time with and cooking for our family, our significant other, etc... then, clocking back in at 9:00pm or 10:00pm to bring it for the next several, precious hours, working to make the dream real... then catching some sleep, waking up and turning around and dropping the hammer all over again.
It's just something to remember as you comment to someone about their work.
I love criticising and my projects being criticised as long as there clearly is knowledge or experience behind. What if you see someone making a huge mistake based on your knowledge, should you stay quiet? Making sure that feedback comes across as nice and well-intended can be hard and time consuming for people who speak English as a second or third language.
So maybe there should be a differentiation between "Proudly presenting" and "Looking for honest feedback" somehow?
Let's say someone is making a clear architectural misstep: They're trying to use python/django on a project, but their goals really require something like Tornado, and they're building themselves into a corner.
Maybe from where you're sitting it looks like an idiot mistake. The question is then, how to engage? Do you tell them condescendingly that only an idiot would misuse tools like that, and that they're foolishly the HTTP request/response model that Django implements?
Or, do you try to guess at where their knowledge fails, and give them links to writeups about asynchronous programming? Or do you engage them in conversation and try to ascertain why they're making the mistake, and gently explain that better programming models have been devised for the problem they're trying to solve, and why don't they look into it and see if they agree, and "by the way if you have any more questions here's my email, I'd be happy to help."
If people can't handle receiving this last approach, then it speaks to a certain lack of immaturity. If people can't handle acting taking this, it also speaks to a certain lack of maturity. We should try to build and enforce social norms that help growth as programmers and minimize conflict. Fortunately these goals aren't inimical; in fact, the more contentious the discussion, the less learning gets done.
When something isn't good, you needn't pretend that it is.
But in that case, consider saying nothing.
Edit: We changed it to:
When something isn't good, you needn't pretend that it is.
But don't be gratuitously negative.
The key word is "gratuitous". Substantive criticism is neutral and about the work. If it's personal or snarky, that's gratuitous.
edit also, is it just me or is the front page plastered with Show HN links? Does anybody else think that's awesome?
I don't think it is. If anything, tenured members may feel more entitled to be rude without consequences. Karma isn't really a measure of civility so much as popularity over time, and it doesn't really communicate any context. Also, if there were a minimum for commenting, there should be a minimum for posting, which might leave new users with interesting projects out.
I don't get that implication. The commenters, if seen as offering mentorship, should necessarily be more experienced than the people they're trying to help. Otherwise, what's the point?
edit: they are, but just not called out as such.
[Show HN] is for something you've made that other people can play with. The newest Show HNs are listed [here].
(eg clicking the first hyperlink will bring them up)
Edit: we changed it to emphasize the Show HN guidelines more.
Edit 2: I think we'll also write something much more detailed about the kind of discussions we want in Show HN threads: discussions that foster further creativity. Perhaps we'll put it up on the YC blog and then have a new thread about all this, once the dust settles from the first Show HN carnival.
. . . Looks good, nice and concise.
> Is your comment respectful & helpful?
> Is it positive criticism?
I'm afraid this comment is more than a little off-topic: maybe not for the thread as a whole, but certainly as a reply to the top comment. It doesn't relate to what rickhanlonii said in any way—and what rickhanlonii touched on is crucial: the kind of discussions we want to encourage in Show HN threads.
Let's talk about that instead, please.
As dang mentioned, there's room for both. The HN / PH communities are significantly different and will increasingly look dissimilar over time.
The "Show HN" convention hadn't been invented at that point, though.
> For a Linux user, you can already build such a system yourself quite trivially by getting an FTP account, mounting it locally with curlftpfs, and then using SVN or CVS on the mounted filesystem. From Windows or Mac, this FTP account could be accessed through built-in software.
To be fair, I was making an argument that it was trivial to replicate, and it was... Ubuntu, Google, Microsoft, and several others did just that. Kudos to Dropbox for their unanticipated (by me, anyway) staying power.
It's always interesting when you can look back at yourself and see how much you've grown or learned.
(We didn't get any comments or many points, but it's nice to see that afterward we've had a number of Leanpub books do better...)
"I'm doing a (free) operating system (just a hobby, won't be big and professional like gnu) for 386(486) AT clones."
I'm sure they won't remain at this level, but I hope formalizing the action will encourage more to post. I also hope that there is less of an expectation of a perfect product when something is submitted, and we can respectfully offer advice. I've seen some products that were obviously weekend hacks torn apart as if there were a 15 person team building them for a year.
For the newest Show HN submissions, you must go to https://news.ycombinator.com/shownew
My Favorite Part:
"There have been about 24,000 Show HNs so far. The first used the title "Show and Tell HN", and was GitHub-related. The second, and the first to use the "Show HN" convention , was a face recognition project. And the third was a Hacker News alternative. Plus ça change..."
Obviously, the "other people can play with it" part of the guidelines can't apply to hardware in the same way as to software, but whatever that legal principle is where you interpret the law to fit the case, that's the principle here.
Sometimes the submitters use a text post, which I imagine they do because they want to give some context to the project that may not be ideal to present prominently on a landing page, but which likely cuts down on click-throughs (because of the slight inconvenience of users having to find the link to click through to in the text post).
Maybe it's worth having a post-type...for submitters only...in which the submitter gets first say and a click-through title? And those who use it for non-Show-HN submissions are mercilessly flagged to oblivion? Sometimes the submitter's first-comments are buried depending on the type of discussions that occur.
Though not exactly, the guidelines roughly suggest a way around this
issue; write something on your own site, and submit that instead. If the
guidelines haven't changed since the last time I read them a week ago,
pg essentially said to write your own blog post and submit it, or
something like that. e.g.
One of the tougher problems I've had on /newest with url based
submissions is differentiating between spam links and people who just
forgot to add the leading "Show HN:" when submitting their new site/biz.
If you create a new travel, dentistry, or cooking site and forget the
"Show HN:" on your submission title, there's a good chance I'll flag it
as spam. I try to be lenient because I really want to avoid clobbering
someone who is just starting out.
The kind of discussion you describe is good, but it can and does take place in the threads right now.
Rant: I find it really distracting that, at the moment, half of the front page titles bear the prefix. Makes it harder to skim through, adds up to annoying visual cruft.
I hope this won't give people the impression that "show HN" is now a channel where you should submit anything without hesitation. I like the organic nature of it and I think it's partly because you feel like you are asking people for their attention at the party, so you need to feel justified in doing so. But hopefully that will still be the case.
Fully agree with the following.
>"Instead of "you're doing it wrong", suggest alternatives. When someone is learning, help them learn more."
The general rule of thumb is: when a story hasn't had significant attention on HN in about the last year, a small number of reposts is ok. That's so good stories can have more than one crack at the bat.
We can adjust that for Show HNs like this: if a Show HN has already had significant attention on HN, there shouldn't be another Show HN for the same project. In other words, no one-year cutoff. But if a Show HN hasn't had significant attention yet, a small number of reposts is ok.
As the guidelines at https://news.ycombinator.com/showhn.html point out, though, if a project has had a new and interesting breakthrough, it might be ok to make a new Show HN out of that. But not for routine feature releases.
In case anyone is wondering, yes, we're eventually going to add this information to the Hacker News FAQ. We're dragging our heels about that, partly because we want to change things slowly, and partly because we have ideas for more sophisticated dupe detection that we might want to try out first.
As a minor nitpick, the topline as well as the guidelines contain an unfortunate "here" link
| A list of the most recent Show HNs is here.
It could be changed to some more descriptive link text, for example:
| There is also a list of the most recent Show HNs.
See also: http://www.w3.org/QA/Tips/noClickHere
(Is it weird that the first thing I did was to see if this story was there?)
One question though, is there a big uptick in Show HN posts today or is something wrong with the HN RSS feed? Just noticed a full page of Show HN posts on the feed and was curious if it was organic or maybe a bug.
However, looks like everyone else did too as the front page has >50% Show HN stories this morning.
Not that that's a bad thing, I imagine it's a good day to have submitted a Show HN.
I'm little bit worried that Show HN might turn to Spam HN. I think it should be limited so that one url can be posted only once and there should be some kind of update function. Updates would give the post some fixed amount of weight to rise it so that heavily downvoted ones wouldn't rise to front page anymore.
Because at the moment 11 out of the top 30 stories are about Show HN.
It seems that now that there is a separate Show Hn section , the posts are getting more traction and in the process appearing on the front page.
If it does stay that way, it'll be a nice problem to have, since that would amount to a renaissance of creative work—at least in quantity if not in quality. (And quantity can lead to quality, too.) In any case, we'll burn that bridge when we come to it, as a teammate of mine used to say.
I tend to resist the idea of balkanizing the front page. It seems to me in the essence of HN that you have one front page and everyone's dissatisfied with it.
Also, I'd add a suggestion to the guidelines for "Show HN" submissions
to use a landing page like "http://example.org/show-hn.html" when
appropriate so the submitter can ask for specific types of help or
feedback. This solves the top-comment problem mentioned by danso, and
also solves the text-based submission problem.
All in all, "Show HN" is an excellent addition. Thank you.
EDIT: The new code is actually finding the text-based submissions as
well as the url-based submissions, but at first I thought it was
missing the text-based ones.
Edit: Clicking on the YC logo from the guidelines brings up a 404.
Now, I wonder if it is possible to get the monthly hiring threads pinned to the top of ask.
Also, it is time for those 30 different HN mobile apps to update.
It's no secret the quality of discussion has decreased. I was fine with PG's stick approach with moderation - I couldn't think of anything better. But this looks like a carrot approach that can work. Very clever and elegant solution.
Looking forward to visiting Show HN on a regular basis.
I was about to release signups for a private beta of my current project, but apparently that no longer fits the formal criteria of "Show HN."
Disappointing to say the least.
I have no idea where I'll go to do a beta now.
In that case you can do a Show HN. The guidelines are only trying to prevent Show HNs for things that can't be used yet. If you want specific advice, you're welcome to email email@example.com. (That goes for anybody.)
We might need to relax this rule. Good work can get off the ground in many ways. Drew Houston got initial traction for Dropbox with a video rather than with working software. Our intention isn't to be overly strict—it's mostly to detach "Show HN" from vaporware landing pages and market tests that don't have serious work behind them.
In the mean time, I'd love to hear some feedback on my start-up: www.gopaperbox.com
great job, dang. i may start reading this more than the front page.
I have the data loaded if you have any other Show HN questions.
Being laconic is part of HN's DNA. Probably always will be.
It lets you give specific users a specific color, if you want to call dang out specifically.
what other future subreddits are planned?
I think this is fantastic. I hope that more people will visit my site.