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Ask HN: Why are there two Job Ads at the top?
143 points by tomp on Aug 20, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 35 comments
I've noticed earlier today that a Job Ad posted on HN front-page started higher than usual and moved down much more slowly. Now, it's back at the top, along with another Job Ad. Is this the new normal or just a result of live development?

Also, I'd like to remind all the startups posting Job Ads to HN that this is an international website and that not all its visitors live in <your city> or come from <your country>. Quite often I read Job Ads that don't mention the location at all. For example, while the boostedboards.com Job Ad currently on the front-page prominently displays the location above the job description, the information is absent in the polleverywhere.com description and only visible in the sidebar below the link to the same Job Ad.




It's a bug. We'll fix it.

Edit: Fixed. Sorry! This was a side-effect of a change I made foolishly late last night. I forgot that jobs aren't ranked the way stories are, so the code that normally pushes them down was temporarily disabled. There wasn't any (intended) change to how job posts work.


It should be noted that HN's job ranking typically algorithm works by starting the job ad at #4, and using linear decay at about -1 rank every 15 minutes to have the job ad gradually fall off the front page (can't find the source unfortunately; it was said months ago)

The fact that 1) the ads appear at #1/#2 and 2) the ads are not falling down the front-page rankings leads me to believe that the issue is a bug in HN and not an intentional implementation.

EDIT: As of now, the two job ads have disappeared from the top of HN, which gives an indication that it was a bug. Software QA skills at work! :)


Or maybe part of it is an intentional implementation? If HN is interested in monetization (or at least, boosting YC-affiliated companies), maybe the change is to allow job ads at the top position...and this change in code broke the linear decay model.

OT: I don't see why job ads shouldn't be at the top...in fact, I'd almost prefer that, in the way that Reddit anchors ads to the top...so that user who don't care can quickly get used to the top item being a job ad...as opposed to having to filter out job ad vs. posting in the rest of the list.

OTOH, that would make it difficult to figure out how to let job ads slide off of the page via linear decay, if the policy was to affix job ads at the top and show them nowhere else (aside from the jobs link).


Personally, I'm totally ok with more prominent job postings from affiliated startups. As long as there aren't, say, more than 3 posts at a time I'm fine with them sitting at the top of the front page.


> starting the job ad at #4

FWIW, job ads start at #6. I think you're right about the decay but I haven't looked at the code.

You were certainly right about the bug.


If they're going to blast these ads into the backs of our eyeballs, we should at least get a chance to discuss back at them. For example, about the fact that one of them presents the following as a "perk":

1.1 mile [sic] from Mt. View Caltrain

Which makes for like, what, a 90-minute commute[1] from your $3300 crashpad in the Mission? On good days? That's some life they're trying to dangle in front of us.

[1] Door-to-door, not counting time spent picking up your $6 artisan latte and/or dropping off your fancy dog at the dog cleaning shop.


Yeah I don't think that's going to happen...mainly because that would greatly reduce the value to the ad-purchaser...they're interested in hiring someone, not igniting one of the various archetypical debates about startup culture.

And also, it would greatly increase the burden on HN moderators, and in such a way that it would be a lose-lose situation when it comes to credibility. If you allow comments, you allow the possibility of not just well-intentioned debate, but trolling (thanks to HN's generous account-creation policy)...which means, heavy-handed moderation at certain points. Which would you prefer: across-the-board, default policy of not allowing direct comments...or HN mods constantly having to justify the removal/downmodding of trollish comments against endless conflict-of-interest accusations?


[deleted]


I think that horse has pretty much sailed from the barn ever since Paul Graham, founder of YC, announced he was going to create Hacker News, and put it as a subdomain of "ycombinator.com"


are you sure the "ads" are purchased? afaik the ads are only possible for yc startups and I don't think they are "paid"

also, since feedback should be encouraged, I can see hn job ads allowing comments...


Ah, don't worry about that, working 18 hours a day you'll hardly remember the commute!


Native speakers of English will say "one point one mile from XXX", so I'm not sure a [sic] is warranted there. It's weird and inconsistent, but welcome to English.

You can Caltrain from Santa Clara or something and ride your bike the remaining 1.1 mile if you feel like it. Doesn't sound too terrible, as bay area commutes go.

(You know the world is fucked up when an apartment in Manhattan is cheaper than an apartment in Mountain View though! Though Mountain View does have nicer weather. And mountains to view, if you have a telescope.)


"Native speakers of English will say "one point one mile from XXX","

First I've heard of this. 1.1 miles is the correct way to say it, as far as I'm aware. Even if it was less than 1 mile, if it's not an exact 1 then it is viewed as a "multiple".

"0.8 miles away" is perfectly valid.


Ah, Santa Clara: all the affordability of Bay Area and all the excitement of a suburban business park


There's also some big venue built entirely from denim, I heard.


Native speakers of English will say "one point one mile from XXX",

I'm also a native speaker, and I've never heard a single instance of that usage. For "mile", or for any other unit of linear unit of measurement (which would otherwise take the default conjugation according to number).

Excepting, of course, for 8 Mile.


Not this native speaker of English. That's just weird. Its '1.1 miles', '2 and a half gallons' and '0.5 seconds' thank you.


Job ads that don't mention the location are a pet peeve of mine too.

It's not uncommon to see ads where you have to infer it from the description of perks: "We offer the unique chance to sit in an amazing chair in our hip shared office in the fashionable dungeons below Moscone Center".


A peeve, but also a positive: A job ad which does not thoroughly think out the initial questions a potential applicant may have is cut in half (arbitrary) by any potential applicant. Likewise a multitude of other simple factors.

Good job descriptions are... descriptive, and one that isn't is one easily dismissed.

Take away: If it if full of fuzz, avoid it, or ask huge amounts of questions.


Quite often I read Job Ads that don't mention the location at all

Please, please, please, please, please, a million times, please, tell us the location of the job.

Not everyone lives in SF or wants to move there. Maybe some people think that saying "YC14" ought to tell us all the location, but it doesn't.

Or make it explicit policy that YC jobs are always in SF unless said otherwise, so those of us who live someplace else can just categorically ignore them.


> Please don't post on HN to ask or tell us something (e.g. to ask us questions about Y Combinator, or to ask or complain about moderation). If you want to say something to us, please send it to hn@ycombinator.com.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


How does this submission/question not fit the description of the news guidelines as you posted:

On-Topic: Anything that good hackers would find interesting. That includes more than hacking and startups. If you had to reduce it to a sentence, the answer might be: anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity.

And seeing as it's gotten 86 points, I'd say there are at least some people that find it interesting.


It's obviously not the only rule. "What people find interesting" is like a minimum height requirement, not an "anything goes" rule, or else we would be 100% cats.

Many communities get taken down by meta-discussion. HN has been very hostile to it in the past, with some good reason, but also to detriment, as the readers and the moderators lose empathy for each other. 'dang comments are doing well to lessen that divide.

(FWIW, I think this topic is a good discussion. I didn't upvote but I'm very parsimonious with my story upvotes since I don't have a downvote button.)


> How does this submission/question not fit the description of the news guidelines as you posted:

Because the answer is obviously along the lines of "they were tweaking something and they broke something but now it's fixed".


Sure, perhaps to you, or people that have been here longer. However, I had absolutely no idea. I didn't even know that HN was taking paid advertisements for job postings, and putting them "somewhere" on the top.


These are not paid advertisements. These are ads for YC companies.

Perhaps the small mention of job advert posts in the faq should be expanded? It's not particularly clar at the moment.


"Perhaps the small mention of job advert posts in the faq should be expanded? It's not particularly clar at the moment." That would be great, yes. At the very least, it'd remove speculation and second-hand information.


> Perhaps the small mention of job advert posts in the faq should be expanded?

Sure, we'll do that.

Edit: We did that.


OK, I forgot about this. Will keep it in mind next time. However, in my defense, meta posts are a regular occurrence on HN, one every few weeks or so.


I already noticed and mailed dang about this before you posted but I don't think you did any harm. Bug reports should always be welcome no matter what route they take.


Don't beat yourself up over it. It's fixed now. You done good.


Y-Combinator companies have always had the ability to post jobs to Hacker News. 2 side-by-side may be rare but not unheard of.


The job ads have a linear decay applied to them (I think it's -1 rank every 15 minutes) to keep things fair. The fact that the two ads have held for #1 and #2 spots for hours is very unusual.


Hacker News is run by YCombinator (you notice there are no ads in general - i.e. no obvious monetization?). YC companies get to run job listings. The fact that are 2 near the top is probably due to yesterday's Demo Day.


The point is their unusual ranking at the top, as users can't vote on these links.


Neither of the startups were announced at the S14 demo day, though. (PollEverywhere is S06, BoostedBoards is S12)




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