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It's got its plusses and minuses. People sometimes shoot the breeze rather than narrowly focus on the topic at hand, so yeah, sometimes there's a lot of noise compared to signal.

I prefer here, or, as of late, http://discuss.bootstrapped.fm/ for more serious discussions, although occasionally something interesting comes up on #startups. Sometimes the informality is helpful, as you can chat about something you don't particularly want plastered all over HN...

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