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Ask HN: What are some of the best HN comments that you've read?
104 points by rayalez on May 17, 2015 | hide | past | web | favorite | 33 comments
Have you read a comment here that influenced you significantly, had some great ideas in it, was memorable for some reason, or was just fun to read? Share the link here.

"Did you win the Putnam? If not, then don't be bolder than this guy." "Yes, I did." https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=35079

A parody of being a startup founder: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4166183

The Putnam reply is one of the great moments in Internet commenting history IMHO.

Oh, so this is why it suddenly popped up again in my twitter feed...

I'll say here what I posted there a moment ago: Seven years after making a fool of myself on Hacker News, I wonder if my epitaph will be "Yes, I won the Putnam".

The followup is the icing on the cake, "Only once?"

> Yes, only once. But I actually consider my first score on the Putnam (53, ranked 53.5th in North America) to be my most impressive performance on the Putnam, considering that I was only 14 years old at the time.

It's one of my favourite comments ever.

Even better, further down the thread drew houston comes on to say that he is working on a similar idea and that he could email him to chat.

How does the Putnam winner Ravi Vakil fit into that thread? From reading the context it is about cpervica saying he's more competent than 90% of startup founders, and other people are saying that's arrogant. Where did Ravi come in -- was he a startup founder?

cpervica == Ravi

cpervica == Colin Percival (via http://www.tarsnap.com/about.html)

I think Ravi Vakil was just given as an example of somebody with a lot of academic accomplishment.

"Double stealth mode" gave me a solid chuckle.

"when C, D & S (or cease and desist as I call them) come back home" was a great setup too.

One of my favorites from that thread:

  Remember that success comes from improving OTHER people's lives. All your achievements, while probably very gratifying to your mother, have not improved my life at all. - dbosson

  Do you use OS X or Mozilla? Have you ever used their software update mechanisms? If yes, I've improved your life -- they use my delta compression work (bsdiff, originally written as part of FreeBSD Update) to reduce the size of updates which have to be downloaded. As of about a year ago, my work had saved users around the world well over a hundred years of waiting for updates to download. -cpervica

bdunn on justifying your costs as a freelancer: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8705179

patio11 and the Fair Credit Reporting Act: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7135833

spolsky on detecting toxic customers: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1987223

tptacek on naming your company: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4684845

The journey of Flappy Bird: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7207943

Programming is terrible: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6469360

On being a consultant: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6443135

Why Do So Many Incompetent Men Become Leaders? https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6263458

Are designers crazy? http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5002262

Why learning to code is so hard: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4933178

"I don't understand": http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4930262

death and regrets: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4540459

A fabulous set of quotes. Do you collect them as you read them?

Yup :)

Very nice list thanks for posting

In general, if you read the comments from top HN'ers [1] you will find a lot of perls: that's the reason why they got the karma..

Sometimes you can find also great comments [2] from less visible HN'ers. E.g. I suggest a "niche" comment on the best way to negociate a claimed domain name [3].

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/leaders

[2] https://news.ycombinator.com/bestcomments

[3] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8603821

Here's an old one which is still awesome:

"How I crashed HN" http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=639976

Advice by sillysaurus3 on 'recommended reading' for programmers, mainly focusing on C and distributed systems.


I almost wish they'd just add a patio11 and tptacek tab across the top bar. :)

Sometimes it's not just the comment, but the context in which the comment is made.

+1 to patio11. When I'm skimming comments, I make sure to actually read his fully.

As much as we all say we're governed by reason, there's still some timidity and doubt and he has this great ability to call people on it in a constructive way.

I also like tokenadult's posts for anything biology-related.

ChuckMcM can always be counted on to have a thoughtful and interesting comment. He is my #1 favorite HN commenter.

I'm totally a ChuckMcM fan. Thoughtful, experienced, witty. I always look for his comments in threads I'm interested in and have yet to be disappointed.

Workaround: I add those names and many others to the list of words to be highlighted on HN (Pearls extension)...

A bit OT but this is quite funny and a bit related http://bradconte.com/files/misc/HackerNewsParodyThread/

"You just have to figure out which part of the animal kingdom you're in" https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=469940

This mini-essay tour of finance, Keynesian economics and other tangents by lionhearted: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=843170

Wow. That was long. It was also very good. Thanks for the link.

I like a lot of tptacek's[1] comments, as long as he's talking technology / security and not politics. On politics we're pretty far apart, but there's no question the guy knows security damn well, and always has something insightful to say.

[1]: https://news.ycombinator.com/user?id=tptacek

Animats post on "Maximizing shareholder value", which had many responses, https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8709880

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9522459 on topic "Ask HN: How to talk smart?"

The top response to "what's th best way to get 5% on a million dollars" is the best piece of investing advice I have seen on this forum.


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