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yajoe 106 days ago | link | parent | on: Pending Comments Update

$0.02 regarding the name of the feature, which I think anchors too much in the "censorship/free speech" principle discussion when it seems you have much more tactical goals (moderator workload, foster specific topics, etc.).

Consider renaming the feature from "pending comments" to "civility filter." In prose one would say Moderators now can require civility via special-purpose moderation on specific threads.

Similarly, consider changing the "[pending]" text to "[Pending civility check]" and changing the "endorse" link to "Affirm civility" (or just "Civil" to keep with one-word nav elements).


"All speech must be endorsed" --> "Bad Thing"

"All speech must be civil" --> "Good Thing"


This is an interesting feature, and certainly not something I would have expected as the "next" feature to add. When I read "pending comments" I expected something similar to slashdot's old "preview" feature so one could double-check spelling, formatting, etc. i.e. preview the post before submitting to HN. I would not have expected "pending" to mean "pending moderation" given the successful voting feature here.

I would ask what the goals of the change are, but they seem obvious:

1) Limit nastiness and negativity

2) Encourage deeper and pensive comments

3) Cynically, it seems like a private goal would be to limit criticism of YC, though I know this would never be a stated goal. The criticism may simply have increased the priority even though HN has seemed more civil in recent months as an outside observer.

While the change may achieve these results, I would expect the following effects:

1) Fewer comments overall (there is a new "tax" to post, so-to-speak) and as a result there will be fewer visitors in the medium term (sites like HN, reddit, slashdot, huff post, etc all thrive on both the quality _and_ quantity of comments since that's what entertains people). Without controlling the number of front-page stories, you will in effect decrease the available content for viewers to consume. The demand will be filled elsewhere. I always assumed there was a private, invite-only forum for YC and that you would leave HN alone as a great PR platform... this move makes me wonder some more.

2) Comments will trend towards the quality of bane, tokenadult, ChuckMcM, patio11, cperciva, etc (we all know them) at the risk of fewer "provocative" posts. Often the greatest quality posts, however, are in response or to contradict simple-minded or provocative posts.

3) I am concerned by this line: People who regularly endorse comments that fail one or both of these tests will lose the ability to endorse comments. I like meta-moderation and all, but I don't like being reminded that all actions are recorded and tied back to my account. I would ask for some separation between "endorsing" and "agreeing" -- as a continual skeptic, I like reading and promoting contrarian views since it helps us learn.

I look forward to watching the experiment, and as a parting request, would you be able to record and measure the goals? There must be a YC company that can help with that, and I imagine it would be a wonderful blog write-up!


pg 112 days ago | link

It wouldn't limit criticism of YC. A comment only needs a few people to endorse it to become visible. To suppress comments on any specific topic would require all the users with over 1000 karma to agree not to endorse them, which is hard to imagine.


c23gooey 112 days ago | link

Correction: it would require all users with over 1000 karma to read the comments of every post to HN. It seems like you are making the assumption that every user reads every post


pg 112 days ago | link

If a comment isn't seen by many users with over 1000 karma then it isn't seen by many users period, and thus doesn't have much influence anyway.


npizzolato 112 days ago | link

Does a comment need to be seen by many users to be worthwhile? If it contributes to the discussion of a small group of users (who may not have over 1000 karma), is that not still valuable discussion that you would want to continue? I understand the goals of trying to promote healthy discussion, but I fear that this will have many unintended consequences.


jimzvz 112 days ago | link

Comments are often used as communication between specific users and not necessarily intended for widespread consumption.


cag_ii 112 days ago | link

Can you give us some indication of what % of active users have over 1000 karma?


farmdawgnation 111 days ago | link

It seems like a fallacy that if a comment isn't read and endorsed by users with over 1000 karma within a certain timeframe it will never be influential. Weren't most of the literary and artistic geniuses completely unappreciated by their contemporaries? We may not be a literary and artistic community, but I think the rule applies all the same.


JoeAltmaier 111 days ago | link

Nonsense. Lots of conversations continue with an interested subgroup, especially new or niche topics. Its easily possible no one with 1000 karma will ever visit.

Which means such topics are dead to HN. What remains? Something we can't predict right now, but I suspect it won't be what we want.


tripzilch 111 days ago | link

But that would be a reason to show it, not hide it.


xg15 112 days ago | link

I believe this is not hard to imagine at all. It's unlikely that all >1000 karma users will take the time to review every comment. So it'll be enough if the few users who happen to browse a thread have the same views on that particular topic.


For those who don't know, Greg is one of the common faces of the Seattle VC scene. He is a staple at nearly every startup event -- Startup Weekend, Geekwire events, TechStars, VC panels, etc.

I don't have a dog in the fight, but I did spend some time reading the actual bill since these blog articles felt like more political campaigns than informative pieces. The last time this came up I posted https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7303232

The Seattle city council passed a law that made so-called "ride sharing" services legal after intentionally withholding prosecution for over a year. The law isn't perfect, but it does feel like it strives to balance protecting existing investments with new services. The most salient changes about the bill:

1. Seattle defines uberX, Lyft, etc as Transportation Network Companies (TNC) and declares all drivers as "for-hire" drivers, which is a legal distinction that means Seattle can regulate them.

2. TNCs are taxed at $50k for first year. Second year is the greater of $50k or .35% of gross revenue.

3. No more than 150 drivers may be associated with each TNC at a time, and each driver can work only 12 hours per 24 hour period. Previously the law would have limited 300 drivers per TNC per quarter regardless of who was active, and this was "the cap." For comparison, there are 1100 taxicabs in the city.

4. Drivers can't double dip: They can't both drive for-hire cars and also do uberX on the side. They also can't work for both uberX and Lyft.

5. Rates may either be flat-rate between preset zones OR subject to RCW Chapter 19.94. RCW Chapter 19.94 defines appropriate measurement devices that may be used with commerce, which I think precludes most cell phones... uberX would need to install meters it seems and precludes surge pricing.

6. The insurance requirements are stricter than what uberX or Lyft provide today and are mostly in line with existing taxicabs.

7. There was a 30% increase in the cap on cabs at the same time.

8. TNCs have to report their activities to the city, which will be available to the public for inspection.


spartango 115 days ago | link

Thank you for reading and citing the law in detail. For those who haven't read it[1], I'd encourage you to do so. Unfortunately, the author of the blog post is reading it rather selectively and linking to another report.

Reading through the law, it seems largely sensible. The council lays out its logic for which pieces of the operations of a service like Uber need to be regulated, and specifies appropriate regulatory action on each item. We're talking about aspects like "transparency of rates", "certificates of safety" from mechanics, allowances for handicapped people, and insurance.

In fact, the council lays out a pilot program to assess whether such regulatory action is actually effective, "so that regulation provides a safety net that the public can rely on for its protection while new businesses innovate and use technology to better the lives of Washingtonians." The balance between "innovative" interests and those of consumers is clearly being weighed, and the council will assess "any negative unintended consequences of the pilot program" by next year.

Attacking the caps ignores the fact that they are associated primarily with the pilot program and initial regulation. You can think of it as a form of risk management for a trial, not dissimilar from that exercised in a medical drug trial.

[1] http://clerk.seattle.gov/~scripts/nph-brs.exe?s1=&s3=118036&...


HelloMcFly 115 days ago | link

Regarding #3, isn't 150 active drivers at one time, rather than 150 per TNC?


benatkin 115 days ago | link

No, it's 150 per TNC. Were it 150 total, they'd effectively have a medallion program.


yajoe 136 days ago | link | parent | on: Save uberX in Seattle

Don't have a dog in the fight, but interesting how the uberX page doesn't mention specifics of the proposal beyond "put hundreds of drivers out of business and effectively shut UberX down." Where are the links? The specifics?

The actual proposal may be found on the city's site [1]. It also would help to provide some context for the types of changes, which both an opinionated summary from the local newspaper [2] and somewhat impartial summary from a local tech site [3] do fairly well.

For the tl;dr who don't want to click away:

1. Seattle defines uberX, Lyft, etc as Transportation Network Companies (TNC) and declares all drivers as "for-hire" drivers, which is a legal distinction that means Seattle can regulate them.

2. TNCs are taxed at $50k for first year. Second year is the greater of $50k or .35% of gross revenue.

3. No more than 300 drivers may be associated with each TNC (it's a permit lottery regime, if you are curious), and each driver can work only 16 hours.

Yes, that means that each TNC is limited to 300 x 16 = 4800 hours of work per week. A previous proposal had a limit of 100 drivers [5]

4. Drivers can't double dip: They can't both drive for-hire cars and also do uberX on the side. They also can't work for both uberX and Lyft.

5. I can't find a cap on the number of TNCs that will be licensed, even though that seems to be one of the (perhaps past?) sticking points.

6. Rates may either be flat-rate between preset zones OR subject to RCW Chapter 19.94. RCW Chapter 19.94 [4] defines appropriate measurement devices that may be used with commerce, which I think precludes most cell phones... uberX would need to install meters it seems.

Details likely only I will find interesting:

1. TNCs have to have valid insurance for all vehicles, and this insurance looks like it is stricter than what uberX and Lyft currently have.

2. TNCs must have an office in Seattle that is open and personally staffed all business days between nine a.m. (9:00 a.m.) and five p.m. (5:00 p.m.) with toll-free number

3. The TNC shall submit to the Director a report detailing all rides that were requested but not accepted by TNC drivers. The report shall include the location and zip code of each rejected ride. There are penalties for discriminating against underserved zip codes.

4. 30% increase in the total number of taxicabs, including an immediate increase of 8% "today. "

[1] http://www.seattle.gov/council/issues/taxis.html

[2] http://blogs.seattletimes.com/opinionnw/2014/02/14/seattle-u...

[3] http://www.geekwire.com/2014/seattle-delays-ride-sharing-vot...

[4] http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=19.94

[5] http://www.geekwire.com/2013/sidecar-uber-express-disappoint...

Edit: Formatting and spelling


jacalata 136 days ago | link

I don't remember anyone talking about a cap on the number of TNCs, you may be confusing that with the very large outcry over a cap on number of drivers. From memory (of the original bill) the drivers are able to get the full for-hire driver license with more intensive testing and then the 16 hour cap doesn't apply? And uber/lyft/etc all refuse to say how many drivers they have now, so fuck 'em, 300 is probably enough.

edit: there might have been an argument that capping the number of drivers would de facto prevent new companies from starting because all the slots would be taken by existing ones?


Similar to another poster, the only person admitted to MIT from my high school 10 years ago out of a class of 1200 from a wealthy suburb was the daughter of an alumnus who ran the interviews for the region. I just find it hard to believe Legacy doesn't play a factor even if there is no checkbox on the admission forms. The father stopped running interviews the year she got in.

Even Harvard, Stanford, and Yale each admitted 3 people that year (which, interestingly were different people -- it's as if they colluded to induce enrollment).


totally off-topic, but because of the SOPA nonsense I've slowly moved my 40-or-so domains to namecheap during 2013 when their renewals came up. I was otherwise ambivalent about which DNS service/registrar to use before that incident...

but thank you for helping the guy get his twitter account back and fixing up the internal controls.


Interesting story. It seems the case went to arbitration due to a clause in the Ilya Semin employment contract and thus out of the light of regular courts:



Mind elaborating, even if it's wild speculation and rumor? I haven't been following YHOO closely to know the backstory or context behind this individual.


Steko 177 days ago | link



yapcguy 177 days ago | link

>Considered whip-smart and clever, the former business consultant also made a number of powerful enemies at Google, including top ad product execs Susan Wojcicki and Neal Mohan, among many others.

Looks like the same old carpet baggers... Are there any actual programmers or former programmers occupying high-ranking decision-making positions at these tech companies?!


belluchan 177 days ago | link

> Are there any actual programmers or former programmers occupying high-ranking decision-making positions at these tech companies?!

Why would it matter if the leaders had ever programmed before?


yarrel 177 days ago | link

They might have the first clue what it is the company does for a start.


travem 177 days ago | link

You mean advertising?


valas 177 days ago | link

Marissa was a programmer.


gcb0 177 days ago | link



randallu 177 days ago | link

Also: http://www.businessinsider.com/yahoo-coo-henrique-de-castro-...


jamra 177 days ago | link

I think there's a huge problem trying to have someone non-technical take charge of a technical task without a proper engineering team behind him. The automatic buying of ads seems like a difficult task.

I don't think a CEO like MM can buy big execs to solve this problem for Yahoo. They need teams of intelligent engineers in addition to experienced execs.

Taking this into account with all the talent acquisitions Yahoo has been doing, it's becoming clear that Yahoo will not be able to create any kind of technical infrastructure. At best, they can hold onto their current revenue model and try to reduce their costs as much as possible.


kylebrown 177 days ago | link

His task wasn't technical, he was hired as COO (not CTO) and tasked with bringing in ad revenue from big brands for Yahoo. They would presumably hire a people-friendly salesperson to do that.

But the article has quotes about his "difficult personality". He's been called charming but also "kind of an asshole" who was disliked by clients and employees.


randallu 177 days ago | link

It's pretty depressing they spent all that money on apps and seemed to go nowhere with any of them.

If you have something hot then what can Yahoo possibly offer you to go and work there, knowing that everything else they touched went nowhere?


kylebrown 177 days ago | link

All that money on apps?

Yahoo offered this guy $64 million for a 4 year contract. He's leaving after a bit longer than a year, and keeping almost all of it.


adharmad 177 days ago | link

Yahoo's problems go deeper than that. Throwing a few million dollars at some acquisitions or talented execs may be a right step, but it is a far cry from fixing the engineering and work culture. That will take sometime, and I hope that the board and MM have the patience.


sjg007 177 days ago | link

It would be fascinating to get an insider view on this.


Steko 177 days ago | link

Hilarious moment in the linked older article when De Castro asked Tim Cook a question at All Things D:


(video embedded near the end, question at the 1:34:30 mark.)


omegaworks 177 days ago | link

>(which may be due to English is not his first language)

Douchiness knows no language barrier. There's a lot of nonverbal communication that conveys compassion - or lack thereof.

>Dos Equis commercials

Doesn't this feel a bit degrading?


dredmorbius 177 days ago | link

For a better video experience (I couldn't get the BI video to play for the ATD segment):


Again at the 1:34:30 mark


defen 177 days ago | link

Wow. Dictionary definition of "smug" right there.


This is a good question about the macro US economy. In general I agree with GP.

Fact: The Fed has injected large amounts of cash into the asset markets using http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantitative_easing . I've never added up the cash as a percentage of GDP or one of the Ms, but it always seemed significant (i.e. 5-10% of GDP, but this is debatable). I should caveat by saying that this cash never entered general circulation, which has meant treating it as part of the monetary supply is tricky.

Now, based on this fact of Fed intervention there are a few opinions:

1. While the Fed directly isn't buying equities (i.e. stocks, but this is as far as we know), its presence means that all the other cash holders have to seek out other investments to get inflation-beating rates of returns. There isn't hard data to support this, but it is the conventional wisdom of both people in the game and macro economists.

2. The magnitude of the impact on the asset markets is up for debate. I've seen numbers as low as -5% and has high as 60% of last year's stock market returns can be attributed to the Fed intervention. Some of the difficulty is that there was large federal fiscal stimulus impacting during this time, and counter-intuitively there is some argument that the Fed neutralized the fiscal stimulus to hold inflation rates constant. The important part is that there was a stock market surge, and it is not a result of retail investors pouring in money: It is a result of institutions balancing away from bonds to stocks (this is what the GP means by "supply-side"). It's just not clear if the institutions did it because they have confidence in the economy or if they were "forced" by the Fed. The "why" is opinion, and many people believe the fed is the "why."

3. On the micro side, seeing 20-something kids get 150k budgets to screw around for a year is maddening. "It's ok, VCs play the numbers game... we just need one tulip to pay 100x." There is too much money chasing "talent" right now, and should the correction to the asset market happen this year (as I predict from the fed's cessation) then we will see the startup bubble unwind.


kenster07 189 days ago | link

"On the micro side, seeing 20-something kids get 150k budgets to screw around for a year is maddening"

Nonsense. This is but an externality.

What is maddening is the current state of the financial system as a whole. Though its intellectual underpinnings should have been completely shaken by the events around 2008 and the subsequent rescue of its champions, vested interests would prefer to pretend the emperor still has clothing -- and thus the externalities of QA, of which startup money is actually among the most palatable.


yajoe 189 days ago | link | parent | on: Fired? Speak No Evil

You both are right! (yeah, yeah, cop out...)

Listen to this: http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2013/06/kling_on_the_th.htm...



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