November 23, 2010 | categories: Web

This post is a response to the view of Hacker News outlined in this blog post on, read that post first for context. The main points are summarised up below, but I suggest you still read the original post.

  1. Vocal, small groups can cause certain topics (e.g. the TSA) to become too popular.
  2. Votes are used to represent agreement, not value added.
  3. The community repeats the same views over and over again.
  4. The community doesn't recognise the world outside itself.
  5. It takes too much time.
  6. It takes comments from blogs to itself.
  7. It takes away time that could be used for blogging.
  1. This is a problem on any social media site. The other one that I use, Reddit is even worse. And while it does let you pick certain categories to subscribe to, that doesn’t always help. TSA stuff ended up in /r/science even. And don’t talk to me about Prop 19. The site was rendered useless for me for the better part of 2 days because of people that are trying to pressure people to vote for something about some point I’m indifferent about at post in a country I don’t live in.
    I’m on the fence about downvotes in general. While I have thought downvotes will be useful at times, they lead to possible abuse like Digg’s bury brigade that came out a while back. The fact that the top voted comment on any sensationalist post is a highly voted rebuttal usually counters it out for me.
  2. No argument here.
  3. Pretty much agree with you. Though tech companies tend to polarize all communities. Reddit tends to dislike Apple to the same extent that HN likes it.
  4. No argument here.
  5. No argument here either
  6. I don’t know about this one. I’ve submitted links to my blog to HN, some of which have done quite well before. On the one hand, it does bother me a bit to have the 50 or so comments occuring on HN while only 5 or 6 occur on my blog. But, had it not gone on HN, I might have had 2 on my blog and none elsewhere. So while I would like more of the discussion to be on my blog, it still benefits me. And in my experience, HN referrals are far more likely to bring comments than other sites.
  7. On the one hand that is kind of true. Certainly there have been some things that I have posted as comments on HN and Reddit that could have been blog posts. But on the other hand, some of these are not fully formed thoughts until I read the post that HN is linking to. Furthermore, reading these sites sometimes gives me ideas that do become blog posts. And finally, given that HN has brought me in most of my traffic when my blog posts go popular there, would I feel comfortable just hit and run submitting my links? Definitely not.