hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    30 Apr 2011 Ask
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1
Ask PG: Disconnecting Distraction progress?
25 points by hella  2 hours ago   2 comments top 2
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derrida 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
A little off topic, but I was wondering if you do away with any sort of GUI on your primary desktop and only use emacs, does that get you a distraction free environment?
2
aik 50 minutes ago 0 replies      
Addendum questions I have in addition to the above questions:

1) Do you find it silly or irritating being called a 'great'?

2) Do you find yourself in disagreement with the usage of such a word describing yourself? Are you unable to relate?

2
What's new with Diaspora?
14 points by bradhe  2 hours ago   5 comments top 4
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tedreed 1 hour ago 1 reply      
I got an invite a few months ago and tried it out. It was pretty amazingly rough for how long they'd been working on it. I did check out the source and was... not impressed.
2
lawfulfalafel 45 minutes ago 0 replies      
Everyone laughed because they released it way too early without proper security mechanisms in place.
3
stevenj 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Last activity on its Twitter account was a month ago: http://twitter.com/#!/joindiaspora
4
mg1313 23 minutes ago 0 replies      
At least they have the money...
3
Ask HN: How do I negotiate my job (salary/conditions)?
6 points by throwaway1986  2 hours ago   7 comments top 4
1
michaelpinto 37 minutes ago 0 replies      
Salary negotiation is cultural " so saying which country you are in is critical. In fact my advice was going to be to jump to a new job is you're below market value, but in some cultures that's a bad idea, yet in other cultures one would be surprised that you didn't do it sooner...
2
nandemo 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Given that you're in a country with high inflation, your best bet is to move to fulltime freelancing, assuming that you can get gigs consistenly. Otherwise, if you stay in your job, even if you get a raise now then you'll still need another in 6 months.
3
pitdesi 2 hours ago 1 reply      
If you've got another offer, that is your trump card. Tell your boss you're leaving... you seem to have a lot of options, so why not leave or atleast pretend to? If your boss thinks you'll actually leave and you are valuable to the company, they'll do whatever they can to keep you. Hiring people is time consuming and expensive, and when you have a good person you'll do most anything to keep them.

Also - I don't understand what you mean by the cost of living increase over 3 years is more than 60%... did you have to move somewhere?

4
allenc 1 hour ago 1 reply      
Hm...does your boss and your company know what market rates are? Don't assume that your company is purposefully underpaying you; it may very well be that they don't know enough of the market. In that case, esp. if you're on good terms with your boss, it'd be a simple matter of educating them in your research.

Startups usually don't have a ton of cash, so if you feel like you're still being shortchanged and the company simply can't afford to pay you more (from the company's perspective, increasing your salary may mean increasing everybody else's as well), you can ask for other things: more options, more days off, better benefits, and as you mentioned working remotely.

You're in a good position, and have built up good will over the years, so I'm sure they wouldn't want to lose you. It might be just a simple matter of bringing it up, so do that first.

4
Ask HN: Location of YC Companies?
6 points by mikek  6 hours ago   2 comments top 2
1
citizenkeys 6 hours ago 0 replies      
http://ycuniverse.com/ycombinator-companies.php

Locations aren't there for all the companies. However, if you click on the Crunchbase link for each company, it will usually have their wear-abouts.

2
code 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Are you looking specifically just for YC companies? Which position?
5
Ask HN: What background music you play while coding?
4 points by hanszeir  5 hours ago   12 comments top 9
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T-R 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Stuff from Dwelling of Duels[1] (Video game covers), artists that mix classical instruments with rock/electonic (like Sarina Suno or Yoshida Brothers), or movie/show soundtracks (Hisaishi Joe) - anything with lyrics is too distracting. And that's only if I know what I'm going to write, if I need to sit and think about something, I need silence.

[1] http://dwellingofduels.net/

2
imcqueen 5 hours ago 1 reply      
im sure im the exception to the rule here, but I find it harder to work with music on. it turns into a distraction because I constantly fiddle with the playlist, etc.

but if you have to choose, sample a little john legend

3
jp 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Go to: http://us.int.teppefall.com
View source.
4
cbare 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Coltrane, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk.
5
prez 4 hours ago 0 replies      
For me, the "coding music" must be simple and not distracting - something that doesn't make me concentrate on the music instead of the code. Or no music at all.
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kefs 4 hours ago 0 replies      
lately?.. good dubstep. it's sort of infectious.
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willyg 4 hours ago 1 reply      
8
bakztfuture 4 hours ago 0 replies      
in motion- trent reznor and atticus ross
lol the social network
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togasystems 3 hours ago 0 replies      
deadmau5
6
Ask HN: At a terrible school, making me depressed. Does name really matter?
7 points by nonameschool  7 hours ago   7 comments top 6
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nostrademons 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Correlation != causation. I suspect that the reason you see tons of folks from Stanford/Harvard/MIT at Google or successful startups is because those people tend to be smart, and smart people tend to rise to the level that's appropriate for them. I also know a fair number of people at Google that are pretty awesome but don't come from elite universities. Actually, some of the best programmers I know at Google come from places like Colgate, Virginia Tech, Ann Arbor, UT Austin, San Jose State, and no degree at all.

Going to an elite school basically makes things easier. It tilts every initial interaction in your favor, so that you only have to maintain an impression instead of creating one. But it won't let you do things that you otherwise wouldn't be able to do, nor does it give you a free pass for the rest of your life.

If you get stuck with a bad degree, the way to work around it is to kick ass in your field. Be the best employee you can be, and then look at how you can improve things outside your company and be the best innovator that you can be. Eventually, everybody knows who the real folks are that get shit done. If you can chalk up a couple big successes, nobody cares where you went to school.

2
T-R 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I spent a semester at a less-than-stellar school for CS - the easy 4.0 was nice, but I know what you mean. Some things I did to help myself feel better about it:

- I got ahead - I found some small projects related to the next semester's material, and had an easy time in a class that others struggled in.

- I talked to the professors - the students there weren't motivated, but the professors were nonetheless interested in their own field, and they were especially happy to find a student who was interested. This is especially key if you need recommendation letters for transferring, study abroad, or grad school.

- I found a better curriculum online. At some point it's going to come down to what you know, not where you learned it, so just do your best to reduce the gap between you and people who went someplace with a better curriculum.

- I transferred out. You don't necessarily have to go that far, though. Whether you're in a bad job, school, or situation, one of the best things you can do is to come up with a solid plan to get out of it, or to at least compensate for it. The light at the end of the tunnel gives you the motivation to do everything else.

- I took my general education classes there. When I transferred, I fought to get credit for them, and so I was able to spend more time on classes in my major and minor. Also, don't overlook your side interests - things like study abroad also look good on resumes and the like, and are useful for networking outside of your field.

Things I didn't do that I wish I had:

- Went to user groups and conferences and networked. Networking is one big thing you'll miss out on at a school that's weak in your field.

- Worked on open source projects, or smaller personal projects. My biggest mistake in college was lack of balance - I spent a lot of time reading the best material I could find (and still do), but I've got very little that's concrete to show for it. In interviews, a nice github account and some practice coding at a whiteboard goes a lot further than your college's name.

If you're worried about grad school, one thing you could try is picking a subfield that you like, and getting in contact with professors from schools that you'd like to go to who are in that field.

3
Aqua_Geek 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I went to one of the (if not the) top school for my program. Honestly, I came away feeling very jaded - I felt like the school only cared about itself and wouldn't think twice about you while you were there but would be sure to quickly claim you as an alum if you made something of yourself afterward.

That being said, I did meet some amazing people there and it helped me get through all of the politics. There's definitely something to be said about surrounding yourself with talented people. But there are other opportunities to do so outside of the school setting. Look for a local hacker group. Go to some meetups.

While these schools might provide a springboard to getting to where you want to go, they are just that - a springboard; they are probably not the end goal. There was a link posted a few months ago about the idea of everyone wanting a million dollars. The author's main point was that you don't really want the million dollars - you want what the million dollars can buy (freedom, adventure, etc). The second point was that you don't need the million dollars to achieve these things.

Hang in there!

4
stonemetal 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Transfer to a better school. It is often easier to transfer than to get in as a freshmen.

As far as where you went to school not mattering it is all but a lie. Your first job out of college pretty much depends on where you went to school and how you did. That second job may not depend on where you went to school but it certainly depends on that first job which depends on where you went to school. On the other hand is it really that big a deal if you never work at Facebook?

In the end is more about what you do and what you are capable of than where you went to school or where you worked for that matter, a fulfilling life doesn't come from external sources but internal ones.

5
jiahuang 3 hours ago 0 replies      
You seem particularly worried that you won't get hired since you're from a lesser known school. Don't be. Especially in fields such as software, they care a lot more about talent than name dropping. Do some cool projects and put it up on github. Have an idea for an app? Flush it out and launch it. Don't have an idea? Look at a successful app and try to port it to another platform -- you'll probably learn a lot along the way.

As students of a relatively small school that doesn't do a lot of advanced scientific research, my friends and I were able to get jobs/internships at some of the companies you've listed, so all is not lost :)

6
sinamdar 6 hours ago 0 replies      
My advice is this:

1.Find the most accomplished professors in your department and take courses offered by them. Even though your school may not have a big reputation, some professors may have enough clout to recommend you when applying to Google/FB etc.

2.Keep doing Deliberate Practice. Take the hardest courses. Work on your own projects. Contribute to open source projects.

7
Ask HN: Recommended Math Primer for SICP
23 points by imechura  15 hours ago   12 comments top 8
1
swannodette 13 hours ago 0 replies      
When I first read through SICP I stopped early in the book when it got the bit that required Calculus and took a massive detour to understand Calculus. Then I returned to the book, solved the problem, and discovered that the rest book had hardly any difficult math - certainly nothing that required me to know anything beyond high school math. C'est la vie.
2
orijing 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I know this might not be so helpful for you, but I don't think it requires anything above a basic understanding of math. The "deepest" math was in the beginning, when it covered Newton's Method for square root approximation.

SICP is used as the introductory CS text at many universities (Berkeley included) and has no official math prerequisites. I think you should try reading it first, and if you get stuck on a concept like Newton's Method, you can just read about it on Wikipedia.

But otherwise, there was basically no math involved, except as simple illustrations. Good luck! It was a great text.

3
tokenadult 13 hours ago 0 replies      
There are other replies that detail the strict math requirements for getting through the SICP text and how to build up in those requirements.

But in case you are additionally interested in further self-education in mathematics related to computer science, or other onlookers in this thread are, I'll recommend some resources in discrete mathematics,

http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/Resources/articles.php?pa...

especially those directed toward the interests of computer scientists.

One book with good online support is the Art of Problem Solving book on Counting and Probability.

http://www.artofproblemsolving.com/Store/viewitem.php?item=i...

MIT OpenCourseware has a mathematics for computer science course.

http://ocw.mit.edu/courses/electrical-engineering-and-comput...

Princeton has posted lecture notes for a similar course:

http://www.cs.princeton.edu/courses/archive/spr10/cos433/mat...

ArsDigita University also posts math-learning resources online:

http://aduni.org/courses/math/

An Amazon guide to books for self-study and an Amazon list of favorite books may also be helpful:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/syltguides/fullview/R3NMQ39...

http://www.amazon.com/Computer-Science-and-Math-books-that-I...

4
d0m 14 hours ago 0 replies      
If I remember well, the Math part is only in the first or second chapter to illustrate some more abstract concepts. I'll simply suggest searching the web if there's an algorithm or a math concept that you don't know about. Furthermore, SICP does a great job at explaining the algorithm.
5
JSig 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Whenever I need a refresher I go to Khan ->

http://www.khanacademy.org

6
jdietrich 14 hours ago 1 reply      
If you haven't already, consider HtDP instead. It is designed to require no knowledge of mathematics beyond basic arithmetic. It fulfils a similar role to SICP. It is often argued that HtDP is a weaker text than SICP, but I found it a very useful course.
7
rtperson 14 hours ago 0 replies      
The SICP, from the chapters I've read, does not rely on mathematical sophistication the way, say, Knuth does. There's a little bit of calculus, but not much. If you've had a semester of calculus, you're probably more than well prepared. If you haven't you can probably focus instead on the data structures and algorithms.

Your best bet is just to grab a Scheme interpreter and dive in.

8
happy4crazy 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Have you tried reading SICP without a math primer? What's your current math background?
8
I don't learn anything on HN anymore, bring back the upvote count
1021 points by wdewind  1 day ago   220 comments top 72
1
tokenadult 1 day ago 5 replies      
When I first started reading HN I learned a TON very quickly and everyday about completely new stuff, and was able to do so because I could easily sort through the legitimacy of opinions based on their upvotes.

And yet the founder of HN said 25 days ago that there is a problem with HN, "the decreasing quality of comment threads on HN."

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2403696

He summed up the problem by saying "The problem has several components: comments that are (a) mean and/or (b) dumb that (c) get massively upvoted." If pg observed a situation like that, isn't it a bad idea to "sort through the legitimacy of opinions based on their upvotes"?

A link and comment in another recent metadiscussion thread largely sums up the back-and-forth about visible comment scores as a signal on comments in active threads:

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2465357

>> Please bring back the comment scores. It helps a lot in parsing the comments and assigning a proportional weight to each when reading them.

> I had to think about this a bit, and I disagree so far. I'm finding that I'm not pre-judging comments as much. It's nice to be able to read someone's comment without knowing first that 70 or 80 or 3 other people thought it was worthwhile.

Once I had thought about that a bit, I reached the second conclusion. Readers on HN are gaining more quality comments as readers look at comments according to their inherent value and not upvoting or downvoting based on the crowd appeal of what someone else has already voted. Cognitive scientists have done a lot of research on what is called anchoring bias,

http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/a/anchoring.htm

and I get the impression, after 892 days as a registered user of HN, that comment upvotes and downvotes for the last year or so have not been based on the same careful consideration of comment quality as they were in the early days of HN, but rather have been based too much on what net karma score is already displayed as people vote. I like the new comment score system of not displaying net comment scores on OTHER people's posts (of course I can still see my own comment scores) better than the previous system. In the spirit of pg's statement, I try to help the quality of HN by actively upvoting thoughtful, helpful comments, and being on the lookout for mean comments (which pg hopes will not be upvoted by anyone) and dumb comments (which surely don't help any users relying on comment scores to learn new facts) for downvoting those. A comment that is both mean and dumb ought to be downvoted, not upvoted. We can all do our part to help the quality of the community.

In his thread, pg mentioned comments that are mean or dumb "that (c) get massively upvoted." With that condition of HN less than a month ago in mind, how do the highest-voted comments visible in the bestcomments list

http://news.ycombinator.com/bestcomments

look to all of you recently? Are there fewer mean comments than before? Are there fewer dumb comments than before? Are the comments that are "massively upvoted" since the experiment began mostly comments that are reasonably kind and well-informed, helpful comments on the whole? In most of the treads you visit, do helpful, thoughtful comments seem to rise to a position of prominence, while mean or dumb comments gray out?

Remember, pg's claim is that recently HN has not been a place where there is an "easy way for readers to differentiate the noise," but rather a place where the noise has had an attached badge of being signal rather than noise. That isn't good for anyone reading HN. As you correctly point out, we STILL have "the location on the page," which is useful at least for comparing multiple comments at the same reply level as a comment thread develops, and the actual sources and reasoning used by one or another user in supporting points made in comments. People who LOOK UP what the facts are can find out a lot about who is taking care to do good research and who is just making stuff up. And that's always the safest path to learning, to check the sources to verify other people's factual claims.

2
mmaunder 1 day ago  replies      
You need to ween yourself off your social proof addiction. The problem with vote counts is that two downvotes can start a cascade of reflex downvotes. Or at best, it won't get upvoted. When vote counts where active, this effect caused many instances where an excellent comment was found greyed out at the bottom of the page until a few smart HN folks with high karma voted it back up.
3
AgentConundrum 1 day ago 2 replies      
I've noticed the same thing. I'll see a debate which is basically a thread of two people replying to each other with no other contributors. In this circumstance, it's impossible to distinguish between a situation where one person gets 10 upvotes and holds a well-agreed opinion and the other person gets 1 or 2 upvotes and is arguing his opinion just well enough to avoid being downvoted.

I understand that we're supposed to form our own opinions as to who we agree with, but sometimes its just not reasonable to take the time to do enough research. Sometimes, you want to learn from someone that actually knows what they're talking about.

Without some sort of vote indicator, it's hard to tell who has the most accurate opinion, except often in subjects like law, security, and seo where there are known experts that often chime in (e.g. grellas, tptacek, patio11).

I'd suggest that a form of "fuzzy vote counts" be implemented. Something to indicate either a relative score ("this comment is substantially higher voted than its parent") or just an approximate value ("unvoted", "few votes", "many votes") without a specific score.

4
mixmax 1 day ago 0 replies      
I absolutely agree - and since it's impossible to know whether a top comment in a thread is there because it was just posted or because it has a lot of upvotes the sorting of the comments doesn't really give me any information. This begs the question: If I can't see the votes and have no easy way of knowing which comments are highly rated why have a voting system at all? What is the purpose if not to serve as a guideline for the users?
5
moxiemk1 1 day ago 1 reply      
I feel the opposite - I'm learning more, because if I'm spending the time to read something, I have to think critically about it and do research sometimes in order to have a good interpretation. It takes more time, but it's real learning, instead of echo-chamber reading.
6
jsdalton 1 day ago 1 reply      
I guess only pg can answer this, but I'm wondering how the change has impacted voting behavior. Have there been more or less votes per comment? Has the proportion of upvotes to downvotes changed?

I get the sense that my comments have received more rather than less votes since the change. Previously, when a decent comment of mine had say 10 upvotes, I felt like people concluded "good enough" and didn't bother upvoting. Now without the score feedback, I actually feel like some of my mediocre comments have gotten more upvotes than they deserved.

Some behavior data would go a long way toward confirming or denying hypotheses like these.

7
blhack 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've said this in some of the other threads on this topic, but I'll say it again:

The huge (and incorrect) assumption that people are making about upvotes is that everybody reading the comments is stupid. We're not using the upvote count as a 100% perfect indicator of if somebody is correct or not, we're using it as an indicator of how many upvotes the comment has gotten. It's just one of several things that we can use to judge a comment's merit.

This information is useful, and I cannot fathom a benefit to withholding it.

8
grellas 1 day ago 0 replies      
Since HNers are so divided on this issue (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2445039), why not do one month on, one month off for a time to do a sort of A/B testing over a sustained period while keeping everyone at least semi-happy half the time? This would have the added benefit of letting cumulative totals get updated on searchyc from time to time.
9
jimrandomh 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't use upvotes to decide what I agree with, I use them to decide what to read in the first place. Hiding the votes means I can no longer skim through a thread to pick out the comments that are gems; I'd have to read all the bad comments too. And this means that reading comments here is no longer worth my time, so I don't do it. This is definitely not the desired effect.
10
masterzora 1 day ago 0 replies      
I know I'm not really supposed to have an opinion on these things, being a recently-created account and all, but I must respectfully disagree. If you really want to learn, using upvotes as proxy for correctness is a suboptimal way to do so, especially regarding topics without any clear cut answers. Being new to this site, I've actually spent roughly equal amounts of time with and without vote counts an I've noticed a pretty big difference in my own habits. In particular, rather than acting like HN is an omniscient font of knowledge, I treat it much more like wikipedia: a springboard for further exploration of topics.
11
sosuke 1 day ago 3 replies      
The highly voted comments still float to the top of the page don't they? When I was only reading the highly voted commetns I started to feel like I was only getting the popular opinion, especially so when it came to touchy topics. If HN does decide to turn the count back on I'd love an option to turn it back off in my own profile.
12
spencerfry 1 day ago 1 reply      
I completely agree. I don't have time to read every comment. I miss being able to skim to crowd-sourced, high up-voted comments.
13
rriepe 1 day ago 0 replies      
I could see this change working for other sites, but HN actually does have a sort of collective wisdom.

I've also stopped looking at comments entirely. Before, I would sometimes click through to just read the comments. There was value there. It's not necessarily gone now, but it is much harder to find.

14
gamble 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've been trying to give it a chance, but so far it doesn't seem like hiding the vote counts has done anything to improve the quality of comments on HN. Honestly, I think it's had the opposite effect. The number of in-depth comments seems to have plummeted.
15
ilitirit 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think the best solution would be for everyone to just start posting "better" commentary (and submissions), and revert back to the old ways of downvoting things that add no value to the discussion.

The "old" HN was a lot drier (for lack of a better word), but the discussions were generally much more informative and/or insightful. I remember people complaining about getting downvoted for a comment that would have probably gotten many upvotes on other sites, and I was always pleased to that these in turn were downvoted as well. This doesn't seem to happen any more though, which is a shame IMO.

16
tolmasky 1 day ago 1 reply      
What I found weird is that the points went away but the greying effect stayed. The truth is that that goes a lot further in making sure I don't ready unpopular views (with my eyes I often have to copy paste it to a text editor before I can read it comfortably). I would much prefer all comments be the same font color and being able to see the score so I can make my own decision as to whether to read it or not.
17
pluies 1 day ago 1 reply      
Yes please.

Also, the poll at http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2445039 showed that most people agree.

18
cglee 1 day ago 1 reply      
I like not seeing vote count, but agree with you that it's a handy metric to sift through the cruft. How about a color scheme to show popularity instead of the specific vote count?
19
famousactress 1 day ago 0 replies      
I miss them also. Was a weighted voting discussed as an alternative? One where the up/down vote is weighted against the karma of the voter? Seems like that would help elevate big-karma users to sort of meta-moderators and might help soften the concerns about reflexive voting?

And yeah, maybe for display the numbers aren't the best option.. just some sort of watered down "+" "++" "+++" type scheme...

20
fleitz 22 hours ago 0 replies      
The only thing you're no longer learning is groupthink. Be glad you aren't learning it.

It's easy to learn in person, just parrot what everyone else is saying. You don't need HN to learn it.

You realize that people game the upvote system right? Writing karma whore comments is so easy when you know the votes. If you really want to know the votes, just reverse engineer the algorithm, it will show you the relative votes.

21
jshen 1 day ago 1 reply      
"because I could easily sort through the legitimacy of opinions based on their upvotes. "

This is a mistake. People frequently vote down things that are right because they don't understand the material as well as they think they do.

22
merloen 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are so much more possibilities than just "show vote counts" and "hide vote counts": different sort orders based on more than just votes, collapsing threads, marking people as friends, or adding them to a kill-file. Giving votes different weights based on karma, or average comment score. Tagging of articles, and filtering or sorting based on that. And so on, and so on.

I understand that pg hasn't got the time to do all kinds of experiments, but this is HN, where more than half of us are great programmers.

Give us a simple API and let us do our own experiments. That's all I want.

23
evo_9 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks for posting this. This is exactly how I feel about it.

The one upside to this change I guess is I'm spending much less time on H-N now.

24
ronaldj 1 day ago 0 replies      
I miss the voting. I don't even bother reading comments anymore.
25
albertsun 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why not have a (high) karma threshold, above which you can choose whether or not you want to see vote counts?

I think respected, established members of the community would know themselves well enough to decide for themselves whether it's good or bad to personally have vote counts.

FWIW: Below the threshold I think it's better to not have counts.

26
lhnn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Could we have a hybrid? We don't need to see the exact number... what if massively upvoted (100+ points) got a green highlight on the "link" URL, and massively downvoted (-10 or more) get shaded, like they already do?

This keeps the content from being so quickly judged, but eventually shows strong content that has been upvoted by hundreds without bias.

27
ANH 1 day ago 0 replies      
I prefer not seeing the number of votes, and think lukifer's idea of a "view count or vote" model is great. A visible score attached to each comment seems to me somehow demeaning. But I've never been much for grades...

And has been stated multiple times, the highly upvoted comments filter to the top already.

28
blhack 1 day ago 0 replies      
To the people who think that comment points should not be visible:

How do you go about choosing which books to read? Do you read all of them, are you exclusive to specific authors, or do you depend on your peers to make suggestions?

29
raquo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hm, this post is only 2 hours old and is already 14th on the front page despite having 600+ points. Do all local posts disappear so fast from the front page, or is this one treated specially? Or maybe its upvote/downvote ratio is low?
30
yosho 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can we at least maybe have a star rating or color rating or something that lets us differentiate high voted comments from mediocre comments? It really does simply take too long to scan and read all the comments. Most of the time I'm just looking for interesting snippets of information, I simply don't have the time to read everything.

Please bring something back, I find myself never reading the comments now.

31
bandushrew 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am very sorry, but that is just wrong.

Votes are not a reliable indication of whether or not a post is correct.

They are a reliable indication of whether or not a post is popular.

It does sometimes happen that a post is both correct and popular, but that is not something it is ever safe to rely on.

'Social Proof' is a fantasy that does not exist.

32
kuroir 1 day ago 0 replies      
The point you make is totally valid; and now that I think about it, when I was able to see the upvotes I could at a glance identify the answers with one or more of the following:

1. Correct Answer (real, like a founder answering about his app).
2. Popular Answer (comedy, something people "lol" to).

Identifying the difference between those two is done with only common sense; but supposing you still lack of that, you can still feel what the community liked by looking at the numbers.

"50 upvoted this" that must mean something vs "3 upvoted this"...

33
knite 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't need to know a comment's score, just the score's magnitude provides a lot of utility. In the same way that a grayed-out comment signifies a poor reply, find a way to show me whether a comment is neutral, slightly positive, very positive, or stupendously positive.
34
larsberg 1 day ago 1 reply      
I hate to be "that guy," but I don't see why the count display isn't an option in our account panel.

In the previous polls, people seemed to be split 50/50-ish. Unless pg, as HN Overlord, feels that either removing counts has a performance or pedagogical purpose, this option seems like a perfect candidate for an account setting.

35
eande 1 day ago 0 replies      
every time someone posts this I add my 2 cents and say the same, please bring back the karma most useful.
36
_sh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's a thought: maybe it's time to close HN. That's right, close it down. PG said all along HN was a production experiment for Arc, so maybe it's time to evaluate the hypothesis and conclude the experiment.

All this hand-wringing about 'the community' and signal/noise indicates the membership has outmanoeuvred any means of wrangling it into some pre-conceived notion of 'quality'. For better or for worse, the thundering hoards of the internet have arrived and are drowning out the elitist clique. If that is bad for everybody, then it's time to shut up shop.

37
97s 1 day ago 0 replies      
i agree. i miss being able to skim faster and determine what the community judges as a good reply, I know many others who feel the same way.
38
dmak 1 day ago 0 replies      
I, literally, stopped reading comments and even started to stop reading hacker news because I didn't feel like spending extra time to read through and filter out the informational comments.
39
JabavuAdams 1 day ago 0 replies      
One issue I'd like to see explored more deeply is the path-dependence of a comment's final score.

There's this often unstated assumption that "good" comments will rise to the top.

What about this:

1) Display all comment scores, all the time
2) A new comment is posted
3) Segment the readership somehow, so that the comment has a (possibly different) score for each segment. E.g. Allow a comment to have 4 different scores.
4) Start the comment off with a random score in the range [-2, +2], but one that's different for each viewer segment
5) track (but hide) the number of upvotes and downvotes for each score
6) display just init + upvotes - downvotes to each segment

40
blantonl 1 day ago 0 replies      
Although I learn a lot from the comments on submissions, I tend to learn a lot more from the submissions themselves.

Maybe the Hacker News team is trying to place more emphasis on submissions instead of comments?

41
zwieback 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm not a heavy user of social networks so I don't know if this exists somewhere but why can't I have a customized view where posters I like are weighted more than others. Then I can do this:

- The poster's weighting would show up as a color (good,better,best)

- The product of the poster's weight and the popularity of the comment determines the order on the page

Now I can look at the top of the page where very popular comments show up and then scroll toward the bottom and quickly identify any posters I really like

I realize this wouldn't be too hard to do by scraping the comment page and maintaining my own database of favorite commenters.

42
runjake 1 day ago 1 reply      
Or at least shove it in a div or span and hide it by default, so those of us who want it back can style it unhidden.
43
bane 1 day ago 0 replies      
Perhaps pg should set a point where the points are revealed, but additional voting is locked out (but not comments)? Perhaps 24-48 hours after an article is submitted? Then provide a link to those articles as they decay into that group for people who really need point confirmation to catch up on what the rest of the community thought?
44
ssing 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nowdays I just don't read beyond the first few comments. Request to please bring back the upvote count.
45
stretchwithme 1 day ago 0 replies      
Maybe there should be 2 modes.

One for those just wanting to read and learn where they can see the votes but where the user is not allowed to vote.

And one for those wishing to vote where they can't see and be influenced by the votes of others.

46
JabavuAdams 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow. I never realized that people paid attention to upvotes. This explains a lot...

> Especially as an engineer who knows little about business, it was extremely helpful to get a community perspective on the startup stuff.

It's not a community perspective. It's a positive feedback loop.

> The value of HN, from the perspective of simply learning, has been destroyed for me since upvotes were hidden.

Now, you're learning.

47
mattdeboard 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have never. Ever. EVER. witnessed the top comment on an active HN thread be something "witty remarks that a lot of people found funny." Granted, I've only been here a year or so, but comment threads here do come very close to being a true meritocracy, where merit is a function is insight, relevance, wit and brevity.

HN only feels like Reddit comment threads to me on these introspective topics. I avoid them for the most part but your comment in particular stood out to me.

48
starpilot 1 day ago 1 reply      
To new HN readers, the comments appear to be sorted randomly. There's no explanation for why some posts are at the top or bottom. That's a definite flaw of hiding the votecounts and could dissuade newcomers.
49
rexreed 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't understand this. I have no problem discerning good quality content and comments from bad quality. I just read stuff. It sounds intellectually lazy and quite possibly self-defeating to rely on the trivialities of other people's votes to determine what is important to YOU.

After all, what is important to ME or not important to ME has nothing to do with what's important to YOU. The fact that you have stopped learning anything on HN, as you put it, has to do with YOU and not ME. So, don't blame the lack of votes. I wonder how you can get along in this world where you have to evaluate things at face value. In the "real world", there aren't point values and upvote/downvote nonsense on things.

I hope HN gets rid of the point system altogether. I'm sure I'm in the minority.

50
Goladus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Learn to read critically and think critically. You don't need prior knowledge on a subject to evaluate a comment. Look for sound logic. Identify and evaluate the assertions and any hidden assumptions.

Vote counts are won't ever reliably reveal truth.

51
zyfo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Good comments are still put at the top. Mentally filter out the recent comments, and you should be able to see quite easily how "good" a comment is. I honestly don't see the big difference.
52
lupatus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Lately, I've been reading the "new" headlines as opposed to the "top" headlines to find those hidden gems that _I_ think are interesting.
53
6ren 1 day ago 0 replies      
Comment age is also a factor: an older comment has more points than a similarly ordered newer comment.

So, when scanning downwards, score is inversely proportional to age.

54
besvinick 1 day ago 0 replies      
I feel like all the articles that get posted on HN are ones that I come across through a variety of other sources (SAI, TechCrunch, etc.) on Twitter. I find HN to be much more useful for discussions that are started based off the aforementioned articles from other sites.
55
gsivil 1 day ago 1 reply      
How come this post is not in the first page after 8 hours while the following post for example still is?

Joel Spolsky: Lunch (joelonsoftware.com)
275 points by alexlmiller 12 hours ago | flag | 175 comments

56
kleevr 1 day ago 0 replies      
I kind of like hiding the points for active threads, maybe after 24 hours it could show the points. This would be helpful when
57
pnathan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Agreed, votes are a good way to filter out the most of noise from the signal.
58
b3b0p 1 day ago 0 replies      
Maybe make the up / down votes on a comment a reward for participating on that thread.

That is, if you up vote / down vote a comment and make a comment on that comment you can view that comments vote count. Does that make sense or did it come out sounding bad?

Just a thought. I think I like it without knowing the vote count.

Edit: Clarification.

59
espeed 1 day ago 0 replies      
So have two types of browsers -- those who choose to see vote counts, and those that don't. And discount the votes of those that do.
60
mattreading 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Karma is a form of currency. It's influence should be exploited not suffocated! There are ways to use it that would benefit the community.
61
BoppreH 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can we get a user preference, as the case with show_dead and topcolor? I don't see that could be bad for anyone.

"Show score on posts: (yes/no)"

62
adaml_623 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think you either need an upvote count or the ability to collapse comment threads.
63
sebkomianos 1 day ago 0 replies      
Having it as an option for everyone to choose if he/she wants it enabled or disabled could as well be a "solution"?
64
FreshCode 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hacker News needs a Meta HN.
65
twodayslate 1 day ago 0 replies      
I did not even notice they removed the vote count. It doesn't bother me. I don't know how to downvote either though
66
turar 1 day ago 0 replies      
Will setting downvote display limit to 0 instead of -4 help?
67
teyc 1 day ago 1 reply      
I disagree. It is forcing you to think for yourself.

What do you want to learn here? What most HNers believe to be true, or do you want to learn to be independent?

68
known 23 hours ago 0 replies      
What are the incentives for up/down voting?
69
solid 1 day ago 0 replies      
How about the Slashdot system? +1/5 Insightful/Funny/etc?
70
fuckoff 21 hours ago 0 replies      
here here!
71
kedi_xed 1 day ago 0 replies      
I did see that as '..bring back the upvote c*unt'. Thought it was a little harsh.
72
grandalf 1 day ago 0 replies      
Suggestion: Try getting dopamine from reading the comments instead of from game mechanics layered imperfectly on top of the forum.
9
Tell HN: Launching HackingAdvertising.com
3 points by irrationaljared  7 hours ago   3 comments top 2
1
irrationaljared 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's the clickable link: http://hackingadvertising.com
2
lennexz 5 hours ago 1 reply      
is that a blog? I thought you had made an app.
10
Ask HN: Is this a XSS? What else can I do?
12 points by joakin  19 hours ago   3 comments top 3
1
nbpoole 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I just took a look and there appear to be some risks associated with this vulnerability.

If you log in to Posterous and check the "Remember me" box, it sets a cookie scoped to .posterous.com (which means it's within the scope of this XSS). That cookie does not have the HttpOnly flag set, which means it can be accessed via Javascript. I'm not sure whether the auth_token cookie has any protections against session hijacking (ie: if it's restricted to the IP that was used to log in). If it doesn't, you can steal the cookie and log in as a user.

Outside of that, the site appears to use a cookie called _sharebymail_session_id, which is scoped the same as auth_token but which is marked HttpOnly, which means it can't be accessed directly via Javascript.

In order to really exploit this vulnerability, you would need to find a way to send requests to and read responses from posterous.com, the root domain, since that's where all the functionality is defined.

2
CWIZO 19 hours ago 0 replies      
It can be dangerous yes, somebody could exploit this. Not sure who you should contact at Posterous tho ...
3
yogeshn 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Contact rich@posterous-inc.com
11
Ask HN: Beginning freelance web developer: no clients - portfolio?
22 points by tripplez  23 hours ago   21 comments top 11
1
gexla 23 hours ago 2 replies      
Build fake projects? Geez, I think you already have the wrong mindset for starting your own business. If you are going to put the time into building a site, try to monetize that thing (no fakes.) Who knows, down the road you might be making enough money off that site or collection of sites so that you can quit client work.

I also think that you are suffering from the classic symptom of trying to get everything just right before starting. When building a web app you want to get that thing up as fast as possible, even if it's ugly. Build a minimum viable product and connect with customers each step of the way. Test for interest, etc. You don't want to spend too much time getting everything correct just to find that you wasted your time because nobody cares for your idea.

Take a similar approach with web development. You could start out banging out sites in Drupal or Wordpress and each of these content management systems require more configuration than actual programming. You can learn these quickly and with minimal to no PHP. Your interest may be more in building web applications from scratch and there is a market for that, but you don't have to start out there. I know of plenty of people making a living strictly from building sites using already available content management systems.

Look through sites like Odesk and Elance for the types of jobs available. You might find the occasional gem in these places and even land a regular client. Don't feel bad for your lack of experience, you just need to be able to sell yourself and communicate well. Trust me, there are far worse people actually landing the jobs there.

Make sure to network through forums, Twitter and other locations where fellow developers and designers hang out. Twitter is especially good for getting a regular voice in the community and getting your name in front of people. Help out people in Twitter and forums and you will occasionally get someone hitting you up for doing some work.

As you are connecting with the community, look for ideas for building add-ons which might be in demand. This is a great way to give back and get your name out there. Offer some simple add-ons for free, but you might be able to make money by selling other add-ons.

As you beef up your freelance business and development chops, you can start moving more in the direction of building applications from scratch and perhaps working with other tools. There is a lot of exciting new things going on in the world of web development. I have been playing with Node.js a lot lately and it's a new community where you can more easily gain a good foothold as a pioneer as opposed to PHP. However, the market for this may not be as easy to get into at first.

There are also lots of methods I haven't mentioned or even thought about. Another big part of business is strategy and tactics. Figure out where you want to be and be creative in formulating a plan to get there. Do this and you might be able to leapfrog (greater income) people who have been doing this for a lot longer than you have.

2
bendtheblock 22 hours ago 0 replies      
When we set up our agency, here's what worked:

* Work for cheap/free if you have to. You want to do this quickly, if you do a site for free the client will be more willing to go ahead straight away as it requires little decision making. We did a website for a primary school and a couple of photographers we knew to start off with. Charities might be good to approach for this.

* Fake sites sound like a good idea but why bother when you could actually help other businesses/charities and get 'real-world' experience of dealing with clients.

* You need to have low prices to start with. Small businesses are willing to give other small businesses a shot, but won't have as much budget as bigger companies. Over time you can decide where you want to take the business and start charging more as you build a reputation. Your aim at this point is to build a portfolio, so you can charge more later on. Our day rate has more than doubled since we started out.

* Classified ads on Gumtree or equivalent in your area. We met two of our biggest clients through classified ads (just be honest, link to your site and try and get across your ethos).

* Examine personal network, previous employers etc... they already trust you and may have work that can keep you going.

* Get involved with a co-working space, this is a great way to meet prospective clients and other small businesses.

* No one else ever seems to recommend this, but cold calling worked for us, though I admit it was painful. We got one of our biggest hedge fund clients via a cold call. We don't really use this any more as our business comes from word of mouth, but it's something you can do if there's a specific type of client you want and you know how to pitch them.

Remember this is one of the hardest bits, once you gain some momentum and build a portfolio it will get easier.

3
mdpm 21 hours ago 2 replies      
I've been freelancing and doing contract work my entire career - nigh on 13 years now. There's a mass of things I could tell you, but I'll try be succinct and tell you what I think will be most valuable.

Technology doesn't pay the bills. Clean code, good architecture, solid frameworks - they count far, far less than you wish they did. As developers, we're systems oriented, looking for the ideal approach, the 'right' way. 90% of clients are more worried about the right shade of cornflower blue. Don't lose your idealism about making use of the right tech stack, and where pragmatic, don't miss an opportunity to explain why it's important.

But don't make the mistake of thinking that's what counts for clients. There will be exceptions, but generally the guy with the purse strings isn't technical, and is in no position to appraise your use of tech.

You need to practice business as much as you plan to demonstrate technical competence. Negotiation, selling, conflict resolution (it'll happen), knowing when to walk away (that too) and probably the hardest thing - embracing risk. Many chant the 'fail fast' mantra, but I'd rather point out that our caveman brains are badly suited to accepting that risk is vital. Cold calling is terrifying, as is naming a price, telling a client they're wrong, and so many parts of simply staying alive.

Otherwise, go make some luck.

4
TamDenholm 22 hours ago 1 reply      
The things you're making aren't fake, if they're functional, they're perfectly real. No one cares that you built it for yourself, you built it and that shows you know how. Dont call them fake, call them personal projects that demonstrate your ability.
5
thirdusername 21 hours ago 0 replies      
If you don't have any projects to show them, just don't talk about it unless they ask, instead talk about what you are going to build them. That has worked splendidly for me.

I honestly believe that most people don't at all care what you've done before if you just talk to them like you know what you are doing. When you see a job post asking for some feature, just tell them how you are planning on executing it.

Also always ask at least one question if you can. It means you've taken an interest and that you seem like you want to cover every base. (or so I choose to believe) That especially works on dating sites.

When I started out in August I had virtually nothing to show because while I had done plenty of programming before, I had never executed and polished a whole project. All my experience was stretched out across years of tinkering, school and reading.

Alternatively, if you want to build on real things you could send me an email as I get overloaded with work sometimes.

6
ahmedaly 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Hi..
Well.. maybe this will surprise you, but I am working as a Freelancer web developer, and it's really a rare thing to provide a portfolio to my client!

I am getting jobs through freelancer.. you can sign up here: http://www.freelancer.com/affiliates/ahmed613/

Facebook apps are a valuable source of income for me.. as most of my work is related to Facebook apps.. you should be good in the Facebook graph API.

Also there are Twitter and AWS APIs jobs there..

You will make on average around $20 to $30 on that website... but I recommend you to make your bids the lowest, so you can build a good reviews for your profile.

Just to give you some tips on how to get a job..
Once you bid on a project, you should send a PM message to the employer, explaining to him how you can achieve the job, and make that in a very simple and clear way.

Give a clear deadline to the client/employer and be responsive.

Believe me.. you won't need a portfolio.. I am getting jobs on daily basis from this website.. and it really works perfect for me!

As you go working, you will get more reviews on projects you build.. and that will be better than any portfolio.

Good luck,
Ahmed.

7
jmitcheson 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Focus on what you don't know. With 8 years of C++ you don't need to be doing 50% of the things on that list. Web development isn't that hard :) For example, you don't mention anything about html, css or javascript. Or design.

If you think these things aren't important; think again. Most clients will be more happy with tight html/css that sticks to the design they agreed to than they will ever be with your server side code.

On that note: if you have professional designs and you get clients to sign off on them 100% at the start, you will have far fewer problems at the end. People tend to change their minds 500 times about what they want things to look like, and it will cost you money if you just let it drag on arbitrarily. First it's "can you please move that text over a bit", then it's "oh i really want to add a social sharing widget, if you don't mind", then "oooh yeah we really wanted a gallery of pictures here.. and please could they connect to my flikr account, and umm.." etc. If you have a contract (an image) of every page then they sign off it, or pay more at the end for adjustments (at double the rate, of course ;))

8
pacomerh 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd recommend building a project for a friend (for free) to start your portfolio, they will appreciate it and you'll use it. Do this for a couple of projects. Most programmers I know think they're selling their soul when they do free work, but in this case theres no shame in doing it, its like doing an internship on your terms.
9
iworkforthem 22 hours ago 0 replies      
One thing I wish I done while starting out as a freelance web developer is to Contribute to an Open Source project.
10
happyfeet 23 hours ago 0 replies      
If you are planning on building something on your own, why not build it targetting a specific customer base & offer as service? (like any SAAS application). First of it, it won't be 'fake' as you are referencing it & you build valuable experience building a SAAS web app and will also learn a ton about taking it to customers. Think about it.
11
gtb 23 hours ago 1 reply      
What about approaching some charity? (1) You learn to listen to real customer (2) and should be a good networking
12
Ask PG: Does YC keep applications from prior funding sessions?
26 points by citizenkeys  1 day ago   discuss
13
App building experience + gotchas
7 points by jagira  21 hours ago   3 comments top
1
parkerboundy 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I think your lessons can be summed up by the 7 Ps: Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance. Keep up the work!
14
Ask HN: How many of you upvote before reading?
20 points by jkaljundi  1 day ago   16 comments top 9
1
geuis 1 day ago 0 replies      
Almost never. I don't care who the HN member is, so that doesn't play into it. The only time I'll upvote something without clicking on it is if I read the article from another source previously. Usually the headline matches or is close to the original piece, a quick glance at the domain, and a hover over the headline to verify the url will do it. At most, I think I do this maybe 3x a week at most.
2
Locke1689 1 day ago 1 reply      
An upvote/upmod is also called a "save." If you look in your profile, you can see all of the submissions you have upmodded under "saved stories." There have been a couple times where I glance at a story, know it's interesting and something I want to read later, and upmod it to save it for later.
3
BasDirks 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yes, I upvote links that I would like to see the community talk about, even if I haven't yet read the article, and in rare cases if I don't even plan on reading it. Of course this differs case-by-case, but I use my vote to stimulate conversation.

Like teej said, often the comments are more valuable than the link.

4
Osiris 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is anyone going to admit to this?

I have done it before, rarely, but only on new submissions if the article sounds interesting enough to deserve some traction.

5
dclaysmith 1 day ago 0 replies      
I try and give any genuine "Show HN"/Need Feedback links an upvote. I also always check them out but I'm sure I've upvoted first only to find out it was "Show HN Spam" if there is such a thing.
6
jokermatt999 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Never, but I only upvote 2 or 3 stories a day. Comments, I'll admit I occasionally upvote them before finishing them if they make a very good point in the first half. Occasionally I've wanted to take it back because they made a completely unnecessary snarky remark at the end of it, but not often.

However, that does lead me to point out that I think the upvote/downvote arrows and the user's name should be at the bottom of a comment instead of the top.

7
yread 1 day ago 1 reply      
I sometimes upvote an article before I finished reading it and then I want to take it back when I realize it wasn't up to HN standard.
8
sliverstorm 1 day ago 0 replies      
I sometimes upvote comments halfway through reading, but I don't do that with articles.

(I confess I upvote only a very few articles)

9
ahmedaly 21 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a rare condition when I upvote before reading.. but I do it from a time to another.. if I find something exciting.
15
Tell HN: Please bring back comment scores
433 points by Maro  3 days ago   164 comments top 56
1
blhack 3 days ago  replies      
People can be wrong about things, and comment scores are useful information that helps us know if they are.

"that is not how mysql works" with 2 Points
And
"that is not how mysql works" with 102 points
Are not the same piece of info.

I don't see any benefit to hiding this from people. It also helps newbies understand the customs here (they can get feedback on other people's comments)

edit now that I'm not on my phone:

When you google things, you probably skip over results like daniweb, about.com, or expertsexchange.com, and hope for a stackexchange page.

The little URL at the bottom of the description tells you "hey, this is from $foo source" and you're a smart human being that can put this information to good use.

Of course, you could make a case that this is bad, because you should read each one of the results and judge it based on its merits. Maybe we should even strip all of the identifying information away from the page, and just let it stand on its own (this would be a neat experiment, actually [and that's the experiment that I think we're performing here]).

The point counts on the comments act just like the URL does on google results. It's not saying "this is definitely 100% accurate", but it is useful piece of information that we can put to good use. Depriving us of this information doesn't break the comments, but I have certainly found myself reading comments a bit less lately as a result of it (instead of actually reading comments, I'm usually just skimming them now). With comment scores, things seem to have a bit of order to them, without, it just feels like a lot of people shouting at one another.

(Maybe this was the point?)

Naturally, I'm never going to stop reading HN; it is by far my favorite website on the internet. Complaining about the lack of comment points here is like complaining that my favorite bar switched to a new, very slightly different glass. I can see the difference, but it's not really going to change my habits.

2
tokenadult 3 days ago 1 reply      
Since I registered a username here on HN 890 days ago, I've seen a lot of comments about comment karma and about upvoting and downvoting. The most significant statement I have seen about comment voting here on HN was posted recently by pg, the founder of HN, in a thread-opening post 22 days ago titled "Ask HN: How to stave off decline of HN?"

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2403696

He wrote, "The problem has several components: comments that are (a) mean and/or (b) dumb that (c) get massively upvoted."

So the founder of HN thinks that before the recent experiment there was a comment voting problem: (a) mean comments were getting too many upvotes, and (b) dumb comments were getting too many upvotes, and (c) too many of the comments that got the most upvotes were either mean or dumb or both. Let's stop and think about what that means. That means that, according to pg posting as of that moment, comment karma scores were often NOT reliable signals of good comments, comments worth finding rapidly when skimming a thread.

With that condition of HN less than a month ago in mind, how do the highest-voted comments visible in the bestcomments list

http://news.ycombinator.com/bestcomments

look to all of you recently? Are there fewer mean comments than before? Are there fewer dumb comments than before? Are the comments that are "massively upvoted" since the experiment began mostly comments that are reasonably kind and well-informed, helpful comments on the whole? In most of the treads you visit, do helpful, thoughtful comments seem to rise to a position of prominence, while mean or dumb comments gray out?

A link and comment in another recent metadiscussion thread largely sums up the back-and-forth about visible comment scores as a signal on comments in active threads:

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2465357

>> Please bring back the comment scores. It helps a lot in parsing the comments and assigning a proportional weight to each when reading them.

> I had to think about this a bit, and I disagree so far. I'm finding that I'm not pre-judging comments as much. It's nice to be able to read someone's comment without knowing first that 70 or 80 or 3 other people thought it was worthwhile.

My impression too is that even with comment scores not visible, it is still convenient to browse threads to find thoughtful, informative comments, but now there is less anchoring bias

http://www.sciencedaily.com/articles/a/anchoring.htm

of most votes on a comment converging to one score level that shows up early in a thread's development, and more engagement by readers of HN in actively reading comments and upvoting (or downvoting) based on each comment's characteristics in light of the context of the thread. So far I can still find good comments quite readily here on HN. Indeed, I think that since the experiment began I am seeing more good comments more readily than before.

The main motivation stated by pg for the current experiment with making comment karma scores less visible is to "stave off decline of HN," and that is what will decide if the experiment was successful. If the previous visibility of comment karma scores led too many casual readers of HN to upvote mean or dumb comments, and too few readers to upvote thoughtful, informative comments and to downvote mean or dumb comments, the arguments on the side of reader convenience aren't going to be convincing. It isn't convenient for ANY reader of HN if the comment scores are a poor signal, and if bad comments become more prominent and good comments get skimmed right over by readers in a hurry. If a change of rules here makes every reader read comments more carefully and more thoughtfully, and vote based on comment inherent quality rather than on crowd appeal, that is a feature rather than a bug. For comment scores to be a good guide to every reader here, every reader can help by actively upvoting informative, helpful comments, and also by downvoting comments that are either mean or dumb--and especially comments that are both. As I recall, the experiment has also involved some changes in the effects of flagging, so flagging inappropriate comments is also helpful.

After edit: many comments in this thread ask about the karma rules and voting rules imposed by the software. We can all read the news.arc software ourselves

https://github.com/nex3/arc/blob/master/news.arc

if we would like to see what the rules do (except I think that maybe a few aspects of the current experiment are hidden from the current distribution of the source code), as previous HN threads have pointed out.

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1307128

http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2034449

3
awakeasleep 3 days ago 4 replies      
I really like the lack of comment scores. Things are still sorted, so the cream floats to the top, and it made me realize I felt group-impulses based on the score.

Now, there is little to no incentive to one-up someone, and I don't consider people refuted based on their score, but rather based on what I think of their comment. That last part has nurtured my curiosity, I find myself exploring thoughts I didn't on the 'old' HN

4
jplewicke 3 days ago 3 replies      
The only place I really miss having them is in older articles and on searchyc.com. I feel a much greater compulsion to engage each comment on its merit when voting and when reading, and I feel like reading HN has become more intellectually stimulating.

However, this is more of a problem when I'm trying to assess information in areas that I'm not already familiar with. If I'm searching for information on which DNS providers are best and I find an Ask HN from 4 months ago, I can no longer tell what the true community consensus on it is. I expect the current masking of comments will provide less biased voting, so I think displaying comment scores on stories that are more than two months old would eventually provide the best of both worlds.

5
lotusleaf1987 3 days ago 1 reply      
I disagree. It forces people to read the comments and judge them on their own merit. Often times the highest voted comment seemed to be highest voted comment simply because it was the first comment and kept being upvoted for being upvoted by others.

Also, the ordering of the comments does the same thing as having the comment scores!

I do wish there was a way to still search for the highest rated comments on searchyc.com, but I still think it's a small sacrifice for an overall better community/environment. I have definitely seen less iOS/Android/Windows flaming, so I think the site is already benefitting from the changes.

6
losvedir 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nah, I like not seeing the comment scores.

But today I did think of a different improvement I'd like to see, which for lack of better place to put it, will say here:

When I click on "reply" to a comment, it takes you to a page with just that comment and a text box. I'd like to see that comment's parents all the way to the OP, to give me some more context as I frame my reply.

I think it would improve discussion as you'll see the context in which the person you're replying to replied, and might interpret their words a little differently.

7
iamdave 3 days ago 1 reply      
I found the comment scores a good motivation for thinking about what I'm typing before hitting that 'add comment' button. Good imperative to participate instead of troll.

The opposite is true for others, I'm sure.

8
hooande 3 days ago 1 reply      
The most important aspect of the comment scores was that they let me know what the HN community thought of a particular point or argument. I'm capable of making up my own mind about any topic. I find it interesting and useful to see what other people think. As a geek I miss being able to see that "people agreed with this side of the argument at +20 as opposed to that side at +10".

If some people want to treat it as a "who can get more points" game, then so be it. I find that I can learn a lot from looking at which way public opinion is leaning.

9
achompas 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm struggling to understand why you need comment scores to know what to think about something. I can make up my mind about a comment's quality using the info available to me right now.

Let's take the oft-repeated example in other comments: two comments on MySQL, one with a handful of points and the other with a lot of points. There are a number of indicators of comment quality:

>> comment sorting works very well

>> if a low-vote comment is controversial, you will surely find spirited discussion below it--the volume of discussion would be an indicator of community disagreement

>> hit up Stack Overflow and find out if MySQL works as stated in the low-vote comment or if it works like the high-vote comment describes.

The arguments for visible points boil down to "I don't know how to think about this statement, so I need external confirmation." Indicators of comment quality still exist, and karma gamesmanship looks like it has decreased a lot. Finally, you really want to avoid groupthink--hiding scores accomplishes that pretty well.

10
iterationx 3 days ago 3 replies      
I like the new system. It discourages winning an argument with numbers. 20 people upvoted the previous comment so that guy must be right.
11
thought_alarm 3 days ago 0 replies      
Removal of the comment scores is a great innovation that has improved the quality of Hacker News.

With scores visible, most "discussions" end up as little more than opinion polls.

12
siddhant 3 days ago 2 replies      
Cant we have a "showcommentscores" option for displaying comment scores? Personally, I really (really) miss seeing comment scores, but its apparent that there are a lot of people who like HN the other way.
13
RuadhanMc 3 days ago 1 reply      
Without the comment scores we're confronted with a wall of text that is hard to filter. Should I have to read every single comment just to find the gems? Comments scores have their downsides but they make filtering out noise much easier.

Unfortunately I don't think everyone has time to judge each comment on its own merits -- there are simply too many comments -- so we need a little crowd-sourced ranking. It does lead to some group think at times but that's a (relatively) small price to pay.

14
msluyter 3 days ago 0 replies      
FWIW, I find myself up/down-voting less without the scores. I guess I mostly tend to vote to rectify imbalances. If a comment has a lot of upvotes already, I probably won't upvote (I figure once it's near the top, it doesn't matter much anyway). But if its popularity seems unwarranted, I may be more likely to downvote.

Conversely, I tend to upvote mostly what appear to be underrated comments that are low on karma. Not saying there's anything admirable about this approach -- what am I, some kind of Karma Robin Hood? -- but the new system definitely discourages it.

15
grandalf 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think that people are missing the point. A comment's quality is not measurable by it's score. If anything, that is a rough aggregation. By this logic, Ke$ha is a better musician than Joshua Bell.

Top comments on HN were becoming more "top 40" and something had to be done before people started posting links to Trollface, etc.

One approach would be to use category-based voting, which adds a lot of complexity.

One approach would be to implement some sort of vote weighting sytem (time based, reputation based, context based), but that's ad-hoc and may not fix the problem.

And one approach is to simply hide numerical comment scores from all but each user's own comments. This turns the quest for high karma into a personal battle against one's self, not a sport.

PG wisely chose to make Karma a personal Everest for each individual to care about (or not).

16
thekevan 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't usually want to post, "me too" posts but...

I really miss the comment scores.

Sometimes I am not totally familiar with whatever the original post is talking about, often the top rated couple of comments give me some good insight or jumping off points to look into it further.

I respect the HN community and have learned a lot here. I generally trust their judgement and I have found if a comment is rated highly, it most likely adds a lot of value to the discussion.

Sometimes I disagree with the highest rated comment(s). I then see my opinion is in a minority and maybe I re-examine it or stand firm and make a comment to the contrary.

17
jbail 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seeing comment scores helps me to quickly scan comments to find the ones of most interest. It's not about "who's right" or "who's wrong" --- but what comments are more insightful and interesting. This is what the community of HN provides in voting people's comments up and down. This concept is missing now.

All in all, not showing comment points is a step backwards in helping people get the most out of the site in the most efficient way possible.

18
brk 3 days ago 0 replies      
Another thing (and some might accuse me of "doing it wrong" this way) is that lack of score showing changes my motivation for voting overall.

Some comments are so awesome, they deserve 50+ upvotes. Other comments are pretty good, and deserve maybe 8. I do not/did not personally try to upvote every single comment. I try to add upvotes to the comments that seem "best" in a particular thread discussion, and allocate votes in this way.

Perhaps my behavior is something that pg was attempting to fix with this change, but I have a feeling I'm not alone in this regard.

19
huhtenberg 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ah, no, don't. Stop fixating on the score and trying to write comments that other people like instead of writing what you actually have to say.
20
brk 3 days ago 0 replies      
One of the things I liked about the Slashdot comment system was that you assigned a rating "Insightful" "Funny" "Helpful", etc.
21
dexen 3 days ago 0 replies      
Please do.

But also, please split upvotes from downvotes. There's a huge difference between a +25 / - 24 comment (apparently a controversial one) and +1 / -0 (probably a mediocre one).

Or perhaps, display only upvotes, and use some weighted form of (UPVOTE * U_WEIGHT - DOWNVOTE * D_WEIGHT) for positioning the comment among other ones.

22
lwhi 3 days ago 1 reply      
How about allocating a 'hotness' quotient to comments?

At the moment, a comment that's down-voted past zero becomes lighter. Perhaps very popular comments could be made more visible, or highlighted?

I think this kind of fuzzy indication of popularity might be a good compromise.

23
ignifero 3 days ago 0 replies      
When i am interested in the subject, i usually read ALL comments. Having them in order of popularity helps, but does not really discourage me from reading on. Scores don't really matter.

There is a tendency for short comments to sink down, regardless of how informative they are, simply because people spend less time on them, so they're less likely to hit that upvote button.

Also, like all forums, the first upvoted comments get more replies creating a positive feedback loop, not necesarily because they are the best, but because people know their replies will be more visible.

It would be interesting to have the statistics of number of upvotes vs position of the comment in the page.

24
fr0sty 3 days ago 0 replies      
No one on this thread has picked up on the 'range' suggestion by Maro yet, so I'll add a thought:

For my purposes, displaying actual scores within the range -4 -> 10 would be sufficient. the low end is already capped, and the high end could either just have a ceiling of 10 or a score of 10+.

I am occasionally a "someone is Wrong on the internet!"[1] type and my inclination to wade in is directly proportioanl to the perceived traction of the inaccuracy. Without such a heuristic the choices are: reply to all, none, or a random sample which result in "poor information", "needless pedantry", and " undefined behavior" respectively.

[1] http://xkcd.com/386/

25
mcn 3 days ago 0 replies      
Removing comment scores seems to have increased the amount of mediocre/poor comments around contested topics: I am noticing more more brother/sister comments that are basically reiterating each other and more debates that veer to uncontrollable levels of indentation when the key points were already covered in the top level post and first child.

The relative absence of these black holes of discussion is one of the things that brought me to HN in the first place, and I think that showing comment scores discouraged them on multiple levels. Public upvoting lets people express their view on the topic without posting points similar to those already expressed. When two comments have a lopsided point spread it lets one "side" of the debate feel more comfortable letting the other have the last word.

26
rexreed 3 days ago 0 replies      
Disagree. I believe that I can make a fair judgement of the quality of a comment by simply reading it. I don't do TL;DR on comments that I care about, so using scores as a proxy for quality doesn't mean much for me.
27
apl 3 days ago 0 replies      
One observation: I think that comment ordering is an inadequate substitute for numerical scores. A lot of interesting information goes missing when reducing a scale from interval to ordinal.
28
joshfinnie 3 days ago 0 replies      
The only issue I see with not being able to see the scores of comments is that joke or off-the-cuff comments are probably getting a lot more points.

If there was a comment that made me laugh (while sticking to the point) I will be more likely to upvote it, but if it already had 10+ upvotes a laugh on my part probably didn't justify another upvote.

29
uptown 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd prefer a system that reveals the score of comments you've already either replied to, or voted on. Gives you some kind of feedback on where the rest of the community's mind is with regard to that comment.
30
ck2 3 days ago 0 replies      
Remove scores/points for people entirely.

That way only posts/comments get points/scores, not people.

31
jashmenn 3 days ago 0 replies      
I really miss comment points on book recommendations. I can't tell you how many books ive purchased over the years based on a highly rated HN comment.

I second what others have mentioned that it would be good to re-display comment scores on older posts. This way we could at least see the community consensus after some time has passed.

32
patrickk 3 days ago 1 reply      
My initial reaction was also "just bring em back".

With reflection, I think a good idea might be to show the score after you vote.

This way you get the feeling of making some difference i.e. immediate feedback, but also the knowledge that your vote wasn't subconsciously affected by a visible score beforehand.

The main downside of this would be people voting out of curiosity to see what a comments current score is. Perhaps displaying the score of a comment once it reaches a certain age (maybe three or four days old) would mitigate against this.

33
pclark 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have been quite surprised at how my enthusiasm for contributing to Hacker News has diminished at the removal of comment scores. Not necessarily a bad thing for anyone.
34
ghotli 3 days ago 0 replies      
I found it particularly hard to read the recent Amazon Outage thread. There was so much information to sift through. It had me missing the comment scores.
35
hanifvirani 3 days ago 0 replies      
With the comment score not being displayed, I find myself commenting less often for some reason. Others have echoed a similar sentiment in some of the earlier threads.
36
bakhlawa 3 days ago 0 replies      
I understand the minimalist theme at HN, but would a simple toggle switch to show/hide comment scores be a terribly bad idea? These could be set by logged in users (wouldn't apply to drive-by or anon users).
37
acrum 3 days ago 1 reply      
I like the lack of comment scores (to avoid everyone piling on one comment), but I think I would like it more if I knew what went into how high a comment was on the page. Is it a fact that the first displayed comment will be the one with the highest score? I know some different inputs are used, such as the karma of the submitter, how new it is, etc. but I guess we don't know "for sure".

I don't think the solution is to bring back scores, though. A possible "simple" solution could be to color/star a comment above 50/100 points, etc. Comment scores could also be displayed as percentage or on a scale of 0 to 1, 0 to 10, etc. I'd be more likely to read a comment with a score of 95% than one with a score of 20%. This way you at least get an indication of the helpfulness of the comment other than just its position on the page.

38
known 3 days ago 0 replies      
Previously, I used to read the comments first and then the article.
Now I'm reading the article first and ignoring the comments/vote.
39
elbenshira 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how Hacker Monthly (http://hackermonthly.com/) will pick out the "best" comments.
40
jongraehl 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ignorance is bliss. I'm happier not knowing that the crowd disagrees with my judgment of a comment's worth.

I also feel like people are avoiding posting crappy comments with the intent of tapping into a popular vein for a high score.

This could be a placebo, or perhaps, if real, it's instead caused by an improvement in voting.

41
tuhin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ok I just had another idea, so thought to write it here, in case PG gives it a look. How about showing votes after you took an action on a particular post. Say you upvoted a post, or replied to it, then you are eligible to seeing the points that it has.

This helps because even if in hindsight, I would know if the comment was the general consensus or a popular one or not?

42
iworkforthem 3 days ago 0 replies      
By removing comment scores, does it increase/decrease traffic to HN?

My gut is telling me that traffic is likely to be lower. Reality might be different of course.

43
ambirex 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would like it if the comment rating was only available in an html data attribute (eg data-rating="10"). That way my old user script would still be able to sort and high light comments.

You would have to go out of your way to see the score but could still be used by us hackers who like to customize our experience.

44
jsherry 3 days ago 1 reply      
Hidden comment scores help us avoid groupthink.
45
Symmetry 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if showing the rating of a comment only after you had voted on it would work? That would prevent some level of groupthink by forcing people make their own evaluations before seeing what others thought. That would require a +0 vote option, though, to prevent some obvious failure modes.
46
citricsquid 3 days ago 1 reply      
http://hackerne.ws/item?id=2477527

My comment here explaining it has made me comment less has 40 points. I think a lot of people agree.

47
techtalsky 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think a middle ground would be good. I understand the reasons for dropping comments scores but it makes it harder for me to get a quality experience out of the site and easily find the information I need. The scores mean something to me.

I liked someone's suggestion of basing the comment score on "upvotes per view" so older comments don't dominate, and I also like the idea of using a dark-to-light gradient (dot) instead of a concrete number.

Just sorting to the top (kinda) really just makes it hard to wade in, and makes me less likely to take a look at a topic I know little about and would like to see a couple of definitive words on it. It may be groupthink to some extent but this is a damn smart group.

48
kqueue 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's interesting to see an 8 hours post that has 374 points, and 156 comments on the second page instead of being on the first page.
49
sktrdie 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not going to read all the comments when they're more than 50. Finding insightful comments is hard without any number next to them. But I understand that it might bring more karma to "stupid comments" instead of "really insightful comments"... but who cares, the insightful comments is still there and probably going to get more karma than it would without any number next to it.
50
chanux 3 days ago 0 replies      
Button to make comment scores visible, please.
51
oscardelben 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would make it an option.
52
coffeedrinker 3 days ago 0 replies      
Comment scores help me get to the best points (even if they are in disagreement) without spending a lot of time reading the whole page.

I'm reading a lot let now because there are no scores; I just skim the top and then move on.

Comment scoring allows the community to reveal quality.

53
sibsibsib 3 days ago 0 replies      
I didn't even notice they were gone at first...
54
dennisgorelik 3 days ago 0 replies      
No middle ground. Please bring exact score number.
55
AndyNemmity 3 days ago 0 replies      
I much prefer it without. I like it like this
56
vipivip 3 days ago 0 replies      
+
18
Google cuttings Apps free users from 25 to 10
5 points by armored  13 hours ago   4 comments top 2
1
staunch 11 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a smart and long overdue move for Google. They were making the classic freemium mistake of giving away too much.
2
Chew412 12 hours ago 1 reply      
The old limit was actually 50. I know this because I signed up a few days ago.
19
Ask HN: Experience bringing a sales guy onboard?
24 points by Maro  19 hours ago   14 comments top 10
1
axiom 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Be very very careful. The success rate for this kind of hire is around 10%. I personally don't know of a single startup that did this and didn't have to fire the guy after a few months (with lots of time and money wasted.) Seriously, not a single one out of dozens.

The problem stems from the fact that most seasoned sales/business guys have experience in larger companies, running established teams, which is radically different than working in a startup and having to fill every role yourself in addition to building up the team from scratch. The other problem is, quite frankly, that most of these old sales guys are at a stage in their life where working 60-80 hours a week isn't something they want to do, and so they will be very very difficult to fit into a healthy startup culture where hard work and overtime are required.

We hired a former VP sales from a big ($100M+) company in our space. A guy who was a founder at a few successful startups and had a kick ass resume in general. He was even a great salesman. 6 months later and $100k down the drain we had to fire him.

My advice is make sure that if you give this guy equity that it vests over a few years with a 1 year cliff, and that if you give him a salary that it's very modest, mostly commission based.

Odds are you're going to have to fire him, but if you want to take a chance, go for it.

2
noelsequeira 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm going to buck the general trend here and recommend bringing the guy on board, but note that what I say (as with all advice) isn't free from the odd concomitant caveat.

The million-dollar question: "Am I selling to a market that I lack access to / lack the means to access?"

If the answer is yes, then you need this guy. And bad. You're likely a lamb heading to the slaughter without someone like him. Enterprise software is one such (arcane to an outsider) market. For instance, it's incredibly hard to sell to CIOs / IT departments without a solid channel of motivated System Integrators. It's even harder for a startup with little credibility to build such a channel of System Integrators who aggressively push your product without the leverage of strong relationships (built over a non-trivial period of time, usually years or decades).

I speak from personal experience - we added a Vice President of Sales from a Fortune 500 to our team, and it was the catalyst that our business so desperately needed. Within the space of six months, we were able to close over 10 channel partners and consequently access decision makers at hundreds of IT departments.

My advice would be this: keep compensation low, as low as you possibly can. If the guy balks at this, that's a red flag. A true VP of Sales will take it as a personal affront if he doesn't have to prove his mettle through results. I can't emphasize this enough, vest equity solely on performance (revenues realized) and set a reasonable, realistic cliff (a year can sometimes be a bit too short). Give him the authority to incentivize reps adequately. There's a great example from a company called Verdiem in this TechCrunch article (http://techcrunch.com/2010/01/06/0-to-20-million-ten-hand-to...)

Verdiem's Jim Flatley taught me this at Plumtree: he fought to get early reps 15% of every sale, but after we made our numbers for the first time ever, nobody wanted to pay them less. Even after the bubble burst and every other technology company took a blood-bath, Jim kept delivering results.

Another article that you just can't afford to overlook is by Mark Suster (http://techcrunch.com/2011/02/05/the-excuse-department-is-cl...), and he sums up succinctly in one line what I've been trying to convey through all this verbiage:

(Sales people) are more mercenaries than missionaries.

This applies to their leader, the VP of sales in equal measure and the moment you internalize this (and make peace with this fact), you'll find this decision quite easy and understand how to approach the entire exercise.

All the best!

3
ekidd 17 hours ago 0 replies      
We realized that our startup had two probems: A really long sales cycle (on the order of years for some clients), and a lack of the necessary sales skills on the founding team. We weren't able to address the former. But while trying to address the latter, I found the following articles useful.

In Four Steps to the Epiphany, Steve Blank has some great advice on hiring sales staff before product-market fit:

http://www.amazon.com/Four-Steps-Epiphany-Steven-Blank/dp/09...

Basically, he says, "Don't do it," with the possible expection of a single "sales closer" who loves working in the field, and who has been avoiding promotions to VP of Sales. As I understand it, you're not looking to build a sales organization yet, but you may need some sales skills to close your first 3 deals and prove that the model works. But even then, he has a checklist of customer discovery tasks to do first.

There's also some amusing advice from Eric Sink on hiring sales staff in a micro-ISV:

http://www.ericsink.com/bos/Closing_the_Gap_Part_1.html
http://www.ericsink.com/bos/Closing_the_Gap_Part_2.html

4
thekevan 15 hours ago 0 replies      
You are asking for a sales guy but describe a CEO, co-founder or even an advisor. The sales guy isn't best suited for bringing on investors.

Don't listen to the people who say don't bring on a sales guy. Most people haven't done it right in the past which is why they think it is a bad idea for everyone.

Find a hungry young performer who is willing to forgo a guaranteed compensation plan for a high potential compensation plan and pay them on performance. Somone with 3+ years under their belt, hopefully without kids and a high mortgage. (If they have renters subsidizing their rent: bonus points, that's a money minded sales person.) Use a ramp or draw if you have to. (Draw: is where salary now is taken out of future commissions. Ramp: it varies but maybe now they get X base salary and Z% commission and as the pipeline grows, they get a smaller base and higher commission.) I have been in sales for over 10 years and am dying to jump ship for a start up with potential but do not have the safety net at the moment.

Incentive-ize overperformance. Make their commission .75X at 0% - 75% of goal, X% at 76 - 100%, 1.25X% at 125%+. (Arbitrary numbers there, figure out what make sense for you.) You want to make them fight to make more money.

Don't think you have to bring in a seasoned VP of Sales from another company. They're like old Jaguars. Classy, expensive, impressive, high performance potentially, but you never know if they are going to start. Most of those guys are looking at you as a way to pass time between here and retirement. Maybe you can use the right one later, but not now.

5
aspir 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree with other commenters that you've advertised for a coufounding CEO, rather than a sales guy. Be your own CEO, or officially hand over the reins to a CEO hire -- don't hire a sales guy for the wrong job. But, here's my advice for an early hire startup sales guy, should to go that way:

First, make sure they're a startup sales guy, not just a traditional sales guy. Other comments in the thread have given enough perfectly good reasons. There's lots of individuals who want to be (and are good at) doing startup sales. I'd liken the difference between big sales guys and startup sales guys similar to coders who perform best in large companies, versus strong first technical hires. You have to be a risk taker, and willing to go with really low/no pay for a while. Traditional sales guys are often very well paid, are strict 9-5 workers, and wouldn't handle the early startup stress

Also, every job I've ever taken at a startup as a "sales guy" has been one where compensation is linked to performance. Not commission specifically, though that play a part; I mean that to get a salary, I have to deliver in regards to traffic, conversions, or any other measurable factor for the company. Basically, each week I'm called to be accountable for what I accomplished at a quantified level. I don't get paid until I hit a threshold ($15,000 in sales, x new clients based on my efforts, higher SE rank).

Do the same for your hire. Do a 4-5 month contract to see if it's going to work, make compensation based on performance, and shake hands and part ways at the end of the period if it doesn't work out -- its business.

6
suking 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Sales people do not bring in investors, they bring in clients. The CEO's job is to make sure there is enough money to pay people and if that includes raising $, that is your job.

Now if you want customers you want someone who fits your culture, is not afraid to call anyone, has contacts and is motivated by $. Most sales people don't give a flying F about stock, options, etc. They care about $. Set clear goals and have a nice commission aspect. We are about 60% salary, 40% commission and seems to be working well. Do not be afraid to fire sales people after a couple of weeks, some people just don't work even though you think they will.

7
triviatise 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Good comments here. Who you hire depends on what kind of sales you are doing. My company does consulting for f500 companies and a services sale is different from a product sale. I have hired 10 sales people and have had just 3 good ones.in addition to the other posters I would add that you will ultimately make the sale and the sales guy will make appointments and do followup.

Determine if you need marketing which is lead generation or sales which is closing

Also read spin selling, it is about consultative selling which is a good fit for hackers.

Finally count on it taking a year before you can confidently fire a non performing sales person

8
javery 18 hours ago 0 replies      
It sounds like you are trying to bring in a CEO not a sales/business guy.
9
ajju 18 hours ago 1 reply      
So we are starting this process right now and I can tell you that it is hard enough to hire a sales person who is really good at sales and fits with your company culture. Bringing in customers is not the same thing as bringing in investors. So hiring someone who can do both is going to be hard.
10
namank 12 hours ago 0 replies      
It would be good to have experience in the industry. I would personally look for experience on the floor, door to door kind of stuff...someone who has actually been in the trenches

And, as everyone said, vesting. Might even be a good idea to make his pay commission based for the first six months - an opportunity to prove himself.

Who are your clients? Cusomters or businesses?

20
Show HN: Review our Landing Page
6 points by alooPotato  16 hours ago   9 comments top 9
1
geuis 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Its hard to define exactly, but the all of the images don't look polished. It all lacks a certain crispness. The logo has visible jaggies, for example.

You're using a font BebasNeueRegular that doesn't look crisp either. (I see its being loaded with @font-face). Just switching that to Arial (your fallback) in webkit inspector made everything look a lot better.

Simplify your DOCTYPE to just <!DOCTYPE html>.

Your google analytics script needs to be at the footer of the page. Use the asyncronous loading script they provide.

Your background_texture.png and header_texture.png are over 500k combined. Seriously, you need to get these to be no more than 10-20k at most.

Minify your css.

I love jQuery, but you're loading an entire js library to run 10 lines of javascript in global.js. And forget the assumptive argument people make about "oh its on a cdn so its cached in the browser...". Its likely not cached in peoples' browsers. Unless you plan on adding a lot of more functionality to this page, consider re-writing your js to not use any libraries. (Can't believe I'm actually saying that!)

The "GIFT YOUR FRIENDS" and "REWARD TOGETHER" images are cut off at the bottom in Chrome.

Your buttons on the top-right of the page should have "cursor:pointer" in them since they are clickable links. Further, they are links so you should look into your css and see why the default pointer behavior is being overridden to begin with.

Sorry that this is just a list of technical things I'm laying out. I'll leave the "does this color scheme make me feel warm and fuzzy" stuff to people who have more of an eye for that.

2
prpon 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Here are my initial impressions. Take it with a grain of salt.

1. The tag 'cardless, effortless rewards' needs some work. I am not exactly sure what that means.

2. On step 1, I would add something about 'how secure your cards are on our site'. I would be very skeptical about entering all my credit card information into your site.

3. On step 3, 'Earn free rewards'.
Are those rewards on top of rewards/miles/points I already get from my credit cards?
Is it for cards that don't have any rewards?

Hope that helps.

3
mjdwitt 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm seeing what I'm pretty sure is an error when I view your page: http://imgur.com/TkFNr. Just thought you might like the heads up.

I'm running Chromium 10.0.648, btw.

4
msobolev 13 hours ago 0 replies      
- the type-in box should say "your email here"
- the type-in box should validate the email - I just typed "43sadfds" in it and the form ate it up
- I know you are striving for simplicity... but the page is too cluttered - the bottom section is distracting - too much info, elements not aligned with "1", "2" and "3" on top. I'd rather build out the top 1-2-3 section: the pain you are addressing, what users get, what they need to do next.
- if it is a landing page why nav on top? you want visitors to be able to do one thing only - give you their email
- the type-in box is not contrasting enough with the background
- the up arrow in the logo is repeated in the name - redundant?
- your 1-2-3 icons are not aligned - your coffee cup is visually lower than the rest
- the type in 1-2-3 section is too small - visitor should be able to scan it in a fraction of a second.
- go for ballsy contrast - gray background, on "grayer" with still "grayer" font could be aesthetically pleasing but kills UX

have fun! :)

5
MPiccinato 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it is pretty simple and easy to follow.

The images don't seem to line up vertically though in the 1,2,3 section. Which was a bit distracting for me. Also, in Chrome on the Mac the background images on "Gift Your Friends" and "Reward Together" get cut off removing their shadow.

6
namank 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Any particular reason you didn't go for http://www.getreward.ly?

just curious!

7
namank 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Also, the red for 'reward' doesn't go with the rest of the images. Maybe switch colours between reward and ly?
8
webbruce 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Yeah the images are distracting, I'd make the headers for 123 bigger too
9
cosmorocket 15 hours ago 0 replies      
You should make the footer sticky to the bottom.
21
Ask HN: major company threatening to sue me my aggregator site
7 points by riams  18 hours ago   9 comments top 4
1
bxr 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Get a lawyer. What you're doing may be legal (I believe it is), but you still do need to worry about getting sued. It sounds like they're just trying to push you around, get a lawyer to check what you're doing is fine and respond to them with a letter containing lots of legal noise that basically means "piss off".
2
kirpekar 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Have you received a cease and desist? If not, continue business as usual.
3
myearwood 15 hours ago 1 reply      
You're not in business until you get sued.
4
felipepiresx 18 hours ago 1 reply      
i think not. Are you a company ?
22
AWS Service Credit
8 points by wbills  19 hours ago   1 comment top
1
TamDenholm 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice to see Amazon taking some responsibility, actually saying sorry and trying to earn back some good will by providing compensation for disruption. This is how companies should act.
23
Ask HN: Can someone link me to the cartoon about forgetting how to dream?
5 points by pumpmylemma  18 hours ago   2 comments top
1
allwein 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I think you're looking for "An Awesome Book", by Dallas Clayton.

It actually is a children's story book, and I bought a hardcover version the last time it came through here.

http://veryawesomeworld.com/awesomebook/inside.html

24
Ask HN: assertEquals, assertEqual, or assert_equal?
4 points by vlisivka  17 hours ago   4 comments top 3
1
gharbad 17 hours ago 0 replies      
camelCase vs. underscore_delimited is really a religious preference: use whatever the people you're working with are using..

as far as equal vs. equals: both make sense, but I would favor 'equal' exactly because of this. I don't feel there is a need to constantly add a frivolous character to all of your statements.

2
stonemetal 17 hours ago 1 reply      
It depends on how you read the code. Equals is the singular and would read as "I assert A equals B". Equal is the plural and would read as " I assert A and B are equal". I tend to think the second phrase, but both are correct from an English standpoint.
3
nantes 17 hours ago 0 replies      
In my experience, with SimpleTest in PHP and unittest2 in Python, assertEqual() seem to be the convention.

Indeed, in unittest2, both assertEquals() and assert_equal() both appear to be deprecated in favor of assertEqual().

25
Tell HN: The Secret To Launching Is Removing Unfinished Features
15 points by citizenkeys  1 day ago   6 comments top 3
2
hansy 1 day ago 1 reply      
So instead of saying "Social Recommendations Coming in Future!" you would just not implement that feature in the first place early on

Would you recommend, instead, to tweet or blog about upcoming features to keep user excitement up?

3
nametoremember 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I wouldn't call this "The" Secret but yeah, it makes sense.
26
Ask HN: Is it a good idea to invest my lifesaving in facebook shares?
10 points by throwawaywe4343  1 day ago   12 comments top 8
1
arn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Definitely not. And despite the other calls, angel investing is a terrible idea as well, imo

$450,000 may seem like a lot of money, but in the grand scheme, if it's your entire life savings, it's not. Investing in one company on a secondary market or investing in a handful of startup companies is pretty much as high risk as you are going to get.

If you were a normal 9-5 worker, the traditional advice would be to invest for retirement using normal means. Index funds, stock market, bonds etc. I don't think that's a bad idea here.

Instead of going for big returns, which also comes with the more likely result of big losses. I'd suggest you invest in yourself. Use the money to be able to have a bit of a runway for your own projects. There will be expenses, but fortunately you have some funding for yourself. Hopefully you won't have to use most of that money before you start turning a profit on your projects. Then continue to save money for long term retirement, or maybe you'll want to buy a house eventually.

2
jarin 1 day ago 1 reply      
You don't qualify as an accredited investor with only $450k of savings, so you won't be able to angel invest or invest in SecondMarket shares.

Start off by contributing the maximum amount to a Roth IRA every year, even if it's just for the tax deduction.

Personally, after that I would put about 25% into a no-load index fund, and the rest into high-interest savings (like ING Direct). I would optionally invest no more than 10% of my savings in speculative stocks.

The nice thing about this setup is you can make a decent compounding return with your index fund and you won't lose the farm if it tanks, but the majority of your money is immediately available in case you need it for your side projects or just want to blow it on a vacation (and you won't have to pay the higher taxes for cashing out stocks early). If you don't need it, it's at least not sitting around doing nothing.

3
geuis 1 day ago 1 reply      
NO. Hell, if you have that kind of cash saved up consider doing some minor angel investing. Spread your money out among a handful of promising startups and you could get a vastly greater turnaround on your investment. You'd not only be doing a greater deed by giving new companies a legup, you'll be doing a slightly more responsible thing too. Do research on new YC companies and see which ones are most promising, and focus on them.
4
crpatino 16 hours ago 0 replies      
In a word, NO!

Others have provided more detailed advise that whatever I could. So, I will keep it simple. Grandma says: Never put all your eggs in the same basket.

Even if you are young and not risk averse, you may want to put not much more than 60% in high risk/high return investments. And the way to do it is to bet on a bunch of things that have potential. You should expect that 80% of those will flop, 16% will give modest returns and 4% will be big hits that turn in your original invest many times over.

If you recover 33% of the money invested on the flops, and your regular winners produce a 50% return, you need the big hit to be at least 12x you initial investment, so you just break even with the opportunity cost of putting your money on the bank. And you need many, many bets so you hit a 100x winner or better.

5
dstein 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Forget what company it is for a moment. Buying private shares of a pre-IPO company whose financial details aren't known is a very risky form of investing. On IPO day you could quite literally lose 90% of your investment before being able to sell it. You say you're not a stock whiz... so if you don't know how to trade the public stock market where information is plentiful, what makes you think you can do it on the private market where you are an outsider?

Take one guess what Goldman Sachs and their buddies will do when this thing goes public.

6
stevenj 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Invest in what you understand.

Also:

"The key to investing is not assessing how much an industry is going to affect society, or how much it will grow, but rather determining the competitive advantage of any given company and, above all, the durability of that advantage. The products or services that have wide, sustainable moats around them are the ones that deliver rewards to investors."

-Warren Buffett

7
triviatise 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Your best bet is an s & p index fund.unless you want to actively manage your portfolio.
8
AN447 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't you need to be an accredited investor (USD $1M - in liquid assets) to trade on second market.
27
Paid Google Apps now required for any domain with more than 10 users
14 points by tenaciousJk  1 day ago   2 comments top 2
1
georgemcbay 1 day ago 0 replies      
I got the same email on my various google app domains. I can't say I blame them and IMO 10 users is still extremely generous for a completely free service of such high quality.
2
webbruce 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Yeah definitely can't blame them for that either. Before it was 50 I believe which is quite a ton of users for free software.
28
Ask HN: Is any of you using Racket for web developement?
6 points by sudhirc  1 day ago   discuss
29
Ask HN: How often do your EBS volumes fail?
10 points by flippyhead  1 day ago   3 comments top 3
1
bifrost 40 minutes ago 0 replies      
I've been told about this sort of thing, but I wasn't sure how widespread it was. Reading the latest RFO from Amazon, I guess I'm not terribly suprised. Its unfortunate that its so difficult to get 3rd party storage into amazon's infrastructure without paying an arm and a leg, maybe someone will do this some day.
2
mwbiz 1 day ago 0 replies      
We had a similar experience with failure every 3 months or so. We had a small portion of our services on Amazon and it was the main reason we moved it back to our own Servers.
I really don't know how they can continue to offer a service with a failure rate as high as EBS. Amazon should be ashamed of themselves for having such a glaring gap in their otherwise strong collection of products.
3
ryanlower 1 day ago 0 replies      
We had two disappear in quick succession shortly after migrating to ec2 a couple of months ago (one running postgres and one varnish), but nothing since.
30
Ask HN: Must Read Books
10 points by jamgraham  1 day ago   7 comments top 7
1
mindcrime 1 day ago 0 replies      
What I've read recently (and recommend):

1. The Four Steps to the Epiphany - Steve "@sgblank" Blank

2. Built To Last - Jim Collins

3. (re-read) Crossing the Chasm - Geoffrey Moore

4. Positioning - Al Ries & Jack Trout

5. Differentiate or Die - Jack Trout with Steve Rivkin

6. The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing - Al Ries & Jack Trout

Reading Now:

1. Repositioning - Jack Trout with Steve Rivkin

2. Enterprise 2.0 - Andrew McAfee

Queued Up to Read:

1. Create Marketplace Disruption - Adam Hartung

2. Seeing What's Next - Clayton Christensen, Scott Anthony & Erik Roth

3. The Ultimate Marketing Plan - Dan S. Kennedy

4. Rethink, Reinvent, Reposition - Leo Hopf & William Welter

5. Only The Paranoid Survive - Andy Grove

6. Blue Ocean Strategy - W. Chan Kim & Renee Mauborgne

7. The Power of Unfair Advantage - John L. Nesheim

8. Product Lifecycle Management - Michael Grieves

9. Marketing High Technology - William Davidow

10. Open Innovation - Henry Chesbrough

11. Product Strategy for High-Technology Companies - Michael McGrath

12. Living on the Fault Line - Geoffrey Moore

13. Inside the Tornado - Geoffrey Moore

14. The Chasm Companion - Paul Wiefels

15. Getting to Plan B - John Mullins & Randy Komisar

16. Business Model Generation - Alexander Osterwalder & Yves Pigneur

2
lclaude01 1 day ago 0 replies      
1.Accountability in action
2.The art of extreme sel-care
3.the art of innovation
4.the art of war
5.authentic happiness
6.axiom
7.the big three
8.the brain that changes itself
9.broken windows, broken business
10.change or die
11.change your toughts, change your life
12.citizen marketers
13.confidence
14.confronting reality
15.dance of change
16.death by meeting
17.dynasties
18.the education of an accidental CEO
19.Einstein
20.Execution
21.felling good together
22.the fifth discipline
23.flawless consulting
24.flight plan
25.fooled by randomness
26.fountain head
27.the four obsessions of an extraordinary executive
28.the four seasons of mariage
29.getting to yes
30.giant steps
31.good business
32.the google story
33.the great bridge
34.group genius
35.the heart of change
36.highlight of the perfect sales process
37.how to start a consulting service
38.how to win friends and influence people
39.idioms
40.influencer
41.innovation and entrepreneurship
42.the innovator's dilemma
43.inside Drucker's brain
44.inspire! why customer come back
45.the intelligent investor
46.irrational exuberance
47.it's not about the coffee
48.Jack: straight from the gut
49.judgment
50.the leader in me
51.life makeovers
52.linked
53.the long walk
54.madde to stick
55.the magic of thinking
56.man's search for meaning
57.managing in the next society
58.managing oneself
59.managing transitions
60.the mariage you always wanted
61.the message
62.mindfulness
63.Moneyball: the art of winning an unfair game
64.the new psycho-cybernetics
65.the no asshole rule
66.outliers
67.the personnality code
68.planet google
69.pour your heart into it
70.the power of intention
71.the power of positive thinking
72.the richest man in babylon
73.rule 1
74.the science of getting rich
75.screamfree parenting
76.the search
77.shackleton's way
78.the snowball
79.social intelligence
80.speak to win: how to present with power in any situation
81.the spontaneous fulfillment
82.the structure of scientific revolutions
83.strength finder
84.success built
85.take time for your life
86.talking dirty with the queen of clean
87.team of rivals
88.the ten faces of innovation
89.the three signs of a miserable job
90.transparency
91.ultrametabolism
92.the wal-mart way
93.the warren buffet way
94.what make an effective executive
95.what would google do?
96.a whole new mind
97.the whuffie factor
98.winning
99.the wisdom of crowds
100.writing down the bones
101.zero
102.the 4 hour work week
103.the 80/20 individual
104.the 80/20 principal
3
kirpekar 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Sometimes it pays to take a break from the monotonic techno mumble contained in books quoted by others here.

I suggest you read "English August" by Upamanyu Chatterjee.

4
SHOwnsYou 17 hours ago 0 replies      
No two books have helped me more than:

How to Win Friends and Influence People

Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion

5
entangld 1 day ago 0 replies      
Seeing What's Next (Using the Theories of Innovation to Predict Industry Change) -- Clayton Christensen (Author)
6
trbecker 1 day ago 0 replies      
On my own list of usual recommendations, in no particular order.

- Linchpin

- Rework

- Evil Plans

- Four Hour Work Week

- Steve's Mind

Man, I'm moving now, and my books are all packed already. These are the ones that I've read and recommend.

7
jamgraham 1 day ago 0 replies      
Do More Faster: TechStars Lessons to Accelerate Your Startup --
Brad Feld (Author), David Cohen (Author)
       cached 30 April 2011 09:05:01 GMT