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Ask HN: How would you grow a new SaaS product without Ads?
6 points by mindgap  1 hour ago   2 comments top
patio11 1 hour ago 1 reply      
DigitalOcean makes pretty extensive use of ads for retargetting & etc. Try going to their site then browsing Youtube or Twitter, for example. I've seen enough of the "You've been coding like a beast..." video to last me several lifetimes.

Content marketing into emailed drip campaigns and/or retargetting is a pretty powerful formula in many SaaS businesses. Scalable content creation can be a pretty powerful force multiplier at lots of businesses, including SaaS businesses.

A service which is remarkable enough to mention to friends, or which intrinsically gets mentioned to other people in the course of typical use (e.g. Basecamp), is a nice asset to have, too, but many SaaS companies grow without those advantages.

Ask HN: Is Ryan Bates okay?
177 points by mmanfrin  11 hours ago   28 comments top 15
negrit 10 hours ago 4 replies      
From Reddit 28 days ago (http://www.reddit.com/r/rails/comments/1ysbdb/any_news_about...):

"I am a friend of Ryan's, and know his dad as well. I haven't talked to Ryan directly, but his dad assures me Ryan is doing very well, and has just been on a very much needed break.He also does plan to return to Railscasts."

jalan 9 hours ago 0 replies      
motherwell 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I wish he'd start charging me again.

I'm cool with paying for the work he has already DONE, I don't need new work or new things, the back catalogue, even if it was free, would be something that $9 is and amount I'd happily pay.

kiddz 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Shouldn't this post now be deleted given the Reddit article? Seems sort of pushy if Ryan wants to be left alone for a little longer to keep such a thread up that has no news value.
thisduck 10 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're reading this Ryan: <3
BadassFractal 10 hours ago 0 replies      
<3 you Ryan, hope you're well.
krstck 10 hours ago 0 replies      
He was last active on Github in October: https://github.com/ryanb?tab=activity
barlescabbage 9 hours ago 0 replies      
He's literally made the world a better place
baghali 7 hours ago 0 replies      
<3 you Ryan, owe you my business
zaroth 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Did the links to stackoverflow remind anyone else of how they found DPR?
h1karu 10 hours ago 0 replies      
you don't have to keep making vids but don't pull a why__ lol
caiob 10 hours ago 0 replies      
you da man, Ryan!
daniel_xu 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Hope he is doing well!
Ask HN: Was everyone's first web development experience extremely difficult?
4 points by ac1294  5 hours ago   8 comments top 7
dirktheman 2 hours ago 0 replies      
"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step"

It looks like you're starting out too big. If you want to get started with web development, I really would advise against using a backend MVC framework, a front end framework like Bootstrap AND interactive graphs with Highcharts/Javascript for your first app. I guarantee you will be put off by using them because you won't know what it is they do. Frameworks and libraries are great for increasing productivity, but horrible for actually learning. You don't start learning Chinese by reading Sun Tzu in Chinese, you start by learning to say 'hello', right? This goes for frameworks too. Eventually you'll need them, but now is not the time.

If you want to be a decent web developer, it's essential that you learn how things work from the beginning. Frameworks don't teach you that. I really suggest you try to build a simple app from the ground up. Nothing fancy, just a simple time tracking app, personal page or something. Or start with just a static HTML/CSS page. Add a database/server side later when you get the hang of HTML/CSS. Done? Begin sprinkling some jQuery in it. By this time you can begin thinking about frameworks.

It's a long road, sure. But if you begin small there's a much, much better chance of mastering web development. Just make sure to steer clear of W3Schools. They don't have nice tutorials, okay? It's like saying 'I went to McDonalds and they had this really great gourmet meal...'

The web is littered with tutorials about web development. Some free, some paid, some old, some new. Pick your poison, see which one works for you. If you need some guidance and extra motivation to push through (because you're paying for it!) I can recommend Treehouse (www.teamtreehouse.com). Well worth the $25 a month.Good luck!

yen223 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I was in your boat. I studied mechatronic engineering in school. Going from command-line,fizz-buzz-style programming to web development is a huge undertaking, not least because there are so so many concepts in web dev that you probably weren't exposed to. If you were like me, you probably didn't have software engineering experience - I'm going to guess that you aren't using version control. (No offence intended - I'm drawing from my own experience here.)

If you're dead set on going into web development, the first thing you need to understand is how the web works. You should be able to understand, at least on a superficial level, what happens between the time you type a url into the address bar of a browser, and the time the website appears in your browser. Get yourself familiar with HTTP requests.

Other people might tell you not to rely too much on external libraries. I'm going to tell you to the opposite. When you're starting out, and your goal is just getting a webapp, any webapp, out, you should use high-level frameworks that do a lot of hand-holding for you. That means jQuery on the frontend, and Django on the backend. Django is better that Flask here because it forces a code-organizational style, it hides a lot of advanced concepts from the user, and it's generally dead-simple to use.

Eventually you'll want to outgrow those frameworks though - Django is a bit too limiting for my tastes. But save that thought for the future.

gaelian 4 hours ago 0 replies      
There's a popular viewpoint I think from Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers[0] that could possibly be summarised as "any non-trivial skill takes at least 10,000 hours of practice to approach mastery." I think this applies especially to programming[1].

I can still vaguely remember a time, many years ago now where I just couldn't get my head around a garden variety "for" loop. Now I wonder what was so hard to understand about it. Many times over the years since those early "for" loops I have often felt that I wasn't really making any progress at all in grokking this programming thing. I look back now and in fact that was an illusion generated by a localised point of view. In fact I was making progress the whole time, just slowly enough that at times it didn't feel like it.

I probably came at things from a fairly opposite place to you, I started with the web. I started with HTML and CSS and kind of worked backwards. But regardless of where you start, there will always be challenges to your understanding. IMO, one thing that marks a promising developer is the ability to be comfortable with feeling like an idiot while you're learning something new but continuing to persevere, because the need to learn new things happens so often in our relatively young industry. In my experience, few people truly are able to be comfortable with this feeling, but those who are able can surmount amazing obstacles.

So don't get discouraged if it feels like you're not making progress. Stick with it, you will. It just won't seem like it at the time.

As you've experienced, the MVC pattern is still very much in ascendance in the web dev world. I would suggest that you invest in a couple of good books (if available) or lengthy tutorials on the framework of your choice (if available). If neither of these things are available, that may be a sign that you should choose a different framework. :) Don't invest in too many books though, because you'll find they date quite quickly and eventually it will become more efficient to just search for what you need on a case-by-case basis. But to get a good grounding, dropping a bit of coin can be a good thing in the early stages of learning a new technology.

0. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outliers_(book)

1. http://norvig.com/21-days.html

mpatobin 33 minutes ago 0 replies      
A Coursera course started yesterday about web app architecture. Its six weeks long and uses Rails. It could be a good introduction into how web apps work.


navinvarma 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems to me that you are on a library / framework binge. > I chose Flask as my web framework because it's supposed to be one of the simplest frameworks for Python.> And then I came across Bootstrap> I eventually found the Highcharts library

My take on this: You do not need frameworks and tools as a beginner. Start simple with a server side scripting language to perform the logic of reading and writing to the database. (I started with PHP). Once you have that figured out, each scripting language can talk to a database either using drivers or plugins or a module that can be found (Again, I began with MySQL). Write simple logic to read and persist data. And build from there. This could be any language or database solution, my choices were what happened by chance when I began part-time work as a web developer.

Without breaking down a large app into smaller pieces, you'll be overwhelmed. Once you learn one server side programming script/language and data store logic, you can explore frameworks. Again, there are many frameworks out there, so choose one based on your need - not because it is "cool" or the shiny new thing out there. StackOverflow is your friend.

Also, this:> The tutorials on w3schools were nice

Personally, I would not recommend W3Schools -> http://www.w3fools.com/

iamsalman 1 hour ago 0 replies      
"Was everyone's first experience this rough?"

I wrote my first shopping cart web app in Java servlets & JSPs. This was back in 2003 and I was 15. Took me 3 days to connect to Microsoft Access (yes, it's all ancient now).

pouya314 4 hours ago 0 replies      
In my experience, Ruby on Rails is the fastest and most efficient and intuitive way to develop web applications. Give it a try!
Coming Soon to Hacker News: Pending Comments
599 points by pg  3 days ago   800 comments top 248
beloch 3 days ago 10 replies      
My may concern with this system: Sledgehammer meets tack.

The comments on HN aren't perfect, but they're far from bad when compared to other sites of this nature. There has been a downwards trend most probably due to the increasing popularity of HN. A response is warranted. However, this system has the potential to silence a lot of high quality comments on any threads that aren't on the front-page for an extended period of time. Thus, you get a feedback loop. Good posts require quality discussion to stay on top, but must stay on top to get quality discussion going with this added approval lag.

I think you should ease these changes in as conservatively and gradually as possible. For example, apply it only to the top page at first, and reduce the number of endorsements required for display to 1. You might also consider merely greying out comments that have not yet been endorsed, as currently happens to down-voted comments. Another option would be to apply the endorsement system only after threads have reached a certain age so as to jump-start discussions. Additionally, I would recommend that authors of a parent post should be able to see all child posts regardless of their karma. Below, Babuskov raised the point that the endorsement system will obstruct useful back-and-forth discussions between sub-kilokarma users in buried threads that often takes the place of a private messaging system on HN. This would fix that more effectively than merely reducing the endorsement requirement.

You should not entertain any illusions that you can flip the switch and watch this system work perfectly, and that you will therefore be able to avoid confusing people with many changes over a lengthy period of time. Tweaking will almost certainly be required.

cperciva 3 days ago 7 replies      
Someone who has a pending comment will have to wait till it goes live to post another. We're hoping that good comments will get endorsed so quickly that there won't be a noticeable delay.

Is there some timeout? If not, commenting on a several-day-old thread will guarantee that you can never post another comment, since once threads drop off the front page it's not likely that many 1000+ karma users will even see those comments, never mind endorse them.

tsycho 3 days ago 4 replies      
I fear this change will have some unintended consequences:

1. In a Ask/Show HN post, (which is often similar to a reddit AMA), the OP will not be able to reply to clarifications questions until their previous one is 'endorsed'.

2. Multiple (<1000 karma) people will post very similar response to a question, or other objective comment, since they would not be aware of other pending comments on that thread. This would lead to...

2a. Either moderators endorsing multiple such comments, due to race conditions and stale views during moderation, or

2b. Moderators would endorse the first (or "best") of them, and many people with reasonable comments will be in limbo in the rest of HN, for the fault of writing a similar response to another endorsed poster.

3. (NEW) If a user has something meaningful to say to two different posts, he/she is now more likely to choose the one with more activity since he can't post on both anymore, and he/she wouldn't want to wait for the moderators to see the less active post. As a result, the power law distribution on post activity is going to become even more prominent than before.

I would recommend the following changes:

1. Apply this policy on a per-page basis, rather than on a global HN basis.

2. Allow 2 or 3 pending comments per person, rather than 1. Anyone who needs more than that, and is not getting endorsed at all, is probably trolling or spamming, and can be dealt with other means.

3. Auto-accept pending comments after 24hrs for users with >250 karma (or some other lowish number that filters out absolutely green accounts).

4. Add a "showpending" option. Even if people can't upvote/reply to them, it's democratic to be able to see them.

5. (UPDATE, adding tantalor's suggestion) #1 above can be solved by auto-accepting the OP's comments instantaneously. I would even go further and give endorser rights to the OP on a Ask/Show HN post.

chimeracoder 3 days ago 5 replies      
I fear that this is going to have the effect of drowning out minority or contrary opinions, even those that are legitimate (non-trolling) and expressed in a respectful manner.

Currently, the downvote button is only supposed to be used for unproductive comments - drivel, and the like. Of course, people use it to show their disagreement (even though that's not how it's meant to be used).

As a result, people that post controversial or minority opinions often get downvoted, even if their comments are well-thought out. This effect is less noticeable on Hacker News than on some subreddits (/r/politics is one of the worst), but it's noticeable to someone who reads Hacker News regularly.

I fear that this is going to exacerbate this effect. We can establish rules for which comments should be endorsed, just like we establish rules for which should be downvoted, but in other forums, the way that these tools are used in practice oftentimes do not match the stated guidelines.

EDIT: Also, I'm not entirely sure why this is preferable to simply allowing users to automatically hide comments below a certain score. Unless there really is a significant difference between the views of users with > 1000 karma and the rest, the "endorse" button is not fundamentally different from an upvote, is it? (In principle, not in implementation).

AaronFriel 3 days ago 3 replies      
This is a poorly thought out, reactionary response to allegations of dreadful comment quality.

1. It doesn't solve any problems of group think, because if pg and the Y Combinator folks think the system is already tilted toward a certain group and set of beliefs - this now empowers them all as citizen moderators.

2. It further empowers this group by giving them the ability to remove other members of the group's ability to moderate comments.

3. It increases the "cost" of commenting far more than most other moderating proposals would. Not commenting on a popular post? Why bother. Continuing a conversation in replies? Again, why bother.

4. It had such a poor specification that cperciva found a critical flaw in the implementation details in mere minutes. If pending comments is an answer to a problem, then it was not the sort of answer that would have been approved by this comment system.

yajoe 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is an interesting feature, and certainly not something I would have expected as the "next" feature to add. When I read "pending comments" I expected something similar to slashdot's old "preview" feature so one could double-check spelling, formatting, etc. i.e. preview the post before submitting to HN. I would not have expected "pending" to mean "pending moderation" given the successful voting feature here.

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

1) Limit nastiness and negativity

2) Encourage deeper and pensive comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

bsamuels 3 days ago 5 replies      
I think this change makes the mistake that people with lots of karma are good contributors.

I think it should be based on weighted karma/comment in addition to total karma. Imagine two users - one with 1500 karma & 1.1 karma/comment versus one with 600 karma & 10 karma/comment, which one would you trust to be able to judge what is a good comment and what isn't?

The total karma weight is to give at least some favor to frequent users, but not too much.

In addition, if someone replies to your comment, you should be able to at least see their comment regardless of your karma or whether it's been greenlit.

fotbr 3 days ago 2 replies      
I don't comment often. I came here following the dice purchase of slashdot, and found a quality tech oriented site without too much crap.

At the rate I (slowly) accumulate the imaginary internet points here, it will be the better part of a decade before I end up with the ability to "endorse" any other comments. I don't really care about that, except you're locking out those of us that don't have a following here, or name recognition. We, collectively, have seen how "voting" works -- here and elsewhere -- after a very short time, people just upvote based on who the person is, not the comment. Endorsements will work the same way.

Being limited to only one "pending" comment at a time, and the very high probability that I'll see significant delays between being able to comment, pretty much guarantees that I'll leave and find my tech news elsewhere.

Perhaps that's fine with you. But it's a shame to ruin a community to solve a problem that, quite frankly, doesn't exist.

booruguru 3 days ago 13 replies      
This is ridiculous. It's bad enough that people are downvoted for contrarian opinions, but now our comments need to be vetted by the elite HN users before they can be shown to the rest.

I don't get it. This site looks like something made in 1996 (with absolutely no regard for readability), but the big new upgrade we're getting is a draconian (and wholly unnecessary) comment moderation feature/policy?

A lot of HN users bitch about Reddit, but they would never implement something this ridiculous since it would kill their community. But I guess that's the whole point of this exercise...to cull the userbase.

Ironically, this comment is precisely the kind of thing that may never receive an "endorsement."

simonsarris 3 days ago 1 reply      
Consider how many people disagree with you here. Well-respected users.

If we disagree with you here on what you may have thought a well-regarded idea, who is to say how many well-regarded comments we are now going to miss?

How many excellent comments are headed for the dustbin because of a misunderstanding?

This might work, but it will turn HN into a community that is very inward.

eogas 3 days ago 6 replies      
This seems like a rather hostile change to an already hostile community. HN has never felt like a welcoming place to me, and I don't think this will help. Maybe PG prefers the community to be small, so he's trying to trim it down? Because I'm fairly certain this will drive users away, and not just the ones he wants to keep out.

Please noble 1000+ers, free my humble comment from the depths of the low-karma peasants. For I have but 522 karma, thus I deserve to be spat on and excluded from the flawless utopia which is the HN comments section...

User8712 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is the wrong approach, and it's going to help deteriorate an already small community.

1. HN doesn't have an issue with comment quality.

2. HN should be concerned about growing the community, and increasing comments. A lot of discussions already suffer due to a lack of activity. This is going to do the opposite, it's going to decrease comments.

3. We live in an instant world. Pending comments is a step backwards for user experience.

4. Occasionally I see a topic with 10 comments, the majority of which were written back and forth within the first hour of the topic. You're going to kill these discussions.

5. Manually moderating topics doesn't work for communities like HN. It works on a blog, where your article from last year gets another two or three comments every month, half of which are spam.

6. You're creating unnecessary work for members in the community. People come here to enjoy the community, not to moderate.

7. It's a poor method of moderation. You can have 99 users decide not to endorse a comment, then one person decides to click the endorse button. 99% against, and yet it's approved.

8. I'll have to question every comment I write, and avoid spending time on any detailed responses, because they might never leave the pending stage.

habosa 3 days ago 2 replies      
I have ~1900 karma so I'll be one of the endorsers ... but I am not sure I want to be. I think this is a very aggressive change and one that puts too much power in the hands of people like me. Just because I have enough free time to sit around and rack up HN Karma doesn't mean I should control the speech of other, newer users.

Also I think the delay caused by waiting for endorsements on comments will really kill a lot of fast-moving comment threads. it will make it harder for people to have a discussion until the 1000+ karma gods take notice of the thread and throw enough endorsements around to make the comments visible.

8ig8 3 days ago 4 replies      
Please consider making pending comments anonymous. Let the comment stand on its own.
sillysaurus3 3 days ago 1 reply      
I think this is a great change. It's great that you're still iterating on HN and changing the fundamentals.

Can someone with over 1,000 karma start replying to a fresh comment before it's endorsed? Or will the reply link not be there until it's endorsed? If it's the latter, I'm worried that this might stifle the (admittedly rare) back-and-forth discussion between two experts, such as tptacek and cperciva. People who want to reply probably won't sit and wait until the reply link is active, and since replying to a different comment than intended is taboo, they're likely to say nothing instead.

That's a minor concern though.

EDIT: Also,

Since I'm going to check out of HN at the end of this YC cycle,

If I'm reading this right, does this mean you're going to leave HN entirely? I'm sorry to see that happen, but I understand why you'd need to.

mstrem 3 days ago 4 replies      
This seems quite drastic to me. Personally I don't have a lot of Karma (and I don't really care to) but every known and again I post a comment and usually I hope it provides a good contribution.

Like this the system is putting a lot of weight on the users with more Karma... and I am guessing there are "many" more users with less than 1000 compared to those with more? Some people may never have a chance to state their opinion like this.

Rather, the opposite approach might work? Users with more than X karma can completely remove some comments, and say if your comment has been removed, you are not allowed to comment again for a specific period of time. If you post x rejected comments in a row then potentially you get banned.

EDIT - maybe a little off topic: another "comment" about comments - I notice you can up vote and down vote comments. I see this functionality sometimes is used to indicate agreement (or lack of) towards a comment. This as far as I cant tell is not the intended functionality, I am unsure however how this can be fixed easily.

molecule 3 days ago 4 replies      
> Someone who has a pending comment will have to wait till it goes live to post another.

As currently stated, if a comment's never endorsed out of pending, the commenter will never be able to post again?

linuxhansl 3 days ago 0 replies      
Let me just say it straight out: I think this is a truly terrible idea.

I've been reading HN for over 3 years and I am more than happy to use my own judgment to ignore comments that do not contribute to the discussion. I rather have that than miss a comment that others have not deemed important.

(technically this does not apply to me as I have karma > 1000, but I am speaking from the viewpoint of somebody who hasn't)

We do not need rules like this. We need good judgment.

Good judgment cannot be enforced; it has to be cultivated. It'd be better to post reminders about etiquette somewhere prominently and trust that people tend to do the right thing (and most people do).

tokenadult 3 days ago 1 reply      
It will be an act of service to the community (which will be amply rewarded by the community being a community of higher-quality comments, methinks) for the users with more than 1000 karma to regularly visit the new submissions page


and the active threads page


to keep track of which threads are most likely to need comment review. It looks like pg will also attempt to set up a pending comments page, from which it might be necessary to trace back to the original fine article to know whether or not a comment is good, but that doesn't sound like too much work to help build a better community. (I used to look at the noobcomments and noobstories view of the site from time to time, until automation pretty much took over spam-filtering here.)

Best wishes to all of you who desire to post good comments here. I'll do my best to use some of my recreational time to review those for general visibility as early and as often as I am permitted.

timo614 3 days ago 1 reply      
Since this will probably be the last time a comment of mine appears in HN due to the new system I figured I'd give my take on it.

I'm someone who doesn't join in threads pretty often; I'll chime in if I find the topic to be something I'm interested in but my ignorance to most other matters leaves me from wanting to join into threads because of a fear of people piling on negative responses or "schooling" me in terms of the topic at hand.

I don't submit new articles because most things I'm interested in are discovered by more well connected individuals so I'm usually late the party so my score is relatively low despite how long I've lurked.

I'm fearful this new system discourages my participation further; if I don't add some insightful comment or my ignorance of a topic causes others to question whether my opinion is worth discussing I'll be kept from participating because I haven't built up a score. I won't even have the chance to join future conversations because my comments will be pending so until someone decides my opinion has merit I'll be censored from joining into other aspects of an article.

I may not be the most social of the HN folks here on the board but I do like to join into conversations when the topic is of interest to me. I guess this sort of system just makes me feel unwelcome because I'm being punished for not joining in earlier.

Even the most negative comments incite conversation; a person who may have an unwelcome opinion or whose ignorance prevents them from understanding a topic can learn from discussions based off their response.

I understand the reasoning for this and I think, for the most part, it'll help keep the comments section fairly civil. I'm just worried by solving this issue you're throwing away a part of the community who haven't had a chance to prove ourselves over time. I'm regretful I haven't spent time building up my karma in retrospect.

orthecreedence 3 days ago 0 replies      
So, a "the rich get richer" commenting system. Great.

What exactly is wrong with just downvoting? Sure every thread has trolls and useless comments, but a lot people bring up really great points and ideas and having to go through and moderate all this shit on every thread is going to be a trainwreck.

This is a great forum for debates and discussions on technology but also the issues affecting our world. Can we please choose not to limit everyone's voice to the whim of the "karma wealthy" just to stave off a bit of bickering and "lol kewl site" comments?

rdl 3 days ago 2 replies      
Some thoughts:

1) It would be fun to try this on only a subset of articles posted, so we could get real A/B testing on how well it works. The same issues get posted under multiple submissions, so we could see if the quantity and quality of comments is improved by pending, independent of the topics.

2) "showpending" to allow <1000 karma people to view the pending comments, much like "showdead" today.

3) These's now a huge incentive to farm a few 1001 karma point alt accounts. You can do that with a few submissions.

nairteashop 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm sure that this has been brought up before, but I've always wondered whether it makes sense to split karma into comment karma and submission karma, reddit-style, and grant this new endorsement power only to folks who cross a certain comment karma threshold.

Since now users with high karma will have a lot of power (than just downvoting, which IMO was relatively innocuous), I think it makes sense to ensure that this power goes to folks who have gained that power by contributing meaningfully to the community over a long period of time, and not by by a few - oftentimes lucky - submissions.

Am I totally off-base here? Or maybe this has been considered, but was too big of a code change?

archon 3 days ago 0 replies      
I find this change frustrating. I've been reading and occasionally commenting on HN for 4 years, and I'm still not able to fully participate. I haven't yet reached the magical karma number needed to "earn" the downvote button, so I can't help moderate except by flagging.

Now, with this change, it's extremely unlikely that I will ever achieve the ability to truly participate. It seems that if you want comment quality to improve, then maybe it's a bad idea to even more tightly lock out people like me who would happily downvote bad comments or endorse good ones.

michaelwww 3 days ago 1 reply      
People who regularly endorse comments that fail one or both of these tests will lose the ability to endorse comments.

Punishing people for endorsing comments that don't meet an arbitrary and vague content standard will inhibit endorsements. Endorsements are necessary for comments to show up. Seemingly weird comments that are brilliant only after reflection will not get endorsed. Hacker News will trend towards mediocrity. Another site killed by excessive moderation...

I run with dead comments showing. I hardly use my ability to down vote comments, but I rarely see a dead comment that didn't deserve it. There's a consensus on what should die here and I see no need to add more moderation.

c23gooey 3 days ago 3 replies      
So only popular posters with popular opinions will be allowed to endorse posts.

This feels like you are walling off HN for those who are already established here.

I've been here for years, I like to feel like I have a chance to contribute to discussions without hoping some karma overlord will approve.

I believe this change will cause HN to stagnate and become an echo chamber of the thoughts of those who are already popular enough

petercooper 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is a very interesting development and I'm excited to see what impact it has when it goes live. That said, I have one perennial bone to pick.. ;-)

So if you're not sure whether you should endorse a comment, don't. There are a lot of people on HN.

This is true, but so much good stuff flies by on /newest without picking up an upvote (or just one or two) that I'm not entirely convinced enough people fully participate here (or maybe /newest just isn't quite the right way to do that job either, I admit I don't go there every day myself).

temuze 3 days ago 2 replies      
This sounds promising. I'm worried about two things:

1) Will a minimum number of endorsements lead to groupthink? Will a substantial, polite but unpopular comment still get endorsed?

2) If this works initially and improves comments immediately, could it have negative long term affects? Will new users find it confusing or intimidating? Will people comment less knowing that others are less likely to see it?

And one question:

Why not have comments with 0-3 upvotes only visible to people with 1000+ karma? Isn't that the same thing as the endorsement system?

Worthy experiment, regardless.

noarchy 3 days ago 0 replies      
This looks like a solution without a problem. If there a desire to reduce participation in the site, then this change will likely work. Whether or not that is a good thing will reflect a difference in philosophies amongst the users here. As this site has grown in popularity, it is no longer small and exclusive. This will never cease to bother some people.

For what it's worth, I think the quality of discussion on this site is still solid. I'm skeptical of this incoming change, but am open to being wrong once I see it in action.

king_magic 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sorry, I hate this idea. Especially the gating if your pending comment never gets approved. It honestly feels like a slap in the face to your users. There are guys like me with 600-700 karma who have been here for years, but only post from time to time, and you've immediately alienated me with this system.

I'd like to think that I've had useful things to say in my time here, but maybe not, I suppose. Your loss if it turns out I have.

I just don't see it improving the quality of comments. I think you're going to find that it drastically reduces the number of people who want to contribute to the HN community (like myself, now).

tantalor 3 days ago 0 replies      
This won't work on high volume threads. This one had 3-4 comments per minute. You will need a horde of moderators to handle that load, otherwise a most comments will never be read AND endorsed. Coupled with the rate articles drop of the front page almost guarantees most comments on high-volume threads will ignored.

If you lower the moderator karma threshold to try to handle the load, then most readers will be moderators and what's the point? Moderation exists to benefit non-mods. Personally I would rather not have that power.

I argue upvote solves "say something substantial" and downvote solves "be civil". This form of moderation is easy and works.

WiseWeasel 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is a poor implementation. I'm here to have discussions with people and read the good comments, so I have little incentive to spend my time reading unendorsed comments, and anything that stops me from seeing a good comment in a timely manner is taking away value for me. I assume similar motives apply to people with less than 1000 karma, and the community will cease to grow if they don't obtain value as well. But the worst part of this is that for those with >1000 karma, we're being asked to pay attention to posts with a high chance of being bad or mediocre. That's the opposite of what I want to be doing.

Starting around the same time comment scores were hidden, people have been voting less on comments, and it often seems like few people even read your comments in threads not on the front page. What this effectively means, especially in less active threads, is that I can only hold conversations with people if they have >1000 karma. Others will simply fade into the ether.

A slightly less bad approach would be if the popularity of the thread determines the threshold for posts needing endorsement. So as an example, non-front-page threads get posts from people with >50% endorsement rate and >20 endorsements immediately live, threads on the bottom half of the front page get posts from people with a >75% endorsement rate and >50 endorsements immediately live, and threads in the top half of the front page have everyone go through endorsement. Or maybe the number of posts already in the thread determines those thresholds. The issue with that is that in a thread with 200 comments, I'm never going to look at all of them, or even a quarter, so any that need endorsement will likely be missed.

Another possibly less bad approach would be to start posts at 0 points if the poster is under a relatively high karma threshold.

Also, after 24 hours, all "non-endorsed" posts should go live with an indicator, not disappear, so we can see if the system is even working as intended, and have one last chance of finding those hidden gems.

That said, you will be missed, Paul! I hope we'll still see you post from time to time.

tzs 3 days ago 1 reply      
1) Maybe the "cannot submit a comment if you have an pending comment" should be a per thread thing, rather than for the whole site.

I suspect a lot of people read in batches. They take a break and read a dozen new stories over the course of a few minutes. If the exclusion is site wide, and the endorsement rate does not turn out as high as you hope, that would in effect in many cases mean that they only get one comment per batch. If there are more than one story they want to comment in on a batch, they will need to remember to go back during another break and revisit the old story.

2) Won't someone think of the children? Suppose X comments, and his comment is endorsed, and goes live. Y sees it, and comments on X's comment. Y's comment gets endorsed and goes live.

If X and Y's aforementioned comments have each received an endorsement from a third party, count that as an endorsement of the conversation between X and Y, and allow their future comments to go live without endorsement if they are children of the X/Y conversation.

Take a look at the several long back and forth exchanges between tptacek and cperciva in this discussion: [1]. It would be a shame to impede such things.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7439363

nicklovescode 3 days ago 1 reply      
"Since I'm going to check out of HN at the end of this YC cycle"

To be clear, you mean you are going to stop maintaining the codebase of HN, not stop actively participating in the community, right?

npizzolato 3 days ago 1 reply      
There have been a lot of comments stating why this is a poor idea, but as someone who is sub-1000 karma, I haven't seen this reason posted yet (although I could only read the first half or so). In a typical day, I can't spend all day sitting on Hacker News refreshing threads and seeing if anyone has responded to me (or promoted my comment). But occasionally I'll read a thread, find a couple of interesting places to comment, and then go about my day until I can check in again later. Only being able to leave one comment in a single reasonable-length session would absolutely kill that use case. And frankly, it would make this site much less attractive to browse as an occasional commenter. Maybe you're okay with that, but I think that would be a mistake.
hayksaakian 3 days ago 1 reply      
Will there be a 'show-dead' style option for those who choose to read HN unfiltered?

Otherwise, new users are unable to judge for themselves whether they agree with how the community endorses comments*.

Without such options any community eventually becomes a self-perputating hivemind.

eevee 3 days ago 0 replies      
I've had an HN account for over two years.

I have 328 karma.

That's a whole lot of comments I'd have to post to get to 1000 karma. I don't feel that invested in HN, so it's more likely I just won't comment again.

This seems like a pretty good way to freeze the current set of commenters in stone.

edit: It also occurs to me that, while endorsing may be novel now, there's not really any incentive for people to keep doing a boring rote task into the far future. Plus you're threatening bans for people who do it badly. So why would anyone do it at all?

jamesaguilar 3 days ago 3 replies      
Are you at all worried that the increased comment friction will cause us to lose a lot of users? I guess the counter argument could be made that if we lose people because they are upset they can't post angry/useless comments, we might be better off without those users. And if it's so many that HN ceases to be useful to everyone, it might be better for the world if HN didn't exist. Which is a sobering thought.

The other failure mode I can think of is that there are plenty of high karma users who make occasional intemperate comments. I myself have been guilty betimes. Are you at all worried that such folks will just go back and forth endorsing each others' bad comments?

Re: your plan to check out of HN. You will be missed.

sytelus 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is very un-hacker like. There has be better way to rank the comments considering you have so much information, specifically, graph of people with karma values upvoting/downvoting each other. Can't we just do simple variant of PageRank to rank comments? You can even simplify thing by having child comments inherit rank of parent (or may be adjusted rank). Individual users can set the noise level that they find acceptable in their profile. I strongly believe this is a ranking issue and shouldn't be left to humans with all of their potential to bias things.

Proposed system might work ok on head posts but there are lot of tail posts which have smaller audiences but interesting topics nonetheless. On those posts, minority opinions or "ridiculous ideas" would have lower probability of getting endorsed.

tensenki 3 days ago 0 replies      
Every few months I find HN starts to impede my productivity, and I kill my account by removing the valid email address, and changing the password by mashing keys. Having breached the 1000 on at least one of those, possibly more, I kinda regret that. Especially since it obviously doesn't work, at least not for more than a week or two at most.

I'm also concerned because of the hive mind effect. Just because something is popular, doesn't mean it's quality. You attract more flies with honey than you do with vinegar, but you get a LOT more with a steaming turd. And sure, the turd is popular, but is it good eats?

And I find using the karma total is a poor choice. Reaching 1000 karma isn't that difficult, nor is it an indication of quality, it can be an indication of the age of an account, or the prolific nature of the commenter. Someones ratio is a far better way to ensure that the individuals deciding are also quality posters. A single troll with an account in the 1000+ can chose to use that to green light his other accounts, and other trolls.

I look forward to being proven wrong though.

EGreg 3 days ago 0 replies      
pg - I am going to reply to this (even though I fear it might cause me to never be able to post another live comment again)

It seems to me that your aim is to trying to protect the people reading the comments, but this will only protect the people whose Karma is less than 1000! That is to say, it actually protects the people who use the site the least, and in response to what, those people "diluting" the site? Presumably the others who have 1000 Karma earned it by making enough good posts and comments. So you are protecting the wrong group!

Reddit allows people to see highly nested comments by explicitly clicking a link. Here you would be completely hiding them from anyone except the HN "regulars". It seems this will only decrease value for those people. Why not give them the OPTION to see those comments by clicking a link to expand, like on Reddit?

And what if I delete a pending comment after a couple days, does it reset this status - which is like a hellban but only with regard to visibility to lower-karma users? Also what happens to replies to a pending comment?

Requiring too many people to vote and participate in site governance (and given the number of comments, this will require a lot of HNers with high karma to keep being active) often doesn't work. Consider when facebook asked its members to vote - it didn't receive enough "turnout":


Thus until you get this system to a point where it's good enough, I strongly suggest you give everyone the OPTION of seeing "pending" comments. Or at the very least, make the pending comments grayed out so that high-karma HNers would be psychologically conditioned to click on them to endorse them (and subsequently click again to un-endorse them).

rdl 3 days ago 0 replies      
Could you please move endorse and flag to be far apart (maybe on separate sides of the line, or at least with a no-op like "link" or "parent" in the middle)? I iPad or iPhone often, and accidentally hitting the wrong thing would be annoying; I might not be watchful enough to unflag.
Mindless2112 3 days ago 1 reply      
This type of feature is exactly the reason I don't participate in StackOverflow. Granted, pending-comment is better than can't-comment.

That said, I expect this will save me hours of my life since I expect that I won't bother to write comments once this is in effect (and as an added bonus, there should be less comments to read). I tried noprocrast and couldn't handle it, but this will do it.

eob 3 days ago 0 replies      
> 2. Say it without gratuitous nastiness.

I really hope this change addresses this! Maybe I'm just becoming an old curmudgeon, but there really seems to be mean, argumentative tones to a lot of the conversation I read on HN these days.

I hope we can address it because HN really is a community of smart, earnest, helpful minds that can be a wonderful crowd to eavesdrop on when at their best.

diziet 3 days ago 1 reply      
This might be a terrible execution of this idea that will cut the amount of discussion on HN by a large amount. Maybe even by 90%.

This puts the onus on the older members of the community to do even more work administrating the site -- for every comment posted there need to be a couple of users with karma > 1000 to endorse it, and they will need to literally work to allow comments through.

waterlesscloud 3 days ago 0 replies      
Perhaps the strongest value of this will be to slow down the threads that involve a dozen replies from someone in a short period of time. Rarely are those comments substantial enough to be meaningful, often they're just someone reacting in a reflexively emotional way to a discussion.
stefantalpalaru 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know if this will improve the quality of HN comments but it will surely reduce the time I spend on this site.

I already have to be careful not to upset any moderators and get hell-banned. With comments that won't get published if they don't please the crowd there's no reason to comment any more. And if I can't comment, why spend the time reading in the first place?

mcgwiz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hmm, aside from the distaste of a "guilty until proven innocent" formula being injected, this suffers from a critical flaw. The word "endorse" symbolizes something different than "substantial and not nasty". It symbolizes subjective support, agreement. Because of this association, the use of this system will tend to signal that groupthink is valued, and a cycle of groupthink will become entrenched.

The fix is simple: use a different symbol. Something that more precisely, objectively signifies "not simple and not nasty". This will create a more permissive gate that allows opinions of moderate substance and moderate tone through (an "err on the side of allow" policy). Inevitably the symbol must also consider the tendency of moderators, being active participants in a discussion themselves, to favor their own views.

Taken all into account, I suggest the "endorse" link be renamed "tolerable". (Rather than an action, it becomes a kind of flag.) This has the explicit connotation of erring toward permissiveness of differing views, and contrasts the two fears expressed in the post: comments that are boring or unprofessional/spiteful/mean.

(And as it stands, upvoting already signifies "endorsement".)

networked 3 days ago 1 reply      
Will users with 1000 or more karma be able to reply to unendorsed comments?

Will there be a "show pending" setting (for users with under 1000 karma and/or those with >= 1000 karma)?

spitfire 3 days ago 0 replies      
The concern to me is this might cause a chilling effect on people's comments.

This sort silence by default will stop a lot of good contributors from taking their first few steps to joining the conversation.

It may make people who might take opposite views to the general consensus think twice about posting, even if they might have more information than most on the subject.

acjohnson55 3 days ago 1 reply      
I honestly think the overall quality of comments is quite good on HN. Besides the quality of the articles (which is also top notch), it's a big reason why HN is a thrice daily part of my routine.

The bigger issue is that nesting is a poor format for displaying comments, once a discussion gets large enough. I've been a part of the team revamping Huffington Post's discussion interface, and I think it's a great solution for giving people the option to switch between breath-first and depth-first exploration of the comment tree as they see fit. It's not a perfect solution, but I do think it beats some of the worst problems of nesting.

hibikir 3 days ago 0 replies      
When suggesting a major change like this, I think that it'd be a very good idea to do some back of the envelope calculations using data that you could probably get straight from the DB.

My starting assumption would be that all users with 1000 karma actually keep reading all comments as they can do now. Some might visit a 'new comments' page to make sure posts by new posters get promoted. Others will just filter them out completely. So we might as well start by claiming both effects will counteract each other.

So take, say, the last week of submissions, and see how many comments that actually received an endorsement are made by noobs like me that have less than 1000 karma. Then, take a look at how many of those comments were endorsed by members that have more than 1000 karma, then, check how many were endorsed FIRST by someone that had 1000 karma.

Given the starting assumptions, this would give you a pretty good idea of how many comments would just stop receiving karma altogether, how many would receive less, because people would not be able to see them before a 1000+ user promotes it, and how many would remain roughly the same.

Then, you can add your own bias on whether you think people will be more active at promoting those new posts, or if they will be more easily forgotten. But without some hard data, all you are doing is making a major change to the site, with no idea of what it's really going to do.

I am sure this information would also be considered useful by anyone geeky enough to visit Hacker News, and you could use it to defend your position, one way or the other. It's harder to be outraged when a proposal like this comes attached to some nice evidence.

thenmar 3 days ago 4 replies      
The obvious big concern here is comments about minority groups and social justice. Are the 1000+ karma users going to shut down those voices?
cwiz 3 days ago 0 replies      
Clearly, this:

    1. Limits speed of information distribution    2. Can be used to filter out specific information    3. Promotes centralised points of view -> Fewer people decide what is information is valuable

    1. May lead to better quality of information

3 facts vs 1 possibility

donatj 3 days ago 3 replies      
I feel like this really discourages unpopular truths from the discussion. This is one of the worst options I've ever heard for a comment system.
thenmar 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm excited to see how this works, and how the process changes after some testing. If reddit is any example, stricter moderation almost always results in a better user experience and a tighter, more respectful community. Look at r/askhistorians as a prime example.
kruipen 3 days ago 0 replies      
While I still can get a word in: I predict this is going to be a clusterfuck.

Social systems are fragile. PG hasn't even thought about users loosing ability to comment by having a pending comment on an old post nobody will ever see. There are likely countless more subtle problems...

staticelf 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is a great idea if you want to end peoples ability to comment that disagrees with a large number of individuals. I think this is a horrible "feature" and endorsing this feature is endorsing censorship.

What made HN great was that anyone could post both stories and comments. Now I can just think, will this comment ever be visible or will it disappear into the abyss and my time writing it was totally meaningless?

To really test this feature, I want to say what I really feel:

Fuck this feature and go shove pending comments in somebody else's ass.

foob 3 days ago 0 replies      
Comments get from pending to live by being endorsed by multiple HN users with over 1000 karma. Those users will see pending comments, and will be able to endorse them by clicking on an "endorse" link next to the "flag" link.

I have over 1000 karma but I don't have a flag link for comments and I'm fairly sure that I never have. Is the threshold for flagging comments also supposed to be 1000?

Also, I really like this idea. There will likely be some issues to iron out but it should almost immediately eliminate a lot of noise and give new users a more clear idea of what sort of comments are appropriate.

doesnt_know 3 days ago 1 reply      
Sounds good in theory, the best communities are almost always those that are strictly moderated or have their rules heavily enforced.

It will probably make HN worse though. HN already suffers from being too much of a "rich, startup boys club". This will only get worse as those that have been around longer and made comments that "fit" within that viewpoint get karma and get to decide what comments are shown.

kapowaz 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think I can see the intent behind requiring comments be endorsed by users with over 1000 karma: this is a somewhat arbitrary way of saying users who themselves are good contributors to the community, but I think that specific way of measuring is nave.

Using an incrementing value to represent karma means that you can slowly accrue and work your way towards achieving that state of being a good community contributor in principle, whilst in fact still behaving in all the negative ways you are hoping to minimise.

There are quite a few metrics that could be of relevance when looking at people who comment on HN. How often do they reply? Do they post the first comment, or only replies? Do they only reply to controversial subjects? Do they upvote often?

I'd propose that the solution be more subtle. As others have pointed out, you shouldn't implement a system that acts as a positive feedback loop for the most popular topics; that will simply filter out things that aren't in the zeitgeist (and god knows HN doesn't need any more of that).

My suggestion would instead be that all comments are visible immediately, but will be automatically hidden after a period of time, unless they become sufficiently popular. The length of time before they become hidden will depend on the another value, associated with the poster, which would be something akin to the ELO rating system; all users start with the same score, and then that score is modified based on how many people approve of / disapprove of their comments.

Obviously just using these things ignores context, so I'd encourage some more clever introspection of the other things I mentioned above to determine whether they're just posting on a controversial subject (maybe the first reply gets a bonus to the length of time it's visible, or controversial subjects measured by the frequency of up vs downvotes don't reduce your personal ELO rating as much).

Of course, these ideas could be equally terrible but I think thought should be given to testing them before committing, and using something more subtle than just slamming the door in the face of people who aren't able to get their comments into the eye line of the HN elite.

pdonis 3 days ago 0 replies      
There are many good suggestions in the comments here (which I've been upvoting, on the assumption that that's going to focus attention on them); but I have one that I haven't seen made yet: collect data on pending comments to see which, if any, of the potential issues being raised in this thread actually are issues. For example:

(1) Measure the distribution of comment endorsement for >1000 HN users: how many they endorse, how often they endorse, and how that varies with things like hour of the day, time logged on, etc.

(2) Measure the distribution of "time to endorse" for comments (how long it takes from posting to endorsement), and how that varies with things like hour of the day, etc.

(3) Measure how many comments get lost in limbo because they are never endorsed.

My initial sense is that this is going to significantly raise the cost of participating in HN, which will make me less likely to participate. (By "cost" I mean both the added cost of having to endorse comments, and the added cost of having to wait for my own comments to be endorsed before I can post another one.) But I may be overestimating what the effect will be.

noarchy 3 days ago 0 replies      
I really like the idea of making pending comments anonymous (proposed by 8ig8). I strongly suspect that many current upvotes are based on who is making the comment, rather than the merits of the comment itself.
ja30278 1 day ago 0 replies      
" And though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously by licensing and prohibiting to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?"

"..and we in the haste of a precipitant zeal shall make no distinction, but resolve to stop their mouths, because we fear they come with new and dangerous opinions, as we commonly forejudge them ere we understand them; no less than woe to us, while thinking thus to defend the Gospel, we are found the persecutors."

"For if they fell upon one kind of strictness, unless their care were equal to regulate all other things of like aptness to corrupt the mind, that single endeavour they knew would be but a fond labour: to shut and fortify one gate against corruption, and be necessitated to leave others round about wide open. If we think to regulate printing, thereby to rectify manners, we must regulate all recreations and pastimes, all that is delightful to man. No music must be heard, no song be set or sung, but what is grave and Doric. There must be licensing of dancers, that no gesture, motion, or deportment be taught our youth, but what by their allowance shall be thought honest; for such Plato was provided of. It will ask more than the work of twenty licensers to examine all the lutes, the violins, and the guitars in every house; they must not be suffered to prattle as they do, but must be licensed what they may say. And who shall silence all the airs and madrigals that whisper softness in chambers? The windows also, and the balconies, must be thought on; there are shrewd books, with dangerous frontispieces, set to sale: who shall prohibit them, shall twenty licensers? The villages also must have their visitors to inquire what lectures the bagpipe and the rebec reads, even to the balladry and the gamut of every municipal fiddler, for these are the countryman's Arcadias and his Monte Mayors."

amuntner 3 days ago 1 reply      
As a long-time lurker but new user, I see little reason to ever even attempt to participate on a forum with moderation rules like this. This may be speculation but I'm guessing many others would make the same cost/benefit analysis.
jfoster 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's unusual how intolerant of experimentation entrepreneurs can be.

This may or may not work. PG even acknowledges that it's likely to go wrong initially. Implicit in that is that they will work on fixing it until it's working better than the current system. In the end, it's guaranteed to either completely fail as an experiment (they'd probably roll it all back) or yield something working better. Yet there's so much angst about the changes here.

It's not always irrational to get concerned about changes. For example, laws are typically written and then there are substantial barriers to revisiting them. In the case of a website, though, why worry? If this isn't working better, it's extremely unlikely that YC would leave it in that state.

mschuster91 3 days ago 1 reply      
No. Just no. Reasons:

a) it WILL kill off those who want to remain (pseudo/ano)nymous and create throwaway accounts for discussing sensitive stuff (like the multiple "my startup is failing" posts in the last months)

b) Sorry, but I (and many others) have actually lives to live and jobs to do. 1000+ karma users are not moderators, and many simply will be too lazy / too occupied to click "endorse" all the time.

c) Discussions live on the "live" part - and <1000 karma users will have to endure MASSIVE waiting times, effectively killing discussions.

mratzloff 2 days ago 0 replies      
Three things.

First, I'm not sure this solution is actually necessary at all.

Second, endorsing sounds like a lot of tedious work.

Third, the system as described has a number of issues. I would modify it in the following ways:

1. Number of endorsements is proportional to story rank, and changes as the story rank changes. After story rank 60, no endorsement is required.

2. Number of pending comments allowed for a given user is proportional to his or her karma. Users with karma of 1 should have 1, users with karma 1000 should have more, perhaps 5-10.

3. Unendorsed comments appear visually distinct from hidden posts and down-voted posts. Perhaps a shaded background?

4. If a user has exhausted his or her unendorsed comments pool in this 24-hour period, they should be informed of this fact where the new comment text area normally is.

mariusz79 3 days ago 6 replies      
This is nothing but a censorship and will make HN useless.
chch 3 days ago 4 replies      
Do we know what fraction of active users has over 1000 karma? As someone with forty-two karma currently who only comments rarely, it's a bit scary to know my comments will face moderation to be posted, although it will surely increase the substance/message ratio, which has seemed to be decreasing some.

It's not so much that I care about the karma, as I'd post more if I did, but more that if someone asks a question that not many other users care about, but I happen to have unique insight, I'd hope that my message can get through to them. :)

kanamekun 3 days ago 0 replies      
This system of empowering community members to endorse comments from newer users has worked really well on Gawker!

<< The editors are the only ones who can give you a star, and we'll be giving them out to the commenters we trust the most. ... [Y]our comments will automatically appear in the featured comments, and you will have the ability to promote non-star comments up to the top level. In fact, just replying to a comment will bump up to the front page. You'll also see all of the unapproved comments left by new users and can approve the ones that you think are up to snuff. But use your powers wisely. We're going to be taking a closer look at who's doing what. Use your star powers to make mischief, and we'll take them away. >>


mbreese 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is an interesting solution to a common problem. The problem isn't poor comments, it's how to deal with a community site when it's in the post-early adopter phase. In the past, when sites like this hit a certain maturity level, you have a few problems: people complain about all the new users and the loss of character. It's all part of what happens when network effects take hold and your site has an increasing number of users. Once you've hit a certain inflection point, each site evolves whether they want it to or not...

I think Slashdot ignored it and lost a lot of relevance to Digg. Digg tried to pivot to be more marketable and drove people to Reddit. Reddit hit that point and decided to fracture into lots of sub-reddits (which I think was the most successful way to evolve so far). [1]

The pg/HN approach is basically to leave it to the users who've been around longest to cultivate the community. It's a lot of trust to put into those 1K+ users, but probably not overly so. It remains to be seen if this can be a successful way to keep HN relevant to more than just the YC-set, but we'll just have to wait and see. Hopefully this works out better than Slashdot meta-moderation (which was just odd).

[1] This is my take on the histories of these sites... they all went through the growth, plateau, and loss phases to some extent. I'm sure others can tell me if earlier communities had the same patterns.

ps4fanboy 3 days ago 2 replies      
I am calling it, this will be the deathknell of hackernews, you can already see huge bias in the stories that get flagged on this site now you will see it in every comment.
tedsanders 3 days ago 1 reply      
PG, instead of adding an endorse button, why not just use the upvote button and display the pending comment after it's been upvoted by a few 1000+ karma users?

Do you want the standards for endorsement to be different than the standards for upvotes?

touristtam 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I think that your comment and submission system is imperfect to begin with.


How many time do you see a new submission that is basically a repost from another one. This is quite high in fact, specially with topic that some user feel really strongly about. It is diluting the potential for meaningful discussion.

But you have as well the issue of submission that don't match PST timezone which means in turn that the submission, although it would match the interest of the HN population and the type of topics that one would expect to find on HN, take a huge dive in the list of upvoted topics, and once again no meaningful discussion comes out of it.


The current upvote system shows very little information. And more than often, user can comments to just thank the author, instead of just upvoting. It might be because there isn't any visual cues of what the current points a comment has gathered or who has upvoted that. One could argue more transparency could lead to a clan issue where some user might want to consciously upvote a sumbission / comment as a group for their own visibility as a group.

There is also the issue of duplication of opinions in the comments, and discussion that take a tangent from the original topic. Both that are mentioned and addressed through the pending comments, but a simple collapsing of child node in the comment tree would have more welcome than this highly debatable feature.



UK-AL 3 days ago 0 replies      
A major problem is that this makes it very difficult for someone to get established on HN.

Imagine how many pending comments will have to be accepted for someone to reach the 1000+ mark?

ufmace 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a bit torn on this idea.

On the one hand, I think it would be great for some of the bigger threads, that often go to hundreds of comments, many of which say the same thing over and over again. It could do a lot of keep those shorter, more insightful, and more on-topic.

On the other hand, what about the smaller threads, that tend to get one or two dozen comments, if that, and probably not many page views? Would discussion there become essentially impossible unless a >1k-er deigns to drop in and bless a few of the posts with some endorsements? Has anybody actually checked what proportion of users are >1k and how willing they are to drop in on every thread on the site and endorse comments? Or constantly reload bigger threads and scroll all around to see new comments for that matter?

If it were up to me, I'd do a sliding scale. Something like no endorsement/auto-endorse all for under 20 total comments in the thread. At >50 comments in the thread, users with under, say, 100 karma need endorsement. At >100, you need maybe 250 karma, 200 posts 500 karma, etc. Maybe users under 5 or 10 karma always need endorsement. Maybe some formula to compute it that you can tweak the factors on as needed if there is too little discussion or too much fluff.

Another point - say I make a comment that sucks. Oops, happens to all of us sometimes. What happens then? Does it stay unendorsed and stuck forever? Can I just delete it, or will it auto-delete or something? Does it get downvoted without ever being endorsed?

Hey wait a second, I think we're just getting closer to slashcode here...

hysan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is the endorsement requirement a set threshold throughout the entire day?

As an international user, it is already fairly difficult to participate in discussions because of the lack of activity here at certain times. So I would imagine that there will also be far fewer 1000 karma users here as well. I fear that this change might cause the activity level on HN to have higher and lower peak activity periods throughout the day.

forgottenpaswrd 3 days ago 0 replies      
It seems bureaucracy has come to HN.

I personally won't follow the new rules. I prefer not to comment anymore.

I was one of the early users of HN, this alone made me have enormous karma and influence out of nothing.

I forgot the password several times and created new accounts. Now my comments were worth nothing just because I was new.

One of the reasons I write anonymous is that I don't want to carry my real life reputation with everything I say, call it the Feyman effect: when he got the Nobel price everybody started considering everything he said like God words, even if he wanted to just do a funny stupid remark.

I don't want my comments to be judged by gatekeepers, or to be the gatekeeper myself.

Probably, given the size of HN this is necessary, like Reddit we just have to find a smaller community that cares about science and start over again.

corin_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
Love the idea, think and hope it will improve comments greatly - a few questions:

Will you be able to tell whether a comment you posted has been endorsed enough to become visible (or even how many endorsements)?

Would it be a good idea (and if so, would it be doable or too complicated) to automatically figure out users who deserve to get auto-approved, at least until they are flagged enough to undo it? Maybe if x% (95? 100?) of your last y comments (100? 500?) have been approved it could give you the benefit of the doubt?

Would it be worth offering users with 1000+ karma the ability to disable their abilities so they could enjoy the filtered version others see? Or would too many people chose the option making it not work at all?

Finally, I lost my flagging rights ages ago, presumably for using it too liberally - is there any system in place whereby that might reverse? Will that mean I don't see new comments, or can I see but not flag/endorse, or can I see and endorse but still not flag?

Anyway, excited to see the change :)

Edit: a related, slightly, question: Does HN "shadowban" users from downvoting, i.e. do some users think they can downvote (or indeed upvote) but their votes aren't counted? Not sure why, but I've felt that might be the case for my downvote for a little while.

twic 3 days ago 0 replies      
How about instead of only allowing a single pending comment, allowing some number, where that number is managed in a similar way to the TCP sliding window. Start by allowing a single pending comment, allow an additional pending comment if that is endorsed, and so on, up to some maximum number of pending comments. However, if a comment is rejected, reduce the window size. You could employ all sorts of heuristics here - reduce the window by one per rejection, halve the window if there are two consecutive rejections, reset the window to its initial size if there are three, whatever.

One obvious problem here is that we are not getting a way to positively reject comments; rejection is simply not being endorsed after 24 hours. That is probably too noisy a signal to base a mechanism like this on. Oh well.

tdicola 3 days ago 0 replies      
If I want to make a Show HN post that links to a project, and immediately comment to introduce it and fill in details will it have to wait for a 1000+ karma person to endorse it? Any way to make that kind of scenario work a little better? I have a feeling a lot of Show HN stuff will just get buried.
evanmoran 3 days ago 0 replies      
I love the experiment of it! My concern is that the scale of the discussion changes the discussion itself. Hear me out:

1) If a post is unpopular less people will be there to endorse.

2) With less people endorsing, replies will appear slower to people with low karma (lots of us), so we are disinclined to reply because we can't see the discussion. Less replies mean, less discussion.

3) The system also creates a strong disincentive to comment on unpopular posts because if no one reads it you can't comment on anything else. This will slow the comments of unpopular posts further.

One solution would be to weight the number of endorsements needed by the popularity of the post. The more people seeing it the more endorsements needed. For new posts (not popular yet) I would say comments shouldn't require any endorsement and let the existing down/up system rule.

rabino 3 days ago 1 reply      
> Someone who has a pending comment will have to wait till it goes live to post another.

This is kinda crazy. You can't expect 100% of our comments to be brilliant. There needs to be some timeout or something, if not, people will start creating new accounts every day.

bsder 3 days ago 0 replies      
Has anybody actually done the math?

Is the ratio of superK users to subK users sufficient such that they won't spend all of their time approving comments?

Back of the envelope calculations from where I sit suggest that this has no choice but to slice the number of comments by at least an order of magnitude (and I actually think it is closer to 2 orders of magnitude).

If that's really the goal, why not just implement a comment killer that every now and then just randomly stomps on a posted comment and blocks someone from posting for 15min/30min/hour/whatever when it fires.

If you tie the probability to karma and karma ratio, it would do almost as good a job and not inconvenience the superK folks. And you could tune it to get the comment posting rate that you want.

whiddershins 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know if this has been discussed, but why doesn't hacker news support folding comment threads? You (Paul Graham) have written about your observation that the quality of comments are inversely proportional with the depth of replies.

If this is true, why not just let users fold threads? Or provide a way to jump through threads at a particular comment level? I find it frustrating that if the highest voted comment on a post has many replies, it is difficult for me to navigate and bypass that thread to find out what other lines of thought might be on a topic.

allendoerfer 3 days ago 1 reply      
This might cause duplicate comments, which were previously not written, because commenters were able to read comments posted before them.
eslaught 3 days ago 0 replies      
How many 1000 karma users are there on HN exactly, and how actively do they visit and interact with the site? This will have an enormous effect on what the endorsement latency actually is. I assume the karma threshold of 1000 was chosen so that there would be a reasonable number of users to do this, but I still want to check.

Edit: I notice that my comment is marked as pending in this thread... so the system is already active?

Edit2: Yes: https://news.ycombinator.com/pending

tomgruner 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why not implement a simple algorithm:

If your past 5 comments have not gotten more than 3 cumulative upvotes from ranking users then your commenting is throttled to 1 comment per day

If your past 5 comments have a cumulative negative score your commenting is limited to 1 comment per week

There is no pending comments list, only a message telling you: sorry, try to post higher quality content to be able to comment more often. You will be able to post another comment tomorrow / next week

New users are limited to one comment per day until they get at least 3 cumulative upvotes in the last 5 comments

nkuttler 3 days ago 0 replies      
Um, how will this work out with timezones? Should I even bother writing comments outside of US office hours?
trentmb 3 days ago 0 replies      
"<Insert Minority Group Here> in tech" submissions will probably be interesting to see once this is implemented.
batoure 3 days ago 0 replies      
So I would like to have someone explain to me why I am wrong But I feel like this will penalize discussions that are happening off the front page. I spent a decent amount of time reading things that don't make it to the front page. I comment and am involved in discussing posts that rarely get much altitude. So now comments that are made on articles that are interesting only to a minority require the ok of a member of the majority. This seems more exclusionary than worth while.

Perhaps an option would be to add filtering on any post that is up-voted above a certain score. This would allow early movers to help generate conversation and then trigger moderation when the conversation is going to go wide.

This type of a tactic would encourage better behavior in the big leagues while giving room for smaller voices that may not be fully part of the community.

janesvilleseo 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't have a Facebook page, gave up on twitter, only lurk on Reddit, but here is where I occasionally comment. I sit at only 102, not nearly enough to past the pending comment threshold. Not sure if I'm going to participate much anymore :(

I'll hangout for awhile and give this experiment a shot, but I don't expect much.

danso 3 days ago 4 replies      
Wow, this seems like a rather large change -- with a lot of dynamics and moving parts -- for what seems like a relatively minor problem on HN. Not that there aren't bad comments, but bad comments get a lukewarm response, and insightful comments seem to do pretty well. Comments that get more airtime than they might deserve will still get approved by someone (and upvoted/downvoted accordingly)

The bigger problem to me seems to be that great comments that come in a few hours after the posting of a hot submission will almost never reach the top of the comment stack, because older comments that are decent enough will inevitably keep getting upvotes by every new reader of the thread. I'm not sure what the best tweak for that is, but the proposed feature at hand would seem to exacerbate the situation.

Note: OK, I've realized I made the archetypical dickish HN comment ("OK the OP is interesting but on a tangent, why don't we all discuss this other thing I care about?")...but I do think the proposed feature will have a direct impact on the circulation of fresh, insightful comments. I'm a 1000+ Karma user, but after I've read a thread a couple of times, I probably won't re-check it...I can't be the only HN'er who has this lack of attention span...and so this queue, even if perfectly implemented, would seem even more to suppress new comments (unintentionally)

ParadisoShlee 3 days ago 0 replies      
Please offer an opt-in to see pending comments (without the ability to vote).

Maybe they'll remove the ability to reply cleanly - but it's a better option than filtering based on the whim of others.

joshuaellinger 2 days ago 0 replies      
Given that you seem to be viewing this as a first level screening, I think you need to make the 1000+ karma people review 10-20 pending comments before reading any article based on what's in the queue.

This would insures that the queue doesn't pile up. It would actually encourage good comments in the same ways that knowing a blog reads everything does. It would insure that if the system doesn't work or has problem, you'd hear about it immediately from long-term users.

I would implement it as "( ) endorse ( ) favorite" side-by-side so that the net effect is that great comments pop out of pending with better velocity.

Finally, the 1000+ karma rule for reviewers while convenient is probably a bad framing.

Instead, I'd say that 1000+ karma users are required to review and 100-1000 karma can volunteer to review. If you volunteer, your endorsements have to correlate with 1000+ over 95% of the time or they don't count. Obviously, you can randomly test that to whatever statistical significance you like.

Good luck with the new system -- this is the only site where comments are any good in my experience.

xingjianp 3 days ago 0 replies      
> People who regularly endorse comments that fail one or both of these tests will lose the ability to endorse comments. So if you're not sure whether you should endorse a comment, don't. There are a lot of people on HN. If a point is important, someone else will probably come along and make it without gratuitous nastiness.

So there will be a group of people (group B) who are going to check the quality of HN users with 1000 karma (group A)?

and, will there be another group of people(group C) who are going to check the quality of the work of group B?

kabdib 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's hard to tell how much friction HN needs. Some more, probably. A lot more? I'm guessing not. A little moderation goes a long way.

Metrics for comment approval might include opening up a thread complete, or for folks with a karma threshold, or who have made posts in the past without being downvoted much. (The _Making Light_ site has some interesting ideas here).

You might include who voted on an article, and how. If someone's gonna moderate, they may as well be listed as having moderated (so they can get the credit or blame). Meta-moderation might be one of the things that killed Slashdot, though.

jader201 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is the only difference between pending and live that pending will lock them out of posting again (within the timeout period)?

Or, will they eventually drop out of visibility from others?

robinh 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not yet sure how to feel about this, but I have one question that remains unanswered: Will this apply to submissions (possibly in the future) as well?
OedipusRex 3 days ago 0 replies      
I worry about timezones, what percentage of users with 1000+ karma are in low-population timezones?
grey-area 3 days ago 0 replies      
You use karma as a measure of quality (here as a way to indicate someone should have rights to endorse). One other change which I think would help comment quality is to separate or cap points for submissions (which can be disproportionate), so that users do not gain karma from posting popular stories. One person posting some flamebait article can easily get over 1000 points just by posting a link, and they are encouraged to post sensational or gossipy articles by the current system in order to get around karma limitations.

Popularity is not the same as quality, and the divergence will only grow as more users join the site.

It will be interesting to see how this change plays out, but you definitely need a solution to the problem cperciva points out - at present anything not on home simply doesn't recieve sufficient attention for this scheme to work. The new page is regularly full of articles with less than 3 votes.

joeblau 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, this sounds great. My only question is if you're sure you want to put the "endorse" button so close to the "flag" button? I don't want to accidentally flag something incorrectly.
lunixbochs 3 days ago 0 replies      
The limit on one pending comment has the potential to slow or completely block a one-to-many discussion.

Say I post "I made the linked project. [Some cool facts about it]." and four people ask me questions. I start answering, and can't submit my second answer. I'm probably annoyed at this point. Repeat for the remaining questions.

Maybe the system could have a provision for submitting multiple pending comments on your own link or sub-thread to solve this.

matt_heimer 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is obviously an attempt to increase the quality of quality of comments, is there some type of guideline you can give about the type of comments/commenter HN is looking for? I worry that there is a karma feedback loop in action where users with higher karma are better known and naturally get more upvotes than an unknown poster making the same comment.

1000 just seems like a really high threshold that would take a very long time to reach. I'm not sure if this is desired and HN just really wants people to work for it or I just don't provide much value. Obviously I think I provide value but I haven't even reached the threshold to downvote yet and after over a year HN is putting my comments on probation? It just really seems to devalue new members, it makes me wonder if I should be posting comments at all. Now I'm going to be scared to comment since I might get stuck is approval hell. So now it'll probably take an even longer timeframe to reach 1k since I'll be posting less. I know that in some way this what HN wants, fewer fluff comments but honestly sometimes I don't know what HN is going to upvote.

Is there some guideline to how long it should take to reach 1K? I know it depends on how active you but maybe some idea of how the karma average looks for quality commenters at 100 comment intervals from 0-1k. Obviously I'll reach it at some point but that doesn't mean I provide the value HN is looking for.

yeukhon 3 days ago 2 replies      
I think this is a horrible decision. I've never seen this work. My biggest objection is based on the fact I have to wait for someone to endorse my comment.

I post a lot of comments here, regularly. Some of them get hot and turn into a linked-list O(n) depth tree... I also post during time when few people are around. By the time I want to say something interesting and hope someone can engage with me my comment would be so deep down. This is not really karma whoring. But I want to be able to express myself instantly, right away so anyone reading the article at that moment may check out my voice too.

I don't see why we need this restriction. This should be restricted to people who have a history of getting downvoted and people who are new to HN. That makes sense. But people who have been here long enough and with a good record shouldn't be penalized.

Call me impatient but I read and write quickly. I can't wait an hour to get one comment approved.

Note I am well above 1000 karma and I don't like this...

And if the whole point is to promote comments that can contribute to the discussion, then downvote will work just fine. Any uncivil or harsh comment usually get to the bottom of the page quickly. If I express similar or even same opinion as someone else, should my comment be approved? If the answer is yes, then almost every comment should be endorsed. Then what is the whole point of this pending feature?

elorant 2 days ago 0 replies      
This will kill any kind of spontaneity in the conversation. Now youll have to wait an indeterminable amount of time before your comment becomes live and by then it may be irrelevant. So instead of a conversation well end up with a series of statements. From an academic point of view it would be brilliant but thats not why were here. If we wanted only educated opinions we could just read blog posts or technical books. Speaking for myself, Im here for the community.

The more complicated a system gets the less usable it becomes.

Shank 3 days ago 0 replies      
If I had a suggestion, I would modify the display setting of pending comments to permit the submitter of the comment to see the pending replies, and interact. Only the two parties would be able to see the thread, until endorsed at the root node.

This would help prevent the staunching of discussion in long running threads, as well as offer a means to communicate directly with a person in a faster amount of time than endorsements would provide.

camus2 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just my 2 cents : often the top comment becomes the root of the discussion for all the "thread". Would be great if top comments were shuffled so all the discussion is not concentrated on the first comment of the "thread". Bad comments can still be pushed at the bottom of the page.But the top comments with the most karma should not stick at the top of the page.
japhyr 3 days ago 1 reply      
When I endorse a comment, does that also upvote the comment? Or is voting completely separate from endorsing?
gruseom 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is this the biggest change ever made to HN? The last major change I can think of was not showing comment scores, and this is at least an order of magnitude bigger.
Myrmornis 1 day ago 0 replies      
This sounds like a very rash idea, and an unwarranted imposition of the view point of a small number on a majority. I've been using th site for 3 yrs only, not since the good old days when all the commenting was pure and holy. And yet, I find the standard of commenting here wonderful. It doesn't need this sort of illiberal policing by the 1k elite.
chunky1994 2 days ago 0 replies      
FYI: Pending comments will not be enabled by default as pg just clarified here.


So, this isn't going to be a drastic change, rather it'll be more like a tool for the moderator to improve the quality of conversations that are becoming nasty.

jedanbik 3 days ago 0 replies      
While I certainly understand your goal here, wouldn't you have a better moderation regime if you hired people to do this as their jobs? Metafilter is my example of a hired-mods-done-right setup. I fear that a 1000 karma policing setup will make this place more like slashdot. Not that I'm taking a strong stance against slashdot, but is that the culture we want from this website? Just my two cents.
dleskov 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am afraid that the bias of the "1000+ club" will silence many comment authors whose views and opinions are substantially different. The result is you will have a smaller community, the member of which are in agreement with each other, so there will be less interesting discussions, and the disagreed ones will flock away, having no chance to be heard here.

I certainly would read the comments less frequently.

Hawkee 2 days ago 0 replies      
After reading a lot of the discussion about Facebook's Hack I can see why this is necessary. I agree with a lot of the concerns here though. Particularly, commenting on older posts will never elicit an endorsement. I'm also concerned about how many qualified folks will actively endorse comments. This can be quite a job endorsing every good comment on the site. It might require following a comment feed covering the entire site, but who would want to do that? Will there be any sort of reward for endorsing comments? I'd be afraid to endorse the wrong comments and lose my ability to endorse. In any event, I'm very curious to see how this pans out.
bzalasky 1 day ago 0 replies      
Apologies if anyone has already made a similar suggestion... but, 1000 seems like an arbitrary amount of karma. What do you guys think of a fluid amount of karma required to post a non-pending comment. Popular stories on the front page can play by PG's rules. However, to encourage discussion on new submissions, scale back the karma requirements. The kinds of people who post obnoxious comments are looking for a crowd anyways.
metermaid 3 days ago 0 replies      
There are probably less than 100 HN users who are openly female with over 1000 karma-- food for thought.
oneeyedpigeon 3 days ago 1 reply      
Comments get from pending to live by being endorsed by multiple HN users with over 1000 karma.

By "multiple", does this literally mean 'by at least two', or by a fixed number that you may or may not want to divulge, or by some other more complicated factor? I think the answer to this will heavily impact the 'unpopular (but not bad) comment' concerns.

stringham 3 days ago 0 replies      
This would prevent users from commenting on multiple articles in a short period of time, and for articles that don't hit the main page the op may never see someone's thoughtful remarks.

For users with over 1k karma, do their comments go through the pending phase too?

Glyptodon 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm kind of skeptical. The biggest problem as I see it is that a lot of the more interesting comments get voted to zero because 'controversy' or not 'mainstreamed thought,' while frequently a lot of the heavily upvoted comments are platitudes/acceptingly normative/self-reinforcing meh kind, while many of the more interesting ones are often in the middle. Now I may be wrong about this, but I don't think high karma is indicative of the quality comments so much as it is indicative of a comments' closeness to the communities normalized colloquially accepted wisdom, since the crowd is self-reinforcing.
aspensmonster 3 days ago 1 reply      
I know I'll get downvoted to hell for this reddit-like behaviour, but...


Others have already stated the specific reasons why this isn't a good idea very clearly and concisely.

chippy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Would adding pending comments encourage a more diverse and inclusive user base, or a less diverse and exclusive one? Not only diversity of opinions, but of gender and background? Is anyone talking about this?

In ecology and nature conservation a diverse ecosystem is encouraged as this ensures the overall health of the system.

Edits: I wonder what percentage of the 1000 Karma users are women? How about less controversial attributes: What are their backgrounds, Where do they reside?

futurist 3 days ago 1 reply      
Can you say groupthink? What a terrible idea. HN is going to suck even more now.

The best way to protest this idea is to ignore the site. Just ignore it and get some work done for a change.

molbioguy 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think I understand the motivation, but this smacks of elitism to me. Unless the 1K users constitute the majority, then by definition a minority of HN users will effectively moderate (and can potentially censor) the discussions. That seems very unfair.
Mz 2 days ago 0 replies      
As a woman who has long struggled to find a way to fit in on HN, I worry this will just make it harder for anyone who isn't already part of the "in crowd" and will just magnify problems for women, minorities, newbs, whomever.

I hope it works well but it does concern me. I don't know what else to suggest though since HN is a larger scale than I know how to moderate.

Edit: So count me as feeling kind of threatened and wondering if I will ever be allowed to comment again.

dnc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sorry, if I'm asking stupid question or if I'm suggesting something already implemented, but why not do opposite: endorse all comments at start and give 'delete comment' right to HN users with karma > 1000? This way the number of false positives (published comments w/o value) will certainly increase, but you loose none of valuable/significant ones.
analog31 3 days ago 0 replies      
An interesting, and perhaps time saving option would be an "endorse entire thread" or "endorse entire sub thread" button, for threads that are interesting but really so tame that the likelihood of bad posts is small.

Also, it would be interesting to know what problem this solves, and how you will know if it works.

Fizzadar 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love this idea, and welcome any attempts to improve the quality of comments on HN (despite already being one of the more sensible discussion sites).

My problem is with the not being able to post more comments while one is pending. I'm mostly a reader/lurker and only really comment on posts which really get me fired up. Now what happens when I'm taking 30 minutes in the morning to read HN and want to make 2/3 comments on a couple of different posts? Would I now only be able to comment on one and hope the others remained suitably visible for me to find them later? I really think blocking further comments while a user has a pending one is a terrible idea, and will only harm HN in the long run.

laichzeit0 3 days ago 0 replies      
Here's an idea: Give users the option of seeing all pending posts.

I personally want to see everything and don't really care what a small subset of HN deems "worthy" of seeing.

diskerror 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't like the idea of curated comments. People aren't perfect and have biases. You may have set guidelines for what to endorse, but I guarantee endorsements are not going to be completely objective. Filtering comments and karma systems often become a popularity contest and not a discussion.
amjd 3 days ago 0 replies      
Although I understand the reasons behind the change, to me it largely seems overkill. No matter how much we try to convince ourselves that good comments will still be discovered, that would just be wishful thinking. On top of that it also places a certain responsibility on the shoulders of users with karma above the threshold. They may simply not have the time or motivation to screen the large number of incoming comments.

Instead of a default blacklist, a default whitelist might make more sense, while at the same time not sacrificing some of the useful comments. To be clear, it would not be much different from how it is presently. The flag option could get an overhaul so that when a user flags a post they should be given a choice to select the appropriate reason in a dropdown such as, 'negative comment', 'off-topic', etc. and based on the reason the comment could either be deleted, hidden or collapsed.

However, this could also be acheived without making any changes to the commenting system. If the objective is to bring down the number of negative comments, the flag option would probably help achieve that, and if it is to decrease the frequency of off-topic comments, a private messaging system might serve well as HN is not just a place for reading tech news, for many people it's also a place to network and connect with like-minded people.

If you do go ahead with this change (which seems likely), at the very least add an option for users to see pending comments if they choose to, as that only seems fair.

harrystone 3 days ago 0 replies      
That sounds like a system designed to produce another forum hive-mind, and the internet really doesn't need any more of those.
alecsmart1 3 days ago 0 replies      
I use HN regularly and post comments once in a while. I have asked a few questions which never reached the front page but have 1-2 answers which helped me immensely. The posts have 1-2 upvotes only. But it still works for me. Now with this pending review feature, those comment will never show rendering it useless for a small time guy like me.
japhyr 3 days ago 1 reply      
So if you have over 1000 karma the site will look exactly the same, except for a bunch of "endorse" links?

Are the endorse links far enough from the flag links to avoid fat-fingering issues on mobile devices?

deletes 3 days ago 1 reply      
I apologize if I have missed the answer, but the thread is very long.

Will clicking endorse automatically upvote the answer? It would only make sense to, and you wouldn't have to click twice.

kosei 2 days ago 0 replies      
It really feels like this is solving a problem that doesn't exist, and as a result will hurt discussion. Additionally it assumes that people with 1,000 karma will sift through all of the comments to approve. Based on how few things get upvoted in the "new" section, I sincerely doubt that your members will sit on the "pending" tab waiting to approve.

We'll see how this plays out, but I'm probably done trying to comment here for now.

keypusher 2 days ago 0 replies      
Please don't push this live. It will significantly cut down on contribution, and create a lot of busy work and bureaucracy which gets in the way of people having a good discussion. If you want to improve the quality of comments then address the core algorithm or find a better way to harness user power.
presty 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this will this lead to more karma whoring?
raghus 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm curious: how many 1000+ karma users are there on HN now i.e. how big is the pool of endorsers?
JoeAltmaier 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the 'one last time' syndrome. My boys would always ask to sled the hill, or ride their bikes around the park 'one last time'. This was when the injuries happened. The urge to make your best effort, when the time has almost run out, often results in disaster.

If you value this community please don't fire this mortar round into the midst of this thriving market of ideas, then ride off into the sunset. It has bad idea written all over it.

Alex3917 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is great. HN used to be a real community, but lately there has been no incentive to post anything intelligent because every comment gets buried in a sea of crap, and there are so many throwaway comments that it's impossible to find the ones by regular contributors. The amount of noise also just brings out the worst in everyone. I know you can't step on the same stream twice, but hopefully this at least makes it readable for a while.
malisper 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just throwing out an idea, but why not allow the user who posts the article to select whether or not they want to use pending comments? This way one user doing a simple Ask HN can get immediate feedback while another posting a controversial article can have an intelligent conversation.
S4M 3 days ago 0 replies      
Will this take effect in the "Ask HN" section as well? I would argue to leave it as it is (or at lower the threshold of number of endorsers) because it will be harder to get endorsers for a non popular thread. Let's say somebody asks "What are the good places to meet hackers in Barcelona?" and I post an answer helpful for the OP, it will not get many endorsers since this question will not be viewed by many here. Also, I have my doubts for the "Who is hiring?" thread as the people who are looking for jobs will not have the incentive to endorse posts since it will increase the number of competitive applicants for the jobs.
pdq 3 days ago 3 replies      
Here's a simple solution to this whole moderation hammer: add a downvote for poor comments (ala Reddit). The spam and garble comments will automatically be moderated by the community as a whole.

Turning HN into Wikipedia Moderation Politics is not a smart idea.

protomyth 3 days ago 0 replies      
What happens if the story you commented in gets killed before your comment is endorsed? Are you done commenting on HN for how long?
InclinedPlane 3 days ago 0 replies      
As much as I'd like to see the quality of discussion on HN improve I think this is a terrible change that will do the opposite as well as driving people elsewhere.
robbles 3 days ago 1 reply      
As a user with only ~200 karma who is still interested in contributing to the discussion, what's the best way to tell when this feature takes effect?

Make a dummy comment? I won't be able to see the pending comments of others, since I'm not one of the HN elite.

bhousel 3 days ago 0 replies      
> Since I'm going to check out of HN at the end of this YC cycle...

Wait, what?

ElComradio 3 days ago 0 replies      
In my opinion this is a fix in search of a problem. In reading all comments on a post I see very few "worthless" comments and many of those are grey. Skimming over tit for tat threads happens on an almost subconscious level. Maybe it's just me.
fab13n 3 days ago 0 replies      
I fear that giving such a significant power based on karma score might create karma whoring behaviors.

Then again it can be turned off if experience shows that it has such nasty side effects.

chacham15 3 days ago 0 replies      
A few questions:

> Someone who has a pending comment will have to wait till it goes live to post another.

Does this mean that if you write 1 bad comment which no one wants to endorse, you can effectively never comment on any thread again?

> Since I'm going to check out of HN at the end of this YC cycle

What do you mean by "check out"? Are you going to stop commenting?

weaksauce 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am curious what percentage of users (active with upvotes/downvotes and passive interaction by reading mostly and dormant users) are past that threshold of karma? any insights to this pg?

I am all for better dialog on HN though as it has been on a downward trend but not terrible yet. I think this is a change for the better. Not certain that the vote hiding had a huge effect though.

pnathan 2 days ago 0 replies      
An issue with this design is that it ensures that the current high-karma commentators maintain what they like on HN. If a really good idea shows up that they don't like and don't want to see, that is not going to survive.
wudf 3 days ago 0 replies      

  If a point is important, someone else will probably come along and make it ...
I definitely do not perceive this to be the current situation. The new rules will have to effect a change in behavior or much will be lost.

belleruches 3 days ago 2 replies      
Hey PG,

I think you're doing the right thing. I've watched HN start to turn into a place full of snark and very useless comments. This is a great measure, but is the 1000 points karma a high threshold for the endorsers? Why not 500 or 750?

Tohhou 3 days ago 0 replies      
This kills the Hacker News.
tremols 2 days ago 0 replies      
A configurable/optional karma filter which defaults to enabled could be the solution since there are genuine concerns for and against this feature.

Unregistered users may have karma filter enabled by default so that hackernews doesn't give a bad impression to the general public due to low quality comments; and registered users can switch it on/off at their preferences panel, then it could be interesting to analize the stats and see how many and who use it.

drivingmenuts 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just one more reason to not comment at all.

If your intent is to turn this site into something more like Designer News or Echo JS, then doing this is the right start.

Both of those sites have great links and almost no commenting whatsoever, despite having the functionality.

chippy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Karma is going to be even harder to get now for < 1000 karma users. This includes occasional casual users. You do not want to constrain the power to just the hardcore users

For example: I pop on once or twice a day. I have been doing so for 1044 days. I have 478 karma points.

protomyth 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's seems like this would severally tip the balance towards people getting karma via story submissions and not comments.

It also seems like it will kill questions and dissenting opinion. I cannot help but feel endorsements will be few and fit in group beliefs.

dmfdmf 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can we grandfather in people with at least 5.6 years of HN participation? Okay, I happen to have only 593 karma point but I've been around for a while, 5.6 years actually.
senthilnayagam 3 days ago 1 reply      
for negative voting you needed 500 karma's, I have been on hacker news for 1900+ days, currently have 438 karma's .

though I read lot of posts and checks top and new posts every couple of hours.I don't submit many posts, or ask questions. I only comment where I see a value or I can contribute to the discussion in some form.

but if for my comment to be endorsement needs someone with 1000karma, I will take anywhere between 5-10 years to get to 1000+karma and be able to endorse other comments

buttsex 3 days ago 0 replies      
The posting delay sounds like a terrible idea. Say I spend some time writing a very long comment to a not so popular thread and hit submit. Then I notice that someone replied to another comment of mine and had a question or something. I can't reply to him in a timely matter since I used my one comment already. So do I need to go and delete my newest comment, reply to the person who responded to me, then go back and re-comment the one I initially did? This sounds very silly.
jcurbo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Interesting system, it kind of reminds me of the way I used to read Slashdot. There is a setting where you can filter comments below a certain threshold so you don't see them. I used to have mine set to +2. This was a great filter and made reading comments much nicer.
TrevorJ 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does this create the potential for essentially becoming perma-banned from commenting once you have a single comment that doesn't make it out of 'pending'? Won't most commenters eventually be unable to comment, or am I missing something?
sylvinus 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seems great! I'm wondering what the incentive is for users to endorse comments, beyond improving HN's quality?

There is a malus for endorsing bad comments, shouldn't there be a built-in bonus for well-behaving endorsers, to compensate and make the system self-sufficient?

userbinator 3 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone else find it rather coincidental that this article also happens to be currently on the front page?

http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7443420 )

jtoeman 3 days ago 0 replies      
and thus, like every other forum online, "those who came before" are massively rewarded, and new users are basically treated like crap.

coming soon to HN - AOL keywords, blinking text, and animated ASCII art!

SethMurphy 2 days ago 0 replies      
pg seems to have more of a problem with the "quality" of comments than many users who actually enjoy the use of deep threads for conversation. I understand pg's point of view that that is just noise to him, but to those speaking constructively it is the conversation they want. If this was a move to cut down on trolls I would understand. The question to ask is what is HN really for? Is it for the users to converse/think freely or for the site creator to wrangle/curate smart comments. It seems the later is more in tune with HN's mission as a business, and alas the direction it's heading.
throwaway5752 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hm. I was on the fence after reading this thread a few hours ago, but coming back to and seeing some of the responses I have come firmly down on the side of this being a good idea.

Apparently a number of commenters are under the misapprehension that Hacker News' raison d'etre is to provide an egalitarian community some (very loose) definition of hacker. This is first and foremost a forum and recruiting venue for an elite tech incubator. Some people have gotten relatively comfortable using it as their personal soapbox, but it exists to benefit Y Combinator.

As a long time user, it has been disappointing to see the decay in community quality in roughly three waves: Bitcoin, the women in tech controversies, and Snowden/NSA. There used to be more substantive tech/science/math discussions here. For whatever reason, a lot of the newcomers have poorer writing skills, present less coherent thoughts, have less domain knowledge, and are less well adjusted socially.

I hope that this works.

6thSigma 3 days ago 0 replies      
This will fix a lot of the random bickering back and forth, but I'm not sure it will fix the issue of snide remarks always being the number one comment.

I think the comment I received the most karma on was when I misunderstood an article and bashed it due to my misunderstanding. I was wrong, but apparently others shared in my misunderstanding because it had a lot of upvotes.

I think this will probably be a net positive though in terms of comment quality here.

pjzedalis 3 days ago 0 replies      
A checkbox that says 'Hide comments from noobs' would suffice.

I have 41 karma (rarely comment) but have been here 2546 days. Would appreciate being grandfathered in, thanks.

adamzerner 3 days ago 0 replies      
What about something like this: https://www.dropbox.com/s/wisoy2og4rb4zps/rationalmedium.pdf [mockup]

Key features:

- Different claims are made, and you can discuss them individually (ie. in a separate thread). This thread would have a summary of the key points at the top, so new users can more easily join the conversation.

- There's an open thread.

- There's a thread to discuss tangents.

visualR 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great. Yet another "Pending Review" to wait through. HN is now the App Store of internet discussion.
jayvanguard 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how this will affect users is sparse timezones. The conversation could slow down or get buried to the point of being unusable.
slunk 3 days ago 0 replies      
Even if this system worked flawlessly as intended, doesn't it disincentivize getting to 1000+ karma? Unless I'm misunderstanding, your most active users don't seem to get any benefit (they see all the comments, good and bad, like everyone did before). Maybe if there was also an "unendorse" option... but then you've just implemented meta-(up|down)voting.
mpg33 3 days ago 0 replies      
not a fan of attempting to police speech no matter how "dumb" or "bad" it is perceived to be...compared to the internet average comments on hacker news are already far better.
noahl 3 days ago 0 replies      
Would you consider allowing users to have one pending comment per thread, as opposed to only one at a time? I am afraid that this will impact the way I read HN, which is in batch mode.
volitek 3 days ago 0 replies      
I find this very ironic given this:http://paulgraham.com/say.html
uptown 3 days ago 0 replies      
I never really understood "comments" as a top-menu item. What's the point of that list without context?
mehwoot 3 days ago 0 replies      
I can very easily see this going either way. It's so hard to tell what the effect is going to be before it is tried out.
njharman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Make up voting also mark comment endorsed. I actually don't see point of separate endorse action. An up vote is an endorsement.
dinkumthinkum 3 days ago 0 replies      
This will prevent comments from people that disagree with the standard view on HN. I think that is very unfortunate. :(

But then, I didn't think the comment situation on HN was that dire.

chhhris 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Has this pending comment policy has been implemented yet...?
mandeepj 3 days ago 0 replies      
> You can currently beat the system by posting an innocuous comment, waiting for it to be endorsed, and then after it's live, changing it to say something worse. We explicitly ask people not to do this. While we have no software for catching it, humans will notice, and we'll ban you.

Why can't you make the edited comment go through same cycle \process\flow as the original comment went through? that way you don't have to assume - no one will try to hack\fool the system

Myrmornis 1 day ago 0 replies      
Will the UI show me my pending/not-pending state somehow?
drakaal 3 days ago 1 reply      
The first big issue I see with this is in submission. When you submit something often you need to leave the first comment to give it context. So stories on the "new" page are likely to get a lot fewer upvotes.

The second big issue I see is when responding to comments on a post about you/your company. I'm at 950-ish, and I suspect that is on the high side for a founder at a 2 year old startup. When posts about us hit 3 months ago I didn't have 500 points. I "hustled" to get to this level so that I would not look like a noob, but if these rules had been in effect 3 months ago I wouldn't have seen comments and questions about our product, and I wouldn't have been able to reply.

I'm a "noob" as I have under 1000 points, but I have been a top 100 contributor in many other communities, it doesn't sound to me like this is a good idea. I think it will limit discussion and feed back by Authors, Founders, and others who find they are suddenly getting traffic from a site called ycombinator that they have never heard of.

Basically I think this is a move away from community and towards elitism. If that is the goal, then I think you should do it, but it feels like it is counter to the stated goals of this change.

@PG if you want an automated system for determining the quality of a comment I make one. We could probably work something out to leverage our technology at HN to prevent all the negativity, and to do some sort of blend of the quality score of the comment and the user karma to calculate if the comment "passes".


I posted a history of Digg and how changing the way powerusers and noobs were treated lead to its downfall.


brianmcdonough 3 days ago 0 replies      
Being purveyors of good taste, leaders have to take action. Despite my karma score (73) I support implementation of a solution to a known problem, despite the risks.

It provides a motive to achieve a higher score, whereas before there was little to no reason.

snowwrestler 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds like an interesting experiment, but also the type of thing that will require quite a bit of adjustment and tuning. So I hope the complexity will not prohibit the new site runners from making these adjustments.
ForFreedom 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't understand your system. So someone with over 1000 Karma would have to decide if my comment is worthwhile to be live. But at times my comment could be a good single line comment.

This is not a good system.

lmm 3 days ago 0 replies      
So what are the alternatives? Is there another site even remotely as good as this one has been? (Anyone spare me a lobste.rs invite?
adam419 3 days ago 0 replies      
I find these changes to be very degrading of what I love about HN. Regardless of objective truth or upmost importance being the defining characteristics of comments, I happen to enjoy the quirky humor and general remarks of fellow HNer's. Very disappointing, PG.
antonius 3 days ago 0 replies      
I guess karma will mean something after all. Any ideas as to when this this change will begin to roll-out?

Edit: Re-read the post, launches tonight.

chaitanya 3 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe this will strike a better balance between comment quality and participation?

* A comment by a person with karma < 1000 stays pending until endorsed

* Once 5 or so successive comments by this user have been endorsed, he/she can comment freely

* Now, if a new comment by this user gets flagged, every subsequent comment goes into pending state until 5 or so comments have been endorsed again

Of course, the numbers and the algorithm can be tweaked. But the basic idea is: reward users once a certain threshold of their comments are endorsed, and punish them if a comment gets flagged.

graycat 3 days ago 1 reply      
Sounds like a system very slow to change,nearly self-perpetuating,like more of an echo chamber,like stew without garlic or pepper,like ignoring that a stream bed iscold and uncomfortable, full ofmud and gravel, but also one of thebest places to look for gold.

Fundamentally the high karma peoplepleased the masses at HN and/orhave been commenting at HN for a long time and maybe have made the better commentsbut still are in the middleof the road. So, content that is newand takes some effort and reflection,is challenging to the status quo,is radical and provocative will haveless of a chance to be seen at all.

With some irony, the Silicon Valleyworld of startups is heavily aboutbeing disruptive, not self-perpetuating.

Angostura 3 days ago 0 replies      
This feels like a less refined version of the Slashdot moderation and metamoderation system to me.
serge2k 2 days ago 0 replies      
Doesn't this just add a huge barrier to the most basic type of participation on the site?
aruggirello 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why not add a user setting - like Google does for censored results? You'd tick a box "Show less relevant / unmoderated comments" - provided directly on the discussion pages. You would tick that box at your own risk, knowing you may find offending comments. And if you find too much spam, and can't seem to enjoy moderated comments enough, just untick it and the spam goes away. This way you ensure moderation can't be abused for censorship purposes.
apierre 2 days ago 1 reply      
How long until we see a new ShowHN post : "Alternative to Hacker News" or "Why I coded my own HN alternative"
bane 3 days ago 0 replies      
Will everybody be pending or just users <1000 points?
timtamboy63 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seems like something that would increase the quality of comments, but also prevent any meaningful discussion.
pbhjpbhj 2 days ago 0 replies      
So now, if I post a comment that an "endorser" disagrees with they can effectively delete that comment independently? Or do flagged comments remain open to be allowed ["endorsed"] by others?
asdg236v 3 days ago 0 replies      
I was actually thinking about joining the hacker news community. I'll see if I can find another place that better fits my needs.

Elitism and some pseudo-plutocracy among a "hacker" community is laughable.

yblu 3 days ago 1 reply      
Oh no, does this mean I can't add "first!" w/o knowing for sure it's actually first (or one of the first)?

Serious question: can I delete a pending comment? And does that allow me to comment again?

j8hn 2 days ago 0 replies      
After reading the headline, I had to check if it was April 1st.
asimjalis 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am concerned this will lead to groupthink and predictability.
ivankirigin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can you reflect the false positive / false negative rates for mods? I'd love it in the header.

That is the second most interesting aspect of reviewing YC applications, the first being the applications themselves.

adrianwaj 2 days ago 0 replies      
Would be interesting to have a new url:


and a way for 1000+ users to view comments scores as reward for good endorsements

megablast 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think is very timely, I have noticed an increase in number of comments with a corresponding decrease in quality, and I am not just talking about my own comments.
lilsunnybee 2 days ago 0 replies      
184 karma user here, who often posts late to discussions but until now still felt like part of the community. Guess I'm not going to be able to post anymore. :-( If this policy goes forward, I hope PG and the rest of the wealthy elitist clique on here enjoy their circlejerk.
moo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wake me up when someone forks the old hacker news site.
jpeg_hero 3 days ago 0 replies      
"There are four lights!!!!"
chunky1994 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm curious about the karma threshold numbers, is there any data available for the number of users that have a karma > 1000? Does HN have a data API?
ChristianMarks 2 days ago 0 replies      
This system should be rolled out, but not before the karma of all users is reset to zero. This would provide a level playing field. (ok, no comments could be endorsed either.)
NicoJuicy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Actually, http://www.tweakers.net a popular dutch techsite) has a good system for downvoting.

Just hide the box that shows the comment and only show the authorname and the downvotes...

mnl 2 days ago 0 replies      
This looks a lot like a way to implement group-think by effective censoring and burdening exchange. I'm not interested in reading a sort of Hacker News Reader's Digest. Being unable to figure out the reasons of your own greatness is a popular road to demise. It was a lot of fun, though, thank you for the ride.
farseer 2 days ago 0 replies      
pg you founded HN, please don't destroy it before you leave. Whatever your paternalistic instinct led you to this, please swallow it and leave HN alone. You did humanity a great service by founding YC/HN, but its time to leave such drastic decisions to your successor. I implore you!
maxden 3 days ago 0 replies      
I can see how any system can be abused, but why not treat the user as positive contributor initially, and then if they accrue negative/downvotes; similar to what happens now.

It seems the new pending way involves more effort from the 1k karma people to actively click posts to make them visible. Could this also stop them coming here as if they don't do any work, the site could stagnate?

camus2 3 days ago 1 reply      
> So if you're not sure whether you should endorse a comment, don't.


So will there still be a karma system and how does this new comment system will affect karma?


jedanbik 3 days ago 1 reply      
What if we could flag comments, and then the professional moderators could make their decisions accordingly.
damm 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't think I will ever hit 1000 karma on HN which is fine.

However what is the current standing of users with this karma that are actively? I hope there are enough.


haeberli 3 days ago 0 replies      
As to the second: "without gratuitous nastiness", I would encourage you to go further towards the postitive and think about building on a FIRST robotics meme, "gracious professionalism" -http://www.usfirst.org/aboutus/gracious-professionalism
abimaelmartell 3 days ago 0 replies      
What about a redesign?, or a password reminder?, or all the basic features in website?
melindajb 3 days ago 1 reply      
PG, Is 1000 Karma a major threshold? How many people does this mean? like 100 people, 10,000 people? Just curious about the sample size if you can reveal it.
darreld 2 days ago 0 replies      
I joined HN in Feb 2008 and I despite reading the site multiple times daily, I have a karma score of 71. So it looks like I'll need to ingratiate myself to elites to be able to vote.
RivieraKid 3 days ago 0 replies      
You should rather try to make the comments sound less robotic and more human.
casual_slacker 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you're not polite you don't deserve to have an opinion. Fact.
bertil 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you want to improve comments, you need to have less carrot-and-stick (that will drive comments into parroting types) and more specific criticisms, or offer the possibility of re-writes. Children, no matter what age they are, do not learn faster by being slapped on their fingers but guided; I believe that kind of mentoring is the exact reason why YCombinator improves naked capitalism.

I had enough of my comments voted down for not respecting community standards because a handful of people cant imagine my questions are not rhetorical. If they had to re-phrase them, they would have realised negativity was only in their knee-jerk.

KerrickStaley 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think it'd be better not to hide anything at all. Just move comments without "endorsement" to the bottom (isn't this basically how it works already?).
spingsprong 3 days ago 0 replies      
This could potentially censor minority opinions.
pikachu_is_cool 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am also going to add my two cents and say that I think this is not a good idea. HN has in no way reached Eternal September, and if it has, then this isn't the way to fix it.

I think it would make much more sense to add moderators (if there already aren't any, I'm not sure). A dozen or so moderators could definitely mitigate any threat that post quality is going down. There are only a dozen new posts per hour, they could definitely handle it.

TerraHertz 2 days ago 0 replies      
It seems to me you're forgetting an important aspect of human psychology with this system. People generally don't like submitting to 'supervision', in what they feel should be free discussion. If you create an environment in which people feel they need 'permission' to post, then they simply won't.Or at least, your average post will become more likely to be from an insensitive person, who doesn't care about such things as freedom of speech.

I think this change is a bad, bad idea, and will have subtle unintended but quite harmful consequences.

But of course, if the intent is to create a clique-controlled forum, in which only thoughts consistent with the majority views of long-established members can be seen, then this will probably achieve what you want.

xenophanes 3 days ago 0 replies      
censor-by-default is such a bad approach. if people are passive (very common) then HN censors. defaults matter, like with mailing list opt-ins, etc, b/c ppl frequently don't want to bother changing the default.
yaelwrites 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great, once I get 991 more karma points I'll be welcome into the conversation.
chaosmonkey 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why not have this feature turned on only for threads in the front page instead of all threads.
neil_s 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well then we better get it out of people's systems now.

Mac rulez, Windoze sux. Android is greater than iOS any day. OP is stoopid.

Let the flamewars commence.

xenophanes 3 days ago 0 replies      

gg :( was fun while it lasted.

TerraHertz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hmmm, in this thread the dead comments are some of the best. Or at least, the ones with which I best agree.

Only a few more days to go before April 1st. Did PG accidentally post a little early?If he's indeed serious, then his idea strikes me as similar to the person tossing a grenade back into the room they are just leaving.Either that, or an attempt to permanently cement in place the discourse control privileges of the Ancien Rgime before their figurehead steps down.

Another problem I have with HN's structure, is that the control/censorship details don't seem to be laid out clearly anywhere. The post order sorting algorithm still mystifies me, and I only learned of 'dead/showdead' recently, when it was discussed in a thread. After that I leave showdead permanently on, and notice a distinct ideological bias in the killing of posts.

Seems likely the details of the 'pending' system won't be documented clearly for new users either. How do you think new arrivals will feel, when their posts are segregated and they don't even fully understand why?

Are there other existing regulatory schemes in HN I'm not aware of? For instance after I first started participating my karma count was going up sensibly. Then I made one comment mentioning the J and Z words, and got almost instantly smashed to negative karma. (Maybe that was before hell banning was implemented?) Since then I still seem to have random posts voted down, that seem reasonable and positive to me. My tiny karma grows very very slowly, and doesn't appear likely to ever reach 1000. So effectively, HN with the 'pending post' scheme implemented would be closed to me.

If the objective is to restrict forum participation to actual startup principles and their invited friends, why not just say so, and enforce that directly?

NextUserName 2 days ago 1 reply      
Silence those with opinions that are not popular. Even if their points are valid, censor them. how many innocuous comments (ones that may not be quite worth an up-vote, yet add a sprinkle of thought) will be lost forever? In this scenario, all those comments who were left at 1 point now are never heard. Casual users (which must make up quite a large percentage of HN) will not be readily heard.

Those comments with even an air of controversy will not be approved because if it ends up with down-votes, that will go toward the approving member's record and may end up getting them banned eventually.

Controversial points and less popular opinions and facts will never be seen to counter. PG, you are building a Censorship wall so that controversial or unpopular comments now don't even exist to refute/debate. There is a reason that anytime you take away people's free speech or expression, they eventually revolt.

Why do comments that are not mainstream have to go away (as in never be seen). Why not engage in debate about them. I never understood this. Sure I can see censoring comments containing personal threats or vulgar content, but this is ridiculous. Keeping information from someone's eyes just because one group does not agree with it is censorship.

Honestly, the way that disagreeable comments are handled now are quite refreshing and are one of the reasons that HN is so popular. Anyone can post their opinion. If people don't agree with it, they can engage in civil opposition. If it is inappropriate, they can down-vote.

Perhaps the biggest reason for not pending comments is that you are going to dramatically change what shows up here. You have members of one group (or classification if you will) who are very active and will all have 1000 points, this group now is the voice of HN. Those who post more occasionally, post late, or don't pad their numbers by replying to the hot thread (rather they create their own which drops 3/4 down the page) now have a limited voice. Other groups likely have many differing opinions than the over 1000 class, they now have no voice. You see, your over 1000 (certainly the minority of your members) mostly all have common opinions, ideologies and viewpoints about things. This group now has the power to silence those others (though perhaps even larger in numbers) groups.

I would have liked it if you ran a poll before coding something like this. A last minute pseudo-courtesy notification shows just how much HN is really all about you and does not really belong to the people who actually own it (the public). Without us, you've got and idle server. No stories posted, no comments, nothing. Your totalitarianism attitude put a bad taste in my mouth.

aquarin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Do I have to be a member of the Communist Party to get the comment approved?
quizbiz 3 days ago 0 replies      
pg: thank you
NextUserName 2 days ago 0 replies      
This seems pretty unpopular PG , and it seems to have a lot of pitfalls and things that you have overlooked. How about making it so that people can opt into seeing the pending comments (so to them everything is as it was before). Let people decide for themselves.

This really would be the right thing to do. If it seems that most people not opt into the (old way) or opt out and stay out after a while, then maybe switch over.

The people of the internet are what make HN. Let them decide. Don't take the freedoms on hundreds of thousands of people away overnight.

There are only 5,500 people with 1000 karma or more. Most of them live in California. Now letting them agree with and approve the opinions and viewpoints of the other hundreds of thousands of members is going to shut down most opinions before they are even heard, some of which are more generally popular than theirs. The minority will silence the majority.

sciorpsycho 3 days ago 1 reply      
What will happen is 'comment piggybacking'. To get endorsed, just 1) enthusiastically support the claim of a 1000+ user and then 2) append your own opinion, making sure it harmonizes with the majority of commentors.

That, coincidentally, is the recipe for groupthink.

demoncore 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hey Paul, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. The removal of visible comment score and now this? HN was awesome in its original form. Why break that even further?
sciorpsycho 3 days ago 0 replies      
The best strategy for those who disagree with the change is to ignore HN. Get some work done for a change!
nirnira 3 days ago 0 replies      
>That feel when Hacker News became an echo-chamber for the YC schmoozerati.
slow_worm 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm commenting here because of the restrictions on reddit. It has nothing to do with this news post.


Ask HN: Why doesn't 2048 have a '1' tile?
2 points by stinos  3 hours ago   1 comment top
munimkazia 1 hour ago 0 replies      
You should make your own fork with one. That's what all the cool kids seem to be doing anyway.
Ask HN: Where should someone buy a SSL certificate?
13 points by mihok  14 hours ago   8 comments top 6
sillysaurus3 14 hours ago 1 reply      
If you're worried about certain governments MITMing you, the answer is that it's hopeless to rely on SSL to provide protection.

I don't know a good recommendation. I just wanted to clarify that SSL provides no protection in that particular case.

jipy9 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I used StartSSL class 1 certificate for my app (unherd.co). Its free and valid for one year. Here is a good guide that might be of help - https://konklone.com/post/switch-to-https-now-for-free?hn
ancarda 13 hours ago 0 replies      
>Will self signed certs be good enough?

For public consumption, no. For anything internal, yes.

clinton_sf 12 hours ago 0 replies      
StartCom/StartSSL thwarted a recent hack attack, according to:http://www.informationweek.com/attacks/how-startcom-foiled-c...

Their due diligence on verifying who is requesting the cert probably helped; but I've seen some people complain that it's not a quick/easy process:http://danconnor.com/post/50f65364a0fd5fd1f7000001/avoid_sta...

ch215 11 hours ago 0 replies      
You get a standard SSL certificate free for a year with domain names at Gandi.net. I think I'm also right in saying transfers are included. Can't really vouch for their security but from what I have read the company's "no bullshit" approach is right up my alley. The riseup.net collective recommend them too.
fsk 13 hours ago 0 replies      
My domain registrar (namecheap) offers SSL certificates cheap.

All you need is for your domain to show up with the little special icon in the browser when you use https. Other than that, it doesn't matter. Get the cheapest one that browsers recognize.

Ask HN: Could you tell me about your coworking space experiences?
7 points by basicallydan  14 hours ago   10 comments top 5
gjvc 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Just today there was this programme on Radio4 about co-working spaces in London. It was relevant, even if not an exact answer to your questions. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03yn66h
EdwardTaylor 12 hours ago 1 reply      
I worked at one in Edinburgh for a while.

1) It was difficult to balance productive and social. As soon as the room hit a critical number and no one was talking, all assumed that this was the status quo and that talking was inappropriate. They almost needed a quiet area and a social area to clearly separate the two.

2) Proximity to more established startups (lived in upstair offices), who were happy to chat through technologies on the off chance meetings.

bitonomics 11 hours ago 1 reply      
4) I expect events to be run. I think it is a big part of creating the community feeling in the coworking space. And that community feel is what is one of the ways cowering differs from traditional shared space like a Regis office.

5) Not expected.

6) Definitely. Especially if #4 is present.

elwell 10 hours ago 1 reply      
2. Espresso machine was fun and delicious!
ingen0s 10 hours ago 1 reply      
There is a nice group in St. Catharines Ontario called Cowork Niagara @CoworkNiagara the meetup is currently at the local cafe @MahtayCafe which is amazing.

My personal experiences so far have been. 1) getting actual work through fellow members 2) Getting solid advice 3) enjoying the relaxed atmosphere and having persons to collaborate with.

The cafe has all the amenities necessary. However the group is expanding to its own location.

There are certainly events; podcast hosting and start-up meetings.

No need to book the space but Friday all day is usually overrun with coworkers.

The cafe has beer too so things get interesting every once in a while.

Ask HN: How do you build the marketing site for your SaaS app?
7 points by revorad  12 hours ago   9 comments top 4
glimcat 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Step one, have the app on a separate subdomain from your marketing site.

Initial version, use Unbounce or Squarespace or whatever gets you moving with the least wasted effort.

Later on, you probably want a CMS so it's easy for non-technical users to update. WordPress is happy because of adoption levels, then throw money at WPEngine to handle many of the more common issues for you.

You could use Drupal or some custom thing if you WANT...but make sure you have a benefit equation that justifies it. The more custom your solution is, the more maintenance overhead you commit yourself to.

For stuff like landing pages, set up a site style guide. It may also be helpful to standardize on a style library like Bootstrap or Bourbon Neat. Don't make people reinvent the wheel every time.

Then add tools like Optimizely, Woopra, Kissmetrics, Intercom, Snappy. Your major bases to cover are generally testing, tracking, and customer interaction.

It may also be helpful to add a content management tool like GatherContent. WordPress may be easy to update but planning what to update and aggregating assets for it is a completely different problem.

pairing 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The latest pattern I've been following is to treat the marketing portion of your business as a separate entity from your application. I use an amazon s3 bucket set to static web hosting. Not only is this incredibly cheap but it reduces the load on your application and scales.

I usually use some combination of Rails for the application and I think its a great pattern to keep non-customer load off of app resources. By keeping it as a separate project, your uneasiness surround committing to your app repo marketing changes is alleviated.

anthony_franco 11 hours ago 1 reply      
We used a WordPress installation with a $8 theme. That made it look pretty decent while I could focus on building the app.

Since then we haven't found a reason to move away from WordPress. It's been fairly easy finding affordable WordPress developers whenever we want to do a big redesign. And allows us to focus on our actual product instead of wasting time building a hacked-together CMS.

christiangenco 12 hours ago 1 reply      
The marketing page for a Rails app is usually the index action of a controller I name "home" for me, but I don't mind pushing marketing changes to a repo.

I've seen others write up a really basic CMS for their marketing pages: have a "page" object with a title and body, and render the page named "home" on the home page.

Ask HN: How can I start a small software shop?
7 points by max-a  15 hours ago   5 comments top 2
sillysaurus3 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Are you sure you want to? What I mean is, are you sure you want to become a salesman rather than a web developer?
nols 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Where is "here" specifically?
Ask HN: If you were in college, what do you want to hear in a 'career' talk?
2 points by acesubido  7 hours ago   1 comment top
wallflower 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Along with telling them your own personal career path story, I'd sell the personal challenges and non-monetary rewards of being in the profession. Maybe tell some quick funny, entertaining stories from the battlefields. Be sure to emphasize that if they want to move into management - that they need a plan for doing so. Also, how they don't know as much as they think they do. Good luck!

"If all you get from work is a paycheck, you're underpaid." -Jim Rohn

Ask HN: Better Shirts Tailored Shirts Delivered in 48 Hours
4 points by howdythere  10 hours ago   6 comments top 4
rufusjones 10 hours ago 2 replies      
You ought to be able to get at least $100 million for this idea. Look at how well it corresponds to your typical dot-com:

1. You have absolutely no understanding of the size of your market, the frequency with which they buy shirts, the price they're willing to pay-- or even whether anyone needs a custom-made shirt on 48 hours.

2. You're not a tailor, you apparently haven't worked in the fashion, textile or manufacturing industry and probably couldn't tell me anything about how shirts are made.

3. "Custom-tailored" means "built to fit a specific, usually unique configuration." If "cuffs, collars and buttons would all be standard", you're not custom-tailored.

Also you don't mention fabric, which is one of the most important issues.

Also, most tailors would tell you that if you're just entering measurements in whole integers, it isn't custom-tailored. Now If I can enter "18 3/16 x 37 5/8", that's closer to custom.

But a sine qua non of custom-tailoring is being measured for the garment by someone who knows how to measure.

4. I'm going to measure myself? And there is a no-questions-asked return policy? That should be fun.

5. You're planning to get product from wherever they're made to the buyer in 48 hours? You know that most of these shirts are assembled in Asia, right?

They're all minor issues, though. Hey, if Outbox-- or grocery delivery services-- can get funded, I'm sure you can too.

calbear81 5 hours ago 0 replies      
As others have pointed out, the feature point of "bulk purchasing from manufacturer" is incompatible with "Custom tailored shirt". You can certainly get a dress shirt for $30 or less at stores like Target, JC Penney, Walmart, etc. but doing real custom shirts require skills and at least an hour or two of work. I watched my mom sew growing up and she's a professional sample maker at a fashion company in Los Angeles and here's the steps I can think of off the top of my head to make a custom shirt: 1) Get your measurements 2) Draw a pattern that conforms to those measurements 3) Cut cloth to pattern 4) Sew pieces together 5) Insert the collar structure 6) Sew buttons 7) Use appropriate buttonhole stitching 8) Sew labels on 9) Iron and press shirt.
rahimnathwani 3 hours ago 0 replies      
A few thoughts:

- The cost of tailoring a shirt here in Beijing can be as low as 15 USD _excluding fabric_. Your labour costs will be higher than this if you want to make things locally.

- You will need 1.8 to 2.0 metres of fabric per shirt, so your fabric cost will be a _minimum_ of 8 USD per shirt

- You will have shirts returned because they don't fit right, and need to factor those in to your costs, as you won't be able to resell them

You might want to go online and buy 5 tailored shirts from different supplies, so you can understand the customer experience. Start at ravistailor.com.

I will be amazed if you can offer quality custom shirts in 48 hours for 30USD all-in. You could have custom shirts tailored in China for ~25USD if you are willing to limit the quality and selection of fabrics, but that doesn't leave you much for margin, fulfillment or overheads.

mareofnight 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd been thinking of generating fitted sewing patterns once, and did a very basic search of what existing software already does that. Based on the (bad) reviews of existing products, I suspect the problem of making clothes fit is harder than it looks. http://wildginger.com/ is one company to look at.

Of course, on the supply side, the best way to validate this is talk to some tailors about what their job entails, and learn how mass-produced clothing is made. I suspect that making this work would require finding a way to hire tailors very cheaply, in a location that's within 48 hour shipping distance.

I'd consider buying from a company like this, if I were confident that it actually would fit well, and the style I wanted was available in a lot of different colors. (Some parts of fit are personal preference - like the tradeoff between freedom of movement in the arms vs. clean-looking sleeve caps.) Also, as a woman who'se been shopping with other women, this should also work for womens' office clothing if it works for men. Differences in bust sizes add an extra variable to finding things that fit, and in certain styles (like fitted shirts and dresses that don't stretch), it can make things hard.

Data scientist consulting to startups?
2 points by princehonest  7 hours ago   1 comment top
chewxy 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I am a data scientist/statistics consultant, and have consulted to a few startups and one soft drink company that is often confused with a drug.

Can't say for their experience, but I can say why they hired me: make sense of data. Fact is, most "big data" out there are mostly junk and useless. Being able to pick out the ones that work is actually most of my job description.

Where? One of which are on HN, two are from hackathons I attended. Another one actually came from a friend of a friend.

How much it cost? I charge per hour, and ranges from $80 - 300 per hour.

Hire me again? Everyone so far is a repeat customer.

What I'm thinking of doing? Hanging up the jacket. Consulting is a tough business.

Ask HN: Why is YC's website almost exactly the same as it was 9 years ago?
8 points by josephpmay  8 hours ago   7 comments top 5
csense 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Why do so many websites feel a need to redesign the site every 2-3 years to keep up with the latest design fads? Do old sites regularly break on new devices / browsers? Or is it all a scheme to generate employment for web developers and demand for the increased hardware resources that are provided by ever-advancing technology?

I find it hard to buy the claim that users really care that much whether your website uses the latest fads in infinite-scrolling responsive AJAX design as opposed to an old-school server-generated paginated display. As a user I care about content more than presentation, and usually interface "innovations" just end up breaking and making me unhappy. [1]

[1] http://xkcd.com/1309/

simon_ 7 hours ago 1 reply      
EDIT: Some of this answer maybe still applies, but basically I seem to have misread the question. Apologies.

HN has in fact changed quite a lot over the years and PG has been visibly tweaking it continually. I guess you are asking specifically about why the graphic design has not changed much...

Pretty clearly modernity per se is not worth optimizing for. I have zero inside knowledge, but some thoughts on what the current design might be optimizing:

1) HN probably benefits from discouraging undesired users in a variety of subtle ways. Like the trivial Metafilter subscription fee, an unadorned layout may create a low bar that discourages extremely casual users. PG is pretty explicitly NOT trying to rapidly scale HN.

2) The YC partners have a lot of opportunity costs for every hour of work. Current layout good enough? OK, on to the next problem...

3) Quick load times, works in any browser/OS/device.

To answer your question with a question: what do you think could be functionally improved by a redesign?

brandonhsiao 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The right question is, what value would a fancier design add? pg talks constantly in his essays about doing the things that matter-- i.e. the things that bring the most value-- and I'd imagine he followed the same philosophy with YC's website.
coreymgilmore 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Personally, I like the simplicity. The site is always fast to load, has zero bloat, and works on any device and any browser. It does not have any crazy frameworks or things to break.

If I could make a suggestion though, I would love a responsive design that scaled for smaller screens.

notduncansmith 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a bit pedantic, but this might be better as an Ask PG.
Show HN: an extremely simple program shows a 2D structure in the integers
18 points by sage_joch  1 day ago   12 comments top 10
modeless 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here's a C version in less than 80 characters:

  main(c,r){for(r=32;r;)printf(++c>31?c=!r--,"\n":c<r?" ":~c&r?" `":" #");}
I first learned of this phenomenon in my discrete math class, and we had a competition to see who would write the shortest program to draw a Sierpinski triangle. This version would certainly have won if I'd been clever enough to write it at the time, though even shorter versions are possible in other languages.

psuter 1 day ago 0 replies      
This was on HN a couple of days ago:

It points out that you can interpret the table as the relation "is disjoint" between the bitsets encoded in the row and col indices (CTRL+F for "binary logic"). Following links from there will take you to a rabbit hole of combinatorics that I will not claim to fully understand.

The whole page is a delight, though, and given your enjoyment for your discovery, you'll certainly love browsing it.

duncan_bayne 1 day ago 1 reply      
Reminds me of Sierpinski triangles:


I'm sure someone with a greater intuition for mathematics than I have will be able to explain why.

zoba 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting, I've not seen this before. Here is a screenshot of some of the output: http://i.imgur.com/Ro2AA6u.jpg
rjbwork 1 day ago 1 reply      
For any lazy C# folks:

    internal class Program    {        public static void Main()        {            int numRows = 256;            int numColumns = 128;            for (int row = 0; row < numRows; row++)            {                StringBuilder rowOutput = new StringBuilder();                for (int column = 0; column < numColumns; column++)                {                    if ((row & column) != 0) rowOutput.Append("1");                    else rowOutput.Append("0");                }                Console.WriteLine("row/col {0}:\t{1}", row, rowOutput);            }            Console.Read();        }    }
Cool stuff, very interesting to see that triangle structure emerge.

chch 1 day ago 0 replies      

seems to be a paper on this phenomenon, with


being a similar work in presentation form.

I've never seen it before; I like it!

andrewflnr 1 day ago 0 replies      
That's cool. You can expand the pattern, presumably arbitrarily, by setting the number of columns to 256 or 512 (or greater?), but on my little 1440px screen I had to redirect to a file and scroll it sideways in an editor to see the whole thing.
vittore 1 day ago 0 replies      
You will probably like searches for rule NNN on wolfram alpha, like http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=rule+101
catmanjan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sierpinski's Triangles?
tunesmith 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is this the same as Rule 90?
Ask HN: What is the Current State of HTML5 WebSockets?
4 points by gpmcadam  13 hours ago   4 comments top 4
yzzxy 10 hours ago 0 replies      
WebSockets was used for the recent Unumbered Sparks installation at TED in Vancouver. People below the sculpture could connect to a local access point on their phones and control lighting and color from a phone web view in their browser (http requests were redirect to the webapp a la login page)

I had the chance to try the sculpture and the projection was extremely responsive, the delay was not very noticeable even moving from phone > access point > renderer on a chrome instance > projector. I'm not sure how indicative of the general development progress this is, but the API seemed very capable.

There's more implementation info on the webpage:


elwell 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Not dead at all. I just saw Disqus using them a few days ago for realtime votes updates.
sigvef 12 hours ago 0 replies      
WebSockets are more or less ubiquitously supported [1]. Still, for compatibility and ease of development, your best bet for real-time web is to use SockJS [2], which wraps WebSockets and other transports.

[1]: http://caniuse.com/#feat=websockets[2]: https://github.com/sockjs/sockjs-client

EdwardTaylor 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I believe websockets are still very much alive and popular (at least I hope so, I'm using them!).

I actually use socket.io http://socket.io/ , which not only makes websockets easy to use (accommodating a few different frameworks, I use node), but provides support for old browsers by selecting a real-time transport that works, be it flash, ajax polling etc.

Ask HN: How do you earn your money?
188 points by Dale1  2 days ago   141 comments top 70
zackmorris 2 days ago 4 replies      
Currently contracting through oDesk. I tend to average about 25 billable hours per week, with the remainder of my time split between learning about technology trends and working on long term personal projects. This led to a six month stint last year as a contractor at a local business that is exploring startup approaches like Agile/Scrum, which was an overwhelmingly positive experience. I was also lucky enough to be a contractor at hp for a year in 2005 but didnt recognize the potential of making it a career at the time.

Before that I had many years of negative experiences working as a furniture mover, a web developer, a Macintosh technician, and your local neighborhood computer guy. I survived for a year after the housing bust on $6,000 I made flipping PowerPC iMacs that were suffering from the bulging capacitor issue thats been plaguing electronics. I scratched out income any way I could to support a floundering shareware business, hoping that the if you build it, they will come philosophy would pan out, but unfortunately it never did.

If I was a student again and had it to do all over.. hmmm what a question. I think that even today I consider 30,000 a year to be a good income, although a contractor can certainly make more than that at the going hourly rate if they reach full employment. It might help to take a step back and look at software development like any other kind of development. For example in real estate, there is earned and unearned income, and each type has its advantages.

There will always be money in the first type, because people always need things done. Historically contractors have generally been paid more than full time employees, because they are responsible for their own equipment, training, insurance, retirement, etc. Software development requires a great deal of education. If you add up all of the hours, not just in school but on personal time, its comparable to a being an architect or civil engineer. Except instead of leveraging the efforts of subcontractors, we employ code. So there is a potential there to make considerably more money. There is no ceiling on income for software contractors.

The second type works more like speculation. Yes, a client might make a million dollars from the code you develop. But the odds are extremely high (I would put them around 50/50, maybe even up to 90%) that he or she will break even or possibly lose money. The contractor gets paid first, after that its anyones guess. I had every advantage (a degree, a brief period of no bills living with my father after I graduated college, even a dot bomb to open up opportunities over the competition) but I was unable to find any traction with the products I was creating. The tech industry has rose colored glasses. For every overnight success, there are hundreds, even thousands of failures. Successful speculators in software are like the ones in real estate. Generally they just dont touch the code. Theyve either put in their time and earned their wings, or they have a personal calling inside themselves to outsource the details and focus on the big picture. And perhaps most importantly, they have access to capital. I have come to peace with the fact that I would rather be in the trenches than flying a desk.

But say its the year 2000 again, Im fresh out of college and Facebook hasnt been invented yet, and I want to be in the second camp. Its not going to happen selling shareware games, or scratching out a living doing odd jobs, or pulling all nighters with other hackers. As far as I can tell (and the simplicity of this took me a decade to grok), the secret is growth. I know it sounds mundane, but if you look at any successful company, they are always growing. So fresh out of school, I would have done my contract at hp first, to just see how established companies do things. Everything is about interoperability, passing data back and forth to different teams, being able to explain your work to others. Its vanilla, and boring, but allows for scale. Then I would have taken my savings for the year (I would have only spent about a quarter to half of my earnings) and used that to bootstrap myself over the next year, meeting local developers and the clients they work for. I would have found myself designing websites, probably learning about the gotchas of scaling databases, but today its all about apps and SAAS and scaling interfaces and interoperating with mobile devices. I would have quickly found that there is high demand for such work. High enough that I couldnt respond to all of the job invites coming my way, and would have to make a choice either to become a team of developers or cater to more selective clients. At some point I would have crossed a threshold where my priorities switched from survival to planning. To me, that means having six months of income or more saved so you can work on your own without answering to anyone. And more importantly, having a trade that allows you to build your savings again in case of failure (which is likely). Then I would have had a history of a few successfully completed projects under my belt, and could think about hiring myself and others.

Then I would either write a solution for a company and sell it at $10,000 a pop, or look at the niche they are ignoring and write the app that fills it. Knowing how I am, Id go for the second option. Its almost always something that people want really badly, that theyre willing to pay for, that they just cant get easily (preferably software related so it can scale). In my fantasy, this would be a wifi box that gives you free internet by way of distributed hashing (hey, I can dream, thats why I got my degree in computer engineering), and Id just build them out of my garage and sell them locally for a few hundred dollars each until we hit scale. Maybe another option is a $99 app that runs on your cell phone, something that crosses wifi mode and tethering to create a mesh network. The prospect of canceling ones internet and cable bills is almost too sweet to think about rationally. Then everyone in the country would want one, and wed have more work than we could handle, and wed sell to Elon Musk or Richard Branson or whoever for a billion dollars. I probably have, I dont know, a few dozen, maybe a hundred ideas like this that I would like to do, but never had the savings to attempt such things, until recently. Most of them are not nearly this audacious.

But just out of college, my highest priority was just finishing this game Ive been working on for years and I missed out on a ton of opportunities. So I think that kind of nagging, soul crushing worry is something to be very wary of, because its hindered the careers of countless developers. I should have focused on a concrete product, with say a three month development time, that I could sell for real dollars, that people would tell their friends about. The shareware and app markets are saturated, so for a fraction of the effort, I could have created new niches. I should have listened more closely when my family had trouble setting up their email and written a $5 solution for them, that solved the decision tree of username, password, pop/smtp, ssl, etc once and for all, and sidestepped the necessity of hosted tools like gmail. I remember being surprised that Apple implemented it in their Mail.app years later. Such low lying fruit could have been so lucrative in the early 2000s. It would have sidestepped app stores and marketing by going viral. Crossing that magical curve from $100 a month to $1,000 and then $10,000 would have put me well on my way to making a meaningful contribution. Instead I floundered, and let the internet lottery distract me from networking, bootstrapping and compound growth.

P.S. Its worth noting that Ive only had a six month cushion twice in my life, and didnt keep my eye on the ball. I let others talk me out of it. Those times were after long term contracts, but my current goal is to get there independently. Sorry this got so long.

jawns 2 days ago 5 replies      
"...can't help feeling i'm building a dream for someone else."

The reason so many people are content with being employees, rather than striking it out on their own, has to do (at least in part) with their risk tolerance.

If you want a stable, steady income, and you don't want to put a lot of your own money at risk, then you might find that being an employee is the way to go. Yes, other people (investors in the company) are making money off of your labor, but that's because they're willing to risk their investment.

That's not to say that it's impossible for employees to build a dream for themselves, rather than someone else. In companies that are organized as worker cooperatives, the employees (rather than outside investors) own the company. You might want to look around and see if any places around you are organized this way ... or look into starting your own co-op.

Edit, to actually answer your question: I have a day job as a software developer, which gives me a steady paycheck and good benefits. I'm also an author of two books (see my profile for the titles), and that's produced a very nice supplementary income.

incision 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wouldn't call myself a developer, more of a generalist.

I started my first real job in technology in the mid-late 90s and spent roughly the first half of my career maintaining systems that were built by other people.

Eventually, I jumped up a level and stared accelerating from there. Planning, writing proposals and doing the technical implementation for projects of increasing size and complexity. With each major undertaking done I was looking for the next as I had no interest in getting drawn back into maintenance mode.

I started toying with the idea of working for myself, being a truly independent consultant and ended up doing some side projects while maintaining a full time job. The money was great, nearly double my full-time job hourly rate, but it wasn't nearly consistent enough and I was in the process of starting a family.

With all the responsibilities of a family looming I had more or less mentally resigned myself to moving into a rock-steady management role and calling it a career.

That plan didn't work out for what at the time were incredibly frustrating reasons, but it turned out for the best. I took a job as an independent contractor for a lot more money doing a mix of interesting projects and braindead operations.

That's where I am today, I've realized that I'm unlikely to ever be satisfied working for other people or working on the same things for more than perhaps year at a time.

At the same time, I've realized that I don't need to draw satisfaction from my day job. By coming to grips with being parent and learning to manage my time and goals I'm able to collect a good, steady income to live while doing a full load of courses and dabbling in side projects to satisfy myself.

That's probably the most important part. Once I was earning enough money to have everything my family needs plus many of the things we want I found myself wanting less and realized at least within the same order of magnitude more money isn't what I want.

As best I can tell, what I want is autonomy and variety.

Figuring out what it is that you actually want would a great start.

Personally, I mean to continue my education while building up enough consistency on the side to transition that to be primary income. If something better comes along in the meantime - great.

eranation 2 days ago 1 reply      
My personal experience is this: writing software is easy, building a business is hard. I love writing code, I hate doing A/B testing / funnels, SEO blog posts, drip marketing, calculating LTV/UAC and all that, I'm not good at it + I don't like it.

and I also hate getting delayed results, when I code at my day job, I see results immediately, although it's gradual, it's still a direct feedback to my actions, I put code, I get working software, I do a code review, I get immediate feedback and quickly implement it.

So unless you are ready to do the business side of things (or know someone who is good at it and likes to do it) then doing someone else's dream is probably a good choice. As long as they pay you what you deserve. (how do you know what you deserve? take the highest salary you find for your role in indeed.com or glassdoor / payscale, and ask for it in your current / next job). There is no other way to know.

But if you are OK with delayed gratification, have a LOT of patience, are willing to speak with customers, do sales, experiment, do follow up calls, accept failure again and again and still try to make it work by changing one aspect (AKA pivot). If you are willing to lose some money to gain money later (e.g. pay for some failed ads just to know the click through rate and validate an idea), and if you are OK working your a off with potentially zero gain for a long time, then you should probably start your own business (even if you don't have an idea, find someone who does, or take an existing idea and do it better)

Even doing freelancing can work, all you need is someone (can be you) who can bring customers, and someone (can be you) who can keep those customers happy in a good hourly rate without too many non billable hours.

My advice to my younger self - try it while you can, it's harder for me now with a family to stop it all and start my own thing.

You always can do the side project thing, but don't expect it to become your main income source without either a lot of work or a lot of luck. I had a few side projects some of them made money, but it was a lot of work to maintain.

Look at the successful startups out there, yes there is a lot of execution and technical talent that drives their success, but I say this is not the main reason they are where they are, it falls down to ability to get users to come and ability to get users to stay.

I see those companies fall into one of 2 types - either they have a very high growth curve (the "Viral" / network effect startups) which are statistically very hard to re-create (getting users is REALLY, REALLY, HARD, a single Show HN in the front page + a techcrunch review + good SEO is not enough. You also need people to keep returning to your product, and tell more people about it) these include free products like Facebook, or market places like AirBNB - they need lot's of users to make it work

The other type is startups that sell something (product / service, one time or subscription), in this case you can have revenue from day 1, so I would recommend this route, but it is known to have a very slow ramp up [0]

As popular to say, YMMV... but this is my personal view on this.

[0] http://businessofsoftware.org/2013/02/gail-goodman-constant-...

mattront 2 days ago 6 replies      
I've been in software development for 20 years now. Started to work as a student at a top consulting firm in my country, at the expense of dropping out of CS studies - real work (and earning good money) was so much more interesting than studying.

After that I switched a couple of regular jobs and enjoyed every single one of them: working on real-world problems (electronic banking, multimedia production) together with bunch of talented and all-around nice people.

My carrier was interrupted by unexpectedly getting stuck in remote mountains of east Tibet for almost two years. After returning home I felt professionally disoriented and took on a couple of terrible freelance gigs, working for a year like crazy and earning about 2 EUR per hour (in EU) because of feature creep on a fixed amount project.

Then I got to my senses and started a consulting firm doing mostly web development. Since childhood I dreamt of having a company of my own. When I got it, it was far from glamorous - trading time for money that barely paid for my rapidly growing expenses (marriage, mortgage, kid).

Software development is one of the rare professions where you can relatively easily create something that has a value on its own - scalable and not directly dependent on how much time you put into it.

Selling products instead of my time was my goal throughout this time. Now, seven years later, we (I run the company with my wife) are finally getting there [1] [2].

I made a lot of mistakes in these 20 years, but in general, if I could go back, I would not do it much differently. Mistakes are an important stepping stones on the path.

So, what I'm trying to say is this: you're young, do the things that excite you. There is nothing wrong in working for and with others. At any time, you can decide to try creating something on your own. At this stage in life you can probably take on more risk than later when/if you get a family. But no point in over-calculating things. As long as you breath and your heart beats you have the freedom to steer your life in any direction you choose.

[1] http://pinegrow.com [2] http://getbooklers.com

ashray 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'd say I'm a mix of entrepreneur and developer for hire. But I haven't done contract work for a while now.

I've also worked fulltime in a programming role for about a year and a half in the past at a fast growing startup. I learned a LOT in my first few months there (including getting reasonably good at Python and Django) and really absorbed so much good stuff from my peers and bosses and even people who worked in other departments. But as time went by and the company grew (went from 20 to about 100 employees in that year..) I started learning less and less. So I quit.

One thing though, I never needed to work there (for money). I already earned enough from my own projects to sustain a reasonable lifestyle. (rented apartment, car, etc.) I just did it to learn more.

I have a few successful projects under my belt that pay for life reasonably well. This really varies from person to person. Some people are happy with $3000/month and some aren't happy with $50,000/month.

In my opinion you should work somewhere for a bit because you will absorb a lot of stuff with the right attitude. You should always keep your mind focused on the end goal of being your own boss if that's what you want from life. And when that awesome idea finally comes to you, the one that you have a burning desire to watch come alive, take the leap!

If you eventually can support yourself well with your own projects/freelance work then you will have the kind of freedom and flexibility that most people can only dream about.

I spent the last two years traveling and working (a little..) at the same time! Spent time in about 20 countries :)

Regarding university and the whole rat race thing. You're spot on! My personal opinion is (and has always been) that the rat race is definitely glorious in its own way (if you are at the top..). But why compete with a million other people who are trying to do the exact same thing better than each other ? It's really really hard to stand out. And hey, you may still manage to make it into the top 5% if you work really hard and are really smart. But why run the race everyone runs ? Find your own race and you'll likely enjoy it and probably win at it too!

orware 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hi Dale,

I ended up starting out at UC Berkeley and during that first year of school I got my first real introduction to programming and computer science. However, I was also running a failing dial-up Internet service business (a cousin of mine had gotten my parents to purchase it so I could run it and earn some money/learn a bit about business, which was cool during high school) and was trying to maintain a long-distance relationship (which ultimately failed) and working part-time in the dormitory computer lab.

Because of the relationship, and the stress of dealing with the business failing (and closing after my first semester in school) I ended up not doing too well my second semester and ultimately decided to come back home.

At the time, back in 2006, things were still in boom mode and there were lots of cool new developments coming up back in my small town so I saw this as an opportunity to do something to make my community a little bit better.

I didn't necessarily want to continue with school (looking back, that was a pretty dumb thought) so I'm glad I followed my sister's advice and enrolled for an online degree program and worked my butt off over the next year and a half (with my AP credit and the credit from my classes I did pass at Berkeley, along with CLEP Exams I took along the way to get out of certain requirements, I was able to finish my Bachelors, and have that all too important piece of paper, before I was 21).

During that time I was in school I had started up a new business hoping to do a bunch of web development for local business and start making an income I could live off of. After that didn't really materialize I figured it'd be a good idea to start pursuing a "real job" where I could earn a regular salary I could depend on.

So months before I officially graduated I had started my job search in my local area. I blame most of this on luck, but I applied for a number of IT jobs, which I got "Thank you for applying" letters and a few web development jobs, but kept on getting rejection letters. I also ended up applying for a webmaster job at the local college in April 2007, but even though I kept on checking in each month, there wasn't any movement on actually hiring anyone for months.

So in late 2007 or so I ended up releasing a site which I hoped would "change things" and raise a bunch of money for education by encouraging folks to purchase their online products through a non-profit which would be setup specifically to collect and then distribute affiliate fees earned by all of the local individuals that made their purchase through this site (as an example, you might click on the Amazon link on this site and then be taken onto the main Amazon site after that to do your regular shopping, but since you went through that non-profit's site it would bring back a bit of that purchase to the community and I was hoping that money could go to paying for field trips for schools and other stuff that normally gets the ax because of budget cuts nowadays). I learned a few years later, but I guess that work is what eventually made the college move forward with looking at all of the applicants for that webmaster job and I impressed them enough in the interview that I was offered that position in early February 2008. That day I got that call that I was going to be hired is probably one of the happiest I can remember (it's a good feeling to know that your hard work and talents are appreciated).

Those good feelings were tempered dramatically when the Friday before I was supposed to start working, my younger sister passed away in a car accident driving to her high school. Going through such a difficult time right when you begin working somewhere really showed me how much people care about each other down here and I really appreciated all of the support I received at my new workplace during those early days.

Over time, I've learned so much and each week and month most often has something new to work through that you didn't know about before. I'm essentially self-taught in most everything related to programming I've accomplished since that first year at Berkeley, but it was a great foundation. However, if there's one thing I have learned over these years is that there is so much I don't know and which I would love to learn. The hard part is finding teachers, particularly where I live because we have no connection to startups that could teach us the wide variety of skills I'm always hearing about here on HN. I'm starting to get to the point where I'm just going to start learning some of this stuff on my own, but it's hard to justify sometimes when your day job doesn't necessarily need you to learn those things (it's always an additional driver to know that this thing that I'm trying to learn is going to be directly applicable to work).

I have a small software business I work on some weekends, but it's super small ($200-$300 which about $150 in overhead). One of my goals this year is to try and increase that amount (it's been basically the same each month since I started it back in August 2010), not because I want it to replace my day job (if the business takes off that'd be wonderful of course, but I think I would still want to keep my day job and use that extra money to help my family or my community in some way).

I think the main thing you're talking about though is that you yearn for something a bit more, and I can't say that I don't have those same wishes too. I'd love to work for a startup or a big company, but not necessarily because I think they'd be better than my current workplace, which is really great, but mainly because the types of problems would be different, there'd be more people I could learn from, and those sorts of things (additional learning opportunities).

As jawns mentioned, it has to do with your risk tolerance, and working for a good organization can be very good for you particularly when you're just starting out. Gaining that experience is crucial to allowing you to continue getting positions at other organizations if you're not happy with your current one. If creating/joining a startup sounds attractive to you, just try and make sure you think through all of the possibilities (I'm an optimist so I always think things will turn out great for my businesses, but after those past failures it does help make you a bit wiser...or at least more understanding of your own limitations as a business person, haha).

All the best and good luck for you in your career!

danieldk 2 days ago 1 reply      
After finishing my Master's degree, I had a couple of options (company offers, a startup idea plus co-founder, a four-year research position). I chose the research position, which cumulated in a PhD thesis. Afterwards, I worked for a company for six months in NLP and machine learning. Now I am in a research position again in a different university.

The pay check may not be as good as working in some companies, but working in academia provides a lot of freedom to try ideas, do it your favorite programming language, go to conferences, and visit far-away countries.

Academia is certainly not a good option for everyone, but it's certainly something you could consider.

That said, I don't exclude the possibility of going to industry again later.

nikolak 2 days ago 1 reply      
I compete with people who are willing to work for $1/hr, on freelance sites like oDesk - occasionally someone picks me so I earn few bucks to get by. If I try to charge more people usually accept workers who charge the same amount as me but are from more western countries.

Ideally I'd settle for some junior dev type of position with reasonable(read: low/acceptable) salary, but without college degree and living in Europe, but not EU (thus no work permits for those), there's small chance of that happening - I've tried and eventually gave up on that...

Oh and today I got sued by govt for failing to send in (literally) an empty paper for my previous company and I'll (most likely) have to pay an equivalent of one month american-level-salary fine. So I've got that going on in my life too, which isn't really the best situation you want to be in if you earn your money like I do...

I don't even know why I'm writing this, I don't have any tips or suggestions for you, and even if I had you can see from the above that I'm probably not the best person to give out advice. And I understand what you're saying but... things could be worse.

You at least have options: build dreams for yourself, or for others. There's nothing stopping you (as far as I can tell) from working on both your projects and/or for someone else.

Nursie 2 days ago 1 reply      
>> work hard, good grades, get a job seems to be bit of a misnomer unless you're happy building things to make others wealthy whilst you earn 30,000 a year?

The UK is terrible for salaried developers. The industry here (like everywhere I guess) continues to moan about a lack of technical talent, but it's no surprise given how low the compensation is. The US and Australia both value tech talent far more. And the money hasn't really moved up much since I was a graduate 14 years ago. That said - that pitiful 30K? Just for context, that still puts you well above the national average income.

That said, 90% of people will never be anything other than an employee and never really aspire to it either. Steady income, minimal perceived risks* to employment etc etc. It's only really in the startup world you're close enough to feel like you're working for someone else's dream though, and plenty of tech folk advance through the ranks of the big corporates like IBM and do pretty well for themselves.

Ask yourself what you want out of your life and career. Do you want a secure income and a long-term commitment to a project? Take the 90% route, work for other people.

Do you want more control over when you work, more money and to take on new challenges every few months, but without the security (or ties) of a job? You might enjoy contracting (I do). I made a few times multiple of your starting figure there and had 4 months off in the last year.

Do you want to risk it all to build your dream? Go for it, if you have a dream and the drive to do so. You'll sink all your time into it and you might get nowhere. But you might get everywhere.

So there it is, what do you want out of life, and are you good enough at what you do (and confident enough) to reach out and grab it?

*I say perceived risk because in reality most perm jobs are no better protected than us contractors.

zaporozhets 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm 19 and living in Sydney, Australia.

I ignored High School and taught myself javascript and web standards instead from about the age of 12. During this time I also did 8 years of ballet, contemporary and jazz dancing. I also played the guitar and double bass semi-professionally and I sang in a Cathedral Choir ( even sang for the pope a couple of times even though I am 0% religious ). I also travelled across most of Europe and Asia ( it helps that I speak fluent Ukrainian and Russian ). I did a bit of freelance when I was about 16 for a couple of places. This experience was probably the most valuable part of my career to date. Learning how to pitch work to someone that doesn't know you, learning how to manage your own time correctly and learning how to talk the client speak are things that restrict many developers later on ( i've found ).

I started work a week before my HighSchool final exams were over as a full-time junior front-end Developer for a small agency that was quite far from where I lived at the time. I think it was particularly good for me since they had a wonderful culture and though my title was 'junior front-end' I was actually the only developer there that knew anything about front-end and I was able to plunge into the deep-end with every project, and really own the front-end. I also learnt to work closely with designers and really care for that relationship there. Another thing that is so often missing.

Interestingly enough, that agency ended up firing everyone and doing something new about 7 months after I started which sucked ( I was absolutely gutted at the time ). Luckily, I had built a pretty good portfolio there of work where I could point at the front-end and say 'that was all me'. I ended up applying for about 5 different places that I particularly liked.

The first place I interviewed at was actually wonderful. Great culture, reasonable expectations and a great work ethic and care for perfection ( this was my ultimate need ). Funnily enough, they liked me just as much; so much so in fact that they hired me in the interview to start the next day as a contractor until they got all of the documents in order to make me full time.

3 months in, I changed a bit as a person. Still very much a developer in mentality, I felt closed off from the decision making process and a lot like I was just a 'resource' rather than a person with ideas. The agency was in a 'transitional' period and the corporate side struggled with integrating properly with the newly acquired 'dev' side. Anyway, after 3 months I decided I needed to change something. I stopped being a developer and began working there as a 'Creative' ( this is still my position there ). This was actually pretty great since I have a great passion for marketing as I do for development. In this role I my main duty is as a 'concept' resource in regards to big integrated campaigns. I spend most of my time researching and writing up ways that the dev side can be best applied to the corp. side or drawing up concept art for products or ideas.. It's a pretty fun gig. Aside from this I do a bunch of random sub-contractor work for different people. This allows me to continue flexing my dev side which I feel is just as important as everything else.

It's hard to say i've been that successful yet, because I still have so much I feel I need to do; but it's definitely liberating earning a good $80k AUD at 19 after everyone told me that I wouldn't be able to do anything with my life unless I went to uni.

I am also working on a product in my other spare time ( if it even exists ) that I know actually has a market. Trying to figure out if I want to drop everything and pursue it or possibly even license it and raise some funding and employ someone to build it for me. Tough decisions.

Down the road, I will build an Agency that bridges the gap between digital innovation and the needs of Ad/Marketing Agencies ( I have a huge underlying passion for this ).

capex 2 days ago 1 reply      
Would you like a comfortable first class seat in a jet airliner, or perhaps fly your own little 2 seater?

There are advantages in flying the 2 seater. You might get sponsored by one of those large companies, and if you convince someone to fly with you, there is a chance that you'll soon be buying a 4 seater. And on and on.

The jet airliner doesn't offer all those possibilities, but it does give you a very predictable flight.

spullara 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've tried it all. My LinkedIn resume goes back to my first job after school (doesn't cover some during school): http://www.linkedin.com/in/spullara

Still code every day, but my main job is as an investor. Best moves I made were risky moves, like moving from Chicago to San Francisco to join a very early stage startup. I was lucky and that startup grew from a handful of people to over a 100 and was sold to a larger company. You can also watch how it unfolded here: http://techcrunch.com/2013/05/02/sam-pullara/

I get the question from engineers all the time how I ended on the path I have been on. I think there are 2 things you can do 1) try to be a great engineer and 2) involve yourself in the strategy of the company. The latter requires an opening, mine was in helping perform the technical due diligence for acquisitions.

If I was doing it again, I would intern at some of the big companies (Google, Twitter, Facebook, IBM, Oracle) and then try and get a job at a Series A funded startup run by people with experience. Good luck!

Joeri 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've only ever done salaried work, and only had one job, which I've had for 10 years. I'm a builder. I want to work on big things that solve complex problems for a large userbase and grow and evolve that solution over the long term. The place were I work the web product was a few ten thousand lines when I joined as the junior member of a three man team, now it's over half a million lines (and growing quickly) and I'm the senior member of a 25 man team. Staying in one place was surprisingly educational, because I was the one who dealt with the consequences of all my own technological decisions, and thankfully my employer left me mostly free to make those decisions. Probably financially it wasn't the smartest move never to switch jobs, but it did give me the opportunity to actually build things across a timespan of years without getting distracted by having to actually run a business. I'm not a manager, I'm not a sales person, I'm not that good with people, and I'm not someone who can stand to do a lot of paperwork. I need other people to do that part of the business so that I can focus on the actual building of software.
readme 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm on active duty in the Army.

I bet you didn't expect that.

pnathan 2 days ago 0 replies      
I work as a salaried employee. This is largely because I'm neither good at marketing & networking nor have a tremendous desire to be, as well as having lived for a long time in a place with no meaningful tech industry.

I would like to operate my own side business, but to date those projects have demanded more time than I have available.

In the long term, I'd like to obtain a PhD and consult in areas related to that, working remotely.

I also want to remark that, given careful choice of employers & their IP agreements, there's nothing stopping you from pursuing your dreams at home. Your salary might be paid for someone else's dream to come true, but it's also funding your life and dreams.

Every now and then a startup hits the jackpot - say, every one out of a few hundred. As a non-founder, you probably won't become wealthy this way. Even founders get messed over a good deal. This is well documented and understood. So if your dream is to become wealthy, being an employee developer is not the way to go. You will need to gain significant equity. If your dream is to build amazing product, you probably need to look for a midsize company who does that sort of thing but isn't large enough to have seized up into cash cow milking.

At the end of the day (i.e., when you look back on it in ten years), very few businesses are amazing, innovative, and tremendous: they exist to provide services & goods to help other people's lives get along all right & maybe improve their lives a bit.

final ninja-edit:

This is not a bad thing, to do good work for reasonable pay. There is great dignity in doing so, regardless of whether you make someone else rich or yourself rich, or simply holding a steady state in the world. Being able to provide for yourself & yours, giving back more than you take, is an honorable thing not to be despised.

alinajaf 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm not much of an old timer, but here goes...

I make my money primarily by building software for small businesses and startups. I charge about 2500 a week for this, and am booked about 50-75% of the time. This is supplemented by the occasional workshop where I teach developers about web application security through the lens of RoR applications, which net me about 5k a pop depending on how well they sell. I have one employee who I'm training up to take on some client work for me so that I can focus on drumming up new business and building products that will provide a sustainable income that isn't linked to the amount of time we put in.

> I do work part time as a developer in a start up and can't help feeling i'm building a dream for someone else.

Some people are bitten by this bug and some aren't. I know perfectly good career developers who are content to turn up, do a good days work and get a regular pay check at the end of every month. If you ever do start your own business and go out on your own, you too will long for the days when you could do the same and have guaranteed monthly cashflow.

> but i can't help feeling that the current university paradigm of work hard, good grades, get a job seems to be bit of a misnomer unless you're happy building things to make others wealthy whilst you earn 30,000 a year?

In this market, after a few years you'll be doubling to tripling that salary. I know a guy who's been on the job two years and cleared 65K. That's not at a city IB, just a plain old startup. It was only a matter of time before London developer salaries caught up with what you might get in the states.

yodha77 2 days ago 0 replies      
Long time HN reader but never been a contributor (never felt smart enough to contribute). When I was growing up the best job that I have thought possible was to be a Typist (My parents has told me to learn typing). So, when I ended up in US through graduate school, I have thought I made it. But, again, I was pretty clue less after the school was complete. I have thought I should follow money (even though I was passionate about AI and did my graduate school in it) and joined e-commerce consulting firm in 2000. got laid off twice and ended up for a small company where I thought I was doing AI stuff. Slacked off for 9 years.. ended up making about 100K when I quit (worked myself through management: engineer -> Director of engineering). then, I have joined a development manager at a public company and has been working there for 3 1/2 for about 150K salary (40K stock every year). I thought I will be doing searching and machine learning. But, I have gotten deceived again(my team was cut in half)I have tried making side projects.. picked complex ones like image searching. but, couldn't sell it. I have thought may be I should something my own (I am 37 now.. leaving in a rural US town with 2 kids). So, I have resigned my job (from largest enterprise software company in world) and trying out entrepreneurship.. want to build great AI application. Even though, I can survive at least 3 years, I am going to try this out for 6 months. If it doesn't work, I am going to back to work.
robobro 2 days ago 2 replies      
I receive donations for my writing, coding, and art. I do some tutoring, too, which pays alright. I'm not a conventional developer, but I'm more than happy with the freedom I have and I feel I can really appreciate the things I have a lot more because of my self-imposed poverty.
CriticalSection 2 days ago 1 reply      
I worked in IT, with no BSCS. I took some college classes at nights and weekends while working.

When 2008 rolled around, I knew things were shaky at my company, but many companies I looked at had "Required: BSCS" or even when not, HR would grill me on college when I applied. I began saving a lot. I decided if I could find an equivalent or better job I'd leave, otherwise I'd take my chances - I had many months warning about the company and economy shakiness. Finally at the end of 2008 I got severance (it was a big company) and unemployment. I went back to school full time.

While at school, I learned how to program better and better. I learned Java. I took $100 of my money, sent $25 to Google and bought 6 months of web/email hosting with the other $75. I began publishing Android apps. After six months, one of my apps finally began doing well, and it has paid for itself ever since.

As far as my revenue, it has averaged $600 a week for the past few weeks. My business expenses are negligible - about $35 a week, $25 of which is my cell phone bill which is not fully a business expense. My non-recurring costs are when I pay for artwork or translations or ads.

My fall 2013 semester was academically tough (with my AI class only being one of the hard classes) so I did very little new work on my apps, just some minor maintenance, checking Nagios etc. Sometimes I can do work during the semester, sometimes I can't. I wind up doing a lot of new work during winter breaks, and during those summers in which I did not take classes (some summers I do take classes - but there is a short break around those as well).

The general ideas floating around here on HN are good. Paul Graham's essays, the Lean Startup ideas of Eric Ries and all of that.

One major difference for me is I am not looking to build a billion dollar company that is initially desirable to invest in for angels and VCs. I am doing a bootstrapped, lifestyle thing for now. I'm happy with $600 a week, although I hope to push that up to $700 or $800, and then eventually to $2000 a week. Once I get to $2000 a week, I'll probably shift what I'm doing, and may take on a more long-term, ambitious project more in tune with what is discussed here. For what I'm currently doing, pg's "Ramen Profitable" essay is good. "Startup = Growth" is good as well. As well as other essays, posts, and blogs by others doing bootstrapped startups.

You talk about working part-time. I started off taking four classes a semester, including a hard class in each semester. Before doing my own apps, one semester I took a consulting gig, and stripped down to two classes - one hard, one easy. It was not stripped down enough - I wound up having to drop the hard class, and the company said I was taking too long.

I also took a summer consulting gig and had no time at all to work on my apps. It's hard to juggle too many things. One semester I could only get two easy classes registered, so I got a lot of app work done during the semester.

One problem with working for others is during go-go times like 1998-1999 there is a lot of work, but come 2001 or 2009, work dries up, especially if you have no college diploma. I'm happy I've built up $30k in side income. If it keeps building up, it might become all of my income.

On the other hand, as others have said, you learn things working at companies, technical and otherwise, meet people etc. Some companies are just overflowing with cash.

hrktb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Before hitting 25 being an employee or not should be a matter of opportunities. Working in a startup before, I felt I gained a lot of experience on a lot of fronts. After switching to 100+ then 5000+ employees companies, the tasks where less diverse, but one could instead focus deeper on more complex problems.

So, being an employee or not shouldn't matter if you do something interesting.

Now when you get in the mid 20ies, you might want a job that banks accept as credible, renting a house doesn't involve convincing that you're not a fraud, and the parents of your girlfriend aren't suspicious of your profession.

If you're a super successful founder that's no big deal, if your startup is surviving or you're a freelance consultant that might be more difficult while not impossible, but if you have a stable job as an employee no one will even ask questions. Depending on what you want (i.e. kids and a house in your late 20ies), that might be an important point.

medell 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ask yourself:

Can I go weeks or months without paid work? (risk tolerance as others have mentioned)

Do I want to learn about sales & marketing (the learning never stops btw)? Am I comfortable with self marketing?

Can I hustle and cold call if necessary?

And as another poster mentioned, am I willing to do A/B testing and optimize funnels? Build a social presence?

Do I enjoy the challenge of working on varying types of projects for different companies? Or would I rather stick to a few things?

In my experience you don't need to be good at all of these things to run your own show, just good enough. But I value flexibility and also really enjoy working with and learning from companies in different industries as I'm a generalist, so I chose the consultant path after a few years in corporate. I hope you find what works for you, and don't stress out too much about it, it's easier to switch paths these days! The important thing is to try.

namenotrequired 2 days ago 0 replies      
> can't help feeling i'm building a dream for someone else

This is one reason why I try to limit myself to working with companies that are on a mission that I believe in.

A side effect is that it also seems to be easier to find a job there because these companies love hiring people who are passionate about the same thing as them. Cold emailing is fine if you can show good reasons why, and even more so when you come bearing gifts.

benched 2 days ago 1 reply      
Looking back over my career, it seems to me that I mostly warm chairs and surf the web while in the offices of software companies. Occasionally they ask me to code something, and I do it. I'd say that accounts for less than 10% of the time I've spent in the office. This is across 4 companies and 15 years. I did the most work at the one that was a startup.

As for your feeling about your situation, I think there is a pretty clear pyramid scheme whereby older people get younger people to build their pyramids for them. The idea is that people with a lot of experience lead, and provide their workers an opportunity to gain experience. I think that's partly true, but it's equally true that there are elements of human nature, ageism, and taking advantage. Perhaps it's just positioning - whether it's the older leveraging the younger, the more vigorous leveraging the more passive, or risk-takers leveraging the risk-averse, no matter how you rationalize it, in the end you will find a small number of people in a position where they're either making huge amounts of money or expecting to, and a large number of people just making whatever the ordinary wage is for their job.

quaffapint 2 days ago 0 replies      
All depends upon where you want to end up in life. For me I was getting married and knew I'd be having kids. So job stability was very important. Also got my graduate college degree, which at the time opened the doors to corporate dev jobs. Maybe it's not so necessary in smaller/startup places now, I don't know. So, I'm jsut a cog at a big corporation. It's not glamorous, but it pays the bills for my family.

On the side is when I do stuff I (kind of) want to do - I still need to make money to pay more bills (kids are expensive :-)), but at least it's a little different than my day-to-day 9to5 stuff.

arym 1 day ago 0 replies      
Building a dream for someone who doesn't ask for it, but who deserves:

I live in a less-developed country, where university students aren't well-treated neither by staff & faculty (underestimated and humiliated), nor by government (54 USD/Mo scholarship for ~40%, no housing, no dining, no basic students services), nor by companies coming just for low-paid hard-coders and unpaid interns.

I endured studying in these circumstances, and finally graduated with a MSc & Eng. in Computer Science.

Now, I decide to make something valuable in honour of the student community; a service that students deserve; which take in consideration student dignity; and which help to restore student confidence and hope.

I'm looking for a startup or a small business idea, which can generate some money just for me and 2 other friends (our team), just to survive! But most importantly offer the first awesome and affordable quality service for students. Even a small service, because for our student community less is always more!

I can make web apps, and have access to some student infos (name, university, classOf). I also have access to cloud services via a restricted credit card! And I can have mobility to national universities.

Do you have some ideas and/or advice to share?

I've posted my story here as a comment first because I think it make sense, secondly I don't know how do I make it visible! I'm a greenhorn HNer; let's be tolerant :)

Thanks Dale1

Sorry for my English mistakes!

PythonicAlpha 2 days ago 0 replies      
============= GO, SEARCH FOR YOUR ISLAND =============

I know your thoughts very well. I myself have worked for 18 years or so as employee building the dream of someone else -- or better to say: building the wealth of someone else.

I think, a lot is said already, so I want to restrict myself to my personal opinion: If you have this feeling you describe, you should definitively search for your island! And don't give up until you found it.

I am searching now for ten to fifteen years I think and have not found it yet. But I hope, my current project (an online medieval strategy game) will bring me thus far. I dumped until now at least three projects that resulted in a situation that I had to say I can not do it with my resources or in one case the project proved itself to be not profitable. Currently I also dumped my employer to be fully able to find the island I am looking for.

Today, I think, the biggest problem is to find one or more good partners. If you have one, good for you! It makes things easier. But it is so difficult to find one and I have not, since some are just not reliable enough and with others I was not able to find a common target.

The problem is, that if you are in a group you have to give up parts of your own dreaming to find a common dream.

anonymous1980 2 days ago 2 replies      
I grew up in a small town in Russia during 80s and early 90s. I found my first job as a developer building accounting software in Pascal when I was 15. I remember spending my first paycheck (about $100) buying winter boots. It wasn't enough, my mom ended up pitching in. :)

As soon as I graduated, I moved to a larger city to work for a company doing offshore development in C++. I was paid $4 / hr, managing to put in about 250 hours a month. I only ended up working there for 6 months before I moved on to the next stage.

I moved to the US in 2000 to work for Microsoft in Redmond. Microsoft was good, but it quickly became obvious that there was no way to make real money, even though I doubled my paycheck in 4 years I spent there. I started at $66K / yr, ended up around $130K when I left at the end of 2004 to go and work for Google.

Except that I didn't go to Google. :) I interviewed, got an offer and used it to get an offer from a smaller company where I felt I could do more. I wanted to be a big fish in a small pond and Google already felt to me like a big pond. Their offer was for $150K and ~10,000 shares with strike price of ~$170. Smaller company offered $200K base, $50K bonus and 2% of the company. In 2004 that was a lot of money.

The smaller company didn't do as well as I expected. I only made about $3M from stock versus $5-10M I could have made from Google. But I met some good people there. But 2009 I was a VP and making close to $450K / yr. I left in 2009 to work on a startup with a couple friends. We sold it at the end of 2010 for $15M and almost immediately started another one.

Right now I work as a CTO for that other startup. We had $40M in revenue last year and on track to be at $90-$100M this year.

scotthtaylor 2 days ago 0 replies      
Building blocks.

You are going to learn processes, insights and experience failures when working for someone (and help with building their dream). This is learning on someone else's dollar. It's mutually beneficial and 30k is certainly not something to sniff at.

Very few people walk out of university, raise money and launch the next Facebook.

It's all about de-risking. Make yourself investable over the next few years. Branch out and learn other areas of the business (marketing/sales/etc).

Plan what you want to do and make sure you have calculated steps to reach them.

You'll also probably want to be tinkering with stuff on the side. These could potentially get you some money, but more realistically will provide you with invaluable learning.

benrhughes 2 days ago 0 replies      
I went from CS at Uni into a full time dev job for a government agency. Since then I've worked for a mature micro ISV and now an environmental not for profit.

I have a paid android app and an OSS windows app that gets donations. The vast, vast majority of my income comes from my day job though.

Building someone else's dream can be great. Sometimes you get to work on things that are more important or just broader scoped than what you can do on your own. Also, a regular, decent paycheck has it's benefits.

BryanB55 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think something that a lot of developers forget is that building a product is only half the battle, if that. You also need to sell it and make sure you're building something people actually want.

So theres a lot more to running a company than just building a product . You also need to sell it, support it, manage people and run the actual company. Just because you're a good developer doesn't mean you're a good entrepreneur. Sure you could learn along the way but you'll also be taking on more financial risk, be responsible for a lot more things and likely not have as steady of an income.

The reward may be much higher but so is the risk and responsibility. That doesn't mean you shouldn't set out on your own and learn to be an entrepreneur, it's just the reason why the financials line up the way they do.

It's also worth noting that there is a 3rd option. If you happen to get in on an early startup that is later successful and goes public or gets acquired, it can also be very financially rewarding for you. I remember reading somewhere that in the valley it is common to hear "he was an early employee at Google" which is well known to translate to "he's now very wealthy".

binaryorganic 2 days ago 1 reply      
Almost all of my money comes from client services. I didn't finish college, but often wish I had, if only because it took me just as long to sort out how to self-learn.
camara 2 days ago 0 replies      
There are two quite different motives for building a company.

One is the financial comparison between building a company and working at one. This is a straightforward risk-reward tradeoff. When you think about it you will consider things like stability and the impact of stability on other things you want to achieve in life, like family; you will also consider things like how to make starting a venture as safe as possible and gaming what you build based on likely exit; you will think about freedom, meaning freedom to do other things.

The other kind of motive is the desire to build an empire, to run something that is yours and to leave a mark on the world. People who are motivated this way don't think along the lines of risk v. reward or stability being sacrificed or freedom being earned; they don't even think about the reward from exit, except incidentally, as a way of building the big thing they really want to build or as a way of keeping score. People like this just don't think life is worth living (for them, not for other people) the other way; their overriding goal is to build a great organization doing great things.

It's important, I think, to understand which of these motives is active when you're thinking about starting a company --- or joining a startup at an early stage. If you are a type 2 person, you won't be happy until you're building that kind of organization for yourself.

Steveism 2 days ago 0 replies      
"...can't help feeling i'm building a dream for someone else."

I can relate to that feeling and it's something I revisit occasionally. Though, being a founder or joining a startup and taking equity has it's own set of anxieties. I think the right approach is to just focus on what you're building and if it's right for you. If you believe in the projects you're working on it's a lot easier to find happiness in your work. Some tough decisions need to be made along the way regarding money but it is possible to find a balance between compensation and doing what you love. You just need to be relentless in reaching the goals you set for your career.

I personally split time between a regular 40 hour a week job as an in-house web developer and freelancing. I just try to find new projects that interest me so that I don't get bored.

someotheridiot 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've worked almost 15 years in various IT roles, building up my skills (technical and otherwise). In my spare time (when I had it), I would also dabble in side projects. Some made money, most didn't. Eventually a side project started taking off and is now providing a nice bonus. I still work full time for someone else, but I aim to have the flexibility to choose what I want to do now and not just work for the money.

This stuff takes time and a lot of effort. You can't just build an app and sell it for $19B overnight.

cinquemb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Dropped out of college a little more than two years ago, moved to nyc, started freelancing and got tired of trying to source clients for their social networks, so started company (bootstrapped) that mines/crowd-sources data online about people. We should hit low 6 figures in revenue by end of the summer (in the middle of scaling our ops now, started generating revenue this mid jan). I'm 22 and my friend is 27.

Through my journey (many ups and downs), I've started to respect a lot more when some people say to not trade your time for money (or debt) and all the pressures society (and the different people that may be in ones environment who may) try to place upon you as an individual, because in exchange you can have the freedom to take risks and pursue whatever you want to do. I had that mindset when I was younger, but I was briefly co opted by the rat race which set me off my ways. Life is too fleeting for me to want to waste time doing/worrying about things that don't work for me.

late2part 2 days ago 0 replies      
Complete luck. Timing to start out in the right industry, followed by vigorous effort, learning, and experimentation. I also built many relationships early on in my career that I've mostly kept alive throughout the last decades. I've changed careers twice when the old skills/industry lowered the value of those skills. Keep learning - read Richard Hamming's _You and Your Research_ [1]. Keep friends and work hard. [1] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a1zDuOPkMSw
wingerlang 2 days ago 0 replies      
My main source of income is very up-and-down. I develop software for jailbroken iOS devices. Once I release something there is a little bump in my income. The iOS7 release and subsequent software-updates gave me a little bump also. It's my absolute passion and I am super happy to be able to do this for a living at this moment.

It won't last forever though. I have a freelance "employer" also but the projects are small and far inbetween.

A big help in this is that I am currently living in S.E. Asia, otherwise this would never (!) work.

miles_matthias 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a developer at dojo4 in Boulder, Colorado (dojo4.com/team) and am really happy. I do a few hours a week on a side project (manualviableproduct.com) but mainly for my own enjoyment.

I have a bachelor's in cs and a bachelor's in information assurance however so it wasn't a hard pitch to be a developer. I worked at a couple of more corporate style companies before being really happy at dojo4.

They care enough about the craft of developing that they push me to be a better programmer and give a big middle finger to anyone who wants us to forget our values for any amount of money. I love it. Our clients love us. I'm proud of the quality of the work we do.

And we drink lots of beer & scotch, eat lots of cookies and free lunches, and get massages every month. :p

jprince 2 days ago 0 replies      
I make about half my income from my job, where I get paid relatively little for my skillset but have heavy equity that will vest in a few years, and then I do about 15 hours of work a week as a consultant.

I hire out subcontractors to increase my throughput, and I make the other half of my income from this. In total, I make more dollars from the 10-15 hours a week I spent consulting than from the 40 I spend in my job, but I've done the math and when you include the equity vesting in a few years, in terms of per-hour rates, the full time job and the consulting share nearly identical rates. One just has a longer payment period.

When I started I was afraid to freelance because I didn't feel that safety net of my job beneath me, but I finally got my first job working 300$ for 20 hours of work. It was ridiculously underpaid. But I got my foot in the door and now I make quite a tidy sum from it, while getting a lot of enjoyment and satisfaction in it.

Also, I'd always recommend having a side gig going on because it frees you. I don't need to work full time - I don't use a single dollar from my full time job anymore. It goes straight into savings. That kind of thing can free you, and make you more likely to be eligible for raises at work because they know you're only here because you want to be.

restlessmike 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think that you are spot on in your analysis. If you work as an employee at a startup and the company isn't a "rocket ship" that is going to go public or be acquired and make all of the early employees wealthy, you are pretty much just helping someone else achieve their dreams. It could still be beneficial for you career-wise as startups give you a lot of leeway to learn new skills and use cool technologies, but the other side is that they can sometimes try to take over your life. They also try to get a discount on salaries by offering stock, which is usually pretty worthless in the final analysis.

I personally freelance full time. Once you establish yourself and get a reputation as someone who can get things done it can be a great career; if you stay pretty busy (last year I was working for probably 9 months, 6 of it onsite someplace and the rest spread out between a few different gigs) you can earn significantly more than at most "real" jobs and have lots of free time to work on your own projects or just go on vacation. I'd definitely recommend moving to someplace with a lot of work to do, such as San Francisco. There is a lot of demand for tech talent here that you can leverage to get the career you want.

nixgeek 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you're intending to have a reasonably-sized stable of clients then there are significant tax and liability advantages to doing things through your own Limited Company, but that really is a nomadic existence, you can't just work for one client without risking falling foul of IR35.

What do you care about most? Doing something fun, feeling that your efforts are worthwhile to humanity, making money? Everything is a balance of risk and reward, and everyone's motivations tend to be slightly different.

wuster 2 days ago 0 replies      
I choose who I work for by these attributes:

1) does the company provide a product or service that makes a world a better place? (e.g. Nest, Tesla would qualify)

2) are my potential colleagues great people that I will enjoy spending time with and learning from? (it's miserable to work for miserable people)

3) will the company pay me a market wage such that I can provide for myself and my family

daledavies 2 days ago 0 replies      
I work as an e-learning systems developer for large FE college in the UK, it is very stable and rewarding job that allows me to innovate. It is a public sector job and as such the wages aren't as good as working in the private sector but I do have good working hours and a very generous holiday entitlement, because of this I get plenty of time to pursue personal projects.

I'm currently trying to set myself up as a freelancer and consultant to supplement my wages and maybe if it takes off I can make the transition from full time employed to full time self-employed.

Because my full time job allows me to innovate I've developed my skills an enormous amount while working there, I now get asked to give talks in industry events about the work that I have been doing which gives me a massive confidence boost. I actually worry that moving away from my full time job would stop me from being able to develop my skills and experience at the rate I have been doing.

So I guess that if you have a job that makes you feel like you're lining someone else's pockets with little reward for yourself then you're working for the wrong company!

mmcdan 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am so happy this thread exists. Reading a bunch of raw, honest, and insightful stories about the journey through an industry fueled by reality-distortion is like a breath of fresh air. This feeling must be what people mean when they talk about the "old HN". Glad to see its spirit still lays beneath the surface.
glanotte 2 days ago 0 replies      
"can't help feeling i'm building a dream for someone else."

Background - employed software developer for 15 years.

I really don't see a problem with building other people's dreams. In fact, I enjoy it and have been rewarded for it well over the last 15 years. I have had the opportunity to work with and learn from some amazing developers and to build some very cool products. At the moment, I don't have an entrepreneurial dream and I may never have one. I am content to make a living doing what I love to do - which is simply to write software.

I don't think the issue is risk aversion or not following your dream. I just think that different people have different dreams and desires. At the risk of sounding like a Disney firework show - follow your dream. If you have a dream of owning your own business, you can make a plan to do that. That might involve striking out on your own early or later in life. I think you just have to ask yourself what you want.

einhverfr 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am self-employed and have been for about 10 years.

To some extent as a programmer there are times when you will (and should) help other people build their dreams. None of us can build what we want to on our own. Doing so for money brings you connections if you do it well, which help you down the road. Additionally if your dream doesn't help others achieve their dreams, you will never be able to make money at it. This is true both in terms of formal employment and major contract work.

None of that means you shouldn't work on your own projects as well if you want, and try to make money at that. Owning your own work, in the sense of not reporting to a singular boss (sure, customers are bosses, but they aren't singular) is very rewarding.

hellbanTHIS 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wanted a part time job to pay the bills while I'm finishing up a couple sites so I took one washing dishes at a pizza joint. All I can say is writing code in the morning and then doing the most mindless, repetive work while being forced to listen to "sunny FM" is not something I recommend. I think if I hear one more Billy Joel song my brain is going to go into emergency shutdown mode.
graemem3 2 days ago 0 replies      
Don't be so down on taking a job with a fixed salary. It's not a choice of one or the other. Personally I see my current and previous job as a stepping stone to doing my own thing in the future. Actually being an early employee with a start up has made me seriously consider if going it alone is something i want to do. I have gained so much experience in the past 2-3 years since university and have grown up a lot.

Taking the job is fine, but it's important to find one that allows you to step outside your role when appropriate, and be involved in any area of the company which interests you. Basically any start up or small company (10ish people). You gain so much knowledge having an insight into the other areas of the business.

I almost started a company when I left university and i believe we could of made some money from it. Comparing what I knew then to what I know now, my approach to starting that company would be much different. Also the experience and contacts I have would give it a much better chance of being successful.

codr 2 days ago 0 replies      
The nice thing about just being an employee is you get a lot more free time to enjoy life. Yes, there is life outside of software for some of us!

Also, way less risk.

I work for big companies, and the chance of getting laid off is about 0%, while the chance of an annual raise and performance bonus is 100%.

Not saying it's the best way to go, but it works for me.

eswat 2 days ago 0 replies      
Two weeks ago my money came from the startup I worked for.

But I have now switched to freelancing, with said startup being my only client at the moment. I might look for more clients later, but Im hoping to make money through Gittip and releasing my own products instead. Like you, I want to be in charge of my own destiny, even if that means not doing what has conventionally worked for others.

bindley 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm kind of in the same boat. I took a year off college to focus on learning web development.

A year later, I'm working for a startup, but I am also making double I was at my old job. It was really a paradigm shift in my mind.

I looked at college as my entrance to a career, and later learned that wasn't the case. People value unique skills, not cookie cutter graduates.

You're asking some deep life questions, that extend outside programming. a book: The Icarus Deception by Seth Godin really helped me when I was at a place you're in right now. Helped me understand how really successful people do it. hope that helps :)

kpapke 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been developing professionally for about 4 years now and I've tried a 10,000+ company, a 40 person company, a 2 person startup, and now back to a large corporation (with plans to continue the startup).

It's ok to make mistakes, keep learning skills (even if you don't make a lot of money), know your worth, and never give up your dream. You can't do a startup if you have lots of time but have no money to survive, and you can't do a startup if you're making someone else's dream and you have no time of your own. So find the right balance and do what makes sense.

duochrome 2 days ago 0 replies      
You are right. Developer is just labor. Not too much different than a server in an resturant.

So how did a server become an resturant owner? You need to think about that.

mschuster91 2 days ago 0 replies      
I work nightshifts in a gambling hall and by daytime I'm coding for two startups I have with a friend. Only problem is the constant lack of money...
stefek99 2 days ago 1 reply      
Excuse me? Are you a student working part-time earning 30,000 a year?

(I would say that's pretty much)

Correct me if I'm wrong.

cristea 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm currently a student, so with the great benefits of student loans in my country I am able to afford an OK standard of living.

I am currently working in my startup with some friends. I believe firmly that what I do is everyone's dream, though the need to have a stready income is greater for most.

I also have a part time job at the university, so I do have some sources of income. My startup provides no income, and takes a lot of time.

You can be happy both working at a company, and you can feel ownership to something you have made for that company, even though it might be labeled without your name. It all comes down to what you really want.

In any case I would say the time to try something for yourselves would be before you have ties somewhere, being a wife/kids, a car etc.

If you are fortunate enough to be able to live a good period of time with no money, and are prepared to work literally every hour of your day for a long, long time, I would go for it. If not the need to survive will become greater.

When creating something, unless you utterly hate the concept of the very thing you are making, I would say you gain a sense of ownership towards it. If you made the Paper app for Facebook you would certainly be proud of yourself.

Namrog84 2 days ago 0 replies      
Still working on masters. Current income is from being a TA, I help teach and grade undergrad computer classes. I still have time to work on my own projects and have a salaried job lined up at one of the main big tech companies out west. Though I want to branch off and do independent work and start company in a few years.
Dale1 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just a quick comment to say thanks for replying. Lots of useful ideas and a few things i'll be looking into.

Keep em coming! :)

simonreed 2 days ago 1 reply      
I work as a software developer in an investment bank. In finance you can earn much more than 30,000 per year.
andersthue 2 days ago 0 replies      
I started out working for a couple of years as a supporter while programming for fun at home, this way i learned a lot about computers (think os/2, dos, win 3.11) while building up my programming skills.

Been self employed for 16 years now.

jabbathehut 2 days ago 1 reply      
Worked hard for 10 years in various web development shops, started a company with two of the smartest people I met during that time, sold it, worked through golden handcuffs, and had a nice exit. Now I live off of interest from fixed income investments and am currently looking to pivot my career from web development into computer graphics/games/VR since I think a revolution is coming. I love programming and don't need to work but really want to build cool stuff. In broad strokes I'm where I set out to be when I graduated in college -- I didn't know the tactics but I knew the strategy. I'm in my early thirties.

This is probably the most important book you'll read at your age:


jagawhowho 1 day ago 0 replies      
Entrepreneurs have no cap on their income but don't always make more than an employee. Try both and see what you like.
Techasura 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm employed and i'm a freelancer both. Tough handling both, but i just can't sit idle for even an hr, i have to do something.
squarebum 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's a good question. I love to read people's responds here and kudos to all who have shared their experience. Answering to your question, I work as an employee. I enjoy working in a company because there are trainings, financial support to get IT certification and the salary is not bad. Also the company's dream which is to make IT more secure is pretty much similar to my dream. So if you end up working as an employee, better be in a company that has the same dream as yours.
throwaway13qf85 2 days ago 0 replies      
I do research for a hedge fund, which pulls in $150k-$1m per year depending on how well the fund does. I program in my spare time.
larrys 2 days ago 0 replies      
"I'm currently a student "

"I do work part time as a developer in a start up and can't help feeling i'm building a dream for someone else."

"Not that the experience isn't really good, (It definitely is and I learn more in work than in uni!)"

"Unless i'm missing something important, I am young and naive after all!"

You are. At the risk of the ire of others on HN I have to say that this is a totally millennial attitude of - gasp - entitlement. Tempered by the fact no doubt that you realize "I am young and naive after all!"

I think you have to back away at this "I want it all now" thinking that you have.

You are gaining valuable experience and I'd like to know why you feel that you deserve better than that at this point? To me that's scary. I'm glad you asked the question but want to know why you feel you deserve, at this early stage in your career, to jump to the head of the line.

saraid216 2 days ago 0 replies      
Instead of answering your question, I'm going to offer some generic life advice:

Figure out what you want. Even if it's just in the short term, but ideas of what you want in the long term are best. Use that to decide what you do month to month and year to year. I've noticed that most happy developers are only mildly interested in what their company does: they enjoy their work because it presents challenges and lets them work with people they respect. For these people, it's less about the salary than it is about the opportunity. The salary is important more for keeping your position in the market than to make you rich.

Do you have your own dream? If so, then it might be worth looking into entrepreneurship. Starting a business is less about being able to code your MVP than it is about learning what's available in the current market and being able to sell. Is your dream crazy? Is it crazy in terms of ambition, or crazy in terms of feasibility? The former is fine; the latter should make you step back and reconsider.

Your dream doesn't have to involve some engineering department at a corporation, either. You can be a developer in other settings. They're less obvious, but if you dig into your other interests, you might be able to find opportunities where your programming skill can contribute something huge.

If you don't have such a dream, you still have to make a living. Is it so terrible to contribute to someone else's dream in that case? You'll want to learn how to drive a hard bargain so that you can get the most from them out of the contract. Building someone else's dream starts looking fairly peachy when you're pulling in enough to not have to worry about money anymore.

blufox 2 days ago 0 replies      
Testing Software
leoplct 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: Chrome browser extension or a stand-alone executable?
3 points by notastartup  13 hours ago   2 comments top 2
drvortex 9 hours ago 0 replies      
The only advantage you would get with a Chrome extension is distribution platform (Web store). Chrome extensions are not in principle 'more dicoverable'.

Now it really depends on what your application does if you are considering donwloading and clicking on an installer a bigger barrier to entry then clicking 'Add to Chrome'.

In general, though Chrome does nothing to push users towards installing extensions from the web store versus downloading a program.

sigvef 12 hours ago 0 replies      
It really depends on what the tool is going to do. Unless the tool is intimately related to Chrome in some way (tab manager, page screenshotter, or something else that needs to access Chrome in some way), and I'm assuming its not, since stand-alone is an option, I'd question why anything needs to be installed at all, even as a Chrome extension.

I'd much rather visit pdf2gif.io (random example) than use something that needs to be installed, when possible.

Laser Guided: Tactics Cloud Got Us 1300 Highly Targeted Followers in Two Days
4 points by dashdasher  15 hours ago   1 comment top
curiousphil 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for sharing. Really nice service they offer! Can you talk more about how you engaged with the 50,000 users to achieve 1300 targeted follows?
Ask HN: What's the most successful company YC has rejected?
13 points by sundance0  1 day ago   3 comments top 2
austengary 1 day ago 1 reply      
Maybe SendGird
anthony_franco 1 day ago 0 replies      
Technically speaking, Dropbox at one point was also a YC reject.
Ask HN: How should I value my side project?
4 points by n1c  18 hours ago   1 comment top
nicholas73 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Factors: 1. Growth rate 2. Competitive analysis 3. Work required to run.

If you have a demonstrably consistent growth curve, you can ask for a high multiple of revenue.

If your competitor really would benefit, you can ask for more to the right buyer. If your site is easily whipped together, and users aren't sticky, then you get a low multiple designed for the buyer to get his principle back ASAP and hopefully make a profit.

If the site requires active management, subtract time costs from potential revenue.

Ask HN: Who are the four guys in Y Combinator home page?
3 points by heidijavi  15 hours ago   2 comments top 2
nols 13 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a rotating slideshow, which picture are you talking about?
Ask HN: Will soon have lots of time and little money how to spend it?
79 points by granfalloon  2 days ago   71 comments top 35
atlantic 2 days ago 6 replies      
I've been working from home for about 5 years. If you want to be productive, the key point is to make a very clear distinction between work and leisure. On a normal job this is clear enough - the clothes, the physical setting, the timetable, all converge to trigger your professional mindset. Not so at home.

Organize a little corner of your house for working. Even if it's just a desk and a bookshelf. Keep it reserved for your work hours/activities only. If you can schedule certain activities outside the house, eg a shared workspace, even better.

Give yourself working hours and respect them - preferably for a whole week, but at least for the next day. If you have several activities, divide up your time between them in advance. If possible, set daily or weekly goals for the activities you are engaged in.

Dress for work, even if you are at home - not necessarily a suit, but put on some decent clothes and shoes, and brush your hair, make yourself presentable. Go out for a short brisk walk before starting work, to simulate your commute; possibly repeat at lunchtime (more relaxed) and in the evening.

Do not snack between meals - VERY important. Avoid sweets, fizzy drinks, pastries, as you are less physically active than before. Schedule exercise every day.

Create at least one "event" every day which takes place outside the house and involves other people. This will give a focus to your day. Make sure you get enough human contact. You'd be surprised how important work is in this respect, even if you have no friends there.

Edit: be very strict about your use of the internet. Reading news is not working. More generally, honestly evaluate how you use your time relative to the objectives you have set yourself for that day.

wpietri 2 days ago 1 reply      
There's a meta-rule that's been very helpful to me: never change today's rules.

For example, for the last 6 months I've been changing what I eat. Sometimes the rules I've picked seem like such a good idea, but turn out to be really challenging. Does that mean I've been too optimistic setting my goals? Or just that I'm in the middle of useful struggle?

By deciding that I'll only change tomorrow's rules, never today's, it makes habit-building a lot easier. If I booked myself 5 hours of music per day this week, then by gum it'll be 5 hours today. But I'm allowed to say, "Tomorrow, though, fuck it."

This constrains my rule-hacking powers in a way that keeps me from undermining my progress when things get hard.

rkuykendall-com 2 days ago 1 reply      
You should use https://habitrpg.com/

Take everything you want to do every day, cut the time in half, then cut the time in half again, and add it as a "Daily."

* [x] 1 hour of music

* [x] 30m of CodeAcademy Python

* [x] 20m exercise

The key is to keep is so absurdly short that you will have no trouble doing them in a day. BUT, by doing them every day, you will accomplish much more than if you had overcommitted.

Using HabitRPG instead of a daily to-do list ads a gaming aspect to it. Skip enough days, and your character dies and loses a level. It's a lot of fun.

I'm currently using it to get myself to do a little Duolingo for spanish, floss every day, and try to stop drinking soda (habits section).

wpietri 2 days ago 1 reply      

For a while, do a lot of nothing. Long walks. Relaxed hikes. Meditation. Sitting at cafes, watching the world go by. Dawdling on park benches, tree stumps, beaches.

Why? Well, part of it is that high-stress jobs have a long-term cost. You likely need to heal. But it also sounds like you have both a learned habit of and a natural bias toward keeping busy.

That business has its benefits. But for me at least it was also a symptom of avoidance. I didn't want to think about uncomfortable things in my past, my present self, my likely future. Changing that has made an enormous difference in my life, and I wish I had done it years ago.

So book a lot of time for rest until you feel like you can sit quietly for a half hour without resorting to distraction. You could try an Unschedule [1] for that as a way to get started. Or you could just have some set working hours and let the rest of the time be. And definitely consider picking up a meditation practice. I'd suggest simple insight meditation (aka Vipassana) as an easy way to start.

[1] http://www.lifeclever.com/how-to-unschedule-your-work-and-en...

jasonkester 2 days ago 3 replies      
"Guy on the beach with a laptop".

Seriously, lots of time/little money is why Thailand was invented in the first place. Rock up on Tonsai beach today, just as the high season is winding down and you'll have no problem negotiating a bungalow for less than $300/month if you tell them you plan to stay a while.

They have good enough internet for casual remote work, good power, awesome rock climbing, Australian girls sipping stiff drinks out of a coconut, and all that James Bond Villain Headquarters scenery that Thailand is famous for.

And there are roughly thirty thousand equally nice beaches scattered across this world that will offer pretty much the same combination of cheap living, paradise, and wifi.

Sucks to be the rest of us. Keep us posted!

3pt14159 2 days ago 4 replies      
Get a good kitchen set and starting making your own meals. Spend two weeks where you make every meal you eat, so you break the habit of eating out.

Also continue to surround yourself with fantastic people, it will keep you from getting depressed. Exercise (jogging, especially) is a very economical and beneficial pastime. Start that as soon as possible.

elleferrer 2 days ago 1 reply      
Follow the five-rule plan:

1. No more zero days - do something towards whatever goal or want. (e.g. make time to study/research/learn/design/develop/create/build/launch)

2. Be grateful to the 3 You's - The Past You, The Present You, and the Future You.

3. Exercise - when you exercise, you are doing your future self a huge favor.

4. Read Daily - almost everything we've ever thought of, or gone through, or wanted, or wanted to know how to do or whatever has been already figured out by someone else. Reading will help you better understand.

5. Have faith and follow through with action.

namenotrequired 2 days ago 1 reply      
Congratulations on taking the big jump and going on a new adventure!

I'm hoping to be in a similar situation in the future (uni student with a gap of up to 7 months because I'm ahead of the curriculum, and I have maybe ~3k in savings, while living with my parents). Here's some ideas I had for myself.

- Travel cheaply. I have friends in many parts of the world and hopefully some of them will let me stay with them. I could also stay closer to home and travel by bike with a tent, but sleeping in a tent might be harder to combine with a remote job.

- Experiment with freelancing, possibly on a "Pay what you want" basis because I won't really need the money

- Focus for some time on just learning the things I've wanted to learn for a long time; technologies, languages, hobbies, professional skills.

- Create some side projects, primarily to learn but some might also bring in a little money.

Disclaimer in case it wasn't clear: I'm not speaking from experience, those are ideas I have for the future.

> I'm also looking for any general tips about staying engaged and active while working from home

This is something I do have experience with and I found that communicating sufficiently, clearly and honestly is both harder and more important than at non-remote jobs.

Edit: I'm also bookmarking this thread to find advice for myself - thanks a lot for posting this question!

grayrest 2 days ago 0 replies      
Learn Clojure via Overtone! https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Mf...

I personally have to either wake up early, wake up and exercise, or start working outside my apartment (e.g. eat lunch out and take my computer) in order to not fall into slacking off all day. Assuming I don't fall into one of my slacking off patterns (e.g HN/Reddit/Twitter tech "news" all day), I've never had trouble staying engaged. I think of it as working every day but sometimes I get paid for working on other people's projects and others I get to enjoy working on my own. My personal priority list of things to do puts sleep and waking up without an alarm as the top priority.

eswat 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ive started the same process as you; left a comfortable, well-paying job two weeks ago so I can pursue other ways of making a living and doing contract work to meet basic needs.

The most important thing for me is to make sure my health is in check, since thats the foundation for everything. My mental checklist - things I go through my head every now and then to make sure they are at healthy levels - is food, fitness, sleep, stress and sun. I try very hard not to compromise these in pursuit of doing other things.

Another thing Im doing now is treating every project as a client, including personal projects. I had been using FreshBooks for keeping track of client work, but I also use it to keep track of the open source projects I work on. Obviously I dont charge these people, but I find it helpful to see in one place where Im allocating the time I spend designing UI and writing code. If I notice I hadnt been putting enough time yesterday, Ill let go of other pursuits to make the time.

As for saving money, having a budget that you can easily refer to helps. I use You Need A Budget becaus - unlike mint - it forces you to really look at each transaction and give your money a job.

What I havent solved yet is the social interaction I had while working in an office of people I knew. While I have access to a co-working space, people tend to keep to themselves. Same thing with coffeeshops. Ive had to just rely on friends and meetups to balance this instead.

EDIT: my contact info is on my profile if you ever want sync up and share further tips and experiences. This goes for anyone else trying out this type of experiment. :)

derwiki 2 days ago 0 replies      
Congratulations :)

- when you find yourself not being productive any more, stop and take a walk. You can't be productive 100% of the time, and it's important to accept that. 30-60 minute walks will do wonders for you.

- pick modest goals for the first month to make sure you knock them out of the park, and then set appropriate goals the following month. Nothing gets you down like missing your first set of goals and being perpetually behind.

Mz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Let me suggest that you view this as an opportunity to unplug.

I was a homemaker for years and I homeschooled my sons for a long time. We are solving hard (personal) problems and making a significant transition in our lives in part because we tend towards not having a TV, have gone through periods without a phone, and tend to have fairly quiet lives, literally and figuratively. People who have super busy lives often have very noisy lives. While driving, they have the radio on. While jogging, they have the ipod on. While relaxing after work, they have the TV on. Their phone is always on and they are super plugged in to social media and on and on.

I think constant noise makes it hard to think. I think it promotes that sense of needing to do a million things and not being able to afford to do just "nothing" for a time if you wish. If your brain is constantly being bombarded with musical lyrics and TV advertising and on and on, how can you ever really, truly think about anything?

When my kids were little, I was able to deal with some serious personal issues in part because I was able to be a homemaker. Cooking, cleaning, doing laundry and caring for small kids took all my time but it did not take all my mental capacity. Thus, it allowed me to think deeply about a lot of things without much interruption. It became a habit and I continue to arrange to live quietly in some sense so my brain is not bombarded with other people's word, ideas, etc all the time so my own ideas and feelings can find their way to the surface and be expressed.

Congrats and good luck!

analog31 2 days ago 0 replies      
Speaking as a musician, it will cost you a bit of money up front, but finding a top notch teacher and taking a few lessons might be a great way to kick off the new phase of your life. Of course I'm saying this while having procrastinated on doing the same for myself. Find a teacher who could provide you with a frank assessment of your technique, and identify gaps in your abilities that might hold you back from fully engaging in your local music scene at a desirable level.

Also, a check-up on your technique might be a good idea in order to avoid injuring yourself once you do start in with those 5 hours a day. Naturally some instruments are more physically demanding than others, but any instrument can hurt you if you don't consider ergonomic technique.

asterfr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Do that stupid thing: a todo list. Write what you want on it, set priority, set a lifetime for the todo list (like say it's for three month), setup deadline for some achievements like (30 hours of by june), update your todo list.

You'll keep track about what you have done so far and it will remove that feeling that you will meet at some point that you haven't achieved anything.

The key is to review your todo list regularly : to know what to do, to remind you of your objective, to write down that you have actually done something and also, very important, to update it by removing what doesn't interest you anymore and adding new stuff.

I have a three months todo list, with all the big things in my life, I have milestones or targets for all these. I find it pretty efficient.

wj 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'd recommend filling out a dreamline (Google it) to figure out SPECIFIC goals you want to achieve over the next year or so. Then list the specific steps you need to take to achieve those goals.

Start on step one today.

ar7hur 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you can do your work remotely then pack a small backpack, and travel around the world. No flights, just cheap road transportation, trains, boats, where you'll meet ton of people you'd never meet in your life. Go to South America, to Asia, to Africa, if you're smart and tough you can travel a year on a $15K budget.
AdrianRossouw 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've actually spent the last month doing the same.

I started blogging. just to decompress, and figure out what i've learnt over my career.

I actually think it's allowed me to rediscover my voice, and i just... i have so much to say. I didn't expect that.

It's been very freeing, and I think possibly life changing.


amha 2 days ago 0 replies      
You should read Mr. Money Mustache! http://www.mrmoneymustache.com

He's an ex-software engineer who, by living reasonably (not even at extreme levels of frugality) saved enough money in seven or eight years to retire at age 30. He's got great money advice! You'll love him!

bediger4000 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you're going to go to a bar and socialize, get a low-priced single malt scotch, and really stretch it out. Bartenders will let you nurse a single scotch far longer than the equivalent dollar amount of beer. Also, most people's bodies recognize that scotch isn't all that good for them, so you will feel biological pressure to not drink very much at all.
w1ntermute 2 days ago 0 replies      
Since you're interested in Bitcoin, educate yourself on economics. There's a good reading list on /r/economics.
EdwardTaylor 2 days ago 0 replies      
I took on a similar shift last year, with a similar drive to cement my grasp of a few languages. Depending on your location, I cant recommend highly enough looking for a hotdesking site if there is one nearby. This will not only break up the monotony of your house, and provide a clear "work/play" separation, but will stick you in with like minded people / freelancers who may be further along the process. This "productive socialising" hits two birds with one stone, accelerating your learning and keeping you sane!
rabino 2 days ago 0 replies      
Try very hard not spending 18hs a day in front of the computer. It's really hard to do that when you switch to remote. Go out, shave, shower every day. Try to keep you healthy.
joshuaheard 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know how much money you have, but I would invest it into an income asset like a rental property or dividend paying equity. You will need an income stream if you want to live work-free for any length of time. Otherwise, I would buy a house or condo or find a situation where you can live "rent-free". Also pay cash for an older car. Those are your major expenses. Generally, I would live within your means, and cook your own food. Avoid travel and entertainment expenses, especially bars. Have fun!
mck- 2 days ago 0 replies      
Read SICP, take MIT's 6.001 and learn Lisp -- it'll get you ready for any other language you'll pick up. Then take any number of free courses online on Coursera, Udacity, Codeschool...

This is what I did after I quit being a trader at an Investment Bank, and moved to the Chinese country-side for 8 months of re-education :)

matchagaucho 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds like you've already taken the biggest and hardest step; which is to simply initiate the change.

My #1 piece of advice, while you're setting goals and scheduling activities, is to understand the organic rhythm and cadence of growth for each goal.

Work brings an inherent cadence of 9am-5pm, Mon-Fri and success is often calibrated every week/sprint/quarter.

But learning guitar, body building, and understanding new programming languages each have their own organic cadence and process for achieving mastery.

Sometimes taking a break from learning something new and simply reflecting is better than grinding away for 5 hrs per day, as that pattern tends to reinforce bad habits rather than develop new and better habits.

granfalloon 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, thanks so much for all the great responses! This has gotten me really excited. Lots to think about!

(And special thanks to those who left their contact information -- I really appreciate it.)

quesebifurcan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Since you're interested in both, one possibility would be to somehow combine your interest in music with your curiosity about programming (especially if you're into electronic music). Something like SuperCollider/Overtone or, if Python is your thing, maybe https://code.google.com/p/pyo/. You might not be able to rush through the docs at CodeAcademy-pace, but -- who knows where you'll end up? Also, having a project you're personally invested in (which is usually the case when music is involved) is incredibly helpful when learning new stuff; there is always something to do.
burritofanatic 2 days ago 0 replies      
It felt good to have a regular job after leaving a law firm when I did that myself a few years ago. I ended up working as a lowly CSR for something I considered my passion at the time. After a couple unexpected transitions, I've picked up coding and am doing that full time remotely at home now.

People here are right: Separation between time and work, Food - don't eat too much of it, and Humans - you need that contact.


TrainedMonkey 2 days ago 0 replies      
Make sure to spend some time with your family/parents/friends.
jnsaff2 2 days ago 0 replies      
I started Udacity courses, highly recommended, you don't have to pay as well if you don't want to. There are othe MOOC's as well..
benbou09 2 days ago 1 reply      
Take 20 min a day to meditate
burritofanatic 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you do plan to keep your license active, your state may have a poorer-lawyer fee scale. Take advantage of that. Same goes with CEB requirements. There's no need to pay for the expensive all inclusive programs.
bayesianhorse 2 days ago 0 replies      
Make more money.
bttf3 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm a recent graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music in the UK; If classical guitar is something that interests you music-wise, I'd be happy to help point you in the right direction. alir3142@gmail.com
undoware 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just did this. Learn piano. If you suck, write code that will make it faster to learn. (off the top of my head: write a midi filter that only permits keystrokes that are onbeat, and makes a fart sound if you miss.
Ask HN: What's it like to have your pull requests rejected?
3 points by pearjuice  17 hours ago   3 comments top 2
gknoy 17 hours ago 1 reply      
TL;DR: - Don't worry about it!- Resolve an existing issue- Make your pull request in a way that makes it pleasant to review by including prose and screenshots (if applicable)- Expect please-fix-this comments.

Pull requests are a vehicle for you to help improve a codebase, but also for the maintainers to evaluate whether your contribution is a good fit for their project. Rejection hurts. However, often you can aim for criticism that says, "I'll merge this if you fix X, Y, and Z".

Treat a PR as a request for feedback on your code. Perhaps the project prefers a certain style, or the maintainers might know of ways you can write your code in a more idiomatic manner for that language. Don't be afraid of this! This is one of the ways we get better. Expect to have several comments that are "please-fix" style comments.

Start small, and try to resolve an issue that's already reported. Ask a maintainer if there's a small enough task that they'd be willing to delegate to you. If they already know you're working on something, you are likely to get a warmer reception, and you avoid them having the same feature already under development.

When you finish implementing your feature (or fix), spend some time writing a few paragraphs of prose describing what your PR changes, what problems it fixes, as well as any assumptions you made or limitations that it might have and any future changes that this might need.

  e.g.:  This changes the way we fetch Foo and Bar lists  of items for users so that they use the same RPC   method.  In a future change, I plan to merge the   separate tables into a single display which can   be filtered in a more robust way.
This helps give a gentler introduction to your change, and lets you explain why you feel it's necessary. It also lets you describe the issue you're resolving (In addition to saying "Fixes #1324") so that it's easier to read. If you're changing the way things are displayed, try to include a screenshot.

donretag 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I would prefer an outright request instead of just letting the pull request lie idle.

Perhaps you can implement a bug fix before submitting a pull request for a new feature. Start small. It is hard to tell since every open source project is different.

HN Search updated again
29 points by redox_  2 days ago   28 comments top 8
Spittie 2 days ago 3 replies      
Sorry for hijacking this, but can anyone that know someone at DuckDuckGo ask them to change !hn from http://hnsearch.com/ to http://hn.algolia.com/ ?

I've already contacted them with the form on their site a week or so ago, but it's still using the old search, which is not working anymore now.

Again, sorry for the hijack, but posting requests over here seems to be the fastest way to have something done.

Curmudgel 2 days ago 1 reply      
Please switch the default option from "story" to "all".

The legacy style screen has a minor rendering error in Firefox 31:


My comment from a previous story is still relevant:

The search results for stories show both the long (and useless) news.ycombinator URL and a link to the comments. Both links lead to the same location. The news.ycombinator URL displayed is redundant and adds visual noise. I've highlighted both links in the image linked to below.

I'd like it if the results showed "link", "parent", and "on $News_Story", like the old site did.


_delirium 2 days ago 2 replies      
Imo the default search shouldn't return hidden comments and stories. While it might sometimes be useful to do so, I'm finding it mostly results in spam showing up. As much as I do appreciate the opportunity to buy https://hn.algolia.com/?q=cheap+nike+shoes ...
greenyoda 2 days ago 1 reply      
Could you please put a summary of all the available search options right on the search page?
bmelton 2 days ago 1 reply      
I spent probably 20 a few days ago trying to find the HN discussion for the ElasticSearch 1.0 release (as I'd remembered there being some useful comments there about using ES as a document store, but not their exact contents), and ended up with nothing. Ultimately, I ended up spending another 45 minutes on the general internet trying to piece together the bits of the comment I remembered.

With the new update, I tried the same query as I had, and it was immediately the very first result.


dfc 2 days ago 1 reply      
Feature Request: Use `by:` as a synonym for `author:`
huxley2 2 days ago 1 reply      
It looks great on my iphone.

The only other thing I would request is perhaps the screenshots that appear on the desktop version?

Could you also possibly try to get somone to make the main HN site responsive on mobile? I'm surprised why this has not been done yet. It shouldn't take more than 5 minutes.

superplussed 2 days ago 1 reply      
Love the work you've done with this. The feature I'm always wishing you had was the ability to filter by number of comments in post as it's a pretty fair marker of relevance on alot of queries.
Ask HN: How do you cope with your browser tab overload?
5 points by mattkennedy  1 day ago   10 comments top 4
jongold 1 day ago 1 reply      
I try to cut back on the hard stuff these days - I use OneTab religiously and promise myself I'll 'come back to those tabs at the weekend', but I never do. Current status: 800+ saved tabs in OneTab.

After getting bored with Kippt I've gone back to bookmarking in Pinboard (wiped my account and trying to start fresh), but again I'm not really going back to things I've saved there. New idea - just radically cutting down the list of things I care about and being realistic about how many 5 page New York Times essays and 20 minute Medium posts I'm going to get around to reading - most of the internet is tldr anyway.

Pyrodogg 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I've found that all browser based solutions have been nothing more than a nicotine patch for me.

The root of my issue is that I'm occasionally bad at managing my 'working memory' and worry too much about letting things go from it. I worry that if I let this cool new thing leave the forefront of my consciousness that I will never see it again. This fear causes worry and sadness.

I've been working recently to overcome this knee-jerk tendency.

At Work.I limit myself to one browser for the internet. This includes work research, news, and also HN (cant' quit). It is closed completely at the end of the day. If there really was some work related site i need to follow-up on. I simply leave myself a note to follow up on the task and not the specific website. If I need to find that, i trust my future self to remember, or look it up in the history.

At HomeI'm less strict but still try to maintain one Chrome instance. I won't necessarily close it every night but I will review my open tabs before leaving. I try to make reasoned decisions to keep open, bookmark, or let go each tab. It's been a pretty successful project so far.

I consider in-built browser bookmarks to be all I need. If I bookmark anything, I assign it to some logical grouping of sites so I feel better about finding it later.

If I had some sort of magic button to whisk away my open tabs, I feel I would be missing out on a crucial activity; letting each thing go from my mind. I need to trust myself that if I really need this new framework for a future project, i'll find it if it's actually useful. I need to make decisions on whether to buy this thing or not instead of waffling and letting the tab rot.

At it's root, this is a human psychology problem and not a technical one.-my 2cents

webmaven 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Tabs Outliner: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/tabs-outliner/eggk...

It for me it also replaces bookmarks, and does better tab crash recovery than the browser alone. I've used it to 'unload' an entire browser window with multiple tabs that encapsulates a particular mental state so I can concentrate on something else and then switch back to it with less difficulty than having to entirely rebuild that browser+mental state combination from scratch.

Nevertheless, I do find that tabs continue to proliferate. A bit more help to detect duplicate saved tabs, do automatic grouping, and integration with external tools meant for particular use cases (Pocket for stuff I want to read/watch later, pinboard for longer term/more structured categorization, etc.) would be welcome.

chatmasta 19 hours ago 2 replies      
I would love a tree representation of tabs. Every link you open in a new tab creates a child of the current tab. So if I search google for "foo bar" and then open the first three results in new tabs, I will have a d=2 tree with root google and three children results.

I find that I navigate the web like this and a tree solution would be nice.

Ask HN: How do you handle your music collection?
6 points by Zoxo  1 day ago   16 comments top 13
stevekemp 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I store my music beneath a common prefix, and try to file it neatly:

    /srv/music/    /srv/music/$Artist/$album1/    /srv/music/$Artist/$album2/
That allows me to quickly find things, although it doesn't work well for classical music, and I found that I tend to create subgroups for soundtracks which throws things off too:

     /srv/music/Soundtracks/$film1     /srv/music/Soundtracks/$film2
For playing I use mpd as a music-server, and sonata to play it back. I also run the logitech media deamon thing to present the music to a squeezebox inside the flat.

ragatskynet 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Mainly I use spotify. Music I have bought are sorted by genre/year/[month/]album. This works for electronic music singles/EPs well. E.g.


lamby 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a diverse collection of classical music which doesn't fit either of the usual Artist/Album/Track entity relationships or my OCD, so I ended up writing my own music database.

The feature-set is mostly geared towards accurately storing western classical music circa 1500 to the present day. It also supports albums ("non-classical") too with correct support for multiple CDs.

Whilst it is web-based, it basically spits out XSPF (essentially a "better" M3U playlist) that point to the files themselves.

Source is https://github.com/lamby/musicdb if anyone is interested.

ctb_mg 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I use grooveshark for 'casual' listening. For anything I want to keep and put on the phone or play in the car:

Music is stored on a samba file server on the network as: Music/Artist/Album/file.mp3, orMusic/Artist/file.mp3

Played over the network using foobar2000. Most music is mp3 format, I get flac when possible for future purposes. I can't tell the difference between a high bitrate mp3 and flac.

Music is only backed up to a secondary drive, not to any cloud. It's so massive and replaceable that it's not justifiable for me to upload it to a cloud backup.

My workflow for importing music files is not the best and needs improvement. Currently I use foobar2000's feature of moving songs to a specific folder (samba file share) named after the artist/album. But I import music so infrequently I forget how to use it.

andyn 1 day ago 1 reply      
One day I got a cheap-ish NAS then used beets [1] to organise and copy all the music on my computer to it, listening to it with Banshee[2] over the network.

Then I got Spotify and don't bother much with it anymore...

[1] http://beets.radbox.org/

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banshee_%28media_player%29

bgar 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Stored locally, because I don't feel comfortable trusting a streaming site with my music collection. I use doubletwist to sync it to my Nexus 5 and listen using the Shuttle+ app.
J_Darnley 1 day ago 0 replies      
Album art is an image file which goes in the folder for the album. Then I sort my files into Genre\Album folder structure. I play it with Winamp. I also put it all in Winamp's Music Library.

I store my music as flac files when available. I don't claim to be able to hear the difference between that and a good quality mp3 file. It is mostly to give me options in the future.

ScottWhigham 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm an album person, not a singles person, so I manage things by folder: Genre\Artist\Album. I then tag appropriately. To play an album, I just browse to the folder and play the folder. I keep a folder called "New Music" that I put all incoming/new albums in (so that it is New Music\Artist\Album) - about once a quarter or so, I'll move things out of that folder into the appropriate Genre folder. I'd hate it to be more complex than this.

I don't need my music to be "instantly available on all devices" - I have probably 2,500 albums that I've bought/digitized through the years. I can't listen to that much - I like listening to 1-5 albums per week on rotation/repeat.

attilagyongyosi 1 day ago 0 replies      
The good, old-fashioned way:I store my music on my hard drive (lots of gigs), and using MusicBee for playback and management. Awesome audio player! I am a huge music enthusiast and if a release doesn't come with album art, I download the picture from the net and put it in the metadata.
Phogo 1 day ago 1 reply      
I use Subsonic, perfect for my needs.


ycaspirant 1 day ago 0 replies      
I use iTunes Match so that my music collection is available on all my devices without taking up any disk space.
sigvef 1 day ago 0 replies      
I exclusively stream music on demand from the Internet these days, primarily from Spotify.
scope 1 day ago 0 replies      
i use rhythmbox; neat, easy to use and familiar [since it's inspired by Apple iTunes]

quality: if you want to take your music to the next level, i recommend getting a good set of headphones AND using flac format instead of mp3

Ask HN: How much do you spend on SaaS a month?
57 points by drlaj  2 days ago   53 comments top 30
patio11 2 days ago 3 replies      
I spend about $10k a year on SaaS, depending on how you define it. In 2013 I had 175 charges in my accounting software for it.

Prominent expenses and the approximate monthly rates include: Wistia ($100), WPEngine ($250), Sendgrid ($100), 37signals ($100), KissMetrics ($150), and then a large grabbag of sub-$20 SaaSes such as Blinksale, Airbreak, Scout, Dropbox, Google Apps, etc etc.

The smallest SaaS expense: Tarsnap, at $0.60 per month [+]. (Colin, get on the gravy train, you're welcome it it.)

SaaS is a very small portion of my businesses' total expenses. I spend more on hosting and telecomm (largely due to the line of business which is, well, an international telecomm). People are also much more expensive then software, even to the limited extent at which I hire people.

[+] It turns out that a) this had creeped up to $3 per month and b) my account was within literally days of running out of funds, which I only found out because I just happened to check now. grumble grumble picodollars grumble grumble Would happily pay $100 a month to not feel what I'm feeling right now. grumble grumble

kybernetyk 2 days ago 1 reply      
Till the whole NSA thing came out I was spending around $200-$300 for several services. After that I switched to a local server and FOSS alternatives to Dropbox, Github & co.

Now my SaaS spending is $0 or $10 depending on if you count Spotify as SaaS.

jdlshore 2 days ago 0 replies      
For http://letscodejavascript.com, I spend about $1000 per month on various services. The biggest expenses go to PayPal, credit card processors, and Recurly, which all charge a percentage of revenue. Other than that, it's SendFaster, which hosts my videos ($200); Heroku, which hosts the site ($66); and Pingdom, which monitors my sites for uptime ($9). I also spend a small amount each year for TypeKit (fonts).

Edit: I should add that Let's Code JavaScript isn't a side project; it's my primary revenue stream.

Silhouette 2 days ago 0 replies      
Specifically for software as a service, we now spend nothing, for any of my businesses.

We do outsource various infrastructure things to specialists. Hosting and payment collection are the two largest categories.

However, our experience has been that every time we've considered SaaS, it comes down to a balance something like this:


- Saves time.

- Offers a tried and tested solution to some problem.


- Requires effort up-front to integrate it.

- Requires effort up-front to customize it to fit our needs as well as it can.

- Such customization isn't always possible.

- We're allergic to lock-in, and we've seen goalposts moved after our money has been taken in the past.

- May have deal-breaking privacy/security implications.

- Has ongoing costs, which may or may not scale favourably as we grow.

The only areas that tip towards SaaS on that balance for any of our projects tend to be very simple tasks that require negligible effort to integrate or customize, involve no data that is highly sensitive or valuable, and are expendable without causing noticeable harm to our business while we make other arrangements. In other words, they're things where the cons don't really apply because it's not big or important enough to worry about them. Most of those are readily available as someone's free plan anyway at the kinds of scales we're talking about here.

For anything more important than that, we've found that doing things manually at first soon shows up which areas will most benefit from automation for any given project, and we tend to automate heavily once a need becomes clear. We just do it the old-fashioned way using scripting, spreadsheets, and various other software tools that have proven helpful.

canterburry 2 days ago 1 reply      
Our Saas, Pixtulate, is currently in beta and bootstrapped. We have optimized for lowest cost possible at the moment and our traffic is still fairly low.

  1. DigitalOcean - $110/month  2. Google Apps - $5/month  3. UptimeRobot - Free (just as good as Pingdom)  4. CloudFlare - Free (serving under 2 TB/month)  6. Amazon S3 - $1.40/month  7. MixPanel - Free  8. HeapAnalytics - Free  9. Google Analytics - Free  10. BaseCRM - Free  11. MailChimp - Free  12. Mandrill - Free  13. Tumblr - Free (our blog)  14. CloudBees - Free (build, maven repos etc)  15. Desk.com - $3/month  16. NewRelic - Free (server monitoring)  17. GoDaddy - $9/year
I am absolutely amazed over how many services we can get free. On one hand, we would either have to invest more into development or do without, on the other, it doesn't bode well for our own likelihood of making money.

sdesol 2 days ago 0 replies      
Amazon Route 53: $1

Bitbucket: Free with 29 private repositories.

GitHub: Maybe $7 in the future. I would like to test my product against their enterprise version and $7 is the cost to join the developer program but they don't say you are are guaranteed a test license. Obviously if I can't get a test license, it doesn't make sense to pay for a plan.

DigitalOcean: $15 - $50. I really see them as a cheap download service for my products installer which is 225MB. It's basically $5 for 1 TB. This sounds like a good deal, but if somebody could correct me, I would love to know.

Stripe: $0 because my product is in beta and is free.

Google Business Email: $50/year

For everything else, I can do on my own.



I would like to test my OS X installer on as many different versions as I can, so I'm wondering is their a VPS service for OS X?

_delirium 2 days ago 0 replies      
None so far I think. I could be missing something, but looking briefly at what I spend money on, I don't think any of it counts as SaaS.

I do spend money on various IaaS offerings. But none of the services on top of that have come up so far as something I feel I need. But I'm doing mostly research (which is also my job) and side projects, not running a tech business. I need servers, not so much services. There are some vaguely relevant services (like machine-learning-as-a-service), but I generally don't feel comfortable being dependent on an external service for my actual research. So I'd only use these if it was an ancillary need and not something where I might need to publish the results. There's also a move towards asking researchers to ship VMs of their test setup as a replicable archive of the work, and dependencies on external services are a no-go for that.

For my personal life, Dropbox is the closest I came to paying for. But then I realized I was mostly just using it to back up photos, which seemed like a use-case it's not even designed for. So I moved those to a local backup + Flickr.

rtfeldman 2 days ago 0 replies      
I have a side project where we spend about $150/month on Amazon Web Services for hosting and $50 on one other SaaS service needed by the product.

Take that with the grain of salt that our total marketing spend is $0. We don't even use Mixpanel or any equivalent to track what our users are doing.

Brajeshwar 2 days ago 1 reply      
Honestly, I believe the pricing model deployed by most Sass product is broken. I know they do experiment and that best clients are the ones willing to pay a premium, and that they are indeed the ones to be taken care of.

However, does it not look more like, get the most from the few?

I don't run or own any Sass Products, so I may be utterly wrong, but won't it not be that there is a gradual increase in price along with multiple options instead of the typical (i) free for the not-so-usable one instance (ii) ~$20 for barely yourself (iii) ~100 for cool and hip but (iv) we're keeping the best for the last at ~$500 (v) of course, the mega corps can email us for to talk about their 10,000th employee.

What about a dynamic pricing where I'm not fleeced at $19 per user per month but more of - it starts with $19 but then to support the next user is rather simple and cost-effective, let is be just $4.99?

As I said, just my thought, I'm yet to experiment with pricing and see them for myself.

As for the questions, I run few side projects and a UI/UX Consulting Service and I'm within $100 per month - from invoicing, to hosting to project management to version control.

jalfresi 2 days ago 0 replies      
Roughly about $10k a month, though we have cut that down from $30k a month. There are still plenty of cost savings we can make though so I expect that to drop to about half that still, with no loss of capacity, scale or performance.

The simple fact is we couldn't do what we do by purchasing hardware, its so much more cost effective at this scale. Mostly AWS with Cloudant and bits of Rackspace as well as a few smaller suppliers.

awicklander 2 days ago 1 reply      
A little over $1000 per month. I recently did a write up of everything we use here: http://projectidealism.com/posts/2013/12/30/saas-we-use-2013
orware 2 days ago 0 replies      
A few years back I decided to go about minimizing my expenses for my side business (which was more or less website development/hosting at the time) and switched from a dedicated server to Rackspace Cloud Sites (which was a $100/mo at the time) so that dropped my monthly cost from about $250 down to that amount. I think at the time I may have also been paying for an Authorize.net merchant account which I wasn't even using which IIRC cost about another $50 or so.

So I continued to pay the $100/mo with no real income coming in, just to host my own site plus a few others for a few local businesses that I didn't really have the heart to pull the plug on (since I was working, it wasn't too big of an issue for me).

Once I started selling my software on my site in August 2010, I would say in that first month I more or less broke even for the first time in forever and the income rate has remained fairly constant since then (about $200-300/mo).

Current expenses are:$100 - Rackspace Cloud Sites (I'm locked into the old pricing...now it's $150/mo)$6 - AVLUX Subversion Hosting$7 - GitHub Plan$1 and change for Sendgrid's Lite PlanPlus the occasional renewal costs for one of the domains I have.

Achshar 2 days ago 0 replies      
I bought a windows 8 licence, but that has no expiration date so I don't think it can be converted into a per month rate. Other than that I have a domain which is hosted for $20 annually. So while server software and domain can probably count as Saas but the (part of the (VPS)) server itself cannot be saas I guess. That's pretty much it.
gamegoblin 2 days ago 0 replies      

  Digital Ocean $15  Netflix       $10  Spotify       $10  Domain Names  $5  (yearly/12)  --------------------  Total         $40

joemaller1 2 days ago 0 replies      
Small, conservative design shop, SaaS is about $60-80 per seat per month, varying by role. The bulk of that is Creative Cloud, which is at least twice as expensive as it should be.
eswat 2 days ago 0 replies      
Looking at my Expenses Table[1] I am spending about $16.52 a week on SaaS: GitHub, Creative Cloud, IRCCloud, Private Internet Access and Last.fm. In a few weeks Ill be adding FreshBooks to this table. I dont host any demanding side projects - really just anything that can be hosted on GitHub Pages - so most of my expenses are to facilitate my design consultancy.


ithinkso 2 days ago 0 replies      
How are you guys managing tens of SaaS? Isn't it a problem to remember, configure, update etc?
hectormalot 2 days ago 2 replies      
Side project: an automatic roster for evening and weekend emergency duties for groups of dentists. We run on Heroku and most of our saas cost is a dyno ($35), an SSL add-on ($20), and some phone/sms cost from Twilio ($5-10). We use workless to spin up and down a worker dyno when needed.

Since the tool supports an offline process we don't have incredible loads, so we use the free tier of most other services (e.g. SendGrid, etc.)

What are you spending your $200 on?

cm2012 2 days ago 0 replies      
Spent $15000 a year at my old job (mostly on channeladvisor)
blakesterz 2 days ago 0 replies      
These things add up so fast don't they? I think I'm around $200, which is down quite a bit. We had to get rid of New Relic, which broke my heart because it's awesome, and several other things to cut costs. It's all the little things that add up like LastPass, Dropbox, backup space, mail and so on. Sometime the FOSS alternatives aren't worth it, sometimes they are.
greg5green 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm around $10/month but I've yet to build anything that anyone has taken a shine to (besides myself of course).
iSloth 2 days ago 1 reply      
Two servers from OVH is my only expense for side projects, total is around $30/pm

Using quite a few free services like Pingdom, Cloudflare, Analytics etc...

kruk 2 days ago 0 replies      
We use Github ($25), Google Apps ($20), Pivotal Tracker ($7) and Enterprise Chef (within free tier). So in total $52.
avanderhoorn 2 days ago 0 replies      
Main work project: Around $500 a month split across 2 services - Mixpanel ($350) and Azure Hosting ($150). Its a 2 man team

Side projects: Around $40 a month split across 2 services - Gtihub, Asana

dmourati 2 days ago 1 reply      
$80k/month, SaaS company running on AWS.
sanat 2 days ago 0 replies      
Around $250 on 5 services - Heroku, WPEngine, Beanstalkapp, Bitbucket, and AWS.
andregoiano 2 days ago 1 reply      
Around 300USD/month on close to 15 services.
gesman 2 days ago 0 replies      
$1/mo, sendgrid
beachstartup 2 days ago 0 replies      
olark, zendesk, zoho, webex, ringcentral, a couple other minor ones all add up to over $2k/month. this is like a drop in the bucket compared to payroll and rent and colo and equipment which are each well into in the 5 figures/month.

if you're running a business you will have to get accustomed to spending large amounts of money and not let it spook you.

just make sure your per-seat software costs are reasonable and it will track linearly and profitably with your success.

leoplct 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ask HN: What are some good Golang repositories to read?
2 points by techcowboy  17 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN: What was the verdict on PG's "Pending Comments"?
4 points by jaytaylor  1 day ago   2 comments top
Anyone interested in beta testing my new project?
2 points by AndrewCoyle  19 hours ago   3 comments top 2
seanccox 19 hours ago 1 reply      
I am. I was having problems loading it though... maybe because I'm in Turkey?
j-hernandez 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Just requested an invite. Dig the clean look and looking forward to giving some feedback. Best of luck!
       cached 25 March 2014 12:05:01 GMT