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I am a successful software dev but I have a serious drinking problem
300 points by user249  1 day ago   209 comments top 62
Snail_Commando 21 hours ago 3 replies      
I don't know if you'll see this, but I hope you do.

I've struggled with addiction and I've made decisions that I'm ashamed of and disgusted with. There was a period of my life when I was also hopeless. I thought that I had lost everything. In a sense, it was true. (Rather, I destroyed most of what I had and subsequently lost the remaining pieces.)

Despite all of that, it does get better. It took me far too long to accept that.

The fact that you are posting here tells me that on some level you are ready to get better. Recognition of the problem begets hope.

Maintaining an attitude of "it doesn't get better" turns out to be a recursive function. Since lives are finite, the base case turns out to be total self-destruction.

At each time step, each recursive call, sustained hopelessness only begets more hopelessness.

Not only do the effects of addiction and hopelessness compound, but you get a first row seat. You watch the function expand, you see every call. You literally destroy yourself in a slow, humiliating, dangerous, and deliberate fashion.

A friend of mine liked to quote a man named Albert J. LaChance, he wrote: "Addiction is a slow form of suicide- suicide on the installment plan."

Whichever metaphor you choose, one thing is clear: changing your attitude is a necessary (but not sufficient) prerequisite for recovery.

You are obviously intelligent, so it should go without saying, there is no avoiding the fact a chemical addiction is a uniquely difficult problem to solve. Fortunately, it is a problem that a great deal of science is expended upon. And there are many ways to receive medical treatment.

Tedious self-help meetings and hollow platitudes are NO substitute for scientifically validated medical treatment. In your case, it is essential that you have medical intervention while you detox.

(Self-help is very helpful to some, and it does have a reported effectiveness of (last I heard) 10 - 50% (surely, a study carried out with utmost statistical rigor!)

Self-help meetings aren't right for me, but I will vouch for their occasional effectiveness.

Should you choose to follow the self-help branch of your recovery timeline, be aware that the self-help phase comes after the detox branch. All future recovery branches of your recovery timeline form after the medical detox node.)

You need medicine and science right now!

Alcohol withdrawal can kill late stage addicts. You wrote six months ago that you attempted a cold turkey solo-detox and experienced DTs. Those suck. They are also a sign that you need to be extra cautious in your recovery.

When you go to detox, go to a licensed recovery center where a doctor can monitor you. Usually this means a hospital equipped with mental health facilities. An ER will suffice if you are out of other options or are having seizures. You can also go to a rehabilitation center (with a competent medical staff)! The last option might start your detox and then segue into a 28 day (or longer) program.

Alcohol is perhaps the most dangerous drug to detox from. (Perhaps surprising to some, you won't die from heroin withdrawals.)

You can (and should) get medical leave from your employer for treatment. I'm fairly certain it's illegal for them to deny that. (Since you are a competent developer, I'm assuming you work at a company with benefits.)

If you do not have health insurance, please contact your local medicaid office.

Please do this. For your the mother of your child, for your kids. For the person in the future who you will come across who needs help with their addiction. But most of all, for you.


This last part is my favorite aspect of hacker news. I get to tell someone that they are wrong.

I used to have your attitude. I even attempted suicide. By the grace of faulty nylon, I'm still here.

"It doesn't get better." <- That quote is factually incorrect. I'm just one instance of its disproof.

Now, to break Hacker News guidelines with extreme prejudice:


If you don't post an email in your profile in the next few hours so that I can talk to you. Via email, skype, phone, whatever. I will reply to my comment with an email address so that you can contact me when you are ready to talk and/or seek treatment.

philiphodgen 20 hours ago 1 reply      
There is an astonishing variety of comments here. Frankly this is not a vi vs emacs thread.

I wish commenters here would understand that the OP's glide path is currently aimed at one of two outcomes: insanity or death.

If the OP is reading the thread (and I would guess he is not) I would implore him to ignore all of the comments except those from people who have had up-front and personal experience with the damage from alcoholism.

A flippant comment -- just so you can look clever on HN -- may condemn the OP to a dismal fate. Cut it out.

OP, seek the seemingly harder way. It will turn out to be the softer, easier way. This means a new way of living (on the one hand) or a slow painful death on the other. Let the others here on HN plait their shit. You must either change or die.

Disclaimer: Anecdotal personal experience sample size for this topic is > 1.

seanccox 1 day ago 3 replies      
Have you sought help? Alcohol is an addictive chemical, and if you have a dependency, you don't have to overcome it alone.

If, on the other hand, you are like me an you simply drink too much, I can share how I got the situation under control.

First, I threw out a lot of the liquor in the house (I kept the good whiskey that I was already saving for a special occasion). Then, I stopped going out to bars as often and, to a certain extent, avoided people I typically drank with or found ways to socialize without being around alcohol. I also took up yoga in the mornings. I like yoga, but if I drink the night before, I won't feel like waking up for it. So, I remind myself before I go out to a pub or meet friends that if I drink, I'm screwing up my routine.

That combination has helped, and it's gotten me to a place where I can go out on a Saturday night, get a nice buzz going with three or four beers over several hours, without reaching that 'fuck it' moment where I start doing shots and smoking cigarettes till dawn.

subversively 1 day ago 3 replies      
As another poster mentioned, addiction is about getting away from some kind of unbearable inner pain. I'll share mine, what I did to get deaden it, and how I finally healed it. I'm 31 now, have a wife, exciting job, close friends, and most of all, I'm happy.

My pain comes form severe bullying; I got beaten up literally every day as a child for three years. After that, I finally got transferred to another school, but the damage was done.

I used video games, porn and promiscuity to deaden the pain. That distracted me from starting a career, and I ended up living on the street for six months.

I tried pretty much everything to heal myself.

* What did not work *

- Religion; God did absolutely nothing to my pain away. Religious counselors were very judgmental and made me feel worse, and their advice just caused new problems.- Cults; They had interesting teachings that were partially very entertaining, but Ashtar Sharan had nothing but a Galactic shrug to offer my very real suffering (I would have been prepared to actually believe in Ashty had he actually helped me, but it was clear that he did not)- Meditation; It helped, but only temporarily. When I missed my meditation session the pain came right back, and I grew distant from the world.- Yoga; Like meditation, it did help, but it took such great lifestyle changes I just didn't feel like me any more. I'm a child of the West, and Yoga is radically different.- Sex; obviously, sleeping around is a great distraction and can be genuinely fun, but when it's addictive it hurts in the end and you draw other people into your drama.- Counseling; Wallowing in my pain with a guy who think everything is a fascinating freak show made things much worse.

* What worked partially

- Cannabis; Smoking weed actually worked better than meditation to give me temporary relief. It also made me confused when used heavily.- New Age; There is a lot of partial truth floating around, if you avoid the obvious marketing ploys. "Think And Grow Rich" is pretty good, and so is "The Science of getting Rich". Basically, the idea is to sit down and think about stuff you want in detail. It has a similar calming effect to meditation, and can lead to actual creative problem solving. It did not, however, significantly heal my hardest pain points. But the idea of "you can reach your goals" kept my trying.- Pressure point tapping; EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) is pretty good, it can stimulate and permanently remove some trauma. It has its limits though, and I felt like an neurotic idiot tapping my wrists all the time.

* What really worked

- Philosophy; Getting a genuine core philosophy and actively deciding my values gave me a lot of strength.- Openness; being extremely honest about my shortcomings with deserving people lead to a form of intimacy that makes the trauma not seem so bad any more.- "Taking the pain"; This is not the same as sucking it up. It is feeling like crap, and accepting that I am feeling like crap right now, without suppressing it. Practicing this takes the "fear of the fear" away. This is probably the real benefit of meditation when done properly, but I didn't need to sit on a cushion to do that.- Self-acceptance; This one is the kicker. I no longer slapped my wrist for slacking on the job, or being not as nice as I could be. Paradoxically, this lead to me not slacking on the job, and being nicer. It also helped find my niche, where my shortcomings don't matter.- Dimethyltryptamine (DMT); An illegal psychedelic drug, it has been used as indigenous medicine for centuries. This is the only way I have been able to permanently release my worst and oldest pain points. I stopped smoking spontaneously after a couple of trips, and have noticed a sharp raise in my productivity and overall wellbeing.

Obviously, this is just my story, but I hope that some points might help you, or someone else.

mattm 1 day ago 3 replies      
I have struggled with porn at times and have done a lot of research on addictions. I also have a couple friends who are alcoholics. IMO, Gabor Mate has been the best resource I have found on understanding addictions. His theory is that addictions start in childhood due to some kind of constant, ongoing stress. It could be something like abusive parents or severe bullying. When we find something that temporarily relieves the stress, our body latches on to it and doesn't want to let go. Personally, I've found that understanding addiction and the addictive cycle has helped me a lot. From meditation, I've also become much more aware of my body sensations and understanding the danger periods when I am getting stressed.

After I did a 10-day Vipassana meditation retreat, I put together https://www.programmingspiritually.com to try to help other developers that face some of the same issues. Email me if you're interested and I'll sign you up for the course for free.

shawnee_ 23 hours ago 1 reply      
The good news is that it's not a hopeless cause, even though it might seem that way. I used to think that mine was.. totally genetic and thus incurable; that I was doomed to the same death-by-alcohol fate as many in my biological family, so why bother?

The only people who can understand are those who've been through it and found a way to put the brakes on. It's worth testing out.. my test found the world a whole lot better with the brakes fully engaged at a complete stop, so that's where I've been for a while now.

There are people out there -- young and old, men and women, wealthy and poor, god freaks and atheists alike who've done it. Find them, listen with an open mind and among them there will surely be someone you can relate to who can help you learn about what worked for them.

mkhattab 1 day ago 9 replies      
I'm an escapist. Whether it's movies, youtube, video games, literally anything that is unproductive, I'll spend an inordinate time doing. Luckily, I don't drink or do any drugs, but I might as well since I'm pissing my life away. It is as if I'm stuck in neutral. However, I do make just enough money to get by.

The odd thing is that I can't pinpoint why I'm this way. It wasn't always like this. I guess reason doesn't matter at this point.

Anyway, I don't think my post adds anything useful to this discussion, but good luck.

forgottenpaswrd 1 day ago 2 replies      
Man, first thing: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

You are not the first human to become addicted, nor will be the only one. There are people out there that have been in a worse situation than you and that have gone out of addictions.

You should find those people, meet them and get out of drinking. Over years you made a path that you have to undo. This will take years, like it took you to create it.

Your wife and kids did the right thing: to stop supporting your addiction. It is time for you to take steps.

I have studied a lot of psychology but I can't help you because it would be like trying to explain quantum physics before learning basic math. But there is people out there that really know what steps you could take for getting out and doing great things with your life.

goatforce5 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Craig Ferguson did a good piece about his alcoholism, a year or two that went missing from his life, 15 years of being sober, etc.

It's really good, and there might be something in it for you:


DonGateley 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I have 16 years sober after ending homeless and literally in the gutter (no millions passed through my hands but it was still a lot.) I had been fighting with it for 20 years watching everything and everyone slip away as you have. This is better than that.

Yes, it was AA that supported me through it. No, I am not religious now and wasn't then. I was just willing to suspend disbelief long enough to try something. I am at a loss to explain why it worked but that doesn't matter.

Despite what many people think AA requires no faith or belief of any kind beyond acceptance of the fact of your situation.

Many read "Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity" as a statement of belief in a spiritual solution. It is not that at all, it is merely a hypothetical that is pretty hard to deny on the face of it. Bill and Bob were really, really smart.

Take that hypothetical, suspend disbelief, do the recommended prayer and meditation with the caveat "I don't know if this has any real meaning but, whatever" if you need that and see what happens. That's what I did. I don't question the mystery of my recovery I just marvel at it. You can choose your eventual spiritual path or none at all later in the game but you have to have a game left to play to do that.

In summary, believe nothing but try anything.

zealon 1 day ago 3 replies      
Test for ADD/ADHD. Seriously.

Many people with ADD/ADHD end up in the IT business. Drinking and drug problems, nicotine and caffeine addiction, high-risk behaviours and family issues are very common among ADD/ADHD people.

The reason behind this: low dopamine and norepinefrine levels in the ADD/ADHD brain. Those low levels create a very high reward threshold, so people with ADD/ADHD tend to unconsciously seek for strong or risky stimulus.


middle334 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Throwaway account here.

I was a "high functioning" alcoholic; 35 years in the software business, and I've worked for companies I know you've heard of, and you've almost certainly used my products. 15 years ago I was drinking 750ml of liquor a day. Lost a few jobs, was living in filth, and was about to be homeless.

Long story made short, I got into detox and then AA, changed pretty much everything in my life that wasn't working and haven't had a drink since. First couple years were intense, and I still go to AA meetings every week. It's a maintenance thing. I know I can't drink again.

It can get better, but you can't do it yourself. If you're a heavy drinker, get medical help in the first few days because withdrawal can kill you. I think you'll find your employer amazingly helpful and supportive.

[I'm extremely skeptical of solutions that involve other substances. I guess if it works, it works, but I'm not going to get much out of talking to you about it.]

terranstyler 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow, I'm impressed some of you guys share information about your personal weaknesses. AFAIK this is one of the big steps towards dealing with your problem, so congratulations already.

Also, FWIW, my wife is a behavioral therapist and already treated a number of addicted people. She says you learn this kind of "bad" behaviors if, given a problem, they are the "only" or "most successful" behaviors you know and you repeat them for a long time.

Treatment then is to identify

- why you think it's the only behavior you know or the most appropriate

- what your definition of a "successful behavior" is

- what are other appropriate behaviors

- how to deal with situations in which your "bad behavior" usually occurs and how to substitute the bad by one of the good ones.

Disclaimer: I have no psychological background whatsoever, this is just my view on the things.

stef25 1 day ago 0 replies      
151 days ago you said you'd been clean for a year and a half - what happened?
madaxe_again 1 day ago 0 replies      
You're not alone. I live in a world of perpetual insane stress, and continuously self medicate through the not-so-winning triangle of cigarettes, coffee, and weed, in quantities that'd make a mobster blush. I've had my fair share of victory, and I feel more than my fair share of loss, but don't we all.

I've tried stopping my various vices, but without treating the stimulus loop, it's nigh on impossible. When I step off the grid and go travelling for a month... I suddenly no longer feel the need for any of them. This is a huge relief to me, as it means I realise that this behaviour isn't something endemic to myself, rather a habituation as a result of the feedback loop I allowed to grow.

Step out. Do something totally different. My promise to myself that I will do this, and soon, is the only thing keeping me remotely sane. At the very least, hit the road for a month and see somewhere new, meet someone new, and see if you're the same person. You might be surprised.

Jxnathan 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm just like you -- a developer with an addiction. But my addiction is different... and illegal. I'm not motivated unless I'm high on fake aka K2. If you haven't heard of 'fake', it's basically a really strong marijuana with research chemical additives.

Since gas stations started selling it 3 years ago, I became addicted and when they were banned from selling it I had to find more. I found it online and have been ordering it every since. I leave work early sometimes so I can go smoke it. The only downside I've noticed, is that I'm less sociable (in person) because of how I look when I'm high (red eyes, droopy eyelids) and it makes me tired extremely fast. Sometimes I will wake up at my computer desk wondering when I fell asleep or how long I've been out. I'm sure it's probably not good on my lungs either, but I smoke cigarettes so I'm used to knowing I'm harming my body internally. I just love the way it makes me feel, almost like a reward. I use it as an award for coding something beautiful. "Oh that code actually worked?! Time to smoke."

I hope we both find help. We need it.

ciokan 1 day ago 2 replies      
My father died of alcoholism and whatever we said to him or do wouldn't change a thing in his mind. That's a very strong addiction and he didn't stop even when doctors told him he's in terminal phase. I believe the change has to come from inside of you and you must identify where it all started and what was it's trigger and treat that first.

I have nicotine issues but I stopped smoking in favor of e-cigs. Nicotine is not that bad, the cigs are killing you not nicotine itself.

I also find doing sport to change my mentality a lot. You start looking different, you value yourself more when your body changes and you won't want to go back. Give it a try. Good luck to you!

eob 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey man, hang in there.

Everyone in this thread has different advice from different experiences. Different things work for different people. Here's my advice: tell your friends to hold you accountable, ask them if you can call or text them when you're feeling vulnerable. Hell, move in with a friend if you're currently living alone. If you don't have anyone like that in your life, join a group like AA.

Humans can be solitary creatures if we let ourselves, and when solitary the world looks very different. Surround yourself with positive relationships and open yourself to them so they can help hold you up.

bobsgame 1 day ago 1 reply      
I struggle with nicotine, caffeine, and porn. I take Chantix and run at the gym which in combination helps a great deal, but I still relapse now and then on the nicotine. The others I seem to have overcome completely. I had to change my life and I also found spirituality, something I had denied due to insecurity and unwillingness to accept others. I wish you luck.
toerojas 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I think we've all been at a place where we feel that we're using something a little more than we should. Please remember that addiction is a behavior. When you talk with a psychotherapist and get real professional medical help, which you absolutely should, they will help you identify the triggers that cause you to drink. Maybe you're stressed and drinking allows you to relax. Maybe you feel overwhelmed and drinking lets you feel in control. Maybe your parents were alcoholics (mine were) and your drinking fills a void. Whatever it is, there's a real reason for your drinking and uncovering that reason is the key to your sobriety.

Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12 step programs have a high drop out rate (about 50% within the first 90 days) and are not backed by science, so you should talk with an addiction medicine doctor first (and go through an appropriate detox program).

That said, what makes 12 step programs effective is the support community you build in them, so find some people you feel safe talking with and who you can call anytime. In fact, find as many of them as you can. You have ~200 people on HN who took the time to comment, so there's a start.

facepalm 1 day ago 1 reply      
So sorry to hear that. I hope you can still overcome it.

My theory is that addiction is best "cured" by replacing it with something better. That could be doing more satisfying things in your life, but perhaps also simply a less destructive addiction, like playing video games.

I think if you make it into a willpower challenge you are probably doomed to fail, in fact it might make it worse because you'll feel like a bad person for presumably being "weak" (having no willpower). I think modern understanding is that for willpower challenges it is better to arrange things in such a way that the challenge becomes easy (like having no alcohol at home), rather than making it a contest of iron will.

I really enjoyed the books on Willpower by Kelly McGonigal and and by Roy F Baumeister. I suppose just reading such books won't cure an addiction, but perhaps they could be of interest to you.

I'm sorry, it's easy to talk since I never had a severe issue like that. But I had a lot of therapy - what always stuck most were the points when I learned to accept myself.

ctdonath 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Lots of good options posted here, lots of good insights.

I'd like to see more discussion about the enzymes needed to metabolize alcohol. AFAIK, it's very much a genetic matter: some people (or, of note, peoples) just lack the genes needed to process it in a manageable manner, tend to feel the effects with greater intensity than others, and thus find it much faster to go too far and harder to get out of that state and not go back. Those who have it can enjoy a few without further compulsions; those who don't dare not a drop. All this, of course, is poorly expressed and based on fragments I've gleaned. Anyone have a better analysis, and perhaps a way to test for this genetic predisposition to alcohol tolerance or lack thereof?

hanula 1 day ago 0 replies      
First of all, it's great that you are sharing this publicly. It's a big first step to recovery. I can't tell you much as I'm only 31 and I enjoy alcohol, sometimes in larger doses but it's part of my culture and local way of life.

I can only tell you that beating the thing called "alcoholism" is to decide to stop drinking. That's it. My father after many years did it, one day, just like that. No one belived him. He's over 60 now and enjoys alcohol in very normal way. My friend, also 31, quit drinking completely 3-4 years ago and he was a person who drunk unbelievable amounts, even to me, just crazy. Now because of health problems he's 100% sober and he's fine! He's happy and can enjoy everything he was doing before.

So. People will tell you that it is a disease, that you are sick and you won't be able to quit on your own.. Wrong. It's only about you, your decision, your life. Take care and ask yourself some hard questions. Self-awareness and self-acceptance is the key.

Dale1 1 day ago 1 reply      
As someone who likes a smoke (Weed & Cigarettes) and is currently trying to lead a healthier life I feel your pain buddy!

Have you ever tried just cutting down? Even just a little bit? I don't believe in this "Just stop and never drink again" rubbish I think it has to be done in baby steps.

Anyway, hope you're okay and whatever you do don't go the religion route. It's a dangerous path to tread especially with the types who run these things.

zafka 15 hours ago 0 replies      
All I can tell you is that It really can get quite good after you stop drinking. Not always right away, and of course, not all the time. But I really am grateful that I am able to enjoy life as much as I do. While I regret my time as a derelict, I think I might have needed that to convince myself to stay stopped now that I have quit. ( for quite a while now)
fsloth 1 day ago 0 replies      
All my support. I lost my mother recently to alcoholism.

You have identified your problem. You can still recover, but get some external help!

You are probably aware that there is a very high risk that unless you get control of your habit you will die of it. Massive drinkers can develop memory issues - brain will develop lesions, short term memory will become poor. Not so good professionally. There are several high-risk medical complications that are likely. You might develop a liver cirrhosis. I hear this is extremely painful. You might get cancer. Also, painful.

Seriously, terminal alcoholism is something you really, really want to avoid. My mother spent the last month of her life psychotic in a hospital bed and before that she basically lost all control of her bowels. Reading had been one of the joys of her life but her memory became so poor that in the last years she could not really follow books (she did crosswords, though).

It's just not that you feel shit for drinking, the drink will turn you into a living husk in the long term. You will probably need psychiatric as well as physical treament. Get help. Any help.

cookerware 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I was also a software developer, not as successful but was living in a nice flat in downtown, but I ended up getting fired a few times within the year.

The first time it was smoking heroin and cocaine. Lasted about 2 months. I used to do it at work too because I was addicted. Shortly after getting fired, I smoked crystal meth to get through the heroin withdrawl. This is how scary heroin is, I was addicted after the second time I picked up. With the help of a marijuana dealer, I got clean after he cut off my heroin dealer. I'd call like crazy but he would no longer sell it.

I still remember laying on my bed on my 25th birthday, withdrawing from heroin, thinking how seriously I fucked up.It took a few months of feeling complete apathy until I began to improve. However, I still relied on tobacco and weed to get through the hard stuff.

Few more months later I found another job, higher paying and less stressful. However, I began drinking this time. Half a bottle of vodka everyday after work and smoking weed before and after work. I'd come over with a hangover everyday and I eventually couldn't keep this up for long.

Fast forward to now, I'm totally clean from any substance. I have absolutely zero fucking desire to repeat what has been a complete wreckage of my financial savings, losing my flat, and a waste of time.

What does worry me is the health effect it might have, especially the street drugs I took during this short period of time on top of the weed and alcohol. I'm alright now but I still can't wash myself of the guilt and the regret. However, it keeps me well away from it.

Looking on to the future, I am willing to be successful, and I realized that I can't do it with dependence on drugs and alcohol. I simply couldn't allow it to get in my way.

motters 1 day ago 1 reply      
That's surprising because at least in my case I discovered when I was a teenager that boozing and coding don't mix. Even small amounts of alcohol make it hard for me to concentrate on any amount of programming, and so that is why I rarely consume it. I just like coding more than boozing.
bargl 18 hours ago 0 replies      
OK so I'm just going to put this link out there. I can't do a write up like his but what he said moved me to make some changes in my life. It was a fresh perspective on how to beat some of my own failings through successful habits. Anyway. here ya go. http://www.reddit.com/r/getdisciplined/comments/1q96b5/i_jus...
OfferSavvy 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I have been sober for 6.5 years. I was a blackout drinker, and then ventured into narcotics. I thought that it all used to be fun. I did it to fit in, find acceptance, feel a part of. But at some point that changed for me. Using was no longer fun at all, it was more like work. I never felt "just right" but rather was always chasing the dragon. I got to that place of hopeless despair. Its a place not unlike where Dante passed in the Inferno with the sign that reads "Abandon Hope all Ye who enter here". Everyday I would wake up in fear, and with guilt shame and remorse. When I wasn't using, I was thinking about it, planning how I was going to get it next, imagining what it would be like- how it would "Be Different this Time". Always the same torment and insanity. At that point, i would use to feel numb.. to not feel anything at all. I didn't want to think about myself, or what I was doing. I wanted to just escape and not feel.

I turned 21 in rehab, in po-dunk Rock Creek, OH. Only after a few weeks clean, and the bitter irony of where I was in life, did I have that "moment of clarity" and have a little bit of willingness to accept that I was powerless over alcohol, and my life had become unmanageable. AA does not have a monopoly on recovery, but it has worked for me. We suffer from a spiritual malady, and our recovery is contingent upon a daily reprieve. "what am i doing today for my recovery?" I think you are posting this because you need to know, and you need to hear that everything will be ok. There is hope, I promise that you are NOT Condemned to live with active addiction. Know that you are going down a path that is not unique, so many before you, who have done worse things, and lost more things, and suffered longer have gone been in your shoes. And for them too, there is way to beat this disease. Anonymity is the greatest form of Humility. We are just people helping people, from one addict to another, I can empathize with you, I know how you feel, I have felt those pains before. Call an AA central office near where you live, send me a message if you need help

otto12 1 day ago 0 replies      
I hope it does get better for you

My mother died when I was in my early 20s after years of addiction to alcohol.

She had her ups too, which made it hard for all of us to see everything fall apart again and again.

Until there was no coming back.

No AA, family support and interventions unfortunately ever helped her long term.

I hope you will find some reason to quit, even if it's just knowing that you can get your kids back - even if it takes many years.

It took me many years to "forgive" my parents (they died within 6 months of each other), realising there was no forgiving needed - they had their struggle and unfortunately failed.

Still saddens me that my own kids have will never know their grandparents.

I hope you will live to enjoy your grandchildren.

Stronico 19 hours ago 0 replies      
After reading a lot of the comments I think it would be useful to create a distinction between a drinking problem (loosely defined as someone drinks to much, has negative consequences, etc) and addiction (loosely define as strong, life threatening withdrawal symptoms and intense cravings).

I've heard addiction defined as a "Confusion of your survival instincts" caused by prolonged exposure to a drug which seems to be an adequate and accurate description of addiction.

madamepsychosis 1 day ago 2 replies      
Try Alan Carr's "Easy Way To Stop Drinking". Addiction perpetuates itself partly through false beliefs, this book goes through and debunks all of them. I used his guide to quit smoking, and it was really helpful.
mitko 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Fwiw, I'd like to share some the way I approached alcohol, after going through some times where I drank more beer than water.

Now, I still drink from time to time, but it is easier for me to decide not to drink in a given situation.


alex_hitchins 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you want to talk to a recovering alcoholic, get in touch. I've been dry for 9 years.
paraiuspau 1 day ago 1 reply      
TL;DR - Seek counselling to drill down into the causes for this behaviour.

I had a drinking problem for 10 years, I am/was a successful systems engineer. I think I know how you feel.. Do you maybe find that you are living a life which doesn't belong to you? Or put another way, are you just "spinning"? For me, I would go on enormous binges of drink and drugs for 3 days, then abstain for 2 weeks or so. I fixed it by "pressing play" on my life again, which involved selling my house, and going on an adventure in another land. Ended up doing the same job, but my environment was so different, new language, culture, etc.. I stuck with counselling through this time and found a keen sense of introspection. Ultimately, I drilled down to the real problems that were manifesting the symptoms such as drinking, junk food, drugs, excess pr0n, etc... they were all methods to regain "control" over a situation I felt powerless over. Ironic, really, as with drink and drugs we actually relinquish our control.

Not sure if this post is going to help you, as indeed everyone's situation is personal to them, but the common factors persist with such self-abuse situations.


jesusmichael 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Dude... Don't feel bad, you join the ranks of 1000's of lottery winners, except you have skills... You're the 1% if not in net worth... definitely in brains... Do something
practicalpants 1 day ago 3 replies      
This is a male outlook and take this for what you will, but I'm a programmer, and I've found that so much of overcoming addiction (drinking and porn, mainly), bad sleeping cycles, and raw anxiety, social or otherwise, comes form improving your sex life. For me this doesn't mean monogamy, or at least I haven't met a girl in some time I'm ready to be exclusive with, mainly because I've become aware of just how many fish there are in the sea... but rather treat yourself to a dynamic and varied sex life, with multiple women. It's both a rush and a centering, re-energizing force. It fulfills biological needs and challenges you to be a better person. It's not easy, i.e. it challenges you to be a better person.

If you're feeling overly stressed, be real with yourself, do I have the sex life I want to have, am I missing out on some life experiences here? Be aware of how your sex life can relate to frustrations, addictive patterns, etc. because there is a real relationship, and it should not be discounted as a source of whatever problems you're having.

MorningInfidel 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I've found Martial Arts helpful to get myself out of my head and take the edge off the monkey energy that isn't being released through my sedentary, code -> video games -> sleep lifestyle through the working week.

In particular, pick one that's as close to actual combat as possible. MMA is great, but perhaps too intense. I've started training brazilian jiu jitsu and can't recommend it enough. Something about fighting for your life against someone who could easily put you to sleep/manhandle you that's therapeutic.

Sam Harris blogged about it here: http://www.samharris.org/blog/item/the-pleasures-of-drowning

I wish you all the luck in the world in getting past this.

hunvreus 1 day ago 0 replies      
I believe that regular exercise and switching to a proper diet (paleo) helped me give up on alcohol altogether.

I'd recommend you start kicking you own butt: go to http://www.nerdfitness.com/academy-overview-page/ and subscribe, start building a routine. Stick to it and you'll quickly see that abusive drinking isn't just an option.

Stronico 22 hours ago 0 replies      
You should check out the documentary "Pleasure Unwoven" for the psychiatric/brain aspects of addiction http://www.amazon.com/Pleasure-Unwoven-Explanation-Disease-A...
gjvc 1 day ago 4 replies      
Please find a meeting near you. http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org/
icholboy 23 hours ago 0 replies      
FWIW I used these techniques to overcome tobacco addiction and stress related mental/physical problems:

i) Sport, cannot be stressed enough how benefitial it is for human body any kind of regular sport activityii) Change of current habits, which might be in turn conducting you to your current situationiii) Travel for an extended period or regularly, will effectively break your acquired habits and may open your mind to new ideas (it changes the perspective)iv) the jacobson method of progressive muscle relaxation, which can be as effective as anti-depressants and that's no marketing talk. at least it worked for me.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Progressive_muscle_relaxation

venomsnake 1 day ago 0 replies      
There were examples in Charles Duhigg's The Power of Habit about people that have managed to turn their life around. Probably it is worth taking a look at.

Also - as a person that has struggled with (thankfully) only weight - there are no silver bullets.

sixmonthssober 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I hate the fact that I cannot attach my real name or handle when writing on this topic, but that's just the way things are right now.

Today is my 180th day sober. If you asked me a year ago if I'd be dead or six months sober in a year's time, I'd have gone with dead.

Somehow I kept my current full time developer job through the past five years, but over the last decade have lost one job, bankrupted a company I co-founded and had my wife leave me. I offer the same advice as OP: Stop drinking now. Telling yourself you'll stop at some arbitrary point in the future won't work. The long term consequences are ugly; My teeth and skin are fucked up, my short term memory is cracked, and it's only been the past six months of my adult life that I've not been pissing away every paycheck. But I feel a lot smarter now than I was a year ago.

I decided I wanted to stop, and so I did the only thing I could: I moved away from the self-destructive social scene and habits I had been wallowing in. I just up and left (luckily could work in another city).

But keep in mind that post-stopping is really hard. I feel so productive and sharper now that it's ironically depressing; I know I wasted years and threw away dozens of opportunities. There are friendships where I fear I'll never be able to repair the damage that drunk me caused, but I will try. In the past month or so I've finally been able to man up and contact some of them to tell them what's happened. Some I owe money. I will fix this. Even if they still won't forgive me.

Having someone to talk to and an avenue to vent is essential. Big lifestyle changes helped me, especially getting out of the environment where I could get away with drinking like that every day and working from 11 or noon still drunk.

Other people here have mentioned the medical ramifications of quitting. It's no joke. I didn't quit until I feared dying from quitting as much as I feared dying from continuing. Maybe this is the choice you have now. I hope you choose life. After all, that's why we're here.

From my experience of quitting:

Read up at the Crippling Alcoholism subreddit. Lots of good resources on quitting.See a doctor, get evaluated and say, "I need help."If tapering helps, do it. I tapered for four days before checking in. It's different for everyone, but I had night terrors, sweats and I heard voices. This lasted a couple of weeks. Get medication for anxiety. But don't stay on it long. I'm back to having the occasional anxiety attack, but that's better than puking on my laptop once a month or so.Eat better, lose weight. Focus the addictive part of your personality on fitness goals. I've lost 2.5 stone so far. I almost feel like a person again.

Message me if you want.

glanotte 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I am an alcoholic sober for 7 years. You know you have a problem and that really is great because then you can address it. If you need to talk to someone, find me on twitter @glanotte and we will find a way to get in touch.

If you don't want to talk, get to an AA meeting or if you don't think you can control yourself, check into rehab. Strike while you care about it, don't wait for yourself to start making excuses.

caymaness 19 hours ago 0 replies      
The thing that helped me the most was to simply accept that I was not alone in my pain/struggles. For far too long did I imagine that my pain was unique. Once I opened up to friends I found, to my surprise, that many people were going through a very similar type of strife. Accepting that you are not alone is a major first step towards recovery.
aquarin 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have become passionate tea drinker and can suggest it to anyone. I also spend time during tea drinking to meditate for a moment. Recently even perform gongfu style tea preparation.
spiritplumber 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Hang in there, bro.
cnp 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Get through the tough, deadly part, then look into Ibogaine treatment in Mexico or Canada.
patrikj 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Did the addiction have anything to do with the fact that you are a software developer?

Good advice, but I doubt that developers would be especially prone to alcoholism.

randomflavor 23 hours ago 1 reply      
drinking is just a symptom - real problem is between your ears. you drink to quiet it. until you find a replacement you are fucked. you can't just 'stop'. maybe for a few days or weeks or months, but the consequences of your drinking won't really change.
yeukhon 1 day ago 2 replies      
I hope you will feel better.

My problem is simply I can't go to bed on time. I try many times, forcing myself to go to bed but I just can't. I always stay up late and even when I feel sleepy I can stay awake =. I am getting tired of staying awake all the time. :(

mydogmuppet 1 day ago 0 replies      
If your drinking is costing you more than money its usually a problem. Alcoholism is an equal opportunity employer. Are you Willing to take action to stop drinking ? You are not alone; there are many who have similar experiences. Many of these problem drinkers made a decision that today was going to be the day that they started to save their own lives.
julie1 23 hours ago 1 reply      

The original study on nurses in Israel estimates the probability for stressed people to give in to addiction to be 150% more than average.

Coders are liking this culture of burn in/burn out like junkies anyway.

It is clear our way of working is health hazardous.I never saw another profession more despising that much CHSCT or usual working wisdoms or health protection.

In my former (game company) the alcohol was even bought by the company every friday and it was poorly accepted people refuses to share a toast. And I saw the casual boozing a lot in a lot of places.

The average drinking in computer development and drug use {when I include the graphists designer} are way above the average of my supposed to be unsafe with all these junkies suburb. I don't come from a favela, just one of the banlieue that gives nice rioting picture on CNN/fox news every 10 years.

The work culture in IT is the most dangerous and irresponsible I never saw. No respect for anyone, neither workers, nor providers, nor sometimes customers.

It makes me sometimes feel as if I was working with psychopaths, and I did my conscription, so I met psychopaths. But soldiers made me feel more secure.

epynonymous 23 hours ago 0 replies      
same here, i like to drink scotch
PreetikaThakur 22 hours ago 0 replies      
It's good that you have at least realized, for the all tings you did. There's nothing impossible if someone actually tries it. I wish you luck :) Hope you''ll soon get what you have lost.
newblahbl4hblah 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Get help. Don't put it off.
ffbellfhtlflf 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Kinda makes me wonder why the hell so many people are tryna tell me to slow down. Seems like motherfuckers should be shuttin' the hell up and enjoyin' the show
nitishdhar 1 day ago 1 reply      
Keep calm & write awesome code
seanhandley 1 day ago 5 replies      
Or.... you could practice moderation?

Alcohol does not make you into a problem. You make yourself into a problem, and lump alcohol in with all the other things that you could blame it on.

Grow up. Be accountable to yourself. Don't externalise blame.

homakov 23 hours ago 5 replies      
That's sad, but you are not doing drugs - you can quit easily, just do it! Try to do sports or stuff like that, travel.. Seriously, alcohol is disgusting if you drink it every day.

I have a hooker problem, no joke. Since we are talking about addictions here?

Turkish government started intercepting DNS responses
2 points by diorray  2 hours ago   discuss
Pending Comments Update
124 points by pg  1 day ago   126 comments top 35
simonsarris 1 day ago 4 replies      
Some concepts are controversial, but the resulting discussion hashed out from them can often be more insightful and meaningful than the original article.

Some concepts are odd on the first take, and it might take a child comment to flesh out what may be a very good but difficult to understand idea. And if most people do not understand the point right away, they may not endorse it.

Some people are creative with their use of language, or are non-native English speakers, and may not be able to effectively articulate what may well be a very interesting idea or important concept that adds to the conversation. Alone such a comment may not be useful, but child comments exploring it further may yield some excellent discussion.

Some comments may seem flippant, but solicitations for back-story reveal what the original commenter was really getting at.

One of the best things about HN is the comments, and it follows that one of the best things about any particular comment is a another comment reply.


There's a problem you can peek at in academia, it doesn't have a name, but it's the reason that 125 Harvard students were caught cheating a few years ago. The problem isn't that the students were cheating - Harvard students are not dumb and I doubt they're particularly lazy. The problem was that grading had become such a low priority for a professor that the take-home final answers, that only a gradable subset of possible answers were really accepted for any question, so that grading could be done more on the number of citations than how effectively you communicated an answer. Implicitly and usually explicitly it's understood that you cannot just give an original answer, you must give an answer relating to something that was taught in the course. This does not optimize for interesting or insightful answers, it optimizes for regurgitation. Originality becomes dangerous, since it demand deviation.

I fear we will run into a similar issue here. People will tailor their comments to please the endorsers that be. We will be turning inward mentally, and we will never know how much.

And for what? It's true that sometimes there's a controversial comment and it ends in a 60-comment emotive goose-chase.

Is that such a bad price to pay?

> Indeed, the only way to figure out if pending comments will work at all is empirically.

We cannot know what interesting conversations and discussions might be lost. No comment is an island, and I think this concept ignores that.


I do hope that if you turn it on it is as laser-focused as possible. The smaller the unit you damage though, the more you put the the ability to shut down/delay conversation in what might be an otherwise interesting thread into the hands of one/a few people.


[1] There are probably other problems at play, such as Harvard students being pressed for time and giving low priority to an intro to government class. That Harvard has an intro to government class is also probably a (separate) issue.

britta 1 day ago 8 replies      
I'm concerned that giving comment-approval power to people with x amount of karma will reinforce many of the existing problematic aspects of HN instead of opening it up to better discussion. It means that people with currently-underrepresented voices will have to "play nice" with the current mainstream of HN in order to be represented on the site.

For example, discussions here already have a pattern of being mostly men, and most people with significant amounts of karma are men - I don't know the data here, but I don't think that's a controversial observation. If you're a woman who is new to HN and trying to explain your work experience as a woman in a relevant thread, right now you can give commenting an honest effort and know that everyone can at least read your words and consider them. But under pending comments, instead women will have to write comments that men approve before those women's comments are even visible.

The pending comments system seems worryingly likely to reinforce HN's existing systemic biases in silent/hidden ways that will be hard to analyze and improve after implementation.

Edit to suggest an improvement instead of just criticism: I've been moderating forums and IRC professionally for six years (for del.icio.us and now for Cydia), and to change the culture here, I'd first try expanding the community guidelines with much more detail and several specific examples of unacceptable comments. It clearly has not been enough to only say "be civil", no name calling, and "no classic flamewar topics" - it's a good start, but vague and incomplete. Expanded guidelines would go along with clearly-indicated removals of unacceptable comments to show that the new guidelines are serious and not just suggestions. I would also try implementing a Metafilter-style flagging system: make the "flag" button consistently visible, with a "pick a reason to flag" menu that has one option per rule category (http://i.imgur.com/Aw03Tl2.png). This serves as an integrated (and "just in time") reminder of the rules, with the bonus of flag counts helping moderators find problem spots.

sedev 1 day ago 1 reply      
Prior restraint solutions sit very badly with me: there's a reason that "prior restraint on speech" is near or at the top of the list of First Amendment no-nos (yes, the First Amendment applies to US government entities rather than private entities; the lesson is still valuable). It's a gratuitously bad idea to enable the prior restraint feature sitewide and by default. Besides the principle of prior restraint, that has all the hallmarks of being a feature that scales very poorly because it requires human involvement. Requiring human involvement and discretion is the point, so I'm not sure how one could eliminate that. Further, the part of it that say "if a user has a comment in the pending-approval status, they may not post new comments at all," seems very, very likely to have adverse consequences of large scope. People participate in multiple discussions over time and change their minds about them and behave differently in different contexts in response to different prompts. Holding all of their participation hostage to something they've said in the most contentious available context, seems like a great way to exert a chilling effect on participation as a whole.

I strongly, strongly object to and oppose turning on the prior-restraint feature sitewide by default, and especially to the "if a user has a comment in the pending-approval status, they may not post new comments at all" part of the feature.

That said, the history of moderating large discussions, especially in digital media, demonstrates that giving moderators programmatic tools to enforce their judgment is a Good Thing. So if you consider the proposed feature as "Allow moderators to say that any reply to a comment in the tree rooted at Comment Foo, must be human-approved before going live," sounds like a great tool for a moderator to have at their disposal. It is limited in scope and its effects can be judged and known. I think that's a reasonable thing to add, with the caveat that that shouldn't include the "users who have pending comments can't create other comments" part.

jcampbell1 1 day ago 2 replies      
My instinct is the hidden scores are the bigger problem.

There are so many posts where the top comment seems relevant and interesting, and I up-vote it blindly, even though it already has like 50 up-votes, and the more interesting discussion is buried. As a 1000+ karma user, I'll make the same mistake, under the new system.

Hiding the scores was a popular change because comments that would normally generate +5, all the sudden were getting +60. It made everyone feel better. None complained, but the site got worse.

I really miss the old days, when I could check the comments page, and the top comment would be a new, interesting, nuanced, balanced, comprehensive, perspective on the issue. Now the top comment is the first popular opinion followed by a bunch of trolling.

Can we bring back showing scores for a week? Maybe as a april fools joke.

mcgwiz 1 day ago 2 replies      
I feel my previous comment [1] on the design of this feature is still valid. The word "endorse" carries the wrong connotations and increases the risk of subjectivity and groupthink. A better link label might be "tolerable".


CoolGuySteve 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why does the site reward high karma rather than high average karma?

I don't have any experiences miderating a forum, but intuitively it seems to me that those who spend a lot of time contributing low quality posts gain more moderation privileges than those who are either too busy to do so or who spend time writing a few quality posts.

molecule 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Indeed, the only way to figure out if pending comments will work at all is empirically. The plan is for the moderator to experiment with turning pending comments on for individual threads. If that works...

If this is going to be empirical, then what is the measurement for 'it works' and how quickly do you expect to determine efficacy of the endorsement system?

ryandrake 1 day ago 0 replies      
Did you give any thought to the "showpending" idea posted in the previous discussion? Account config for those of us who don't mind reading the full, uncensored firehose.
cs702 1 day ago 0 replies      
I really like the idea of introducing some form of randomness to prevent gaming, social stratification, and other unintended consequences.

My immediate thought is to suggest some type of majority voting and maybe even random bagging -- e.g., show the "endorse" link to a few random users (or groups of users) and endorse any comment that gets majority vote.

walexander 1 day ago 0 replies      
It seems like a lot of flame wars could be prevented without a pending comment feature, or at least a watered down one.

If a comment is particularly offensive/offtopic, it is already downvoted, eventually greyingout. To prevent flame wars, the reply button could simply be disabled on those comments, or in comment threads with high vote volatility (high numbers of up and down votes on parent comment). Vote volatility could indicate a flamebait worthy topic, and the reply depth could be limited based on the volatility.

Similarly the reply button could be pulled when two users are chaining long reply threads alone.

Perhaps with higher levels of karma, the reply thread depth is relaxed for those particular users.

Modifying reply access should prevent flame wars, but if there is still a desire to police the content more, then I think a "flag" button is more effective. If enough people flag your post (regardless of your karma), it could be placed in a type of quarantine area and then be pending until someone with the karma privileges decides to moderate it back in or not. I believe this is what reddit does, though the comments must be approved by mods rather than users.

newhouseb 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Nor does the threshold for endorsing comments have to be karma. That was the obvious choice for a v1, but it would be easy to incorporate or substitute other things like account age or average comment score, or even introduce randomness.

I don't have a sense anymore for the quality of comments on Slashdot but Slashdot has had a form of random moderation for long time. I do wonder how the goals and ideals are (were?) different between HN and Slashdot and how these differences manifest themselves in moderation policy.

A good overview of Slashdot's history and though process on moderation can be found here: http://slashdot.org/moderation.shtml

exodust 1 day ago 0 replies      
For what it's worth, I disagree with pre-moderation. I'm not frequent enough to ever have hundreds of karma points, and it's very rare for me to see a "nasty comment".

What's wrong with reactive moderation? Or the existing system where unpopular comments fade away literally?

Pre-moderation kills the flow of conversation. It's a massive bottleneck, is more work for moderators, and for what benefit? Sanitation?

There's nothing wrong with a bit of grit. We're not all sensitive flowers, reduced to tears at the sight of a nasty spray by Mr X. I hardly see that anyway, I'm really suprised to see pending comments even being contemplated here.

codezero 1 day ago 0 replies      
I worked on the moderation team at Quora, and though you and your moderators know HN better, I'd be happy to share some of what I learned there with respect to hairy comment threads. One of the main focuses of my work was pragmatic solutions that reduce the necessity of human (moderator) intervention without eliminating it entirely.
dfc 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am confused about the "main moderator." When pg says "main moderator" is he referring to a specifc person other than himself, himself in the third person or a functional role (possibly rotating like "pager duty")? Elsewhere in this discussion he says "IIRC that name was chosen by the moderator, but it will be easy enough for him to change if he wants." The first mention of endorsing comments I can find is in pg's initial announcement of the pending comments change.
eliteraspberrie 1 day ago 1 reply      
You can set the value of the karma threshold automatically, to some multiple of the standard deviation of karma for all of HN. So you won't have to constantly revise it.

I assume the distribution of karma here is exponential, so take the distribution's parameter lambda to be the highest value of karma, and set the threshold to half of the inverse of lambda. This page explains it better: http://www.phy.ornl.gov/csep/mc/node18.html

fletchowns 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think this feature could have a very positive impact on HN.

What happens if somebody replies to my comment, but I don't get around to responding to that person for a few days. Now there are hardly any eyeballs hitting that thread, so probably a low chance of my comment getting approved by somebody. Is it possible that my reply will never get to be seen?

zck 1 day ago 1 reply      
I haven't actually been on HN when pending was turned on, but there's one question I have:

How do I tell when pending is on? As far as I know, it will be in the top bar -- if you qualify to approve comments. Does it appear if I can't approve comments? How else could I tell whether pending is on, or if I am able to approve comments?

sillysaurus3 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why not turn on pending comments site-wide for 24 hours and see how it works out? The initial test worked fine, and it'd be a nice experiment.
elwell 1 day ago 1 reply      
> I am at this stage still the one who understands the HN code best

Hopefully not sounding offensive, but objectively: this is probably because the HN codebase is a complex ball of mud written in an obscure, original language, further obfuscated by a rabbit-hole filled journey of macros/DSLs.

Ok, maybe that was a little offensive. And, I'm not one to talk about language choice (much less language design), as I use PHP heavily every day. But if PG is going to back off from the code ("I was encouraged to write it before I left"), then maybe it's time for a rewrite in a more familiar language, and maybe it's time to open source it properly and actively. While I think the current Arc situation epitomizes the hacker culture, I disagree that an open source rewrite in a more popular language could not also function in the same manner (if not more so).

Edit: "ball of mud" isn't necessarily all negative. I'm borrowing from a supposed Joel Moses quote: "APL is like a beautiful diamond - flawless, beautifully symmetrical. But you can't add anything to it. If you try to glue on another diamond, you don't get a bigger diamond. Lisp is like a ball of mud. Add more and it's still a ball of mud - it still looks like Lisp."

webwright 1 day ago 0 replies      
It seems like many/most sites with content issues use a "flag bad stuff" option rather than an "endorse good stuff" option-- which makes sense if most stuff is good. Why not give people with karma level of X (5000?) the ability to insta-kill anything that is rude? And perhaps people with lesser karma the ability to flag, where X flag points = comment death?
radley 1 day ago 0 replies      
What about connecting pending comments (or posts) to an initial upvote?

- Anything posted by K- users is only visible to K+ users and the K- guy who posted it.

- Nobody can comment on a K- post/comment until it gets the first upvote by a K+ user.

- Once a K+ user upvotes the K- post, it clears for everyone to read and respond, even if it drops under 0 later.

I imagine this could easily reduce the most obvious friction.

baddox 1 day ago 0 replies      
How do you even determine results empirically? Is there some objective measure of utility, or is it just up to whether HN mods/admins think that things seem better with the new feature? If it's something like the latter, I wouldn't call that an empirical approach.
matt_heimer 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure I'm a fan yet but the main benefit of pending comments will be that it should make people think more before commenting. If pending comments can be enabled per-thread, will there be a visual warning when commenting? I know mods will still have to approve the comment but that seems the lesser of the two benefits to me. If not then pending comments need to be enabled for the majority of threads to make everybody operation under the assumption that they are enabled.
elwell 1 day ago 1 reply      
Would a moderator care to turn on pending comments for this thread, so we can get an idea of how it works?
Houshalter 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why not just bury new comments at the bottom of the thread until they get an upvote (essentially equivalent to "endorsement".) It's a terrible idea (new comments never get seen), but it's functionally the same and only a small modification rather than a whole new system.

You can also have an option to "hide" comments below a certain threshold (i.e. ones that haven't been "endorsed" yet) if that is the desired system. Or an option like showdead for low karma comments (perhaps count only total upvotes or "endorsements" rather than upvotes-downvotes.)

mrcwinn 1 day ago 0 replies      
I fully support making discourse more productive and agree the problem exists, but the idea of giving a small subgroup the power to determine whose voices can be heard is hardly "more democratic." I do agree it is less work for you.
Zenst 1 day ago 0 replies      
As for a karma rating to pend, then perhaps some scaling, if backlog of pending comments then the limit lowered and if low then raised, Base on say 5-15 minute average, or even hoursly or daily...

Also thing the initial poster should automaticly get some level of control upon the posted comments.

Random is what /. did for a last time I used it and that is pretty random in results, garbage in, garbage out as they say.

yarou 1 day ago 1 reply      
This may or may not be a bad change to HN, it's too early to tell. Instead of having karma as the sole criterion of whether or not to endorse comments, why not have additional criteria such as age of the account, or number of threads started that netted x amount of karma?
tbirdz 1 day ago 1 reply      
To further the endorsing aspect, how about we link the endorser to the endorsee? If the user endorses a comment which gets downvoted or flagged, there should be some negative reinforcement for the endorser. Similarly, if the user endorses a post that then goes on to get lots of upvotes, the endorser should also receive some positive reinforcement.
InclinedPlane 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been thinking about pending comments and some of the issues I foresee from it. I have a major suggestion on how to change pending comments functionality to make it more useful and keep comments productive:

The basic idea is to move away from the model of censorship/moderation and toward a model around rate limiting, as well as to integrate more seamlessly into the existing workflow of HN rather than to bolt on new things for people to do that cause the site to break down if they're not done.

So, instead of hiding pending comments and making them visible only on the pending comments page until they've been upvoted enough to graduate to real comments you show them inline, but not 100% of the time. There are lots of algorithmic options on this part but one simple idea would be to display them to X% of users with over 500 karma who have been active within the last few days. The posts would simply appear as normal, and have normal up/down vote buttons on them.

If the post gathers enough upvotes then it gets promoted to universally visible. If not then it continues to be only partially visible until some timeout where it becomes visible.

Additionally, the amount of upvotes/downvotes could change the rate limit timeouts on the post. If a post receives a few upvotes then it could be automatically promoted out of pending status faster than one with no upvotes. If a post receives a few downvotes then it could be promoted slower than normal. If a post receives enough downvotes then perhaps it disappears, or simply takes a very long time to show up (days? a week?)

The advantages of doing it this way are many fold. It blends into the normal functioning of the site. People won't even know they're voting on pending comments, they'll just use the site as usual. More importantly, it gets rid of a lot of the clunkier problems of pending comments, such as the potential for comments to languish in the pending state. In that case this model simply falls back to the rate limiting model. The site would still continue to function just fine even if nobody voted on pending comments, but the pace of discussion would be slower. And it avoids the censorship problem. Moderation is a fundamentally hard problem even with humans in the loop, by defaulting to allowing all comments to surface eventually you solve the problem of denying people a voice while also putting the brakes on overheated emotionally fueled flame wars and so forth.

Also, I'd propose a few tweaks. First, make it so that high karma users' comments usually skip the pending step. To me this just seems logical and a good way to avoid excessive friction. If necessary you can add a toggle which forces pending comments behavior on a per thread basis. Also, you can add functionality which pushes a comment into pending status if it's downvoted. Second, consider making direct replies always visible to the parent poster, perhaps gated based on karma of the parent/child or both. Third, perhaps make it impossible to reply to a pending comment unless it has at least one upvote. That would preserve constructive back and forth comment threads while discouraging flame wars and vitriol.

I don't want to see commentary, even controversial commentary, squashed in a misguided effort to turn HN into the digital equivalent of "Pleasantville". Sometimes controversy leads to extremely valuable discussion. But I think discouraging and quieting non-constructive commentary is well within the realm of possibility.

NicoJuicy 1 day ago 0 replies      
PS. Release the HN Code.

Need changes to the code, ask for the HN community :)

eps 1 day ago 0 replies      
pg, how many moderators are there?
morbius 1 day ago 1 reply      
I sincerely apologize for saying this, but should all this have been made clear since Day 1?

Not making public even a very basic whitepaper as to how to implement a site-wide change (and such a major one as well) just seems... off, given the high quality of this site otherwise.

But thanks for the explanation. Duly noted.

gargarplex 1 day ago 0 replies      
I know we're not allowed to complain that HN is becoming Reddit. But with this feature..

HN is becoming Slashdot.

cwaniak 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great! So it will be even more left-wing, white knights oriented, immature behind big books kind of an affair. Write me off today Paul! Have a nice day!
Ask HN: What kind of online jobs can my mom find online?
7 points by notastartup  8 hours ago   4 comments top 4
clasense4 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
I recommend wizpert.com, it's similar to google helpouts.In my opinion, it has good support. (haven't try google helpouts)
ja27 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Google Helpouts? https://helpouts.google.com/home

It's not trivial to get started, but my mom did medical transcription, mostly from home, for years. My brother and I even did it for a while.

BorisMelnik 5 hours ago 0 replies      
whatever she does, keep her away from Google-ing any of the following terms:

work from home, mom, passive income, online work

skram 8 hours ago 0 replies      
If the car were invented today...
2 points by jesusmichael  4 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN: Rejected from nearly every college. What can/should I do?
7 points by fadelakin  15 hours ago   22 comments top 14
cheald 12 hours ago 0 replies      
First off: Asking for help means that you aren't anywhere close to a failure. We all hit our limits at some point - the thing that separates the successful from the unsuccessful is that the former recognize their limits and get help when they hit them.

Going or not going to college will not make or break you! A lot of young kids seem to have a view that if they don't go to college, they're destined for a minimum-wage job for the rest of their lives. This isn't true. What will land you there is giving up - so don't!

If you want continuing education, community college is an excellent place to start. It's much, much cheaper than a university, and you can complete all your "bullshit" classes there at cut rates while earning transfer credits that you can then take to a university. With tuition and student loan rates where they're at, I'm not sure that spending your first couple of post-high school classes at a university is necessarily a wise economic choice, anyhow!

Second, what did you want to study in college, and what do you want to work as when you graduate? No matter what the answer is, here is the single best thing you can do for your future: Find a way to start working in your target industry. Internships are the traditional way to do this, but there are lots of ways in. The important thing is that you start accruing industry experience now. Unless you want to be a MD, civil engineer, or lawyer, your degree is probably not going to make or break your career aspirations - it may make it easier to get interviews and find interest from employers, but at the end of the day, an employer is going to care about what you have done and what you can do, not what it says on your diploma. A 22-year-old with 4 years of hands-on industry experience and a couple of years of community college is going to be a lot more attractive to a lot of companies than a 22-year-old with a shiny university degree and balls-all for experience. The former comes with training and knowledge baked in - the latter has proved that they can attend class and take tests, but will have to be trained, at risk and cost to the employer.

Thirdly, please talk to someone at your school (a guidance councilor, probably) about finding someone to talk to about this stuff. Counseling is not just for "broken" people - we all need it to some degree or another. You're dealing with some heavy stuff, and need someone to listen and talk through this with you. The fact that you're posting here tells me that you're open to help - your school should have resources you can take advantage of. It might hurt your pride, but it will help. Go ask.

Finally, this isn't the end. This is so cliche and cheesy, but you have your whole life ahead of you. What seems like catastrophe today will be something you look back at and see as a small speedbump in the grand scheme of things. I realize this is the most important thing in your life today (and has been for the past four years, at least!), but this is not the most important thing you'll do in life. That honor is further down the road yet. :)

You have drive and you care. That puts you ahead of SO many of your peers. Find someone you can talk to, get out this anger and frustration you're feeling (it's okay to feel it! Really!), and then figure out how to channel that frustration into solutions.

My dad always told me that there are no "No's". If you are told no, then just keep going until you'll find someone who will tell you "Yes" (if for no other reason than you've annoyed them so much that they'll give you what you want to shut you up. /g). It won't be easy, but it will get you what you want.

Good luck.

johnny22 15 hours ago 3 replies      
If you live in the US then you should look into community colleges that offer transfer degrees. Many offer automatic acceptance into a public 4 year university if you do well enough. PLUS it will save you a ton of money.
Fomite 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Does your school have a guidance office? A teacher you trust? Go talk to them - find out what your options are, preferably from a sympathetic voice.
paweleca 14 hours ago 0 replies      
It is not a failure it is only a hiccup... I was 16 when i came to USA from Poland. I was struggling with English so after high school I decided to go to community college to learn English. I was two years behind everyone in my age group but I finally transferred to Penn State.

In my last year I decided to take a "break" from school to focus on my start up and I don't feel lie I failed because I didn't finish school, even though my parents were sad about my choice and I felt like I disappointed them.

If you worry about paying for college then it is not that hard as it may seem if you are willing to put some work into it. There is many options for Financial Aid or scholarships and they are not only reserved for the best students. My parents weren't able to pay for my school so I had to pay for it. I started working in a construction company during summer to pay for school. Whenever i was able to work over time I did. After summer i was always able to pay for my school and I had money saved up to live without asking my parents for financial support. I didn't have much but it was enough to not starve.

In the end, owner of the construction company now is my co-founder and is financing my start up and my English is still bad, but I am working on it all the time! You will always come across challenges but there is always solution to everything, You just need to work for it.

rhonsby 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Whatever you do, please don't give up. Your future is still ahead of you and you haven't failed yet. As cheesy as this may sound, there is so much more to life that you have yet to experience.

If you don't receive an acceptance to a college and reside in the US, I highly recommend attending a community college and transferring to a university.

I know because I went into high school a bright student as well, and like you, I came out without many options. I felt as if I had failed my family because I was the oldest of four and I was supposed to be the first one in my family to go to college. During my senior year of high school, I decided that I wasn't going to let my failures stop me from succeeding.

I went to the local community college, stayed focus, and transferred after two years to one of the top public universities in the United States with scholarships that paid for my entire education.

Now I'm here in the Bay Area, as passionate as ever about pursuing a career in software development. I still have a long road ahead of me and so do you.

helpful 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Take my advice with a huge grain of salt. Also, the below advice is base entirely on the assumption you live in the US. I do not know how other countries operate so I can't comment.

1. Take some time away from school after high school. I know people want to rush and get it over with but moving forward when you are in this state some times can create the opposite outcome you want.

2. When you feel better, enroll in a local community college and work your way back towards transferring to a university. Apply for financial aid.

a3voices 15 hours ago 0 replies      
First of all, relax. Life isn't about accomplishment. It's about conscious experience. Everyone who isn't Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, or Elon Musk is a "failure" compared to them. And they in turn might be considered failures compared to Augustus Caesar.

If you want to get better at taking tests, then practice them a lot. It's like getting good at chess. Anyone can do it, even people of average intelligence.

As someone else said here, you could first go to a community college and then transfer to a full university.

sophe 13 hours ago 0 replies      
See if your 4-year college offers continuing education classes: you don't typically need to go through an acceptance process to get into those classes. After a couple of semesters, see about matriculating over to the undergrad program. The process for applying as an existing student is different than for incoming freshman. This is how I got into college in 1986.
stintaril 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I am really sorry to hear about your recent struggles. I am no stranger to feeling this way.

Right now you are thinking there are no options to make your parents proud or fulfill your life goals. Don't ever think there are no options. We can't always follow our desired path that we lay out for ourselves. Sometimes we have to follow a different path because of unforeseeable, or sometimes, self-inflicting circumstances. In a perfect life I would have gone to film school after high school, but instead I ended up doing a bunch of other stuff until I graduated with a B.S. when I was 31.

You are going to need to way your options. As others have said you should consider community college. It is cheap, and if your parents can help you, you can work part-time and afford it. After two years of community college you can transfer to a state college.

Everyone has failed, my friend. Pick yourself back up. I know it is hard, I know it feels like the future is dim, but it isn't.

If you want to talk further my email is my username @gmail.com

robobro 12 hours ago 1 reply      
See a therapist, maybe. If you're suicidal, call your insurance company and tell them you feel like you may be at risk to yourself.
chudi 14 hours ago 1 reply      
You can go to another country were education is free and without exams to get into the university
dreamer305 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Go to community college and do really well. I know of people (including myself) who successully transferred to ivy leagues after cc. This is not the end.
gjvc 15 hours ago 1 reply      
what would you like to do after college? start doing that now. remember, college is a trap for many, and you might hav e just dodged a bullet.
nummy 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Do not let this define you.
This developer is flooding your appstore with 1,000 new apps per week
12 points by whatts  12 hours ago   5 comments top 3
AbhishekBiswal 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of the developer who made over 47,000 Blackberry apps.


jaredsohn 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't think the motive is "trying to make your profession as a developer obsolete" or that these actions are effective in doing so.
dholowiski 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I have an appstore?
Ask HN: Is it me or ...?
422 points by neutralino1  2 days ago   255 comments top 5
jfasi 2 days ago 13 replies      
I think it would be helpful to try to understand the perspective of management.

Consider an extreme stereotype: the "business school guy." He went to XYZ school of management, where he learned that a business is an organization that takes in raw materials and creates something more valuable than the sum of the unfinished parts. He learned how to raise money by selling his business idea to other people who think like him. He learned about how to manage people, perform marketing, design products, and set priorities for his organization.

I don't mean to suggest this is the type you're working with here, but I offer a relatable character to which you can add traits or from which you can remove them to fit the particulars of your experience.

For him, running a business is as much an exercise in tradeoffs and compromises as building an engineering system probably is for you:

You end up running with an imperfect design because of time constraints and because you're a slave to shipping. He runs with an imperfect business plan because that's what his board thinks is best and because he's a slave to their opinions. You devote time and energy to a technology only to have it fail when you need it most. He pursues partnerships and deals that fall through because of unforeseen differences, despite his best efforts. You end up rewriting your architecture because it didn't meet your requirements as well as you expected. He pivots the business because his original business plan isn't panning out as he anticipated. Et cetera.

The point is that generally people in management can be assumed to be doing their best. Despite what hacker news and TechCrunch try to convince you, running a company is a job just the same as building an engineering system. Incentives aren't always aligned, you have to cut corners, and conflicts are unavoidable. As someone on the inside of engineering divisions of technology giants, I can tell you that you get this sort of conflict and frustration even at these "engineering-first" sorts of places.

Naturally some companies are better than others. You want to find a manager who thinks of himself as your equal rather than your slaver. Instead of asking yourself "does this management know what it's doing?" ask yourself "does this management make me better as a professional?" If you can say "yes" to the second question, the answer to the first question doesn't matter. The company can fail, but if you come out of it better than you came in, you still succeeded.

pg 2 days ago 1 reply      
Most startups fail. Bogus plans and an inability to close deals are probably just the signs that failure is coming for that company.

As someone going to work for a startup, you're in much the same position as an investor. It won't be fun or lucrative to work for one that fails, so you're trying to predict which ones will succeed. In fact, it's even more important for you than for investors, because your portfolio consists of a single company. So I would suggest doing what investors do, and try (a) to learn as much as you can about how to predict which startups will succeed, and (b) analyze any company you're considering working for very thoroughly.

I've written a lot about how to predict which startups will succeed. I'd look for a startup with very determined founders who are working on a problem that grew organically out of their own experiences.

vinceguidry 2 days ago 3 replies      
John Boyd had this problem.

Boyd was the best fighter pilot in the Air Force. At the Fighter Weapons School, the Air Force's advanced tactics course that the Navy's Top Gun school was later based on, he laid down a challenge to anyone who would take it, in forty seconds, Boyd would maneuver from from having you on his six, to being on your six and winning the battle. It only ever took him twenty seconds and he was never beaten.

Boyd took his immense swagger and put it to work at the Pentagon designing what would become the F-15 and the F-16.

If you think the companies you've worked at had awful management practices, you ain't seen nothing yet. Boyd developed a scientific approach to designing planes based on the laws of thermodynamics. His ideas were constantly ridiculed and attacked, until enough studies were done to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that they were right.

Using this work, he designs the best fighter plane ever flown by pilots. He almost got that design approved for the F-15 but the bureaucracy, riddled with utterly toxic players, managed to bloat the plane with unnecessary cruft, gold-plating, they called it.

Boyd lost the fight for the F-15, but thinking ahead, he started working clandestinely on his design and, through a combination of back-channel communications with senior leadership under the President, outright neglect of the crap duties the Air Force gave him to marginalize him, he managed to turn his vision of a light-weight fighter into the YF-16, which demolished the competing design that the Air Force insisted have two engines. The YF-17 later became the Navy's F-18.

But the bureaucrats won the day again. After having the F-16 shoved down their throats by Boyd, they again gold-plated the design and the resulting fighter was nothing like the prototype. Boyd gave up in disgust and turned to academics, eventually developing what many consider to be the most important contribution to warfare since Sun Tzu, his OODA loop.

My takeaway from this is that we often limit the scope of our actions unnecessarily. If we focus our energies and efforts on things that management can shut down, then you are bound to be disappointed. I have projects and responsibilities handed down from above that I take seriously and try to do a good job of, but they don't get my passion. That goes into my personal projects and life. You should not sign your passion away for a paycheck. You can't succeed by fighting your opponents, you can only succeed by completely marginalizing them. If management doesn't matter, then they can't hurt you.

aculver 2 days ago 7 replies      
You are none of the above.

If you've got a few years of development experience in companies like that, I recommend you "find a boss [you] respect" by becoming your own boss. Start with consulting. These engagements are different than employment because often times they're not full-time and you can stagger a couple of contracts together at the same time. This is to your advantage because you now have two "bosses" (clients) instead of one. I know it sounds counterintuitive that more bosses are better, but if things aren't going as you'd like on one contract, you can move on to another contract as it becomes available without the sort of risk you incur when you're switching full-time employment at one company to another.

From there, you can further increase your independence by building a product that has many smaller customers. Again, many "bosses", but you need each one individually much less, so you're actually more in control of your circumstances.

If it doesn't work out, you can be reasonably confident you can just fall back into regular full-time employment. In this scenario, your definition of failure is most people's definition of success.

JonFish85 2 days ago  replies      
Personally, I'd say some combination of 2, 4 and 5.

No company is perfect, even if you're the sole owner & employee. "Inability to close deals" is extremely vague, so I don't want to jump to conclusions, but deals fall through all the time. It could be a sub-par sales team, it could be market conditions, it could be a million things, but that's just a part of business in general.

Short-sighted decisions are also tricky. What you call short-sighted might be necessary for a longer-term strategy. Long-term strategies are great, but sometimes $10 now is more important than $100 next week. If it's a code thing, sometimes you need to have a feature done immediately for contractual reasons, even if it's going to require more work down the road.

Petty management techniques are a pain in the ass, but if it takes you over a year to find them, there's not a ton you can do before looking at your next job to ensure that doesn't happen.

Overly frequent pivots also can be tricky. If you don't see profit/upswing anytime soon, you might be forced to pivot if you can't raise money on reasonable terms. Unless you're privy to board meetings and whatnot, it's hard to say.

There aren't many perfect jobs out there. Like other posters have said, you might be happiest if you can save enough to do your own thing for awhile. But keep in mind that in one way or another, you're probably going to have to deal with other businesses, even if you're running your own show. Deals will fall through, your business plan might not go according to script, you might be forced to make short-sighted decisions just to keep the lights on / keep a client / what-have-you.

One thing I might caution about is quitting too many jobs. I'm not in the valley, but here in Boston, a reputation can follow you. If you get a name for being a perpetual flight-risk, it can be hard to shake. Granted leaving after a year or two at each one probably isn't the worst, but as your career develops, it might make it more difficult if you want to become a leader within a company.

Show HN: Pingsure, test your webapp every hour.
3 points by softwareman  6 hours ago   10 comments top 5
jesusmichael 3 hours ago 1 reply      
"integration testing" couldn't this just be "testing" or "QA"... Your website doesn't really tell me what you do and what the capabilities of it are... You should have a demo/test case walk thru so we can see multi-level or multi module testing setup and response... I'd be a customer if you can continually test modules and processes.
ctb9 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Are the integration tests driven by selenium, phantomjs/casper, or something else?
kashifzaidi1 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Well definitely it is an interesting idea, outsourcing your QA. But as you pointed out the problem really is to validate if people want it or not. Personally, when you outsource such a core part of your service, co-ordination becomes an issue. But it is a valid idea.
sauravt 5 hours ago 1 reply      
andretti1977 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Sorry i don't need such testing platform because i have very small projects so i think it could be a good idea only on a dirrent project size.
Saving your YC application
5 points by spb  9 hours ago   4 comments top 4
vgrichina 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Doesn't just pressing Cmd+S / Ctrls+S in browser do the job? ;)
asadlionpk 5 hours ago 0 replies      
You could just print the page as pdf?
coreymgilmore 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Made myself something way more complex to scrape the page...this is nice.
AbhishekBiswal 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Ha! I used to copy the page source and keep it. Thanks, man.
Ask HN: Do I need a degree?
5 points by ephess  9 hours ago   10 comments top 5
gexla 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Compsci is probably among the more time intensive degrees you could be shooting for. It's heavy on math requirements, which requires a lot of practice to fully understand. The degree is also relatively rigid in its structure of requirements. You need math classes throughout and they all build on each other. The compsci courses also build on each other. The math classes are also requirements for the compsci classes. It's real easy to screw up a semester (can't get into a class because it's full, have to drop a class, can't take all the classes you need because of the load) and throw everything out of whack. It's easy for a full time student to end up with a 5 year schedule, let alone someone who has to work full time.

If you are just looking for a piece of paper, then perhaps something Xbusiness would be better.

As to the value of the degree itself. I don't know. You have been on a career track without it and you have been fine so far. Having a degree probably opens up your options, but it's not the driver. There may be opportunities you can't pursue because of a lack of a degree. But as long as you still have options, then it's not a problem. In the tech field, it's more about what you know and your network rather than having a degree. A more important consideration might be getting a work visa for the U.S. I don't know if it's easier to get a visa while having a degree. This is something you will have to look into.

I don't know that self study would solve anything. You have to put in X hours to pass a subject and you probably have to put in that time either through self study or while taking an actual course. You could self study before the course to pass the course with less work, but you still had to put in the time before hand.

You might also need to take a close look at your study habits. Is there something you could be doing different? Is there a way that you could substantially reduce your work load in school? Maybe you could let your grades drop a bit in certain subjects by keeping up on the material but skipping certain time consuming assignments?

The bottom line is that you should have a certain idea of what you want to do and then do what you need to do to accomplish that. If you are starting a business which will require all your time, then something has to give. If the business is more important, then you will have to drop school. You have already made that decision once, what would be different in the future?

Edit: I don't know that going to the bay area and having a degree in compsci is a requirement for making an impact. Maybe it would be better to get knowledge of a field outside of compsci so that you can apply your development skills to that field. The best opportunities for start-ups are probably in things that a typical compsci grad living in the bay area probably wouldn't even think about because that person doesn't have that exposure. That's the area of unknown unknowns. Instead, you get a bunch of start-ups creating "me too" consumer apps that nobody cares about.

There are a lot of problems to be solved outside the bay area. The bay area may be a hub of tech activity, but just as important are the outposts. For example, Uber is a service which supports a limited number of metro areas in the U.S. while WhatsApp aims to service the entire globe. I live in the Philippines are there are lots of problems to be solved here that people in the bay area don't know about. Bill Gates would never have got his idea for his foundation if he had never visited Africa.

So, lots of approaches and limited time. Use it wisely. ;)

gm 9 hours ago 1 reply      
One thing: Different countries view college degrees differently. In some, if you do not have a college degree, you will not even get considered for the job, no matter what you've done.

It might affect work visas as well (some countries give a lot of weight to a college degree when assigning a priority to your application).

Of course, to get stuff done you do not need a degree and examples abound about people who "made it" without a college degree. Granted, they learned everything on their own, so if you have a low motivation to learn stuff that's important in your field but boring to you (for example, algorithms and data structures), you might want to get through the degree just to force you to learn stuff.

For me, I'm in the US, where college degrees matter relatively little, specially in tech. Still, I can say without a doubt my CS degree has opened many doors for me, even a couple decades after having gotten it. Also I have had to fight far less to get good salary offers. Once people know I have a CS degree, we move onto the advanced stuff instead of them trying to see if I'm an idiot or not.

That's my $0.02, your mileage may vary.

parkovski 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't know if there's a good answer for this. Or rather, there are many good answers, but they depend on your personality, field of interest, motivation, etc. Personally I'm not a big fan of school because I'm really motivated to learn on my own, and in school I have to redo a lot of stuff I've done several years ago. A lot of people I've met in school don't learn anything that isn't presented to them in class, so it's a valuable resource for them. Ideally, that divide would answer the question for you (shouldn't it be enough to just show you know what you need to know?), but the world isn't ideal.

I live in the US already, so this might not be as easy for you, but my impression is that as a programmer with good jobs and a portfolio (GitHub), I could probably get a job in silicon valley pretty easily. I might be able to get a higher paying job with a degree, but if I find something and work for a couple years, I'd probably be fine.

If you're looking to move here, my impression is you have to have a company sponsor you, and that is probably harder without a degree, but not impossible. Since you're in a college program, you might want to intern at a company here, and prove you're someone they want to bring back.

But finally, there's this: as a programmer, are you going to be homeless if you don't have a degree? I really doubt it. So I may have lied a little when I said I wasn't a big fan of school. I hate it. I wish I didn't, but I do. I thought I could go back to school for a year to finish up, and just deal with the unhappiness. Maybe I could if I really wanted to, but I don't. So maybe I'm making more obstacles for myself in the future, but the trade off is that I'm a lot happier right now.

So I guess I haven't really answered your question for you, but hopefully my thought process helps you come to a conclusion for yourself. Also, why not find out right now? Look up some bay area companies you'd like to work for, and apply. If you get in, then no, you don't need a degree. And if you don't, then maybe you do, but you can always keep trying.

loladesoto 7 hours ago 2 replies      
you do not need a degree to be successful. what you need, above all, is hard work + determination.

you will be asked to explain your lack of degree, however. so your best strategy is so lead a life so successful, that your story overcomes any bias you may encounter. :>

cfredmond 8 hours ago 0 replies      
i'm in the states and have gotten pretty far pretty quickly without one but i think it really depends on the person. most/ all of the people i work with have one.
Why cleaners get paid more than software developers?
3 points by simonebrunozzi  8 hours ago   7 comments top 6
patio11 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Are you comparing hourly rates to hourly salaries? If so, don't do that. Anyone working on a freelance basis, programmer or cleaner alike, has to charge a hefty premium to pay for self-employment taxes, their own benefits, vacation, non-payment/scheduling/market risk, unbillable time doing rainmaking/business administration, and the like.

If you are doing apples to apples and actually know junior or senior developers with a $50 hourly in the Bay Area, tell them to double their rates today. That still doesn't get them to market but hey baby steps like doubling their rates are a good way to get started.

CurtHagenlocher 8 hours ago 0 replies      
They don't get paid for travel time or vacation and don't have insurance. If they really are being paid under the table, they also don't have the kind of paper trail that's needed to get a loan for a house or car, or an employment history that would help them find a better job.

But it's mostly the travel time that kills them, I think.

byoung2 8 hours ago 1 reply      
We hired a clown for my daughter's first birthday and it was about $100 per hour. She only works weekends though. Remember that these workers (cleaners, clowns, or other on demand workers) don't have a realistic possibility of working 40 hours a week at that rate like a developer does. They will have a few gigs a week, and they spend a lot of time idling or driving.
thwarted 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I am just really curious to understand why their wages are so different than what we should expect.

"What we should expect"? What does this even mean? What do you expect someone who provides a service that is in demand charge or make? Why should they make any less than what the market is willing to pay?

jesusmichael 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Compare annual earnings and SW developers earn lots more... with more job security
shitgoose 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Because cleaners provide value.
Ask HN: Any IRS compliant Bitcoin wallets?
2 points by gm  8 hours ago   discuss
Ask HN: Rich ex-entrepreneurs turned VC's: "Bug" in society?
5 points by sendos  14 hours ago   8 comments top 8
nairteashop 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Serial entrepreneurship is not for everyone. Once you've put in nearly every waking hour of 5-10 years of your life into building a company, it is easy to see why doing that all over again may not be all that appealing. Especially once you've got a family and other competing commitments.

However, many entrepreneurs still want to help create and bring new and exciting things into the world. Becoming a VC is one relatively low-stress way of doing this. It is also a way of "giving back to the community".

The few ex-entrepreneur VCs I know have been amazingly helpful, and frankly I don't think any of them are in it for the money - they have quite enough already.

Mz 14 hours ago 0 replies      
VC's do more than just "invest." You have to pitch them on the idea and new companies need capital with which to work, so, no, I don't agree with your view. It takes a lot of time and energy to launch a new venture. Like the military, that tends to be a game for the young, who have that kind of energy. But having some feedback from someone with experience helps improve the odds of success so new people aren't flying quite so blind. It is not a bug or defect. It's a feature.
timrosenblatt 13 hours ago 0 replies      

Investing seems like it is fun and easy to a lot of people who haven't done it. I'm not saying it is or isn't, I'm only saying that there's a perception that it's a fun and easy job. That perception might be right or wrong, and might not be a simple binary yes/no.

Sure, there are big plusses, and yes you can make a lot of money doing it. Starting a company is no cakewalk either, and investing is a nice way to get paid while enjoying the ability to talk to lots of smart folks who educate you about a broad array of subjects.

It's also not easy. A lot of investment funds fail. Not everyone is enjoyable to deal with. There are many hard truths.

FWIW I know a VC who left investing to start another company b/c he hated having to say "no" to so many folks, and to deal with some of the other pressures in the environment. There are negatives that aren't always obvious. http://www.quora.com/Venture-Capital/What-is-the-worst-part-...

As to your bigger point about the moral and social value of investing -- I think nearly everyone would agree that religious and community leaders are more deserving of high praise than a VC. In some cases, people who sweep their sidewalks might be adding more social value than some investors ;)

That being said, I think it's unfair to paint every investor with the same brush.

A good VC adds value and helps companies grow and succeed. The jobs created are good for society. A company like Tesla also serves a bigger good -- moving us from fossil fuels to renewables is a good thing for society, and capitalism is an effective tool for pushing that forward. The people who gave Elon Musk money to make that happen are (indirectly) helping.

Not every company is quite so noble. There are certainly lots of terribly useless investments -- http://www.businessinsider.com/a-year-later-41-million-start...

That being said, if we're going to point the finger at the investors, what should we make of the business people and engineers who work on these 'useless' apps? Are they also profiting from socially useless activities? Is there no room in human life for entertainment? Is there no value in an app that makes it easy for families to share special moments with one another?

I think there's a certain amount of acceptance required that not everything in a society will/can be focused on directly moving that society forward in the most obvious way, and being ok with that.

lauradhamilton 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't really agree with your assessment. First of all, having a knowledgeable person with operational experience deploy capital in viable early stage companies is indeed useful for society. Companies need capital to grow.

Also, it's harder than it sounds to invest in startups. It's not the case that any rich idiot can multiply his money by being an angel investor. It's very, very easy to lose your shirt that way.

tormeh 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Money breeds money. It's just a consequence of the right to private property that this will be the most profitable strategy. It's bad, but changing it would require a huge rethink of capitalism, and the powers that be wouldn't like that because they are a product of the current system. Even the cool ones, like Elon Musk, counts here.

I've often thought about this. Why do we have the right to own land? The people who own the land rights to various parts of Manhattan, Bay area (and other popular places) might pay some taxes and handle some paperwork but other than that they just collect what's basically a tax on everyone who wants to be where the opportunities are. Same with operative systems APIs (like win32) and processor instruction sets. It's not really relevant how the specific individual/company/family got into the position as a gatekeeper. It could have happened hundreds of years ago. Now they're just a taxman you can't vote on. Constrained gatekeeper resources like land or frequency spectrum should be government property for all eternity and rented out to the highest bidder on, say, a fifty year basis. Non-constrained gatekeeper resources should become public domain.

Money isn't nearly as bad, though. You can take investments from the lowest bidder after all, but you can hardly get around Manhattan/Windows/x86. Basically, the issue here is that it's easier to let your money work for you than working yourself. Maybe you could put into law that for each share sold or dividend given (basically, whenever an investor gains cash from his/her investment) a certain percentage also has to be equally distributed among employees. That might work, but I can imagine that investment targets would be vulnerable to investment competition from countries without such a law.

anthony_franco 10 hours ago 0 replies      
It isn't "just investing". Especially with regards to angel investing, the entrepreneurs are able to use their knowledge and expertise to allow many other startups to exist and flourish.

In my personal experience, I've worked with a pair of founders that have become amazingly successful at creating viral growth in companies. So by investing & advising, they've been able to multiply their impact on the world.

deepsun 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Because, starting a company, and running it for a long time requires very different set of skills and mindset. And it's a very different experience, and people are different.

Also, the most successful entrepreneurs actually continue to create companies, often in very different areas: Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Martin Varsavsky, Oleg Tinkov.

a3voices 14 hours ago 0 replies      
The bug is called capitalism. It's an imperfect societal system, but a better one has never been tested before.
Ask HN: Cool technology oriented startups/young companies.
4 points by solomatov  14 hours ago   3 comments top 2
youbedead 13 hours ago 0 replies      
* Delphix - database virtualization

* Intentional Software - intentional programming

adamnemecek 14 hours ago 1 reply      
What's your question?
Ask HN: Staying motivated?
6 points by SomeoneWeird  22 hours ago   4 comments top 4
BorisMelnik 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a really hard time with this. I go through periods like this:

15-20 days - really motivated work 10-12 hour days5-8 days - motivated but uninspired4-5 days - completely unmotivated and uninspired

that is pretty much my typical month, every month. the lows are low but the highs are high. just find your groove and stick to it. everyone becomes unmotivated at times.

avenger123 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Just chill. Don't worry about it. Do something that you enjoy and don't feel guilty about spending all your time at it. Don't feel guilty for not doing much or just "wasting" your time. This is your mind/soul telling you something. Listen to it and pay attention. Maybe you're burning out, maybe not. Give yourself the freedom to just chill for a few weeks and not get worked up about what you should/should not be doing.

I don't know your details but this could be your mind and body telling you to change for the better. Do you exercise, do you sleep well (at least 7-7.5 every night). Do you have hobbies outside software? Do you get out and hang out? How's your personal relationships? All these things matter and if something is really out of sync your mind/body starts to fight you. Listen to it. The trick is to have a balance to your life and still get to where you want to go. Sometimes the balance shifts in one direction or another but it's always good to try to maintain the balance.

Pyrodogg 14 hours ago 0 replies      
One suggestion is to try and flip your day. Don't expect to have energy after your solid day at the office to focus on smaller things at home.

Get up earlier and spend some time right away working on your smaller things requiring focus. I don't think your core work day would be robbed of anything either, a significant portion of the energy loss is the context switch from work to commute to home.

If you get up two hours earlier and go to work at the same time, the end of the day will feel a bit latter but i'd wager you'll be just as productive as the end of a day right now.

Note: Speaking from speculation, not experience.

sharemywin 22 hours ago 0 replies      
find someone else to work on stuff with. Also, I try to set my goals small for the night. a lot of times I end up working on alot more once I get started.
Popular startup stole my code now what?
42 points by x1024  2 days ago   32 comments top 11
computer 2 days ago 2 replies      
Wait until they are close to exiting and then threaten to sue for 5%, settle for 2%. It's the absolute worst timing for a startup to get hit with something like this.

Of course, only do it if you're actually in the right, so check with a lawyer first.

jmathai 2 days ago 3 replies      
In all honesty it's probably not worth pursuing. It's unethical and if they operate other parts of their business this way one can only hope they eventually implode.

I had a similar experience. I founded a company 3 years ago where we open source the majority of what we do. We entered into a discussion with a well funded (>$40M) "startup" about how they could use our service as a whitelabeled SaaS offering to their customers.

After a few promising exchanges including a Skype call with their Founder and VP of Engineering they stopped returning all of my attempts to see what the next steps should be. Turns out the reason was because they forked a private repository of the work we did - web, iOS and Android.

We found out they're using our code because they didn't even bother taking out our Crashalytics code and we started to get a bunch of pings. To this day their iOS app still uses our "yellow" color for toggle buttons.


They didn't violate any terms of our license (MIT) but I lost some faith in humanity because of what they did :).


My company is Trovebox - code @ https://github.com/photo

seivan 2 days ago 1 reply      
Not a single Engineer on their team http://www.flipps.com/flipps-team/ - such overhead.
mattwritescode 2 days ago 0 replies      
To be honest I would just keep clam and carry on. I really doubt you can do anything about it.


Proof. You say they took your code but whats to say they already had something similar in development. Without actually seeing the code changes you are just making assumptions (although it does sound suspicious).

Personally I would say take the moral high ground. Just forget it and move on. A lawyer will take you money and you will probably be worse off than before.

Ryel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow that looks like the most boring, un-inspiring group of people I've ever seen. You are a lucky man (or woman) to have walked away without a job.
swalsh 2 days ago 1 reply      
You have their email, how long was the interview? Just send them an invoice for your typical hourly rate...
palakchokshi 2 days ago 2 replies      
If you didn't sign an NDA when you interviewed post your code fix here or on your blog. That should bring some visibility to your "cause". Otherwise it is your word against theirs.
arikrak 1 day ago 0 replies      
A popular startup once stole some content I created, but I decided it wasn't an amount that was worth suing over right then.
poopicus 2 days ago 1 reply      
How do you know they shipped your code?
bozho 2 days ago 4 replies      
What bothers me is that there are no technical people on their "team" page. Only an "R&D manager".
centdev 2 days ago 0 replies      
How are you sure they shipped an update with your code
Ask HN: How do you get startup ideas?
4 points by porker  21 hours ago   5 comments top 5
jipy9 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This might help. This is in no way comprehensive, but rather just to help you get unblocked, and that, age has less to do with creative ideas, than you are making it.

1. Industries that disrespect their customers. Say, you had a bad service/sales rep experience. Then you tried to switch, but found out that every other large competitor to this one is as bad. Probably the reason why there are so many banking/financial services upstarts in the last couple of years.

Caveat - usually these businesses are good at building high switching costs into their products. How many times have you thought of ditching your bank, but have never got around to it?

2. Fat and thin margins. If everyone is enjoying a fat margin, they are most likely colluding in their industry, and have some kind of (in)formal association barring anyone else to entry with lower price. Can you legally go against that trade association. Technology helps in leap frogging in these situations. Thin margin businesses (usually) indicate that all the efficiency that there is to be extracted has been. This can still be disrupted, if your tech can find new ways of doing things.

Finally, take a look at this - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ice_trade

Fedric Tudor started the whole ice industry by cutting pieces of lake in the north and shipping them to south. People weren't even used to having ice in their drinks. He created a whole new market and industry.

This might have been said a million times, most ideas look bad on the surface. What makes them good is the execution. :)

shrikrishna 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Just keep your eyes and ears open. The set of all possible startup ideas is an infinite one, so no matter what your age/position/domain is, you can, at any point in your life find one or more ideas that can be turned into a startup. How to find them? => Just be a keen observer for a couple of days. Look at the people around you and assess the stuff that you go through on a daily basis and ask yourself whether you can fix something that's broken or do something to make it easier. The next question is, how better will your target customers' lives be when you solve that problem. If the answer is "a lot", then eureka! you have it. It's perfectly okay if the initial user base that you have considered is very small. But your solution has to make them love you very much
Pyrodogg 14 hours ago 0 replies      
You don't know if the market is too small until you get out there and do some testing. Speculation isn't going to go far.

If you have an idea and discover that someone else did to, great! It's been partially validated. Which particular edge of it are you going to take? What differentiates it from their execution?

The subset of good ideas that have no current executors is way smaller than the subset of good ideas that can be successfully executed.

Don't give up only because someone else is already executing; do it better than them.

ASquare 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Im always looking for what bugs me about doing xyz.Scratching your own itch is always a great place to start.So maybe keep a swipe file somewhere of notes on things that you think don't make sense/could be better.

Once you have a few ideas, then go about validating whether there really is a market for your ideas (ie Problem/Solution fit) and then take it from there.

Perhaps reading up on the lean startup methodology will help you in terms of practically progressing from idea to validation to mvp and beyond.

Also, if whatever that thing is, is something you're passionate about - the likelihood of your sticking with it over the long term is far greater than just doing it because it seems like a great idea/for the money.

stasy 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I get startup ideas just from noticing things that are missing. For example if someone says "Man I wish there was a way to do that", I find opportunity in it and see if I can make a product for it.
Ask HN: Is it OK to publish your YC application before submitting it?
2 points by vgrichina  13 hours ago   1 comment top
lukasm 10 hours ago 0 replies      
As far I'm aware no.
Ask HN: Any useful tips for writing in Emacs?
10 points by fjk  1 day ago   5 comments top 4
phren0logy 1 day ago 1 reply      
I bound fly spell to ctrl-; to bring up a list of the misspellings and cycle from the first through the rest for misspelling closest to the cursor.

That means if I'm typing and I don't realize the misspelling until the next sentence, I can correct it WITHOUT moving the cursor. Once you do this, you can't go back!

edavis 1 day ago 0 replies      
You can move paragraphs around with M-<up> and M-<down>. It also works on headlines/plain lists.

Just discovered this yesterday and wish I had known about it earlier.

arh68 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Auto-fill-mode and follow-mode are useful. If you write Unicode characters (and don't have a mac) C-x 8 <Enter> is useful, too (tab completion!).
lvryc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Do you use org-mode?[1] It's perfect for outlining and managing lots of information. Once you've written your paper, you can easily export it to HTML, PDF (through LaTeX) or plain text to be copied into a Word document, if that's the way you swing.

[1] http://orgmode.org/

Ask HN: Possible to know everything in a computer system, like in old days?
7 points by wbsun  1 day ago   4 comments top 4
samwilliams 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have spent the last year developing an Operating System as my Bsc dissertation. In September I will begin a PhD, the focus of which firmly resides in OS design.

I may be under qualified to say this, but I believe pretty strongly that the number of people that truly understand everything that happens when they use a computer is tending towards zero. This is partially the fault of rising hardware complexity, but more fundamentally your Intel/AMD CPU, your SSD etc is not open source. It is unlikely then that you will be able to understand exactly what your computer is doing when you execute an instruction, because Intel will not tell you how it works, only that it does. You could of course reverse engineer the chips, but I do not believe that anybody has.

There are a number of places you can go to learn more about how modern systems work, I will list the fruitful resources I have used below.

- wiki.osdev.org/Main_Page

This wiki has a lot of valuable information, if you have not already found it.

- www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/processors/architectures-software-developer-manuals.html?iid=tech_vt_tech+64-32_manuals

The Intel manuals describe how the CPU frontend functions, but does not explain how this functionality is implemented on the backend. The problem here is volume. The combined volumes weigh in at over 3300 pages.

- scholar.google.com

- Wikipedia

I hope this has been helpful - good luck!

gshubert17 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Have you looked at http://www.nand2tetris.org/and the book The Elements of Computing Systems, MIT Press, By Noam Nisan and Shimon Schocken?

"The site contains all the software tools and project materials necessary to build a general-purpose computer system from the ground up. We also provide a set of lectures designed to support a typical course on the subject."

damian2000 1 day ago 0 replies      
Raspberry Pi was an attempt to get people (kids especially) thinking about computing at a lower level than the modern windowed OS/smart phone OS. I've done a bit of bare metal programming on it myself which is a good way to get a feel for the ARM processor, without an OS in the way. There's a project here which is a tutorial on building an OS on the RPi from the ground up:


I have also done a small amount of FPGA work which is more towards the hardware level, bypassing a CPU altogether.

jloughry 1 day ago 0 replies      
Designing and building a CPU from scratch is still possible; in fact it's easier now (using an FPGA and a hardware design language) than it was a few years ago (using 7400-series TTL chips and wire wrap). It's old, but I highly recommend the book Understanding Digital Computers by Forrest M. Mims (1987). It teaches the architecture of a four-bit computer completely and is sufficient to gain a foothold from which to read Hennessey and Patterson. From there, read Gordon Bell's description of the VAX (and The Soul of a New Machine). For perspective, learn about the architecture of Burroughs and the IBM AS/400.

I can think of no better way to grok the underlying hardware. Write a simple assembler. Next, begin writing an OS.

Ask HN: WordPress theme, code and Math eq plugins
2 points by sytelus  11 hours ago   1 comment top
opminion 11 hours ago 0 replies      
For math equations, WordPress.com now supports LaTeX by default:


Ask HN: Do you think Apple should start making Android / Windows apps?
2 points by ychw  14 hours ago   4 comments top 2
mcintyre1994 13 hours ago 0 replies      
They make great software, no doubt - but with one exception I can't think of anything I really want on Android of theirs. That exception is iMessage - because it'd probably hurry Google up with making something that works as well. Hangouts is nowhere near good enough, just buy the Mighty Text team! Caveat is I have no Apple hardware and don't use iTunes.
mooism2 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't understand how making Apple software and services available on non-Apple hardware would drive sales of Apple hardware. Could you elaborate?

(iTunes was available on Windows but to drive iPod sales, not Mac sales.)

Ask HN: Startup Idea
3 points by joeyd  16 hours ago   3 comments top 2
kivikakk 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Your account is dead.
ezrameanshelp 16 hours ago 1 reply      
Sounds interesting. May want to check out what these guys are doing for collaboration and ideas: http://www.hakkalabs.co/
Tell PG: "Pending" discourages conversation on older threads no longer on FP
15 points by dotBen  1 day ago   2 comments top
pg 1 day ago 1 reply      
Neither; simply a bug.
Ask HN: How do I deal with the "unpaid overtime crowd"?
47 points by EC1  19 hours ago   95 comments top 26
codegeek 18 hours ago 2 replies      
First, kudos for doing what every one of us should do i.e. value our own time. It is amazing to see a lot of people who just don't value their time.

This mentality that somehow sitting in office for long hours and cranking shit out is just so horrible. I really believe that this has to do a lot with the individual employee/person rather than just management. Yes, I am not counting out the pointy haired bosses and all but to a great extent, it is up to you, the employee, to dictate how long will you be working on a given day. Sure, some of us love sitting in office because we probably have nothing better to do (been there) but learning to value your time is really underrated. People, learn to value your own time and you will suddenly see how everyone else around you respects you for that. /rant

Now, just to add the other side, creating value is a lot more than spending x hours in office. Like you said, you designed a major component of the app which is what matters. Yes, there may be days when you want to crank that stuff out like there is no tomorrow because you are excited about it, go for it. And yes, go work on some weekends if needed for the team (release/critical fix etc). Take one for the team but do it wisely. Let everyone know that you are willing to raise your hand but you are not a doormat.

In your case, since are you doing the right thing, your company does not deserve you and based on what you said, they already don't care about you. So like everyone else is saying and you know the answer anyway, find something better and move on.

basseq 18 hours ago 1 reply      
ISSUE #1 - Barring unpaid overtime, what are their expectations? You're working 37.5 hours per week (7.5 5), which is less than the "standard" 40 (though you're still considered full-time for the sake of benefits, etc.). It's unclear whether your 7.5 hour figure includes "non-productive time" (e.g., lunch, breaks, etc.).

ISSUE #2 - Quantitatively, your numbers may be hyperbole, but they don't bear out your claims. Your co-workers have 3x as many fixes as you, but they only work 2.6x as much as you (assuming 14 hours / day 7 days / week). By these numbers, they are 15% more effective than you are. (And they're harder workers.)

Fundamentally there's a culture mismatch. You think you have differentiating skillsthey don't agree. You think you are more efficienteither they don't agree or that's not their metric. You want to work a 40 hour weekthey want people who will kill themselves.

There are a couple options (e.g., going hourly), but I don't think they're realistic given the context. After all, your effective hourly rate is way higher than someone who takes home the same salary but works twice as much. So I agree with the other commentators: find an opportunity that's a better fit for you.

MortenK 18 hours ago 8 replies      
This is my personal opinion as a software development manager, so take it as just that.

A developer that always leave at exactly 17.00 and adamantly refuse to come in on a Saturday, gives a very clear signal that they don't give a shit about the company, the product or the team. They're there to get paid.

While most employers realize that your work isn't (or should be) your single burning passion, it is very negative for team morale when one of the guys always flakes out when the clock hits 17 regardless of the fire in the kitchen.

I knew a developer who always left at exactly 17.00, because "that's what they are paying me for". On several occasions, he deployed breaking changes to production five minutes before leaving. Other devs had to come in and work very late to get the system back online. While he is technically in his right to leave at 5, he causes his team much grief and as such is not an asset.

The other side of the coin is that lots of software companies, really has little to no control over software development. Especially startups run by young, inexperienced guys rarely have any idea what they are doing. This is a company where crisis' occurs daily or weekly instead of maybe once every couple of months.

They make up for this by rampant overtime, and excuse this with BS about being dedicated and a team player. You know you're in such an organization if they talk about how "that's what the industry is like".

Your organizations work culture seem like that - very long hours and (seemingly) no extraordinary reason for coming in on Saturday.

If that's the case, then leave. There's not much that can be done except a total change of top management.

But if it's a rare occurrence that they call you in on Saturday and there is a good explanation for it, then buckle up and help your team mates.

kohanz 18 hours ago 2 replies      
As stated by other, the obvious answer is to leave.

What is puzzling to me is that you sound like a skilled and confident developer, yet seem afraid of wading into the job market. Are your local employment options that bad?

pauleastlund 18 hours ago 3 replies      
So I'll lead with "you need to leave." Huge, obvious cultural mismatch.

With that said, I think it's bizarre how some of the commenters here are vilifying your management. I don't know the specifics of your company, but you can't run a startup at crunch time with devs putting in 7.5 hour days. Even at Google, which I considered extremely cushy and laid-back, there was the overt expectation -- repeatedly referenced in internal literature -- that engineer-weeks were about 50 hours long.

I think it's great that you've identified the level of work-life balance that will work for you and are standing your ground. But you need to understand that working 7.5 hours days is not some sort of universal human right. In the (near) future when you search for jobs, you need to communicate that preference up front and make sure that management is on board with it rather than taking for granted that they will be.

CocaKoala 18 hours ago 0 replies      
They're simultaneously threatening to fire you and also begging you to do more work; those are polar opposites. Do you feel like they need the work and are trying to use the (empty) threat of termination as motivation, or do you feel like they're trying to take advantage of you and get something for free?

Either way, you should probably quit. But if you can figure out what they actually need, it might help reduce your stress a little bit. Only a little, though, because having abusive managers or coworkers is really terrible and wears at you in a way that's pretty hard to describe. So you should probably quit.

calcsam 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Leave. You're a bad fit for the company culture. The company culture is a bad fit for you.
jason_slack 18 hours ago 1 reply      
Its hard to do, but I really think you need to leave.

Give your 2 weeks but be OK if they let you go on the spot.

If you dont have a lot of money, maybe you could put in a few more weeks before you quit and literally try and save every penny you can. If you have vacation time in the bank hopefully you get paid out for it.

I've been in situations where the "Boss" doesn't have a clear technical understanding between different roles and it is very hard. It feels like a Dilbert and/or Office Space moment to me.

joesmo 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds like management doesn't appreciate you, nor are they competent at what they do. You deserve better. It's commendable and professional to work a set number of hours (~7-8 / day, though it varies). It is unprofessional and a sign of management's failure to ask you to work more, work on weekends, or catch up to hours you don't owe them. It would also be unprofessional for you to bow down to such ridiculous requests. It sounds like you are contributing more than anyone and with your skill-set, you should have no problem finding another job, hopefully one that isn't filled with unprofessional managers who can't manage and demand one work unprofessional hours.

tl;dr: Working more than 8 hours a day is unprofessional (except in rare, extreme circumstances where it is rewarded).

hubtree 18 hours ago 0 replies      
If the stress is overwhelming you, then you should see if there is a solution to remove the stress. If not, then you should probably quit. It isn't worth what stress can do to your health and relationships.

If they need you to do more work beyond your 40 hour week, to the point that they threaten to fire you, then your supervisor likely realizes they need you.

If you find that at 5pm that you are twenty minuets away from finishing something up, then you should consider doing that from time to time, just to show you're on the team.

I am lucky enough to be in a position that I am on salary, but I am still paid overtime if the work load moves beyond 40 hours a week. If I need to work an extra 15 to 30 minutes to finish up what I'm working on, I don't count that as overtime. If I get a ticket that needs addressed, but there isn't time to do it in the normal work day, that counts as overtime.

Maybe consider proposing something similar. If what they really need is a little more help, but don't want to hire a new dev, they may be willing to come up with a compromise.

Good luck.

up_and_up 18 hours ago 1 reply      
> They come in at 8am, and leave around 10

> Now they want us to come in on Saturday.

I would definitely GTFO!

Productivity != hours sitting at a desk.

I have worked at a company like this and the issue was definitely poor management direction and poor technical discipline.

ctb_mg 15 hours ago 0 replies      
My two cents is that this situation is more prolific than you might think.

My own theory is that most young engineers start out by valuing their own time -- but they find themselves in a situation like this. They then relegate themselves to working long hours to please management, and eventually they work inefficiently all the time and are OK with that.

They're too withdrawn/introverted to stand up to management or take the leap to find a new job.

Regardless, like many others said, time to quit. They're not a good fit for you and a "bugfix scoreboard" sounds absolutely vile.

JDDunn9 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Sounds like they are trying to exploit you. There are plenty of companies out there that want you to think of them as "more than a job", but don't want to give you equity or pay competitive wages. Start taking interviews for other jobs. Once you have on lined up, you can either quit, or use it as leverage to talk to your boss.
elandybarr 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't think they necessarily "don't give a shit about the company".

In fact, I think setting appropriate personal boundaries is extremely important. A lot of devs recognize 'hour creep'. You know, stay in a few days until 6, and before too long, it becomes expected. I am saying this as a founder and someone who puts in as many possible hours.

At first, I thought, "Are you guys not really in the game?". But now I recognize that there are only a few people who I should really expect to be on that level, and it should be made explicitly clear from the get-go.

In this case, there is a clear metric that the employee is facing. However, this person certainly adds quite a bit of value.

I think this is worth confronting management over. But I also agree, that if there is a rare occurrence for weekend work, then that is also part of the team. Rather than quit outright, like many suggest, I would confront management very clearly about your personal boundaries and ask them explicitly what is the gulf between their expectations and what you are giving.

fuj 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Just.. leave. I know it's easier said than done but, I've been in a similar situation. No money in the world pays the stress you're going through.
bmm6o 18 hours ago 0 replies      
If you aren't already looking for a new job, why aren't you? It sounds like a bad fit and they don't appreciate your contributions.
contactmatts 17 hours ago 0 replies      
For reasons like this, I'm not sure I'll go back to a salary model (in favor of hourly model). I value my family time and personal time, but for those times where "the barns burning down", at least I'm compensated for putting out the fire.

(...And if the barn is always burning down, look for a new job.)

fsk 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Look for a new job. Your relationship with them can't be salvaged.

Also, this is why you keep a 6-12 month emergency fund, in case you have to walk away or get fired.

stefan_kendall3 17 hours ago 0 replies      
You posted this looking for support for what you know you need to do.

Quitting isn't fun, but sometimes it's the only way to solve a problem.

once_was 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I once worked in a cafe in my teens, we would be paid up until half an hour after close to do cleaning. Mopping the floor was the last task I did, it would usually end up running 5 or 10 minutes over the time I got paid. Your post makes me imagine dropping the mop half way through finishing the floors and walking backwards out the door while flipping off my boss because that half hour ticked over.

"The moment I step through my work door I set a timer for 7.5 hours." This is a terrible work ethic. You set a timer? I don't agree with doing unpaid overtime either, you certainly won't see me in the office on a Saturday, but sometimes things need to be completed before you leave for the day. But maybe that's just my opinion working in a remote office in a vastly different time zone to head office where my work needs to be delivered.

Although not a metric, I did chuckle that you state your co-workers work twice as long as you (14hrs vs 7.5) yet have three times as many fixes as you and then reference the reason for this is the time they spend at work.

all_the_things 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Stress isn't good for your clients and your personal relationships. I've had a similar problem, I'm quite insistent on using my own equipment, my recent client said yes to get me move over 4hrs away from my home, then the security team said no once I setup my kit and put down a six months deposit on a flat. I insisted on new equipment or a pay raise for pay in lieu of my slower rate of experience and discomfort which effects my out of hours work. They bought me a new iMac and I'm now technical lead for a reputable sports product. I arrive at 7am and leave at 3pm but turn out 200% more than other members in the team and maintain test coverage +90%. Remember to keep a smile on your face when you discuss it with them though. They'll worry about what you know and what they don't. The first one to lose their manners is usually wrong regardless of the technical details in companies like these.
babo 18 hours ago 0 replies      
There is no point to play that game, you will loose anyway. Keep with sane hours, find a new job, quit.
ceedan 18 hours ago 2 replies      
Instead of writing to the HackerNews posters asking for common sense advice, just quit your job.
pinoceros 18 hours ago 0 replies      
No matter what, get out. They are toxic people with twisted values who do not understand quality. Get out.

Accept their offer to buy out your contract. If they try to terminate you, be ready to lawyer up for a breach-of-contract suit.

Get out.

sharemywin 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Like everyone else said the best option is to find place with a better fit. Second, I would throw them a bone here and there until you find something else. third, do enough to get off the bottom of the list.
salibhai 16 hours ago 0 replies      
My suggestion: Look for a company that you can comfortably work the 9-5 and not have any issues with that.
Ask HN: 100+ people/companies were hiring at ClojureWest?
7 points by yresnob  1 day ago   discuss
Ask HN: Whatever happened to Mongrel2?
2 points by lkrubner  18 hours ago   discuss
Built it and they didn't come.
10 points by sharemywin  1 day ago   12 comments top 10
jipy9 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Could you explain a bit - users used it and then stopped using it? Or, nobody discovered what you built?

If earlier, did you try to find out why users stopped using it?

If later, how do you expect me to find this great product that I don't exists yet. You didn't even provide a link here.

Famously, before Ford built cars, he asked users and they said they wanted faster (horse) carriages (cars were too expensive, clumsy and broke down all the time). Thankfully, Ford didn't set out to make carriages or the horses faster.

idoh 1 day ago 0 replies      
Happens all the time, unfortunately. Now, whenever I work on a project, the very first thing I think about is how the distribution is going to work, and then build the app around that.

The interesting thing I've found is that in the successful apps I've worked on, distribution has been 90% of the effort, and the actual app people see is like 10%. So in a way distribution is the app.

qvikr 1 day ago 0 replies      
We first spoke to prospective users about germ.io and everyone "felt" the problem (managing ideas and building on them till they get to execution) - but they thought it was too big a problem to be solved through software. But at that point we were only looking to see if the problem we were trying to solve was real - not fit our solution in.

Once you know you're solving a problem that exists, you can't figure out fit by just talking to people - you need to throw out a (crappy) version and let real people play. We don't have the time/ $$s to spend months and THEN know we don't have a fit. So decided to roll out an MDP in pre-beta cycles called "Omega's" (story: blog.germ.io/wtfs-an-omega/). In the last week, we've had over 800 signups and 200 users we've opened access to, so I guess the challenge is to build -> ship -> iterate.

The family and friends you talk to before you have a prototype are the people who'd tell you they think your stuff is cool, but would never take their wallets out if they weren't doing you a personal favor. Their word and opinion isn't really worth much.

gburt 1 day ago 0 replies      
Pretty much anyone that has ever built something has been there. You either built something in search of a problem (i.e., something no one wanted) or failed to reach the audience that did want it (a marketing issue).
ASquare 1 day ago 0 replies      
The latter.

Ideally you should always talk to potential users/customers first to validate if you you idea truly is one that solves a genuine problem (ie problem/solution fit).

Only then go and build an MVP and test it with these same people - who can then also refer other interested people (ie product/market fit).

Here you will truly validate the need for the product and/or pivot to something else that can get to product/market fit.

Then, and only then should you look to do things like marketing to get the product in front of people.

This is the lean startup approach.

Following (something like) this significantly raises the odds of success.Building it in the hope of someone finding it/using it is a waste of time/money/energy.

ceeK 1 day ago 0 replies      
Yeh, I built Firework Flare (https://itunes.apple.com/gb/app/firework-flare/id513766705?m...), an iPad game, in 2011-12.

It was my first venture into iOS development, and I used it as a learning tool. The idea was one I had for awhile: to blend two cool games.

It gets about 1-10 downloads a day. I never did any marketing. I was quite naive in my thinking; it's almost as if I had to make that mistake to fully grasp it though.

mattwritescode 1 day ago 0 replies      
As someone who is currently working on a project it is something at the back of your mind.

That being said I think if you have done the research and know there is a market you should have no reason not to have users.

AbhishekBiswal 1 day ago 1 reply      
Recently I (with my friend) created this tool called reedme.in which is getting like 70 pageviews / day. Excluding our pageviews. It's live : http://reedme.in

We don't have any idea what to do right now, so we made it open source and we're focusing on our main project.

jesusmichael 1 day ago 0 replies      
sourceforge is full of cool shit only a handful of people use... This is why you need a salesperson... the pet rock sold 1M units in 8 months, why because people thought it was cool. Most stuff never gets any thought because dev guys think they can create stuff without sales guys to pitch it. Doesn't work like that... If your light is hidden under a bushel, it doesn't it make it any less of a light... it means you don't know how to get the bushel off.
dsschnau 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is one of those things I'm afraid of whenever I start a project.
Ask HN: Unpaid job at a startup. What can be done to get the most out of the xp?
5 points by biznerd  1 day ago   8 comments top 4
aba_sababa 1 day ago 2 replies      
The most productive thing is to quit. Anyone who, in 2014, is still not paying interns is most likely not someone who can teach you anything. There is still plenty of time to find another internship for the summer.
CocaKoala 1 day ago 0 replies      
If it's unpaid, then he should be getting lots of educational value even to the extent that it interferes with the business of the employer. I'm not making that up, it's one of the requirements of an unpaid internship [1]. If he's not getting education out of it, then he's working for free and he should not be working for free.

So the best strategy is to sit down with the boss and outline a plan that either a) clearly explains the things that your friend is going to learn during this internship (and it is an internship) and a timeline for learning them.

That's a lie, actually; the best strategy is for your friend to find somebody who's willing to pay him money for services rendered. But assuming for some terrible reason he absolutely has to stay with this startup, then he should figure out what he's going to get from it and the timeline for said getting.

[1]: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.htm

jonaldomo 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is the most ridiculous thing I have heard of. Why not just apply for jobs on elance, odesk or guru.com?
ASquare 21 hours ago 0 replies      
The question for me is whether the friend is in it for the earning or the learning?

See this for more: http://www.bothsidesofthetable.com/2009/11/04/is-it-time-for...

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