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Tell HN: Political Detox Week No politics on HN for one week
1383 points by dang  9 hours ago   961 comments top 306
nneonneo 8 hours ago 11 replies      
Many of the top-level comments here are against this move. I, on the other hand, would like to express my strong support for this move.

Hacker News has never been an anything-goes site. Tight moderation, considerate rules, and low tolerance for bullshit have made this a great site to talk about interesting technical topics and ideas. Remember that we all abide by the rules of the site, and that this isn't a magic free speech zone. If you want to talk political topics, the Internet has more than enough outlets.

Political discourse is antithetical to rational, intelligent discussion. This is not an opinion; look only to sites that allow political discourse (Slashdot?), or even our own comments to see how quickly rational discussion can devolve into flaming. One of the major selling points when I introduce HN to other people is the _absence_ of political topics or discussion: leaving the politics out just produces better technical content.

Also, please consider the idea that politics are regional and differ between countries. In Canada, where I'm from, many of the US political topics would never come up; many European countries might feel even more strongly. As a Canadian, I find American political musings and arguments even less relevant and noisy. By contrast, technological topics are always interesting to me - I can appreciate these, and I love that there's this corner of the Internet where I can participate in a reasoned, interesting technical community. Please don't ruin it with politics, especially the polarizing American variant.

I appreciate that the site is willing to take this step, and I sincerely hope it can keep this site useful, interesting and level-headed for the future.

idlewords 7 hours ago 11 replies      
This is a terrible decision. The tech industry has built powerful tools of social control, and runs vast databases of private data on pretty much everyone in the country. We have a golden period of forty-some days before a new administration comes to power that has shown every intent of using that information to deport people and create a national Muslim registry.

We need to be talking about the political implications of what we've built, and figuring out how to fix our mess. This is like the period before the hurricane: everyone should be busy boarding up windows, and you can't do that if you decide you're just not going to talk about the coming storm because it makes you feel bad.

minimuffins 8 hours ago 1 reply      
The idea that we can carve out a space that exists outside of politics and ideology is delusional.

Ideology is present everywhere. It's built in to the ways we relate to each other, to our employers, to the public and private institutions and technologies we interact with all the time, and especially the way we work and conceive of work. Ideology is often tacit, baked into our assumptions even in "non-political" areas.

Squelching political discussion won't cause us all to transcend ideology, it'll just make it impossible to discuss or critique a dominant ideology whenever one shows up in someone's unstated assumptions.

This is a bad idea and a little dystopian (the world is upside down, but think happy thoughts, folks! Here's a TED talk!)

Not to mention I didn't really see a huge problem on the site, so in a time when politics and ideology are on everyone's minds for good reason, it seems you've chosen to solve a non-problem with censorship.

tarikjn 9 hours ago 33 replies      
I find this experiment a bit strange/disturbing, avoiding political subjects is a way of putting the head in the sand. HN is a community of hackers and entrepreneurs and politics affects these subjects one way or another wether we want to avoid it or not, and are an important component of entrepreneurial and technical subjects. It might be fine if HN was a scientific community, but it is not the case, and even then politics do interact with science, as one can conduct scientific experiments on government decisions, or politics can attack scientific community positions (e.g. climate change).

The way this sounds is that you are more concerned about politics as in people who take party positions and may feel excluded as a group when the majority of the community takes a different position. This is a slightly different issue i.e. party politics, and I think it is fine/a good thing, but it is also important to distinguish the two. This should essentially be under the same umbrella as personal attacks, as they are essentially the same thing.

rustyfe 9 hours ago 8 replies      
One question that interests/concerns me is making judgement calls about what is/is not a political story.

Some links will be cut and dry, some will not. Some comments will be immediately identified as political, some will just be politics adjacent.

For instance, on a story about self driving cars, will it be appropriate to talk about UBI? On a story about cryptography, will it be acceptable to talk about how it applies to political dissidents?

Still, I have always found HN moderation to be reasonable, and I expect this to be the same. This is also something I think is desperately needed, we could all use a cooling off period, and it'll be nice not to be bombarded with US politics from yet another angle.

Hoping for the best, thanks dang + crew!

lsy 8 hours ago 1 reply      
The idea that you can somehow separate "political" from "non-political" stories seems poorly-thought-out and censorious. Who will make these decisions? It seems clear that many posts that are nominally "about tech and only tech" are pushing some political viewpoint, whether it be the benefits of mass computerization, workaholic tips and tricks, or protection from civil rights violations using encryption.

HN pretends to be largely apolitical, but the quick disappearance of certain threads or topics seems to show that it has a heavy slant towards a sort of techno-utopian quasi-libertarianism that wants to work its way out of challenges to its ideas by sort of putting its fingers in its ears. Instead of attempting to "depoliticize" itself, maybe HN should spend time developing a better understanding and clarification of the extremely political stance it takes every day?

kristianc 7 hours ago 2 replies      
It's not possible for HN to have "no political position" on issues such as tech.

As the Amazon Go thread, and this comment from PG demonstrate, the default position - where there is no discussion of race / gender / class / diversity - is for the protections that minority groups enjoy to disappear.

Either because no-one thinks to protect them (as white working classes feel has happened to them) or because SV bigwigs see those protections as an inconvenient fact that should be swept away by technological disruption.

pg: "Any industry that still has unions has potential energy that could be released by startups."


It's a fallacy to think that HN and hackers can somehow obsolve themselves from that responsibility any more than it thinks it can obsolve itself from responsibility toward homeless in SF.

By all means take the decision you feel you need to to maintain your community - but don't under any circumstances pretend it's a politically neutral one because it just cannot be.

jowiar 8 hours ago 5 replies      
When "politics" is treated as "things that affect other people that we opine about", this decision makes sense.

But this decision is the epitome of privilege. To enter a space thinking "I'm not going to think about politics" is to be someone whose sheer existence in that space isn't a political statement in and of itself. And for many, such a space is "The United States", "The Tech Community", "HN", or whatnot.

Saying "We're going to forget y'all for a week" is... just... fucking... terrible. And whoever conceived of it should be fired on the spot.

bargl 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm seeing a lot of people say this is a bad idea. I completely disagree. TL;DR; If HN is your only news source, you have bigger issues than this experiment, go subscribe to another source of political news.

Hacker news is a news aggregation medium for "Hacker News." The purpose of this site is to get your fix of tech news that you can't get other places. It isn't burying your head in the sand to ONLY have "Hacker" news on your Hacker News site. It's sticking your head in the sand not to read any other news sources. That is on the individual. It is not the job of Hacker News to educate you on politics. The responsibility of getting good news is on the user not the medium. HN doesn't claim to be a one stop shop for all of your news.

More importantly, this is an experiment, on a site that is very interested in Science and Programming. It completely makes sense to have an experiment like this to see if it affects the quality of the comments. Being against this experiment is like my dad trying to tell me that God Created the earth 5000 years ago from parts of other planets (complete hyperbole). WTH? It doesn't matter it's one week and then it's over.

I'm assuming a good experiment will THEN make assertions and consult with the community to see if this worked, was bad/good/etc. At that point voice your concerns, but not yet, there is no evidence it's all conjecture.

tmnvix 3 minutes ago 0 replies      
Politics is not discrete.

While I agree that posts about election results or political leadership changes are mostly unrelated to topics I come to HN to read about, I think that there are many ostensibly political posts that are very relevant (e.g. Snowden or Wikileaks related posts). I would hope that they will not be subject to exclusion.

opsiprogram 2 hours ago 0 replies      
While I see the point, and I can agree with the points made that HN shouldn't be a "battlefield" for person opinion, I cannot accept that we will concede politics to be a topic to be too difficult for discussion, difficult conversations are the most important ones to have.

In the view you've put forward, you say that politics is the problem, a topic that when discussed causes fights and it can damage the culture of HN. I disagree. If we don't know how to talk about politics with strangers, we stop trying to persuade each other, and we bottle up our disagreement, and we go online and yell at someone else, or we vote for the candidate who screams our view... because we don't know how else to express it, to find the nuance in it, and ask ourselves hard questions. We'd rather have an opinion than not stand for something. All of the flaming is a way of expressing it...

We can suppress the conversations on HN to focus only on specific science or technology, but on a technology website in this age, and right now that seems like we'd be the website equivalent of a child covering their ears when they don't want to hear something. Blockchain tech, cryto, AI, mesh networking, job loss from automation, cyberwar, Quantum C. Seems incorrect to suggest that technology and politics can be separated easily (especially at a big picture).

Of course this is the internet, people come here to troll and fight. But we as individuals can always walk away. We can douse the flames by not engaging in it ourselves. We can always handle a conversation with care, it's not the topic that is emotional, it's us. It isn't up to the community to stop people from talking about touchy subjects, so that we all get along, it's up to us to learn how to talk about these things better. On the net, just like in the world.

The experiment shouldn't be to stop political discourse, but encourage it. See where we go, go forth and be critical thinkers and talk about the hardest topics facing human civ right now. Lets see what happens. Maybe that is naive, but we gotta start somewhere. Discouraging the conversation isn't a start, its an end.

reflexive 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Based on Agnolia, these are the most popular stories from the past week on HN that might be construed as "political":

#17 Tell HN: Political Detox Week No politics on HN for a week https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13108404

#23 Canadian journalist's detention at US border raises press freedom alarms https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13092330

#29 Help Us Keep the Archive Free, Accessible, and Private https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13065599

#37 Facebooks Walled Wonderland Is Inherently Incompatible with News https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13103611

#49 War Is a Racket by General Smedley D. Butler (1933) https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13068641

#59 FBI to gain expanded hacking powers as Senate effort to block fails https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13074285

haukilup 9 hours ago 0 replies      
As an experiment, I love the idea!

Personally, I've found it hard to escape US politics on many of the sites I frequent. The comments/discussion often end up relating the topic to the last US election in some manner - and an unproductive conversation follows.

Just my experience, but again - love the idea of running an experiment here.

japhyr 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I understand the sentiment here, but it sounds a little...wishful.

Our political climate is affecting all of us in many ways, and we need to process what's happening. We need to do that carefully and constructively. I want to know the subtle political aspects of many of the stories I read on HN.

That said, I'll play along for the week. I hope what comes out of this is a push to encourage critical thinking about the political aspects of important stories, not to push political conversation off of HN entirely.

threatofrain 9 hours ago 2 replies      
If anything, Hacker News should be more political, and it ought to get its political act together. People here are always talking about moral issues, implications of technology on the working class, climate issues, accessibility, etc.

Well, talking about those issues is just moral posturing without <power>, and politics is the negotiation of power.

These are all political issues. If you care about your fellow person, you already have the seeds of a <political> motivation. You want to change the way the world works -- but that takes power, power like the AMA or AARP has.

People who duck their heads in the sand and scorn politics and power as something dirty are counterproductive to this highly disorganized technical community with almost zero union potential.

Arcsech 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Who decides what's "political"? Are discussions of regulations surrounding Uber political? The ongoing Tesla/dealership feuds? Using machine learning to detect fake news? New immigration policy that impacts H1B tech workers? The impact of Brexit on tech companies? Restrictions on cryptography?

I'm split on this: On one hand, firm moderation and keeping things on-topic makes for a good forum for discussion. On the other, this could easily be used by YC as a tool to say, silence criticism of YC for not disavowing Peter Thiel. Either way, there need to be clearer guidelines around what's allowed and what's not.

TrevorJ 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Given that ycombinator does specifically involve themselves in issues of policy such as universal basic income and others, I find this move to be at odds with what ycombinator actually is.

Once some ideas are too 'dangerous' or too contentions to be discussed, there is little hope of ever moving forward in solving the very real problems we have in this world.

Characterizing values as fragile things which cannot withstand the rigors of robust debate is also a troubling viewpoint.

edit: typo.

tunesmith 9 hours ago 4 replies      
I'm not really a fan of this move. I don't see it as an addiction that reduces its power over us by abstaining for a period of time. I also don't agree with applying system effects to individuals - while political discussion can appear to create a dulling or muting effect overall it doesn't mean that individual people aren't being positively influenced, in ways that might have even larger positive effects on the system over time. Similarly, preventing short term conflict might have negative longer term system effects over time.

The detox/immune-system metaphor seems really suspect in other words. You could just as easily argue that there is a "virus" (the changing political realities, new realities dawning on us), and that ignoring the "virus" or "symptoms" will make the adjustment that much more traumatic, the later we accept that it's happening. Or to switch the connotation, perhaps instead of a "virus", look at it as a "disruptive innovation" - where if we act as an entrenched incumbent, we will be disrupted as our competitors rewrite the rules, and we will be too far behind to pivot successfully.

Letting the community process the new inputs vigorously might seem more traumatic in the short term but it could also make us stronger overall.

This just seems counter to the principles that I appreciate at HN.

aburan28 5 hours ago 0 replies      
"Why? Political conflicts cause harm here. The values of Hacker News are intellectual curiosity and thoughtful conversation. Those things are lost when political emotions seize control. Our values are fragilethey're like plants that get forgotten, then trampled and scorched in combat. HN is a garden, politics is war by other means, and war and gardening don't mix."

This is so misguided and absurd. What is the definition of politics here? Trump stories? Or are fake news stories also political? Alot of the HN community came to value intellectual curiosity and thoughtful conversation from political ends

woodhull 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Do you really think that the techno-capitalist libertarian utopia that many in silicon valley seem to be trying to build is a-political, immune from regulation or popular backlash?

Anything political or critical of YC already gets disappeared from this site quite quickly. I had assumed that this policy (which always seemed misguided to me) was already in effect.

I think the historical moment we find ourselves in is a time to make ourselves more uncomfortable rather than retreat and pretend that the only things that matter are software and how we might make more money on the internet.

Politics is about coming together to find common solutions to problems and make sure that no one gets left behind. Isn't it the job of a responsible community (even a VC sponsored one dedicated to making money with tech as HN is) to lean in when things start to feel hard rather than tune out and ignore our responsibilities as citizens and fellow humans?

vinchuco 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
Let me get this right. Are they saying politics is to be hated actively for a recurring period of time?


sean_patel 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I really welcome this move. I couldn't get out of bed on Nov 9th and a few hours of introspection later, I realized I have no control over any of the Political changes and that I shouldn't be causing myself so much stress.

So I stopped watching the news -- both online and on TV -- since Nov 9th. It's been an incredible month for me since then.

I've made significant progress on my languishing side-projects ( a Show HN coming soon in Jan 2017!!!) and am generally less stressed and more mindful and happy.

I made a conscious effort to stop watching news and ride out the next 8 years (I expect Trump, like Dubya, will get Re-elected in 2020). I still need my "tech" fix, and visit only HN since I gave up the news. Yet I found a few Trump stories on HN recently, so this is a great move.

Thanks mods!

AndrewKemendo 9 hours ago 0 replies      
As a frequent commenter I think this is a good experiment, but I think it's worth considering what kind of platform HN considers itself.

Technology and politics are intimately linked, even if it's not always obvious. Technology's impact on politics is only going to grow in my opinion so I think the "political" discussions - as they relate to technology - are vital for the community at large.

If we as a community are going to be "disrupters" whether intentionally or not, we need to understand and discuss the social and political landscape and impacts of our work better, so that we can implement our technology in a way that doesn't spurn backlash from the communities and thus their political leaders.

Talk about political scandals and the like don't do service to this community, so I think those topics should be sequestered. However discussions on encryption, automation etc... are perfect topics for this community in my opinion.

pshc 9 hours ago 4 replies      
Tribalism is so toxic. I'm all for this. But for flagging purposes what's the boundary between a political/non-political story?

EDIT: @dang in another comment: Let me clarify. The main concern here is pure politics: the conflicts around party, ideology, nation, race, and religion that get people hot and turn into flamewars on the internet. We're not so concerned about stories on other things that happen to have political aspectslike, say, software patents.

pmoriarty 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I am concerned that in the long run political stories about HN and Y Combinator, and about the tech scene will be excluded.

Where better to talk about the politics of HN and Y Combinator than on HN? As far as political stories go, these are the most relevant ones to HN readers. Political stories about the tech scene, and related topics (such as political reactions to tech employees grabbing up all the real estate in certain tech-heavy cities like SF) are also very relevant.

I would be more ok with the banning of non-tech-related political stories/threads. But, I think a better solution than censorship would be tagging. Tagging would allow every reader to do their own filtering, and include/exclude what they felt was appropriate, rather than have those decisions dictated top-down.

On the other hand, I also understand the desire of the site owners/admins to guide the site to be what they want it to be, rather than what its users want it to be. That's definitely their prerogative, and much of it I agree with - particularly the censorship of hate speech, flaming, and trolling.

The guiding of this site towards more tech and less politics is also a desire I understand and commiserate with. There definitely are plenty of other political sites out there, where you can argue this stuff 'till the cows come home. But personally, I don't visit those sites, and would like to be able to discuss at least some of those topics -- the ones relevant to tech and to HN/YC, on HN itself.

guildwriter 8 hours ago 1 reply      
This feels a lot like closing the barn doors after the horses have already gotten loose. This kind of action was sorely needed weeks ago, especially when political articles turned into flame wars populated by 140 char political emotional screeds. It was really disheartening to see HN turn towards the same kind of political discussion I have to endure on other sites. Especially when commentators who tended to post thoughtfully completely devolved.

These days it feels rarer to see the same kind of inflammatory articles gain traction. The same kind of discussion is there but the flaming feels less rampant than it once was. With passions cooled I feel that the community is slowly returning to normal. Though it's likely with such a contentious president, especially to the de facto SV culture, it's not going to be smooth waters.

More brush fires might just be the new normal for now. I think that controlling the burning in this case is more advantageous to the community than trying to stamp it out entirely. Giving the silent treatment to unpopular views is partially how we ended up where we are.

I'm always up for a short term experiment though.

lossolo 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I am running tech site with 10k users on which i made surveys about politics with possibility to comment by users. I've stopped because there were so many conflicts, such bad emotions, then users moved their personal conflicts to other discussions on forum. After stopping the political surveys everything is a lot more stable and people are nicer to each other, without any biases, they discuss about software, hardware etc. This was very good decision, will it work for HN? Probably yes, it worked for us.
rcavezza 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I disagree. I think if there was ever a time in the history of the world where more political discourse needs to occur, it should be now. I think this is especially true with such a smart group of individuals trying to change the world in many different arenas.
minimaxir 9 hours ago 2 replies      
It's worth noting that in order to flag a comment, you must click the permalink first.

I've seen political stories flagged pretty quickly during normal HN usage, but rarely comment threads.

brilliantcode 8 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a slippery slope, I read it as "lets censor ourselves for this week and everybody should do their part".

Tech is like any other industry, it's rife with politics. I don't agree with trolling but obviously this place isn't reddit, lot of political debates are valuable and offer insights for those less politically inclined.

If we agree to this policy what guarantee is there in the future that other topics that HN leadership doesn't like will be censored?

This is censorship pure and simple. Shame on you Dang for even suggesting it, my question is:

Is HN an America based community that reflects the core beliefs in freedom of speech & expression?

If yes, we shouldn't even have this kind of thread. Let trolls be flagged but everyone else having meaningful discussion should not be collectively punished.

abathur 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It's your prerogative to enforce HN's own rules about political posts, but I think identifying "politics" as a "topic" is a misguided (political) gesture.

It's one thing to say pogo sticks are off-topic in a unicycling forum, and quite another to say basic human drives (thought, sex, hunger, curiosity, creation, expression, socializing, prediction, story-telling, bonding, power, respect, exploration...) that pervade everything we do are "off-topic".

On the road to pathologizing and demonizing people who don't agree with us, this kind of compartmentalization is itself a mechanism we use to flatten and stereotype away the human needs, desires, and drives that animate others.

You may benefit HN (and society) more by acknowledging these entanglements and focusing instead on how to model, shape, and cultivate responsible civic discourse.

4rtemis 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this is a bad idea, even as an experiment. Treating groups of ideas as off-limits, immutable or in need of protection from other groups does more harm than good. Your analogy of "politics [being] war by other means" is exactly why we should foster political discussion just as any other intellectual pursuit. Arbitrary isolation between the political or religious self and our intellectual self is, I believe, why politics is so violent and difficult to talk about. You don't need homogeneity for a good discussion and you shouldn't assume chaos when heterogenous people start talking.

We talk about important things here and should do so in a way that is conducive to engaging conversation. Topics shouldn't be off the table.

Also, what is 'political'?

Edit: typo

gjkood 8 hours ago 3 replies      
To tell you the truth, I put myself into a politics news vacuum the day after the elections and the results were announced.

I no longer frequent the politics sites (left and right) that I used to visit being a politics addict. I now no longer want to listen to any politics for the next 4 or 8 years (whichever the term may end up being).

I have stuck my fingers in my ears and am spouting "la la la la...." loudly whenever I go near a political discussion.

No more politics for me (at least till I am ready to come out of my self imposed exile).

mindcrime 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I say make this permanent. A couple of years ago, politics was mostly verboten here, at least unofficially. It's been a slow, steady transition to the current state where political stories have become so prominent.

None of that is to say that politics isn't important, or that I don't enjoy discussing the subject. It just isn't mainly why I come to HN, and I honestly feel a little dirty every time I get drawn into a political discussion here.

PravlageTiem 8 hours ago 0 replies      
When most people talk about "politics" what they really mean is they want to recite talking points told to them from their favorite dying old media echo chamber.

Reddit went full political and I left.The chans went full political and I left.Facebook went full political and I left.Twitter went full political and I left.

I go on the internet to escape being repeatedly told I'm not doing enough to live up to the moral supremacist standards set by the Baby Boomers in the 1960s.

Nearly every single massive social network on the internet exists and have for a decade to cater to your daily fill of Silicon Valley bicoastal "look down the nose of the flyover plebs" equality porn. Go there for your schadenfreude. Don't bring it here.

Spirituality means having an imaginary friend. Politics means having imaginary enemies.

s_q_b 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This will be my final comment on HN.

As my parting words from this site, I would ask that you please pay close attention to what is happening politically with regard to the laws which shape technology: the First Amendment, Fourth Amendment, Criminal Rule of Procedure 41, PATRIOT Act 215, FISA 702, and Executive Order 12333, but just as importantly, the individuals in the NSC, DNI, DCIA, DNSA and DIA/DCS leadership positions.

Community members, remember it is crucial for engineers, scientists, and entrepreneurs to have a voice in the forthcoming discussions of digital privacy, the extent of state power, and the policies that will be chosen. If you wish to conduct this experiment, perhaps a different time period would be better, as these officials are being chosen now, and the policies will be decided very soon.

Moderators, I ask you to use your power judiciously, and allow the maximum free discourse that you feel appropriate. Remember that you yourselves are not immune to the cognitive defects inherent in human nature. If you do adopt a more narrow curation policy, please guard against those passions carefully. Protect well this place you have built. It is more special than you realize.

Founders, design your technologies with an eye to how they shape public discourse, promote fact, and expose deception. Be better than my generation. Pursue ideals more noble than mere monetary profit. Don't just make something people want. Make something that matters.

Build the change you wish to see in the world. You did not risk everything to sell digital sugar water.

Others of greater tact than I will shape these discussions as they evolve here. But I myself will not abet censorship without objection, particularly at this moment in time. The time has come to vote with my feet. It has been a pleasure to know you all.

I wish you well in the days to come.

jgord 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Disagree, not because it isn't a good idea right now, but :

a) we should not abandon the general rules, unless under the most exceptional circumstances [ ie. unless these posts threaten to kill the HN site or render it unusable in the main, we should not adopt a special rule ]

b) its un-needed, in the sense we can choose to self impose this by not upvoting overly political stories/comments

c) HN is already practicing too much self-censorship - we need to tolerate some extremes / ugly points of view, in order to keep a healthy community where free speech is highly valued and where any subject can be discussed

d) imo HN is equally susceptible to hostile takeover by ugly "trumpism"'s as it is by political-correctness / overly tolerant relativism. It is for each of us to upvote/downvote/comment in order to fight against memes that might enslave this community and its freedoms.

aikah 8 hours ago 1 reply      
> Why? Political conflicts cause harm here

Unfortunately this a consequence of people trying to shove politics everywhere, including in unrelated communities. I don't want to point fingers but a specific camp has mastered the art of forcing their political beliefs upon others in the name of "the right side of history". The result is now, you can't be just a developer, or a techie. You have to be a techie + or a developer + qnd also support a specific political agenda, or "you're not a decent human being". Maybe people should stop doing that at first place. The same thing happened in atheist communities or gaming and it permanently ruined these communities, because it forced everybody to take sides. HN is no different. The dev community will suffer the same fate if people don't come to their senses before it's too late.

Maybe political subjects that are totally unrelated to tech should be banned from HN. I don't like censorship, but if the goal is to keep a community united and focused well, I'm open for alternative suggestions...

ProAm 9 hours ago 6 replies      
I'm a little skeptical of this.... What's the ulterior motive here? We all know SamA was very anti-trump, is this an alternative method to keep the new US political regime from affecting YC? It's almost a weird form of discussion censorship. Whose idea was this?
andrewljohnson 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Thank you, I'll happily flag down politics on HN.

Politics has caused me to start using new software so I can filter Twitter, change my subreddits, and aggressively unfollow people on Facebook (even family at this point).

And still I can't avoid it... though perhaps for the best, since social media by-and-large is just a distraction from real work and real life. I'm far better off coding, reading books, and playing go than reading garbage political news nd opinions from shrill internet denizens.

danso 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I respect that HN wants to stay away from the burning dumpsters that have been online political discussions lately. I probably post more than my fair share of political discussion here, but i try to do so only when I see it being relevant to the general aims of HN, even if you're here only for the tech and entrepreneurship. A lot of tech and business is influenced by political machinations, and I value the HN quality commentary on it.

But yeah, partisanship, not so much. Maybe a week of non-politics will help level the conversations here, though it's still a relative oasis compared to just about anywhere else online.

BinaryIdiot 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I feel some irony was lost with the posting of this topic. The relationship the actions HN moderation takes against HN users is, by definition, political. So, by definition, this post should be removed.

Yes the moderation team is going to be handling this on a case by case basis and a thread like this isn't actually going to be shut down but I think it illustrates my point: politics is woven through society at virtually every level. There are very few stories that lack at least some form of politics.

So why not let the community decide what they feel it a topic worth discussion and what is not by flagging posts (like what they do today)? Why must there be interference to steer the community in a specific, editorialized direction?

notadoc 9 hours ago 0 replies      

My 2 cents: unless it's directly related to tech (net neutrality, SOPA, surveillance, security, etc), it shouldn't be on here.

stevethyc 6 hours ago 0 replies      
"Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me, I wish none of this had happened.

Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times but that is not for them to decide, All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to you."

Information/Internet technology is inseparable from politics now. I never asked for that and neither did any of us, but that's the inescapable reality.Our inventions are being used to both enhance and disrupt democracy, and they are causing real people real pain along with the huge benefits to millions of others.Like many, my own productivity has taken a huge hit in the last year because of all of the political news. I resent this in the same way I'd resent a hurricane hitting my house, but pretending it isn't happening won't help.HN being a blend of pure tech stories along with political+tech stories is absolutely the right blend because IT REFLECTS THE REALITY OF TODAY'S WORLD.Trump's election is the biggest change in politics in the last 50 years, and IT was at the heart of that election, in terms of the forces that have caused the desire for change (e.g. worker displacement, cultural upheaval), and the mechanics of the election itself (e.g. Twitter, news feeds, fake news, media manipulation, big data, etc.).We, the IT workers of the world, are the new weapons-makers. That we never meant our work to be used that way is immaterial. Everybody in tech should now be politically informed. We should be tuned in. We should know details. We should learn the facts. I'd love to spend 100% of my time learning about new frameworks and hardware, and that's what I enjoy doing.We have the ring now, even if we never wanted it. Now it's our job to keep it out of hands of evil.

P.S. I started writing this response with, "Good! I am so sick of reading about politics everywhere. Great move, HN!". Then I changed my response to the one above.

Jeaye 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I come here to talk and learn about tech and science, not banter about politics. I'm all for a politic-free HN.

Find just about any article on the hacker mindset and politics, aside from the desire for freedom, won't be anywhere near the top of the list. Nothing about Republicans, Democrats, race, etc.

Some examples:


nerfhammer 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Politics stories seem to get flagkilled 95% of the time already, and despite the difficulty of discussing it politics affects our daily lives a lot more than the latest release of some javascript framework.
kup0 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I see all the re-assurances about this being "only for one week", but what's the point of a one-week experiment if you're not at least remotely considering making it long-term?

You even say yourself that "we don't have an opinion yet about longer-term changes" and I assume you're hoping the experiment maybe helps you form that opinion?

While I understand the intent behind this decision I don't see it accomplishing anything worthwhile. It may reduce flamewars temporarily, but people get flamey on tech topics too.

It's a hell of a privilege to think that technology and business discussion can be separated from political discussion. Politics will constantly intersect with technology and business.

You're using a battering ram to hammer a nail.

jrnichols 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I have no complaints. This is where I come more and more often because I am so fed up with endless political bickering on Facebook, Twitter, and, well, pretty much every other place I go that has some sort of comment section or forum. It's frustrating. For me, this is the last bastion of rational discussion.
rick_perez 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I find this part of the main problem with the recent US election. You only want political discussions when you agree with it. No matter how civil a person is, it's considered 'uncivil' when it's against San Francisco politics.

When this happens, many people are forced to get their news from the sites deemed 'fake'. The mass banning of opposing viewpoints (which has been happening for a couple of years now) has pushed more people towards these sites and may have actually won Trump the election. If you want to change it, stop silencing all opposing views.

The problem is that politics is in every part of our lives. If you ban politics and religion, people still get political and religious about other things. It's part of human nature (GNU VS BSD), (VI VS Emacs).

feral 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Technologists have above average wealth, and have influence on the future of technology and society. There are many here. At some point the size and power of a news site increases beyond the point where its just a toy - like it or not (see Facebook).

And with power comes responsibility.

I can understand adjusting the amount of political discussion, but banning it seems like a derogation of responsibility - certainly if the ban were to persist.

Alternatively, if another leak like Snowden's comes out this week, would discussion be prohibited? What if a big tech company was found to be building a Muslim registry? Could you please clarify whether stories that are both technology and political will remain?

> What Hacker News is: a place for stories that gratify intellectual curiosity and civil, substantive comments.

If that's the clear extent of the mission, that's a pity.

I'd argue there was always a subtext on HN, whereby hackers giving prominence to their intellectual curiosity is justified because this path also eventually produces Good Stuff, technology which solves real problems, and eventually creates wealth and makes people's lives better. I would thus recommend against drawing a bright line around 'gratify intellectual curiosity'.

If we're just clicking stories purely because it gratifies us, how's it different to just eating candy? It'd be a pity if that was all the community is intended to be.

Futurebot 8 hours ago 0 replies      
No objection whatsoever to a pause period, but it's important for people to realize there's no separation between politics and anything else, including technology. "Everything is political" is a cliche, but it happens to be true.

"Geeks like to think that they can ignore politics, you can leave politics alone, but politics won't leave you alone." -RMS

rokosbasilisk 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I support this even permanently. Not everything is political as some people believe.

Hackernews articles and comments about flask, django, and mongo helped me get my first job. Ask hn helped me learn about consulting. I love reading the comments about the em drive to help me understand when the mainstream media doesnt explain or misrepresents.

Even today I still learn so much about js frameworks, and cool plugins or tips and tricks, seeing all this swamped by politics sucks.

smoyer 8 hours ago 1 reply      
That will give us all more time to discuss religion (the other topic my parents always said was verboten between casual acquaintances).

More seriously, I'm not going to rock the boat (and won't miss the discussions about politics) but I always figured those stories would disappear from the front page when the community at large didn't want to discuss them. It's a dangerous slope since you can also make the argument that other topics are also too dominant. I personally would like to see fewer articles on Angular but I wouldn't have suggested that they be off-topic for a week. I guess I assumed the up-voters wanted them.

OFF-TOPIC: Any chance we can down-vote articles with enough karma?

EDIT: I guess I should also note that I rarely flag articles since that seems like it should be reserved for some sort of abuse. My thought about down-votes is that it's the opposite of an up-vote ("I'm not interested in this" versus "this is interesting").

srpablo 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Many of us were skeptical when visible HN leadership expressed sentiments over and over like this:


And we, in turn, were criticized for daring to express our thoughts that, if Trump were elected, YC would play the typical role of the moneyed, comfortable, and powerful, and not use any of its significant power to work towards a better end.

Anyways, cool to put a moratorium on political discussion < 15 days before the electors vote and 45 days before Inauguration. I feel relieved, and not proven right at all.

jressey 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I disagree with this idea, the point where I consider it cowardly. This is a forum for a community, so let us talk about what we want to, and upvote it if it's good content. If this is actually a concern about a problem happening like on Reddit with upvote bots, then let's talk about that.

C'mon, hearing people talk positively about working with JS lights a fire inside me and my veins pop, so I just don't upvote their comments. Pretty simple.

komali2 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I like the idea of it being a detox and nothing more. I understand that political discussions can drag a site down, just look at reddit, but in the long term ignoring everything political can only hurt us. When it comes to topics like net neutrality, environment, and security/encryption, we can be doing the job of the government itself by crippling our grassroots/discussion efforts.

Being aware of the government stepping in our gardens is important, and if the side effect is sometimes we get mad at eachother, well, at least we're aware.

pizza 9 hours ago 0 replies      
We all share a responsibility to behave like adults. Is this really the way to deal with some people being quick to anger? What's the difference between people debating over the best political theory vs, say, unproven quantum theory, or lay speculation on economics, or on history, or on aesthetics, or on evolutionary post hoc rationalization, or on predictions of the future?

And as per the US-centrism aspect, personally, I can't see how muting political debate will shift the average discussion away from US-centric politics, in general..

bradleyjg 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I've been hesitant to go into new and just start flagging all the terrible stories because I've read about people that lost the ability to flag. So I only flag on relatively rare occasion. Does such an overuse mechanism actually exist?
pjlegato 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This supposes that legimitately intellectual and civil political discourse is simply not possible, that some sort of "primitive brain" must always take over in any political discussion. This is empirically false. Hacker News generates much more calm and rational political discourse than otherwise.

Of course people sometimes get angry and flame each other in political threads. That should be flagged. For that matter, people flame each other on "Technology A versus Technology B" threads all the time, too, and many other topics.

The way to promote more civil political discourse is to promote more civil political discourse, not to ban political discourse as a dirty, taboo topic altogether.

ForrestN 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I am a hacker and a part of this community and have been for many years. My little family is gay and mixed race, and because I work for a non-profit relies on the government for health insurance. My in-laws are brown people living in a hostile part of the United States where vicious hate crimes are spiking.

Why don't I qualify as part of the community? Politics is now more and more bearing down on my family, oppressing us, threatening us. We are afraid and depressed every day, even while probably cowering from fully facing the gravity of the threat this administration poses. It is hard to code when you are terrified.

Why doesn't HN care about me? Why aren't its powerful, its brilliant, its wealthy, abandoning all other projects to protect me? Why? I need you to save my family. Please.

estsauver 7 hours ago 3 replies      
This doesn't feel nonpartisan, it feels like it's actively quashing what little political traction can be gained here.

And frankly, a 'detox' is absolutely the wrong word for it. The emotions for me at least come from feeling scared. I have several family members who will lose coverage if the ACA is repealed and I have muslim friends who are looking at the prospect of being sent to interment camps.

This is anger and fear that should be cultivated, not extinguished.

 sudo bash -c 'echo " news.ycombinator.com" >> /etc/hosts'

freddyc 9 hours ago 0 replies      
The beauty (in my eyes at least) of Hacker News has always been that the most interesting/relevant stories and discussions find their way to the top of the feed. I've discovered topics and perspectives (including those I disagree with) that I otherwise wouldn't have been exposed to if it weren't for HN. I've always felt there is something of a built-in filter present, so this move feels a little forced and unnecessary to me.
ixtli 5 hours ago 0 replies      
"Geeks like to think that they can ignore politics, you can leave politics alone, but politics won't leave you alone."

-- RMS, "O'Reilly Open Source Conference: Day 3" by Paul Weinstein, in Apache Week (26 July 2002)

fdgdasfadsf 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I get what you are doing - HN has been in eternal September mode for a while now. I'm not sure it will work but I hope it does I don't want to have to find a new message board.

My question is what counts as political? HN has been an important place for me to get news about censorship, surveillance and copyright issues that are just not covered by my country's press (UK). I would be sad to lose this news source.

dkural 8 hours ago 0 replies      
How do you draw boundaries of what's political? Everything is political - rules for how and where Cars can drive, rules for who can host whom in their house, gender equality and the job market, drones, and accountability abroad, encryption and government surveillance. It's impossible to have a conversation about Uber, AirBnB, Apple, Microsoft, Google, Twitter without talking about whom it affects and how.
alistproducer2 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Politics was definitely a problem right after the election, but it seems to have calmed down a lot and nakedly political stories don't seem to make it to the front page anymore.

I would hope this purge would not include stories related to privacy legislation, as I think the topic is very relevant to the community.

gopher2 8 hours ago 0 replies      
What exactly defines a story as political?

Some recent topics I can think of... Facebook + fake news is about technology and user behavior, and also very political. Government use of surveillance technology is both technological and political in nature. Role of social media in elections has technological, sociological, politic aspects to it that can be discussed.

To me, being "political" is both what you're talking about, and how you're talking about it.

I enjoy reading what the HN audience has to say about the above examples. I'd be disappointed if they're considered too political and off limits going forward.

Interested to see how this experiment goes.

jonahrd 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Some of the most politically important events and eras were defined and made possible by the technology and engineering that came out of these periods. In the past, engineering has been taught as a separate entity, focusing on monetary and technological risks/rewards. This leads to impressive engineering projects that sometimes devastate communities, wildlife, marginalized groups, etc.

But the truth is that engineering is intrinsically linked to the impacts it has on the environment, its social impacts, its political impacts, and everything else that it affects in this complex web that is reality. When engineering is taught in schools now, these impacts are a major focus. In civil engineering this means that projects are planned that at least take into account the people and communities they are displacing. In industrial engineering, it means sourcing materials from the right places, focusing on environmental impact, etc.

It's absolutely no different in software engineering, or high tech in general. By enforcing an 'apolitical' atmosphere in a tech discussion, you're consciously shifting the intelligence and nuance of the discussion back to a period before we started to consider the impact that technology has on society. This is a dangerous shift, and dumbs down the level of discussion that's achievable by muting voices that connect the discussion with its impacts in other areas. In effect, this actively enforces the status quo, and doesn't allow our discussion here to progress the industry as a whole.

I come to HN because it's a great resource to find interesting tech articles. It's also a great way to stay informed with the latest tech related news. But equally, I find discussion so engaging here because it seems to be so deeply ingrained the heart of the tech community, and because of that, can affect the way the tech world operates as a whole (even just slightly). Stripping down the discussion to a frankly old-fashioned apolitical "tech doesn't affect anything except tech" would be a sad thing for me to witness happen to HN.

pmiller2 8 hours ago 0 replies      
What counts as political? My only real concern is that this is pretty vaguely specified. E.g can we discuss net neutrality? The economy? Economics in general? Professional licensing requirements? Arbitration agreements? All of these have produced interesting discussions in the past, and, while I could stand to go a week without, I'd hate to ding someone's account for posting them.
tyingq 9 hours ago 1 reply      
How broadly are we defining "politics" here? Some topics I see here frequently...are these flaggable for the week?

Uber Contractor vs Employee, AirBnb vs Zoning Laws, Universal Basic Income, Privacy Issues

peterkelly 2 hours ago 0 replies      
> Political Detox Week

I don't understand how so many people have missed the word "week" in this sentence.

This is an experiment, and it's going to last a very short period of time; I support it. I oppose banning political articles & discussion on HN in the long-term, but that's not what this is. It seems the distinction has been missed in most of the comments.

One option I would like to suggest is an option whereby people can enable or disable a filter for political stories. This way if you just want to come and geek out about tech, you can do so, or if you want to follow political issues you have that option as well. I'd use both modes at different times depending on my mood.

celticninja 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I approve, politics tends to be US centric on HN and whilst I like to keep informed there are plenty of other dedicate sources for that sort of information. Also as this isn't a politics site inevitably the debate is a bit of an echo chamber.
therealgimli 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I am disappointed by this decision, but I don't love HN any less for it.

Many comments have pointed out that there are plenty of places on the web to have discussions about political topics, so let's keep the HN about tech.

I see the merit in this sentiment, but for me reading the political discussions within this community is something I value greatly. For one thing, there are a great many non-US based people here. In my experience I have been exposed to a relatively balanced set of perspectives, and generally commenters are thoughtful and un-troll-like.

In short, I learn many things from other folks in this community, and that includes political topics.

pavlov 9 hours ago 1 reply      
... war and gardening don't mix.

Well, victory gardens were a thing not very long ago: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victory_garden

jc_811 7 hours ago 1 reply      
A submission on climate change was flagged and removed due to these political guidelines. Is this really considered political? Wouldn't it be more justified to call it 'scientific'?

How is anyone supposed to realistically draw the line between what is political and what is not? Couldn't any topic in the world be related back to politics one way or another?

This seems like a blatant plot to censor 'unwanted' topics and articles. A huge downvote from me.

russelluresti 9 hours ago 1 reply      
> Those things are lost when political emotions seize control

> but it's insufficient to stop people from flaming each other when political conflicts activate the primitive brain.

Wait, is the entire premise behind this the idea that political differences can't be discussed in a respectful manner? History would disagree with you on this statement. People are capable of having political discussion without having a flame war, it happens all the time. You're taking the actions of a minority group and saying that because a few people are disrespectful we all have to bury our heads in the sand and avoid politics completely.

This is ridiculous.

stcredzero 6 hours ago 0 replies      
In recent threads, I've made some factual observations, only to have people imagine a slant or motivation, then argue with that commenter of their imagination. I think HN is succumbing to the "Arguments as Soliders" antipattern:


rileyriley 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This is the time for making ourselves uncomfortable and leaving room for others to speak.

It's dangerous to avoid short-term pain by stifling conflict. HN is about technology news and I don't think we should separate the "oh cool" part from the "how will this affect our neighbors" part.

stenl 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Why isn't this exactly like playing "Nearer My God to Thee" on the deck of the Titanic? The ship is sinking and we're going to talk not about the water rushing in through the hole in the hull, but about ...gardening?

By all means let's have a civilized conversation but we're in a political crisis and "we" as "hackers" need to help fix it, not wish it wasn't so.

DougN7 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm laughing at how pedant this group is. Viewed under a microscope, sliced and diced a thousand ways and all possible repercussions and views are debated. It's just a week! We'll survive :)
pelario 8 hours ago 0 replies      
What is the limit that defines "politics" from everything else ? I personally believe that (more or less) "everything is politics", therefore it is quite difficult to follow this directive.

Actually, the OP is very politic, as it is about how HN is governed, should we flag this post and should you kill the story?

This may sound pedantic, but the example shows the importance of defining what you consider is the limit between "politics" and "everything else"

pfooti 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's a couple of problems.

1) Many things are political on some level. Consider encryption, the future of technology, automation, global trade. What counts as political?

2) Not discussing things that are deemed "political" is itself a political act - you're basically saying, "we don't need to talk about these things that are actively causing harm." Often times, this is a show of support for the status quo - it's the privileged who get to say what conversations can and cannot be had, and they rarely say, 'let us stop talking about this subject that deeply affects us'. They say that about things that don't matter to them, because they're worried about civility.

3) Some people are actually actively fighting for their very right to exist, politically and in the physical world. Consider the current administration's (especially the VP) stance toward LGBTQIA people, or toward abortion, or consider the active physical harm perpetrated on the bodies of non-white people by institutions and corporations. If you're upset because people are getting their feelings hurt, consider the people whose actual bodies are being hurt, whom you are now potentially silencing.

Sure, maybe hackernews should be a place where people post stuff like "Show HN: Version 1.2 of my parsing state machine" and nothing else. Maybe we yearn for the yester-days of freshmeat or whatever.

I don't operate under the assumption that HN is a free space or a space for me in particular or demand the right to say anything I want on its platform. I did appreciate its relative openness and the general quality of its commentariat. But this experiment has radically altered my opinion of HN as an online space. I'm going to re-evaluate that, I guess.

This really does feel like someone grumpily saying, "keep it down, kids, we're trying to eat dinner here!"

abtinf 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a great idea. I assumed that political discussion would die down a bit after the election, but it only seems to have escalated. Detox is the right word for what is needed.
mesto 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I just wanted to say that I'm incredibly disappointed in this decision and even more so by its rationale.

The idea that Hacker News or tech in general is a 'garden' which should exist separately from politics is simply naive and very privileged. Taking no position, or worse suppressing opposition is itself a position. This is a critical time of political organization and resistance in the days before the Trump administration takes control.

Even 7 days lost in this process, allowing the readers of this site to ignore the reality outside their doorstep is a concrete injury to the disadvantaged communities which will be targeted in the first weeks of the Trump administration.

delegate 4 hours ago 0 replies      
All censorship is done with good intentions. Things are censored because they are somehow against a certain set of values or they threaten the well-being of the establishment.

So this move is on thin ice.

But I also think that politics and politicians in particular are getting a lot more media exposure than they deserve or need.

Politicians are the new rock stars... but they shouldn't be. They should be spending time working on actual societal problems - the things they've been elected for.

All the rest of us, too, should give them a lot less attention and focus our attention on issues rather than people.

Political affiliation is a very subjective thing, similar to tastes in music or art or sex. There's no perfect solution to all the problems we're facing and that's why we disagree on things.

So often political discussion is a futile attempt to convince the other side that the worst (their point of view) is the best (our point of view). Which is a waste of energy and time and should be avoided.

Considering all of these factors, with a shade of worry I think this is the right thing to do.

knowtheory 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey Dan,

This seems like a dramatically misguided attempt to rectify conversational tone.

You can't de-program or disregard people's politics, it's shot throughout everything. Politics frame the foundational approach to recommending policy, how we make decisions and the stories and topics we care about.

It's important to find common ground and ways to discuss topics in spite of politics, not deny the fact that politics pervades everything.

mmaunder 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I wasn't aware there is a problem.
giardini 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Not a gripe but an idea: rather than ban persons from HN for bad behavior, would it possibly be better to "emprison" them, that is, disallow them from posting for awhile and then, after a few days or weeks, permit them to resume posting?

Reason I ask this is that I recently encountered an HN situation where someone who appeared to be a productive member of the HN community was banned from posting because of (truly) poor etiquette, if not outright bad behavior. However, seeing that he had for over a year been a contributing member, I felt that a total ban was heavy-handed and that simply being punished temporarily for a transgression might have served better.

Is anyone familiar with an online forum that merely temporarily punishes transgressors w/o permanently banning them? Does anyone else think banning is sometimes a bit too much punishment?

anon987 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Why are they allowed, period?

Is the community OK with turning HN into Reddit-lite - because that's clearly what's happening based on the topics that get upvoted.

criley2 8 hours ago 1 reply      
It's a half measure and it won't help much.

Hackernews is like reddit before subreddits.

It's too big now, too many people, too disparate of subjects, too much noise and not enough signal.

Over the past couple years, definitely in the past 2, hackernews has gone from say a reddit SV subreddit, to a generalized, worldnews/politics/general news generic reddit.

That's not what this is. And when hackernews becomes what reddit.com/r/reddit.com used to be, it dilutes the userbase and invites/attracts people who have nothing to do with the hackernews ideology and culture.

This is a positive first step, but far too little and maybe too late.

This site is becoming a generic catch-all subreddit for all news, and with that change the userbase is reflecting the lack of focus on SV/technology/hacker culture.

Without dramatic intervention, the tides will turn and hackernews will not be an attractive place for real hackers, real innovators. Won't be worth their time anymore. They'll find greener pastures. Many already are.

rjdevereux 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I understand the sentiment, and promoting civil discourse is a wonderful goal. But the way forward is figuring out how to promote the good, and discourage the bad, not disengagement.

I don't think I can say why it is important to engage better than Charles Krauthammer, so I'll just put his words here.

"While science, medicine, art, poetry, architecture, chess, space, sports, number theory and all things hard and beautiful promise purity, elegance and sometimes even transcendence, they are fundamentally subordinate. In the end, they must bow to the sovereignty of politics.

Politics, the crooked timber of our communal lives, dominates everything because, in the end, everything high and low and, most especially, high lives or dies by politics. You can have the most advanced and efflorescent of cultures. Get your politics wrong, however, and everything stands to be swept away. This is not ancient history. This is Germany 1933 Politics is the moat, the walls, beyond which lie the barbarians. Fail to keep them at bay, and everything burns."

rubicon33 9 hours ago 0 replies      
While I don't general like censorship... I think this is great. I don't come to this forum for political discussions. I come here to here interesting stories from like minded scientists and inquisitive people. Politics is incredibly divisive and very rarely results in intriguing conversations, more usually name calling and flaming. Nice bold move from HN Mods.
someguydave 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I have a permanent solution to the "politics problem": require all comments be cryptographically signed, and give users the tools to rate the signing keys.
jprzybyl 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this is a good idea. I realize that, you know, freedom of speech and all, but this is called HACKER NEWS.

I would personally like it best if the political news just lessened overall, rather than stopping entirely for a week, but what can you do. Can't just tell people "actually, the political thermometer is at 25C, gotta let it cool down to 21C."

epaga 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Though I do not consider this a wise move, it is limited to a week so I don't think the "harm" will be that great (however, nor do I think the benefit will be at all worth the effort of explaining the flags to people who didn't see this Tell HN).

The reason I don't consider it wise is that I think the current political situation is completely unique at least in my lifetime (<40 years) and is not the typical political camps bickering with each other over simply "politics".

Rather, this time around there are Real Issues that are Important. The current trend of populism will have global ramifications for many decades to come. Not allowing discussion on these topics seems counter-productive to me.

justinzollars 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Please god. Great idea. Also I'm sick of reading about "Fake News". Please stop it. Please.
bluetwo 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Dear lord yes.

I've been off Facebook for most of the year, and have noticed how many people have dropped Facebook like a rock after the election.

I have to wonder if their stats are going to suffer as a result.

ForrestN 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I flagged this post because supressing political speech systematically, and even ignoring it, is actually active political discourse. Politics is not and never will be a separated topic, it is inextricable from everything we care about. This Tell HN is arguing for a specific political position about the nature of public discourse (that it is best stewarded from the top down by extremely rich people who overwhelmingly skew white, straight and male), and is arguing that intellectual curiosity and conflict are generally exclusive. This post is one tribe within the broader community of HN exerting its dominance over other tribes while pretending to be high-minded in resistance to tribalism.

Don't confuse yourselves: your tribe doesn't feel in immanent danger, doesn't think this community is in a unique position to help the world in a dangerous moment, and wants to stop being bothered by the imposition of reality on the dominant tribe that seems able to weather the storm and continue peacefully enriching itself. That is the tribe that owns HN, that seems to be the tribe that is in control of Silicon Valley's immense resources which are, to the profound shame of the entire industry, not being used to try to save its country.

The president is deeply unstable, lies constantly and has hired a team of bigoted, addled, corrupt old white men to serve him. Autocracy is incredibly dangerous. But it won't affect the leaders of the tribe who wrote this shameful post. Rich straight white people will almost certainly be safe from suffering. My family won't be and already isn't in vast swaths of the country.

This post and others in the last month have taught me that HN is not a community of smart people interested in technology. It is an apparatus of a few privileged people and their businesses that serves mostly one narrow community (engineers who are focused on earning money and/or luxuriating in their own preoccupations) that the owners want things from (talent and money). We can't learn together by hiding from this moment.

When talking politics means talking about the internment of muslims, talking about a conspiracy of Jews puppeteering the global economy, talking about refusing to enforce any civil rights laws that happen to mostly protect black people, when politics means the destabilization of the global economy and the global military equilibrium established since Workd War II, well then enforcing the state of not talking about politics is itself an act of violence.

taurath 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Discussing politics is truly a bit of a black hole - we have unlimited ability to argue for our principles but the truth is that if the sides are relatively secure in their positions and have data they trust to back it up there is no point in discussing further.

I applaud the admins for attempting something like this - communities need to develop strong opinions to survive, or else they will be torn apart by infighting when it becomes big enough that people no longer assume goodwill. This creates an ever-more toxic environment and poisons the well. At least then people are making a conscious choice to agree or disagree with the purpose/opinions of the community.

twalling 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I think its a sad day that we can't attempt to be intellectually curious just because its politically related. This last election has prompted me to start reading more on both sides and has lead me to some other readings such as the constitution, economic theory, history, etc.

It is possible to talk about these topics from an academic perspective and it feels like banning it for a week is equivalent to putting your head in the sand and ignoring it because its too hard to have a conversation about it. This is exactly the behavior I was motivated to try and change in myself (stick to tech only, ignore other issues).

Yes, its very difficult to talk about some politics in thoughtful ways but I would hope a community like HN has the people needed to try and address some of the issues coming up. Be it technical (detecting fake news, biases, etc) or intellectual commentary.

RA_Fisher 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Politics is about the distribution of power, in that way it's much broader than government. It goes all the way from UN, WHO through nation-states down to the community, home and even bedroom. The personal is indeed political as they say [0].

Speech is a form of power. Decisions about which speech is allowed affect the distributions of power and it's easy to see how the decision to ban politics is itself political.

In this sense it's not possible to ban politics from HN, only to change the distribution of politics.

We should examine the ways that a ban like this might change the distributions of politics and power among the HN community. I suspect we'd find it reduces the power among marginalized communities. Even if you're not from one of those communities you can really benefit by reading their writings. In that case to cut off those voices is a shame. It's a loss.

Who's deciding what counts as political and not? Moderators. We should examine that. "Banning politics" essentially becomes "Moderators politics."

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_personal_is_political

Alex3917 8 hours ago 0 replies      
> Political conflicts cause harm here.

If not the ideal scenario, this certainly isn't the worst possible outcome. To paraphrase Martin Niemller, if you don't speak up for other people then who's going to be left to speak up for you?

Although it may appear the politics and gardening are unrelated or in opposition, there is actually an important link. PG always lists Kenneth Clark as one of his biggest influences. And if you actually watch Civilisation, in the first episode he says that it's a misconception that art arises whenever people have the resources to do things other than working or whatever. Rather, making art (loosely defined) always entails an enormous personal sacrifice, one which people only undertake when they have faith in the longterm stability of society.

grandalf 6 hours ago 0 replies      
> Have at this in the thread and if you have concerns we'll try to allay them. This really is an experiment; we don't have an opinion yet about longer-term changes. Our hope is that we can learn together by watching what happens when we try something new.

What are the criteria you've established for evaluating whether the experiment was a success? Do you have evidence of HN being used to seed political clickbait stories? Voting rings? Etc.?

ada1981 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This seems like yet another symptom of a culture that doesn't see the value of emotional states and thus tries to prevent triggers to such states. I think perhaps a system of encouraging rational thought and healing the underlying issues would be more effective. Also, politics is about how resources are allocated in society -- that means everything has a political implication for the most part. Politics doesn't have to be war. If hacker news is a garden, then politics is how we decide who gets to enjoy the fruits of the garden and who doesn't.

I see a need for an upgrade in political discourse, yet I'm not convinced eliminating conversations entirely is the answer.

crucini 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It's probably a good move. Of course I wish we could have intelligent, calm discussions - if not of political ideals per se, then of the peripheral issues like polling, voting machines, etc. But political rage and snark always get injected. And more subtly, individual biases are smuggled in under reasonable sounding language.
kanzure 8 hours ago 0 replies      
KirinDave 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Given the profound affect tech has had on the last US election cycle, it is difficult not to read this ban as the execution of a political agenda.

The idea that the two can be extricated from one another is absurd on its face.

But what's also notable is the boldness of saying it out loud. It has always been the policy of HN to flag out the majority of "politics" before it resides in the new queue for more than an hour or two.

This "experiment" will surely quash conflict, but by banning anyone who has any reason to express contention. The burden of social censure has always been placed firmly on the head of the aggrieved on HN, but it's been an unofficial policy until now. People like me are rate limited for being "too contentious" on political subjects already. Now we're outright forbidden from talking about it.

t1mg 7 hours ago 0 replies      
HN has long gone from being dedicated just to programming and tech news. Why is it just now that you want it to be so "on-topic"?

In turbulent times like these, with hate speech, racism and sexism out of the shadows and in it's highest, it is crucial to be having conversations.

Being silent, burying head in the sand - not much different than siding on the side of the oppressor.

Whatever news are posted here - is a reflection of a community. If politics are posted, that is what people read. Instead, concentrate your efforts to battle those who game your algorithms for rankings.

matheweis 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Politics are deeply engrained in the fabric of HN. Just a few examples that come immediately to mind:

* Peter Thiel's support of Trump.* Mass Surveillance Laws.* Net Neutrality.

Are we going to simply avoid any and all potentially controversial subjects?

aroberge 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you very much for attempting this experiment.

Notwithstanding the enormous influence the U.S. has on the world, as someone living in another country, I welcome this very much. In my opinion, HN shines when it comes to discussions of technology, it does an ok job when it comes to discussing scientific topics, but it tends to break out into parochial cliques (with full cultural blinders on) when discussing topics like politics. This is worst (again, imo) when this happens in comments on other topics; when it is the main topic, at least one can easily avoid it.

tzs 7 hours ago 1 reply      
It's not clear to me what is politics.

For instance, I just came across this interesting article from The Brookings Institution: "Another Clinton-Trump divide: High-output America vs low-output America" [1].

It's a look at how the election broke down by county. Clinton won 472 counties, Trump won 2584. The counties Clinton won produce 64% of the country's GDP, with Trump's counties producing 36%. With the exceptions of the Phoenix, Fort Worth, and a big chunk of Long Island, Clinton won all the counties that have large economies.

They have a neat visualization of all the counties by size of contribution to GDP and who won them.

The discuss how this big a divide is "unprecedented in the era of modern economic statistics".

The article itself is not taking any political position. It is just providing a way to perhaps get some insight into how the election came out the way it did.

Would this article count as politics and so be subject to this week's ban? Or is it an interesting look at data that happens to be data about a political event?

[1] https://www.brookings.edu/blog/the-avenue/2016/11/29/another...

jlebar 7 hours ago 0 replies      
> Why don't we have some politics but discuss it in thoughtful ways? Well, that's exactly what the HN guidelines call for, but it's insufficient to stop people from flaming each other when political conflicts activate the primitive brain

The unfortunate fact is that political discourse in America (and, I understand, in many places elsewhere), has been reduced to lizard-brain questions.

In particular, but certainly not as the only example, the US president-elect ran on a platform that many of us would characterize as playing off machismo and fight-or-flight, rather than actual policy proposals.

HN is a good thing not because it's a way to waste time at work, but because discussing technology ultimately helps us create better technology. But the assumption in this decision seems to be that discussing politics doesn't help us make better political decisions.

I think it's clear to most of us that tech's recent success is due in large part to communities -- open source, StackOverflow, and yes, HN. We learn from each other, and this makes us all better.

If we think this model doesn't apply to politics, that each of us is better left to make up our minds independently, and that we cannot learn from each other, I fear for the future of democracy.

spinchange 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I appreciate this effort and get the gist of the experiment. At the risk of being too philosophical, I'd just say, everything is inherently political, so drawing a line may prove to be tough in some cases. "Politics" can expressed in subtle ways and not necessarily as the central topic at hand, but imbued into it.

I'm reminded of Ted Nelson's notion that politics, loosely defined, is "clash and reconciliation of agendas" and, "If software is successful, it steers the path that many users take, and selects among many possibilities to further the creator's agenda...Suppressing the other possibilities may also be part of the agenda."


In any case, I get & appreciate the practical goal here and what you're looking to accomplish. I know I specifically need a Trump-related detox, in general (although not because of anything I've seen on HN).

aaachilless 7 hours ago 0 replies      
To toe the line between censorship and curation is an incredibly difficult task and I think, as a civilization, it's a fundamental problem. The thought and care and effort that's going into this problem right now is deeply important and I'm grateful towards those who take it seriously, and it's clear that dang (and other HN moderators) are of this class of people.

So my only piece of (hopefully) constructive criticism is that I think there's a prima facie less biased stance to take with an announcement like this. It might go like:

Dear HN,

HN, as a public discussion forum, is a dynamical system that's always "attempting" to spiral out of control. Hence, we have moderators. Our moderators can only inject so much stabilizing energy into HN, and we've noticed that many or most political discussions are more energized than we can handle. So, we're going to see what HN looks like from a moderator's POV when we disable political discussions.

I guess this too sounds a little alarming, but my point is that I think there could be a way to talk about the issue at hand in terms of pure magnitudes instead of using language that says anything qualitative about different types of discussions. Something about the idea that "we have certain values, these discussions aren't aligned with our values, these discussions don't belong here" is a little off-putting.

All that said, it's not at all ridiculous to test whether or not banning political debate may in fact make HN a more robust and effective knowledge hub. Hopefully this experiment will yield interesting results.

headcanon 3 hours ago 0 replies      
A lot of people seem to be reacting to the idea that all political discussion will always be banned forever on HN. Politics is important and affects everything in its own way, but this is just a post-election cooldown from all the super-polarizing Trump bullshit that has been preoccupying America for the past eighteen months. We're going to have plenty more to talk about starting January; I for one, welcome the break.
jrubinovitz 9 hours ago 0 replies      
"Why don't we have some politics but discuss it in thoughtful ways? Well, that's exactly what the HN guidelines call for, but it's insufficient to stop people from flaming each other when political conflicts activate the primitive brain. Under such conditions, we become tribal creatures, not intellectually curious ones. We can't be both at the same time."

I think this calls for more moderation so users that can speak civilly and intellectually about politics can do so, not banning speaking of politics entirely. "Conflict activat[ing] the primitive brain" is rather infantilizing, gaslighting, and not true.

politician 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Hi dang. About 45m ago, I added a comment [1] in the Amazon GO mega-thread that mentions the concept of religion. Is this comment acceptable per new policy?

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=13108455

(Aside: I believe that this detox experiment is treading on dangerous ground, that it will be a struggle to contain the amount of censorship that will happen as a result of encouraging people to flag each other in this way, and that the effects will linger beyond the 1 week time limit.)

madgar 9 hours ago 0 replies      
And to think, HN is already where I go to get away from politics. The site already only barely tracks the daily/weekly news cycle.
jimjimjim 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Yay, I fully endorse this policy and hope that it gets extended forever.

Would you always try to car discussions in a baseball forum?

They are both valid topics. But there is a reason why forums specialize on particular topics.

ozten 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Politics are against the guidelines of HN. That is why I created Commit https://commit.ws/ after the election.

Everyone wanting to continue these conversations, please join us there.

johngalt 6 hours ago 0 replies      
There are dozens of comments saying in effect "but politics are important!!!!"

That could certainly be true, but does that mean that they are important and appropriate in all circumstances? Are no areas allowed to have a politics free discussion?

I applaud this change. The only criticism I have is that it's limited to a week.

elcapitan 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Can we have a Javascript framework detox week the week after?
netcraft 7 hours ago 0 replies      
What is the experiment? What is the hypothesis and what are the metrics we will be using to measure success or failure? I cannot understand how this is healthy or beneficial. If there are disrespectful comments, moderate them. But saying "some people cannot talk about these things constructively so lets not talk about these things at all" is throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
bjourne 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I think not talking about politics is counter-productive. I think if more people would talk to each other about political topics, then liars like Donald Trump wouldn't get elected.

Btw, if there are any Trump supporters on HN, it would be interesting to hear their views. Likely, due to how the community works they can't be heard due to downvoting and/or flagging which I think is a shame. I prefer more debate over less.

schoen 6 hours ago 0 replies      
This item immediately came up with the really great news that the California drought is ending:


So, that immediately prompted follow-up comments about rivalries between northern and southern Californians over water use (edit: including whether the choice of this metric is southern-Californian political propaganda!), about whether Californians can manage to reduce the amount of water that we need, about whether the west has too much human settlement, etc. While those may not align very well with political ideologies that have been the most controversial here, they could be seen as political questions (and they could potentially lead to flamewarring over different aspects of environmentalism).

How does this kind of topic fit in with this plan, dang?

sixstringtheory 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Was this decision made top-down or in response to the desire of the community?

As someone who values the contributors to HN and appreciates the diverse set of opinions, perspectives and critical thinking I find here, which are all handled 99% of the time with decent respectfulness as far as I can tell, I find this effort kind of sad.

Hopefully we learn something good from this, but not sure what that could be, how to decide if it's good, or if it will be worth the effort.

dragonwriter 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Is this some special narrow definition of "political", or is the expectation really that everything touching in any way upon government or public affairs of any country will be deemed off-topic and killed?

Because a very large share of HN stories and comments have political content in the dictionary definition (it's hard to address the societal impact of anything even in a descriptive way, much less to discuss views of the merits of such impacts, without such content.)

irickt 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I have had the feeling that HN has been surreptiously invaded by a troll army, specifically tasked with corrupting the ongoing discovery of consensus.
KingOfMyRoom 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Why not look at Wikipedia and see how they are tackling controversial topics? Here it sounds like a disappointing ostrich experiment. Let's bury our head in sand, let the storm pass away and see what happens.

I think it's a good think that people are indignant on both side. Let's organise ourself. We have the tools, the concepts, the technology. I am sure it's possible to find some common ground and have some data-driven debates/discussions and form some more balance opinions/belief.

narrator 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I know an engineer from Iran. He's a great guy, not particularly religious at all. Pretty much a totally normal guy. I asked him about politics in Iran. He said when he was going to school for engineering in Iran where he grew up, his friends all made a pact to completely ignore and stay out of politics. He said it with a smile on his face and absolutely no regret.
hooande 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems like you're doing a dry run of your ability to censor the community. By asking members to flag posts pertaining to politics, you're going to drastically offer what people see by default.

And when are you going to use this newfound ability again? When you arbitrarily get tired of some other topic? And even if you use this responsibly, what about the person who has your job next?

I've been active on this site for over eight years now. We've managed to govern ourselves just fine. I really hope this isn't a moment we all point back to in the future.

nico_h 7 hours ago 0 replies      
A big part of today's media environment is mediated through tech's most popular and/or biggest companies (Facebook and Google, Reddit, probably to a smaller degree Apple), with the internal choices of tech's last big success (Facebook) having likely strongly influenced the last election.

I disagree strongly with suppression. You break it, you own it. the point of view of most younger and not so young people is nowadays mediated through tech via social media. Here is the place where it is most important to have a debate about that.

If you want to moderate it differently from other subjects, add a different set of tags or karma reservoir so that it doesn't spill over from it. I think it's important to keep the political stories on the front page, especially as this election's outcome will create incredible changes.

27182818284 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I welcome this experiment. There are so many other places for discussion and news about politics, but less so about startups and technology-hacker-related stories.
binarysolo 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I get it, the spate of political discussion on HN is stressful as politics is people and the recent change in political climate means a musical chair of winners and losers of the process.

But I disagree about the approach -- what is politics anyways? Most polarizing these days: probably gender, race, and socioeconomic status, and the various parties cater to those human categories. We all inherently have these things that form the basis of our thoughts and how we see the world -- so I honestly don't think it's easy to separate.

If the cost of thoughtful conversations on politics is dealing with flame, then many of us are glad to pay the cost of doing business -- and I hope you'd find a majority of people here would behave similarly.

jljljl 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's an article that was on the front page when I clicked into this discussion:


Is this political?

masterponomo 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I understand, and I know HN has the right to control speech in the forum it owns. So I will only write this in the thread where I have been invited to write it (and will note that I am a Libertarian so I of course did not vote for Trump): The major theme of the media and in many comment threads on many sites has been to decry the totalitarian, authoritarian nature of the coming Trump regime. I find it ironic that the response of HN is to implement thought control by suppressing an entire genre of thought. After all, once you rise above the level of bits and bytes, you are going to get into political speech.But go ahead.It's a free country.Just not a free forum (here, that is).
bootload 3 hours ago 0 replies      
While I agree with the idea, HN as a whole cannot totally avoid these kinds of issues: "Tech Companies Delay Diversity Reports to Rethink Goals". I haven't posted the link because it's not in the spirit of the detox and it's only one week. Do we avoid these types of discussions because they are ambiguous and hard?

 "Fashion is mistaken for good design; moral fashion is mistaken for good."
I understand the re-calibration of HN here. The choice of topics drift over periods of time and a reminder of the rationale is good hygiene.

 "Moral fashions more often seem to be created deliberately. When there's something we can't say, it's often because some group doesn't want us to."
I'm also reminded of a great essay [0] that for today should be mandatory reading.

[0] "What you can't Say" ~ http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html

spoiledtechie 5 hours ago 0 replies      
If you need political discourse in your week with something just like HN, feel free to go http://swintonreport.com

Sister site to HN the way it looks.

nunez 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes! This is awesome. All of the politics is tiring.
derefr 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This is an interesting experiment. I personally think decreasing the political "tone" of HN is a sensible goal, but I don't expect that this approach will do well for meeting that goal. Specifically, I don't think the people who most want HN to be political will respond well to this.

There is a reason the shadow-ban was invented: when loudmouthed/trollish users are allowed to realize they are unwelcome, they get angry, and express that anger by defacing, defaming, DDoSing, etc. the community that has rejected them.

My personal belief is that the best thing to do is to not disallow this content altogether, but rather to ghettoize it.

Two examples of this:

How Metafilter treats posts about Metafilter: they're allowed, but they have to go into a special "meta" ghetto, separate from regular content, where only people who want to see that kind of thing will have to see it.

4chan frequently makes new boardsnew "homes" for certain content typesjust to quarantine content it doesn't like. For example, /soc/ was not created because the 4chan moderators think 4chan should have a meetups+dating board, but rather because such threads were incessant on /b/.


Now, HN already has something quite like these approaches, but IMHO better: the "showdead" system for negative-scored posts, which ghettoizes posts but also individual comment subthreads of posts, in a very granular way.

Here's the experiment I'd like to see done, re-using the "showdead" code:

Split downvotes into an "irrelevant/Obviously Did Not Read The Article" button and a separate "is political" button (where you can press either or both on any given post.) Track the totals separately.

If a post's (upvotes - irrelevant) is negative, then it's "dead" as happens now, and you have to have "showdead" on to see it.

If a post's (upvotes - is_political) is negative, then it's "politics", and you have to have "showpolitics" on to see it.

If both scores are negative, then you have to have both filters on to see the post.

Posts would sort/rank according to (upvotes - sqrt(irrelevant^2 + is_political^2)).

I think this alternative would ensure that the people who most want to get into tribal flamewars would "go quietly into the night" (from everyone else's perspective), rather than becoming the sworn nemesis of the community.

bendmorris 5 hours ago 0 replies      
>...it's insufficient to stop people from flaming each other when political conflicts activate the primitive brain. Under such conditions, we become tribal creatures, not intellectually curious ones. We can't be both at the same time.

I 100% agree with this analysis, but is the answer really to avoid discussion of politics altogether? I don't agree, and I think of the forums I visit, this one has the best chance of maintaining a high percentage of rational discussion to tribal noise.

mnx 8 hours ago 0 replies      
To all the people saying there are lot's of other places to discuss politics - what good quality ones (with reasonable moderation, not total echo chambers, accessible to normal people) would you recommend? I'm genuinely asking, I feel like they are not that easy to be found. For my part, I like slatestarcodex.
pklausler 6 hours ago 0 replies      
What I really fear is that simple statements of fact, e.g. "average global temperatures are increasing", will be flagged as being (scare quotes) political (end scare quotes).
js8 5 hours ago 0 replies      
This is slightly off topic, but I think what would be interesting if someone would build a website with news that are actually _actionable_ by readers. So no politicians saying this or that, no crimes or disasters, no gossip. On the other hand, they would carry things like events that you can attend, petitions you can sign, rallies that you can participate in, items/services you can actually buy (as opposed to things you can buy next week), and so on.
alphonsegaston 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I fail to see how encouraging this kind of mentality, even in this small of a dose, doesn't further the historically disastrous mentality that engineering is separate from a social and historical context. There are scenarios now where the digital infrastructure of Google, Facebook, et al are seized upon (even more so) for widely destructive ends that have spiked in their probability. Apple is already showing signs of caving. And given the examples of companies like IBM, I'm not terribly optimistic that there's gonna be some kind of ground swell rebellion against the worse possible outcomes.
int_19h 7 hours ago 0 replies      
It's interesting that comments seem to be either strongly in favor, or strongly against. I'll buck the trend and say that I personally don't actually care all that much.

I do like talking about politics, especially when it's polite and level-headed discussion (which seems to be the norm here in NH), and a lot of my comments are on that subject. So yes, it would be somewhat sad to see that go.

But the bulk of HN's value lies mostly elsewhere, and not being able to talk about politics here would still keep it a valuable platform and an interesting community to participate in.

So it's really not a big deal one way or the other.

mrbill 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This is welcome and refreshing.
grey-area 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I do think you should clarify what you mean by politics.

Clearly you don't mean stories touched by politics like uber tracking users or everything tech would be offtopic. Clearly you do mean stories about Trump. Somewhere in the middle a line has to be drawn.

ehh314156 7 hours ago 0 replies      
> Political conflicts cause harm here.

Preventing political discussions causes far more harm than it prevents. I understand the intent. I understand the problem. Flame wars are not productive. But I think this is a poor response to a valid problem.

ben_jones 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I read HN multiple times a day and I feel like I'd have to go out of my way to find a post that was political, or even a comment that was political. Yes people will go off about anything NIMBYism, housing markets, javascript saturation etc, but what are the numbers? How much politics is really going on here?

Admittedly I'm probably at the point where I don't even see it when it's right in front of me, but it would be interesting to here from the mods of people who frequent /new.

tomwrenn 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm worried about how this will effect civictech, edtech, govtech story coverage which has been great in recent years on HN and are important for helping the community to be informed of how it's contributing and how individuals can contribute to addressing societal issues.
fixxer 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I think I'll just take a break from HN for one week instead.
wyldfire 9 hours ago 0 replies      
shrug, I haven't seen any submissions or threads I'd consider political for over a week.
protomyth 8 hours ago 0 replies      
It might be a very boring week for stories, and I do share drzaiusapelord's concern this is happening when a new cabinet is being announced. Plus some troubling laws out of Australia and the UK.

Science without philosophy is dangerous, and philosophy without science has no use. The political implications of technology are a big part of the discussion.

I guess I don't believe this step would have been taken if someone else won, and that belief, justified or unjustified, troubles me.

But, I guess anything that gets the damn pipeline news off HN is fine. I'm getting a little sick of the distortion field and do gooders that are going to leave people high-and-dry on that one.

[I voted 3rd party for the top spot in ND if it matters]

tomkat0789 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Even if they don't totally ban politics on HN forever, what if we keep a week/a few days a month where no politics are allowed - just as an occasional reminder that this is isn't supposed to be a political website. Maybe we can make Fridays politics free or something to remind people to chill.

I support the experiment! This is the sort of creativity and character that brings me to this site! I'm OK with topics with too much political overtone being a little stigmatized.

karmacondon 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't know why we couldn't have voted on this. Whether it's a good idea or not, trying to impose something so broad on a community of hackers is an exercise in masochism.

I agree with everyone who has said that we're capable of making up our own minds about what to talk about. I don't think political discussions were ever a problem

csdreamer7 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I disagree. As other have said, there is a great deal of anxiety over Trump's victory and what it means for our industry.

Arbitrarily banning relevant political topics could take away alot of the value I get from Hacker News. I expect news on Trump banning net neutrality to be on Hacker News. I expect news on fully automated McDonalds to be on Hacker News or Amazon suffering a bot revolt.

I can understand a need to flag unrelated political comments on non-political topics.

SloughFeg 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Politics (outside of those that affect tech) should have never been allowed in the first place. Any place where politics isn't specifically forbidden always degenerates into this sort of situation.
godmodus 7 hours ago 0 replies      
a welcomed move really.

i come here to read tech news and be part of one of the least toxic communities that's not my old irc channels.

as to politics, there's futurology and discussing sociology, and there's left vs right, "make mericuh gr8 agin" vs "gief all monies to poor" politics, which would put HN on some political brigade's list.

i don't have anything against future speculation and theorizing about conservative\liberal angles to automation and rise of AI or voting machine tech.

it'll be interesting to see what results the detox week will bear!

unclesaamm 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Can we migrate to an open-source alternative to Hacker News already?
abvdasker 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this moment officially marks the point at which the American tech industry disappeared up its own asshole.
prewett 8 hours ago 0 replies      
As a one-off thing, this sounds good. Implemented longer, term, though, I think it would be trying to solve a problem by treating the symptoms. Politics isn't the problem, since politics is simply the process of making group decisions. The problem is not the topic but the behavior.

So what does good, relevant, political discussion on HN look like? What does bad (but relevant) political discussion look like? Then update the guidelines accordingly. Maybe the guidelines could even have examples.

thegrandwizard 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The values of Hacker News are intellectual curiosity and thoughtful conversation.

Thank you for reminding us here about that. Let's make it a month? A year? :-)

wu-ikkyu 6 hours ago 0 replies      
No force is affecting the sociopolitical landscape more than technology. Ignoring this weakens the community.

Carl Sagan, Buckminster Fuller, Thoreau, MLK and many others all spoke about how our technological development is far outpacing our sociopolitical development, to our own demise.

Arbitrarily attempting to censor and separate the two is grossly negligent.

armenarmen 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Are we talking just us election controversy stuff? If so, this sounds like a welcomed reprieve.

However if this blackout includes government level censorship and attacks on internet freedom it seems like a bad move

lettergram 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Most of the politics on HN has been significantly less than previous years. Previously, I could go to HN and get knowledge about various topics related to election results, polling bias, etc. Now, it's pretty limited, literally I saw/see zero items related to politics most days. Honestly, I think politics has as much to do about "hacking" as just about everything else.

Also, who decides what's political. I'm sick of hearing about socialist ideology, and I consider it politics, but I'm guessing that's not what you mean...

6stringmerc 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Considering the consistent nature of at least one very prominent YCombinator staff member (leader) inserting themselves into political and/or low-rent gossipy slap-fights, I can both appreciate the "sentiment" or "rationale" behind a Detox Week on HN, and concurrently derisively laugh at the ignorant hypocrisy deploying such an edict reflects in practice.

I mean, yeah I get it's probably a lot of work to moderate all the political related discourse and keep the lanes wide enough for a lot of different voices, but it's the catch that comes with having a "community" in the first place.

If this is the first of a series of "experiments" I wonder which other "conflicts" might "cause harm here" - Identity Discussions? Health care in the US? As cheap as it might sound to pull out a slippery-slope card here, it seems rather apropos.

I get a lot of flack for it here, but if you don't think Politics and Tech are coiled together in significant ways - eg. DMCA and Copyright - then you're just ignorant, childish, and a fool. SV and tech culture is actively using the "Political System" just like every other special interest. Pretending there's some kind of effin' halo over the Hacker News community where such conversations are "below" or "too conflict loaded" then just shut down the forum altogether.

Man discovers fire. Man burns self. Man puts out fire. The end.

debergalis 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a most unfortunate framing. Politics is not toxic. It is the means by which our society discusses and makes big decisions. Perhaps s/Detox/Vacation/ could have worked?

Certain types of political discussion most certainly can be toxic. I'd support any effort to keep HN free of that. I'd also respect a choice to keep HN completely free of politics if you chose to go in that direction, though I'd rather see a more positive attempt to get the HN community more engaged with the serious political issues of our time.

markkhazanov 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Statements like this are exactly the reason why I have always been hesitant about having a relationship with Y Combinator. Reminders to be courteous are welcome, but a ban of political "stories" is completely inappropriate especially at a time when minority voices are already consistently silenced.
llamataboot 4 hours ago 0 replies      
There's no such thing as a "non-political" story.
kevinthew 55 minutes ago 0 replies      
The pedantic bullshit in these comments is why America is in the shitter.
CN7R 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I disagree.

Detox will not strengthen the immune system of HN.

Immunity is conferred when the 'garden' is threatened and unifies to counter a problem.

That problem? Inflammatory, unsubstantiated comments that cause people to upvote and downvote not based on the validity of the comment but whether it's favorable to their ideological values.

I believe people can have civilized discussions about politics in HN -- I've seen it before.

mesozoic 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you this is fantastic. I try to keep political discussions separate from technology and being unable to read hacker news without facing political discussions is taxing.
d3k 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I had always seen HN as a place where people curious about technology, culture and society share article links and comment about them. The moderation is what makes it work. I really do not see why censorship (or detox if you prefer) on political matters should be necessary. if HN really needs this, it might even mean that its audience needs to be educated. And if that is the case it might mean the level you get in here is deemed to decline.
vic-traill 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure how I feel about the idea. [Rumination Required]

However, I definitely like that you're trying it out.

grandalf 8 hours ago 1 reply      
This is all well and good unless this happens to be the week our government passes a law to require muslims to register, etc.

Considering the low quality of political discussion in general (and especially on the internet), HN is one of the few places where there are generally reasonable, well-thought-out views.

Obviously YC doesn't want HN to discuss politics because it could create a divisive atmosphere and alienate people, resulting in lower levels of engagement and harm to the YC brand.

oxide 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I fully support this and think it's been a long time coming.

Civil discussion and political discussion are fully incompatible.

btbuildem 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Sure, bury your heads in the sand. Your country is taking a shortcut to Mad Max land, and there's not much to be done at this point anyway.
clackanon 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Hacker News: the place were conservative viewpoints are not welcome.

It's not discourse here. It's we shoot the messenger if they don't agree with us on everything.

I welcome the detox.

keepper 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Who says you get to ask why? No, really!

If hacker news is getting political, that is a function of it's users ( and the social climate ). A community is built by its members. For better or worse.

Work on addressing the issues that make the discourse toxic. What does covering the sun with the censorship finger actually accomplish?

shaunol 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Not sure what to think about this in the context of HN. I've seen other such stances in other communities where it just ends up being a way to enforce/preserve a political bias. Where some stories get a pass for special reasons "oh, this is noteworthy, and from a credible source!", it's just laughable. I hope this doesn't happen here.
julian_1 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Excellent decision. You only need to look at what happened on reddit in /r/politics or /r/the_donald. The polarization is poison for creating a shared culture for intelligent discussion of topical issues. To be sure - these debates are important - but it's not like there's a shortage of forums that do cater to this stuff.
binarymax 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Can you please give specific examples of what "politics" entails, aside from the obvious (so we know where to draw the line)?

For example, as of writing, the #3 post is "Silicon Valleys Culture, Not Its Companies, Dominates in China (nytimes.com)". I would classify this as political, but others might not.

--EDIT-- I would also classify this front page post as (internally) political: "Dear JavaScript (medium.com)"

a3n 6 hours ago 0 replies      
And when the experiment is over, please remember ... If you don't like political posts, they're usually obvious and you don't have to read (or upvote) them. The front page goes by slowly enough that the news you like won't get crowded out.
lez 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I was planning to delay the point when I get to know who the winner was on the elections... (I live in Europe) In work nobody speaks about politics. I don't read traditional news sites. I was just curious who will tell me first. Then I opened Hacker News...
mgalka 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I think it's a great idea. Will this be posted publicly somewhere so people who did not see this post will know not to submit political stories?
Findeton 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you, I'd also prefer HN is only tangentially political. I don't want it to become reddit.
jmcgough 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Does this include local bay area news (housing discussion etc)? A lot of that can be borderline political but still very relevant to startuppers.
kafkaesq 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Sounds like a worthwhile enough experiment. And at the risk of sounding political: what better time than now?

Either way, we'll see how it goes.

qguv 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a mistake. The sort of problems we have in the US can't be solved with censorship and earplugs. If anything, we need more conversation, not less.

Ditto to the many commenters who point out that nothing is apolitical and that such censorship would be subjective anyway.

Don't do this.

feedjoelpie 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Are you trying to solve a problem that doesn't exist except for the most hardcore HN users?

Because I haven't lately noticed much of the phenomenon you're talking about. And in the first 3 pages I just skimmed over, I didn't see anything that was so political as to be flamewar fodder.

Are you sure you're not trying to solve a problem that your average user doesn't even have?

Isamu 9 hours ago 0 replies      
We could, I dunno, talk about tech, I suppose ...
davidw 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you!
legostormtroopr 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Everyone on the left is calling this oppression and suppression.

Everyone on the right is calling this an affront to free speech.

When you piss off everyone, you are probably doing the right thing.

Dowwie 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Uh oh! Now you've really thrown down the gauntlet! If the message forum has an immune system, you're one tough white blood cell.
tightmoderation 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Otherwise known as Ideological Purity Week, The Week of the Great Politics Purge, Cultural Reeducation Week and Peace Week. A week for the Districts to come together and pay tribute to the Capitol!
sebastianconcpt 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The metaphor is good and the approach and description is actually great. The challenge is that this issue doesn't only happen in the political domain, it can happen in the philosophical and intellectual domains too via the cultural competition (AKA cultural war)
shawndumas 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Can we have an objective criteria with which to judge which comments/stories are political?

Examples would be helpful as well...

robinduckett 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I would argue that any startup or financial news is political, in that politics shapes the capitalist foundation of our society. HN is Politics, and to try and separate and moderate this type of news is exactly the kind of thing that makes people leave your site in droves.
fillskills 7 hours ago 0 replies      
As an experiment and a temporary detox, I am all for it. Totally worth testing. But something to keep in mind is that politics is something that needs the help HN community can provide with a thoughtful discussion
scblock 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a bad idea. I don't know how you managed to convince yourself that it's not.
ajamesm 6 hours ago 0 replies      
> For one week, political stories are off-topic. Please flag them. Please also flag political threads on non-political stories. For our part, we'll kill such stories and threads when we see them. Then we'll watch together to see what happens.

Okay, I've flagged this one thread titled "Tell HN: Political Detox Week No politics on HN for one week". It was this strange and laborious screed about how political speech is harmful or something?

Privileging "non-political" speech is an implicit endorsement of the status-quo, and thereby, an incredibly political action.

redthrowaway 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Given the political issues that are of extreme interest to people here that aren't toxic (crypto backdoors, h1b, etc), why not modify the rule to be "no election discussion, broadly defined" rather than "no politics"?
JoeAltmaier 6 hours ago 0 replies      
No need; the new 'hide' feature lets me ignore all that for days at a time. The flamers are burning somewhere, but I don't see it and I don't get singed.
whack 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I like this idea as a short-term experiment. Here's another in the same vein: stories with voting enabled but comments disabled. Kind of like a focus group where you just listen to others, without jumping in to assert your own viewpoints.
rudolf0 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd rather there be some kind of isolation of political discussion rather than an outright ban for a week.

Maybe just have a permanent/rotating "politics/culture/society" thread for people to share whatever?

adzicg 5 hours ago 0 replies      
being outside US, I strongly support this. I couldn't care less about who leads team america world police, it's all the same anyway. HN is my tech news site, and politics is just a distraction. I understand that US citizens feel strongly about their government, but it's not really tech news.
ClassyJacket 6 hours ago 0 replies      
That's a shame. I don't want to see Hacker News become reddit, with anything that has the slightest chance of upsetting someone being banned.
fractalwrench 8 hours ago 0 replies      
What happens if something incredibly important happens during this week in politics, is it simply not up for discussion at all? For example, what happens if a world leader is assassinated or a conflict breaks out?
denom 8 hours ago 0 replies      
We live in a political world. Any attempt for the HN community to bisect the set of stories that make up our everyday experience will only illustrate the political bias of the aggregate opinion.
fatdog 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Can we train up a sentiment analyzer on the delta between the stories and comments this week vs. all others, and then apply it to discovering "political discussion?"
Lagged2Death 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Making an "is politics / is not politics" judgement is itself a political act. The goal itself is sort of impossible-in-principle.
drewrv 9 hours ago 0 replies      
What's considered political and what's considered non-political?

Can we discuss ethics? Is saying "racism is bad" political?

What about facts? "Torture is ineffective" or "carbon emissions harm the planet"?

ryancnelson 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This'll be interesting. What defines "political topics"?

Is climate change news political? Edward Snowden news? Wikileaks? A new build of the Signal app? Hyperloop news?

eli_gottlieb 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Aye-aye sir. I'll be following the new rule with enthusiasm, actually. It'll be nice to have fewer discussions of $POLITICAL_THING_RUINING_THE_WORLD and more about interesting stuff like OpenAI.
dannyr 8 hours ago 0 replies      
It is such a great privilege that to some people, politics is just noise that you can turn off.

To some people, their livelihood and survival are on line based on what our politicians do.

clamprecht 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I wish we could do this on the Internet for a week (or more).
mmanfrin 8 hours ago 0 replies      
What is the line? Does Net Neutrality count as 'politics'? It is a very political topic, but also one that is important to this community. How are you drawing the line?
ccarter84 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Wish you'd wait til voting machine tapering allegations were cleared, but hey, go nuts.
slater 9 hours ago 2 replies      
Can we have an Amazon/AWS "news" detox week, too? :D
Uhhrrr 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I like this experiment, so long as we can have exceptions for obviously relevant new material, i.e. "Trump advocates backdoor for Linux kernel" or some such.
johnhess 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Is there data (say a drastically increased flag rate, number of flame wars, etc.) that show that today is different than 2 months ago?
ronnier 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks. I stop reading facebook because I've grown so tired of the political posts and comments. As for reddit, thankfully I can filter out political reddits now.
justathought123 7 hours ago 0 replies      
If you think political conflicts cause harm, maybe you should change how you approach conflict rather than pretending it doesn't exist?
maxxxxx 8 hours ago 0 replies      
How about not using the words liberal/conservative/Democrat/ Republican/socialist/racist and discuss issues instead?
yk 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I like the experiment, even if I am not too fond of the idea. However it is 2016, so is there a procedure when politics becomes very clearly relevant in the coming week?
fredgrott 6 hours ago 0 replies      
avoiding what is coming is no way to critically think..its like say oh holding technology to this loft position without acknowledging jobs due to technology progress and government's lack of solutions..

The flames,etc are symptoms..and this is just as bad..

We need a somewhat deeper solution and the discussion of one...

Jach 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Yay, my five year old request for a moratorium (though it was for 2 months, not just a week...) is being honored. :) But really thanks for trying it, I hope it does good.
Gargoyle 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I 100% support this and would like to see it made permanent.
tdutreui 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Experimenting it just 1 week cannot hurt.That said, defining the scope of what should be banned is tricky.Exemple on recent Amazon Go article and the so famous "Is massive automation implying jobs removing a good thing" :This question is not about politics but will led to "tribal behaviour" as you call it.Will you also ban such debates? If so where is your censor power limit?
metaphorm 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I appreciate the sentiment but I fear a slippery slope. What counts as "politics"?
unimpressive 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't have a lot to say, except that I support this measure and wanted to comment so that's in the record.
zacharycohn 6 hours ago 0 replies      
"It is better to be a warrior in a garden than a gardener in a war."
arca_vorago 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Technology is inherently political, you cannot separate hackers from politics, and to try is a fools errand.

That being said, I think I understand where this is coming from, so I have empathy with dang and the hn team about it, but I disagree with this move on principle, especially now, at a time when some very important techno-political moves are being made.

For example, the FBI now claims to have the ability to use 0-days to hack thousands of computers on a single search warrant! It's completely unconstitutional, and that is a huge deal, technologically, and politically, that I haven't seen addressed by any crowd very well, and it's the kind of discussion HN needs to have, not to avoid. To suddenly have a non-political week when some of the most important things, time sensitive things, are happening right now is not good at all.

The timing of this also feels suspicious, and there is something else that feels suspicious to me as well, and that's the algorithm that controls what is on the front page. I've seen repeatedly, enough to no longer call it just coincidence, that stories of techno-political important, like the FBI one, get ~250/500+ points and have ~100/300 comments, that are completely off the front page long before is normal for more mundane stuff. I think the hn userbase deserve more transparency on this front.

HN is an American based forum, so while I understand the want to lean towards a type of globalistic technocratic neutrality, I think that is a mistake and fails to take into account the primary user-base, and I think the hackers and geeks of the world, but in particular America, have a duty to participate in the political discussion that is going to be needed to steer policy of our American system, because the revolutionary nature of technology is quickly getting out of control for ordinary citizens and politicians, and our system impacts the rest of the world.

We need more politics, not less, but we need it in the unique HN style where people can have good manners on the discourse, which is much more conducive to intellectual conversation than just about any other internet forum I can think of other than slashdot in it's heyday.

With the increasing totalitarian surveillance society that we as hackers have handed to the politicians through technology, I think we have a duty to also protect the citizen-victims of our technology run amok in the hands of others. We can't, and shouldn't, hand a technological nuclear weapon to nation states and just walk away and say, but we just want to talk about the technology of the thing. It's a naive and fundamentally flawed process of thinking. I also think it's time for the HN team and it's users to have a more serious discussion about how they want to participate in the future of the internet, and the dystopian society it is enabling, piece by piece.

I also have a single question for the HN team:

Have you been pressured by the US government in any way shape or form on this subject?

In protest of this move, I will not be participating on HN until the week is up.

jcoffland 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I thought this was already every week on HN. There are very few politics related articles. Pushing the point is a bit much IMO.
kakarot 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Yeah, and we can have safer sex too if we just don't have sex.
sosuke 9 hours ago 0 replies      
What metrics are you planning on using to measure the results of this experiment?

I'm all for it, yay experiments!

user5994461 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The title could have been: Let's make HN great again!
losteverything 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Growing up


All "no nos"

Still Good Advice!!

Now I add

Money, abortion, Hitler, the holocaust, child care, and elder care.

tristanb 8 hours ago 0 replies      
This is ridiculous. Becoming an Ostrich is never a solution. Shame on you.
donohoe 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I want to register my disgust at this suggestion.
nemof 9 hours ago 0 replies      
when one of the most significant figures in politics right now uses twitter as their platform for communicating with their support base, for better or worse, the idea of being politics agnostic just seems silly.
adamfeldman 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Much needed
smkellat 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Politics? Are we referring to Clinton versus Trump or vi versus emacs? :-)
Mz 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I have almost zero interest in politics. I can think of one politically-framed piece I posted recently because of the GIS content and it was flagged to death promptly. I wish I could have found a non political write up of the project, which I believe predated the political situation that the article spun it around. Perhaps I shall look a little harder today to see if such a thing exists.

I am totally cool with this experiment. It is hard enough to foster good discussion online even without politics.


neom 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank you! I hope we can still talk about Leonard Cohen though.
AlexCoventry 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Overall, I think this is a good idea, but it probably needs to be made more precise for it to work. What is a political topic, exactly? Are IETF politics off-topic this week? What about advice for NSA employees trying to pull a Snowden?
Fiahil 5 hours ago 0 replies      
What about non-American politics?
newobj 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Hacker News is OVER
ohstopitu 8 hours ago 0 replies      
if this is happening, could we have a weekly political thread?

(kind of like how we have monthly who's hiring thread)

That way we can have the cake and eat it too.

hackuser 6 hours ago 1 reply      
> Why don't we have some politics but discuss it in thoughtful ways? Well, that's exactly what the HN guidelines call for, but it's insufficient ...

Agreed. I've been thinking about how communities can handle this problem for awhile. A solution to it would be revolutionary, in a very good way for the entire Internet, and what better place to experiment with and develop a solution than HN. Here's my over-ambitious shot at a solution, based only on experience in online communities:


I propose that we have different rules, much higher standards for commenting, for hot button issues. When these situations come up, our moderators could post something like,

 ** Hot button rules apply **
(Or make up a different name: 'Cool head rules' 'Ice down rules' 'Rationality'?) For those issues, the guidelines would add the following and be strictly enforced:


1) Be precise: Who? Did? What?

Who should be a proper noun; only individuals (and in some cases, specific organizations like 'Acmesoft') actually have thoughts, motives, and perform actions; groups do none of those things - we are not hive minds. This eliminates lazily broad statements with huge implications that provoke anger and fear, stereotype large groups, and don't make us any better informed. 'Tennesseans hate Kentuckyians' doesn't inform anyone - there is nothing all Tennesseans agree on, and nobody can possibly read all their minds, and we know nothing more after reading it than we did before - but '60% of Tennesseans who responded to this survey say they have stopped visiting Kentucky' is fine.

Did: HN readers mostly grasp empirical science and should be able to understand: Only actions are observable, not other people's thoughts and feelings - though you can observe what they say about their thoughts.

What, used precisely, eliminates sloppy characterizations. 'Tennessee Governor Jane Jones despises Kentucky BBQ.' No, what actually happened? 'Tennessee Governor Jane Jones said, "I despise seeing Kentucky BBQ taking jobs from hardworking Tennessee chefs."'

Finally, Be precise also means: No hyperbole.


2) Context is required: Where and when

Where and when are essential context. Think of your high school writing guidelines: Who, what, where, when, etc. 'Tennessee Governor Jane Jones said, "I despise seeing Kentucky BBQ taking jobs from hardworking Tennessee chefs."': It is essential to know when she said that (1985? 2010? Before the Kentucky-Tennessee trade war began or after?) and where (On a campaign stop in a TN BBQ restaurant? The title of a book? A tweet? A warm-up joke for a speech?); otherwise, we have no idea what really happened.


3) Back it up:

The burden of proof is much higher, and on the commenter: Respected scholarly research (not someone's self-published book) or highly respected news media, and not in a column or editorial. Wikipedia's Reliable Source rules may help here, but with higher standards for sources (and also actually applied here; Wikipedia articles often ignore the standards).



4) Be 100% respectful, as if talking to someone important to you whom you respect. No exceptions; no grey areas; stay well away from this line.


5) The only idea we don't tolerate is intolerance itself. See Karl Popper's Paradox of Intolerance if you want to go deeper on this. Or a simpler way to approach it: Tolerance is a social contract - you tolerate me and I'll tolerate you.


6) These rules apply to anyone you quote, also. You can't say 'Kentuckians suck', and you can't quote someone else saying it (except to talk about the quoted person's habit of broad stereotypes).


Comments violating these guidelines are immediately, mercilessly killed dead. Busy moderators may not have time to explain why, but in most cases you can find the reason(s) here pretty easily. Feel free to rewrite according to the guidelines and try again.


By now you may be thinking: 'With those standards, I won't have much to say on inflammatory topic X!' or 'Those will be much shorter threads!' or 'I'd really need some good information and think it through in order to comment!' Good; you understand. Imagine if we restricted those discussions to only valuable, informative content. The contents of the threads could actually advance our knowledge about inflammatory, often very important, issues. It's almost hard conceive of. We could actually, in the heat of an issue, advance rational public discussion - a goal that has seemed so intractable that it's almost forgotten; it seems almost fanciful. The perfect challenge.

It also eliminates the prominent problem of people making endless wild allegations for others to refute (see rule #3 - they must back up what they post). So instead of endlessly repeating the same low-value information back and forth, we'd actually gain real knowledge from each other. And if some threads are very short, then what have we lost? A bunch of low-value comments from uniformed commenters? Ideological rants? Things we've heard a thousand times before? It even will save some disk space and bandwidth, and reduce page load times.

Finally, if it works - which not at all a sure thing and will require fine-tuning at the very least - the concept could be used by other online communities. What we develop here - not software, but guidelines for community interaction - it could change the world, in a way that it badly needs and longs for.

Jd 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Next up, Rilke week? ;)
guelo 7 hours ago 0 replies      
A "safe space" if you will.
baq 8 hours ago 1 reply      
might as well declare 'emotion detox week' and bury everything not written by robots.

this decision is actively contributing to erosion of the free world, as if not talking about politics makes them go away. hint: it's not and technology and hackers are changing the world so much politics necessarily enters the debate and it just can't be worked around.

ps. is uber breaking labor laws around the world politics or not?

drivingmenuts 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I already did my detox. Deleted my bookmarks to political news sites, unfriended some IMHO toxic people on FB and have generally refrained from commenting on politics, of any kind, since the election.

Kind of plan on staying that course.

Keep the political links, discussions, etc. It's not like I have to read them or comment on them if they appear.

And neither do you.

smpetrey 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Not a bad idea.
chillingeffect 6 hours ago 0 replies      
If this is an experiment, what is the hypothesis? And how will we know if it was successful or not?

"Our hope is that we can learn together by watching what happens when we try something new." is very vague.

This sounds more like an exercise of power.

geff82 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Nice idea in the current climate. If we now also stopped talking about religion, we'd have a freemason-like room for open conversation.
LordFrith 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm glad you didn't announce this last week. Then it would have been AWS articles only!
mschuster91 7 hours ago 0 replies      

my personal POV is that a lot of issues affecting the tech community at large resolve to politics in the end - be it the fight of cities and entire countries against AirBnB and Uber for example, the infamous Flint water disaster, the "fake news" battle, internet censorship, snoopers' overreach, the role of Big Data in elections, voting machine fraud...

Nearly every story (even those about new startups "disrupting" a specific market - markets ripe for disruption are usually created by political decisions, be it Republicans or Democrats!) has its base in politics, and I believe it is our duty as citizens and educated people to call politicians and their parties out when they mess stuff up.

Therefore, I believe that prohibiting political discussions outright is a dangerous move - I'm all fine with penalties or flagging if a discussion devolves into outright fight, but not for simply bringing up the topic.

calibraxis 3 hours ago 0 replies      
> What Hacker News is: a place for stories that gratify intellectual curiosity and civil, substantive comments.

It's "startup news": computing for capitalism. We work on social media without knowing anything about sociology. We work on advertising, which is corporate propaganda. We have no vision of the future, unlike technologists in a sane world, so we build a dystopian bureaucratic nightmare where I'm literally filling out a form right now.

Anyway, politics is for billionaires.

cryoshon 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Just passing by this thread to register intense negativity against this plan. HN shouldn't be a "safe space".

Shutting down discussion of "politics"-- the methodology of distribution of resources within a society-- is the complete opposite of gratifying intellectual curiosity and having substantive comments. How is it possible to gratify curiosity, when you're not allowed to start the discussion? How can the substance of your comments be displayed when the topic is verboten? Perhaps what dang is upset about is the tone with which these comments are conducted. Sure, they're shrill, sometimes. But isn't it natural to be shrill when discussing issues of morality and heavy consequence?

As far as HN not being intended for use as a political or ideological battlefield: that dream is dead. Technology touches every aspect of humankind, and yes, that means it's political.

CalChris 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I disagree but those are the rules.
whybroke 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Very true, high emotions preclude clear thinking and this week will be a worthwhile experiment. But unfortunately web technologies are at the core of recent political events making this a very hard problem. For example will discussion on the following topics be disallowed for the week?

-Discussions of intrusions into US infrastructure by Russia which, curiously, always engender enormous political controversy.

-Manipulation of social media for political ends both manual and automated.

-Policy changes on net neutrality proposed by the president elect or others.

-Governmental surveillance as is and as likely to evolve.

-Trolling as a political tool to disrupt opposing communities.

One level up, there is also the possibility that calm well informed discussion is the exact thing that is targeted for destruction. But perhaps this week's experiment will take some steps towards thinking about that.

freshflowers 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Politics isn't some isolated thing. Politics is about everything we do and say. A techie elite deciding what they do isn't political, or worse, beyond politics, is part of what got us to this point in the first place.

> HN is a garden, politics is war by other means

Denial, denial, denial. This is like the arms dealers selling to both sides in third world conflict and claiming they are ethically above the killing.

You claim intellectual curiosity, but you peddle intellectual dishonesty.

Thank you, btw. I left HN months ago, and today come back to see exactly the pathetic hypocrisy that turned me off in the first place. Shit like this makes me be ashamed to be part of the tech community.

Sure, let's hide from the real world and pretend it isn't happening.

pfarnsworth 9 hours ago 1 reply      
dang, doing things like this is turning HN more into reddit with heavy-handing modding, than just letting the community dictate for itself what it wants to see. The community has existed and guided itself a lot longer than the time you've been around, I think you should trust us.
livestyle 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this policy would be coming down the pipe of Madame President were elected..
ocdtrekkie 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This sounds awesome. Politics has weighed heavily on here at times, even on topics that... just aren't relevant to the tech industry.

It'll be interesting to see where this line falls on tech politics stories this week. Is a post about like... the FCC transition team in or out this week? It's definitely political, but also very tech.

kaeluka 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I love this experiment!
hooph00p 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This is cowardly.
johanneskanybal 5 hours ago 0 replies      
pessimizer 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Anything even vaguely political gets flagged to hell within minutes anyway, even if they're directly applicable to technology such as labor issues, electronic surveillance, antitrust, FCC news, the editorial control of news in walled gardens, electronic voting, domestic organized commenting squads (as opposed to Russian and Chinese, which are always fair game.) The idea that it's somehow clogging up HN more than the endless glut of random light WaPo, NYT and Nautilus science articles is weird.

I'd be interested in examples of what a political story or a political thread are, because none were given.

anotheryou 8 hours ago 0 replies      
only if we do a no tech week after that :)
SFJulie 6 hours ago 0 replies      
So I love Condorcet's works .... on voting. Nothing politics ... just maths.

So I love Plato's work on SiFi hypothesis : what it means to be invsible and the implication on moralilty (cf privacy) ... just philosophy.

So I love Jeremy Bentham nerdy works of architecture on how to build perfect jails where the one in power can watch everything the others do without being watched ... just architecture.

Finally, I love Gary Gigax (D&D) quote : evil (or politic) is in the eye of the beholder!

zeveb 6 hours ago 0 replies      
My biggest concern is the question of what is politics? Surely partisan political issues are politics, but is the position of women in tech also politics? Is climate science? I can see good arguments in either direction. The problem, then, is that it places too much power in the hands of those who answer the question of whether something is politics or not.

HN is already pretty bad at silencing opinions outside the groupthink common wisdom; I think this would just make it worse.

bambax 8 hours ago 0 replies      
> HN is a garden

and Attila is going to trample all over it.

tn13 6 hours ago 0 replies      
> Why? Political conflicts cause harm here. The values of Hacker News are intellectual curiosity and thoughtful conversation. Those things are lost when political emotions seize control.

Decides and all wise and smart moderator. People on HN somehow are capable of perfectly logical and intellectually enlightening arguments when discussing Javascript frameworks, best practices of team management, recruiting processes and if women are less paid in tech industry and their love and devotion for Elon Musk.

> Worse, these harsher patterns can spread through the rest of the culture, threatening the community as a whole. A detox week seems like a good way to strengthen the immune system and to see how HN functions under altered conditions.

How a detox week helps compared to outright banning it ? Isnt that better ?

This is how I read above comment:

Some HN users might be feeling triggered to hear opinions that go against their own political opinions. Such people might be in large numbers. Censoring political opinions might help HN to keep these users. But HN moderators are not sure if this hurts HN very badly. This detox week is basically an A/B test to see if HN does indeed lose by censoring political opinions.

This must be renamed to "Political Safe Space Week to figure out if we can outright ban political speech on HN".

markharris99 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Honestly not surprised about this. I'm a long time reader, short time commentator.

HN is a left liberal leaning website. They believe in a borderless world, where all countries should take regugees and have their native society be diluted. Too big to fail government and regulation, except when they can come in and disrupt something. It's ok for them and their investors to reap the rewards where the little guy suffers losing his job.

Sure the little guy can retrain in STEM, doesn't matter if he racks up masses of debt and takes 10+ years. Oh, he can't do that, well there's always basic income.

I expect to be downvoted here, but lets just say. If you are against everything I said. You'd fit well here. Nevermind that America just voted and said a big NO to NY and CA.

Oh and consider this account abandoned. Looks like I've been warned by dang with my last post. Which was sarcasm. But because I attacked his beloved Hillary Cliton, Nancy Pelosi, Jill Stein.

Seriously CA cannot go bankrupt fast enough! A pox on your house.

ebbv 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I understand the motives behind this decision but after deliberating for the last two hours I have to say I think it's a bad decision.

HN should stand up for values it believes in, not just tech as if it exists in a vacuum. If HN believes in diversity and LGBT rights, it should stand up for it. If HN believes in corporate deregulation and dismantling of the EPA, it should stand up for it.

The idea that HN is neutral on all these issues is just false. HN is the people who run it. They have views and a vision for the site. What kind of site do they want it to be? Stand up for that vision. People who don't like it can go elsewhere.

Reddit and Twitter and other sites have made a huge mistake in the past allowing racism and hate to fester in their midst. They should have thrown those people off years ago. They have other sites to go to.

Anyway, that's my view. It's time for people to stand up for what they believe in.

throw2016 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The road to hell is paved with good intentions. This camel in the sand approach clamors to roll back to a time when tech was not political.

But now tech is political, surveillance and the surveillance economy being built by SV companies is political, techologists working for the government building invasive surveillance systems is political, the betrayal of people by a technical elite is political, the censorship advocated by social media based out of sv is political, AI is political.

Ignoring this is like an arms supplier turning a blind eye to his weapons used to kill innocents choosing to focus on specifications. ie a world without morality. That's not protecting values or intellectual curiosity, its killing it.

The kind of forum HN has morphed into for lack of an alternative cannot be run by an organization with commercial interests. Then you get knee jerk arbitary decisions like this that begets a culture of passivity accepting what ever is handed down to you. I think the technical voice needs more robust expression and to speak as one with the rest of the population rather than seek isolation and alienation.

vacri 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Good show, I say. Should have gone for a month though, not a week (can't please everyone, eh?)

About 15 years ago I was part of a general forum run by a kiwi, who was frustrated at US politics overtaking his site (which was the bulk of political talk there). He implemented a month-long ban on US politics... and the site got more peaceful and more interesting. The effect lasted afterwards, too, though the userbase was < 100.

boneheadmed 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Hear, hear!
geuis 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I disagree with this. Trying to divorce issues related to the tech industry from HN is irresponsible. We can't bury our heads in the sand and hope for the best.

Purely political posts rarely make it to the front page anyway. And having those discussions in comments is what comments are there for.

The only thing I'm going to flag is this post.

Karunamon 8 hours ago 0 replies      
One concern I immediately have is that what is politics to one person might not be politics to another, and given that too many flags that are judged to be inaccurate result in the removal of the user's ability to flag...

You see where I'm going with this. It may be worth rescinding that policy during the testing period.

SixSigma 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Life is politics here's 2 from the current front page :

8 - Silicon Valleys Culture, Not Its Companies, Dominates in China (nytimes.com)

21 - Russian deaths from malnutrition rate 5x lower than in the US (worldlifeexpectancy.com)

MrZongle2 8 hours ago 1 reply      
God, where was this two weeks ago?
thesimpsons1022 4 hours ago 0 replies      
perfect week for trump to trample digital rights and we have to stay quiet about it because crybaby racists who voted him in don't want their feelings hurt.
banach 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Good idea.
facepalm 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I hope that includes stories about alleged racism and sexism in the tech industry...
s_q_b 8 hours ago 4 replies      
I live in Northwest Washington, D.C. I am a technologist, a government contractor, and an HN member for many years under various accounts since 2008.

I respectfully disagree.

Yesterday someone motivated by the "Pizzagate" story, spread and enabled by the social media systems we designed, fired multiple shots from a semi-automatic weapon into a crowded restaurant near my home.

My partner and I passed the crime scene shortly thereafter on our way back to our apartment.

The new National Security Advisor, Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, endorsed the totally false rumors that led to this shooting. He will soon be empowered by the full force of the nation's intelligence agencies.

I want you to very carefully consider the implications of what he could do with access to that power, and the potential result of blocking discussion of such issues, particularly at this moment in time.

jrcii 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Oriental is not an offensive term according to the unanimous opinion of over a dozen Asian friends I've broached the subject with, but that opinion isn't aligned with San Fransisco leftist political beliefs so I was banned from HN. Liberals are open to everyone as long as you think exactly like they do, otherwise fascist-style political censorship and hate is the rule.
kushti 8 hours ago 1 reply      
jamez1 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Is this because the HN preferred candidate lost? HN staff are upset and censor things in response?

I'm disappointed, if you can't handle politics how are you meant to disrupt an industry? Everything about our industry is political.. how are we meant to navigate our world if we can't debate one of the most defining aspects of it.

If you can't stand the heat stay out of the kitchen. Don't censor important relevant discussions because of your emotions! You are failing your community

shitgoose 9 hours ago 1 reply      
so HN users admit that they are incapable of carrying out a civilized discussion on political issues? sad.

banning all political topics just because current state of affairs upsets someone is ridiculous. country is split in the middle, so what, when liberals win we will ban political topics again just because now the other side feels offended? how about you stop feeling offended and start listening to each other?

anonbanker 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I need to preface this by saying I voted for Jill Stein.

You're right that HN should be a place for intellectual curiosity and substantive comments. But here's what I've seen in the past year:

* Flagrantly allow anti-prop-8 posts and submissions to assist in the smearing of Brendan Eich.

* Flagrantly allow pro-clinton posts and link submissions to thrive on HN.

* Never step-in to stop downvoting brigades on pro-conservative/libertarian/tea party posts.

* After unpopular (with silicon valley) president is elected, ban political conversations on the site.

I won't call you biased, because you've been a damn good mod, but this is probably your worst decision, because it looks like sour-grapes-in-retrospect.

Perhaps you're doing it because the pro-clinton camp is actually becoming too toxic to tolerate. Perhaps you're doing it to avoid the 4chan brigade from promoting Trump. Either way, this is a site full of people skilled at reading between the lines, and, correct or not, this action doesn't look like a way of promoting reasonable discussion.

eevilspock 8 hours ago 0 replies      
So HN is yet another filter bubble?

> We become tribal creatures, not intellectually curious ones.

HN is designed to be a tribe. The HN tribe and the Silicon Valley ethos it espouses are by their nature very political, having profound effects on the direction of our economy, our society, and our world. By censoring challenges to this ethos, you are reinforcing the tribal boundaries, and members of the tribe continue on without the constant challenge and testing that is the very nature of truth finding and even science.

This Tell HN is itself a political act.

paulddraper 9 hours ago 0 replies      
> It's over. After 20 months it's finally over...I'm free.


honkhonkpants 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I for one think the imminent demise of human civilization is of interest to the intellectually curious and thoughtful readers of HN. I also believe that hurting the feelings of willful climate change deniers and suchlike people is a really good idea.
camperman 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Top kek.
jksmith 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Far more interesting is to post your favorite SNL political clips. We need a levity injection attack around here.
kingkawn 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Lol the primitive brain, the entire premise of this worldview is wack peace
johnchristopher 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Well. Let me just flag this post since its a political one.
awesomerobot 1 hour ago 0 replies      
I'm done. If I could delete my account I would.
polymotivated 16 minutes ago 0 replies      
Here's an idea. If a story is clearly political, then just turn off comment moderation except for flagging.

Objectively, HN has a huge problem with leftists and socialists downvoting conservative/libertarian comments.

Dang knows this. I haven't read all the comments, but if he denies that simple fact, then HN has bigger problems.

You can't have legitimate conversations if the other side is openly hostile to the very idea of even displaying contrarian to their beliefs opinions.

There was a big bubble that many on HN lived in until election day, when they must've realized that there's another half of the country that doesn't think like them.

Here's a perfect example of living in the bubble. Look at all the car hatred on HN, where people are almost giddy over ideas to ban them, limit them, etc...

The vast majority of the people in the world don't think that way.

HN is just a bubble and why it's a parody.

Ask HN: Have any side projects from Show HN gone big?
222 points by farm_code  20 hours ago   156 comments top 32
antirez 18 hours ago 4 replies      
I did not put "Show HN" in the title when I posted Redis here, but an HN post was the first announcement I did.
gnicholas 12 hours ago 4 replies      
I was working as a corporate lawyer, and I posted a Show HN [1] before going to lunch one day. I came back and it was at #1, and it stayed there for over 12 hours. This led to a feature in Fast Company [2] and press in over 20 different languages. After winning a couple startup competitions, I quit my day job and now do BeeLine Reader [3] full-time.

We have 70k users on our first-party tools, plus many more on our licensed products. Our tech is licensed by the CA Public Libraries, CNET, Bookshare, and others. Our funding comes from the Intel Edu Accelerator (ICAP) as well as various awards for education and social-impact entrepreneurship [4].

I really appreciate the feedback from the community, which helped me understand what the market opportunity was and what our customer segments are (didn't realize how big edu would be).

1: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6335784

2: http://www.fastcodesign.com/3018118/can-colored-text-turn-yo...

3: http://www.beelinereader.com

4: see https://stanfordbases.wordpress.com/tag/beeline-reader/ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T9g4uy60oc

[updated to add press and award links]

louprado 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Somewhat related, it wasn't Show HN but show YC that turned my side-project into a business. YC's Application has the question "what have you hacked that wasn't a computer". That question compelled me to create a hack that converted a cheap ($10 in some cases) bluetooth headset into a garage door opener compatible with any smartphone. It didn't even require an App. I posted a Youtube video and then submitted my eventually rejected YC application. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cAtso2tzMo

So many people watched that video they started asking me to sell the fully assembled project. Soon a polite C & D -ish letter from Samsung forced me to stop selling until I made my own hardware which I did in November of 2014.

5 years later I still have growth and sales. Next year I hope to make an enterprise version that would allow shipping companies to leave packages in your garage when you aren't home. I'll be sure to post that on Show HN. Regardless I owe YC a lot of gratitude as just the process of applying changed my life.

capnrefsmmat 14 hours ago 1 reply      
This isn't exactly a software project, but I posted in a "What are you working on?" thread three years ago about my book, Statistics Done Wrong: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6619796

Someone posted it on the front page soon after: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6675843

Now it's a book published by No Starch, has sold 25,000 copies, and has been translated into German, Korean, and Chinese: https://www.statisticsdonewrong.com/

I doubt I would have finished as soon as I did without that initial attention to spur me on, and wouldn't have been able to wrangle up as much attention without that chance post on HN blowing up and bringing me visitors. (It ended up posted on Boing Boing, Metafilter, and various other places too.)

Now I'm a year or two from finishing a PhD in statistics and wondering if there's another book I need to write, or perhaps a second edition -- doing actual statistical work with real scientists makes the points in my book even more clear to me, and the need even clearer.

moqups 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Moqups: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4222992

We're still bootstrapped and fairly small (< 25 employees including the founders). We've grown organically to about 1 million users since then. The feedback we've got on our submission back then gave us enough courage to go from just a pet side-project to a full time business, so Big Thanks HN! That day was one of the happiest days in the history of our business.

silverlight 14 hours ago 4 replies      
I did a Show HN for Roll20 right after launching: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=4532754

We now have almost 2 million users and a small team working on it full-time. I definitely originally thought it would only be a side project...

bharani_m 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I did a Show HN for Resumonk back in 2012: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3934370

I was in college then and found making a well-formatted resume a huge pain when I was applying for internships. I met my Co-Founder also via that particular post and went full time on it after passing out of college.

We are bootstrapped, pay ourselves well and work remotely. Not sure if that qualifies as a 'big' success, but we receive these kind of comments from our users that make us super happy - https://www.resumonk.com/testimonials

Related discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12030863

nixy 19 hours ago 1 reply      
ThomPete 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Not shure about your definition of big but https://www.ghostnoteapp.com is doing pretty well. Living in NY with a family being the sole provider it doesent work, but had we moved somewhere less expensive it probably could and i am growing both rev, userbase and product

Here is the original Show HN.


pcarmichael 10 hours ago 4 replies      
I posted an Ask HN to review my side project PCPartPicker about six years ago. Got great feedback and things grew from there. I went full-time, had to hire employees, etc. Not big like Dropbox, but we made it over the hump self-funded and without taking investment.


juanre 14 hours ago 0 replies      
http://greaterskies.com, back in 2011 (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3066684), personalized high-resolution maps of the sky as seen from a place and at a time.

Amazing how time passes. It's been more than 10 years since I started, and it is still my side project and not big by HN standards. But it is making now many times over what I make in my day job as an engineer in Cambridge, and it's been featured in The Guardian Christmas gift list this year.

smagch 17 hours ago 0 replies      
kevinwang 17 hours ago 2 replies      
Not a show hn, but 2048 went pretty big. I don't know if this was the starting point or not; https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7373566
sashthebash 11 hours ago 0 replies      
In 2011 I did a Show HN for a project called StorageRoom (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2616041) and got some interesting feedback.

Five years, a name change and a complete rewrite later Contentful (https://www.contentful.com) has raised a Series B (total funding close to $20m), got ~100 employees and customers ranging from Jack in the Box, over Nike to Urban Outfitters.

It's been a wild ride, and it doesn't look like it's going to be over anytime soon :)

chrischen 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Instapainting.com. And I've been showing HN ever since.
josephwandile 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Fairly certain that Segment (https://www.crunchbase.com/organization/segment-io#/entity) debuted on HN. The original business was failing, but they decided to give it a last shot and posted their open-sourced code from v1.

You can hear Peter talk about it with Aaron Harris here: https://soundcloud.com/akharris/startup-school-radio-episode...

adnanh 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Don't know what your definition of 'big' is, but my open source project webhook got some attention after posting Show HN: https://github.com/adnanh/webhook

Anything >0 is better than 0... :-)

gorkemcetin 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Countly started as a hobby like 4 years ago and it was open source (still is, most parts). Now it tracks more than 11K Android apps according to Mobbo.com, which makes Countly #7 the most used mobile analytics platform. Team is still small (<15), bootstrapped and added a lot more features on top till then. Roughly 1900 stars pn Github. Not bad ;)


Rezo 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Cloudcraft: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=10722942

Show HN was the first place I posted about it, almost exactly one year ago. Today it is doing very well, used by companies large and small to visualize their AWS environments.

laksmanv 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I launched SideProjectBook.com on HN. It ended up netting ~$15K that month, not sure if that is considered "big."
nailer 8 hours ago 0 replies      
CertSimple was announced with a 'Show HN' post ( https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9210908 ) that led to its first paying customer. We did around 12K GBP in revenue last month and have Travis CI, CrowdCube, and Motley Fool as customers.
john_mac 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Virwire: https://virwire.com

Did a Show HN a few months ago, got very little 'comment' attention but still got a ton of new mobile users who have grown into a solid base. This was the only promotion to date.

Small bootstrapped team, Virwire is PoC of crowd curated news for millennials.

stevenklein 10 hours ago 0 replies      
leafo 11 hours ago 0 replies      
itch.io: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5445029

I don't know where the big cutoff is, but it's been going strong for the past 3.5 years. There are just under 50k games on it now https://itch.io

marknadal 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes, we immediately got picked up by an SF accelerator, then I was able to raise a seed round from billionaire investors Tim Draper and Marc Benioff of Salesforce. Then hired a team, got an MVP out to developers and gained a ton of traction, and now we're about to launch our stable/production-ready release!

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9076558For our Open Source Firebase: http://gun.js.org/ !

shanbhag 12 hours ago 0 replies      
borski 19 hours ago 4 replies      
Don't know if we count as big yet, but we're doing very very well: https://www.tinfoilsecurity.com
Ask HN: Have you used a resume writing service?
4 points by hbcondo714  3 hours ago   3 comments top 2
raybb 19 minutes ago 0 replies      
I used a resume reviewing service before (can't remember which one) just because my friend had a free credit. They were not very helpful at all they basically send some pre typed suggestions that you could find on anywhere. Granted, I already had have several people look at it and considered it well done. If you're interested in having a second set of eyes on your resume I'd be glad to give you some feedback.
kasey_junk 2 hours ago 1 reply      
Your resume will not get you any job you want. Finding a connection with a decision maker, however you can & then following their guidance on how to jump through their company hoops is infinitely more effective.
Ask HN: How do you organize your personal code library?
11 points by rcdmd  6 hours ago   12 comments top 9
peller 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I use Gogs[0] to host a private git server on a subdomain of my website. It's designed to be more or less a clone of github, so there's minimal learning curve, and since it's written in Go (single binary) it's much more light-weight than GitLab and very easy to get up and running.

[0] https://github.com/gogits/gogs

archycockroach 5 hours ago 1 reply      
My method is DIY and dirty: Git project folders generally sorted by language, in Dropbox for availability across computers. It's not perfect when I have projects that span more than one language, so I'm open to new ideas! Do symbolic links work in Dropbox? Backups live across a couple different pieces of external media for resilience.
rubicon33 4 hours ago 0 replies      

Github is a great place to store your reusable code. You can even choose to include it as a submodule in future git-based projects.

khedoros1 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Most of what I've written has been for work, so I can't keep copies of that. In my own hobby projects, there's usually so little overlap that I can't meaningfully share much code between them. I've got a couple of classes that have found use in more than one project, but I usually just copy those from one project to the next, as necessary.
kejaed 1 hour ago 0 replies      
For things I'd like to have out in the open I use github.

For things I'd rather keep private I use bitbucket, who have free private repos.

_RPM 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I use gist and github for my personal drawer of code snippets. For example, At a time I was writing a lot of C code. I would typically look at my previous projects to see how I've done things in order to not have to re implement my own functions.
ponyous 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm having a GitLab instance on DigitalOcean, more than enough for all my code. Probably 30+ repos in there, most of them inactive for quite a long time.

No special organisation. Just git repos.

detaro 6 hours ago 1 reply      
What do you mean by "code library"?
tonto 5 hours ago 0 replies      

It's not great for everything but the username/projectname is pretty ubiquitous and this just brings that to your folder layouts

Ask HN: What's your average day at work like?
19 points by adtac  7 hours ago   15 comments top 10
jimmyRustler 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Im a junior salesman at a mid level paper company. My day-to-day is pretty standard. Ill meet a few clients maybe close a sale or two. I do have to stay vigilant though because some of my coworkers are very unprofessional and like to waste time on pranks. Fortunately though, my boss is a great guy, and my personal mentor. Ever since he named me assistant to the regional manager, our branch has dominated the northeastern regional paper market.All in all, it not a bad gig. I have a 50 acre beat farm which I run together with my cousin, so that keeps me busy and entertained.
cuchoi 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Not the typical Hacker News reader, but might be interesting for some. I used to work (I am a graduate student now) at the Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL, http://www.povertyactionlab.org) in Latin America. It is a research center that fights poverty by building evidence on which public policies and social programs work (and which do not work).

In my last role as "Policy Manager" it is difficult to define a typical day, but it was mostly managing people, projects, reading papers to pick up messages for policymakers, writing policy memos, some traveling, some consulting for governments, making presentations, and managing upwards.

If you are interested take a look at a new Micromasters they launched along with MIT on Data, Economics and Development: https://micromasters.mit.edu/dedp/?utm_source=odl&utm_campai....

user5994461 2 hours ago 0 replies      
10:00 start working...

10:30 or more likely, come in late to the office :D

10:30-11:00 free breakfast with a variety of drinks and patisserie. sync with other people

11:00-12:00 check emails & messages & chat & more sync

12:00-13:00 fix or improve whatever just broke, if anything. take a preemptive look at my hundreds of services. find stuff to do that is not too long because there is lunch soon.

13:00-14:00 free catered lunch

14:00-18:30 get stuff done... but nothing too major because it's peak traffic, hard changes in production should be in the morning.

18:30 leave early

18:30-19:xx or most likely, start reading HN and forget to leave early.

geoffreyhale 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Probably those with non-average "average days" are more likely to respond so I'll balance it out by stating the useless and the obvious:

Average days are average. Average is boring.

My average day:* 9 AM arrive* 10 AM standup* code until lunch* code all afternoon* 6 PM leave

Corporate system pressures you to be average, but your boredom will pressure you otherwise. Always find new things to work on, meet new people, don't burn any bridges, stay sharp.

tbihl 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Not sure whether I should call it a work day: I get paid and it's exhausting, but it's also school. An extended job training, perhaps.

My average day:4:15 -- Get up, make breakfast, pack lunch, drive to work

5:00 -- Study for two hours at school before classes begin

7:00 -- Class for two hours

9:00 -- Study for one hour

10:00 - Class for two hours

12:00 - lunch hour: half hour eat, half hour study

1:00 -- Class for two hours

3:00 -- Study for two hours

5:00 -- Go out to my car, read on my phone or work on my computer on my own projects for 30-60 minutes until traffic improves somewhat.

Sometimes I leave by 4; more often I'll keep studying until 6.

It's slightly similar to college, but the people are all pretty much on the same page (and diligent), and I'm constantly slammed with so much material that I have to be less mechanical about my studying (triage rather than just learning everything). At least it's interesting stuff. And it's nice to be 'done for the day' when I leave, which obviously isn't too common in college.

banku_brougham 4 hours ago 0 replies      
i really like this question because i'm not too old to remember my first civil engineering job, and my complete lack of preparation for working in a corporate environment with meetings and lots of boring boring work. so:

at a large company i am a senior data scientist supporting a business org. i have a lot of experience at this point in business management, and i'm valued for my combination of business competence and sql coding. i've developed a level of trust with my management org, and i've attained the highest non-manager level available. i am not at immediate risk of being dumped, so that stress is gone although with the next management rotation things can change quickly.

i show up at work around 10ish.if i don't open email i can be productive for an hour or so before someone bothers me with an irrelevant line of inquiry.usually i play 2 to 3 games of ping pong before the afternoon rush on the table on our floor.i always fit in an hour of study during the day, these days i'm trying to get past the grievous irritations of tableau or learning new joys of julialang.i was studying statistics, but i got an intern to manage so now my time is crimped.by the afternoon (after an hour lunch - burger and beer) i am focused on my self-managed issues panel, and try to knock out some sprint items. these are typically datawarehouse extracts with some analysis and tables of sort/filter variety.quitting time always comes too fast, but with a newborn at home i dont stay late any more. no one seems to notice or care, as long as i am able to grind when the chips are down (and they are at a loss to explain sone financial results in the monthly P&L review).

basically, on average its pretty great.

Toly 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Im a vp of growth at a enterprise api startup. day-to-day usually starts with an early call between 7-8 with an int'l client or prospect. work from the office in SF 2-3 times per week, in SV once every other week or so, work from home the rest of the time. Get into the office between 9-930. catchup on emails, 2-3 calls/demos before lunch. afternoon is some team chats, a couple more calls/demos and call it a day round 6. at night is when the fun begins: working on side projects ;)
zhte415 3 hours ago 0 replies      
A wonderful opportunity to collaborate with a large variety of people doing a large amount of varied work.

I'm not strictly tech, more banking-tech-BPO cross-over.

Best moments, at the start: Playing with data and discovering fascinating stuff. Best moments now, 15 years later: mentoring and helping others grow, and in the process, doing so myself.

mjolnirmkii 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I am a senior cloud engineer at a midsized software company. We provide a product that customers can choose to host internally or use via our cloud service.

A typical day for me varies greatly depending on if any customers are having issues. If so, I work to help solve the problems and get things working again. Otherwise, my time is spent maintaining our cloud systems, performing maintenance activities, and working on projects to improve our internal monitoring and automation tools across our cloud infrastructure and customer portal site.

My email inbox can be around 1000 messages any given morning that I have to go through before even looking at our internal support queue system and any items flagged in our monitoring system that need attention.

It can be pretty busy, so at least once a week I miss eating lunch due to workload, meetings, or customer issues. But overall not bad compared to other roles I have heard about.

douche 1 hour ago 1 reply      
8:30 AM - Rush into work to get on a screen-share with some customer that is based out of India or Saudi Arabia or Australia, trying to chase the time difference.

8:40 AM - Customer never joined conference call, grumble about the normal morning pre-work routine that's been disrupted for no reason.

9:00 AM - Make the mistake of checking email. Realize some customer has had a problem with our software. Details are sketchy at best. Compose an email asking for more information, log files, screenshots, a coherent description of the issue, anything.

10:00 AM - Boss rolls into work, starts checking his email. Torrent of emails sent out about status of half a dozen disparate projects and evaluations. Seizes upon possible customer issue, demands immediate all-hands meeting to discuss the problem, even though the customer has yet to provide any information.

10:30 AM - Pointless standup meeting.

11:00 AM - Customer with the problem proves themselves once more incapable of following directions, sends completely unrelated set of log files and screenshots. Still no description of what the problem was. Query for the correct information.

12:00 - Flee for lunch.

1:00 - Post-lunch coma.

1:30 - Try to actually knock out some tickets and get something done.

1:35 - Customer finally sends decent bug report with information that can be analyzed. Except they are running an ancient version and refuse to update. Pull down old version of software to cross-check logging information and reproduce issue. Realize issue was fixed a year and three point releases ago. Tell customer to upgrade, which will take three to six weeks to percolate through their lab, staging and finally production environments, amassing copious amounts of red tape along the way and requiring sign-off by no fewer than seven different groups. Prepare temporary work-around to quiet down the issue in the meantime. Get ambushed with three other issues that have been occurring for weeks but were never brought to attention.

4:00 - Free once more to try to squeak out some forward progress for the day. Get pulled into hall-way conversation about some terrible idea for a feature that somebody who was given a demo of the product idly asked for, and sales interpreted as a show-stopping, must-have, stop-the-sale, not-going-to-make-my-quota blocker.

4:55 - Fuggit, it's time to go home.

Not all days are like this, but when you get into a stretch of them, whoo boy.

Ask HN: Who is using a self hosted analytics system?
19 points by mfrye0  9 hours ago   17 comments top 6
shakna 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
I don't yet have a product I've settled on, but I'm in the early stages of developing a website for a government body.

With all the regulations and policies on data protection, using something not self-hosted is just not going to happen. (I believe that if there was a possibility that their users were affected by a 3rd party breach, the fine is around 1000x the project budget).

If this means a little less information about the audience, that is perfectly acceptable.

mrgreenfur 7 hours ago 1 reply      
If you're serious about self-hosting analytics there is only one serious place to go: http://snowplowanalytics.com/

I don't use them, but they are building enterprise-grade self-hosting.

Disclaimer: I am working on a project in the marketing analytics space. I don't use them and this isn't an endorsement, just a pointer to research more!

ohgh1ieD 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm actually on the same road right now, currently I'm testing Piwik.


__d 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I've used https://piwik.org successfully.
mfrye0 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been talking to a friend about it and he mentioned using Elastic Search to build our own setup. Idk if it's the right use case though...
Nilef 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Working for a bank processing millions of calls a minute; using WebTrends
Just got hit by layoff web dev years ago but lately a PM. What to do next?
13 points by mxuribe  9 hours ago   15 comments top 9
dutchrapley 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm going to give some blind advice. I've never been laid off nor have I done consulting - I'm not speaking from personal experience here.

No matter which route you decide to go, work on some hard skills. Something. Anything. Whether or not you think you're going to use what you learn, what's important is that you're learning. If you start interviewing, you're going to eventually be asked, "What is something new you have learned?" It would be a great chance to pull out your computer and show them. Even if you land another role as a PM, it's going to be important to be relevant.

On a related note, someone I know was an IT Director. On the side, he started tinkering with Android development. I helped him learn how to use git. Eventually, he was laid off. The skills he learned helped him land a job at a decent sized company that I'm pretty sure you've heard of.

brianmurphy 36 minutes ago 0 replies      
Of your choices, I think finding a traditional enterprise job (#1) is going to be your easiest option.

Starting a consulting company is going to be your most difficult. Unless you already have good connections looking to hire you as a consultant, doing the sales of your service will be harder than you think. Why would a company hire an unknown freelancing digital product guy, of which there are many, when there are more established companies to choose from? (there are good reasons but you better be ready to answer that question)

virken2015 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I've been through three major restructurings and as a 56 year old PM, I can tell you it's really tough to get a new PM gig - companies want millenials, not someone old enough to be their parent
JKCalhoun 7 hours ago 1 reply      
> go back to being what kids used to call "a coder"

Hmmm... Your age is going to be Strike 1. I say that as a 52 year old programmer that has interviewed recently.

rick_perez 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Do you have any savings? If you don't have at least a year of savings in the bank, it's better to just go the traditional route and look for a job.
johnmc408 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Do #1 ASAP. Don't wait, start now. Once you have a job, get back into coding (if you want) and investigate consulting in your off hours (if you want).
mooneater 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Do you have to support dependants?Are you deeply knowledgeable about and interested in any of the verticals you were involved with (real estate, etc)?What would you most want to learn?What path sounds most enticing to you? What sounds the most fun?
mxuribe 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Thx everyone; appreciate the comments and suggestions!
brudgers 6 hours ago 1 reply      
What do you want to do?
Ask HN: Why is Notepad++ not ported to mac yet?
24 points by mathiasrw  14 hours ago   29 comments top 20
nikitoz 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Notepad++ heavily relies on Win32 API, porting it to another platform is like writing new editor. There are a lot of good cross platform text editors, devote some time learning one of them.
matheweis 13 hours ago 0 replies      
No need to. In particular Mac has TextWrangler and BBEdit, the former of which is free and similar to Notepad++ for basic functionality. (Edit: I should add that I first found Notepad++ while looking for TextWrangler for Windows).
hluska 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I once thought of porting it over to run on Ubuntu, but I read over the source, realized that Notepad++ uses the Win32 API quite extensively and quickly abandoned my plans. Ultimately, I would have ended up writing/supporting a totally new editor...then dealing with legions of people who are angry that my first 0.1 didn't provide an exact 1:1 feature match of Notepad++.
konart 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, Mac has many other text editors of the similar or better quality. I think nobody feels any need to spend time porting Np++ to a new platform and then supporting it.
izolate 13 hours ago 1 reply      
We have Vim installed by default.
tyingq 10 hours ago 0 replies      
There is a clone that works on Linux. I assume it would be an easier path to get that working on OSX versus the actual Notepad++, which is rife with Win32 dependencies.

See: https://github.com/notepadqq/notepadqq

theonemind 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know, but it works flawlessly in Wine, in my experience. If you use WineBottler, you get an app bundle with the actual app icon and it displays "natively", without X11. I like notepad++, but I use BBEdit on Mac. I don't like switching to an app with win32 keybinds on OS X
trm42 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Text Wrangler is lot nicer than Notepad++ for random ascii/script stuff. For bigger projects, use Sublime or some other IDE(ish) editor.

In addition to big IDE I have TW running all the time for notes etc.

undersuit 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Are you aware of Scite? "Notepad++ is SciTE on steroids."[1] It's available on OS X, not that I've ever used it on the platform.

[1] https://groups.google.com/d/msg/sketchupruby/vt7DpvQNcDY/Vsp...

cweagans 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Because better options exist: Text Wrangler, bbedit, vim, sublime text, atom, vscode, textmate, coda, brackets, komodo edit, jedit, and chocolat, not to mention all of the Jetbrains IDEs.
jedisct1 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Visual Studio Code and Atom are way better.
sebnukem2 10 hours ago 0 replies      
What is the point when you have Vim, Atom, and Sublime Text?
pcunite 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Notepad++ search feature is great and what I miss in Sublime. I think there are simply not enough developers to devote their time without some financial incentive.
alexmorse 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Yep, no need. Lots of better alternatives out there.
kisna72 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I am saying this only half jokishly but because Sublime Text meets all the needs?
notadoc 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Notepad++ is pretty great for Windows.

On the Mac, BBEdit (paid) and TextWrangler (free, more or less a light version of BBEdit) are both fantastic. Some people like TextMate too.

SamUK96 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Why N++ when there's VSCode? Both free, but VSCode is better in most ways apart from maybe boot time?
stuaxo 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Not ideal - but does it work in Wine ?
dodo 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it is just because there are too less developers maintaining the editor on mac os.
Pica_soO 10 hours ago 0 replies      
So We've Had a Few Problems with Docker in Production
5 points by zbobet2012  5 hours ago   1 comment top
jtchang 4 hours ago 0 replies      
We are running docker as well and I have setup a few clients on it. Haven't run into the ones you have but appreciate the effort you guys are making to make it more production ready and stable :)
Ask HN: Bootstrapper on the brink, what to do?
17 points by throw9987432  14 hours ago   18 comments top 7
Toly 3 hours ago 0 replies      
First off congrats!! would love to see another post of how you were able to achieve this: '$1500 per month, and has grown roughly 100% for the last 3 months ($350 -> $700 -> $1500).' imho #1 brings you quite close to the dream. i'd make a calendar to remind yourself that each day you're closer to it ie 6 months of 'X' for each until you hit your goal of 50k to quit your job. should push you thru the tough times you're going thru now. Whichever you choose, just keep a positive mindset because your progress is amazing thus far. kudos.
kejaed 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Can you get more up-front commitments from current clients, prepay for a year for a discount? This could let you pull the plug now on the day job and focus fully on your own project. The idea of that part of the class was that businesses often both customer and even suppliers to fund themselves, and that alternative and creative financing solutions can be negotiated.

Also, as others said, you might be able to find a small business loan since you already have cash flow, via traditional or other methods (online lending).

qwrusz 10 hours ago 0 replies      

Hard to say which to go with but I think it's worth taking a deep look how feasible each is.

#1 sounds good, it seems to be less risk with highest reward. And you say this is the one option that is a dream. But if choose this how likely is burnout? If it truly is very likely, then take that under consideration. Burnout is real.

#2 The appeal of #2 depends on your background. Do you know a few investors you can relatively quickly and easily meet with that could give this business/you flying solo a few 100k seed? If yes, maybe just take a coffee or two and see what they say. No harm in that and you will get feedback and know the cost of this option. If you don't know investors, then raising a seed round will take some time and energy. You would have to put other things on hold while you spend time doing this and without knowing what the outcome will be.

#3 Could you hang on 3 months and go with #3? You say 6 months to get to cover expenses. Is keeping the current pace going for 3 more months, evaluate again, then borrowing a small amount just for the final few weeks possible?

Best of luck.

mswen 13 hours ago 1 reply      
First, I just want to compliment you on getting this far with customer acquisition. And, getting some customer traction before considering talking to investors is great!

I have personally been an early employee at a venture funded start-up that ultimately didn't succeed soon enough at paying customer acquisition and ended up selling intellectual property for only a bit more than it cost to develop it. And, then I took a go at the solo bootstrapped thing like you have been doing. I developed an enterprise type web app for a particular industry and have had potential customers tell me that is really cool and premium but their felt need wasn't sharp enough to make room in the budget and spend meaningful money. So I know what it is to build something and not get to a good market fit with paying customers.

In looking at your situation it would seem critical to understand the backlog of customers that you mention.

Are these customers who have already committed money/signed contracts? Or, would these be considered more like warm prospects?

How long are they having to wait between decision and implementation? Do customers in this backlog know what kind of wait time they are facing under your current solo part-time commitment? Are they willing to wait? Or, are you losing customers to other competitors or internal solutions because of the wait time?

What is the dollar value of your current backlog? If for example it was another $2000 in monthly revenue that is committed but at risk if you don't deliver fast - I would encourage you toward greater commitment try for a small business loan or take on your more personal sources of investment that you mention in option 3. On the other hand if the backlog is something more like $500 in monthly revenue I might suggest that you continue with #1 because your growth curve might already be slowing down.

saluki 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Congratulations on your SaaS Success . . . hang in there.

Doubling MRR each month + reaching your day job exit in 6 months, keep at it bootstrapping.

Use some of your SaaS revenue to hire a support person/developer, what ever is taking the most of your time. Start delegating, even if it costs some of your income. Basically you're self funding and getting things setup to run without so much of your time. You could even push out quitting your day job beyond your target goal amount (SaaS expenses + salary) once you have some contract employees to free up some of your time.

Spending some money to buy back some of your time sounds like what you need. So start hiring some contract employees/freelancers to handle what you can delegate to free up some of your time.

Congrats, go with option 1, do NOT take funding, do NOT hire full time employees, focus on growth/marketing, delegating and only features users really need.

Good luck, circle back around and let us know how it works out.

midgetjones 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't have any specific advice, but this part stood out to me:

> I have a pretty big backlog of customers I cannot fully get going with my limited time.

What is it that they need that demands so much attention? Is there any way you can automate that so you can be more hands-off?

Mz 9 hours ago 1 reply      
So, some things you do not seem to have considered:

Increase your price. This may reduce the number of customers but increase the profit margin, thereby cutting back on the hours required of you and making the transition from job to business owner more manageable.

Find ways to somehow free up time. This does not necessarily need to be in the form of business automation, though finding some ways to automate pieces of the business to lighten your load would be good. You could also look at your overall life and either do things like hire a person to mow your lawn or just simplify things in some way.

Take better care of yourself. Eat better. Improve sleep hygiene. Join a gym or fit more walking into your life. If you have more to give physically, this pace becomes more sustainable.

You seem to feel a bit trapped, like the business has a life of its own and you cannot corral it. Try to reframe the problem as one of you needing to get this dog on a leash and teach it some discipline. That approach has the potential to give you the breathing room you need to grow it on your own terms.

Ask HN: What is your hardware/garage side-project?
54 points by selmat  9 hours ago   70 comments top 42
tobz 9 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm working on a headphone stand that has a USB DAC/headphone amplifier built in, along with circuitry to detect when the headphones have been hung up, thereby switching the DAC output to a line out (to drive speakers, or whatever).

It's a shameless amalgamation of a DIY post on Reddit[1] and some design aesthetics from an existing DAC/headphone amp[2] that I really like. I'm currently at the point where the internals are close to finalized enough to order boards and do integration testing, and starting work on modeling the enclosure, which will involve some mix of CNC milling, mandrel bending and welding.

I really like throwing away money, apparently.

Blog here: https://nuclearfurnace.wordpress.com/

[1] - https://www.reddit.com/r/3Dprinting/comments/529qyp/smart_he...

[2] - https://www.jdslabs.com/products/151/the-element/

coderjames 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been developing a Motorola 68K-based retro computer. The goal is somewhere around Atari ST-era sophistication, but it isn't quite there yet. Currently has a UART, some switches, some LEDs, and a periodic timer. Still needs keyboard input, video output, removable storage, and a slightly smarter interrupt controller.


The website has a bunch of broken links to missing material, as I haven't gotten around to writing it yet. All the schematics, gerbers, and firmware source code are up though, so it should be reproducible.

colorcoded 9 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm building a two person research submarine with some friends. Targeted diving depth: 100m

I have an electronics/IT background so building something so mechanical is a fun learning experience.


SSilver2k2 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm building my PiPlay Advance. A Pi Zero game console with all off the shelf components (plus our PCB) and only a few solder points.

Our BOM is about $35 - $45 right now before bulk discounts.



deutronium 9 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm currently working on trying to crack an electronic safe lock based on the awesome DEFCON talk by Plore ( https://media.defcon.org/DEF%20CON%2024/DEF%20CON%2024%20pre... )

I don't think the photos are exactly up-to-date, but I currently have an STM32F429 DISCO dev board, configured with a ladder DAC, so I can generate the analog keypresses for the safelock via my laptop, the board also sets a pin high to force my oscilloscope to trigger and capture the voltage from my ucurrent, which is hooked up to the battery of the safe-lock.


I'm also trying to get some iron nanoparticles, if I can find them cheap enough, in order to try to optically image a floppy disk.

I've got some images from one in the link below, but that was using a magnetic developer, with much larger particles.


DannyB2 9 hours ago 0 replies      
A 40 digit calculator using a Ras Pi, Java, 7-segment readouts, MAX7219 chips driven slightly out of spec (ab)using the SPI pins. Two 4x4 keypads to form an 8x4 keypad so it will be a scientific calculator. Found a Java library to do transcendental functions using BigDecimal. All of this on a breadboard. (I'm a software guy who doesn't know which end of a soldering iron to pick up.)

Other project. A 64x64 RGB LED display driven by a Teensy 3.2, in C++. A friend who does hardware but not so much software sent a beautifully assembled rig in a very nice enclosure.

No blog.

bloudermilk 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm currently converting a cargo van into a camper van suitable for full-time living. I bootstrapped the project out of a garage in two weeks and will now be doing most of the work in SF out of the van itself. It's an exercise in woodworking, metal working, solar/electronics, and interior design. I'm documenting the build on Instagram (same username) if anyone wants to follow along.
whataretensors 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been working on my generative adversarial network. It's a fascinating type of ML that can learn from both supervised and unsupervised data.

In essence, given data it will create a generator of that data. Right now my datasets are mostly images. I have tried on audio data and that does start to work - then diverges.

I'm still trying to find a configuration that works really well:

https://github.com/255bits/hypergan *

* needs modern GPU to run

Sir_Cmpwn 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm working on a device that mounts to a baseball cap and uses infared LEDs to block your image from digital cameras (at least the ones that don't have infared filtering, i.e. most surviellance cameras, which need to see at night). First attempt was underwhelming: https://sr.ht/SBGV.jpg

Currently obtaining much more powerful LEDs. Next version is going to need cooling and an external power supply :D

harperlee 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm trying to design and build a small direct-drive robot arm, inspired by this cool post:


I haven't worked with electronics since college, so I was trying to find a suitable project.

I unconscioussly bought some components and a couple of CHIP computers and I wanted to do something that interacts with the real world (sensors and actuators), but servo-based actuators seemed a bit lame.

Initially, I was going to use two motors and a spring per DOF in order to simulate a muscle ("variable stiffness joint", according to the previous post - I was going by intuition).

But then I read that direct drive was possible (the motor's magnetic field acts as the "spring") and that once that you have a suitable motor controller built all the rest is software defined, and I found the sweetspot for a project.

Such a motor controller is sufficient to keep me researching and prototyping for some time!

If I succeed with this, I'm planning on researching how to do some sort of artificial skin for robots. For the moment the idea revolves around connecting a USB camera to a bunch of fiber optic threads from a cheap lamp such as http://prosites-lottofun9.homestead.com/files/fiberlamp2.jpg and try to detect pressure on loops of the fiber by changes in the light source. That way you can cheaply and efficiently have a huge number of data points, with off-the-shelf components... but if someone does it beforehand I'll also be happy!

jcoffland 9 hours ago 2 replies      
I develop Open-Source software for CNC simulation.


brettanomyces 8 hours ago 3 replies      
I'm adding flow meters to my keggerator so I can detect when someone pours themselves a beer from one of the taps.

The plan is to have a camera take a photo, do some facial recognition to see if its either one of my flatmates or myself, then optionally post the pic to #beertheif on twitter or start playing some music based on the chosen beer.

Gruselbauer 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I have a friend who builds kite buggies out of carbon fiber. Amazing, gifted inventor and craftsman, zero love for computers. Going to build a raspi based automatic tempering and ventilation system with him as well as seeing to getting him some crowdfunding.

Other than that, I really want to turn my, ahem, indoor flower growing project into a test environment to familiarise myself with sensor based programming. Thinking something like a bubbleponics setup with automatic nutritient dispensing and stuff. Zero human input being the goal.

korethr 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Presently, none, but I have had a few ideas I've been wanting to get started on when I have more time for a hardware side project.

The first one to come to mind is an LED lighting setup that shift's it's color temperature according to the time of day, la f.lux[1] or Redshift[2]. LED continue to improve for general lighting purposes, but it can't be good for my sleep patterns to have daylight temp lighting in my home right up until bedtime. It would be really nifty to the lighting in my home adjust to warmer temperatures with the solar day like my computer screens do.

1. https://justgetflux.com/

2. http://jonls.dk/redshift/

contingencies 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Does full time but fun count? We're building a network of automated food preparation and retail service locations based upon robotics, to initially launch in mainland China: http://8-food.com/

The idea is the consumer can buy from their phone and pick up customized meals. Currently we're iterating functional prototypes toward ready for manufacturing while tweaking our form factor and components and increasing our ingredient volume and breadth.

We'd consider bringing on additional founders with strong mechanical engineering (CAM/materials science/foodtech) experience.

kbob 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Minimum Viable Synth. https://github.com/kbob/MinimumViableSynth

Today's progress was (a) receiving my SMD rework station from Amazon, (b) continuing to wait for OSH Park to send PCBs, (c) writing graphics primitives for the LCD display (which I can't see until I make the PCBs).

n00b101 6 hours ago 0 replies      
CNC machine shop. I rigged a Sherline mill and lathe with stepper motors, limit switches, electronic touch-off and emergency stop button. I multiplexed the limit switches with a custom designed PCB with Schmitt triggers and an Arduino. I hooked this all up to a stepper motor controller board and power supply, and I placed all that into a custom built enclosure. I connected the controller board to a PC using PCIe parallel port cards. The PC runs LinuxCNC. This lets me machine alumninum into parts modelled in 3D CAD. Then I've machines various tools needed around the shop. I've also made a Turner's cube using the lathe, and again using the mill.

I've also built a custom PS3 style controllers for manhually controlling the CNC machines. This was again done with custom PCBs, joystick and encoder parts, and Arduino.

I'm working towards machining a Stirling engine with my CNC machines. I've also been working on and off on a robotic arm (which is what got me into machining metal parts in the first place).

Unrelated to CNC machining, I've done a small, beginner SDR project: ADS-B receiver built with R820T2 USB SDR and custom built antenna from coax cable and PVC pipes, lets me to track commercial aircraft that frequently fly over my house.

kiallmacinnes 7 hours ago 0 replies      
DIY Home Automation, using a mix of Raspberry Pis (for "bigger things") and Atmega328p micro controllers (same chip used in the Arduino Uno's) - Goal #1 is to have heating controlled by this lot..

So far, I've the heating relay control board done (16x 240V channels, controlling boiler activation and zone actuators to open the flow to different rooms). The on-wall thermostat PCB's are currently being manufactured, once they arrive I'll solder all the components in place and get a crude mounting done.. Then it's time to design the enclosure.

Once all this is done, I'll move onto the lighting as Goal #2. For these, it'll be the ATMega MC's, some RFM69 RF modules, and either a simple relay (for on/off lighting) or some as-yet-to-be-determined dimmer circuit. The challenge for these is, there's A) no neutral wire in at the light switch in EU (or maybe just Ireland/UK?), and B) it's 240V supply or nothing - unlike the thermostats, where each is wired separately back to a central point, and can be swapped over to a 5V supply, these will need to drop the voltage on board using minimal space (much less than a typical 5V wall-wart).

getAidlab 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I am working on programmable J.A.R.V.I.S.

Currently, it could help with stress reduction, recognizing heart illness or overtraining detection. It's also an "open" device. Open to communicate with, and open to create apps full of health information for anything that supports Bluetooth 4.0+. Soon, I'll extend Aidlab with simple A.I module and gesture recognition, so mobile phones or the smartwatches will not be mandatory.

Site: http://www.aidlab.com (`For Developers` might be very interesting for YC community)

Blog: https://medium.com/@Aidlab

linsomniac 7 hours ago 0 replies      
My garage project is cleaning out my garage so I can do a garage project. :-( In this case, a little library for the inlaws and cabinet carcasses for our kitchen.
doobiedowner 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Home automation with old industrial hardware: an Allen Bradley SLC 503.

I read and write data to the SLC with a python script on a RaspberryPI, which also serves up an interface to the SLC and historical data using Flask and MySQL. I've got the thermostat, a door switch, and a few lights hooked up.

I VPN in when I'm on the road just to keep tabs on things. I've never enjoyed how 'closed' commercial home automation is, and this was the result.

Keyframe 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Not yet, I'm in research / learning / pooling resources for pcb fab on a desk, all-in-one. I've done CNCs before as a hobby, film scanners and stuff like that and I have some concepts which I think could yield an 'affordable' all-in-one pcb. You give the machine gerbers, you get (a few layered) pcb out. Maybe even a pick and place inside, but that's further down in concept. One step at a time, as time permits.
canterburry 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Tickerstorm.io - An algo trading platform in Java (pretty early still).

Difference from other platforms I've found: integrated machine learning phase which reuses the same data pipelines used by the algo when backtesting or trading live. Trying to reuse as many open source frameworks as possible to reduce the amount of new things a user has to learn. Based on Apache Storm, H2O machine learning, guava, Spring Framework etc. Not HF focused.

Most other platforms start off with you coding up your rules and allow you to back test those assumptions. However, this platform also incorporates the discovery phase of these rules rather than just assume you already have a set of rules.

pataphysician 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I've put together illustrations for each habit I'd like to keep, and then printed them on archival paper. I also built a LED calendar to keep track of things and combined it all into a wall frame. I occasionally write project logs on Hackaday[1].

It's fun to work on and I've noticed I'm already keeping up on these habits since they are always on my mind when building. Also the sunk cost has an effect on me to want to get as much out of this project as I can.. even more incentive!

[1] - https://hackaday.io/project/18304-21days-habit-tracker

callmeed 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been making little speakers out of old suitcases and boxes. Similar to what www.theboomcase.com does but not quite as fancy/powerful. I'm not trying to sell them but its fun to give them to friends as gifts and its enjoyable to work on at our makerspace with the kids.

I like finding sale components on www.parts-express.com and amazon. You can get small amps for $10-20. I've made them with a rechargeable lead-acid battery. Next goal is to figure out how to get a bluetooth module in the mix (right now they just have an aux port). I'm admittedly bad at audio electronics but I'd like to figure out how to use more powerful amps with a battery.

Sorry, no pictures on me at the moment.

niccl 8 hours ago 0 replies      
A lighting desk for lighting live bands. The other desks on the market don't support the busking that this is designed for. The aim is 'no friction between the music and your lights'.

36 motorised faders, 2 DMX universes built in, up to 8 more with ethernet adapters. uses two Beaglebone Blacks and a Raspberry Pi 2, as well as 42 Atmel ATTiny828s. GUI code written in Python using pyside, and the other stuff written in Go.

No blog, just a single facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/ManyHandsLighting/photos/a.79431027....

TheHideout 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I recently made a tiny laser turret that's controlled by a video game controller.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wlMuXKNZ748
jimmies 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I have been working on my Anybar implementation on real hardware, so it works on everything and I don't have to worry about any particular DE or OS:


Makes a good swag on my desk, too.

blandry 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Does wetware count?

I'm rebuilding engineered bacteria which can take pictures [1]. I'm using new proteins which will make the bacteria more reliable and use cheaper materials to take pictures. I hope to create some pretty sweet looking images to hang on the wall.

[1] - http://www.nature.com/news/2005/051121/full/news051121-8.htm...

elihu 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I built a 5-octave, 31-note-per-octave just intonation keyboard with pressure sensitive keys.

I've been working on putting together a thorough writeup, but for now there's just this video which I uploaded today:


loxodes 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm developing an open hardware microwave vector network analyzer [1]. A previous switched single receiver prototype have worked for measuring S11 (reflected power, useful for antennas) up to about 4 GHz. I'm currently working on bringing up a full two port four receiver version that should work up to about 10 GHz.

[1] - https://github.com/loxodes/vna

badabimbumbam 7 hours ago 2 replies      
A very trivial implementation of TCP running atop RS232<->USB converters connected back-to-back so you can run SSH over USB (or RS232) at around 3Mbps. For tunnels and stuff.

5000 LEDs drilled into 30m^2 worth of plywood, wrote a kernel driver to present the LEDs as a frame buffer on an RPi with Chromium, we (small team) mounted whole thing onto concrete slabs standing in a lake. Another RPi receives SMS text messages using a JS script to decode GSM PDUs with Unicode that are ultimately rendered on the LEDs. Nice graphics are added on top if you write something sweet for example.

A device to virtually switch an SD card out of an RPi and onto a host computer so you can remotely format the SD card and reboot the RPi.

A crawler versus human detector that is a bit simpler than those normally are.

Lots of projects that get tossed because they require expertise outside of my own area. I'm quite bad at finding other tinkerers to cooperate with, unfortunately.

khedoros1 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm building a USB-connected OPL3 synthesizer. I'm using an Arduino Nano as a command processor, so that the host computer sends register change commands, and the Arduino manipulates its output pins accordingly to actually send the data to the hardware.

When I've got that working, I'll make some modifications to Dosbox, to make it pass through Adlib/Adlib Gold commands over serial to the device.

dejawu 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I've got one of those IKEA Dioder strips, and I've got it hooked up to a RasPi. There's a node library (of course) that lets you set it to any RGB color and even supports transitions.

Next step would be to make it flash when messages come in - different color for Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, etc. - and having it integrate with the Philips Hue and Alexa.

pcglue 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Using a BeagleBone Black to read current sensors and send MQTT messages whenever an appliance (washer/dryer) is turned on/off.
anotherevan 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Just recently added an ultrasonic presence sensor to my computer. http://www.michevan.id.au/content/are-you-there/
joeblau 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm trying to build a camera that uses the sensors on your phone to help you take the perfect picture. Your mobile phone knows so much about it's environment, yet most photography apps only take into account what the lens sees.
skanga 8 hours ago 2 replies      
A Flying Car.Anyone with CAD, CFD, aerodynamics skills wanna help?
UhUhUhUh 6 hours ago 0 replies      
An AOA (i.e. Angle Of Attack) indicator based on GPS and accelerometer data. Arduino-mounted.
aaronsnoswell 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I built a barn-door electric drive astrophotography rig for long exposure star photos.
codewritinfool 7 hours ago 0 replies      
A completely numeric orrery for lack of a better term.
Ask HN: Language with good SVG libraries?
4 points by Qwertystop  11 hours ago   2 comments top 2
LarryMade2 17 minutes ago 0 replies      
You might look into TCPDF library for PHP, it is for generating PDFs, does a lot of great graphics stuff. Add inith FPDI and you can also import PDF files as page templates. You can set whatever page sizes, etc. And being PHP based it is very web capable.
planteen 4 hours ago 0 replies      
SVG is just XML, so any language that can write XML can handle SVG. There are plenty of tools to rasterize the SVG to a PNG. I don't think the choice of language matters very much.
Ask HN: How to protect your company during acquisition talks?
3 points by nickreese  8 hours ago   4 comments top 3
brudgers 5 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're committed to selling there's no reason to imagine your potential acquirers are limited to a handful of competitors. General investors, related but non-competing businesses [perhaps including your customers] and even unrelated businesses are also in the mix.

If the business is profitable and can be packaged up into something close to a turnkey operation, then marketing it will be even easier. But packaging it up like that means a substantial commitment to selling and the price is a lot of distraction from the core business.

Good luck.

allfou 7 hours ago 0 replies      
setup a meeting with them. See what they offer and try to get some info about their vision and strategy. If the deal is to weak then turn it into a "nice to meet you let's chat about our progress in the future". If it's a good deal then you'll be in a better place to answer your own question.

Just an email with "are you for sale" means nothing. You shouldn't even read it unless you're willing to hear about a potential offer.

exolymph 8 hours ago 1 reply      
> Especially, considering that our potential acquirers are already our competitors.

This is often the case.

Have you talked to an M&A lawyer yet?

Ask HN: Why do newsletters not work?
26 points by samayshamdasani  1 day ago   17 comments top 9
sebg 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
> I usually send an email every week or so linking the user to any new projects which have been posted. These emails are relatively short, however, they don't drive many clicks towards the site. Why is this? Over half of them open the email, but only 8% of the list actually clicks on the links.

Doesn't that just tell you that only 8% of the list were actually interested in viewing the new project? My guess is that if you made projects that interested more people then more people would click?

vikp 1 day ago 2 replies      
8% isn't a bad click through rate, especially if you're sending newsletters weekly. I don't see anything about frequency next to the subscribe button on your homepage, so people may have been expecting something different, which would drive down the click through rate.

I've also seen enlight.ml posted here before, so my guess is quite a few of the subscribers came from HN or sites like it. Typically the users you get through these kinds of postings aren't all in your target audience. This might also be resulting in a lower click through rate.

The key to getting a high click through rate is delivering a lot of value. There aren't any good shortcuts.

Here are some things that may help you figure out and boost your perceived value:

* Send a survey to your users asking them what types of updates they want to get from you, and how often.

* Figure out if the same 8% engages each time, and what the patterns of click throughs are (do some people click through every single time?).

* See if anyone on your list would be willing to chat with you about the value they get from your newsletter/site.

* Do some content marketing/promotion to attract a more targeted audience.

* Make sure you're selling the benefits of doing the lesson in your emails.

* Have some clearer messaging around the signup box for the list.

I run a site to teach people data science, and I've learned a lot of marketing lessons along the way. Happy to chat further if you want -- my email is in my profile.

mickael-kerjean 1 day ago 0 replies      
To give a few numbers out of nearly 12000 subscribers with one newsletter a month we used to do between 2,5% and 4.2% of people actually clicking a link.

I have no idea about the average but if you get those numbers weekly its actually better than what we do (and the person who is creating the content for the newsletter is a pure marketing person).

nhebb 19 hours ago 1 reply      
> I've tried making the subject stand out with emojis and such

The only emails I've ever received with emojis in the subject field have been spam. But, maybe I'm not your target audience. You could try split testing this.

patrickgordon 1 day ago 0 replies      
Your title suggests that due to your own experience that _all_ email newsletters do not work. I believe that might be a bit of a narrow view. In fact, I'm sure there are expert marketers which would strongly disagree with this.

Perhaps a better way to phrase things would be "how to make my newsletters more engaging?". Have you tried researching the topic? There are lots of resources online about "growth hacking" and email marketing.

Perhaps I'm a bit cynical but this seems like a clickbaity contrived effort to promote your site.

gus_massa 1 day ago 1 reply      
Not sure what is happening, but the low unsubscribe rate may be because in gmail it's much easier to mark a message as spam than unsuscribing.
coldtea 1 day ago 0 replies      
>Over half of them open the email, but only 8% of the list actually clicks on the links.

Maybe only 8% of them or so really care, and it's not about the medium used to reach them?

kohanz 1 day ago 2 replies      
Have you verified that 8% is actually a low conversion rate?
epx 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I tried that way as well, and did not yield the expected results. And some readers of my site really prefer the good old RSS.
Ask HN: Is there any accreditation body or credential for online news sites?
9 points by elinear  18 hours ago   12 comments top 6
FeatureRush 15 hours ago 1 reply      
We already had similar discussion here in Poland couple years ago. The thing was: should all on-line news sites be officially registered in similar way as paper newspapers? Then what about blogs, personal webpages and other sites that are not strictly news sites but do happen to publish/spread news? Obviously it went nowhere. It would create a new barrier for a lots of people trying to simply publish something on the Internet and would not really fix much. Not to mention that in Poland there are already mechanisms in place to stop/punish people spreading harmful information, and that laws are not tied to any specific medium - do you not have those in USA? If the news/article/comment/etc is untrue then someone can sue, right?

The real problem here is that people put trust in things they should be skeptic about and the official certification not only doesn't fix it, actually it could make it worse depending on who is in power...

AjJi 16 hours ago 2 replies      
I think the first question to ask is, what is a "legitimate news source"?
brudgers 14 hours ago 0 replies      
It exists in many countries.

Governments license news organizations and journalists. Governments review stories. Governments run the legal print and broadcast media. Governments regulate access to web sites.

Be careful what you ask for...but consider donating to Poynter: http://www.poynter.org/

elinear 11 hours ago 0 replies      
My thought is that such a body would act like existing organizations that, for example, certify medical professionals, engineers, accountants, or even colleges. For online news it may look like a journalism credential, requiring sites to follow basic and sound journalistic ethics when publishing. By these standards it should be easy for the large papers (NYT, WSJ, etc) as well as your local news and tv to receive accreditation for their sites. See https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accreditation
aaronhoffman 15 hours ago 1 reply      
Can it be decentralized?

What about a browser extension that allows users to "rate" each story/author?

You could follow other users you trust, and get an aggregate of their ratings so you wouldn't just get the global rating, which could be corrupted.

Dardania 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Possibly by reverting to the newspaper of record?: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newspaper_of_record
2020: New Ideas in Programming
3 points by david927  11 hours ago   2 comments top 2
david927 11 hours ago 0 replies      
For more information: http://2020salon.blogspot.com
AnimalMuppet 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It might be nice if you tell us what the two presentations are, or at least who the two presenters are. (The link you supplied doesn't say, either.)

Also, this might fit better in "Show HN" than in "Ask HN", since you aren't asking anything...

Ask HN: Are there any systematic and scientific ways to develop a habit?
318 points by sammyjiang  2 days ago   126 comments top 58
kstenerud 2 days ago 8 replies      
1. Build a routine. Set a specific, repeating time when you will do the thing in your calendar. Keep that slot clear, ALWAYS. Never let something interrupt this task.

2. Learn to say no. If someone wants you to do something else during this time slot, say no, and tell them why.

3. Never break the routine. Breaking it once makes it MUCH easier to break the next scheduled time. If you do break it, feel bad about it and get back on the horse IMMEDIATELY.

4. Use the power of accountability to reinforce the routine. If you can find someone who will hold you accountable, do it. Someone who does the routine with you, or a coach who will call you out if you make excuses.

5. One thing at a time. Don't build some huge routine of 15 tasks at once. Ease into it one task at a time.

6. Don't overload yourself. Leave time in your schedule for play. If it gets to be too much, decide CONSCIOUSLY which one you will drop permanently (and not right before the schedule to do it).

Edit: I'll also say this: Overcoming adversity builds discipline. A tough life that forces you to fight for what you want builds this naturally. An easy, carefree life doesn't make you tough. Seek out tough things to toughen yourself up.

katzgrau 2 days ago 6 replies      
Have a read, great book on the topic: https://www.amazon.com/Power-Habit-What-Life-Business/dp/081...

Systematic, definitely. Scientific? Not really sure, but I find it extremely effective. If I could boil it down to "what works" for me, it'd be:

- Pick a task or thing that you want to accomplish. Let's say running (mine is running/lifting).

- Pick a "cue," or something that signals when you perform said task. The more apparent the cue the better. Mine is waking up. Working out is the first thing I do.

- Follow this routine religiously for about 21 days. That's the magic number according to people who are into this kind of thing, and I agree. At this point you kind of forget what your old habit was when you woke up, and you naturally go to perform your new task.

And lastly, there will be some days when you don't want to perform the task. Do it anyway. A streak of not performing that task is really just the (re)formation of a bad habit.

serhatozgel 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was the same and now, after reading a lot about these things, I believe I am able to actually develop habits I want. What worked for me:

- I stopped trying to develop all the habits at once and sticked to a single habit. Preferably the easiest one.

- I discovered I get used to doing something by repeating it a lot. For e.g. at the beginning, I was targeting doing yoga once a week because I was thinking that the more often I target, the more difficult it would be and I would fail. It did not work out because doing something once a week did not turn into a habit. Instead, I switched to doing 3 minutes of yoga, but every single day. And I did not target increasing it at all. After a period, I was automatically increasing it without noticing it.

- I cannot develop habits when my life is busy and unstable. For e.g. if I am not coming home at the same hour everyday, and targeting to read at the same time but missing it because I was not at home at that hour, it did not turn in to a habit. When I could do it at the same time everyday for a period, then it started to stick.

- I started giving a habit at least 3 months to develop. I reserve the next three months for a single habit, if I can do it, say 60 times in 90 days, I tend to stick to it after that period and am now able to add a new one, because the feeling of "I am now trying to develop a habit" disappears for the old one.

- Also I discovered that once I make something a habit, I can decrease the frequency and still able to stick with it. E.g. I developed a habit of running 3-4 times a week, now I want to do it once a week and I can easily stick to it.

DenisM 2 days ago 1 reply      
Couple of life-hacks to help you along:

- Pay for things. I'm been paying $400/month for fitness classes and rest assured I never missed one. Haven't even been late.

- Develop a single meta-habit: check your checklist. I have a morning checklist of things that I need to check off before I feel my morning is complete and my day is off to a good start. I don't forget my vitamins anymore.

- Talk things through with someone who listens. As you're talking out loud you will get a better perspective and ideas on how to make new habits stick will pop out of nowhere.

0xcde4c3db 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know of any "how to" type material, but the scientific topic here is operant conditioning. The basic idea is that you reward behaviors that are desired and/or punish behaviors that aren't desired. There's an interesting dichotomy, though: the fastest way to learn a behavior is to have a reinforcement (a reward or foregoing something unpleasant) that is consistently provided with/after the behavior and not at other times. However, the most effective way to maintain a behavior is for the reward to be provided at a random ratio to the behavior (but still only in conjunction with the desired behavior) [1].

A lot of people want to believe that humans are somehow "above" operant conditioning, but there's a lot of evidence that we aren't.

Language nitpick: the word you want is systematic [2].

[1] http://open.lib.umn.edu/intropsyc/chapter/7-2-changing-behav...

[2] http://www.public.wsu.edu/~brians/errors/systemic.html

CapitalistCartr 2 days ago 1 reply      
I wanted a particular job; I wanted to get it and succeed at it once I had it. I wanted it more than any job I'd ever wanted. The commute was 44 miles, work started at 7 AM. I quickly realized I could eat breakfast, read the paper at home, then fight rush hour traffic, or reverse that and avoid rush hour. I searched and found a nice deli/diner 1.1 miles from work. That meant getting up at 4:30 AM, which meant going to bed at 8:30 PM. My (now ex) girlfriend picked a pointless fight with me at 8:20 twice the first week. But at 8:30 I went to bed.

All of this might sound crazy, but I wanted it badly, made it paramount, so all the rest flowed from that. If you really want your life to be different, decide what you want and accept the decisions that flow from the goal. People will get in your way, including yourself. I've had the weirdest effects myself of suddenly unable to focus on getting out the door, forgetting where my keys or such are, etc. But keep at it. Make the goal paramount, break through whatever bizzareness appears, and you'll have what you want.

mtw 2 days ago 0 replies      
The biggest challenges I found are distractions. It's easy to get going with running, reading or exercise but as long as TV is there, Netflix or the Internet, we are easily tempted to follow the easy path.

Once you get distracted by something, it's very easy to continue to be distracted. I'm thinking of binge-watching Netflix, or checking out the reddit front-page etc. After, we forget what is the work and what are the todos. Even if we have to go back to a productive state, then we are not in the zone, and it is still very easy to go back in distraction mode.

Based on all this, what worked for me was being productive right from the beginning. Waking up, I do something productive, often creative writing. When I begin to work, I do not check news or email. I start with a to-dos that are quick to do. You do a streak and then continue on the bigger todos. News, emails, blogs, social media are much later in the day, if at all.

In this framework, if I want to develop a new habit, I would wake up early and put 30mn of time into it. I won't open up my phone or have any social interaction before finishing it.

TheTaytay 2 days ago 1 reply      
BJ Fog is a Stanford researcher who is studying exactly that. Check out his "tiny habits" program, which is a one week course in which you will learn 3 new tiny habits. It is free and enlightening: tinyhabits.com
simonw 2 days ago 1 reply      
Get a dog. Our dog needs to go out first thing in the morning. It sounds silly, but she succeeded in injecting an element of schedule into my days that I hadn't had before. I feel like I've found it easier to develop other daily habits as a result.
3feetfromgold 2 days ago 0 replies      
Also about the pain vs. pleasure response.

Ultimately, we as humans, are always trying to either obtain more pleasure or avoid some level of pain. This is true for every task and decision we make in life.

If we take the task of going to the gym for instance, some people associate going to the gym with "pain". I.e. I don't want to run because I"m tired. Whereas others associate going to the gym with "I want to feel good and have more energy".

The trick is being able to combine the power of habit (cue) with pain and pleasure.

All of this can be read in Awaken the Giant Within by T. Robbins. Oldie but a goodie classic on this stuff.

c3RlcGhlbnI_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
Quickly trying to bootstrap my knowledge of the field I have a few things for you.

First of all as such the examples you have given aren't quite habits. A habit is generally defined in the research as a sort of automatic response to contextual cues. So running just "every day" can never be habitual, however running as a specific part of your morning routine can become habitual.

Secondly the cue is the essential part in making the habitual behaviour override your conscious intentions. It is however both necessary and sufficient, so you don't necessarily need to worry too much about rewards or accountability to make things stick. Just developing the association between cue and behaviour is enough.

And that is basically all we know for certain so far. At least as far as I can learn skimming the first related literature review that popped up (http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17437199.2013.87...) and some of the associated papers.

If you are not the kind of person who can through willpower alone get yourself to set up the cue and do the action it may benefit you to get help from someone who is better at that kind of thing until the habit is automatic.

nickjj 2 days ago 3 replies      
I think you need a complete change in mindset, because you're just setting yourself up for failure.

You shouldn't need to develop a habit like reading or exercise. If you don't truly want to do these things then you'll stick to your systematic habit for a few days and it'll fizzle out, then it's back to the drawing board.

I've been walking/jogging a few miles a day for the last 5 years or so. Now it's part of my life because I straight up enjoy it. I also quit smoking cigarettes cold turkey after smoking a pack a day for a long time.

Both were honestly really easy to do because deep down I wanted to do them. I woke up one day and the room was spinning which is something I never encountered before. It scared the shit out of me, so I immediately changed my life style.

You should be asking yourself why you want to read and exercise more. Is it because of a long term goal? Good, write that goal down and stick to doing things that point you towards it. That's all there is to it.

If you find that too difficult, then your goal is not really something you care about, so think harder. Keep repeating that until you find what you really want.

hollander 2 days ago 0 replies      
On Reddit there are several groups that try to do this. It's called the X-Effect. It works by creating a habit by doing a small task daily. One of the most important things is to start small.

You have to start so small that is seems stupid, but as it's all about positive reinforcement, you better start small (five minute tasks like clean your desk) and succeed, than a little bigger and fail. You may think that you could do 30 minutes and do more, but the goal here is to do this each and every day. If you do more one day, that's great. But this is the minimum. You have to set yourself to do this every day for five minutes.

You repeat this for 50 days, and the idea is that by then you have created a habit. Then you can start a new goal.

It sounds stupid, but it's not. It's really easy to let this go for one day, and think tomorrow I'll do 15 minutes to compensate. Or maybe you had a good day yesterday, and you worked 30 minutes on your goal. This is not a good idea. It's a trigger to let go, and stop the routine. Soon you're doing this 5 minute task only every other day, and then suddenly you stop alltogether.

And of course I take a stupid example here. You may choose another task that takes more time, and maybe you don't set a time limit, but something like walk the dog three times a day, or read one chapter of a book each day.



some1else 2 days ago 0 replies      
BJ Fogg has a few insights regarding good habit retention: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g56aKi-z05w

Basically if you look at it as a process, making sure not to overwhelm yourself before the habit becomes second nature, you have a better chance of succeeding at it.

lexpar 2 days ago 1 reply      
There is an excellent app for android called 'Loop - Habit Tracker' (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=org.isoron.uha...) which has a really great interface for keeping track of habits. It's very well designed. The interface is simple and snappy. Best app I've found anywhere for keeping track of even small daily habits (like flossing). It takes about 3 seconds to check off a habit, it can remind you every day, and you can consult graphs to see how you've been doing. It's also free and has no ads.

I didn't make this project. But it's great. I've picked up quite a few habits using it.

BrandiATMuhkuh 2 days ago 0 replies      
BJ Fogg's tiny habits is a good way. You might know him as author of the book "persuasive technologies". But his habit tools are well studied and tested (according to him ;) http://tinyhabits.com/
helentoomik 1 day ago 0 replies      
A book that I have found very useful for both developing new habits and breaking existing unproductive habits is "Self-Directed Behavior" by Watson & Tharp. It's based on scientific research, but the ideas are presented clearly and in a practically useful way. It's also about more than just the introduction or changing of habits - it also helps you analyze them, understand them, measure them, reinforce them, etc.

It appears to be sold as a college textbook so the latest edition is horrendously expensive, but this also means you can easily find used copies of older editions. Mine is at least 15 years old and still very useful.


dpandey 2 days ago 1 reply      
After trying to build a healthy habit app for several years, we have found that the most effective way to do it is to turn what you're trying to do into a game. It doesn't need to use technology - you could just be doing it on a piece of paper.

There's an important psychological reason behind this. When we usually try to build a habit(or 'change a behavior'), we're going against our default nature. If that weren't the case, you'd already have acquired that habit.

Now going against your nature takes willpower. And research has established [1] that we have a limited amount (budget) of willpower everyday. Expend the budget on one thing, and you have no more of it for another. In experiments, people are more easily tempted by an unhealthy snack after a hard day, because they've already used up their willpower for the day. Bottomline: willpower based behavior change is very hard to sustain.

Also, we usually interpret our failings to keep up with our behavior change effort as guilt and failure, rather than the budget of willpower drying up, which is what it actually is. That starts a negative connotation with the very thing that was supposed to bring a positive change to our lives.

I don't want to sound promotional, but we're seeing incredible change in people's walking behavior by turning it into a fun engaging game/app [2]. It just seems to work where an 'endless willpower' driven approach fails.

The interesting insight into this process is that the healthy habit needs to be a side effect of this game. It cannot be the main focus of the game. In other words, there must be a strong gaming core loop that's just fun and sticky by itself, and which is what people think of when they think of the game. The core loop is basically going to be fed by (among other things) elements of your healthy habit.

[1] http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/willpower-facts

[2] http://battlesteps.com

DeBraid 2 days ago 0 replies      
See Tim Ferriss and his various podcasts/books. This is basically what he's spent 10-15 years studying, does a good job distilling information into the most impactful and substantive bits.

A good starting point: this podcast with Naval Ravikant https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-7J-Gwc9pVg

Naval is a deep thinker, talks about happiness, habits, learnings, etc.

Then, check out Derek Sivers (also w/ Tim) http://fourhourworkweek.com/2016/11/21/tools-of-titans-derek...

lj3 2 days ago 1 reply      
The book "Superhuman by habit" is the best book I've read on the subject. It's well researched and comes with lots of practical advice for developing habits, not just the research and theory.
geoffreyfloyd 2 days ago 0 replies      
If there were a short answer to this, we'd all be amazing. There are strategies for building good habits, such as adding a small amount to your daily load at a time (to avoid overextending your will power, and build it up slowly), and logging your actions in a journal everyday, which causes you to recognize your accomplishments and confirm your goals. Also, there are methods of setting very specific, measurable goals that can be achieved in relatively short spans (days and weeks, not months and years) so that you continue to push forward at a visible pace.
Singletoned 2 days ago 0 replies      
I doubt there is any 100% reliable way, or any way that works for everyone (cause people are different), so it's partly a case of finding out what works for you.

A useful discovery for me was that emotion is a greater driving force that rationality. Rather than making a list of all the reasons that exercise will be good for you, spend time visualising exactly how wonderful you will feel (in as much detail as possible) when you are fit, and spend time visualising how bad you will feel if you don't get fit.

It might not work for you, but if it does it can be very powerful.

ryanmarsh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes and it's explained in awesome book The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

You need a cue/craving -> response -> reward cycle

The reward should be slightly unpredictable to make the habit really addicting.

So best way to build (or deprogram) a habit: keep a log of how you feel before you do (or don't do) something you want to change. Become aware of your "cue" or craving. Begin to introduce a different response that comes with a reward.

For instance, if you don't feel great after leaving the gym you'll never make it an unconscious habit.

shock 2 days ago 2 replies      
I've read the book The Power of Habit and found it enlightening, but the bits I'm having most trouble with are choosing rewards and getting started. The part about choosing rewards is, by far, the most difficult for me. Everybody keeps saying "make sure to reward yourself after doing the thing you want to make habitual" but nobody provides actual examples of rewards that work and are not harmful (no, I don't want to eat a cookie each time I do the habit).
codethief 2 days ago 0 replies      
Following up on katzgrau's recommendation for "The Power of Habit", I think it's important to stress that you should prioritize and choose the most important habit first and focus on that 100%. In the book, Charles Duhigg mentions "key habits" that, if changed, will lead you to change other habits as well.

I've been down the road of changing habits multiple times and I think the most important habit you can adopt is actually to continuously watch your progress, adjust your routines if necessary and, more generally, give you time to think about where you're moving with your life on a grand scheme of things.

Whenever I tried to get into a new habit, I found that the hardest thing was actually to come up with and take counter-measures if the routine wasn't sticking as expected. I would often try a new routine and if it failed to stick, I would automatically fall back into my old (bad) routine.

So my advice is this: Set aside time to reflect upon your routines (and your life in general). Make this your very first habit to get into. Personally, I've found that doing it once a week is by far not enough for me (and it's also a difficult habit to maintain), so I decided to do it once a day and, since I rarely find the time at night, I decided to get up a bit earlier in the morning and go for a 30min walk. This has the added benefit that you get a bit of exercise and lots of fresh air. I also use that time to decide on my most important task for the day that I will work on right after the walk.

bryanrasmussen 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was going to be a jerk and just say 'heroin' but then thinking about it, addictive properties does indicate one of the signatures of successful habits. The times that I have developed exercise habits is because I managed to get over the first week hump and then wanted the adrenaline rush that came with it.

One pertinent aspect of developing any sort of exercise habit is that the routine needs to vary enough - not just to help you grow - but also to keep giving you that adrenaline feedback. This is why a martial art of some sort is a good exercise routine, because of the variation that tends to naturally occur ( I prefer capoeira )

But I guess the most systematic and scientific way to develop a habit is operant conditioning http://www.simplypsychology.org/operant-conditioning.html

RoboTeddy 2 days ago 0 replies      
What's worked for me for running (2x/week), pushups (2x/week), pullups (2x/week), stretching (daily), going to bed by a certain time (daily), and other things:

* focusing on consistency: if you do any tiny amount of the thing (even if it's just one pushup), that totally counts. once you have the habit, you can build intensity as you please.

* specific deadlines: (e.g. run Tues/Fri by 1pm), since then I don't have a series of "I'm in the middle of something, I'll do it in a bit"'s that are kind of unpleasant and attention-consuming.

* It's kind of stupid, but I wrote a little app where I can press a button after I've done a habit -- if I don't press the button before the deadline, it sends a text to my brother. I don't wanna bug him, so for me, this helps make the deadline more "real". If I'm super busy or really don't feel like it, it's totally fine if I just do a tiny bit of the habit and then press the button-- but that rarely happens.

It's kinda nice to have all this running on autopilot; it's been working well for about a year, and it doesn't take any sort of willpower at this point. I find it especially useful for keeping my routine after something that would normally disrupt it, like travel.

tdaltonc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yes! In addition to some of the awesome answers already posted here I wanted to mention how important the schedule of reinforcement is habit formation.

If you're building a product, optimizing when and how it rewards users can double your retention and engagement. I make a tool to help with this: http://useDopamine.com

auganov 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm very sorry that I don't have citations handy [0]. But there are studies that explored affecting one's propensity to do what they rationally believe to be right. The common theme of these studies has been that feeling observed by others greatly improved it. The most memorable result has show that merely placing someone in front of a mirror improved it too (a testament to how salient the effect is)!My point being that if all else fails, it's worth trying to structure your social environment in a way that motivates you. It's easy to slack off when nobody's watching. It's easy to not deliver your side project on Friday if nobody's gonna care anyways!

[0] that's the playlist where I heard about it, I'm not sure if it's the right video, though. Sorry just don't have the time to dig through it. I greatly suggest everyone watching the whole playlist. The subject matter explores a lot of concepts tangential to procrastination from a philosophical angle. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reZA81S0zfI&list=PL3F6BC200B...

snoonan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Look into CBT in terms of efficacy.

A bit of a PSA... For anyone who relates to this very strongly, some people with extreme difficulty in forming positive habits have executive function disorders such as ADHD. This is a primary symptom and is often viewed as lack of willpower or laziness vs. a treatable condition. Forming habits under treatment is much more effective.

partycoder 2 days ago 0 replies      
For reading there's this product:https://www.amazon.com/Mark-My-Time-Digital-Bookmark-Neon-Bl... . It's a bookmark that allows you to set any target reading time, and it displays a countdown... You can do the same with your phone eventually, and it might be unpractical to have one per book... I use playing cards as bookmarks. You can read before going to sleep, and make it a habit to read while catching some sleep...

Running/exercising... there are many apps such as Runkeeper and such that allow you to set weekly goals. Running might better in the morning.

Another one is to get a wall calendar in a visible place at home and mark the days where you have been active in whatever habit. If you see no marks it means you have dropped your habit. You can also use a calendar app and set reminders... but those are easy to ignore.

rawnlq 2 days ago 0 replies      
imron 2 days ago 0 replies      
Don't break the chain - http://dontbreakthechain.com

In the same vein, I made an app called 100% for doing something similar: https://www.imralsoftware.com/100

bootload 2 days ago 0 replies      
"I want to develop many daily habits, such as running, reading, or exercise every day"

Done that. Do the hardest thing first.

The simple hack I've found useful is to repeat the activity ^no matter^ how you feel. I found the biggest point of failure is ^just before^ you start and if you get over that hump of avoidance you'll succeed.

You have to repeat this every day. Every day you start is another point of failure. ~ http://seldomlogical.com/2009/OCT/29/do-the-hardest-thing-fi... (on 2770/3000km for this year, 10km at a time.)

ohyoutravel 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know if there is a scientific way, but I can say what works for me. To start, I essentially resign myself to doing whatever habit I want to build, making it in my mind so I have no choice so there's no getting out of it. Then I just do it, rain or shine, no matter what, which can be super difficult. After a while, it becomes easier.

One example is running. I just told myself that I needed to run for one hour every weekday at 6am. Extremely difficult as I normally sleep in until 7, but I just told myself I have no choice. So I started getting out of bed at 6 and running until 7. After a couple weeks it got easier, after a month I did it without much thought. After about two months, I feel weird if I don't do it and miss it.

I am also interested in whether there's more to building a habit than this.

dorfsmay 2 days ago 0 replies      
They touch on this in the "Learning how to learn" online course. One of the point is to learn to recognise patterns:


mildbow 2 days ago 0 replies      
There is a whole industry focused on portraying developing habits as being complicated.

It's not.

Just take things one day at a time and make sure you have your habits scheduled in the times where you are least liable to get interrupted. I prefer early mornings.

Then just do what you've committed to do. There is no magic trick.

benevol 2 days ago 1 reply      
To develop a habit, you simply need to repeat the specific action, by forcing yourself (apply discipline).

If you do that, your brain will benefit from its (life-long!) property of plasticity and will create new neural connections (with each repetition) which favor the action you're about to execute:

First, you're about to create a new path (like through a thick a forest), which is a bit harder, but then you use that path again and again, and the path will become a street and then a highway (which is increasingly easier to use). In the end, you can execute your action without any effort because your neurological pathways are now really solid and the electrical signals travel much easier.

Kenji 2 days ago 0 replies      
Willpower is not about forcing yourself to do something, but to deliberately put yourself into a situation that forces you to do it.

For example: You want to run, but you are too lazy. Ask a friend to run with you at a certain time. Now you can't lazily back out, unless you want to call your friend again and mess with their schedule, as they were expecting to run with you.

As you become better at something, like running, it starts to become more fun and satisfying. You gain momentum. That allows you to adhere to your schedule much more easily, to the point where you miss it when you don't/can't do it.

eponeponepon 2 days ago 1 reply      
Piggyback on your dopaminergic system. Start by rewarding yourself with something you already enjoy every time you display the habit you want to acquire, and in the fullness of time your brain will react to the new activity without the need for the separate reward.

This is more or less how smoking functions, modulo some neurochemical details - the idea is to effectively addict yourself to the new behaviour.

dizrupt 2 days ago 0 replies      
If, your habit involves your computer. I use SlimerJS to automatically remind me to fill in a time sheet I use at work. After a month or so this resulted in me remembering before it popped up to remind me. Sort of habit forming. I think what was key was that it popped up with an actual window that I could perform an action on, plus the visual aspect.
rm_-rf_slash 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not sure if this helps, but in order to break a (bad) habit, I have found the single best method to be a trip to the ER.

I had a nasty case of dehydration from a combination of beer and Mexican food that resulted in the worst pain I have ever experienced in my life. It really got me to reevaluate my perspective on alcohol. I stopped drinking immediately and haven't looked back.

bhattisatish 2 days ago 0 replies      
You can check out http://www.spring.org.uk/making-habits-breaking-habits A good book on habits. The book covers on habits are formed, how they can affect you and how you can change them.
evo_9 2 days ago 1 reply      
Seinfeld has his 'don't break the chain' method, worth a look:


bellebethcooper 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've been focusing on building new habits for the past couple of years and have written about it a lot. Here are some of the things that have made the biggest difference for me:

- Start small. Focus on making the behaviour automatic (the definition of a habit) in its smallest form. It's easier to increase the time and effort spent once doing the behaviour is automatic.- Schedule the habit. My habits almost always fail if I don't figure out in advance when and where I'll do them.- Stack your habits. Using an existing habit (it can be something you didn't build on purpose like brushing your teeth, putting on your pyjamas, putting on your shoes before leaving the house, etc.) as a trigger to remind you to do another habit. This makes it easier to remember and build into a routine you already have.- Make it easy to do the habit and hard not to. If you need equipment, get it ready before you'll need it. Set up your environment to encourage you to do the habit. Keep things out of sight if they encourage you not to do the habit. Context makes a big difference in the early stages.- Build one habit at a time. Only when a habit is truly habitual (you do it without thinking) start focusing on a new one. I've failed at building habits every time I've tried to do more than one new habit at a time.

I've written a lot about habits. I'll link to some articles below that might be helpful. Many of them expand on the suggestions I mentioned above.

I also wrote a four-week email course and a book to help people build habitsspecifically habits that will help you be more productive by saving you time and helping you work more efficiently. But the course can be applied to any kind of habits. You can find the course and book here: http://habits.bellebethcooper.com/


figjamjam 2 days ago 1 reply      
How do you design a fast car? You avoid designing a slow one.

Make room for good habits by stopping bad ones.

I wouldn't take outliers as examples unless you are also such an outlier. At which point any advice based on averages is moot.

hatemben 1 day ago 0 replies      
Did you tried Fabulous app ? It's using a scientific method, besides being very successful app.
hatemben 1 day ago 0 replies      
Did you tried Fabulous app ? It's using a scientific method, besides being very successful app.


bettermonkey 2 days ago 0 replies      
There is an excellent book "the power of habit" that delves into this very topic. Its a quick read.
divbit 2 days ago 1 reply      
as a react practice protect I made habity.io (open source at my github, sry phone) I am currently rewriting a new version of it with some machine learning scheduling stuff e.g. predict what is the most efficient time of day to do stuff based on previous days..(neural net practice idea of mine)
Animats 2 days ago 0 replies      
Drill sergeants. Much of military training is about habit implantation.
foobar16372883 2 days ago 0 replies      
Meditate for greater self awareness.

Learn about the trigger-action-reward cycle.

bikamonki 2 days ago 0 replies      

You'll do whatever if the right buttons are pushed.

arnorhs 2 days ago 0 replies      
probably BA and CBT are the most studied and scientifically proven ways to develop new habits and rid yourself of self-damaging habits.
dominotw 2 days ago 2 replies      
no there isn't. All the pop 'habit methods' methods like repeating same thing to death over and over 'to form a habit' are bogus.

we need motivation, not habit. There are no shortcuts or hacks for motivation, we have to put in the effort to understand our own brain and what drives it to do things.

BOOSTERHIDROGEN 2 days ago 0 replies      
having an indoor bicycle ready next to my chair help me a lot to build the habit.
kstenerud 2 days ago 2 replies      
Ericson2314 2 days ago 0 replies      
Uh, it's really sinple, though not easy.

1. Do the same thing at the same time over and over again, intentionally.2. Watch yourself keep on doing it unintentionally.

Ok "same time" is the more complex part. Your trying to wire your brain to do something deterministically in response to some stimulum. It can be external, or internal (feedback).

Ask HN: Most effective way to learn a new language (not the programming kind)?
4 points by philippnagel  12 hours ago   4 comments top
chowraid 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm also curious about this. To my knowledge I managed to learn a good amount of Japanese by literally studying every day for 1-2 hours, listen to a good amount of Japanese music. Rented Japanese books to see if I could recognize any symbols and try to figure out what the book was about. I hope this helps.
Ask HN: How to support someone with burnout syndrome?
6 points by BrandiATMuhkuh  15 hours ago   7 comments top 7
brudgers 13 hours ago 0 replies      
My first advice is to avoid the temptation to practice pop psychology. Burnout is not a recognized clinical diagnosis in the DSM {https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Occupational_burnout}. The pop-psychology of is a way of perpetuating the stigma associated with accurate clinical diagnosis for a mental health condition.

My second piece of advice follows from that. There my be clinical issues and those may best be addressed by a professional clinician such as a licensed psychologist, mental health councilor, or clinical social worker.[1] A role you can play is to normalize and destigmatize the idea of professional mental health treatment. Ask the people you know if they can recommend a clinician for your friend.

Yes, "I have a friend who might need a professional mental health clinician, do you know anyone?" has a certain "No, really it's a friend" connotation. Accepting that people may reach the wrong conclusion is part of being able to destigmatize and normalize mental health treatment.

Good luck.

[1]: I don't have anything against Psychiatrists. It's more a matter of access to Psychiatrists is limited and [in the US] typically done via referral from a councilor or MD general practitioner for the purpose of prescription based on an existing diagnosis. Which reminds me that your friend might also address their burnout with their regular doctor and likewise, your regular doctor might be a source of referral for licensed clinicians for your friend.

endswapper 14 hours ago 0 replies      
My recommendation (not a doctor) is to makes it easy for them to engage, so it is almost accidental.

With burnout, at least in part, and depending on the person, there is a tendency to withdraw. Invite them to go do something already planned, that they don't have to pay for, that won't take too long and you know they enjoy. Then just be a friend without expectations.

I think advice and suggestions can make things worse because making a decision or taking action is often the thing that has them locked-up.

BrandiATMuhkuh 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Yes he is in tech (developer). And yes, he was at the doctors. I think it's his official diagnosis. So he is now for 1-2 month on leave. Luckily, being on "sick" leave for such a long time is no problem in Austria. So he won't have problems getting the job back and he still receives normal payment.
csorrell 11 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're involved in any fun non-tech related hobbies that he might be interested in, invite him to join you.
joshuapassos 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I believe with the best option is to send to doctor.Tbe sooner the better.
allfou 7 hours ago 0 replies      
angersock 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Are they in tech? Why do you think they're in burnout, and why do you think it's severe? A little more background here would help.
Ask HN: Has anyone sponsored a J1 specialist or trainee?
15 points by mezod  15 hours ago   23 comments top 11
jakozaur 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I was in USA few times on J1 as an intern. It is the best visa, if you like to hire someone for 3 months internship while someone studies at Universities.

Though this is not H1B replacement, as this visa require that trainee/intern have intern to leave the USA after the program.

If you are employer, you need to contact sponsoring organization. For all internships I used:http://culturalvistas.org/programs/us/j-1-internships-traini...(they got different name before "CDS International")The paperwork is light, even startups with reasonable funding can get the visa.

Disclaimer: I'm not a lawyer.

jedisct1 14 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm a French citizen, but I joined OpenDNS (acquired by Cisco since) on a J-1 Visa.

Most of the paperwork has to be actually done by the candidate, but the process was pretty straightforward.

I had to pay about $500 for the express/priority/whatever-it's-called version of the Visa, plus insurance coverage, plus the fee for a local third-party I used for the application, for a total of about $1500 (that the company was supposed to reimburse but never did).

Unlike the H1-B, the petition for the J-1 can be done at any time.

The J-1 can be extended twice, and is valid up to 1.5 years. It can be upgraded to a H1-B, although this requires leaving the country for a couple weeks in-between.

martell 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm an Irish Citizen.I was on a j1 graduate visa for 12 months.I just arrived back in my home country this week.

The process is straight forward but you will lose the first month waiting for approval of the placement.Depending on the country you might need to have the position approved before your SERVIS start date.

A friend of mine from Catalonia like you (according to your github account) applying from Spain had to have his placement preapproved.

He managed to get a h1b half way through the year, the transition over to h1b mid j1 was actually very easy without him having to return home which is interesting, due to the dual intent of the h1b. If he does go home however he has to then go to an embassy to get the visa inserted into his passport.

Also you are not always subject to the 2 year rule.It did not apply to my application nor my friends.If I go back for a second j-1 as a trainee it will be subject to it next time however.

Feel free to asking any questions.

swalberg 14 hours ago 0 replies      
My understanding of the J1 is that it is a cultural exchange visa and that the intent is that it's very short term work and specifically not as an alternative to the H1B.

Another caveat is that the position could be designated as subject to the 2 year residency rule, and therefore your employee would not be allowed to work in the US for 2 years after their J1 expires.

capnrefsmmat 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Note that the person you sponsor will most likely be subject to the two-year home residency requirement: after their J1 expires, they are required to return to their home country of residence for at least two years before converting to any US immigrant visa (i.e. any visa which could lead to permanent residency or citizenship).

If your employee doesn't intend to stay in the US, that's fine, but if they, say, get married while in the US, they'll have significant obstacles in their way.

There are certain circumstances in which this requirement doesn't apply or can be waived, but I won't presume to know if they apply to you.


uiri 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been on a J-1 multiple times with different employers and they've always used Cultural Vistas. Cultural Vistas has to be the worst, most bureaucratic organization with which I've ever had the displeasure of interacting. All of their employees lack basic critical thinking skills to the point that I've often wondered if I'm dealing with an automated system written by government contractors.

Are there any sponsoring organizations for J-1 that are not such a pain on the intern/trainee's part?

jaredhansen 14 hours ago 0 replies      
We have done this multiple times at Breezy. You won't want to go it alone but the fees aren't astronomical. I can make good intros; my email is in profile.
chillydawg 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I think with this kind of situation the best thing for you to do is lawyer up.
madman2890 13 hours ago 0 replies      
The J-1 visa is going away, according to Trump. Just a heads up...
dorianm 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm on my second J1 Visa, it's pretty straightforward:

- proving to be a student

- proving that the job fits with the studies

- proving that the job is gonna be done in good conditions

- proving to have enough money to live there

- etc.

Ask HN: Is it still worth it to learn RoR?
18 points by PaulBGD_  2 days ago   8 comments top 5
ev_rolfe 14 hours ago 0 replies      
In short, yes its still worth it, Rails is a mature and fully-fledged framework which is not going away anytime soon. From a business perspective there is no shortage of rails work to be had.

Anecdotally, I'm also seeing more and more traditional organisations move from "corporate world" frameworks (Java, .NET etc.) to RoR because they are seeing how fast smaller companies and startups that use RoR are able to get things done. Probably also a side effect of how much people from the startup world like to brag about how much they can "get done".

Though as a result of people seeing how fast you can get things done in rails, I've seen a lot of really poorly coded rails sites which does hinder progress. However I think that is an inevitable outcome of any good framework - if you make it easy to get the boring work done then that will have two effects:

1. it allows good developers to skip over boring or repetitive work and focus their efforts on hard problems.

2. it allows inexperienced or just plain bad developers to churn out applications which may get the job done but the code will be a mess.

So yes if you enjoy coding in RoR then I see no reason not to stick with it. However I'd suggest you pick one language/framework and stick with it. This might not be an opinion appreciated by the hacker news crowd but the reality of getting work as a freelancer is that most managers or potential clients will be more impressed if you can say "5 years experience with Ruby on Rails" rather than "5 years experience as a programmer - working with Go, Rust, Node.JS, Ruby on Rails".

karmajunkie 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a freelancer, the value prop of learning Rails is that the market of projects you can take on becomes much largerthere's a lot of legacy Rails code out there that freelancers get hired to work on. I'd say its much more valuable from a business perspective than either go or rust.

As a developer, however, my opinion is very different. I've been doing Rails work for about ten years now and while in the beginning it felt great, I see it now as a big liability in terms of long-term growth of a project. "Just add a gem" is neither a good scalability nor a good growth story on a project.

gaastonsr 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's always worth to learn something new as long as it fascinates you and you enjoy working with it. Otherwise stick deepening your knowledge in the languages you are already know, as somebody else already said.
bdcravens 1 day ago 0 replies      
There's still tons of work in Rails, but I think you'd be better served by becoming an expert in what you already know than knowing another language, unless you're targeting the lower end income-wise.
Raellan 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you are indeed interested in taking a substantive look at Ruby frameworks may I suggest opening the aperture a bit. While Rails is indeed feature rich and "one of the big boys" you would be well served by looking at Sinatra as well. It's as minimalist as they come while still scaling very well. Beyond that there's also Padrino which builds upon the former very nicely and still maintains much of Sinatra's elegance. Food for thought.
Seeking partner for side project
13 points by emilioolivares  1 day ago   19 comments top 11
altaweelali 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I like your site. I was looking fore something like this. faved now!!

side note: is this something that you can monetize by displaying ads? or ads companies won't let you display their ads since it is not your content? with 120k users that usually lurk on this kind of site for a while, it seems like a good way to get some ad money from it.

rlancer 14 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm the CTO of www.collaborizm.com it helps you find collaborators for your projects, would love to have your side project on there.
gaminga2016 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I would love to find a FE web guy.And soon a growth/marketing hacker (we have a small 4-digit budget set aside for this)

This is a bingo-style/slot-machine/fantasy-sport type app.

We are currently using an online excel table as an MVP!!!

I can offer some help with js or by adding endpoints on the backend.

This is not an open source - we are very revenue and growth driven...

DatNiggaJ 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you're serious about a project, please get in touch with me. I lack experience but I'm obsessive in my habits concerning research. I'm a fast learner, I'm persistent, highly motivated and I've already started developing a brand concerning Cyber Security, Program/Web Development and Research analysis. I look forward to hearing from you.
jquip 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hey Emilio, It looks fun! I'm a python dev who likes to scale stuff.. Lets see what we can do with this.
bittysdad 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'd be into this. I'm a design guy and I too have a side project I built years ago which almost became the basis of a tv game show. I need a backend person. Contact me and maybe we can work on some things.
Chris2048 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is there anywhere good for floating open-source project ideas? I have ideas, but sometimes I:

a) could do with brainstorm for a good design

b) know of already similar projects, or better approaches

c) know of people wanting to collaborate

sd_sangit 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm a masters student studying software engineering and into memes too. Contact me on sangit.dhanani@sjsu.edu. I can help on any aspect of the technology stack.
joe563323 1 day ago 1 reply      
On a different topic, out of curiosity what algorithm do you use to generate unique links.
funfunfunction 1 day ago 1 reply      
I would be interested in helping out as well. What are your goals for the project? Contact me.
abhiavana 1 day ago 0 replies      
Let's do it! Designer here
Machine learning project ideas to do in a newspapaper?
4 points by pablo98  18 hours ago   1 comment top
joeclark77 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Clarify: you want to analyze newspaper data? Or you want to do a machine learning project that would make a good newspaper article? Or you want to write a how-to ML article that fits into your newspaper?
Ask HN: At your 9-5 job, how many projects are you involved with?
15 points by DrSayre  2 days ago   20 comments top 16
dozzie 2 days ago 1 reply      
Depends on how you define "at any given time". If it's measured in theintervals of day (two different projects touched the same day), then I rarelydo more than two of them (one being the main focus and the other being anemergency, if any). If it is months, then I haven't switched for a long time,but four or five is not an unusual thing.

That being said, I only encountered this at companies with smaller ITheadcount. In corporations it's a little different, as project structures aremuch more rigid and transferring people takes time, so programmers usuallydon't jump between assignments that much.

cauterized 1 day ago 0 replies      
I lead a team that currently has 9, soon to be 10 people (if you include designers) with about 15 projects at various stages of progress at the moment.

I'm peripherally involved in all of them (in a project and product management capacity and for code review), but work directly on programming, architecture, and design for 3-4. I only contribute code on one or two at any given time.

Most of our individual contributors are generally only working directly on one significant project at once, two tops if one is in acceptance testing, and maybe planning for a third; plus maintenance as it comes up.

If they have more than that, there's a clear order of priorities such that we expect them to finish one thing before turning their attention to the next.

But the "plus maintenance as it comes up" part can mean someone can have easily two dozen open tickets assigned to them. Again, we have prioritization rules of thumb. We expect one ticket to be at least deployed to an acceptance testing environment before picking up the next - unless we get something else that comes in as higher priority. Fixing a ticket rejected from acceptance testing takes higher priority than starting on a new one with the same nominal priority in our issue tracker.

If you're working on a larger project, you're only supposed to interrupt it for tickets above a certain priority or to fix acceptance testing bug reports on your last project. Then each engineer takes a 1-2 week break between projects to clear the project board a bit.

The result is that an engineer can easily end up working on a dozen different maintenance tickets in the space of a particularly bad week (we have a legacy codebase with little automated test coverage, and certain deploys result in awful cascades of bug reports). And one can easily have a very full backlog of assigned tickets. But no one has more than one active, one in-testing, and one in-planning project large enough to really consider a project.

kilroy123 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just one here. I prefer to keep it that way. There have been times where I had to juggle more than one project at a time and I hated it.
rufius 2 days ago 1 reply      
One big project that includes a lot of smaller projects like: reliability, performance, deployment, new features. It's a platform so lots of room to pivot around.

Then I always have a side project I'm playing with for new ideas. Sometimes these get integrated into Big Project and sometimes they go nowhere.

drakonka 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am assigned to one project at a time. Sometimes other projects can "borrow" me temporarily when they need help, and relevant people communicate and share knowledge between projects, or for example integrate changes back up to the engine if they would be useful for other projects.

Most developers at my work belong to one project, but there are some central teams that serve the entire studio and work between projects.

stevekemp 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm a system administrator, rather than a developer, and as such I touch a lot of infrastructure and in-house tooling.

In an average week I might touch anywhere between 1 and 20 projects, albeit only minimally.

nevon 1 day ago 0 replies      
I (together with my team) maintain 4 main services. On top of that, I'm one of the main contributors to one cross-company project, and help out with my old team's projects every once in a while.
aprdm 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's hard to measure.

I would say I am currently leading three projects, one I am the solo developer, the other two is mainly architecture and code review.

I am also involved in the monitoring/installation/maintance of an elasticsearch cluster and a rabbitmq server.

malux85 1 day ago 0 replies      
I run my own startup, and there's a total of 51 repos (that's repos for projects written by me - not counting forks) I touch about 20 of them a month, but only 4 of them I would consider "large" projects (>50k loc).
dalerus 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm a Program Manager, currently manage 16-20 projects at any given time. My developers work 3-5 depending on the nature. I'm usually fighting management to keep them on the lower end of that.
Twirrim 1 day ago 0 replies      
As someone in more of a systems architect role, directly this week I touched 2. Indirectly I dealt with another 2-3 (more along the lines of consultation)
soulchild37 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am an iOS developer at a small company which main product is only one app. One app = one project?
efrafa 1 day ago 0 replies      
Im involved in 5 but I mostly contribute just to 2.(Other 3 need some work just once in few months)
xupybd 1 day ago 0 replies      
I currently jump between 3 clients. All of them have more than one project.
corpus 2 days ago 0 replies      
about 3 projects with deep involvement, and ~5-6 others with more shallow involvement.
afarrell 1 day ago 0 replies      
Programming projects? One at a time.
Ask HN: Email hosting with custom domain support?
5 points by kevindong  1 day ago   9 comments top 9
simon_acca 16 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been testing migadu[0] since a ShowHN about it a few weeks ago.So far the service is awesome!It maches all of your criteria, plus, for a flat fee (it depends on outbound emails/day actually), you get:

* unlimited domains, mailboxes, storage space

* a very well-thought and honest service and UX ( I encourage you to read their "benefits" and "drawbacks" pages)

* a very responsive and helpful customer support

* hosting in a privacy minded country

0: https://www.migadu.com/en/index.html

NetStrikeForce 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I use Office365 "Business essentials" for wormhole.network

It was surprisingly cheap and it includes other stuff like 1TB OneDrive and OWA is quite cool (even though I use Outlook or Mail, depending if I'm on my main computer or not).

I have only one inbox, but a few aliases, including some for a second custom domain. As far as I can tell I haven't been charged extra apart from what they advertise here: https://products.office.com/en-gb/business/office-365-busine...

kejaed 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I've used Google Apps (G Suite) for hosting kje.ca email for a long time and it's great. I'm luckily grandfathered under the free plan but I'd pay $5 a month for the service if I had to.
dangrossman 1 day ago 0 replies      
Rackspace Mail is probably the leader in this space, with over 4 million paying SMB users. It meets all your requirements, including a 100% uptime SLA and 24/7/365 live support.


deftnerd 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I just saw a Show HN post about Migadu.com and signed up. I've been very happy.

Pricing is excellent. They let you add unlimited domains, mailboxes, aliases, etc. The only discerning difference between plans is the number of outgoing messages every day across your entire plan.

minib 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Have a look at Yandex Mail for Domain (free)


NeutronBoy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Fastmail is awesome and fulfils all of your criteria I believe.
_RPM 12 hours ago 0 replies      
FastMail does not offer any type of phone support.
dekhna 1 day ago 0 replies      
I was using the same now switched to G suite
Ask HN: Constant pain in my hands, any advice?
3 points by bgia  10 hours ago   8 comments top 8
epc 10 hours ago 0 replies      
See a doctor, get a referral to an ergonomic specialist.

Immediate action: try wearing a wrist brace, at least on the right hand. This will make a lot of activities difficult to do. That is the point.

In 1993 I went on a multinight bender writing a gopher server that could also speak HTTP, using a keyboard and computer that weren't mine which didn't have a wrist rest. At the end of the bender I had a working gopher server, but my wrist had swollen so badly I couldn't type anymore (while the bones of my hand ached badly, the surface skin was numb). It took six months of working with a wrist brace to undo the damage and to this day it resurfaces from time to time.

Qwertystop 10 hours ago 0 replies      
If you catch it early enough, CTS can be handled by physical therapy. Go to an orthopedist.

Secondary: In some cases, reduced bloodflow can cause pain. Are you working in a place that has been notably colder since September? Perhaps wear a jacket while you work, and/or wear gloves when outside (smartphones have an unfortunate tendency to discourage glove use in weather that really does justify it).

kafkaesq 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Really, stop looking up stuff online (except to find a specialist ASAP). That will just inflame your condition even more. But do find specialist, right now, please. As in, call in sick to take a half or a full day off (just to find someone available and make an appointment) if you have to. That's what your sick days are for, actually.

Better, try to see at least 2, ideally 3 specialists. (That's what I've found to be prudent for any condition substantially "tricky" -- like potential nerve damage, for example). But definitely make sure to see someone as as soon as humanly and physically possible. Because that's how serious your situation is.

It isn't necessarily likely (so I don't want to sensationalize), but there's a significant chance that your condition can "tip" into a state such that the damage is essentially untreatable. Significant enough such that there's really no value proposition at all delaying action, any further.

SamReidHughes 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Things I've done to completely get rid of wrist pain:

- use a Kinesis Advantage keyboard: works, but it's like, the wrist is still weak, and you can't use laptops (or mice?).

- use a piano keyboard: play the piano regularly, and vigorously. This makes my problems go away _completely_. And then I stop playing, and... a few years later, I get the problem again. So I start playing regularly again, and the problem's gone again. By vigorously I mean playing etudes that push the limits of your muscular endurance. Somebody mentioned physical therapy, and I think this is an example of that.

Note that one symptom of my problems was a loss of grip strength.

I think that even for non-ergonomic keyboards, the choice of keyboard matters a lot -- some keyboards require less hand strain to reliably actuate the keys -- less precise movements. For example, the last two Vaio Z models were horrible, compared to, say, Thinkpads. And some cheapo office keyboard is worse than something with a clear actuation point (such as Cherry MX or Topre or a buckling spring keyboard). Basically, I think whatever key switch is easiest to use in cold weather is better than the others.

GFischer 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I had acute pain in my right hand last year - went to a doctor, wore a brace, now use wrist pads, and it went away.

So I second the advice of seeing a doctor.

The week with the brace was awful, but, as other posters mention, it's the point :) .

I do live in a country where I can have a week off for medical reasons and still get paid though.

beat 10 hours ago 0 replies      
First recommendation: see a doctor. There can be many causes besides carpal tunnel.
AnimalMuppet 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I agree with all the others that say to go see a doctor. If you don't know the actual cause, any treatments you try are much less likely to fix it...
Ask HN: Do those sign up for our newsletter pop-ups actually work?
16 points by skewart  2 days ago   15 comments top 9
unsquare 2 days ago 0 replies      
codegeek 2 days ago 2 replies      
It depends on the timing of the pop-up. If I open a site's homepage and it immediately pop-ups that form, I ignore it. If I am browsing for a few seconds or even minutes and then it pop-ups when I try to exit, I may sign up if the content was interesting.

Oh and a big pet peeve. Lot of these forms try to be cute by saying something like "No I don't want to make more money" etc for the decline option. Don't do that. Just because I am not signing up for your newsletter does not mean you need to tell me I am making a mistake.

achairapart 2 days ago 1 reply      
Of course they work. They also provide terrible UX.

They work in a "quantitative" manner, it will grow your list but many users like me will close the entire tab at lightning speed.

I think they work mostly because of naive users who think they need to enter their email in order to view the actual website.

So, depending on your targets, you can choose to fast grow your list with random and candid users or have a sharper base of people actually interested in your content.

programming 2 days ago 2 replies      
Of course these work. I am using them on my website so that visitors keep getting new updates.
sharmi 2 days ago 0 replies      
Most of the comments here are the experiences of highly tech savvy end users, not webmasters who employ the pop-up technique on their site. They are not representative of the general population. So the feedback should be taken in perspective. That said, I have learnt a lot about usability from these discussions and that has shaped how I design my own site. Kudos to hners.
cm2012 2 days ago 1 reply      
All big companies that do these use extensive ab testing to determine if they work.
zer00eyz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Your not asking all the questions.

Do you want email list signups or customers who convert to cash.

Is your email marketing effective enough to cancel out the increase to your bounce rate?

For most people email signups aren't a direct correlation to money in the bank, you need to market to these folks. If you don't have an effective email marketing then its automatically a bad idea.

ohgh1ieD 2 days ago 0 replies      
It does work, I usually never ever visit them again.

They successfully lost a potential customer.

ardaozkal 2 days ago 0 replies      
As an end user of web content, popups don't work for me, but if it is a small box at end of page, article etc, and if the content is good, I usually subscribe.
Ask HN: Accept better position or better company?
9 points by jobthrownewaway  2 days ago   14 comments top 8
qwrusz 1 day ago 1 reply      
If you are going to be running a team, I would recommend the people who will be reporting to you should be factored into the decision. Do you get to hire them or are you coming to manage an existing team?

Also, just in general, since you mentioned "less cash, more equity". More equity shouldn't be considered a balance to earning less cash in evaluating a job offer. Equity has an expected value based on probability of success. For startup employee equity I've heard people use an EV of ~$0.00 as safe rule of thumb. I'm not a fan of that approach but at the very least "more equity" at the worse of two companies is often worth less or worthless. Up to you how much this matters, if at all.

Hard to answer this with info provided, but I wouldn't take either at this point unless you have to. Kick the can on the offers or get more info from each company that will help you decide.

dbg31415 2 days ago 1 reply      
The pay for working for a "real" company... salary, normalized expectations around work/life balance, 401k, benefits, name recognition on your resume for future projects... it's almost always significantly better at "real companies" vs smaller agencies or start-ups.

That said... we wouldn't have Microsoft, Apple, Dell, etc. if everyone followed that advice.

Which boss do you like more?

dkarapetyan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Depends on what skill sets you want to improve on. If you want to start managing people then no better way to acquire that skill than to actually do it. If you don't want to acquire managerial skills then you should stick with better people.

In general when I'm making these decisions it always comes down to which group of people I like better regardless of the technology stack.

allfou 1 day ago 1 reply      
Take the manager role. It's the hardest to get between the 2. There are many great companies and a zillion individual contributor positions out there. Stay in that company for 1-2 years and apply at a better company as a manager. Stupid recruiters will look at your current title. So either move horizontally or vertically...
lambda_func 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would always choose the company with smarter people, it will be better in the long run I think (learn from them, push your limits, grow your network with smart people and their network, etc.)
DrSayre 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think I would go with the better company. Im not sure I would want to be in charge of a team when you might not see eye to eye with your bosses.
marklombardi1 1 day ago 1 reply      
Do you intend on founding your own business or leading other businesses?
programming 2 days ago 1 reply      
I would be big fish in small pound rather small fish in big pound.
Ask HN: Best talks on programming for beginners?
7 points by leeuwnhawk  1 day ago   1 comment top
brudgers 1 day ago 0 replies      
Beginners at what?

The presentation should be tuned to the audience. Graduate students in mechanical engineering begin from a different place than first year students in creative writing.

Even within a group of creative writing students, there will be variation in technical interest, knowledge, and ability. Is the presentation tuned to toward the left end or the right end of the distribution...I suggest the right end because people who don't care won't care.

Anyway, it would be helpful to have your list as a starting point and then people can help refine and augment it. I mean my first thoughts were shaped by beginning programmers. Which suggests that my individual experience is different from yours and the resources you use should fit your personality and experience.

Good luck.

Ask HN: Is uifaces broken?
2 points by andrewfromx  1 day ago   2 comments top
dangrossman 1 day ago 1 reply      
> Is uifaces broken?

"Hi friends, I recieved a note from Amazon this week "EC2 has detected degradation of the underlying hardware hosting your Amazon EC2 instance [uifaces]. Due to this degradation, your instance could already be unreachable." I've set up this temporary version of UIFaces while I rebuild!"


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