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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
#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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I've seen political stories flagged pretty quickly during normal HN usage, but rarely comment threads.
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.
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.
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'?
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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.
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?
My 2 cents: unless it's directly related to tech (net neutrality, SOPA, surveillance, security, etc), it shouldn't be on here.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
"Geeks like to think that they can ignore politics, you can leave politics alone, but politics won't leave you alone." -RMS
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.
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").
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.
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.
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.
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..
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.
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.
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 "127.0.0.1 news.ycombinator.com" >> /etc/hosts'
-- RMS, "O'Reilly Open Source Conference: Day 3" by Paul Weinstein, in Apache Week (26 July 2002)
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.
I would hope this purge would not include stories related to privacy legislation, as I think the topic is very relevant to the community.
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.
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.
Uber Contractor vs Employee, AirBnb vs Zoning Laws, Universal Basic Income, Privacy Issues
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.
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.
Well, victory gardens were a thing not very long ago: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victory_garden
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.
> 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.
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.
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.
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"
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!"
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.
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.
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.
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?
Is the community OK with turning HN into Reddit-lite - because that's clearly what's happening based on the topics that get upvoted.
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.
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."
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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."
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.
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.?
I see a need for an upgrade in political discourse, yet I'm not convinced eliminating conversations entirely is the answer.
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.
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.
* Peter Thiel's support of Trump.* Mass Surveillance Laws.* Net Neutrality.
Are we going to simply avoid any and all potentially controversial subjects?
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.
For instance, I just came across this interesting article from The Brookings Institution: "Another Clinton-Trump divide: High-output America vs low-output America" .
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?
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.
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).
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:
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.
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.
(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.)
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.
Everyone wanting to continue these conversations, please join us there.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Is this political?
"Fashion is mistaken for good design; moral fashion is mistaken for good."
"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."
 "What you can't Say" ~ http://www.paulgraham.com/say.html
Sister site to HN the way it looks.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
Thank you for reminding us here about that. Let's make it a month? A year? :-)
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.
However if this blackout includes government level censorship and attacks on internet freedom it seems like a bad move
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...
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.
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.
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.
However, I definitely like that you're trying it out.
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.
Civil discussion and political discussion are fully incompatible.
It's not discourse here. It's we shoot the messenger if they don't agree with us on everything.
I welcome the detox.
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?
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.
Either way, we'll see how it goes.
Ditto to the many commenters who point out that nothing is apolitical and that such censorship would be subjective anyway.
Don't do this.
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?
Everyone on the right is calling this an affront to free speech.
When you piss off everyone, you are probably doing the right thing.
Examples would be helpful as well...
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.
Maybe just have a permanent/rotating "politics/culture/society" thread for people to share whatever?
Can we discuss ethics? Is saying "racism is bad" political?
What about facts? "Torture is ineffective" or "carbon emissions harm the planet"?
Is climate change news political? Edward Snowden news? Wikileaks? A new build of the Signal app? Hyperloop news?
To some people, their livelihood and survival are on line based on what our politicians do.
The flames,etc are symptoms..and this is just as bad..
We need a somewhat deeper solution and the discussion of one...
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.
I'm all for it, yay experiments!
All "no nos"
Still Good Advice!!
Now I add
Money, abortion, Hitler, the holocaust, child care, and elder care.
I am totally cool with this experiment. It is hard enough to foster good discussion online even without politics.
(kind of like how we have monthly who's hiring thread)
That way we can have the cake and eat it too.
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 **
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.
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?
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.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
-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.
> 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.
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.
I'd be interested in examples of what a political story or a political thread are, because none were given.
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!
HN is already pretty bad at silencing opinions outside the groupthink common wisdom; I think this would just make it worse.
and Attila is going to trample all over it.
> 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".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You see where I'm going with this. It may be worth rescinding that policy during the testing period.
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)
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.
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
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?
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.
> 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.
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.
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 .
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).
4: see https://stanfordbases.wordpress.com/tag/beeline-reader/ and https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2T9g4uy60oc
[updated to add press and award links]
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.
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.
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.
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...
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
Here is the original Show HN.
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.
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 :)
You can hear Peter talk about it with Aaron Harris here: https://soundcloud.com/akharris/startup-school-radio-episode...
Anything >0 is better than 0... :-)
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.
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.
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
https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9076558For our Open Source Firebase: http://gun.js.org/ !
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.
For things I'd rather keep private I use bitbucket, who have free private repos.
No special organisation. Just git repos.
It's not great for everything but the username/projectname is pretty ubiquitous and this just brings that to your folder layouts
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....
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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)
Hmmm... Your age is going to be Strike 1. I say that as a 52 year old programmer that has interviewed recently.
In addition to big IDE I have TW running all the time for notes etc.
On the Mac, BBEdit (paid) and TextWrangler (free, more or less a light version of BBEdit) are both fantastic. Some people like TextMate too.
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).
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.
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.
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.
> 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?
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.
It's a shameless amalgamation of a DIY post on Reddit and some design aesthetics from an existing DAC/headphone amp 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/
 - https://www.reddit.com/r/3Dprinting/comments/529qyp/smart_he...
 - https://www.jdslabs.com/products/151/the-element/
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.
I have an electronics/IT background so building something so mechanical is a fun learning experience.
Our BOM is about $35 - $45 right now before bulk discounts.
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.
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.
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:
* needs modern GPU to run
Currently obtaining much more powerful LEDs. Next version is going to need cooling and an external power supply :D
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!
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.
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.
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 or Redshift. 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.
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.
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).
digital theramin - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZxVEUxaw1w
3d printer - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFOR1YPwFMM
stacked focus camera rig - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ovWjnzBGUw
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.
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).
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)
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.
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.
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!
 - https://hackaday.io/project/18304-21days-habit-tracker
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.
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....
Makes a good swag on my desk, too.
I'm rebuilding engineered bacteria which can take pictures . 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.
 - http://www.nature.com/news/2005/051121/full/news051121-8.htm...
I've been working on putting together a thorough writeup, but for now there's just this video which I uploaded today:
 - https://github.com/loxodes/vna
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is often the case.
Have you talked to an M&A lawyer yet?
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?
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.
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).
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.
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.
Maybe only 8% of them or so really care, and it's not about the medium used to reach them?
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...
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/
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.
Also, this might fit better in "Show HN" than in "Ask HN", since you aren't asking anything...
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.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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 .
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I didn't make this project. But it's great. I've picked up quite a few habits using it.
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.
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  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 . 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.
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...
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.
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.
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.
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
* 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.
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
 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...
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.
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.
tl;dr; Draw Xs and don't break the chain
In the same vein, I made an app called 100% for doing something similar: https://www.imralsoftware.com/100
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is more or less how smoking functions, modulo some neurochemical details - the idea is to effectively addict yourself to the new behaviour.
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.
- 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/
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.
Learn about the trigger-action-reward cycle.
You'll do whatever if the right buttons are pushed.
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.
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).
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. 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.
: 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Are there any sponsoring organizations for J-1 that are not such a pain on the intern/trainee's part?
- 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
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".
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.
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.
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...
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
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.
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.
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.
Most developers at my work belong to one project, but there are some central teams that serve the entire studio and work between projects.
In an average week I might touch anywhere between 1 and 20 projects, albeit only minimally.
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.
* 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
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...
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.
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.
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).
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
They successfully lost a potential customer.
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.
That said... we wouldn't have Microsoft, Apple, Dell, etc. if everyone followed that advice.
Which boss do you like more?
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.
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.
"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!"