hacker news with inline top comments    .. more ..    23 Mar 2014 Best
home   ask   best   5 years ago   
Larry Page: Id Rather Leave My Billions to Elon Musk Than to Charity slate.com
589 points by ghosh  2 days ago   427 comments top 57
hooande 2 days ago 24 replies      
I think this could be rephrased as "Charitable organizations aren't interesting enough to deserve my money."

People, especially highly successful people, view charity as giving money away. Musk's inspirational projects seems much more appealing by comparison. There is a lot of truth in the idea that doing something like colonizing mars could do more good for humanity than giving people enough money to eat for a day or a week. Even what Bill Gates is doing has little impact on people's daily lives here. Eradicating polio is the most noble of goals, but it takes place far away and the benefits are difficult to see.

I think the best solution is to make charity cool again. FDR turned giving money away into something that was literally awesome, using the Tennessee Valley Authority to reshape the landscape with bridges and dams. 21st century technology allows us to have a much larger impact on the lives of many more people, regardless of where they live. Elon Mush doesn't have a monopoly on big ideas. As a technology community it's up to us to come up with projects that help people in need while still capturing our imaginations.

It doesn't matter if big problems are solved for profit or solved for charity. What matters is that they get solved. The danger is that fiduciary responsibilities will get in the way of doing good, working families will take a backseat to boards of directors and the rich will get richer [1] while everyone else struggles to keep even. This is why it would be better to make charity more interesting as opposed to giving money to dynamic and inspirational profiteers. It's always been difficult to combine making money with being of benefit to the world, but we need to raise the entrepreneurial and creative bar now more than ever. When one of the authors of "Don't Be Evil" decides that his money is better off in the hands of private corporations it should be a warning to all of us.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_effect

ekpyrotic 2 days ago 12 replies      
What's the difference between giving your money to Gates vs Musk?

Here's one way to look at it: When you give your money to Gates you generally know what you're going to get - stamping up diseases, immunisation and lots of other great stuff.

When you give your money to Musk, you don't. It's much less clear. You don't know what problems he's going to tackle. You don't know how he's going to tackle them. And you don't know if he'll succeed.

1. Giving your money to Bill is like investing in a tried-and-tested branch of science or technology with measurable possible outcomes.

2. Giving your money to Elon is like investing in an absolutely cutting-edge branch of science. At the absolute bleeding-edge. Maybe even beyond the bleeding-edge.

Both are important. Here's a story to show you why.

One day back in the 1930s, before the war, all the academics in the USA found an unusual survey in their pigeonholes. It asked them to rank all the various academic departments in the USA by importance. Most important at the top. Least important at the bottom. They were asked to use their intuitions - what did they feel were the most and least relevant to the future of humanity.

After the academics filled in these surveys, their responses were gathered up and collated into a league table with the 'most important' disciplines at the top, and the least at the bottom. What was at the top? All the usual suspects like branches of physics, chemistry and biology.

What was at the bottom? Right at the bottom was Medieval History. The very least important academic subject. So far, so unexpected. But second to bottom was Nuclear Physics. Before the war it was considered a useless, hypo-theoretical branch of science only studied by nuts and eccentrics.

Of course, not much longer later the US dropped 2 bombs on Japan ending the nuclear war.

If we'd only funnelled our money in those things with obvious tangible, well-defined outputs, we'd have shut down our nuclear physics departments and the world would have been a very different place.

What I'm saying is that investing in long-sighted, ill-defined, radical, impractical projects is not only valuable but essential.

Dropping money to people like Bill is important. But so is dropping money to Elon.

One of them ensures that we continue to make sustainable progress - that we continue down the road that we're already walking. The other ensures that we have the opportunity to find new roads, new paths and new routes.

outside1234 2 days ago 24 replies      
Frankly, I'd rather he leave it to Bill Gates.

Going to Mars may be sexy, but stomping out Polio makes millions of lives better.

Its hard to realize that, I suppose, when your life is in the bubble of a limo. That's honestly what makes Bill Gates second act so amazing.

k-mcgrady 2 days ago 4 replies      
Although I get the thinking behind it if all wealthy people did this it would just lead to the privileged having better lives and no progress for the poor. A larger inequality gap.

I think Bill Gates has the best plan for the wealthy. Targeting specific problems (Polio, Malaria etc.), solving them, and vastly (and quickly) improving people's lives with the aim of bringing people out of poverty.

I don't deny Musk could do fantastic things with that money that would benefit some of humanity but it seems more important to me that we get those in poverty out of it. That's more important for humanity than building the hyperloop or going to Mars. For even the middle classes life is pretty good. Get everyone up to that level.

drcode 2 days ago 5 replies      
A summary of this thread:

   - Larry Page bad   - Rich people heartless   - Capitalism bad   - Investing in innovation and progress not important   - Profit bad   - Charity universally effective and good

RyanZAG 2 days ago 1 reply      
As someone who actually lives in Africa, Larry Page is spot on. The only people who think charities are good for anything are the ones that have no contact with them - they are a black hole of good intentions that simply do not accomplish anything on the ground. If charities like the Gates Foundation just gave that money away to the poor they would actually do some good. As it stands, they do more harm in the form of destroying local industry and media blitzes than actual good.
tokenadult 2 days ago 0 replies      
When Larry Page announced on Google+ that he had donated money for flu shots for children in San Francisco,[1] he was decried by many people who commented below his post, for example,

"The flu shot is bad for you. It is poison. +Larry Page kids don't need that."

"That's right give them a flu shot to get rid of what the government poisons us"

"Awesomely bad. I think I'd research what's in those year old vaccines before injecting them."

"Injecting viruses - to attack the immune system - and hope that it activates antibodies which attack these and (hopefully) future viruses, ... makes no sense to me. Do not harm your kids please."

and so on. (Some really stupid comments that I remember from that time seem to have been deleted later, judging by the gaps in the comment thread.) If Page is getting this kind of grief from donating to charitable causes, maybe he really would rather give money to for-profit businesses.

[1] https://plus.google.com/+LarryPage/posts/32xY3Z1zckL

joshuaellinger 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'd take his argument more seriously if he were talking about doing something about climate change. Risk to the species from climate change in the next 100 years dwarfs the risk of an astroid in the next million.

A small colony on Mars won't survive without Earth any more than the Vikings survived in Greenland without trade from Europe. Read Jarad Diamond's COLLAPSE if you want to understand what destroys civilizations.

Daishiman 2 days ago 1 reply      
Considering that the technologies Musk's companies are developing may be literally what's needed to save humanity from catastrophic collapse (batteries, solar, electric), it might on the long be the better choice.
brd 2 days ago 0 replies      
There are two issues at hand

1) Value of life vs. value of species/society

2) Leverage

While I think what Bill Gates does is absolutely a noble cause and will improve the lives of millions (if not billions), it is not necessarily the most effective way to fix humanity.

I say this because of #2, leverage. Levers as in force multipliers, as in things that have a meaningful impact on the world. Currently, the largest levers on the planet seem to be corporations and most of the corporations have very selfish, short term goals. This is nothing short of a tragedy and if we can apply a few multi-billion dollar levers appropriately then our world will almost immediately become a much better place.

You can argue that the hyper loop is a first world problem and doesn't help the majority of the impoverished world. Here's a counter point for you: One of the main reasons we don't ship off all the food wasted in the US is because transportation sucks, if we had a hyper efficient means of transportation then all sorts of options open up for moving food and other goods (water?) to areas in need.

The fact is, cheaper and more efficient transportation/communication breaks down barriers and has a stabilizing effect on humanity. Cheaper and more abundant power results in higher quality of life. New medical tools and techniques eliminate suffering. Anything you can do altruistically, you can do far more efficiently (and more sustainably) with a proper technological solution.

Luckily this is not an either/or and approaching the problem from both ends is obviously ideal.

socrates1998 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't have many businessmen I respect because I think most CEO's are sociopaths, but Elon Musk is probably the greatest businessman/engineer of the past 100 years.

I absolutely don't see a problem with Larry Page giving his money to Musk.

Edit: Watch the next thing I read is about how much of an asshole Musk is. And how he stomped on a bunch of good people to get to the top.

drawkbox 2 days ago 0 replies      
I guess Larry is like Carlos slim, doesn't think charity works: http://blogs.wsj.com/wealth/2010/10/15/worlds-richest-man-ch...

I don't agree but I wouldn't mind Elon Musk getting money for big projects that the gov't might have done in the past. Like Eisenhower's interstates/highway to something like Elon's electric highways. If there is more industry/market/inroads more people can make money and subsequently give to charity, not a select few. Rising tide lifts all boats, so that answer is both.

swampthing 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sounds like people are starting to take Carnegie's "Gospel of Wealth" to heart (although I guess Page would only be going half way). It's kind of exciting actually - I think this is the first time in history where enough wealthy people are going that route that we can observe how well things work under that framework.
nickbauman 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is exactly why the inequality gap will grow, not shrink, and not for any good reason, like "meritocracy" (read: "mirrortocracy")

Remember Peter Norvig's proof that increasing inequality is not the result of virtue or fitness of the winners, but merely a statistical phenomenon:


moheeb 2 days ago 0 replies      
To me it seems he has basically ranked Larry Page > Elon Musk (or he'd have given the money away already) and Elon Musk > Bill Gates.

I don't agree, but it is his money.

rpledge 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hmmm, Larry better think twice about updating the firmware in his Tesla now. Suddenly his brakes don't work very well...


vbuterin 2 days ago 1 reply      
Personally, I would donate it all to Aubrey de Grey.
spinchange 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you really believe capitalism has the most power to affect positive change for humanity above philanthropic or charitable giving, shouldn't it stand to reason that markets will allocate the necessary capital to people like Musk for a return on investment anyway?
trekky1700 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't this is so much anti-charity as it is pro-Musk and his incredible knack for changing the World in big ways.

Many charities have a lot of bureaucracy and a lot of money evaporates on it's way down the pipe. But with people like Elon Musk and Bill Gates, you end up getting a lot of bang for your buck because they're so efficient at going straight to the problem and solving it.

nrbafna 2 days ago 0 replies      
Isn't this entire discussion a false dichotomy? It seems from this thread the only two options for everyone is to donate to things that Gates does vs. things that Musk does.

The same thing happened when India launched its Mars mission, with people saying they should take care of their poverty first. But, the discussion around that time on HN was in favor of India exploring space.

the_watcher 2 days ago 0 replies      
This could be more accurately phrased as "I believe Elon Musk will do more good for mankind with my money than any organization that would qualify as 'charity.'"

NOTE: He may actually not mean that, but that is how I understood what he said, assuming by context that he is speaking about what will do the most good.

cratermoon 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone still wonder why regular people in the bay area hate the idea of Google and hot tech companies in general?
benched 2 days ago 0 replies      
The human race is quite a large and diverse organism. In terms of development, it's parts are stratified. At the extremes are the front, and the rear. The front is fulfilling our current best potential - space travel, computing, great individual wealth, even opulence. The rear is living by default, mainly just because reproduction is a major defining characteristic of life itself, in terrible conditions, because there's no overarching principle to ensure resources are distributed evenly or at all.

It isn't surprising that those representing the front and those pulling up the rear would conflict when they meet.

lttlrck 2 days ago 1 reply      
And in an alternate reality the one destined to invent the warp drive gets killed by malaria on safari. The impact on human progress due to preventable death is incalculable. I believe we have an obligation to explore space, but there has to be balance, and fortunately there is. Page is welcome to leave his money to Musk if that's what he wants, charity will continue regardless.
JMCQ87 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you look into what the actual outcomes of "charity" and development aid are in the third world, this makes perfect sense.
aswanson 2 days ago 0 replies      
I probably would too, or at least a sizable proportion to people like him and targeted, proven philanthropies like Gates.

But a question Ive been pondering is, why didn't he give Elon a few chips while he was alive back in 2008 and both SpaceX and Tesla were only the ropes and almost dustbin material? Why didn't anyone back him then? And Page was/is a personal friend of his.ISV had no problem during the same period throwing 40 million at Color and other shit like it, but were indifferent to Musk's struggles.

Glad to see he prevailed to make people think bigger, in any event.

lettergram 2 days ago 1 reply      
Immediately reminded me of an Ayn Rand quote:

"Only the man who does not need it, is fit to inherit wealth, the man who would make his fortune no matter where he started."

Fuxy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have to say I agree with him.

Charities get billions in donations while revolutionary and ambitious pursuits get none of that encouragement.

Charities are great but how about we focus on helping others do some awesome shit too.

Specially people who have proven to have the determination to stick with it and try everything possible until it works.

joerich 1 day ago 0 replies      
Maybe he is disappointed with charity and non-profit companies they are supposed to be fill of good feelings but maybe their owners are not. A lot of people think that people who work for charity or non-profit companies work for free, just to feel good or develop as a person but that would not be true. People who set up this kind of companies can get the wage they think they deserve (normally a lot) so a lot of money for the charity finish in their pockets after doing nothing very special or smart to help the poors, and when people find out that, they feel really disappointed (as me). I have volunteered several times and I saw things I didn't like.

I think some people may think that if you work 100% for a non-profit company you should get something. Well, I agree on that but not crazy wages of 6 numbers for doing not very much I think non-profit companies should have transparent money accounts to every member so that every person can see what they do with their money, they are fill of good and nice feelings, aren't they?why dont they show us all the good things they do with the money?

cmsj 2 days ago 1 reply      
Perhaps I am insufficiently familiar with the ventures of Elon Musk, but doesn't he mostly make advanced technology for rich people?
aaron695 2 days ago 0 replies      
Most of the thread so far.

A bunch of commentary by 1%ers (Which 90% of HN'ers are) commenting on the morals of people a little bit richer than they are.

Except most people in this thread will give nothing on death to charity.

znowi 2 days ago 0 replies      
You can so tell who his mentor was :)

Hint: Apple

bayesianhorse 2 days ago 0 replies      
Depends on the charity. That's why Bill Gates has devoted most of his productivity towards building and running charities that work.
pooshoot 2 days ago 0 replies      
The technological advances that would come out of learning how to get to Mars would be incredible for life here on Mars. Imagine if we discover ways to grow healthy food from pure waste? What if we learn to eradicate common diseases? All these aren't out of the range of possibilities for a mission to Mars. The people who say this a waste of money are the same people saying NASA is a waste of money: http://spinoff.nasa.gov/Spinoff2011/ps_5.html
auvi 2 days ago 0 replies      
Will you give Billions to Hank Rearden to make "Rearden Steel" or to Center for Iron & Steelmaking Research at Carnegie Mellon University?
abbasmehdi 2 days ago 2 replies      
Why wait until death? I'm sure Elon could use the money sooner, putting it towards a cause LP would be pleased about.
azinman2 2 days ago 0 replies      
While big projects that change humanity are worth it, it's also sad that things that don't directly make money (humanities) are thus seemingly not worthy of money.

I wish more of these guys were benefactors recognizing that innovation can happen to culture and arts, not just science. That philosophy seems to have been a relic of the steel/railroad era.

novalis78 2 days ago 0 replies      
Page could also invest some of his money in www.marscoin.org and let cryptocurrencies take us to Mars. That seems to be a very efficient way. There might even be a MedicalCoin that does the same thing for Polio. Now that would be a very smart way to leave your money behind - maybe a DAC trust-fund living on the etherum blockchain...
vezzy-fnord 2 days ago 0 replies      
Elon Musk sure must be flattered, what with being considered a modern day messiah and all.
frade33 2 days ago 0 replies      
Question is he really going to give Billions to Elon Musk? or is it just another attempt to grab attention. Reading through the comments, I guess there is nothing wrong in investing projects that are too much futuristics, another point Larry seemed to be making was, there are plenty of people donating already to our current serious problems, while there are a few who actually do for projects that belong to far future.
acjohnson55 2 days ago 2 replies      
I question why any one person should have billions of dollars left to their whims in the first place. It's not simply the "natural way" of things. Our system is built to reward financiers, founders, and executives at vast disproportion to employees. Don't get me wrong, those first three groups are really important. I just think that when we talk about individuals having 11-figure sums of wealth, maybe something is kind of out of whack.

And some of them simply inherited that wealth, which is a whole other level of absurd.

caruana 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think he is saying "charitable organizations only help poor people and I would rather help build the future seen in elysium"
truncs 2 days ago 0 replies      
Gates doesn't do charity in the traditional sense. He focuses on very specific areas and measures the success well. Page was probably talking about traditional charities.
mathattack 2 days ago 0 replies      
This makes me think of Buffett giving his money the Gates foundation: The 2nd richest guy in the world giving it to the richest.
aortega 2 days ago 1 reply      
Well then he should do it right now, why wait until he's dead?
pyrrhotech 1 day ago 0 replies      
good for him. 90% of charities are shams using over half the funds on "administration costs". Elon Musk is actually changing the world
afsina 2 days ago 0 replies      
This one is easy. I agree with him.
api 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why are there not more Elon Musks? Is someone with engineering skill, motivation, clarity of thinking, and execution ability that rare? Is it that rare in the circles of the very wealthy?
wudf 2 days ago 0 replies      
i think we have time to address the billion people on earth suffering from extreme poverty and human rights violations before worrying about mars.
ElComradio 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's great news. He can start now so that next time Elon needs half a billion the taxpayers won't need to provide a risky low interest loan.
DrJ 1 day ago 0 replies      
can all the rich people buy all the telcos and make internet more neutral?
typhonic 2 days ago 0 replies      
And how many people would choose to give their money to Larry Page?
glbrew 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why not both?
bakhy 1 day ago 0 replies      
the heads of google are solipsistic jerks.
elf25 2 days ago 1 reply      
Fuck you Larry Page you evil Bond-villainesque bastard.
somedayiwill 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ya'll just need to chill. It's just an opinion that the man has...why don't we try to change the world IN THE PRESENT FOR GOOD the way we see it fit? whether it is charity or huge ass project with capitalistic gain...RESPECT.
patja 2 days ago 5 replies      
I just can't get over feeling conflicted about what Musk is trying to accomplish vs. what a misogynistic creep he seems to be in his personal life. Is this really the person who should be lauded as the savior of humanity?

I always had similar feelings about Lance Armstrong too.

Coming Soon to Hacker News: Pending Comments
573 points by pg  1 day ago   771 comments top 234
beloch 1 day ago 10 replies      
My may concern with this system: Sledgehammer meets tack.

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

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

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

cperciva 1 day ago 7 replies      
Someone who has a pending comment will have to wait till it goes live to post another. We're hoping that good comments will get endorsed so quickly that there won't be a noticeable delay.

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

tsycho 1 day ago 4 replies      
I fear this change will have some unintended consequences:

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

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

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

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

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

I would recommend the following changes:

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

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

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

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

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

chimeracoder 1 day ago 4 replies      
I fear that this is going to have the effect of drowning out minority or contrary opinions, even those that are legitimate (non-trolling) and expressed in a respectful manner.

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

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

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

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

AaronFriel 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is a poorly thought out, reactionary response to allegations of dreadful comment quality.

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

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

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

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

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

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

1) Limit nastiness and negativity

2) Encourage deeper and pensive comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

bsamuels 1 day ago 5 replies      
I think this change makes the mistake that people with lots of karma are good contributors.

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

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

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

fotbr 23 hours ago 2 replies      
I don't comment often. I came here following the dice purchase of slashdot, and found a quality tech oriented site without too much crap.

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

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

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

booruguru 1 day ago 13 replies      
This is ridiculous. It's bad enough that people are downvoted for contrarian opinions, but now our comments need to be vetted by the elite HN users before they can be shown to the rest.

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

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

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

simonsarris 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Consider how many people disagree with you here. Well-respected users.

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

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

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

eogas 1 day ago 6 replies      
This seems like a rather hostile change to an already hostile community. HN has never felt like a welcoming place to me, and I don't think this will help. Maybe PG prefers the community to be small, so he's trying to trim it down? Because I'm fairly certain this will drive users away, and not just the ones he wants to keep out.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

habosa 23 hours ago 2 replies      
I have ~1900 karma so I'll be one of the endorsers ... but I am not sure I want to be. I think this is a very aggressive change and one that puts too much power in the hands of people like me. Just because I have enough free time to sit around and rack up HN Karma doesn't mean I should control the speech of other, newer users.

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

sillysaurus3 1 day ago 1 reply      
I think this is a great change. It's great that you're still iterating on HN and changing the fundamentals.

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

That's a minor concern though.

EDIT: Also,

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

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

8ig8 1 day ago 4 replies      
Please consider making pending comments anonymous. Let the comment stand on its own.
mstrem 1 day ago 4 replies      
This seems quite drastic to me. Personally I don't have a lot of Karma (and I don't really care to) but every known and again I post a comment and usually I hope it provides a good contribution.

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

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

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

linuxhansl 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Let me just say it straight out: I think this is a truly terrible idea.

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

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

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

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

molecule 1 day ago 4 replies      
> Someone who has a pending comment will have to wait till it goes live to post another.

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

timo614 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Since this will probably be the last time a comment of mine appears in HN due to the new system I figured I'd give my take on it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


and the active threads page


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

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

orthecreedence 22 hours ago 0 replies      
So, a "the rich get richer" commenting system. Great.

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

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

rdl 1 day ago 2 replies      
Some thoughts:

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

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

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

archon 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I find this change frustrating. I've been reading and occasionally commenting on HN for 4 years, and I'm still not able to fully participate. I haven't yet reached the magical karma number needed to "earn" the downvote button, so I can't help moderate except by flagging.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

c23gooey 1 day ago 3 replies      
So only popular posters with popular opinions will be allowed to endorse posts.

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

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

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

petercooper 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think this is a very interesting development and I'm excited to see what impact it has when it goes live. That said, I have one perennial bone to pick.. ;-)

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

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

noarchy 1 day ago 0 replies      
This looks like a solution without a problem. If there a desire to reduce participation in the site, then this change will likely work. Whether or not that is a good thing will reflect a difference in philosophies amongst the users here. As this site has grown in popularity, it is no longer small and exclusive. This will never cease to bother some people.

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

temuze 1 day ago 2 replies      
This sounds promising. I'm worried about two things:

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

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

And one question:

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

Worthy experiment, regardless.

king_magic 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Sorry, I hate this idea. Especially the gating if your pending comment never gets approved. It honestly feels like a slap in the face to your users. There are guys like me with 600-700 karma who have been here for years, but only post from time to time, and you've immediately alienated me with this system.

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

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

WiseWeasel 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think this is a poor implementation. I'm here to have discussions with people and read the good comments, so I have little incentive to spend my time reading unendorsed comments, and anything that stops me from seeing a good comment in a timely manner is taking away value for me. I assume similar motives apply to people with less than 1000 karma, and the community will cease to grow if they don't obtain value as well. But the worst part of this is that for those with >1000 karma, we're being asked to pay attention to posts with a high chance of being bad or mediocre. That's the opposite of what I want to be doing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

tantalor 1 day ago 0 replies      
This won't work on high volume threads. This one had 3-4 comments per minute. You will need a horde of moderators to handle that load, otherwise a most comments will never be read AND endorsed. Coupled with the rate articles drop of the front page almost guarantees most comments on high-volume threads will ignored.

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

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

eevee 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I've had an HN account for over two years.

I have 328 karma.

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

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

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

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

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

npizzolato 22 hours ago 1 reply      
There have been a lot of comments stating why this is a poor idea, but as someone who is sub-1000 karma, I haven't seen this reason posted yet (although I could only read the first half or so). In a typical day, I can't spend all day sitting on Hacker News refreshing threads and seeing if anyone has responded to me (or promoted my comment). But occasionally I'll read a thread, find a couple of interesting places to comment, and then go about my day until I can check in again later. Only being able to leave one comment in a single reasonable-length session would absolutely kill that use case. And frankly, it would make this site much less attractive to browse as an occasional commenter. Maybe you're okay with that, but I think that would be a mistake.
hayksaakian 1 day ago 1 reply      
Will there be a 'show-dead' style option for those who choose to read HN unfiltered?

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

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

jamesaguilar 1 day ago 3 replies      
Are you at all worried that the increased comment friction will cause us to lose a lot of users? I guess the counter argument could be made that if we lose people because they are upset they can't post angry/useless comments, we might be better off without those users. And if it's so many that HN ceases to be useful to everyone, it might be better for the world if HN didn't exist. Which is a sobering thought.

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

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

mcgwiz 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Hmm, aside from the distaste of a "guilty until proven innocent" formula being injected, this suffers from a critical flaw. The word "endorse" symbolizes something different than "substantial and not nasty". It symbolizes subjective support, agreement. Because of this association, the use of this system will tend to signal that groupthink is valued, and a cycle of groupthink will become entrenched.

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

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

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

tensenki 1 day ago 0 replies      
Every few months I find HN starts to impede my productivity, and I kill my account by removing the valid email address, and changing the password by mashing keys. Having breached the 1000 on at least one of those, possibly more, I kinda regret that. Especially since it obviously doesn't work, at least not for more than a week or two at most.

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

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

I look forward to being proven wrong though.

sytelus 21 hours ago 1 reply      
This is very un-hacker like. There has be better way to rank the comments considering you have so much information, specifically, graph of people with karma values upvoting/downvoting each other. Can't we just do simple variant of PageRank to rank comments? You can even simplify thing by having child comments inherit rank of parent (or may be adjusted rank). Individual users can set the noise level that they find acceptable in their profile. I strongly believe this is a ranking issue and shouldn't be left to humans with all of their potential to bias things.

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

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

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

EGreg 23 hours ago 0 replies      
pg - I am going to reply to this (even though I fear it might cause me to never be able to post another live comment again)

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

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

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

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


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

eob 1 day ago 0 replies      
> 2. Say it without gratuitous nastiness.

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

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

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

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

stefantalpalaru 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't know if this will improve the quality of HN comments but it will surely reduce the time I spend on this site.

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

spitfire 22 hours ago 0 replies      
The concern to me is this might cause a chilling effect on people's comments.

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

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

waterlesscloud 1 day ago 0 replies      
Perhaps the strongest value of this will be to slow down the threads that involve a dozen replies from someone in a short period of time. Rarely are those comments substantial enough to be meaningful, often they're just someone reacting in a reflexively emotional way to a discussion.
networked 1 day ago 1 reply      
Will users with 1000 or more karma be able to reply to unendorsed comments?

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

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

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

hibikir 23 hours ago 0 replies      
When suggesting a major change like this, I think that it'd be a very good idea to do some back of the envelope calculations using data that you could probably get straight from the DB.

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

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

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

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

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

mratzloff 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Three things.

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

Second, endorsing sounds like a lot of tedious work.

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

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

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

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

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

thenmar 1 day ago 4 replies      
The obvious big concern here is comments about minority groups and social justice. Are the 1000+ karma users going to shut down those voices?
foob 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Comments get from pending to live by being endorsed by multiple HN users with over 1000 karma. Those users will see pending comments, and will be able to endorse them by clicking on an "endorse" link next to the "flag" link.

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

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

staticelf 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this is a great idea if you want to end peoples ability to comment that disagrees with a large number of individuals. I think this is a horrible "feature" and endorsing this feature is endorsing censorship.

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

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

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

cwiz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Clearly, this:

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

    1. May lead to better quality of information

3 facts vs 1 possibility

kruipen 23 hours ago 0 replies      
While I still can get a word in: I predict this is going to be a clusterfuck.

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

donatj 1 day ago 3 replies      
I feel like this really discourages unpopular truths from the discussion. This is one of the worst options I've ever heard for a comment system.
Mz 3 hours ago 0 replies      
As a woman who has long struggled to find a way to fit in on HN, I worry this will just make it harder for anyone who isn't already part of the "in crowd" and will just magnify problems for women, minorities, newbs, whomever.

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

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

thenmar 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm excited to see how this works, and how the process changes after some testing. If reddit is any example, stricter moderation almost always results in a better user experience and a tighter, more respectful community. Look at r/askhistorians as a prime example.
doesnt_know 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Sounds good in theory, the best communities are almost always those that are strictly moderated or have their rules heavily enforced.

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

amuntner 23 hours ago 1 reply      
As a long-time lurker but new user, I see little reason to ever even attempt to participate on a forum with moderation rules like this. This may be speculation but I'm guessing many others would make the same cost/benefit analysis.
pdonis 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are many good suggestions in the comments here (which I've been upvoting, on the assumption that that's going to focus attention on them); but I have one that I haven't seen made yet: collect data on pending comments to see which, if any, of the potential issues being raised in this thread actually are issues. For example:

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

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

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

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

noarchy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I really like the idea of making pending comments anonymous (proposed by 8ig8). I strongly suspect that many current upvotes are based on who is making the comment, rather than the merits of the comment itself.
jfoster 23 hours ago 1 reply      
It's unusual how intolerant of experimentation entrepreneurs can be.

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

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

whiddershins 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know if this has been discussed, but why doesn't hacker news support folding comment threads? You (Paul Graham) have written about your observation that the quality of comments are inversely proportional with the depth of replies.

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

mschuster91 1 day ago 1 reply      
No. Just no. Reasons:

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

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

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

chippy 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Would adding pending comments encourage a more diverse and inclusive user base, or a less diverse and exclusive one? Not only diversity of opinions, but of gender and background? Is anyone talking about this?

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

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

mariusz79 1 day ago 6 replies      
This is nothing but a censorship and will make HN useless.
mbreese 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I think this is an interesting solution to a common problem. The problem isn't poor comments, it's how to deal with a community site when it's in the post-early adopter phase. In the past, when sites like this hit a certain maturity level, you have a few problems: people complain about all the new users and the loss of character. It's all part of what happens when network effects take hold and your site has an increasing number of users. Once you've hit a certain inflection point, each site evolves whether they want it to or not...

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

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

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

chch 1 day ago 4 replies      
Do we know what fraction of active users has over 1000 karma? As someone with forty-two karma currently who only comments rarely, it's a bit scary to know my comments will face moderation to be posted, although it will surely increase the substance/message ratio, which has seemed to be decreasing some.

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

forgottenpaswrd 17 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems bureaucracy has come to HN.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fizzadar 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I love this idea, and welcome any attempts to improve the quality of comments on HN (despite already being one of the more sensible discussion sites).

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

kanamekun 1 day ago 0 replies      
This system of empowering community members to endorse comments from newer users has worked really well on Gawker!

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


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

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

joshuaellinger 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Given that you seem to be viewing this as a first level screening, I think you need to make the 1000+ karma people review 10-20 pending comments before reading any article based on what's in the queue.

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

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

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

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

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

elorant 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This will kill any kind of spontaneity in the conversation. Now youll have to wait an indeterminable amount of time before your comment becomes live and by then it may be irrelevant. So instead of a conversation well end up with a series of statements. From an academic point of view it would be brilliant but thats not why were here. If we wanted only educated opinions we could just read blog posts or technical books. Speaking for myself, Im here for the community.

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

UK-AL 1 day ago 0 replies      
A major problem is that this makes it very difficult for someone to get established on HN.

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

bsder 17 hours ago 0 replies      
Has anybody actually done the math?

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

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

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

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

chunky1994 8 hours ago 0 replies      
FYI: Pending comments will not be enabled by default as pg just clarified here.


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

evanmoran 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I love the experiment of it! My concern is that the scale of the discussion changes the discussion itself. Hear me out:

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

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

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

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

ufmace 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm a bit torn on this idea.

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

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

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

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

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

hysan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is the endorsement requirement a set threshold throughout the entire day?

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

corin_ 1 day ago 0 replies      
Love the idea, think and hope it will improve comments greatly - a few questions:

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

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

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

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

Anyway, excited to see the change :)

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

twic 1 day ago 0 replies      
How about instead of only allowing a single pending comment, allowing some number, where that number is managed in a similar way to the TCP sliding window. Start by allowing a single pending comment, allow an additional pending comment if that is endorsed, and so on, up to some maximum number of pending comments. However, if a comment is rejected, reduce the window size. You could employ all sorts of heuristics here - reduce the window by one per rejection, halve the window if there are two consecutive rejections, reset the window to its initial size if there are three, whatever.

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

tdicola 1 day ago 0 replies      
If I want to make a Show HN post that links to a project, and immediately comment to introduce it and fill in details will it have to wait for a 1000+ karma person to endorse it? Any way to make that kind of scenario work a little better? I have a feeling a lot of Show HN stuff will just get buried.
eslaught 21 hours ago 0 replies      
How many 1000 karma users are there on HN exactly, and how actively do they visit and interact with the site? This will have an enormous effect on what the endorsement latency actually is. I assume the karma threshold of 1000 was chosen so that there would be a reasonable number of users to do this, but I still want to check.

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

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

tomgruner 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Why not implement a simple algorithm:

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

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

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

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

JoeAltmaier 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the 'one last time' syndrome. My boys would always ask to sled the hill, or ride their bikes around the park 'one last time'. This was when the injuries happened. The urge to make your best effort, when the time has almost run out, often results in disaster.

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

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

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

trentmb 23 hours ago 0 replies      
"<Insert Minority Group Here> in tech" submissions will probably be interesting to see once this is implemented.
keypusher 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Please don't push this live. It will significantly cut down on contribution, and create a lot of busy work and bureaucracy which gets in the way of people having a good discussion. If you want to improve the quality of comments then address the core algorithm or find a better way to harness user power.
Hawkee 10 hours ago 0 replies      
After reading a lot of the discussion about Facebook's Hack I can see why this is necessary. I agree with a lot of the concerns here though. Particularly, commenting on older posts will never elicit an endorsement. I'm also concerned about how many qualified folks will actively endorse comments. This can be quite a job endorsing every good comment on the site. It might require following a comment feed covering the entire site, but who would want to do that? Will there be any sort of reward for endorsing comments? I'd be afraid to endorse the wrong comments and lose my ability to endorse. In any event, I'm very curious to see how this pans out.
allendoerfer 1 day ago 1 reply      
This might cause duplicate comments, which were previously not written, because commenters were able to read comments posted before them.
nkuttler 1 day ago 0 replies      
Um, how will this work out with timezones? Should I even bother writing comments outside of US office hours?
grey-area 18 hours ago 0 replies      
You use karma as a measure of quality (here as a way to indicate someone should have rights to endorse). One other change which I think would help comment quality is to separate or cap points for submissions (which can be disproportionate), so that users do not gain karma from posting popular stories. One person posting some flamebait article can easily get over 1000 points just by posting a link, and they are encouraged to post sensational or gossipy articles by the current system in order to get around karma limitations.

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

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

batoure 22 hours ago 0 replies      
So I would like to have someone explain to me why I am wrong But I feel like this will penalize discussions that are happening off the front page. I spent a decent amount of time reading things that don't make it to the front page. I comment and am involved in discussing posts that rarely get much altitude. So now comments that are made on articles that are interesting only to a minority require the ok of a member of the majority. This seems more exclusionary than worth while.

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

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

janesvilleseo 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't have a Facebook page, gave up on twitter, only lurk on Reddit, but here is where I occasionally comment. I sit at only 102, not nearly enough to past the pending comment threshold. Not sure if I'm going to participate much anymore :(

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

xingjianp 22 hours ago 0 replies      
> People who regularly endorse comments that fail one or both of these tests will lose the ability to endorse comments. So if you're not sure whether you should endorse a comment, don't. There are a lot of people on HN. If a point is important, someone else will probably come along and make it without gratuitous nastiness.

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

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

ParadisoShlee 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Please offer an opt-in to see pending comments (without the ability to vote).

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

kabdib 23 hours ago 0 replies      
It's hard to tell how much friction HN needs. Some more, probably. A lot more? I'm guessing not. A little moderation goes a long way.

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

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

TrevorJ 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Does this create the potential for essentially becoming perma-banned from commenting once you have a single comment that doesn't make it out of 'pending'? Won't most commenters eventually be unable to comment, or am I missing something?
danso 1 day ago 4 replies      
Wow, this seems like a rather large change -- with a lot of dynamics and moving parts -- for what seems like a relatively minor problem on HN. Not that there aren't bad comments, but bad comments get a lukewarm response, and insightful comments seem to do pretty well. Comments that get more airtime than they might deserve will still get approved by someone (and upvoted/downvoted accordingly)

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

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

kosei 9 hours ago 0 replies      
It really feels like this is solving a problem that doesn't exist, and as a result will hurt discussion. Additionally it assumes that people with 1,000 karma will sift through all of the comments to approve. Based on how few things get upvoted in the "new" section, I sincerely doubt that your members will sit on the "pending" tab waiting to approve.

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

matt_heimer 21 hours ago 1 reply      
This is obviously an attempt to increase the quality of quality of comments, is there some type of guideline you can give about the type of comments/commenter HN is looking for? I worry that there is a karma feedback loop in action where users with higher karma are better known and naturally get more upvotes than an unknown poster making the same comment.

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

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

gruseom 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is this the biggest change ever made to HN? The last major change I can think of was not showing comment scores, and this is at least an order of magnitude bigger.
jader201 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is the only difference between pending and live that pending will lock them out of posting again (within the timeout period)?

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

Shank 23 hours ago 0 replies      
If I had a suggestion, I would modify the display setting of pending comments to permit the submitter of the comment to see the pending replies, and interact. Only the two parties would be able to see the thread, until endorsed at the root node.

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

yeukhon 1 day ago 2 replies      
I think this is a horrible decision. I've never seen this work. My biggest objection is based on the fact I have to wait for someone to endorse my comment.

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

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

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

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

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

OedipusRex 1 day ago 0 replies      
I worry about timezones, what percentage of users with 1000+ karma are in low-population timezones?
joeblau 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wow, this sounds great. My only question is if you're sure you want to put the "endorse" button so close to the "flag" button? I don't want to accidentally flag something incorrectly.
robinh 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm not yet sure how to feel about this, but I have one question that remains unanswered: Will this apply to submissions (possibly in the future) as well?
lunixbochs 1 day ago 0 replies      
The limit on one pending comment has the potential to slow or completely block a one-to-many discussion.

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

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

japhyr 1 day ago 1 reply      
When I endorse a comment, does that also upvote the comment? Or is voting completely separate from endorsing?
camus2 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just my 2 cents : often the top comment becomes the root of the discussion for all the "thread". Would be great if top comments were shuffled so all the discussion is not concentrated on the first comment of the "thread". Bad comments can still be pushed at the bottom of the page.But the top comments with the most karma should not stick at the top of the page.
dnc 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Sorry, if I'm asking stupid question or if I'm suggesting something already implemented, but why not do opposite: endorse all comments at start and give 'delete comment' right to HN users with karma > 1000? This way the number of false positives (published comments w/o value) will certainly increase, but you loose none of valuable/significant ones.
pbhjpbhj 3 hours ago 0 replies      
So now, if I post a comment that an "endorser" disagrees with they can effectively delete that comment independently? Or do flagged comments remain open to be allowed ["endorsed"] by others?
dleskov 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I am afraid that the bias of the "1000+ club" will silence many comment authors whose views and opinions are substantially different. The result is you will have a smaller community, the member of which are in agreement with each other, so there will be less interesting discussions, and the disagreed ones will flock away, having no chance to be heard here.

I certainly would read the comments less frequently.

jedanbik 22 hours ago 0 replies      
While I certainly understand your goal here, wouldn't you have a better moderation regime if you hired people to do this as their jobs? Metafilter is my example of a hired-mods-done-right setup. I fear that a 1000 karma policing setup will make this place more like slashdot. Not that I'm taking a strong stance against slashdot, but is that the culture we want from this website? Just my two cents.
pnathan 10 hours ago 0 replies      
An issue with this design is that it ensures that the current high-karma commentators maintain what they like on HN. If a really good idea shows up that they don't like and don't want to see, that is not going to survive.
Glyptodon 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm kind of skeptical. The biggest problem as I see it is that a lot of the more interesting comments get voted to zero because 'controversy' or not 'mainstreamed thought,' while frequently a lot of the heavily upvoted comments are platitudes/acceptingly normative/self-reinforcing meh kind, while many of the more interesting ones are often in the middle. Now I may be wrong about this, but I don't think high karma is indicative of the quality comments so much as it is indicative of a comments' closeness to the communities normalized colloquially accepted wisdom, since the crowd is self-reinforcing.
oneeyedpigeon 1 day ago 1 reply      
Comments get from pending to live by being endorsed by multiple HN users with over 1000 karma.

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

metermaid 23 hours ago 0 replies      
There are probably less than 100 HN users who are openly female with over 1000 karma-- food for thought.
aspensmonster 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I know I'll get downvoted to hell for this reddit-like behaviour, but...


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

stringham 1 day ago 0 replies      
This would prevent users from commenting on multiple articles in a short period of time, and for articles that don't hit the main page the op may never see someone's thoughtful remarks.

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

tremols 12 hours ago 0 replies      
A configurable/optional karma filter which defaults to enabled could be the solution since there are genuine concerns for and against this feature.

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

analog31 1 day ago 0 replies      
An interesting, and perhaps time saving option would be an "endorse entire thread" or "endorse entire sub thread" button, for threads that are interesting but really so tame that the likelihood of bad posts is small.

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

futurist 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Can you say groupthink? What a terrible idea. HN is going to suck even more now.

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

laichzeit0 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's an idea: Give users the option of seeing all pending posts.

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

molbioguy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think I understand the motivation, but this smacks of elitism to me. Unless the 1K users constitute the majority, then by definition a minority of HN users will effectively moderate (and can potentially censor) the discussions. That seems very unfair.
chippy 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Karma is going to be even harder to get now for < 1000 karma users. This includes occasional casual users. You do not want to constrain the power to just the hardcore users

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

njharman 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Make up voting also mark comment endorsed. I actually don't see point of separate endorse action. An up vote is an endorsement.
amjd 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Although I understand the reasons behind the change, to me it largely seems overkill. No matter how much we try to convince ourselves that good comments will still be discovered, that would just be wishful thinking. On top of that it also places a certain responsibility on the shoulders of users with karma above the threshold. They may simply not have the time or motivation to screen the large number of incoming comments.

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

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

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

drivingmenuts 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Just one more reason to not comment at all.

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

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

harrystone 1 day ago 0 replies      
That sounds like a system designed to produce another forum hive-mind, and the internet really doesn't need any more of those.
raghus 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm curious: how many 1000+ karma users are there on HN now i.e. how big is the pool of endorsers?
fab13n 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I fear that giving such a significant power based on karma score might create karma whoring behaviors.

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

alecsmart1 1 day ago 0 replies      
I use HN regularly and post comments once in a while. I have asked a few questions which never reached the front page but have 1-2 answers which helped me immensely. The posts have 1-2 upvotes only. But it still works for me. Now with this pending review feature, those comment will never show rendering it useless for a small time guy like me.
SethMurphy 13 hours ago 0 replies      
pg seems to have more of a problem with the "quality" of comments than many users who actually enjoy the use of deep threads for conversation. I understand pg's point of view that that is just noise to him, but to those speaking constructively it is the conversation they want. If this was a move to cut down on trolls I would understand. The question to ask is what is HN really for? Is it for the users to converse/think freely or for the site creator to wrangle/curate smart comments. It seems the later is more in tune with HN's mission as a business, and alas the direction it's heading.
Alex3917 22 hours ago 0 replies      
This is great. HN used to be a real community, but lately there has been no incentive to post anything intelligent because every comment gets buried in a sea of crap, and there are so many throwaway comments that it's impossible to find the ones by regular contributors. The amount of noise also just brings out the worst in everyone. I know you can't step on the same stream twice, but hopefully this at least makes it readable for a while.
demoncore 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey Paul, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. The removal of visible comment score and now this? HN was awesome in its original form. Why break that even further?
japhyr 1 day ago 1 reply      
So if you have over 1000 karma the site will look exactly the same, except for a bunch of "endorse" links?

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

presty 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this will this lead to more karma whoring?
deletes 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I apologize if I have missed the answer, but the thread is very long.

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

userbinator 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Does anyone else find it rather coincidental that this article also happens to be currently on the front page?

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

protomyth 22 hours ago 0 replies      
What happens if the story you commented in gets killed before your comment is endorsed? Are you done commenting on HN for how long?
S4M 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Will this take effect in the "Ask HN" section as well? I would argue to leave it as it is (or at lower the threshold of number of endorsers) because it will be harder to get endorsers for a non popular thread. Let's say somebody asks "What are the good places to meet hackers in Barcelona?" and I post an answer helpful for the OP, it will not get many endorsers since this question will not be viewed by many here. Also, I have my doubts for the "Who is hiring?" thread as the people who are looking for jobs will not have the incentive to endorse posts since it will increase the number of competitive applicants for the jobs.
aruggirello 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Why not add a user setting - like Google does for censored results? You'd tick a box "Show less relevant / unmoderated comments" - provided directly on the discussion pages. You would tick that box at your own risk, knowing you may find offending comments. And if you find too much spam, and can't seem to enjoy moderated comments enough, just untick it and the spam goes away. This way you ensure moderation can't be abused for censorship purposes.
wudf 21 hours ago 0 replies      

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

ElComradio 22 hours ago 0 replies      
In my opinion this is a fix in search of a problem. In reading all comments on a post I see very few "worthless" comments and many of those are grey. Skimming over tit for tat threads happens on an almost subconscious level. Maybe it's just me.
chacham15 22 hours ago 0 replies      
A few questions:

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

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

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

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

bhousel 23 hours ago 0 replies      
> Since I'm going to check out of HN at the end of this YC cycle...

Wait, what?

malisper 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just throwing out an idea, but why not allow the user who posts the article to select whether or not they want to use pending comments? This way one user doing a simple Ask HN can get immediate feedback while another posting a controversial article can have an intelligent conversation.
robbles 1 day ago 1 reply      
As a user with only ~200 karma who is still interested in contributing to the discussion, what's the best way to tell when this feature takes effect?

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

pdq 1 day ago 3 replies      
Here's a simple solution to this whole moderation hammer: add a downvote for poor comments (ala Reddit). The spam and garble comments will automatically be moderated by the community as a whole.

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

senthilnayagam 18 hours ago 1 reply      
for negative voting you needed 500 karma's, I have been on hacker news for 1900+ days, currently have 438 karma's .

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

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

InclinedPlane 1 day ago 0 replies      
As much as I'd like to see the quality of discussion on HN improve I think this is a terrible change that will do the opposite as well as driving people elsewhere.
dmfdmf 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Can we grandfather in people with at least 5.6 years of HN participation? Okay, I happen to have only 593 karma point but I've been around for a while, 5.6 years actually.
weaksauce 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am curious what percentage of users (active with upvotes/downvotes and passive interaction by reading mostly and dormant users) are past that threshold of karma? any insights to this pg?

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

farseer 6 hours ago 0 replies      
pg you founded HN, please don't destroy it before you leave. Whatever your paternalistic instinct led you to this, please swallow it and leave HN alone. You did humanity a great service by founding YC/HN, but its time to leave such drastic decisions to your successor. I implore you!
j8hn 9 hours ago 0 replies      
After reading the headline, I had to check if it was April 1st.
belleruches 1 day ago 2 replies      
Hey PG,

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

pjzedalis 17 hours ago 0 replies      
A checkbox that says 'Hide comments from noobs' would suffice.

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

throwaway5752 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Hm. I was on the fence after reading this thread a few hours ago, but coming back to and seeing some of the responses I have come firmly down on the side of this being a good idea.

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

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

I hope that this works.

protomyth 23 hours ago 0 replies      
It's seems like this would severally tip the balance towards people getting karma via story submissions and not comments.

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

Tohhou 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This kills the Hacker News.
ivankirigin 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Can you reflect the false positive / false negative rates for mods? I'd love it in the header.

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

jtoeman 21 hours ago 0 replies      
and thus, like every other forum online, "those who came before" are massively rewarded, and new users are basically treated like crap.

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

visualR 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Great. Yet another "Pending Review" to wait through. HN is now the App Store of internet discussion.
adrianwaj 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Would be interesting to have a new url:


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

buttsex 1 day ago 0 replies      
The posting delay sounds like a terrible idea. Say I spend some time writing a very long comment to a not so popular thread and hit submit. Then I notice that someone replied to another comment of mine and had a question or something. I can't reply to him in a timely matter since I used my one comment already. So do I need to go and delete my newest comment, reply to the person who responded to me, then go back and re-comment the one I initially did? This sounds very silly.
jcurbo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting system, it kind of reminds me of the way I used to read Slashdot. There is a setting where you can filter comments below a certain threshold so you don't see them. I used to have mine set to +2. This was a great filter and made reading comments much nicer.
slunk 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Even if this system worked flawlessly as intended, doesn't it disincentivize getting to 1000+ karma? Unless I'm misunderstanding, your most active users don't seem to get any benefit (they see all the comments, good and bad, like everyone did before). Maybe if there was also an "unendorse" option... but then you've just implemented meta-(up|down)voting.
jayvanguard 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder how this will affect users is sparse timezones. The conversation could slow down or get buried to the point of being unusable.
chaitanya 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe this will strike a better balance between comment quality and participation?

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

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

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

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

apierre 13 hours ago 1 reply      
How long until we see a new ShowHN post : "Alternative to Hacker News" or "Why I coded my own HN alternative"
darreld 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I joined HN in Feb 2008 and I despite reading the site multiple times daily, I have a karma score of 71. So it looks like I'll need to ingratiate myself to elites to be able to vote.
mpg33 22 hours ago 0 replies      
not a fan of attempting to police speech no matter how "dumb" or "bad" it is perceived to be...compared to the internet average comments on hacker news are already far better.
sylvinus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Seems great! I'm wondering what the incentive is for users to endorse comments, beyond improving HN's quality?

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

6thSigma 1 day ago 0 replies      
This will fix a lot of the random bickering back and forth, but I'm not sure it will fix the issue of snide remarks always being the number one comment.

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

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

volitek 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I find this very ironic given this:http://paulgraham.com/say.html
Angostura 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This feels like a less refined version of the Slashdot moderation and metamoderation system to me.
lmm 17 hours ago 0 replies      
So what are the alternatives? Is there another site even remotely as good as this one has been? (Anyone spare me a lobste.rs invite?
ChristianMarks 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This system should be rolled out, but not before the karma of all users is reset to zero. This would provide a level playing field. (ok, no comments could be endorsed either.)
uptown 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I never really understood "comments" as a top-menu item. What's the point of that list without context?
mehwoot 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I can very easily see this going either way. It's so hard to tell what the effect is going to be before it is tried out.
noahl 1 day ago 0 replies      
Would you consider allowing users to have one pending comment per thread, as opposed to only one at a time? I am afraid that this will impact the way I read HN, which is in batch mode.
adamzerner 1 day ago 0 replies      
What about something like this: https://www.dropbox.com/s/wisoy2og4rb4zps/rationalmedium.pdf [mockup]

Key features:

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

- There's an open thread.

- There's a thread to discuss tangents.

mnl 11 hours ago 0 replies      
This looks a lot like a way to implement group-think by effective censoring and burdening exchange. I'm not interested in reading a sort of Hacker News Reader's Digest. Being unable to figure out the reasons of your own greatness is a popular road to demise. It was a lot of fun, though, thank you for the ride.
ForFreedom 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't understand your system. So someone with over 1000 Karma would have to decide if my comment is worthwhile to be live. But at times my comment could be a good single line comment.

This is not a good system.

moo 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Wake me up when someone forks the old hacker news site.
brianmcdonough 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Being purveyors of good taste, leaders have to take action. Despite my karma score (73) I support implementation of a solution to a known problem, despite the risks.

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

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

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

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

mandeepj 1 day ago 0 replies      
> You can currently beat the system by posting an innocuous comment, waiting for it to be endorsed, and then after it's live, changing it to say something worse. We explicitly ask people not to do this. While we have no software for catching it, humans will notice, and we'll ban you.

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

dinkumthinkum 1 day ago 0 replies      
This will prevent comments from people that disagree with the standard view on HN. I think that is very unfortunate. :(

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

drakaal 1 day ago 1 reply      
The first big issue I see with this is in submission. When you submit something often you need to leave the first comment to give it context. So stories on the "new" page are likely to get a lot fewer upvotes.

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

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

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

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


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


snowwrestler 1 day ago 0 replies      
Sounds like an interesting experiment, but also the type of thing that will require quite a bit of adjustment and tuning. So I hope the complexity will not prohibit the new site runners from making these adjustments.
adam419 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I find these changes to be very degrading of what I love about HN. Regardless of objective truth or upmost importance being the defining characteristics of comments, I happen to enjoy the quirky humor and general remarks of fellow HNer's. Very disappointing, PG.
NicoJuicy 15 hours ago 0 replies      
Actually, http://www.tweakers.net a popular dutch techsite) has a good system for downvoting.

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

antonius 1 day ago 0 replies      
I guess karma will mean something after all. Any ideas as to when this this change will begin to roll-out?

Edit: Re-read the post, launches tonight.

bane 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Will everybody be pending or just users <1000 points?
yblu 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Oh no, does this mean I can't add "first!" w/o knowing for sure it's actually first (or one of the first)?

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

timtamboy63 1 day ago 0 replies      
Seems like something that would increase the quality of comments, but also prevent any meaningful discussion.
megablast 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I think is very timely, I have noticed an increase in number of comments with a corresponding decrease in quality, and I am not just talking about my own comments.
chunky1994 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm curious about the karma threshold numbers, is there any data available for the number of users that have a karma > 1000? Does HN have a data API?
jpeg_hero 21 hours ago 0 replies      
"There are four lights!!!!"
jedanbik 21 hours ago 1 reply      
What if we could flag comments, and then the professional moderators could make their decisions accordingly.
yaelwrites 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Great, once I get 991 more karma points I'll be welcome into the conversation.
maxden 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I can see how any system can be abused, but why not treat the user as positive contributor initially, and then if they accrue negative/downvotes; similar to what happens now.

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

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


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


damm 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't think I will ever hit 1000 karma on HN which is fine.

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


nirnira 20 hours ago 0 replies      
>That feel when Hacker News became an echo-chamber for the YC schmoozerati.
abimaelmartell 1 day ago 0 replies      
What about a redesign?, or a password reminder?, or all the basic features in website?
melindajb 1 day ago 1 reply      
PG, Is 1000 Karma a major threshold? How many people does this mean? like 100 people, 10,000 people? Just curious about the sample size if you can reveal it.
asdg236v 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I was actually thinking about joining the hacker news community. I'll see if I can find another place that better fits my needs.

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

spingsprong 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This could potentially censor minority opinions.
casual_slacker 22 hours ago 0 replies      
If you're not polite you don't deserve to have an opinion. Fact.
RivieraKid 23 hours ago 0 replies      
You should rather try to make the comments sound less robotic and more human.
KerrickStaley 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it'd be better not to hide anything at all. Just move comments without "endorsement" to the bottom (isn't this basically how it works already?).
bertil 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you want to improve comments, you need to have less carrot-and-stick (that will drive comments into parroting types) and more specific criticisms, or offer the possibility of re-writes. Children, no matter what age they are, do not learn faster by being slapped on their fingers but guided; I believe that kind of mentoring is the exact reason why YCombinator improves naked capitalism.

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

pikachu_is_cool 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I am also going to add my two cents and say that I think this is not a good idea. HN has in no way reached Eternal September, and if it has, then this isn't the way to fix it.

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

haeberli 23 hours ago 0 replies      
As to the second: "without gratuitous nastiness", I would encourage you to go further towards the postitive and think about building on a FIRST robotics meme, "gracious professionalism" -http://www.usfirst.org/aboutus/gracious-professionalism
chaosmonkey 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Why not have this feature turned on only for threads in the front page instead of all threads.
TerraHertz 12 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems to me you're forgetting an important aspect of human psychology with this system. People generally don't like submitting to 'supervision', in what they feel should be free discussion. If you create an environment in which people feel they need 'permission' to post, then they simply won't.Or at least, your average post will become more likely to be from an insensitive person, who doesn't care about such things as freedom of speech.

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

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

neil_s 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Well then we better get it out of people's systems now.

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

Let the flamewars commence.

aquarin 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Do I have to be a member of the Communist Party to get the comment approved?
quizbiz 21 hours ago 0 replies      
pg: thank you
sciorpsycho 23 hours ago 1 reply      
What will happen is 'comment piggybacking'. To get endorsed, just 1) enthusiastically support the claim of a 1000+ user and then 2) append your own opinion, making sure it harmonizes with the majority of commentors.

That, coincidentally, is the recipe for groupthink.

sciorpsycho 23 hours ago 0 replies      
The best strategy for those who disagree with the change is to ignore HN. Get some work done for a change!
xenophanes 23 hours ago 0 replies      

gg :( was fun while it lasted.

slow_worm 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm commenting here because of the restrictions on reddit. It has nothing to do with this news post.


xenophanes 22 hours ago 0 replies      
censor-by-default is such a bad approach. if people are passive (very common) then HN censors. defaults matter, like with mailing list opt-ins, etc, b/c ppl frequently don't want to bother changing the default.
It Is Time For Basic Income hawkins.ventures
543 points by mchusma  1 day ago   654 comments top 89
kalvin 1 day ago 17 replies      
I think if you could see close-up how these systems work now, you'd be convinced that it's completely not worth the cost in practice to try and figure out who "deserves" each of the many, many special benefits/allowances/exemptions available (plus it's incredibly difficult for potential recipients to figure out what they're eligible for, plus it imposes those costs on the people who aren't eligible, but end up having to jump through all the same hoops.)

This is just my experience after working for ~1000 hours on healthcare.gov w/other YC alumni (relatively nonideological-liberal-or-libertarian engineer bias), but I think it's become increasingly clear to all of us that the implementation of well-meaning policies intended to separate the deserving from the undeserving ends up adding an incredible amount of complexity and overhead, along with unintentional side effects, edge cases, and bad incentives.

(This isn't why healthcare.gov had major issues, it's just another problem.)

That said, there's no way politically a basic income is going to fly anytime soon. So since this is HN... is there any way to get to an MVP without having a sovereign state to experiment with? Or is this solely in the realm of public policy?

adekok 1 day ago 4 replies      
I'm reading the comments, and surprised at what's missing. What happened to the business approach?

The US government is delivering a large number of products with wildly varying costs, efficiencies, and price points. e.g. unemployment, welfare, food stamps, etc. There is a proposal is to replace those products with only one.

The new product fills (mostly) the same need as the existing ones. It will do so at less cost, with more efficiency (less bureaucracy, administration, fraud, etc.). Previous market studies show that it works.

So... what's the problem?

As a non-US person, this looks a lot like previous discussions on health care. France pays about $10 per person per day for universal health care. The UK pays about $10. Japan pays about $10. Canada pays about $10.

The US (before Obomacare) ? About $20, for care that isn't universal.

You guys are getting ripped off. Yet the bulk of the population sticks their fingers in their ears, and complains about people who may not "deserve" it. Or they complain about fraud.

Who the hell cares about random welfare guy ripping off the system? If you're making over $40K per year, you're getting ripped of by the system. By your system, that you demand to keep in place.

You can get rid of the checks and balances, and just absorb the cost of fraud. And as a bonus, a simpler system is harder to game, which leads to more detectable fraud, and therefore less of it.

This won't happen in the US for a number of reasons. One of which is that the bureaucracy won't voluntarily reduce. Another (as seen here) an unwillingness to deal with these issues in a business-like manner.

Yes, I'm from a socialist country advocating for more capitalism. Not unfettered, but more.

FD3SA 1 day ago 8 replies      
Basic income is the first step to an empirically ethical society, which accounts for inherent human limitations and behaviors. Evolution is an extremely feckless game, and thus far we've been trapped by its whims, endlessly struggling in a free-for-all battle for survival.

In order to transcend and escape our evolutionary origins, we will first and foremost need to understand ourselves. How we came to be, what behaviors we're prone to, and what impact these have on our societies.

Second, we will need technology which allows us to liberate ourselves from extreme labor, giving us free time to engage our societies in a calm, rational matter without our survival on the line.

If these two conditions are met, then I believe humanity will transcend into a new golden age. As of this writing, I think we're made incredible progress on the second point, but are very far behind on the first.

Furthermore, the US is an extremely complex nation, with a history that makes unity almost impossible except against foreign entities. The US needs to make an incredible amount of progress on the first point in order to even consider radical ideas like basic income. In fact, it is currently dialing back its SNAP (food stamps), which is part of its social assistance program. This is in the context of an already weak social safety net, by far the weakest of any western nation.

Sadly, the US has a very long way to go. The commonwealth and Nordic countries, by comparison, are much further along.

whyme 1 day ago 9 replies      
Obviously this is not a new idea... Twenty years ago I sat around with college mates, in Canada, listing the merits of the "Guaranteed Income" and quite frankly I still support the idea today.

If you took all the salaries, property and operations cost associated with distributing old age security, welfare, disability, unemployment wages etc etc, it would probably pay for much of the cost associated with the Guaranteed Income (even if you had a small group dedicated to counter fraud abuse).

I could list out the many benefits and the nay-sayer objections with counter arguments, but after twenty years I've come to realize money distribution is not the problem. The problem is money = power and society is hell bent on gaining power.

The real solution is to move to a resource managed economy that eliminates money all together. But quite frankly we as a society are not there yet and I doubt we will be in my lifetime.

a8da6b0c91d 1 day ago 7 replies      
If anything like basic income happens expect immigration to be halted and birthright citizenship grants to be ended. The value and meaning of citizenship will rapidly change and tolerance for outsiders taking a slice of the pie will rapidly plunge. I think there will be a lot of ramifications like this that most people probably aren't considering.
MrZongle2 1 day ago 6 replies      
So let's assume this was implemented.

Some citizens, with their guaranteed basic income, will spend it wisely to cover their needs...as envisioned by proponents of this approach.

Others, however, will waste their income and again find themselves short of what is necessary to cover their needs.

What then? Simply increase the amount of basic income awarded, and hope that by throwing more money at the symptoms of poverty, the cause will be addressed?

And where does this money come from? Not immediately, of course, but 5-10 years down the road once society has been changed by this policy's implementation? Why would the financial engines of today, which could theoretically fund such an endeavor, continue to run as efficiently in the future?

JonFish85 6 hours ago 2 replies      
I may be missing something important, but at a glance there are about 140M jobs in the US. If we gave each of the ~320M US citizens $20k/yr, that comes out to roughly $6.4T/year as mentioned elsewhere in this thread.

If there are roughly 140M jobs, presumably there are 140M people working those jobs, meaning that there are approximately 140M people who must cover that $6.4T, which works out to be ~$46k/yr for each working person.

If we assume we can completely wipe the following off the books: Social Security ($773M), Income Security ($541M) and Medicare ($471M), the net cost per year drops to $4.6T/yr, which works out to be ~$33k/yr for each working person.

Total federal income tax[1] in 2013 was around $1.3T (Individual) + $273B (Corporate) = $1.59T. An increase from $1.59T to $6.2T is about a 290% net increase.

I did some very rough spreadsheet-math with [2] and [3] and came up with the following. If we didn't tax the $20k at all, and left everything the same as last year, the bottom 77% would be a net negative of ~$1.2T assuming all of their income tax went directly to pay for the $20k.

I assumed that the number of people in the top 2% made the same average salary as the top 1% in [4], and came up with the top 2% of income tax payers as being a net positive of $1.4T. I made that assumption just to make the math easy and to err on the side of optimism.

The 78-98 percentile come out to be a net positive of approximately $350B.

Looking back at the $1.3T federal income tax total for individuals, this would mean that after the $20k/person was paid for, the total federal income tax dollars would be roughly $600B (Individual income tax) + $273B (Corporate income tax) = $873B.

Looking at [5], it seems that there was a $3.803T - $2.902T = $901B deficit last year. If we knock off the difference in income tax revenues ($1.59T - $873B = $717B), then suddenly we have a $901B + $717B = $1.618T deficit again.

This all assumes that jobs stay constant, of course. I realize that all of these numbers are very rough, but I had some fun doing spreadsheet math so I figured I would share!

[1] http://www.usgovernmentrevenue.com[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Household_income_in_the_United_...[3] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rate_schedule_(federal_income_t...[4] http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/...[5] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_United_States_federal_budg...

jdreaver 1 day ago 4 replies      
I am always wary of supporting a basic income guarantee. Although it sounds much better than the current welfare mess we have, the actual implementation will probably be an addition rather than a replacement.
fishtoaster 1 day ago 14 replies      
I haven't read much on BI, so I'm sure this has already been answered already, but: how do the numbers add up?

The US poverty line for a single person is $11k. For simplicity, let's say BI gives everyone in the US $10k per year. Times 313.9 million, that's $3.1 trillion per year. The US government spent, overall, $3.45 trillion in 2013. How would we be able to afford basic income?

drawkbox 1 day ago 1 reply      
I agree there are immense benefits but it fails to recognize that markets rule the world. Once there would be a Basic Income, that is when market prices would go up to cancel out the benefit. You underestimate the rulers of the world (wealthy) to hold onto their advantage.

I see it as many times better than welfare or unemployment since it is distributed equally to everyone. If there is a limit it will eventually be too low, so even rich people would get it, they would have to or it would be destroyed.

Social security is an insurance policy really that doesn't hit wealthy wallets much beyond what everyone pays, but people still want to destroy it and this is against workers directly paying in their whole lives for a subpar investment, yes small businesses pay the full 15%ish and social security returns 2% annually and also props up our dollar big time with investment in t-bills. So even benefits like that are too social for many.

But a Basic Income distributed to everyone would lose the current perception of welfare/unemployment being bad when really these are helpful to keep the low end propped up and in the end I believe it saves money. You'd have to keep moving it up like minimum wage as the effects are normalized, it really is a travesty that minimum wage hasn't gone up as well.

People in America really don't like helping one another so this and other programs with even a hint of social aspects will not catch on. But if someone gets a benefit that the complainer also gets, they would probably be ok with it. However this does not redistribute and would eventually be cancelled out in pricing.

demoncore 23 hours ago 3 replies      
I just spent a year living in South Western France which is the most socialist part of France. (I'm a US citizen based here most of the time and I'm a CEO).

If you want to see the result of wealth redistribution, go check it out yourself. You'll meet young men and women in the prime of their lives who spend their entire day in a coffee shop and later a bar, sipping a beverage discussing art, culture, poetry, how business - all business exploits the proletariat, and how government owes them even more than the roughly $25K per year they get for doing nothing. Then go talk to the entrepreneurs in the same district and learn where those wages originate and what it costs business both in taxes and their ability to find and retain staff.

I can assure you that the restful classes are alive and well and are waiting for this idea to take root and flower into contempt for innovation, entrepreneurship and hard work with a massive drain on those who do contribute.

benched 1 day ago 4 replies      
The idea that you absolutely must work hard in exchange for the necessities of your life, is so deeply ingrained in our collective consciousness, like a fundamental law of conservation, that it seems a lot of people cannot conceive otherwise.
ekianjo 23 hours ago 1 reply      
> While people could theoretically survive off the charity of others, advanced artificial intelligence and robotics are likely to increase the portion of the population who are unemployable.

We've been hearing this kind of arguments for literally centuries (the steam engine is going to put people out of work, cars and trucks will create unemployment, oh no Silicon valley is going to kill all manual work out there through automation, and then robots will take over the world and there will be no more jobs for people). This is really, really old and tiring. If anything, technologies increase the amount of economic growth through increased opportunities, and so far the market has clearly demonstrated that it's providing a lot more jobs to way more people than when we were still 1 billion on this planet.

blisterpeanuts 1 day ago 4 replies      
I have a proposal. Those who favor basic income should pick one or two recipients who are deserving of assistance, and open their own pockets and provide the money. The recipients will be glad and thankful, the donors will feel they have moved society toward utopia, and the rest of us can just get on with our lives without suffering the burdens that an additional entitlement would impose.

I say this not to incite a flame war or partisan jibes. I just feel that it's the most honest and ethical way to provide basic income; those who believe in this approach are free to contribute, while those who don't are free not to.

Seems fair to me.

mynameishere 1 day ago 1 reply      
Every time a post like this comes up it gets hundreds of people supporting the idea. The problem is that most of the readers of HN have been in the Upper Middle Class or higher their entire lives. Friends, family, co-workers, all UMC, and so you don't know, you've never experienced, the pathologies typical of poorer people. Or, you pretend those pathologies can be solved with a new variation on welfare.

Giving out checks is going to create millions of people who do nothing but 1) Watch television and eat potato chips or 2) Spend the checks on drugs/alcohol, and steal whatever they need until the first of the next month. Worse, many of those people are the same who used to clean your toilets and take out your garbage. Not mine--yours.

That's just reality. I'm guessing that the main reason why conservatives like Charles Murray support basic income is because it focuses the menagerie of handouts into one policy, which will allow for easier metrics into how increases are harmful.

tomphoolery 1 day ago 4 replies      
Providing a basic income for all people, regardless of their merit to the society as a whole, is problematic. It's not enough to just hand over a couple hundred dollars to someone and say "have fun". We need to ensure everyone is getting the proper basic services, first.

I'm talking about shelter, food, water, and a basis for living comfortably. We have the resources to do this, today. We just don't have the distribution infrastructure. Money should be something you spend purely on things you want, not things you need.

Given that we built a distribution infrastructure of some kind to automatically and evenly distribute the total food resources of the country, we would see a dramatic change in how money is looked upon and how we use it. No longer will we require money, instead, money is something you earn and use for things you wish to do. We can focus all of our time and energy on furthering our technology, our minds, and the human race in general.

ThomPete 1 day ago 0 replies      
There are three major advantages of unconditional basic income.

1) It will always be beneficial to work. I.e. even for a couple of hours.

2) Society wont have to waste money controlling whether someone should have the money or not. The frees millions of people and billions of not trillions of control.

3) It removes most argument around inequality and it makes sure there always is customers.

bcheung 1 day ago 3 replies      
1) When people don't need to produce value to live in the world, they will cease to produce value.

2) Ultimately it is not income that is needed to survive but resources properly organized. The cost of survival is getting cheaper and cheaper at an exponential rate. You wouldn't know that though because they keep raising the bar on what it means to "survive"big screen tv, air conditioning, car, etc. The amount of work required to live according to living standards 100 years ago is rather minimal.

3) Where does this "basic income" come from? If you are taking it from others who produce value then how are you any better than a slave owner? The only difference is that instead of owning and taking the livelihood of an individual you are taking it from everyone collectively in smaller amounts. The moral principle is the same.

4) Why would people work if they can just take from others? Everyone will do the least amount possible because everyone else is just going to take their profits so why bother. Communism didn't work so why are you proposing it now?

5) You can't protect people from being stupid. Unless you are physically handicapped or retarded, in which case there is charity and family, it's really pathetically easy to survive in today's world. You aren't being chased by tigers. Agricultural yields are 100x than they were just a short time ago. The Internet provides a vast amount of resources to better yourself. There are greater abundances than ever before and people are generally charitable towards others. If you can't survive under those conditions there is something wrong with you.

6) I find it offensive and an attack on my personal liberty that you would demand that I sacrifice my livelihood so that another doesn't have to work hard and make wise decisions.

krazydad 1 day ago 18 replies      
I am not at all an economist, but I wonder: if everyone had the same amount of fixed income (in addition to whatever else they made from their jobs), wouldn't there be continual inflation, rendering that money worthless? Wouldn't the fixed income become the new zero income?

Also: How does Macdonalds work in this situation, if the fixed income "replaces" minimum wage. Does Macdonalds pay on top of this wage? Do they double it? Do they pay zero? If they pay zero, what incentives workers to work at Macdonalds?

gfodor 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't consider myself very liberal but basic income makes sense to me just from a simplicity perspective. The amount of complexity right now in the welfare state almost certainly introduces all kinds of bizarre unintended effects. With basic income, you push all that onto the (hopefully fairly efficient) market. It would also let me sleep well at night knowing that nobody could game the system, since everyone, from the rich down to the poor, get their basic income.

I guess the biggest question with it is what is the differential in outcomes for people. What % of people who work now out of fear of living on the street would stop working if they could be sure they would have the bare minimum to survive. I can't imagine many. Everyone always wants more for themselves and their children. If people choose to not work, basic income puts a cap on how much of a "drain" they are on society.

There are a lot of nice properties to this concept and it would be interesting to hear well-founded opposition arguments. Unfortunately I have to assume that almost all of the arguments are going to be along the lines of "doing this will encourage people to be lazy" without any real evidence that this is the case.

drblast 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm baffled by the logic of people who recoil at the idea of a basic income because it's "socialist", but if you were to ask many of them if lowering taxes for nearly everyone by X% is a good idea, they'd scream "YEAH! Money is much more efficient in people's hands!"

Maybe if you don't call it a basic income and call it a guaranteed tax rebate instead we'd get everyone on board.

bcheung 18 hours ago 0 replies      
You can't have wealth without creating it through labor. You can see this when you isolate the abstractions society has and go to the core semantics.

Take a population of people. Stick them on a remote island. Then institute this measure. Where does this income come from? If you just print money, what is there to buy if nobody has produced it? If it is from taxation, then if you produce something and others just take it why would you bother producing when it is much easier just to take from others like everyone else?

I would argue, and history seems to show this. That a society prospers as a whole the more they reward hard work and allow the people to enjoy the fruits of their own labors.

cordite 1 day ago 1 reply      
I support the idea, but there are other things that have to go with it in order to really work and not end up like the broken economy that Argentina had to put up with when doing something similar.

It would need serious tax reform, changes to how business are treated locally and internationally.

One suggestion for tax reform is to apply taxes strictly on only sales tax, not income tax. Certain property taxes may still be effectful, but it's really a huge mess that will really function if not taken all together.

I suppose an analogy is when it comes to extreme programming, you can't just take what you like and get all the benefits--not that basic income specifies these other things, but I believe there is a bigger package that has to be considered.

jokoon 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I think everyone should go first debate what Milton Friedman proposed: the negative income tax.

The negative income tax has the virtue of at least restart the debate on how much taxes should companies pay. Why aren't taxes progressive ? Why are there still oil subsidies ? Why are many companies still able to dodge taxes ?

The basic income cannot happen if the government cannot pay for it. Maybe s very low basic income at something like $3000 or $5000 per year would be nice to experiment, but until then, politically with that congress, and considering the electorate and how hated the poor are, it's just impossible.

dicroce 1 day ago 5 replies      
Here's the thing: I believe that millions of years of evolution have baked into every living thing a deep need to work, and we'll feel bad if we don't (because for millions of years lazyness meant death). We need to struggle.

Further, I think we need to bad times to help us recognize the good times and a basic income would do much to soften those bad times...

I worry that Basic Income is in the long term practically unavoidable, but at the same time will create new levels of depravity in mankind.

ethana 1 day ago 1 reply      
So what should the basic income be? $10k/yr? 20k? 50k? 100k?
euroclydon 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I think we are severely overestimating the panacea that is the future. When we run out of gas to fuel automobiles and natural gas to make fertilizer from, it will make us all poorer. Our problem is not just that we need to transition to electric automobiles or sustainable agriculture, rather it's that we have no replacement for the free portable liquid and gas energy that we take out of the ground every day.

We'd be better off planning for the reduction in carrying capacity of the human race that will ensue as fossil fuels wane, instead of trying to find more efficient ways to distribute all of our newfound wealth and production.

softatlas 1 day ago 2 replies      
I once stumbled upon a YouTube video consisting of a woman who received ~$1,400/mo entirely supplied by Government Assistance Programs.

I once saw a job posting for a Web Developer/Python position where the client stated: "$1,000/mo is enough in Belarus."

I stopped to think for a bit: "I hardly made $800/mo when I was freelancing, and I was happiest when I was not working."

I think the biggest argument for Basic Income is to normalize what is already an existing systemic exploitation of a broken system. Professional exploiters and accidental/system-justifier exploiters need to be cut off, which might motivate professionals and invalids to assess our system as more just. I'm sure a positive network effect will follow.

Why not just try it? Why not stop arguing these speculative points and just try it?

It only works if you test.

alexeisadeski3 1 day ago 2 replies      
US specific:

* 2014 total US gov't spending: $6.3T (36.4% of GDP)

* # of Americans: 314m (2012)

* Cost to provide $10,000 per year to everyone: $3.14T

* Current US military spending: $0.8T

* Current US education spending: $1T

* Basic income + education + mil = $4.94T

* $4.94T vs $6.3T


discardorama 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm curious: has there been any study done on how much money is spent on the bureaucracy surrounding the myriad social programs?
Oculus 22 hours ago 0 replies      
>>It is the most efficient possible form of wealth redistribution because there is no bureaucratic overhead needed. More money reaches the poor directly.

Unfortunately, the exact opposite will occur with an entirely new three letter agency being responsible for the distribution.

kosei 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Pardon my ignorance, but how does this differ from an earned income tax credit?


platform 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I do not agree that "Combining income redistribution and decentralizing spending would solve poverty today."

I would argue more individual wealth that's based on

a) cumulative and legal earningsb) penalty-free inheritancec) a system that rewards individual greedd) a system that rewards equal opportunity

would solve poverty today.

For that to work, though -- those have to be world wide rules. Making an individual country as a test ground will not produce repeatable results.

The above also has one more built in assumption -- vast majority of the people are 'good to other human beings' and act 'rationally'.

The definition of 'legal' is of course vague, but must be uniform across the world (not in individual country) and would include things like

a) equivalence of genders/race/religions/ethnic/disability/political/financial/marital/law-enforcement status in the eyes of a law and competitive bidding

b) law of contract

c) uniformly standardized legal language around contracts that does not require legal council to initiate and resolve disputes

e) criminal penalty system that treats qualified threat of a physical or financial harm, with 80% of equivalence to posterior event

(this it to prevent wide spread racketeering )

f) criminal system that requires non-cirmustantial/independently verifiable evidence to result in conviction

g) largely uniform across country criminal law

nnq 18 hours ago 0 replies      
One problem with BI is the potential future overpopulation problem making it unsustainable even for rich countries. The solution is quite simple though, but I don't guess people would accept it: if you have more than two children per family, you loose the BI (forever, for live, you are never eligible for it again, even if your children die).

A bigger one is the global context: the retoric in poorer countries could very easily get to "those rich smucks with their strong army and everything have so much money they can even pay the slackers who do nothing! while we are milked by their corporations and can't even afford clean water for all!" and then you know what happens next...

abraham_s 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I have been thinking about the long term effects of automation (as in self driving car/trucks etc) and I think such a scheme will become necessary in the near future. How many job losses will be there in near future if all the vehicles become self-driven. Number of truckers is estimated at In 2006, the U.S. trucking industry as a whole employed 3.4 million drivers. Another 233,900 cab driver. Maybe 2X number in supporting jobs, like waiters etc. Can a society survive with so many jobless people with the current unemployment schemes?

Edit: spelling

Eleutheria 1 day ago 1 reply      
Everything that goes against liberty is doomed to fail.


muuh-gnu 15 hours ago 0 replies      
> What are the definite benefits of Basic Income?

> It is the most efficient possible form of wealth redistribution

So it is just another deceptive label for outright communism, directly out of Marx/Mao/Stalin's playbook. Nice.

ethana 1 day ago 1 reply      
Basic income already exist for some people, it's extended unemployment checks + food-stamps.
jgalt212 1 day ago 1 reply      
The real problem is all the tax loopholes that almost exclusively benefit the upper/upper end of the income spectrum.

I am looking at you carried interest loophole.


And the low rate dividends are taxed at. Dividends should be deducted at the corporate level as a cost, and taxed at the shareholder level as regular income.

NoPiece 23 hours ago 3 replies      
Question for the liberals who support this. Would you honestly be willing to get rid of social security, welfare, unemployment, earned income tax credit, food stamps, student loans, pell grants, and all the other entitlement programs? If so, I might support it, even if it cost more, just to get rid of all the government social engineering.
ericHosick 1 day ago 1 reply      
Real questions because I'm not an economist.

If I have money does that mean I am assured that the goods required to fulfill my basic needs exist and can be purchased by that money?

Dale1 17 hours ago 0 replies      
This would be akin to dumping a load of cash into the economy, driving inflation to the point where the extra cash had absolutely no difference to anyone especially the poor.

It's a lovely idea but the working wage is a much better one!

Kiro 17 hours ago 1 reply      
If the incentive to work at McDonalds decreases to a point where they either need to raise the wages or automate large parts of their process, won't that lead to a possibility where McDonalds ceases to exist or becomes a luxury item?

It's not very unlikely that they won't be able to automate their business and the only option is to raise the wages. With raised wages they will need to increase their prices.

sukuriant 1 day ago 1 reply      
I've read this thread; and I think my biggest hope here is the realization in the bureaucrats that are afraid of losing their job ... that they'll be getting money anyway because the basic income will provide their money now.
ozten 21 hours ago 0 replies      
If you have a hard time overcoming your gut reaction to this proposal, I'd recommend the book Debt: the first 5000 years


Taek 1 day ago 0 replies      
If a basic income was implemented, would we also be comfortable getting rid of minimum wage?

And, if we attempted to go for this in the US, how much struggle would there be to both implement the minimum wage and also remove all of the other programs such as welfare, food stamps, disability?

The system is very well established and you couldn't just remove each part in a single step. Each program that gets removed would need to be eliminated one by one.

Overall, I think that a basic income is the cleanest, fairest, least game-able way to help the lower class. I just don't see it happening in our current political climate.

j1z0 14 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems to me it's just a matter or priority. The line share of US Gov spending is Healthcare (+ medicare / medicare) covert that to a BI + take a bit out of defines and "income protection / veteran benefits" and you wouldn't have to raise taxes at all.

The question is would it be more effective than "specialised" programs, and all the literature I have read seems to say yes (although, it's all based on educated guesses). So switch all the "specialised" programs to BI plus take a bit extra from defense and your there.

What's more important? Total domination of all oceans in the world, or peoples happiness? (Assuming that BI actually works as described in the article)

ghx 23 hours ago 0 replies      
This sounds kind of like the earned income tax credit, which is basically a reverse tax (if you don't make enough to pay taxes, you get a subsidy instead): http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Earned_income_tax_credit

Expanding EITC substantially would be politically easier than attempting to do this, since it already exists and has bipartisan support (as opposed to raising the minimum wage). You need some sort of job for the EITC, though.

msh 14 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder why none of the calls for basic income considers how inflation and prices would be affected.
belleruches 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm in favor of this.

Do we have any examples where this has worked before?

afhsfsfdsss88 1 day ago 0 replies      
I want to live in a society of people who are working together to make human existence meaningful. What I don't want is the pseudo-free market designed to further despotism and self-interested behavior which we have today.

That said, I'm not for giving someone food, shelter, water, and health care for falling out of a uterus. You have to contribute in some measurable way. Also I believe that we should provide, specifically these things...NOT currency/income.

I've seen too many examples of people having children for well-fare checks.

jimktrains2 1 day ago 1 reply      
Aside: I don't know how I feel about all these new TLDs...
stretchwithme 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I encourage fans of this idea to experiment with it. Find a complete stranger and give him a guaranteed income if he abstains from government programs. Come back in five years and share your results.

As for me, I don't wish to be forced into running your experiment.

brunooo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Tom Streithorsts excellent piece also was published yesterday:


Meekro 1 day ago 3 replies      
People becoming "unemployable" because of robots is one of the most common arguments in favor of this, and that argument is nonsense because actual skilled jobs are not going away.

Will a robot fix your car when it breaks? Will it be designing new and better cars? Will it even design the automation systems that let those new cars be built more efficiently?

Will those robots provide legal advice to the companies that operate them? Will they provide medical care to your kid when he breaks a bone? Will they provide him with counseling when he's struggling emotionally? Will they give him a lesson on algebra, and then work with him one-on-one to make sure he understands it?

Will robots patrol the streets and keep you safe from crime? Will they prosecute people who hurt others, or preside over those trials to make sure everyone's rights are protected?

Will robots invent the next Google or Facebook, and will they code it up and design a nice-looking and intuitive interface for it? Will they entertain you from a stage or a movie set? Will they write new jokes for a stand-up act, write an original novel, or provide an author with advice on how to make his characters more lifelike?

Maybe McDonald's fry cooks will eventually be replaced with robots, but "labor" isn't going anywhere.

zaidos 1 day ago 2 replies      
Wouldn't businesses just raise prices to offset the basic income, rendering it useless?
donkeysmuggler 1 day ago 2 replies      
Additionally, as well as 100% Inheritance tax with exceptions for personal items (inheritance is the biggest game breaker in a fair system), another very practical and fair idea would be no VAT/sales tax (disproportionately affects the poor) and vastly reduced business taxes; howeverProgressive personal income taxation that works like the effects of relativity on the speed of light (no tiny group of bands that end at a middling percent and allow capital gains but rather a direct calculation from the income; the more non-charitably allocated income, the even higher the tax rate approaching 90+% in the stratospheric levels, encouraging investment in business, employment, public good projects etc, just like the old rich guys in the early 20th century building all those public libaries. All of these resources held in the public trust (as well as complete citizen ownership of natural resources and most land; nobody should have rights to important earth resources because their daddy had a piece of paper they got from their slave plantation) used for basic income & investment in automation as well as myriad other public good projects.
rdl 23 hours ago 0 replies      
It would be fun to start this with an epsilon per year per person basic income (maybe global, and higher ones per nation or other group). Add to it as you wish.
mamcx 23 hours ago 0 replies      
This will not break, for example, because everyone know that everyone must be able to pay higher rents? Where I live (Colombia) if the basic income become 5% at the start of the year then everything is 5-10% more costly.

If I get (fixed) 100/month and everyone else too, then the rent will be (surely) X+100. This is happening now, the economy is accelerating and everything is rising up.

nirnira 20 hours ago 1 reply      
A truly insane and stupid idea befitting an insane and stupid political culture.

And lo and behold! Embraced with open arms by the Hacker News community. What a surprise.

ceocoder 1 day ago 0 replies      
just an aside - this is the first time I've seen a TLD this long actually being used...


ende 21 hours ago 3 replies      
Replace income tax with land value tax. Then it's not redistribution of income. The argument for a land value tax is Georgist: land is not property because it is not the product of one's own labor. Therefore land 'owners' should pay rent to society in the form of the land value tax (though not on the property built on the land). That rent is then paid to society as a universal basic income.

(And to preempt those who might question why anyone would both owning land: because like any investment there is a cost that can be exceeded by profit.)

dola 20 hours ago 0 replies      
This is actually a very current topic right now in Switzerland. There will a national vote to decide if every Swiss citizen should get a basic income of 2500 swiss francs (approximately 2700$) a month. Some interesting details can be read in this (kind of) recent article (most other ones are in German)http://themindunleashed.org/2014/03/swiss-pay-basic-income-2...
stasy 22 hours ago 0 replies      
If this were the case, many people would just not work, and rely on the monthly checks.
shurcooL 1 day ago 0 replies      
I really really support this. IMO it would make this world so much more fun to live in.
grondilu 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd love the idea of a basic income as a replacement for all the bureaucratic nightmare of various state subsidies and benefits, but we all know this is not what is going to happen.

They'll give basic income but soon they'll establish exceptions for some categories of people that will receive something more. Then an othe category, then an other.

In the end it will be exactly like before, except it will cost much more.

evjim 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thomas Paine makes a good point for citizen's dividend in his pamphlet "Agrarian Justice". http://www.ssa.gov/history/paine4.html

Now that we live in a civilized state and people own all the property, it makes it impossible for one to live in a natural state. So, he argues property owners owe a tax to everyone reaching maturity. That way everyone has a chance to acquire property, education, or what not to live successfully in a civilized state.

Adam503 1 day ago 1 reply      
I agree.

Unemployment runs no lower that 70% among disabled people in the best of times.

Anyone that is not literally perfect (beautiful, slim, brilliant, healthy, emotionally well centered) faces huge obstacles from the powers that be in our society.

jpeg_hero 21 hours ago 0 replies      
I would like it if my children could peruse poetry... If you know the quote.
Thiz 11 hours ago 0 replies      
It is time for basic government.
Fasebook 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Seems like a good idea to me, lets do it. We can always change it back if it doesn't work out.
ArkyBeagle 23 hours ago 0 replies      
"What are people for?" - Kurt Vonnegut, "Player Piano", 1952. 1952, people.


lukasm 1 day ago 1 reply      
bureaucratic overhead with proper tech is close to zero. Basic Icome is too a big leap in social and political context. I am very much in favour of Minimal Activity proposition. It's way more easier to implement.
tsotha 1 day ago 1 reply      
Instead of a basic income, let's have a guaranteed minimum wage job, where people can pick up trash and do landscaping on public property. You can have your basic income, but you have to work for it.
briantakita 1 day ago 0 replies      
Basic Income the only way to prevent the black market from taking over for many people.
gregcrv 1 day ago 1 reply      
Another missed advantage:it moves the job market from demand/supply type of market to easy/difficult type of market: the highest paid jobs will be the ones nobody wants to do.
makosdv 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Let's just discourage people from earning a living even more....
Mistone 1 day ago 0 replies      
off topic but by far the most interesting comment thread I've read on HN in a long time.
javajosh 23 hours ago 0 replies      
BI is required if we ever went to a flat tax, which I firmly support.
sunseb 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I think that digital currencies is the way to go to test this idea.
rubyfan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Get a job.
stevenwagner 8 hours ago 0 replies      
see georgeoughttohelp.com
yetanotherphd 20 hours ago 1 reply      
No, it's time for something proven: Australian style welfare. Maybe in 50 years time, it will be time for basic income.

The problem with giving people free money, is it reduces the incentive to work. Australia, and other countries, have introduced systems with minimal requirements for receiving welfare: making an effort to find a job, based on simple objective criteria.

aalpbalkan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Totally off-topic: What a domain name...
xenophanes 1 day ago 1 reply      
It Is Time For Basic Economic Literacy
donkeysmuggler 1 day ago 0 replies      
Make economic inheritance tax 100% with allowances for personal, sentimental items etc. Distribute the resources amongst public works projects and personal resource funds for each citizen.
izerop 1 day ago 0 replies      
What a stupid idea. Try again commie.
grondilu 21 hours ago 0 replies      
As a owner of shares in the stock market, all I can say is that hopefully the first politician who will try to pass such a law will get a bullet in the head.
2048 Numberwang louhuang.com
506 points by maxjus  2 days ago   109 comments top 42
etfb 1 day ago 2 replies      

    C:\> TWENTY48    Loading...    Ready.    You are in a darkened room. On the floor in front of    you are sixteen tiles, arranged in a grid.  The tiles    are labelled A1, A2, A3, A4, B1 and so on up to D4.    There is a two here, on tile A1.    There is a two here, on tile D3.    > GET ALL    The numbers appear too strongly glued to the tiles.    > INVENTORY    You have a copy of On Lisp by Paul Graham, a thing your     Aunt gave you that you don't know what it is, and a     small leaflet.    > READ ON LISP    Time passes. You have a profound enlightenment experience.      Sadly, this does not help you win the game.        > READ LEAFLET    "WELCOME TO TWENTYFORTYEIGHT!    TWENTYFORTYEIGHT is a game of numbers, addition and high     bits. In it you will explore some of the most tedious     territory ever seen by Hacker News readers. No computer     will be without one!"    > GO LEFT    Some numbers move, and a new number appears!    There is a two here, on tile A1.    There is a two here, on tile C1.    There is a two here, on tile D1. [Footnote 6]    > FOOTNOTE 6    There are no footnotes.    > GO UP    Some numbers move, some change, and some new numbers     appear!    There is a four here, on tile A1.    There is a two here, on tile B1.    There is a two here, on tile D4.    >GO DOWN    Some numbers move, and a new number appears!        There is a four here, on tile C1.    There is a two here, on tile C4.    There is a two here, on tile D4.    There is a two here, on tile D1.    >PANIC    Not surprised.    >QUIT    Amazed you survived this long.    Your score is 4, out of a possible umpty squillion and six.    Good bye!    C:\>    C:\>    C:\> DEL TWENTY48.EXE    C:\>

peterkelly 1 day ago 1 reply      
Found a bug you might want to look into:

After 8 steps, I "won" after reaching the following configuration (all on the edges, from top-left clockwise):

16, 584, 26, 6, 18, and 7

That's not numberwang, according to the official definition [1]

[1] D. Mitchell, B. Russell, A. Turing, and R. Webb. Numberwang determination and the Entscheidungsproblem. Principles of Mathematics and Computation, 1944. Cambridge Press 14(2).

MarcScott 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is my favorite clone bar none. After about 5 seconds of playing I was giggling, as I remembered the sketches.
maxjus 2 days ago 2 replies      
MarcScott 2 days ago 1 reply      
In hindsight, we should have all jumped on this and pretended we understood the rules of Numberwang, in the style of Mornington Crescent. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mornington_Crescent_%28game%29
chavesn 1 day ago 2 replies      
I think I should have won by now: https://www.dropbox.com/s/2hokoh94hujyf2j/Screenshot%202014-...

I thought it played normally, and it does for a while, but it always eventually seems to randomly revert your high tiles (I verified that I had at least 1024 by checking the debugger).

[edit:] Ah, I found the code. It's possible to win but you have to survive the small chance that it will perform a random merge and destroy your tile:

        // 0.005% percent chance that we will merge a cell anyway        if (next && Math.random() > 0.995) {          next.value = tile.value;        }

TazeTSchnitzel 2 days ago 2 replies      
It actually plays identically to 2048 (except you can only rely on colours, not face values), but I still love it. Ich bin gewangernumbt!


jvoorhis 2 days ago 2 replies      
How do I rotate the board?
davepm 2 days ago 1 reply      
Please guys, make it stop. I need to work. I need to sleep. I need to eat!! I have no idea wtf I was doing but this is by far the best! This dam game is worse than heroin....
Watabou 2 days ago 2 replies      
I love this, only thing is it doesn't have my favorite number: H

Is there going to be a Wangernumb mode too?

chewxy 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is amazing! I cannot stop laughing! The first reversed number hit me like a ton of bricks and I couldn't stop.


jessep 1 day ago 0 replies      
I started giggling with the first numberwang. As it kept happening, the giggle escalated into full out laughter that just kept getting stronger. I am sure I've seen the numberwang sketch, but don't remember it, so reference was wonderfully subliminal and all the more absurd. Anyway, I love this. Laughter is glorious.
deletes 2 days ago 1 reply      
Looks like the internal state of the numbers that actually decide what can be merged is changed when you press a key. Also works if you hold it down, which is a bug I think.

Just hold down one direction to observe.

naiyt 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'll admit to getting annoyed a bit by all of these 2048 clones. But this made me laugh regardless.
MarcScott 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm due a slow commute to London next week and I can't wait to play it on a train see whether those sitting near to me can figure out the rules of the game.
lvs 2 days ago 0 replies      
Despite best efforts, this is still playable because the color codes haven't changed from the original.
chrisdone 1 day ago 1 reply      
"maths quiz show thats simply everyone"


tfgg 2 days ago 0 replies      
Das ist Nmberwang!
rmccue 2 days ago 0 replies      
Note that it is possible to lose, eventually: http://i.imgur.com/kKsjG2u.png
julianz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Brilliant! Even better because Numberwang is our internal term for "any random number in some code that isn't declared as a constant". Love it.
jpwagner 1 day ago 0 replies      
i keep getting shinty-six
oddshocks 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is one of the few clones/memes that gets better as it is propagated.
kzrdude 1 day ago 0 replies      
Did you change the rules after posting it here? It seems like they are more chaotic now (and I like it).
jonalmeida 2 days ago 1 reply      
i'm not entirely sure what I'm doing, but I think I'm winning...
jaibot 2 days ago 0 replies      
Needs more fish numbers.
mcintyre1994 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is the best, but I'm still waiting on someone to translate the Numberwang board game :) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DmiEODmYNmI
taybin 2 days ago 0 replies      
The definitive version of 2048.
coupdejarnac 1 day ago 0 replies      
I love the backwards seven! And to think I, an American, get this reference because I read The Guardian's football forums...
the_cat_kittles 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you netflix, for insisting that I would like peep show.
lotsofmangos 2 days ago 0 replies      
is only a matter of time now before someone makes a 2048 that is turing complete
Numberwang 1 day ago 0 replies      
You have my attention..
hol 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is phenomenal. So, so good.
jedp 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think I just peed my pants.
atomicfiredoll 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is my absolute favorite version, because I can actually beat it!
joeblau 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not bad... not bad at all!
c23gooey 2 days ago 0 replies      
thank you for brightening my day. i love it
stevengg 2 days ago 0 replies      
This has just turned into a meme clogging up hn
dragonfax 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oddly enough, makes it easier to win.
RV86 1 day ago 0 replies      
Love this so much.
kimonos 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love this! I enjoy playing!
tuan5 1 day ago 0 replies      
can someone stop posting this?
tvachon 2 days ago 0 replies      
oh my god this. this so much. <3<3<3
Hack: a new programming language for HHVM facebook.com
498 points by bos  2 days ago   411 comments top 46
bos 2 days ago 29 replies      
I'm the manager of the team that developed Hack, and I'm sitting here with some of the language designers. Happy to answer your questions.
reikonomusha 2 days ago 25 replies      
I am baffled as to why you'd build your castle atop a crumbling foundation.

I have wondered why FB didn't use a proper language with proper typing to begin with. I mean, I "understand" logistically: they already had a giant codebase in PHP, migrating a codebase is expensive, and it's difficult to hire and train 1000s of hackers in e.g., OCaml. (They do have some OCaml people, but they are outliers. OCaml was my favorite thing to write there, though it didn't afford some of the same niceties and interactivity as the PHP code they had, only because the support was down by several orders of magnitude.)

But at the same time, layering FP with a home rolled static type checking server (??) is bug prone and is certainly yak shaving (which they have time and money to do). Now they've written (1) a compiler to C++, (2) a compiler to VM byte code, (3) a corresponding runtime for each, (4) extensions to PHP, (5) a type checker, and (6) an inference engine. That's a lot of stuff. And in the end, it's still PHP, which is duly disliked. (Though Facebookers don't seem to care. The prevalent attitude toward it is that "PHP, as it's coded here, is mostly like C++, and that's OK.")

Writing correct type checkers and inference engines is kind of difficult. They seemed to take the approach of just building onto it incrementally until it just seems to work. That approach led to many bugs in many cases that just simply aren't thought of when one is trying to build inference engines by hand, as opposed according to theory. Type checking and inference is an area ripe with theory and attached formal, mathematical semantics. Standard ML's standard is perhaps the most infamous; it's a collection of mathematical statements about the language. That way, the compiler is now almost an engine to prove your code is correct. I don't see how the same guarantee can be made with something that is just cobbled together.

jlebar 1 day ago 1 reply      
So argue. Much armchair quarterback. Very flame. Wow.

It's entirely appropriate and reasonable to say "I don't understand why Facebook would do this; please explain it to me." But it reflects a supreme lack of humility to say "I don't understand why Facebook would do this; they must be idiots, and when they, armed with inside information I don't even know I don't have, come to defend themselves, I will angrily try to convince them of the error of their ways."

If you think what Facebook has done here is stupid, why is that something to get upset over? In fact, why is it even something worth arguing about? You're not going to convince anyone who matters, and anyway you have nothing to gain by doing so: Instead, just short Facebook stock and be smug in the knowledge that, when Facebook announces next year that they're abandoning PHP in favor of a mnage trois of OCaml, F#, and Clojure, you'll be able to say "I told you so".

habosa 2 days ago 2 replies      
Facebook is always pushing PHP to new places. Would it be too broad to say PHP is the worst thing that ever happened to Facebook's engineering but Facebook's engineering is the best thing that ever happened to PHP?
treblig 2 days ago 2 replies      
Man, it's going to be really hard to search the Internet to troubleshoot this.

Search: "Hack Anonymous Function"Search: "Hack Background Process"

jtreminio 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you want to try out Hack (and HHVM) quickly, my FOSS project lets you quickly set up a VM using Vagrant and Puppet: https://puphpet.com
georgebarnett 2 days ago 1 reply      
My favourite comments are the ones where some random geeks tell the guys who have built a multi-billion dollar business with hundreds of millions of daily active users how they're doing it wrong.

Congrats to Facebook on taking PHP forward. It powers a vast amount of the web and it's great to see that it's getting some engineering love!

octo_t 2 days ago 0 replies      
See this presentation[1] from Strange Loop 2013 about some design decisions on Hack.

[1] - https://github.com/strangeloop/StrangeLoop2013/blob/master/s...

wes-exp 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds like they added optional type declarations, lambda expressions, and a few more goodies to PHP.

I am reminded of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Greenspun%27s_tenth_rule.

Facebook is now at sufficient scale where they are reimplementing Common Lisp on top of PHP.

cpeterso 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is Facebook's code so monolithic that they can't deploy new, decoupled services written in new languages? Twitter did this with Ruby, Java, and Scala. Didn't Facebook create Thrift RFC for exactly this purpose??
rarestblog 2 days ago 0 replies      
wambotron 2 days ago 2 replies      
I haven't looked this over too much but I'm curious as to why they did this:<?hhclass MyClass { const int MyConst = 0; private string $x = ''; public function increment(int $x): int { $y = $x + 1; return $y; }}

instead of this:<?hhclass MyClass { const MyConst: int = 0; private $x: string = ''; public function increment(int $x): int { $y = $x + 1; return $y; }}

The first seems inconsistent to me. Especially coming from AS3/Haxe where the function return value is indicated in the same manner.

yulaow 2 days ago 1 reply      
As said on reddit, that is really a poor choice of name. Good luck looking something related to this language on google putting "hack" in the searchbox...It is even worse than "Go"
vanilla 2 days ago 3 replies      
Naming a language hack ... very poor choice. Searching for Go, C, C++ is already bad, now you can add hack to the list.
inglor 2 days ago 0 replies      
Am I the only one who finds it ironic they have the old deprecated `mysql_*` API in the sample?
paulyg 2 days ago 1 reply      
Are there any plans for a Hack -> PHP transpiler? Or is that impossible? It would be nice to develop on Hack, transpile back to vanilla PHP where we still have to use the PHP.net runtime (shared hosts, Google app engine, Engine Yard, etc
Touche 2 days ago 3 replies      
This rubs me the wrong way.

> Thus, Hack was born. We believe that it offers the best of both dynamically typed and statically typed languages, and that it will be valuable to projects of all sizes.

In which way does it offer the benefits of dynamic typing? The entire point seems to be to abandon dynamic typing, which is fine, but not what that sentence says.

I'm guessing, for example, you can't really do meta-programming with Hack in the way you can with dynamic languages, is that correct?

programminggeek 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm really intrigued by the concept of array Shapes. I actually implemented that for Obvious and use it for type checking hashes in ruby with Contracts. https://github.com/RetroMocha/obvious/blob/master/lib/obviou...

It's cool to see the same idea implemented in Hack. I don't know if anyone at FB has even heard of Obvious, but it's cool that they had the same idea in their language.

jdp 2 days ago 2 replies      
Why a brand new language, instead of building or optimizing the PHP backend for HHVM with an existing language like Haxe? http://haxe.org/
argimenes 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't understand why there is so much fuss about PHP in 2014. Hasn't most serious web development moved beyond scripting languages? Java and C# have been mature languages for statically-typed web development for years and are not difficult to achieve competence in. And for more fluid yet terse server-side languages you could always go with Ruby, or Smalltalk, or Racket, or F#, and their associated frameworks. Defending PHP in 2014 is almost as surreal as defending Classic ASP in 2014.
fmitchell0 2 days ago 1 reply      
Very excited to play with this. While I know many poo-poo PHP, it still is a pretty decent gateway language.

If these type of innovations introduce hobby programmers into more professional practices and concepts, I'm all for it.

lukashed 1 day ago 0 replies      
Off topic: Can anyone else see a trend to name projects so that they're impossible to google? Hack, Go, Celery, Fig, Cucumber, Lettuce, you name it.

E.g. the only way how I could find useful resources on how to run celery with fig was to exclude -gorgonzola.

aleem 2 days ago 3 replies      
I wish these extensions came by way of the PHP core rather than a language that is superimposed on PHP. However, this is awesome.

Is this a layer that is superimposed on PHP that falls back to the default interpreter for unimplemented features or is this a fresh implementation. I suppose my question is, how reliable is this. Are the core PHP bugs going to manifest here? If a bug gets fixed on core PHP, will hack be lagging behind?

mlubin 2 days ago 1 reply      
"Hack provides instantaneous type checking via a local server that watches the filesystem."

What does this mean?

amaks 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hack to PHP is as Dart to JavaScript.
bsaul 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm really curious to know if any new project will start using this language. I really wouldn't understand why they would.I think that would be an argument to explain why some consider this whole project a loss of time in the long run ( although probably something really great from a purely CS pov)

Edit : i just forgot that i still haven't found any server side language i'm satisfied with. I'm still waiting for a type-annotated variant of python to catch on.... So maybe hack would be a good choice after all. It's such a pity they started this work based on php rather than any other cleaner language.

zmanian 2 days ago 0 replies      
Provides some context on the language development.http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2014/03/facebook-hack/
vezzy-fnord 2 days ago 2 replies      
Looks like Facebook might have inadvertently turned PHP trendy again.

Expect "Why I migrated from Go to Hack" articles soon enough.

Either way, the name is very fitting. I have no use for this, but good for Facebook that they've managed to (at least to some extent) evade some of the many PHP pitfalls.

nness 1 day ago 0 replies      
> PHP only supports a 256-character set, and hence does not offer native Unicode support


This was their opportunity to to get multi-byte strings right...

bowlofpetunias 1 day ago 0 replies      
Every negativity thread on PHP on HN just serves as a reminder how poorly informed and inexperienced most developers here really are.

Good to keep in mind the next time you read a topic on how awesome language X/framework Y/method Z is.

It's depressing to see how much of our profession is informed by the desire to being cool and fashionable, like kids in schoolyard.

elwell 2 days ago 2 replies      
Somewhat unrelated, but curious: Does anyone know if Facebook still uses MySQL heavily?
Crito 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does anybody know if Hack can correctly parse integer literals, properly rejecting malformed ones?

PHP cannot, so I wonder how deep the relationship goes.

cab_codespring 2 days ago 0 replies      
Odd, just two days ago I was remembering a college class where we had to create a new programming language, and I named mine "Hack". The cover of the paper was a copy of K&R only "C" was replaced by "Hack" and of course I was the author.
mogui 2 days ago 1 reply      
It seems like a strange monster with PHP body and C++ head or the other way around you choose
thinkindie 1 day ago 0 replies      
everyone has it's own <opinion> over the fact that facebook had to use another language rather than php. On the other side there is the fact that facebook managed to get one of the most visited website on top of php, period. This is a <fact> and we would never know what would be facebook if it was built on top of another language. Probably they had to shut down early just because they were not able to hire enough developers to keep pace with new stuff and scale.At the same time they haven't suffered the same amount of issues twitter had to deal with (remember the landing whale?) with much less users and traffic just because they were using RoR and that lead them to move to something completely different with scala and a different architecture. But still, facebook has about 4x times users and much more data to deal with (more text, images, video and so on).

Nevertheless, let's remember that web applications are not a one-shop monolithic anymore.

sesm 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's good to see gradual typing rising!

2 things are not obvious from the article:

1. Why a new language, and not just a gradual typing tool for PHP (like Typed Racket and Typed Clojure)?

2. Is type information somehow passed to runtime to assist JIT compilation?

TazeTSchnitzel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Oh great. Now when PHP expands its type annotations, they'll be incompatible with Hack. :(
kackontent 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is great and exactly what I need in my PHP. Glad to see types making sort of a come back (see also: TypeScript) as I think they're, in one way or another, necessity in a large scale applications.

One note though - the success of this depends on the success of HHVM. Hopefully FB guys understand that and will push even more to make HHVM the best platform to have for running PHP on.

srg0 1 day ago 0 replies      
Any sufficiently advanced social network contains an ad-hoc, statically typed implementation of half of PHP.

YMMV sometimes

See also:

KPHP (subset of PHP to C++ translator, released by Vkontankte).

islon 1 day ago 0 replies      
It seems like the name really suits the language.
msie 2 days ago 2 replies      
Wanted: Backend developer. Must have 5 years of experience with Hack.
dghf 2 days ago 0 replies      
"You have reinvented PHP better, but that's still no justification": http://colinm.org/language_checklist.html
devwebee 2 days ago 1 reply      
It looks promising, I highly dislike writing PHP and this seems like it might ease the pain, but they could've gotten rid of the damn dollar sign in front of variables, how ugly is this? "return ($y) ==> { return $y + 1; }"
z3phyr 1 day ago 2 replies      
They have best functional programming language geeks around and they made this?
elwell 2 days ago 0 replies      
I thought Hack was already released months ago?
thatmiddleway 2 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like another way to polish the PHP turd.
Why I Never Hire Brilliant Men (1924) wikisource.org
380 points by JabavuAdams  2 days ago   263 comments top 60
nnq 1 day ago 8 replies      
It's sad how this sounds so plausible and valid... because even today, we are incredibly bad at managing (or making use of or integrating into a team...) brilliant people and we fail to make use of them and we let them fail because we can only figure out how to make reliable profit by using readily available mediocrity.

We should instead learn to recognize human diversity and accept that besides the "well rounded hard worker" that needs to make up at least 50% of any team, we also need to find ways of making use and helping thrive:

- the always starters: the guys that always start new things and have new ideas (that actually work!) but maybe never finish anything -- maybe we should stop pressing them to finish, just rotate them from one department to another and then let the rest work to bring his works to completion

- the motivation dynamites: the people whose minds go up in fire and also set fire to the minds of people around them -- maybe we should use them by rotating them to projects that lack motivation, or use them to launch viral social media campaigns or something

- the distracted geniuses: the thing with the "distracted genius" is that if you teach him how to "focus", he become way more productive but stops being a genius, and you then have another a-little-above-average-chap -- maybe we should use the "ideas volcanos" as a competitive advantage and stop telling them to focus, like encourage them to publish their ideas that cannot be implemented online on a company blog - yeah, the competition will steal some of them, but your company will become uber-attractive and everyone will want to work for "a company from which so many uber-cool ideas come from"

...and then there's the generalization that most of these types of brilliant people are essentially not team players -- they shouldn't be forced to work as part of one team or stick to a team: maybe a corporate environment may just perpetually rotate them from one team/project to another, not even bothering to let them finish what they are doing; maybe a startup should stop trying to get them on-board and just keep them as well paid consultants (and allow them to consult for even a dozen other companies at the same time to keep their minds busy).

...and maybe all the ideas above are wrong, but the point is that we are incredibly bad at making use of brilliant people in business context and focusing on "just use hard working average joes" instead is an avoidance of the problem, not a solution!

tokenadult 2 days ago 5 replies      
As mathattack has correctly pointed out in a comment an hour ago, this is a parable (a made-up story). The huge salary by that day's standards should make that clear. But the unnamed author makes his hiring methods look stupid, because he should be doing a work-sample test[1] before hiring for such an expensive contract. If he doesn't know what the worker will actually do, he shouldn't put so much money on the line.

[1] My FAQ on company hiring procedures as posted earlier on HN:


I'm now doing research to update that FAQ for posting on my personal website, a suggestion other HN readers kindly gave me.

badman_ting 2 days ago 4 replies      
Alternately, this is the story of a man who hired based on word of mouth, then when that didn't work out, learned the wrong lesson.
TrainedMonkey 2 days ago 3 replies      
It appears that men labeled as genius were simply men of high charisma capable of convincing and inspiring others.
thebokehwokeh2 2 days ago 4 replies      
Working at a startup helmed by a "brilliant" man as mentioned in the article, I wholeheartedly agree. So much hand waving. So little execution. One month, we were doing one thing that "had to be in the app". Another month, something else. Neither would get the actual attention that needed for them to be implemented properly, and nothing of value was produced.

Society places too much importance on the buds of ideas. True, an idea can change the world. But what gets lost in the shuffle is the fact that what truly matters is in those ideas being executed and turned into something tangible.

The charismatic idea men are a dime a dozen. I'm sure everyone here has worked with some hand-waving, smooth talking salesman who wows investors, then fail hard at meeting promises. It's those who can execute that are truly transformative.

Kluny 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love the fact that the author makes his points without ever putting down the men he talks about or sounding cynical. That make me take him more seriously than I otherwise would.
brownbat 2 days ago 5 replies      
"The continual use of slang expressions is an evidence of mental laziness, and I will not hire a man who depends upon slang to express his meaning. It is a substitute for exact thinking."

I found this to be an unusual warning. Is "proper speech" really just a proxy for class in that time period? I'm now very curious about 1920s slang, especially its frequency of use in business settings.

d23 2 days ago 9 replies      
What if you aren't a finisher? How can you become one?
bpyne 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Brilliant" is so broad. Some people are brilliant in a particular subject; some are brilliant in the breadth of their knowledge; some of brilliant socially; some are brilliant analytically; etc.

I like the author's anecdotes and agree with some conclusions because I've run into people with the same personality traits. (We all probably have.) But Newton was both brilliant and stubborn as was Einstein. They didn't understand something in the physical world so they continued thinking about it until they were satisfied.

Human organizations need a balance of brilliance and plodders. I'd say they need many fewer brilliant people because it takes a large number of plodders to bring their ideas to fulfillment. But the brilliant people are looking to the future while the plodders are dealing with today.

loladesoto 2 days ago 1 reply      
tl;dr: look for integrity.

some of the most brilliant hackers i know are rightfully afraid of going into business with the kind of "brilliant men" described in this article.

just as non-technical founders benefit from learning to code for a myriad of reasons, hackers should do careful due diligence on a potential business partner. ask questions. require them to invest in the relationship. blow away the smoke and mirrors if you see their evidence, until you see that person in a humble light.

most of the time, this kind of salesperson is masking deep personality flaws which you can actually live with in exchange for the benefits, on one condition: the existence of abiding integrity.

so many of these relationships are predatory but they don't have to be if you find ways to get them to show you their character. see how they treat their friends. travel with them. build something together.

something a friend taught me is "H.A.L.T." = hungry, angry, lonely, tired. 1) don't make decisions when you're in any of these states; 2) it applies to choosing a business partner but here, you WANT to see them this way. you can learn a lot about a person when their basic needs are momentarily threatened, including how they treat you and others. so don't be dazzled, find them in a humble light because that's where a person's character is revealed.

the ones you want are comfortable with their humility.

canadev 2 days ago 5 replies      
This was awesome. Of course I may just be saying that because it really captures some of my values to a tee, and expresses them in language I can relate to and appreciate.

I find it so immensely frustrating when a project I'm working on has a higher up who can code who starts a new feature that looks beautiful on the screen and then I am left to tidy it up and make it work. It can be exhausting. Something I am trying to wrap my head around is, how do you tell someone who is your boss, "Please finish what you start" in a manner that will get the best results?

Also, the last line, what is he referring to? "... the greatest organization in human history was twelve humble men, picked up along the shores of an inland lake."

ypodeswa 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I think there's decent advice here for CERTAIN TYPES OF BUSINESSES. But this is not universal good advice for all businesses.

The business in question, in this story, is a grocery store. It's a business with lots of competition and little innovation, where you're selling exclusively to customers who live very close to you. Furthermore, the fictional business owner isn't interested in taking the risks needed to build a massive chain, he's looking to grow slowly and make small, steady profits. For this business, there's no need for brilliance or big risks, you just need hard workers who are going to execute decently day in, day out.

A tech startup (the interest of most people on HN) is pretty much the complete opposite situation. You need brilliant programmers to build an excellent product. If you're B2C, you need those excellent salespeople who are going to dream big and go after massive deals. If you're B2B, you need great growth hackers/biz dev/marketers who can creatively get your product in front of massive numbers of people for minimal cost. When you're trying to grow from nothing to ginormous in 3-5 years, you simply can't do it with the slow grinding approach, the only way is with risk and brilliance. That doesn't mean there won't be grinding, repetitive tasks along the way, there will be TONNES, and you need people who will execute on them (not the pure "idea guys" with zero ability to execute, who I agree are of little use), but you also need to be dreaming big and taking big risks. Always going after small wins just doesn't work for tech startups, you need to regularly go after the big wins.

tsunamifury 2 days ago 2 replies      
If you want to run a solid, reliable, mediocre business hire solid, reliable, mediocre workers.
nicholas73 2 days ago 1 reply      
A corollary to this principle is to respect risk. If you never take on volatility that can ruin you, you will grow slow but steadily.

Conversely, if you accept excessive volatility by taking big bets, you can end up broke even if your expected value was positive.

Rule #1 according to Buffett: Never lose money.Rule #2: Don't forget Rule #1.

I learned this the hard way. Maybe I was brilliant.

ilaksh 2 days ago 4 replies      
Good writing and ok advice for someone who wants to run a grocery business. But it is absolutely untrue that "brilliant" men cannot also be careful, detail-oriented and have good business sense and skills. And certainly innovation and risk taking can be just as critical in business as following proven formulas and paying close attention to the bottom line. It depends on the business and circumstance. Overall I think in the context of high technology, the article is dated.
3minus1 2 days ago 0 replies      
For anyone struck by the modern relevancy of this piece I suggest you check out Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis. It's also from the 1920s and the American culture that it describes (and critiques) is very similar to today.
baldfat 1 day ago 2 replies      
I come from a HIGH IQ family. My father's IQ is unmeasurable but guesses are between 190-210 my move is over 165 and 3 of my sisters are in MENSA. I graduated Valedictorian in High School and College. I have been the "Jack of All Trades" and can study something and be proficient with it. Did some locally well known good deeds. From my 30+ years of work force experience I have decided that I wish I had an average IQ and that I got a B+ average.

My Conclusion: Perceived Intelligence is a curse. I try to hide my academic accomplishments and cringe when someone says I have some above average brain. Can't tell you how many times I hear, "The best _____ isn't necessarily the straight A student." "We don't higher straight A students."

People with a higher capacity intellectually can take in more information and see more moves ahead. That way there is a different perception on solution and it causes frustration for everyone.

Tloewald 2 days ago 1 reply      
If you include Sir Isaac Newton in a case against employing geniuses, your case is pretty thin.
deletes 2 days ago 2 replies      
What if John Carmack is an average programmer, and the rest of us are just lazy in comparison.
zem 2 days ago 0 replies      
that was fascinating. reminded me a bit of the protagonist in grossmith's "diary of a nobody", but without the petulant self-absorption masquerading as modesty. the author has genuinely sat down and thought long and deeply about who he is, what his strengths and limitations are, and how he can best work with other people, and he's a great writer to boot.
heyadayo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Most striking to me is how impossible such a direct conversation would be in this day and age. In a similar situation the manager would be pretty worried about HR/litigation possibilities.
deadfall 2 days ago 4 replies      
"But if you blunder for words, punctuate incorrectly, spell incorrectly, and express yourself clumsily, I'm sure to believe you mind is cluttered and ill-disciplined."

My mind is cluttered and I rely on spelling correction. Hard to say if I would get the position.

jqm 1 day ago 1 reply      
The modern business world is full of people like the author.

People who are asleep. People who are not actually alive. People who are threatened by those who think.

These people hate the thinker, but their dreary little lives rest directly on the foundation that the thinkers provide. For example, the radical who first looked at fire and thought, "hey, maybe I could use that".... now THAT GUY was a visionary who puts Musk to shame.

Really this type of people are just machines. And they will be the ones machines are easily able to replace.

Stronico 2 days ago 0 replies      
Such a shame there is no author listed for that - it would be interesting to hear what happened to him in life.
thothamon 2 days ago 0 replies      
I appreciate the author's intentions, but I think the best outcomes happen when you hire brilliant men (and women) and manage them well.

In the case of the sales executive, it sounds like the author allowed his team to basically say "good luck doing this yourself, don't expect help from us." And he allowed the guy to move into an ivory tower far away from where things were happening.

If you decide you're moving in a certain direction, you need to make clear to the team, if necessary, that digging in their heels is not a response you're going to tolerate. Some people will probably have to move on.

I'm not surprised the article is anonymous. The owner sounds like a problem to me, as much as the "brilliant" sales executive. He's good at making a mediocre business, and his comfort zone is there. Trying to shake that up is a losing game for anyone, brilliant or otherwise.

iamwil 2 days ago 0 replies      
"That criticism may be justifiable, for I am mediocre. But the point I have in mind is this: Business and life are built upon successful mediocrity; and victory comes to companies, not through the employment of brilliant men, but through knowing how to get the most out of ordinary folks."

The point of the article. Is this still true? I imagine you do need exceptional people to be able to hit the high notes (10x programmers and all that jazz).

Or am I interpreting this wrong, since the way he's using the word "brilliant" is a bit sarcastic, or at least archaic?

exarch 2 days ago 1 reply      
Very dated perceptions. We know now, for example, that those who stammer and struggle for words often simply possess brains that are more full of information, rather than possessing less efficient or organized ones.

In a knowledge economy built on creativity, I'll take Different Thinkers over Cogs of Constancy any day.

megablast 2 days ago 0 replies      
> My experience is that it pays to buy the best; and what applies to things applies equally to men.

This is true, but price is a poor indicator of how good something is. You need to understand the product or man, before you can judge which is the best.

DickingAround 2 days ago 1 reply      
He bends the meaning of words like 'brilliant' a bit and clearly lives in a time where there are no such thing as protected classes (e.g. medical) but there's a lot of value in remembering that most people develop wealth by managing risk, knowing our limits, and finishing what we start.
cia_plant 2 days ago 0 replies      
From the magazine of things that totally happened
venomsnake 2 days ago 0 replies      
Some people slack of laziness. Some of boredom. A brilliant guy needs a lot of infrastructure and support to not steer of course.

It is much easier for me to do 80 hour workload in 40 hours than 20 hour workload in the same 40. Probably I am not the only one. If I have even ounce of non challenging time at work I am always searching for the next great feature/framework/whatever. And shipping slips. I finally managed to find my stride but a few projects ... lets say they were hard on everyone.

yomritoyj 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This story is a cheap attempt to make people with an inferiority complex feel good. There is nothing great about mediocrity. Someone who fails to deliver on their work is not brilliant, appearances to the contrary. But at the top of the world are brilliant people who have delivered, and no amount of self-congratulation for stolid mediocrity can change that.
corresation 2 days ago 0 replies      
"The letters you brought spoke in the highest terms of your sales genius. The only question which they did not answer to my satisfaction was why companies which had valued you so highly should ever have allowed you to get away!"

This is a truth that holds today (in the form of things like LinkedIn Recommendations): Outside of exceptional circumstances, people seldom talk up the people they need the most, but they will talk up the people they wouldn't mind losing.

infinity0 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've seen plenty of stupidly expensive shoes that are only expensive to trick people out of their money, not because they last for a long time. You need a way to judge other than "try it out for x years until it fails".
channikhabra 2 days ago 0 replies      
> But if you blunder for words, punctuate incorrectly, spell incorrectly, and express yourself clumsily, I'm sure to believe you mind is cluttered and ill-disciplined.

I write and speak pretty well, but am still ill-disciplined as anything.

> You conceive a big idea, get the whole organization on tiptoes to carry it out, and then you lose interest and go off on a new tangent.

Now that's me.

> You are always living, in imagination, about six jumps ahead.

Now that's definitely me.

> Their active minds can always see two sides to every question; and they stand still while the debate goes on inside.

Now that's definitely me.

> Does he finish what he starts? Geniuses almost never do.

Good news, I am a genius.

Moral: In an ideal world I will never get hired or get success in business. Hell I am doomed for sure.

michaelochurch 2 days ago 1 reply      
One of the things I find irksome about the business world (and this won't seem relevant to the OP till I explain it) is that, while it places a premium on "finishing" and "delivery" (by the way, if you use "deliver" intransitively I will punch you in the face) it also makes it really rare that one can finish anything. It claims to have a culture of "shipping" but employs these people called "executives" whose function is usually to get in the way of people trying to do so.

The disorganization of his "brilliant men" (which is a conflation of two types of people already-- the charismatic and the creative) seems to be something the corporate world (at least in 2014 technology) creates.

The "brilliant" just fall hardest, I'd argue, because highly creative people (one subtype he describes) tend to be most sensitive to context, and highly charismatic people (the other subtype) can usually assume the failure patterns of the highly creative.

The not-finishing culture, I think, is a product of the incoherency of the corporate world. It's not uncommon to see people pass years in Corporate America without achieving anything for reasons not their fault: shifting priorities, projects cancelled for stupid political reasons, "re-orgs", unclear direction.

At some point, people learn that Corporate Life is survived not by finishing (in fact, that can be harmful, because now you have support responsibilities) but being able to come up with a story when things outside your control stop you from finishing. The muddling effects of subordination compound this decline of executive function. It's rather sad, to tell the truth. I wish it weren't that way.

I don't think it's just "brilliant men" who fail, in this way, amid the jarring incoherency of most business. I think they just crash first and hardest. The rest tend to drift downward over time and underperform silently.

jfischoff 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like this article.

Something to remember, is you can never finish more things then you start by definition.

I would not like to hire someone who always finished everything regardless of how mistaken they were when they started.

We will we all finish fewer things then we start. By itself it't not that useful of a metric.

calinet6 2 days ago 3 replies      
Beware of following ancient adviceor you may get ancient practices.

"God Almighty, in fashioning his most useful men, often works slowly with quite common stuff. Now and then He turns out a quick job of superfine materials -- a genius who really delivers the goods. But most of His better grade line is ordinary in everything except the extra effort, and dogged determination, which have given it a finer texture and finish."

This tells me of a belief in the innate quality of man, of some who are simply born better than others. Surely only half the story. We know better today.

izzydata 2 days ago 1 reply      
It doesn't seem fair to generalize everyone who is supposedly amazing at what they do as being poor workers. Seems like circumstantial evidence that might almost never be the case. Who really knows based on 1 person.
deedubaya 2 days ago 0 replies      
Every time I see this, I enjoy reading it. It is a good reminder.
Shorel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nowadays these same people would be the characters of a 'Why I never hire Marketing people to run a Tech company' article.
ilbe 2 days ago 0 replies      
These two are good points:

1. "There are just two grades of commodities in the world: the best -- and the others."

2. "...whether he can talk and write effectively... If you write and speak neatly and accurately, it is because your thinking is orderly; if your expression is forceful, the thought back of it must be forceful. But if you blunder for words, punctuate incorrectly, spell incorrectly, and express yourself clumsily, I'm sure to believe you mind is cluttered and ill-disciplined."

namelezz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Don't know if this is true story or not. I think the author is trying to cover his incompetence as a hiring manager.
skyshine 1 day ago 0 replies      
The problem with the shoe buying story is that a lot of crap is sold as 'the best' and it can be very hard to tell the truth. Shoes are a great example. I used to buy Brasher walking shoes. They were great, but then they sold out and the shoes are now an inferior quality whilst the marketing is the same and the price if anything has gone up.
JohnDoe365 1 day ago 0 replies      
> victory comes to companies, not through the employment of brilliant men, but through knowing how to get the most out of ordinary folks.

Definitely my favourite stance. Does that mean Go will succeed, while Rust want? In absolute terms of money, not outstanding iceberg projects??

gwern 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if OP's firm collapsed in the Great Depression.
carboncreek 2 days ago 0 replies      
> You have lived twenty-five or thirty years without making a profit on your life; how can I expect that you will be a profit-maker for me?

Well, imagine that I have all your noble qualities, but I just couldn't get the $20,000 that was paid out to you in your sophomore year.

robertoparada 2 days ago 0 replies      
"But the point I have in mind is this: Business and life are built upon successful mediocrity; and victory comes to companies, not through the employment of brilliant men, but through knowing how to get the most out of ordinary folks."

At a high level, I believe that's the essence of the story (whether is real or made-up).

Today, in a globalized world economy with saturated markets, we are lured into thinking that "the great next thing" will be a product of "brilliance". I think this is a good reminder that it's not. That in fact, on average, sustainable success is a product of a life's work and dedication to a purpose. That in fact, the Jobs, the Zuckerbergs and the Gates of the world are merely outliers and that we should look beyond the expectation of immediate and flamboyant returns.

rainmaking 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is mostly a testament to chose an industry you are suited for.
cafard 2 days ago 0 replies      
I should say that this is interesting chiefly as an example of magazine writing of its time.
0xdeadbeefbabe 2 days ago 0 replies      
Such good writing somewhat undermines the author's argument about genius.
glaurent 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anybody else thinks that the 'Adams' character is the typical bipolar ?
UK-AL 2 days ago 0 replies      
Highly dependent on the job.
yetanotherphd 2 days ago 0 replies      
Jealousy is a natural human emotion. It is notable how many stories bashing smart people (not for being smart per se, of course, but for lacking other important qualities) come up on HN. That, and how unfair the interview process is.
marcfawzi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why I never Hire Mediocre Men
piyush_soni 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well, I'm available then ;).
notastartup 2 days ago 0 replies      
While I was reading this almost 100 year old article, I felt nervous and anxious because the writer actually [uncanny pictureI fear that I have never been able to finish any of my projects, I get to about 80% and I am completely burnt out and now I know why after reading this article. It doesn't take brilliance or hacker thinking to complete a project. Quite the opposite, resilience, boring and being consistent is what it takes to finish the remaining 20%. This I see as something I need to work on. I always thought that my quick thinking would get me far and it does give me speed and agility in thinking but my mistake was thinking this mentality needs to be for the entire project.

It makes sense now, marketing, sales, good software practices, these all take discipline, endurance and the need to apply yourself every single day. It's definitely not a sprint and I've built myself to sprint long distances and burning out at the last remaining mile.

If the wisdom is a 100 years old and it still strikes a chord with our modern business environment, it must be important.

Great read, I read the whole thing.

graycat 1 day ago 0 replies      
Two points:

First, the OP claimed

"Does he finish what he starts? Geniuses almostnever do."

but gave no evidence.

Second, on finishing, we can consider I. Newton,W. Mozart, C. Darwin ('Origin of the Species'), R.Wagner (operas, especially 'The Ring'), J. Maxwell(E&M), A. Einstein (general relativity), J.Oppenheimer (A-bomb), S. Ulam (H-bomb), J. Salk(polio vaccine), D. Henderson (Smallpoxeradication), J. Heifetz (violin), W. Gates(Microsoft), A. Wiles (Fermat's last theorem), J.Bezos (Amazon).

jey 2 days ago 6 replies      
hoboerectus 2 days ago 0 replies      
He who lives on hope dies farting.
Tesla Can Topple the Car-Dealer Monopoly bloombergview.com
272 points by adventured  2 days ago   183 comments top 24
gxs 2 days ago 8 replies      
One of the great things that has come of this entire ordeal is simply education.

I usually take pride in doing my research well before buying something, but it had never really occurred to me that the dealers are forced middlemen. It had never occurred to me that it is ILLEGAL for Toyota to sell a car directly to me.

I am rooting for Tesla now with even more fervor. It's absolutely comical to me how politicians will tote the values of a capitalistic society, then turn around and get on their knees for special interest lobbies.

beat 2 days ago 10 replies      
This is something I think a lot of people don't get about Tesla's state-by-state fight with the dealer networks. It's not about hating on electric cars. It's about the threat that Tesla's model poses to their entire industry. Frankly, Ford doesn't need its dealer network any more than Tesla does now, or they shouldn't. They could go to the same shop-online and drop-ship model, and cut out a middleman. If any of the major automakers start killing dealers, the whole industry will die, and quickly.

Why? Because they're parasites. The dealer network evolved to solve distribution problems from 100 years ago. It makes zero sense as a business model in the 21st century. "Ripe for disruption", as we'd say in these parts. All they have is inertia, deep political connections, and a century of regulatory mazes. But those are three very big things to have.

Still, they're fighting a defensive war. They will lose. The question is only how quickly, and at what cost to consumers?

BrandonMarc 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've often been amazed the car-dealer industry has lasted this long. It's all too often based on deception, disrespect, intimidation, and rip-offs - from the showroom (overcharge as much as possible), to the trade-in aspect (under-charge using the same tricks ... go figure) to the financing (bury the overcharging in extra years of interest paid), to the garage (a skilled mechanic will often still charge far less than the dealership for the same service).

No, not every dealer works this way. Just the majority. If Tesla can make a change to this phenomenon, then good riddance to bad rubbish.

As an aside, this (long) story from Edmunds gives outstanding insights to how dealerships work, and what options are available to consumers.


It's fascinating to see how racial profiling comes into the mix. An ethnic group - according to dealers - will be known to have bad credit, or to pay the overcharged price no matter what without a fight, or (as dealers claim of white people) chiefly car-shop online and come armed with information looking for the best price.

casca 2 days ago 1 reply      
For more info on the how and why of US car dealerships, here's a good Planet Money podcast: http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2014/03/14/290241292/episode-...
vvvv 2 days ago 2 replies      
Actually, Tesla is not the first auto company that is attempting to dispense of dealers. When Daewoo entered the UK in 1995, "their market research revealed that car buyers disliked dealers on commission, hard-sell, aggressive sales techniques, over exaggerated promotional campaigns and poor after-sales service" so "Daewoo set up its own dealerships with staff paid a salary rather than commission trained, helpful sales advisors providing information rather than pressing for sales. Showrooms had crches and childrens play areas and offered coffee. Cars were not serviced at the same location, but rather by the well-known retailer Halfords in their out-of-town service centres. The themes used by Daewoo to further differentiate itself included good value, reliable cars (3 year warranties, AA breakdown cover) with additional safety features (eg ABS brakes and side impact protection) and additional features and benefits that would otherwise be extra cost (eg power steering, no-fuss guarantees, courtesy cars or pick up and collection for services). The result was that in the first six months Daewoo sold a remarkable 14,000 cars in the UK."



mikestew 2 days ago 1 reply      
With all the talk about money-driven politics, and how politicians listen to the car dealers over what you have to say, at the end of the day I'm the one that fills out the ballot. And I would defy anyone to point out an industry endpoint (at least in the U. S.) that has as much a reputation for dishonesty and obfuscated pricing as auto dealers. Lawyers at least come in handy from time to time, but I'd guess car salesmen will have a hard time finding a sympathetic ear. People expect car salesmen to just lie to their face. Seat protection spray and undercoating being a rip-off is so cliched it's the subject of comedy routines (and everybody gets the joke). Yet dealers still sell it, and we sit there saying "no...no...no...ask me again, and I'll buy the car elsewhere" because that's just the way it is, right?

Maybe it doesn't have to be that way. If you live in NJ, TX, or another state that doesn't want to let Tesla sell cars, let a state politician know. Maybe you think your U. S. Congressperson won't listen to you, but at the state level they are much more likely to lend an ear.

Spooky23 2 days ago 1 reply      
A better headline would be "Tesla must topple the car-dealer franchise system".

The retail side of the dealer network is really just a front door to the service department. Electric cars are supposed to have fewer service requirements, so if Tesla cannot defeat the franschise system, they are kind of screwed, as franchises will have to make more money on retail.

sixQuarks 2 days ago 3 replies      
This may seem counter-intuitive, but an educated car shopper today can actually get a better deal because of this archaic franchise system.

The truth is, dealers do compete against each other ferociously. Yes, they will rip you off if you come unprepared, but if you shop your deal around to enough dealers, chances are you will get a zero-profit or even below-cost deal on your new car.

When the dealer franchise system has been gotten rid of (I give it another 15 to 20 years), supply and demand will be better matched and manufacturers will be optimizing their profits.

crabasa 2 days ago 0 replies      
"the initial benefits of the dealer franchise system have long since given way to rent-seeking, inefficiency and unintended consequences"

This is by far the most interesting part of what is a rather short and fluffy piece with a strangely assertive headline.

How exactly does a government/regulator quantify when the benefits of a granted monopoly (i.e. power, telecom, etc) has outlives its well understood purpose?

api 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm with Tesla here, but this headline is weirdly almost Orwellian. Car dealers are not a monopoly. They all have different owners! But they are a state-mandated middleman, something I do not support.

The reason I'm with Tesla is because I know why they're doing this. The automotive industry is for the most part terrified of EVs as they have far fewer moving parts, no oil changes, etc. They also have the potential to last longer and (eventually!) be easier to produce. Tesla is doing this because if given half a chance car dealers will sideline if not outright sabotage any EV that attempts to succeed in the market. They're going around the car industry because the car industry wants them to fail.

tn13 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can someone care to explain me why the car dealers exist in first place ? Isnt it much more economical for Ford, Toyota etc. to simply start selling cars from their own retail store chains ?

It is likely to make cars more cheaper and car companies more profitable. How can any legislation banning it get passed in USA ?

RankingMember 2 days ago 0 replies      
Anything that can bring down dealerships has got my backing. I don't understand why the auto manufacturers wouldn't want to lobby to distribute their own vehicles rather than have the frequently dickish/predatory/incompetent sales/service of dealerships be the local face of their company.
wil421 2 days ago 0 replies      
They will probably not topple the monopoly as long as we allow lobbying in this Country. Who's agenda do you think the legislators of these bans are following?

The people who elect them or the lobbyist who fund them?

hnriot 2 days ago 1 reply      
Like Saturn did...
loceng 2 days ago 0 replies      
Tesla not only can but they will, and they are in the lead to do this, and will own the majority of this market. If I wasn't investing in myself I would be investing in Tesla.
tdiggity 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why can't it be as simple as this:

If you sell direct, you can't have dealers. If you have dealers, you can't sell direct.

Are dealers afraid that manufacturers like Toyota or Ford would just go up and undercut them? I doubt it, that would piss off a lot of their customers (the dealers). The dealer decided to open a particular branded dealership, so if you're in a Toyota dealership they shouldn't give a crap about what anyone else is doing.

wcfields 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sigh... Guess I won't ever see Gene Simmons Tesla President's day KISS-A-THON sales event.
jrjr 2 days ago 0 replies      
why not sell them through Indian Reservations ?then the 'laws' and special interests could GFY.

it would be great for everyone involved.


sebnukem2 2 days ago 0 replies      
I truly believe that lobbyism is legalized corruption.
krisgenre 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can't Tesla create their own 'Car Dealership' company and sell through it?
puppetmaster3 2 days ago 0 replies      
Unless Tesla starts 'donating' to politicians, it won't go anywhere.
Bpal 2 days ago 0 replies      
That's fascinating how people fear to take something new and better as opposed to old and traditional. The same has been with adoption computer. Yes, it has changed our lives and the world. But if this move hadn't been done, would we get better life? I don't think so. Getting info from Anywhere in the world in the split of the second is as good as breathing Clean air in big cities.
wil421 2 days ago 2 replies      
Ford tried to uproot the dealers years ago and it didnt work. I did a case study in school on this topic, I cant seem to find my source again...

Unions need to go...they hurt innovation and sometimes completely destroy it.

Getting Started with Docker serversforhackers.com
265 points by fideloper  1 day ago   71 comments top 13
Xdes 1 day ago 10 replies      
This skips over the hard part: managing docker containers. Poking a hole directly to the container is a leaky abstraction. A reverse proxy like HAProxy or Varnish should be sitting in front of the container.

Once you have the reverse proxy setup the next problem that arises is routing to containers based on the domain. Now your HAProxy or Varnish config is going to get bloated and every time you deploy a container the config needs to be modified and reloaded. By this time you might be looking at chef or puppet for automating the config generation.

Chef and puppet are not simple to learn. They have their own set of quirks (like unreliable tooling support on Windows). I'm in the process of conquering this, but I hope one day there will be a simpler way.

robszumski 1 day ago 0 replies      
CoreOS experience designer here. I'm looking for testers to check out the general platform and test some of our new features. All skill levels are fine new to docker & CoreOS, new to CoreOS only, etc. I'm happy to work with your schedule and make it as quick or involved as you're comfortable with. Anything from emailing a few thoughts to Skype to hanging out in our office in SF for the day.

Email: rob.szumski@coreos.com

izietto 1 day ago 2 replies      
For non-Paas use cases (for example, a development server with a bunch of projects) I find schroot (1) simpler and more productive. For example, you can use the normal `service stop / service start` instead of writing manually init scripts, and you don't get stuck with sharing directories, which I found extremely tricky with Docker (for example, I couldn't start correctly mysql with supervisor sharing the mysql db directory). But Docker is in early development, so I think it will become easier in the future.

1: https://wiki.debian.org/Schroot

njharman 1 day ago 0 replies      
> with Macintosh's kernel

I misread that as "Microsoft's..." and got excited since I run a build farm that's 70% windows and wish I could use docker but it's not worth having two systems (Container and VMs).

Also isn't that complete wrong? Macintosh is not an OS or company. It was one of Apple's product lines, long ago.

markbnj 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been using docker for a couple of months, but we have only just begun experimenting with actual deployment in a test environment on ec2. Right now we use it primarily as configuration/dependency management. We're a small team and it seems to make setup easier, at least so far. Two examples: the first is a log sink container, in which we run redis + logstash. The container exposes the redis and es/kibana ports, and the run command maps these to the host instance. Setting up a new log server means launching an instance, and then pulling and starting the container. The second example is elasticsearch. We have a container set up to have cluster and host data injected into it by the run command, so we pull the container, start it, and it joins the designated cluster. The thing I like about this is the declarative specification of the dependencies, and the ease of spinning up a new instance. As I say, just experimenting so far, and I don't know how optimal all of this is yet, so would love any feedback.

One last quick thought on internal discovery. A method we're playing with on ec2 is to use tags. On startup a container can use a python script and boto to pull the list of running instances within a region that have certain tags and tag values. So we can tag an instance as an es cluster member, for example, and our indexer script can find all the running es nodes and choose one to connect to. We can use other tags to specify exposed ports and other information. Again, just messing around and still not sure of the optimal approach for our small group, but these are some interesting possibilities.

tonyhb 1 day ago 2 replies      
This is a copy and improvement of the article I wrote last month, even down to the breakdown of "What's that command doing?" with `docker run -t -i ubuntu /bin/bash`.

Glad it was useful enough to spur an improved article, at least.


yblu 1 day ago 2 replies      
Can someone tell me what's the point of this? (I seriously love to know, not criticizing it.) Why would I need to have docker containers to install stuff on them instead of just installing stuff directly on host?

Let's say I develop a new web app, I would install NodeJS, PostgreSQL and such on my machine. Before I deploy the app for the first time, I'll install them in the necessary servers. Now, it looks like I would need to do the same, except adding the step of building Docker containers.

I think I must miss something important here because the number of GitHub stars for Docker is impressive and this is usually a good indication of the usefulness of the project.

zobzu 1 day ago 0 replies      
VM CAN share binaries/libs/etc (otherwise called files)

also, VMs CAN "share" memory. ie VMs can dedup memory between themselves. On Linux at least.

Not saying docker/lxc and all things namespaces are bad at all - but setting things straight. VMs can do this:)

Checkout KSM for memory "sharing" and any overlay-style file system that is mounted by VMs (this one works exactly the same as when you use namespaces/docker/lxc in fact)

arianvanp 1 day ago 3 replies      
Shouldn't "setting up a correct init process" be part of every "getting started with docker?" http://phusion.github.io/baseimage-docker/
calgaryeng 20 hours ago 1 reply      
I wish that people would stop writing tutorials on "getting started" with Docker, and actually start writing up examples of how to work with multiple containers, hosts, and linking.

That's the part that I (and I'm sure other beginners) get totally stuck on. Anyone can do docker commit/pull.

netcraft 1 day ago 1 reply      
this is the first time I have heard of coreOS - seems to be custom built for containers like docker. are there downsides to doing system updates this way and not having a package manager, just relying on containers for everything? Seems great in concept.
ilovecookies 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Well good morning hackers.. This has been around for ages...


pg_fukd_mydog 1 day ago 2 replies      
Would it be better to use FreeBSD and their Jails mechanism for all of this?
HN Plays 2048 hnplays2048.herokuapp.com
261 points by computer  2 days ago   80 comments top 32
Oculus 2 days ago 7 replies      
Took a look at your code and noticed you're using Socket.io. Don't use Socket.io for anything over double digit concurrent users. It's well known to be horrible at scaling. If you want something that's better at scaling I'd suggest SockJS[1].

1 - https://github.com/sockjs/sockjs-node

grej 2 days ago 4 replies      
Kind of fun, but I agree with some of the other comments that it would be interesting to see what would happen if the app made a move every 15-20 seconds based on the vote tally in that time window.
granttimmerman 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hey guys, it's the creator here.

I never thought this little project would get this big!

If someone wants to help me scale this, or add things like chat, please do! Just send a PR on Github!


begriffs 2 days ago 2 replies      
It's currently unplayable. Instead imagine if it would make one move every half a minute. During the time between moves anyone could vote on the next move. Then the winning move would be played. It would be a slow game, but would be the aggregate HN wisdom.
bhaumik 2 days ago 1 reply      
Is this HN's version of twitch plays Pokemon? http://www.twitch.tv/twitchplayspokemon
colept 2 days ago 1 reply      
This game is no more playable than it was when it was posted hours ago. And here's why:

setInterval(function() { window.manager.inputManager.emit("move", Math.floor(Math.random() * 3) + 1); }, 1000);

Some rate limiting has been put in place, but it's not good enough. If there are 50 users online at once, they all shouldn't be able to spam a command every second.

A better algorithm would be:

seconds_between_commands = 60 - (60 / number_of_players);

With a clock letting you know when you can make your next move.

Otherwise, it's just way too easy to spam.

dbieber 2 days ago 3 replies      
I added democracy mode...

The pull request is here: https://github.com/grant/hnplays2048/pull/10

You can play it here:http://hnplays2048-democracy.herokuapp.com/

Smirnoff 2 days ago 0 replies      
Damn, this version seems so unplayable-- so much chaos.When I play on my own, I already do so many random moves until I reach 512. After that every move that I make is evaluated. I have no problems reaching 2048 (or 29,000 points) within 10-15 minutes.

Here, I just get frustrated with the slowness of the moves (not to mention the strategy of the "democratic group" is way off)

spajus 1 day ago 0 replies      
This makes a perfect illustration why startups are shit. Instead of working on something useful, people either produce crappy javascript games, or play them. Now massively downvote this comment, write 100 replies explaining why I'm wrong and how retarded I am for trying to say something like this, then go read something by Paul Graham and play more clones of 1024. And then write a long essay why your startup failed.
ghiculescu 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is probably a bit much, but I'd love to see someone whip up a multiplayer 2048 using something like Firebase. It would probably start many an argument.
Dobbs 2 days ago 0 replies      
This needs a delay. That way you can follow the chaos instead of just staring at a moving screen.
comrh 2 days ago 0 replies      
This seems to show what I thought when I originally saw the game, that random spamming would get you pretty far.
lerg 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've made a version of 2048 on Hexagonal Board - check it out https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.spiralcode...
munimkazia 2 days ago 0 replies      
Utter chaos going on in the game over there. But it's a fun experiment.
joeblau 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can someone index all of these versions :)
mcescalante 2 days ago 1 reply      
Another case of "HN crashes the heroku app"
martinthenext 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's pretty interesting how the strategy derived by averaging over multiple intelligent users can be that sub-optimal.
coreymgilmore 2 days ago 1 reply      
It would be nice to know your own user #.
granttimmerman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Man... scalability sucks.
gk1 2 days ago 0 replies      
A-a-and it's down.
azinman2 2 days ago 1 reply      
I really don't like to hate on other people's work but seriously more 2048 forks? And now ones that aren't even remotely playable?
tomaskazemekas 2 days ago 0 replies      
It is a good demonstration that in cases like this user democracy is a loosing strategy.
maaarghk 2 days ago 0 replies      
holy hell this makes me hate you all! =P
theandrewbailey 2 days ago 0 replies      
seems like it falls victim to popularity, and crashes often.
joyeuse6701 2 days ago 0 replies      
the chaos.
Cub3 2 days ago 1 reply      
We really need a democracy mode for this
mkoryak 2 days ago 1 reply      
you guys really suck at this game.
kregasaurusrex 2 days ago 1 reply      
evidencepi 2 days ago 0 replies      
ankit84 2 days ago 0 replies      
A joKE?
Mt. Gox Finds 200,000 Missing Bitcoins wsj.com
259 points by byoogle  1 day ago   233 comments top 37
lkrubner 1 day ago 11 replies      
I am borderline speechless in the face of the incomprehensible carelessness. The lack of records is amazing. The lack of accounting is amazing. The lack of professional standards is amazing. The lack of common sense is amazing.

If you'll excuse me, I have to go to the bank. I just realized that I left a million dollars in the pockets of the jeans that I just washed. I suppose I should dry them out and deposit them, along with the $100,000 I just found fallen between then cushions of my couch.

antonius 1 day ago 2 replies      
In case paywall is blocking the text:

TOKYOMajor bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox announced Thursday it had discovered 200,000 missing bitcoins in a wallet that the company no longer uses, reducing the total number of bitcoins still missing to 650,000 from 850,000.

"We believed there were no bitcoins left in old wallets, but found 199,999.99 bitcoins on March 7," Mt. Gox chief executive Mark Karpels said in a document released Thursday.

Mt. Gox said it reported the discovery of the bitcoins to its lawyers on March 8, and moved the discovered bitcoins to offline storage between the March 14 and 15.

The exchange filed for court protection on Feb. 28. At the time, Mr Karpeles told a news conference it had lost 750,000 bitcoins owned by users and 100,000 held by the company, citing the possibility the bitcoins had been withdrawn without authorization.

The exchange was shut down Feb. 25.

FatalLogic 1 day ago 0 replies      
Although it's taken Mt. Gox two weeks to report this, amazingly, it was public knowledge as soon as it happened on March 7/8, because the movement of over $100,000,000 was instantly visible on the public Blockchain. Reddit noticed it immediately: http://redd.it/1zshct

Most of it was in this transaction of 180,000 bitcoins -


From that evidence alone, it wasn't clear who had control of the money. Mt. Gox, or a hacker, but the Mt.Gox API was still up, and the API confirmed that this was a Mt.Gox-controlled transaction. Reddit saw that, too: http://redd.it/1zswul

dperfect 1 day ago 3 replies      
Many people are expressing surprise by the events that have unfolded here with Mark Karpeles and Mt. Gox, but I'm not surprised in the least.

I've known several web developer "enthusiasts" over the years who know just enough PHP (usually it's PHP, but this applies to other technologies as well) to build things that mostly work and feel confident that they can solve anything with "a little PHP." Working mostly alone, these people prefer to spend their time building constantly, and little time learning or keeping up with current best practices (or in this case, cryptography).

There are a large number of companies (many of them doing very well) built by people like this, and even when they bring on other developers, no one has the courage to tell the original developer (who is often CEO) that their code sucks and needs to be scrapped completely. They keep throwing more crap onto the pile because the machine "works" and customers are demanding new features. The original (incompetent) developer feels a sense of pride for his or her work, and nothing short of total failure (in this case, spectacular failure) will convince them that their work is anything less than genius.

It's unfortunate that some companies thrive in situations like this (it sets them up for failure), but it happens all the time.

I don't know Mark personally, but from everything I've read from him over the years, he seems to fit the description above. It doesn't necessarily mean he's a terrible person or a thief (he could be that as well, but I have no knowledge to prove one way or the other). It just means he got in over his head, and kept the site running on deeply flawed assumptions and implementations (e.g., no standard accounting, little understanding of security, etc). It's a shame that people kept coming back to Mt. Gox and entrusted the site with their money, even after those behind Mt. Gox proved themselves to be incompetent over and over again.

Is it sad? Yes. Is it surprising? The only surprising thing is how people kept going back.

As for the missing and suddenly reappearing coins, I honestly think they just had absolutely no idea where everything was. I've heard people describe Mt. Gox's infrastructure as a hodgepodge of random scripts and servers duct-taped together, and it's easy to imagine a dozen hard drives filled with an unorganized mess of Bitcoin wallets, private keys, database dumps, etc. I believe they're honestly trying to pick up the pieces, but the pieces are scattered everywhere.

sillysaurus3 1 day ago 2 replies      
It seems unlikely that Karpeles randomly stumbled across 200,000 missing bitcoins. It seems at least plausible that he attempted to steal them and is now backpedaling since people aren't buying his malleability story.

This is the first ray of hope regarding customers recovering any of their missing bitcoin though.

downandout 1 day ago 0 replies      
"Oh there's that $116 million I was looking for!". I suppose that given the level of incompetence and/or malfeasance at Mt.Gox, this shouldn't be that suprising. What is actually more surprising is that they ever became the primary BTC exchange in the first place.

I first wrote them off as a scam years ago when I read a Bitcointalk thread wherein Gox tried to explain away their aggressive "tainted" coin confiscation policy. They essentially explained that they were confiscating all coins that they deemed to be tied to theft or illegal activity at any point in the blockchain - in their sole discretion. Yet somehow, with that and many more very public red flags, they just kept growing.

fuddle 1 day ago 1 reply      
MtGox: We lost all the coins! We have no idea were they are...

Random person: Have you tried looking in your wallet?

MtGox: Found it!

riffraff 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would suggest people to try to avoid the "regulation = 1% bailouts" equation.

It would be more useful to think of regulation for bitcoin actors more in the sense of required car insurance, or not being allowed to sell food with poisonous chemicals in it.

There can be a certain amount of regulation that helps avoiding incompetent or fraudolent actors even without a money-emitting FED or a socialize-losses-privatize-gains government.

oznathan 1 day ago 0 replies      
Their official announcement is even more ridiculous. https://www.mtgox.com/img/pdf/20140320-btc-announce.pdf

The have more coins and there is evidence for that in the blockchain. Many people know about that for weeks. After they figured people were on to them they released this lie.

Nobody just forgets about 200,000 btc.

gumballhead 1 day ago 2 replies      
That lends some more plausibility to this theory: http://chrispacia.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/this-is-what-most...
Scorponok 1 day ago 2 replies      
Every new story about this makes Mt. Gox look worse. Now they're not even competent enough to steal them or have them stolen, they just lost a hundred million dollars?
salgernon 1 day ago 1 reply      
Since they are in receivership, what will happen when the adjudicator liquidates th to pay off debts? What will happen to the exchange rate when these get dumped on the market?
mantrax 1 day ago 2 replies      
I actually envy Mark Karpeles' ability to not give a fuck throughout this whole situation.

In fact, I think it's some sort of super power.

pilif 1 day ago 0 replies      
Being limited to reading the first paragraph of the linked article (paywall) and the other comments here, I can't resist to point out for those Pratchett fans among us, that this feels like the stunt Moist von Lipwig pulled in "Going Postal" in order to pay for the reconstruction of the post office.

While I feel really bad for those who lost money with MtGox, there were so many signs pointing at such an outcome: Unexperienced programmer asking all the wrong questions, background in "Magic the Gathering" card trading, zero background in banking or security.

None of that sounded particularly trustworthy and look where it went.

davyjones 1 day ago 1 reply      
All of us who look down upon Accountants take a hard look in the mirror (I am one of them who used to). Most of us are like..."meh...its just +'s and -'s with some tax component here and there, how hard can it be. I will get to it when I get to it."

Turns out all those tough exams and practices are in place to mitigate this exact scenario.

The above assuming no malicious intent on part of MtGox and the recent revelation was pure stupidity.

doktrin 1 day ago 1 reply      
This might as well be a comedy sketch. Can someone explain how this is even remotely possible?
jeffdavis 1 day ago 1 reply      
Imagine telling this story to someone that time travelled from the time Magic: The Gathering first appeared in the mid-nineties.

MtGox: "Funny story ... internet ... website to trade Magic cards ... digital currency ... so that's how we found the $100,000,000 that we accidentally misplaced. Still looking for the other $300,000,000 or so -- must be around here someplace."

matt__rose 1 day ago 0 replies      
Let me guess, they were under the couch cushions, with some Lego pieces and stale Cheetos.
llamataboot 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hold on. They just LOST over 100 million dollars? Give me back my 5 bitcoins now!
heinrich5991 1 day ago 4 replies      
Can someone post a full version of the article? I only get the first two lines...
NicoJuicy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Old trick, giving customers false hope: http://cryptopic.tumblr.com/post/80210959301/cryptopic-003
cl8ton 1 day ago 0 replies      
In other shocking news it was also revealed by MtGox the first 100k BTC in the old wallet were actually the ones owned by MtGox and were thought stolen.
coreymgilmore 1 day ago 0 replies      
This story keeps getting more ridiculous. First, Gox loses a huge amount of BTC...now all of a sudden they have found some of it?

I assume this wasn't stolen and isn't already in the blockchain somehow. I do not believe that Gox was this blind to the problem in their systems. Something seems very, very fishy about this.

roberjo 1 day ago 1 reply      
Just like finding a $20 in your laundry!
anigbrowl 1 day ago 0 replies      
Never mind that, where do I get one of those big sofas?
easy_rider 1 day ago 0 replies      
These amounts are lost all the time in governments in conventional currency..
Siecje 1 day ago 0 replies      
How were you able to trigger the double spend on mtgox anyways?
dholowiski 1 day ago 1 reply      
Sadly, I would have to pay $1 a week for 12 weeks to read the story. I think it would probably be old news by then.
elwell 1 day ago 0 replies      
Current market value of about $116M. Wow.
zobzu 1 day ago 1 reply      
loginwalled article.
jheriko 1 day ago 0 replies      
any versions of this article that i don't have to pay for?
ebbv 1 day ago 0 replies      
I can't help laughing at all this shit. I was saying for years people shouldn't be trusting their money to Mt Gox, and constantly got mocked for it. Common sense wins again.
cjunky 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anyone that believes they "simply found" those coins should PM me about a bridge I have for sale.
wellboy 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is what happens when you only have contractors in your company and no one with equity. No one cares about the business and the founder ends up with 87% equity of nothing.
aceperry 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great jokes, keep them coming! :-)
jokoon 1 day ago 0 replies      
bitcoin advertising and promoting operation: success !
Microsoft sniffed blogger's Hotmail account to trace leak cnet.com
249 points by mglauco  2 days ago   158 comments top 22
talklittle 2 days ago 9 replies      
Off topic: The name Office of Legal Compliance immediately made me think of 1984's Ministry naming. Similarly to how the Ministry of Truth's job is to spread propaganda and falsify history in the novel, this Office of Legal Compliance department's job is to ask themselves, "How far can we push the envelope toward being illegal, but still remain within legal boundaries?"

Essentially their job is dealing with things that border on being illegal. Determining how far you can get to illegality, while remaining technically inside legality.

For the first time the notion of "newspeak" in real life has clicked for me. I'd never grokked the idea from the novel, other than as some fear mongering fantasy that Orwell invented for the sake of compelling irony. But now I see, names actually make sense, from a certain angle. They weren't purely ironic devices.

For the record, I'm NOT comparing Microsoft to Big Brother. Just funny to draw that parallel in naming choices.

batoure 2 days ago 5 replies      
So you might have to make some logical leaps to get to this one with me but. Would you be willing to pay to have a email address provided my the US Postal Service? Based on a reading of the law correspondence "delivered" by the postal service would be federally protected. Maybe its time for the mail service to go digital.
300bps 2 days ago 8 replies      
Before anyone else comments that hasn't read the full article, here is the very end:

Legally, Microsoft appears to be protected by its privacy policies. The policy for Outlook.com, formerly Hotmail, states that, "We may access information about you, including the content of your communications...to protect the rights or property of Microsoft."

This is the agreement that every user agreed to when they signed up for Hotmail or Outlook. It's not carte blanche for Microsoft to go through your email, but it seems to allow them to do it for a very particular purpose.

zaroth 1 day ago 1 reply      
The way I understand it, this is a story about a reporter who had their personal email hacked in order to uncover the identity of a protected source.
jis 1 day ago 0 replies      
I remember looking into Microsoft's Healthvault product a few years ago. I was astonished to find this:

"Microsoft may access and/or disclose your personal information if we believe such action is necessary to: (a) comply with the law or respond to legal process served on Microsoft; or (b) protect the rights or property of Microsoft (including the enforcement of our agreements)."

Note clause (b). I thought it was a little off that they can examine your health records to protect their rights and property. But it looks like they are not afraid to use it!

This ditty is still there. In fact if you go to the home page for Health Vault, it says:

"It's your HealthVault account You decide who can see, use, add, and share info, and which health apps have access to it. HealthVault won't provide your health information to any other app or service without your permission."

So as advertised it looks like you get to decide. You have to read pretty far down in their privacy policy before you find the clause I first mentioned. Now of course there are cases where your private information may be used without your permission, but most people would assume that requires some form of legal process... but not for Microsoft.

nikster 1 day ago 1 reply      
I hope he can sue them and win.

What Microsoft should have done is obvious: Get the case before a judge and get a search warrant. Use the search warrant to access the communications.

Just because you own the email servers doesn't mean you get to play judge and jury.

aiiane 1 day ago 0 replies      
mikevm 1 day ago 0 replies      
For those wondering, this is probably the guy behind the wzor.net site: http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9247091/Windows_leak_...
higherpurpose 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is not the first time Microsoft had actual employees look through their users' personal accounts. At least Google only mines the data algorithmically, but this is way worse.


This is why I think Microsoft's "privacy attack ads" against Google are done in really poor taste - not necessarily because some or most of them aren't true, but because I know the company doing those ads is just as bad or worse for the very same thing they're accusing Google of. I can't support that.

ABS 2 days ago 0 replies      
jasonlotito 2 days ago 1 reply      
"The policy for Outlook.com, formerly Hotmail, states that, "We may access information about you, including the content of your communications...to protect the rights or property of Microsoft.""
nikster 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think in the end we just need an entirely different infrastructure for all this stuff. Email should never be stored on servers unencrypted.

I have used PGP/GPG but it's not good enough. It fails the mom test (as in my mom couldn't use it, and by extension, it's not ready for the mass market).

If you designed a system from the ground up to be secure, you could do much better.

jgalt212 23 hours ago 0 replies      
If someone stole from me, and I knew how to find the thief, regardless, of the legality of the methods, I'd probably do it.
dmix 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm sure his lawyers will pick this apart and the judge/jury will determine its legality.
Aoyagi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Slightly OT: I see a lot of people here talking about EULAs. What about EULAs and Europan law, EU or national? I don't think they're compatible.
mindslight 2 days ago 1 reply      
Why would you ever think they wouldn't? One of the many reasons that webmail is for jokers.
mglauco 2 days ago 2 replies      
"The company's legal department determined that it had the right to go through a private email account, citing a leak of proprietary Microsoft code."

Judicial Mandate: Necessary or Superfluous?

ChrisGaudreau 1 day ago 0 replies      
Would you rather have Google mine your emails to display ads without human involvement, or would you rather Microsoft personally read your emails? Don't get scroogled.
benguild 2 days ago 0 replies      
Other email providers do this as well.
nullc 2 days ago 0 replies      
GMail Man!

Oh wait.

Fasebook 1 day ago 0 replies      
Excellent cover story. They really pulled out all the tops.
EGreg 1 day ago 0 replies      
What did they smell in there?
SparkFun: We Hear You facebook.com
240 points by surge  2 days ago   153 comments top 26
DannyBee 2 days ago 0 replies      
One slight error.

Fluke says: "Its important to know that once weve filed for and received trademark protection, US Customs has the responsibility to determine what to stop at the border, or what to seize. In this case, we first learned of this issue from SparkFuns blog."

This is only kinda correct. It's theoretically true. However, these particular items were stopped due to an ITC order, that resulted from action taken by Fluke (though not deliberately against sparkfun).

See http://www.usitc.gov/publications/337/pub4210.pdf

This is US ITC exclusion order 337-TA-588, which is referenced in the letter customs sent to sparkfun. This was another case where they complained about the color of some multimeters. Had this action not been taken, there is a zero percent chance customs would have done anything to sparkfun.

Sadly, it's not possible to tell what the items in this order looked like for sure , because although there are "full color photographs" attached as exhibits, for some reason they scanned it in black and white ;)

(The last part of the statement, about them not knowing, is almost certainly true)

thaumaturgy 2 days ago 5 replies      
Wow, what an amazing and generous response from Fluke. I can't remember a better response from a company, ever, in a trademark / patent / copyright / licensing dispute.

And it's all written in straightforward language without a lot of marketingese.

seszett 2 days ago 2 replies      
It's a bit of a shame that Fluke uses Facebook for publishing official statements.

Other than that... well, good reaction from Fluke. I'd say all events, from seizing the multimeters to the resolution today, unfolded in the best way possible.

johansch 2 days ago 4 replies      
So the end result is still an enviromentally unfriendly destruction of 2000 perfectly fine multimeters. Just because they are yellow.
davesque 2 days ago 3 replies      
Am I the only one that is finding their response to be unsatisfactory?

Let me translate it for everyone:

"Hey, we realize how much it sucks that your merchandise was seized and will now be destroyed. As far as that goes, well...too bad. _However_, we'll allow you just this once to distribute our own merchandise and spread awareness of our brand name for us."

Is this really a fair deal? Does SparkFun really want to be under Fluke's thumb and promote Fluke's brand at the expense of promoting their own?

In addition to that, they still have a monopoly on the color yellow in their market.

How is this an admirable move by Fluke?

aray 2 days ago 1 reply      
Given that Fluke multimeters cost about 10x what the destroyed ones are, sparkfun is still out $30k to replace the shipment + destruction fees, and now have probably 200 fluke units to try to recoup some costs with.
sisk 2 days ago 1 reply      
Summary of events leading to this response:

SparkFun has been selling a type of inexpensive digital multimeter since 2008.

About two weeks ago, they were informed that a recent shipment of 2,000 units (a $30,000 value) was seized by customs due to a trademark owned by Fluke (granted 2003). Specifically, their units violate Fluke's branding (gray face, yellow border).

The Chinese manufacturer won't take them back (prohibitively expensive due to import tax) so SparkFun has to pay to have the units warehoused ($150/day) andvery shortlydestroyed ($150/hour).

Moving forward, SparkFun will change their DMMs to be red instead of yellow.

mindslight 2 days ago 2 replies      
So then, nothing to be done about the needless destruction of the shipment of meters by customs? As Sparkfun said, Fluke could easily issue a temporary license to prevent that draconian waste.

If they think those meters are actually going to dilute their brand (hint: they really aren't), then make the importation license require Sparkfun to rework the meters domestically before distributing them.

stevenkovar 2 days ago 1 reply      
It would be interesting to see SparkFun introduce their products with their own red color to brand hobbyist equipment as its own segmentcompliment Fluke's reliance on color to connote the primary qualities of the brand.

Red = accessible, versatile hobbyist equipmentYellow = rugged, reliable industrial equipment

Great response from Fluke nonetheless.

ubercore 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great response, as far as I'm concerned. I especially appreciate them explaining why this issue could be more than just "trademark gone awry".
imroot 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm impressed that Fluke took these steps to go above and beyond what I expected them to do in this situation. This was written in a very neutral tone without marketing spin.
skeletonjelly 2 days ago 0 replies      
Had to look it up myself.

Context: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7428799

bronson 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just when I thought I couldn't love Fluke any more. Impressive products, impressive company.

I'm going to be reloading the "Fluke" search on Sparkfun until something shows up in the products section...

smoyer 1 day ago 1 reply      
You really have to wonder why a vendor of "precision test equipment" would want to protect a trademark of the word "fluke"[1]. Wouldn't you rather your measurements were "consistent"?

[1] http://www.thefreedictionary.com/fluke - definition #3

pmorici 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's kind of silly that you can trademark a color like that. Maybe Sparkfun should have Fluke's red meters stopped at the border because they are red, the color associated with the Sparkfun brand. It probably doesn't make business sense for them to do that though.


Fluke's entry level meter is $130 on Amazon maybe they should make a less expensive model for Sparkfun to sell to the makers.

urza 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is ridiculous. How can you trademark yellow color? America is crazy.

All these patents, copyrights, trademarks and other form of memes monopolization are only slowing down cultural evolution to the disadvantage for all of us. The cultural evolution work similarly as biological. If yellow color is good for users, let is spread. Then some company will most likely add small tweak that will turn into yet another benefit and better product. The society benefits. Whereas in current system only one company benefits. That is wrong because patents etc were made to benefit the society, not some greedy companies.

kubiiii 1 day ago 0 replies      
Metrix multimeter usually are blue. I can think of at least another quality multimeter brand that use the yellow/dark grey. What if red was not even an option to make cheap multimeter and if all the colors were covered by patents?
forgotAgain 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good products and a good PR department as well. Most companies don't have either.
damian2000 1 day ago 1 reply      
If SparkFun had decided to drop ship those same multimeters to their end-customers directly out of China (or wherever they are sourced from), via mail, would customs have seized each individual multimeter? I think not.
nickbauman 2 days ago 1 reply      
Instead of destroying them, why not paint them so as not to waste them?
eyeareque 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can't they just make a (maybe 3d printed) stencil, and then spray paint the devices a different color? Sure, it could rightfully add 3-4 dollars of cost to each device, but it makes more sense than just destroying them.
TerraHertz 1 day ago 1 reply      
Superficially it may seem like a generous response from Fluke. But you can bet that if there wasn't such a backlash against their action of lodging a complaint with US Customs, they would not have done this. Also I think they were already suffering serious commercial and image harm, which they realized would only get worse.

So really, it's self-preservation, not generosity.

Generosity would be to accept that 'yellow body, dark face' is not something they should try to own, or be able to own. If they cancel their ridiculous Mark registration, then I might believe Fluke had developed an actual soul, instead of mere corporate image loss/benefit calculation.

AjithAntony 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ooh, Maybe we'll get a chance to buy a Fluke from Sparkfun for $15 (or less)
sitkack 2 days ago 0 replies      
Let this be a lesson on damage control. If you can do something like this, you should. They have nipped a kerfuffle in the bud.
quarterwave 1 day ago 0 replies      
Imagine how much money would have been spent if this had to go to court to achieve the same result: we'll let you go this time, but in future please pay more attention to product design/appearance.
alexjv89 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow ...
The MtGox 500 stamen.com
239 points by bryanjowers  2 days ago   40 comments top 18
jimrandomh 2 days ago 3 replies      
Users 1 and 15's charts make no sense - they have to be special system accounts of some sort. My guess is that #15 is the account that receives trading fees, and #1 represents MtGox itself (or some specific aspect of MtGox, such as its cold-storage).

There're still a lot of points on these plots that don't make sense, though; generally they look like vertical stripes labelled as sets of small sell orders, both far below and far above the market price. User 30 has what looks like a large sell (in Mar 2013) far above the highest-ever price. So either MtGox's order-matching is way more broken than anyone ever knew (unlikely), or these actually represent fees, withdraws, or something similar, and the y-axis position is meaningless.

Also worthy of note is that massive sell order by user 1 in Nov 2013. That's hard to interpret without knowing what the dots on that graph really mean (I doubt they're trades), but it's likely significant.

nostromo 2 days ago 1 reply      
How amazing would it be if we had this kind of data for publicly traded stocks?
pdeuchler 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool. Important to realize the graphs are on a log scale... threw me for a loop for a second before I noticed.

Could one of these graphs represent the activity of Willy[0]?

As an aside, I experienced a nice bit of schadenfreude when looking at a lot of the graphs from ~250 to ~299

[0] https://bitcointalk.org/index.php?topic=497289.0

ChuckMcM 2 days ago 2 replies      
Fun stuff. Bryan if this is your site can you add to the plot in the corner a dot with net value change? Assume that all bitcoin "held" are currently worthless, so a holding of 10 btc at the end would be -10*last sale price recorded on the exchange. That would give an interesting idea of which traders "won" the game and which "lost."
enjalot 2 days ago 1 reply      
I love seeing the mostly red charts, looks like people that mined a lot. check #145 and #180.These people are selling at exponential curves on a log plot... mind blowing.
ebspelman 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is really beautiful. It's an amazing amount of information to be borne (almost) purely visually.

My favorite is 117. They are the Devon Sawa in Final Destination of Bitcoin.

Zweihander 2 days ago 1 reply      
Any theories on user 15?

The amount of money lost is a little easier to get your head around when you see so many traders buying at relatively high prices towards the end.

drakaal 2 days ago 1 reply      
The biggest take away from this is that bots were driving the price up, and preventing its fall.

"Bots" offer a lot of stability to the market because they don't react to bad news. Though an error can cause "flash crashes" As happened in May of 2010 on the stock market.


dalek2point3 2 days ago 0 replies      
i want to get married to stamen. the company. they're so awesome.
firebones 1 day ago 0 replies      
What pattern would most likely represent the Winklevoss pattern? Assuming there was trading prior to raising public awareness?
smrtinsert 1 day ago 0 replies      
Really cool visualization. I wish we could see similar for retail vs institutional traders in the capital markets.
zxexz 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is incredibly well done. Did you just download all the data and analyze it with some crazy R skills?
square1 2 days ago 0 replies      
1-45 is interesting when compared to 15. Others mentioned this may be a bug in data interpretation or a GOX account, but if you look at all of the high volume traders you can see horizontal striations that correlate with user15.
BTC_BruceWillis 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pretty interesting stuff. Thanks for the dataviz. What kind of coin volume did it take to get in to the top 500?
than 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great use of small multiples.
munimkazia 1 day ago 0 replies      
Isn't User 15 proof that the entire market is flawed and the users were scammed?
bertil 2 days ago 2 replies      
Im not sure I understand the difference between the green Selling BitCoins (to get Dollars, presumably) and Buying Dollars (by selling BitCoins, also presumably).

Im even more puzzled by the rates out of trade: did MtGox allowed traders to agree one-on-one on their own rates? That would allow a lot more laundering than any theft.

Missing too are relative size of the traders.

imperialdrive 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hexagon 16384 rudradevbasak.github.io
226 points by xtacy  2 days ago   107 comments top 42
nkoren 2 days ago 5 replies      
Programmers of the world: please stop with the 2048 clones. We have jobs to do. Partners to attend to. Friends to acknowledge. Pets to feed. Plants to water. Have some mercy already!
simias 2 days ago 3 replies      
Can people who use non-qwerty keyboard tell me if they have any convenient tricks for playing those html games that almost never let you rebind keys? Having to switch mapping is so inconvenient...

If web gaming becomes a thing I think people should start thinking about a standard way to let people rebind their keys, through the browser or some common library.

zoba 2 days ago 3 replies      
Is my math correct? If we simplify and say we make 1 move per second, the game only drops 1 tokens, and we always make a perfect move...this will take 4.5 hours (16384/60/60) to complete?

In reality my moves take more than a second, and I know I don't make perfect moves. So, over 4.5 hours.

nathancahill 2 days ago 4 replies      
Feels like I'm playing 2048 drunk. Every move requires a little thought to make sure I'm moving in the right direction. And having two extra sides on the shape is messing with my eyes.
joeframbach 2 days ago 1 reply      
45 minutes later: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ljo1ie3ly6g2pqf/Screenshot%202014-...

I'm done. I have banished myself from these kinds of games.

gpvos 2 days ago 0 replies      
It appears that the only thing more addictive than playing 2048 is writing a 2048 clone.
protomyth 2 days ago 2 replies      
If there is a version that needs swipe compatibility, this is it because playing with the keyboard is painful.
emp_ 2 days ago 1 reply      
This had the craziest effect on my vision, anyone else seeing everything else extremely square after playing it? I mean the borders of windows, the headers of sites etc. Everything was sooo round before.
romanovcode 2 days ago 1 reply      
This[0] is what Hacker News is becoming lately.

[0]: http://i.imgur.com/F0t5T21.png

rwallace 1 day ago 2 replies      
Jokes aside, I will suggest that:

1. Making harmful products is a bad idea.

2. If you chose to make a harmful product as a programming exercise, publishing it is a bad idea.

3. If you find someone else has published a harmful product, posting a link to a forum is a bad idea.

4. If you find someone else has posted a link to a harmful product, upvoting it is a bad idea.

Life is complicated. There is no simple formula that will tell you the right thing to do in the general case. And sometimes even when we know which is which, we end up doing the wrong thing because the right thing would be harder.

But when we know which is which, and the right thing is easy? Then, at least, we should be able to stop doing the wrong thing.

Lerc 2 days ago 0 replies      
There's a bug that causes an inconsistency with the displayed dumber on a disc and the internal value. (interestingly the colour of the disc is appropriate to the internal value).

I think it is happening when a merge happens when it shouldn't. like 1.141 --> causes ..24X where X has the displayed number 1 but the colour and behaviour of a 2. I'm not positive on that but it feels like something along those lines.

[edit] I just got a disc which had the number was 4 in the top half and 2 in the lower. Moving the mouse off the screen and back again fixed it. I'm now figuring it's the browser rendering that's glitching rather than game logic.

legulere 2 days ago 1 reply      
Every rectangle (GUI elements, keys on the keyboard) looks really hard after playing this for a while.
ApertureHour 2 days ago 1 reply      
I already had the experience of text appearing tiny after staring at the old grid version for another long playthrough. Now I have that, plus everything seeming overly blocky and stout, even things in the room around me. It's almost like a visual equivalent of getting tingling or pins and needles after not using a limb. I guess it's just another fun reminder that what we see is not the raw data from our retinal cells, but the adaptive interpretation that our visual cortex cobbles together.
cammil 2 days ago 1 reply      
It upsets me that the circles are not hexagons.

Why oh why?

Tepix 1 day ago 0 replies      
It's unplayable on a german keyboard, they have "z" and "y" swapped. Perhaps you can make "y" behave the same as "z"?
OscarCunningham 2 days ago 3 replies      
This spawns 1's and expects me to get to 16384. So that'll take about 16383 moves then?
visakanv 1 day ago 0 replies      
I've been making great progress just spamming "AWEAWEAWEAWEAWEAWEAWEAWEAWE"... and then realized that it's going to take hours. I'm done. Fun, though.
TrainedMonkey 2 days ago 0 replies      
As in other derivatives three side strategy works pretty well. In this game that translates to awed key combination with top being accumulation direction.
navpatel 1 day ago 0 replies      
People seem to be thinking hard about this game.. but if you're spending 1+ second/move it'll definitely take forever.

Think about it like shaking a jar of pebbles, where the heavier ones fall to the bottom.Now simulate this by press Z->A & X->D back and forthYou can get a high score pretty quick. And if you see a situation where a low number is stuck at the bottom, make specific moves to get at that one, then go back to shaking the jar!

notacoward 2 days ago 0 replies      
Seems much easier. I've never gotten past 2048 on the square versions, but I'm already up to 4096 on my first game which isn't even done yet. I think having two forward angles and five rows to work with makes a huge difference in keeping things organized.
anigbrowl 2 days ago 1 reply      
Surprisingly, I'm finding this far easier and more absorbing than the square version. That means something, but I'm not sure what apart from my preference for all things hexagonal...
claudius 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hm, this doesnt seem to load for me on Firefox 28.0 I just see the brown-ish circles, but nothing is filled in. Curiously, in another profile, everything is fine.

Im new to Firefox, any ideas on how to debug this? Disabling add-ons didnt help and Id rather not scratch my entire profile.

einhverfr 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think this one should be called "The Endurance Test."

It should take at least 8 times as long to win as 2048.

codezero 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was really surprised that this control system is very intuitive, with the keys forming a hexagon, I didn't have to look down at the keyboard or do any sort of translation of what I wanted into the keys to press.
jrobbins 2 days ago 0 replies      
The thing that I found interesting is that this is much much easier than 2048. This algorithm does very well:

  while not game over:    while these moves do anything:      mash a, z, and x as fast as you can    tap d

reidrac 1 day ago 0 replies      
Use preventDefault() so the arrow keys won't move the page if there are scrollbars.
fuzzythinker 2 days ago 0 replies      
I recommend using the normal arrow keys, plus press&hold shift or spacebar & arrow keys for the other 2 directions.
userbinator 2 days ago 0 replies      
Games based on powers of 2 are now the latest fad?

Certainly exposing the general public to powers of 2 is not a bad thing... especially with computers becoming more ubiquitous in our lives.

DavidSJ 1 day ago 0 replies      
Typing A, Z, X, D repetitively seems to be an effective strategy.
lerg 2 days ago 1 reply      
Hey! It's like my game! Have you played my version before creating yours?https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.spiralcode...
j2kun 2 days ago 0 replies      
I feel like this one is easier.
amjaeger 1 day ago 0 replies      
A lot easier just using a touch screen but its starting to feel tedious. Also reading the comments about the game taking 4 hrs... maybe I'll just quit before I waste too much time.
tnash 2 days ago 0 replies      
I played for about 10 minutes and owww does my brain hurt.
alxndr 2 days ago 0 replies      
Dvorak version please!
elwell 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ah, a more creative fork. I like the keyboard mapping.
peg_leg 2 days ago 0 replies      
This isn't any fun any more...I CAN'T STOP PLAYING!
missing_cipher 2 days ago 1 reply      
Now we need a 3D one.
mepcotterell 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is my favorite version of the game, with the doge version coming in a very close second.
dsego 2 days ago 0 replies      
No, just no.
ttty 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just crazy! :D
nighthawk24 2 days ago 0 replies      
Apple and Googles wage-fixing involved dozens more companies, over 1M employees pando.com
219 points by Hoff  9 hours ago   100 comments top 27
CoolGuySteve 8 hours ago 6 replies      
People decry the greed of financial sector employees, but one of the best things about moving there from silicon valley was that people had a pretty good idea of their worth as a proportion of the firm's balance sheet.

I really appreciated that compensation expenses on the balance sheet of a typical investment bank are fixed at 37-39% throughout the year, with the delta between salary and allotment being paid out as bonuses. It significantly improved my income.

I would gladly work at a tech company with a similar incentive structure, and I think more engineers should start asking for it. Financiers get paid a lot in the form of bonuses, but the correct answer is not to daisy cut by hollowing out their income. We should be asking why tech employees don't also make the same kind of revenue.

When Google and Apple have profits per employee of over $1M but the average engineer salary is only slightly higher than $100K according to glass door while both these companies are building stockpiles of cash holdings, something is obviously broken.

I suspect part of it is the 'doing it for passion' mantra, but another part of it was Apple HR's now obviously crooked refrain of 'we pay the prevailing market wage'. Just because I'm doing something I'm passionate about doesn't mean I like getting ripped off.

ChuckMcM 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I've lived and worked in the bay area for 30 years this month. Scary to think about but it lends an interesting perspective.

At some point in their growth, senior management is far enough away from the day to day engineering that the differences between individuals becomes nearly completely obscured except for a small percentage of standout folks.

This level of management is incenting a group to 'grow the company' and they need more folks to do more things. The problem is that engineers have wildly variable effectiveness in a role (they aren't fungible as folks would like) and the recruiting group is being rated on 'quality hires'.

So if you split the population of engineering talent into loosely defined groups of 'employed at a hot[1] company', 'employed at a non-hot[2] company', or 'unemployed' the recruiters consider these (unreasonably) to be 'best', 'ok', and 'not ok' groups to recruit from because they correlate the hot/not-hot bit to their incentive probability.

In the 80's it was Intel, AMD, and National Semiconductor all trying to growth by hiring the 'hot' talent from their competitors. In the 90's it was Ebay, Yahoo, and Sun, and in the naughts it was Google, Oracle, Intuit, Paypal etc.

So you have this system set up and the 'cheapest' way (in an economic sense) for a recruiter to be successful is to exploit the work of some previous recruiter that was successful and recruit the top talent from their pool into your pool. Combined with California's labor laws which favor employees and you end up with a situation that repeats itself over and over and over again.

The issue is that recruiting quality people out of the entire pool is "hard" and poaching the top engineers at a competitor is "easy." We don't incentivize recruiters to do the hard work, which leads to a host of other problems as well (like ageism, university discrimination, etc)

[1] 'hot' in this context is buzzworthy or having good growth and execution press. (exemplars, 'Google', 'Facebook' or 'Apple')

[2] 'non-hot' is a company that is idling along (not failing) but not generating a lot of buzz either (exemplar 'Computer Associates' or 'IBM')

mindslight 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Thinking about it a bit, I bet this wasn't born out of a desire to want to keep wages down per se, but a desire to avoid turnover of productive up-to-speed people.

It's quite funny to see that the downsides of near-instantaneous at-will employment are hitting companies so hard that they're willing to engage in such a boneheaded scheme, when sympathy is normally focused on employees.

Perhaps if these companies want to bring back some semblance of employee loyalty, they should start incorporating longer termination notice periods in their contracts and making employees happy before they want to leave, rather than treating individuals as interchangeable cogs and getting what they ask for.

kryptiskt 8 hours ago 2 replies      
What I don't get is that I see Eric Schmidt strutting around in all kinds of media these days, how come no one ever asks him about his role in this shit?
cottonseed 8 hours ago 1 reply      
> The agreement prompted a Department of Justice investigation, resulting in a settlement in which the companies agreed to curb their restricting hiring deals.

Wait, the result of an investigation where wrongdoing was found is ... that the companies agreed not to do it anymore? Yes, I know there is a still a civil class action lawsuit going, but still.

skore 8 hours ago 5 replies      
[edit] Yes, I know we have a title limit here, thanks for pointing it out again and again. The question is why the, in my humble opinion, most important word of the original title was dropped.

OP: Revealed: Apple and Googles wage-fixing cartel involved dozens more companies, over one million employees

HN: Apple and Googles wage-fixing involved dozens more companies, over 1M employees

Maybe this is too nit-picky even for HN, but: Why does the headline here on HN only name "wage-fixing" (aka the symptom of the problem) instead of also naming the underlying cause like the article does: This is a cartel. Dropping the word has a whiff of spin.

I sure as heck hope they get the treatment they deserve and that this will strengthen the understanding that this type of stuff is exactly why you want strong unions. Judging from the history of both in the US, I'm not holding my breath, though.

walid 6 minutes ago 0 replies      
Will the CEOs ever go to jail for this. This is clearly more than a TOS violation, which can land people in jail.
fixermark 1 hour ago 1 reply      
The funny thing about all of this is that a"cold call" block is actually something the engineers might want.

As a software engineer: I've been chased by recruiters while heads-down on a project. It's an annoying distraction. With the tools at my fingertips (glassdoor, social and professional networks of other engineers that aren't particularly restricted by corporate borders in a deeply-interconnected era), I know the market value of the job and I know who's willing to offer more and less; I also can know about the corporate and engineering culture of the other companies. In short: if I want a change, I know where the door is and I know who's hiring. While in general, I'd agree with the notion that decreased price signalling could depress wages, I think it's a stretch to push software engineers working at the listed companies into an "oppressed workers" mold; it's a notoriously well-compensated field.

It's certainly a booby-trap to reason from one's own experience. But I find myself thinking that software engineers themselves might welcome the idea of a "no cold-call" list.

daphneokeefe 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Anecdotaly, I recently moved home to San Francisco from Charlotte, NC. The dominant employers in Charlotte are the big banks, and there aren't a lot of major tech companies there. I was surprised to find that the pay scale -- contract or salaried -- is about the same or less in SF for a senior web developer, despite the great difference in the cost of living in those cities. Maybe this explains it.
Clanan 7 hours ago 1 reply      
To entrepreneurs, business people, managers, etc.:

Please remember that your company is more than its product its a group of people surrounded by a community of family, children, neighbors, etc. Whether your goal is world-changing or niche, do your best to take care of those people as professionally as you can. Business is business of course, but dont rationalize bending the rules just to make a few more bucks.

If you get caught, youll pay. But even if you get away with it, remember how powerful a guilty conscience can be at turning profits into dust.

aspensmonster 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Tech workers totally don't need a union.
justinph 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Shocking, but not necessarily surprising given what has already been revealed.

Seems like the kind of thing that a union would help protect against.

martinald 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This is absolutely ridiculous. There should be some seriously punitive fines for this.

While I can see the lack of sympathy because these employees are so well compensated and rewarded for the work, if this affected blue-collar jobs instead there would be people on the streets, and quite rightly.

As someone else pointed out, Google and Apple are probably making on the order of $900k/year profit per employee - there is obviously cash in the bank to pay market salaries without resorting to disgraceful tactics like this.

outside1234 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anyone know how we sign on to the class action? I was at Microsoft and then Google during this time and this probably affected my starting salary at Google.
danra 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I wonder what the general mood is regarding this in Apple and Google. More importantly, I wonder if there are going to be any significant repercussions. Would appreciate comments from employees of these companies, whether this information being uncovered has had any effect in the workplace so far.
ChristianMarks 50 minutes ago 0 replies      
The apologetics here are nauseating. You want to be slaves. Maybe technical labor ought to form its own cartel and stop working for these companies. Let the executives clean their own toilets.
cykho 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Your contribution at a big company amounts of a little under half the compensation equation (the rest is politics). If you want to work at a big company spent half your time playing the game. If you want your life to be about your work go to a startup.
walshemj 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Interesting that it has reached the UK. Maybe we need an investigation in the Uk/EU as well.
graiz 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Reading the actual text that's included in the article it seems to say that this is a non-poaching agreement for senior level roles. Specifically it says not to "Cold Call." It specifically excludes engineers and non-senior level roles so the allegation that it's over 1M employees is also not accurate as that number would include non-managers.
patrickxb 6 hours ago 1 reply      
All the law firms in NYC (perhaps other cities) pay the same salary to all associates. It's agreed upon between them.

That being said, it's not exactly a suppression of the salary as I believe it is quite reasonable, but more like an equal playing field. You wouldn't go to another firm based on salary.

jroseattle 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Don't be evil.
jasonlotito 7 hours ago 0 replies      
So, what people don't realize, is that this affects the entire industry, whether you were employed by one of these companies or not. With over 1M employees driving "market rates" for salaries, others followed and competed on those terms. This also impact hiring and employment for so many.

Basically, anyone paying a competitive market rate these days is effectively benefiting from this. As a programmer, you should approach companies with this mindset.

ulfw 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Oh good ol' Silicon Valley
rco8786 6 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm actually really confused. I don't understand how companies agreeing to not cold call each other's employees is "overwhelming evidence of wage fixing".
pskittle 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Oh boy! It's just worth asking what kind of world we're leaving behind for our predecessors.We're pushing humanity forward but at what cost .
soheil 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Incredible how so many people still kill to work at those companies. Maybe this is a sign that likes of Google on are on decline at least as far as their ability to attract top talent is concerned.
paul9290 7 hours ago 0 replies      
What is the going salary in a general sense for a UI/UX Developer in Silicon Valley these days? From junior to mid to senior level? Thanks!
About that time Google spied on my Gmail uncrunched.com
218 points by uptown  1 day ago   122 comments top 28
patio11 1 day ago 6 replies      
Google also had a class-action suit by AdWords advertisers many years ago. They settled. This required messaging all members of the class. Typically this is handled by postal mail. Google also delivered messages over email and, in the bargain, decided if your email address ended in gmail.com they'd take a peak at certain information in your Gmail account to make sure you had gotten it. We know they did this because Google's lawyers bragged about it to the court in a legal filing.

I was not thrilled about this, more of the principle of the thing than for any major harm caused by that particular disclosure. http://www.kalzumeus.com/2006/07/28/googles-lawyers-admit-to...

mseebach 1 day ago 3 replies      
Uh uh. So we have something being stated as plain fact which, if true, would have been a major, major story by a journalist not exactly known for holding back in his reporting - yet the particular story was never reported as such (the bit about scaring sources is BS, he could just switch channels which he did anyway).

The only corroborating evidence is drunk hearsay. The supposed fallout is implied. I mean, he just knows that Google read his mail - but he doesn't have any solid ideas if his source who he has a direct relationship was fired?

No matter what one wants to think of Google, there is not a single ounce of meat on this story.

panarky 1 day ago 2 replies      
The facts as Arrington presents them don't justify being "nearly certain that Google accessed my Gmail account".

Even assuming his drunken source was accurate and truthful, there are other explanations for how Google could access the source's email.

This event happened "a few years ago", when Yahoo, Hotmail and AOL weren't protecting their email with SSL. Google could easily watch unencrypted traffic crossing its internal network and flag sensitive communications.

If they're not doing this, they should be. They don't have to read Arrington's Gmail to get his source's unencrypted communications with a non-Gmail provider, as long as his source was using a Google computer or a Google network.

Jugurtha 1 day ago 2 replies      
1 - And this is the most important: Assume your e-mails are being read. I have taken this many, many, many years ago before there were even leaks about NSA or Google/Microsoft collaborating or something from Fravia+. He wasn't wrong. If you don't know who that is, you're missing out.

2 - The fact the source communicated with you using a non Gmail account is of minor importance, because you were communicating with a Gmail account with a source working at Google breaking a story about Google. It is not very smart. Really.

2 - Did the source get fired ? If not, there is a good chance "they" were lying: It's not like a company will keep an employee leaking stuff (if the story was "that" major).

3 - Did you address the source by their name in your correspondance, or talked about any identifying details ? Meeting place ? Phone numbers..

Most people don't just realize how much info they're giving away because they're accustomed to talking in a certain way.

mililani 1 day ago 3 replies      
Before more people come in to defend Google, ive known for quite awhile that theyve been snooping their own employees emails. Before gmail went live nearly 10 years ago, there were beta accounts one could get. The only way you could get one was via invitation, and people were willing to pay money for those invites. This one girl i knew who worked at google decided to sell her invites to people. She was selling them to friends. Some how google found out about this. It was against company policy for people to be selling these invites. But, they found out she was and fired her. Thr rumor was they somehow pieced the info back to her. But unless the forced a confession out of these people, we surmised it was because she was sending all of these invitees paypal links for payment. She even told us later thats the only way they could have k own she was selling invites to gmail. So, yeah, not surprised by this at all.

Personally, i use my own smtp server to do all of my mail. It is not completely secure since the nsa can see everything, but its better than trusting google or hotmail.

mdisraeli 1 day ago 0 replies      
As an exercise, I'm trying to think through what UK law would say about doing similar with hosted email within the UK for EU residents[1].

I am not a lawyer, and I'm not the one making the call for my clients on any potentially legal matters. Would appreciate to hear the thoughts of those with experience in this area.

My gut feeling is that, although users may have signed T&Cs allowing this, UK/EU courts would hold that there is a reasonable expectation of privacy around the mailbox, and so the Regulation Of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 (RIPA) would apply [2]. This means that such a host couldn't go digging themselves into the email.

However, a potential route in could be via getting the source to make a subject access request under the Data Protection Act 2000 (DPA) into the organisation, supplying their external email address, in response to which there would be a very tenuous grounds to release the mail. However:1. I'm fairly sure that this would be considered a misreading of the DPA, and hosted mail would be considered information held by the client, rather than the host2. There's such an obvious claim here that all of this would have happened under duress, and that's a huge can of worms....

So in conclusion, I suspect the only way to legally get at such an email within the UK/EU would be via working with law enforcement, or via one of the two parties to the discussion providing it.

[1] Most of the relevant acts of UK law are descended from common EU legislation, and apply broadly across the EU, hence the repeated use of UK/EU here

[2] Unless you're working in certain very strict offices with clear Security Operating Procedures (SyOPS) and regular training, UK/EU courts are likely rule that even corporate email systems can be considered to hold personal communications protected under RIPA

TrevorJ 1 day ago 4 replies      
"I certainly freaked out when this happened, but I never said anything about it because I didnt want people to be afraid to share information with TechCrunch."

So basically he's ok with screwing over potential sources because he didn't want to be assed to change his email provider? Classy.

brown9-2 1 day ago 2 replies      
An alternate, but maybe not more plausible explanation, is that the employee sent the email on the Google office network and the traffic was being logged anyway.
iSnow 1 day ago 4 replies      
It is beyond me why people with a high technological competence use Gmail. I know it is convenient, but then please stop bitching that Google or the NSA will read your mails.
DannyBee 1 day ago 1 reply      
Or, you know, his source lied?
masev 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why is everyone treating this as if it's fact?!

"nearly certain" doesn't cut it in terms of proof, the burden of which is on Arrington.

josefresco 1 day ago 1 reply      
Or maybe Google accessed his (the leaker's) account? Both actions would be equally offensive but there's no smoking gun here. Maybe this guy left his email logged in when he took a bathroom break... maybe he "lost" his phone which had the email account in question setup.
josephlord 1 day ago 0 replies      
If you are not causing embarrassment or other harm (in Google's view) you are probably pretty safe unless you are entering or likely to enter a major business deal with Google. In those circumstances I wouldn't want to risk Google reading internal communications.

This means any startup even open to acquisition should probably avoid hosting private communications with likely buyers including Microsoft, Google and Facebook. When millions of pounds may be on the table it just isn't worth the risk that somebody in the big company decides they want an advantage in the negotiation.

WalterBright 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd use, and pay for, cloud services such as storage if they offered end-to-end encryption. I do a lot of work for clients under NDA, and there's no way I can use any of the current crop of cloud drives.
Zhenya 1 day ago 0 replies      
Blatant hearsay
emmelaich 1 day ago 0 replies      
I would actually _like_ Google to read my mail on my request so that I can prove that my brother's gmail address is really his. (he had it hijacked)

There doesn't seem to be any mechanism to have them do so :-(

domdip 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd really like to see a public statement (hopefully a denial) by Google about this. As a matter of policy large tech companies often don't discuss how they track down leakers, or even permit speculation about it.
ilolu 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I can't believe Arrington would not have posted a techcrunch article when and if this had happened. This seems just another attention grabbing article.
jonathonf 1 day ago 2 replies      
Isn't this the sort of thing PGP/GPG was designed for?
Mizza 1 day ago 1 reply      
Out them. You're not helping anybody by not naming names.
robg 1 day ago 0 replies      
Same story if I use Google Apps for my company?
techsiva 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I knew a person in Facebook who actually looks into other people's private photos. When one of my friend was supposed to chat with this guy and send her photos for traditional 'arranged' Indian marriage, this Stanford educated guy told my friend that he had already seen her profile and other pictures in Facebook. The surprise was all her pictures were private at that point!
techsiva 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I knew a person in Facebook who actually looked into other people's private photos. When one of my friend was supposed to chat with this guy and send her photos for traditional 'arranged' Indian marriage, this Stanford educated guy told my friend that he had already seen her pictures in Facebook. The surprise was all her pictures were private at that point!
higherpurpose 1 day ago 1 reply      
Once again: if a decent looking/working e-mail client with end to end encryption appears this year, I'll move to it almost immediately. So if Google wants to keep me as a Gmail users, they'd better enable the DarkMail protocol [1] or something similar in their e-mail client.

[1] - http://silentcircle.wordpress.com/2013/10/30/announcing-the-...

Same goes for Hangouts for that matter. As soon as TextSecure is fully cross-platform, I'm switching completely to it.

dsugarman 1 day ago 0 replies      
do no evil
marincounty 1 day ago 1 reply      
True story ahead, and I can't figure out how Google did this to me. About a year ago, I noticed a picture of myselfon my Google profile. I never gave them a picture. I don't even have my real mug on Facebook, but somehow Google got into my pictures on my Ipad and took a jpeg? I immediately deleted it. I still can't figure out how they got into the ipad file?
harry61286 1 day ago 0 replies      
Is this about a googler's wife?
lucb1e 1 day ago 1 reply      
> a Google employee, approached me at a party in person

Personally, I would have said "fuck you" and walked away. They are never available to speak to when you need them. Even when being helpful and reporting bugs, they don't even acknowledge having read it. They always need to come to you. No, fuck that, help your customers for a change.

I know this is semi off-topic, but it so bugs me about Google (and basically most other major tech firms) that this is the knee-jerk reaction to reading the story, instead of the actual point.

Revelations of N.S.A. Spying Cost U.S. Tech Companies nytimes.com
218 points by cottonseed  1 day ago   110 comments top 18
jobu 1 day ago 5 replies      
"Even as Washington grapples with the diplomatic and political fallout of Mr. Snowdens leaks ..."

That statement is a perfect example of the real problem with the US government and many journalists. They don't see the actual spying as the cause of all the backlash - it's all Snowden's fault for telling the world.

minimax 1 day ago 5 replies      
The Forrester note that the article links to is a little more balanced that the NYT article. If you don't have time to read the whole thing, here are some good quotes:

It's naive and dangerous to think that the NSA's actions are unique. Nearly every developed nation on the planet has a similar intelligence arm which isn't as forthcoming about its procedures for requesting and gaining access to service provider (and ultimately corporate) data. As stated in the ITIF report, German intelligence has the G10 act which let's them monitor telecommunications traffic without a court order.

The fact of the matter is that the IT services market is a part of our portfolios because it provides capabilities we value either against IT or business metrics. And it's highly likely these values are worth more to you than the potential risk you think your company faces due to government surveillance. And if your company is a prime target for government surveillance, you are probably being watched from within your own firewalls right now.

... you can take actions yourself to protect your data from prying eyes when using these services. A quick tip: bring your own encryption. If you hold the keys the governments can't get to your data by going through your service provider.


ddlatham 1 day ago 2 replies      
It's not the revelations that are costing the tech companies. It's the spying.
ihsw 1 day ago 2 replies      
> [IBM] is spending $1.2 billion to build cloud computing centers around the world to lure foreign customers who are sensitive about the location of their data.

IBM et al are still American companies, and until they're immune to American legislation (ie: FISA Section 702) then no-one will touch them with a fifty-foot ethernet cable. The location of the data is irrelevant.

The US Government will not budge on this issue, and they will happily throw the entire tech industry under the bus. Bailing out Silicon Valley and nationalizing as much as possible is very appealing, too.

sschueller 1 day ago 0 replies      
What I find scary is the amount of datacenters being built by US companies abroad.

For example Equinix is building large datacenter all over Switzerland. Swiss companies are blindly trusting them with their equipment. Equinix controls the keys and access to you racks and cages. They can get to your hardware with ease and surely will when is US government asks no matter what Swiss laws may say.

What I also find suspect is the amount of investment banks (never heard of any of them before) in these datacenters with large cages of machines. Are they really investment banks or a cover for machines where the NSA stores data. If they can monitor an entire nation for a month they have to store that data somewhere close when dealing with such huge data volumes.

bsder 1 day ago 0 replies      
The solution to this isn't "different datacenters".

It's to go back to the original end-to-end internet so I can run my servers on my premises.

That won't stop the NSA from targeting me specifically. But it makes the whole dragnet thing a lot harder when the data is coming from a million physically distributed sources instead of 1,000 sources in one datacenter.

rdl 1 day ago 3 replies      
The main cost for me is that I plan to move myself and company to Berlin, DE rather than Bellevue, WA. Given the vastly better hiring position, great universities, CCC, and overall benefits of being in Europe, this seems to be a negative cost overall.

So thanks, NSA.

dmix 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm happy NYTimes changed the headline. It used to say "Edward Snowden Leaks Cost US Tech Companies Millions"

Now they properly changed it to NSA spying as the cause.

zmanian 1 day ago 0 replies      
If we as a society tolerate large scale institutions devoted to undermining and exploiting trust, we will all be immensely poorer. Rule of law , robust institutions and trustworthy systems are the basic infrastructure of the economy. It is outrageous that nation states are attacking these foundations for short term advantage.
sixothree 1 day ago 2 replies      
Personally I've been using fewer Google and other hosted services simply because they make me feel 'icky'. More and more I use startpage for general searches and tor for anything personal like medical information that I don't want in my permanent record.
whyme 1 day ago 3 replies      
How is it that IBM would gain business? They are still an American company which makes them equally susceptible to this form of data theft. I can't see handing my data over to IBM any more than I would Facebook or Amazon. Surely the article could have picked a better example.
noir_lord 1 day ago 0 replies      
Good, if you engaged in the spying you deserve to be hurt.

If you didn't then that is unfortunate but hopefully they'll apply pressure to those that did.

sehugg 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Not a lot here about China. One can only speculate whether they've been on top of our surveillance efforts all along, and how much of the Golden Shield project is about defense rather than censorship.
higherpurpose 1 day ago 1 reply      
Finally, some good news!
TheSmoke 1 day ago 0 replies      
OT: is it allowed to post news / articles which require signing up? i'm in turkey right now and every time i click for a nytimes link, i see this: http://imgur.com/e8VVI9v
arca_vorago 1 day ago 1 reply      
The issue of foreseeable consequences is one of the main points I have a problem with. The public was sold war and surveillance to "protect" them, but lets face the realpolitik, it was about "National Interests" and not "National Security", which the totalitarian oligarchy like to conflate as the same. They aren't, but even if they were, they had to have had at least a few analysts in a dark room somewhere who figured this out and sent some reports up the chain. (of course they probably got fired or sent to the mail room...) They knew this was a possibility, that by turning on and growing the surveillance state and trying to kill privacy that it would increase the possibility that the programs would become public, and therefore undermine American credibility as a safe haven.

I would present to you that, while they will claim they were unaware of this potential, the reality is that they knew it, and accepted it, because what has been happening is a power play in a currently fairly quiet but still major shift in global power.

I've argued with my intel friends that they are off chasing bad guys OCONUS when the real bad guys are in DC, NY, and London, but now those same entities have a stranglehold on the intel agencies themselves (I mean, they always did, the original CIA guys were all Wall Street old boys in the first place, but now it's much worse in my opinion.)

Do we really think Hayden is the brain behind these moves? Or Hanlon's razor? No. The surveillance issue is a symptom of a much larger issue at hand, and until we take the discourse to that level there will be very little progress made. All three branches and the fourth estate are corrupted, which undermines our entire already weakened constitutional framework.

Now, the realpolitik they don't discuss with the public is that in the new globalized world of supranational entities the concept of national sovereignty is a lost cause.

My problem is that they made the decision to adopt this constitution undermining policy without even having a public debate about it.

The oligarchy have said, in essence: "The proletariat serfs are too dumb (from all the propaganda) to make informed decisions about their democracy, therefore, we shall placate them with gladiatorial political shows while we pull the strings from the shadows."

vegustui 1 day ago 0 replies      
US tech is dead in China.
Fasebook 1 day ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the news NYTimes
Turkey blocks use of Twitter after prime minister attacks social media site theguardian.com
216 points by JumpCrisscross  1 day ago   118 comments top 19
mrtksn 1 day ago 5 replies      
I would like to post a comment from previous discussion, explaining what is this all about:



Background info:

This is hypothesized to be a reaction to a series of audio recordings that were anonymously released over time. These were ridiculously damning, clearly someone is tapping phones without anyone else's knowledge.


http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/feb/27/turkish-pm-corr... http://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/iw/contents/articles/origina... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2013_corruption_scandal_in_Turk...

Some highlights from the "alleged" recordings so far:

- PM calling to get news about an opposing party removed from a TV channel multiple times

- Modifying political poll results to manipulate public opinion

- Getting people of opposing opinions fired

- Buying a large paper shredder to destroy documents

- PM calling son to ask how much money there is at home, son replies saying about 1 trillion, then switches to 3-5 kurush (cents in turkish).

- PM calling son to say "they're raiding the houses, zero out the money". Son says there's only 30 million euros left.

- Call to order the judges to be fixed, and says that a specific person is to be imprisoned.

- Trying to manipulate who goes on the supreme court.

- Says "ignore the prosecutor who's running the corruption investigations". Orders documents ripped up.

(source: http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/yazarlar/25981622.asp)

The official reason for the shutdown is that there were sexual photos of some poor citizen released on twitter against her will, and she complained but twitter refused to take them down. So they decided to shut down the entire website. Yeah, right.Of course this is ominous that at the end of this month, the local elections will take place. No coincidence.It's surreal how all this is going down. It's like watching a conspiracy theory movie. Blatant shills everywhere, media manipulation abounds, blatant lies heard on TV from the horse's mouth. We were all skeptical already, it's inevitable when you live in a third world country for years, but wow. When you hear the insiders actually talking to each other, it's a whole new level.more news on this specific event: http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-blocks-twitter-after... http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/2014/03/turkey-erdogan-...

Related old post here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7189577

edit: Erdogan stated a few days ago that he didn't care what the world thought, and he would eradicate twitter. He said "how dare they listen to our encrypted phone conversations". It's expected that on the 25th, something huge is going to be released that might sway the elections bigtime. Whoever is posting these are doing it slowly and deliberately, a few days at a time, building up anticipation. So people think that twitter getting shut down is probably related to this.

edit2: All recordings were put on youtube by someone: https://www.youtube.com/user/haramzadeler333

a reply:


I just want to add few things:Most of the leaking tapes are from the corruption investigation that was effectively blocked by the PM. His son was to be detained too but he shuffled or dismissed any prosecutor or police force that would dare to. Later he restructured the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors and did everything to stop the investigation and arrests.The son of the Interior minister was arrested too but the Interior minister himself remained in power till he helped out Erdogan to restructure judiciary and law enforcement forces.The legal files were leaked too. Turns out the Interior Minister knew about the ongoing investigation,so he created a team in the police to surveillance the other policemen who were after his son.It's surreal.

SixSigma 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Everyone will see how powerful the Republic of Turkey is."

At least he is right about that. His, and by extension Turkey's, impotence will soon be there for all to see. It reminds me of "Consequences will never be the same"

"We won't allow the people to be devoured by YouTube, Facebook or others"

The people are willingly placing their heads in the mouth of these lions. It is revealing how much world leaders are freaked by the concept of really free communications. Observers of political life already know that while there may be an illusion of press freedom, the collusion between media barons and the powerful (entered into willingly or through the pressure "no interview / early access for you") has a chilling effect.

mrtksn 1 day ago 0 replies      
Here is english-dubed version of the leaked phone conversation between the PM Erdogan and his son, allegedly when trying to get rid of evidence:


mxfh 1 day ago 3 replies      
The stream of few turkish friends I follow currently consist of little else than DNS change instructions.


Yet "some people" still get it wrong:https://twitter.com/odtuogrencileri/status/44681745427084902...

JanneVee 1 day ago 3 replies      
If 140 characters is a threat to your government, then most probably the problem is your governing.
yawz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Of one the last ripples caused by a collapsing tyrant. A shameful, a very shameful act but unfortunately just another link on a long chain of despotic measures.

There are regional elections in Turkey at the end of March. The governing party is expected to receive a major blow. Latest scandals have certainly not helped their cause.

I wish changing government were as easy as changing DNS settings.

iuguy 1 day ago 0 replies      
Turks looking to access an unrestricted Internet should install Tor[1], or where not feasible use something like lahana[2].

[1] - http://torproject.org/

[2] - http://lahana.dreamcats.org/

jules 1 day ago 0 replies      
Turkey blocks use of Twitter after prime minister attacks social media site. Why do journalists always use these kinds of titles? They seem to be so terribly afraid of pronouns that they make titles that make no sense. Which social media site was the prime minister attacking, and why is twitter blocked because of it?
buzaga41 1 day ago 2 replies      
I wonder if the US will apply it's moral here this time? Seriously, if Venezuela or some other country like that did something like this the US gov would be up against the 'regime' in no time. Let's see.
tehwalrus 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is bizarre behaviour, can they not see how badly this will end for them?
wil421 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wish we could hold some of our politicians accountable in this fashion. A phone conversations wiki leaks type website would be a killer.

Does anyone know of websites that dedicate themselves to find corruption in US politicians?

ctekin 1 day ago 0 replies      
xyproto 1 day ago 0 replies      
Streisand effect in 3..2..1..
n0rm 1 day ago 1 reply      
Rumor has it that a sex tape of this wanker will be spread on the 26th.

Coming to a screen near you.

higherpurpose 1 day ago 0 replies      
They should use Twister. Try to shut that down.


batuhanicoz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Turkish President (@cbabdullahgul) just told his opinions about the ban to public. On Twitter. Oh, I love this country sometimes.
dexter2016 1 day ago 0 replies      
It is like he want a revolution
mendicantB 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm not sure how anyone can take this douche seriously after the leaks.
pinkskip 1 day ago 0 replies      
Twitter is blocked in Turkey
213 points by aacanakin  2 days ago   97 comments top 32
makmanalp 2 days ago 2 replies      
Background info:

This is hypothesized to be a reaction to a series of audio recordings that were anonymously released over time. These were ridiculously damning, clearly someone is tapping phones without anyone else's knowledge.



Some highlights from the "alleged" recordings so far:

- PM calling to get news about an opposing party removed from a TV channel multiple times

- Modifying political poll results to manipulate public opinion

- Getting people of opposing opinions fired

- Buying a large paper shredder to destroy documents

- PM calling son to ask how much money there is at home, son replies saying about 1 trillion, then switches to 3-5 kurush (cents in turkish).

- PM calling son to say "they're raiding the houses, zero out the money". Son says there's only 30 million euros left.

- Call to order the judges to be fixed, and says that a specific person is to be imprisoned.

- Trying to manipulate who goes on the supreme court.

- Says "ignore the prosecutor who's running the corruption investigations". Orders documents ripped up.

(source: http://www.hurriyet.com.tr/yazarlar/25981622.asp)

The official reason for the shutdown is that there were sexual photos of some poor citizen released on twitter against her will, and she complained but twitter refused to take them down. So they decided to shut down the entire website. Yeah, right.

Of course this is ominous that at the end of this month, the local elections will take place. No coincidence.

It's surreal how all this is going down. It's like watching a conspiracy theory movie. Blatant shills everywhere, media manipulation abounds, blatant lies heard on TV from the horse's mouth. We were all skeptical already, it's inevitable when you live in a third world country for years, but wow. When you hear the insiders actually talking to each other, it's a whole new level.

more news on this specific event:http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-blocks-twitter-after...http://www.aljazeera.com/news/europe/2014/03/turkey-erdogan-...

Related old post here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7189577

edit: Erdogan stated a few days ago that he didn't care what the world thought, and he would eradicate twitter. He said "how dare they listen to our encrypted phone conversations". It's expected that on the 25th, something huge is going to be released that might sway the elections bigtime. Whoever is posting these are doing it slowly and deliberately, a few days at a time, building up anticipation. So people think that twitter getting shut down is probably related to this.

edit2: All recordings were put on youtube by someone: https://www.youtube.com/user/haramzadeler333

berkay 2 days ago 1 reply      
Many sites including Youtube did get blocked in the past, but safe to say this one is different. It is an explicit attempt to silence non-traditional media by the government. They have been working on controlling the traditional media (TV, newspapers, etc.) for a long time.

Recently, social media has been making a bigger impact, hence the explicit play. Current administration sees itself in an existential struggle and willing to do anything to stay in power. The model that they aspire seems to have switched from the west to Russia/China.

Whether they will be able to succeed in silencing social media will have implications beyond Turkey.

poulsbohemian 2 days ago 2 replies      
I was there on business in 2010 and I said "man, this is a country on the move! We need to set up an office here." English is taught from early grades, there is good infrastructure in the western part of the country, a young, educated population with a relatively small domestic economy - great place to outsource and a bridge between europe and asia. Things have fallen apart so quickly since then - wouldn't touch it now. Hope things get back on track, as there is so much potential.
guard-of-terra 2 days ago 2 replies      
Internet is falling apart. I think that appreciation for free speech, press and freedom of expression is lower today than it was for a long time of recent history. "They" just push and push on it and we're helpless. Not even constrained by paying it lip service.

Do we still have non-violent ways to counter this and make our voice heard? Because otherwise violent ways become aspired.

devindotcom 2 days ago 3 replies      
I just tried pinging twitter with this tool, the turkey server seems to work:


but china, egypt, and interestingly panama don't. I'd love to report on this but it's hard to prove this kind of thing. any ideas? (i'm also contacting twitter)

edit: here's my story -


please let me know if you see anything wrong. (we're aware of the turkish character issues...sigh)

gokhan 2 days ago 1 reply      
DNS based block at the moment, IP based one will follow for sure. Please remember that YouTube was also banned for a couple of years in the past [1].

This is related to the corruption scandal in Turkey, Tayyip Erdogan's government is trying to stop the release of leaked tapes on social media.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Censorship_of_YouTube#.C2.A0Tur...

mullingitover 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ah, blocking twitter, the last refuge of despots[1].


boolean 2 days ago 1 reply      
Earlier today "Turkeys Erdogan Now Says Hell Shut Down Twitter, Too" http://time.com/32339/turkey-erdogan-twitter/
enscr 1 day ago 0 replies      
Twitter has been playing a pivotal role in connecting people and getting the word out via an unbiased medium. The effect of twitter has been phenomenal over the past few years in countries that have undergone political revolution. Much of the reality that the citizens need to know are blacked out by mainstream media because it's controlled by the government & corporations who are hand in glove.

Unfortunately, many countries have resorted to a simple fix of policing twitter. Second unfortunate thing is that twitter is still restricted to the tech savvy crowd. There's still a sizable population outside third world that don't know what it is & how to use it. But as long as we have un-policed social media tools, we might see large scale cleaning in the coming decades.

cturhan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Unfortunately Erdogan is out of control, they use DNS based blocking. I'm using a VPN service so I can access Twitter, Youtube and other services easily but in our country probably 0.01% has VPN so this is serious.
aurora72 2 days ago 1 reply      
For the time being, Twitter is accessable from within Turkey using the DNS of the biggest ISPs of Turkey,
elwell 2 days ago 1 reply      
Just when you think Turkey is a 1st world country...
midas007 2 days ago 0 replies      
Crucial services that can be choked off need to be made seamlessly (zero thinking UX) available via overlay networks (tor, etc).

IOW, if twitter is blocked, there should be a browser plugin / standard thing that fires itself up and automatically reconnects through said overlay network.

Because right now, a single domain is a SPoF that govts can flick a switch and neuter most of their populace's communication.

mertdumenci 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm from Istanbul, and I love how this block makes my pro-govt friends say "Why did they do this?". Twitter is (was?) used extensively in Turkey, and I feel like this block will end up with the government shooting itself in the foot by showing their supporters how sad the things they do are. There's no explanation for this block, and there can't ever be.
izelnakri 2 days ago 2 replies      
Reminds me of this scene from Pirates of Silicon Valley:


"Its about power. Its like those weird countries man where the army guys overthrow the president. The first thing that they take over is the way people communicate; radio, tv, newspapers. Information is power."

Turkish army has nothing to do with this case of course.

tomphoolery 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is so ridiculous. As if someone can't just set up a domain themselves and release the shit.
drawkbox 2 days ago 0 replies      
Lots of things happening around the Black Sea these days. Sochi Olympics, Crimea and now Turkey.
rstml 1 day ago 0 replies      
The real question is why Erdogan took risk an blocked Twitter just 10 days before elections? The only reason I see is this Twitter account with almost 500.000 followers who is revealing government corruption: https://twitter.com/FuatAvni For English version of his tweets see: https://twitter.com/FuatAvniEng usually translation is delayed 1-2 weeks
gokhan 2 days ago 4 replies      
Hotspot shield, or any other VPN.
midas007 2 days ago 2 replies      
Does anyone know how it's currently blocked? twitter IP's, BGP or DNS?
alkank 2 days ago 0 replies      
Irony: Twitter ban being spread to the world via Twitter itself. A perfect example of how powerful the internet is despite of the governments.
sentientmachine 2 days ago 0 replies      
Imagine if government had the power to flick a switch place perfect earplugs and blinders on every human everywhere for a time for some political agenda.

I wonder how far men would go (short of just killing people) to suppress the right for people to think, in order to suppress some information floating around in the public space.

Would you flick that switch, to power down an entire nation of drones, just to prevent them from finding out that you did something evil?

Take care you NEVER give other men the right to shut down your brain from afar. It WILL be used against you.

bit2pixel 2 days ago 1 reply      
Something has to be done before this sets an example for other governments. Freedom cannot be taken away from anyone.
etunescafe 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is really a shocking news for all the twitter users from Turkey. They should raise voice against it.by http://www.etunescafe.com
kendall__ 1 day ago 1 reply      
Sitting in Ataturk airport right now and twitter is working fine.
kyriakos 1 day ago 0 replies      
turkey made a lot of progress recently. too bad it will all go down the drain like this.
kayman 2 days ago 2 replies      
sad to see sites being blocked. Can you use Tor to get around this restriction?
nighthawk24 2 days ago 0 replies      
^ Requesting namecoin based app
kosso 2 days ago 2 replies      
Many people would see this as a good thing.

It's just a big site run by some American company. Amazingly, there are other ways to communicate.

qwerta 2 days ago 1 reply      
Bullshit. I was tweeting from Istanbul just 3 days ago.
thisiswrong 2 days ago 1 reply      
Then use Twister [1]. Twister is NSA-proof, censorship reistant, and based on the bitcoin protocol.

[1] http://twister.net.co/

shn 2 days ago 2 replies      
There are two sides of the coin.

1) In this day and age shutting down Twitter wholesale is simply a silly and undemocratic move. Information can not be blocked and will find its way around anyway. Like many people I am against it.

2) There is a blatant violation of personal rights of people by fabricated phone-tapes. You take it to the court and court decides that these are illegal, and ask the service provider (in this case Twitter) to take down those specific twits. They don't comply. What do you do?

Say there's a link for a fabricated phone conversation of Obama betraying the country disseminated using Twitter. The administration take it to the court and win the legal battle. Could Twitter afford not to comply? Can this happen?

This is the gist of the problem people are having over there.

I Hunt Sys Admins firstlook.org
209 points by detcader  2 days ago   109 comments top 26
skue 2 days ago 1 reply      
So the NSA targets the personal online accounts and personal computers of sysadmins who just happen to work at major network providers. These are people who have done absolutely nothing wrong, other than being in the way of an out of control agency.

I am so sickened, angry, and ashamed.

Pitarou 1 day ago 1 reply      

Our target is using a network. We need access to that network. The sysadmin has the keys to the kingdom. The sysadmin uses Facebook. Through QUANTUM INSERT, we own anybody who uses Facebook. So we just need to figure out the IP address of the sysadmin.

If they use unencrypted telnet we just hack the account and grab the telnet server's IP address whitelist. With our resources and capabilities, this is so easy that someone should write a script to automate it and do it in bulk.

If they use SSH, we do it be listening to the connection. Even though we can't decrypt communications, we can figure out which IP addresses sysadmins are logging in from.

But it's not just us who are hacking routers. We can also hack the hackers ... and the rest is redacted. Shame. That would have been REALLY interesting.

TrainedMonkey 2 days ago 2 replies      
Fact that they casually speak of logging significant amount of connections is alarming. SSH targeting methodology would only work if you have ability to monitor significant portion of electronic communications.

Since majority of traffic logging capabilities of no such agency is coming from US itself and few close allies we collaborate on intelligence with* you can estimate that Sys Admin SSH technique is most useful in US itself and aforementioned close allies. Thus I would expect this to disproportionally affect Google as opposed to let's say Baidu.

* I am making an assumption here, please let me know if it is unwarranted.

bdb 2 days ago 2 replies      
So, uh, does this mean that NSA has an internal LiveJournal instance?
8_hours_ago 2 days ago 5 replies      

I am completely torn between really wanting to work for the NSA because they have the ability to do really awesome analysis like that with huge amounts of data, and being deathly terrified. Nothing in that article should be a surprise to me, or anyone else who can half-guess the NSA's capabilities, but it is still shocking to read. For some reason, knowing that the NSA has information on literally everyone stored in some database isn't that frightening to me, but seeing specific details that they could have (and probably do have) is very scary.

noonespecial 1 day ago 3 replies      
"Dude! Map all the networks"?... lulz?...leet?...nouns pluralized with a z?

I have seen the enemy and he is a 14 year old boy who's found his father's (admittedly very large and scary) gun.

Intermernet 1 day ago 3 replies      
Is anyone else more disturbed at the 4chan-esque style of the author, than the actual ramifications of the "presentation"?

It sounds like international security is being run by 10 year old wannabe anonymous members.

Do the NSA employees really watch presentations such as this?

Tobu 1 day ago 0 replies      
The Intercept article (which this is from) has a lot more links and context: https://firstlook.org/theintercept/article/2014/03/20/inside...
conover 1 day ago 0 replies      
It occurs to me that judges, members of congress, law enforcement officials, etc. could be considered "sys admins" in a sense.
grrowl 1 day ago 0 replies      
If this is true, we can assume the computers of all but the very most careful and dutiful admins have been pwned. I'm flabbergasted even looking at my own laptop, the element of trust in any of my own hardware is gone.
anonbanker 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is an excellent advertisement for:

* disabling telnet on your router

* creating 4096-bit ssh keys

* enabling ssh key-based authentication only.

* setting ssh to non-standard ports

* enabling port knocking

* using _only_ tor to check webmail

* deleting your facebook account

GBond 2 days ago 1 reply      
From the context of this, it sounds like this QUANTUM system has impacted way more than the reported 100,000 computers around the world.
codezero 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is there any TCP implementation that will notice receiving multiple disparate replies (containing different data)?

Basically, is there any way to know that you are being targeted?

6a68 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well, fuck you very much. This is unbelievable.
eps 1 day ago 1 reply      
I call fan fiction.

This is too many words for inherently trivial ideas that are all based on the magic assumed already to be in place and readily available. But mostly it's the tone and triviality of what's being discussed. It's all a script-kiddie level.

Wyrmkill 1 day ago 0 replies      
Who else feels like they just read an excellent spy novel, but that maybe it was a little over the top in conspiracy zealotry.

Only to find out at the end, it's all been real and the people with the tin foil hats aren't really that far off base.

josh-wrale 1 day ago 0 replies      
As a sysadmin, I try to skip articles whose text is hidden because I have NoScript enabled. Cheers! :)
peterbotond 1 day ago 0 replies      
mixologic 1 day ago 1 reply      
They're so gleeful about it all. Wow.
midas007 2 days ago 2 replies      
Would really like to see the unredacted cookbook for hacking routers. :)
rblatz 2 days ago 2 replies      
This site is completely unusable on mobile. Does anyone have a second source?
FLUX-YOU 2 days ago 0 replies      
Good to know the NSA is a fan of Allie Brosh.
GamboMama 1 day ago 1 reply      
Are there really companies out there where sysadmins are allowed to use i-Diot or W-inDiot products on non-free hardware?

I like the NSA, because they show the world how stupid most computer users and especially the "geeks"are that do not see how ridicolous it is to show of a big apple logo on a speaker desk.

I-diots are always the problem.

qzwxecrvtb 1 day ago 0 replies      
can they find me if I don't have a job title? hm...perhaps this also explains why I was photoshopped out of the team photo...
ForHackernews 2 days ago 2 replies      
TL;DR: Never use Telnet for anything.
frankydp 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is a beautiful troll. If only sipr and jwics comms was so hilarious, and on the same network.
Los Angeles Cops Argue All Cars in LA Are Under Investigation eff.org
205 points by csense  2 days ago   149 comments top 20
omh 2 days ago 5 replies      
The London Congestion Charging scheme is an interesting example of this.

There is a network of number plate recognition cameras to enforce the congestion charge. But there were initially assurances that this wouldn't lead to a blanket database for policing, they can just request particular images.

Pretty rapidly there was an exception for "national security" purposes, and more recently the mayor has proposed giving the police full access to the camera network[1].

[1] http://www.london.gov.uk/media/mayor-press-releases/2014/02/...

rbanffy 2 days ago 4 replies      
Maybe the best solution is to create a rule that mandates publishing of all data police has access to. If that were the case, police and politicians could be tracked by any concerned citizen, their behavior analyzed and publicly debated, every action publicly questioned.
mattmanser 2 days ago 3 replies      
This is the erosion of privacy by public anonymity.

Is it time to start talking about civil disobedience and removing large numbers of number plates from cars in an organised protest?

Having a barcode on all our cars is turning out to be very bad for civil liberties now there's all this auto-recognition software coming in to play.

Similar to another discussion[1], the problem has arisen because it is now possible to collate this information to make up detailed map of a person's life whenever a malicious actor wants.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7427562

anigbrowl 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is a bullshit headline, which is rather unworthy of the EFF.

The EFF isn't seeking data on the operation of the Automatic License Plate Reader (like LAPD internal documents on how the system should be configured or the protocols for handling data), it's seeking a week's worth of output from the information gathering system - presumably with a view to pointing out how many vehicles have had their license plates recorded.

The LAPD most certainly did not argue that all cars are under investigation. Rather they argued that:

a) such bulk data release would include information pertaining to criminal investigations, which is privileged from release; and

b) that such bulk data contains so much personally identifying information that it should not, by law, be made public. Yes, that means the LAPD has access to it and the general public doesn't; the the LAPD has institutional responsibilities and is subject to institutional oversight in a way that private actors are not. finally,

c) the EFF has already been given abundant data on how the system operates in accordance with CA public records request policies. Asking for the output of the system is superfluous.

This argument is completely counter to our criminal justice system, in which we assume law enforcement will not conduct an investigation unless there are some indicia of criminal activity.

Well, you know what they say about assumptions...our Constititution says that no warrants will issue without specific indicia. The EFF is basically arguing that the police must be blind until such time as a crime is reported; by this standard it would be illegal for an LAPD officer to observe or act on events in the street unless and until s/he had been dispatched to investigate a specific crime. In fact, police officers are entitled to observe public comings and going in search of patterns, or even to follow people on a hunch as long as they don't interfere with a person improperly, eg by searching without some probable cause. Observations are not the same thing as a search, nor do they by themselves comprise an investigation. Such observations don't interfere with Constitutional guarantees of freedom of assembly; it's a long-established principle that people do not have any expectation of privacy for their movements and behavior in public, but the EFF's position appears to be that government should be forbidden from storing any data about such movements.

I get that the EFF is saying that the LAPD shouldn't be able to engage in such bulk data gathering. But to claim that the LAPD considers itself to be investigating all cars in LA is twisting the department's argument into a pretzel. The EFF says:

Taken to an extreme, the agencies arguments would allow law enforcement to conduct around-the-clock surveillance on every aspect of our lives and store those records indefinitely on the off-chance they may aid in solving a crime at some previously undetermined date in the future. If the court accepts their arguments, the agencies would then be able to hide all this data from the public.

Well, no it wouldn't, but let's accept the similar premise that law enforcement would be able to conduct round-the-clock surveillance of every aspect of our public lives. The LAPD might keep that data confidential from the public, but they wouldn't be able to hide its use in a criminal case, which would be a violation of someone's civil rights.

njharman 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'd not be against this if the data was 100% free and public and had no exceptions for cops, judged, politicians or any other privileged class.

But, of course that would never happen. Cops, judges, politicians want protection from retaliation and etc. Well so fucking do the rest of us.

evo_9 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'm wondering if it's legal to obscure your license plate to prevent them from tracking you, similar to how people wear masks that look like your face is blurred out to prevent facial recognition?

I'm sure cops wouldn't like it if they happened to be behind you; in an ideal world it would be something you could control with a flip of a switch.

Edit: I worded this poorly - surely it's illegal, I was more wondering how much fun it would be to f with the man like that, but I forget that people these days lack the 'fuck with the man' gene that was so prevalent in the 60's. I think people need to take more LSD or something.

izzydata 2 days ago 3 replies      
Guess I'll have to start doing all my organized crime on bicycles. They will never see it coming.
Houshalter 2 days ago 4 replies      
I don't see how a license plate camera is any different than a regular surveillance camera. It's even less invasive since it only records license plates and presumably deletes the rest of the recording.
danielweber 2 days ago 1 reply      
While this sounds silly to the layman, what does this mean to lawyers? Is "under investigation" a term of art?
hippoman 2 days ago 5 replies      
Any private person can collect license plate data with a computer too. Surely that's not illegal? Imagine thousands of hobbyists doing this and building a database of when and where cars are moving around the city. If this data collection is only allowed on "small scales" but when people combine or publish their records it becomes illegal for the group (but not the individual members?), that would become a pretty hairy legal gray area.

Also cars are a massive cause of death and heavily used in violent crimes so it can actually be useful to track them, unlike trying to catch near-non-existant terrorists.

sscalia 2 days ago 0 replies      
The answer is simple: keep a late model car, don't put on your license plates, and leave the dealer "paper" plate in the frame, and the "happy sticker" Temp DMV reg in the window.

Keep your car clean.

I haven't had a license plate on my car in 4 years. I'll never have one.

nickmccann 2 days ago 2 replies      
Anyone familiar with license plate rules in California? I haven't put a license plate on my car for 10 years. I've been given a "fix it" ticket, but nothing worse. Am I just getting nice officers or is that the full extent of what the officers can do? (The car is always registered with insurance)
BrownBuffalo 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm wondering if covering your plate to obscure it from view to protect your privacy is now a defense tactic that might play out in court to unleverage this program. What's interesting is here in NYS the Cuomo has instituted revokation of driving rights for tax / toll evasion. Intersting tactic, although unrelated. It bands together the parts of the state government in certain ways to give rights to some but take away rights to another. shrug - neat article either way.
harrystone 2 days ago 0 replies      
I try to avoid using the words 'always' and 'never.' I agree with the EFF but the government is never going to give up that kind of power.
megablast 2 days ago 8 replies      
I believe that people have the right to privacy, but I don't believe that cars have that right. Cars are too dangerous to not be tracked.
mixmastamyk 2 days ago 0 replies      
A shame I won't be in LA this month to support the petition.
cratermoon 2 days ago 0 replies      
Solution: take mass transit. Oh wait, this is LA we're talking about.
tmp123444 2 days ago 2 replies      
Someday we will get speeding tickets for being flashed in two different places based on the time it took us to travel the distance.
contingencies 2 days ago 1 reply      
LA's much rejected public transportation system is actually pretty good, at least in some areas. I lived in LA for a year and pretty much only used a bicycle or taxis. But the buses let you put your bike on front, and the subway system isn't bad. Not sure about that scary looking south central raised train system though... never game to try that one!
900 Workers Have Already Died Building Qatars World Cup Infrastructure smithsonianmag.com
199 points by jonmrodriguez  3 days ago   88 comments top 17
ChuckFrank 3 days ago 1 reply      
Boycott FIFA. Call on the Architects and Engineers to end their working relationships on the projects. This is outrageous. We know better. It can start with Ms. Hadid. Speer the Younger and Arup.




rkalla 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just to put this in perspective, Qatar won the bid in Dec of 2010 -- they are _literally_ killing 1 worker a day building this.

I spent some time in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and saw this "big money, big building" craze first hand... it truly is modern day slave labor. No more thought is put into the migrant workers than you would an extra shovel, concrete or tile - they are a resource to expend during construction. The locals don't see them as human, just building material.

antonius 3 days ago 1 reply      
This and news that a Qatari firm paid off one of the top FIFA officials for votes during bidding for the World Cup doesn't help Qatar's image going forward. [1]

[1] http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/mar/18/jack-warner-...

tzs 2 days ago 2 replies      
It's hard to figure out how bad this is because they don't give enough information about the other projects they compare to.

For instance, they compare to 25 construction worker deaths when preparing Sochi for the 2014 Winter Olympics. As far as I have been able to find with some Googling, Sochi officially involved 74000 construction workers, but an advocacy group for migrant workers says that there were around another 50000 working without permits. Let's take the high figure, and that gives us 1 death per 5000 workers.

So given 1.2 million migrant workers in Qatar, then if they were as safe as Sochi workers, we'd expect 240 deaths, so 900 does indeed look like it indicates they have some major safety problems.

The comparison to 11 who died during the Golden Gate Bridge construction seems pretty worthless. The FAQ at goldengatebridge.org says it was built by 10 prime contractors and the subcontractors, but also that they don't have any employment records from any of them so can't say how many workers were involved. It's also not a good project for comparison because it actually only had two fatal accidents. The first killed one man. The second killed 10 men, when a scaffold failed and the safety net did not catch them.

Up until that point, the project had set a record for remarkable safety. The norm for that kind of project was about one death per million dollars of construction, so getting that far with only one death was amazing, and even with all 11, I think they came in quite low. It was a $30 million project, so 30 deaths would have been normal. At that death rate, taking into account inflation, a project the size of the Qatar FIFA project would have, if safety was comparable to typical bridge projects at the time the Golden Gate was built, about 5000 deaths total for the project--which is close to what the article says they are looking at. However, bridge work is, I think, inherently more dangerous than much of the FIFA infrastructure work, and I'd hope bridge work today is more safe than bridge work was when the Golden Gate was built, so this is consistent with the Sochi comparison. Qatar does indeed to be doing something very wrong.

Conclusion: something very bad is indeed happening in Qatar.

rayiner 3 days ago 4 replies      
Well this is what happens when you have no worker safety regulations and the families of the workers are poor Pakistanis and Bengalis that can't file wrongful death lawsuits. America's support of countries like Qatar will be remembered in history like our support of the Apartheid regime in South Africa. These countries treat Pakistanis and Bengalis as de facto slaves.
trendoid 3 days ago 0 replies      
Vice did a documentary on similar shit happening in Dubai : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMh-vlQwrmU

There are so many issues occupying the world currently that I doubt anyone from governments will raise an eyebrow for 'just 900 deaths over 2 years'.

trhway 3 days ago 1 reply      
compare to that, Russia starts to look almost like civilized country. Some displaced people, some unpaid salaries, nothing serious :)


jamespitts 2 days ago 0 replies      
Forget asking Qatar to kill fewer people, etc. The world should simply force Qatar to withdraw.

Any number of countries have the infrastructure to support the event and would be happy to do so without resorting to quasi-slavery.

brianmwaters_hn 2 days ago 0 replies      
For me, every work day starts by strapping on a pair of steel-toed boots and a hard hat, climbing high up some steel structure (usually hundreds of feet), building an anchor, and rappelling in to get done whatever needs gettin' done. I think this gives me a different perspective on matters of industrial safety than the typical Hacker News poster.

Granted, I have never worked in a developing country; neither have I worked in the United States in the 1930's.

The culture of industrial safety in the United Sates is... interesting, to say the least. The squeeze for productivity is there for sure, and it sometimes flies in the face of every employer's claim that "safety is our number one priority."

This puts the worker square in the middle of the predicament. Pressure, culture, and, sometimes, a lack of training and equipment creates the worker who is less-than-dilligent about their own safety. Then, when something does go wrong, whether it's a real accident, a "near miss," or just a "violation" that could have escalated but did not, the worker is blamed. Disciplinary action and firings are commonly heard about. This happens because the employer gets to point to "safety first," loads of policy, and their entire (huge) HSE department, while ignoring the fact that the worker was under pressure, mired in a culture of others behaving exactly the same, and, sometimes, poorly trained.

I'm talking about the United States in 2014, where we benefit from a history of labor unions, modern government regulations, two centuries of industrial experience, incredible technology, and a legal environment that scares the pants off every employer.

I cannot imagine what these migrant workers in developing countries are going through. Given the safety statistics we've seen here, can you imagine what the day-to-day grind is like?

TheMagicHorsey 2 days ago 0 replies      
You can get away with a lot of shit if you hold the keys to some petroleum.
joesmo 2 days ago 0 replies      
"The world is a place rich in natural beauty and cultural diversity, but also one where many are still deprived of their basic rights. FIFA now has an even greater responsibility to reach out and touch the world, using football as a symbol of hope and integration." -- FIFA Mission Statement (http://www.fifa.com/aboutfifa/organisation/mission.html)

Slavery in this region is nothing new and this choice is abominable on FIFA's part. This type of treatment is endemic in the region including the UAE. In an organization that supposedly promotes equality, Qatar and other such nations should not even be allowed to participate or be members of FIFA. I suppose money talks loudest, however, mission statement be damned. Not to mention the "mistake" acknowledged by FIFA's president already of scheduling the world cup in a country whose average temperatures in June is 81 - 106 degrees Fahrenheit. (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/soccer/news/20130909/2022-q...)

jonalmeida 3 days ago 0 replies      
There are several similar stories of people not being able to leave the country, or life threatening situations like this in Dubai. It's a very similar case there as well with expatriate workers.
pasbesoin 3 days ago 1 reply      
I refuse to have anything more to do with professional sports. That includes the "professional level" university sports. (And -- I am reminded of their recent, latest round -- the Olympics.)

I'm just one person, but for my part I won't reward nor contribute towards such behavior.

The next step, I hope, is in my country to strip such institutions of their tax breaks and tax exempt status. And the perpetually extorted... "public construction funds" for new stadiums and such nonsense.

I've quite enjoyed playing sports, and I don't begrudge the role of the spectator. But current circumstances have become extremely distorting; this extends to the IP lobbying that continues to hamstring technical developments around media and connectivity.

yeukhon 3 days ago 1 reply      
Before we look at 2022, just look at 2014's World Cup.

It is known that the Brazilian government is still behind their schedule delivering stadiums and basic infrastructure.

Personally, I am proud to say the new NYC Mayor has made an excellent decision not bidding Winter Olympics (http://theweek.com/article/index/256746/hosting-the-olympics...). Multi-years of preparations before and after selection is going to take away energy focusing on real domestic-city-wide issues.

The Beijing 2008 Olympics was a great success given the amount of new stadiums and infrastructure added. Though the main stadium (Bird Net) was officially, completely finished sometime around March 2008. London's main stadium was completed in 2011 and under budget. Clearly if the government really care about the event, they will everything to stop corruption and prevent delays. I don't know anything about Brazil's local politic, but press has been criticizing Brazil government its poor coordination and corruption.

bertil 3 days ago 4 replies      
The question was asked on a different thread earlier today, and I think it deserves asking here too:

What does this has to do on Hacker News?

Both articles are about groups are the lagging edge of development; both groups are made exclusively of one gender (although, unsurprising, only the other one used that aspect to hammer victimisation). Both issues are connected to an existing hardware technology that could be, but is not of interest to HN.

I read that kind of article (both) in my daily rotation outside of HN, so I dont mind -- but I was wondering if HN commenters had felt the parallel, and would have reacted the same way on both.

gregschlom 3 days ago 1 reply      
It's a tragic story, but it doesn't seem a good fit for HN. This is the sort of story that major media outlets should be reporting, and there's no technology angle.
justinpombrio 3 days ago 7 replies      
Money is not the problem. Qatar isn't a poor country; it has the world's _highest_ gdp per capita [1].

[1] https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/...

Inside the Guardians CMS: meet Scribe, an extensible rich text editor theguardian.com
198 points by lebek  2 days ago   84 comments top 25
pothibo 2 days ago 6 replies      
Let me diverge for a moment:

Everytime I see this, I wonder why browsers (and the W3C) don't add more functionality to textarea.

ContentEditable always felt like an ugly hack for me. A rich set of API on textarea could move the web forward. Imagine building an IDE in a textarea. That should be possible.


Great work nonetheless, very clean code and very nice documentation!

eliot_sykes 2 days ago 2 replies      
I'd love to read more about the Guardian CMS that Scribe was written for and how the writers find using it. Do they like it?

When I've worked on news sites in the past, many of the journalists preferred writing in their desktop word processor of choice and cutting and pasting into the CMS as the final step before publishing.

The CMS was probably viewed as a necessary evil and I don't remember there being much love for it from the people who had to spend hours in it everyday.

Partly this was due to the CMS not working offline and it just wasn't as pleasant to use as the software the writers have used for years, which is understandable.

phirschybar 2 days ago 0 replies      
In my web shop, our first CMS (circa 2003) utilized a WYSIWYG editor which was a disaster. For all of the supposed benefits it brought to the editing / writing process for our clients, the reality is that upon hitting 'save', the style/formatting issues on the front-end were awful, having picked up junk from MS Word, or copied web pages, or massive embedded images, you name it. It threw our shop into perpetual customer-support mode as our clients struggled to get anything to look right, or consistent.

For our 2nd client CMS, we chucked the WYSIWYG, spent a little more time helping our clients understand Markdown (actually Textile - this took a few minutes of our and their time). There was a little squirming involved on the part of our clients, but after a day or so, they understood it. Best part, it just works. It ensures that our site renders perfect, semantically correct HTML!

WYSIWYG in RTEs has grown up a bit, as we can see in Guardian's latest attempt. However, its largest flaw, from our perspective, is that it outputs HTML! HTML is just not a proper end-format. It is too difficult to reverse engineer. Markdown, on the other hand, can be rendered into many format. It can be output as HTML, raw text, truncated text, etc. So, while I applaud Guardian for releasing this, it saddens me that we're still attempting to improve on browser-based, user-facing tools which output HTML.

subpixel 2 days ago 1 reply      
This does look promising.

Markdown gets a lot of love from developers, but in my experience with clients across many industries (including journalism), it's a non-starter. If you're used to looking at markup in an editor, Markdown is an abstraction you can tolerate. But the average non-technical person tasked with the job of updating a blog or website sees Markdown as something like pig latin - a thing that makes communication more complicated.

danabramov 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm so so glad.

Just two weeks ago I thought we'd have to implement the same thing for the same reasons: old editors were good in handling browser inconsistencies but bad in being too tightly coupled to their dated UIs, new editors sucked at generating semantic markup.

Thank you for making this public.

onion2k 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm hugely impressed by some of the open source code that comes out of the Guardian offices.
aleem 2 days ago 2 replies      
This pretty much nails it and is very tricky to get right. Nearly every other contenteditable editor out there messes up the undo stack, copy-pasting and new-lines, some more than others. The extensibility feature is also a great relief.

However, I am curious as to their stance on Markdown and if it was ever considered.

mherdeg 2 days ago 0 replies      
I hope the name is in homage to Scribe, the markup language and word processor. There was a time when you might write up your thesis in Scribe (even as, in parallel, some people chose LaTeX).
Edmond 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hmmm...this may just be my favorite post on HN in a while... I have been working on a UI builder tool and have to some extent built the kind of functionality in this editor.

It looks, at least from first impression that you guys have done a much better job...hopefully it turns out to be the perfect solution my need..Thank you!

dunham 2 days ago 1 reply      
I suspect the best way to make rich text editing work across browsers is to do what the current google docs editor does: Drop contentEditable and just implement your own editor in javascript. Read key and mouse events and manipulate the DOM.

It's a bit more work up front, but possibly less work than trying to get four different implementations of contentEditable to behave the way you want. And this way you own the editing logic.

marknadal 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm a tad late, but I should mention a really important library I wrote that changes HOW one writes editors - http://github.com/amark/monotype . Save your caret, do whatever transformation you want directly with HTML manipulation, then you restore your caret. Done, that simple - don't even bother trying to use the browser's API, because yes they are wildly unreliable in their behavior. The kicker with my library is it saves your caret (your selection) based on actual content, rather than the DOM tree, so it still is able to accurately restore it even if you completely delete and replace the DOM tree.
hypertexthero 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is awesome. Copying and pasting text from Word files seems to work fairly well, instantly generating HTML with all the cruft removed.

To download it to your desktop and try it out locally get [these files](https://github.com/guardian/scribe/tree/gh-pages)

cantbecool 2 days ago 3 replies      
Does anyone else notice how ridiculously bloated theguardian.com is? It seriously takes 5 seconds to completely load on my modern machine.
noir_lord 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is quite simply stunning.

I've used ckeditor 4 recently and found that pretty impressive (it was a system for a company of charity workers, not a hope in hell that markdown was going to happen) and it was good enough.

This looks like something I'd use for my own stuff.

luwes 2 days ago 1 reply      
Shamelessly promoting my text selection and range API polyfill, https://github.com/luwes/selection-polyfill

Just to make clear, this would enable Scribe to work in older IE browsers.

paulyg 2 days ago 1 reply      
This looks really nice. I can't wait to play with it on an upcoming project. Thanks to The Guardian for open sourcing it.

I'm curious what support on mobile is like. I tried the demo on my Nexus 7 and it worked well for the two minutes I played. However I skimmed the browserinconsistencies.md file and did not see any specific mention of mobile browsers. Mobile is a place where most of the existing solutions fall on their face. Having good mobile could really drive adoption.

danso 2 days ago 5 replies      
First of all, props of course to the Guardian's team, not only for devoting resources to improvement of the CMS field, but open-sourcing it...a concept that is still mostly alien to the modern newsroom.

As far as I know, the solution they have here is impressive and as good as the state-of-the-art, in terms of usability and modularity...but it still can't overcome the major quirks that come up with rich-text editors.

For example, I typed in the following in the demo (http://guardian.github.io/scribe/):

Hello, world

Why italics?

So the error here is that after typing "world", I switched off the italics and hit line break/Enter. However, the italics-mode persisted into the next line. This was the generated HTML:

      <p>Hello, <i>world</i></p><p><i>Why italics?</i></p>
As a programmer, I can appreciate why this might happen, and I know how to fix it...but this is the kind of unexpected behavior that is the bane of the layperson, so much so that with each new rich-text environment -- whether it be Word, Google Docs, TinyMCE, etc -- they have to come up with a whole new list of hacks to get around these quirks.

edit: the rest of this is address to a general "you", not to "you, the Guardian developers", as in, "why didn't you just do Markdown"...though if the Guardian took the lead in that, I'd most definitely upvote that too ;)

I think rich-text editors are fine for the very layperson. But I think for professional reporters, there needs to be a move toward the expectation that they all learn Markdown. Note, I'm not saying that everyone needs to learn HTML...but Markdown is basically the exact subset of text formatting a professional online writer needs to communicate 99.9% of their reportage material, with the rest being made up through plugins/shortcode/embed, as is currently the case for most online CMSes.

Markdown can be written in any editor and is portable to a huge variety of systems and services. More importantly, even without a specialized editor, Markdown still has human-friendly structure. What else does a writer need?

Before you say: oh but we can't expect our writers to learn code-like things...this is not true at all. As an intern at the Denver Post, I spent at least a day learning the in-house editor, which was Windows-only, designed for the print-publishing workflow, and had all manner of arcane key combinations to add editing marks (again, for print, and not the web). Everyone was expected to learn it, and everyone did fine.

But unlike Markdown, this in-house closed source coding system was...well, shitty as most industry-specific codes are...and once in awhile someone would accidentally "un-hide" notes meant for an editor's eyes only, which would then show up in print. What I love about Markdown is that you don't even have to really know it to write what you need...hitting Enter creates a paragraph break, both in your text editor and the platform to which you publish. How much easier can you get?

pea 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Guardian has a great approach to tech; they've done some really cool stuff with Scala / Play and released some great code.
etherealG 2 days ago 0 replies      
nice to see someone trying to fix contenteditable as an api, thanks for the hard work and sharing it!
lewisflude 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm excited about using this in my next project. Love the fact they kept it simple with this one.
alistairjcbrown 2 days ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised not to see Aloha editor [0] in their list of "Existing Solutions".

[0] - http://www.aloha-editor.org/

spartanatreyu 2 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone using angularjs should seriously consider textAngular. I'm currently using it on an enewsletter editor app and it's pretty darn sweet.


spoiledtechie 2 days ago 1 reply      
Any links to see a demo?
GamboMama 1 day ago 1 reply      
I am shocked how misinformed and technically misleaded a pro team like the guardian is. Saving your stories in HTML in a CMS? This is like using Joomla for hobbiest sites or something like that, it will kill your archive and it will be a pain reusing content. A good Content Management Strategy is: use libreoffice for wirting, create a plugin that publish to archive and put articles in the pipeline for redaction, save content to docbook and be prepared for any kind of reuse of that content.
RaRic 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does anyone know why Chrome uses &nbsp; (non-breaking-space) before and after inline tags such as anchor and italics? This behavior causes lines to sometime break much sooner than needed.
Flash is dead, long live OpenFL gamasutra.com
197 points by lelf  11 hours ago   82 comments top 26
slacka 10 hours ago 3 replies      
For those not familiar with OpenFL, /u/larsiusprime posted a nice summary of how it's used:

"OpenFL is is a programming API that mirrors the Flash API, but in the Haxe language. So you take your old ActionScript code and port it over to Haxe (very similar language, but with additional features). Then you also take your Flash-vector-art SWF files, and you load it with the Haxe SWF library. OpenFL ensures you can still make all the same method calls to the Flash API, etc.

When you compile, you select one of many targets, kinda like unity: C++, JavaScript, etc. It conveniently packages those targets up into special configurations like "Android", "Windows", "HTML5", "Linux", etc.

So you can take your existing flash code and art, but get it running NATIVELY, in say, Linux desktop, with no need for the flash plugin or AIR runtime -- it's just a C++ app that does the same stuff (and much faster!)

You can also output to HTML5 so your players don't need the flash plugin anymore (the HTML5 target is still fairly new).As an end user, there's nothing for you to really do, except to wait for flash developers to switch over to it. From your perspective, all you'll really see is that instead of Flash apps on the web, there's more HTML5 apps. And instead of AIR apps for games on the desktop, they're natively compiled for Linux. What happened in these cases is that the developers were using Flash before but switched to OpenFL."

zacharypinter 8 hours ago 4 replies      
> I've been a stalwart Flash developer for 15 years, so nothing bothers me more than greatly exaggerated reports of Flash's premature demise.


> I've learned my lesson -- whatever my next platform is, no-one should be able to take it away from me.

There's an interesting side discussion here. It seems to me that the rate of substantial changes in technology/frameworks/ui design/etc is increasing such that the expectation of finding a platform that you can hold on to for 15 years is becoming untenable.

I worked with Flash (via Flex) for several years and found it to be one of the best UI frameworks I've ever developed with. I have yet to find an web framework that matches the productivity of MXML and databinding for standard sorts of UI's.

I also use emacs daily, which is a piece of software that's older than I am and still going strong.

That said, when it comes to staying on top of technology rather than being made obsolete by it, I have yet to find a better strategy than to try to "ride the wave".

HTML5 addresses a lot of cross-platform issues and has a lot of attention today so it's worth learning, but I don't expect what I learn today to last forever. If/when VR takes off, we might all be focusing on 3D frameworks and a wealth of new UI primitives to support that ecosystem. Or, maybe some other technology will take the dev community by storm and it'll be worth going that direction.

In short: moving with the major paradigm shifts seems more tenable than trying to find/predict the stack that will last the longest. Very curious to hear if others have similar or alternative thoughts.

TomGullen 10 hours ago 4 replies      
> I could try HTML5, but that precludes releasing high-performance desktop-ready games for Steam.

We develop Construct 2 (https://www.scirra.com) which is an HTML5 game engine. It can export to EXE via Node Webkit with very good performance, as well as the ability to export a multitude of mobile platforms as well.

One game we're excited to see released in the near future made in Construct 2 is "Penelope":https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZaynOYy2O54

The author is developing this game in Construct 2 for PC/Mac/Linux.

Some of our users have also submitted their games to Greenlight, here's a couple:



These are all HTML5 games!

sdfjkl 10 hours ago 2 replies      
It's not Flash that is dead, it's the whole concept of browser plugins. Too risky, too inconvenient, too often installed and then forgotten, never to receive security updates (or those that exist aren't installed because they prompt us about it far too often).
ChrisGaudreau 11 hours ago 1 reply      
I remember using OpenFL a year ago or so. Probably less. The coding environment itself was very nice. But it was horribly painful in practice. Sure, you can compile to multiple targets, but don't expect it to work. And if it does work, chances are your code is littered with platform-specific macros and reams of platform-specific code.

To make it worse, many parts of the Flash API weren't implemented, had different semantics, didn't work on some platforms, or worked differently on some platforms.

I like the idea of OpenFL and I like the Haxe programming language. When I tried it, it was clear that things were improving quickly. I hope it has improved a lot since then.

teach 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I must correct a minor error: "[Unity3D's] web browser target depends on a clunky plugin with a low install base."

This is no longer true. Unity3D can now (or very soon?) export to pure javascript and run in any WebGL-conformant browser without any plugins.

npsimons 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I like haXe, I really do, but for me, it's seriously lacking in libraries. It's all well and good to have everything you need to make games and displace Flash (everywhere!), but for instance, I can't just clone a GPX parser (https://github.com/tkrajina/gpxpy), pull in some other Python mapping stuff (http://sensitivecities.com/so-youd-like-to-make-a-map-using-...) and frontend it with another cross platform "language" (http://kivy.org/).

Big thanks and congratulations to the haXe developers, and I'll keep an eye on it with high hopes the library will expand!

laureny 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Flash will be dead when web game companies (e.g. Zynga) stop using it.

It's still years away.

dsirijus 10 hours ago 0 replies      
A link to a discussion including industry insiders. [1]

I made this [2] with Haxe/OpenFL (NME) a year ago (W.I.P. that's gathering dust now). Music's not mine, just stand-in from awesome Hotline: Miami.Didn't have much luck in trying to get this to run on mobiles.

[1] http://forum.starling-framework.org/topic/flash-is-dead-long...

[2] https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/48356497/vizard/index.ht...

girvo 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Finally. I have loved using Flash for game development back when it was owned by Macromedia, and with AS3 it's still got a powerful API, but at the end of the day having an open-source implementation to work from is far nicer. It helps that Haxe is really cool, too.
camus2 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Flash is the plateform and the IDE, and nothing will replace the IDE regarding how easy to create and organise animations.

Sure,you can code in a text editor, But a designer cant do precise and complex animations with a text editor.

Editing and creating animations are 50% of the value of Flash and that's why the IDE is still necessary to develop games, wether they are HTML5 or mobile ones. Yes there is Unity but Unity is 1/ more expensive than flash 2/ sucks at 2d asset creation.

So no, Flash isnt dead,by a long shot.

aiurtourist 10 hours ago 3 replies      
> OpenFL is an implementation of the Flash API written in the Haxe programming language.

Other than "Papers Please," who is using Haxe for production (i.e., making money on products built with it), and for what?

cpeterso 8 hours ago 1 reply      
If you would like to see how Mozilla's Shumway SWF player is coming along, you can preview Shumway-rendered Flash content without installing the Shumway add-on in this gallery. Even works in Chrome and Safari. :)


anon4 10 hours ago 1 reply      
So what I got from that is that Haxe is a statically typed javascript with actual honest-to-god macros. Married to a trivially simple 2D graphics and audio framework, that thousands of developers are already familiar with.

That's awesome!

ambirex 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been following OpenFL/NME for about a year, I was surprised when reading http://www.openfl.org/blog/2014/03/18/flash-and-html5/ that pixi.js is based off the Flash API.
chris_wot 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Looks like Adobe are about to lose a key asset through management incompetence. The Xerox of our time?
perturbation 7 hours ago 0 replies      
From the default linux install script for OpenFL (http://www.openfl.org/haxe-3.1.1-linux-installer.tar.gz):

# Set up haxelib

                sudo mkdir -p /usr/lib/haxe/lib                sudo chmod -R 777 /usr/lib/haxe/lib                sudo haxelib setup /usr/lib/haxe/lib
This isn't as bad as I originally thought; I tested this, and only that directory itself is world-writable (the sub-directories from haxe install foo are universally readable and executable, but not writable). Still seems like someone could install a malicious 'dependency' ahead of someone else needing it.

Steveism 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Chrome still has Flash Player built-in and that won't change any time soon. I think once Chrome and YouTube completely move on it'll be a major development in Flash taking a back seat.
malkia 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow! And no mention of scaleform - the Flash MiddleWare for consoles... humm... - http://gameware.autodesk.com/scaleform
Macuyiko 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Every time I read an article about Haxe (and now, OpenFL), I get the itch to start working on a mobile game--just as a hobby project.

That said, does anyone know how well-suited these frameworks are for regular application development (or whether there exists alternatives)? I've been thinking about wipping up a mobile app, and while I could write the Android code, my knowledge of Objective-C is so limited at the moment that I'd like to avoid duplicating the same logic in another environment/language...

mavdi 1 hour ago 0 replies      
As an ex Flash developer all I can say is this: Stick with open source and find an up facing trend.

BTW fuck Adobe.

fritz_vd 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Awesome overview. It's fairly easy to start with. Especially for 2D game. It compiles to JS as well fairly painlessly. Some difficulties occur when your start using oldschool Flash stuff such as "BitmapData" etc. Or fonts. But other than that it's pretty great.
thatnodeguy 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The problem with flash is the same problem as the .Net framework, Coldfusion and similar technologies.

You cannot have an entire ecosystem revolve around a single company and not have growth or compatibility problems. You simply can't.

What flourishes? Things like Linux, Python, etc because they can be flexible and adaptable. When you have a company in charge of a technology you will always be at the whim of that company and what they decide to do with it.

PhasmaFelis 8 hours ago 1 reply      
> I could try HTML5, but that precludes releasing high-performance desktop-ready games for Steam.

Oh Jesus Christ. Do not do this. "Flash" and "high-performance" do not ever belong in the same sentence. Binding of Isaac was a game that, visually, could have run on a Super Nintendo, but it chugged like a tired tortoise on a midrange 2010 laptop. I know Flash is popular, I know it's easy to develop with, but if you use it for "high-performance" game design you are cutting out a huge potential audience of low-end users, because it is miserably slow and inefficient. I should not need cutting-edge hardware to run a simple 2D game.

Edit: For vector games, at least. Raster games made with Flixel seem to run all right. But Flash's native vector implementation is Godawful and deserves to die.

mantrax 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Well, the first half of the title is right.
SimeVidas 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Hey, guy who wrote that article. The Web Platform is going to become the dominant platform for games and performance is going to be just fine. Wanna bet? :-P
Speaking JavaScript speakingjs.com
190 points by rauschma  2 days ago   61 comments top 8
eddd 2 days ago 9 replies      
I hate books with contents like: Variables and Assignment Values, Booleans, Numbers, Operators, Strings,Statements, Functios, Exception Handling, Strict Mode, Variable Scoping and losures, Objects and Constructors, Arrays etc... there are milions books like that. I require from book to introduce me into new language in a manner where i don't have to suffer due to going throught dry facts and definitions. Give me pure examples. I want to create something useful during lecture of book about programming.
camus2 2 days ago 3 replies      
Recently found this :


SICP in Javascript.While the coding style is a little bit old school this should be linked in every javascript book / blog about learning Javascript. This stuff is just awesome.

I would gladly pay 30 bucks for a revised paper back version.

caniscrator 2 days ago 1 reply      
'Eloquent Javascript' (http://eloquentjavascript.net/) and 'Learning JavaScript Design Patterns' (http://addyosmani.com/resources/essentialjsdesignpatterns/bo...) are the best resources so far.
hawkharris 2 days ago 8 replies      
I never knew that NaN is not strictly equal to itself in JavaScript (so NaN === NaN => false). Very interesting.
Flimm 2 days ago 2 replies      
This book deliberately omits talking about Javascript in the browser, but the only reason I want to study Javascript is for its use in a browser context!
gtirloni 2 days ago 2 replies      
Is it possible the author is getting more revenue from that little ad on the right side then from actual sales?

Is it common for O'Reilly authors to release their books this way?

teemo_cute 2 days ago 0 replies      
I agree. Kidding aside. I think Eloquent Javascript is better geared towards experienced programmers:


Edit: It seems like the post I replied to was deleted, but my following statements still holds true.

hoers 2 days ago 1 reply      
Anybody else getting 404s?
Pending Comments ycombinator.com
174 points by dbaupp  21 hours ago   276 comments top 66
RogerL 11 hours ago 6 replies      
I am currently spending my life working on signal processing - constructing a story of what is happening in the world from sensor data. And you know what - noise is good. You would perhaps think that the thing to do is to turn on the filters, crank 'em up, and don't ever let a noisy bit of data through.

But, of course, that does not work. Noise is helpful. It's still signal. I can construct more information from a noisy signal than an overly filtered one.

Back to forums, I was a participant in several for a different niche area. One was obsessed with post 'quality' - a horde of moderators swarming around, then after awhile they'd comb through every thread, deleting every comment they found not worthy so they would have some kind of pristine archive, and so on.

They utterly failed. Oh, they are still trundling along. But the sites with the industry leaders posting? Those are the ones with far less concern with 'quality'. Why would an expert spend time crafting an answer to somebody when it is likely or possible that it will either not get approved to show up, or later deleted? It made no sense to them, they vocally complained, were again and again told this was for the greater good, and so they all left. Now, if you want to talk to an expert, you go to one of the other forums; if you want to talk to a complete amateur, but with never a post off topic, well, you go to the controlled one. You'll get terrible advice, or no advice at all, but hey, it's civil and on topic.

I've concluded nothing about HN yet, but I don't forsee myself clicking away, endorsing post after post. This is mostly a 'consume' site for me, and occasionally, post. I don't want to spend my time endorsing and clicking away. I'll upvote once in a while, and almost never downvote. I can't see that changing much. I can't see posting anymore; I am giving you value (or trying to), and you hold it hostage. Ya, okay, if that is how you feel, I'll go elsewhere. I recognize that sounds petulant, but back to the site in the first paragraph - a lot of people stopped posting because so much did not survive the great purges that went on. Why go to this effort if others will silence you?

Noise is not the enemy of quality. It is not the enemy of value. It's a wonderful side effect of free thinking, innovative thinking, of creation, of invention. It's messy, it's beautiful. I love noise for what it represents. Long live noise.

pg 9 hours ago 8 replies      
Pending comments are now per thread, or more precisely per item tree, rather than sitewide. That was the original plan, and it turned out to be only a little more code. The moderator (who is not me) will turn pending comments on as needed when conversations turn nasty.

That doesn't happen on most threads, but it does happen on some, and pending comments may help fix the problem. I'm not sure it will. The moderator will have to experiment to see what works. But since the code was slightly complicated I wanted at least to get the initial version done before I left.

pg 20 hours ago 12 replies      
I'm turning off pending comments for now, because I'm going to bed and I don't like the idea of something this new running without me being able to watch it.

One thing I noticed while it was turned on was that the comments were actually pretty good. It may be that bad comments tend to be concentrated on particular threads, and that the right way to implement pending comments is per-thread rather than site-wide. That was actually the original plan, but it was simpler to implement site-wide, and I usually try to do the simplest thing first, in case it works.

nanidin 21 hours ago 7 replies      
My issue with pending comments requiring endorsements is that I have been here for several years and I only have 247 karma. I browse regularly but only tend to comment when I have something good to add. I don't try to game the system, and I don't try to comment immediately on new posts. I'll probably never hit 1000 karma, and now I'm even more disincentived to post since the chances of someone actually seeing what I post will now be even lower.
Bud 21 hours ago 7 replies      
I like pg constantly thinking of ways to improve the site.

But in my opinion, this is going to kill a lot of real-time commentary on posts that are only moderately popular, and it will kill discussion on scrolled-off posts almost completely, for obvious reasons.

I think pg is overestimating the number of >1000 karma users who are actively available to moderate and interested in moderating at any given time. This number needs to be fairly sizable for this system to work. I doubt it's very sizable at all.

projectileboy 6 minutes ago 0 replies      
Pending comments may not be the ultimate solution, but it's a good idea and worth a try. The comment threads used to be the best part of the site; maybe they will be again.
xmonkee 20 hours ago 2 replies      
I'll be honest, this just makes me feel terrible. I like to think of HN as the one online community where the comments are usually on point and there's no "power user" bullshit going on.

Slashdot devolved into irrelevant memes by their moderation point system. Every Subreddit eventually becomes an echo chamber. Only on hacker news can you find very divergent opinions expressed side by side without banning, censoring, downvoting or trolling. I'm not saying that pending comments will destroy that, but I already while writing this comment I'm worried about being liked by the big guys. New people with valid opinions who might not know how to appeal to the site's group-think will have a bad time. People with poor language skills will have a bad time. And of course, jokes will have a bad time, and too much seriousness can just as surely dry up a forum as too much frivolity.

oskarth 14 hours ago 4 replies      
There's an interesting meta pattern here. pg has obviously thought a lot about this change, he's the creator of HN and he's the one who knows the site the best. All pg is saying is this: let's try it out and see if it works as intended. That is, it is an experiment, and reality is the ultimate judge.

If you look in this thread, the original thread, or the latest poll you see a different attitude. It's not viewed as an experiment where reality will be the judge at all. Instead the comments basically boils down to "This is good." or "This is bad.", plus a few technical questions.

How come so few people think of it in terms of an experiment? Isn't this the supposed standard m.o. for startups as well as for coding?

Is it just that people who have the wait-and-see attitude don't comment, so all we hear about is from the vocal crowd? (This was the case for me before writing this post.) Is it some form of domain dependence going on here? I find this to be a very curious pattern.

meursault334 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I was driving back from meeting with my co-founder so came late to the party. I posted then deleted this in the old thread.

As a long time lurker and reader of HN I really hope that you reconsider this change. I made an account just to explain why I dread the impact of this change on the quality, openness, and character of discourse at HN.

Put bluntly this change inspires a visceral feeling of loss and disappointment in me. I have viewed HN as a community where anyone can participate fully if they have something useful to say. This change feels like it will destroy this character of HN and turn it into a system where elites will have all the knowledge of a discussion and the rest of us will not. They will be able to incorporate ideas into their own posts before others can and can choose which ideas get general airtime. Particularly in low traffic stories this feels unjust and noninclusive.

I really enjoy reading the comment threads at HN and some of the best comments come as replies to comments that are unlikely to get endorsed in this system. This is because this system contains powerful disincentives for approving anything other than comments that will universally be viewed as high quality. If you approve enough comments that are viewed as low quality by moderators you will lose your ability to even view non approved comments and therefore your ability as an elite to fully participate in discourse at HN.

When this goes live hopefully people will be very very liberal with approving comments and people will do the public service of approving most comments in a pending global queue quickly. For me it will be very sad that I cannot read the lone, often very informative, comment to a story that will never make it to the front page but that nonetheless I and other lurkers want to see any response at all to the story. I am willing to read the trolls if I am allowed to read those who will be neglected by +1000 karma users.

downandout 20 hours ago 2 replies      
Are spam and irrelevant comments really a huge issue here? I have been on here for over two years, and if it is a problem, it is one that I am blind to.

I don't see myself or many of the others with 1000+ karma as the kind of people that would enjoy acting as HN police, and it seems like it will introduce internet politics to a community that has managed to avoid it. The net effect of this, IMO, will be that very few comments get endorsed and the quality and breadth of discussion will diminish.

Finally, while we are talking about new ideas, I would love it if HN would track and display not only the net points a comment receives, but also the actual number of upvotes/downvotes. A controversial comment may have 1 net point, but may also have had 50 upvotes and 50 downvotes. Being able to see if a comment I posted was really interesting to people but opinion was divided, or that no one voted and thus the comment simply wasn't that interesting to others, would be be great.

omegaham 21 hours ago 3 replies      
For now, things are going to be pretty silly, as everyone is paying attention to it and probably just endorsing for the hell of it. My guess is that PG started with the threshold being really low, meaning that a single endorsement will actually post the comment and that an endorser needs very little karma to give a good comment. As the karma and endorsements required go up, it will become harder and harder for bad posts to actually become viewable.

I really like this way of doing it; it starts off with the default HN and then makes the filter more and more selective.

teawithcarl 13 hours ago 0 replies      
For a different perspective on "single truths" - please read Ward Cunningham's research on Federated Wiki's.

Ward invented the wiki itself, and years later invented the Federated Wiki to allow unlimited truth forks, so that Wikipedia would not require expunging any viewpoint. In other words, all "truth tree" branches remain valid. Branchs may be sorted by up/down voting, but they may not be struck by editors.

To me a better HN would allow a multitude of HN's (think colors) ... where anyone applying time/effort could edit an HN truth fork. Thereby, people might say, which color of HN do you read? "My favorite is green", might be a typical reply.

My sense is that PG thinks of HN as top down authority driven, and therefore refuses to open HN to public editorship, even though there's a way to do it and truly improve comment quality, rather than just adding this new layer of winner take all.

More deeply, I believe PG has tired of building HN, and is looking for an honest way out. To me, that means abandoning the 4th-5th most important startup in YC history (up there with Airbnb in importance), and the all too familiar slow degradation of startup quality as they get bigger.

I have always felt that YC is a dictatorship, and that "peak HN" and "peak YC" have already occurred. Accordingly, an open approach to HN, where public editors might flourish was never likely.

Two links on Ward Cunningham's ideas -

TED Talk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BdwLczSgvcc

Wired article: http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/07/wiki-inventor/

georgemcbay 21 hours ago 1 reply      
There is way too little context in most of the comments in pending comments for me to decide if they should be endorsed, I really can't imagine scrolling through that page and then clicking 'parent', etc to figure out the context; particularly during rush hours when I'm already worried any click I make on this site might result in seeing the "HN Status" twitter history page.
sthatipamala 21 hours ago 0 replies      
One problem I foresee: It is hard to judge some comments without context, which the pending comments page does not provide.
dmunoz 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I missed the large discussion thread earlier, and I imagine someone there brought up something similar already, but I doubt it precisely what I am about to post. I'll make my more nuanced comment first.

What about older threads? Sometimes I don't visit HN actively throughout the day, but partake in the discussion at night or the next morning if I have spare time. Many times my comments are slight clarifications of a point being made, or providing some citations or links to resources that I happen to know about on the subject. They almost always go unnoticed with 1 karma, but I continue to do so because they provide helpful resources for someone who comes along later, perhaps by search, or through the discussion view on their user page. If no users with the ability to approve the comment browse the old threads, and my comment is quickly pushed off the earlier pages of the pending comments section, they'll be lost.

More generally, I get why this is being done, and it's even a touch exciting. I would love to see general comment quality improve if for the only reason that the general quality forms expectations in the community, and this can help raise the bar a little. However, it's also pretty concerning. It's a big surprise to see human activity be what is reached for.

Edit: Woah, so it turns out my main concern was discussed in the thread by cperciva [0], and it was an oversight by pg which resulted in the page of pending comments being added. This certainly has the potential to raise comment quality dramatically, but is fraught with danger.

[0] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7445916

Edit 2: I don't want to flood this comment thread with another post, so I'll make it here. Close to 40 minutes after making the above, I find even my lingering doubt has close to disappeared and been replaced by excitement. My initial horror disappeared surprisingly quickly, even before I made the above comment, as I realized quickly how much this could improve comment quality. Yet, after some reading in the announcement thread, I find myself feeling like a slightly modified system would require much less activity from users, but be nearly as effective.

Why not have, after a certain threshold of endorsed comments, comments by the user be automatically endorsed. Then, instead of requiring active endorsement for every comment, give high karma users the ability to require further comments by a bad commenter to require endorsement before appearing. This ensures that they can only make a handful of low quality comments before being pushed to active moderation, and presumably the event would happen rarely so that abuse of the ability can be more accurately monitored. I imagine that the opposite idea, having bad comments being endorsed by a user resulting in the removal their ability to endorse, would be more work.

Another 20 minutes later, and one last edit just for posterity: I still remain fairly bullish about the potential, but reading the discussion threads leaves me bouncing back and forth between excitement and concern. It'll be interesting to see how it plays out, in either case.

EGreg 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I will post another comment.

This is the problem with centralization. A service that is centralized in the hands of the person or organization hosting it leaves all the power in their hands to change the rules on a whim. We are lucky that pg is reasonable and cares about feedback. Remember what happened with the facebok newsfeed? Also, democracies don't mitigate all the problems of centralization. Facebook even attempted to have a vote on the new privacy features, heavily promoted it, but had a ridiculously low turnout. Most people don't spend their time on sites trying to govern them, but simply use the tool.

Compare this to decentralized systems like git or the web. Any particular publisher's decision is mitigated by the fact that the audience is small. Even if this while site disappeared tomorrow, the web would continue to exist. Can such a principle be implemented for communities in general?

Yes. But it requires open source software to be installed and published by many people, and clients could interact with publicly signed versions of servers (or their plugins). The key question here is who is trying to protect whom and why.

When a small group forms (such as the discussion thread) the participants are the most interested party, and if the host changes something from what they expected they should be able to fork the discussion and easily continue it somewhere else.

On the other hand, a publisher who is interested in trying out a new (version of a) plugin can install it and see people's reactions. If they like it, they may start more discussions hosted by this publisher.

But the key to a "free market" in improvements is the switching cost. People should be able to easily move the entire discussion somewhere else in case the particular installation has been sabotaged.

Ideally such distributed software could be a bitcoin agent.

deftnerd 19 hours ago 2 replies      
Doesn't this remove HN from being protected by Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act if every comment is now screened by a human?

There could be serious liability issues to think about.

jliechti1 21 hours ago 2 replies      
The new system is live. Would it make sense to add a permanent "pending" link to the top navigation bar?

HN users with > 1000 karma. Will you actively spend time to endorse new comments?

wildpeaks 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Basically, that turns HN into politics ? Because 1000+ commenters get to choose between:

- upvote and take the risk that other cliques will tag that as not worthy of an upvote, punishing both the commenter and yourself, possibly even pushing you back into the powerless silent majority.

- don't upvote: don't take risks, only grind up hoping others will take risks for you.

Sounds like it kills most discussions and only radical threads between cliques will remain :(

So given that will probably be my last comment here if that change remain, what other sites would you guys suggest as HN alternatives?

akerl_ 13 hours ago 1 reply      
I do like that we're tweaking the system as we go in response to feedback / observation, but blocking comments based on endorsements from existing users seems like it's just going to increase the echo-chamber-ness of the site.
ChrisGaudreau 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I've been on HN for a long time, but I am using a different account now.

I think it's pretty bad that I have to prefix my argument with that. The outcome of this change will be to alienate new users or get them to suck up to older users long enough to boost their karma beyond noob-level. HN will become much more of an echo chamber.

Beyond that, are HN comments really that bad? There may be a few people who just know that HN is turning into Reddit. If you believe that, go read a few comments on Reddit and then read a few comments on HN.

fuddle 21 hours ago 2 replies      
1000 Karma points seems quite high. I've been here 3 years and I've only got 115 points!
avalaunch 21 hours ago 0 replies      
It would be nice if the page didn't reload when you click endo rse. I lost my place on the page and my first thought was, "Well I won't be doing that again."
noir_lord 14 hours ago 2 replies      
If it becomes more difficult to participate in conversations because I have to wait for moderation on a previous comment then I lose engagement.

The end result is I'll probably just stop visiting hacker news so frequently (if at all).

As without the ability to have conversations with people better than me at interesting stuff what does this place offer that reddit doesn't.

NamTaf 18 hours ago 0 replies      
What thought process has been put in to how the throttling of 'discussion'-style comments affect the pagerank of a particular post? If a bunch of moderate-quality comments have the effect of bolstering the pagerank of a post until a highly insightful comment comes along that'll be upvoted to the stratosphere, then will we risk losing those interesting discussions simply because there isn't 'that one right person' there to seed the bigger conversation with insight?
KingJellybean 21 hours ago 0 replies      
In the AskHN thread I made, only one person responded to it, but it was VERY USEFUL.

Would Pending Comments have hidden that post from me? (I am assuming not many other people saw or cared about my thread) If so, then this policy seems like a big step towards focusing discussion to only what is on the front page.

virtualwhys 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Certainly runs of the risk of removing dissenting opinion from the mix, which is unfortunate.

For example, if language X has had a new release with a bunch of features and someone posts the announcement to HN, language X users will typically form the majority of the comment pool.

Now, when someone comes along that feels differently about language X and the direction it's going in, foundation, etc., naturally the dissenting opinion will be suppressed as pro language X users will be incentivized to not promote the comment, no matter how constructive the comment is, and the dissenter will therefore need to rely on members of the minority (dissenters) to come to the rescue, so to speak, in order for the comment to go live.

I prefer to see the _whole_ picture, if something comes up on HN it's important to see the pros and cons, not just the pros of the pro-X-posting crowd (i.e. clique affect).

Gut reaction is thumbs down, comment quality on HN is generally quite good, but PG must have seen a need (or had an itch) to implement pending comments.

We'll see how it plays out

p.s. seems a little heavy handed for the under 1000 karma crowd, which must quite large...

edtechdev 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm a fan of post-publication review. Let people post, and then if it really is something bad, unhelpful, or spam, just let it be down voted and hidden after it receives a certain number of down votes (such as 5, like on reddit). And I like that people can still click on a down voted comment to see it, since sometimes comments are down voted because they are saying something unpopular, not necessarily "bad."
georgemcbay 21 hours ago 0 replies      
My karma is >10k and my comments are still going into "pending" state. I don't know if they are being endorsed by other users or the system just automatically endorses them, but I do see a [pending] on them for at least a minute after I post them -- haven't tried to make a quick post while another is showing [pending].
rlu 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm not sure how I feel about this.

Particularly this part: "Someone who has a pending comment will have to wait till it goes live to post another".

Am I seriously expected to keep a "queue" of posts I want to make in Notepad or something?

Seems pretty stupid to me. The way I use HN is to spend 30ish minutes on it by opening a bunch of tabs...reading the articles...and then either posting a root comment or responding to something interesting. I do this for every tab.

Sounds like this breaks my work flow, and I don't understand what the purpose of this part is.

minimaxir 21 hours ago 1 reply      
The Pending Comments page is a secret test of character. Endorse the correct comment, and endorse wisely.

Case in point: http://i.imgur.com/8Oa3z0H.png

rkuykendall-com 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I just realized that now only 10k+ users appear at the top of /newcomments, since they will be the only ones with approval at "0 minutes."
enscr 19 hours ago 0 replies      
It is probably a good thought but the implementation sounds too strict. The power users have ruined stackoverflow to an extent. I'd suggest relaxing the endorsement policy to a lower karma score. And perhaps a way of penalizing those who aren't doing a good job of letting positive comments in. So if you want power, it comes at a cost.

Lastly, you should also consider the intelligent but quiet guys in the classroom. Those who are uber conscious about speaking up despite having good suggestions. The fear of not being able to speak, if they don't say anything good enough will silence them.

hindsightbias 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Logic will never, ever, defeat Eternal September.

This is absolutely the single greatest and subtly brilliant motivator for anyone interested in doing a startup to leap right now.

All of your competition is going to be wasting hours of their day upvoting pending comments.

Their time sink is your opportunity!

Here's a free startup idea: autobot commenter to turk task the producers of the valley.

maximgsaini 19 hours ago 0 replies      
When the elites are allowed censor "bad" voices, it ends up hurting progress. The elites of the middle ages did the same to the "bad" voices defying the clergy. The elites in Afghanistan do the same to the "bad" and "immoral" voices demanding freedom for women.

The brain plays tricks on you and makes you believe that your perception/ideas are "good", while those opposing you are 'bad'. Letting humanity play into the hands of this cognitive bias of the elites or the majority. Nothing worse for progress. We could've come much further had it not been for this.

If no one in the 'elite' club thinks that my ideas are 'good', does that mean my ideas are wrong?

It has been and will be bad science to suppress "bad"/"crazy"/"stupid" ideas. "Bad" of today might be the status quo tomorrow. Interfering with this evolution is "bad". No matter how smart you think you are.

imkevinxu 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting, I wonder if this page will give rise to unofficial "moderators" who decide to spend 5 minutes endorsing various comments.

I'm also interesting in seeing where / how pending comments look on a specific thread, I guess posting this will show that

pandemicsyn 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Just curious but, whats the reasoning behind not having a "Show Pending Comments" option along with the existing "Show Dead"?
firebones 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Given the power law distribution of participation in online forums (say, 1% produce comments or moderate, 3% vote, 96% only consume), I wouldn't be surprised to see the threshold have to drop quite a bit (especially based on time of day) in order to keep the wheels turning and to overcome the drop off after the honeymoon period is over and the novelty of dealing with pending comments wears off.

Because of this power law distribution, it may not necessarily turn out to be that bad, since at any given time there may only be 3-4 comments pending for every eligible reviewer.

sturmeh 18 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't see the real need to have every single comment a user makes moderated.

Surely just adding a button that says "report" to comments that sends the message to a pending queue and sees how 1000's respond to it?

I also assume that >1000ers go unmoderated?

andrewmunsell 21 hours ago 2 replies      
Is this system current implemented so that users with greater than 1000 karma are now "moderators", or is the limit lower than that?

I have 910 at the moment, but after clicking "Endorse" on a comment it seemed to disappear from the page. It could be entirely coincidental, or was the limit lowered?

Also, I can't see an "Pending" link in the top menu unless I'm on the "Pending" page already. Not sure if this a part of having less than 1000 karma or just a caching issue/bug.

ztratar 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I already dislike this. :[

Not to mention this won't get seen by anybody.

xedarius 15 hours ago 0 replies      
It's interesting that this seems to be a move away from the world of realtime. Some of the articles on HN only appear in the top 30 for a few hours. This seems to grate against the idea of pending comments.

Also it exposes HN to something that irritates about Stack Overflow, this idea that there are a bunch of people who somehow know what I want to read. The amount of questions on SO that are 'closed as deemed none relevant' is ridiculous.

Also remember, the bad comments are the exact benchmark on which you judge a good comment. Without bitter there is no sweet.

hrjet 19 hours ago 0 replies      
What I think would be ideal:Comments ranked by the network of users I have upvoted / downvoted in the past, by computing a centrality:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eigenvector_centrality

(I don't understand the mathematics of this entirely, just have an intuitive understanding of it)

cheeze 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder if taking the age of an account into consideration could help. I feel that there are probably quite a few lurkers who have been here for quite some time, but haven't massed much karma since they very rarely comment, although are here all the time. Thoughts?
3rd3 15 hours ago 0 replies      
My only complaint is that the verb 'to endorse' might be a little bit too strong. A button that says 'appropriate' might be better, because it's more clear then what exactly the intended criteria for an endorsement are and the user does not need to identify with clicking the button as much.
waterlesscloud 21 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm seeing no comments that remain as pending for very long.

This is only going to affect the very bottom of the barrel as it stands now.

So I think everyone can safely relax and let it work its course.

se85 19 hours ago 0 replies      
What a terrible idea. Please reconsider.
tmsh 17 hours ago 0 replies      
I think curiously what this would encourage is a slower way of thinking. I.e., not quick comments, but longer, more thoughtful ones.

I don't comment much, but when I do think back on the comments I have made that have been somewhat popular, they are of this longer type. Maybe there's something to this.

But just be aware you're positioning yourself as kind of a catalyst in the opposite direction of most small, quick messaging fora.

Maybe that's good for us. Maybe it will come to be appreciated. Maybe people will abandon it for something easier.

whyme 19 hours ago 1 reply      
Have you considered using some avg. rank threshold instead of karma for both this and down voting? or rather some blend of profile age, minimum karma, and avg. rank?

I look at 1000 karma and wonder why you would empower people who could simply be post happy.

bmurphy1976 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This is going to be an interesting experiment.

I hope it addresses something I've noticed lately, something I refer to as "Poisoning the Well".

What I've seen again and again and again is that the first (highest rated?) comment on the thread is either negative or off topic. Discussion ensues. Lots of discussion. Screens of discussion.

Most of which is entirely irrelevant to the primary topic.

By the time I wade through that mess to get to the real discussion, I'm burnt. I can't imagine I'm the only one, it seems like the comments further below, while typically of much higher quality are fewer and farther between.

I wonder how often we collectively read the first thread, get frustrated, and move on. For me, it happens all too often.

alecsmart1 21 hours ago 0 replies      
This completely breaks the commenting feature in both ios & android mobile apps.
cpeterso 20 hours ago 1 reply      
If comment endorsing is going to scale, it needs to be very fast and easy. However, when I click an endorse link, the whole page reloads and I lose my scroll position! Clicking the up and down vote arrows does not reload the page, so the endorse links ought to be changed be changed to do the same. This frustrating behavior discourages me from endorsing comments.
arfliw 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Not sure if this is a bug or not but I was able to endorse a bunch of comments and my karma is only 11.

Question: if a comment is never endorsed does that mean that user is effectively banned?

jedicoffee 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Sweet, I can make comments that people can't see unless they're users who have X karma and agree with X opinion. So now I should just agree with everyone so I get X karma so I can make honest comments.

Great idea!

RRRA 19 hours ago 0 replies      
So now we should rate up everyone so they reach 1k karma?
Oculus 20 hours ago 1 reply      
It just hit me the reason the page is blank is my karma is lower than 1000.
willtheperson 21 hours ago 2 replies      
So have I lost the ability to comment or is this for new users?
telvda 19 hours ago 1 reply      
RIP in peace Hacker News
robk 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Weird I'm over 1000 karma and pending is blank
lukaseder 13 hours ago 0 replies      
That sounds like the inbox in reddit...
renang 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Does a person get karma when his comment is endorsed?

That would be a good way to promote good commentators to the "next level", whatever it brings with karma.

pearjuice 17 hours ago 1 reply      
Well, here comes the common denominator. The upvoting circles and shilling was pretty bad already but this makes it worse. You enable mutual backpatting and group thinking. Sliding out all people who have "odd" or uncommon opinion. It is like rogue censorship.
jasonlotito 21 hours ago 1 reply      
The UX is very bad on that page. You click endorse, and then you have to wait for the page to load (which takes some time, I might add). So, I get to endorse one comment at a time on that page.
azth 19 hours ago 0 replies      
I take it this won't affect submissions by those users?
lukehorvat 16 hours ago 0 replies      
JacksonGariety 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Npm security post-mortem npmjs.org
174 points by IsaacSchlueter  1 day ago   60 comments top 17
cyphunk 15 hours ago 2 replies      
> * Before they could start, we had a very serious security vulnerability responsibly disclosed by Will Farrington and Charlie Somerville

> * We fixed it on February 17th

the fix scares the shit out of me:


     Properly escape all relevant html entities     Avoid problems with files named things like '<img>' and so on.          -      var name = f.replace(/"/g, '&quot;')     +      var name = f     +          .replace(/"/g, '&quot;')     +          .replace(/>/g, '&lt;')     +          .replace(/</g, '&gt;')     +          .replace(/'/g, '&#39;')

wycats 1 day ago 3 replies      
It's worth noting that the XSS vulnerability ("A user could inject scripts into the npm website via the README and license fields") assuredly exposed a whole slew of easy-to-exploit vulnerabilities, and the community should feel very lucky that such an obvious vulnerability was in the wild for so long without being exploited.

TL;DR always use a templating engine that makes you think about XSS and don't allow unsanitized user-provided HTML through raw.

jeremymcanally 1 day ago 3 replies      
Nice write-up and good on them for fixing that quickly, but it's a serious bummer they unnecessarily bring in the RubyGems incident as some sort of awkward "Well at least we didn't screw up that badly!" swipe. It's not relevant to anything else they said.
ilaksh 1 day ago 5 replies      
Why do they have to apologize for that? Almost every piece of software has security vulnerabilities.

Do people now really believe that there are definitely no security vulnerabilities related to the npm registry? Or any other type of registry, or website or application for that matter?

People have completely unrealistic expectations about security. Every time you had a significant amount of new functionality, or even a very insignificant amount, you could have introduced a new security vulnerability.

Basically this other company Lift or whatever could have two full time engineers doing security audits for npm from here until npm is done, and you could still have some other hacker who was thinking differently come up with a vulnerability in some new feature that they missed.

Its great to have the attitude that you are going to make a serious effort, but totally unrealistic to think that you are going to do one security audit and then there will be no more vulnerabilities. And also really makes no sense to make a big deal about it or give them grief or for them to even feel bad. If you think that way then you don't understand security.

You see all of these large projects having security issues not because they are full of negligent or sloppy engineers, but because security takes a lot of resources and is very difficult. The security firms will certainly suggest that engineers are negligent, of course. That ensures that they will continue to get new clients. But the reality is even with a lot of resources dedicated to just security, projects can easily have new vulnerabilities.

So that's great that they are getting regular security audits now. They are ahead of the curve.

EDIT: I notice I have been buried without anyone bothering to even respond. If you disagree, say why you disagree.

outside1234 1 day ago 0 replies      
Its great to finally have full time folks managing npm and to finally have the resources to do things right (eg. hire ^lift).

Thanks for doing!

akadien 1 day ago 2 replies      
The world would be a little better if every software company could inform its users of security vulnerabilities and bugs as these guys did.
abecedarius 1 day ago 1 reply      
The 'we fixed it' link points to four new lines including these:

      .replace(/>/g, '&lt;')      .replace(/</g, '&gt;')
I can't really tell without more background and context, but I'm surprised this doesn't turn > into &gt; and < into &lt;. Is this a mistake? The same code's still in the HEAD.

cjbprime 1 day ago 1 reply      
Nice disclosure, and can't fault the npmjs team given that they commissioned a security audit as soon as they possibly could.

I wonder if the npm, Inc. team told ^Lift about the disclosed vulns before ^Lift's own audit completed. I can imagine being tempted to see whether they'd discover it themselves, to gain more evidence on how comprehensive the audit was.

maxjus 1 day ago 0 replies      
Y'all might want to limit the number of characters in a user's name...


giovannibajo1 1 day ago 5 replies      
can anybody disclose some figures on how much ^lift (or competitors) costs, e.g.: for a 100K-line Python codebase? A rough ballpark would help a lot.
jmspring 1 day ago 1 reply      
So the audit was mostly about nom the website and the service for maintaining npm packages? That's a good first step.

Has there been any talk within the node community about auditing node modules themselves? Maybe start with the most popular? I could see this being popular with enterprise development, etc.

I want to say that Strong Loop made noise about doing something like this, but I haven't seen much on it of late.

filipedeschamps 13 hours ago 0 replies      
One of the things I love about Isaac is his empathy. Reading his blog posts, listening to his podcasts on Nodeup, looks like he is writing/talking to me, and since I'm a developer, this makes a huge difference in my motivation.

Great job guys and very responsible choices.

dantiberian 1 day ago 1 reply      
Is this why npm made the changes with self signed certificates http://blog.npmjs.org/post/78085451721/npms-self-signed-cert... or is that unrelated?
qubyte 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Security postmortems are a great idea. Until time machines happen.
seldo 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm sorry you took it that way. The scope of our security hole was exactly as big as the Rubygems vulnerability. If I'd omitted that comparison, I was sure somebody would say "these guys were just as bad as ruby but they're covering that up!" At the same time, I wanted to make it clear that the only reason this wasn't a game-over disaster for us is because we were lucky. We weren't any smarter, or better designed. Just luckier.
seaghost 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great read!
Fasebook 1 day ago 0 replies      
Nearly Paid Muppets?
8402: 2048 from the other side chronosempire.org.uk
172 points by hexwab  1 day ago   51 comments top 21
oneeyedpigeon 1 day ago 2 replies      
Great, not only am I really, really bad at hundreds of variants of 2048, now there's an AI that's much better at it than me, even when I'm doing my best to stop it. Presumably, someone will write an AI to combat this one, and I've completely lost the thread of reality to which I have been forlornly clinging.
jakejake 18 hours ago 1 reply      
It's maddening! 2048 seems like it's so ridiculously hard playing the normal way. Then you play this game an it seems like it should be impossible to lose 2048.
deletes 22 hours ago 1 reply      
It is very easy to win. You shouldn't be able to select 2 or 4. The decision should be random and that would be fair like the original.

The easiest solution is to have just one 2 on the table, then spam 4 in corners.

Best( lowest ) score: 1684

Rangi42 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I won! http://i.imgur.com/VOXJaOo.png

My strategy was to give the AI a single 2 at the beginning, then only 4s. When the board fills up enough, there will probably be a space where you can put a second 2 to make it lose before it can combine them.

abdullahkhalids 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Now for someone to make a 2 player one where one person is making 2048 and one person is stopping them.
Avalaxy 23 hours ago 3 replies      
Wow, this despresses me. It pushes my nose unto the fact that I really suck at 2048, because no matter how hard I make it, this AI solves every problem I throw at it. Yet, I haven't managed to surpass 6568 after days of playing.
jeorgun 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Wow. This one was insanely stressful compared to every other variant I've seen so far which is weird, because (unlike the original 2048) I was actually able to win this one.

Either way, really cool.

j2kun 23 hours ago 2 replies      
As a computer scientist I can't help but now ask: what is the complexity of this problem? If it's in P then this game is not very interesting (in that I can't hope to fool the AI).
_Robbie 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I finally beat it. This seems harder than 2048 since with 2048 a simple strategy can do well, where as with this game I had to search through more opponent AI moves. Is there a simple strategy for 8402?
stormbrew 23 hours ago 0 replies      
This was incredibly satisfying. Just have to do all the things I hate when the AI in 2048 does to me.
Moto7451 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Not sure if left click/right click was the best choice in controls. I keep refreshing the page. At least on desktop a typing the size of the piece you want would have been much easier. Two buttons to do the same on mobile would have likely been a better choice as well.
Bhel 1 day ago 2 replies      

This is the first 2048 variant that I'm able to beat. yay me... .__.

stefan_kendall3 16 hours ago 1 reply      
The real challenge of course is to build an AI to beat the AI. Here's a random clicker:

setInterval(function(){var cells = document.getElementsByClassName("grid-cell");var pos = Math.floor((Math.random()*cells.length));if(Math.random() < 0.5){cells[pos].click();}else {var ev = document.createEvent('HTMLEvents');ev.initEvent('contextmenu', true, false);cells[pos].dispatchEvent(ev);}},100);

Pxtl 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Victory at 1124 puppies eaten! Highest tile is 128.
hyperion2010 4 hours ago 0 replies      
For some reason I find this version to be much easier than the original.
shacharz 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Cute variation, I wonder if there's a record on games' variations and whether 2048 is the all time winner
aquateen 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I hate this game for some reason, whereas I really liked 2048. Not sure why.
BhavdeepSethi 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This is insane. I can complete 2048 easily, but can't seem to win this version. For others, it's other way around. How does that work? :/
Aemon 22 hours ago 0 replies      
very interesting variation, I like it. Didn't notice the instructions when I played so I didn't realize I could put 4s so my strategy mainly consisted of trying to figure out where the worst place to put a 2 would be especially at the end when it was filling up to get it to catch twos by itself or other singular numbers. Won in the end so I'm pretty content: http://i.imgur.com/7E3WBQk.png
bertil 14 hours ago 0 replies      
The whole wave of 2048 and the related AI problems are fascinating. Has anyone else started thinking using those at the start of a Computer science class using those as initial examples to illustrate the power and simplicity of algorithms, and motivate even non-coding-inspired students to think systematically?
64mb 1 day ago 0 replies      
Oh, so I'm not meant to get 2048? Damn.
Why are roller coaster loops not circular? datagenetics.com
170 points by squeakynick  1 day ago   46 comments top 15
jameshart 1 day ago 3 replies      
Initial explanation of "why the roller coaster doesn't fall off" is poor. In fact, the explanation doesn't even mention gravity, which is odd, because if the coaster were to fall off gravity would presumably be the force responsible. The author explains that the track is applying a downward force on the inverted coaster: but that force would surely combine with gravity to accelerate the coaster downwards, which is the opposite of the apparently observed phenomenon we're trying to explain here. Of course that -is- what happens, but only because the coaster is going fast enough that gravitational acceleration downward would curve the cars down less than the track does.

The trick is to realize that an unguided rollercoaster, not on a track, wants to travel along a parabola (not in a straight line, as indicated in the text). If the coaster is going fast enough, then the radius of curvature of the parabola at that location in the coaster's trajectory is greater than that of the track, in which case the track gets to apply additional centripetal force and turn the coaster -more- than it 'wants' to. If the coaster is going slow, then the radius of curvature of the parabola will be less than the radius of the track, and the natural path of the coaster will tend to pull it down away from the track.

Of course, at that point, you find out what -really- stops the coaster from falling off, which is that it's riding on a tubular steel track with wheels clamped both above and below the rail...

All of which is mentioned - later in the article, but as an introductory section, messing up the basics so badly really undermines the article.

maxerickson 1 day ago 2 replies      
As seems to be a pattern with this blog, the article is a little too similar to existing materials to not have any citations. Here the tree starts at Wikipedia, bounces through Archive.org and ends up at a Danish blog with some interesting images:




Nothing is taken directly from the source material though.

Edit: Just to expand a bit on calling it a pattern, this blog:


uses a figure (and analysis) very reminiscent of A birthday present every eleven wallets? from here:


crazygringo 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'd love to read this page but it's using 88% CPU on Chrome on OSX. I can barely even scroll the page. :( There's no Flash, must be some crazy processor-intensive JavaScript animation?
symmetricsaurus 1 day ago 1 reply      
Roller coaster design is one of the areas where you can actually use the 3rd time derivate of position, the jerk, to good effect. So the jerk is the change in acceleration over time. A typical motion with high jerk is when you are riding in a car and the driver turns the wheel quickly, not a very comfortable experience.

The same is true for roller coasters; high jerk motions are uncomfortable. So you have to not only take the limits of comfortable acceleration into consideration but also try to minimize the jerk.

robinhouston 1 day ago 0 replies      
There is a whole lot of interesting material about clothoid curves in Raph Leviens PhD thesis http://www.levien.com/phd/phd.html

Dont be put off by the fact its a PhD thesis, a genre not generally noted for good clear writing. The tone is scholarly, but unusually readable, and theres a surprising amount of well-researched historical material (chapters 5 and 6).

He used a design tool based on these curves to design the popular open source monospaced font Inconsolata.

nraynaud 1 day ago 0 replies      
this kind of shape is also used in high speed machining, when there is no need for a precise path (pocket roughing for example), it's better to avoid the shock (infinite jerk) of a circular arc.
josefresco 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anyone else think of this while reading the article?


jxf 1 day ago 1 reply      
I loved the position-acceleration-velocity animation. I'd love to know how was that created (i.e. with what tools).
yread 1 day ago 4 replies      
> Roller coaster enthusiasts exploit these differences and compare notes as to the better places to sit on each ride to maximize the hang times, g-forces and ride experiences.

Hmm that sounds interesting, is there a "Roller coaster news" somewhere?

ce4 1 day ago 0 replies      
The article claims that you're exposed to constant G-force in such an unround "circle". This is only partially true (if you're riding in the exact middle of the train), because the vehicle is so long.

Riding in a rollercoaster is really a very different experience if you're a) sitting in the very front, b) in the middle or c) in the last compartment. I like to sit in the last seat :-)

Imagine the very first part of the ride, a horizontal track with a sharp edge downwards:

Especially the last compartment is really fun because you get the most forward acceleration in the beginning (when 90% of the train is "falling" downwards and the last compartment is still in a "horizontal" position. This leads to almost 1G forward acceleration while the first compartment is facing downward without accelerating too much because the biggest part of the coaster is still in a horizontal position).

winslow 1 day ago 0 replies      
Ahh so this same explanation could be used for why you can't swing yourself up and over a swing set bar? Unless you go mythbusters style and use rockets?

[1] - http://youtu.be/torrlSW6VnA

rafekett 1 day ago 0 replies      
guess without reading the article: uses less material per unit length of track
stansmith 1 day ago 0 replies      
Love the animation.
dallasgutauckis 1 day ago 2 replies      
This needs an ELI5/TLDR version....
NextUserName 1 day ago 0 replies      
Two reason that I can guess (before reading any comments or the article).

1. More energy is lost the wider the loop is. This is because on a truly round loop, the cars would be pushing hard against the widest part of the circle as the cars change from going from right to left (or vise-verse). By not going out as far, you don't have to come as far back to get to the top of the loop.

2. The geometry of the loop is tuned partially based on the number of cars. Most roller coasters have between 6 and 10 cars. You want the first one to be starting on the way down way before the last one all the way to the apex. This uses gravity to help with overall velocity. The easiest way to achieve this is by distributing the sharpest part of the angular transition at the top of the loop.

Perhaps I should not post a comment before reading, but I am curious to know what others think (off the cuff).

What You Can't Say (2004) paulgraham.com
166 points by Blahah  1 day ago   282 comments top 39
ggreer 1 day ago 24 replies      
Here are some things I think future societies will condemn us for:

1. Prison. Almost every modern penal system focuses on punishment rather than rehabilitation. I think that as our understanding of the brain improves, we'll be able to find the causes of violent behavior and cure them. Punishment will become cruel and unusual.

2. Eating meat (and other animal rights issues). Even if they're not conscious, most tasty animals can suffer just as much as we can. They have desires and kin. Some even mourn the passing of their brethren. But few eyes are batted when our microencephalized cousins are abused and killed by the billions. Cheap in-vitro meat is probably a prerequisite for this change.

3. Banning assisted suicide for the elderly and terminally ill. See http://slatestarcodex.com/2013/07/17/who-by-very-slow-decay/

I doubt I'll be right on all of these, but I'm hopeful. Now for something I really can't say: I think all three of these atrocities share a root cause. Some of you will probably guess what I'm getting at.

skylan_q 1 day ago 3 replies      
This is a great article.

If you believe everything you're supposed to now, how can you be sure you wouldn't also have believed everything you were supposed to if you had grown up among the plantation owners of the pre-Civil War South, or in Germany in the 1930s-- or among the Mongols in 1200, for that matter? Odds are you would have.

This is lost on most people. You'll just hear "of course it was wrong!" and this point won't be given further thought.

But if it was obvious that it was wrong, why did masses of people agree to this? They wouldn't have done it if they also saw it as wrong.

So why are we the exception today? Couldn't we be just as gullible or misguided? You have to move your own ego and preconceived notions aside to seriously address the question.

mef 1 day ago 4 replies      
Let's start with a test: Do you have any opinions that you would be reluctant to express in front of a group of your peers?

If the answer is no, you might want to stop and think about that. If everything you believe is something you're supposed to believe, could that possibly be a coincidence? Odds are it isn't. Odds are you just think whatever you're told.

The other alternative would be that you independently considered every question and came up with the exact same answers that are now considered acceptable. That seems unlikely, because you'd also have to make the same mistakes. Mapmakers deliberately put slight mistakes in their maps so they can tell when someone copies them. If another map has the same mistake, that's very convincing evidence.

Is it a possibility that someone has controversial opinions but could be unafraid of expressing them to a group of peers?

ChuckMcM 1 day ago 16 replies      
I find that in engineering circles theology and the notion of the existence of God is one of those 'moral taboos.' And advocating more nuclear power stations or private gun ownership.

It is fascinating that were you to advocate gun control in the late 19th century, it seems nearly everyone would have laughed you out of the room. But that sentiment has reversed here in the 21st century.

Always interesting to think about.

brd 1 day ago 2 replies      
"Do you have any opinions that you would be reluctant to express in front of a group of your peers?"

I think this test is fascinating when applied to the Musk vs. Gates debate from yesterday.

How taboo is it to say forget charity? I know I feel uncomfortable with saying: 'forget the poor, we can fix them after we've figured out how to create a sustainable form of first world living' and yet that seems like a far more rational strategy to act upon.

scoofy 1 day ago 1 reply      
I don't really understand this article. What is the point of an empirical approach to taboo. I was a student of philosophy for years, and ethics is essentially a top-down way of finding the exact things he's looking for. Whether it be Kant's categorical imperative or Singer's expanding circle, it seems to me this taboo chasing is missing the bigger picture of finding a justifiable ethical framework, and then everything he's asking about falls out simply, and easily.
rubiquity 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is probably my favorite essay from PG. I think about it at least once a week. It's easy to get caught up in a world of professionalism, which is just a fancy word for acting like you aren't human, and go through every day doing social norms just because they are social norms. This essay reminds me to stop and think about the things that I do and see other people doing.
B-Con 1 day ago 0 replies      
> It would be a remarkable coincidence if ours were the first era to get everything just right.

I love this kind of insight. I think that we, as humans, are very egotistical by nature. The time we're living in is surely the time we have all the answers and everything important figured out. We simply can't live with the feeling of "eh, it'll be way better in 100 years". We always need the feeling of certainty and ownership. Throughout history, we have always been certain of what we thought, regardless of how much reason we had to believe it.

> If you believe everything you're supposed to now, how can you be sure you wouldn't also have believed everything you were supposed to if you had grown up among the plantation owners of the pre-Civil War South, or in Germany in the 1930s-- or among the Mongols in 1200, for that matter? Odds are you would have.

Here's a similar thought: "What are the odds that a huge percentage of the people with a certain position were born together in the same geographic location at the same time?" If that doesn't make you scared of being morally brainwashed, I don't know what will.

klochner 1 day ago 0 replies      
The prohibition will be strongest when the group is nervous.

Hence the behavior you see inside many startups - non-founding members questioning the mission/purpose/intention/success of the company is typically taboo.

nwenzel 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Ask pg: What does the pg of today (the pg with kids) think about what the pg of the past (circa 2004) wrote about the parts of the essay related to kids?

If there's something interesting to diff, it's the ideas people have that pertain to taboos and taboo subjects before and after kids.

I suspect if more developers and engineers had kids, iPads would have a kid mode. I wonder how thinkers and writers (and painters?) would think and write and paint differently with/without kids.

Jun8 1 day ago 0 replies      
"What can't we say? One way to find these ideas is simply to look at things people do say, and get in trouble for."

I was thinking of this very essay when pg "got into trouble" for his comments about female founders, whenever I see vicious backlash to dissent here whenever some of these issues are discussed. I think (haven't read anything to back this, absolutely my own personal feeling) that debacle may have had just a little bit in his decision to step down.

Read the section headed Why once again, it's gold. This piece ranks in my personal top ten pg essays.

It's so interesting that the piece mentions Summers, albeit one year earlier than the famous speech (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lawrence_Summers#Differences_be...). I would so love to sit down with pg and have his honest opinions on this subject. Of course, not probably he cannot afford to deviate from ""i pensieri stretti & il viso sciolto."

Exenith 22 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm pretty disappointed in most people's responses. Here's two real, actual taboos that no one wants to touch with a 20ft stick:

1. consensual incest

2. consensual pedophilia

All of these things are just utterly shunned. It would be unspeakable for me to argue in support of these in real life, except with very close friends and in a very detached manner. In fact, this has probably put me on some sort of list (especially considering the stuff I saw on 4chan last night...).

The interesting thing is that I would never want to do any of those things. Yet I know that my own repulsion is based on irrational disgust, and the reason for our shunning is also based on irrational disgust. When we take universal moral baselines -- empathy, compassion -- none of these taboos, assuming the sex is protected and consensual, harm anyone.

We've also got eugenics and polygamy, but I could probably argue for those without being shot. Oh wow, and consensual cannibalism. I'm usually the devil's advocate, but even this shit is starting to make me feel dirty.

tempestn 1 day ago 2 replies      
A fairly minor but prevalent one is speed limit laws. I personally feel most speed limit laws in North America are ridiculous. In almost every situation it is safe to drive significantly faster than the posted speed, so it seems fairly obvious that there's something wrong with the law itself.

Now, in this particular group I expect that isn't terribly controversial. But it can be a very unpopular opinion in some circles for two different reasons.

1) It's the law. You want to break the law?

And the somewhat more reasonable one:

2) Nothing is more important than human life. If driving slowly can save even one life, it's worth it. By advocating an increase to speed limits, you're valuing a few minutes of your time over people's lives.

Now, for one thing, it has been demonstrated by numerous studies that increased speed limits do not necessarily result in increased accident rates (in fact, often the opposite). But even leaving that aside. Say that an across the board increase to speed limits of X%^ results in a Y% increase in fatal crashes. For some sufficiently (very) small Y/X, would that not be worthwhile? It's callous, but it seems to me that it must be true. (I mean, look at the extreme case. Driving at any speed is much more dangerous than walking, but we do it anyway since it gets us places faster.) I definitely wouldn't feel comfortable saying so in a lot of peer groups though, nor without all the preamble.

^Not that that would be the most logical way to do it of course.

Edit: I should clarify that I'm speaking of main arterial roads and highways here, not residential streets. At least in most of Canada, almost all non-highways have speed limits of 50km/h, regardless of whether they're a residential side-street or a major 4 or 6 lane road. Most highways have limits of 80km/h, a few 100, and the highest I've ever seen is 110. In good conditions, most highways could easily be safely traveled at at least 120km/h. I don't think it makes sense to set speed limits for the worst case scenario, and ignore all the efficiency that could be safely gained in most driving conditions.

I haven't done a ton of driving in the US, so it's possible the situation differs there more than I was aware.

sfx 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm glad this was submitted here for discussion. The first time I read this essay I had trouble coming up with ways our society behaves that "people in the future will find ridiculous." Many of the ones in the comments are just ways our society is backwards, but not many taboos.

1. America's devoted support for our military. A support so unquestioning that you can be beaten up for saying otherwise. Polar opposite from the Vietnam war. Strange how much this has changed in less than forty years.

2. Eugenics, while not totally taboo, it's hard to talk about it without being labeled a bigot, racist, etc.

3. I also think it's difficult to have a discussion on pedophiles that doesn't involve advocating locking them up forever, it might be worth having a more empathetic discussion on such crimes. (I almost didn't include this last one for fear of getting in trouble, I rewrote it a dozen different times, but it's such a taboo subject that it should be examined.)

whyme 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have to say, while I really like this article, I think it goes too far with the statement: "Argue with idiots, and you become an idiot."

He prefaces that statement with a very black and white example of people who ban the color yellow. Using that example every reader can agree they are idiots, but in truth these issues are never that black and white. So calling them idiots, and suggesting you would become one by entering the debate goes a little too far - IMHO.

applecore 1 day ago 0 replies      
Previous discussion (1789 days ago): https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=581050

Today's discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7443420


onmydesk 1 day ago 1 reply      
This all rather reminds me of the thinking that brought about the female founders conference.

I have faith that at some point in the future this form of sexism will become less fashionable !! What were we thinking you will all say. And no-one will remember the dissenters.

Russell91 1 day ago 2 replies      
The true genius of this essay is that it gives to the reader a sense that every controversial idea they believe is indeed correct.
dbbolton 1 day ago 1 reply      
>It could be that the scientists are simply smarter; most physicists could, if necessary, make it through a PhD program in French literature, but few professors of French literature could make it through a PhD program in physics.

I think this is a pretty unfair generalization, and furthers the stereotype that STEM majors are smarter/harder-working/generally better than liberal arts majors. It is not inconceivable to me that most people choose to major in something they are passionate. I think people who choose a major just because they perceive it as easy are a small minority of students.

Aside from that, I personally believe academic success is primarily due to hard work, rather than intelligence. I imagine almost all PhDs are reasonably intelligent and could in fact make it through a physics program, provided they were willing to put in the time and effort.

barce 1 day ago 0 replies      
In the future, people will not be measured by how productive they are. They will see that human organizations greater than 150 people are divorced from reality. Productivity will be considered a shared delusion held during the Age of Work.

Managers often ask me how they can make their workers more productive. What I cannot say is, "There is no productivity."

There is a book that goes into deconstructing productivity. It's called "How to Survive in an Organization" by James Heaphey. It's based on a generation's worth of study on organizations like corporations.

whyme 1 day ago 0 replies      
I find pg's earlier writings, like this one, to be the best.
anaphor 1 day ago 0 replies      
It reminds me of this blog post by Moxie Marlinspike, basically people should be allowed to dissent otherwise we will never have any progress because nobody considered any alternatives.


juliendorra 15 hours ago 0 replies      
I see Sexism, Racism, Islamophobia (and speed limits !) mentionned as taboo and unspeakable several times in this thread. I'm not sure we live in the same era. There is mainstream politicians all over Europe and the US saying sexist, racist and islamophobic things. They usually win votes by saying them. (And there is motorist groups still openly advocating for no speed limits ;-).There is a confusion here between unspeakable and "currently fought by a sizable active minority".
bigd 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Living longer is a problem, not a solution

Cars are a problem, not a solution

Religions are a problem, not a solution

Democracy is broken. Weighted democracy may work slightly better: (you take a test on the voting matter and the weight of your vote is proportional to the score)

this feels good...

robobro 1 day ago 10 replies      
Do you think you'll raise your children to believe in Santa, HN?
dreamfactory2 1 day ago 1 reply      
> "most physicists could, if necessary, make it through a PhD program in French literature, but few professors of French literature could make it through a PhD program in physics"

This is simply an embarrassingly stupid and ignorant comment.

The rest of it is fine if stating the obvious/sophomoric. I'd have like to have seen him take the interesting nuggets on fashion being political in nature and run with it (already well understood by fashion students but might deserve wider exposure).

dghughes 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Even something like a person's name change change within a generation, names once considered male becoming primarily associated with females.

Swearing seems more commonplace now even in my workplace people casualy saying fuck is as common as hello, even in front of small children. Not so long ago you wouldn't dare say such a thing in a workplace.

hippoman 12 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised peadophilia and bestiality haven't come up. These are often victimless but you can say "I want to have sex with children".
DickingAround 1 day ago 0 replies      
This article actually makes me think of something I first liked about hacker news: I noticed that posts which went against widely accepted views tended to be up-voted.

Seriously, even now when I'm writing something people like it'll generally ok on any site. If I write something I think is well founded and people will not agree with, it'll probably do better on hacker news.

I guess that reminds me to read and up-vote things that I didn't initially like...

loourr 1 day ago 0 replies      
"To launch a taboo, a group has to be poised halfway between weakness and power."
iopq 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Stretching before running increases your risk of injury. This is because you inhibit the pain response and increase your mobility.
crististm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Wow - It's ten years already... Time flies.
Pxtl 1 day ago 2 replies      
I was going to post a comment but I deleted it.
onetwofiveten 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe future societies will condemn us for always being so opinionated on subjects that we don't know much about, instead of just accepting that no-one knows for sure yet.
diminish 1 day ago 2 replies      
tlwrl; Now that pg has more time to dive into the meta-er layers, guess we'll see some progress with the Arc language.
AgathaTheWitch 21 hours ago 0 replies      
If I made known my views on a number of issues to my coworkers, I would quickly be looking for a new job and may even be shunned in the greater tech community.

I've made peace with that knowledge.

bjlorenzen 21 hours ago 0 replies      
1. War and conflict are desirable

2. Unfit/unintelligent people should be sterilized

3. Sex with children is ok

mad yet?

whatevsbro 16 hours ago 0 replies      
This seems timely in light of the new "pending comments" system.

What it boils down to, is comments being censored by default, until they're possibly uncensored by group-think. As if the community needed a narrower focus on supporting Basic Income and other misguided but popular ideas.

The effect will be silencing unharmonious views, which seems like something the author of "What You Can't Say" would see. Maybe silencing dissent is the goal here. I don't expect (m)any of my own comments to get uncensored.

woofuls 1 day ago 0 replies      
       cached 23 March 2014 02:11:01 GMT