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Coming Soon to Hacker News: Pending Comments
596 points by pg  3 days ago   800 comments top 248
beloch 3 days ago 10 replies      
My may concern with this system: Sledgehammer meets tack.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I would recommend the following changes:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1) Limit nastiness and negativity

2) Encourage deeper and pensive comments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

simonsarris 2 days ago 1 reply      
Consider how many people disagree with you here. Well-respected users.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That's a minor concern though.

EDIT: Also,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

linuxhansl 2 days ago 0 replies      
Let me just say it straight out: I think this is a truly terrible idea.

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

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

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

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

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


and the active threads page


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

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

timo614 2 days ago 1 reply      
Since this will probably be the last time a comment of mine appears in HN due to the new system I figured I'd give my take on it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

orthecreedence 2 days ago 0 replies      
So, a "the rich get richer" commenting system. Great.

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

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

rdl 3 days ago 2 replies      
Some thoughts:

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

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

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

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

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

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

archon 2 days ago 0 replies      
I find this change frustrating. I've been reading and occasionally commenting on HN for 4 years, and I'm still not able to fully participate. I haven't yet reached the magical karma number needed to "earn" the downvote button, so I can't help moderate except by flagging.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And one question:

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

Worthy experiment, regardless.

king_magic 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sorry, I hate this idea. Especially the gating if your pending comment never gets approved. It honestly feels like a slap in the face to your users. There are guys like me with 600-700 karma who have been here for years, but only post from time to time, and you've immediately alienated me with this system.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

npizzolato 2 days ago 1 reply      
There have been a lot of comments stating why this is a poor idea, but as someone who is sub-1000 karma, I haven't seen this reason posted yet (although I could only read the first half or so). In a typical day, I can't spend all day sitting on Hacker News refreshing threads and seeing if anyone has responded to me (or promoted my comment). But occasionally I'll read a thread, find a couple of interesting places to comment, and then go about my day until I can check in again later. Only being able to leave one comment in a single reasonable-length session would absolutely kill that use case. And frankly, it would make this site much less attractive to browse as an occasional commenter. Maybe you're okay with that, but I think that would be a mistake.
hayksaakian 3 days ago 1 reply      
Will there be a 'show-dead' style option for those who choose to read HN unfiltered?

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

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

eevee 2 days ago 0 replies      
I've had an HN account for over two years.

I have 328 karma.

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

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

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

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

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

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

sytelus 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is very un-hacker like. There has be better way to rank the comments considering you have so much information, specifically, graph of people with karma values upvoting/downvoting each other. Can't we just do simple variant of PageRank to rank comments? You can even simplify thing by having child comments inherit rank of parent (or may be adjusted rank). Individual users can set the noise level that they find acceptable in their profile. I strongly believe this is a ranking issue and shouldn't be left to humans with all of their potential to bias things.

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

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

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

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

I look forward to being proven wrong though.

EGreg 2 days ago 0 replies      
pg - I am going to reply to this (even though I fear it might cause me to never be able to post another live comment again)

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

waterlesscloud 3 days ago 0 replies      
Perhaps the strongest value of this will be to slow down the threads that involve a dozen replies from someone in a short period of time. Rarely are those comments substantial enough to be meaningful, often they're just someone reacting in a reflexively emotional way to a discussion.
mcgwiz 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hmm, aside from the distaste of a "guilty until proven innocent" formula being injected, this suffers from a critical flaw. The word "endorse" symbolizes something different than "substantial and not nasty". It symbolizes subjective support, agreement. Because of this association, the use of this system will tend to signal that groupthink is valued, and a cycle of groupthink will become entrenched.

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

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

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

stefantalpalaru 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't know if this will improve the quality of HN comments but it will surely reduce the time I spend on this site.

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

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

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

spitfire 2 days ago 0 replies      
The concern to me is this might cause a chilling effect on people's comments.

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

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

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

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

hibikir 2 days ago 0 replies      
When suggesting a major change like this, I think that it'd be a very good idea to do some back of the envelope calculations using data that you could probably get straight from the DB.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    1. May lead to better quality of information

3 facts vs 1 possibility

donatj 3 days ago 3 replies      
I feel like this really discourages unpopular truths from the discussion. This is one of the worst options I've ever heard for a comment system.
thenmar 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm excited to see how this works, and how the process changes after some testing. If reddit is any example, stricter moderation almost always results in a better user experience and a tighter, more respectful community. Look at r/askhistorians as a prime example.
kruipen 2 days ago 0 replies      
While I still can get a word in: I predict this is going to be a clusterfuck.

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

staticelf 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is a great idea if you want to end peoples ability to comment that disagrees with a large number of individuals. I think this is a horrible "feature" and endorsing this feature is endorsing censorship.

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

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

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

foob 2 days ago 0 replies      
Comments get from pending to live by being endorsed by multiple HN users with over 1000 karma. Those users will see pending comments, and will be able to endorse them by clicking on an "endorse" link next to the "flag" link.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

doesnt_know 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sounds good in theory, the best communities are almost always those that are strictly moderated or have their rules heavily enforced.

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

ja30278 1 day ago 0 replies      
" And though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously by licensing and prohibiting to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?"

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

touristtam 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I think that your comment and submission system is imperfect to begin with.


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

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


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

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



noarchy 3 days ago 0 replies      
I really like the idea of making pending comments anonymous (proposed by 8ig8). I strongly suspect that many current upvotes are based on who is making the comment, rather than the merits of the comment itself.
amuntner 2 days ago 1 reply      
As a long-time lurker but new user, I see little reason to ever even attempt to participate on a forum with moderation rules like this. This may be speculation but I'm guessing many others would make the same cost/benefit analysis.
jfoster 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's unusual how intolerant of experimentation entrepreneurs can be.

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

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

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

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

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

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

mratzloff 2 days ago 0 replies      
Three things.

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

Second, endorsing sounds like a lot of tedious work.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

mbreese 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think this is an interesting solution to a common problem. The problem isn't poor comments, it's how to deal with a community site when it's in the post-early adopter phase. In the past, when sites like this hit a certain maturity level, you have a few problems: people complain about all the new users and the loss of character. It's all part of what happens when network effects take hold and your site has an increasing number of users. Once you've hit a certain inflection point, each site evolves whether they want it to or not...

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

forgottenpaswrd 2 days ago 0 replies      
It seems bureaucracy has come to HN.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anyway, excited to see the change :)

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

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

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

tdicola 3 days ago 0 replies      
If I want to make a Show HN post that links to a project, and immediately comment to introduce it and fill in details will it have to wait for a 1000+ karma person to endorse it? Any way to make that kind of scenario work a little better? I have a feeling a lot of Show HN stuff will just get buried.
evanmoran 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love the experiment of it! My concern is that the scale of the discussion changes the discussion itself. Hear me out:

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

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

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

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

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

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

bsder 2 days ago 0 replies      
Has anybody actually done the math?

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

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

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

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

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

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

allendoerfer 3 days ago 1 reply      
This might cause duplicate comments, which were previously not written, because commenters were able to read comments posted before them.
eslaught 2 days ago 0 replies      
How many 1000 karma users are there on HN exactly, and how actively do they visit and interact with the site? This will have an enormous effect on what the endorsement latency actually is. I assume the karma threshold of 1000 was chosen so that there would be a reasonable number of users to do this, but I still want to check.

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

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

tomgruner 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why not implement a simple algorithm:

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

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

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

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

nkuttler 3 days ago 0 replies      
Um, how will this work out with timezones? Should I even bother writing comments outside of US office hours?
trentmb 2 days ago 0 replies      
"<Insert Minority Group Here> in tech" submissions will probably be interesting to see once this is implemented.
batoure 2 days ago 0 replies      
So I would like to have someone explain to me why I am wrong But I feel like this will penalize discussions that are happening off the front page. I spent a decent amount of time reading things that don't make it to the front page. I comment and am involved in discussing posts that rarely get much altitude. So now comments that are made on articles that are interesting only to a minority require the ok of a member of the majority. This seems more exclusionary than worth while.

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

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

Myrmornis 15 hours ago 0 replies      
This sounds like a very rash idea, and an unwarranted imposition of the view point of a small number on a majority. I've been using th site for 3 yrs only, not since the good old days when all the commenting was pure and holy. And yet, I find the standard of commenting here wonderful. It doesn't need this sort of illiberal policing by the 1k elite.
janesvilleseo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't have a Facebook page, gave up on twitter, only lurk on Reddit, but here is where I occasionally comment. I sit at only 102, not nearly enough to past the pending comment threshold. Not sure if I'm going to participate much anymore :(

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ParadisoShlee 2 days ago 0 replies      
Please offer an opt-in to see pending comments (without the ability to vote).

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

xingjianp 2 days ago 0 replies      
> People who regularly endorse comments that fail one or both of these tests will lose the ability to endorse comments. So if you're not sure whether you should endorse a comment, don't. There are a lot of people on HN. If a point is important, someone else will probably come along and make it without gratuitous nastiness.

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

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

kabdib 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's hard to tell how much friction HN needs. Some more, probably. A lot more? I'm guessing not. A little moderation goes a long way.

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

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

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

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

robinh 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm not yet sure how to feel about this, but I have one question that remains unanswered: Will this apply to submissions (possibly in the future) as well?
chhhris 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Has this pending comment policy has been implemented yet...?
OedipusRex 3 days ago 0 replies      
I worry about timezones, what percentage of users with 1000+ karma are in low-population timezones?
grey-area 2 days ago 0 replies      
You use karma as a measure of quality (here as a way to indicate someone should have rights to endorse). One other change which I think would help comment quality is to separate or cap points for submissions (which can be disproportionate), so that users do not gain karma from posting popular stories. One person posting some flamebait article can easily get over 1000 points just by posting a link, and they are encouraged to post sensational or gossipy articles by the current system in order to get around karma limitations.

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

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

diskerror 8 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't like the idea of curated comments. People aren't perfect and have biases. You may have set guidelines for what to endorse, but I guarantee endorsements are not going to be completely objective. Filtering comments and karma systems often become a popularity contest and not a discussion.
joeblau 3 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, this sounds great. My only question is if you're sure you want to put the "endorse" button so close to the "flag" button? I don't want to accidentally flag something incorrectly.
lunixbochs 3 days ago 0 replies      
The limit on one pending comment has the potential to slow or completely block a one-to-many discussion.

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

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

matt_heimer 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is obviously an attempt to increase the quality of quality of comments, is there some type of guideline you can give about the type of comments/commenter HN is looking for? I worry that there is a karma feedback loop in action where users with higher karma are better known and naturally get more upvotes than an unknown poster making the same comment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Shank 2 days ago 0 replies      
If I had a suggestion, I would modify the display setting of pending comments to permit the submitter of the comment to see the pending replies, and interact. Only the two parties would be able to see the thread, until endorsed at the root node.

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

camus2 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just my 2 cents : often the top comment becomes the root of the discussion for all the "thread". Would be great if top comments were shuffled so all the discussion is not concentrated on the first comment of the "thread". Bad comments can still be pushed at the bottom of the page.But the top comments with the most karma should not stick at the top of the page.
japhyr 3 days ago 1 reply      
When I endorse a comment, does that also upvote the comment? Or is voting completely separate from endorsing?
gruseom 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is this the biggest change ever made to HN? The last major change I can think of was not showing comment scores, and this is at least an order of magnitude bigger.
bzalasky 1 day ago 0 replies      
Apologies if anyone has already made a similar suggestion... but, 1000 seems like an arbitrary amount of karma. What do you guys think of a fluid amount of karma required to post a non-pending comment. Popular stories on the front page can play by PG's rules. However, to encourage discussion on new submissions, scale back the karma requirements. The kinds of people who post obnoxious comments are looking for a crowd anyways.
chunky1994 2 days ago 0 replies      
FYI: Pending comments will not be enabled by default as pg just clarified here.


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

jedanbik 2 days ago 0 replies      
While I certainly understand your goal here, wouldn't you have a better moderation regime if you hired people to do this as their jobs? Metafilter is my example of a hired-mods-done-right setup. I fear that a 1000 karma policing setup will make this place more like slashdot. Not that I'm taking a strong stance against slashdot, but is that the culture we want from this website? Just my two cents.
dleskov 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am afraid that the bias of the "1000+ club" will silence many comment authors whose views and opinions are substantially different. The result is you will have a smaller community, the member of which are in agreement with each other, so there will be less interesting discussions, and the disagreed ones will flock away, having no chance to be heard here.

I certainly would read the comments less frequently.

Hawkee 2 days ago 0 replies      
After reading a lot of the discussion about Facebook's Hack I can see why this is necessary. I agree with a lot of the concerns here though. Particularly, commenting on older posts will never elicit an endorsement. I'm also concerned about how many qualified folks will actively endorse comments. This can be quite a job endorsing every good comment on the site. It might require following a comment feed covering the entire site, but who would want to do that? Will there be any sort of reward for endorsing comments? I'd be afraid to endorse the wrong comments and lose my ability to endorse. In any event, I'm very curious to see how this pans out.
metermaid 2 days ago 0 replies      
There are probably less than 100 HN users who are openly female with over 1000 karma-- food for thought.
oneeyedpigeon 3 days ago 1 reply      
Comments get from pending to live by being endorsed by multiple HN users with over 1000 karma.

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

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

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

Glyptodon 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm kind of skeptical. The biggest problem as I see it is that a lot of the more interesting comments get voted to zero because 'controversy' or not 'mainstreamed thought,' while frequently a lot of the heavily upvoted comments are platitudes/acceptingly normative/self-reinforcing meh kind, while many of the more interesting ones are often in the middle. Now I may be wrong about this, but I don't think high karma is indicative of the quality comments so much as it is indicative of a comments' closeness to the communities normalized colloquially accepted wisdom, since the crowd is self-reinforcing.
chippy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Would adding pending comments encourage a more diverse and inclusive user base, or a less diverse and exclusive one? Not only diversity of opinions, but of gender and background? Is anyone talking about this?

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

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

Mz 2 days ago 0 replies      
As a woman who has long struggled to find a way to fit in on HN, I worry this will just make it harder for anyone who isn't already part of the "in crowd" and will just magnify problems for women, minorities, newbs, whomever.

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

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

aspensmonster 2 days ago 1 reply      
I know I'll get downvoted to hell for this reddit-like behaviour, but...


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

futurist 2 days ago 1 reply      
Can you say groupthink? What a terrible idea. HN is going to suck even more now.

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

molbioguy 3 days ago 0 replies      
I think I understand the motivation, but this smacks of elitism to me. Unless the 1K users constitute the majority, then by definition a minority of HN users will effectively moderate (and can potentially censor) the discussions. That seems very unfair.
dnc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sorry, if I'm asking stupid question or if I'm suggesting something already implemented, but why not do opposite: endorse all comments at start and give 'delete comment' right to HN users with karma > 1000? This way the number of false positives (published comments w/o value) will certainly increase, but you loose none of valuable/significant ones.
analog31 3 days ago 0 replies      
An interesting, and perhaps time saving option would be an "endorse entire thread" or "endorse entire sub thread" button, for threads that are interesting but really so tame that the likelihood of bad posts is small.

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

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

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

laichzeit0 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here's an idea: Give users the option of seeing all pending posts.

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

amjd 2 days ago 0 replies      
Although I understand the reasons behind the change, to me it largely seems overkill. No matter how much we try to convince ourselves that good comments will still be discovered, that would just be wishful thinking. On top of that it also places a certain responsibility on the shoulders of users with karma above the threshold. They may simply not have the time or motivation to screen the large number of incoming comments.

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

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

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

harrystone 3 days ago 0 replies      
That sounds like a system designed to produce another forum hive-mind, and the internet really doesn't need any more of those.
keypusher 2 days ago 0 replies      
Please don't push this live. It will significantly cut down on contribution, and create a lot of busy work and bureaucracy which gets in the way of people having a good discussion. If you want to improve the quality of comments then address the core algorithm or find a better way to harness user power.
alecsmart1 3 days ago 0 replies      
I use HN regularly and post comments once in a while. I have asked a few questions which never reached the front page but have 1-2 answers which helped me immensely. The posts have 1-2 upvotes only. But it still works for me. Now with this pending review feature, those comment will never show rendering it useless for a small time guy like me.
kosei 2 days ago 0 replies      
It really feels like this is solving a problem that doesn't exist, and as a result will hurt discussion. Additionally it assumes that people with 1,000 karma will sift through all of the comments to approve. Based on how few things get upvoted in the "new" section, I sincerely doubt that your members will sit on the "pending" tab waiting to approve.

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

japhyr 3 days ago 1 reply      
So if you have over 1000 karma the site will look exactly the same, except for a bunch of "endorse" links?

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

deletes 2 days ago 1 reply      
I apologize if I have missed the answer, but the thread is very long.

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

JoeAltmaier 2 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the 'one last time' syndrome. My boys would always ask to sled the hill, or ride their bikes around the park 'one last time'. This was when the injuries happened. The urge to make your best effort, when the time has almost run out, often results in disaster.

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

presty 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this will this lead to more karma whoring?
raghus 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm curious: how many 1000+ karma users are there on HN now i.e. how big is the pool of endorsers?
Alex3917 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is great. HN used to be a real community, but lately there has been no incentive to post anything intelligent because every comment gets buried in a sea of crap, and there are so many throwaway comments that it's impossible to find the ones by regular contributors. The amount of noise also just brings out the worst in everyone. I know you can't step on the same stream twice, but hopefully this at least makes it readable for a while.
malisper 3 days ago 0 replies      
Just throwing out an idea, but why not allow the user who posts the article to select whether or not they want to use pending comments? This way one user doing a simple Ask HN can get immediate feedback while another posting a controversial article can have an intelligent conversation.
S4M 2 days ago 0 replies      
Will this take effect in the "Ask HN" section as well? I would argue to leave it as it is (or at lower the threshold of number of endorsers) because it will be harder to get endorsers for a non popular thread. Let's say somebody asks "What are the good places to meet hackers in Barcelona?" and I post an answer helpful for the OP, it will not get many endorsers since this question will not be viewed by many here. Also, I have my doubts for the "Who is hiring?" thread as the people who are looking for jobs will not have the incentive to endorse posts since it will increase the number of competitive applicants for the jobs.
pdq 3 days ago 3 replies      
Here's a simple solution to this whole moderation hammer: add a downvote for poor comments (ala Reddit). The spam and garble comments will automatically be moderated by the community as a whole.

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

protomyth 2 days ago 0 replies      
What happens if the story you commented in gets killed before your comment is endorsed? Are you done commenting on HN for how long?
robbles 3 days ago 1 reply      
As a user with only ~200 karma who is still interested in contributing to the discussion, what's the best way to tell when this feature takes effect?

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

InclinedPlane 3 days ago 0 replies      
As much as I'd like to see the quality of discussion on HN improve I think this is a terrible change that will do the opposite as well as driving people elsewhere.
bhousel 2 days ago 0 replies      
> Since I'm going to check out of HN at the end of this YC cycle...

Wait, what?

ElComradio 2 days ago 0 replies      
In my opinion this is a fix in search of a problem. In reading all comments on a post I see very few "worthless" comments and many of those are grey. Skimming over tit for tat threads happens on an almost subconscious level. Maybe it's just me.
pnathan 2 days ago 0 replies      
An issue with this design is that it ensures that the current high-karma commentators maintain what they like on HN. If a really good idea shows up that they don't like and don't want to see, that is not going to survive.
fab13n 2 days ago 0 replies      
I fear that giving such a significant power based on karma score might create karma whoring behaviors.

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

chacham15 2 days ago 0 replies      
A few questions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

wudf 2 days ago 0 replies      

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

belleruches 3 days ago 2 replies      
Hey PG,

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

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

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

drivingmenuts 2 days ago 0 replies      
Just one more reason to not comment at all.

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

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

chippy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Karma is going to be even harder to get now for < 1000 karma users. This includes occasional casual users. You do not want to constrain the power to just the hardcore users

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

Myrmornis 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Will the UI show me my pending/not-pending state somehow?
dmfdmf 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can we grandfather in people with at least 5.6 years of HN participation? Okay, I happen to have only 593 karma point but I've been around for a while, 5.6 years actually.
protomyth 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's seems like this would severally tip the balance towards people getting karma via story submissions and not comments.

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

senthilnayagam 2 days ago 1 reply      
for negative voting you needed 500 karma's, I have been on hacker news for 1900+ days, currently have 438 karma's .

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

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

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

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

SethMurphy 2 days ago 0 replies      
pg seems to have more of a problem with the "quality" of comments than many users who actually enjoy the use of deep threads for conversation. I understand pg's point of view that that is just noise to him, but to those speaking constructively it is the conversation they want. If this was a move to cut down on trolls I would understand. The question to ask is what is HN really for? Is it for the users to converse/think freely or for the site creator to wrangle/curate smart comments. It seems the later is more in tune with HN's mission as a business, and alas the direction it's heading.
sylvinus 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seems great! I'm wondering what the incentive is for users to endorse comments, beyond improving HN's quality?

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

jtoeman 2 days ago 0 replies      
and thus, like every other forum online, "those who came before" are massively rewarded, and new users are basically treated like crap.

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

throwaway5752 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hm. I was on the fence after reading this thread a few hours ago, but coming back to and seeing some of the responses I have come firmly down on the side of this being a good idea.

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

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

I hope that this works.

pjzedalis 2 days ago 0 replies      
A checkbox that says 'Hide comments from noobs' would suffice.

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

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

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

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

visualR 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great. Yet another "Pending Review" to wait through. HN is now the App Store of internet discussion.
adamzerner 3 days ago 0 replies      
What about something like this: https://www.dropbox.com/s/wisoy2og4rb4zps/rationalmedium.pdf [mockup]

Key features:

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

- There's an open thread.

- There's a thread to discuss tangents.

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

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

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

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

drakaal 3 days ago 1 reply      
The first big issue I see with this is in submission. When you submit something often you need to leave the first comment to give it context. So stories on the "new" page are likely to get a lot fewer upvotes.

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

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

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

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


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


brianmcdonough 2 days ago 0 replies      
Being purveyors of good taste, leaders have to take action. Despite my karma score (73) I support implementation of a solution to a known problem, despite the risks.

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

snowwrestler 3 days ago 0 replies      
Sounds like an interesting experiment, but also the type of thing that will require quite a bit of adjustment and tuning. So I hope the complexity will not prohibit the new site runners from making these adjustments.
ForFreedom 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't understand your system. So someone with over 1000 Karma would have to decide if my comment is worthwhile to be live. But at times my comment could be a good single line comment.

This is not a good system.

serge2k 1 day ago 0 replies      
Doesn't this just add a huge barrier to the most basic type of participation on the site?
lmm 2 days ago 0 replies      
So what are the alternatives? Is there another site even remotely as good as this one has been? (Anyone spare me a lobste.rs invite?
chaitanya 2 days ago 0 replies      
Maybe this will strike a better balance between comment quality and participation?

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

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

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

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

adam419 2 days ago 0 replies      
I find these changes to be very degrading of what I love about HN. Regardless of objective truth or upmost importance being the defining characteristics of comments, I happen to enjoy the quirky humor and general remarks of fellow HNer's. Very disappointing, PG.
Angostura 2 days ago 0 replies      
This feels like a less refined version of the Slashdot moderation and metamoderation system to me.
antonius 3 days ago 0 replies      
I guess karma will mean something after all. Any ideas as to when this this change will begin to roll-out?

Edit: Re-read the post, launches tonight.

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

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

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

asimjalis 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am concerned this will lead to groupthink and predictability.
aruggirello 2 days ago 0 replies      
Why not add a user setting - like Google does for censored results? You'd tick a box "Show less relevant / unmoderated comments" - provided directly on the discussion pages. You would tick that box at your own risk, knowing you may find offending comments. And if you find too much spam, and can't seem to enjoy moderated comments enough, just untick it and the spam goes away. This way you ensure moderation can't be abused for censorship purposes.
apierre 2 days ago 1 reply      
How long until we see a new ShowHN post : "Alternative to Hacker News" or "Why I coded my own HN alternative"
pbhjpbhj 2 days ago 0 replies      
So now, if I post a comment that an "endorser" disagrees with they can effectively delete that comment independently? Or do flagged comments remain open to be allowed ["endorsed"] by others?
bane 2 days ago 0 replies      
Will everybody be pending or just users <1000 points?
j8hn 2 days ago 0 replies      
After reading the headline, I had to check if it was April 1st.
timtamboy63 3 days ago 0 replies      
Seems like something that would increase the quality of comments, but also prevent any meaningful discussion.
asdg236v 2 days ago 0 replies      
I was actually thinking about joining the hacker news community. I'll see if I can find another place that better fits my needs.

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

yblu 2 days ago 1 reply      
Oh no, does this mean I can't add "first!" w/o knowing for sure it's actually first (or one of the first)?

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

ivankirigin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Can you reflect the false positive / false negative rates for mods? I'd love it in the header.

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

jedanbik 2 days ago 1 reply      
What if we could flag comments, and then the professional moderators could make their decisions accordingly.
camus2 3 days ago 1 reply      
> So if you're not sure whether you should endorse a comment, don't.


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


damm 3 days ago 1 reply      
I don't think I will ever hit 1000 karma on HN which is fine.

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


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

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

KerrickStaley 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think it'd be better not to hide anything at all. Just move comments without "endorsement" to the bottom (isn't this basically how it works already?).
spingsprong 2 days ago 0 replies      
This could potentially censor minority opinions.
pikachu_is_cool 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am also going to add my two cents and say that I think this is not a good idea. HN has in no way reached Eternal September, and if it has, then this isn't the way to fix it.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let the flamewars commence.

TerraHertz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Hmmm, in this thread the dead comments are some of the best. Or at least, the ones with which I best agree.

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

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

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

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

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

xenophanes 2 days ago 0 replies      

gg :( was fun while it lasted.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

aquarin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Do I have to be a member of the Communist Party to get the comment approved?
NextUserName 1 day ago 0 replies      
This seems pretty unpopular PG , and it seems to have a lot of pitfalls and things that you have overlooked. How about making it so that people can opt into seeing the pending comments (so to them everything is as it was before). Let people decide for themselves.

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

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

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

quizbiz 2 days ago 0 replies      
pg: thank you
sciorpsycho 2 days ago 1 reply      
What will happen is 'comment piggybacking'. To get endorsed, just 1) enthusiastically support the claim of a 1000+ user and then 2) append your own opinion, making sure it harmonizes with the majority of commentors.

That, coincidentally, is the recipe for groupthink.

demoncore 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hey Paul, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. The removal of visible comment score and now this? HN was awesome in its original form. Why break that even further?
sciorpsycho 2 days ago 0 replies      
The best strategy for those who disagree with the change is to ignore HN. Get some work done for a change!
nirnira 2 days ago 0 replies      
>That feel when Hacker News became an echo-chamber for the YC schmoozerati.
slow_worm 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm commenting here because of the restrictions on reddit. It has nothing to do with this news post.


Larry Page: Id Rather Leave My Billions to Elon Musk Than to Charity slate.com
596 points by ghosh  4 days ago   428 comments top 57
hooande 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
Personally, I would donate it all to Aubrey de Grey.
spinchange 4 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 4 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 4 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.

cratermoon 4 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?
the_watcher 4 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.

benched 4 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 4 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 4 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.
lettergram 4 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."

aswanson 4 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.

cmsj 4 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?
bayesianhorse 4 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.
znowi 4 days ago 0 replies      
You can so tell who his mentor was :)

Hint: Apple

aaron695 4 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.

joerich 3 days 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?

pooshoot 4 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
abbasmehdi 4 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.
auvi 4 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?
Fuxy 3 days 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.

azinman2 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Elon Musk sure must be flattered, what with being considered a modern day messiah and all.
acjohnson55 4 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.

frade33 4 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.
caruana 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
Well then he should do it right now, why wait until he's dead?
pyrrhotech 3 days 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
This one is easy. I agree with him.
api 4 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?
ElComradio 4 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.
wudf 4 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.
DrJ 3 days ago 0 replies      
can all the rich people buy all the telcos and make internet more neutral?
typhonic 4 days ago 0 replies      
And how many people would choose to give their money to Larry Page?
glbrew 4 days ago 0 replies      
Why not both?
bakhy 3 days ago 0 replies      
the heads of google are solipsistic jerks.
elf25 4 days ago 1 reply      
Fuck you Larry Page you evil Bond-villainesque bastard.
somedayiwill 4 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 4 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.

It Is Time For Basic Income hawkins.ventures
563 points by mchusma  3 days ago   715 comments top 88
kalvin 3 days ago 22 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days ago 10 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 3 days 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 3 days ago 7 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?

jdreaver 3 days 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 3 days 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?

mynameishere 3 days 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.

drawkbox 3 days 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.

benched 3 days 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 2 days 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 3 days 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.

JonFish85 2 days 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...

tomphoolery 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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.

cordite 3 days 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.

bcheung 2 days 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.

dicroce 3 days 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 3 days ago 1 reply      
So what should the basic income be? $10k/yr? 20k? 50k? 100k?
softatlas 3 days 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.

Oculus 2 days 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.

drblast 2 days 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.

jokoon 2 days 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.

Eleutheria 3 days ago 1 reply      
Everything that goes against liberty is doomed to fail.


ethana 3 days ago 1 reply      
Basic income already exist for some people, it's extended unemployment checks + food-stamps.
euroclydon 2 days 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.

alexeisadeski3 3 days 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


abraham_s 2 days 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

jgalt212 3 days 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.

ericHosick 3 days 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?

nnq 2 days 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...

NoPiece 2 days 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.
sukuriant 3 days 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.
muuh-gnu 2 days 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.

discardorama 2 days 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?
Dale1 2 days 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!

platform 2 days 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

ozten 2 days 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


Kiro 2 days 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.

Taek 3 days 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.

ende 2 days 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.)

belleruches 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm in favor of this.

Do we have any examples where this has worked before?

ghx 2 days 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.

kosei 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pardon my ignorance, but how does this differ from an earned income tax credit?


afhsfsfdsss88 3 days 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 3 days ago 1 reply      
Aside: I don't know how I feel about all these new TLDs...
brunooo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Tom Streithorsts excellent piece also was published yesterday:


Meekro 3 days 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 3 days ago 2 replies      
Wouldn't businesses just raise prices to offset the basic income, rendering it useless?
donkeysmuggler 3 days 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 2 days 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.
j1z0 2 days 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)

msh 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder why none of the calls for basic income considers how inflation and prices would be affected.
mamcx 2 days 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.

ceocoder 3 days ago 0 replies      
just an aside - this is the first time I've seen a TLD this long actually being used...


shurcooL 3 days ago 0 replies      
I really really support this. IMO it would make this world so much more fun to live in.
stasy 2 days ago 0 replies      
If this were the case, many people would just not work, and rely on the monthly checks.
dola 2 days 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...
evjim 3 days 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 3 days 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.

grondilu 2 days 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.

stretchwithme 2 days ago 1 reply      
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.

jpeg_hero 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would like it if my children could peruse poetry... If you know the quote.
lukasm 3 days ago 2 replies      
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.
ArkyBeagle 2 days ago 0 replies      
"What are people for?" - Kurt Vonnegut, "Player Piano", 1952. 1952, people.


Fasebook 2 days 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.
tsotha 3 days 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.
gregcrv 3 days 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.
Thiz 2 days ago 0 replies      
It is time for basic government.
briantakita 3 days ago 0 replies      
Basic Income the only way to prevent the black market from taking over for many people.
Mistone 3 days ago 0 replies      
off topic but by far the most interesting comment thread I've read on HN in a long time.
javajosh 2 days ago 0 replies      
BI is required if we ever went to a flat tax, which I firmly support.
makosdv 2 days ago 1 reply      
Let's just discourage people from earning a living even more....
sunseb 2 days ago 1 reply      
I think that digital currencies is the way to go to test this idea.
xenophanes 3 days ago 2 replies      
It Is Time For Basic Economic Literacy
rubyfan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Get a job.
aalpbalkan 3 days ago 0 replies      
Totally off-topic: What a domain name...
yetanotherphd 2 days ago 2 replies      
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.

stevenwagner 2 days ago 0 replies      
see georgeoughttohelp.com
demoncore 2 days 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.

nirnira 2 days ago 0 replies      
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.

donkeysmuggler 3 days 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.
grondilu 2 days ago 1 reply      
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.
Emails From Schmidt And Sergey Brin Show Agreements Not To Hire Apple Workers businessinsider.com
528 points by sgy  1 day ago   315 comments top 42
firstOrder 1 day ago 12 replies      
> Meg called to talk about our hiring practices. Here is what she said. Google is the talk of the valley because we are driving salaries up across the board.Then Eric Schmidt says:> I would prefer Omid do it verbally since I don't want to create a paper trail over which we can be sued later

So Silicon Valley execs were illegally conspiring to drive down wages, and who knows how much more was done outside of the paper trail mentioned.

Then we have an article discussion yesterday and blog posts etc. in the past few weeks about how companies can't find great engineers, and how we need immigration law changes that blocks Mexicans etc. but brings in more engineers to drive down engineer wages etc.

Maybe if CEO's weren't illegally conspiring to drive wages below their market value, there wouldn't be a so-called "engineer shortage"?

I mean it's risible. They conspire illegally to drive down wages, then whine that not enough people want to work in this field where wages have been artificially and illegally deflated.

benihana 1 day ago 10 replies      
Wait a second. These emails[1] (not the commentary around them) seem to say that the big tech companies in the valley agree not to recruit employees of other companies. There's a big difference between recruit and hire. It seems to me like they've all agreed it's pointless to just poach each other's employees.

Eric Schmidt says the practices are zero sum. In my opinion this is exactly correct. If all the big companies just move each other's employees around, nobody benefits. If instead they all agree to look outside of the talent that's already been recruited, everyone (including developers) benefits. New talent keeps coming in, and developers not in big tech companies have a shot at working at places their parents will recognize.

1. http://pando.com/2014/03/22/revealed-apple-and-googles-wage-...

peeters 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is appalling to read, and it's frightening how blas they are about blatantly illegal and unethical non-competition. Yet, I think the article misrepresents Schmidt firing the recruiter:

>Here, Schmidt relates a phone call he had with eBay CEO Meg Whitman and then orders his own recruiter to be fired because that person tried to poach the COO of eBay.

Reading the email, it doesn't seem like the recruiter was fired for trying to poach the COO; it seem like he was fired for lying to the target about the position (as Schmidt calls them, "falsehoods"). Don't forget recruiters usually get a significant finder's fee, and are not above misrepresenting a position to generate interest.

cromwellian 1 day ago 4 replies      
The behavior seems slimy (otherwise there'd be no need to be all cloak-and-dagger about it), but the interpretation seems sensationalist (Pando: "Price Fixing!"). As far as I can tell from the evidence, this was a 'no cold call' agreement, not an agreement not to hire people who apply or to set their wages, perhaps with the exception of high level managers or executives, most of whom, if they wanted to demand higher salary, could leak or threaten to leave for another company, and who are often under other constraints. In fact, it's not even clear this is about wages per say, but the disruption that comes from breaking up team and concerns over intellectual property/trade secrets leaking.

I'd be pissed if I applied for another job and was turned down purely because of my previous employer. But I'm not phased by avoiding cold calls. I still get loads of emails trying to recruit me and they're mostly annoying. If I decide to switch jobs, it'll be because I initiate it, not because of HR reps phoning me.

If you were around during the last dot-com boom, you may remember the ridiculous poaching that went on, startups offering insane signing bonuses and other perks, employees changing jobs after only a few months on the job. I worked for a company once that had $100+ million in Softbank funding, and funneled a huge amount of it through headhunters which received a bounty on each hire, and were incentived to bribe prospects to quit their current job.

I'm not sure this is healthy for the industry as a whole. There's already an apparent bubble in asset prices and cost of living in the Bay Area, and while it seems good for some tech workers in the short term to have salaries pumped through the roof, I'm not sure it's good for the overall tech economy, or the economy in general.

I'm somewhat sympathetic to the notion that companies want to avoid aggressive and invasive poaching on each other's workforces, it could turn into mutually assured destruction. If I had a startup, I'd be pissed of someone came along (and poached my employees instead of an acqui-hire) that I spent significant amounts of resources recruiting and training.

To read some of the press articles, you'd think this was the Grapes of Wrath or something, that poor tech workers, the ones who drive around in luxury busses and pay $3000-5000/mo for studio apartments in SF, are woefully under compensated. I wonder if this was a story about Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan conspiring to keep down the compensation of Wall Street money managers through no poach agreements, we'd have the same coverage.

Here's analogy. Let's say there is an employee marketplace. Employers list jobs for offer and salary. Employees list skills, availability, and asking salary. If the employers don't conspire to artificially restrict the offers and salary prices listed, would we say this is a competitive market with no price fixing?

Ok, now let's say that besides listing the jobs and prices, Employers activity solicit buyers. With stocks regulated because of issues (http://www.sec.gov/answers/cold.htm). But let's say employers cold call the employees and tell them to 'buy' a particular offer. Then at some point, the companies cease using sales forces to go out and cold call people to buy these offers. Instead, employees must come to the market of their own accord and bid on them. Is this really price fixing?

If all brokers stopped calling you trying to get you to "Buy XYZW", you wouldn't consider them trying to manipulate the price of XYWZ.

abalone 1 day ago 4 replies      
Like many of you I am one of the engineers that's covered by the suit and may stand to benefit from it.

Having said that, I want to play devil's advocate for a second. It's just my natural reaction when the press embeds big unquestioned assumptions in reporting for the sake of sensationalism -- namely that this is obviously "illegal" and nefarious behavior. Because, after all, it kept down wages for people like me who might otherwise have been more actively recruited.

If your reaction is OF COURSE IT'S ILLEGAL, just hold on a second. Try to think about the counterargument rationally, even if it's against your personal interests. (That's what I'm doing.)

There do exist many precedents for agreements and restrictions on seemingly "competitive" behavior that is deemed "unfair".

Let's consider a related example from another domain: countries "dumping" cheap goods into foreign markets. For example, China is accused of "dumping" subsidized steel into the U.S. market, which hurts the industry here. The U.S. steel industry works with the government to put in place tariffs that block the practice.

So is the U.S. steel industry being anti-competitive here? Have they engaged in an anti-competitive pact with the U.S. government conspiring to keep up the price of steel here?

Well, on the surface, yes they have. But the distinction is that "dumping" is meant to describe a particular form of competition that is short term and unsustainable in nature and designed primarily to destroy competing business. It is meant to isolate a specific practice that actually hurts competition in the long run.

So, what about the practice of poaching employees from competitors? Well think about it for a minute.

What is the value of a Safari engineer to Google's nascent Chrome team? The truth is, it's a lot more than just that engineer's skillset. There's also the value of undercutting Apple's Safari development. That's HUGELY valuable to a competitor.

So, I just wanted to put it out there that at first blush at least, that the practice of "poaching" may actually have an anticompetitive angle. Just like with "dumping", you have to look beyond the immediate act (restricting/boosting prices) and examine the particular practice it's attempting to curtail.

andy_ppp 1 day ago 1 reply      
Ah... So it was always "Be Evil" and fuck over your employees. It always amazes me that these people love free markets, until it's expensive and then they break the law deliberately to pay slightly less than the fair market price to the best and brightest.

Effectively stealing from their employees to give to their shareholders just blows my mind.

yonran 1 day ago 0 replies      
The collusion allegations sound serious, but I believe the pando.com article has a couple misunderstandings and is overly sensationalist:

1. It is not illegal for a company to have its own Do Not Cold Call list. If you know that poaching your allies employees is likely to jeopardize the joint projects, you may choose not to poach your allies employees. If you know that poaching your competitors employees will likely provoke them to poach your own employees, you may both choose to avoid the mutually assured destruction. As far as I know, it is only illegal to collude with your competitor to make such a list. But it appears that Google did have illegal agreements.

2. One of the quotes from a Google memo, Most companies have non-solicit agreements which would limit or prohibit a candidate from asking a coworker to interview with us as well, appears to have nothing to do with anticompetitive behavior. Instead, it probably refers to non-solicit agreements that employees often must agree to when joining a company that prohibit the employee from poaching one of their coworkers for a time after leaving the company. The memo warns not to pressure employees to violate contracts they have signed with their prior employers.

ucha 1 day ago 2 replies      
The same way the SEC opens insider trading investigations based solely on market data - eg. unusual volume of transaction preceding a major unplanned announcement - a government body should mine employment data from LinkedIn for example and investigate cases where there are very few employees switching jobs between large corporations.

This is even more unsettling when you realize that Google, Apple and such have employees that generate revenue in the range of a million dollar per head yet pay a average salary that is 10-20% of that. They end up with absurdly large piles of cash that banks and financial institutions never see because they compensate their employees more fairly.

zaxxon 1 day ago 5 replies      
Just gonna throw my perspective out there, since I was a firsthand witness to this stuff.

I started at Google in 2005 as an ordinary software engineer, and I've not yet left them. Back then, Google recruiters were constantly bugging employees for referrals. But this "no poaching" thing wasn't some weird dirty secret among execs -- it was just sort of a common knowledge thing, and nobody seemed to think it was a big deal. "Oh, we have a gentleman's agreement with Apple not to poach them and vice versa -- so give us the names of your friends to reach out to, but not if they already work at Apple."

AFAICT, the reason I (and my coworkers) never thought of this policy as illegal is probably for two reasons:

1. Hey, poaching back and forth would create a lot of disruption and churn and mess up both companies' ability to get things done. Let's not start a pointless war.

2. We, as programmers, are ridiculously overpaid already. How could anyone possibly be "taking advantage" of us at these salaries? The notion seemed as absurd as a Programmer's Labor Union!

Again, the idea was not to poach, not to avoid hiring. If somebody from Apple applied for a Google job of their own will, that was fine.

In hindsight, I /guess/ I understand how this looks like evil collusion to keep salaries down... but really it seemed like common sense and civility at the time. At least that's how it was sold to us. It was sort of like the nuclear policy of Mutually Assured Destruction: "the only way to win is not to play." It's the same attitude that still explains why giant companies don't (typically) begin patent wars -- there's no point if everyone ends up destroying each other.

thrownaway2424 1 day ago 0 replies      
Interesting choice of subjects in the headline. I see that Saint Steven's reputation is still off-limits. My reading of the first two emails is that Jobs was a raging asshole in every facet of life and business.
fatjokes 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have to say, the only person that disappoints me in all of this is Sergey Brin. I guess I kind of expected everybody else to be a douche, but he's fostered this free-thinking Tony Stark/Ironman persona and this just makes him seem like a coward, who caved the instant Steve Jobs came-a-ranting.
gamegoblin 1 day ago 4 replies      
I'm not very knowledgable of this sort of thing -- what have other professions historically done to mitigate this sort of thing? Unions? Licensing boards?
unfamiliar 1 day ago 3 replies      
As I understand it, they were still allowed to hire from each other, they just agreed not to poach employees from each other. That doesn't sound so unreasonable to me.
aaronbrethorst 1 day ago 1 reply      
To quote Stringer Bell. Again.

"[I]s you taking notes on a criminal fucking conspiracy?"

Setting aside issues of ethics and legality, I cannot believe that any of these people would ever commit any of this to electronic record.

w_t_payne 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Since our employers are clearly not above playing juvenile dirty tricks, what's to stop us engineers returning the favor?

Other professions (Doctors, Lawyers) use legislation to restrict the supply of labor and drive up prices, so why should software engineers be any different? We currently make ourselves vulnerable to manipulation and abuse in a way that no other profession has been stupid enough to do for centuries.

We should lobby aggressively for legislation requiring professional accreditation for practicing software engineers, as well as for the provision of training and documentation services. We need to shut down the technical MOOCs, as well as efforts like stack overflow and code academy. All of these things, whilst seemingly noble, do our profession grievous harm.

yuhong 1 day ago 1 reply      
"Brin appears to not know what the nature of the agreement is between the two companies."

I still remember a HN thread which suggested that Larry/Sergey fire Eric Schmidt for this: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=3523513

briantakita 1 day ago 0 replies      
Since this has market-wide effects, it seems fair to compensate all engineers working in the bay area during that time period.
peterwwillis 7 hours ago 0 replies      
"Additionally, there are no restrictions at any level for engineering candidates."

Basically their agreed upon policy says that they can hire any engineers they want, but you better not hire one of our managers! What an indictment of the higher value attributed to managers over engineers.

kaonashi 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'd like to see criminal prosecutions here.
nicolethenerd 1 day ago 1 reply      
Genuine question - I see a lot of references to the fact that this practice is "illegal", but what law is it violating?
lucidrains 1 day ago 0 replies      
Meanwhile in medicine we need the AMA to keep physicians in short supply so the wages stay high...
stretchwithme 1 day ago 7 replies      
I personally don't care if employers agree not to hire each other's employees. People are free to make agreements if they want to, just as employees are free to not work for them. There's nothing immoral about it.

Are you free to use the power of the state to try an boost your salary? I don't think you should be able to do that. But apparently many people do.

walshemj 13 hours ago 1 reply      
So how many Google share holders does it take to put a motion of "no confidence in the board" on the order paper at the next Google AGM.
radoslawc 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Genentech (http://www.gene.com/) is also on "do not cold call" list. How this company is related to google's business profile?
pazimzadeh 1 day ago 1 reply      
It's interesting that Microsoft is barely mentioned here. Perhaps it's just because they are not in the Bay area?
naveenspark 1 day ago 1 reply      
Not sure why this is ruffling so many feathers. There are thousands of great tech companys to work for that aren't on any Google, Apple or EBay "no-hire" list and vice versa. I fail to see how a few big companys agreeing not to poach talent from each other artificially reduces the total compensation ceiling industry wide.
confluence 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is real theft. I applaud my free market overlords for such setting fine examples of Machiavellin psychopathy and systematic duplicity, where they on the one hand lament the "shortage" of engineers and the failure of the education system, whilst simultaneously depressing the wages that should have been demanded from the fruits of that self same system.

Fuck. These. Assholes.

zacinbusiness 1 day ago 1 reply      
I'm confused about this entire situation. If I own a company in the US then it's my right to not hire from someone else's company if I so choose, yes? And in the case of tech giants then there is a lot of proprietary tech knowledge that can exist in an engineer's brain that may make him or her a very strategic hire for my competition. So, if I'm paying an engineer $100K and Google sees fit to hire them away for $200K then, sure, it's in the engineer's interest to tell me because then I would need to offer $250K to keep them. And this isn't because they have suddenly become more valuable, or because the engineer has suddenly developed new skills, it's simply a game of strategy and money that could potentially hurt both businesses. So, it makes sense to me that companies would agree to skip the drama, and just agree not to poach talent from each other. And, honestly, how many Apple designers, Google engineers, or EBay executives have gone hungry because of these non-compete agreements? When you're playing in that league then you are already extremely well compensated. So, is it simply a matter if principal? Why exactly is it illegal? These are honest questions.
zpk 13 hours ago 0 replies      
Don't be evil,...except when it comes to hiring & labor practices.
zxexz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Whatever happened to "Don't be evil" :(
ForHackernews 1 day ago 1 reply      
From 2006

> he was sure we were building a browser and were trying to get the Safari team

Well he wasn't wrong...

When did work start on Chrome? First release was in 2008.

nppc 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Now lets talk about "Don't be Evil!"
lucb1e 1 day ago 0 replies      
I remember having heard news about companies not hiring from each other a few years ago, I don't know for what exactly. I suppose to not try and steal each other's knowledge by buying people. I'm not sure which companies it were back then, but Apple and Google are very likely candidates. What changed? Why is this news now?
aalpbalkan 1 day ago 0 replies      
curiousquestion 1 day ago 0 replies      
Watch talk by Lawrence Lessig SCALE 12x: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D3O1MC1AqvM
doczoidberg 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is good news for every entrepeneur who is developer. Why? Because it shows that you are worth more than companies pay for you!
mavdi 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well hello Sergey Brin.
higherpurpose 1 day ago 2 replies      
Maybe this will bring end-to-end encrypted e-mails to Gmail, so that when they do discuss such things in the future, it's all encrypted properly?

One can hope.

pasbesoin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Employers "conspire" to hold down wages -- "bad".

Employees "conspire" to raise wages (unions) -- "bad".

Keep in mind the multiple dimensions upon which "privilege" acts -- including those of perception.

In other words, you think people should be "free" as "individuals" to earn whatever they are worth. Well, at its simplest, that is what you are going to get. You are ALSO going to get employers to work against this. Welcome to "libertarianism".

In other other words, I'm suggesting that we are all members of society, and that our personal interests do not lie solely in our own, personal remuneration.

bignoggins 23 hours ago 0 replies      
emcfarlane 1 day ago 3 replies      
This is the free market. People choose what they think they are worth. If you don't think Google is paying you enough, quit. Deals with companies to avoid poaching have a cost themselves. This doesn't need more government interaction this needs people to value their work, to think.
mschuster91 1 day ago 1 reply      
I am wondering what happens when one mails directly to the mentioned addresses.

Or, what 4chan/other trolls could potentially do with it.

Publicly disclosing internal matters for the courts is bad enough, but PII like internal mail addresses should be redacted before release!

2048 Numberwang louhuang.com
508 points by maxjus  4 days ago   109 comments top 42
etfb 3 days 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:\>

maxjus 4 days ago 2 replies      
peterkelly 3 days 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 4 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.
MarcScott 4 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 3 days 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 4 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 4 days ago 2 replies      
How do I rotate the board?
davepm 4 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 4 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 4 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.


deletes 4 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.

jessep 3 days 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.
naiyt 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'll admit to getting annoyed a bit by all of these 2048 clones. But this made me laugh regardless.
lvs 4 days ago 0 replies      
Despite best efforts, this is still playable because the color codes haven't changed from the original.
MarcScott 3 days 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.
tfgg 4 days ago 0 replies      
Das ist Nmberwang!
rmccue 4 days ago 0 replies      
Note that it is possible to lose, eventually: http://i.imgur.com/kKsjG2u.png
chrisdone 3 days ago 1 reply      
"maths quiz show thats simply everyone"


julianz 3 days 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
i keep getting shinty-six
oddshocks 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is one of the few clones/memes that gets better as it is propagated.
jonalmeida 4 days ago 1 reply      
i'm not entirely sure what I'm doing, but I think I'm winning...
kzrdude 3 days ago 0 replies      
Did you change the rules after posting it here? It seems like they are more chaotic now (and I like it).
jaibot 4 days ago 0 replies      
Needs more fish numbers.
mcintyre1994 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
The definitive version of 2048.
coupdejarnac 3 days 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you netflix, for insisting that I would like peep show.
lotsofmangos 4 days ago 0 replies      
is only a matter of time now before someone makes a 2048 that is turing complete
Numberwang 3 days ago 0 replies      
You have my attention..
hol 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is phenomenal. So, so good.
jedp 4 days ago 1 reply      
I think I just peed my pants.
atomicfiredoll 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is my absolute favorite version, because I can actually beat it!
joeblau 4 days ago 0 replies      
Not bad... not bad at all!
c23gooey 4 days ago 0 replies      
thank you for brightening my day. i love it
stevengg 4 days ago 0 replies      
This has just turned into a meme clogging up hn
dragonfax 4 days ago 0 replies      
Oddly enough, makes it easier to win.
kimonos 4 days ago 0 replies      
I love this! I enjoy playing!
RV86 3 days ago 0 replies      
Love this so much.
tuan5 3 days ago 0 replies      
can someone stop posting this?
tvachon 4 days ago 0 replies      
oh my god this. this so much. <3<3<3
Hack: a new programming language for HHVM facebook.com
502 points by bos  4 days ago   414 comments top 47
bos 4 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 4 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 3 days 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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.

rarestblog 4 days ago 0 replies      
cpeterso 4 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??
wambotron 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Am I the only one who finds it ironic they have the old deprecated `mysql_*` API in the sample?
paulyg 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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/
fmitchell0 4 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.

aleem 4 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?

argimenes 3 days 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.
mlubin 4 days ago 1 reply      
"Hack provides instantaneous type checking via a local server that watches the filesystem."

What does this mean?

lukashed 3 days 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.

amaks 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hack to PHP is as Dart to JavaScript.
zmanian 4 days ago 0 replies      
Provides some context on the language development.http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2014/03/facebook-hack/
bsaul 4 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.

vezzy-fnord 4 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 3 days 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...

elwell 4 days ago 2 replies      
Somewhat unrelated, but curious: Does anyone know if Facebook still uses MySQL heavily?
Crito 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
It seems like a strange monster with PHP body and C++ head or the other way around you choose
bowlofpetunias 3 days 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.

thinkindie 3 days 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.

himelnagrana 18 hours ago 0 replies      
Firstly, Awesome!Need to traverse more in it - definitely.

But as the documentation says primarily "HHVM can run both your PHP and Hack code, either separately or when both are part of one project." -- does that means we can imagine a framework or something like that - where parts of it is in Hacklang and parts are in old PHP?

or such project is somewhere there already?

TazeTSchnitzel 4 days ago 0 replies      
Oh great. Now when PHP expands its type annotations, they'll be incompatible with Hack. :(
kackontent 4 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.

sesm 3 days 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?

srg0 3 days 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).

devwebee 4 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; }"
dghf 4 days ago 0 replies      
"You have reinvented PHP better, but that's still no justification": http://colinm.org/language_checklist.html
islon 3 days ago 0 replies      
It seems like the name really suits the language.
msie 4 days ago 2 replies      
Wanted: Backend developer. Must have 5 years of experience with Hack.
z3phyr 3 days ago 2 replies      
They have best functional programming language geeks around and they made this?
elwell 4 days ago 0 replies      
I thought Hack was already released months ago?
thatmiddleway 4 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like another way to polish the PHP turd.
The Brutal Ageism of Tech newrepublic.com
455 points by GabrielF00  1 day ago   329 comments top 83
skrebbel 16 hours ago 6 replies      
Anecdotal: I'm a part-time CTO (long story) of a startup. I'm 30 myself. We hired 6 engineers in total up until now: three interns in their twenties, who're very smart and motivated but also inexperienced; two programmers with a few years of professional experience who can get to real decent (well written, unit tested, etc) code on the first go; and 1 guy of over 40.

When hiring, I was very skeptical of the guy over 40. His CV showed that he had spent most of his time building boring information systems for government agencies. This did not feel cool and startuppy at all. Also, he's gray-haired and he looks a bit dorky. We really liked him in person though, and he seemed to know what he was talking about, so we hired him anyway.

Only a few weeks later, I was already certain that he was the best hire we made up until now. Hypothetically, when forced, I would fire any two other team members to be able to keep him on the team (and he's on only half weeks). He's experienced, very much down to business, he cuts through the crap and through technical fads, and currently ensures that we're building the most lean and simple backend that I've ever seen. In a programming language that he's never seen before, and with a database engine that he's never used before.

For me, the general takeaway was that the wisdom to "not only hire copies of yourself" is very true indeed. More specifically, "older" guys (for tech industry standards) often have a lot more fundamental skills to bring to the table than perfect command of this year's technologie du jour.

Hire older people!

Retric 1 day ago 5 replies      
The odd thing is hiring older workers is generally a great idea. From an organisational perspective programming teams don't scale vary well so hiring less skilled people is generally a terrible long term strategy. Personally, I have worked with a few hundred programmers and I can only name 3 that where competent before 30.

Outside the valley you find a plenty of really competent programmers mostly in there late 40's along with a few people that are nearing retirement age and while often gruff tend to blow your minds. As in "we stopped testing his code years ago." Or just calling someone team _. As in you could get 15-30 people working on a project or if your lucky Bob.

bsder 18 hours ago 3 replies      
There are two perceived problems with hiring older programmers:

1) Older programmers won't put up with bullshit. They expect to have reasonable goals, be listened to, be compensated fairly, and have a reasonable schedule. They've been around the block enough to identify bullshit and will leave when it starts getting too high.

2) Older programmers really don't always understand the "cool" social crap that teenagers are into this year (for good reason--most of it is garbage). Unfortunately, most of what Silicon Valley is interested in is "cool" social crap so that they can get a big buzz and flip the company to Google or Facebook.

Funnily enough, companies that value that silly thing known as "profit" are quite happy to hire older programmers. It's just a function of Silicon Valley not believing in profit that is causing the ageism.

jowiar 1 day ago 3 replies      
One of the biggest indirect causes of ageism I've seen is the traditional career path forced many engineers out of engineering - there is/was an attitude at places like IBM of: "If you want to make bank, you need to go into management or sales". Years later, an engineering crunch makes engineering into "where the money is", but you largely lost a generation of technical experience that took a break of a decade or two.

My father got lucky in that he was successful in his transition out of engineering, and was 67 by the time his position went extinct, but there are a whole bunch of folks who would rather have been engineers than otherwise, but ended up missing out on a couple decades where the daily tasks of building software changed dramatically so gained less in technical expertise than they should have, and were left hanging around age 50.

I have a ton of cultural criticisms of the current tech industry, but the one thing that it is absolutely getting right is valuing creation. The damage that could have been caused by the Google/Apple cartel has been limited largely by the startup industry that, for all its faults, has as a crucial belief that the act of building things is valuable, and that people who make things are the ones who create the most value.

zomgbbq 1 day ago 6 replies      
I'm a 40+ engineer in the NYC metro area and I've never felt more in-demand in my life! I think it boils down to a simple idea: computer-science is a dynamic field and THE FUN PART is that you need to always be learning.

There are still some colleagues my age who still wax about the days of writing JCL for their mainframe jobs and never evolved past the 80's and perhaps they gave a bad name for others who built on their of years of experience with evolving knowledge.

I decided in 2009 to specialize in mobile, when I realized how impossible it was for the startup I was working for to find any high throughput engineers, let alone high throughput engineers with niche expertise in mobile. I think it is an advantage in some ways during interviews that I can talk about decades of awesome projects I worked on while also being among the first to ship an iPhone app or a top ranking iPad app.

As they say, luck is when preparation meets opportunity. It's my job to make myself lucky.

mgkimsal 23 hours ago 3 replies      
How much overlap is there between the types of companies in this article and the typical "we can't find anyone qualified to hire!" company? I suspect it's not total, but there's probably some overlap.

I can't wait until these 22 year olds of today hit their 40s and they reap what they've sown.

Zuckerburg said "younger people are just smarter"? Certainly there's a degree of hubris in youth that you don't lose without experiences of failure and compromise. But that's usually not "smarts" - just youth. I've had similar encounters with people where I've been able to guess parts of their business (and failures), and it's because I've already had my own.

One example - pardon the long rant...

I did a bit of prototyping with some college students about 15 months ago. Core idea was "coursera/udacity for medical students" - something like that. Being medical students, they saw a lack of useful material focusing on them, and wanted to fill that niche. "You'll have trouble getting content, and will likely run in to IP issues with professors and universities". I said this within the first 10 minutes of meeting them. "Oh no, we've already got people lined up, ready to create content," was the reply.

That intrigued me, because content is the hardest part. We met again, and again, and I did a small (small - like weekend prototype) set of code to let people upload instruction content based on the structure we'd laid out. Then.... nothing. Days to weeks to months... Nothing. What happened? They mistook "hey, great idea! yeah, I'll do it" sort of nice/polite feedback as real commitment. The few instructors who actually were interested in going further discovered they had to clear their involvement with their respective universities, as it seemed to constitute teaching and would conflict with their existing contracts (IIRC it could have been worked out with money/licensing, but there was no revenue at this point).

So... months later after a lot of legwork on their end, they came to the conclusion that I'd come to after 10 minutes. That's not to say "Ha, I was right, dumb idea" - the idea will happen, imo. They just sort of ignored me - I was an 'outsider' - they 'knew the space', etc. I'm the old guy who's not at university - how could I possibly know what student life is like now, in 2012? They could have saved themselves a lot of time by focusing on the issues I'd identified up front (which... was not just tooting my horn here - an older colleague identified the same issues on the same initial evening meeting).

But hey, "younger people are just smarter," right? Nothing is so cut and dried. Smarter people are smarter, energetic people are energetic, etc. There are 50 year olds that run rings around many 25 year olds that I know, both physically and activity-wise.

pbiggar 23 hours ago 2 replies      
More for the rest of us. If you're too old for most startups to look twice at your resume, apply to CircleCI: https://circleci.com/jobs. We value experience, and our backend is even written in Lisp [1].

[1] As we all know, all greybeards use Lisp ;)

Zenst 1 day ago 0 replies      
I started my IT path early in the 80's working for a Goverment facility doing COBOL programminmg at the tender age of 17. Agisim back then was against young people and more the older people working in the industry. This was born out when a year later a new batch of trainee's of which one I was mentoring was actualy being paid twice what I was. This was soley due to age.

I moved on to another company and trippled my salary in the private sector, though again was told by the recruiter if I was over 21 I would of got paid at least 2k more than I was.

After a short time I moved into contracting at around the age of 19, doing COBOL work. Again I had many issues due to ageisim for being so young in what was a old generation feild. Interviews would be a complete grilling of which I excelled and shone above and with that got the work. Age was still a factor then and as a young contractor I was often dismissed by people soley due to my age. Though would always shine above them in technical ability, because I had too.

After a few years contracting and the isolation of being a contractor amongst permies(permenant staff) I would feel left out and moved back into permenant work.

Times changed, now it is the reverse and sadly I missed both boats, being at the age of 47 and with the IT feild often shafted on many managerial levels I somewhat regret not working in a building trade as many people I know did and made better money, more free time, less stress and burden. Not forgetting it is a older trade and with that TAX wise more adapt in NI contributions (National Insurance - UK thing) being a pitance on contract to IT, which is full rate. Then there was the introduction of IR35 desigend to penalise contractors in IT directly.

It still is finding it's feet and whilst law and accounts have there long standing estabilished exams of recognition, IT still does not. With any certification easily expiring in a few years and nothing holding up for a lifetimes of work.

Sadly that still prevails and IT is often the butt of all departments in many a company and often shat upon, little reward for good work that saves money over other departments who add little value.

But during my time, one event stuck out. I went for a permenant job at a company - PC Database work, Dataease and turned up at reception ontime. Was left waiting for 30 minutes then handed a form to fill out, which was basicly a HR form regergitating what was already on my CV. I then had an intervew with the HR manager. She was very curt and rude and said, that is a lot of money for somebody your age and was very dismissive and really put me off the company. I had the IT department intervew with a manager and contractor they had in who was an `expert` in the feild. Shone thru and even educated the contractor about a hidden debug mode, happily answeared the question about post codes in so much detail that it was scary (post codes same as USA ZIP codes). This resulted in a job offer before I even got home, offering me more than I was (the recruiter) asked for. I turned it down flat for a lesser paid role as the HR experience had put me off completely from that company.

So whilst agisim is a problem, that problem has gone from looking down upon young people, to looking down upon older people.

But the real issue of IT and one that will carry on for many years is one of establishment, be it certification and exams that stand the test of time akin to accountants or lawyers. Until that day, IT will always in many companies be the shat feild for many due to upper managment mentality. Which ironicly enough is the older people mostly. Younger managerment (CEO's etc) have more respect for IT and also sadly less respect for older people in IT.

With that I often wished I was born earlier or later instead of catching the shit-tide from both ends from when I was young and now older.

mwfunk 23 hours ago 4 replies      
I dunno. I can think of three ways in which an older developer might have a hard time finding a job:

(1) If someone doesn't keep up with currently relevant technology, they will find themselves without the job skills that employers are looking for, regardless of whatever other qualities they may have. This isn't ageism.

(2) If someone works at the same place for 10+ years, getting raises every year and becoming more and more valuable because of their knowledge of the innards of one or more huge codebases that are specific to that company, they're likely to have a hard time finding another job doing something different that pays as much or more. It's very easy for people to settle into a routine for many years that doesn't necessarily carry over to another job. Someone in this situation might have to take a pay cut (maybe a big one) to start from square one doing something else at another company. This is an unfortunate reality of being a software developer, but it also isn't ageism.

(3) If a really young entrepreneur is hiring for their startup, and they haven't had the life experience to develop the maturity and insight to avoid being biased towards hiring people who are just like them, it is possible that they will favor a younger developer over an older developer based on age alone. They may not even be aware that they're doing it, they might just feel like all other things being equal, the younger developer is a better fit for the company. This could be ageism sometimes, and it's very unfortunate when it is.

(1) and (2) are the perils of having a long career as a developer. Employers who don't hire someone because of these reasons are making rational hiring decisions; they're not making decisions based on being biased against someone because of their age.

I don't know how often (3) happens though. I could see it being a problem in SF, where I've heard the job market is disproportionately composed of startups. I don't think it's like that in the South Bay (at least not to the same degree), where there are tons of large and established companies that are less likely to do this.

fecak 1 day ago 1 reply      
Ageism is a real problem, but in my opinion ageism is often cited by job seekers where the problem is something else entirely. In tech, there seems to be quite a bit of discrimination today against employees who have worked for many years at the same position, and that discrimination is typically aimed at large environments. Startups seem to be ok with hiring older engineers who bounced around and worked in startups in the past, but they usually won't give much consideration to a 50 year old who developer has spent the last 25 years at an insurance company or major bank.

Take two 50 year old engineers. The one who has had 10 jobs over the past 25 years is considered infinitely more employable than the one with 25 years at the same department of the same company.

This case isn't ageism, it's the expectation of career stagnation, yet many of those engineers with that 25 year tenure think it is. It's a leftover from the days when loyalty was tied to tenure, and loyalty was valued highly in the hiring criteria. Those days are over. Loyalty is nice, but loyalty that negatively impacts your career options (no learning or improving, inability to use marketable tech skills, etc) is foolish.

kevinalexbrown 23 hours ago 6 replies      
Perhaps the question we should be asking is why talent doesn't seem to increase with age as much as we'd like. Let's assume for a minute that the age bias is important and useful. Why is that?

More importantly, what could we do to facilitate an increase in creativity or productivity or 'talent' over time? The fact that we don't has a huge impact on the kinds of things society achieve.

I don't think it's correct to just say "brains get less flexible" and give up. Most Nobel Prize winners (even in theoretical physics) tend to do their prize-winning work after this cutoff (I believe average is 40+). I suspect it has to do with the fact that scientists frequently have to shift the problems they're looking at as they go from grad student to postdoc, and grant to grant.

If I had to guess, I would say that it's not biological age, but time spent in a particular field that suggests how big a breakthrough you can make, because you get stuck thinking in a particular way. If young people have an audacity that lets them tackle new problems, we might focus on how to preserve that audacity as we get older by making it easier to switch fields.

ascendantlogic 1 day ago 4 replies      
Here's the thing, the software-is-eating-the-world explosion really took off in the early 90's (or at least that's when myself and a bunch of friends I knew got into it). All the people that got into writing software back then are aging and most that I know aren't planning to stop. I myself am on the doorstep of my 36th birthday. For those of us that have slogged it out for multiple decades now aren't simply going to go sit at home and wish we were 20 again. The sheer number of aging engineers will cause this problem to reach a breaking point. Those of us that have been instilled with the "disrupt the establishment" ethos in the 90's and 2000's will find a new industry to disrupt...our own.
jroseattle 17 hours ago 1 reply      
I've been hiring for our engineering team recently, and for us ageism is a very real thing that we try to combat. But it's not what one might expect. We're building a team of experienced engineers, and experience is key. Zuckerberg made his comment in 2007, but I bet he has highly refined his thinking since then.

We look at engineer hiring to determine what's valuable, and what's teachable. Do we want our engineers to be current? Yes, but only reasonably so. Anyone who has been around long enough will recognize that most currently popular technologies in use as tools of the trade are simply iterations on ideas that have existed for a long time. Any individual who thinks we're in the dawn of some amazing age where the tools are only understood by a certain generation is, for lack of a better word, foolish.

So, for us being current is really just status at a point-in-time. It's entirely teachable (or better yet, learnable.) But what's valuable? Understanding your trade is important to us, but having real experiences under your belt is super-critical.

Have you ever run a large-scale operation where your code was mission-critical? That's important to us. Ever been responsible for deployment that required zero downtime? That's important. Ever had to ship code and the difference between success and failure meant revenue and jobs? That's important. Ever actually done more than one thing besides {web/mobile/admin/etc.}? That's important.

So, we try to combat ageism by ensuring we give young folks a chance. Not everyone gets that opportunity, but we do so sparingly when we feel such an investment is worth our time, money and effort.

zxcvvcxz 9 hours ago 0 replies      
As a young person, this is ridiculous. Assuming I was a founder that could afford to hire people, I'd kill to have older and experienced engineers to learn from, and work for me. I don't care if they can only work 9-5 weekdays, that's probably more productive hours than the 80 hr/week young people I see with less experience playing table tennis and mixing social time with work time. Not that I'd reverse-discriminate or anything, but why not favor proven track records over young age as a starting point?

The story about Ionic seems a little ridiculous. And while I sympathize for Stamos, surely there must be more than age being the difference for raising funding. Even if it is a big factor - I can't imagine all VCs being idiots, seeing a better product in an obviously valuable market and then passing.

kokey 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I think ageism is only an issue for the parts of the technology industry that's attractive to young people. There are also the other massive parts of the technology industry that's simply less visible or interesting to young people because it's not 'cool', like in banking, aviation and defense. A multinational bank's IT arm easily employ the same number of people than, say, Apple. The problems these industries face are complex and challenging. These are industries where experience counts. I see being 45 and wanting to work in a Silicon Valley internet startup industry being a bit like being a 45 year old who wants to try make it in the chart music industry. You'll need that botox.
nickbauman 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm over 40. I feel like I'm doing the best work of my life right now. Maybe that's an indictment of my past work, but until the last few years, I wasn't doing anything with ML, with AI/Planning or Operations Research, Expert Systems, hardware-software interfaces etc. Now I'm doing those things. I was doing LoB software mostly: moving data from a database into a screen and back again.

In order to do new kinds of work, I had to turn down jobs for the boring stuff I knew I could do. I chose to work on stuff that scared me.

So: work on things that scare you. Things that you find mysterious. Things where the machine teaches YOU, not the other way around.

Sooner than later.

super_mario 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Agism? I don't think so. I have over 20 years of "real world" (who counts any more) experience (cut my teeth in 6502 assembler at age 10) and the real truth is that I am too expensive, and not too old for majority of companies out there let alone startups.

Take your average 20 something year old hot shot highly sought after programmer, well I make 3 times as much as him. As soon as that little tidbit of information is out of the bag, I'm suddenly "too old" or would not be "good cultural fit" for the budding startup.

Sad thing is, it's true. Most of the companies these days are not really solving hard core problems any more and don't really need someone of my level of expertise and skills (how many are in the guts of an OS, databasse or compiler, or need their server performance insanely tight). Most are hoping to disrupt Facebook or Twitter, and for that "social" stuff kids who don't know what they are worth are better suited anyway.

daveqr 1 day ago 4 replies      
Guess what, there's a lot of software being written by people not in their 20s in places like Kansas City, Boston and Nashville. The world doesn't revolve around Silicon Valley.
blisterpeanuts 5 hours ago 0 replies      
There are a lot of comments here about competence of software developers at various ages and levels of experience.

However, the New Republic article was more about technology entrepreneurs who aren't necessarily coders or engineers in the traditional sense.

These entrepreneurs and the VCs who seek them out and fund them tend to have a bias toward youth, because there have been some stunning success stories among the young, as laid out in the article and in many comments here (Torvalds, Wozniak, etc.).

But, the skeptics interviewed in the article argue that these 20-something wunderkinden are the edge cases, not the mainstream. Historically, scientists and technologists have tended to accomplish more in their 30s and 40s and beyond.

In the world of software development, certainly there is a mixture of talent across the age spectrum. There are excellent programmers in their teens and twenties, and mediocre coders in their fifties. But there's a general consensus that experienced programmers in their fifties are better able to avoid some classes of mistakes that twenty-something coders simply haven't had a chance to see yet (but will).

kabdib 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Older workers, while more experienced, are also more expensive. You can't hire a 40 or 50 yo hacker for what you can pay someone a few years out of college.

On the other hand there is a basic cost to each employee regardless of salary, so the higher pay is not proportionally as high as comparing salaries.

On the gripping hand, older employees often have families, who incur more expense for health care and so on. You can expect older people to have health issues on their own, too. This is a fairly big deal in the US, where the health care payment system is broken.

jmspring 1 day ago 0 replies      
Fourty plus segment here, work in a group where the average age is actually mid-30s despite a couple of junior people. Some of us are generalists, some specialists, all have kept abreast of assorted technologies as our careers have progressed.

The narrowest experience is actually amongst the mid/late 20 somethings in our group. I'm not sure if it is that lack of systems experience, not much exposure to C and lower level languages, or what, but they need more mentoring than what I recall needing at the same age.

I'm currently doing that for a couple of them and it is actually both challenging and interesting. Challenging mainly in how to convey tasks, teach them troubleshooting (without the hand holding), and a few other items. Interesting because we all learn differently and seeing how others approach problems either reminds me of my own trials or forces me to think out of the box on how to explain things.

Personally, I've always been a bit of a control freak when it comes to development -- I want to know system level through whatever level I am developing at. This often includes system administration, database management, etc. This has become much more challenging as new technologies come about -- so in those cases, say NoSQL, I will focus on one or two solutions rather than trying to understand each. Build a basis for the concepts, where it is useful, and then test, collect data and reevaluate.

briantakita 1 day ago 0 replies      
Some companies are addicted to long hours & naive employees.

It's also a natural progression of an engineer to start off as an employee & then take an independent identity. So it's common to see older engineers become consultants & business owners; who then hire the younger, cheaper, more impressionable employees.

eadlam 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Isn't it obvious that adolescent startup founders wouldn't want to hire adults? That would be a complete role reversal of their entirely lifes experience with adults.

I'm also not surprised that investors are biased. As a group, they are just people with money. That feature doesn't preclude them from being unreasonable in the way (one would hope) being an engineer implies a certain level of objective rationality...

What does surprise me is the fear that is apparently spreading among aging engineers. You didn't get where you are by being afraid. Every problem you've ever solved proves your ability to bend systems to your will. You design your own fate. Don't make yourself vulnerable by believing anything else.


On a more practical note, if college students had more opportunity to team up with older professionals on small co-owned projects, I think that would go a long way toward bridging the gap. Exposure is key. That's like, behavior therapy 101.

sulam 18 hours ago 0 replies      
The author of this piece contacted me and at least two other co-workers of mine who are identifiably over 40 asking us to comment on this subject. I told him I thought there is a simple mathematical reason why the industry skews young -- we are hiring as rapidly as we can in most cases. Of course, as is too common in journalism, his story was already built and he was only searching for confirmation of it.

What's the distribution of software engineers by decade across a 40-year range? Is anyone here willing to argue that it's completely flat? Of course not, there are far more SWEs in their 20's than in their 60's.

I have never once had my age be an issue at work or in an interview. My resume clearly states my work experience, and goes back 20 years. I don't have to hide anything, and I don't expect I ever will. Am I willing to believe there are employers out there who try to discriminate by age? Of course there are, just like there are fraudulent companies you could work for, sexist assholes you could work for, etc.

None of these matter because you don't have to work for these people. As a competent engineer your skills are in demand, and you get to pick where you'd like to work. If you aren't a competent engineer, no amount of plastic surgery will get you hired, and please stop using your age as an excuse.

mhewett 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Having been a "young developer" and now an "old developer" (mid-50s) here is how I see the pros and cons of older developers:

Pros of being older:1. Wisdom from having written a million lines of code and having run into all the bugs before.2. Can more capably see the pros and cons of the latest fads.3. Not as distracted by the need to play.4. Don't drink as much (the younger generation drinks a LOT!5. Capable of providing adult leadership.

Cons:1. Even those of us in excellent shape just don't have the energy we used to.2. Family distractions lead to lack of free time to keep up with new developments.3. Family distractions lead to more errors.4. We are sure we've seen everything already. (And boy are we wrong!).

All in all, my next startup is definitely going to have a mixture of wise, seasoned hands and energetic young devs.

kfcm 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The year 2000 saw me in my early going on mid-thirties, and I was the youngest person in the room.

Then I went to work for a pretty cloistered company for the next eight years. One closed local office and one declined offer to move to HQ later, I started looking around. And suddenly found myself the oldest person in the room.

I had done contract work for many of these companies prior to 2000, often for the very same departments or groups. The irony of the situation is the lead and management positions which had been filled by guys in their late 30s, 40s and 50s, were "now" filled by guys in their late-20s and very early 30s. And the difference showed.

This is in the Midwest, so ageism isn't just a SV thing.

balls187 20 hours ago 0 replies      
Hearing disparaging remarks about "greybeards" pisses me off something fierce.

Much of my early career success can be attributed to working with many senior engineers who taught me a lot very quickly, given their knowledge and experience.

There is also reverence/nostalgia for "pioneers" in my field. It's fun to tease them about punchcards, but it's also great to hear their stories about their experiences when they first started as programmers.

Then again I'm 33 so my opinion no longer matters.

sjg007 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It irks me when a journalist doesn't do their homework. Take for instance: "Unfortunately, the problems the average 22-year-old male programmer has experienced are all about being an affluent single guy in Northern California. Thats how weve ended up with so many games (Angry Birds, Flappy Bird, Crappy Bird) and all those apps for what one start-up founder described to me as cooler ways to hang out with friends on a Saturday night."

To dissect this:1. Rovio is a Finnish Company (Angry Birds)2. Flappy Bird is a guy from Vietnam.3. Crappy Bird... ?

Not one of these examples illustrate the argument that they were solved by 22 year old affluent males from Northern California.

musesum 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Maybe I'm an outlier; I'm a 55+ engineer working at a mobile startup. Maybe not; 20% of Google's employees are >55, according to a Kissmetrics chart. But, who knows maybe the 55+ crowd at Google consist of only geniuses and janitors.

I see an old/young tradeoff between pattern recognition and fluid intelligence.

Maybe why some older developers show less enthusiasm for the next really "awesome" idea is that is really isn't that new. Maybe the older developer has already learned the hard way the downside of the Dunning-Kruger affect, where: the more you know, the more you know what you don't know.

On the other side of the coin, maybe older developers have a blind spot towards opportunities that have failed in the past. Because the timing wasn't right. Because the audience wasn't ready or the infrastructure was premature. The secret of a good joke (and startups) is timing.

Perhaps some startups are best structured like a team sport; with both younger players at the peak of their brilliance and with older players that can both play and coach.

ghaff 1 day ago 0 replies      
If I were an SV employment lawyer, I'd be making a copy of the "careers" page referenced in that article. I suspect that would look very very bad as Exhibit A in an age discrimination case against the company in general. Sure, there could be other interpretations (maybe) but...
leccine 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Young people just smarter. Also, less experienced this is why they re-invent hot water every day (hello node.js). I have seen "young people" fail countless time because they could not get away from the "being in the Silicon valley, I must be super smart and I am always right" attitude. The most performant techie people are 30+ with significant relevant experience, they are not getting horny about a useless new technology over a blog post, understand the stack all the way, fluent in their language(s) and can make great decisions based on their experience (wisdom) and knowledge. The CEOs in their mid 20s are guys, nobody will remember maybe 1 out of 100 makes it to history the rest is just going to lead a mediocre company and quit when they realize that the IPO won't get them anywhere (if they make it to the IPO at all). As Paul Graham pointed out regarding LISP, using something that your competitors don't understand gives you an edge. Apply the same to hiring, and get some 30+ guys on your team now! Will ya?!?!?! :)
austinz 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Is the stuff they talk about in the article true? Devs discussing banging girls over the weekend and having NSFW conversations that sound like they were ripped out of a 3 AM freshman dorm room filled with marijuana haze? Code filled with variable names that would make a 13 year old titter? I work for a well known SV tech company in a group with many NCGs, but neither me or my coworkers would for a moment consider any of the above acceptable behavior in a professional environment. I also worked at a startup, but it was more hardware focused and filled with older engineers(and was slightly more button down than typical). I honestly can't tell if these stories are journalistic hyperbole, or actual things that happen in a part of the tech sector that I've never seen before.
holdenc 1 day ago 0 replies      
Who's more unemployable -- an older developer? Or, an older developer with noticeable plastic surgery? I suppose there's some truth in the article, but most older developers, or even just technically astute individuals, that I know would never consider plastic surgery. And, as an aside, most older developers I know would never settle for the younger developer lifestyle of sacrificing their free-time and non-tech-relationships all for some street cred, adventure and a healthy paycheck. Good older developers I know are just interested in different things.
socrates1998 9 hours ago 0 replies      
As a person going through a career change, ageism is something I am sort of concerned with. If it takes me a few years to become "good" at what I am doing, I am really pushing being considered "old" in the tech industry.

However, I really think it is a money issue that is subconsciously present in how the tech industry hires or funds people. It's much cheaper to hire/fund a 23 year old than it is a 33 year old.

23 year olds negotiate a lot worse. They are easier to manipulate and take advantage of. You can convince a 23 year old to take a cut in salary for "huge potential". A 33 year old with 10 years of experience will have been fooled a few times and be much less willing to take a bad deal.

Also, there is a misconception that the 23 year old has comparable skills to the 33 year old.

If the 23 year old has been coding since he was 15, then he has 8 years "experience". We all know that is sort of bullshit. While some teenagers take coding seriously, it's a lot different than working on a real project with deadlines, customers, and "It has to work" attitude.

So, the hirer/funder convinces himself that the younger person has similar skills AND will be easier to guide or manipulate.

It's not just in tech that this happens, but it is more prevalent because tech is such a fasting changing and relatively young industry.

I mean, at one point, railroads were the latest thing and people starting railroad companies were young guys full of piss and vinegar.

I think as time goes on, you will see a gradual changing of attitudes, but it has surprised me how long this prejudice has stayed.

stefan_kendall3 1 day ago 1 reply      
This article might more aptly be titled the brutal ageism of silicon valley. Or perhaps the brutal ageism of startups.

There are red flags that you can easily spot in a job interview or job posting that indicate that the employer wants 80-hour weeks. And who signs up for 80-hour weeks? Naive young people who don't value their time and don't have other commitments, like side projects or family.

specialk 23 hours ago 1 reply      
Is a twenty-something founder going to hire people twice their age in the early days of their company? Unlikely.Twenty-something founders hire people they know, who are usually their own age. Friends from college, or the other twenty-somethings from their last company.

As a early-twenty-something I only know a relatively small number of engineers 30+, and have only worked with a handful. Compare that to the dozens of engineers my own old that I know, and have worked on projects together. If I founded a company tomorrow I know which 4 friends from college I would want on my team, they're all other twenty-somethings.

The only engineers over 25 I have worked with (excluding open source projects) were my bosses at previous companies. I simply wouldn't know who to hire. Anyway, would any self-respecting engineer take a job at a company found by one of their interns or recent graduates from a few years back? I highly doubt it.

In my hypothetical would I really hire someone who was twice my age? Probably not. To be honest I'd be afraid of their experience. I'd feel maybe their my training wheels. They have a lot more experience than me, will their experience take over my company's vision. Part of the mentality as a twenty-something founder is proving yourself, be that to your colleagues, your peers, your parents, or whoever said you just wouldn't make it.

I find it hard to find other twenty-somethings hiring many people twice their age in the early days. Maybe without even realising it a culture similar to that of college creeps in. Every new hire creates culture, and from my hypothetical I don't have a very diverse team to start with if I start with college friends and other twenty-somethings.

Somewhere in the early days no one seems to be spotting the 'culture' problem start-ups are creating. Was this problem unintentionally created? Or was this problem created sub-consciously created intentionally? Would I as a twenty-something founder sub-conciously create a company where my Dad or my even my cool Uncle wouldn't want to work at? Probably.

erddojo 1 day ago 2 replies      
These stories are starting to wear thin.

The people in SF/SV building apps are mostly in their 20s-30s.

The people building cool technology are mostly in their 40s-50s.

LordHumungous 1 day ago 0 replies      
Only idiotic Silicon Valley startups don't hire old workers. Everyone else knows the old fogies are some of the best engineers around.
zwieback 10 hours ago 0 replies      
The Andreessen quote "You can't start designing bridges at 10" sums up another problem nicely: the young, talented or not, may be wasting their youth on ultimately meaningless projects while the hard engineering disciplines are starved of fresh talent.
nilkn 11 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the greatest thing about older developers is that they understand bureaucracy and office politics. The truth is that there's more to being a great developer than just writing code with your headphones on. Some of my bigger productivity gains have been from learning how to hustle in the office. That said, I'm still pretty young and I feel I have a considerable amount to learn, both technically and professionally.

As an example, during my first year out of college, I often found myself waiting upwards of a week for someone else to get me something I needed to complete one of my tasks. I didn't know the right way to prod a coworker--or in this case, actually, boss--to get you what you need so you can get stuff done. Examples like that abound.

varelse 23 hours ago 0 replies      
If they'd spend the time they spent getting botox on Coursera or in youtube lectures learning the current skills that are in demand, they might just see a better result.

Pushing 50 and it frickin' works for me...

Fr0styMatt 1 day ago 0 replies      
I wonder if this is a 'Valley' or just a 'Startup' thing as it doesn't seem too common here in Australia in the part of the industry that I work in (defence and now gaming); though maybe I'm just lucky and have been in the right parts.

We have a massive age range all the way from 20 to 60 (I guess), with most of the better engineers in their 30s-40s it seems, though to be honest you wouldn't really know unless you asked - there are guys here that you wouldn't guess were 40.

Personally I know I'm a far better engineer now in my mid-30s than I was in my 20s and to be honest I STILL feel like a beginner excited to finally find his feet. I don't see this stopping anytime soon. I don't want to get into management and luckily don't have to and I'm sure at 45 I'll be a far better software engineer than I am now (well, I sure hope so at least :) ).

hartator 16 hours ago 1 reply      
I am hearing a lot of stories about why youngster are overrated but not really a lot the other way around.

Maybe it's an unpopular opinion here.

In reality, young people are less paid than older counterparts in almost every economic sectors for the same skills. I mean that'a known truth! Silicon valley is the opposite? Good for the them.

I think there is 2 strong biases against older founders that might explain the situation:

1) The man is not a programmer and don't have a feeling for high tech stuff. I know founders here in Paris in their forties. They are starting web startups while not even knowing how to connect to wifi! But because they are old and have connections, they get funding! You are telling me in the valley it is the exact opposite? It seems just fair to me!

2) The man is a programmer and a good one. In their forties, you might expect him to make something like 350k and have a good title like CTO or lead developer. Why he will risk everything to start a new company? I can understand why people feels it's odd. Maybe there is a 1:20 odds to make it so he must aim for at least $7m to make any financial sense to him. Or maybe he is not a good programmer.

dhughes 23 hours ago 0 replies      
About ten years ago I went to an IT job fair while I was in first year CS I had gone late in life so at 32 I felt I was finally doing the right thing. I thought maybe I could get some tips maybe even get a job even just apprentice/intern, anything.

Well I could have run around the job fair naked and on fire and I bet I still couldn't get anyone look at me.

One local CS professor not mine he was the other one at the Uni didn't even look up or acknowledge me. What's a hoot is he was older than me smoked weed and partied with his students, talk about having a mid-life crisis.

k2xl 22 hours ago 1 reply      
Oh please. This article is just ridiculous. I find it hard to sympathize with any of the characters or to find any semblance of truth in anything that was presented.

Someone gave the same argument to me regarding Y Combinator - They only invest in 22-28 year olds... Which is statistically probably accurate, but here's a question that people don't think about: What do you think the average age of someone who applies to YC is?

The "discrimination" arguments toward older developers made me laugh. The sad thing about this article is that it seems personal - these specific guys that are mentioned were likely just not able to pitch their idea effectively, but blame it on the young kids "seducing" VCs with their "baby faces" and "fresh college degrees."

What, do they think that VC's just go, "Oh you sort of LOOK like Mark Zuckerberg. Take my money."

Just because someone says they "Love your idea" and that it is "Better than others they've seen" doesn't mean anything unless they write a check. My past startups pitched VCs who said this all the time (I was in my early 20s btw) - I used to think we were being discriminated for being young!

Btw, who do you think has a better chance of landing a deal with a large company - a 23 year old fresh out of college or a 50 year old with 20 years of business experience? Do you think that VC's are oblivious to that fact?

"He figured it was only a matter of time before nCrypted Cloud made them both very, very rich. The only thing they were up against was 50 years of accumulated bias."

LOL @ that statement. I've heard the same kind of statement countless times from startup founders of ALL ages.

c0mpute 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Personally, my experience in the valley (being hired as well hiring people) has been not been guided by age. My experience has been with the startup since it was at 50 member to well over 100 now.

I am in early 30s, which means I am mostly interviewing for senior engineering position. I have been part of teams where we have made offers to several folks older than I am for similar or higher position. This is the only time when age does come up for discussion (is he really qualified to be a senior or not?)

However, some patterns I do notice from time to time are:

- Younger folks are more eager at times to do more.

- Their enthusiasm also comes with quality of work that needs some additional care. But, it is critical we mentor them during these times.

- Older folks are generally more clear on what they want to work and how they want to solve a problem. Experience most likely.

- The really bad situation to be in is when some of the older (senior) folks don't drive and take initiatives and just wade through. With someone senior you want them to be there to mentor, help, guide, keep an eye out on many things, but we have seen a few senior folks who don't make that effort - This is probably the #1 problem I have seen in teams. A sense of agility is almost vital.

- I have seen the same lack of "drive" amongst some younger devs as well.

- End of the day, its not age, its almost the subject scale of how passionate they are about their work that has worked for us. Old/young is really irrelevant.

michaelochurch 19 hours ago 1 reply      
The ageism culture doesn't come from programmers. Young engineers (I am one) venerate the badass older programmers. It comes from the business people who've colonized us.

Business is full of degenerate narcissists, and the one thing narcissists can't stand is age, though it awaits us all.

Because we've been colonized in recent years-- the R&D culture that used to characterize programming has been replaced by closed allocation and commoditization and project-management bullshit-- by business people we've lost our culture, and they've imposed theirs on us. That's where the age discrimination comes from.

Ageism is also to their benefit because it puts this shitty time pressure on the young, encouraging them to work ridiculous hours and make unreasonable sacrifices that they think will help their careers (but often do the opposite). Whether young or old, we all get screwed by the ageism culture. Young people get abused because they're convinced that opportunities will dry out in 5-15 years, and older people get demoralized and pushed out of the industry for no good reason.

The best way to fight it is to point out the dynamic that causes ageism: chickenhawking. Read this-- http://michaelochurch.wordpress.com/2013/12/14/vc-istan-6-th... -- and be enlightened. The truth about what is behind ageism is embarrassing to the purveyors of it, and knowledge should be multiplied.

Beliavsky 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Considerable research has found that fluid intelligence declines with age. There is a 2006 paper "Age differences in fluid intelligence: Contributions of general slowing and frontal decline".

We know that 50-year-olds are not as strong physically as 20-year-olds. The brain is an organ, and it would be surprising if every part of the body except the brain worked less well as one aged.

jordanb 1 day ago 0 replies      
Another interesting thing that this article touches on is VCs being biased against Boston, or more broadly, biased against companies headquartered anywhere except the Bay Area.

Given the increasingly insane economics of the Bay Area they're attaching millstones around the necks of the companies they invest in. And just like with ageism the purported benefits on which they base their biases are dubious at best.

microcolonel 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Is this even really such a specific issue? Good businesspeople will not throw away enormous potential value, regardless of its origins, less competent businesspeople will make the less competent judgements of ageism, racism, sexism etc. at the cost of their business.

There are a lot of crappy businesspeople willing to toss the plasticity of young employees, and the experience of older employees away; these are the people we hopefully aren't giving venture funds until they figure things out.

delinka 10 hours ago 0 replies      
"For as long as he can remember, all he ever wanted to do was to build a start-up that would go public..."

Me, too! I just don't pout publicly about my sad fortune. Instead I take a job, using my decades of experience, doing interesting things.

maguay 23 hours ago 0 replies      
Could it be that young founders feel more comfortable with employees their age or younger, and that older developers give young founders a sense of impostor syndrome? That seems as likely a reason for this phenomenon in new, small startups as anything.
seanccox 12 hours ago 0 replies      
TL;DR: Kids in their 20s can be shallow and superficial, focusing on appearances rather than qualifications or demonstrated abilities. Given wealth and power, they become ageist despots.

For some companies, I'm sure hiring Socrates, rather than Alexander, is more productive.

johnny99 21 hours ago 0 replies      
Given the insane war for talent in SV, the idea of a neglected pool of highly competent engineers should cause a stampede to unearth them. It certainly planted a seed in my mind.

I wonder if ageism is driven in part by social media. Us olds seem to be less present on Github/Stack/Twitter/etc (HN, oddly, seems a bit of an exception--I love the posts about historical computing). Maybe reduced visibility equates to reduced opportunity.

sgustard 22 hours ago 0 replies      
The issue from the kids' viewpoint is this: They expect to be rich and retired in ten years. Anyone still working after that point must have failed in some way, and they don't want to spend their time at work staring into the eyes of their aging feeble counterpart who still has to schlep into the office every day.
codeonfire 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Can you really expect VC's not to be assholes? I think maybe the article is a little quick to play the age card in regards to the example give. Just because someone acts like an asshole and acts disinterested doesn't mean they're not interested. And, there are other ways to start a business. If someone doesn't like older people, people with kids and families, fuck 'em. Find something else.
awt 22 hours ago 0 replies      
After a certain point, if you've made enough friends, you will likely never have to interview for a position again unless you want to. Interviewing is where ageism is probably most pernicious, and that process can be avoided.
jayd16 22 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe I'm just some young punk but I have a clear picture of the "old man" engineer I don't enjoy working with. I will say when you were born has very little to do with what makes you that old man, though.

I'd say its the "I'm too old for this shit", attitude. If you want to get in early and leave early that's fine but If you don't put in extra hours, there will be decisions made when everyone else is in the office and you went home. Then you bitch and moan like its ageism but they're asking the team to conform to their hours and that's just not going to happen.

Plus there are plenty of people who have the "I've been doing it this way for XYZ." Don't tell me innovation stopped when you got the Sr. in your title. If you're coding in Java and refuse to type your collections, I hate you.

If you click with the team and have gray hair, I'll love to learn from you.

davidgerard 12 hours ago 0 replies      
Someone with decades of experience could be your competitive advantage.

(I'm also thinking of a friend whose kids have grown up and the house is paid off, so she and her husband are now looking around the startup scene, because they can actually take a pile of risks again.)

Hire old people! They know stuff!

(CoI: I'm 47 :-) )

zacinbusiness 16 hours ago 0 replies      
It's stories like this that make me hope that I will bust out a killer app within the next year or two. As a programmer I've been hacking at code since my late teens, just like most devs, but I never took it seriously until about 5 years ago. And I've been designing my app for 2 years now and I think it's almost ready to put into development. But I don't want to release a piece of junk, and yet I also don't want someone to release it before I can finish.
joesmo 21 hours ago 0 replies      
In addition to specific industry issues, ageism in tech in the US seems to be reflective of the wider culture at large here. Older people in the US generally are not respected and their experience and contributions are generally neglected. The "stick them in a nursing home" attitude is extremely common, but even before it gets to that point, disrespect for the elderly is common and is expressed in attitude and culture. Why would Silicon Valley be any different? In fact, considering the amount of young people in SV, I would expect this to manifest itself there the most. In a culture that generally has no respect for its elders, a culture that considers most elders superfluous, why would anyone expect something different?
danso 1 day ago 2 replies      
I don't really get the pragmatism behind ageism in tech entrepreneurship. That is, in a field in which human abilities are augmented by ever-more faster computing, and in which ideas, experience, and relationships would seemingly be as important (if not much more) as youthful energy...how is it logical that its best people would solely be among sub-30-year olds? It just doesn't make any sense.
MCarusi 11 hours ago 0 replies      
One of the most common theories floated around about why younger programmers are so "preferred" is that older programmers tend to get stuck doing things a certain way or not adapting to new languages or programming paradigms.

The big issue is that you see this with people in any profession, and of any age. People naturally stick with what's comfortable to them, even in their twenties. It could be that tech is such a rapidly changing field that this gets so much attention, but applying this to a certain age demographic in a single profession is only doing tech a disservice.

tim333 23 hours ago 1 reply      
I think part of the problem with VCs giving money to older guys to start a business, as opposed to writing software, is that if they were any good at building business that you'd kind of expect them to be rich already. When that is the case such as Joel Spolsky (49 ish) raising money for Stack Exchange there are no problems. Basically any VC would write him a cheque. But I can see the problem with a 49 yr old guy saying give us money for our startup, we'll make you billons in spite of having made zilch the last 30 years that VCs might be skeptical.
sivanmz 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The fastest way to age is by working 80 hour weeks, living off of pizza, beer and Red Bull, and burning out.

At what point will early obsolescence distort the supply of willing workers and compensation demands?

xupybd 1 day ago 1 reply      
What we need is a movement of `experienced` devs to get out there and form some companies that employ mainly older devs. I'm sure the quality from such a company would be incredible.
karcass 1 day ago 0 replies      
From where I sit, I can't figure out if this is a real thing or just hype. I'm 45, and had exactly zero trouble switching jobs recently, becoming employee #15 (developer #5) at a startup that just did its A-round. They said they liked the fact that I had done a bunch of different stuff, including founding a company in the 90's, and that I had an obvious passion for what they were doing. So, I'm not (yet) freaking out about the bits of gray in my beard.
guiomie 1 day ago 1 reply      
Would you guys say this is more of a west coast issue then east cost ?
alphadevx 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Recently I interviewed a candidate, who upon meeting me said "Oh, I was expecting somebody older". It seems it cuts both ways: if you are a manager you are supposed to appear "older", otherwise some people have difficulty reporting into you.
HypeTsu 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Experience is not a matter of age, as it is not a matter of time. One need not be fooled by the elder who claims 20 years of experience, when in fact he has 1 year of experience repeated 20 times. That is why a teenager can possibly have the same experience as his middle aged counterpart.

Innovation is not a matter of age either. It's mostly about observance and imagination which are qualities that can either increase with age, if one nurtures it, or diminish with age if one is unaware.

That is to say; both experience and innovation are NOT age related.

As human beings, we cannot help but be influenced by prevailing outlook in our immediate social circles, and the media we're exposed to. It is our responsibility to be aware of this bias, and find THAT WHICH transcends age.

tiler 22 hours ago 0 replies      
It could just be the case that we are at a point on the programming timeline where much of the work done by the deeply technical grey-bearded wizards from the past few decades has been abstracted away into APIs, programming languages, and design methodologies. These tools give people who have programming skills the oppourtunity to sacrifice a few months learning them to gain the creative power that not too long ago may have taken years. So this is not a period of time where the older programmers can rest on their laurels.

What we consider very basic geometry calculations today, so trivial we teach them in elementary school, would be beyond the capabilities of even some of the fabeled Ancient Greek Geometers. Again, this is only because many generations of mathematicians have refined and abstracted away much of the detail that at one point was necessary to perform these now trivial computations.

vijayr 10 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a very depressing read. I can understand in industries like modeling, acting etc but in tech?
kapilkale 19 hours ago 1 reply      
If the ageism has no merits, shouldn't the problem self-correct due to the arbitrage opportunity it creates?
mariodiana 1 day ago 0 replies      
More evidence that we are in an investment bubble. Nineteen-ninety-nine called -- wait and see.
Cenfath 13 hours ago 0 replies      
"Don't trust anyone over 30."

The denizens of VCastan propagate this nonsense like it is a moral imperative shouted from the mountain top. One day those very denizens will be over 30, and at that time it will be a completely different story.

rasengan0 19 hours ago 0 replies      
Dude, this long term strategy sounds too mature: "By contrast, he says, economies that embrace the Silicon Valley model writ largethrowing massive amounts of money at highly speculative investmentsare suspiciously bubble-prone."
jgrant27 21 hours ago 1 reply      
Youth is wasted on the young. My younger self included.
jmd_ 15 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm curious when I read these articles: does this also mean making a career switch, or maybe attempting to start a career, in programming post 30 (with or without a degree) is incredibly improbable? Does that ring true to people here?
LeicaLatte 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Tech is already so divisive against women. Now we are alienating older men too? This is suicidal for our industry.
graycat 21 hours ago 0 replies      
As best as I can see from Silicon Valley (SV) VCs,what they really like is not youth, age,ideas, or advanced technologybut 'traction'.

If SV makes mistakes on age, then maybe theyinvest too much in very young entrepreneurs.One cynical reason is that people so youngcan be easier to manipulate. If they have a great business but are doing a poor jobmanaging it, then the VCs can bring inone of their buddies as CEO; apparently in thepast this was more common and, really,an intended act.

One SV firm wrote me, "We would not considerinvesting in anything like your project beforeyou have 100,000 unique visitors a month."

Okay. Suppose 100,000 different people come tomy site, on average each person comes 5 times,on average each time they come they see8 Web pages with 5 ads per page,and suppose I get paid $2 per 1000 ads displayed.Then my monthly revenue would be

100,000 * 5 * 8 * 5 * 2 / 1000 = 40,000

dollars. Then why the heck would I taketheir term sheet where I would suddenlygo from owning 100% of my companyto owning 0% of it with some chanceof getting back to maybe 60% on a fouryear vesting schedule, when during thosefour years the VCs could fire me forany reason or no reason and, really,just take all of my company the dayafter I cash their check.

And, my company is based on sometechnical work, and as the companygrows I will need to do more technicalwork. Then a Board would need toapprove the budgets for the technicalwork but would not understand that work.So, the Board would be reluctant toapprove the budgets and, more generally,would want to exercise their'fiduciary' responsibility to 'control'the company. They would kill all prospects of growth for the technologyof the company. VCs don't always do thisand clearly have not done that for Google,but the VCs write their agreements so thatthey have the power to do such things.

The solution of the two entrepreneurs in thearticle is to (1) see a suitable problem,(2) think of a good solution,(3) write the software to implement theirsolution, (4) go live by having the softwarerun on a Web site or selling it, say, asan app. They should think of (1) and (2)so that they can get to, say,$40,000 a month in revenuejust with their own checkbooks.

For the VCs, from a Fred Wilson postat AVC.com some months ago, theaverage ROI is poor, really, justawful. So, Darwin will be alongshortly, and the ranks of the VCswill thin out.

Net, the VCs will have to make moneyor do something else. If they makemoney, then their LPs will continueto invest and it will be a little foolishto say that the VCs are making mistakes.

Recently Fred Wilson had a lecture on10 ways for an entrepreneur to be theirown boss and emphasized that gettingventure capital is not nearly the onlyway.

My background in doing projects was fromUS DoD work and also academic research.From those two, I have had to concludethat VCs do projects in very differentways. While I do believe that VCs aremaking some big mistakes, some of theVCs are making money. MaybeBenchmark, Sequoia, USV, and a fewmore are making money.

ChristianMarks 23 hours ago 0 replies      
I've witnessed it myself. The solution in my case was to work with my ancient friends.
bowlofpetunias 16 hours ago 0 replies      
tl;dr: immature companies have immature staffing policies.

It's not even remarkable, and may have nothing to do with ageism, although that will be the effective result if it concerns large parts of an industry. Just like the sexism and racism of tech, it's mostly about hiring policies mirroring the identity of the companies and the people who founded them.

It doesn't mean it shouldn't be addressed as a serious issue, because it hampers the industry and is detrimental to society, but in the long run, those companies will adapt or die.

yukichan 1 day ago 9 replies      
Experience is a liability. You learn all kinds of things as an engineer that quickly become obsolete. Even in the web environment. If you're still worried about hasLayout or rounding corners with images, or god forbid using tables for layout, or even setting explicit widths on your web pages instead of responsive media queries, you're adhering to obsolete ways of doing things that are hurting you more than helping.

Edit: Am I being downvoted because I'm wrong or because you just don't like what I have to say? Both are wrong reasons to downvote, but you go, you go downvote. My comment is reality. It may not be what you want to hear, but it isn't a low quality comment. I'm so tired of this silly site and it's potato filled echo chamber.

Why I Never Hire Brilliant Men (1924) wikisource.org
386 points by JabavuAdams  4 days ago   263 comments top 60
nnq 3 days 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 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 3 replies      
It appears that men labeled as genius were simply men of high charisma capable of convincing and inspiring others.
thebokehwokeh2 4 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.

brownbat 4 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.

Kluny 4 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.
d23 4 days ago 9 replies      
What if you aren't a finisher? How can you become one?
loladesoto 4 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 4 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."

bpyne 3 days 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.

tsunamifury 4 days ago 2 replies      
If you want to run a solid, reliable, mediocre business hire solid, reliable, mediocre workers.
nicholas73 4 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 4 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 4 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.
Tloewald 4 days ago 1 reply      
If you include Sir Isaac Newton in a case against employing geniuses, your case is pretty thin.
baldfat 3 days 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.

deletes 4 days ago 2 replies      
What if John Carmack is an average programmer, and the rest of us are just lazy in comparison.
zem 4 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 4 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 4 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.

ypodeswa 2 days 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.

Stronico 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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.

DickingAround 4 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.
megablast 4 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.

jqm 3 days 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.

cia_plant 4 days ago 0 replies      
From the magazine of things that totally happened
venomsnake 4 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.

corresation 4 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 4 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 4 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.

izzydata 4 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.
calinet6 4 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.

deedubaya 4 days ago 0 replies      
Every time I see this, I enjoy reading it. It is a good reminder.
michaelochurch 4 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.

yomritoyj 2 days 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.
Shorel 4 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 4 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."

jfischoff 3 days 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.

skyshine 3 days 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 3 days 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??

namelezz 3 days 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.
gwern 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder if OP's firm collapsed in the Great Depression.
carboncreek 4 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 4 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is mostly a testament to chose an industry you are suited for.
cafard 4 days ago 0 replies      
I should say that this is interesting chiefly as an example of magazine writing of its time.
0xdeadbeefbabe 4 days ago 0 replies      
Such good writing somewhat undermines the author's argument about genius.
UK-AL 4 days ago 0 replies      
Highly dependent on the job.
glaurent 3 days ago 0 replies      
Anybody else thinks that the 'Adams' character is the typical bipolar ?
yetanotherphd 4 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.
piyush_soni 4 days ago 0 replies      
Well, I'm available then ;).
notastartup 4 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.

marcfawzi 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why I never Hire Mediocre Men
graycat 3 days 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 4 days ago 6 replies      
hoboerectus 4 days ago 0 replies      
He who lives on hope dies farting.
WTF, HTML and CSS? wtfhtmlcss.com
373 points by nreece  18 hours ago   97 comments top 23
notatoad 10 minutes ago 0 replies      
a fun one that i ran into yesterday, that maybe is basic but i hadn't known before: z-index can only be applied to positioned elements. if you need to z-index something, it can't be position:static
bhauer 12 hours ago 2 replies      
> Table rows, trs, cannot be styled unless you set border-collapse: separate; on the parent table.

I don't recall any trouble applying styles to tr elements without having to do anything special to the parent table.

Setting the border-collapse to "collapse" explicitly just to test:


What am I missing here?

userbinator 14 hours ago 6 replies      
> Internet Explorer 9 and below have a max of 4,096 selectors per stylesheet.

The reason for that is a rather cute implementation explained here:


(...and IMHO 4K selectors is a lot more than any sane page should use...)

outside1234 10 hours ago 2 replies      
Thank you mdo - wish more people wrote up best practices / gotchas like this in HTML / CSS like folks do for code.

(Or perhaps they do and I'm just not running into them or they are buried underneath the W3Schools sewage?)

gioele 13 hours ago 0 replies      
About the problem with `rem` in media queries, see http://stackoverflow.com/q/12201003/449288 . It contains a description of the problem and links to the relevant bugs.
ArtDev 8 hours ago 1 reply      
This pairs well with his HTML and CSS Code Guide: http://mdo.github.io/code-guide/
chubot 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Does "tidy" catch these problems or is it out of date by now? Is there another lint tool that is recommended for HTML (and CSS)?
pgl 13 hours ago 2 replies      
Awesome list! Thanks for providing it.

It would be nice to add a bit more of an explanation for some of these things. eg:

- There's a bold warning about float elements with display: block set - "Do not set both". Why is this so important?

- "Skipping the doctype can cause issues with malformed tables, inputs, and more" - some examples of what could go wrong would be really handy here. Or a link to a more in-depth explanation?

In general some more links would be great.

restlessmedia 15 hours ago 5 replies      
Good insights into voodoo problems. Slightly unsure about the sweary angle though, I love a swear up as much as the next man, but in this it feels unnecessary.
ArtDev 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Its an ok start. As a collaborative effort it could actually be useful.Clearfix doesn't need a space character. content: "" is sufficient.Edit - on the github page he encourages contributions. https://github.com/mdo/wtf-html-css/
ElongatedTowel 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Border-box is great, but whenever I have to use 3rd party code all hell breaks lose. You can mix both, but only applying border-box to your own code is tricky and the mental overhead is quite annoying. Even then some minor glitches can occur which you might not even spot in most cases. For example nanoScroller.js exposes Firefox's scrollbars when zooming because there is no way to hide them via CSS and the code to hide them underneath other elements breaks when using border-box.

Not even sure how to handle such problems.

igvadaimon 14 hours ago 1 reply      
Let's not forget absolute positioned elements inside table cell in Firefox:


pjmlp 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The portability of the web. Write once, debug in every single browser version.
radicaledward 6 hours ago 1 reply      
> Fun fact: Years ago, we had to set display: inline; for most floats to work properly in IE6 to avoid the double margin bug. However, those days have long passed.

I wish those days were long passed. There are definitely still a lot of IE6 users. I recently worked on a project which services the Chinese market. http://www.modern.ie/ie6countdown

xtc 11 hours ago 0 replies      
Hopefully this will work as a means to beating my W3Schools education to death once and for all.
smickie 12 hours ago 1 reply      
Would love to have the list of all the conditions under which a vertical margin will collapse.
kaliblack 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Great tips, but it seems like a fairly random selection with basics about positioning and good gotcha tips like <tr> styling. I feel like there could be a whole page dedicated to floats.
ivan_gammel 15 hours ago 2 replies      
Interesting reading. However, I don't like non-semantic CSS class names - parent, float and clearfix. There are better names like used here:http://stackoverflow.com/questions/14874341/how-to-clearfix-...
hopfog 14 hours ago 0 replies      
This is great. Even if you're familiar with most of the items it's nice to have such clear and concise problem descriptions and solutions.
caniscrator 14 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks. Some are exactly what I found annoying most of the time.
vegustui 10 hours ago 0 replies      
CSS sucks
jbeja 13 hours ago 7 replies      
Is so hard not to use the "F" word for some people?
icantthinkofone 13 hours ago 1 reply      
It would behoove the author of this list to learn HTML and CSS so such things are not so shocking and mysterious to him.

I should start a blog about the horrors or C where mysteries are explained such as "You must declare variables before you use them!!" followed by appropriate horror music.

PostgreSQL: Jsonb has committed obartunov.livejournal.com
348 points by r4um  18 hours ago   115 comments top 18
pilif 14 hours ago 0 replies      
For those interested, the online documentation for the development version of PostgreSQL has been rebuilt and contains documentation about the new feature:


SixSigma 15 hours ago 1 reply      
If, like me a moment ago, you have no idea what jsonb is; see here for a full explanation http://www.postgresql.org/message-id/E1WRpmB-0002et-MT@gemul...

tl;dr storing json in a way that doesn't mean repeatedly parsing it to make updates

nailer 14 hours ago 4 replies      
Pardon if this is a little ignorant - I haven't done a lot of SQL before, so http://www.postgresql.org/docs/9.3/static/functions-json.htm... isn't that obvious to me - but:

Does this mean I can do Mongo-style queries, retrieving a set of documents which match particular key: value criteria, using PostgreSQL?

fvt 16 hours ago 3 replies      
PostgreSQL was already able to compete with Oracle's RDBMS and Microsoft's SQL Server but could soon supplant Mongo for most jobs.

It's great to know that the only required storage components nowadays could be PG and ElasticSearch (as PG's full-text search can't compete with ES), and that the former is a no-brainer to setup (on top of AWS, Rackspace, etc.) or cheap to acquire (with Heroku Postgres for example).

Good job !

skrause 16 hours ago 1 reply      
> Jsonb has several missing useful features (from nested hstore), but that could be added later as an extension.

Which are those missing useful features?

twic 7 hours ago 1 reply      
What does this binary format actually look like on disk? Is this documented anywhere other than in the code that reads and writes it?

I do remember a description of it in some slides a few months back, but i can't find them now.

saltvedt 16 hours ago 0 replies      
Slightly off-topic, does anyone know if there is progress being made on the proposed HTTP API for PostgreSQL?(http://wiki.postgresql.org/wiki/HTTP_API)
andybak 16 hours ago 3 replies      
Can anyone with some familiarity with PostgreSQL's release schedule comment on how soon this will be in an official release?
optimiz3 11 hours ago 4 replies      
Can anyone comment on the storage overhead of JSONB key names? One of the worst things about MongoDB's BSON format is that 8M instances of the following record:

{ "user": "test", "isValid": true}

will at a minimum cost 8M * (4 + 7) simply due to field name overhead. MongoDB isn't smart enough to alias common field names, and this has remained as one of its biggest problems.


luikore 14 hours ago 2 replies      
What's the difference between jsonb and bson? They look so similar to each other...
illuminated 16 hours ago 4 replies      
I only hope it won't be too long before various "drivers" and frameworks start supporting it, otherwise the acceptance rate will be too low. And Jsonb deserves to be accepted as fast as possible.
userbinator 15 hours ago 6 replies      
Is there a trend of making verbs reflexive among developers/managers? I've seen "product X has released", "patch Y has applied", and a lot of similar phrases which I'm still having trouble parsing. When I saw the title I thought "has committed what?"
piratebroadcast 13 hours ago 1 reply      
Someone explain like I'm 5?
abstrct 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Does the JSON type still have a set of use cases as well or is it just obsolete now? If I was writing large quantities of json documents to a table, and I didn't need tag indexing or targeted updating, would using the JSON type be faster than JSONB?
booleanbetrayal 12 hours ago 0 replies      
This is fantastic news. Hats off to the PostgreSQL team! Hoping this lands on AWS RDS shortly after release.
rch 10 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd love to manage HDF5 this way too. Anyone know of an effort already underway?
capkutay 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Yeah but MemSQL can do this a bajizillion times faster!
_pmf_ 15 hours ago 1 reply      
First comment:> I believe that this is one of the most significant breakthroughs in Postgres history. Congratulations.

Yeah, right.

Brendan Eich becomes Mozilla CEO brendaneich.com
343 points by bevacqua  8 hours ago   462 comments top 27
anon1385 8 hours ago  replies      
I guess 2 years is long enough for most people to have forgotten the brief storm about his homophobic political activities. I wonder if this appointment would have been made 18 months ago when that was still fresh in people's minds. I can't help thinking that it doesn't really fit with the image Mozilla tries to present of themselves.


chimeracoder 8 hours ago 2 replies      
I'm curious how common the CTOCEO transition is.

The only other one that stands out in my mind is Etsy, though I know there are others I'm missing.

In any case, congratulations are in order. I don't know much about Eich, but I'm a huge fan of the work Mozilla's done. Their focus on privacy and unrestricted software becomes more relevant by the day, so I have high hopes for this change.

Zikes 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Wow, I almost can't tell if I'm on Hacker News or Tumblr. Brendan Eich made a mistake 6 years ago, let all of us Social Justice Warriors break out the pitchforks and show him the true meaning of tolerance!

Honestly he's never made any impassioned rants on the subject, never spoken out against gay marriage, never reportedly acted out against any homosexuals in any way. He only made one small donation to what was, at the time, a very popular political campaign.

Maybe he was misguided, or misunderstood the reality of what Proposition 8 would mean. The campaigns were certainly filled with misinformation that suckered in a huge number of Californians. I know we technophiles like to think we're cut from a better cloth than that, but there are days we're just as gullible as the next.

We're all guilty of lapses of morality at some point in our lives. Hopefully we learn from those mistakes. Hopefully Brendan will, as well.

clarkevans 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I hope Brendan restores Mozilla's Persona project.

State of the art federated authentication is overly complicated by solutions bundling enterprise features such as resource authorization and directory services. These additional features should be factored out since they can be layered.

By contrast, BrowserId's parsimonious take on federated authentication (via an email handle) is refreshing.

drawkbox 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Excellent choice, Mozilla is killing it with WebGL + asm.js right now among many other things. Probably the best Firefox and Mozilla has ever been so far. As a game developer targeting WebGL/asm.js what they are doing is awesome, almost like a new console. Both Unity and Unreal have their engines running well on it. Mozilla is the new game developers favorite, Chrome is nice as well but needs something like asm.js optimizations.
potch 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I work for Mozilla. I support Brendan as our CEO. I strongly, vehemently oppose his views on gay marriage. I personally won't tolerate any CEO-level chicanery on our internal and external policies of tolerance, though I do not expect any. I am not alone in this feeling amongst the staff. I think his leadership is good for the organization and its goals. This cognitive dissonance will likely make me even more diligent in ensuring Mozilla is an equitable place to work.
ianbicking 7 hours ago 1 reply      
A bunch of people here seem to be wondering whether this will mean a substantial change to Mozilla's strategy. This seems very unlikely Brendan has been on Mozilla's steering committee for many years, and involved in many key decisions in the past year. I expect him becoming CEO means more of the same if you like what Mozilla is doing, then you should be happy, and if you wish it was doing something else then you should probably look elsewhere.
dhimes 7 hours ago 0 replies      
MODS: This would be a damn fine thread to try out that new comment widget pg was talking about the other day.
pekk 8 hours ago 2 replies      
It makes sense, given that Mozilla's purpose as an organization seems to have primarily become the promotion of the Javascript language
fidotron 8 hours ago 2 replies      
This is good, but also somewhat inevitable.

It's interesting that all announcements play up the interim CEO's involvement in Firefox OS. I have felt for a long time that it's going after the wrong target in Android, and should instead go up against Chrome OS. Will be interesting to see how the priorities change, if at all.

curiousAl 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Brace for incoming (revived) controversy[1].

1. http://projects.latimes.com/prop8/donation/8930/

Osmose 7 hours ago 0 replies      
The weekly public Mozilla Project meeting has some discussion from the executive team about the change and will have Q/A later on: https://air.mozilla.org/the-monday-meeting-20140324/
theorique 7 hours ago 1 reply      
On the one hand, he's homophobic, but on the other hand, he's a great technologist. I guess they sort of balance out, right?
sos3 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I think Mozilla is making a mistake. I've met Brendan several times and I don't think he'll be a good CEO. His political views are not aligned with Mozilla's views as a company and that might come up as an issue at some point later.
charlieh 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I would lay long odds that upwards of 90% of the U.S. citizens taking Eich to task on this thread voted for Barack Obama.

So being opposed to gay marriage disqualifies you from being the CEO of a tech company, but not from being President of the United States.

That's a...convenient...position. Just not a rational one.

Personally, I don't think the government (and certainly not the Federal government) has any business being involved with marriage in the first place, other than providing a registry for the contracts and a court system to enforce them.

seivan 8 hours ago 0 replies      
One reason to use https://etalio.com instead of Mozilla Persona is that Ericsson CEO is not a homophobe.
avenger123 8 hours ago 1 reply      
This might be a good thread to turn on the new commenting feature.
WoodenChair 8 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm guessing this is another hurdle in the Dart VM ever making its way into FireFox.
wahnfrieden 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Please re-title this as "Mozilla News" as per the guidelines, thanks.
quesera 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Looking forward to learning his opinion of "user-enhancing" advertising as part of the Firefox application.
booop 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Congrats to Eich!

And, has everyone here gone insane? Personally I hold Eugenic racist homophobic neo-nazis to a higher regard than those who view forgiveness and moving on as something that should never be done.

Eleutheria 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Hey Brendan, I have a wish.

I want to have an eleutheria@firefox.com account from where I can access the Firefox Cloud with email, docs, pics, chat, apps, games, etc.

That's all I ask for.

sigvef 8 hours ago 2 replies      
Gary Kovacs stepped down last summer, does this mean that Mozilla has been without a CEO for almost a year?
ndesaulniers 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Do I smell IPO? :P
mavdi 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Good man. Certainly deserved both ways.
yeukhon 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I am actually quite surprised he took the position.

I wonder if Jay is actually leaving Mozilla since Li Gong is now the COO.

That being said, I think Brendan is now put on a major test.

If instead Brendan doesn't believe in abortion, would we still have this conversation? The split among pro-live and pro-choice is just as bad as pro-gay and non-gay. And among pro-choice there is a split on what constitutes a good reason to abort and what is not.

A good CEO should ensure the company is sustainable and well. One way is to accept and respect differences. If Mozilla employees think gay workers should receive X benefit that non-gay workers already been receiving and they petition Mozilla and Brendan to take action, Brendan and his team will have to work toward that goal. That's their job (well mostly COO I guess). Otherwise employees will lose faith in the organization and talent will be lost.

If he truly values Mozilla and his hard work at Mozilla, he will not hesitate to make Mozilla more friendly and more open and transparent. But he doesn't have to change his belief to be a CEO. He, in his personal space, at his house, he can do whatever he wants and say whatever he wants.

I don't work for Mozilla and I don't ask around to find out who is gay and who is not. I don't know whether gay workers feel welcome at Mozilla or not. Just saying.

l33tfr4gg3r 8 hours ago 0 replies      
So scripted ;)
What I Learned Negotiating With Steve Jobs heidiroizen.tumblr.com
335 points by whbk  2 days ago   144 comments top 18
incision 2 days ago 14 replies      
Every time I read something about Jobs I'm struck by how similar he is to various assholes I've worked for over the years.

This scenario, pretty much every nasty behavior described in the Isaacson biography, the recent salary-fixing emails - I've witnessed them all repeated.

It might seem crazy to entertain, but having seen first-hand that these folks can consistently climb and succeed while being what most decent people would consider scumbags - I have to wonder if Steve was just alpha-scum in the right place at the right time.

oinksoft 2 days ago 4 replies      
People are saying that Jobs was being an asshole. I don't know much about the man, but what he's doing here is intelligent negotiation, plain and simple. The bravado of shredding the paper and loudly announcing the desired figure is a dead giveaway that (1) the other details of the contract don't mean much to him, and (2) the 50% figure means an awful lot to whoever else was supposed to hear it.

You have to keep in mind what Jobs is trying to accomplish here. It's like a kid loudly putting stuff away when their mom walks by, "yea mom, just cleaning my room!"

The ruthless part is that Jobs would have no problem if she didn't pick up on that and came back with the same contract and the 50% rate. I think that the lessons in this post are valuable for negotiating with intelligent people.

joosters 2 days ago 4 replies      
At first I did not understand Steves needs

Yes, because he didn't bother to explain them. He could have been the one to explain the need for the magic 50% - just think how that could have made their meeting productive and useful - but he didn't. It was only through her contact that this was discovered. Basically, Steve Jobs was being an asshole.

ghaff 2 days ago 1 reply      
The last item on the list:

>Understand the needs of the other person

Is a really important part of negotiation. Nothing to do with Jobs specifically. Don't assume that needs and desires are symmetrical in a negotiation. Sometimes they basically are. But when they aren't, it opens the possibility for win-win scenarios.

And oldies but goodie (and short) book, "Getting to Yes" talks about this. Well worth the read. (And, when I say short, I really do mean very short.)

evanmoran 2 days ago 1 reply      
The world is full of assholes and yet there is only one Steve Jobs. If you are thinking of emulating him, I say stick to his better sides: understanding the industry, positioning, marketing, branding, public speaking and of course product design.
jmomo 2 days ago 1 reply      
Are there any known allegations or just flat-out known instances of Steve Jobs getting physically abusive with any of his employees or in the workplace environment?

It's obvious he was verbally and emotionally abusive person and he was generally an all-around asshole, but I've never heard of him getting physical, and that sort of surprises me.

dmourati 2 days ago 0 replies      
"Make it look like fifty percent." That one sentence made all the difference. In one instant, Heidi immediately understood what she had that the other side wanted. In her case, it was an initial app on a new platform. More than the money itself, it was being able to deliver on a previous promise to get a 50-50 split.

It can be difficult to understand your negotiating partner's reasons but having an ally sure helped in this case.

andyidsinga 2 days ago 2 replies      
so what i learned from this is that the developers did not actually get 50% but something that sounded like 50%.

i know a dev at a startup who was employee number 2 and wanted a certain % of the company ( like 2 or 5 or something like that ). anyhoo, he was haggling with the founder about this and the founder didnt want to give him what he wanted but finally relented. later, when signing paperwork, he found that the % the founder relented to was actually a % of a newly created employee pool, and not the whole company.

needless to say, the dev was pissed and had little trust in the relationship from that point forward.

fiatmoney 2 days ago 1 reply      
Some people enjoy throwing their weight around and winning even relatively meaningless concessions, which marks them as high status. This can make it easier to win meaningful concessions at the margin, or to turn "not asking for concessions" into "you owe me one".

Robert Ringer has some pretty apt descriptions of this type & how to deal with them in a couple of his more popular books.

disputin 1 day ago 0 replies      
That wasn't a negotiation, that was a demand. Dan'l did the negotiation. "People are not often as clear as Steve was" - he wasn't clear at all. He put on a performance for the developers, and Dan'l was the person who had to clarify what Steve wanted.
rdl 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wow, I'd forgotten how bad the economics of boxed software were.
BigBadBionicBoy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Pretty much the MO for dealing with anyone with an inflated ego.

Make them feel like they're right and make them feel like they always get exactly what they want.

danieltillett 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great lesson here in how to deal with face. If done well this can provide the party unconcerned with saving face a real advantage in the negotiation process.
PhasmaFelis 1 day ago 0 replies      
> What I Learned Negotiating With Steve Jobs

I read the headline and thought, "that he's an asshole?"

Then I read the article. I was right!

JustARandomGuy 1 day ago 1 reply      
I had to make the business make sense financially. I just needed to make my 15% look like his 50%.To do so, I reduced the nut to split by first deducting the cost of packaging, of technical support, the salaries for some developers on my side of the business to implement fixes, and when I still couldnt get the math to pencil out, I added a $6 per unit

Out of curiosity, is there an example contract text that demonstrates how to do this? Is it as simple as saying "You get 50% of the gross, but I'll deduct this, this and that from your share"?

Udo_Schmitz 1 day ago 0 replies      
This article has another story from Heidi Roizen which may offer some perspective (seventh story A Friend In Need):


lotsofmangos 2 days ago 0 replies      
It makes you wonder how good his reality distortion field would have been without the vast dick-mitigation cloud that bubbled around it. Jobs owes a lot of his success to some very nice people.
huxley2 2 days ago 2 replies      
Is it just me or does it seem like the new cool thing to do is talk about how much of a prick Steve was and how amazing Woz is?

No one is perfect.

Visualizing Git Concepts with D3.js wei-wang.com
325 points by sebg  2 days ago   49 comments top 26
pdq 2 days ago 2 replies      
See also "Learn Git Branching": http://pcottle.github.io/learnGitBranching/?demo
robbles 2 days ago 2 replies      
This is really cool - I wish I'd had this for teaching git a few weeks ago.

FYI - it looks like branch creation is broken. Creating a branch and following with `git commit` gives the error "Not a good idea to make commits while in a detached HEAD state." It's not a detached HEAD, it's a branch.

wudf 2 days ago 5 replies      
New to git as well as programming in general. This site has helped me somewhat, but I'm still confused about some basic concepts. Aren't the arrows all facing the wrong way? What happens to a commit after 'git reset' abandons it; can the commit be accessed ever again? What's the difference between reset and revert? How can merge and rebase be trusted? What are the best practices for how many branches a project should have and how & when should they be merged? And what are remote tracking branches? Since I only program alone so far, my friends tell me not to concern myself with these questions until I am forced to do so in a practical situation... but that doesn't satisfy me.
baddox 1 day ago 1 reply      
It seems cool, but I don't understand why I can't just click multiple times instead of having to type the command several times. That UI decision makes the site nearly unusable on an iPad.
austinz 2 days ago 1 reply      
I was surprised and gratified to see that pressing 'up' in the terminal window did exactly what I was hoping it would do.
jonalmeida 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is great, kudos to the dev!

Like others who wished they had this while teaching git, I wish I had this while learning git.

However, the interaction seems a bit clunky - after doing a `git fetch` I wanted to try a `git rebase` but realized I had to click on the `git rebase` option first before typing it out. Maybe remove the need to click the option first OR clicking it will automatically type stuff for you. Basically, it's a two step process that once needs one.

jakejake 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is fantastic. It's amazing how the right graphic can really clarify a somewhat tricky concept like merging.
lalos 2 days ago 1 reply      
This is great for teaching git, a nice add-on to the tool would be to add command by command playback of custom scenarios and see them pan out. Also it would be interesting to grab tons of different history records from developers' shells and get common git patterns and play them back with this tool.
jdreaver 2 days ago 0 replies      
This just taught me more than any git tutorial I've read. What a great visualization!
kylebrown 1 day ago 0 replies      
Can't wait to see this working as a plug-in for Atom (github's new text editor). Since Atom plugins are written like browser extensions (in javascript)...
xtacy 2 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice, thanks for making this. I tried crazy workflows and the history tree had multiple levels. If possible, could you add scrolling to the visualization viewport?
cfolgar 2 days ago 0 replies      
After having seen a few learn-git tools on HN and other programming forums, I would have to say that this is my personal favorite. What this tool does exceptionally well is teach the core git concepts from a visual point (seeing as it's git this works very naturally) instead of asking the user to memorize an incredibly small subset of the git commands. Often this leads to a lot of trouble when you get into a real-world scenario that some inappropriate learn git tutorial didn't cover. Fortunately, I think visualization tools like this should help ;) Perhaps github could incorporate this into their Try Git page?
ABS 2 days ago 0 replies      
this is pretty cool and I have been meaning to do sort of this for some time now. I even registered a domain for it: simgity.com (a simulator for git).

Happy to "donate" it if the author is reading

kremlin 1 day ago 0 replies      
Either something wasn't working for me, or the 'branch' function is completely over my head.
midas007 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great teach aid, hits the mark.

Further, if this style of material were applied to crypto (gpg), more people might be comfortable using it.

jqm 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is probably my favorite post ever on HN.Very enlightening. And, like lots of good things.... it's simple.

As others have mentioned, it would be nice to scroll down the diagram.

But, I guess if this were really wanted, git clone would be the first step:)

smd4 1 day ago 1 reply      
Nice work!

This is a great complement to the codeschool tutorial [1] it would be nice similarly offer the feature that clicking on the command will auto-populate the virtual terminal. New git users might be more likely to use a client-side GUI where they are clicking buttons rather than typing in the terminal.

[1] http://try.github.io/

tentacle 1 day ago 0 replies      
I thought the new comments rule would ban the whiners, nitpickers and nay-sayers, but it seems all just like it was before. :O Kudos to the developer, who made this tool.
lucio 1 day ago 3 replies      
constructive criticism: I'm a git user, but, if you need D3 graphics to explain a svc... can we at least accept that git concepts are not intuitive?
thatnodeguy 2 days ago 1 reply      
I absolutely love D3, it's what we've been seeking for a very long time and finally a decent product was created. Prepare to see this blow up and take over the web soon.
patopop007 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great visualization, this should definitely be taught alongside any existing Git tutorials. I just wish the canvas would allow scrolling, or resize automatically.
specialk 2 days ago 0 replies      
I see this as a great tool for teaching the basics of git. Definitely saving this for the next time I have to explain why branching is useful and how it works. Great tool.
jimmaswell 2 days ago 0 replies      
funny how the git push one doesn't work until you git pull, but it doesn't tell you you have to do that, it just assumes you knew.
allengeorge 2 days ago 0 replies      
I thought this was pretty awesome :) Would be great if it were fleshed out a little more with more complex examples. Kudos!
xtc 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is great, thanks.
thebokehwokeh2 1 day ago 1 reply      
Can anybody suggest good D3 books?
Apple and Googles wage-fixing involved dozens more companies, over 1M employees pando.com
291 points by Hoff  2 days ago   120 comments top 28
CoolGuySteve 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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?
skore 2 days 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.

cottonseed 2 days 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.

daphneokeefe 2 days 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.
fixermark 2 days 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.

justinph 2 days 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.

Clanan 2 days ago 2 replies      
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 2 days ago 2 replies      
Tech workers totally don't need a union.
martinald 2 days 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.

tempestn 1 day ago 1 reply      
I seem to be in the minority here, but legality aside, I don't see an agreement between companies not to poach each other's employees as a terribly sinister thing. In fact, it seems entirely reasonable to mutually agree not to actively recruit employees from another company.

Once you talk about refusing to hire potential employees who apply of their own volition, that would be another thing, but in my mind "no cold call" != "wage fixing scheme".

ChristianMarks 2 days 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.
walshemj 2 days ago 1 reply      
Interesting that it has reached the UK. Maybe we need an investigation in the Uk/EU as well.
patrickxb 2 days 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.

outside1234 2 days 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 2 days 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.
walid 2 days 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.
jroseattle 2 days ago 1 reply      
Don't be evil.
graiz 2 days 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.
cykho 2 days 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.
jasonlotito 2 days 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 2 days ago 1 reply      
Oh good ol' Silicon Valley
pskittle 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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!
rco8786 2 days 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".
Tesla Can Topple the Car-Dealer Monopoly bloombergview.com
273 points by adventured  4 days ago   183 comments top 24
gxs 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
Like Saturn did...
loceng 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Sigh... Guess I won't ever see Gene Simmons Tesla President's day KISS-A-THON sales event.
jrjr 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
I truly believe that lobbyism is legalized corruption.
krisgenre 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can't Tesla create their own 'Car Dealership' company and sell through it?
puppetmaster3 4 days ago 0 replies      
Unless Tesla starts 'donating' to politicians, it won't go anywhere.
Bpal 4 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 4 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.

Turkey has blocked Google DNS access to Twitter todayszaman.com
270 points by ddinh  10 hours ago   139 comments top 20
ayi 9 hours ago 4 replies      
As a Turk, i'm just ashamed of our government.

Schools in Turkey teaches in geography classes that Turkey is a bridge between Asia and Europe. But this is also true for our social structure: We sometimes turn our face to europe, ass to asia and sometimes we turn our ass to europe and face to middle east. Our last 12 years was a sample for second statement.

(by the way, i'm sorry for my english skills)

TrainedMonkey 9 hours ago 6 replies      
Wow, Turkey is really going nuts. I am surprised, because normally you hear "social media ban" and you think some dictatorship. One thing is certain, while this is going on, Turkey can kiss EU membership ambitions goodbye.
eurleif 6 hours ago 3 replies      
I have a site that receives >200k daily uniques from Turkey. I feel like I should put something up to tell my Turkish users about how to get around their government's Internet blocking, but I'm not sure exactly what to put up. Is there a link for this specific purpose? Should I just give them a link to Tor?
biesnecker 8 hours ago 1 reply      
It's cute to watch an sliding-into-autocracy government trying to implement internet censorship without the infrastructure. Mr. Erdogan, call Cisco, see if you can get a discount on the China Package.
pg 6 hours ago 2 replies      
I wonder if disconnecting people from the Internet is enough to bring down the government. Has that happened anywhere yet?
diorray 9 hours ago 0 replies      
From Turkish Medical Association's press release:

There is the interest lobby behind Gezi Park protests.

They had alcohol in Dolmabahe Mosque.

They assaulted my sisters covering their hair.

As physicians we are following with worry the discriminating, stigmatizing and polarizing discourse adopted by Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoan since Gezi Park protests.

We were actually appalled hearing what he said yesterday in Gaziantep about Berkin Elvan.

Normally, no one would try to bring two families both losing their child in confrontation. Normally, no one would declare as terrorist a 15 years old child shot by police while out for buying a loaf of bread and lost his life after 269 days of struggle for survival.

Normally, no one would slant playing marbles as if they were cannonballs to fire.

Normally, no one would provoke a rally crowd to protest a mother who lost her child only two days ago.

We are physicians.

We know about to many psychological and emotional states of human beings.

We are worried about the emotional state of Prime Minister Erdoan.

We are utterly worried.

Indeed worried about himself, his close circles and our country.

And we share our worries with public.

dombili 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm surprised no one pointed out the fact that this was a temporary "error" and not a ban. People definitely couldn't use Google DNS for a couple of hours, but then the service started working again just fine and still is. You can not visit twitter.com using only Google DNS though, but that's not related to Google DNS. It's related to the way the government decided to ban twitter (it's now an IP based ban).

If you want to read a good article about what's going on with the twitter ban in Turkey, I'd recommend everyone to read this piece: https://medium.com/technology-and-society/cb596ce5f27

jrochkind1 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Wait, how did simple access to google DNS circumvent their twitter ban?

They had blocked twitter... merely by removing it from some DNS servers that they thought were the only ones used by people in Turkey? Or something?

That seems like a particularly ineffectual way to try and block twitter. And I don't understand, if they have the ability to _actually_ block Google DNS... why don't they just do the same thing to actually block twitter?

This makes no sense, I must be missing something. Anyone have the scoop?

enscr 8 hours ago 1 reply      
Time is ripe for a P2P real-time people-network. Outside first world, Twitter has been playing a pivotal role in helping people counter oppressive regimes & lack of democracy. But this may not continue for long.

Edit: Ripe = not just for making it but adopting it as well.

Eleutheria 6 hours ago 1 reply      
If the government shuts down the internet

keep calm

and shut down the government

cturhan 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Kaddafi could stand 30 days after he banned twitter and Husnu Mubarek could stand 18 days after his prohibition. Now it's time for Erdogan!
afsina 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Actually title should have been "Turkey has blocked Google DNS to access Twitter". Because Google DNS is working fine for other sites.
allochthon 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Twitter has knelt down [before the Turkish government]. [We are a] nation in love with its independence. And [enhancing] this is what Recep Tayyip Erdoan has done. We are no banana republic.

Wait, what?

thret 2 hours ago 0 replies      
"We are no banana republic. And by no means are we a pineapple republic. We are a complete fruit salad."
siculars 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Ah, the slippery slope. What's next?,, or has that been done already. Hey everybody in the world, this is how dictators stop free speech and tighten control on their people. Technologists need to think about these things going forward in all the work we do.
ericraio 9 hours ago 1 reply      
IIRC google dns is banned in North Korea. :)
Jemaclus 9 hours ago 0 replies      
This will end well.
vegustui 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Internet access is a privilege, not a right, just like driving a car /s
rasur 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I see a vision of the future... where Turkey plays "whack-a-mole" with the worlds DNS..
Getting Started with Docker serversforhackers.com
269 points by fideloper  3 days ago   73 comments top 13
Xdes 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 2 days ago 3 replies      
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 3 days 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 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well good morning hackers.. This has been around for ages...


pg_fukd_mydog 3 days ago 2 replies      
Would it be better to use FreeBSD and their Jails mechanism for all of this?
HN Plays 2048 hnplays2048.herokuapp.com
262 points by computer  4 days ago   80 comments top 32
Oculus 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is this HN's version of twitch plays Pokemon? http://www.twitch.tv/twitchplayspokemon
colept 4 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 4 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 4 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 3 days 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 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
This needs a delay. That way you can follow the chaos instead of just staring at a moving screen.
comrh 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Utter chaos going on in the game over there. But it's a fun experiment.
joeblau 4 days ago 0 replies      
Can someone index all of these versions :)
mcescalante 4 days ago 1 reply      
Another case of "HN crashes the heroku app"
coreymgilmore 4 days ago 1 reply      
It would be nice to know your own user #.
martinthenext 4 days ago 0 replies      
It's pretty interesting how the strategy derived by averaging over multiple intelligent users can be that sub-optimal.
granttimmerman 4 days ago 0 replies      
Man... scalability sucks.
gk1 4 days ago 0 replies      
A-a-and it's down.
azinman2 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
It is a good demonstration that in cases like this user democracy is a loosing strategy.
maaarghk 4 days ago 0 replies      
holy hell this makes me hate you all! =P
theandrewbailey 4 days ago 0 replies      
seems like it falls victim to popularity, and crashes often.
joyeuse6701 4 days ago 0 replies      
the chaos.
Cub3 4 days ago 1 reply      
We really need a democracy mode for this
mkoryak 4 days ago 1 reply      
you guys really suck at this game.
kregasaurusrex 4 days ago 1 reply      
evidencepi 4 days ago 0 replies      
ankit84 4 days ago 0 replies      
A joKE?
Mt. Gox Finds 200,000 Missing Bitcoins wsj.com
260 points by byoogle  3 days ago   235 comments top 37
lkrubner 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days ago 2 replies      
That lends some more plausibility to this theory: http://chrispacia.wordpress.com/2014/02/28/this-is-what-most...
Scorponok 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days ago 1 reply      
This might as well be a comedy sketch. Can someone explain how this is even remotely possible?
matt__rose 3 days ago 0 replies      
Let me guess, they were under the couch cushions, with some Lego pieces and stale Cheetos.
jeffdavis 3 days 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."

llamataboot 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hold on. They just LOST over 100 million dollars? Give me back my 5 bitcoins now!
heinrich5991 3 days ago 4 replies      
Can someone post a full version of the article? I only get the first two lines...
NicoJuicy 3 days ago 0 replies      
Old trick, giving customers false hope: http://cryptopic.tumblr.com/post/80210959301/cryptopic-003
coreymgilmore 3 days 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 3 days ago 1 reply      
Just like finding a $20 in your laundry!
cl8ton 3 days 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.
anigbrowl 3 days ago 0 replies      
Never mind that, where do I get one of those big sofas?
easy_rider 3 days ago 0 replies      
These amounts are lost all the time in governments in conventional currency..
dholowiski 3 days 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.
Siecje 3 days ago 0 replies      
How were you able to trigger the double spend on mtgox anyways?
elwell 3 days ago 0 replies      
Current market value of about $116M. Wow.
zobzu 3 days ago 1 reply      
loginwalled article.
jheriko 3 days ago 0 replies      
any versions of this article that i don't have to pay for?
cjunky 3 days ago 0 replies      
Anyone that believes they "simply found" those coins should PM me about a bridge I have for sale.
ebbv 3 days 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.
wellboy 3 days 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great jokes, keep them coming! :-)
jokoon 3 days ago 0 replies      
bitcoin advertising and promoting operation: success !
Flash is dead, long live OpenFL gamasutra.com
252 points by lelf  2 days ago   98 comments top 29
slacka 2 days 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."

TomGullen 2 days 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!

zacharypinter 2 days ago 5 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.

sdfjkl 2 days 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 2 days 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 2 days 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.

ambirex 2 days 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.
npsimons 2 days ago 1 reply      
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 2 days ago 1 reply      
Flash will be dead when web game companies (e.g. Zynga) stop using it.

It's still years away.

girvo 2 days 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.
dsirijus 2 days 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...

cpeterso 2 days 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. :)


aiurtourist 2 days 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?

camus2 2 days 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.

anon4 2 days 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!

perturbation 2 days ago 1 reply      
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.

chris_wot 2 days ago 0 replies      
Looks like Adobe are about to lose a key asset through management incompetence. The Xerox of our time?
davidgerard 1 day ago 1 reply      
Flash is animation software. That people write games in it is a function of its past ubiquity and a symptom of the dangers of Turing completeness. Actually coding in Flash is unbelievably horrible. This is like an announcement of a well-supported cross-platform Brainfuck kit.
Steveism 2 days 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 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow! And no mention of scaleform - the Flash MiddleWare for consoles... humm... - http://gameware.autodesk.com/scaleform
Macuyiko 2 days 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...

fritz_vd 2 days 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.
chumpski 1 day ago 0 replies      
Well done larsiusprime. Great article. You have me very interested in trying out Haxe and Lime, maybe OpenFL as well.
mavdi 2 days 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.

thatnodeguy 2 days 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.

GimbalLock 1 day ago 0 replies      
"X is dead, long live Y" is dead, long live original headlines.
mantrax 2 days ago 0 replies      
Well, the first half of the title is right.
PhasmaFelis 2 days 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.

SimeVidas 2 days 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
Microsoft sniffed blogger's Hotmail account to trace leak cnet.com
252 points by mglauco  4 days ago   159 comments top 22
talklittle 4 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 4 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 4 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
higherpurpose 4 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.

mikevm 3 days 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_...
ABS 4 days ago 0 replies      
jasonlotito 4 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 3 days 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.

dmix 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'm sure his lawyers will pick this apart and the judge/jury will determine its legality.
Aoyagi 3 days 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
Why would you ever think they wouldn't? One of the many reasons that webmail is for jokers.
jgalt212 2 days 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.
mglauco 4 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 3 days 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Other email providers do this as well.
nullc 4 days ago 0 replies      
GMail Man!

Oh wait.

Fasebook 3 days ago 0 replies      
Excellent cover story. They really pulled out all the tops.
EGreg 3 days ago 0 replies      
What did they smell in there?
SparkFun: We Hear You facebook.com
240 points by surge  4 days ago   153 comments top 26
DannyBee 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Had to look it up myself.

Context: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7428799

bronson 4 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 3 days 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 4 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.

kubiiii 3 days 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?
urza 3 days 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.

forgotAgain 4 days ago 0 replies      
Good products and a good PR department as well. Most companies don't have either.
damian2000 3 days 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
Instead of destroying them, why not paint them so as not to waste them?
eyeareque 4 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 3 days 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ooh, Maybe we'll get a chance to buy a Fluke from Sparkfun for $15 (or less)
sitkack 4 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 3 days 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow ...
The MtGox 500 stamen.com
239 points by bryanjowers  4 days ago   40 comments top 18
jimrandomh 4 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
How amazing would it be if we had this kind of data for publicly traded stocks?
pdeuchler 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
i want to get married to stamen. the company. they're so awesome.
firebones 3 days ago 0 replies      
What pattern would most likely represent the Winklevoss pattern? Assuming there was trading prior to raising public awareness?
smrtinsert 3 days ago 0 replies      
Really cool visualization. I wish we could see similar for retail vs institutional traders in the capital markets.
zxexz 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Great use of small multiples.
munimkazia 3 days ago 0 replies      
Isn't User 15 proof that the entire market is flawed and the users were scammed?
bertil 4 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
Basecamp was under network attack github.com
234 points by ibsathish  11 hours ago   167 comments top 24
swanson 11 hours ago 7 replies      
Some great language there: framing it as an attack by criminals (gains sympathy from users), explains in plain-terms what a DDOS is (front door analogy), emphasizes (twice!) that user data is safe, apologizes for the likely downtime, informs people where to get updates.

Probably worth bookmarking this for when you [hopefully never] have to deal with this same situation.

TacticalCoder 10 hours ago 5 replies      
I take it at one point people will start to believe that I work for OVH (I really don't) but... OVH has a mandatory DDoS protection on all its dedicated servers: fees have been slightly raised to take that mandatory protection into account.

There are a few gotchas, including if I understand it correctly the need to "retry twice" when you try to SSH in your server when a DDoS is going on but...

OVH doesn't even feel a 85 Gbps attack (let alone a 20 Gbps one like in the article). They can deal with attack much larger than that automatically.

They seem to have very good DDoS protection against the "flood" type of DDoS. And this is pretty much transparent to users.

I hope more and more hosting company start implementing similar anti-DDoS features: more competition would bring better protection against flood-type DDoS and cheaper price.

Here's the explanation as to how their system works (in french but there are several graphics):


Basically as soon as a DDoS trying to saturate your server(s) is detected the attacker faces the problem of needing to DDoS... OVH itself.

And the DDoS doesn't even make it to your server while the legitimate trafic still does.

I find it great that there are people actually looking for solutions to the DDoS issue.

janlukacs 11 hours ago 4 replies      
Although a smaller service, we were in a similar situation a couple of years ago. We assumed it was a competitor because there were not monetary requests, just a massive DDoS via torrents that lasted almost a week. Data center didn't help us in any way... it was crazy. Worst thing is that 90% of customers have no clue what a DDoS is and how hard it is to handle.
filet 7 hours ago 2 replies      
I've had really negative experience with these type of criminals.

I was hired as a CEO at an <unnamed> company ($200m+ revenue) and we were hit by this type of attack.

Every second of being down cost us literally $10k, so we quickly negotiated with criminals for $5k one time payment and they stopped the attack.

Unfortunataly a few weeks later we were hit by 3 new attacks. Apparently the word had spread and these new attackers demanding $50k.

We were not going to pay $50k but I was also unable to stop the attacks. I was let go a few days later as we had a down time of 2 days and I wasn't able to fix this problem.


akassover 9 hours ago 3 replies      
We got hit by a DDoS about a year ago. Rackspace (who normally has amazing support) quietly null routed us and went about their day. No heads-up, trouble ticket, or any other form of notification. They didn't even put a note in our account so when we contacted their support to figure out why our servers were unresponsive outside their network the poor guy who answered the phone was just as confused as I was.

We've taken some steps since then to hopefully reduce our vulnerability. I'd be really interested in a DDoS protection best practices guide for small SaaS businesses.

joevandyk 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Has anyone defended a DDoS attack on an application hosted on Amazon's AWS/EC2?

If so, how did that go?

Did Amazon help?

rdudek 11 hours ago 2 replies      
Is it just me or are these attacks becomming more and more common? I hope we can get some more details on the attack like the origination of it, type used, and what steps were take to mitigate it. I always use information like this as a learning opportunity :)
vidar 11 hours ago 6 replies      
Would CloudFlare help here?
ambrop7 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm wondering what happens to botneted subscribers from which the attacks originate. Is any attempt made to locate them and contact their ISPs? I think there should be, and subscribers found to be participating in the attack (presumably unknowingly) should be disconnected immediately. After all it's the subscribers' responsibility to keep their computers botnet free. Launching a DOS attack, even unknowingly, is probably violating the contract they signed with their ISP.
CanSpice 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Does anybody know how many companies, upon receiving a blackmail "give us $300 or you'll be DDoSed" email, pay it? For every meetup.com or Basecamp that resist, how many actually give in to the blackmailer's demands?
wehadfun 10 hours ago 2 replies      
What law enforcement do you call in these situations. I imagine it would be a waste to call local police.

I don't know how you would get feds to pay attention?

norswap 10 hours ago 1 reply      
Crime, crime, crime, criminal.While technically (and probably also morally) true, was I the only one to find the emphasize weird?
quarterwave 8 hours ago 1 reply      
A speculative thought:

Apart from being distributed, the insidious power of DDoS appears to lie in "subscriber-calling-server". Why not go the other way around? At least only for specific subscription services, not general purpose web access.

The situation of a DDoS attack is first communicated by the web service provider texting a subscriber, who texts back their present IP address. The web service provider then "calls" the subscriber from a hitherto unknown IP address. Of course, that address could be leaked too, but at least it's not obvious public knowledge like a DNS entry.

Sounds like circuit switched telephony/modems rather than packet switching, but can it be implemented in software?

coreymgilmore 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Something along the lines of CloudFlare could be an option here. However, if the attacker does indeed know the actual IP of the Bootcamp servers (and Bootcamp allows traffic from IPs other than CF) that point is moot.

Set up CF, only allow traffic from CF.

On another note, having CF monitor an attack like this could help them do more research into mitigating these attacks in general and allow them to try and hunt the attacker. They tend to make things like this public which would benefit everyone.

codelittle 10 hours ago 0 replies      
Whoever is doing this thank you for reminding me how important Basecamp is to my business. I hope they hunt you down.
ivanca 8 hours ago 3 replies      
Is there something like cloudfare but more aggressive?

Like something that tries to find exploits on the machines used in the attack and try to shut them down, close their internet connection or inject a self-targeting DNS or something of the sort?

stock_toaster 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This is another great example of why I wish there was support for disabling commenting on gists.
robgering 10 hours ago 1 reply      
How do larger companies (like Basecamp) prepare for these kinds of risks? Do they contract with DDoS mitigation firms beforehand, or do most tend to hire help only when they are actually attacked?
olsonea 10 hours ago 1 reply      
I wonder if there will be a day where on-premise solutions will be touted as the solution to the DDoS vulnerability of cloud-based solutions, in much the same way that there seems to be an ebb and flow between fat and thin clients over the course of computing history.
reshambabble 8 hours ago 0 replies      
Every business experiences fires that they have to put out, and their transparency on what exactly the issue is keeps us informed and on their side.
barkingcat 10 hours ago 0 replies      
they did get a blackmail email so it does seem like they are being targeted by someone.
drewblay 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Forget baecamp. Setup a webserver throw Colalbtive on it. Now you are in control of your data (you are now also responsible for the uptime).

Colabtive: http://collabtive.o-dyn.de/

ing33k 9 hours ago 0 replies      
is it the first time they are facing this sorta attack ?
rootuid 10 hours ago 1 reply      
A perfect time for those affected to test drive BaseCamp's competitor https://www.teamwork.com/
California police use of body cameras cuts violence and complaints (2013) theguardian.com
234 points by mercenario  1 day ago   111 comments top 19
ggreer 1 day ago 18 replies      
I'm very much in favor of these cameras, but there's one extrapolation that few have proposed: Why not encourage private citizens to record their public lives? Most of the arguments for recording police apply to everyone: Allegations are quickly discovered to be true or false. Everyone involved is less likely to be violent. People are more cordial. Determining guilt or innocence is much easier. Was a shooting self-defense or manslaughter? Did the eyewitness really recognize the defendant on the night of the crime? Etc.

There are other perks to life-logging. Conversations could be transcribed and searched, eliminating many disputes as to who said what. We already do this with IRC and some types of video chat. You could even save footage that becomes important only much later. For example, you could prove you sold pencils to Vincent van Gogh before he was famous. Or you could record the first time you met your now-spouse. Finally, there's the entertainment value of life-logging. Think Russian dash cams on steroids.

This technology has the potential to drastically reduce crime and improve quality of life. Yet I think most people would have an aversion to constantly recording their own lives, let alone being constantly recorded by others. I'm curious how people resolve this inconsistency.

mikebo 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm an engineer at Evidence.com (a subsidiary of Taser) which makes the cameras (and accompanying software) used in this study. If you have interest in working on technology that makes both the public and officers safer, get in touch (see my profile)! We're based in Seattle and hiring in lots of areas: mobile engineers, web engineers, UX designers, etc.
jdreaver 1 day ago 3 replies      
I see absolutely no reason why police shouldn't wear cameras. It keeps all parties honest. I just hope they don't "lose the recording" when it conveniences the police the most.
walru 1 day ago 2 replies      
Not only should the data be recorded, but it should also be 'live streamed' to the public. I placed live streamed in quotes as I could see the need for some sort of delay simply due to the sensitivity of the information - plus some level of post-processing would need to be done to ensure innocent parties faces are not being displayed.

Police behavior is such a broad ranging topic, simply having their actions recorded does nothing to solve the root of the problem. One of the topics I'd like to see addressed is their 12 hour work day. For what appears to be an enormously stressful job, it seems like some form of torture to ask law enforcement to always be on duty for such long stretches at a time. I really think that to get back to the 'To Serve and Protect' mantra we need to start treating policemen like humans first.

jrlocke 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'm 23. People younger than me (generally) do not have faith in the police. My parents believe cops do no wrong. Neither belief leads to useful change.This kind of program would moderate these thoughts into actionable ones while bringing accountability into these asymmetric encounters. This seems like a place where more surveilance is actually a good thing.
davidlumley 19 hours ago 1 reply      
More recently, the Albuquerque police were involved in a shooting that was recorded through the use of body cameras: http://krqe.com/2014/03/21/apd-officer-shooting-raises-quest...

While the outcome of the incident was negative (the man died of his wounds), the fact that the footage exists and makes those officers accountable for their actions is a good thing.

I've noticed some police officers in Brisbane, Australia wearing what appears to be similar cameras. I don't feel much safer, but it's good to know in the event of an incident occurring that there's a much higher chance that an objective, irrefutable chain of events will exist.

Andys 1 day ago 4 replies      
It also gives police no leeway when it comes to enforcing unfair laws. Instead, even the most empathetic and genuinely helpful cop will have to enforce it to the letter.
fsk 1 day ago 1 reply      
The biggest problem with police cameras is they "malfunction" or "forgot to turn it on" whenever the camera shows evidence that the policeman did something wrong.
EGreg 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have one humble proposal, to make a FEDERAL law about this. Requiring law enforcement officers to record and store video of their activities on duty would improve the experience for both cops and the people they are dealing with. One study showed a staggering decrease of 88% in complaints against officers. We need federal laws to enable timely and straightforward access to this video in court cases all around the country where people are facing assault charges and years in prison. There is currently a White House Petition to that effect.

Please sign it: http://wh.gov/lEb2V

RankingMember 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I think having cameras all over every public safety servant/location (e.g. police station) would usher in a golden age of relations between the public and public servants. Doing so would steamroll the potential for abuse (lack of oversight, realization that you're unlikely to get caught, old boys club protecting you) inherent in any position of power without oversight by neutral/opposing (depending on your perspective on police) parties.
kenjackson 1 day ago 2 replies      
I'm a big fan of public surveillance, especially if accessible to the public with cause. I know privacy advocates hate this, but it seems like a net win to me. In your private residence you have privacy but in public E should have video record.
madaxe_again 13 hours ago 0 replies      
I foresee an entire industry dedicated to "retouching" police videos so they're "better" evidence.
wpietri 1 day ago 1 reply      
If this seems familiar to you as well, it may be because you read this article when it came out 4 months ago.
JoeAltmaier 12 hours ago 0 replies      
What about the safety rate? Its hard to do a job right, with somebody (everybody!) looking over your shoulder.
dasmithii 1 day ago 1 reply      
If the ideal police officer is a mechanistic follower of written law, these cameras are perfect. No right minded officer would stray from instruction while their actions are recorded in plain sight.

But I'm not entirely convinced of their worth. While onboard cameras provide concrete evidence in court, and undoubtedly solve problems in our society, we might as well replace our officers with robots (this might not be a bad idea).

_nedR 20 hours ago 0 replies      
I like this idea, but I propose a slight modification:

Do a rolling record system, so that when the officer hits record, the camera not only saves footage from that point but also the 15 minutes prior to that. Lets see how much their opinions of cameras change then..

emcfarlane 1 day ago 0 replies      
Why have any difference between police and civilians? There seems to be so much abuse of power as people stand by powerless. Why the difference?
puppetmaster3 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think police act different when they have them on.
kimonos 1 day ago 0 replies      
Great idea!
Hexagon 16384 rudradevbasak.github.io
226 points by xtacy  4 days ago   108 comments top 42
nkoren 4 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 4 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.

nathancahill 4 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.
zoba 4 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.

joeframbach 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
It appears that the only thing more addictive than playing 2048 is writing a 2048 clone.
protomyth 4 days ago 2 replies      
If there is a version that needs swipe compatibility, this is it because playing with the keyboard is painful.
emp_ 4 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
This[0] is what Hacker News is becoming lately.

[0]: http://i.imgur.com/F0t5T21.png

rwallace 3 days 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 4 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
Every rectangle (GUI elements, keys on the keyboard) looks really hard after playing this for a while.
ApertureHour 4 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
It upsets me that the circles are not hexagons.

Why oh why?

OscarCunningham 4 days ago 3 replies      
This spawns 1's and expects me to get to 16384. So that'll take about 16383 moves then?
TrainedMonkey 4 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.
Tepix 3 days 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"?
visakanv 3 days 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.
notacoward 4 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.
navpatel 3 days 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!

anigbrowl 4 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 4 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.

codezero 4 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 4 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

fuzzythinker 4 days ago 0 replies      
I recommend using the normal arrow keys, plus press&hold shift or spacebar & arrow keys for the other 2 directions.
reidrac 3 days ago 0 replies      
Use preventDefault() so the arrow keys won't move the page if there are scrollbars.
einhverfr 3 days 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.

userbinator 4 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
Typing A, Z, X, D repetitively seems to be an effective strategy.
lerg 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
I feel like this one is easier.
tnash 4 days ago 0 replies      
I played for about 10 minutes and owww does my brain hurt.
amjaeger 3 days 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.
alxndr 4 days ago 0 replies      
Dvorak version please!
elwell 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ah, a more creative fork. I like the keyboard mapping.
peg_leg 4 days ago 0 replies      
This isn't any fun any more...I CAN'T STOP PLAYING!
missing_cipher 4 days ago 1 reply      
Now we need a 3D one.
mepcotterell 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is my favorite version of the game, with the doge version coming in a very close second.
dsego 4 days ago 0 replies      
No, just no.
ttty 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just crazy! :D
nighthawk24 4 days ago 0 replies      
About that time Google spied on my Gmail uncrunched.com
224 points by uptown  3 days ago   126 comments top 28
patio11 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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.

mililani 3 days 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.

Jugurtha 3 days 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.

TrevorJ 3 days 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.

mdisraeli 3 days 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

brown9-2 3 days 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 3 days 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.
masev 3 days 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.

DannyBee 3 days ago 1 reply      
Or, you know, his source lied?
josefresco 3 days 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 3 days 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.

Zhenya 3 days ago 0 replies      
Blatant hearsay
WalterBright 3 days 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.
emmelaich 3 days 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 3 days 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 2 days 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 3 days ago 2 replies      
Isn't this the sort of thing PGP/GPG was designed for?
techsiva 2 days 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 2 days 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!
Mizza 3 days ago 1 reply      
Out them. You're not helping anybody by not naming names.
robg 3 days ago 0 replies      
Same story if I use Google Apps for my company?
higherpurpose 3 days 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
do no evil
harry61286 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is this about a googler's wife?
marincounty 3 days 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?
lucb1e 3 days 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
224 points by cottonseed  3 days ago   112 comments top 19
jobu 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days ago 2 replies      
It's not the revelations that are costing the tech companies. It's the spying.
ihsw 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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.

higherpurpose 3 days ago 1 reply      
Finally, some good news!
TheSmoke 3 days 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
sehugg 2 days 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.
mariuolo 1 day ago 0 replies      
>IBM is spending more than a billion dollars to build data centers overseas to reassure foreign customers that their information is safe from prying eyes in the United States government.

Wouldn't IBM still be required to grant access even if the data is physically located overseas?

arca_vorago 3 days 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
US tech is dead in China.
Fasebook 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for the news NYTimes
Turkey blocks use of Twitter after prime minister attacks social media site theguardian.com
218 points by JumpCrisscross  3 days ago   119 comments top 19
mrtksn 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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 3 days 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...

yawz 3 days 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.

JanneVee 3 days ago 3 replies      
If 140 characters is a threat to your government, then most probably the problem is your governing.
iuguy 3 days 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/

buzaga41 3 days 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.
jules 3 days 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?
ctekin 3 days ago 0 replies      
tehwalrus 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is bizarre behaviour, can they not see how badly this will end for them?
wil421 3 days 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?

xyproto 3 days ago 0 replies      
Streisand effect in 3..2..1..
n0rm 3 days 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 3 days ago 0 replies      
They should use Twister. Try to shut that down.


batuhanicoz 3 days ago 0 replies      
Turkish President (@cbabdullahgul) just told his opinions about the ban to public. On Twitter. Oh, I love this country sometimes.
dexter2016 3 days ago 0 replies      
It is like he want a revolution
mendicantB 3 days ago 2 replies      
I'm not sure how anyone can take this douche seriously after the leaks.
pinkskip 3 days ago 0 replies      
Twitter is blocked in Turkey
215 points by aacanakin  4 days ago   98 comments top 32
makmanalp 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 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 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ah, blocking twitter, the last refuge of despots[1].


boolean 4 days ago 1 reply      
Earlier today "Turkeys Erdogan Now Says Hell Shut Down Twitter, Too" http://time.com/32339/turkey-erdogan-twitter/
enscr 3 days 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 4 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
For the time being, Twitter is accessable from within Turkey using the DNS of the biggest ISPs of Turkey,
elwell 4 days ago 1 reply      
Just when you think Turkey is a 1st world country...
midas007 4 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.

izelnakri 4 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.

mertdumenci 3 days 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.
tomphoolery 4 days ago 1 reply      
This is so ridiculous. As if someone can't just set up a domain themselves and release the shit.
drawkbox 4 days ago 0 replies      
Lots of things happening around the Black Sea these days. Sochi Olympics, Crimea and now Turkey.
gokhan 4 days ago 4 replies      
Hotspot shield, or any other VPN.
rstml 3 days 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
midas007 4 days ago 2 replies      
Does anyone know how it's currently blocked? twitter IP's, BGP or DNS?
alkank 4 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 4 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 4 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 3 days 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__ 3 days ago 1 reply      
Sitting in Ataturk airport right now and twitter is working fine.
kyriakos 3 days ago 0 replies      
turkey made a lot of progress recently. too bad it will all go down the drain like this.
kayman 4 days ago 2 replies      
sad to see sites being blocked. Can you use Tor to get around this restriction?
nighthawk24 4 days ago 0 replies      
^ Requesting namecoin based app
kosso 4 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 4 days ago 1 reply      
Bullshit. I was tweeting from Istanbul just 3 days ago.
thisiswrong 4 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 4 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.

       cached 25 March 2014 02:11:01 GMT