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How to damage your brand in one smooth shot - Way to GoDaddy jacquesmattheij.com
609 points by RiderOfGiraffes 3 days ago   320 comments top 86
104 points by c2 3 days ago replies      
I guess I'll be the lone discenting voice and say I don't think it's that bad. Bob Parsons has always run his company the way he wants, and he has particular freedom to do so since he has zero investors and is the sole owner. He does certain things for shock value, such as the super bowl commercials, which by the way caused outage with a completely different demographic of people.

Slaughtering an elephant might offend some of your sensibilities, but hunting in Africa is wide spread and as long as the elephant is not endangered, I don't think your outrage has a leg to stand on. The elephant was used as food and now crops are protected.

There are much worse things going on in America's food industry then this. In fact if anything if that elephant could feed the village I'd say this was actually a good thing.

I can understand how this might offend vegetarians but even then, it's not like the animal was wasted.

44 points by d2 3 days ago 1 reply      
What I find most distasteful is the lie that he "saved a village and fed them". That's just bullshit.

There are more guns in Zimbabwe than most other parts of Africa. If the locals really wanted that elephant gone, it would have been machine gunned by two guys arriving on foot.

What really happened here is that a hunting party arrived, killed an elephant and left the carcass for the locals to eat.

What a hero.

PS: I spent my childhood and early 20's in South Africa and we hate this great-white-hunter tourist shit, but it sure pays the bills if you're the driver guide or booking agent.

78 points by run4yourlives 3 days ago replies      
Wow. Just wow.

Having been to Africa and seen elephants in the wild up close, among other animals, I simply can't stomach that I'm supporting a bunch of fat white Americans flying half way around the world to destroy a magnificent animal simply because they can.

I'll be moving my domains away from GoDaddy asap.

76 points by mayank 3 days ago 1 reply      
As someone who has worked with ecologists in the field on a number of wildlife projects in rural Africa, I find this to be truly repugnant. There are many ways of controlling "problem elephants" other than killing them -- in fact, killing an elephant is almost never an option. If the villagers don't have the financial resources to implement non-lethal control measures, I'm sure Bob Parsons does.
33 points by RiderOfGiraffes 3 days ago 2 replies      
Note: Submitted by me, by hand, after reading the posting and deciding it's relevant to startups.

Branding is important, and what you do with your brand is important. Actions speak louder than words. Google is still associated with "Do no Evil," but that's starting to wear a little thin as some of their actions belie the mantra. Similarly, you can get people chanting a slogan, but if you do something wrong, people will notice, and the backlash can be severe.

I would add that this:

  > There is no way to explain all this in a way that does
> not make GoDaddy and it's CEO look good, and plenty of
> ways to interpret it as bad.

... appears to have either too many or not enough negatives. I suggest it should read:

  > There is no way to explain all this in a way that makes
> GoDaddy and it's CEO look good, and plenty of ways to
> interpret it as bad.

15 points by rriepe 3 days ago 2 replies      
I don't agree with GoDaddy's lowest common denominator branding strategy, but it seems to have served them well over the years. It's hard to argue with results.

Make no mistake though, this is just as much a part of their branding strategy as their stupid, tasteless Super Bowl commercials. They'll probably make a token PR apology to hedge their bets here, but this reinforces their "brand" more than it damages it.

9 points by raganwald 3 days ago 0 replies      

  It's not a crime to kill an elephant.
It's bigger than all that.
It's a sin to kill an elephant.
Do you understand? It's a sin.
It's the only sin that you can buy
a license and go out and commit.
That's why I want to do it before
I do anything else in this world.
Do you understand me?
Of course you don't.
How could you?
I don't understand myself.

Clint Eastwood, "White Hunter Black Heart"


18 points by powertower 3 days ago 3 replies      
Let's see who this outrage is coming from:

1) Someone who has never gone hungry for a single day in his/her life.

2) Someone who has consumed 100s of chickens, many cattle, and many other animals so far... Most of which have been literally tortured all their lives.

3) Someone who has never gone to Africa to help, but sits around all day posting his/her opinion on how things there (and everywhere else in the world) should be done.

I'll give you a secret. Want to change the world? Change yourself. It's the only way. Stop complaining. Stop finger pointing. Stop exerting yourself on others.

But yes... I do agree that it would have been best for GoDaddy to not post this.

26 points by maukdaddy 3 days ago 1 reply      
What a truly awful stunt & person. How can he even live with himself for this?
7 points by Tyrant505 2 days ago 3 replies      
Hi All,

Having been involved in wildlife conservation for nearly three and half a decades and trying to address human-elephant conflicts for nearly 16 years what I can say in all honesty is that elephant control is a double-edged sword. There are no utopian answers or solutions to these issues either. When it comes to human-elephant conflicts unlike in the proverbial biblical story where the lion and the lamb lied down together, people and elephants cannot do the same. One has to give away to the other. I think in regard to Bob Parsons' affair everyone is too focused on what he did on the basis of the moral implications of shooting an elephant as pertinent to western sentiments and emotions and how elephants are perceived in the west. I really wonder how many even paid the slightest attention or took notice of the farmer whose sorghum field was destroyed or gave thought to how he and his family is affected or for that matter the protein starved and raggedy rural masses that descended on the elephant once it was shot. The average Zimbabwean is living in abject poverty and I doubt their perspective of elephants is anywhere close to that of the people of the west. Western colonization has destroyed traditional African life to such an extent that they are now living in-limbo where they are neither, westernized or Africanized and have lost their connections to their own environment and nature. These are some of the repercussions for the damage that has been done to them. Most of them live hand to mouth - only caring about their daily survival. Since I live on both sides of this divide " I'm fortunate to see both sides of this coin but also it is frustrating because these completely opposing perspectives can be a huge hindrance to addressing these issues in a realistic manner. For example if we can step outside the western mentality box and look at it from a different perspective (from a poor Zimbabwean farmer's point of view) " probably Bob Parsons is in fact doing a huge favor to the farmers. African elephants are not a threatened species in any imminent danger of extinction. In fact they are now too many elephants in the Southern African nations. But from a South Asian and western perspective Bob Parsons has done the unthinkable " which is to kill an elephant and then glorify it by putting it on public display! For that he should be ostracized and penalized. There is no glory in killing an elephant considering it is humans who have created the situation where they too are fighting for survival. If an elephant has to be killed then it should be done with dignity, respect and with the empathy it deserves.

The cost to immobilize and relocate a problem bull elephant in Sri Lanka cost on average US$5,000. In Africa it could be more considering the vast distances that need to be covered. I'll try to get this information. In Sri Lanka trans-locating problem animals is a futile exercise since you are basically transferring the problem to another area. For example if earlier the problem bull was terrorizing a 50 square mile area " after it is translocated it terrorizes a 500 square mile area because now it's trying to find itself back to its home territory.

Welcome to addressing human-elephant conflicts in the truest sense.


Ravi Corea

There will be a site for this but this just was emailed to me, trying to keep speed

12 points by jrockway 3 days ago 1 reply      
I doubt that even a video of Parsons raping small children would affect their sales. As long as they are slightly cheaper than other registrars and offer the same functionality, they will always have customers. People don't vote with their wallets, and have very short memories anyway.

(DNS is something I consider too important to delegate to the lowest bidder, but I am apparently a minority.)

15 points by jaysonelliot 3 days ago 0 replies      
I have thirty domains registered with GoDaddy. I'm taking all of them somewhere else now - just need to figure out who the best competitor to go to is.
9 points by dools 3 days ago 0 replies      
In my opinion, the animal cruelty side of this pails in comparison to the total and utter obtuseness of playing an AC/DC track over the top of a bunch of people who are clearly starving scrambling for a hunk of meet like some post apocalyptic nightmare!!

It doesn't really surprise me coming from this guy because the he is obviously obtuse (NASCAR sponsorship, Pamela Anderson ads etc.) but I found the graphic pictures of the slaughtered elephant far less confronting than the fact that he turned the life or death struggle of these desperate people into a sideshow spectacle for his PR exercise.

22 points by jonknee 3 days ago 1 reply      
The part that struck me the most odd is he claims that this is the most fulfilling thing he does. He must be pretty hard up for fulfilling activities.
16 points by locopati 3 days ago 1 reply      
So, to recap: sexist advertising campaigns for the benefit of the entire company == OK; the CEO shooting an elephant == boycott. To be clear, I'm in no way agreeing with his actions, but it was getting fed up with the advertising that got me to dump GoDaddy for DynDNS long before anything like this occurred.
15 points by grandalf 3 days ago 3 replies      
Anyone who has had the misfortune of registering a domain with GoDaddy and using its horrible user interface to try to adjust DNS settings will not be surprised by this.

GoDaddy should have been out of business a long time ago just due to the horrid usability of its product.

11 points by uptown 3 days ago 1 reply      
In the grand scheme of things, my 27 domains switched from GoDaddy won't change much from their company's perspective, but I will not continue to use them as a domain registrar because of this.
7 points by logjam 3 days ago 1 reply      
I will be on the phone with each and every person I know who has a domain.

We will discuss whether or not they happen to be using this cowardly imbecile's business.

I will describe this horrible little gutless advertising stunt.

We will work to switch them over to another company immediately.

12 points by rapcal 3 days ago 1 reply      
Unfortunately all my domains are with GoDaddy. Moving them ASAP. It is unacceptable for such a big company to have its CEO involved in something like this.

For years we've been discussing social responsibilities of the enterprise (I've been on it since 1998 here in Brazil) and then we see something like this. If it has the potential to make one disappointed and wonder if she shouldn't give up the fight, it also makes one see that discussing the social impacts and actions of businesses is still tremendously important and necessary.

I'm proud to be on the right side of the fight. And I'm ashamed of having my domains hosted with the slaughterhouse registrar.

7 points by juddlyon 3 days ago 0 replies      
How can you damage a trashy, publicity-stunt-driven brand by shooting an elephant?

You can't.

GoDaddy is light-years ahead of the competition in terms of marketing.

He may have lost several thousand bucks do to some discerning geeks, which is not the GoDaddy customer anyway.

Nothing to see here.

8 points by elvirs 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why did the village need Bob to shoot the elephant? What, the villagers do not have guns? or do not know how to use them?
these guys use AK-47 since childhood and those villagers are much better hunters than an american rich guy who just arrived on a helicopter.
The real story is that local villagers are not allowed to kill elephants and are fined if they do so. the american smartass bribed corrupted local government to let him shoot the elephant. Local corrupted head of municipality gets a couple of thousands of dollars (which makes him the richest man in the surrounding are) and the american guy (and his brand) gain cheap publicity back at home. everybody wins, except the elephant, but who cares about the elephant, right?
2 points by logjam 2 days ago 0 replies      
Having grown up around guns and hunting, I can tell you this guy's story just sounds worse and worse. Laws and hunting ethics generally precludes use of artificial illumination to hunt by, cf:



No "fair chase" here. Somebody quoted Parson's as claiming it was completely dark as he lay in wait for a hungry elephant to walk right into a field of, well, elephant food. If that's the case, he either used artificial illumination to shoot, or there was no very good way for him to tell whether he was shooting a cow with calf, a calf, or even one of the villagers he now so adamantly (after he gets called on it) and frankly unbelievably insists was the true mission of this hunt...a mission that just happened to come complete with film crew and GoDaddy logo for everyone.

Sounds fishy. I don't fish (or hunt) anymore.

9 points by orbenn 3 days ago 5 replies      
This is stupid. If the elephant is going to be shot by a warden anyway, WHY NOT let some rich american shoot it? Why does it matter WHO shoots the elephant? It doesn't!

If you want to argue about whether the elephant SHOULD have been killed, that's fine. There is plenty to debate there. But who does the shooting is of no importance.

That said he's right that as a CEO you represent your company--especially when you're handing out swag. Probably not a smart PR move.

11 points by tikna 3 days ago 0 replies      
Can't believe this thing. I bought a domain name just 5 minutes back, and now I am feeling disgust.

I have around 60 domains with godaddy, and after watching this I don't think I will go for any more. Let the unimportant ones expire this year, and I'll transfer the rest to somewhere else.

Can someone suggest me a good registrar?

5 points by pdx 3 days ago 0 replies      
I cringed seeing the neighboring villagers trampling the same field that the elephants had been trampling. Talk about unintended consequences.
3 points by bitwize 3 days ago 0 replies      
Remember when Acclaim seriously considered advertising its games on tombstones?

Yeah, way to top that in the lack of taste department.

Guess who I'm not registering domains with.

5 points by danielsoneg 3 days ago 1 reply      
What "Brand"? We ARE talking about the same company that puts out ads which double as Cinemax's 11pm lineup, right?
3 points by imechura 3 days ago 0 replies      
I needed to purchase a name today.

BTW, I found this...


Below find a list of Go Daddy's registered and pending trademarks. Please note that these brand guidelines apply to, but are not limited to, the following marks.

Registered Trademarks

Blue Razor®
Blue Razor Logo Black/White
Bob Parsons®
Cool Name. Hot Prices.®
Domain Alert®
Domain Name Aftermarket®
Domains By Proxy®
Domains By Proxy Logo with Star
Domains Priced Right®
Express Email Marketing®
Go Daddy®
Go Daddy Head Logo
Go Daddy Logo with Star
GoDaddy.com Logo
GoDaddy.com Logo on Black
GoDaddy.com Logo with Tagline
Go Daddy Auctions®
Go Daddy Cares®
Go Daddy Connections Logo
Go Daddy Girls®
Go Daddy Hosting Connection®
Go Daddy Marketplace®
Hot Prices. Serious Support.®
Mad Dog®
Mad Dog Domains and Cattle Company®
Mad Dog Logo
Make A .COM Name With Us!®
Online File Folder®
Quick Blogcast®
Quick Shopping Cart®
Radio Go Daddy®
SSL Certificate Logo
Starfield Logo
The Web is Your Domain!®
The Web is Your Domain! Logo
There's A Name For People Like You!®
Traffic Blazer®
Traffic Blazer Logo
Transfer Concierge®
Turbo SSL®
Verified by Starield Secure®
Verified by Starfield Secure Logo
WebSite Tonight®
Wild West®
Wild West Domains Logo on White
Your identity is nobody's business but ours.®

Pending Trademarks

Claim Your Domain™
Data Center on Demand™
Data Widgets™
Domains, websites & everything* in between!™
Domains, websites & everything* in between! Logo
Dream Design Team™
Dream Design Team Logo
Expert Hands™
Go Daddy Savings Network™
GoDaddy.co Logo
GoDaddy.com SSL Seal Logo
Social Visibility™
We Make Websites Easy™
Web Professionals' Day™
Website Protection Seal Logo

3 points by mcherm 3 days ago 0 replies      
I agree that it's a horrible stunt, but I don't see how it can harm GoDaddy's reputation. As far as I am concerned, GoDaddy's reputation is so far down in the dumps that it is difficult for it to sink any lower, and that is based on their behavior as a registrar, not stunts by the CEO.
3 points by drivebyacct2 3 days ago 0 replies      
What amazes me is that anyone here cares about GoDaddy, and as much as it pains me to imagine, there are probably people here that do business with GoDaddy.

It's a shame really. Your loss.

9 points by efnx 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is the final straw for me, godaddy has a horrible UI that looks like a toplinks page and functions much the same I presume. I've been wanting to move my domains from godaddy for years, but haven't due to laziness. What are the best alternatives?
11 points by kqueue 3 days ago 1 reply      
I like the ad unit at the top of the blog page.
10 points by awesomea 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks for putting this out there. Just transferred my domains and hosting away from GoDaddy. I won't even get into how I hate the needless killing of ANY animal. There are almost always alternatives.
5 points by motters 3 days ago 0 replies      
This merely ensures that I will never use GoDaddy's services, and I'll also advise others not to use them.
3 points by Artagra 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well, I'm pretty sure this won't be a popular response, but anyway.

Firstly, I'm not really referring to this specific case. I think the video is tasteless and in many ways vile. However, I want to comment specifically on trophy hunting.

In my opinion, allowing big game hunters to pay for trophy animals is an important and integral part of animal conservation. In many impoverished African countries, their is little to no government funding to conserve animals.

Yes, there are risk factors. But personally, I believe the additional amount of animals that are killed due to the argument of excess demand is a lot less than the number of animals saved by the increased funding for poaching prevention.

Furthermore, I believe the economic benefits of this to the local community hugely improve the lives of the local people (who I believe are a lot more important than the elephants, as important as I think the elephants are), and that this improvement will decrease poaching.

To summarize:
- I agree that Trophy hunting can have negative effects.
- However, I believe the positives for animal conservation of Trophy Hunting offset the negatives in two major ways.
- Trophy Hunting decreases the ease with which poaching takes place by funding anti-poaching measures.
- Trophy Hunting decreases the extent to which poaching takes place by improving the situation of the local communities.

So if you are pro animal conservation, and pro human rights, you should be pro Trophy Hunting. IMHO.

12 points by shakedown 3 days ago 6 replies      
This is terrible. Anyone have any suggestions for a registrar to switch to from GoDaddy?
6 points by baggachipz 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well, GoDaddy is getting mentioned on HN and Reddit, so... mission accomplished?

Personally, I got fed up with their insulting commercials, horrible interface, and crappy service long ago. I've since switched registrars and haven't regretted it for a second.

5 points by matthewslotkin 3 days ago 0 replies      
If Bob is so invested in selfless help, why doesn't he drop some cash and build a fence to permanently keep the elephants out?

Also, to those suggesting that killing this elephant is chill because it fed a lot of people, I'm pretty sure there are more cost effective ways to feed people than mobilizing an elephant hunting squad.

1 point by Aetius 2 days ago 0 replies      
Let's count the ways in which the media, twitter, and even HN can be hypocritical:

Driving cars that pollute the environment and force the US to wage continous war to secure oil.
Supporting a food industry that is killing us.
Support raising my taxes so you can live a better life.
Use an inordinate amount of energy, water which is scarce.
Live wonderful lives with nice furniture, clothes, etc that are made by really poor people the world over.
Take trips all over the place, using more oil.
Sit at home watching TV and being entertained instead of being productive and fixing problems (yes, this too is a sin).
Have bad children that will grow up to be murderers, theives, leaches, and knownothings because you're too busy whining about some guy hunting an elephant.
Have supported tons of politicians that serve to further their own interests and that of their corporate sponsors.

I could go on and on and on before I finally get to:

Legally shot and killed an elephant which was destroying crops in an African country.

If I switched my domains from GoDaddy for this, I'd pretty much have to withdraw from American society for good, in order to be on decent moral ground.

1 point by ChuckMcM 3 days ago 0 replies      
Following in the footsteps of Thomas Edison? [1] I've never been a fan of the phrase "Any publicity is good publicity." But damaging the brand? I don't know that it rises to that level. Because the guy slaughter's elephants you think he can't maintain a credible domain registry? Now if he was running a shelter for abandoned big game animals, sure it would be a challenge but this is the guy who uses large mammary glands as a marketing tool.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topsy_%28elephant%29

4 points by cloudbrain 3 days ago 0 replies      
1) GoDaddy has been doing crazy stunts forever (see rejected Super Bowl ads)
2) GoDaddy is the largest registrar, with 31% market share (http://www.webhosting.info/registrars/top-registrars/global)

Given the above, I would say:
1) He knows exactly what he is doing and why
2) It is working*

*meaning growing the company, making lots of money, returning value to shareholders etc.

5 points by rokhayakebe 3 days ago 1 reply      
You have to wonder who is/are the animal(s) here?
3 points by kreek 3 days ago 0 replies      
10 points by craigmccaskill 3 days ago 0 replies      
GoDaddy has now lost all current and any future custom they might have had from me.
2 points by rlf 2 days ago 0 replies      
I think many of you are missing the point. One could argue both for and against killing the elephants. I think what's important here, and this is just a guess on my part, is that 1) I believe that Parsons was using this as an excuse to kill some really big wild game in Africa to show how "manly" he is; and 2) he clearly enjoyed it as evidenced by the big smile on his face in the pictures. For comparison, American Indians used to kill buffalo but I don't think they gloated over it as Parsons is doing. They had reverence for the buffalo and demonstrated that by using every bit of each buffalo they killed. Parsons, on the other hand, just did it for the thrill of the kill and that, to me, is wrong.

By the way, I moved all of my domains off GoDaddy last year. I got tired of paying above-market prices just so that GoDaddy could create those lame Super Bowl commercials. Also, their UI sucks.

2 points by rdl 3 days ago 0 replies      
This isn't something I'd do, but doesn't really seem like the biggest outrage ever.

There is one rifle shot which would remove a clear threat to everyone in Zimbabwe and the region. If the CEO of someone like Xe flew in and took that shot, I'd be happy to transfer all my domains to his company. (Mugabe, obviously)

3 points by callmeed 3 days ago 0 replies      
So much for Groupon's Super Bowl commercial looking bad ...
2 points by ddemchuk 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is going to have about as much effect on GoDaddy's userbase and bottom line as did all of the privacy concerns last year with Facebook.

A sliver of a fraction of GoDaddy customers will ever see that video or even hear about it. Most people buy domains there because they have hot chicks in super bowl commercials.

2 points by Artagra 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well, I'm pretty sure this won't be a popular response, but anyway.

Firstly, I'm not really referring to this specific case. I think the video is tasteless and in many ways vile. However, I want to comment specifically on trophy hunting.

In my opinion, allowing big game hunters to pay for trophy animals is an important and integral part of animal conservation. In many impoverished African countries, their is little to no government funding to conserve animals.

Yes, there are risk factors. But personally, I believe the additional amount of animals that are killed due to the argument of excess demand is a lot less than the number of animals saved by the increased funding for poaching prevention.

Furthermore, I believe the economic benefits of this to the local community hugely improve the lives of the local people (who I believe are a lot more important than the elephants, as important as I think the elephants are), and that this improvement will decrease poaching.

To summarize:
- I agree that Trophy hunting can have negative effects.
- However, I believe the positives of Trophy Hunting offset the negatives in two major ways:

4 points by rottyguy 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'll paraphrase Justice Stewart: "I may never be able to intelligibly explain human cruelty, but I'll know it when I see it". Looking forward to seeing him on the news circuit dancing around like a, uhm..., wounded elephant.
3 points by mapster 3 days ago 0 replies      
Bad taste, up, down, left, and right. He removed any reverence of the hunt, respect of the animal. Just him, his orange hats, his gun, his camera, his killing, his audio track of choice, his vacation video. Ugly rich guy video #93,275
5 points by HowardRoark 3 days ago 0 replies      
There can be no explanation for this. I think we should all boycott GoDaddy.
4 points by ericmoritz 3 days ago 1 reply      
GoDaddy is one skanky company. Buying a domain is a chore. You have to walk through a minefield of up sells. The ads are gross. All that hassle is just not worth the couple dollars I save every year.
1 point by technomancy 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's almost as if Achewood's 2011 predictions are coming true three months early: http://achewood.com/index.php?date=01052011
4 points by olegious 3 days ago 1 reply      
Never using GoDaddy again. I'm not a vegetarian or a leftist, but glorifying the murder of an endangered species is sickening.
3 points by navs 3 days ago 0 replies      
GoDaddy will need an extra sexy ad campaign to calm the crowd.
Maybe Danica Patrick will ride an elephant.

Elephant killing aside, I can't use GoDaddy's hosting/domain control panel. Settings feel buried under layers of links and is just confusing.

1 point by NZ_Matt 3 days ago 1 reply      
I blame Disney. Killing an Elephant that is clearly a pest is no different than the thousands of businessmen that shoot Deer and Tahr for sport every year.

Dickish move by Bob tho, he's truly testing the adage that "any publicity is good publicity".

1 point by CWuestefeld 3 days ago 0 replies      
I haven't watched the video (I'm at work now), but are elephants currently protected? I recently read about a program where African elephants are being sterilized because the populations have grown so large that they're becoming a problem.
3 points by SeoxyS 3 days ago 0 replies      
GoDaddy had a positive brand before? I didn't realize there was anything left to damage.
1 point by sdizdar 3 days ago 0 replies      
So it is ok to have show on cable TV where people shoot animals for fun (or our politicians doing that) and but we are disgusted of killing animal for food and protect the crops.

This is good very PR move because it hits the center of hypocrisy in wester societies: our "love" of animals.

4 points by fourstar 3 days ago 0 replies      
Godaddy sucks and has for... ever. I've been with Namecheap and I'd recommend them any day.
1 point by Kilimanjaro 3 days ago 0 replies      
I hate godaddy to death, guys, but I use them because they offer most tlds around the world easily (me, ly, at, to, etc)(that's the only easy thing they do)

If you can name at least five registrars with world wide reach please do so, so we can have a better option next time.

1 point by tikna 2 days ago 0 replies      
I dropped a mail to GoDaddy regarding this. Here's the response from their side:


Our Office of the President has responded to your request, details of which are described below:

Dear Sir/Madam,

Thank you for taking the time to express your opinion about Mr. Parsons' recent trip to Zimbabwe.

As you may be aware Mr. Parsons has also made several comments regarding this on his Vlog at BobParsons.me which you may wish to review. We hope this information will be of assistance to you in making any final determination about your relationship with GoDaddy.com.

We thank you again for your time and feedback.


The Office of the President


1 point by damoncali 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's brilliant. They just drove away hordes of geeks - you know those pesky techies who only buy the loss leaders without loading up on the profitable stuff?
1 point by rdouble 2 days ago 0 replies      
I thought this sort of thing died off with Teddy Roosevelt, so it was interesting to learn what kind of people still do it.
1 point by knofun 3 days ago 0 replies      
I don't think this will have any tangible effect on GoDaddy's brand except for maybe a slight increase in visibility via the free press you are giving them right this second.

As far as actually shooting the animal, I'm not an African game warden so I can't give any scientific or even remotely educated comment. That being said, the only facts I know are these:
Bob Parsons shot and killed an elephant in a completely legal way, and was so proud of what he did that he had a professional make and edit a video which he then posted on the internet.
The people in the video seem grateful and excited that he has done this. They are also wearing godaddy hats.
This morning, a lot of people who weren't there are passing judgement.

I guess I'm just confused as to the source of the controversy?

1 point by girlvinyl 2 days ago 0 replies      
Whether or not someone agrees that killing the elephant in this particular circumstance was warranted, I definitely feel like a CEO going into a foreign country and culture, killing an animal and making it into a publicity stunt is offensive and distasteful.

It also seems like many other CEOs would have been crucified for doing this. But for some reason Parsons is getting much less flack than would the CEO of Wal-mart, Monsanto or McDonald's. Why is that?

1 point by esmevane 3 days ago 0 replies      
I see that most of the folks here are choosing to discuss the morality of this video; some are electing to defend, and some showing disapproval.

What I'm finding odd about these reactions is that, viewing other people's reactions (outside of the delicate shell of opinion here), the clear conclusion is that this is a PR disaster. From the Twitter search alone, in the last 2-3 minutes, my feed has gone up easily hundreds of entries, all of them agreeing about their distaste for this event.

Isn't that where the real knowledge is, here? Whether or not you agree that this was a bad decision, it undeniably harms the brand in what could be a catastrophic way.

2 points by rishi 3 days ago 0 replies      
the worst part about this is that it totally worked on me. I now know about their video.me product.
3 points by raarky 3 days ago 1 reply      
ok, so who can recommend a good domain company I can transfer all my domains to?
2 points by ALXfoo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Look at all these passionate discussions. Positively and negatively charged, both sides full of fiery opinion.

I thought this was supposed to be a terrible publicity stunt. I say it worked.

1 point by sigzero 2 days ago 0 replies      
Where do I think he went wrong? Passing out the hats. I was fine up until that point. This isn't for a GoDaddy commercial. Sheesh.
1 point by monochromatic 3 days ago 2 replies      
This was a reasonable post when it was about it was stupid to mix up GoDaddy's corporate image with this stuff. But this:

> It's a good thing that I have all my domains with another registrar or I'd be forced to move them.

is way over the top. Nobody's forcing you to do anything. If you choose to buy into the "CEO image = corporate image" thing, then fine, move your business elsewhere. But I kind of thought the point of the post was that it's kind of silly, but yeah, people do conflate those things.

2 points by Gaussian 3 days ago 0 replies      
So, Bob, how many customers is one dead elephant worth? Next time you could leave the film crew at home maybe? Or would that subvert your whole point?
1 point by fecklessyouth 2 days ago 0 replies      
I guess I'll leave this here:

Caution: Ignore if you prefer the stereotype of an exposed rich white game hunter.

1 point by beyonder 2 days ago 0 replies      
I feel for the hungry guys shown in the video but still looking at the way those guys are cutting the meat and hovering over the dead animal's body just reminds me of a quote from matrix by Mr.Smith:
Humans are parasites.
2 points by dennisgorelik 3 days ago 0 replies      
There is no bad publicity.
2 points by ndaugherty18 3 days ago 1 reply      
I really like how he through in some ACDC while all the hugry people are fighting for the food. Classy.
1 point by hncommenter13 3 days ago 0 replies      
Obviously late to the discussion, but surprised no one has posted a link to this famous Orwell essay:
1 point by jrspruitt 3 days ago 0 replies      
I would agree with most on here, this is par for the course considering the companies branding already, which is pretty cheap low rent stuff. He's coming across as the "dickish" "most interesting man in the world" here. And I agree it should be a game warden duty to handle such situations, for the same reason McD's wouldn't allow old food to be eaten by employees, because it would increase the chances of there being more "old food." But the thing that really bugs me is the end, why not have it properly butchered and dispersed that way? Instead of something that reminds me of Bum Fights. Class is obviously not part of their branding in anyway.
0 points by neutronicus 3 days ago 0 replies      
Going falconing is on my bucket list, so I can't get too angry.
1 point by SideSwipe 2 days ago 0 replies      
Any chance this is just an April Fool's joke with a whole lot of time put into it? :P
1 point by karolisd 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's not April Fools?
-2 points by LudoTheGreat 3 days ago 0 replies      
Technically it was two shots...
-1 point by michaeldhopkins 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is perfectly acceptable, and all the bravado about moving domains looks silly. Obviously, the local citizens (tour guides) in this video didn't want to tell the warden about the elephant.

Additionally, I have no doubt the owners of many registrars do objectionable things. The devil you know...

-2 points by dman 3 days ago 1 reply      
On the other hand NRA members might now choose GoDaddy as their registrar and webhost.
At work? Try this Hacker News homepage inspired by Node [SFW] nowjs.com
571 points by ericz 3 days ago   96 comments top 46
75 points by NathanKP 3 days ago 5 replies      
I would imagine that a fairly large percentage of the Hacker News community probably works for themselves or as freelance contractors. The main problem is not that of hiding your browsing from an employer, but having the self control to work rather than browsing.
46 points by idlewords 3 days ago 1 reply      
At work? Try working!
35 points by aidenn0 3 days ago 1 reply      
If I worked at a place where I felt that reading HN would get me fired, there would be lots of other problems.
58 points by jdp23 3 days ago 1 reply      
This is great. But why isn't it async?
6 points by shawnee_ 3 days ago 0 replies      
Good idea. Better idea - YC news from the console:


And, for old timers, there's always lynx.

8 points by trotsky 3 days ago 2 replies      
At work?

Yup, and that means I have a pretty restrictive firewall.

Oops! Google Chrome could not connect to ec2-50-18-7-165.us-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com:8081 <----

3 points by ChuckMcM 3 days ago 0 replies      
I really enjoyed this, its an excellent UX pun. If you could use enough javascript to make it look like an emacs buffer some pointy haired types would be hard pressed to discern between this and actual work.

That being said, if you are truly into employee surveillance (and I know of at least one company that is) then what the screen shows is irrelevant since the http{s} traffic between your work station and the world is just as clear without having to 'walk around and look into your cube.'

Total kudos to the skinning though, I really enjoyed it.

8 points by Osiris 3 days ago 0 replies      
I laughed out loud when I clicked on that link. (Un)fortunately for me, I work from home so I don't have anyone checking over my shoulder.
6 points by ericz 3 days ago 0 replies      
4 points by mirkules 3 days ago 0 replies      
This reminds me of the "boss key" in video games (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boss_key)

Nicely done!

3 points by yread 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ordinary folk (non-programmer's) already have this
6 points by autoreverse 3 days ago 0 replies      
My version in HTML/JS (click the license to toggle HN)


4 points by famousactress 3 days ago 1 reply      
Oh, sad. (That people need this). Clever, though.
3 points by brianr 3 days ago 0 replies      
To read in vim:

  curl http://ec2-50-18-7-165.us-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com:8081/ | vim -

7 points by kin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Funny, but my boss is also a hacker and now recognizes this =(
1 point by sgentle 2 days ago 0 replies      
Cool site. :)

You've got a bug on Ask HN posts, though, where you get a relative URL from HN (/comments/blah) which ends up relative to your site rather than news.yc.

9 points by rajasharan 3 days ago 1 reply      
There was a similar one for Reddit in C# style. Nice.
5 points by michuk 3 days ago 0 replies      
Nice! But it doesn't beat the Jabber client embedded as an Excel macro I used while working for a bank.
5 points by sawyer 3 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder if someone could learn Node simply by browsing HN in this format for a few weeks.
3 points by abraham 3 days ago 1 reply      
The require('http') has an extra ; after it.
2 points by frazerb 2 days ago 1 reply      
I spend most of my day talking with customers and reviewing contracts etc.. As much as I would love to, I think if my boss caught me looking at code like this he would fire me !
2 points by huge_ness 3 days ago 0 replies      
now working for me!

for some reason it's pushing to http://ec2-50-18-7-165.us-west-1.compute.amazonaws.com:8081/ and not nowjs.com

3 points by aeter 3 days ago 0 replies      
It's awesome. It would be great to be able to read the HN comments like that too.
1 point by dbuizert 3 days ago 0 replies      
Why would you get fired over browsing websites that fall within the set guidelines by your employer? If a website like HN doesn't fit in there, you got screwed over and time to find a new job.

An employee should have the freedom to browse the web with limited restrictions. If that is not the case then it is a violation of the employees creativity and could hurt the employer in the long run since his/her employees are bound to limited creativity on the job sight.

1 point by atlantic 2 days ago 0 replies      
Someone came up with a very similar solution for Reddit a short while ago: http://codereddit.com. Not to say that this is plagiarism; great minds often think alike.
2 points by dudurocha 3 days ago 1 reply      
OMG, this is amazing.
Very funny!
And you can actually say " there must be a bug here, i just cant find", and read everthing.
1 point by thomasfl 3 days ago 1 reply      
Finally something useful hacker news. I have been reading way to much hacker news lately, and my colleagues have started to take notice.

Next month I hope someone could make a html source code theme for hacker news.

2 points by yuhong 3 days ago 1 reply      
Yea, managing by treating people as dumb automatons is fundementally flawed.
1 point by mattdeboard 3 days ago 0 replies      
Bravo, this is extremely clever.
1 point by dacort 3 days ago 0 replies      
I really wanted to be able to upvote from that interface.
1 point by joezydeco 3 days ago 1 reply      
How about one that looks like a spreadsheet?
1 point by snissn 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'd be concerned about getting fired for using node.js..
1 point by MatthewRayfield 3 days ago 0 replies      
Reminds me of the Ghostzilla project:


1 point by koko775 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ha! I see what you did there, eric.


1 point by kirpekar 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool. Helpful too. Thanks!
1 point by mcorrientes 3 days ago 0 replies      
node.js looks really sexy, can't wait to become stable enough for a productive system.
1 point by redredraider 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is awesome. Someone port it to my circa 1994 cobol compiler and I'll be set.
1 point by Jasonp 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is hilarious. Not sure about useful, but hilarious - yes.
1 point by dnot 3 days ago 0 replies      
this is great! is there a 'next' button? Did I just not see it?
1 point by kranner 3 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by martinkallstrom 3 days ago 0 replies      
Dude, nice!
1 point by boneheadmed 2 days ago 0 replies      
Freakin' funny. Love it!
1 point by Smirnoff 3 days ago 3 replies      
honestly we need a mobile app for hn. somebody?
1 point by growingconcern 3 days ago 0 replies      
Now I just need a reddit version!
1 point by johng 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very cool :)
2 points by malvim 3 days ago 0 replies      
Didn't even know these guidelines existed, but it was fun to read:

"Please don't submit comments complaining that a submission is inappropriate for the site. If you think something is spam or offtopic, flag it by going to its page and clicking on the "flag" link. (Not all users will see this; there is a karma threshold.) If you flag something, please don't also comment that you did."


Angry Nerds atlassian.com
555 points by kevinburke 3 days ago   40 comments top 17
39 points by zzzmarcus 3 days ago 2 replies      
I love the "Cease and desist - Rovio" testimonial. Wouldn't surprise me if that became a reality since they're selling merch. Awesome idea though.
38 points by Stormbringer 3 days ago 1 reply      
The Agilista

More process than progress. This dev fails fast and fails often.

Special Move:

Drops a jargon bomb on each level.

Priceless :D

29 points by brianwillis 3 days ago 3 replies      
Ladies and gentlemen, April Fool's day has arrived (at least in Australia).
4 points by brown9-2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is the "nerds" hitting the ground rather than the pile of 0s and 1s a part of the joke?
11 points by mr_pppoe 3 days ago 0 replies      
The dev manager
The most useless character in the game.
Nobody is quite sure what this character does.

Can't agree more, :P

6 points by anactofgod 3 days ago 0 replies      
April Fools?!?

Now, I'm really angry... nerds...

2 points by robin_reala 2 days ago 1 reply      
After having to deal with Atlassian Confluence it's no surprise I'm angry.

JIRA's alright though.

5 points by piaskal 2 days ago 0 replies      
What I love the most about it is that I don't see any flash there. It's all HTML.
2 points by spenvo 2 days ago 0 replies      
(Despite just being a good joke) there's something to be said about the link between success and product familiarity/likeness. The "success" being that it got all of our attention (300+ votes on HN). It's more than just a cheap trick; companies copy ("learn from") each other's ideas and UI layouts all the time.
5 points by dcosson 3 days ago 0 replies      
Haha, this is awesome. And fairly accurate.
1 point by Raphael 1 day ago 0 replies      
Also, try Happy Owls. http://hootsuite.com/happy-owls
4 points by Brashman 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'd love to see the Nerds vs Plants mentioned.
4 points by erik_p 3 days ago 0 replies      
The level design is a little repetitive... :P
2 points by fjw 3 days ago 1 reply      
Should have included at least one other level design.. definitely made me laugh though.

Also: clicking on the App Store/Android link opens the game in full screen in case anyone is interested.

4 points by thascales 3 days ago 0 replies      
Ooh! I'm really good at this game!
1 point by amitraman1 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is the best one I've seen so far today.

BTW, Angry Birds RIO is disappointing. I miss the pigs!

-3 points by sitkack 3 days ago 1 reply      
You can't lose. Lame.
Samsung installs keylogger on its laptop computers networkworld.com
484 points by pietrofmaggi 4 days ago   202 comments top 31
114 points by jedsmith 4 days ago 4 replies      
Am I the only one that wipes the OEM operating system as soon as I buy a computer? Even if I'm putting Windows right back on it?

I started doing it because of the crap they bundle in there, but this seems like an unintended good reason to do so as well.

34 points by 16s 4 days ago 4 replies      
Off-topic: I wrote a very primitive passive keystroke logger a few years ago (just to demonstrate how they work). I still have the source code and folks email me about it often:


My example is really trivial and it only works on Windows, but it works well and demonstrates the concept of passive keystroke logging. Unlike system wide hooks, passive logging just monitors the key states. Sort of like when you are playing a video game and press the 'P' key. The game pauses because it's monitoring the P key's state (up or down) and can tell when it changes. Extend that concept to the entire keyboard and you have a passive keystroke logger.

Passive loggers are more challenging to detect as well and they run just fine as a normal user (no need to be root).

27 points by po 4 days ago replies      
Talk about burying the lede...

And what does he mean by "After the initial set up of the laptop"? What exactly did he do? Couldn't it just mean that the security software he is using to do the scan or the media he is using is infected? I just think this sounds fishy until he's verified it with a completely different set of tools.

27 points by westbywest 4 days ago 0 replies      
"The statements that Samsung installs keylogger on R525 and R540 laptop computers are false.

"After investigating into this matter, it was found that the software installed was in fact Vipre, not the commerical keylogger called StarLogger. The confusion arose because Microsoft's Live Application multi-language support folder, 'SL' folder, was mistaken for StarLogger

"(Live Application is Microsoft's application which provides messenger, email, video, photo gallery functions. Depending on the language, under C:\windows folders 'SL' for Slovak, 'KO' for Korean, 'EN' for English are created.)"


21 points by jgrahamc 4 days ago 3 replies      
Mohamed Hassan, MSIA, CISSP, CISA graduated from the Master of Science in Information Assurance (MSIA) program from Norwich University in 2009

Really bad way to start an article. Who cares about all these qualifications? Did he find a key logger and how did Samsung respond?

Unfortunately, they have decided to make us wait for the response. That seems really lame IMHO.

34 points by mrcharles 4 days ago 5 replies      
It would be interesting to hear from the HN community, people with Samsung laptops, if they've had this happen, or if they check now, if this keylogger is discovered.
24 points by jgrahamc 4 days ago 2 replies      
13 points by blinkingled 4 days ago 4 replies      
Thank heavens this was software based - now imagine if they shipped keyboard firmware with a built in keylogger! Who knows, may be some do - that would be nearly impossible to detect as they can encrypt it.

On a related note - My bank requires me to use a on-screen virtual keyboard to log into the online account. The keys of this virtual keyboard are randomly rearranged every time it is invoked. That could certainly beat keyloggers.

15 points by albedoa 4 days ago 2 replies      
The findings are false-positive proof since I have used the tool that discovered it for six years now and I am yet to see it misidentify an item throughout the years.

Thus, it is false-positive proof? Why wouldn't he test it against other tools? Why wouldn't he try to find out as much about this as you can before writing an accusatory article?

Further, why is he running a full-system security scan on a fresh installation of Windows? Is that normal? If this is a genuine accusation of wrongdoing, then I think that the actual sequence of events and his entire methodology should be disclosed.

19 points by GiraffeNecktie 4 days ago 3 replies      
I would have expected this to show up from many different sources. The fact that only one person is reporting this makes the story somewhat suspect. Surely he's not the only Samsung owner to run a malware scan.
8 points by narrator 4 days ago 0 replies      
This isn't the first time Samsung did this kind of thing. On their android phones, they have a system called CarrierIQ that is deeply embedded into the system and can monitor practically all aspects of phone usage.


22 points by Bo102010 4 days ago 4 replies      
This strikes me as dubious at best. I think a more likely explanation is that his detection software is flagging anything with the path "c:\windows\SL" as malware.

He says "This key logger is completely undetectable," which is clearly untrue (he has allegedly detected it).

If it's logging his keystrokes, it's either storing them locally or sending them off somewhere else, or both. If he's as qualified as he says, he should be able to find out which (find a file that increases in size after a lot of keystrokes, use Wireshark...).

13 points by anon1385 4 days ago 0 replies      

Samsung responds to installation of keylogger on its laptop computers

The supervisor who spoke with me was not sure how this software ended up in the new laptop thus put me on hold. He confirmed that yes, Samsung did knowingly put this software on the laptop to, as he put it, "monitor the performance of the machine and to find out how it is being used."

In other words, Samsung wanted to gather usage data without obtaining consent from laptop owners.


We contacted three public relations officers for Samsung for comment about this issue and gave them a week to send us their comments. No one from the company replied.

5 points by helmut_hed 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here's a plausible scenario under which Samsung is innocent:

1) Starlogger is part of the security software Hassan installed, and
2) The Samsung person he reached didn't know what he was talking about

I have no idea if this is really what happened, but consider:

Hassan says After the initial set up of the laptop, I installed licensed commercial security software and then ran a full system scan before installing any other software.

This could simply be an embarrassing mistake, compounded by the ignorance of some call center person... I'm waiting for confirmation from others with Samsung systems.

24 points by derrida 4 days ago 0 replies      
So, has ANYONE verified this independently yet?
4 points by motters 4 days ago 1 reply      
It's a disappointing cliff-hanger ending. Without more information it's impossible to say whether this is just some malware accident or a deliberate policy by Samsung. I'm inclined to think that the former situation is more likely.
4 points by unreal37 4 days ago 0 replies      
I am skeptical this is true. Some phone tech support guy overseas is not official confirmation of official policy. I would like to see more widespread confirmation ('happened to me too!') before people start dumping on Samsung.

Also missing, evidence it was turned installed and running at bootup, evidence it was sending information anywhere. It should be fairly easy to use the laptop, connect to the internet, and see what data is sent to what server, owned by whom. THAT is evidence. These are just random unimportant files in some random directory until then.

2 points by motters 4 days ago 0 replies      
The second part is more interesting, but it doesn't give any indication as to whether the keylogger was installed on a small number of internal test machines which then accidentally escaped into consumerland, or whether this is a more widespread practice. If it is widespread then Samsung are really entering a world of pain in terms of lawsuits.
4 points by hbz 4 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder where it stores all this logged information. Despite a lot of references to the Sony rootkit, the author doesn't specifically call this a rootkit other than to say it's "completely undetectable" (not really). There's also mention of traces of the program being found in c:\windows\SL, which means its not very well hidden. More information is required.
4 points by denysonique 4 days ago 3 replies      
However, a scan result does not mean much, a full proof would be if he found the keystrokes actually logged in some file and/or being sent to somewhere.

Btw, I am typing this from a Samsung R510 laptop. Fortunetaly I don't use crappy windows. I run Gentoo Linux.

2 points by mulander 4 days ago 1 reply      
I own a HP laptop which recently had its mother board replaced. The machine came with an OEM installation of MS Windows Vista - I didn't reinstall / remove but I did lock out and changed the password for the 'Administrator' account. To my surprise when the laptop came back from repair (official HP on warranty repair) the Administrator account was unlocked and the recent activity on that account indicated that video files were being run recently from it.

I assume that they must have a way to unlock the account I just hope it's not a full time remote control like mentioned in this article. You can be sure of one thing - I will never buy from HP again.

1 point by jpablo 4 days ago 2 replies      
This in no way compares to the Sony Rootkit fiasco. Even if the keylogger is still there I'll hardly doubt that Samsung installed it on purpose.
2 points by loganlinn 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is there not a hole in this argument? Why wouldn't he first question the store at which he bought both of these Samsung laptops? This isn't solid evidence that the source of the keylogger is from the hardware manufacturer and is borderline defamation.
1 point by Derbasti 4 days ago 0 replies      
Well, if this turns out to be true, no more Samsung in my family.
1 point by rheide 4 days ago 0 replies      
Could be any number of reasons for this. The store may have messed up and had its computers infected by a virus. Or Samsung itself. Or user error, like other people pointed out already.

What I would be interested to know is if the logger actually phones home, and if so, to where. That would give fairly conclusive proof if Samsung did it or someone else. If it's just logging stuff locally then what's the point? Maybe Samsung (if Samsung is indeed the culrpit) could claim it's for tech support reasons?

2 points by mooky 3 days ago 0 replies      
One user reporting an incident does not a story make.
Lazy journalism.

Also: a possible publicity attack from someone who has just started up a security consultancy... But this could rebound on him due to his EXTREMELY sloppy work and total lack of forensic skill.

2 points by piaskal 4 days ago 1 reply      
If it's true I wonder if Samsung actually does that deliberately or were their production systems hit by some malware.
1 point by tikna 4 days ago 1 reply      
If you think logically, why they would even do that?
What can they get out of logged data. Can you give me the answer?

I think you are exaggerating this thing too much.

1 point by tikna 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am trying to find "Mohamed Hassan" on Internet. Now there is a doubt in my mind that he is even a real person?
0 points by bigohms 4 days ago 0 replies      
Does this mean a Samsung exec will get some jail time just like the Utah University student who did the same thing and changed his grades?


0 points by azal 4 days ago 0 replies      
It sucks when companies start to impose crapware on consumers and defend it as useful.
Solarized - Color scheme for vim, mutt, terminal emulators ethanschoonover.com
453 points by lamnk 3 days ago   142 comments top 40
56 points by daleharvey 3 days ago 1 reply      
Its really rare to see that much thought going into the aesthetics of stereotypically "geeky" applications like vim and terminals, even the website looks entirely different from pretty much every website I have seen around these tools

its a refreshing change, awesome work

15 points by tptacek 3 days ago 1 reply      
So, my mind is blown that you put so much effort into designing a color scheme, and thanks, but maybe put the img/ directory in your git repo somewhere else, so that a git pull of a color scheme doesn't take 50(!) megs.
13 points by julian37 3 days ago 4 replies      
9 points by moe 3 days ago 5 replies      
I don't like this scheme and I don't buy the pseudo-science blurb. It's based on shades of blue. Our eyes are the least sensitive to blue. And what's up with the red and pink, is this some cruel joke?

I'll stick with Zenburn[1].

[1] http://slinky.imukuppi.org/zenburn/

9 points by brianr 3 days ago 5 replies      
I don't know about the rest of you, but my eyes literally started to hurt when I read the text on that page, presumably because of the color of the text v. background. Doesn't bode well for using it in vim...

Maybe it looks better on a different monitor? (I have a Samsung LCD.)

8 points by lamnk 3 days ago replies      
Please share your favorite color scheme(s) !

My favorite for gvim/MacVim is molokai: http://winterdom.com/2008/08/molokaiforvim , seconded by vividchalk when i'm on the terminal: https://github.com/tpope/vim-vividchalk

Haven't found any good color scheme for iterm2 yet. Currently i'm using thayer: http://ecto-plazm.deviantart.com/gallery/

4 points by pyre 2 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone get a chance to test out how this looks with vimdiff? That's one area that usually ends up looking fugly b/c the theme creator neglected to look at it. Other areas that are typically neglected (though not in this case): code folding, split buffer dividers.
5 points by xiaomai 2 days ago 2 replies      
I haven't looked into how one can export gnome-terminal color palettes yet, but if anyone else is interested, I think these are the correct settings in gconf:

    /apps/gnome-terminal/palette: #070736364242:#D3D336368282:#B5B589890000:#CBCB4B4B1616:#2A2AA1A19898:#6C6C7171C4C4:#858599990000:#EEEEE8E8D5D5:#00002B2B3636:#D3D301010202:#58586E6E7575:#65657B7B8383:#838394949696:#26268B8BD2D2:#9393A1A1A1A1:#FDFDF6F6E3E3
/apps/gnome-terminal/background_color: #00002B2B3636
/apps/gnome-terminal/foreground_color: #65657B7B8383

Edit: Ok, I pulled down the source for gnome-terminal since I couldn't find a way to export/import color schemes. The color palettes are all hard-coded, so that is unfortunate :(.

5 points by stevejalim 2 days ago 2 replies      
I don't mean to sound particularly thick here, but is there a way to apply these colours to my OSX Terminal too? I've installed the bundle for Terminal.app, and they look lovely in emacs, but can I use them in my general bash environment, too?
3 points by aidenn0 3 days ago 1 reply      
It would be nice to have a script that would start with this as a base, but let you tune the contrast. I like the theme, but would like more contrast than this (I use small fonts, and I really feel like more contrast is necessary when doing so).
6 points by kunalb 3 days ago 1 reply      
I found the theme rather comfortable for using in the terminal; however I set TERM=xterm-256color so that vim would also pick up the light colour scheme"there seemed to be some issues with the background colour on gnome-terminal/Ubuntu.


1 point by aperiodic 2 days ago 0 replies      
The 64-bit TerminalColours SIMBL plugin that's linked to in the README doesn't play nicely with binaryage's 64-bit Visor plugin, for some reason. However, Evan Phoenix's fork[1] works perfectly for me.

[1] https://github.com/evanphx/terminalcolours/downloads

2 points by leif 2 days ago 0 replies      
the bold colors are bad, this makes most of my terminal apps annoying as hell (ncmpcpp, byobu, aptitude, htop)

for one thing, at least one of the bold text colors is the same as the background, this makes this text not even show up when it's present

it would be nice if not for this

9 points by mark_story 3 days ago 1 reply      
Fantastic work. If I happen upon some spare time I'll try and port it for TextMate users.
15 points by gmaster1440 3 days ago 0 replies      
Make it for TextMate ;)
2 points by varikin 2 days ago 0 replies      
I made a Solarized dark theme for XCode 4. I used the Vim definition as a guide, though varied it a little while staying within the color palette.


2 points by PonyGumbo 2 days ago 1 reply      
Am I the only coder who doesn't like working with light text on a dark background? I have 20/20 vision, and I find it really uncomfortable to use these.
1 point by antihero 2 days ago 0 replies      
It looks nice, is there a tmTheme file?

Currently I use TwilightMod, which is as the name suggests, a modification of Twilight.

This is what it looks like: http://i.imgur.com/u802t.png

Get it here https://gist.github.com/809720

3 points by gnufs 2 days ago 0 replies      
I would really love to have emacs, gnome-terminal and gedit themes made out of this color scheme.
2 points by JulianMorrison 2 days ago 0 replies      
I really don't get the terminal color assignments. Why are the brfoo colors set to grey?
1 point by Luyt 2 days ago 1 reply      
A bit too much color according to my taste - I like a more subdued color scheme, as seen in http://www.michielovertoom.com/pictures/kwrite-textanalyse.p... All black on lightgray, strings dark gray, and prussian blue comments).
1 point by bricestacey 2 days ago 1 reply      
I cannot seem to get the colors to render properly on Snow Leopard, using Terminal.app, and vim. Anyone else have any trouble but get it to work?

I installed the thing as instructed. I installed SIMBL and the SIMBL plugin, installed Solarized Dark Terminal.app theme, installed vim using pathogen, and set .vimrc with the additional g:solorized_termcolors=16 option.

1 point by swaits 2 days ago 1 reply      
Does this work in the console (vim)? I currently have desert256 working nicely in iTerm (xterm-256color). I'm away from my computer or I'd test it myself. Thanks! Never seen anyone put this much effort into a color scheme! I actually feel like I personally owe it to you to give this a shot.
1 point by jzawodn 3 days ago 1 reply      
Any chance of publishing the Xresources version (or at least hex codes in that file) for the "white" version?
3 points by cycojesus 2 days ago 0 replies      
any volunteer to submit it for emacs24 @ http://elpa.gnu.org/themes/ ?
3 points by flexterra 3 days ago 0 replies      
My favorite vim color scheme is two2tango. Here's a preview http://cl.ly/2Y0v251z0A29203K3d3D
1 point by john2x 1 day ago 0 replies      
I made a simple Pygments version[1] for use on my website. I immediately thought it was perfect for my site, but I'm sticking to molokai for Vim. Thanks!

[1]: https://bitbucket.org/john2x/solarized-pygment

1 point by maayank 2 days ago 1 reply      
Any chance someone can pull an Eclipse Color Theme version? (pretty please :
2 points by iwjames 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very nice! It is indeed amazing how much thought and effort was put into this, and it is appreciated. At some point, I'll have to convert for Visual Studio use if someone doesn't beat me to it.
2 points by lbolla 2 days ago 1 reply      
I tried to install the iTerm2 colorscheme and also the vim colorscheme, but they look nowhere near the screenshots.
Anyone having issues like this?
2 points by retrovirus 2 days ago 0 replies      
Any chance for gedit and gnome terminal versions? Fantastic scheme, would donate my kidney for a gedit port
2 points by rane 2 days ago 0 replies      
I love the effort put into this, but somehow the background is way too light for my taste, in vim the colorscheme is kind of bland.
3 points by streeter 2 days ago 1 reply      
Anybody know of a TextMate port?
2 points by argleblargle 3 days ago 1 reply      
Is anybody willing to explain how to switch between light and dark? I can't seem to understand the scss snippet that he gives. Apparently, you only have to switch 4 colors, It would be nice to know what those colors were.
1 point by freedrull 2 days ago 0 replies      
Does the font on the website look extremely blurry for anyone else...?
1 point by GrandMasterBirt 2 days ago 0 replies      
Request for intellij impl.
1 point by bloom 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's a remarkable work.
Although, on the dark background, the red and the magenta colors are too saturated.
1 point by meemo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wow. Beautiful colors. Beautiful site. Very impressed by how much effort the author has put into this.
0 points by sashthebash 2 days ago 0 replies      
Am I the only person on HN that just happily uses the default color schemes that comes with editors?
Confirmed: Samsung is not shipping keyloggers f-secure.com
446 points by illdave 3 days ago   76 comments top 20
78 points by Construct 3 days ago replies      
This is a good reminder to always do your homework before making such a strong accusation. Samsung's reputation is probably largely undamaged, other than among people who just read the headlines on news aggregator sites. Even searching for 'Samsung Key Logger' pulls up mostly articles about the false alarm situation.

Mohamed Hassan [MSIA, CISSP, CISA and graduate of the Master of Science in Information Assurance (MSIA) program from Norwich University in 2009 as the original article prominently states], on the other hand, is probably not so lucky. Any Google search on his name from now on will probably reveal this whole debacle. Furthermore, I wouldn't be surprised if he just opened himself up to legal action by Samsung.

42 points by nickolai 3 days ago 3 replies      
I'm no expert of Antivirus software, but figuring whether something is a threat by its _folder name_ ??? With all the money going into the industry? That has to be some sort of april fool's prank gone really bad.
22 points by CaptainZapp 3 days ago 1 reply      
I can't help it. But the whole "security software" business really reminds me of the mob.

Nice laptop you have here; would be a shame if something would happen to it!

9 points by cake 3 days ago 0 replies      
If you Google http://www.google.com/search?q=samsung+keylogger+monitor+the...

You'll have thousands of quotes from a so-called "Samsung supervisor" who "said it's used to "monitor the performance of the machine and to find out how it is being used."

What is this bullshit ? From where did the quote come from ?

Amazing how most are just copy-paste.
It just prove that very few online news websites verify their source if the keylogger claim is false.

8 points by todd3834 3 days ago 0 replies      
"The findings are false-positive proof since I have used the tool that discovered it for six years now and I am yet to see it misidentify an item throughout the years."

Mohamed's lesson: Just because you were unable to prove a false-positive with the same program for 6 years doesn't mean there weren't any.

4 points by visakhcr 3 days ago 0 replies      
From the original post which started all this:http://www.networkworld.com/newsletters/sec/2011/032811sec2....

"After an in-depth analysis of the laptop, my conclusion was that this software was installed by the manufacturer, Samsung. I removed the keylogger software, cleaned up the laptop, and continued using the computer."

So, the author, Mohamed Hassan was able to uninstall a software which was never installed? I think he would have deleted the folder in question and called that un-installing!!

1 point by spacemanaki 2 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, what a waste of everyone's time:

> [UPDATE 3/31/11: Mich Kabay writes: A Samsung executive personally flew from Newark, N.J., to Burlington, Vt., carrying two unopened boxes containing new R540 laptop computers. These units were immediately put under seal and details recorded for chain-of-custody records. At 17:40, Dr Peter Stephenson, Director of the Norwich University Center for Advanced Computing and Digital Forensics, began the detailed forensic analysis of the disks. We expect results by Monday.]


2 points by ryan-allen 3 days ago 1 reply      
This has got to get to 400+ points. For those who took the day off and will continue to believe the sensationalism before it pops off the front page? To be damned!

EDIT: I mean, this is the only tech news site I read. I don't know if I'm in the same boat so to speak.

3 points by pkteison 3 days ago 0 replies      
The laptop story yesterday led me to learn about CarrierIQ on my cell phone, which was equally disturbing. Maybe the laptop was a false alarm, but my Samsung cell phone did indeed have a keylogger on it. So I'm not inclined to cut them a lot of slack right now.
2 points by unreal37 3 days ago 0 replies      
"A lie can travel halfway round the world while the truth is putting on its shoes." -- often attributed to Mark Twain

The original article was so poorly fact checked. It really reflects poorly on Mohamed Hassan (and all his fancy yet meaningless credentials) and M. E. Kabay (who apparently worships Mr Hassan unquestioningly). I will not hold my breath out for a public apology from either of those two, although they are the ones who owe Samsung one.

And the irony is in fact delicious. A security expert finds a virus using an anti-virus scanner tool, and confirms it with some call center employee with the company. What does being a "security expert" have to do with any of that? My 10 year old nephew could have done that!

1 point by 16s 3 days ago 0 replies      
False positives are the bane of IT security products in general. I would say that 90% of issues reported are FPs and the end user is expected to figure that out, confirm then double confirm before reporting it as a potential issue.
2 points by crististm 3 days ago 1 reply      
Great news... but what's with the SL folder? The report does not say what SL folder contains on a new laptop.
Anyway, pretty dumb to check for viruses by folder name.
2 points by nate23342 3 days ago 0 replies      
Customer service Reps would NEVER have the authority to tell you that there is secret Key Logger on your computer. So if a customer Rep is telling you something like that, he is either trying to get fired or there is a miscommunication.
3 points by zachahack 3 days ago 0 replies      
Certs after your name are no substitute for common sense and good practices.
2 points by elessar0x3 3 days ago 0 replies      
I like this whole debacle. I think it ended well. HN, and the power of news aggregating/forum/linking sites wield a decent amount of media power. I like that - because it's one of the instances where the collective mind has greater intelligence than any one individual. It confirms the notion that tech producers need to pay attention to the tech community and shortens the distance between the two, which I think is a good thing.
1 point by falcolas 3 days ago 1 reply      
Perhaps I read it wrong, but the article never says Samsung didn't ship a keylogger, it just indicates that the AV software can make false positives based on a folder.

Can we get a link to an article that actually checks a Samsung laptop (and lists their methodology, not this "Duh, there were not any keyloggers") instead of anecdotal evidence and attacking the previous reseaerchers methods?

Even if the previous guy was wrong, at least he listed all his methods for review.

1 point by Trufa 3 days ago 0 replies      
Though it is easy to say now, looking back, Mr. Hassan's investigation was far less in depth that it should have been for such a serious accusation.
-1 point by perspective 3 days ago 0 replies      
I sure hope someone got fired for that one snicker
-1 point by originalgeek 3 days ago 0 replies      
"It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one's mouth and remove all doubt." --Abraham Lincoln
-4 points by tiki-tiki 3 days ago 2 replies      
Well, I'm not longer buying Samsung anyway. That's for sure.
Hiring Developers: You're Doing It Wrong pen.io
387 points by Udo 5 days ago   216 comments top 52
52 points by sp_ 5 days ago 9 replies      
I worked for a German startup too and our main problem was not vetting interviewees but finding people who want to interview at all. In the five year history of the company I think only one single person was hired who was not already friends with someone at the company.

Other people just never applied. I remember manning the booth at one of those college campus events and it was very lonely. I probably talked to three students that day. Nobody followed up with us. I even had the distinct feeling that students avoided eye-contact with us and made beelines for the booths of the big established companies.

In the end, our hiring interview process for interns was 'do you want to work for us? yes? you're in' and for full-time applicants it was simply non-existent. I think in the last three years we did not interview a single person.

I often wondered why that is but I have never found a good answer. In the end it worked out for us. The company was acquired by Google.

Still, I would have liked to have some applicants and interviews once in a while because I keep reading so much about them and I wanted to practice being an interviewer to avoid pitfalls as described in the article.

32 points by tt 4 days ago 0 replies      
In my previous "day" job, I probably interviewed more than 100 candidates and hired about 15-20. Here's what worked for me:

1. Phone screen (~45-60 mins). I'd spent ~15 mins going over what the company does, what the work environment is like, the team structure, the personalities, the technologies, etc... I'd try to "sell" our opportunity to jazz up the candidate and get them at least curious and hopefully very interested. I'd weave in a little of why-are-you-changing-job, what-was-your-experience-like, or what-would-you-prefer, and then ultimately we spent the majority of time on a recent project that he/she can talk about in depth. I pushed on a few related technical aspects to those projects to see if the candidate could clearly explain himself/herself technically.

2. First round (1.5-2 hrs). If I liked the candidate's potential after the phone screen, I'd invite him/her to our office to meet me and another engineer. We'd go into more depth about their recent project(s), and then go through a design/code exercise for a web application (the company builds web apps). The exercise was very open-ended (there's really no one correct way to do it). The design/coding choice depended on many factors, and we helped steer the conversations so the candidate could talk about those factors and what he/she would do to handle each of them (including when not to handle certain situations).

Along the way, we also probed into how he/she would work with other team members, how/whether to "challenge" another colleague, what/if any development process he/she would follow.

There was no trickery, no reversing a string, no linked lists. But I might ask how one would deal with concurrency conditions (two users trying to claim a single resource), how to scale with traffic, etc...

The candidate was encouraged to ask questions throughout the interview. It was a two-way street after all.

3. Second round (another 1.5-2 hrs). If first round went well, I'd invite the candidate back to meet a few other employees (e.g., another engineer, a Product Manager, a designer for example). I asked these other employees to ask anything they'd like, but at the end be able to tell me if this candidate would a) be smart, b) get things done, and c) have right cultural fit. If anyone had strong objection from this round, it almost always resulted in no-hire.

Equally important to hiring well is to let employees go quickly if they don't fit. That's a separate subject worth its own post.

20 points by btmorex 5 days ago 2 replies      
Seems to me you just shouldn't ask typical "CS problems". The problem with those is that a positive result doesn't necessarily mean that the candidate knows anything. It could be that they've just interviewed so many times that they know a few common answers to memorize.

I still think asking coding questions is extremely important. Programming is one job where you can actually test skill in the interview (unlike management for example, where you mostly have to rely on personality, work history, and references). I don't know why you woulnd't take advantage of that opportunity.

As for culture fit, obviously you need to do that too, but that's somewhat orthogonal to what else you ask about in the interview.

34 points by jasonwatkinspdx 5 days ago 3 replies      
The only hiring process I have found to work for developers is to sit down and work on real code together.

This gets to the heart of the matter, and you very quickly feel out someone's knowledge, ability, and most importantly, how well they collaborate on a problem. Because in a startup you will need collaboration, and likely under the highest stress moments you've seen in your life.

I also feel like this gives applicants a much better opportunity to learn about their possible future company and coworkers, and whether they themselves would like the fit. If you have not done this sort of interview, even if you have never pair programmed, try it out. It's very effective.

What I'm still trying to learn, is what screening process to use ahead of this. Sadly, you can't invite everyone for an on site day long interview. The best I've come to is to look at what applicants have made on their own time or alternately how they talk over the phone about topics and problems they're excited about. Resumes are nearly useless.

32 points by bugsy 4 days ago 3 replies      
The spare time issue is an interesting one. One one side we have companies saying that they look for programmers who are working on projects after they get off work and on weekends. On the other side we have companies having employees sign a contract claiming that everything they do 24/7 belongs to the company. Often both sides are the same company.

It's not an issue for me only because I work for my own firm, something I had to do to get out of such bizarre situations. But it's an issue for many programmers who are told that working on their own projects is stealing time and mental energy from the company. I can certainly sympathize with the talented developer who, told that the company owns all his private projects done in his own time on his own equipment, simply chooses to leave at 5 and spend time with his family rather than have passionate private work seized and shelved by a firm who had nothing to do with its creation. It's really the rational choice if you think about it and something very valuable in a developer is rational thinking.

44 points by michaelchisari 5 days ago 5 replies      
Despite having written tens of thousands of lines of open source code, I have yet to have an interviewer who has looked at that code and asked me about it.
28 points by jacques_chester 5 days ago 2 replies      
My previous employer (http://thefrontiergroup.com.au) had a process where candidates would come and spend a day onsite. You'd be paid for the day.

The process was to work together with a senior coder on problems of escalating difficulty. Starting with

    1.upto 10 do |i| { print i }

"What does this do?"

And ending with "Here's a legacy application we maintain. Add a new widget to the dashboard. Think aloud."

During the day you had lunch with the team.

Even so, that process didn't work perfectly for them. They hired me and about 6 months later they decided to fire me.

Subsequently they've focused on hiring people they already knew. For example, they've hired Darcy Laycock (http://sutto.net/), who they've known through the Rails community for years.

... and in all fairness I'd sack about 5 of me to get a Darcy on board.

14 points by staunch 5 days ago replies      
My current system is:

1) Simple programming challenge (< 30 minutes) by email. To see if they can actually write good code. Resume/age/experience/location mostly disregarded.

2) Casual discussion-style interview to get to know how they think and behave.

3) Short term contract with a predefined project (< 3 months) to see how they work over time.

4) Full time hire with salary + equity.

10 points by dminor 4 days ago 1 reply      
I once decided to skip the standard programming problem during the interview process, and I ended up regretting it extremely. The person we hired was nice, and a good "culture" fit, but couldn't code for beans. We had to let them go and I felt pretty bad about it.

Programming questions certainly aren't the be all and end all, but as a filter they are useful.

7 points by petenixey 4 days ago 1 reply      
I once learned a shocking lesson about the influence of my preconceptions when I accidentally took a developer through three rounds of interviews because he previously worked for Pivotal Labs and had a German (aka technical) accent.

It wasn't until the third interview that I asked him to write an algorithm to sort an array and when he couldn't I suggested instead writing an algorithm to see whether the array was already sorted. When he couldn't do that either he told me I was asking the wrong questions and not letting him show off the code he was good at.

To this day I have wondered and never discovered what type of code doesn't involve arrays, loops and comparisons however I do now ask candidates to write code right at the start of the interview loop. I simply never anticipated how many non-programmers would apply for programming positions.

19 points by emehrkay 5 days ago 3 replies      
While at my last job I was tasked with being apart of the interview process. My favorite question was "how do you keep up with web technology and trends? (web development)" and I was surprised at how many people had no answer for that simple question.

My response to my manager was "this dude wont work"

7 points by ianbishop 5 days ago 0 replies      
I never really understood why companies don't just take a non-trivial real problem that they have run into during development. Just ask the candidate to talk it out, see if they are able to at least get on their feet toward a solution or an idea of possible solutions.

I've never hired anyone, but I can tell you that I could write a linked list in a handful of languages. I can also tell you that it doesn't say much about what I know (or perhaps more importantly, don't). Problem solving is what is important, more important than ability to write code on a whiteboard.

12 points by cpt1138 5 days ago 0 replies      
Speaking from personal experience, a bad job can leave your "passion" somewhat lacking. I think if you asked anyone I work with today, they would definitely describe me as passionate. There are indicators that I am doing well there. I can't agree more with this article. I absolutely hate doing tech interviews. I can not code under pressure. Even in the most high pressure situations with an outage or huge customer issue, I always take a step back, think, and try to see what else might be affected before doing anything.

I hate tech interviews so much, that I never do them. I mostly do unconsciously what this article lays out. I would say personally I've experienced better than average hires if I happen to be positive on the person, doing what this article suggests in an interview. I have missed good people (was overridden) and have failed tons of tech interviews where I thought I would be an excellent fit on the other qualifications.

You'll have to ask my co-workers if I'm good, but they tell me I am.

5 points by okaramian 4 days ago 0 replies      
Definitely agree with this post. I've been interviewing for the last couple months and one of the better/more fair interviews I've had involved a nice back and forth (mostly the types of questions posed in the article, including a lot of stuff about my outside projects).

Then they brought me in for a tech interview where they plunked me down in front of a computer to architect a small application for a type of problem I might encounter on the job. I thought it was fair and it probably gave them reasonable insight into how I code/think/present my solutions.

I've had a lot of "write a linked list" style and they're draining. The quality of the applicant being pulled in to do CS trivia is going to be all over the place since that type of an interview can be gamed fairly easy if someone has a desire to do so.

4 points by MichaelGG 5 days ago 1 reply      
Writing code is just another type of conversation. Sure, you're going to ask many questions. Having a candidate code a bit in front of you, going back and forth, provides a lot of info.

As far as "CS puzzles" - binary search, trees, linked lists, hashtables, etc: None of those should be puzzles. If you're giving interviews that people can "memorize" an answer to, then the problem is how you're doing the interview. A proper conversation, including code, will quickly sort out if the person just memorized a one-line Haskell quicksort, or actually knows what they're talking about.

9 points by eaxitect 4 days ago 0 replies      
Here's my 2c's on this as a 12 yrs Software Eng and a startup founder:

1) Software development is a TEAM work, so asking one questions like "how did you design this or that" is just pointless. We did design that on that specific period of time...Our motivation was ...
2) Good Developers Copy, Great Developers Steal (altered from P.Picasso), so we all use Google, HN, GitHub, wikipedia and alike to innovate our solution, so if you ask me B-Tree algos, I'm sorry, but I've to look at wikipedia...
3) Hiring process is just a scumbag for both parties, you impose big, the other party imposes big. So what? You're not Google, and he's not Kevin Mitnick...
4) I think, companies should try to get the personality, not the KLOCs of applicants. If you gonna ask programming puzzles, please be authentic and ask something related to you. Not just copy a Googlr interview question because you liked it.

7 points by joshsegall 5 days ago 0 replies      
It seems fairly obvious that a pure tech interview doesn't screen for cultural fit, and that you need to have some form of behavioral/cultural assessment as part of the interview process.

Depending on how much time you have to interview (and I suggest you take the time if you're going to hire someone!) the "standard" dev interview can do pretty well at weeding out candidates who clearly lack basic skills. Joel Spolsky is a proponent of this and I agree.

I've found that passion is a great indicator of future success, and you can usually get a good quick read on whether they are serious about software development by asking people about their favorite projects, what they spend their time working on, and what interesting things they see happening in the field.

5 points by joakin 4 days ago 0 replies      
Bit offtopic but that CSS made reading the article a complete pleasure. With the mixture of nice readability and interesting content this post turns out as a really good essay.
2 points by Jeema3000 4 days ago 0 replies      
Knowing all about data structures and other computer science implementation-related stuff means exactly nothing if a person can't think creatively enough about how to approach a real-world problem to begin with. Those data structure CS questions are down in the weeds and you haven't even figured out if the person can get down to the weeds if you're asking those sort of questions in a first-round interview.

I mean think about it: do you approach programming tasks top-down or bottom-up, usually?

Critical thinking is the most important skill IMO, and it can only be tested by giving someone open-ended questions on how they would approach real-world assignments, preferably in a low-pressure take-home test kind of thing - again IMO...

2 points by larsberg 4 days ago 0 replies      
"we ended up hiring the candidate with the smoothest answers"

I mentioned this in another thread, but the point of coding questions is to see how they think about code, whether they understand how to walk through it (have a machine model), if they can pick out and evaluate edge cases, and how they can work with hints from you on how to improve their answer. Hiring based on ability to answer a particular problem is probably only a slightly better indicator of ultimate job success than height.

4 points by Osiris 4 days ago 1 reply      
It seems that one simple thing you could ask is for usernames or profiles on sites like StackOverflow or other programming related websites to see what kinds of contributions or questions they've been asking.
3 points by mncolinlee 4 days ago 0 replies      
I was very impressed when an employer used an open notes, take home exam in the second interview. Initially, they had tried a written, proctored exam during the first interview.

Although I was the only candidate among many who did not claim any experience in the actual technologies listed in the position, I was also the only candidate who turned in the take home exam. I also completed my working code in 8 hrs rather than the week time limit. The others all quit the exam at various stages because they did not possess the tenacity to hunt down technical knowledge online required to implement the proof of concept software. At the third interview, they asked me how I came to my solution and why I chose certain methods in order to validate that I completed the work myself.

This seemed like an great alternative to other exam experiences I'd had. At another interview, a non-technical company officer asked me a technical question and then couldn't explain it. The question was so opaque that it took thirty minutes of probing and badgering him to even understand the question. By this point, I was ready to write them off and leave. They lost their largest customer the next week and I would've been laid off if I'd joined them.

1 point by usaar333 4 days ago 2 replies      
I have to disagree about the uselessness of a technical interview. I'm 100% with RethinkDB that any competent programmer should be able to figure out how to reverse a singly-linked list in some reasonable time. (http://www.rethinkdb.com/blog/2010/06/will-the-real-programm...).

" Some were shooting their pre-canned answers at me with unreasonable speed."

This should not be possible for all questions in a technical interview. Especially if you are a startup, you can use your own original problems, especially ones you've actually had to solve. Aim for actual coding questions though rather than too puzzling ones that are often just memorized (implement quicksort, detect cycle in linked list in O(1) space, the random puzzles companies love to ask).

Of the people I've worked with, there is a high correlation to job performance to performance in a tech interview. (which for new grads is strongly correlated to their college CS grades).

Of course, passion is also a decent indicator, but it is highly correlated with raw competance. That said, I wouldn't hire anyone lacking either.

Disclaimer: I'm coming from the background of a systems company. For those making CRUD apps, tough coding questions might be less relevant.

1 point by ScottBurson 4 days ago 0 replies      
>But how did the candidates we selected measure up? The truth is, we got very mixed results. Many of them were average, very few were excellent, and some were absolutely awful fits for their positions. So at best, the interview had no actual effect on the quality of people we were selecting, and I'm afraid that at worst, we may have skewed the scale in favor of the bad ones.

This doesn't follow at all! Consider, as is surely the case, that only a small fraction of the applicants would have turned out to be average to excellent. The interview process can filter out the vast majority of the sub-average applicants and still leave you with a significant fraction of sub-average employees.

2 points by dspeyer 4 days ago 1 reply      
The problem with "tell me about your projects" is that it doesn't distinguish good programmers from bad. It isn't even gaming. A programmer who makes a negative net contribution to a large project may sincerely feel he is responsible for its success. All you can pick up on is their perception.

At least when you ask them to write code, you can tell if they got it right or wrong.

5 points by joshu 5 days ago 0 replies      
A very candid self-analysis. Thank you.
2 points by motters 4 days ago 1 reply      
In the last year I've been on interviews like this, where I've been presented with sorting problems or quirky pointer arithmetic conundrums. However, these bear no relation at all to the kinds of practical software problems which I've had to tackle in business or industrial contexts in the previous decade or more.
3 points by civilian 4 days ago 0 replies      
s/'Me and my cofounder'/'My cofounder and I'

But it was a really good article besides that! Sorry for being a grammar german.

4 points by amurmann 5 days ago 2 replies      
Why not just pair with the interviewee for half a day or a day? You will learn how they think and work and if you like them. It's a riddle to me. I've never heard from anyone actually trying it and not being happy with the insight won.
1 point by am_a_droid 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hello Mr. Schroeter,

I have enjoyed your post on DZone (http://www.dzone.com/links/r/hiring_developers_youre_doing_i...) and have decided to let you know about it. This topic of 'interviewing the right candidate' has always intrigued me. I have always wondered if the superstars amongst the technology-driven companies have devised a surefire method to pick the right candidate from thousands! In my experience, the decision to go for a candidate or not, is very subjective as you have mentioned. At a certain point in time during the interview, one listens to a inner voice and decides between 'Yeah!' or 'Nah!' and not always that decision is based on pure facts: precise answers to precise questions. But, to know the personality of a programmer - through some questions and possible answers in an hour's conversation - is a difficult task. You have not mentioned if you had cracked it finally in your star-up or your later efforts/engagements. I will be keen to know.

I am based in India currently. Here, because of the business success of the IT Service companies, most of the companies try to follow their business model. However, about 95% of the work that these companies take up are low-tech, mostly repetitive and disincentivize breakthrough technical work. Their need for good programmers is not much; they are content to see that the client is that much happy to keep the projects continuing: that is the main objective. Moreover, you seem to say that 'scaling' is not an insurmountable problem. It probably is, if you see that the Indian IT service companies cite hiring figures in tens of thousands in an year. So, the interview process that these companies stick to, aims to find out how much is the probability that the candidate is going to prove himself a misfit. Subjective, as usual; for a good measure, the companies take in people in huge numbers simply hoping that the probability of a 'good fit' increases. For a bit more experienced people, it is almost always aimed to find out if the candidate can 'manage' a team, and certainly not whether the candidate understands the world of programming at all.

I work as a freelancer and in India, that doesn't help me. I claim to know and understand what it takes to 'design' and 'develop' a good piece of software. More than that, I carry a certain amount of intensity about the whole act of programming and usefulness of well-written programs, even at this advanced age. However, that doesn't interest most of the potential employers because a good programmer - who knows some but is eager to work in a team where people know more than he does - is not valued as much. Importantly, it requires a keen pair of eyes to spot these qualities and that is largely missing.

Recently, situation here has made me so despondent that I have begun to look for opportunities outside India, Europe in particular (I have stayed and worked there before, hence the bias). I am hoping that there will be some people out there who will take some interest in not only what I know and have done, but how fast I can know more and can do if I join them. I am looking for those keen pair of eyes. Agreed that there are those issues of geographical distance and visa papers etc., but if someone finds me suitable, s/he may want to go that extra mile.

If you have read till this point, thanks for your patience. I read your post at a moment when I was in despair and wanted to demonstrate that your post chimed with me.

Warm regards

-- Nirmalya (sengupta.nirmalya@gmail.com)

Software Technologist

1 point by timedoctor 1 day ago 0 replies      
I think interviewing altogether is an ineffective way of evaluating people. And the whole process of interviewing and hiring staff members is an outdated, slow bureaucratic way of doing things.

Instead why not work with several people on small projects, ask 5 people to do 2-4 weeks of paid contract work for you and then select the person who was the best fit for longer term work. This tests the real world skills of a person much more effectively than an interview.

2 points by chopsueyar 5 days ago 2 replies      
When I hire a developer, I ask him about the scene in 'The Social Network' with the Winklevoss twins, and ask if he knew Armie Hammer's face was CG'ed to another actors body.

Depending on his answer, I know right there whether to end the phone interview, or fly him to the Valley so I can see him write code on a whiteboard.

2 points by damovisa 4 days ago 1 reply      
My last interview process was intense:

1. A write-a-document test. I was given a fairly simple (contrived) scenario over the phone and was asked to write specs and a deployment plan with a deadline of an hour.

2. A programming test. Again, a description given over the phone and someone available to answer questions if I had them. After delivery, there was a followup programming task to extend it from a client app to a web app. It took about 8 hours in total.

Provided you're willing to put in the time (and I was), it seemed to be an excellent way of judging whether I could really do the work they needed me to.

2 points by ses 4 days ago 0 replies      
I couldn't agree more with the sentiments of this post. Apart from anything else 'software developers' vary massively in their core strengths and job positions require different strengths in the candidates. Skill in developing algorithms and solving puzzles on the fly is just one of those strengths. There are so many more in terms of software engineering practices, knowledge of programming patterns, awareness of different programming paradigms, ability to solve higher level problems / combine technologies effectively to solve a business problem rather than a low level programming problem etc.
5 points by KeyBoardG 5 days ago 0 replies      
Totally agreed. As a team lead I've hired my best talent with interviews like this.
1 point by rdorfner 3 days ago 0 replies      
Well stated and pretty much spot on, with one exception...

The notion about "Programmers who are good program all the time, even in their spare time."

It has been my personal observation that this period of "Programming is the only thing worth doing with your life" (And yes, I know I am paraphrasing this in an unkind interpretation of what you said, I'm not doing it to be mean though, I'm doing it to illustrate a point) is true, for the first 5 to 7 or 8 years of a programmer's career. The reason seems to be that the deep fascination with what makes programming interesting as a career, continues to hold them even in the evening hours when they are at home. When not actually programming, they talk about programming, or programming problems or some aspect of computers and computing technology, when they can find friends to talk about it with, that is.

However, the basic drive behind this seems to be finding out as much as you can possibly find out about your chosen field or niche within the field. After that time period, though, something interesting happens. The MYSTERY of it all, starts to fade. You begin to see patterns in how things work, and similarities in how things are done, or are implemented, or can be implemented. Other interests start to take hold and after a while, family life starts to become important as well. At least, for a well balanced human, it does.

And that, I think, becomes my major point. The kinds of programmers who live eat breathe and drink programming, non stop, past this time period, are RARE, and usually are not well socially adjusted.

This is something that I think is not accounted for when interviewing more experienced software engineers. When looking at the scads of job openings for folks with 3 to 5 years of experience, your methodology and assumptions should work well, however, when you are looking for that really senior guy or gal who has been doing this for over 20 years, then the methodology, in my opinion, will not yield to you the best results. ie. teasing out the best candidate from the stack.

As an aside, I once told this to a young friend of mine who I met in college. I had already been programming for nearly ten years when I returned to school to get my bachelors in CompSci. I was always fascinated with just HOW MUCH he would go on and gush about computers, tech, sun workstations, sgi's, their hardware, their software, how to program them, linux and unix tricks etc etc.. One day I smiled and said to him. "I'll give you 5 to 7 years, and this utter all consuming fascination with computers will tone down to seeing them as nothing more than tools." He denied it, vehemently, he would NEVER have computers be something so mundane! It was, about 7 years later that I got an email from him where he told me "You were right." He's a googler now, and was one of the lucky ones who was in early, pre ipo and can now retire if he wants to. I myself tried getting into google, but made some mistakes in the interview process, trying to be 'clever'. It backfired, but that's okay. And not once did they ever ask me anything about what it is I do, or what I do best, or what I was interviewing for, board bring up, device drivers and kernel porting. Things which I'm very good at and have done for over 25 years.

Anyways, just my .02, your mileage may vary!

Richard Dorfner

2 points by JerryH 4 days ago 0 replies      
Couldn't agree more.

The focus that the short sighted interviewers and companies have on how fast your can solve some pointless algorithm that a CS has figured out 30 years ago, vs how you get on with the team I find mind boggling.


2 points by meatpeople 4 days ago 0 replies      
Having only recently read Peopleware 2nd Ed., I've been mulling over the audition concept in the "Hiring A Juggler" chapter - effectively having a developer present on a project they worked on, what they contributed and learned and so forth.

It seems like it would have value - allow the candidate to prepare and present on a topic they're strong on, and in-depth enough to allow cross-examination.

Has anyone any experience of this from either side?

3 points by reubenyeah 4 days ago 0 replies      
I always find the emphasis put on algorithms 99.9% of developers will probably never have to implement after the interview totally astonishing.
3 points by vladhorby 4 days ago 1 reply      
I get a really good insight in the candidate's programming skills by pair-programming a simple problem with them.
For TDD, I write a test and ask him / her to write the code to make it pass (then repeat, refactor).
That way, I can see how fluent they are in the programming language, at the same time evaluate their problem solving skills and see how they work in a team.
3 points by ez77 4 days ago 1 reply      
Their smart quotes are ”wrong“.
1 point by utahmadmike 2 days ago 1 reply      
Great article! For 15 years I have conducted interviews and been the victim of the interview process. Your article sounds familiar; I have been telling my wife the same thing (out of frustration) for years. On several occasions I have made it through 3 or 4 levels of the interview process and then blocked in the final interview-step by an insecure or egotistical technical person.

I would add the following (problem) points as well.

* Some technical people like to hire clones of themselves, creating conflict and diversity issues.

* Some technical people, conducting the interview, use the interview process to posture and show how smart they (the interviewer) are.

* According to the BLS, the demand for programmers is decreasing while demand for analysts is increasing. Programming has changed a lot with tools like intellisense and included libraries.

* If you can't answer the question, "why did you ask that question?", you should not ask the question. Each interview question should have a specific targeted purpose.

I hope my additions help.

2 points by cdegroot 4 days ago 0 replies      
Fwiw, my current screening is: first resume screening, then I send candidates a simple programming exercise that sort of is in our domain. I can assess the delivered work in around five to ten minutes, so it scales well. Then a further skills/team fit check through interviews, and for those who survive that, the expensive bit: pairing with developers on actual production code.

Especially the exercise works as a good screen. We get quite a number of "deafening silence" responses, which says something about the candidate's motivation. We also get responses where people try to show off alternative language skills but deliver something totally non-idiomatic. And we get good submissions, showing some patterns knowledge, unit testing, at cetera. These typically end up being hired.

1 point by AlekseyB 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hi there! Good article, I've seen similar situation in several companies too.

Few words about one startup-like company(based in Kiev, Ukraine) I have been working for 1 year as developer. It was focusing on .NET Enterprise apps.
Their interview approach:
- 1st day: tech-interview via phone(0.5-1hr);
- 2nd day: (companies office) simple technical tests(choose-right-answer on paper), short technical interview(technology basics, fizz-buzz tasks, sql-tasks, usually join/group-by, having-based), coding-task on laptop(the most significant and essential(for evaluating developer) part of whole interviewing process write application for calculating bowling scores, Console app or GUI application - no matter, for candidates choice, time-bounds - for candidates choice; rules were provided and explained to each candidate + full access to internet resources + possibility to ask interviewer == real working environment);
- 3rd day: final technical interview(patterns, OOP, code-design, etc.), general interview with CEO;

When I came to it, there were 3 devs(including me). The next(after me) developer were hired after ~60 interviewed fellows.
Yeah, the total interview time is tend to be long and hard, as for candidate such as for company, BUT in such way were established the best TEAM I had honor to work in.

Thanks for attention:)

1 point by sl_a_sh 3 days ago 0 replies      
I just had a thought: How about having a phone round first, and ask all applicants to provide a sample of their coding skills, like suggested in the article. Then, in the second round you leave each applicant for a couple of minutes to analyze the code from someone else and find out what it does and what's so special about it.

That way your work of looking into the code samples will be minimized. Even better, you'll get an idea of how well a coworker with a similar skillset can cope with that code. You can also judge how well people are at dealing with code from their coworkers and don't have to come up with examples yourself.

It does sound pretty good, no?

2 points by tripa 4 days ago 1 reply      
What does 'I only went "full Trump" once on an employee.' mean?
2 points by grahammather 5 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you for posting this! This really resonated with me.
1 point by androck1 4 days ago 0 replies      
Not sure I agree with the alternative, but besides that, I think the nail was hit directly on the head.
2 points by jyap 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is a great read. Exactly how I have approached hiring developers.
1 point by carphill 3 days ago 0 replies      
Very lucid and reasoned argument that you make. I intend to blog about it, and my forthcoming experience of using it on my blog at: carphill.blogspot.com
-4 points by haploid 5 days ago 1 reply      
Too bad this site's domain name wasn't issued by the Iceland TLD registry.
3 points by tomjen3 4 days ago 0 replies      

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AIDS vaccine in final testing lanl.gov
372 points by swombat 4 days ago   74 comments top 22
182 points by scott_s 4 days ago 3 replies      
Title is misleading. To me, the headline "AIDS vaccine in final testing" implies that they are undergoing their final testing to verify that it does indeed prevent people from contracting HIV. That is not what it means. Rather, it means that they are in the final rounds to verify that the vaccine is safe, before they start human trials.

A more accurate title, to my ears, would be "HIV vaccine almost ready for human trials."

45 points by bmelton 4 days ago 6 replies      
A friend of mine was in pretty bad straits with the AIDS virus, full blown, and got into early clinical trials in a potential AIDS cure (don't know if it's this or not).

When we last spoke, his white blood cell count was up, and there was literally no trace of the virus in his blood stream; which is to say that while the virus may not have been 100% eradicated, any presence was literally undetectable.

That was over a year and a half ago, and I recently heard that he's still A-Okay, but I've heard surprisingly little about successful trials in the news.

18 points by eli 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is a very misleading headline.

Many potential vaccines have gone through Phase 1 human trials in the past decade. Phase 1 is hardly the "final" test. It's mainly to establish safety, it doesn't even prove the drug works. AIDSVAX made it all the way to Phase 3 trials, but unfortunately it was not found to be effective.

I've got my fingers crossed, but this is not a particularly newsworthy event.

4 points by jessedhillon 4 days ago 3 replies      
If this ever materializes as a widely available, easily administered vaccine, can you imagine the uproar from so-called religious folks in the US? A vaccine which safely prevents one from contracting an STD that is a killer of millions.

These people are going to lose their shit as they race to the nearest camera to denounce science for supporting "immoral" sexual activity (read: anything but abstinence) or worse, homosexuality (because HIV can really only be gotten from gays).

It was already pretty bad when the vaccine came out for HPV. In this case it's not hard for me to imagine Republicans blocking any aid to India or African countries (where the incidence of AIDS is highest) that comes in the form of an HIV vaccine, insisting instead that the money be spent on ineffectual abstinence efforts.

Maybe I'm being unnecessarily cynical.

6 points by mirkules 4 days ago 2 replies      
I always wonder how they actually test if a vaccine against lethal diseases is successful in humans. I can't imagine there are volunteers who sign up to be injected with a vaccine and then get injected with a live HIV virus, just to see if the vaccine works. Or do they just inoculate volunteers from the highest "at-risk" population -- but then, how do they measure if people have been exposed eventually to the virus or not?
5 points by swombat 4 days ago 0 replies      
Another source (perhaps even better, but it's the Daily Mail, urgh): http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1371540/Mosaic-HIV...
2 points by losvedir 4 days ago 0 replies      
While this is a promising first start, it looks like it's a long way from being a working, FDA approved therapy.

This sounds like it's entering Phase 1 testing. Phase 1 testing is where the drug is tested on healthy volunteers to monitor its effects on humans and whether it's safe and could potentially work. Next it moves on to Phase 2, where the drug's efficacy is tested in addition to safety, in a small number of patients. If a drug succeeds there, it will then move into Phase 3 trials with, usually, hundreds or even thousands of patients. FDA approval generally requires two such Phase 3 trials to succeed. The whole process can take ten years and drugs can and do frequently fail along the way. I wish I had the statistic on hand, but I'd estimate less than 20% of drugs entering Phase 1 trials make it all the way.

6 points by guscost 4 days ago 0 replies      
AIDS is not a virus, it's a set of conditions. HIV is what you'd vaccinate against.


1 point by Roritharr 4 days ago 0 replies      
When i was 8 or 9 years old me and my best friend always fought about who would cure aids and who would cure cancer when we were grown up. Now i'm 23 years old, and went into CS instead of medicine although i had the possibility and had nearly as much interst in the field as in CS.

Nice to know someone was already hard at work while we were joking around.

1 point by dotBen 4 days ago 2 replies      
I'm curious a to why this vaccine has been worked in at Los Alamos which is a national security orientated government laboratory. (US government, of course)

On the one hand it makes sense - AIDS/HIV is a national security issue in many ways - I just wonder what that means for everyone outside of the US. If the US government owns the vaccine, are they going to share it openly and without prejudice to any other countries that want it? Even Iran?

But it also makes you wonder, then, whether there is merit in donating to AIDS/HIV research charities if any significant break-throughs are going to be snapped up by the government as matters for national security.

2 points by chubs 4 days ago 0 replies      
This is pretty amazing news if true.
Imagine the flow-on social effects of aids being reduced (or even eradicated!) in africa. Less orphans brings less poverty brings higher education, less violence, it really is going to be a big deal when someone finally makes an aids cure
1 point by j_baker 4 days ago 0 replies      
If you don't want to wait for this HIV vaccine, there are others you can volunteer to test if you live in the Bay Area: http://www.helpfighthiv.org/vaccinetrials.htm
1 point by gohat 3 days ago 0 replies      
This has almost no value. This basically says that a proposed vaccine has shown some signs of efficacy in animal models and has not even been tested yet in humans as to whether or not it is safe.

In the field of AIDS, vaccine development has been tragically hard.

1 point by antihero 3 days ago 0 replies      
Wouldn't you have to have balls of steel to do human testing for this? If it doesn't work, don't you essentially contract HIV?
1 point by yason 3 days ago 0 replies      
As long as people won't let go of their urge to inflict their guilt into various lethal diseases we'll always have enough of them; double so for sexually transmitted diseases.
1 point by magicmorg 2 days ago 0 replies      
Scott_s is right it isnt even in phase one yet and may not make past phase two
plus how cross reactive will it be to newer mutations in HIV will it just create a selective pressure to more virulent viruses

but check out a cool vaccine type here
it doesn't use any needles

0 points by GrandMasterBirt 4 days ago 0 replies      
So honestly while I am super excited about the possibility of AIDS being a fear of the past, heres my criticism:

I read sometime ago that the conundrum with AIDS is that the better the immune system response, the faster it spreads. Because the response basically brings it's food to it faster. So vaccines seemed to actually do more harm.

I'm very curious on this, and would hope to see more on this particular story, and with more details than a "almost ready for human trial yay!"

1 point by ck2 3 days ago 0 replies      
So is it going to be $8 or $80?

Probably $8 outside the USA and $80 inside ?

1 point by andresmh 4 days ago 0 replies      
I worked at Los Alamos as an undergrad. I didn't know they did bio research. Go LANL!
1 point by takameyer 3 days ago 0 replies      
While I'm happy to hear this promising news, this article could really use more beef. Anyone have some good references or additional information on this topic?
1 point by bnegreve 3 days ago 0 replies      
Assuming that this vaccine "works", can it be of any use to people that already contracted AIDS ?
-1 point by berito 3 days ago 0 replies      
I am going to go get some with the filthiest tonight!
Ask HN: How to stave off decline of HN?
350 points by pg 8 hours ago   555 comments top 208
59 points by mixmax 6 hours ago 5 replies      
I used to be a big contributor to this site, but for the last months I've found that my interest in the site has waned.

I've thought a lot about why, since I used to really enjoy HN - now it's just one of a few newssites I visit every day. It's hard to quantify but here are my reasons and my take at the decline:

1) The obvious one: Signal to noise ratio in the comments is way down. The problem is twofold - there are both more bad comments, and the ones that are good aren't necessarily voted to the top. This makes it harder for me to find the nuggets that would be shown at the top of every comments page a year or two ago. As others have pointed out it sound easy but is in fact a very hard problem to solve.

2) The interaction in the comments is less interesting. I used to have great arguments in the comments. Sometimes I would convince someone of my point of view sometimes it was the other way around, sometimes there just wasn't agreement to be found. But it was always interesting and civil, and I very often learned something new. Engaging in, and watching others have interesting discussions was for me one of the main things I loved about HN. It's like when you go to a dinner party and get to sit next to this incredily interesting guy that is exceptionally insightful and has some really interesting things to say. The conversation leaves a mark on you.

3) I often find that the comments I make that I personally find insightful or interesting don't get a lot of upvotes, while the ones that state something obvious or funny get more upvotes. This isn't encouraging me to interact with people here on an intellectually interesting level. If others do this as well, which I suspect they will, then it's extremely degrading to the discourse in the comments. I often find that I don't bother to write up a response to something because I know won't get a lot of attention. Sometimes my points are totally missed.

4) Maybe I've outgrown the site. Many concepts that were new to me when I joined HN are now familiar, and many discussions have already been had. RiderofGiraffes describes it well in the linked comment.

I owe a lot to HN, and I really want it to succeed, so I stick around and hope that things will change. But for now it's from a less engaged position.

37 points by coffeemug 4 hours ago 4 replies      
Look at http://gamedev.net - they've grown their community from a few active users to more than a hundred thousand and the quality only increased. They had to go through a period of significantly decreased quality as the community grew, and faced all the same problems as HN. I believe a combination of the following changes would fix things: (from most to least important):

- Upvotes need to be weighed by karma, and karma of exemplary members of the community needs to be seeded by you (and other exemplary members). This way cliques of mean/non-insightful users can upvote each other to their heart's content without making any appreciable difference in their karma value.

- The above would fix the quality of articles on the front page, not just the quality of comments. Our most successful blog post to date was "will the real programmers please stand up" (http://www.rethinkdb.com/blog/2010/06/will-the-real-programm...) which is at best a provocative rant. The actual technically insightful content isn't nearly as successful. TechCrunch mastered the art of linkbait headlines. Weighed upvotes will solve this problem.

- Anonymity breeds animosity. If I don't know someone it's much easier for me to say mean, dumb things (see: YouTube). The solution is somewhat controversial, but I strongly believe the downsides of threaded discussions strongly outweigh the upsides (ability to carry on multiple discussions at a time). Removing the ability to have threads will force people to pay attention to who they're talking to and have a coherent discussions instead of snarky oneliners.

- Moderators need to be able to lock down threads that are getting out of control.

- When the article is off the front page, the discussion quickly dies off with it. There needs to be a "hot discussions" tab that allows people to continue the conversations. This encourages people to get to know each other and participate in a coherent discussion that spans beyond 24 hours.

54 points by strlen 7 hours ago replies      
Cap the score that is displayed with a comment e.g., past 10 points, just display "10+". Don't display karma and average scores of users, again, past a certain point: this prevents (subconscious) game incentives which lead to e.g., posting comments that say something stupid or mean but which tend to agree with general tendencies of the site.

For example, I can post a comment decrying Blub with a snide remark (e.g., "You wrote a 1,000 line Blub program? Was it 500 getters and 500 setters?" in a thread discussing software projects) that is both information free and mean (perhaps Blub wasn't the author's preferred choice, but chosen for him or required in order to build an application for the iBlubber). People on this site generally dislike Blub, so the comment will get upvotes without adding any value to the discussion (an example of adding value would be saying you were able to do this in 100 lines of Flub using its cool new hygienic macros with a link to a paper on hygienic macros in Flub).

That's not to say all comment score data should be gone. Comment scores can still be kept and comments could be displayed on stories in the other in which they're displayed now (a mix of comment score and how recently it was posted). Generally, what I've found is that comments showing up _first_ tend to be of higher quality i.e., overall algorithm works more often than not.

[NB: I work at LinkedIn and we do this for connection counts-- we want users to network with each other, but we don't want to make it a "who has the most connections" game, that's why when you have over 500 connections (which is perfectly legitimate and allowed), only "500+" is displayed as the count on your profile]

34 points by idoh 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Let us not be too hasty in proposing solutions when the problem isn't really understood. At best they are shots in the dark. Even after you ship them you wouldn't be able to tell whether the fixes actually did anything or not.

If this were my product then I'd try to gather a corpus of bad comments, selected outside of the vote system (because the problem is that voting might be broken). While I was at it, I'd also find out the good comments, because promoting good comments might be just as good and easier than getting rid of the bad comments. After that, I'd try to figure out what counts as a good vote or a bad vote, because the problem probably doesn't really lay with the comments themselves, but rather how people vote against them. Bad comments aren't really a problem if the vote system does a good job of spotting them.

Then I'd take a careful look at comments and votes:

- Is the distribution of good comments / bad comments even throughout the set of commentators, or are there users who are dependably good or dependably bad? If it is a lumpy distribution then you can use that. I'm guessing that everyone makes dumb comments, and there is something with the system that inflates the scores of bad comments compared to good comments as more people can vote. But I'm also guessing that only so many people are capable of leaving good comments too. Get the data and find out for sure.

- Do the vote scores that these comments get a reflection of the quality? If the votes are, then maybe the system isn't as broken as you think. If they aren't, then you've got a lead on the problem - you can look at the bad comments that get lots of upvotes and try to suss out what is going on.

- Do high-karma voters do a better job of finding good / bad comments that average? If they are better, then maybe you give them more weight. If they aren't then you'd have to shelve that idea.

- Are there people good at commenting but bad at voting, and vice-versa?

- Are there people who are good at upvoting, but not at downvoting, or vice-versa?

It's all sort of tedious, but basically I'd advise leaning on the data and make decisions based off of that. I'm pretty sure that if you dig in a bit something is going to really stick out in a big way. Once you've found that, then you can build a feature / change around that.

110 points by tptacek 7 hours ago replies      
A hard ban on politics and current events, instead of the wiggly one we have in the site guidelines now.
36 points by tptacek 7 hours ago 4 replies      
Some policy/feature/system to aggregate related stories ("killing" stories that duplicate stories that already have active threads, and posting a link to the "duplicate" story in that thread, or something similar to that --- I'm being minimalist here).

A lot of dumb comments appear to germinate on threads that are the 3rd or 4th take on some tech news story about Facebook or Apple.

43 points by tptacek 7 hours ago 5 replies      
A privmsg feature, available to people who cross a karma or karma average feature, that would allow gruseom to tell people offline that their comments are dumb. Sometimes it's good to make an example of a dumb comment, but other times it just begs for an unproductive fight.
1 point by gruseom 9 minutes ago 0 replies      
This feels like a demographic problem of a larger population dragging down the average. If that's the case, then some sort of curation (vote-weighting or otherwise privileging certain users' input over others) is probably necessary, because the overall level of dumbness, meanness, or mediocrity just isn't going to change that much in response to anything HN does. (I'd much prefer to be wrong about this. Any elitist solution seems regrettable.)

I wonder if this could be tested. Let PG pick, say, a hundred users and let each of those pick an additional two or three. Could the software show us the site as it would appear if those users' votes counted for more? Or would the community be willing to try something like this as an experiment on the main site for a while? It seems to me it wouldn't take long to get a feel for whether it had helped or hurt. Even something as simple as http://news.ycombinator.com/classic applied to comments would be interesting.

52 points by pkaler 7 hours ago 3 replies      
There is no scarcity with upvotes. If I have an infinite amount of money to spend, I will spend it without prudence.

Cap the number of upvotes that a user gets each day and give explicit feedback on how many upvotes that they have left.

31 points by gleb 7 hours ago 5 replies      
I'd try to severely decrease total # of comments.

Really bad comments are not the root of the problem. Simply having large number of mediocre comments crowds out and discourages thoughtful discussion from starting at all.

I'd say:

* create some real cost to making comments

* make bad comments disappear/not display at all with time

* make things less democratic -- to encourage good behavior identify users who have this behavior and make this behavior more prominent programmaticly

12 points by solipsist 6 hours ago 2 replies      
The problem lies within the deeply nested threads that continuously go back and forth between a few select people. Most of the mean/dumb comments on the first level thread are downvoted or flagged and moved to the bottom. This makes it easy to read the high quality comments - just look at the top.

The problem occurs when you start reading into a nested thread of comments. Users will sometimes argue 4 or 5 times back and forth, often becoming mean and uncivil. What results is a somewhat personal discussion among a few people that doesn't fit in with the rest of the thread. While the quality may actually increase the deeper you go into a thread, the relevancy to the original thread decreases (which matters most).

I think that this behavior is what is hurting HN's overall quality. Uncivil and deeply nested threads like these are hard to keep track of and deeply get out of control.

The solution:

  - hide deeply nested threads (greater than 3 or 4 comments deep) and
let the users choose to show them

- promote commenting in higher threads (this will come as a result
of hiding deeply nested threads)

- hide or lessen the visibility of threads consisting of comments
from only 2 or 3 people

19 points by jjcm 7 hours ago 3 replies      
I'd suggest that there are more tiers to functionality than are currently in place. At the moment, after 500 points you're given the ability to downvote comments. Perhaps there should be additional barriers in place, such as this:

0 - Ability to comment on threads

50 - Ability to upvote comments

500 - Ability to downvote comments

1000 - Ability to submit articles/stories

2000 - Ability to downvote articles/stories

etc. While this may reduce the number of incoming stories, perhaps there could be a way for power users to sponsor stories submitted by those who aren't able to submit them to the feed themselves. The more I think about it, the more I like this approach - create a queue of "pending stories" that anyone can submit to, but only those who have sufficient experience on the site can approve them (or remove them from the queue).

For those who say that I'd be pandering to myself here, note that I'm at 620 points right now - with this proposition I'd be reducing my current abilities. However I think that it's a small price to pay to improve the quality of submissions.

37 points by tptacek 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Stop showing people other people's comment scores. They stimulate argumentative comments.
11 points by chaosmachine 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This is probably 300 comments too late, but I mocked up a solution:


It's something I've suggested before, getting rid of downvotes and replacing them with flags.

28 points by geuis 7 hours ago 4 replies      
Make voting on comments cost karma. Alternately, make new story submission require at least 100 minimum karma level. I suspect the effect here would be to reduce the number of frivolous and spammy submissions. When more high quality submissions are the topics of conversation, the quality of comments will go up.
13 points by ig1 7 hours ago 3 replies      
I was writing an open letter to HN on my blog for this topic, but this now seems a more appropriate place to reply (apology about the style which seems out of place in a comment):

Once upon a time Hacker News was called Startup News, it was a place to share links and discuss between people passionate about startups. Good links and discussions stayed around for days, every aspect of startup life was discussed.

Sadly that time has long gone. As I write this, on the front page of HN there are maybe 4-5 stories out of the top 30 that relate to startup topics.

Articles relevant to startups are being pushed out by generalist tech and programming articles that are better served by the many many subreddits on these topic. While it's open to debate whether these are on-topic on Hacker News or not, HN is far less about startups than it used to be.

Many contributors to HN don't even see it as being about startups anymore, even contributors who've been involved in HN for over a year are talking about it as a tech or programming site. The startup stories that reach the frontpage tend to be on technical topics, the non-startup tech audience of HN now means stories focused on the non-technical aspects of startups such as marketing and raising money make it to the front page far more rarely than they once did.

I remember complaining at one point about the number of stories about A/B testing on the front page. I wish I could complain about that now.

Take a look at Gabriel's Ask YC archive - it was created to address the startup questions that frequently turned up on HN, for many of these topics I can't recall when I last saw them discussed on HN.

There are a hundred social networking sites that serve the tech community from proggit to dzone, what differentiated HN was the focus on the startup community. That focus is dying out, and we're becoming just another tech social news site.

I don't think we can make HN be more about startups again, the audience has changed too much for that, and it wouldn't be fair to the non-startup tech community that's come to rely upon HN.

So instead I'd like propose that HN stays as it is, but pg creates a new HN called Startup News, which has startups at it's heart as HN once did.

6 points by andywood 6 hours ago 0 replies      
First, thank you for acknowledging this as a real problem. The quality of HN is a function of the community. This doesn't just mean who's here - it means who's here, and how they act when they're here. While tweaking the "game variables" on the site may help, I believe it's more important and to the point to reinforce community standards somehow.

When I first discovered HN, I quickly learned by various cues that this is not a place to drop sarcastic, one-line zingers, but rather a place to act as you would in a real-life business setting. The cues included both the example of the dominant commenters, and their chiding of non-conforming commenters. Over time, with the growth of the site, there are proportionally fewer commenters setting a strong example, and more commenters lowering the bar and getting away with it.

We are conditioned to feel that democracy = good, but in online communities I do not believe it is the case. Rather, when there were more "good" commenters, democracy was on your side. The "good" commenters had the power of numbers. Now, increasingly, the unconditioned, lower-quality commenters are beginning to gain the power of numbers. In order to counter this, you must provide the "good" commenters with a some other type of power.

You could hand select a number of members, based on your personal knowledge of their historical comment quality, and how much you think they reflect the HN that we want. Give them the ability to super-downvote. This status does not need to be public. It's not a status-symbol. As a bonus, this could give the exemplary members some small incentive for sticking around, by making them feel like they can do something meaningful to fight for HN, beyond just complaining.

Also, Eliezer has dealt with this problem quite a bit, rather successfully, IMO. Maybe ask him.

1 point by gnosis 27 minutes ago 0 replies      
Implement something like a recommendation system for comments.

Any time any two users vote on the same comment, the HN system should create a number representing the "affinity" between the two users.

This affinity should increase if the users voted the same way on that particular comment, and decrease if they voted differently.

Then, instead of displaying the number of upvotes or downvotes next to a each comment, what should be displayed should be the number of upvotes and dowvotes weighted by the affinity of each user who made that vote.

Comments should rise or fall using the formula HN uses now, except it should use affinity-weighted upvotes and downvotes.

In effect, in this system the other users are making "recommendations" on the comments they vote on. And their recommendations are weighted by how similarly their previous votes were to the votes you made.

This scheme results in every user seeing comments customized in a way that automatically infers their preferences.

So, if you prefer deep, insightful comments about technology, you'll presumably upvote those comments, and the affinity between you and the other users who upvoted those comments increases, and when they upvote future comments, the comments they upvote will be more likely to show up on your radar as they'll probably be closer to the top of the page and have a higher numerical score.

Conversely, those people who prefer brief, funny comments would similarly have the comments they see be displayed in a way that caters to their preferences.

Instead of trying to please everyone in a one-size-fits-all top-down approach, this is a more distributed approach which "recommends" to each individual user those comments which are likely to be preferred by that particular user.

Of course, this scheme is more computationally intensive than having the current system of simple, unweighted upvotes and downvotes, or even of manually curated/moderated comments. It also requires active upvoting and downvoting of comments by users for it to work well.

But the advantage of this is that the more users upvote and downvote, the more accurate the system gets in "recommending" comments to them. So implementing this system would provide an incentive for active participation.

It's also an automated, algorithmic system which should scale much better than proposals that require manual human intervention, such as implementing moderation/curation of comments.

A similar scheme could also be applied to articles, such that the HN backend would weigh articles based on the affinity between the user viewing the article list and the users who've voted on those articles.

16 points by jacquesm 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I think it is in part the comments but also very much the articles.

One very simple suggestion: an 'off topic' tab where stuff that does not fit the HN bill can be moved to. An 'offtopic' link similar to the 'flag' link for users with more than 5K karma, that answers the questions 'what do you get for karma' nicely as well too.

11 points by psawaya 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Make it easier for new stories to get noticed before they fall off the new page. It's a crapshoot if your submission gets noticed, and (it seems at least) the stories on the front page come from the same domains and submitters, probably because people tend to vote based on name recognition.

I realize that doesn't directly relate to comments, but I think some of the declining quality of conversation owes to the fact that it's getting a bit stale. How many blog articles about productivity can we discuss without some decline?

I don't think we should ban political articles at all. In fact, I think less blog posts about "are we in a bubble?" and more articles on economics, science, philosophy, etc would make HN much more interesting. The median comment here is still of much higher quality than at sites like reddit. And although certain subjects can be sensitive, I doubt that banning these topics will actually reduce meanness, it will just make the change in decorum harder to notice.

Finally, a more extreme idea: why not add a second kind of vote? Perhaps we could vote comments agree/disagree in addition to up or down. These could be right and left arrows, to drive home the point that disagreeing with something ought to be orthogonal to whether it adds to the conversation. We could weigh these votes less, so that rankings more reflect how insightful we think something is, instead of how popular.

27 points by tptacek 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Have comments start at -1.

(Or, better yet, -thread_depth).

16 points by user24 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Limit us to N upvotes per day.

In other words - make votes precious.

That way people will think more about how to 'spend' their precious votes.

A similar thing works in poker. If you empty out your change jar and give everyone a fixed amount to start, and at the end of the game it all goes back in the jar, people play in a certain way. If you play for actual money, even just change, the gameplay does often change for the better, because their chips now have value.

At the moment we all have an infinite amount of votes to spend, so we can casually upvote anything we find briefly interesting - because our votes have no value to us.

By limiting the number available per day, we are forced to spend our votes more wisely.

Alternatively, making upvote decrement our karma will also add perceived value to the action of voting. However I think HN users care less about their karma scores so I think this approach wouldn't work as well as limiting users to N votes per 24 hours.

N can be fixed at, say 10, or increase with karma so 'better' users get more votes and thus more influence.

5 points by ChuckMcM 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Extracting a requirement from the question, you have

Define bad comment : A comment which has either or both of the properties 'mean' and 'dumb' and is 'massively upvoted.'

Define Hacker News Health : The ratio of non-bad to bad comments.

In previous systems this function has been addressed by moderation whereby a speaker for the culture has the authority to remove comments deemed to be 'bad' and thus by gardening the experience make it more 'good' for the participants. Not a system that scales well.

I see a number of comments "Is this just another Reddit?" which suggests that from a culture perspective there are immigrants from other groups who bring a different definition of 'interesting' which has enough support from the group to prevent them from being pruned early.

That suggests an experiment.

Add east west buttons to comments, and perhaps topics as well. Notionally the value of 'east' is 'more like Hacker News' and the value of west is 'more unlike Hacker News'. Let readers vote on what they see as being more or less what they expect to see. Track their 'east/west' karma (perhaps we could call it there 'wings' with a nod to left-wing and right-wing).

One could imagine then creating a 'fog' effect much like trending topics are moved to the top of the page we could move top left topics to the top of the page and top right topics to a new page. In the ideal world people would self select which page they were more interested in, and HackerNews could in fact develop a community much like Reddit algorithmically with their own start page and their own high karma posters.

Could provide an interesting space to explore if nothing else. Probably a publishable paper in the results if someone were so inclined to go there.

5 points by tokenadult 7 hours ago 2 replies      
The problem has several components: comments that are (a) mean and/or (b) dumb that (c) get massively upvoted.

a) If a comment is truly mean, a personal attack on another community member, delete the comment and subtract from the user all the karma that the comment gained. That is something that can only be done by someone with curator powers here, but the rest of us can be encouraged to flag such comments more, and reminded not to upvote them.

b) If the comment is dumb, make a better comment in the same thread and downvote the dumb comment, especially if the dumb comment already has significant karma accrued. Anyone who has downvoting power (and user who has made many upvoted comments) can do all of that, and anyone who can post a comment can do some of that. Again, the curators can remind users from time to time to maintain those standards.

c) All users can browse the bestcomments list


to search for massively upvoted comments that are still within the downvoting time limit, and downvote those that are mean or dumb. Curators can delete those comments as needed.

Example and reminders go a long way. (By the way, because I, and I suppose most users, don't read this site exhaustively, I'm not fully aware which recent comments may be the most problematic. But definitely feel free at any time to provide me or other users with advice on how to raise the quality of comments here.)

After edit: another comment from another user in this thread prompts me to ask whether all new users who sign up see the site guidelines automatically or not. That might also help a little, if it isn't already done. Posting links to the site guidelines in threads with problems might also help.

6 points by goodside 7 hours ago 1 reply      
"The problem has several components: comments that are (a) mean and/or (b) dumb that (c) get massively upvoted."

Find a few examples of comments that are unambiguously (a), (b), and (c) and have either you personally or someone you trust flag them as such. Next, take the set of all people who upvoted the abc-flagged comments. Their votes now have a 50% chance of not counting towards vote totals from now on, but in a way that the user isn't shown that their votes aren't being counted -- perhaps with an artificial "offset" vote that appears a few minutes later.

There's fun parameters one could throw in there too, like exponential decay on the likelihood of a vote being magically offset that spikes back up every time the user votes stupidly.

5 points by michael_nielsen 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Many people have made interesting feature suggestions. However, the core problem isn't features. It's developing a general understanding of how to scale up online communities while preserving quality. pg has written before about the benefits of essay-writing as a way of deepening one's understanding of a problem:

"If all you want to do is figure things out, why do you need to write anything... Expressing ideas helps to form them. Indeed, helps is far too weak a word. Most of what ends up in my essays I only thought of when I sat down to write them. That's why I write them... Just as inviting people over forces you to clean up your apartment, writing something that other people will read forces you to think well."

So why not write an essay on how to build large online communities?

4 points by bdclimber14 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the root cause is inherent to growth. As the number of naive new users increases exponentially (assuming this is happening), the more experienced portion of the community has a harder time swinging vote totals for quality pieces. It's not that new users are stupid or malicious; new users are simply uneducated about the type of comments and content that are most fitting with HN. With more new users, the community gives affirmation of mediocre content through votes.

I've been fairly active on HN for about 6 months. A year ago, I remember submitting articles and making comments that, while at the time I thought were fitting, I am now embarrassed of. (This also may be the case 6 months from now for my current submissions).

Sure, I perused the introduction, FAQs, and other comments and articles. However, I didn't get a real sense of quality until recently. Just like with software development, the best way to learn is by doing.

Here are a few ideas:

- Enforce some sort of social contract that users must agree to before submitting articles. Describe appropriate usage to give users a sense of pride in the community.

- A combination of account age and page views could be used to ensure new users are experienced enough to participate. There are the obvious negative side effects of this.

- Allow high-karma users to send private messages (previously mentioned) to users that submit inappropriate content informing them of the reasons why it may not be best. Down-voting and public comments are too cold. A warm private message from a 5 year HN veteran explaining how I can be a better member would be welcoming.

The bottom line is that the quality decrease isn't from malicious users (rude and negative comments aren't necessarily malicious in those users' eyes) but from naive users.

4 points by JesseAldridge 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Looking at this comment page it's clear that there is an absolute deluge of excellent ideas waiting to be implemented. The bottleneck here is pg. pg doesn't scale. As far as I can tell, he's the one who does the vast majority of work on Hacker News, and as the site grows -- and as YCombinator grows -- pg's (already huge) workload is only going to increase. This is, of course, similar to the "Linus doesn't scale" problem faced by the Linux kernel, to which the solution was git. [1] I expect a similar distributed solution is needed for Hacker News.

Re-writing the software in a language more people understand (e.g. Python) could be a good first step here. But I don't know if pg is willing to give up on his silver bullet (arc).

Turning Hacker News into a business might help. Create a situation where exceptional people can make lots money by figuring out how to make HN great and let market forces do the rest. Although figuring out how to make money off of content could be a pretty tough problem.

More generally, I think pg should be thinking less, "How can I improve Hacker News?" and more, "How can I create an environment where other people can improve Hacker News?"

I mean... investing in startups is a full-time job, running a high traffic website is a full-time job, building a programming language is a full-time job, raising a child is a full-time job... trying to do all four at once probably isn't going to work.

[1] http://lkml.indiana.edu/hypermail/linux/kernel/9809.3/0957.h...

4 points by nhangen 3 hours ago 1 reply      
Relatively new user here...

I found the site when someone submitted something and asked me to upvote it. I didn't know what that was, so came here and made a stupid comment and got downvoted. I didn't know what that meant or why it happened, and no one went out of their way to explain it.

Months later, I have almost 1k karma and still didn't know who RiderofGiraffes was, and don't find myself caring.

The real issue here is culture, and the cultivation of it. There is a culture, but it's tough to find, and it's far from discoverable. Most of the links new users need to know about, such as the top 20 list, are hidden deep in the site. There aren't any avatars, and because of the strange nicknames, I never know who I am talking to unless I click through and they happen to have listed a URL or Twitter handle.

Point being - if you want people to act a certain way, I think you need to do a better job of describing it. I say that to the entire community.

I don't get the feeling of a nurturing environment here, and because of that, it's sort of a "fend for yourself" environment, which leads to the sort of behavior we see.

Just my .02, but this is what I'm picking up here.

I still love HN.

11 points by tptacek 7 hours ago 3 replies      
The comment flag button could be changed to really mean something; for instance: sufficiently flagged comments can stop collecting upvotes.
2 points by jedsmith 4 hours ago 2 replies      
Complete the fledgling environment of selectivity in one fell swoop and explicitly say, in the guidelines, that low-karma users are no longer allowed to participate. Remove the ability to vote, comment, and perhaps read from all users below 5,000 karma. These meta posts, the how to vote posts, the discussion here and in other threads, the lamenting about comment quality in general: all of this aggravation is dancing around the central issue, which is low-karma users turning Hacker News into something that the high-karma users do not want. Period.

Just look at this thread. One person has eight separate top-level comments on this item, and is winning popular support. A large number of them have almost the exact same number of upvotes. You might as well rename HN to Shaped in the Old Guard's Image and wall it off. Just get it overwith so people will stop:

- Writing tired farewell pieces, and calling it a good thing because they're respected and high-karma

- Then turning around and churning out blog content that is front-paged daily on the community just departed from

- Complaining about HN's slow decline towards Redditdom

- Downvoting comments because they disagree with them

I know this sounds like snark, but it's totally honest. You have a big choice to make here: either you foster and encourage new users to participate, or you wall it off and keep HN in the bubble of functionality and community that the old guard reminisces about.

As a relatively new contributor, I've never felt more unwelcome on a site than I have here at times. It's not even about me. It's certainly not about disrespect to those high-karma users who believe in this community the most. It's about the community. If you want your community a certain way, then lock it to the people who made it that way. I also intentionally set the theoretical karma limit above my karma, because I'd love an excuse to not come back.

Aside: All of this meta crap recently is setting up for HN to be disrupted by a new community. I also find it telling that in the time it took me to submit my comment and upvote the parent post -- say, ten seconds -- I was already at zero.

6 points by citricsquid 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't think you really can. This site is a community and the users matter above all the features. If the user quality takes a nose dive all you can do is hold off the inevitable with new comment rankings. Every site has a point where it gets so big it declines in quality, reddit hit that and now those who want the old reddit back are coming here.

The only way to truly guarantee it would remain high quality would require credentials to use the site, or require invite/referrals, but then that has a whole host of its own problems.

I'm relatively new so I don't know what HN "used" to be like, but in the short time I've been here I've noticed it decline. It seems to me that more and more people who aren't knowledgable or have insights to offer are joining and people like jacquesm and riderofgiraffes are leaving. It was inevitable and has happened in every community I've ever used.

1 point by bootload 58 minutes ago 0 replies      
"... Anyone have any suggestions? We're on mostly uncharted territory here ..."

This is a radical idea probably without merit but small incremental steps to improve the quality of submissions & comments are short term fixes to deeper problems. What are the root cause(s) of poor quality responses?


Good behaviour in any group is important if you encourage identity. I tried hard in any sites I've joined to stick by the spirit of the group because my identity is tied to anything I say. What would joining HN be like with no identity and zero reputation. A place where there is high competition for submissions and few examples of what is really expected of you? The only sign post I see is karma some FAQ's on behaviour - but who reads those? My behaviour is effected by those around me who in all reality want to improve their standing through karma. Progress is measured by a score that is derivative of what I do, who cares about the outcome. Make identity meaningful. SO does this well. Users are recognised and rewarded. The hard bit is HN isn't binary.


I join sites like HN because of the quality gap on the web. The only other way I can do this is directly interact with fellow entrepreneurs. HN fulfils this purpose. HN also is about things that interest hackers. That was the intent, discuss new ideas, intelligently. HN is a lot like the LME discussing the effects of X on Y, substituting copper for ideas, effects of conflict on price for execution of product. What happens when the purpose is subverted or unfulfilled?


Who reads and contributes in HN matters. I don't recognise the readers I started with. As the audience drifts the early adopters leave as the utility of HN drops. A lot of good hackers started here but will probably leave or have left. This is a real problem. Hackers leaving is a signal that things are broken or that the usefulness has been reached. Hackers are really sensitive to certain types of audiences, especially non-technical. Like frogs, Hackers leaving HN might be a sign the audience is polluted with the wrong type of users.


HN is fundamentally broken. We already know this. It's not a new problem. But something has to fundamentally change to address user identity and utility. Encourage good behaviour by looking at [Identity]: the need to fit in, contribute, improve and [Utility]: the reason users contribute and not get bored or get up to mischief, leave.


Entry needs to be set higher than it currently is. Where else of value is entry a handle, email and time enough of a measure of worth? I would put a concrete intellectual challenge in the form of some writing, say 500 words in their profile. For extra credit a link to a site the post exists. The purpose is twofold. Create a baseline set of information that can be classified
through code and used to judge the quality of the HN user. Users could game this if they wanted but a quick check against a post on a users website could avert this. This benchmarks each user.


All subsequent posts are measured against their score. Submission scores are scored against their benchmark.


Make a real purpose for staying on at HN. Encourage interested HN users to also submit to apply to YCombinator, even if they think they don't fulfill the criteria to make them improve. Tie identity to purpose by making contributing to HN a part of submitting to YCombinator. Give some real purpose. Make being on HN way beyond just submitting links, making stupid comments and watching your score.

1 point by harshpotatoes 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Why are mean comments posted? Answer: because they are massively upvoted. People like Karma, and Karma is a useful tool to teach newbies how to act, by giving them shining examples of excellent posters/posts voted on by the community.

Why are mean comments upvoted? Answer: I don't know.

People learn how to act on HN by watching what gets upvoted, listening to the tone of discussions, and reading the submitted articles. Presumably, the unwanted comments are being made by new members of the community. Somehow, these new members were not properly taught by the community. In which step were they not properly taught?

I would like to submit three possible problems, along with three possible solutions.

1) The problem is in the voting system. Mean comments are being upvoted, and the senior members of the community are largely powerless to stop these comments. Sure, they can downvote, but they are just one vote, and there are still many more junior members who will upvote the mean comment.
If you believe that: Senior members know what's best for the community, these members are senior because they have high karma, these members have high karma because the community has voted that these people know best. Weighing a vote by the karma of the user who made that vote would solve the problem of mean comments being upvoted.

2) The problem are the stories that make it to the front page.
Mean comments and the votes they receive are a symptom. The users who upvote are getting their social cues from the stories they read on the front page. Broad requirements on stories that are HN worthy allow for a wide variety of stories to get posted to HN. This is good for somebody who sifts through the 'new' section, but it also means that the only stories that get massively upvoted are stories that have general intersections between all of our interests. Evidence seems to show that the most common shared interest is gossip, which is conveniently unwanted by the community. The solution in this case, is to make stricter requirements about what stories are allowed.

3) The problem is that bad apples will always exist no matter what you do. At the moment, the easiest place for bad apples to exist is on the front page of HN. Unfortunately, this is also the place a lot of normal users like to exist. Perhaps a sandbox could be made for the bad apples to hate each other, and allow the normal users to exist in separate but equal lives. Unfortunately, this seems to go against the HN spirit, and I can't think of any useful ideas on how to implement such a sandbox without it sounding like a subreddit.

Finally I would like to add:
I like that HN takes the time for these self analysis every now and then. But, I think it's important to remember that we don't know what's best for us. The mere fact that we will upvote the type of content we don't want shows this.

This leads me to reiterate a comment best stated by idoh: "Let us not be too hasty in proposing solutions when the problem isn't really understood. At best they are shots in the dark. Even after you ship them you wouldn't be able to tell whether the fixes actually did anything or not."

2 points by Locke 2 hours ago 1 reply      
I hate to be unhelpful, but I think this problem is intractable.

The fact that these meta discussions predictably offer a wide array of solutions -- many of which are at odds with one another -- leads me to believe there isn't a solution. In fact, it seems like many of these discussions devolve into:

    1. I have an idea!
2. Yeah, but that won't work because...
3. Oh, in that case we could just...
4. But, then...

The "quality" of HN and it's community is a function of many variables. It's hard, maybe impossible, to tweak the site and expect predictable results (and, there are always unintended consequences).

It doesn't help that the feedback cycle is so long.

Let's have a hypothetical. Suppose, we decided the problem was that HN had become to design-centric. We want fewer designers and more programmers. So, let's make HN ugly. Really ugly. Then all the designers will leave and we'll be left with programmers. How long after making the site ugly will we have to wait to see the results? What if the designers retaliate by making a client-side css hack to make HN look even better? Do we end up with more or fewer designers? Did we do damage to the population of programmers who also happen to be designers? And, how do we account for outside influences? What if a prominent designer linked to HN the week of our changes and our tweak is overwhelmed by the flood of incoming designers?

I hope I'm wrong. I've been here 1467 (!) days, I'd like to stay a long while longer.

8 points by sunir 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Idea 1. Charge for memberships like Metafilter.

I believe in the Quaker rule, "Only speak when you can improve the silence." Other people think speech is like squatting on land. You have to speak to gain footing. By charging people for the privilege of speaking, you make them consciously decide whether what they have to say is worth the $5 to join. They will probably say no.

4 points by sunir 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Idea 3. Enlarge space. There are too many people in the common agora, so split up the community into smaller, more focused spaces, akin to Reddit. For instance, there are natural categories here around news, programming, business, science, and politics.


6 points by tptacek 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Add "Assume Good Faith" to the guidelines; this is one of the few Wikipedia rules that I think really helps.


1 point by hollerith 25 minutes ago 0 replies      
Comment quality here is still vastly higher than it is on most other sites frequented by programmers, designers or entrepreneurs, and higher than any other site (e.g. Wikipedia) of its size or larger. It's just really hard to maintain the quality of a site as big as the HN of 2011 when there are no significant barriers to participation by anyone with internet access and a basic command of the English language.

I humbly suggest that for the conversation to lead to HN's doing even better than HN has so far will require the participants in the conversation to verify that they are referring to the same thing when they write "comments that are (a) mean and/or (b) dumb", e.g., by the participant's providing actual examples (with the author's name removed) of comments they consider mean or dumb.

8 points by RiderOfGiraffes 5 hours ago 1 reply      
A final thought: If you don't discriminate between the actions of the vast majority, and the actions of those identified as being aligned with your desired intentions for the site, nothing will work. I can probably "prove" that.

I think any solution will require the identification of individuals whose actions are "more trustworthy," and giving them greater weight, or more powers.

Anything else can and will be swamped by the majority, whose intentions you have no control over, and no reason to trust.

1 point by bergie 12 minutes ago 0 replies      
On Maemo News we solved this by enabling downvoting of submissions (well, aggregated feed items), and by making downvotes worth 5 upvotes.

The unpleasant side-effect has been a slight tendency to shoot the messenger by downvoting relevant-but-unpleasant news. But in general it has helped with story quality

5 points by rlpb 7 hours ago 0 replies      
1. Set up a Twitter-like directed graph of users, so users can provide HN with people they'd like to "follow". This graph need not be public.

2. When someone upvotes or downvotes, all followers of that person upvote or downvote the same submission or comment by proxy. If a person follows multiple people some of whom upvote and some downvote, or upvotes or downvotes himself, then cancel their proxy vote. This proxy voting is the sole purpose of the follow graph, eg. "I want to vote the same way tptacek, cperciva and pg do".

Perhaps publish a leaderboard of top followed people and their voting history to try and avoid a Digg situation.

Perhaps limit the number of people one person can follow. This would help with performance as well.

Perhaps the number of proxy votes would need to affect the score of a comment or submission logarithmically instead of linearly.

Edit: there may need to be a minimum level of karma needed to proxy vote to avoid sockpuppets. Perhaps limit it to active accounts, too.

6 points by Mz 6 hours ago 0 replies      
A couple of things I have commented on previously/elsewhere on HN:

A) My understanding is that "formal culture" is the historical human antidote to trying to interact with large numbers of folks they don't know all that well. Older, more densely populated parts of the globe tend to be more formal than American culture. Yet American culture is the primary influencer of many online communities, including this one. The assumptions made by a less formal culture and the practices which grow out of them start to cause problems when you don't actually know people that well and it simply isn't possible to know everyone here all that well with 100k uniques a day.

B) "Greet people warmly at the door": The general assumption that the ill-mannered newcomers are The Problem tends to promote the problem. Greeting people warmly who are new to the site and speaking with them gives them opportunity and motive to learn the culture and try to fit in. Talking trash about how they are mucking up the place and studiously ignoring them until you are ready to chew them out gives them every reason to behave badly or to assume no one really notices or cares what they do and little opportunity to learn to fit into a polite culture. They don't ever even get to experience the polite culture. All they experience is rejection, insults and such themselves. "Eternal September" isn't because there are new people. It is because the new people don't get inculcated. Hating them on sight and giving them a hard time for simply being new (which is the undercurrent of a lot of posts here) is a major fail if you want to preserve a valued culture. Culture is not preserved by just hanging on to the old folks. It is preserved by teaching it to the new people and helping it grow in a healthy manner.

I'm sure there's more but that's what readily comes to mind and, right this very minute, I'm not up to giving it more thought or time and effort.

16 points by euroclydon 7 hours ago 3 replies      
When tptacek flags a front page article (and tells us he did), I can't think of a single time I have disagreed with him. Yet, the story usually remains, for hours or indefinitely. So, find more people like tptacek, and give their flags more weight.

In other words: Moderators who enforce the spirit of HN and have the ability to just kill stuff. I'm really surprised this isn't happening already. If I go post some derogatory remark on a heavily moderated blog or forum, it's get's junked almost immediately.

1 point by macrael 1 hour ago 0 replies      
A well implemented following system could solve a number of problems. The most important feature of this would be to automatically create (or suggest) "follow" connections based on your upvotes. If I upvote someone a few times, suggest I follow them. Then, display comments from people I follow with some sort of marker.

This would give comments context. The site would in effect be saying "hey, you've read four or five comments by this person and thought they were sharp." or, "don't waste your time with this comment, you haven't liked their others." I don't know how many times I've read smart comments without actually connecting that they were all being written by the same person. It is only extremely good and prolific people who I actually recognize by hnname. This would help me find more.

This is really a reputation/karma system, but scoped per user instead of site wide. You can go further and trickle votes down the follow chain, so that the people who I follow follow also are part of my personal reputation network. This would help cut down the amount of interaction I have to do to make the following system useful. This is essentially page rank.

With this in place, HN can become a more personalized aggregator wherein the links and comments that are liked by the people you like are more often presented to you. It is quite possible this could create the equivalent of subreddits organically as the site's membership creates following chains interested in different things.

Now, this is a very technical solution to the problem, which means it probably isn't merited. I think that metafilter is probably one of the right guides to watch and that for them careful moderation has been key.

Also, there are a number of real problems with this solution, the first being that it significantly increases the risk of the echo-chamber as people start to be split in to like minded groups. I've thought about some ways to deal with these issues, but I don't feel like this post is the place for them.

15 points by b_emery 7 hours ago 3 replies      
3 words: Bayesian Comment Filter. Just does the opposite of what the spam filter does. Use the corpus of great comments from the past to find great comments of the present.

I'm only half joking. Fundamentally, the thread is about a filtering system.

1 point by knowtheory 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The real problem is that it's difficult to encode social constraints into a system. StackOverflow tries it, and i think that they have erred on the side of restricting contribution in order to preserve their system.

It is far more effective to have members of the community, particularly people who are representative of the ethos that HN has had to point out bad behavior, and recommend more responsible courses of action.

In so far as we are a community, we should encourage behavior as a community. Ultimately the point of writing comments and posting links is for others to see them, karma is worthless otherwise.

To that end, i think there's interesting things that could be done with average karma. If we're trying to encourage hill-climbing behavior towards better karma, why not highlight comments w/ higher average karma than you have? If we are trying to encourage leadership, then perhaps we should point out who is leading, and the behavior which we should be emulated.

4 points by silentbicycle 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I think that having more content on the front page that isn't shallow industry gossip would have a positive effect on discussions overall - they tend to drag down the other threads, and bring in a lot of people who don't understand / follow the commenting culture here.

The new page is out of hand, IMHO - there's a huge incentive to be the first to submit an article (and no cost), so new content is continually posted. Many interesting posts fall off the bottom of the new page within an hour - a post has to quickly appeal to lots of people, or it's gone. This leads to lowest-common-denominator submissions.

Instead of moronic "first post!" comments, we've got a plague of "first submission!"s.

The sum of the scores on the new page divided by the oldest's age may be a good metric. Currently, the total is 217, and the oldest two say "1 hour ago" and "2 hours ago", roughly 90 minutes. That's only 2.4 points per minute, and this thread (118 points, 1 hour ago) is a major outlier; without it, it's 1.1 per minute.

Whether you make submitting articles cost karma (3-5 points?) and/or add a penalty for posting an article that was subsequently flagged and deleted, fewer dull submissions would improve discussions. (It would also help with spam.)

5 points by tptacek 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Allow commenters themselves to publicly flag their own comments to prevent them from accruing karma. Call it the "sincerity" flag. Actually, this is my #1 top feature request for HN, period.
2 points by raganwald 4 hours ago 2 replies      
One thing I wonder about is whether accumulating personal karma is a red herring: trolls don't seem to care about their karma, and good folks may not care either.

Perhaps the most important thing about upvotes and downvotes is how they affect visibility. Everyone wants their voice to be heard, and some people want the opportunity to influence whether other people's voices are heard or not, e.g. by flagging stories or killing comments through downvoting.

If the big deal here is visibility, then I would concentrate on the algorithms that decide when a comment thread is rendered gray or invisible and the algorithms that decide the ranking of comment threads. I would look for patterns of votes or commenting that might help distinguish "popular but fluffy" from "popular and thought-provoking."

3 points by crasshopper 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Bias in favour of upvotes from the bottom of the page.

Everybody scrolls from the top down. Those who vote for lower-down stories are less likely to be amplifying the hive mind.

4 points by webwright 5 hours ago 1 reply      

You could have people who have over X karma (or people you hand pick) have disproportionate abilities to downvote or nuke comments/stories that are mean or dumb.

It would be easy to train a small circle of people how to moderate well. It seems nigh impossible to train the entire userbase of HN to do it.

3 points by colinsidoti 5 hours ago 1 reply      
I almost launched a site that was meant to compete with HN. Here was the strategy to take you over:

Note: Thanks to Incubomber.com members and Aaron Burrow for coming up with these ideas.

The specific problems that were being addressed:

1. Karma is given for link aggregation instead of content creation. Consider the user that is lucky enough to be the first to realize that you have posted a new essay on PaulGraham.com. That user will instantly post the link on Hacker News, and is guaranteed to gain a ton of karma. But aren't you more deserving of that Karma?

2. Community bias crushes the little guy. It seems that a bot is constantly running on Hacker News that matches titles against the regular expression "`YC ?[WS]?\d{2}`i" and automatically adds karma until it reaches the home page. But what makes news about a Y Combinator startup any more interesting than another startup? Some power users have a similar effect on the community. This predisposition makes it excessively difficult for unknown users to establish themselves.

3. Up votes are given where up votes are not deserved. It's hard to blame the users, though. If someone makes a hilarious submission, it certainly deserves some recognition. Similarly, if someone reiterates a widely known fact, it still feels right to express agreement. Unfortunately the only way to communicate these feelings is by placing an up vote, which is not the proper way to place votes and detracts from the quality of the community.

The solution was Anonymerit.com (Never launched, but one of us may get to it eventually.)

Eliminating Bias While Evaluating Credibility

What is Anonymerit?
Anonymerit is a new type of community where submissions earn merit anonymously. At the end of each month, the top submissions will be compiled and published with their author revealed (optionally). (Kudos to Hacker Monthly, we may have swiped this from you)

How does Anonymerit work?
Anonymerit is focused on content creation rather than content aggregation. All submissions and comments are the original work of their author, but Anonymerit will withhold their identity. Submissions are kept anonymous so the community can evaluate the content's credibility without introducing bias towards "noobs" or "power users," a symptom that plagues many communities as they become more established.

To evaluate a submission, users can participate in two polls with simple plus ('+') and minus ('-') options. The first poll evaluates the popularity of a submission. In general, this is used to determine if the community agrees with a post. The second poll evaluates the merit of a submission. For this poll, a '+' is used to indicate that the submission was thought provoking, informative, and insightful. A '-' is used for submissions that focus on widely known ideas, or are simply reposted content.

This separation is imperative because it allows users to quickly express their feelings at a granular level. The total scores can reveal that a submission is generally disliked but still worth reading, or that nearly everyone agrees but the content is already well-established and does not need to be reiterated.


A monthly publication combined with anonymous postings is awesome. The publication is required because it motivates people to post their original content on HN rather than their own sites. Entrepreneurs, knowing that investors will inevitably be reading the publications, would kill to write quality content that makes it into the publication. This same fact also serves as motivation to properly vote and comment on submissions. YC already has a huge name, but imagine how much bigger it can be with a renowned publication.

The anonymous aspect is good because it lets people post anything without the fear of being stomped on by PG. In the end, you're only really looking for the best, and you can still find that through the publication. It's a win win.

6 points by petervandijck 6 hours ago 0 replies      
HN is beyond the point where you can improve comments with small adjustments to the comments or karma system. History (on other sites) shows this. The problem is sheer size.

There is only one real solution, which is to reduce size.

You can do that by closing new signups, which is a little bit like tying rope around a girls feet to prevent them from growing. Not great, and probably leading to rot.

Or you can do that by fragmenting up the conversations. Reddit has the rather primitive subreddit system. It works somewhat. A better system is Twitter's follow or Facebook's friend systems.

In either case, if you do this, the result would be something quite different from the old HN. The uproar would be great, and lots of people would leave.

The alternative is the slow death of online communities with scale. I just don't think that tweaks in the comment-karma system are going to solve this problem.

Good luck!

16 points by noblethrasher 7 hours ago 3 replies      
The nuclear option: Periodically take the site down for a while and then rebuild the community (kind of like the Matrix). The quality people will likely stick around.
6 points by diego 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I'm surprised this book hasn't been mentioned here yet:


If you read that book and then look at HN, it's clear how its design encourages behaviors that are not aligned with the goals of the community managers.

1 point by crasshopper 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Weight upvotes differently as they come from different people -- or, play around with displaying different "top" content to different users.

Some starting places might be:

* upvotes from someone who reads regularly but votes irregularly count more

* upvotes from IP's that have not clicked through count less

* using a collaborative filter on upvotes to guess which stories are more likely to appeal to different readers

* randomly putting a few threads or stories out of order for each user

* users who, early on, vote-up comments that are voted up later are rewarded (f''<0 or just a ceiling on the reward like 10 upvotes) with their upvotes being worth more

* modal version of the above, using a pagerank style algorithm to calculate the helpfulness of users

* upvotes from people with more karma are worth more (again f''<0)

* mess around with sub-thread weighting. I don't know how you do it right now but it seems like a good comment on a lower sub-thread is less likely to be seen than a mediocre comment right below the +43 top comment.

* mess around with page-placement weighting. The very top is most likely to be seen and voted on. 3/4 of the way down is very likely to not be seen -- so a vote either way means more there.

* limit the number of upvotes each user gets. Could be per time, per story, per karma....

I didn't use HN a year or two ago, but it seems to me that across such social news sites the following types of content are unjustifiably upvoted:

- confidence

- lists of books

- slams (mother###ker)

- references to high-IQ stuff

- certain lengths are preferred [must be 2-3 para's long to get hugely upvoted, 2-3 sentences has a higher prob. of just a few points]

If you do some more research perhaps you could just decide on what are "bad" kinds of comments, such as negativity, and use text mining / sentiment analysis to detect them and hold back their points.

Using any of the - ideas would force HN designers to commit to what actually constitutes bad content, rather than social engineering (* ideas).

2 points by bonaldi 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This is a fairly classic problem of forum scale. If people don't have an investment in their profile and what it stands for, they won't care about that persona, and you quickly fall victim to the Law of Anonymity.

Number of suggestions to solve it:

1) Put a real value on user accounts. Charge $5 for them, or otherwise make them hard to get -- perhaps invite-only from users with a certain rating -- so that they are felt to be valuable.

2) Active editing. Assigning a numeric value to everything a user does only goes so far: eventually there has to be a consequence for their posts (greater than it going grey). It's OK to ban users who are all noise, after a fair warning.

More controversially:

I think threads re-ordering themselves make it incredibly difficult to follow a conversation. Because comments move around, when you return to a thread you either have to re-read or re-skim multiple comments that you've already read. The alternative is to treat threads as one-shot jobs. Visit once, don't come back. That's death to conversation, and conversation is the heart of a community.

It's this reason, I suspect, people don't often post meaty comments in threads once they already have a good few comments in them -- they know they'll never get the traction of upvotes to stay near the top, so why bother? The fix:

3) Flat threads. Don't rearrange, don't indent. Show scores if you will, but don't order based on them. The longest-lived web communities, the ones with the best conversations, from the Well to Metafilter, all have this in common.

5 points by johnyzee 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Thank God you've noticed. I seem to recall that you brushed off this observation for quite some time.

One thing I've noticed repeatedly in the online communities that have scaled succesfully (in a cultural sense) is that the founders/owners/admins tend to take a very active role, both proactively by being role models and also by stepping in and settings things straight whenever they feel the community is straying too far from their vision. Reddit is a good example of this. Joel's forums at joelonsoftware, which fostered a very tightly knit entrepreneur community, were also heavily influenced by the omnipresence of the site owner.

Unfortunately this is not an elegant technical hack, just simple hard work on the part of administrators.

3 points by naner 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Commenting is almost no-friction and there is an immediate psychological reward in getting your voice heard. This makes it extremely easy to knee-jerk. Perhaps you can A) make commenting cost more or B) delay the reward long enough to force a re-evaluation before the comment goes public.

For A you might try making commenting cost karma in certain situations.

For B I've got no ideas. I'm thinking about how I sometimes will write an emotionally charged email and then wait a day before sending it because I know I'm unable to think clearly. Emotions will have cooled by then and the email looks like it was written by a crazy person. There's not any way to force delays on commenting that I can think of since the articles and discussions here move so fast.

1 point by crasshopper 1 hour ago 0 replies      
pg, you could present cleaned data in a Netflix Prize-style challenge. Let the hackers see the patterns in the data (whether bad upvotes are coming from new users, from old users without a lot of karma, etc) and make the prize be XX minutes of your attention (or money).

It seems like a lot of the comments on this thread are asking for more information -- or at the very least working from very different personal experiences.

4 points by kulkarnic 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I think I am too late to the discussion already, but I think all of pg's a), b) and c) are caused by people who think that this is OK-behavior.

I think a new user should, by default, get "read-only" access. Once the account ages, so the user sees what is acceptable behavior, should you get write-access.

Another idea is to actually make good the name of the site (Hacker news). EITHER a) Show us you actually are a hacker-- do you build things, or just troll? Is your relation to technology deeper than "I read techcrunch?"
This could be a simple matter of adding a text-field or a mandatory homepage/startup URL field, and asking (say) 3 longtime HNers to decide if the "applicant" is interesting enough to the HN community.

OR b) get invited by a long-time HN-er to join (There should be a strong disincentive to invite indiscriminately: for instance, everytime a person you invite gets downvoted, you lose 0.2 karma points).

I know, this scheme sounds elitist. And it is. Yet, I can't think of a single interesting HN-er this would filter out.

2 points by thorax 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Experiment suggestion: Upvotes are weighted as today, but downvotes are heavier weighted when you're downvoted by a user with high karma. I'd probably say that weight can't send a comment negative.
3 points by Tycho 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I know you're talking about comments, but I did a quick snapshot of the front page and color coded each submission by it's category

    blue = hardcore hacker stuff

turquoise = industry-related light reading

biege = acceptable entrepreneur/political commentry

red = fluff, stuff we could do without

black = meta (eg. this thread)


That's a pretty healthy mixture if you ask me. Only about 10-15% or the articles are unworthy of HN, and even that's debatable. The majority is technical stuff, with a few valuable pieces on business/economics in general sprinkled in.

So although some people seem to think the quality of comments is declining, I still believe HN provides phenomenal quality in its capacity as 'news for hackers.'

I'm not sure if changing the rules will do much good; it might have the opposite effect. I think there's pro-active measures we can take which might prove best, like: finding interesting people and inviting them to HN. Quora would be a good recruitment ground.

One last point, I think the role of the founder/leader is very important to online communities. I've been in other forums which went to absolute shit once the 'pg-equivalent-person' ditched them in favour of Twitter. More essays from Paul Graham, perhaps ones talking about online behaviour/ethos, would be a big benefit :-)

3 points by eof 2 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a significant change, but I think the way to solve the problem generally is to have move than one dimension to vote on.

As social sites rise in popularity, common denominator posts such as humor or common circle jerking are going to rise to the top.

The answer, I think, is to allow people to vote on multiple metrics: 'cool', 'funny', 'good idea', 'hacker porn'.

With those separate signals it would be easier to tweak the algorithm to get the front page looking 'like you want it to,' or the users could choose how they want their posts to be ranked.

1 point by projectileboy 42 minutes ago 0 replies      
I think the best you can do in news.arc is to experiment with various forms of throttling (i.e., the first link/comment vote = 1, the second slightly less than one, and so on). Beyond that, it might require you to play the role of benevolent dictator and kill user accounts that consistently engage in nasty behavior. The most extreme option would be to shutdown HN and spawn a small number of child HN-style sites, each with a narrower focus.
3 points by dkokelley 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Limit comments? I think that commenting must COST the poster something, which means that for a comment to be worth while, it must justify the cost.

Karma might be worth it, but a: I don't think posters value it THAT much, and b: this doesn't prevent stupid comments that are likely to gain popular support. In fact it might encourage it.

Instead I would say that a user gets a limited supply of comments to post. Then, the user must decide if their 'lol this made my day' comment is worth giving up a portion of a limited resource.

Determining the appropriate way to limit comment supply without a major negative impact on positive replies is the tricky part. Karma, membership length, submissions and comments could calculate into the figure. Is the figure reset every day, week, month? I don't know. Hopefully this works as brainstorming food.

1 point by duck 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Let's make karma actually worth something. To do this, change these items:

1) You can submit one link a day. Additional submits cost karma.

2) Costs karma to reply to any comment. Top level comments seem to already filter okay. If you get downvotes on the comment you made the karma cost is a multiple of that.

I also think some things would help in general:

1) Title/Domain Regex - Allow me to specify a regex to exclude things from the frontpage. For example /Apple|iPad|techcrunch/.

2) You have to have 10 or 20 karma to do anything besides top thread comments. It would be easy to get that with a little effort, but it would pretty much eliminate all the spam and low hanging crap.

3) Have a option to (turned on by default) to collapse comments using the common +/- interface and display the total score for that thread. I think then you would be able to focus and find the good threads quickly. Coming into this discussion 5 hrs after the fact like I am doing is where this is really needed.

4) This is a big one, but I will throw it out there. Create an API. With that I think a LOT of smart people (instead of a few) could play with all of this and maybe find somethings that no one here is currently thinking of.

2 points by donohoe 3 hours ago 0 replies      
There has been much talk of better days, better comment threads and such.

I've been here less than 2 years but I ask if anyone can spare the time and dig up some classic examples of stories and threads, and great back and fourth comment based conversations...

I realize this is difficult given the non-archival nature of HN but can anyone show a "then" versus "now" difference?

4 points by pbiggar 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's one you suggested to me: have people pay to comment.

If this were any other website, I'd suggest simply requiring a Facebook or twitter account to log in. Worked for Gawker et al, but it won't fly with this demographic.

So just charge people $1 to activate their account. It'll reduce the shite, and 99% of the commenters won't care. What happens to the edge-cases of people who don't have a credit card is an open question, but I suggest validating them some other way (solve a problem in Lisp perhaps).

2 points by dangoldin 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Thanks for bringing the problem up. I never contributed too much but dropped in whenever I felt I had something insightful to say. Recently it has been getting less frequent but I think it's just that many of the front page stories aren't as interested as they have been and there is a good amount of duplicates. Since the community is large the comments tend to drop down faster as well so it's more difficult to get a discussion going.

A possible idea is to put up a dump of the HN data somewhere for users to download. Maybe the community can analyze it and find interesting patterns/behaviors and possibly solutions?

2 points by baguasquirrel 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't offer any solutions, but I can offer a cause of the problem.

HN has become important. I know people IRL who will get their friends to help mod their submission. I likewise see stories that just scream, this person has friends who probably modded them. These won't stay on the front page for long at all, but they do increase the signal to noise significantly.

9 points by ComputerGuru 7 hours ago 2 replies      
A hard limit on the maximum upvotes a comment can get. Say, 25.
3 points by Groxx 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Don't make submissions give the submitter karma. Currently, the fast way to gain karma is to be the first to submit a big story, and duplicates abound because everyone tries something different.

If there's no incentive, there's no race.

I, personally, also like the up-votes costing karma. It'd make the act much much more costly to perform, so high voted comments will be more likely to be selected on content than laughs.

1 point by crasshopper 56 minutes ago 0 replies      
pg, how much have you played around with simple weights of upvotes vs downvotes? Eg, making a downvote worth -1.1 and an upvote worth +1.0.
1 point by teyc 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I believe the decrease of 'quality' is due to the failure of HN to create a society of like-minded people. This failure is on two levels. Firstly, the open voting system and comments drive has a tendency to revert to the mean. Secondly, HN needs to create hackers the way a school creates students. I realize there is an anti authoritarian streak among hackers but a geek club is pretty exclusive in its taste. New members have to be "schooled" into the ways of a hacker. In real life, it is impossible to have a town hall meeting where everybody talks at once, but HN is already bigger than a town hall.

I believe Quora does rather well in this respect because it encourages longer, considered posts. The (fast) rate of decay on the front page partially contributes to the problem because it models a news site, rather than a technical discussion site, where most techniques and approaches remain timeless.

Here are some possible approaches:

1. Encourage longer answers and comments at the top level. This can be either implemented as a simple word limit, or automatically placing longer comments at the top of the comments list.

2. Recycle old posts which have good comments. This should fix the disincentive for people to provide long-lived answers.

3. Make HN a "not" news site. This means that the incubation period is longer before posts make it to the front page. Unless something has a long term value, it will less likely be voted up because the reader would have already seen and discussed it on TC, Reddit, Digg etc..

4. (option to #3). Have posters classify whether the post is a news or a technical discussion one. News links will have a different rate of decay, and will occupy limited number of spots on the front page. Furthermore, these posts will not be recycled.

5. Require a link to be submitted with some comments. This is to encourage submitters reason like hackers do. Provide some guidance - e.g. does this news contain some data? What are the insights/inferences one might draw from this? Does this article discuss a problem domain? Does the post illustrate an assumption that is subject to hacking? What is your personal take on this? It also acts as a disincentive for people to submit links without giving the topic due consideration. I recall that eHarmony was very succesful in its early days because internet dating sites usually have more men than women. By subject the men to a barrage of interview questions, eHarmony was able to maintain a balance between the male and female participants. I thought this was a great hack.

6. Implement some sort of disincentive for upvoting of inane comments. For an example, do an automatic Quora-style follow, where you will start to see this person's comments at the top of the comments page. Make it difficult to "unfollow" (say three clicks). It will encourage people to be more careful about polluting their personalizations.

2 points by GBKS 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it's a problem inherent in the larger audience - it's a different dynamic with less intimacy. To restore the intimacy that begets the high quality, I recommend introducing ways to customize my experience, whether it's sub-HNs, categories, following, or something else. That way people can create clusters and privacy for themselves and control their experience.

I don't think this can just be solved by tweaking karma logic.

3 points by Jarred 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm fairly new here, but I've been in a lot of different internet communities for several years now. This seems to happen to every major growing internet community and maybe this is a way to both filter out the bad content and encourage the good content.

What if user's had the option of investing karma into a submission/comment? If a user wants to comment or send a submission then they have to spend some of their karma points in order for other people to see it. This would bring the submission/comment more default points but would be negative points toward the submitter. That means it will appear higher on the page dependent on the amount of points they invest in the post. When/if a submitter's post is upvoted enough to pass the amount he invested, the submitter would gain karma.

I think this would work better because right now people can basically post what they want without worrying about their karma going down very much. This would do two things, firstly it would reduce the karma inflation, and secondly it would encourage higher-quality submissions and discussions.

I originally said this here http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2403085, but I think this would be a better place to say it.

2 points by planckscnst 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Allow every user to have downvote suggestions. Allowing people to suggest that a comment should be downvoted allows those with sufficient privilege to hone in on the bad comments and it lets other users be more involved. Possibly, track a user's 'discernment' level - increase it when a suggestion is acted upon. Use this to weight how much that user's suggestion effects a comment's "downvote-suggestion rank" as it is shown to the trusted users. Promote users to trusted status when their discernment reaches a certain point. This discernment level would both measure a user's interest in maintaining the site as well as predict how good they would be at it.

Maybe even do this in general (for up and down votes): all users cast only suggestion votes. Trusted users cast the real votes.

1 point by crasshopper 2 hours ago 0 replies      
How about giving users two upvote buttons. The second one appears X seconds after the first one has been hit. Because really great comments, I've noticed, often provoke first: yeah, good. And then, later: wow, that was really really good. I wish I could upvote it again. (the second upvote can have a different meaning)

Google Hotpot does something like this, limiting the number of Really Great votes you can make with unlimited +1's.

2 points by staunch 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Plenty of good suggestions here. I just want to add one thing: I've been here since the very early days and still think the site is great.

Yeah, it's become a much bigger community and there are more of every kind of post (good/bad/ugly). Overall it's still a great site and it has been successfully maintained.

So please do tighten things up some, but avoid any drastic change for now. The system is working pretty damn well.

7 points by ChrisNorstrom 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I don't know but maybe get rid of Karma that caries over from article to article. This is what drove me insane about Reddit. The mean, smart ass, slightly funny but useless comments made it to the top while other more useful comments where completely ignored or buried. The problem with democracy is "Bandwagon" + "herd mentality".

I myself tried this on TechCrunch and got up into the top 5 most "liked" commenters. All I did was post snarky, rude ass, criticizing, comments that appealed to the sarcastic douche bag within us all. It was easy. My faith in humanity vanished over that time period because it was so easy to do.

3 points by tlrobinson 5 hours ago 0 replies      
What about giving more weight to users that (a) have been here longer, or (b) have more karma?

I feel like this would add some "drag" to the rate of change.

2 points by socksy 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I see two issues in comment threads:

1) Despite guidelines, people vote up comments they agree with. If they have enough karma, they vote down ones they disagree with. There's little you can do to change such a situation

This is inadequate " sometimes you can see interesting and informative posts up the top; sometimes interesting posts have a relatively low comment score, simply because they are controversial. The more specific and detailed a post is, the more chances they have to offend (or just not overall agreement), and the more chances they have to get a downvote/not be voted on. If a comment is very general, (eg "How awful.") it will be a lot less controversial, and thus more get more votes.

On the other hand, it can be useful to see comment scores as a barometer to popularity " which framework/language/cool solution for a specific problem is upvoted the most can be genuinely useful information.

This is a problem that many sites that implement "voting" have. I'm not entirely sure of what a solution can be. One might be that there be two metrics " one for interestingness/helpfulness/what the guidelines are for anyway. The other for whether you agree with a post(/find it funny). There are potential problems with this idea, for instance, it complicates voting (the simplicity of a vote increasing a comment's score is one that everyone can understand). However, I think that the benefits would outweigh the costs.

2) Comment threads that try to be increasingly funny, with signal to noise ratio decreasing with every increase in depth. I often find myself scrolling down past a lot of uninteresting and unimportant comments to get to the next comment that isn't part of the first thread. This is a little harder to tackle, as sometimes good comments can be revealing deep in a thread full of mediocre ones, making it difficult to just fold comments part a certain level. Perhaps only fold when most of the comments are under a certain threshold (like 5 points)?

8 points by peterlai 7 hours ago 1 reply      
You could help people discover good comments by allowing them to collapse comment threads. A simple [-] button by each comment should do the trick.
1 point by rbarooah 45 minutes ago 0 replies      
I think the larger problem is that comments that aren't emotive, but are reasonably insightful get ignored. HN quickly trains newcomers not to bother with them, and to go for pithy zingers.
3 points by bvi 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Flag comments (essentially public shaming). Look at how Quora does it. If a user's reply is not in line with the question, other users flag it as "not helpful" (and explain why below).

So the more the people who flag stupid comments (instead of just downvoting), the more these comments should descend to the bottom, regardless of number of votes.

2 points by brk 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Lots of good suggestions, forgive me if my suggestions are a dupe that I missed.

1)For certain high-profile domains, assign no karma to submissions. This would probably a hand-curated list of domains, but would probably include: Techcrunch, pg essays, avc.com, etc.

2)Allow users above X karma (500?) to vote to give any other user a "time out". At some threshold (25?) of votes, that user is muted for 1 week.

3)For any users that submits more than 5 articles from the same domain/subdomain, either suspend karma accumulation or suspend their ability to submit until they reach some mix of other submissions with an average score above 10

4)Create an article tagging system, and/or a way for users to ignore submissions on certain topics and/or from particular domains.

2 points by ankeshk 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Let moderators mark a comment as "not useful". And everyone who voted for that comment earns negative karma. This will make people think twice before voting for a comment. Dumb and mean comments won't be voted on.

This allows you and the mods to set the tone for comments.

Of course, the weak point is - moderators bias may show up. And a worthy comment may be marked as not useful occasionally. So depending on the number of moderators you have, you could make it so that the minimum criteria is x number of moderators have to mark a comment as not useful.

2 points by danielford 5 hours ago 2 replies      
I've generally found a strong correlation between forum quality and the difficulty of gaining admission. One of my favorite forums put me on a waiting list for three months before they let me post.

So I'd prefer the addition of some sort of barrier to entry. Either an invite system like the private file-stealing sites use, a sign-up fee like Metafilter uses, or a vetting process for potential members.

Ideally, I'd love to see Paul Graham take a couple hundred of the best users and start a new forum. After they had some time to establish the community, people like me could apply for membership, which would involve submitting a written case, and waiting a week for the existing members to vote on it.

*This was originally a reply to lionhearted, who deleted his perfectly reasonable post.

1 point by ohyes 2 hours ago 0 replies      
I would recommend getting rid of up-voting and positive karma. People make pithy comments in order to get positive karma. Same reason for meme threads.

The real reason for a karma mechanic on HN is to filter out incredibly stupid comments. So keep down-voting. Things that are down-voted should go to the bottom of the stack.

2 points by Devilboy 5 hours ago 1 reply      
Admit defeat and just use the slashdot system. For all its trolls and failings slashdot still has the best crowdsource comment moderation system on the interwebs.

The Slashdot System

- Comments start at +1 and can range from -1 to +5 only

- Mod points are limited and distributed randomly as needed

- Only members with good karma are eligible for mod points

- Mod points must be used within 24 hours

2 points by dreish 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Pick as many active users whose judgment you trust as you can find, train a Bayesian classifier on their votes, up and down, and use that to score the voting patterns of users. Set ignore for the ones with the worst scores. Even if it turns out not to help much, at least you'll have had some fun doing it.

Also, there's currently nothing reminding users of the ideals you want them to uphold just before they submit a comment -- i.e., right next to the submit button. It never hurts to ask.

2 points by j_baker 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Every article from techcrunch and about techcrunch should get an automatic ranking penalty. Seriously. Techcrunch occasionally posts an article that's useful and warrants not banning them completely, but I don't think the community would lose anything by not having the average techcrunch article that gets posted here.
3 points by randall 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I understand this is primarily about comment quality, but I had an idea for keeping story quality high: Score votes via bookmarklet as higher than a standard vote. That'd be one way to ensure that someone actually read a story, rather than just upvoted a catchy headline.

Naturally this would have to be kept secret, since it'd invariably lead to a potential voting ring issue.

1 point by anurag 4 hours ago 1 reply      
It would be a big change, but enforcing real identities could help. Very few top commenters on HN are anonymous, and people are much more likely to be rude or intellectually lazy when no one knows its them. Given HN's readership there is a big incentive for most users to appear smart and nice through their HN activity - if potential co-founders, investors and clients could dig up my mean/dumb comment (or my upvote of one), I would be less impulsive in commenting and upvoting.
1 point by bbq 1 hour ago 0 replies      
You're trying to control the character of this site. It started in a good position, but has been slowly drifting. You can wait for it to change its course and find its way back to the sweet spot. Or do nothing and hope it finds a new position. These are both long shots and not very likely. The other way is to apply force to move it back where it was.

The content of this site is the average of community activities. If you want to increase the quality of content, you have increase the average quality of activities.

Moderation does this: removing low quality submissions increases the average quality. You could be more aggressive in moderation. Remove more comments. Take away commenting privileges temporarily for repeat offenders. Ban bad users.

Another option is giving trusted users 'megavotes,' worth more than 1 point. They can downvote that admittedly-funny-but-not-constructive comment to a more appropriate point value and upvote that other comment that's downvoted for no good reason. These users work to increase visibility and rewards of high quality content and decrease the visibility and rewards of low quality content. Hopefully this would work in a feedback loop to increase the natural average quality of content.

Both of these suggestions can help force the decline of mean, dumb, and inappropriately upvoted comments.

However, I think many will be wary of these suggestions because it can lead to bad things. I'm concerned too. Trusted users can abuse their power and destroy the feelings of community that have developed. Mistakes will be made and people will be upset.

But it needs to be done. Mistakes are mistakes. People find ways to get upset here everyday. Valuable members leaving already hurts the community.

Technical solutions won't cut it. Hacker News could be about coin collecting and the software could be exactly the same. The software does little to shape the community on a larger scale.

Ultimately, the average of the community is pushing in the wrong direction, so you need to push back by fixing the average to your favor. There may be better ways of doing this then what I've described, but it's time to pushing hard.

3 points by rexreed 6 hours ago 1 reply      
It sounds like Hacker News needs a reason for being. Who is the audience? What is the value proposition? Shouldn't the needs of the audience and the "problem" HN is solving be the answer to this question?

For me, I came to HN for:

* A free, online location where people can exchange ideas and commentary relevant to tech startups, that welcomes newcomers and experienced alike.

Perhaps it's different for others:

* A place to collect points to boost one's ego and sense of self-worth in front of peers.

* A paid site for members of a small community to exchange topics in a way closed to outsiders

* A place for those who have earned a role as experts or taste-makers to evaluate and/or judge the ideas of others.

Looks like there's no consensus, hence the reason for HN's decline.

2 points by jp 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Display percentages instead of points relative to sub-tree total. This way points are hidden but relevance stays intact. Then use colors instead of numbers to indicate "good" sub-trees so that people have to convert hexadecimal values to extract the relative karma. Then add a hidden karma-boost mode where a up-voting "short term good commenter" indicates the presence of another "short term good commenter". Add another view called "contested" where down voted links can get a second chance. This might reduce group-think and content-shaping. Let "short term good commenter" double vote on contested links. Add a content merge option to reduce or group duplicates.

I think people are mean because they get down voted a lot by people who "play" HN like WOW and everyone non-omg-erlang is a target. And lots of people here think KARMA == FREE TRAFFIC SPELL. Because spending most of your life on HN showcases how busy you are making money. Although.. nobody will ever read this comment because the thread is already two hours old and the in-crowd has already started writing meta posts that will take over the front page two hours from now.

Or maybe this is all about.. hello TechCrunch readers !

1 point by jackfoxy 4 hours ago 1 reply      
The way to save HN from its own success is to take it to the next level. You need to spin it up into a commercial enterprise. Improving the quality of HN, as it stands today, requires expenditure of human effort, either in the form of professional moderation, or some sort of AI-ish enhancement: pruning of message threads, credentialing users in more sophisticated ways, finding ways to bubble up story submissions that otherwise get lost.

No doubt some will find the commercial option distasteful, but I think the pure crowd-sourced option has run its course. Commercializing HN would allow further expansion, for instance splitting it into several areas of interest. Stackoverflow/StackExchange is a model for this. There is much value that can be added on to HN, as many Hackers have shown in the past with various projects.

6 points by mikek 7 hours ago 0 replies      
How about notifying people when their comments have been flagged and pointing them to the site guidelines?
2 points by Skywing 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Perhaps some logic, during new thread creation, that looks for similar, older threads? Prompt the user to comment in an existing thread if it's very similar. Much like StackOverflow, if I recall. This may reduce duplicates.

It appears to me that most of the URL submissions are just tech blog websites using HN as a tool to drive traffic. There are even users out there that just wait for a new blog post by jacquesm so that they can post it for free karma. I think in situations like this, karma and voting become less useful because people will up vote just so that something might land on the front page, for traffic.

This leads me to another trend I see a ton in #startups. Somebody will create a new submission and link it on IRC and ask for free up votes so that it gets more visibility. Once again, this is where up votes aren't being used properly. But, I also think it highlights a potential difficulty for valuable new submissions - it's difficult to get that initial visibility and up votes. Perhaps to remedy this, make the "/newest" section be the default section, and move the highest voted to something that you have to navigate to. This will at least highlight new entries for people just hitting the main URL.

1 point by pvandehaar 1 hour ago 0 replies      
The question is in two parts: (1) Why do people add bad comments and stories?, and (2) How do we keep those from getting upvoted?

1) When newbies first see the karma system they begin (like in any game) to work hard to raise their numbers. They watch closely to learn what kinds of comments will get them points. Ways to address this:
-Make new users read the guidelines and address this issue more directly there.
-Make Karma look less like a competition.

2) Like other comments have said, figuring out who upvotes bad comments requires data-mining. A serious question here is whether democracy is a viable option any longer. What is the site meant to be: a mob, or a tight community which a mob may watch? Do we educate the problem-voters, or do we dis-empower them?

2 points by mrb 4 hours ago 0 replies      
pg: allow more people to downvote. For example I have 409 points of karma, yet I do not have the right to downvote.

Or perhaps assign more weight to upvotes/downvotes from members with a high karma, than those with a lower karma.

2 points by apollo 5 hours ago 0 replies      
1) Provide an api (or release a dataset) and let people experiment with new ranking schemes.

2) The influence of your votes on ranking could be correlated to your relative importance in the community. You could do this with a simple PageRank where nodes are users and edges are votes.

2 points by jacques_chester 5 hours ago 0 replies      
> Anyone have any suggestions? We're on mostly uncharted territory here.

I'm surprised to hear someone as experienced as you say that. I've only been online since 1997.

All successful internet communities seem follow a common life cycle:

* Early adopters seem to be good

* They attract more users

* Someone pines for the old days

* Earnest discussions start about how to "save" the community

Here things bifurcate:

* Descent into infinitely recursive navel gazing with site population following a visible half-life; OR

* Equilibrium is reached after a certain number of the early adopters leave.

I imagine this can be modelled as stocks-and-flows. It would be interesting to see if there are any predictable tipping points or at least observable, predictive metrics.

1 point by bootload 4 hours ago 0 replies      
"... fixing the decreasing quality of comment threads on HN ... Anyone have any suggestions? We're on mostly uncharted territory here. ..."

In any group of people where the cost of joining is minimal and the freedom reins are loose, you will see behavioural changes mutate in ways resembling Golding's "Lord of the Flies". The big problem with HN is the founder assumption that we (users) will be a) civil b) willing, positive contributors and c) thoughtful. Maintaining this requires some means of natural selection. At first it was probably a combination of being curious, an early adopter and nerd-like. Some (quick & possibly stupid) ideas:

- intellectual paywall: add a penalty of a kind that selects readers/contributors

- classifier: run a classifier that categorises users by type and apply rules (behaviour modifier)

- change focus of HN to News with sub hacker focus (radical focus change)

- add a real minimal paywall sending $ to something like EFF or other hacker friendly charity (penalise by currency - bad)

- stop HN altogether (deny)

- wipe the slate clean & build a new HN like community but with http://perlmonk.org like progression of privs by tasks (enforced discipline) at start of user creation.

3 points by scott_s 6 hours ago 0 replies      
An explicit voting protocol may help. Personally, I would like to see "No downvotes for disagreement" made official.
2 points by rlpb 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Find some way of qualifying upvotes by who made them, at what point in the lifetime of a comment and each upvoters upvoting frequency. Use these factors to adjust the score, rather than just a score+=1.

A user who upvotes ten comments a day should have far less impact per upvote than one with very high karma and a high average score who only upvotes infrequently (and is not involved in the thread).

I realise that you're asking about comments; I think that this applies equally to story submissions.

2 points by noahl 3 hours ago 1 reply      
I don't know the solution, but let me offer a suggestion as to what the cause of the problem is.

I think the issue is that the things that seem insightful to relatively unskilled programmers seem obvious to very skilled ones. A lot of the blog posts I see on sites like this rehash issues that I thought were settled a long time ago, but what's happening is that people understand things for themselves over and over again. And it's actually helpful when they write it up, because their writeups then lead other people to understand these things. Thus there is a steady stream of posts about the same set of ideas that are always helpful to people, but are still clogging HN.

The trouble is that there's no way for people who have already understood something to stop seeing the same old posts. I see three options:
- get rid of the less-skilled people
- keep the less-skilled people, but stop them from learning from these posts
- somehow let people opt out of seeing posts on things they understand, but keep them around for other people to see

It seems obvious that the third solution is correct, but I don't yet know how to do it.

1 point by Goladus 4 hours ago 0 replies      
It would be nice to be able to click a button to inform the poster, discreetly, that the comment exhibits negative qualities like:

unclear connection to parent
factual errors


Discretion is necessary to encourage people to address and fix the problems with their comments and style rather than provoking them to guard their reputation.

Sending individual emails is effective at this, but takes too much time and energy. Being able to click a button that gives a commenter specific feedback could be very effective.

2 points by brm 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I've said it before and I'll say it again, limit the number of comments and submissions per user per day... See discussion here:


2 points by ajju 7 hours ago 0 replies      
A community can grow only so large before it has to provide some personalization so it is not trying to be everything to everyone.

Reddit has subreddits and you can choose the ones from which stories appear on the front page. HN can start with allowing users to 'frontpage' other users aka whitelisting by showing stories from only these users on the front page. The next logical step is allowing blacklisting. Version 2.0 of this would allow whitelisting and blacklisting of content-sources (sites), in addition to users, so that I could blacklist certain blogs if I wanted to.

This will result in some fragmentation of the community, but in my opinion, it will keep HN interesting for everyone. This may also reduce the need to answer subjective editorial questions such as - we don't allow politics, but is open-source-politics politics? Is coverage of world-changing-elections allowed?

3 points by YuriNiyazov 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Add more moderators, put them on rotation duty, and, instead of having them kill comments (except in the most egregious cases), have them patiently educate the people who put up the mean/dumb comments, as well as the upvoters. Write software that makes this process efficient.
2 points by CrazedGeek 6 hours ago 0 replies      
The simpler ideas I have are to aggressively kill any snarky or pun-filled comments and raise the downvote karma limit (again...).

A slightly more interesting idea would be to temporarily ban any member that does very anti-guideline things from posting for a little while, coupled with an explanation as to why they were banned. Even an hour-long ban may be effective. The GameFAQs boards do this, and while they have their own problems, not following the guidelines isn't one of them.

2 points by revorad 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The problem with these posts on the declining quality of HN is that people can't agree upon what the ideal comment quality should be, just like they can't agree on what stories should be on HN.

I propose we have complete transparency.

PG, please start by giving 10 examples of the kind of comments you are most worried about, so that you define the problem in very clear terms. There might be disagreements and we need to surface those before suggesting solutions to a vague problem.

Extending the idea of transparency generally, make all votes public, such that everyone can see who voted what.

4 points by dchs 5 hours ago 0 replies      
How about a basic API (make comments/votes/users available as JSON objects) so people can build different filters and see what works?
1 point by presidentender 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Base moderation on a points system, a la Slashdot. Grant a user one (or three or 6.5 or n) mod point every time another user replies to one of his comments.

The effect this has is twofold. It grants some incentive to posters who start comment threads, rather than making just single comments which are likely to strike more users' upvote chords. It also reduces the tendency to blindly upvote or downvote based on agreement or for dumb humor.

1 point by jmtame 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I'm making an assumption here, but maybe the original folks who made up HN are voting less. so you might have newer people doing more voting, and they may not understand the quality of comments before upvoting.

similar to how google looks at more than just keywords in a document before it ranks it highly, maybe you can weight each vote. a vote cast by an early HN user isn't so binary, maybe in reality it counts as 2 or 3 votes while we call it "+1" there is a weight to their vote based on how long they've been on hn and their karma?

7 points by eggoa 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Institute a one-time $5 fee to participate.
1 point by bigwally 3 hours ago 0 replies      
The problem is the constant refreshing of stories on the front page. I need to visit a few times a day to have some idea as to what is going on.

If the refresh rate was slower, or the ability for a story to get to the front page would take longer then I would visit less.

At a guess most of the dub/mean comments get made by people who visit many, many times a day and comment out of boredom.

Some method to slow down the entire system would slow down all the posters and would result in longer posts rather than a bunch of witty one liners. Why would anyone go to the trouble of writing an in depth response to anything when it will be gone in three hours.

Increase the quality of the articles and you will increase the quality of the comments.

At least HN doesn't have youtube quality comments yet. :)

2 points by pumpmylemma 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Consider starting (or merely sanctifying) a HN IRC channel or webchat. I think a lot of people comment and visit HN now just for something to do; they are bored and want to do some intellectual sparing.

If there was a irc.ycombinator.com with real-time chat topics, it might help separate "the wheat from the chaff," so to speak.

E.G. #japan-nuclear-chat

If not a chat, I'd say focus on something that doesn't fight the size of the community. Personally, I'd prefer if HN was shrunk to like '08 levels, but that's not going to happen. I think adding a service that allows for water cooler talk but keeps it isolated from deep technical discussions would work better than karmic tinkering at this point.

1 point by gokhan 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Just based on observations, not numbers: Any member can upvote and HN is more popular. There will be more upvotes to be distributed among comments. Early comments seem to be receiving more upvotes than late comments, regardless of the community. So, unqualified comments will be receiving more and more upvotes.

Did raising downvote limit to 500 made any difference in unfair downvoting? If so, giving upvoting to more qualified people will also solve this for some time, means we can focus on measuring the qualification.

Maybe we should be able to mark individual comments as unfairly upvoted. Higher unfairly upvoted scores might decrease the value of future upvotes of voters on that comment.

2 points by FirstHopSystems 4 hours ago 0 replies      
In point I don't think it's a decline, just more of a noise issue. Many of the articles are interesting but I am noticing more submissions that have only a abstract connection to qualify for "Hacker" news.

I don't have any well though out answers to the question. I do think the more questions out there that could help solve this problem.

I'm thinking the commenting is more of a symptom than the underlying issue(s).......

2 points by ssp 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Make a graph containing edges from each user to the comments they voted for, and from each comment its author. Then run something like PageRank on it and show the resulting ranks of both comments and users.

It would help with comment quality because it would make people compete for approval from high-quality users.

3 points by ig1 6 hours ago 1 reply      
We could penalize commenters not using their real name.

Techcrunch comment quality has improved by an order of magnitude and trolls have been largely wiped out since they started requiring people use Facebook or Yahoo accounts to comment.

2 points by dpcan 3 hours ago 0 replies      
430+ comments on a Sunday. One might say that for HN'ers, the quality of posts comes in at a close second to having this community of peers to converse with, argue with, share with and even make lame jokes with.
3 points by ericflo 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Reddit solved this problem by splintering into different communities, and let them self-select.
2 points by jerhinesmith 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This is more or less me thinking out loud, but why allow upvoting for new users and not downvoting? Does it not make sense to have a barrier to entry for each? Maybe the ability to upvote only happens after you've been here for 3 months and downvoting after 6 months? (I personally like tying those abilities to seniority vs. points as I tend not to comment often, but can easily identify a snarky comment that adds no value -- with no ability to downvote it).
3 points by rexreed 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Get rid of the whole point system. I go to HN for the community, not to collect points. It seems to provide incentives for the wrong behavior, even tho I understand that it was originally intended to do the exact opposite.

A community stands or falls on the quality of the interactions. Therefore to a certain extent, you have to let it thrive or die on its own.

Solely my opinion, but I see points as getting in the way, motivating bad behavior, and not relevant to why I come to HN.

2 points by planckscnst 4 hours ago 0 replies      
Every N times someone upvotes a comment, prompt the person with a reminder that good reasons for upvoting a comment are x,y,z, not a,b,c. One especially important thing for the latter category is "You agree with the content of the comment."
2 points by dustingetz 7 hours ago 0 replies      
* more comments than upvotes seems to correlate with low-content articles, because everyone feels qualified to comment

* articles with disproportionately few comments per upvote are sometimes the most interesting

if you can get low-content articles off the front page faster, and more interesting non-pop articles visible longer, it would probably attract the hacker community more and the pop community less.

misc ideas:

* remove all system incentive to submit links

* change UI to increase visibility into user history, so that reputation becomes even more important, and low-quality activity sticks with you for a while

* fix the new page! incent people to upvote new links, or a creative UI hack like a single new submission at the top (e.g. "sponsored" on reddit)

2 points by hanifvirani 7 hours ago 0 replies      
How about weighted votes based on karma? After a certain karma threshold, your vote value is doubled. The system could also have multiple levels. For e.g. at 2k karma, when you upvote/downvote a post, it gains/loses 2 points. At 5k karma, 3 points and so on. Or maybe the user can choose his vote value, limited by his maximum vote value.
Perhaps we can also use the average karma somewhere in this equation.

Another suggestion is the ability to downvote submissions after a certain karma threshold. We can use the weighted vote system here as well.

Yet another suggestion is 12 hours/24 hours/1 week bans.

Another problem that I admit facing is the unwillingness to post something with the fear of it not getting upvoted and thus affecting my average karma, even though it might have added value to the discussion.

2 points by benologist 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Comment collapsing ... with 260 comments on this submission it's such a very long page that the voting activity is going to be concentrated in the first thread/s.
2 points by mbesto 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I think I have a simple fix:

When you hover the up arrow button a tooltip should say "This comment ADDS to the discussion" and on a down "This comment DOESNT ADD to the discussion". Too often I think people just click the arrows based on (1) the username (2) "oh ya I agree, I hate that too!".

Up/down voting should be an extension of the community's ability to assess whether someone's opinion is adding to the community thought process. We often forget that (I do myself).

1 point by newguy889 20 minutes ago 0 replies      
Have a hard tech theme day once a month, like Erlang day. Let's do Scala Day tomorrow!
2 points by moblivu 5 hours ago 0 replies      
I may not be a long time HN user, even less of an experienced one, but I think that the race for Karma may be responsible. The core mechanic of HN is to function through Karma, but unfortunately it is also the source of this problematic. If users are obsessed about obtaining it, why not make that every action on HN costs some.

Another problem is what the comments are about. It's more a matter of Objectivity vs Subjectivity. At first the point of a comment is to give a point of view about the article and then discuss about it. I have found that now it is more a matter of who has the best point of view and that if it is contrary to the majority; it will fail. Thus resulting in multiple pointless comments, giant upvoting for the one who "blasts" the one with a different point of view and so on.

Filtering may be a solution, but if the problem can;t really be solved with an algorithm due to the human nature, it is a matter of a longer brainstorm...

2 points by znt 5 hours ago 0 replies      
A turkish message board (www.eksisozluk.com) with about 200k users faces the same problem, and uses moderated user acceptance as a quality filter.

First of all if you want to create an account you have to wait for the mods to announce application submission dates.

If you can manage to create an account during that period, you are made a 'rookie' and what you submit to the message board is invisible to everyone, except mods. You are only allowed to post a total of 10 messages.

When you are done posting your first entries, you wait for mods to read and evaluate the value you bring to the platform and if you keep within the format & legal limits of the board. If so, you are made a normal user.

A similar process would especially prevent the bots spamming this place.

1 point by Sandman 6 hours ago 1 reply      
I think that part of the solution may be to introduce a feature that would give users that reach certain karma thresholds the ability to give more and more points to a comment when upvoting.

For example: a newbie would only be able to assign one point to a comment he's upvoting, but a user over a certain threshold could assign two points. The user that has even more karma (and is over the next threshold) could assign three points and so on. Users should be able to decide how many points they want to give to each comment.

The same should apply to downvotes. Prominent HN users should be able to make their downvotes "hurt more" if they want to.

Also, these thresholds could be used for "downvoting penalties". For example, a newbie would lose 4 points when downvoting, but a user over the first threshold would only lose three and so on. Users with karma above one of the thresholds would no longer lose karma when downvoting.

3 points by bmelton 7 hours ago 0 replies      
You might also check out this thread, which pertains to submission karma and its distribution: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2387873
1 point by pitdesi 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Agree that there is a problem with comments, but there is also a problem with terrible or duplicate articles getting to the front page. I'd like the ability to downvote articles and we should all patrol duplicates - only allow linking to primary sources, etc.
1 point by kgo 7 hours ago 1 reply      
There's one problem that's similar to reddit. Although there are guidelines (or reddiquite) you need to go out of your way to find them. Sure, clicking a link isn't that tough, but it's not automatic either.

I wonder what would happen the guidelines or some sort of one-page community code of conduct were displayed when you actually created an account. Would that give users a better set of expectations? Or would they just click throug it like a EULA?

Maybe force existing users to click through it one time as a friendly reminder when the feature is introduced.

1 point by eli_s 4 hours ago 1 reply      
Stop trying to rely on the hive to vote good stories to the top. Either the democratic approach doesn't work or HN is getting gamed - either way the site is now effectively broken.

A decision has to be made from the top about what HN is all about. If it's startups and business then that's the only type of story allowed. Everything else gets dumped. I don't need another Reddit.

Mods would need strict guidelines about what qualifies and everything even slightly outside of these guidelines gets turfed.

oh and get rid of karma. It's bs. Encourages hivemind like nothing else.

1 point by JeffJenkins 6 hours ago 0 replies      
How about using the ratio of points to comments as a signal for articles, and maybe the ratio of up+down votes (i.e. number of votes, not net points ) to sub-comments for comments.

This gives you some of the effect of what I think would be the best solution -- limiting the site's scope significantly -- in that it would give you things which people found interesting but weren't so general that everyone felt they could comment on them.

I think this would work well in conjunction with some of the other ideas in the thread which reduce the number of upvotes people are likely to give (specifically, a cap on the number of upvotes and a visual cap on the display of upvotes).

1 point by Dnguyen 1 hour ago 0 replies      
May I suggest going back to earlier time of HN? Because of the success, there are too many cooks in the kitchen. You have to always increase the number of moderators as the input from users increases. We are all here to read/discuss pretty much the same news. Why not have a chosen few provide the links and start discussions. Maybe the moderators themselves? This will cut down on duplicate links/stories and it will cut down the noise tremendously. Those who are truly interested in HN, will stick around and discuss. Those who are not, will simply go find their news somewhere else.
1 point by sage_joch 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Add a mechanism that encourages people to think before upvoting, like a karmic bank account. Maybe someone could upvote twice for every once they were upvoted. It could reduce the common reflex of upvoting a short/witty comment; with only so many upvotes to give, you'd want to "invest" in comments that really earned it.
1 point by bbulkow 4 hours ago 0 replies      
I think the answer is fairly clear. If you remember Digg before it got popular, and Reddit before it got popular, you understand how these sites lose focus when they increase readership. The devistation of Digg, and now the serious problems at Reddit, are forcing more general-readers to HN.


1) Reddit staved off this effect for a while by both re-tuning the karma ranking computation, and wiping everyone's karma back to 0. The effect of hyper-people with too much power is problematic. I don't think that will work here, but it's possible a re-tune will help.

The general idea of a redo on the karma system was stated above: the right answer is to take a look at "good comments" and "bad comments" and look at new threads.

2) HN as invite only. Anyone can read, few can vote/comment. I'm not sure I'd make the cut if you were to have certain blessed voters/commenters. I like the suggested improvement of having this calculation be hidden, and never to show karma.

3) Moderators. The community I live in with the longest lifetime is "chowhound". They don't have a voting system (or good web technology), they have ruthless monitors. Monitors are never supposed to remove for quality of post, but they do simply nuke from orbit "that's what she said" post chains.

4) Look, there's one real fact here. As someone who, myself, sells a database product aimed at people like those who read HN, I have a huge incentive to get an article into HN. It could make or break my company - no fooling. Once you incent bright people to break your system, it will be broken. Socket puppet rings will rule. Eternal vigilance - that is, a moderator-like junta charged with looking at quality every few months and ruthlessly implementing whatever solution is correct at that time, is the only way to continue HN's spirit.

5) I will guarantee you that if something isn't done, there will simply be a slow, sure slide to mob rule and ignorance.

1 point by pama 5 hours ago 0 replies      
How about only upvoting comments of at least DH4 [1]?

Comments that state their ranking in your disagreement hierarchy are allowed to be upvoted above a threshold (say 5 karma points) if these comments are at least DH4. The remaining comments are questions, clarifications, suggestions, or plain old mean and/or dumb comments; they would remain below the karma threshold.

You could add an optional DH tag to each new comment and only enforce the threshold rule in an alternative "view" of the HN site (until you are happy with the results).

[1] http://www.paulgraham.com/disagree.html

4 points by th0ma5 8 hours ago 1 reply      
A suggestion could well be to not have threads like this one (not trying to be disrespectful!) An interesting thought is the idea that punk music was dead the first time someone said punk's not dead.
1 point by zbanks 7 hours ago 0 replies      
To help improve the quality of comments, what if the OP's vote was weighted more than everyone else's? Their upvotes could be worth 3-5 instead of just 1 point.

An OP is motivated to keep their comment thread awesome: having better comments leads to more upvotes on the story. And, on a personal level, the OP would be less likely to upvote snark against their own story.

The obvious downside would be that the OP could effectively censor opposing ideas. However, I don't think this would happen that often: counterpoint comments generally do pretty well on their own, and would probably still rise to the top even without the OP's help. (Of course, the best OP's would recognize the benefit of discourse and promote these comments anyways... but not everyone is perfect)

1 point by tspiteri 7 hours ago 0 replies      
For (c): create a limit to the amount of votes a user can use, for example, make it impossible to vote on more than 5 items in 24 hours. Story votes, comment upvotes and comment downvotes would all count towards this limit. This would be useless if there is a large number of users who vote up negative comments, and would only work if the problem is caused by a smaller number of users who upvote a lot of frivolous comments and stories.
1 point by adrianwaj 57 minutes ago 0 replies      
Simple, tie board participation more closely with YC application scores. What were you thinking?
1 point by asdf333 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it is about whether the identity of the HN community remains in tact. HN can survive as long as the identity (even if it morphs) remains something specific and associable. Reddit, for example still has a distinct identity/culture even though it is a very different one today than in 2007. Digg, for example, had less of an identity and culture. It was more of a "mainstream place". Reddit kept its quirks and its colorful users which made the place unique.

As long as there is an identity that people find distinctive at HN, I don't think it will die.

All of the suggestions here kind of fit into that paradigm for me....how do you control/preserve identity?

- You could give old timers more control (downvoting)

- You could give newcomers less control until they prove themselves (no account creation just to upvote your friend's post)

- Enlist help in keeping tracking/managing the pulse of the community (like reddit, which has multiple admins on the lookout for issues)

2 points by edanm 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Charge people a (modest) sum to participate in HN. Say $10 a year. I don't know many regulars who wouldn't easily pay that money, but I doubt too many trolls would.

Not sure what is behind the paywall, e.g. commenting only, or commenting and upvoting. You can try a few combinations.

2 points by steve19 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Explicitly ban bots.

This will get rid of some of the (b) comments from bot sock puppets.

1 point by sunir 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Idea 2. Restrict memberships like Gmail invitations.

Give finite invitations to your YCombinator classes and alumni. Have them pass out invites to people they know. Give out more invites when you think you need them. At least this reroots the site back in the "Startup News" seed.

2 points by mkramlich 6 hours ago 0 replies      
I think it is very likely that there are voting rings and sock puppets here on HN. If so, it would cause a distortion in the scores awarded to all the content, sometimes up or down, depending. Therefore anything that helps fight that would improve the site by more honestly gauging the quality of submitted posts and comments, which then improves the S/N ratio.

How to do this exactly? Not sure. But I'm confident that fighting it more will improve any site.

1 point by mindcrime 7 hours ago 1 reply      
A few thoughts

A. "flag" for comments? Whether that just brings them to the editor/moderator's attention, or kills them based on some algorithm, would be an open question.

B. More moderators/editors - drawn from the pool of people who have shown themselves to share the "HN spirit" (or whatever you want to call it), who are empowered to kill stories and/or comments.

And maybe some limits on what new accounts can do? Maybe go so far as requiring new users to lurk for some period of time, before being allowed to post? Or some limit on post / comment frequency, until you've demonstrated some sense of alignment with what's appropriate here?

1 point by gersh 3 hours ago 0 replies      
I'd look at how different users respond to different articles? Do they click on the article? Do they comment? Do they come back to the site after they see the article? Do they vote for the article.

Next, you can correlate how various people voted with whether a specific person will like the article and/or comment. Finally, you should be able to tell who will like or not want something to get voted up. At this point, you can customize for everyone or weight the influence of people based on well correlated their taste is with the top karma people.

2 points by noblethrasher 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Create positive and negative moderators but make the roles mutually exclusive.

The positive mods can promote stories and comments beyond normal up-voting and the negative mods do something similar with down-voting/flagging.

People can become 'supermods' based on karma, election, or something more arbitrary.

1 point by rafaelc 2 hours ago 0 replies      
One idea is that you would only allow users with X month old accounts to comment. X is simply the time since you started noticing the decreasing quality of comment threads, with perhaps a small buffer added onto that time.

This would still allow everyone else to utilize HN as their source of news or as their RSS feed into the tech/startup world, while testing for the source of the decreasing quality of comment threads.

1 point by PStamatiou 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Perhaps make it so that posting a comment actually costs karma (maybe based on your comment karma average for some subset of users with low averages) making people only comment when they are sure they are adding value. This makes it hard for new users to get started though.

Edit: appears I'm not the only one that suggested something like this. searched the page for "cost karma" and found a few comments.

2 points by invertedlambda 7 hours ago 0 replies      
If I were to rephrase the question on this thread, it seems to me that it could also be stated as "how do you keep HN comments from turning into Slashdot comments"? I don't say that in jest - I used to read Slashdot, but after a while I got really sick of 1) the vitriol and 2) the inanity of the comments that were on the first page. Granted, some folks had really interesting things to say, but truly funny/insightful comments seem to be a rare commodity.

But look at it in a positive light - the comments on HN could never be classified in the same - or even near the same - bucket that comments on sites like YouTube and Yahoo! News.

7 points by Sargis 7 hours ago 3 replies      
Make it invite-only to post threads/comments and quietly associate the inviter with the invited person.
2 points by scythe 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Something slashdotty -- i.e. qualitative moderation, not just quantitative moderation -- would help. If you had seperate upvote buttons for "amusing" and "informative", this could factor into sorting.
1 point by rokhayakebe 7 hours ago 0 replies      

Threat upvotes/downvotes as currency and limit the amount of coins someone has in one day. If you have only five upvotes per day, you are going to start to think about how to spend them.

Closed doors, but glass walls.

Reading should be open to everyone, participating should not. No more new sign up unless they have an introduction or they submit a request and we can have a way of letting certain users approve.

2 points by nickolai 6 hours ago 0 replies      
How about having an additional metric in terms of responses to a post? If it doesnt deserve a response, it probably doesnt add much to the discussion.
1 point by maxer 2 hours ago 0 replies      
having been here for a few years, i feel that any time i comment or post anything interesting it will be downvoted. unless your a rockstar having an opinion doesn't count.. expecting downvotes...
1 point by DrJokepu 7 hours ago 0 replies      
How about calculating comment and submission scores as log(sum(karma of upvoters) - sum(karma of downvoters)), while the way individual karma is calculated would stay the same (that is, total number of upvotes minus total number of downvotes)?
2 points by jmatt 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Make voting transparent. Provide access to who has voted a comment up or down.

The community will act differently if they know others can see their behavior. Then again this may have negative effects.

I think that in general I'd be more thoughtful when voting comments up or down if I knew others could see.

3 points by SoftwarePatent 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Allow us to mark certain accounts as "friends" or "favorites". Then on every comment and article, display points originating from "favorites". Like "77 points by pg / 15 points from friends." This preserves the democratic aspect of the site, while giving users valuable information they can use to skip boring content.
2 points by nathanhammond 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Decompose commenting score into a two-part system representing up-votes and down-votes:

Up-vote score = sum(karma of up-voter)

Down-vote score = sum(karma of down-voter)

Score is displayed in both absolute and relative terms. Absolute score would be the same method as we're currently using. The relative score is presented as a part of the whole.

Something like [+++++++|--] could represent the ratio of the positive score to the negative score (which are the weighted scores based upon karma).

And, as a possibly added benefit, taking this approach enables the ability to reduce the karma level before allowing of down-voting, making people feel like they're able to participate more-fully earlier.

2 points by soamv 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems that both reddit and metafilter seem have stronger meta discussions than HN. Reddit seems to have meta posts on the frontpage every once in a while, while metafilter has a fulltime forum (metatalk) dedicated to meta discussions.

Though there are meta discussions once in a while on HN too, they tend to be more general in nature, not specific to a certain comment or post.

I think an active meta discussion community would help with continuous small corrections, and eventually improve people's opinions on what kind of comments are good or bad.

2 points by physcab 7 hours ago 0 replies      
There needs to be a better system of moderation. Perhaps highlighting moderators and/or allowing people to apply to become one.
3 points by gte910h 7 hours ago 1 reply      
I disagree that the quality is declining. I think you're just suffering a misapprehension of the quality of old.
2 points by dglassan 7 hours ago 2 replies      
Have you considered adding a down vote button like Reddit has? I know you can flag comments above a certain karma level but I think that either giving everyone the option to down vote or having a lower karma threshold to down vote would allow the community to regulate itself.

Just a thought, but it seems to have worked for Reddit. This puts a lot of responsibility on the community to keep the quality of the discussions up, but I think enough people on here care about the quality of the community to help out.

1 point by anthonyb 5 hours ago 0 replies      
The main issue seems to be that comment quality is decreasing, so you could always try my honeypot idea: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2352247 :)
2 points by roadnottaken 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Limit comments and/or submissions and/or votes to a few per day.
2 points by Panoramix 7 hours ago 1 reply      
This is a separate issue, but one thing that is not perfectly clear to me is what an upvote/downvote is supposed to mean. Does it mean that I agree with the comment, or that it adds to the discussion?
3 points by ronnier 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Stop accepting new members for awhile.
1 point by zyfo 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Comment scores should either follow the opinion of
the elite (role models, learn-from-the-best) or your "peers" (like snide remarks? go ahead).

Currently it's the tyranny of majority. Suggestion for b (possibly intensive processing): Change comment display order depending on your previous voting.

1 point by ctl 5 hours ago 0 replies      
What would happen if people could see both the upvotes and the downvotes on a given comment, rather than just its total karma score? I've used sites (not social news) that worked like that, and I've found that e.g. seeing +6/-0 on one of my posts is more satisfying than seeing +15/-4. If you implemented downvote visibility I think the overall effect would be to discourage comments that get lots of downvotes. (The current policy, in contrast, encourages any comment that'll get a net positive karma score.)

I'm pretty sure that on the whole that would be a very good thing. Downvote visibility would certainly discourage dissent, which sucks. But I think the kinds of posts it would most strongly discourage are, in order, mean comments, stupid comments, and contentless (e.g. snide) comments -- which are exactly the things that have been dangerously proliferating recently.

And I don't even think it would much reduce the expression of minority opinion; there's a certain pride that comes with dissenting that makes it tolerable or even enjoyable when other people disagree with you. Whereas when you make a cheap joke, being able to see all the people who found it stupid or crass is a major buzzkill.

1 point by weaksauce 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Have you thought about scaling the effect of an upvote based on the number of words that a comment has? Of course there are implementation details that you would have to worry about but I could see that encouraging longer more thoughtful commentary and penalizing snarky 5 word answers that garner easy upvotes.
7 points by akkartik 6 hours ago 1 reply      
Make votes public.
3 points by julius 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Limit the number of upvotes to 1 per thread.
So the user has to choose the best comment.

This adds a cost to upvoting just like the "N upvotes per day" ideas (which I like a lot).

1 point by rooshdi 3 hours ago 0 replies      
Hide the username and vote count for comments with positive votes. Show the username and vote count for comments with negative votes. Users will be able to see the profile and username of a positive user by clicking on a "see profile" link in place of the username.
1 point by sabat 5 hours ago 0 replies      
It's not all bad, but I've noted a disturbing trend of dogpile upvoting and downvoting.

What about taking away downvoting? It would change the dynamic, at least. I suppose it doesn't solve the problem of stupid posts and comments being upvoted.

1 point by malbs 4 hours ago 0 replies      
The timing of this post is amazing.

I'm by no means a prolific commenter on HN. If I have something of value to add I'll try to ask; otherwise I usually abstain (but I'm only human, made a few dumb comments)

I just saw another article, http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2404157

and the two comments on it were either bashing IQ, or talking about penis size.

I feel like maybe the reddit/4chan community has started reading HN?

I felt like posting a comment on that thread asking, nay begging, for someone to post something interesting as a followup to the kids question in the video, instead we have.. I just don't know.

And after saying that, I have no useful suggestion. Any feedback system that is implemented can still/will be gamed.

2 points by zecg 7 hours ago 0 replies      
It's a solved problem already, a new /classic/ every two years. Looking forward to /classic/classic/, since /classic/ has really gone downhill lately.
1 point by da5e 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Perhaps the karma for submitting articles should be separate from the karma for comments. I know when I was out to build karma I focused on submissions because there wasn't a downside.
1 point by Yana_Convelife 4 hours ago 0 replies      
How about rather than down-voting, you allow people (possibly with some minimal karma) to delete comments if they violate the terms? If a comment is deleted, there would be a trace showing that there used to be a comment that got deleted by John. John's profile could then show all the comments he deleted, just like it now shows John's submissions and comments and anyone (perhaps with the same minimal karma) would be able to revive a frivolously deleted comment. Hopefully, that would mean that people would not delete comments unless they can stand for it.

But I'm pretty new to HN, so my comment may not take into account its evolution.

1 point by joelburget 5 hours ago 0 replies      
First of all, change is inevitable. The worst response is too much worrying about it and talking about how you would like things to be how they used to be. Users come and go so it will never be exactly the way it used to be. A good response is to embrace the change and make it work.

In this case the problem seems to be an influx of new users that don't completely understand what the site's about. It seems to me the best response is to more actively encourage good commenting from new users. My suggestion is inspired by stackoverflow. Over there, below a certain karma threshold, users must submit their edits to be reviewed by others. It might be beneficial to do the same thing for, say, a user's first 10 comments. They would submit a comment, a more experienced user reviews it and gives feedback if necessary. That way new users are forced to learn a little bit about what the community values in a comment.

2 points by Locke1689 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Add a story downvote at a very high karma threshold.
1 point by BrainScraps 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Okay, I've given this a little bit of thought and think that like many problems, game mechanics can be applied to control human behavior here.

HN Karma can be retooled to give people a certain number up/downvotes as well as a rate of regeneration. Perhaps new users will get 3 upvotes a day and no downvotes. Upvotes need to be rebranded so that users understand that they are not the mechanisms of popularity contests or flame wars.

This is my vision, feel free to take from it what you will:
"HN tokens are for you to use to make this is most intelligently crowd-curated site known to the English language.If you find a post or comment that helps you to solve a problem, see another point of view, or expand your thinking, drop a token in to promote it. However, if you are found among those using your tokens to add fire to flame wars or to reward comments that have no creative or intellectual value, your token regeneration rate will be reduced. Choose wisely."

1 point by flipside 7 hours ago 0 replies      
If I had a way to improve the quality of HN but that would require a complete overhaul of the voting system, extensive testing, and slightly more work by 5%-20% of users, do you think people would go for it?

My feeling is that things aren't bad enough for radical change here yet, but if the right 5% are, it might be possible.

2 points by zyfo 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Karma threshold for upvotes. Higher for topics than comments.
1 point by jrspruitt 7 hours ago 0 replies      
This site has been my go to place for reading material for a year to more. The other day I finally got an account, to test the waters of participating in the comment section, which often times are more interesting than the articles linked to. I hope my participation maintains the expected levels, but there in lies the problem. Anything based on a community, is bound to that community, like democracy, freedom to choose doesn't necessarily mean, the people are going to choose well. One universal truth through out human history, what rises, shall fall, when it involves a community of people. I figure, if my participation isn't rewarded, its not the place for me, so I'll move on, or just refrain from creating more noise. Its hard to convince people to self regulate like that, which is the only way to deal with it not becoming an over generalized, overly watered down link repository, that lost its niche in a flood of popularity, which would be a shame.
2 points by sampatterson 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Rather than making the site invite only, how about some means of differentiating read and write access, i.e. the amount of times you can upvote or submit is tied to your karma.

That way the information is still accessible to everyone, and if someone new has something to interesting to contribute, that info will still surface if it's picked up by vetted users.

6 points by jawartak 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Make commenting cost 2 karma.
1 point by karlzt 2 hours ago 0 replies      
what is the best example of a comment that is mean and/or dumb that got massively upvoted?

as a last resort you can always stall HN for 1 month.

6 points by allending 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Get rid of karma.
1 point by rexreed 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Maybe the fact that there's no separation of topics is part of the problem? Right now it's just one big comment bucket. Maybe some categories of posts so that off-topic stuff can be ignored would be really helpful. Right now, it's just one big stream of consciousness.
1 point by jarin 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Isn't that what downvotes are supposed to be for?
1 point by Naomi 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Here's an idea I've seen on other sites: before a comment is approved, the poster has to go through a page that contains general posting guidelines. Often it seems people write something quickly, without stopping to think whether it might be offensive. This would give them an extra chance to censor their contribution.
1 point by mcgin 6 hours ago 0 replies      
You may be doing this already as it seems pretty obvious to me, but you could give more weight to comments based on their length. In general the most insightful comments are longer than poorer dumb comments.
Also be more firm on the shouldn't appear on mainstream news sites rule
5 points by paolomaffei 7 hours ago 0 replies      
0 points by derrida 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Have a captcha-like box at the bottom of "submit" with methods that need to be written for some giant program created by the community. The interface that gets implemented could be selected by the community.
1 point by aaw 7 hours ago 0 replies      
I really like the /classic front page view. Could we try a similar comment view as well, with votes only counted from users who've been here for at least a year?
Node.js Guide nodeguide.com
341 points by gulbrandr 4 days ago   67 comments top 13
23 points by mononcqc 4 days ago 5 replies      
Here's some criticism.

Taken from 'convincing the boss':

Another great aspect of node.js is the ease at which you can develop soft real time systems. By that I mean stuff like twitter, chat software, sport bets or interfaces to instant messaging networks.

Those are not all 'soft real time' applications, especially not twitter. Soft real time here might mean that the usefulness of a result degrades if it misses its deadline. This might be the case of some chat software, but in the case of twitter, I receive very little degradation of service if I just go tomorrow.

The key point here is that you have to be able to have a metric of a deadline and what to do when you fail it. "If we do not get an acknowledgement by 30 ms, we assume the current node is too busy for our needs and retry on a different one" could be an example of this.

So don't try to build hard realtime systems in node, that require consistent response times. Erlang is probably a better choice for these kinds of applications.

Erlang is made specifically for soft real time applications, not hard real time. You do not want to use Erlang to build things like life or death systems when you need to be precise to the microsecond. It is pretty good when you can miss a deadline, handle that, work your way around it, but it can not offer any guarantee about never missing a deadline. Not only does this section give bad advice about node.js, it also gives bad advice on other languages.

It just feels as if the author meant to say "It is good for interfaces with live updates, which could be slow or lack constancy of response times", not much more.

Later in the same section:

Combining this with node's radical model of non-blocking I/O, you have to try very hard to create a sluggish application.

My understanding was that you actually have to be careful not to write code that runs for too long, in order to avoid messing up your request times by ruining the cooperative scheduling scheme used in the language.


In general, the previous guides seem to be nicer, although I have to question the reason behind advice like 'do not extend the prototypes'. I figure it has to do with the difficulty of keeping things compatible, but if you're giving me advice, tell me why. Do not expect me to blindly follow your standards just because you said so.

In the deployment part, it is shown how to use screen to start and detach the server. Is there any reason why nohup or disown won't do it? it is advised not to use the shown setup for a production system -- it would be nice to know where to look for that.

I'd also generally be interested in knowing how you'd avoid spaghetti callback hell from the approach used in node.js, but that doesn't seem to be part of the guide. This is a work in progress, and I am not holding this against the author.

15 points by jacoblyles 4 days ago 1 reply      
In the "Beginner Guide" section - I would recommend using console.error() instead of console.log() for debugging output because console.error() is blocking while console.log() is not. Nothing is more annoying than your program crashing before it finishes printing debugging output when you are trying to debug a crash!
11 points by davej 4 days ago replies      
I was afraid to read the style guide for fear of seeing the preceding comma pattern (I think it's popular in Node because ryah uses it). Thankfully it recommends the trailing comma :)

    var variable, // trailing comma

var variable
, anotherVariable // preceding comma
, thirdVariable;

4 points by gumbo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Something good to know about usecases where node.js is not a good fit:

  The truth is that while we are starting to see good frameworks for node.js, there is nothing as powerful as Rails, CakePHP or Django on the scene yet. If most of your app is simply rendering HTML based on some database, using node.js will not provide many tangible business benefits yet.

5 points by FixedPoint 4 days ago 0 replies      
I am sorry, but event-based programming is the wrong way to tackle the problem of scaling up blocking I/O code. Event-based programming more or less forces one to write in CPS style, which soon becomes a nightmare to reason about. I speak from the experience of having written several thousand lines of such code.

A better solution is to pick a language that has light-weight threads (Haskell, Erlang, ...), and let the language handle the events (and call-stacks!) under the hood. Cf the caffeine/percolator paper (even though they do end up using heavy-weight Java threads).

2 points by swannodette 4 days ago 1 reply      
Ugh, don't agree at all with the dismissal of Object.freeze. This introduces immutable values to JS which is great for many kinds of data as well probably opening the door for more optimizations by V8.
1 point by joelhaasnoot 4 days ago 0 replies      
Very handy. Working on a project with node.js and need to take more of these suggestions to heart. Callbacks take some getting used to, especially returning data is tricky, but it does make things slicker.
Node.js is awesome but oh so fragmented: I use Mongoose and Express, both of which have APIs that have changed, and stuff breaks, with lots of old examples floating around. There are also lots of plugins and libraries which seem to do the same thing (cluster, spark, spark2, etc, etc)
2 points by glesperance 3 days ago 0 replies      
Am I the only one to wonder why there are no mention of coffee-script at all ?

It seems to me like a very effective and easy way to make programming more efficient and improve code readability.

Moreover,coffee-script handles all OOP concepts that could be needed to use node.

2 points by krmmalik 4 days ago 0 replies      
Fantastic. Just what i wanted. Thank you so much.
2 points by beck5 4 days ago 1 reply      
Just what I am looking for, installed node a few hours ago. Does anyone have any express.js resource recommendations?
1 point by efnx 4 days ago 0 replies      
(If you're reading Felix) The 'Right' section of Nesting Closures violates the 'Right' section of Named Closures. The outer closure is not named...
1 point by reledi 4 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you very much for this guide. I was going to learn Node.js later this month and this will make it much easier.
1 point by lxd 3 days ago 0 replies      
amazing guide, thank you!
Predator Object Tracking Algorithm gottabemobile.com
333 points by helwr 10 hours ago   59 comments top 16
9 points by 6ren 7 hours ago 3 replies      
The key thing seems not to be the specific algorithm, but the idea of using images obtained during performance for training - an algorithm that can do that. An early prototype algorithm, with lots of room for tweaking - and there are likely radically different learning algorithms, as yet untried or undiscovered, that work better. It seems that in the past, performance images has been religiously separated from training image.

It reminds me of early approaches for robot walking, which tried to plan everything out, and more recent approaches of incorporating feedback - which turned out to be much simpler and work better. Sort of waterfall vs. agile.

It seems a tad unreliable (his "mouse pointer" was lost a few times while still on screen), but this is still a prototype. It's really impressive how the panda was tracked in 360 orientations - probably helped by the distinctive colouring.

New input devices (this, kinect, multi-touch) and applications that can really use them, may be a main source of disruptive innovation in computers for the next decade or two.

14 points by d2 8 hours ago 3 replies      
This is massively ground breaking. You'll get it if you've used motion tracking on several game interfaces and had to make perfectly white backgrounds with bright lights to make it work. This is incredibly accurate - really game changing stuff.
6 points by ChuckMcM 8 hours ago 1 reply      
As this doesn't seem like an April fools joke (some of the papers were published last year :-)) its interesting to think about it in the context of what it might change. That being said I don't doubt for a minute that the university has locked up as much of the technology as possible in patents but that is another story. We can speculate about what it will be like in 20 years when people can do this without infringing :-)

Clearly it could be applied immediately to robotic manufacturing. Tracking parts, understanding their orientation, and manipulating them all get easier when its 'cheap' to add additional tracking sensors.

Three systems sharing data (front, side, top) would give some very good expressive options for motion based UIs or control.

Depending on how well the computational load can be reduced to hardware small systems could provide for head mounted tracking systems. (see CMUCam [1] for small)

The training aspect seems to be a weak link, in that some applications would need to have the camera 'discover' what to track and then track it.

A number of very expensive object tracking systems used by law enforcement and the military might get a bit cheaper.

Photographers might get a mode where they can specify 'take the picture when this thing is centered in the frame' for sports and other high speed activities.

Very nice piece of work.

[1] http://www.cs.cmu.edu/~cmucam/

6 points by sp332 9 hours ago 2 replies      
With something like this we could have truly “Minority Report” style human-computer interface.

Actually, the guy who invented the Minority Report interface commercialized it and has been selling it for years. Product website: http://oblong.com Edit better video: http://www.ted.com/talks/john_underkoffler_drive_3d_data_wit...

3 points by sbierwagen 5 hours ago 0 replies      
Interesting that TFA mentions "Minority Report-like interfaces" several times when: 1.) The Minority Report interface is the canonical example of a UI that is very impressive visually, and is beautifully mediagenic; but is hideously fatiguing and impractical in a real world scenario. (Hold your hand out at arm's length. Okay, now hold that pose for eight hours.) 2.) The MR UI has actually been commercialized, and has entirely failed to take the world by storm.

Also, computer vision demos are trivially easy to fake, and it's even easier to make an impressive demo video. You can have the guy who invented it spend a couple hours in front of the camera trying it over and over, then edit it down to three minutes of the system working perfectly. It wouldn't be nearly as impressive when you have an untrained user trying it live, in the field.

5 points by BoppreH 8 hours ago 0 replies      
The face recognition part was too good for not picking up the face of other people. Or was it detecting just the most similar face?

But facial recognition aside, the uses are endless. If it can be brought to the same level Kinect drivers are at, but with finger tracking and no custom hardware, this could change everything.

7 points by jallmann 9 hours ago 1 reply      
Technical details here, with links to relevant papers at the bottom.
3 points by pyrhho 9 hours ago 3 replies      
Bah! I was hoping to download the source (from here: http://info.ee.surrey.ac.uk/Personal/Z.Kalal/tld.html) and check out his algorithm, but he requires you to email him with his project. If anyone knows how the algorithm works, or where it is described in detail, I'd love to read that!

Absolutely amazing stuff!

2 points by dotBen 6 hours ago 0 replies      
Ok so the fact that he has produced this himself, using off-the-shelf commodity laptops etc is really great.

But this technology doesn't seem new to me - technology already exists for surveillance cameras in police and military helicopters to track an object like a car and keep it in vision as the helicopter turns and maneuvers.

Likewise, facial recognition - both statically and within a video stream - isn't new either.

Not taking anything away from the guy, but just wondering what it is I'm not getting that is new/amazing with this particular implementation?

3 points by exit 8 hours ago 2 replies      
> Can Predator be used to stabilize and navigate a Quadcopter?

> That is not straightforward.

anyone know why not?

2 points by elvirs 2 hours ago 0 replies      
The video where system tracks Roy from IT Crowd sucking his fingers is epic:)
3 points by donnyg107 7 hours ago 1 reply      
Every time something like this comes out, I feel us taking a step away from "video camera mounted on a robot where the eyes should be" and a step toward real perception. I always wonder though, if a computer can one day recognize all different types of hands, could it draw a new one?
0 points by Tycho 2 hours ago 0 replies      
Uhhh... 'Predator?' What's his next project, SkyNet Resource Planning? This seems like an April fools to me. I mean I'm sure he's done work in the area... but the article is dated April 1 and the previous literature didn't mention 'Predator.' I could be wrong, but it seems too advanced, and scary.
2 points by chops 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Wow, this is pretty amazing stuff. I sincerely hope this guy makes a pile of money off this.
1 point by direxorg 4 hours ago 0 replies      
World becoming a better place with such code available for public to be built up on and not only to military in homing heads. I guess it is one point for "Make something free that was initially available for pay?" Just like "plenty of fish" doing...
1 point by marcomonteiro 4 hours ago 0 replies      
This looks awesome! I want to build this into apps for iPad 2.
Why GNU grep is fast freebsd.org
317 points by shawndumas 3 days ago   68 comments top 14
25 points by DarkShikari 3 days ago 2 replies      
- Roll your own unbuffered input using raw system calls.

A small toy project I wrote last year was a modification of GNU grep that did the opposite -- it aggressively prefetched ahead of the file it was currently reading. This helped performance dramatically on fragmented data (e.g. tons of small files).

For most typical greps (at least of files as opposed to standard input), "grep" is likely disk-bound, not CPU-bound.

(Note: I mean literal prefetch, not actually reading the file from disk. This is important because file input is a blocking operation in UNIX -- the thread blocks when read() is called and can only be resumed when the read is complete, unlike the case of output. This prevents the filesystem from reordering or merging multiple reads unless they come simultaneously from different threads. This is why reads are often slower than writes on typical data.)

82 points by jrockway 3 days ago 4 replies      
The key to making programs fast is to make them do practically nothing.

This is the Ultimate Truth of optimizing computer programs, and it seems so few people understand it.

"Why can't you make Python faster!?" Because Python does a lot of stuff without you asking.

30 points by yan 3 days ago 1 reply      
Obligatory post by ridiculous_fish on grep's speed optimizations: http://ridiculousfish.com/blog/archives/2006/05/30/old-age-a...
18 points by aidenn0 3 days ago 1 reply      
Interestingly enough, awk is many times faster for an inverted grep (grep -v) than grep is. Get a large file and test yourself!

grep -v regex
awk '$0 !~ /regex/ {print}'

This is possibly due largely to this not helping in that case:


awk is very fast at breaking the input into lines (that's what it spends most of the day doing!). I don't understand why it's so much slower though. (I had a 100+MB log file that I was searching when I discovered this).

39 points by RiderOfGiraffes 3 days ago 1 reply      
Dup: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1626305

Many, many, many comments there.

8 points by ecaron 3 days ago 0 replies      
This is discussed best in the opening chapter of O'Reilly's Beautiful Code: http://oreilly.com/catalog/9780596510046. Google Books has a readable snippet of the section at http://bit.ly/g34QRh, but I highly recommend buying the book because it is a great read.
10 points by juiceandjuice 3 days ago 3 replies      
I have some serious love for mmap.

I don't know how many people's code I've optimized by eliminating:

FILE *f;

f = open("file.dat","r")


and replacing it with mmap'd I/O

3 points by dasht 3 days ago 0 replies      
Mike has only given part of the answer there. GNU grep obviously is very I/O tuned. And GNU grep optimizes the special cases of constant strings and of regexps that (more or less) start with a constant string -- but there's more!

GNU grep is also fast for most commonly encountered non-constant-string regexps (even those that don't start with a constant string) because its regexp engine avoids backtracking by doing an on-the-fly conversion (of many patterns) to a DFA. These extra cases are algorithmically neat and when you want them, you're glad they're there -- but they are less sexy in benchmarks because the most common use case in the real world, by far, is a search for a constant string.

11 points by nprincigalli 3 days ago 3 replies      
Check out ack, tailored for programmers: http://betterthangrep.com/
6 points by gorset 3 days ago 1 reply      
The other day I was actually surprised over how slow gnu grep was. I wanted to count how many lines in a log file contained a domain. Using grep -c <domain> <file> took 25 seconds for 1.7GB log file, whilst agrep only took 5 seconds.
1 point by pedrocr 3 days ago 1 reply      
How far could you go in a discussion like this before BSD grep could reasonably be considered a derived work of GNU grep?

The discussion is going deeply into how GNU grep is implemented so it's clearly not a clean-room reverse engineering kind of situation. On the other hand nothing is being discussed that could be subject of copyright as only ideas and algorithms are put forth and no code is shown. How careful do you have to be to be sure?

1 point by terrapinbear 2 days ago 0 replies      
Unrolling that inner loop in the Boyer-Moore algo is called "Duff's Device".
-2 points by petermin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you very much for sharing this!!!
-2 points by crasshopper 2 days ago 0 replies      
This makes me wonder: how is greplin so fast? And how come gmail search is slow?

(Yeah, I could ask somewhere else ... but this is HN, I bet someone looking at this Just Knows.)

Slice HD: you will hurt your fingers on your iPad arstechnica.com
305 points by ivank 2 days ago   52 comments top 19
37 points by Tycho 2 days ago 1 reply      
I've got to try this. I love it when people come up with really original stuff for the iPad like this.

edit: bought it, great fun. the touch interaction works the way you need it to (ie. more advanced than most touch apps) so you can come up with lots of different techniques to beat the levels. when you get cut it does cause a slight 'aaaahh!' reaction and withdrawal of fingers. you get kicked back a level if you get cut, but hey, no pain no game.

11 points by robg 2 days ago 0 replies      
Simulation at its best! Great app!

Here's a popular story of the "hand" study:

Here's the paper:

15 points by some1else 2 days ago 3 replies      
Cool trick, but the blood spatter could be done a lot better. From what I can see, blood just "grows out of" the point of contact, and a general splat appears all over the screen. I hope knife velocity impacts the blood splat in the next version.
21 points by moblivu 2 days ago 2 replies      
A true tablet game! Not another try at porting a console or PC gameplay like a First or Third person shooter on this form-factor. This is something that you need a touchscreen device to experience at best. Simply amazing as is the execution!
14 points by nickolai 2 days ago 1 reply      
Sounds cool. Makes my hands feel uneasy just reading it.
6 points by leftnode 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's like Twister but for your fingers and with knives. For $3, I love it.
7 points by 6ren 2 days ago 0 replies      
One of the few apps that really makes use of multi-touch.
5 points by leoc 2 days ago 1 reply      
Seems Ramachandran http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vilayanur_S._Ramachandran -inspired, right?
2 points by bigiain 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm finding myself fascinated and curious about the review...

What a great spin "I was anxiously waiting my review cide, then realized it's three freaking dollars, so I bought it myself". That's marketing/PR/psychological manipulation gold! I'd love to hear aout the process that lead to Ars publishing that for them. Was it just pure dumb luck on the reviewers part? Was it a "primed" phrase from the developers? Or was it part of a carefully planned and highly skilled marketing/PR campaign?

I _really_ like it!

I might even buy the game...

2 points by jhuckestein 2 days ago 0 replies      
I just tried this and I endorse every aspect of the game. I reached lvl 15 and I had to call my roommate in to help me on one level (yea yea cheating ... :()

I do think they should include more boobie traps though. Most levels I played were easy to solve mechanically. I want to be scared to touch ANY part of the screen.

9 points by geophile 2 days ago 1 reply      
Killer app
1 point by greattypo 1 day ago 0 replies      
Anyone else beat it? I'm still not sure what exactly happened in that last level..
2 points by roadnottaken 2 days ago 1 reply      
Anybody figure out how to get past level 10?
3 points by heffay 2 days ago 0 replies      
What a great concept. For $3, I'm all over it. Great use of the multi touch features
1 point by cambriar 2 days ago 0 replies      
Great job! Definitely creates an environment of fear for the player, just watching the video gave me that 'oh my gosh I'm cutting a lime' feeling.

We HN readers know it takes more than an original idea to shock and awe, nice work on the execution!

1 point by zrgiu 2 days ago 0 replies      
wow.. just amazing. Cutting-edge, like someone on ars said
1 point by edanm 2 days ago 3 replies      
Looks amazing.

No iPhone version :(

2 points by risico 2 days ago 1 reply      
For apps like this it's worth to buy an iPad.
1 point by kmfrk 2 days ago 0 replies      
It's like a Mikado 2.0.
Collect HN: Aprils Fools
290 points by daleharvey 3 days ago   224 comments top 126
51 points by mbrubeck 3 days ago 2 replies      
Opt out of April Fools Day with the "DNF" HTTP header:


If you are planning an April Fools joke on your web site, I urge you to support this important new web standard. :)

23 points by cowpewter 2 days ago 3 replies      
Here at Grooveshark, we've harnessed the power of HTML5™ to provide you with a full 3D experience...


If you have a paid account, it won't change your theme automatically though. You should get a notification in the corner to turn it on.

37 points by gcr 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm planning on installing a transparent proxy that rotates web pages 1-2 degrees with CSS3 transforms.


47 points by moeffju 3 days ago 5 replies      
We're pretty B2B, so we just subtly rotate the whole page by -2.5 to +2.5 deg. https://www.toptranslation.com/

(Supports the DNF protocol, btw.)

39 points by th 2 days ago 2 replies      
xkcd is 3D: http://xkcd.com/

Randall is accepting user-submitted 3D versions of each comic: http://xkcd.com/xk3d/

Unfortunately, it looks like there is no title text for 3D comics yet.

10 points by mrspeaker 2 days ago 0 replies      
Joe Armstrong and Robert Virding admit that Erlang VM was just a dodgy clone of the JVM (video)


21 points by humbledrone 2 days ago 0 replies      
I created a bash-like shell with C++ syntax. It saves a lot of typing, and it's only 412,011 lines of template-heavy code, so it's easy to extend:


26 points by robin_reala 2 days ago 3 replies      
Search for Helvetica on Google: https://encrypted.google.com/search?q=helvetica
20 points by yesbabyyes 3 days ago 2 replies      
Adblock releases Adblock Freedom - augmented reality eyewear that detects and removes ads from the world in realtime. http://chromeadblock.com/freedom/
23 points by tkahn6 2 days ago 3 replies      
Hulu 1995 throwback complete with <table> based layout.


29 points by daleharvey 3 days ago 1 reply      
atlassian gets into mobile gaming


25 points by GVRV 2 days ago 1 reply      
17 points by daleharvey 3 days ago 0 replies      
and the first, spotify closes its EU service in order to launch in the US


40 points by joshu 3 days ago 4 replies      
Is it just me or is none of this stuff any funny?
22 points by dwwoelfel 2 days ago 0 replies      
If I wasn't so scared of being tarred and feathered by the anti-fools brigade, I'd submit this self-post for April Fools:

    DAE think Hacker News is turning into Reddit?

6 points by Jabbles 2 days ago 0 replies      
Not an April Fools' Joke: Microsoft complains to EU about Google's (alleged) anti-competitive behaviour.


32 points by imrehg 3 days ago 0 replies      
The Canterbury Distribution: http://www.archlinux.org/ & http://www.debian.org/ & http://grml.org/ & Gentoo & openSUSE....

That's some team effort! Too bad it's a joke, I'd so get it right now...

8 points by fakelvis 2 days ago 1 reply      
Wolfram|Alpha have changed their name: http://blog.wolframalpha.com/2011/04/01/wolframalpha-changes...

Now it's: http://www.wolframalpha.com/bieberbeta.html

WolframAlpa|Beta would have been funnier in my opinion. This just feels like my dad trying to be hip.

8 points by rbxbx 3 days ago 0 replies      
test-align: centaur; http://testaligncentaur.com/

not to be confused with

text-align: centaur; http://textaligncentaur.com/

6 points by tokenadult 3 days ago 2 replies      
For historical interest, an all-time classic from the BBC:


10 points by Xuzz 3 days ago 1 reply      
Cydia adds a dickbar to help users discover popular packages: http://www.iclarified.com/entry/index.php?enid=14540
14 points by lachyg 3 days ago 0 replies      
I wonder how many cofounders will get fake YC interview acceptances from their partners =P
5 points by btilly 2 days ago 0 replies      
One of my favorite web comics got seized by the FBI: http://www.gpf-comics.com/

(I hope this one is a joke.)

7 points by NZ_Matt 3 days ago 2 replies      
Air New Zealand have introduced "pay what you weigh"


8 points by fakelvis 2 days ago 0 replies      
http://pinboard.in is now a Yahoo! product.

Before I realised, the "from Yahoo!" image (top left) stopped me in my tracks.

21 points by mhiceoin 3 days ago 0 replies      
6 points by bergie 2 days ago 0 replies      
Apache gets paid 3.141592654 cents for each Google +1 click because of their "+1 patent"


6 points by stanleydrew 2 days ago 2 replies      
Twilio releases long-awaited carrier pigeon API: http://www.twilio.com/pigeons
12 points by derrida 2 days ago 2 replies      
9 points by vyrotek 2 days ago 1 reply      
Voting things up on http://www.StackOverflow.com seems to display colorful dancing unicorns now.
4 points by stanleydrew 2 days ago 1 reply      
Twilio's API now returns responses in morse code. Just append .morse to the end of any Twilio REST API URL to get the morse code representation.

If you find a legitimate use for this, please let us know.

6 points by adora 2 days ago 0 replies      
LinkedIn's "People you may know" section is now filled with historical figures and fictional characters, all of which have pretty elaborate profiles.


7 points by gammarator 3 days ago 2 replies      
(Internet Annoyance Day is even more annoying when it starts at UTC-12.)
3 points by jeffbarr 2 days ago 0 replies      
The AWS team has been working on the new Amazon $NAME product for over 10 months:


6 points by Seth_Kriticos 2 days ago 1 reply      
http://www.omgubuntu.co.uk/ drops back to CLI today, it seems.
4 points by dchest 2 days ago 0 replies      
I launched "I Read Like" http://iwl.me/read/
13 points by qwertymaniac 3 days ago 2 replies      
GMail Motion - Use your body to control your inbox: http://mail.google.com/mail/help/motion.html
6 points by Mizza 3 days ago 1 reply      
6 points by mncaudill 2 days ago 0 replies      
At Flick(e)r, we finally fixed the misspelling of the company name.
8 points by neckbeard 3 days ago 0 replies      
Cheezburger Network acquires Charlie Stross' blog:
5 points by loganlinn 2 days ago 0 replies      
Narwhal in London according to Google Maps!
3 points by forsaken 2 days ago 0 replies      
http://urbanairship.com has turned into an 8-bit working game.
7 points by mef 3 days ago 1 reply      
Ryanair introduces "child-free" flights (if only it were true) http://www.ryanair.com/en/news/child-free-flights-from-octob...
3 points by pitdesi 2 days ago 0 replies      
http://FeeFighters.com raised $41 million, bought the rock band FooFighters, rebranded as http://FoeFighters.com, and is having a contest to see which Foe they should fight.

Please vote! it's good for humanity!

4 points by MaysonL 3 days ago 0 replies      
Dave Winer's putting up a paywall on Scripting News:
5 points by nitefly 2 days ago 0 replies      
Security Advisory SMB-1985-0001: Plumber Injection Attack in Bowser's Castle:


2 points by paraschopra 2 days ago 0 replies      
Move beyond behavioral targeting: using mouse movements to read visitor's mind http://visualwebsiteoptimizer.com/split-testing-blog/behavio...
10 points by turbodog 2 days ago 0 replies      
4 points by sfgfdhgfdshdhhd 2 days ago 0 replies      
IDG has a story about mozilla recalling firefox 4 because of serious bug. Every user should return their version using an online upload form or by sending a usb-stick by mail.


2 points by elliottcarlson 3 days ago 0 replies      

Envato unveils 3DOcean - The world's first stereoscopic anaglyph online marketplace.

4 points by Urgo 3 days ago 0 replies      
Hey guys, My goal since 2004 has been to keep a list of all AFD jokes on the web in one place. Check it out if you like. Have 66 there so far this year :) Feel free to submit any ones from THIS year to the site as well.


1 point by mortenjorck 2 days ago 0 replies      
If you use Harvest for time tracking, they have a nice, simple gag today: The usual nameplate link in the bottom right has changed to "HARVESTVS • SINCE MMVI" and clicking on it will change all of your time entries to Roman numerals.
3 points by inerte 3 days ago 0 replies      
We put this on our menu, under "Tasks": http://erkie.github.com/ with the text "destroy system"
3 points by hollywoodcole 3 days ago 0 replies      
5 points by piotrSikora 3 days ago 0 replies      
YouTube's "year 1911" mode ;)
3 points by est 2 days ago 0 replies      
http://www.geforce.com/ 3dfx Voodoo 5 5500
2 points by sahillavingia 3 days ago 0 replies      
At Pinterest we turned stuff upside down: http://pinterest.com/
1 point by juiceandjuice 2 days ago 0 replies      

Not one upvote yet :( I'm suprised nobody has submitted that URL yet.

2 points by PStamatiou 2 days ago 0 replies      
2 points by duck 3 days ago 0 replies      
I turned Hacker Newsletter (http://www.hackernewsletter.com) upside down for the day and started offering a new faxed edition for a small fee.
2 points by rsoto 2 days ago 0 replies      
3 points by carnivore 2 days ago 0 replies      
Any YouTube video, with _CAPTIONS_ on (The CC button), to add text to your 1911 video :)


To find other videos with captions, append ",cc" to your search, like "cats, cc".

1 point by __david__ 3 days ago 0 replies      
We switched the colors on the cards in our solitaire games (http://greenfelt.net/freecell). It's a subtle effect that just makes things look weird without you being able to identify what is wrong, at first.
3 points by balanon 2 days ago 0 replies      
"My newborn isn't crying all night. April Fools. Yes she is. Joke's on you."


3 points by Z3UX 3 days ago 1 reply      
2 points by jim-greer 2 days ago 0 replies      
Trade in your used Flash games on Kongregate
3 points by mariust 2 days ago 0 replies      
2 points by fremdkraft 2 days ago 0 replies      
The employees of Germany's Foreign Ministry are getting iPads replacing their PCs and notebooks.

I guess some will wish it wasn't April 1st. :)

Google translated story:

1 point by gluejar 2 days ago 0 replies      
The Threat to Book Publishing From Long-Dead Authors, and a Solution
6 points by mman 3 days ago 0 replies      
Everyone stop ruining April fools by expecting it
1 point by rdtsc 3 days ago 1 reply      
1 point by danek 2 days ago 0 replies      
"I'm feeling yucky" button


also, we ported our site to lolcode


3 points by shareme 3 days ago 1 reply      
Jason Calacanis sold Mahalo to MS Bing
2 points by joeblue 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hi Everyone, I am super excited to announce the release of The Hoffington Post: http://thehoffingtonpost.com
The Internet Newspaper: 100% dedicated to David Hasselhoff.

It's better than his singing. We swear.

2 points by djjose 2 days ago 0 replies      
Find a new girlfriend/boyfriend based on one you already like! http://blog.alikeplaces.com/2011/alike-places-launches-new-p...
1 point by Mizza 2 days ago 0 replies      

Kinda subtle.. check the title..

3 points by wilhil 3 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by mcdowall 2 days ago 0 replies      
Someone at work actually tried to enter her card details!


1 point by ciupicri 2 days ago 0 replies      
GNOME 3.0 Rescheduled for September 2011 Release


2 points by FSecurePal 2 days ago 0 replies      
Hacker Group Changes Millions of Passwords to "password"; Only 38% of Users Notice http://www.f-secure.com/weblog/archives/00002134.html
1 point by whimsy 2 days ago 0 replies      
An adaptation of RFC 1149 (IP over Avian Carriers) for IPv6: http://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc6214
1 point by sankara 2 days ago 0 replies      
2 points by mhiceoin 3 days ago 0 replies      
Affiliate rebills funding an Affiliate hang out in the Maldives


1 point by philikon 2 days ago 1 reply      
http://zodb.ws is one of the more impressive April Fools hacks I've seen this year. It runs the ZODB, a pure Python NoSQL database that's been around for a while and originated in the Zope project, on top of CPython -- in the browser! Uses emscripten which compiles LLVM bytecode to JS. Complete with a localStorage backend for ZODB.
1 point by guruz 2 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by tsenart 2 days ago 0 replies      

Just paste this before your body closes:
// Uncomment the next line if you want the prank to happen only when the url hashtag is #april
// if (document.location.hash.indexOf('april') > -1)
document.body.style.webkitTransform = document.body.style.MozTransform =
'rotate(' + [45, 90, 135, 180, 225, 270, 315][Math.floor(Math.random() * 7)] + 'deg)';

2 points by cnicolaou 2 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by jitendra_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
News about Pune's Tech Industry decline quotes Vivek Wadhwa:

http://punetech.com/punes-tech-industry-to-decline-40-by-202... .

Wadhwa on twitter confirms it is a prank: http://twitter.com/vwadhwa/status/53675195906531328

2 points by rodh 2 days ago 0 replies      
Meet the world's first 3D monocle:
1 point by monicaobrien 2 days ago 0 replies      
Here's ours: Braintree's New Mobile App Green Allows You to Pay with Cash From Your Phone http://www.braintreepaymentsolutions.com/blog/braintrees-new...
1 point by dreeves 3 days ago 0 replies      
3 points by selvan 3 days ago 0 replies      
DST's Yuri Milner offers EVERY YCS11 applicant $250K.
2 points by fmavituna 2 days ago 0 replies      
3 points by stevenashley 3 days ago 1 reply      
Duke Nukem Forever has been delayed until Mid 2012.
1 point by dord 2 days ago 0 replies      
At Sporcle, they've added a 'Boss!' button. Now when you're playing games on their site at work and the boss comes around, just click the boss button and something else will pop up in the window!


1 point by bnmrrs 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thanks to the coming Canadian election Demeure was able to add a special rental property. http://demeure.com/special-offers/sussex. Come and stay in the former Prime Minister's house for only $3000/night!
1 point by jonkelly 2 days ago 0 replies      
Our small contribution to the genre: http://thisorthat.com/blog/breaking-scrappr-picks-up-410001-...
Breaking News: Scrapper Gobbles Up $41.000001 Million Investment
1 point by plainOldText 2 days ago 0 replies      
omgubuntu has encountered an error or many :)
1 point by wmobit 2 days ago 0 replies      
Milkyway@Home on iPhone / iOS. The small tests that run on my desktop in about 10 seconds take 20 minutes on my iphone 3g, and drain the battery about 8%.


1 point by agaton 2 days ago 0 replies      
Twingly and TV4+ Haunted House launches Blog Platform for Ghost Writers and Social Mediums


1 point by njonsson 3 days ago 0 replies      
“What's new in htty v1.3.4: Rails view emulation " PUT and DELETE are sent as POST requests with form data of ‘_method=put' or ‘_method=delete'.”


1 point by fdd 2 days ago 0 replies      
In a bid on Auction site eBay, for the site of eBay.com itself, The Pirate Bay has come out as the official winner: http://thepiratebay.org/blog/189.
1 point by davweb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Eric Lippert introduces some new features in C#:


1 point by iki23 2 days ago 0 replies      
@TPB wins auction for site eBay.com, merge is planned:
1 point by jshort 2 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by fdd 2 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by herman 2 days ago 0 replies      
We're having some reverse packet switching issues on Snapfinch, seems to be causing images to display upside down: http://snapfinch.com
1 point by senectus 3 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by cinch 2 days ago 0 replies      
(in German) Netbook review: Compaq Aero 4/33C http://www.golem.de/1104/82381.html
1 point by shoma 2 days ago 0 replies      
New RFC. Regional Broadcast Using an Atmospheric Link Layer
1 point by redbluething 3 days ago 0 replies      
2 points by zedrick 3 days ago 0 replies      
One Kings Lane launches OKL Farms - The only breeders of the Mini Lap Elephant.


1 point by mmilkin 2 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by JohnJacobs 2 days ago 0 replies      
Haha. Check out http://libsxe.org
1 point by adam_quartzy 2 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by monahancj 2 days ago 0 replies      

I'd been waiting all day for this to happen to me. It took until 4:20 PM.

1 point by moses1400 2 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by ved 2 days ago 0 replies      
Head over to LinkedIn and see who "you might know you"...
0 points by Herwig 2 days ago 0 replies      
0 points by csarva 3 days ago 1 reply      
0 points by sktrdie 2 days ago 0 replies      
Is this an Aprils fools joke? If yes it should be submitted under itself.
Auto submission bots on Hacker News jacquesmattheij.com
288 points by jacquesm 4 days ago   165 comments top 31
112 points by jasonkester 4 days ago replies      
Why does HN give karma points for submitting articles?

That's never made any sense to me. All it does is encourage this kind of behavior, where you submit everything you can find in the hopes of gaining points. You haven't really contributed anything valuable, since good articles tend to find their way here on their own.

Karma for comments makes sense. You can look at somebody's average and it gives you a sense of what sort of things they're posting. It actually measures something.

If somebody posts a cheap attack on one of your comments, you can click their username, notice that they have a 1.9 average, and go about your day knowing that they're probably just angry with the world in general. On the other hand if they have an average score of 8.6, you might want to read what they said again and see if they were actually right.

Karma from article submissions, on the other hand, tells you nothing useful about the submitter. Any chance we can disassociate upvotes on articles from user karma?

27 points by DanielBMarkham 4 days ago 2 replies      
I had somebody recently launch into me with a vitriolic attack on HN (they deleted the comment almost immediately) which started with something like "I know you probably think you're special, what with 18K karma and all, but..."

People take this karma thing waaaay too seriously.

I know I find the site dangerously distracting, and a large part of that is watching the up or downvotes on my comments -- it's kind of a realtime indicator of whether I have my finger on the pulse of the community. So I'm as much to blame as others.

I've said a few times that somebody should monetize this karma nonsense. Set up an auction clearing house where karma can be auctioned off for cash.

It probably wouldn't amount to much, but it's just the kind of out-of-the-box thing that HN should be messing around with. I'm just trying to guess a number, but I think you could pull 5 percent off each trade and make a nice bit of chump change, without changing the look and feel of HN at all. (If it bothers purists or interferes with the running of the board, then simply keep a separate list of "natural" karma hidden from everybody and use that for the system stuff)

39 points by RiderOfGiraffes 4 days ago 3 replies      
FWIW, I was one of the people running a bot to auto-submit. I've always been a big-iron algorithms programmer, and I've never done much web programming, and certainly never programmed an auto-submitter before. Since I figured most of Jacques' idle thoughts were worth more than half the things making it to the Front Page, I figured it was an ideal time to learn a little about the back-n-forth of a form submission system with cookies, and to see (a) what I could learn, (b) how quickly I could learn it, and (c) how little code it took.

So it was an interesting experiment, I'm glad I did it, I'm pleased I learned something from it, and I'm sorry it seems to have caused Jacques some grief.

For that I apologise unreservedly. We have had a chat off-line and I believe there's no on-going problem. I have, of course, disabled the bot.

But the questions raised are interesting. I suggest that the "first submitter gets all the karma" situation means that people submit without thinking, worried that unless they do so they will miss out on that one item that earns gobs of karma, that they saw first, but didn't submit quickly enough.

Just sharing the karma between submitters won't work, because then if someone sees something gaining traction they just submit it themselves and share in the imaginary profits. Simple, clean, clear solution that's wrong.

No solutions, just problems.

14 points by alexandros 4 days ago 1 reply      
The bots are doing nothing 'wrong' as such. There are certain feeds from where >90% of the material ends up on HN. If somebody writes a bot to auto-submit items from that feed, it's helping HN be faster in accessing new and (mostly) relevant posts. What is not relevant should (in principle) not reach the home page.

The problem is that submission is winner takes all, i.e. first submitter reaps all the upvotes. Also, HN does not reward finding new sources of material more than posting from the predictable sources.

The logical endpoint of these two facts is auto-submission bots rising to the top of the Karma tables. If Karma is used as a way of anti-gaming (need karma threshold to downvote, etc.) then this is a way to circumvent that for a sufficiently motivated manipulator. They can make a bot that auto-submits from the known sources, and use it to build up an arbitrary number of accounts, from which they can then boost the articles they want (or bury the comments they don't like). For all we know, this could already be the case.

I have two suggestions that can sidestep this problem to a certain extent:

1. Reward articles from predictable sources less than articles from rare sources.

2. Split the karma benefit between the first submitter and the people who upvoted the article early (of course, this needs to take into account how selectively and successfully the user upvotes to avoid blanket upvoting 'just in case').

This all is still gameable, but probably not as easily.

11 points by gjm11 4 days ago 1 reply      

1. When a link is submitted, it doesn't actually appear on HN until a certain (fixed?) time T has elapsed after its first submission.

2. Everyone who submits it within that time is noted.

3. Karma from article upvotes is shared equally between all those users. (Or perhaps unequally in a way that weights earlier submitters slightly more highly -- but not winner-takes-all as at present.)

4. If the same link has been submitted N times before time T elapses, the delay is truncated at that point.


1. There's very little incentive to submit something super-quickly. Therefore, there's more incentive to read it carefully first. (Good.)

2. Super-quick submitters don't hurt slower submitters' karma so much. (Good.)

3. Submissions no longer have hugely higher potential karma gain than comments, as they do at present. (Good.)

4. "Obvious" submissions probably no longer give anyone very much karma. (Good.)

5. Breaking news doesn't appear on HN as quickly as it does now; but if lots of people are submitting it, it still gets in pretty fast. (Maybe good, maybe bad.)

I think that with suitable choices of T and N -- perhaps 1 hour and 20, or thereabouts -- this would be a considerable improvement on what we have now.

7 points by raganwald 4 days ago 1 reply      
I used to encounter what I thought might be bots auto-submitting my old raganwald blog to reddit. The only person losing karma was me, since I no longer got to submit my articles at a time when they were interesting to reddit's readership. Big whoop!

My thinking is that if I write and give my work away, it is no longer up to me to decide how it is to be used. That's because my words are free as in speech, not just free as in beer. Of course, copyright violations are a different matter, but I can't tell people whether to submit a post to HN, I can't tell people whether to bookmark it, or tweet it, or whether to use it as part of a corpus on guessing the sex of the author.

If there's a race for meaningless karma by bot authors, that is irrelevant to me as an author. IF it is a problem--and I do not grant that it is a problem--THEN it is HN's problem, not my problem as an author.

I give my words away. That inevitably means someone will use it in a way I didn't intend. That's the point.

5 points by raganwald 4 days ago 1 reply      
Building a bot to win karma is a little like hiring a model to pretend to be your date. No, scratch that. We're hackers! Building a bot to win karma is a little like building your own replicant and taking it to the party as your date.
8 points by lwhi 4 days ago 1 reply      
Maybe the problem is people upvoting uninteresting articles.

Without wanting to be mean, it's kind of crazy that this meta-discussion about someone's inability to remain off the HN scoreboard is number one right now.

Sycophantism and idle self-promotion are boring pursuits.

EDIT: I think we should be able to down-vote uninteresting articles.

6 points by edu 4 days ago 1 reply      
It might be interesting to hide total karma score from users. I guess that if we don't know our total karma score the karma harvesting will stop but keep the points for submissions and comments so there's still the incentive to contribute good material (the pride of seeing your comment/submission being upvoted).

What do you think?

edit: the first version didn't make much sense, I got interrupted in the middle of the message

4 points by mryall 4 days ago 2 replies      
Jacques, perhaps you could configure your blog so you can choose to submit your own posts automatically to HN when you post them? That might reduce the tendency of people to try to rush and post them first, assuming the majority of posts are actually suitable for posting here.

I don't think you should worry too much about it either. Your posts seem to keep gathering a high number of votes whenever they appear on HN, so this is a sign that they are useful and relevant to the community. If an irrelevant link gets posted and it only gathers a few votes on the new page, then what have you lost? What has the community lost?

3 points by erikpukinskis 4 days ago 0 replies      
To me, the technical solution is to incorporate the relationship of the upvoter* to the poster in the "hotness" algorithm. If I upvote every single item from jacquesmatteij.com then my "this is awesome" signal isn't as strong as someone who only upvotes 10%, or who has never upvoted him before.

* When multiple bots submit the same link, "submission" is basically the same thing as "upvoting".

2 points by jcdreads 4 days ago 0 replies      
What happens if blogging tools become their own HN post bots?

The last few Dave Winer posts I've seen here have been submitted by davewiner. Since he's a dude who rolls his own blogging tools, I'd be not at all surprised to find that he wired up the ability to simultaneously publish and post a link to HN.

I can see good reasons for doing this for one's own blog, but if this practice were widespread or built into normal people's blogging tools then it would (among other things) cause the "new" page here to be useless.

2 points by Tycho 4 days ago 1 reply      
It kind if seems like a false alarm if one of the botters was just RiderOfGiraffes (whose motives I don't suspect), and there was only one other person, possibly equally innocent.

One would hope nobody here is irrational enough to seek 'easy/automatic' karma ... I mean the nice thing about karma for submissions is it's basically a whole lot of smart people saying 'well done for finding this, it's definitely valuable.' If there's no real finding involved then what's the point? You're the only person your karma matters to.

14 points by ricefield 4 days ago 5 replies      
Maybe its about time HN had a CAPTCHA on their submit form.
2 points by keyle 4 days ago 0 replies      
Karma harvesting bots. I thought of it a while back and I was sure it already existed.

Thanks for proving it! I do like the term of "harvesting karma".

In reel life, that would be a good deed automatically actioned based on a set of inputs? Such as grabbing the mail of the neighbour on the way in?

2 points by rwmj 4 days ago 0 replies      
There are also user accounts that have been created just to spam HN, eg:


2 points by SeanDav 4 days ago 0 replies      
Would have been extremely ironic if this post had been submitted by a bot!

My vote/suggestion is to hide Karma from all users once it reaches a fairly low cap. I know I am in a minority here but to me personally Karma beyond the level needed to downvote and basic functionality is hardly an issue.

2 points by nandemo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Jacques is such a nice fellow. If it were me, I'd just make a post with pics of cats and watch it being submitted to HN.
1 point by jacquesm 4 days ago 2 replies      
Maybe a simple rule could be that if you run an undeclared bot on HN to auto submit stuff that you forfeit your account when you're detected, no matter who you are or what you've done.

That way we only get really clever bots that are indistinguishable from really good submitters.

1 point by vinodkd 1 day ago 0 replies      
I am a long time lurker on hn, and like mzl, dont care about karma at all.

reading the ~160 comments on the topic, however, sounds weird to me because being indian, karma is not just a number against your online profile, but a fact of life - a word that you hear from people several times during a normal day - and they've probably never even been online.

i get that its about measuring the overall place of a person in a community, and that "karma" is as good a tag as any to condense that concept into one word, but it just seems very weird when there's so much debate around it. true karma is not exactly the "double-entry book keeping of life", nor does it have a leaderboard (which, btw, i realized existed on hn only recently).

on hn, the linked content's mostly great and its always useful to check the comments before loading up the link itself. that should be enough, imo.

ps: yes, i feel the same way watching "my name is earl", although i do enjoy the show itself.

1 point by guelo 4 days ago 1 reply      
Didn't pg admit that he uses karma as a criteria in evaluating yc applications? If so that was just an invitation to a bunch of smart hackers to try to game the system.
2 points by leon_ 4 days ago 0 replies      
Ironic. I always assumed jacquesmattheij.com would be such a bot submission. Every day a new post from that blog in the tops :)
2 points by TimothyBurgess 4 days ago 0 replies      
There's gotta be quite a few auto submission bots going on here...

cough TechCrunch cough

...not that I have any problem with it. I'm just amazed at how quickly TechCrunch (and similar) articles find their way onto HN.

1 point by oemera 4 days ago 1 reply      
Is HN karma worth anything? Don't get me wrong. I love HN and I think it is unique in its way but I never thought that I could earn a medal because of a lot karma on HN.

I can understand this "function" on StackOverflow (even though I don't have much karma there either) cause karma at StackOverflow can bring in new chances.

My question: Do anyone use HN karma as measurement to see if this guy is worth to hire or worth for something else?

2 points by jacques_chester 4 days ago 2 replies      
A related idea I've been toying with is "karmic arbitrage": auto-submitting posts that have been upvoted at proggit and vice versa.
2 points by ck2 4 days ago 0 replies      
Turn off karma for users, keep it for new posts, problem solved.

(posts get the karma, not people)

1 point by piramida 3 days ago 0 replies      
Always surprised me how advanced humans pretend to be and how simple-minded they actually appear en masse, with this race to "get my integer number higher" which is a basis of most social algorithms.

Really people? That is the only way to stand out from the crowd? An integer? :)

1 point by jschuur 4 days ago 1 reply      
Are there indications that this is a wider spread problem beyond jacquesmattheij.com or the two individuals that have already been caught doing it with his site?

One is an anomaly, two independent occurrences is a trend?

1 point by shawndumas 4 days ago 0 replies      
1 point by kinnth0 4 days ago 0 replies      
I never knew this, thanks for highlighting it and writing a nice post about it. That's why I read hackernews, to find out things I don't know from people who know them.
0 points by jaredstenquist 4 days ago 0 replies      
1) Use Wordpress
2) Make posts "Private" until you are finished with them
3) $$$
Ask HN: Should we agree that this account will submit all Who is Hiring posts?
283 points by whoishiring 3 days ago   46 comments top 22
70 points by bigsassy 3 days ago 2 replies      
I like this idea. It would also make it easier to see past who's hiring threads as well. Just go to:


and look at the submissions. Beats crawling through results on searchyc.com.

16 points by dstein 3 days ago 1 reply      
Why do all jobs have to be posted at one time once a month? There is already a "JOBS" tab at the top of HN. Why not just let other companies post to that page. You can still emphasize YC companies, stick them at the top for 30 days, and then everybody else below it. For that matter if PG ever wants to monetize HN adding paid job ads might be the best/easiest way to do it.
12 points by JoachimSchipper 3 days ago 0 replies      
I completely agree, but you should fill out the account information - something like 'This is a bot to post the monthly "who's hiring" thread. If there are any issues, please contact <foo>@<bar>.' - that'd also let us know who's behind this account.
7 points by SingAlong 3 days ago 1 reply      
Love this idea. I vote for this. Or maybe if anyone can actually edit the HN source and make the app self-post when it is first of every month (IMO keeping it automated will be easier...)

bigsassy's point about searching is right. It surely makes it easier to browse these threads when you have a dedicated whoishiring user account.

Whoever is posting this, please mention the format of the job posts clearly on every thread (whatever format... this thread http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2057704 says location first. It's description is a good example).

7 points by mindcrime 3 days ago 0 replies      
I'm fine with the idea, but I'd suggest also adding a

  Who is looking for a Co-founder (Month YYYY)?

to the list.

9 points by stefanobernardi 3 days ago 1 reply      
You should also def include a Who's Hiring H1Bs as we saw in February if I remember correctly.
3 points by pclark 3 days ago 0 replies      
Is this really needed when you can simply use http://searchyc.com and find all the posts and even relevant job descriptions from previous posts?
4 points by ig1 3 days ago 1 reply      
It should be posted mid-week. I run a developer job board, traffic on Monday/Friday/Weekends is much lower than mid-week.

For whatever reason developers look for new jobs primarily tuesday-thursday.

6 points by kls 3 days ago 0 replies      
Probably should include one more, Whose hiring freelancers edition, that way we could get all the "I need someone to build X" wrapped up under one section.
2 points by astrofinch 3 days ago 1 reply      
First, I'm a little unfamiliar with this problem--why this bad:

"our peers competing to put forward Who Is Hiring threads by submitting them increasingly prematurely"

Maybe this suggests that >1 submission a month is better?

Finally, perhaps it'd be best to stagger the three post types throughout the month so they don't compete with each other for attention?

3 points by metra 3 days ago 1 reply      
I'm worried about the first of the month falling on a Friday such as tomorrow, April 1st. Will the weekend squash the popularity of a Friday 'Who's Hiring' thread?
3 points by jkent 3 days ago 0 replies      
Great idea, some questions...

Can we have a vote on this?

How will this be enforced?

What's PG's take on this?

1 point by geuis 3 days ago 1 reply      
I vote no. Its valuable to see the HN name of the people submitting open jobs. For the most part, people aren't only interested in a company name. They're also interested in the people they could end up working with. I want to see the submitter's voting and commenting history.
1 point by bluishgreen 3 days ago 1 reply      
I guess my recent post http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2391491 opening one more category is what prompted you to post this?
1 point by ashitvora 22 hours ago 0 replies      
You can subscribe to RSS feed also


1 point by squirrel 3 days ago 0 replies      
This would be super. I always want to post in these threads (because youDevise is always hiring great hackers) and have trouble finding them reliably. Thanks for suggesting this!
1 point by necrodome 2 days ago 0 replies      
I wrote a simple script generating rss feeds to follow these postings more easily from my rss reader. The url for a feed is in the form of http://whoishiring.heroku.com/rss/post_id

e.g http://whoishiring.heroku.com/rss/2391828

It captures the parent comments. Maybe you can include a link as well in your posts?

1 point by trin_ 2 days ago 0 replies      
great idea. but ... where are the posts?
1 point by adrianscott 3 days ago 0 replies      
part good, part bad. there needs to be room for new kinds of categories...
1 point by camworld 3 days ago 1 reply      
Centralizing it so it's under one person's control? That doesn't make much sense at all.
1 point by LeadDreamer 3 days ago 0 replies      
Simple, single point just works. Yes.
1 point by shareme 3 days ago 0 replies      
I vote yes
Why TechCrunch is over yared.com
275 points by philipDS 1 day ago   59 comments top 21
106 points by nikcub 1 day ago replies      
I worked for TC for a long time and lived and worked in the same house as Mike for almost 4 years, so I know how he works very well.

First, Compete totally gets Techcrunch traffic wrong. Not only the numbers, but the trends would totally not match up with our own internal Google Analytics, and even the data such as top referrers etc. were way off. Compete should not be used as supporting evidence that Techcrunch is fading.

The number of re-tweets, comments, referral traffic, twitter subscribers, Techememe headlines, HN headlines, story leads etc. is as high as ever. Monthly uniques are nowhere near the 1M compete would want us to believe they are.

There are a few different types of blogger. Those who don't get access to stories and rely on press releases, generally boring. Then there are those who get access to information, but refuse to post about it for fear of pissing somebody off, just as boring and probably worse than the first type. Then there is the type of blogger who gets access to information, and has no problem stepping on toes to get the information out.

Mike is of this variety. You could say that he is the prime example of the new breed of process journalist - he would rather a (now rather low) error rate on 1-2% of stories in order to get the other 98% out there for the audience. I have intimate knowledge of how he works and how he puts stories together - to the extent that even now, with him on the other side of the world, I can read a story on headline and put together what went on behind the scenes to get this story out (such as the Facebook stock story). He is constantly on the phone and emailing people. He literally has hundreds of people on speed dial, on skype and in his email contact list - he would send dozens of single-line emails each day building information up around the story, and over the years has gotten very good at both extracting responses from people first, and then figuring out what is really happening by triangulating.

Sometimes the stories are posted a little early, and you see that process play out through a post being edited or through multiple posts that make up a larger story (like Scamville, and almost certainly this Facebook stock story). Arrington and his stories reflect the scene - if he is pumping a startup, it is because through talking to dozens of investors he keeps hearing about it. He rarely is the first to step out, but is a lot better at capturing mood and opinion and then amplifying it. He can also put his finger on what is wrong and what is right - and Angelgate was an example of that.

That also applies to this Facebook stock story. Do you really think he would just pick on him for no reason? Or is it more likely that he got a tip about it, confirmed it with one more person, phoned Facebook to talk about it (who asked to be off the record), contacted the guy in question, and then posted the story? A blogger who just makes things up and is wrong would never have an audience.

You only ever have to talk to anybody who has worked with Mike, any startup who has gone through the process with him, or any other blogger who respects that process, to understand that there is something special going on there. Mike has a lot of people he can count on in his circle and within the industry because of that. I watched him approach almost every word in a post with a lawyer's caution - he would constantly review even after a post is published and the possibility of not getting something right totally eats at him (to the point where he can't sleep). You have completely mischaracterized him as being careless, from a guy who used to wake me up at 5am just to check the smallest details of a story. Just shows that you totally do not understand what and who you are trying to diss at.

If you don't like this style of story - then don't read it. There are plenty of blogs that just churn out press release after press release and appease those who don't want to see the boat rocked. But don't attempt to string together poor traffic stats and two or three misses from a collection of thousands of hits into some narrative about Techcrunch failing.

If Techcrunch earned a dollar for ever blog post that has been written about it failing or jumping the shark then it could easily double revenue. Fact is that right now it still dominates startup news, is one of the main outlets to reach a startup audience if your are launching a product, and even with Mike writing less it is not fading anywhere - since his style is contagious and has been picked up by other writers.

I have seen this trend cycle of things being cool when new, and then suddenly uncool when popular, play out too many times not to be wise to it. There is nothing wrong with reading Techcrunch and other blogs, this isn't winner takes all. I enjoy reading HN, Reddit, The Startup Foundry, etc. This isn't grade school where you need to pick a team to be on and do your best to fight the other tribe (especially including personal attacks, which completely makes you cheap) - if you think you can do better in any way, try it, keep writing with Venturebeat and don't bitch about it - the readers and audience will decide based on quality not on preaching.

26 points by TomOfTTB 1 day ago 1 reply      
There are a lot of flaws in this analysis...

1. Yes Techcrunch's traffic is down according to Compete but so is the traffic from other sites that cover the same space. In the last 6 months Venturebeat for example is down 73%. ReadWriteWeb is down 38%. Even smaller sites are down. CenterNetworks covers relatively the same space and they're down 38%. By comparison Techcrunch is only down 29%.

2. The author states Michael Arrington making increasingly inflammatory posts as a reason why techcrunch will fail. But in my experience such posts tend to draw traffic. More to the point Arrington has been at this for a while, he uses analytics and he's not stupid. If the inflammatory posts weren't getting results he wouldn't continue to post them.

3. The author uses Wavii as an example of how TechCrunch is no longer a "kingmaker" because they've pushed that startup and it hasn't gotten major funding. But said product hasn't even launched yet so it's really too early to receive more funding (they already got $2m in seed funding and that was only 9 months ago). So the example doesn't really hold.

4. I actually kind of agree with this point in that I don't really enjoy Paul Carr, Sarah Lacy or Steve Gillmor. But again the site has analytics so I assume they'd be gone if everyone agreed with me. So clearly they're drawing a crowd regardless of how I feel. The author needs to realize the same is true of his opinion.

5. The last point boils down to "the author doesn't like Arrington so he'll fail". Well...a lot of people haven't liked Michael Arrington in the past and he's succeeded in spite of it.

I'm not saying Techcrunch doesn't have its problems but they're far from "over"

31 points by arn 1 day ago 1 reply      
I hate how people cite Compete.com traffic graphs as "fact". Fact #1 is not a fact at all.

Reference point: http://siteanalytics.compete.com/macrumors.com/ estimated traffic, graph goes down)
http://www.quantcast.com/macrumors.com (measured traffic, graph goes up)

I also like how he cites Compete's numbers for TechCrunch (1 million uniques), but doesn't use Compete's numbers for his own site PostPost. Compete says PostPost gets 18k uniques/month yet he cites 100K uniques. Why not compare apples to apples?

29 points by lachyg 1 day ago 1 reply      
I found this quote to be pretty good:

"If it was not for MG Siegler (Apple fanboyism aside) and Erick Schonfeld, TechCrunch would be a content-free environment. The rest of the writing has become incredibly self-referential and stale. Paul Carr has the magical ability to consistently write articles that say nothing other than what he did yesterday. Sarah Lacy keeps writing about startups in Indonesia that no one cares about, because even startups in first world countries like France can't seem to make it. Alexia Tsotsis has no clue about underlying technology or any context but continually injects her opinions and should instead write for PopSugar. Steve Gillmor occasionally adds a rambling grandpa perspective. Robin Wauters, Leena Rao and Jason Kincaid are all competent at summarizing the news, and even add a bit of context, but their content is no different than what you can read elsewhere."

12 points by SandB0x 1 day ago 2 replies      
How about ignoring the tiresome commentators, and the tiresome commentators complaining about other tiresome commentators.
12 points by TamDenholm 1 day ago 0 replies      
While I disagree with most of Arringtons written opinions I do respect the fact he managed to build a highly successful blog. I do however think that the quality has disappeared from techcrunch and 90% of the stuff that gets published on TC is tabloid crap. This is why I've taken TC off my RSS reader and now instead read The Startup Foundry.
2 points by ChuckMcM 1 day ago 0 replies      
I can't really say if TechCrunch is 'over' (and here I thought 'over' was over (props to Portlandia)), but I can say that artificial viral marketing is a very strange thing indeed. Reading TechCrunch stories always gives me a feel for who is maneuvering and who isn't, and as with most blogs it seems there is a certain 'shadows on the wall of the cave' kind of aspect to it.

As an entrepreneur, do you think it helps or hinders your efforts to be "exposed" by a widely read blog? As a VC/Angel is this where you look for insights into the 'next big thing' ? And what of Peter Yared or other folks who write articles and give them away from free to various outlets like BusinessWeek, AdWeek, CNet, and others?

One of the things this article illustrates is that the Bay Area, and technology in general, is taking its lead from "Hollywood" rather than from say "Detroit" or "Pittsburgh". Why the star culture? Why the hype? Does Lindsay Lohan look like someone having fun? (I don't know but it doesn't look like it to me).

Arrington appears to enjoy lightning rod status, and while he sometimes whines loudly about getting wet he must be getting something out of going into the storm. I'm curious about the larger question about what it means.

It used to be that presenting at Usenix was "cool" and presenting as Uniforum was a "cop out." Why don't we have more of the 'serious' conferences any more? More questions than answers that is for sure.

4 points by ascendant 1 day ago 1 reply      
People can argue back and forth over exact reasons why TC is or isn't "over", but the fact of the matter is that at this time last year I found their stories interesting and hit the site at least twice a day. Now I show up once a week and I'm just not very excited about their content. How or why is for other people to figure out. I just think it's boring and borderline tabloid journalism now.
5 points by citricsquid 1 day ago 0 replies      
I have access to site analytics for 2 sites pushing 70 and 100 million page views respectively, compete is HILARIOUSLY wrong, we're talking close to 1000% off in accuracy.

There's a reason Alexa measures in percent.

4 points by markkat 1 day ago 1 reply      
Alexa shows something similar, but it's pretty noisy: http://www.alexa.com/siteinfo/techcrunch.com#

I don't think the content has changed much, and TC is still my preferred "big tech blog". But FB comments decreased my visiting quite a bit. I used to comment with Disqus quite frequently. Trolling is down, but the comments are less interesting.

Think about what would happen to HN if we used FB profiles.

Comments are valuable content. They aren't just a widget. FB comments are bland.

4 points by tzs 1 day ago 0 replies      
I don't think the author is right in his assertion that collusion requires a monopoly. A collusion to fix prices and exclude competition is a per se violation of the Sherman Act regardless of the market power of the participants or the actual effect on competition, I believe.
3 points by ignifero 1 day ago 1 reply      
Techcrunch may be over because it has become irrelevant to the community of entrepreneurs/developers. Michael sometimes writes an interesting column. The rest is like a TMZ for the rich people of the silicon valley.

There are real issues like these: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2291336 which they refuse to cover

4 points by ig1 1 day ago 1 reply      
I presume it was accidental and not a purposeful but Yared (the author of the article) should probably disclose that he knows Michael Brown (the FB guy subject to the insider trading accusations made by Techcrunch).
2 points by iamdave 1 day ago 0 replies      
Completely off topic

Can someone point me in the general direction of whomever started this "Why X is X" headline meme, so I can hop in my 80's plutonium powered Eurocar and beat the shit out of them?

It's lazy, it's trite, and it's poor form in writing.

2 points by ianl 1 day ago 0 replies      
The only thing on TechCrunch I religiously read/watch anymore is TC Cribs, I just like to see how people work at companies in the valley.
2 points by jorde 1 day ago 0 replies      
I'm not taking sides but with Compete.com's history of bad data I wouldn't trust it that much. Here's another reference from Google Trends for Websites:


According to Google TC's traffic is down a bit but nothing as dramatic.

1 point by hendzen 1 day ago 1 reply      
Vivek Wadwha needs to start his own (regularly updated) blog, or start writing posts for The Startup Foundry. His content is just on a whole new level compared to the other posts on TC. Here is a recent post he wrote that completely blew me away:


I've sent this article to numerous GSI's (Berkeley jargon for a TA) and professors and they were blown away as well. Even my Dad, someone who is a hardcore WSJ guy and doesn't read many blogs enjoyed it immensely.

I'm at Berkeley now, and I need to meet this guy, yet I have no idea how to go about doing so. Perhaps I should just shoot him an email and let him know that our passions are in line? Unfortunately he may be a little busy for 1 on 1 time with a freshman, but it can't hurt.

1 point by waterlesscloud 1 day ago 0 replies      
So clearly there's some discontent with startup journalism.

It would be hard for this to smell more like an opportunity.

1 point by jjm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Just like any other publication it has an audience. That is how I see TechCrunch. There isn't a publication I know of that can be all things to all people, less be correct about everything. Even the editors at Wikipedia fight over content... Thus I accept the 80/20 rule on TC and basically any Internet site.
1 point by insight 1 day ago 1 reply      
TechCrunch is not over.
It's just that the great-stratups-are-everywhere environment matured. It's less novel.
And the marketing playground is for non geeks = less tech blogs readers. These are all good news.
1 point by elvirs 1 day ago 0 replies      
why did the guy include a link to his new app (postpost) in the first lines of the post?
The most difficult CEO skill: managing your own psychology bhorowitz.com
277 points by bfe 2 days ago   66 comments top 15
18 points by staunch 2 days ago 5 replies      
To me the most important line is something I realized after working in a decently run 200 person company and then moving to a really well run 30 person company many years ago.

> "If you manage a team of 10 people, it's quite possible to do so with very few mistakes or bad behaviors."

His only mistake is thinking that 10 people is the limit. I think with some effort you can probably get to 30-40-50 people and still run it "with very few mistakes or bad behaviors."

To me that's the ideal. There are very few things a really well motivated, hard working, talented team of 50 can't do that a mixed-competence, unmotivated, bureaucratic team of 1000 can do.

Most people grow their companies to thousands of people without really thinking about it, because that's historically what you're supposed to do.

Not enough companies try to be small and "perfect".

26 points by shadowsun7 2 days ago 1 reply      
Fred Wilson also linked to this, saying:

Every once in a while I come across a blog post that so totally nails something and I am reminded why professionals blogging about their craft is such an important development in the world of media.

Read this. I found it inspiring. But it also scared the shit out of me, and made me wonder at the few people who've made it as CEO.

PS: Notice how all the default pronouns in a Ben Horowitz post are female? I find that totally awesome.

11 points by petervandijck 2 days ago 7 replies      
For fuck sake. This glorifying of CEO's (and entrepreneurs) is making me sick. Sure, it's hard being a CEO. It's hard being a teacher. It's hard being a parent. Stop believing you're so special.

"Jason was the one who had to live with the consequences." -> the people being fired have to live with the consequences. Jason only has to live with making the decision, which is much easier. Jeez.


10 points by robg 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'd add exercise, sleep, and nutrition. A healthy body helps keep a healthy mind.
6 points by iuguy 2 days ago 1 reply      
It's like the author just drilled into my mind and started pulling things out. I continually question every decision I make, relying on as much data as I can, but ultimately the buck stops with me, and if you don't find that prospect terrifying, then you're probably not of the right mind to run a company.
10 points by jkuria 2 days ago 3 replies      
Common man! You don't have to be so overly politically correct. It's ok to say "choices like these separate the boys from the men"! The feminine version just doesn't capture the essence!
5 points by rahooligan 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am grateful to Ben for making such posts. They have the potential to save me months of misdirection.

Best parts:

” Whenever I meet a successful CEO, I ask them how they did it. Mediocre CEOs point to their brilliant strategic moves or their intuitive business sense or a variety of other self-congratulatory explanations. The great CEOs tend to be remarkably consistent in their answers. They all say: “I didn't quit.”


"Focus on the road not the wall"When they train racecar drivers, one of the first lessons is when you are going around a curve at 200 MPH, do not focus on the wall; focus on the road. If you focus on the wall, you will drive right into it. If you focus on the road, you will follow the road. Running a company is like that."

3 points by bfe 2 days ago 0 replies      
I found this insightful for anyone who has lots of urgent and important tasks to get done and decisions to make and lots of people to keep happy, yet who also has many other personally conceived projects to pursue that no one else is going to follow up on. There's a real skill to balancing getting everything done you need to, as well as can be done, while still not expending all your efforts and mental energy on established projects and on reacting to external events, and instead reserving some of your time and energy for new projects; or, not letting day-to-day operational competence squeeze out meaningful pursuit of vision.
3 points by nickpinkston 2 days ago 0 replies      
I can't up-vote this enough. The whole final-ness of being where the buck stops is certainly a little overwhelming - but it also is a great feeling when things go great. I forget who said: "The good is never as good you think, and the bad is never as bad".

The mental game of entrepreneurship is certainly the biggest component.

1 point by felix0702 22 hours ago 0 replies      
>"...when you don't actually know what you are doing..."
This is where CEO's psychology starts melting down.

Uncertainty leads to fear and fear leads to panic. It's like driving a car blindly. What a CEO needs is a light which points to a right direction, whether this direction is really right or wrong is another topic.)

This is just my own view. All uncertainties can be grouped into two categories: Vision and Culture.

Vision is like a guiding system, it tells your customers (consumer, employee, and investor) where your company is going. Culture is like an internal machine which take your company to where you want to go. When these two things are defined and guidelines are created, uncertainties become clear. It's because now you have two groups of high-level guidelines to tell whether you should handle an uncertainty seriously or not.

However, even your company have a good vision and great culture, you will still feel uncomfortable. It's the feel like driving at 200 MPH when you are used to drive at 70 MPH. Experiences can certainly help to ease this feeling when you gradually increase driving speed.

The other way is to build a data-driven company from beginning. This is like flying a jet plane which you do not visual see what's going on outside, but rather you see if you are doing well through dashboard panels. But at least a CEO must learn and know what information is important in order to have a meaningful dashboard. This is getting too long. Any feedback on my opinion is welcome.

1 point by jc123 1 day ago 0 replies      
I assume Ben is writing about his experience at Loudcloud and it seems he has a glaring omission about his cofounders (Tim Howes, In Sik Rhee, in addition to Andreessen). Where's the story about when he managed his ego when he had disagreements with them? Or a story/acknowledgment about his cofounders assisting him with psychological support?

I am not disagreeing with the weight on the CEO and overall it was a thought provoking post. But it only scratched the surface and did not write enough about his own experience (and management of his psychology). Incidentally, those were the 2 parts I found most insightful:
1. "The new customers didn't save us, but we figured out another way to survive and ultimately succeed. The key to getting to the right outcome was to keep from getting married to either the positive or the dark narrative."
2. "Get it out of your head and onto paper"

2 points by klbarry 2 days ago 0 replies      
This is a truly amazing article, I've never seen these issues from this perspective.
1 point by bo_Olean 1 day ago 0 replies      
>>Get it out of your head and onto paper.

I wrote down a detailed explanation of my logic. The process of writing that document separated me from my own psychology and enabled me to make the decision swiftly.

Agreed. To the HN readers who type things often in computer, i would suggest to pour out with a pen onto paper next time, this is healer!

1 point by PetoVera_Matt 2 days ago 0 replies      
Enjoyed this post a lot, thanks for writing it, Ben.
Ask HN: Who is Hiring? (April 2011)
271 points by whoishiring 2 days ago   280 comments top 210
14 points by pchristensen 2 days ago 0 replies      
Groupon is hiring all kinds of computery people in Chicago and Palo Alto - programmers, designers, operations, testing, support, Big Data, performance, managers, etc.

Full listings at http://groupon.com/techjobs

Most jobs are in both locations, and there's the ability to move or travel as desired.

A couple months ago on this thread, I said Groupon was planning on hiring 100 engineers this year, and we're on pace to hit that goal. The people we hired are so great that instead of work halting to train them, we have increased the rate that we release new features and products and our software quality has improved too.

All tech people get a new MacBook Pro and monitor. We use Ruby on Rails, git, RSpec, Cucumber, Selenium, Jenkins, and lots more good stuff. We're the biggest player in the daily deal space so we face the biggest technical challenges - tens of millions of users, insane growth, real-time, data-based targeting at scale, defining the hottest new space (deals) on the Internet, etc.

Usual official stuff aside, let me share my personal experience. I started at Groupon four months ago and I'll say that it is better in every way than every job I've ever had. My coworkers are amazing, we do all that stuff everyone says you're supposed to do (test coverage, automated builds, scope control, regression testing, etc), the atmosphere is so fun (company meetings are the highlight of the quarter), and everything I develop gets used by millions of people, immediately. My mom actually understands who I work for. I honestly legitimately love it here.

37 points by jasonlotito 2 days ago 2 replies      
Montreal - PHP/MySQL Developer

Adult company, many positions available. High traffic, lots of new products, different areas, including credit card processing. Don't do one thing, do many things.


Edit: Downvoted, I imagine, because it's an adult company. If you downvoted this, at least you can have the guts to explain why?

13 points by nkohari 2 days ago 2 replies      
Raleigh, NC - Generalist engineer (development/operations)

The AgileZen team at Rally Software is looking to add a few engineers this year. Our app is a SaaS project management system that makes it easy for users to visualize their work. While Rally's primary business is enterprise software, AgileZen's customers are primarily small teams and startups.

We started as a two-founder startup in Ohio in 2009 and were acquired by Rally in 2010. We're now a team of four with intentions of expanding to seven by the end of the year. We think and act very much like a startup, report to the CTO, and operate with relative autonomy within the company.

Experience in any development ecosystem (.NET, Java, Ruby, Python) is great, but JavaScript knowledge is a major plus. Our frontend is a whole bunch of JavaScript and CoffeeScript, and we're exploring doing more with Node.JS on the backend. We like people who are good at lots of things, and excellent at a few.

Review My App link on HN (from our launch in 2009): http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=691673

More about us at: http://agilezen.com/

More about the job at: http://jobvite.com/m/?3ph32fwv

13 points by kaib 2 days ago 2 replies      
Helsinki, Finland - engineering, computational geometry and distributed systems

Tinkercad is a funded startup making a solid modeling web application for artists and makers. The product is currently in closed beta.

We work daily with hard problems combining cutting edge research in volumetric models and soft real time distributed systems. Our software stack is written in JavaScript, Go and a bit of C++.

Job perks include a near unlimited supply of plastics for the company 3D printers and the opportunity to help bring personal digital manufacturing to the masses.

Contact kai at tinkercad dot com and check out the demo at:

6 points by guywithabike 2 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco, CA - Client Services Engineer (70% Ruby, 30% JavaScript/HTML/CSS)

CrowdFlower is the hottest thing since disco pants. We're building an entire new industry (really) and solving new problems on a daily basis (really). Read all about us at http://crowdflower.com Email me at tyson@crowdflower.com if you have any questions " I'm happy to answer any questions you might have. Or, heck, drop by our hot new office in the heart of the Mission district (2111 Mission Street, Suite 302). Let us know if you want to drop by.

Here's the official job posting: http://crowdflower.jobscore.com/jobs/crowdflower/client-serv...

We're using all kinds of hot buzzwords: Redis, Mongo, Ruote, CoffeeScript, Sass, HTML5, ExtJs, etc. Experience with them is a big plus.

We have the usual host of engineer benefits: Shiny new MacBook Pro, 30" monitors, tight-knit engineering team, comfy chairs, health benefits, a million office plants, and a well-stocked kitchen. We're also surrounded by amazing food. This is the Mission, after all.

7 points by smanek 2 days ago 1 reply      
San Francisco, CA

Greplin - We're a YC W10 company with interesting problems, smart people, cool tech, huge data, and rapid growth.

We help people search their personal information that's online (Gmail, Dropbox, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc). As TechCrunch said, we've "attacked the other half of web search."

We're hiring across the board right now - front-end/back-end/generalists/designers/ops/dev-ops: it's all good!

Some stuff we like to play with includes Lucene, Tornado, Twisted, Redis, and HBase.


8 points by agotterer 2 days ago 0 replies      
Manhattan, NY

Lot18 - A marketplace for wineries to sell direct to consumers. Closed a $3M series A in Nov (led by Firstmark). We are growing really fast and hiring a ton of people. Working on a number of interesting things: recommendations, distributed systems, data analysis and of course building our product. We launched 4 months ago and have over 200k users.

Software Engineer - Back-end (http://www.lot18.com/careers#software_engineer_back-end)

Software Engineer - Application (http://www.lot18.com/careers#software_engineer_application)

Front-end Developer (http://www.lot18.com/careers#front_end_developer)

Mobile Application Developer (http://www.lot18.com/careers#mobile_developer)

All open positions - http://www.lot18.com/careers


Languages: Python, PHP, Javascript

Frameworks: Tornado (Python), custom MVC (PHP)

Webserver: Apache and nginx

Database: MySQL

Monitoring: nagios, graphite, statsD, splunk

Hosting: AWS and Slicehost

Servers: Ubuntu

Etc: git, vagrant, chef, capistrano, RabbitMQ, jQuery


Shameless plug: http://www.startupshiring.com for a list of startups hiring. Many from this page.

(edit) formatting

7 points by tghw 2 days ago 0 replies      
New York, NY

Fog Creek Software - http://careers.stackoverflow.com/jobs/10897

We are currently hiring full time developers. As a programmer at Fog Creek Software, you will help design, develop, and implement the code for our award winning products.

Fog Creek Software is a small, entrepreneurial software company in New York City founded in 2000. Our key products are FogBugz, Kiln and Copilot; all three have been very successful. We bootstrapped ourselves without outside investment and have been profitable from the beginning.


4 points by neilk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Planet Earth -- operations engineers, PHP developers, mobile developers, database admins, data analysts, and more

Wikimedia Foundation (the non-profit behind Wikipedia).

We're hiring lots of people this year. We want people who can work at our scale, love and hate PHP as much as we do, and want to help change the world with a tech staff that can fit around a couple of tables in a Chinese restaurant.

Don't underestimate the technical challenges here. After the past couple of successful fundraisers, we are looking at what "2.0" means for our software and infrastructure. And what it means to be everywhere in the world, from African villages to Silicon Valley to South Korea, on the devices people will be using in the 21st century.

Our main offices are located a couple of blocks from the BART in downtown San Francisco, CA, but we will consider remote candidates from anywhere.

There are also a lot of non-tech jobs we're hiring for -- check out the full list.


11 points by RichardPrice 2 days ago 0 replies      
Academia.edu is hiring engineers in San Francisco.

Academia.edu is a platform for academics to connect and share research. Our goal is to build a hyper-connected academic graph, so every researcher has their entire research community at their fingertips. We currently have 1.5 million unique monthly visitors, and have doubled in traffic in the last 6 months.

Here are a few bullet points that sum up the atmosphere in our team:

- obsession with exceptional engineering

- obsession with building a great web product, and a great user experience

- intellectually inquisitive - we like delving into ideas, whatever the ideas are about

- fun and friendly - we enjoy each other's company a lot, and have a great deal of respect for each other.

We want to continue this atmosphere through the people we hire.

Here are some of the technologies we work with: Rails, Nginx, Node.js, Redis, Memcached. We are based in downtown San Francisco. More information about the team, and about how we think about software engineering and product development, is here http://academia.edu/hiring

6 points by comatose_kid 2 days ago 2 replies      
Mountain View, CA (INTERN and FULLTIME)

Bump Technologies (YC S09) is changing the way people connect and share using their mobile devices. There are huge opportunities ahead, and we are looking for talented hackers.

We are currently hiring for both FT and INTERN positions:

• mobile developers (iOS, Android, Blackberry, HTML5)

• server (beckend engineer, server ops)

• designers (visual, interaction)

Our team includes some of the smartest and most talented developers and designers in Silicon Valley, and we all share a common goal: to build something people want and have fun doing it.

We offer a workplace that will both challenge and fulfill you, by giving you the freedom and flexibility to develop your own solutions in a creative team environment where your contributions will be immediately felt and recognized.

Bump was born as a simple iPhone app for swapping contact information, but as our user base grew, so did our vision.

We now have more than 30 million downloads (7th most downloaded free iOS app ever), and a vision of changing the way people use their mobile devices.

We are backed by major investors including Sequoia Capital and Andreessen Horowitz.

Interested? We'd love to talk to you.

Apply here:


7 points by rpuckett 2 days ago 0 replies      
Location: New Orleans

Liveset is a new digital platform presenting live concert events on the web and mobile devices in handsome HD, with supporting content that provides a more powerful connection between artists and their online fan bases. Liveset brings the concert experience to artists' fans across the Internet as their show is happening and provides a platform for fans to watch an archived show at their convenience.

We're going to make live shows as easy as Youtube. Our goal is to build a site for music fans that has an equally impressive set of features as MLB.tv. We also need to build out our own proprietary live-streaming platform " we're currently using livestream.com, and we'd love to talk to you about why we want to replace it (no offense to livestream - they've been great partners).

Liveset is a functioning, funded platform that needs help getting to the next level. The platform was launched on September 29, 2010, and has been very well received. We've done all of the development work through a contract relationship with a talented design and development firm out of New York (@crushlovely), but we want someone as committed as we are to come on board.

That means we're offering a real founder's spot. We need a Lead Developer, and we're willing to offer a 20% equity stake to the right person. The post-money valuation on our last round was $2.5 million (we've raised $500,000). That means we're offering up to a half-million (on paper, of course) for joining. We know that successful projects are built on talented engineers, and we mean business about bringing you on board.

The site is built in Rails. We need a partner who's willing and eager to get in on the ground floor and help us build this into the platform we know it can be.

Why do you need co-founders if you're such an awesome developer? We're experienced at what we do. One of your partners spent 7 years on the other side of the table at a media-focused private equity firm. Another one has already built a successful video production company and is building another product, with plenty of investor interest. We'll raise money and keep your bills paid. We've already made dozens of connections (maybe you've heard of some of the bands on the current site, and you HAVE heard of some of the bands we can't talk about yet). We've made more connections you can't see: artists, booking agents, venues, managers, labels, sponsors, potential investors, consultants, entrepreneurs, streaming providers, CDN's, development firms, designers, etc. We know you've heard ‘we need a technical co-founder' like they're replaceable, and we know better. We know the live streaming concert industry as well as anyone out there. And we've done it all with just 2 people - we're not an over-funded New York VC-backed startup trying to buy instead of build.

We mean it. Get in touch and let us show you what we have to offer. It'll be fun and profitable, we promise!

Plus we're in New Orleans " and if you were at RubyConf2010, you know how great a city this is. How about a bunch of free live music in one of the best music cities in the world? Awesome food? Great co-workers? We love this town, and we'll be sure you know it's impossible not to.

Actual-work wise, what we're looking for:

_ Ruby on Rails
_ Testing frameworks/methodologies (Rspec, Cucumber, etc.)
_ Streaming media / video experience
_ Rich Internet Applications (RIA), e.g. Flash, Silverlight
_ Willingness to move to New Orleans, Louisiana

But really, aside from the moving, none of that is as important as what you bring to the table. We're not looking to give away 20% of an angel-funded company so we can tell you what to do. We've also got enough money raised that we can pay you a lot more than ramen money (and you can live like a king in New Orleans for half of what you'd make in California or New York). You don't need to forgo your IRA contributions for this gig.

We are firm about you coming to New Orleans. We're looking for a true partner. Given our small size and the fact that this is our first in-house developer, we really need you on the ground here with us. We want you there with us on the crazy late nights before a show... and at the over the top celebration dinners afterwards. We're fully committed to this (some of that funding is our own money) and want someone who is able to fully commit as well.

To learn more about us, watch this video (http://lve.st/gXgqTk). If you're interested in working with us, email ross.hinkle@liveset.com.

5 points by niyazpk 2 days ago 1 reply      
Bangalore, India (Sorry, no remote).

We are looking for JavaScript/UI Developers.

We are a well funded ecommerce Startup. We already have a good team working on the technology side.

Please get in touch and I will convince you to join us :)

(Freshers and interns are welcome too).

8 points by ryanb 2 days ago 0 replies      
New York, NY

Tutorspree (YC W11) is looking to hire employees #1 and #2. Competitive salary and generous stock options are included, along with the chance to get in on the ground floor of something really big.

We're looking for:

1) Lead Engineer / Director of Technology
2) Product Designer
3) Engineering & Marketing Interns

Tools we use: php, mysql, nginx, amazon ec2/s3, git

Please reach out to info@tutorspree.com to find out more

5 points by ghotli 2 days ago 1 reply      
Memphis, TN - Infrastructure Engineer

We design/develop/scale an interactive mapping platform. Our early products were all about superimposing cell phone coverage for carriers on a world map for them to embed in their websites. Now we have a platform for in-browser comparative analysis of arbitrary spatial information. We currently load it up with information about the wireless, cable, and telecom industries.

I'm looking for talented engineers who can get down and dirty with optimization, configuration management, distributed systems, and architecture design. Two positions are open currently.

Stuff you'll be fooling with: Solr, HDFS, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, Chef, Ruby, Python, and C. Knowledge of Corosync/Heartbeat, ZooKeeper, AMQP, Flume/Scribe, BigTable/Dynamo inspired systems, or Scala is a plus.




6 points by squirrel 2 days ago 1 reply      
London (UK) and Boston US - youDevise, Ltd.

We're a 90-person financial-software firm committed to learning and improvement as well as great web software and agile development. Some of you may know us from our sponsorship of Hacker News meetups in London. We're hiring developers and other smart folks of many kinds. See https://dev.youdevise.com and http://www.youdevise.com/careers.

While we don't have remote workers, we do help successful candidates relocate to London or Boston including arranging visas where needed. For example, last year we hired HN readers from Denmark and the US, and we moved a Polish employee to Boston.

3 points by alex_c 2 days ago 0 replies      
Toronto - Senior Java/MySQL Developer.

You'd be working as part of a small team on a very successful, high-traffic API - I suspect the type of position many HNers would enjoy.


Edit: also hiring for a more junior Mobile/Web Developer position (aimed mostly at new grads).


5 points by dguido 2 days ago 0 replies      
New York City, Seattle, and San Francisco - iSEC Partners - Application Security Consultants

iSEC Partners is currently looking for Security Researchers and security-focused software developers to fill openings in its application security consulting practice. We are seeking entry, senior and principal level candidates. Job duties will include project delivery within iSEC consulting engagements and cutting-edge research into current technologies and attacks.


iSEC Partners is a proven full-service security consulting firm that provides penetration testing, secure systems development, security education and software design verification. iSEC Partners' security assessments leverage our extensive knowledge of current security vulnerabilities, penetration techniques and software development best practices to enable customers to secure their systems against ever-present threats on the Internet.

Primary emphasis is placed upon helping software developers build safe, reliable code. Areas of research interest include application attack and defense, web services, operating system security, privacy, storage network security and malicious application analysis.

Our goal is to create a new standard for customer satisfaction and become the pre-eminent leader in security consulting, research and tool development.

3 points by nixme 2 days ago 1 reply      
San Francisco, CA - Web and Mobile Engineers

Manymoon is the #1 app in the Google Apps Marketplace. We have multiple open positions for full-time engineers as we build our new social productivity platform for small businesses.

We work primarily in Ruby, Javascript/CoffeeScript, Groovy, MySQL, MongoDB, and Redis and experiment where we see fit. We're also moving aggressively into iPhone and Android development.

We're a small team with a cool office in SOMA -- music playing and pets always welcome.

Contact me directly with any questions: gopal@manymoon.com


9 points by joeshaw 2 days ago 0 replies      
Boston, MA and remote

litl - http://litl.com

We build simple, maintenance-free, internet-focused computers. Our first product is called the webbook, and we're working on some follow-up ideas. Our software team has built a new, Linux-based user interface and a Google App Engine-based server.

Our main offices are in Boston and London, but we have many people around the world who work out of their homes. With all the remote employees -- including software team management -- people are expected to be self-motivating. Most meetings happen over video conference, and other are by phone. A couple of times a year most remote employees come to Boston.

We're looking for:

* QA engineers. In particular we're looking for people with some programming experience to improve our testing tools and automation.

* Software developers. We have a few areas in which we're looking for specialization, but the main thing we care about is that you're really good. Some things we're interested in:

    - X (core and input and video drivers)
- Linux kernel
- Linux desktop technologies (Clutter, GTK, window managers, etc.)
- OpenGL
- Google Chromium codebase
- User-space audio/video stacks
- Embedded and microcontroller developers
- JavaScript runtimes
- Software rasterization

You can email me at joe@<my-HN-username>.org for more info.

3 points by snprbob86 2 days ago 0 replies      


A bit about you:

- Full-stack developer who really gives a shit

- Preference for Rails & Javascript

- You'd be employee #4, founding team

- Meaningful salary and equity

A bit about us:

- Big, cool, fun vision for the consumerization of the enterprise

- Quirky, clever plan of attack

- Two ex-Google/Microsoftdevelopers & one ex-iLike biz/sales/design/manager/everything guy

- Funded by an A-team of angels

- Headquartered in the Founder's Co-op offices in SLU with nearly 20 other awesome startups

Email: brandon@thinkfuse.com

4 points by famousactress 2 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco, CA - (Remote considered for the right fit)

Elation EMR - We're building incredibly useful web-based tools for physicians. It's a really rewarding and exciting space, and current a team of only five people, so you'd definitely have an opportunity to make a huge difference. We're angel-funded, and have an amazing group of advisors and investors.

We're open minded about tools, but right now they include jQuery, Python/Django, MySQL, Redis, Celery, Sphinx.

Take a peek at http://elationemr.com

4 points by a-priori 2 days ago 1 reply      
Ottawa (Gatineau), Canada - software developers, software architects, QA, project & development managers, sales.

Burlington, Canada - QA.

San Jose, California - software architects.

Yerevan, Armenia - software developers.

Cluj, Romania - software developers.

Macadamian, a software development and UX consultancy, is hiring for multiple positions in all of our offices. If you're interested, please contact either myself (mmelanson@macadamian.com) or careers@macadamian.com.


3 points by buro9 2 days ago 0 replies      
London - Java Developer

London - Python Developer

London - Front-end Web Developer

Product creation and incubation as part of Yell Labs. Based near Chancery Lane/Holborn.

We want people who can teach us stuff, we promise an environment in which you'll also be learning.

Our team is already great, if you want to come in for a short meeting to find out more, please do. We're also good for meeting in pubs post-work, or travelling nearby for lunch if you'd prefer to meet us at your convenience.


3 points by ardit33 2 days ago 0 replies      
Yammer is hiring. Both server side (Scala, Java, Ruby) front end (JS), and especially mobile clients (Android/iPhone/Blackberry).

It is great company, with a really fun and awesome environment.

shoot an email at ardit33[at_gmail_com]

5 points by wehriam 2 days ago 0 replies      
Distributed team, East Coast:

* Django / Front end developer

* Python generalist

HiiDef, Inc is a consumer web incubator with two rapidly growing properties, http://flavors.me/ and http://goodsie.com

Help us solve the challenges that revolve around top notch user experiences. We're continually building new products and features, scaling infrastructure, and responding to our enthusiastic customers.

Team members have flexible hours, top notch hardware, and experienced, talented co-workers invested in their success. We pride ourselves on a results oriented, laid back culture and seek people who can thrive with an exceptional amount of independence.

Please contact me directly at johnwehr@hiidef.com

3 points by davi 2 days ago 0 replies      
I'm hiring a software developer for my group at Janelia Farm Research Campus, in Ashburn, VA. The goal will be to develop workflow for extracting wiring diagrams of neuronal circuits from large-scale serial electron microscopy of brain tissue. You can read about what I'm doing at http://www.hhmi.org/research/fellows/bock.html, and browse data at http://bit.ly/ga3Cfk. A detailed writeup of the approach was published a few weeks ago in an article at Nature.

I think the ideal candidate could come from a variety of backgrounds -- someone who had previously written or contributed significantly to the development of a game engine could be good, for example. Looking for strong quantitative chops, creativity, and a willingness to do some plumbing in order to make an elegant solution.

3 points by andrewvc 2 days ago 0 replies      
Santa Monica / Los Angeles, CA: VOKLE, Inc. ( http://www.vokle.com )

Full Time: Flash/Flex developer. If you think dealing with tricky issues with live streaming video is fun, this might be the job for you. We've got massive growth and we deal with that on a large scale. Ideally you're the sort of developer who does more than just flash/flex, and would welcome stepping into other roles (rails dev, ops.) as well.

Paid Intern: We're looking to hire a paid intern to hack on our Ruby/Rails site. We're committed to code quality, and believe strongly in testing.

About VOKLE:

We were started a year and a half ago and have seen fantastic growth. Additionally, we've got a fun stack to work on and a great office environment.

You'll be working in Santa Monica, the heart of LA's startup community. We're active members of the community (I'm the organizer of LA Hacker News actually) and this is a great place to be if you want to be a part of it.

Contact: andrew@vokle.com

3 points by bkrausz 2 days ago 0 replies      
GazeHawk is hiring interns and full-timers in Mountain View.

We're looking for both web developers & computer vision/machine learning folks.

Webdev description: http://www.gazehawk.com/jobs/

CV/ML description: smart person with exposure to ML and a strong desire to expand on it.

We're also looking for a blogger/statistics intern. Come run cool ET studies and then write about them!

Email address is in my profile: send me anything to convince me that you're awesome (a resume is a good example).

3 points by nethergoat 2 days ago 0 replies      
Redwood Shores, CA (SF Bay Area) - Engineers and more

EA2D is hiring! We're a new, autonomous studio within EA building cross-platform social games for gamers. We've just launched our first game, Dragon Age Legends:


We need help building:

* New features for Dragon Age Legends (big ones: real-time, mobile, etc.)

* New games for big-name IP (we have access to the full EA library)

* An epic social gaming platform (for both internal and external teams)

We're small (30 people) and scrappy. And we're growing fast: 0-200 servers in the past 6 months. Tech stack is primarily AS3/Java backed by MongoDB, but we also use Python, JavaScript, and Ruby. We have a highly automated infrastructure running on AWS (EC2 w/ELBs and ASGs, EMR, SQS, etc., plus more than a few super-secret/unreleased Amazon features). Buzzword potpourri includes Chef, node.js, Google App Engine, Hive, Graphite, Tomcat, GitHub, Pingdom, Loggly, PagerDuty, and continuous deployment. <3 DevOps.

We need platform, game, systems, and mobile engineers. We need data people and a Director of Technology. We need producers, marketing, and designers. Some of our job listings are posted here: http://www.ea2d.com/jobs/, but we have positions we haven't even finished writing descriptions for.

If you're an A player, drop me a line: mikeb@ea2d.com

4 points by trefn 2 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco, CA

Mixpanel - YC S09, real-time web analytics

We're dealing with very large volumes of data (> 1B requests per month), using MongoDB, MySQL, Redis, and Python.

We're primarily hiring for two roles:

* Full-stack web developer (building everything from our internal API's to JS/CSS) http://mixpanel.com/jobs/frontend-engineer

* Scalability engineer (help us stay on top of our growth, lots of cool stuff here) http://mixpanel.com/jobs/backend-engineer

http://mixpanel.com/jobs, apply to jobs@mixpanel.com

4 points by btipling 2 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco.

Cloudkick @ Rackspace. We really need some more front-end engineers. If you're good with JavaScript please give us a call. http://cloudkick.com/careers

We're about to move into a brand new office, so it should be fun. Offer a lot of freedom and challenging responsibilities.

2 points by dboyd 2 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco, CA - Ruby/Rails Engineer

We are an early-stage, angle-funded startup building the next generation online video marketplace. We have several significant customers using and profiting from our application. Founders have had several exits with big players (e.g., IAC and Viacom); we are looking to do it again.

We are hiring a Ruby/Rails Engineer. If you are passionate, have strong opinions, and are not afraid to be critical then we would like to talk to you.

We have a small engineering team, and we offer plenty of opportunity to work anywhere in the stack. Everything from jQuery plugins to cluster management tools will need work. There are plenty of things to be done, and everything you do will have an immediate and significant impact. You don't have to be a generalist, but the opportunity is there if you want it.

Company Site: http://www.realgravity.com/

Apply Here: workfor@realgravity.com

3 points by jonasvp 2 days ago 0 replies      
Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany - Python (Django) developer - http://www.jonasundderwolf.de

We're a small web development agency taking on bigger projects. We use Django, FeinCMS, git, PostgreSQL, Fabric to build faster, prettier, and more usable sites for our clients. Looking to start on a product of our own later this year as well.

On-site only at this point - Berlin is a great site to be, though!

11 points by rudepeklo 2 days ago 0 replies      
I don't give it much chances here, but what the hell:

Prague, Czech Republic: C# developer, at least 1 year of experience. Work mainly in location, possible home office once or twice a week.

We're developing software that helps users select stuff they would like to buy (mainly electronics, but also push chairs, baby car seats and other stuff).

http://www.prismastar.com, you can contact me directly at k2@prismastar.com

3 points by gduffy 2 days ago 1 reply      
San Francisco, CA

Dropcam - Started by two former Xobni employees, we are helping people keep an eye on the things they care about using Wi-Fi cameras with cloud DVR recording.

We take in more video than YouTube and are one of the largest video streaming sites on the 'net. We're extremely popular in middle America, check out: https://www.dropcam.com/press

Lots of awesome stuff to work on: big data (everyone says this- but trust me, we really mean it!), web/flash, embedded software, video analysis & computer vision, mobile apps. Venture-backed and hiring!

Check out https://www.dropcam.com/jobs or email me at greg@dropcam.com.

4 points by jfarmer 2 days ago 1 reply      
Everlane - San Francisco, CA (FULLTIME, H1B, INTERNS)

Hey HN! This is Jesse, one of the co-founders of Everlane.

Check out our website at http://www.everlane.com, and my personal blog at http://20bits.com

We're trying to re-imagine retail online and make it easy to find products that match your taste and style. Right now we're focused on mens fashion, but our ambitions are much larger.

pg did a good job of explaining the opportunity, here: http://ycombinator.com/rfs2.html

We're well-funded and building our core team right now. We need product-loving engineers and product designers who are interested in online shopping and building an experience customers love. We're also looking for summer engineering interns.

Our current stack is Ruby, Rails, MySQL, and Heroku, but smart and hungry beats knowledge of specific languages.

If you're interested send an email to jobs@everlane.com telling us why the opportunity is interesting to you, what you're looking for in a startup, and links to your resume, portfolio, github account, side projects, etc.

2 points by paulitex 2 days ago 0 replies      
Vancouver, BC, Canada - Summer Intern

Matygo - Delivering Education. Very young and close to profitable. Founding team looking for first outside help creating a platform to be used across the Province in Fall 2011.

If you want to get your hands dirty with some awesome tech (Sproutcore, Scala, iOS), live the startup life and have a real impact on our company and Province let us know.

This is a $2000 honorarium / unpaid internship. We know that sucks (we pay ourselves less than minimum wage), and will try to make it worth your effort in every other possible way including but not limited to extensive mentoring / training, referrals, lunches, total freedom over your work, etc...

Feel free to contact me directly with any questions: paul@matygo.com


3 points by petervandijck 2 days ago 0 replies      
Montreal or Canada: Javascript frontent developer, iOS/mobile developer and backend Scala/Grails developers. Full-time, salaried.

We're a small startup that's funded. We're building a product in the photo space, not another mobile photo sharing app (however awesome those are), but solving some real problems and looking at the future of photography. We're starting small but thinking big.

We're small, lean and awesome to work with, if I say so myself. We're planning an office but for now everyone is working from home. We're only 3 so far, so we're looking to build the initial team.

You get a competitive salary and full benefits.

We have open-source Fridays, which means you can work on an open source project of your choice on Fridays.

http://blog.getgush.com, or contact me via my HN profile email. Add your Github profile, HN username, OS, blog etc.

4 points by willwagner 2 days ago 0 replies      
Palo Alto, CA - SurveyMonkey.com

We're looking for Javascript/FrontEnd Developers, Python Developers, and Ops people. We also have some Product Manager and QA positions available.

Feel free to email me directly or hit up our jobs page: http://www.surveymonkey.com/jobs/Home_Jobs.aspx

2 points by mapleoin 2 days ago 0 replies      
Prague, Czech Republic - SUSE

SUSE Studio - Designer and Web Developer - http://susestudio.com/jobs/designer_and_web_developer

SUSE Studio - Package and Appliance Assembly Engineer - http://susestudio.com/jobs/package_and_appliance_assembly_en...

There are a few other jobs in Prague working on different things. There are two free YAST developer and Ruby on Rails developer positions and there is also support. I couldn't find a way to link to them from the careers page however: http://careers.novell.com/psp/css89prd/EMPLOYEE/HRMS/c/HRS_H...

Lots of jobs in other parts of the world there as well.

The atmosphere is great here, it's laid back, while at the same time you get to work on very big projects and interact with the OpenSUSE community or other big open source projects outside SUSE.

If you're applying for one of the jobs in the Prague office, feel free to ask me anything in an email or send your CV for me to forward it to HR.

5 points by johndbeatty 2 days ago 0 replies      
Mountain View, CA (We do H-1Bs and other visas)

Clover is building a world-class team in machine learning, distributed systems, front-end, and operations. On staff is a Robocup champ, the former lead engineer for YQL, a rocket scientist turned GPU programmer, and other great engineers. Beyond being really good at what they do, the engineering staff is very friendly. We're not talking publicly about what we're building yet, but we have a well-defined mission, a clear business model, and a killer business team. Our recent Series A is from Sutter Hill Ventures, Andreessen Horowitz, Morado Ventures, and individuals.

I'm particularly eager to find an excellent operations/reliability engineer who loves to build and improve tools, a passion for quality and reliability, and a positive, friendly attitude.

Also very high on my priority list is a big-data processing engineer to design and build our data pipeline.

If you're interested, you can email me directly -- john@clover.com.


4 points by earthaid 2 days ago 0 replies      
Boston, MA - Ruby/Rails Engineers

Earth Aid ( http://earthaid.net ) is newly venture-backed by Point Judith Capital as well as strategic and angel investors who have built and scaled some of the most successful businesses today. We've been called "the killer app for energy efficiency" ( http://bit.ly/dZBy7q ) and our work has been featured in publications such as Mashable ( http://on.mash.to/hqyZqF ), TechCrunch, The New York Times ( http://nyti.ms/ayzLHb ), The Washington Post, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. We currently have small offices in San Francisco and Washington, DC, and we're now consolidating our presently distributed dev team and HQ into a brand new office opening in Boston/Cambridge in May!

We are looking for people who want to work on incredibly complex problems and come up with solutions that will change the world. This is an opportunity to not only work with a dynamic group of people, but also the opportunity to build a platform that's revolutionizing the way we look at energy consumption. We want the best and the brightest. People who work hard and play hard. People who want to make an impact. Why be a cog in the wheel when you can help steer the ship?

Learn more about our very competitive salaries, excellent benefits, cool culture, and small arsenal of office helicopter drones at: http://www.earthaidjobs.com, and send us an e-mail at jobs at earthaid dot net

2 points by dirtyaura 2 days ago 0 replies      
Helsinki, Finland - SUMMER INTERN - Developer or Graphic Designer

We are a small startup company creating real social games for the tablet-era. Games that bring people together. We see tablets as new kind of devices that are great for both online & offline social gaming.

We are about to release Dust Up for Two - a tactical 2-player space battle for iPad http://huikea.com/dustup . You'll be working with us on a game based on it. Think StarCraft that can be played both online and face-to-face in bars & schools.

For internship position, we are looking for coders and graphic designers that are passionated about game design. Read more from http://huikea.com/jobs

We expect you to work from Helsinki during the summer. It's a great summer city with a lively game development scene. After the summer other arrangements are possible.


2 points by azanar 2 days ago 0 replies      
Seattle, WA


We're working on a platform of new services and tools aimed at a revolutionary new way of doing publishing. Systems that can spot breaking news, predict the amount of traffic a piece of content will drive and figure out where, when and how to best distribute this content.

We are looking for a software developer and a test engineer. Details here: http://www.wetpaint.com/page/jobs

Feel free to contact me about either of these, or anything else on that page: ecarrel@wetpaint.com

4 points by buymorechuck 2 days ago 0 replies      
Palo Alto, CA - Flipboard
Seeking iOS, service, and web developers with a passion for design and craftsmanship. (No remote is possible.)


[NSString stringWithFormat:@"%@+HN@%@.com", @"charles", @"flipboard"]

"%s+HN@%s.com" % ("charles", "flipboard")

4 points by plnewman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Foster City, CA

Rearden Commerce:

You: Hacker generalist with some development and some ops experience who enjoys a fun environment.

Us: Internal applications team at Rearden Commerce. We build & deploy tools & applications that make the company more productive.

Full details at http://www.heyimhiring.com/ or ptrk@reardencommerce.com

3 points by nfriedly 2 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco, CA

Sociable Labs - Smarter Facebook Social Plugins - http://sociablelabs.com

We're looking for hackers for front-end, back-end, ops, and more - details here: https://www.jobscore.com/jobs/sociable/list

We're pushing the limits of what cross-domain AJAX can do and serving millions of visitors per month on a number of well-known websites.

Apply at jobscore or send me a note if you have any questions: nathan @ company url.

3 points by bokchoi 2 days ago 0 replies      
Seattle, WA - java dev, front-end dev, tester, and PM positions available.

LabKey is looking for devs, testers, and PMs. We are a bioinformatics software company and you will play a key role in the creation of a product that allows scientists to integrate, analyze, and share large, complex datasets, accelerating their critical work in fields such as cancer and HIV research.

Contact info and more about the positions:

1 point by meterplech 2 days ago 0 replies      
New York, NY.

1010data- Want to work with the biggest data possible? Our clients include such massive data producers as the New York Stock Exchange and Dollar General. If you are interested in any of the positions below, email me (it's in my account info).

We are hiring in two main areas...

1) Developer- want to learn an incredibly cool functional programming language similar to APL? Enjoy thinking list/vectorized (we love people who know Lisp!) or want to learn more about it? Developers build our incredibly fast and flexible platform, find out ways to process terabytes of data in mind-blowing and massively parallelized ways, and solve deeply analytic questions for customers.

2) Business Intelligence Developer- Want to combine passion for stat/econ/business and technology? These developers work with clients to get the most out of their data. They create analytic applications built on top of our platform.

Also Sys engineers and web applications programmers, but I am not involved in that. Check out http://www.1010data.com/company/careers/current-job-openings

4 points by sgrock 2 days ago 0 replies      
Portland Oregon - AboutUs.org

We're looking for an Agile Software Developer and DevOps Engineer.

AboutUs Inc. is based in Portland, Oregon. Our website, AboutUs.org, was launched in 2006 and is now one of the most visited places on the Internet. Our team handles big data like no one else, yet there are just 12 of us working behind the scenes. You might be surprised to learn that we don't work 80-hour weeks. And you may wonder, “How do they keep such a massive ship afloat without drowning themselves in stress and sweat?” Answering, “Because this place is awesome” would be too ambiguous, so here's a summary:

    Highly selective hiring
An open, relaxed office atmosphere
Emphasis on collaboration
More windows than walls
Ping pong
Laughs and more laughs

If you want your work to be challenging and your days at the office to be enjoyable, AboutUs is the place for you. Thanks for considering us!

More info at: http://www.aboutus.org/careers

4 points by jcoglan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Songkick (YC'07, London) is hiring again. We're a
small company (about 20 people) that's working to improve the live music
scene for everyone involved. We help fans track their favourite artists so
they never miss them live, and we help artists get the word out about
upcoming shows.

In the last year we've seen tremendous growth in our user base and with our
commercial partnerships, including integrations with YouTube and Yahoo!
Search. We just launched our first major label integration with EMI and are
working on plenty more. There's a lot of work to do scaling our team and our
technology stack, making it a really exciting time to join us.

If you, or someone you know, is an experienced and fast-learning developer
into TDD and scalable web services we'd love to hear from you. We have a
great team that's a joy to work with (you may have met a few of us at
Ruby events), and we have a lot of challenging projects on our roadmap.

If you're interested, check out our jobs page at
http://www.songkick.com/info/jobs and get in touch with our COO Pete Smith
at pete@songkick.com

2 points by Jakob 2 days ago 0 replies      
Munich, Germany - Game Developer

Pokermania connects social gaming with world-known artists. We are partly community partly online gaming and have small offices in Cologne and Munich. Cologne travels through the world and returns with the best artists and brands. The other half is the engineering department and sits in Munich. We are technically-driven and develop a social poker platform.

The mixture between entertainment industry and software development is fast-paced. But our small team entertains many users simultaneously. The work changes frequently. We love to be responsible for the complete system and scale it to the next level. We are 12/12 on the Joel Test [0] :)

As a game developer you will work with us and

* expand a system which is easy and scales
* have very good knowledge of either Python, PHP or JavaScript
* can work in a unix environment

Plusses are

* MySQL/XtraDB scaling experience
* Interest in Poker
* Active OpenSource contributor

[0] http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000043.html

7 points by lfittl 2 days ago 1 reply      
Vienna, Austria or Remote: Performance Engineer

Vienna, Austria: Linux and C Programming Guru

Full time positions, stock option plan available.

We're building Platform-as-a-Service for hosting providers, enabling them to offer Heroku-style products.


Drop me a line at l.fittl@efficientcloud.com - Cheers!

2 points by btilly 2 days ago 0 replies      
Netflix is hiring. Mostly in Los Gatos, but there are jobs elsewhere as well. See http://www.netflix.com/Jobs?id=7563 for a full list of jobs. (They reached out to me for http://www.netflix.com/Jobs?id=7563&jvi=o4dyVfwu which I could not consider for geographic reasons.
7 points by jkvor 2 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco, CA

Heroku is hiring for engineering (Ruby and Erlang), business manager and sales positions: http://jobs.heroku.com/

Also, we need some badass Logo hackers: http://blog.heroku.com/archives/2011/4/1/announcing_heroku_f...

2 points by elliottcarlson 2 days ago 0 replies      
New York, NY - No remote possible, sorry

CellDivision is an established MedEd agency. We are 50 people strong, have an easy going culture and interesting projects going on. To get more information about us as a company, please visit http://www.celldivision.com

Technologies we currently leverage:

PHP, Perl, Node.JS, haXe, JavaScript, jQuery, NSIS, MySQL, MongoDB, Nginx, Varnish, RabbitMQ, HTML5 Canvas, Mobile Development (iPhone, iPad, Android).

We are looking for experienced and enthusiastic developers who can come up with the best way to get something done (whether using our current technology stack or being able to propose why other technologies might be the best fit).

Email: carlson at the domain name above.

3 points by rbxbx 2 days ago 3 replies      
Can't help but feel like this might be a bad day for this thread. You would think people could set aside the jokes in an obviously serious thread such as this one. Unfortunately, as evidenced by some of the submissions already, this seems not to be the case. Ugh.
6 points by vkris 2 days ago 0 replies      
Long Island, New York

General Sentiment Inc


We are a fast growing media measurement company. We use our patented Sentiment Analysis algorithm which came from 6 years of research out of Stony Brook University headed by Prof. Steve Skiena.

The only quality we look for an individual is - smartness. If you think you are, email us.

We use AWS, Hadoop, Cassandra, Lucene, Flume and code in Python, Java, Perl and more recently with Scala.

1 point by mYk 7 hours ago 0 replies      
Polyconseil - Paris, France - Django developer

We are a small strategy consulting company focused on exploring new fields of activity. We have launched several spin-offs in the past years.

We are creating a large scale car sharing service (several thousand electric vehicles), launching in Q4. We are looking for highly productive and motivated developers to join our backend development team.

Interns with strong programming skills and learning abilities are welcome.

Drop me a line (aymeric.augustin@<company>.fr) or apply online at http://www.polyconseil.fr/careers/

3 points by euroclydon 2 days ago 0 replies      
Raleigh, NC

Power Analytics Corporation

We write software to model and simulate large important power systems, like Micro-Grids and Data Centers, in real time. As a software developer here, you would get to write a lot of new code and work with some very smart engineers.

We are looking for a software engineer with experience in electrical power systems or process control who has strong skills building APIs using C# and WCF. Web development knowledge such as Javascript and SVG would be a plus.


contact: jpearce at company domain.

3 points by arupchak 2 days ago 0 replies      
Amazon.com - Seattle WA - No remote, but willing to relocate based on experience. H1B is possible, again, depending on experience.

I am looking for a strong Systems Support Engineer for our growing team. We like to describe our organization as a Startup within Amazon, as our part of the business is still growing rapidly and our engineers can have a lot of influence on where the product goes.

Job description below. Contact me at ${hn_username}@gmail.com if you have any questions.

The Amazon Services team is looking for a great Systems Support Engineer to keep our systems running and our customers happy. You should be comfortable in a Linux environment, be able to automate everything you did yesterday, and willing to troubleshoot and solve new problems on a daily basis. Come join one of the fastest growing teams within Amazon.


-Maintain stability and performance of our systems via tickets during business hours oncall shifts

-Diagnose and troubleshoot new production issues that affect our customers

-Create and maintain standard operating procedure documents for new issues identified

-Automate operational tasks to assist with our scaling needs


-Proficiency in a scripting language (Ruby, Perl, Python, Shell)

-Familiar with SQL databases

-Comfortable navigating a Linux environment

-Basic understanding of web application architectures

Bonus points:

-Written a Rails application

-Deep knowledge of Oracle databases

-Troubleshooting experience

-Ticketing experience

5 points by techscruggs 2 days ago 1 reply      
Austin, TX - Ruby Programmer
AcademicWorks - Scholarship Management in a SAAS environment.

We are working with a lot of cool technologies: Ruby 1.9.2, Rails 3.0.5, HTML 5, Jquery 1.5, Postgres 9.0, Redis 2.0 (yeah, yeah, yeah, we'll be upgrading 2.2 soon), Chef, AWS hosting and the list goes on ...

We are vigilante about getting the bullshit out of the way and doing what it takes to make coding fun.

We value passionate people, but won't sacrifice a healthy work/life balance.

We are an early stage, but funded and have more demand for our product than we thought!

Contact me if you would like to know more.

2 points by philfreo 1 day ago 0 replies      
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - (on-site only, we can help relocate)

Quizlet (http://quizlet.com/) - creating a better way to study, over 1 million users, great JavaScript games, voice recognition, text-to-speech audio

Check out jobs page for real-time stream of what people are studying: http://quizlet.com/jobs/

Looking for: great back-end (PHP5, Memcached, MySQL, etc.) and front-end (JavaScript/Ajax) developers who want to work on products to help making studying better for 3 million people/month.

4 points by ig1 2 days ago 0 replies      
For UK'ers check out:


(CoderStack is my company; we have lots of startups recruiting through us though)

4 points by StyleOwner 2 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco -- Frontend Engineer (* see info about Macbook Air below)

Looking for someone with strong frontend skills (javascript, css, html).

You'll be our fourth technical hire. We have a great blend of highly motivated, smart people and a low stress, positive environment. And fashion is a very hot area right now.

If you are interested, email me at matt@styleowner.com with some info about yourself. I'll give you an overview of our business plan and next six months trajectory. Please mention HN for extra points.

Caveat: We are only looking for someone who either lives in the Bay Area or who is willing to move here.

* Competitive salary, equity, benefits, and Macbook Air included in compensation package.

We're looking to fill this position in the next few days and will take a thoughtful look at all applicants.

7 points by necrodome 2 days ago 1 reply      
Here is a RSS feed for this thread's parent comments (which are mainly job postings):


Thanks to Ronnie Roller (http://ronnieroller.com/) for Hacker News API.

9 points by javan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Chicago, IL (or anywhere) - Rails Programmer @ 37signals

Amazing group of people; high-quality, high-traffic apps.

3 points by gnubardt 2 days ago 0 replies      
Boston/Cambridge, Seattle, INTERN - Java, Rails, Frontend, HTML5 Developers

Brightcove - An online video provider, we're rapidly scaling (over 1 billion player requests a week) and need QA & Software engineers. Our backend is mostly Java & Rails with Flex and HTML5 on the frontend.


Send me an email (in profile) if you have any questions!

2 points by usaar333 2 days ago 0 replies      
PiCloud (San Francisco, CA) is hiring software engineers to develop its cloud computing platform.

Quick description:
We allow developers, scientists, and engineers to leverage the power of the cloud with only a few lines of code. We do this by abstracting away individual servers, in favor of a simple language-integrated API.

We do extensive amounts of systems work, from scheduling algorithms to user sandboxing to bytecode introspection.

Apply @: http://www.picloud.com/jobs/

4 points by kisielk 2 days ago 1 reply      
Vancouver, BC - Python Software Developer

Zymeworks Inc.

We're a computational biotechnology company focused on designing antibody therapeutic drugs. We have an in-house protein engineering platform built on Python & C++ that is constantly evolving to meet the needs of our scientists.

We're looking for a talented software developer, preferably with Python experience, to further our technology. No prior knowledge of Chemistry, Biology, or Physics is required but it certainly is helpful. Strong problem solving skills and an ability to write clean, high performance, efficient code are a must.

See http://zymeworks.com/careers/postings/ for a full description.

2 points by GVRV 2 days ago 0 replies      
Melbourne, AUS - Generalist Web Dev code monkey [FULL TIME, NO REMOTE]

The small web development team within Infoxchange Australia (http://www.infoxchange.net.au/) is looking for a couple of developers. We work on a Debian/Apache/Perl/PHP/PostgreSQL stack on some fairly JS-heavy applications. The team is so small, that it is essentially a startup. You'll be a vital part of the team sure to making important contributions to all aspects of development. Please feel free to contact me if you want more information on the kind of work we do and the applications we develop. Graduates welcome to apply.

More information about the job: http://www.jobseeker.org.au/employment/results.chtml?filenam...

3 points by jackfoxy 2 days ago 0 replies      
5 points by sybreon 2 days ago 1 reply      
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Aeste - http://www.aeste.my/hiringnow

Swimming (and drowning) at the software-hardware boundary.

We are currently looking to fill several full-time engineering positions.

If you are looking for a place to experience an alternate work culture within Malaysia, feel free to apply. At AESTE, you will be given the opportunity to impact the world in unexpected ways.

2 points by billpaetzke 2 days ago 0 replies      
El Segundo, CA - C# Developer

Full-stack web developer position in a small, growing startup: Leads360. The main product is a web app for salespeople to manage their leads. There's a lot of interesting technical challenges involved to make our product cutting-edge.

I've hired three ex-Myspacers in the past few months and I'm looking for more.

Submit to Bill: bpaetzke@leads360.com

3 points by jack 2 days ago 0 replies      
Vancouver, BC, Canada

Telecommuting is an option.

Clio (http://www.goclio.com) is hiring talented Ruby on Rails developers. We are a fast-growing provider of practice management software for lawyers in small firms. Think of Clio as a mashup of Highrise, FreshBooks, Basecamp, and Harvest tailored to the specific project management needs of lawyers that practice as solos or in small firms (which is, by the way, 80% of lawyers in North America).
We're a small, fun-loving and tight-knit team with team members spread across North America. We're looking for team players that also know how to work independently. If you're located in Vancouver, great, but if not please still apply.

If you're interested please apply via http://clio.theresumator.com/apply/Lx3Omr/Software-Developer... or jobs@goclio.com.

6 points by JBasker 2 days ago 1 reply      
Etsy, the global marketplace for buying, selling and discovering handmade goods, is hiring across the board in Engineering and Product.

We value iterative development, minimal design aesthetics and deep passion for creating the things you care about (whether it's an oak table or a Hadoop cluster).

Check us out at www.etsy.com/jobs
(All positions are local in Brooklyn, New York unless otherwise marked)

2 points by Sidnicious 2 days ago 0 replies      
NYC - Full-stack JavaScript developer

DISTRO.fm is an early-stage startup working to revolutionize how artists distribute their music.

We been building over the last few months, but there's lots of work left to do. Our website is a single page application driven by JavaScript, backed by Node.js and MongoDB.

Us: http://distro.fm/

2 points by cal5k 2 days ago 0 replies      
Toronto, ON - Web / mobile developers

PHP, Python, iOS, or Android experience a plus, but we're more interested in hiring awesome engineers/computer scientists and providing training in relevant skills.

Work with great clients like The Royal Conservatory and Carnegie Hall, and jump in on a new product we're developing for the educational market. We build web and mobile products for companies, non-profits, and governments.


2 points by dominostars 2 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco, CA - Rails developer (also Android developer, Product Manager)

MedHelp is the largest online health community, with 12 million uniques and growing. We're profitable without having to take VC money, and we're growing without having to pay for traffic.

Your general intelligence, work ethic, and personality matter much more than your rails experience. However, the more rails experience the better.

Website: http://www.medhelp.org
Email: Opportunities@medhelp.org
Job description: http://www.medhelp.org/Jobs/index.htm

2 points by mkull 2 days ago 0 replies      
Philadelphia, PA - Senior Software Engineer

RevZilla.com - http://www.revzilla.com/senior-software-engineer

We are currently looking for a talented developer with Ruby / Rails experience to help with the roll-out of eCommerce related functionality for RevZilla.com

RevZilla.com is 4 years old. It was bootstrapped and profitable with 90 days. Founded by software developers, we lead with technology & customer experience. We strive to be the Zappos of the powersports (26 bn) market.

2 points by poutine 2 days ago 0 replies      
Vancouver - Ruby on Rails developer

http://www.e-xact.com a credit card processing company with a rails based infrastructure needs a developer with lots of experience in Ruby. May consider remote work for Canadians and Americans though has a preference for local.

jobs at e-xact.com

2 points by healsdata 2 days ago 0 replies      
King of Prussia (near Philly), PA

ReminderMedia is looking to expand our software development team with two entry-level positions. We've recently started adding a ton more JavaScript functionality to our customer interface and are making heavy use of jQuery & JsTestDriver. Additionally, PHP object-oriented work continues as we revisit systems, add tests and make improvements to our custom CRM.

http://remindermedia.com/careers/search/state/PA or email me at jcampbell@remindermedia.com

2 points by calbear81 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sunnyvale, CA - Software Engineers

Room 77 is building the world's first hotel room search engine. We launched in February 2011 and won "Best Overall" startup at the LAUNCH conference and the Audience Choice award at Web 2.0 Expo so we've got a lot of great momentum.

We're looking for superstar engineers to join our team in Sunnyvale, California " the heart of Silicon Valley. We're well funded and have a roster of superstar investors and angels.

Who you are:

Superstar coder, self-motivated, focused, and interested in making a big impact as an early employee of a fast-paced startup

BS, MS or PhD in Computer Science or a related field

Passionate about travel

What you'll do:

Build upon Room 77's first public product with powerful new features

Design algorithms to enable the world's fastest and most feature-rich travel search engine (primarily with C++, Javascript, PHP and Python)

Revolutionize the way people travel

Send us your resume at jobs+engw[at]room77.com or find out more (including our puzzles) at http://www.room77.com/jobs.html

3 points by oroup 2 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco, CA

VigLink - Senior Java Developer - http://www.viglink.com/jobs#/senior-java-dev

VigLink monetizes outbound traffic using affiliate programs and links already present in content. We are embarking on a very ambitious optimization strategy that will remind you of AdWords both in initial simplicity and potential economic scale. Technologies you will get to work with: Hadoop, Lucene, Cassandra & Nutch.

While the company is not funded by Y Combinator, it has a similar feel - we were part of the Lightspeed Summer Grants program in 2009 and are staffed by small team of young energetic technically-minded people excited to make an impact and already seeing significant distribution and revenue traction. The company is backed by angels like Reid Hoffman and Jeff Clavier and institutions like Google Ventures, First Round Capital and Emergence Capital.

Intern and H1B transfers are welcome. Unfortunately we do not yet have the resources to sponsor new H1s.

2 points by bdittmer 2 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco, CA
Wiseview Research (http://www.wise-view.com)

We are currently looking for an experienced rails developer and a designer with mobile experience. We are funded and provide full health benefits. Currently we are working out of Rocketspace, a pretty cool environment to be in. brian@wise-view.com

4 points by lylo 2 days ago 0 replies      
Edinburgh/Cambridge, UK (Engineer)

FreeAgent is a fast-growing and hugely popular Edinburgh-based company obsessed with building fantastic online accounting software. We're a team of smart people looking for clever, productive Ruby engineers in Edinburgh or Cambridge, UK.


Our engineering team will be at the Scottish Ruby Conference this week, so if you're going along be sure to grab them for a chat about the role!

2 points by aschobel 2 days ago 0 replies      
Catch.com San Francisco - FT, Intern, Remote

We are looking for hackers to join our team in SOMA. We have a bunch of ex-Metaweb and Googlers hacking on:

  * Android / iOS
* JS (Google Closure)
* Python (Pylons)and MongoDB.

We have a crazy amount of users on Android. =)

Email me hn@catch.com or http://catch.com/jobs


6 points by northisup 2 days ago 0 replies      
Skype! Help us fix Mac version 5 :)

Also a whole host of backend engineering on huge scale systems (not listed for some reason, ping me)


5 points by equalarrow 2 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco, CA

Limos.com has openings. They are doing 'speed hiring' where you will get an offer letter before you leave. I think that's pretty cool.

Right now there are positions open for:

Front end html5/css developer
QA person
Sr. Rails developer.

Check out the jobs page: http://www.limos.com/jobs

2 points by nolanbrown23 2 days ago 0 replies      
Millennial Media

San Francisco - QA, Support, and Account Managers

Baltimore - QA, Support, and Software Engineers


We are venture-backed and a leader in the mobile advertising space. nolan@millennialmedia.com

2 points by jplewicke 2 days ago 0 replies      
Boston, MA (seeking interns, not remote)

MDT Advisers - We're a small quant investing shop working with machine learning, financial analysis, and the hardest dataset in the world. We're mainly hiring for a general analyst position that's about 60% programming and 40% financial and statistical analysis -- http://www.mdtadvisers.com/careers/qea.jsp . The people, problems, and pay are good, and we aim for good work-life balance(e.g. no 60 hour weeks).

You can email me at jlewicke@mdtadvisers.com with any questions you have.

1 point by mikeklaas 2 days ago 0 replies      
Zite " Vancouver or San Francisco

We just launched a personalized reader app for the iPad that made a big splash (100k downloads in 5 days). We do hardcore machine learning and large scale data processing.

We've got positions open for the backend/ML side of things, as well as the iOS/web side. Looking for contract designers, as well.


3 points by cubes 2 days ago 0 replies      
Eventbrite is hiring in San Francisco. It's a fun place to work, and we've got lots of openings:

Email cubes@eventbrite.com if you're curious.

3 points by thinkcomp 2 days ago 0 replies      
Palo Alto, CA - Think Computer Corporation


We're looking for interns with coding skills to help us grow FaceCash (http://www.facecash.com)

E-mail jobs at thinkcomputer.com

2 points by essrand 2 days ago 0 replies      
I am a data mining engineer at polyvore and we are looking for frontend/backend/generalist/data mining engineers.

Below is our official pitch :), I am regular lurker here at HN, you can email me at bhaskar@polyvore.com if you want to know more, or just apply to the jobs link below.


Polyvore is looking for stellar software engineers to join our team. If you're at all interested, I'd love to grab coffee or have you stop by our office to meet the team.

A little background on the company -- Polyvore is a social shopping platform. Our user community curates and merchandises products from all over the web in the form of digital collages that we call "sets". We have about 6.5M unique visitors per month, which makes us one of the largest fashion sites on the web. Our eventual goal is to expand to other product categories.

We're a team of 18 people, including a lot of folks from Google and Yahoo. Our founders are all engineers or have computer science backgrounds, so we're very technical and eng/product-driven. You can see the profiles of our team members here. It's also a really fun working environment. Our Happy Hours activities range from board games to taco trucks to book club (with beer and other equally attractive drinks!).

Polyvore has a lot of interesting product challenges and neat technology under the hood. For example:

The Editor -- Our virtual styling tool features pretty nifty JavaScript.

Style Analytics -- Our users interact with tons of products on a daily basis (50K clips/day, 35K sets/day), which makes for really interesting data mining opportunities.

Monetization -- Think of Polyvore sets as user-generated ads. There are lots of resonant monetization opportunities.

We've also been getting great buzz lately:

Polyvore Goes Sky High with Times Square Billboard (about our billboard in Times Square, which we got for free)

Fast Company - An Army of Anna Wintours (about our recent partnerships from Fashion Week)

TheNextWeb - The Rise of Polyvore: Trendsetting Goes Social (testimonials from our advertisers)

The New Yorker - Fashion Democracy (an older article that focuses on our awesome user community)

2 points by pitdesi 2 days ago 0 replies      
Chicago or remote:
UI/UX designer

(UI people - our site http://feefighters.com normally doesn't look like it does today, I swear!)

Also looking for freelance infographic designer (remote)

FeeFighters is awesome and is disrupting the shady world of credit card processing. I've been on board for a few months and have enjoyed the hell out of my time here. We've got a bunch of superstars on the team right now and are looking to add another... Join us!

2 points by nphase 2 days ago 0 replies      
Chicago, IL

Tap Me, Inc. - http://tap.me

We are hiring full time web developers, devops, Flash+HTML5 specialists, designers, and potentially other lots-of-hats people. If you're talented, we'd like to talk to you.

Tap Me is a funded startup focused on building next gen in-game advertising. We've got a fun and energetic workplace, and we love to think big.

You can contact me directly at ws@tap.me

2 points by ScotterC 2 days ago 0 replies      
New York, NY -
Ruby on Rails back end
Front end Dev

Artsicle is a small team looking to democratize the Fine-Art world. We're doing this by cutting out the gallery system and allowing customers to rent directly from the artists. A 'try before you buy' system that allows a greater amount of customers access to a greater amount of art at a more accessible point in the artist's career.

interns welcome

email scott at artsicle.com if you're interested


4 points by penningtonj 2 days ago 1 reply      
Philadelphia, PA

The Center for Biomedical Informatics at the Children's Hospital Of Philadelphia Research Institute needs a Quality Engineer/Programmer to establish quality assurance as a core competency of our rapidly growing, entrepreneurial R&D software group. We're looking for a unique individual who is interested in moving beyond typical QA roles and responsibilities, someone who is driven to create new methods for testing complex biomedical software. This need is driven by translation of our successful research applications into clinical practice.

2 points by cadr 2 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco, CA - Blurb

Blurb lets people tell their stories - currently through print-on-demand books, but increasingly through other venues.

We are both established and growing like mad (we were #47 on last year's Inc 500). We have a great group of people and a lot of fun challenges in the year ahead.

We are currently hiring for many positions - front end, Rails, iPhone, and more.


4 points by jim-greer 2 days ago 1 reply      
Portland, OR - Rails Developer - Kongregate
2 points by joshu 2 days ago 0 replies      
Tasty Labs is hiring frontend and backend engineers in Sillicon Valley. We use Python and Java. We are building a way to help people use their social networks to get things done.
3 points by kola 2 days ago 1 reply      
Palo Alto, CA

Mertado (YC W2010) - Help users discover interesting merchandise.

We use - MongoDB, MySQL, Python, LAMP.

* Frontend Engineers - (APIs, CSS/JS). Help build our web app, Facebook app and our new embedded shopping offering.

* Backend engineers - Work on product recommendation engine, custom in house analytics engine, APIs, scalability & build platform to integrate with hundreds of our vendors.

* Interns - Web developers, backend developers, marketing.

Why talk to us? Awesome team, well funded, really big market opportunity (think Zappos, QVC).

Apply - jobs@mertado.com

More info - http://www.mertado.com/jobs

4 points by tsewlliw 2 days ago 0 replies      
Austin, TX

SmartBear, CodeCollaborator team. We do team lunches, and we have fun.

Multiple developer openings:

Mostly just be smart and adaptable, but specifics in Eclipse/RCP, Visual Studio addins, Web GUI stuff, and version control systems are big wins.

QA opening:

We like automated testing. I'm the wrong guy for specifics, but I'll hook you up.


2 points by daten 2 days ago 0 replies      
Silver Spring, MD - Linux System Administrator

We're looking to hire a Linux SA to help build and deploy clusters and custom software. Includes some travel. Must be eligible for a security clearance.

Other available positions listed at http://www.woti.com/jobs.cfm


3 points by AntiRush 2 days ago 0 replies      
Have you built your own sweet HTML5 game? At Game Closure, we are building a cross-platform HTML5-based gaming SDK (iOS, Android, and browser for now). Shoot us an email at jobs@gameclosure.com.

Located in Palo Alto, CA. We will pay for your travel if we want to interview you.

We are hiring for the following positions:

Game Developer: Experience building games and knowledge of javascript. Show us your games!

Platform Engineer: Deep expertise in some of the following - iOS, Android, WebGL/OpenGL, javascript, HTML5.

Network Engineer: Deep expertise in real-time networking technologies on the web.

2 points by tdonia 2 days ago 0 replies      
Brooklyn, NY (local/salaried) - PHP Developer - Main Street Connect

We're a well-funded startup with ambitious plans for local news looking for a problem solver to join our Creative Technology team in DUMBO. We use Drupal but are more interested in someone smart & adaptable than specific Drupal-domain expertise. The rest of the Brooklyn team includes a UX Lead, our Creative Director, Product Infrastructure & Ad Operations + a small army of freelancers. You'll find most of the team lurking about HN.

Recommend a book/tell us about a cool project: creative_technology@mainstreetconnect.us

5 points by garysieling 2 days ago 1 reply      
Philadelphia, PA (Blue Bell) - Software engineers- Java/C#.
We're a small company, and write software for pharmaceuticals & energy companies.
3 points by FainaK 2 days ago 0 replies      
Philadelphia, PA Area- Python/PHP Web Application Developer
AWeber Communications

2 Full time opportunities, developing and maintaining Python web based applications run on Unix based open source platforms.

Full details at - http://www.aweber.com/careers.htm

    •    Developing web based services like AWeber.com, and others.
    •    Participating in the evolution to Python, SQLAlchemy, and Pylons system wide.
    •    Utilizing Python, PHP5, Perl, SQL, JavaScript, HTML, and XML.
    •    Being part of a team that provides 24x7 coverage for the production environment.
    •    Monitoring the production environment and fixing or escalating problems that arise on production machines.
    •    Handling project oriented work, including developing and maintaining APIs, creating and maintaining web applications & training others in the production environment.
    •    Capacity and performance optimization and planning recommendations.
    •    Designing program models and behaviors.
    •    Integrating new tools into our processes and suggesting new ways of improving systems.

About AWeber
Located in Huntingdon Valley, PA AWeber develops and manages an online opt-in email marketing and follow-up service. A growing 100,000+ international customer base access our website 24/7 to manage and send their newsletters to recipients who have specifically opted in on their website to receive that information.

Please email with the subject "Web Application Developer" a cover letter describing why you feel this is the position for you, salary requirements, your preferred desktop OS and detailed PDF resume.

Email- resumes@aweber.com

2 points by shafqat 2 days ago 0 replies      
NewsCred is hiring in New York City.

Lots of positions, but our main focus is to find engineers who are passionate about information retrieval and big data. So any interest or experience in Solr, Lucene, NLP, Machine Learning, etc would be a great fit for the types of problems we're working on.

And we have unlimited vacations!

Full listing at http://platform.newscred.com/jobs

2 points by vgurgov 2 days ago 0 replies      

For videolla.com- we are making serious $$$ on video

1) web UI/Designer contract. Rails experience preferred. For redesign of our fast growing startup videolla.com

2) Marketing PR hacker intern/freelancer. You will make us famous!

If you feel you are 1)+2) you should also apply. Bay Area preferred. Remote is possible for exceptional candidates!

If you are interested - you will find a way to get in touch.

3 points by rhoward 2 days ago 0 replies      
Java Development opportunities for Agile Enthusiasts. Only those with a passion for creativity and innovation as well as a drive for excellence need apply.

Pillar Technology is rapidly increasing its team in the Detroit Metro area. We have multiple projects that need strong agile developers who feel comfortable coaching others on practices like tdd, continuous integration, and pair programming. We are entering an age where our clients are embracing full Agile transformations and Pillar is at the heart of it. If you want to be part of these exciting opportunities, please send resumes to rhoward@pillartechnology.com

technical skills needed:

3+ years experience with Java EE or strong background in other oo languages .

web services

hands on experience with Test Driven Development, Continuous Integration and pair programming

nice to have, but not necessary

experience with portals

experience with development mobile applications


Company Overview:

Over the last 12 years, Pillar has been successfully mentoring clients and implementing software development best practices in a variety of industries. Our Speed to Value (S2V) approach is influenced by Agile Methodologies (XP, Scrum, TDD) and includes practices such as Continuous Integration and Travel Light. This approach has enabled us to deliver measurable business value early and often in software development projects.

We strive to offer an exciting work environment that balances learning with delivery, a culture that is fun, fast paced and geared to the success of both the project and the individual.

please send resumes to hr@pillartechnology.com

2 points by bmj 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pittsburgh PA: invivodata


The Products group is small (just three devs in PGH, plus four in Santa Cruz), and we do a mix of web and device/mobile work. We are mostly a .NET/C# shop, but my current project is heavy on the Javascript.

3 points by throwawayappdev 2 days ago 0 replies      
REMOTE - (1) iOS/Mac Developer (2) Java / Android Developer (3) HTML/CSS/JS Developer

Highly Profitable Mac/iOS Startup Hiring ($300 to $500/day, or monthly/yearly equivalent)

We are one of the leading developers on the iOS and Mac platforms with dozens of successful apps, adding around one million new users per month and doubling our revenues every quarter.

You need to be:

1. Passionate

2. Dedicated

3. Awesome at what you do

If you have strong experience and a portfolio to back yourself up, then please email us at: throwawayappdev@gmail.com

Immediate start available.

4 points by benro 2 days ago 0 replies      
Cedar Rapid, IA - Engineer/Developer

Small consulting company providing solutions ranging from Industrial Automation to High Precision Agriculture. Looking for INTERN s and Full time developers. Software Development is primarily .NET, but experience with LabView and PLC Programming would be helpful.

2 points by yesbabyyes 2 days ago 0 replies      
Stockholm, Sweden

Startup in fashion/affiliate marketing looking for summer interns for programming Python, Django, JavaScript.

Contact me at linus@hanssonlarsson.se

2 points by mikepk 2 days ago 0 replies      
Boston, MA - Engineers / Technologists / Programmers - not remote

Why get drowned out in the Valley / SF when you can work on a sweet consumer web startup in Boston! OK I'll get it out of the way, the weather: well, yeah, there's snow/slush on the ground right now on April 1st (jokes on us), but it does make you appreciate when it is nice out a lot more.

We're a new company (http://smarterer.com), recently funded, with some big ideas. Not only are we exploring a space with tons of potential, but we plan on putting "consumer web" back on the map in the Boston startup scene.

There are just three of us at the moment (and only one tech person: me) so joining now means you get to have a big impact on the product, the company, the vision and the technology.

There are lots of interesting product, algorithm, gaming, infrastructure and scaling challenges. We're currently using Python (not Django), but we're not language-religious, anyone who loves web tech, big problems, big systems, design, products and programming might be a good fit.

Sorry, no remote right now. The early core team needs to be local to really gel (just from my personal and previous startup experience).

if you're interested, email me: mikepk@smarterer.com

2 points by nmueller 2 days ago 0 replies      
Menlo Park, CA - Generalist Ruby Engineer http://www.nearbuysystems.com/company/rubyengineer

Menlo Park, CA - C++/CUDA Engineer http://www.nearbuysystems.com/company/cengineer

Nearbuy Systems is a year-old startup working on indoor location-based services. We've got two positions -- a C++/CUDA engineer to work on the "location" part and a ruby engineer for the "services" side.

Our location system fuses together multiple sensor feeds to get 1m accuracy indoors. It's a highly parallel system with agressive performance requirements and a lot of fun problems. "Services" encompasses a Rails frontend, a large distributed backend, data collection and reporting. If you like ruby but aren't 100% frontend focused you'll fit right in.

We're a small engineering team (currently three people, growing to six). We practice agile development, love playing with new technologies and know how to have a good time. Experience with something unusual and unrelated to the requirements is a big plus.

3 points by pashields 2 days ago 0 replies      
New Haven, CT or remote (us only, northeast preferred) - iPhone and/or opengl developer

We're a funded stealth startup building what we call a social opinion platform. We'd like to add another developer on our iPhone client. In particular someone with experience build graphical elements on top of opengl and/or quartz would fill a good niche.

Please submit code/github/portfolio if you are interested. Good compensation, equity for right person. pat at floop dot com.

4 points by ynn4k 2 days ago 1 reply      
Intelligent App search and discovery startup is looking for:

US / India - Business Development/Marketing Manager

India - Front end designer, Deployment architect, NLP research engineer.


2 points by tungwaiyip 2 days ago 0 replies      
Kontagent (San Francisco, CA)

We are looking for sales and engineers! http://jobvite.com/m?3rJ72fw3

Kontagent measures people, not pages, and is a leading analytics platform for social application developers. The platform has been built to provide deep social behavior analysis and visualization that provides actionable insights via a hosted, on-demand service. It works with many of the world's largest developers and brands, tracking thousands of social applications and games with over 100 million monthly active users and over 15 billion messages per month.



Email me waiyip.tung at kontagent.com if you need more information.

3 points by lamplighter 2 days ago 0 replies      
Toronto, full time (no remote)

Uken Games - http://www.uken.com/jobs

We are a startup (~10 full times) that makes web based games in HTML5 for iOS, Android, BlackBerry and Facebook. We are growing fast and need talented back-end web engineers to help us scale (Rails & MySQL). We are also looking for Javascript developers to help us push the edge of what browsers can do.

2 points by gsiener 2 days ago 0 replies      
New York City, NY

Front End engineer @ Profitably

We just raised $1.1M, and we are looking to hire our 6th person. Our 3rd co-founder was UX & Visual Design. We couldn't take design more seriously, and we've got cash and equity for you if you're the one.

Profitably is business analytics, simplified. More at Profitably.com

More on the job at: http://jobs.37signals.com/jobs/8551

2 points by pretzel 2 days ago 1 reply      
London, UK

Qubit digital - http://www.qubitdigital.com/join-our-team

We're looking to double the size of our company over the next 12 months. We're hiring senior and graduate software engineers in the next quarter, plus a whole bunch of other roles. We're not looking any skills in particular, just smart people.

Qubit Digital is a year-old company founded by 4 ex-Googlers. We're in the business of making company's websites perform better, by generating rule-based concrete advice.

We've a bunch of huge clients already, and are trying to keep up with growth! It's a busy time and you'll get thrown in the middle of bunch of AI work, doing cloud computing and presenting complex data to clients in a simple actionable manner.

It's a fun place to be (not just because we're in the middle of Soho), there's a bunch of perks for everyone and there's both strong leadership from above and freedom for everyone to do things the way they know best.

If you are interested, send an email to careers@qubitdigital.com.

3 points by danielpatricio 2 days ago 1 reply      
Toronto - Backend/Front-end
Pinpoint Social

We have built a self-service platform for building promotions on the world's largest social networks.

We are looking for a hacker to add to our hustle. API integrations and the self service usability are our current priorities

Say hi at @danielpatricio

2 points by kreilly 2 days ago 0 replies      
Media6Degrees is looking for Java Engineers in NYC.


The Server-Side Developer role requires in-depth experience with the following:

    Server- side Java (5.0, 6 strongly preferred) including multi-threading, concurrency, etc.
Application Server or Servlet containers, Tomcat 5.5 or later strongly preferred
TDD, Unit, Integration and Functional testing.
Strong working knowledge of browsers and web technologies
Experience with IoC containers; Spring/Spring MVC strongly preferred
ORM; Hibernate strongly preferred
Java Profiler, JProfiler perferred
SQL; MySQL 5.1 strongly preferred
Continuous Integration; Hudson strongly preferred
Maven 2
IDE, Eclipse strongly preferred

3 points by mivok 2 days ago 1 reply      
Columbia, MD - OmniTI

Site Reliability Engineer (Systems Administrator), Database Administrator, Web Engineer (Perl or PHP), Project Manager, Javascript Developer, Web Interface Designer

See http://omniti.com/is/hiring and http://circonus.com/careers for the Javascript Developer Position).

1 point by newy 2 days ago 0 replies      
SOMA, San Francisco, CA - Software Engineers

Opzi, YC S10, building an enterprise knowledgebase people will actually use. All engineer team, we use Ruby, Rails, JS, Node, Backbone (some Python). We're looking for smart, well-rounded engineers who are interested in building a new type of enterprise software. In addition, we're on the lookout for a designer with a strong sense of design and ability to work in code. Hiring for full-time, but will consider interns.

Reach out directly to euwyn@opzi.com, or use the link below.


2 points by christyyyjoy 2 days ago 1 reply      
Ruby Developer - San Diego, CA

PHP / WordPress Developer - San Diego, CA

Bookkeeper/Accountant - San Diego, CA

StockTwits is hiring for three positions in our Coronado, CA office. We're a quickly-growing team that was recently named one of Fast Company's 10 most innovative companies in web: http://www.fastcompany.com/1738656/the-10-most-innovative-co...

2 points by sifter3000 2 days ago 0 replies      
London, England
Dennis Publishing - Mobile (iOS, Android) developers

We're a publishing company building a first class internal team to help us create a range of apps for mobile phones and tablets. We'll be looking at taking our existing brands onto new devices in interesting and exciting ways, as well as launching mobile and tablet software based on completely new ideas.

Great central London location, brand new team and lots of opportunity for creative input :)

Details: http://www.dennis.co.uk/node/1741, http://www.dennis.co.uk/working-at-dennis/vacancy/1745/ios-m..., http://www.dennis.co.uk/working-at-dennis/vacancy/1747/mobil...

2 points by martharotter 2 days ago 0 replies      
Nomad Editions - New York city area (remote may be an option for this role) http://readnomad.com

Web Developer for Digital Magazine Startup

Nomad Editions, a startup creating digital weeklies for mobile devices, is looking for an awesome web-standards focused HTML/CSS/JS developer to help build our content on top of Treesaver (treesaver.net), one of the most exciting new open source frameworks for digital news and magazine publishing. The developer will be responsible for taking wireframes and translating them into standards-compliant web pages in Treesaver.

We're seeking: - Expertise in standards-based web development with HTML/CSS/JS - Ideal candidate would also have design skills - Interest in working with a very exciting company doing something no one else in the digital publishing industry is doing: making digital content look amazing everywhere

If you're interested or have questions, please e-mail Martha Rotter at mrotter@readnomad.com

2 points by sergei 2 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco, CA
Clustrix: Systems Developers

Clustrix has developed a highly scalable distributed database system from the ground up. We are looking for skilled systems developers to help us with the next generation of Clustrix Database.

As a candidate, you should be an experienced C developer and proficient in concurrent and asynchronous system principles.

Additionally, experience in any of the following areas is highly preferred. It's a sample of the kinds of problems Clustrix developers are faced with on a daily basis:

* Compiler design and implementation
* Distributed query planning and optimization
* Distributed concurrency control mechanisms
* Fault tolerance in distributed systems
* Distributed transaction management


2 points by cristinacordova 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pulse is hiring for our Palo Alto, CA office. We're looking for full-time in-office iOS and Android engineers as well as interns and part-time folks. We make a news reading app for iPhone, iPad and Android devices. Check out our jobs page here: http://www.alphonsolabs.com/jobs
1 point by effektz 1 day ago 0 replies      
Denver, Colorado - Ruby on Rails

We are looking for 2 Ruby on Rails developers to add to our team. You don't have to be an RoR expert to apply. As long as you're willing to work hard and learn from us. You must be motivated, excited to write code, and want to work at an established startup company.

MySQL and jQuery experience is a plus.

Our company is an established management system in the MMJ industry. We have been in business for a year and a half, and we are growing like crazy.

If you have a solid understand of Ruby on Rails, live in Denver, CO, send me an email and let's talk.



3 points by ewryan 2 days ago 0 replies      
Boulder, CO - Gnip (http://gnip.com) - Two engineering positions, multiple sales/marketing positions:

About Gnip:
Gnip's software collects, processes and delivers hundreds of millions of activities a day from a wide variety of social media APIs. Using an agile process with weekly iterations and bi-weekly deployments, we take a pragmatic approach to building our software which requires a broad palette of language experience, framework understanding, and software environments.

Technology we use:
Amazon Web Services (EC2/S3/RDS),

Daily breakfast at work,
Ski passes,
Open workday tab at two awesome coffee shops (The Cup, The Laughing Goat),
Gym membership,
In office kegerator

3 points by tariq 2 days ago 0 replies      
Toronto - Web Developer - http://www.kanetix.ca

Looking for a web developer to join our team who is interested in learning and wants to bring their skills and ideas to the table.

info: http://jobs.perl.org/job/13944

2 points by DLarsen 2 days ago 0 replies      
Los Angeles area, Ventura, CA (onsite)

Connexity - We are looking for a Sr. Software Engineer that ideally has experience developing production-quality code in Scala, and has 3-10 years of experience in the internet industry. Experience with "big data" (Hadoop, HDFS, Hbase, Cassandra, etc.) will put your system at the top of the heap. More than anything, we're looking for a motivated software engineer who wants to learn on the job and have fun doing it.

You'll have the opportunity to help drive design decisions as part of our small, driven, entrepreneurial team. Heaps of interesting work lies ahead of us with behavioral targeting, audience segmentation, and graph generation.

Read more at http://www.linkedin.com/jobs?viewJob=&jobId=1479817

3 points by doscott 2 days ago 0 replies      
Austin, TX (or anywhere for the right person) -- Ruby + Front-End

Small team (3). Bootstrapped. Profitable. 1.5 years old. High Traffic. High Visibility. Good Times.

DoStuff Media runs:
* The social and artist discovery portions of many large music festival websites: Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, Jazz Fest, and many more
* Local Entertainment guides in 3 cities (more launching soon): Do512.com (austin), Do312.com (chicago), Do713.com (Houston)

We've got a nice piece of local pretty figured out and are growing (revenue/footprint not team) quickly. Need someone that is fast/good/gets design/likes to have a good time.

Pay ain't great to start, but not bad either. and lots of perks, like vip to festivals.

More and contact info at: http://dostuffmedia.com

2 points by liamstask 2 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco, CA

Sifteo - http://sifteo.com

We're looking for software generalists, but have immediate needs in the frontend realm: designing & implementing the interaction experience with our software, both on the web and within a Qt/WebKit web panel in our desktop software. This position sits right in the middle of our stack, interacting directly with the user, with the web backend, and with the interface to our hardware.

We've just shipped our first units, and need help building out our platform, creating an SDK, and making sure that our users have great experiences. We're well funded, and have been getting lots of good press.

Software: JavaScript/Qt/C++/Python, Rails on the server

Drop me a line at liam at sifteo.com with any questions!

3 points by dawkins 2 days ago 0 replies      
Madrid, Spain

C# developer.

We help sport clubs with our web based product. You would help us improve it and build features.

The position is for our office in Alcobendas but you could do some remote if you want.

Right now we are using Git, VS, Windows to develop and apache and linux on the server.

3 points by maxaf 2 days ago 0 replies      
NYC (Midtown East) - Novus is building a real-time financial analytics platform in Scala. We're looking for functional programmers and other sharp generalists from all walks of life. We are a small product-focused team, move quickly, and take great pride in what we do.

E-mail is in my profile.

2 points by ksowocki 2 days ago 0 replies      
Ignighter (Techstars '08, NYC) is hiring php developers, designers, and some data engineers. Details here => http://ignighter.com/jobs
1 point by remi 2 days ago 0 replies      
Quebec City, Canada

We're looking for mobile (iOS and Android) developers as well as Web (Ruby, Rails, Sinatra) developers.


Also, we have a nice little "life @ Mirego" website we built to explain why you should work with us :) ' http://vie.mirego.com

2 points by wooter 2 days ago 0 replies      
Palo Alto, CA - Criteo (www.criteo.com)
The R&D team at Criteo is building the next generation of digital advertising technologies that power billions of ad impressions every month. We are looking for great developers who are passionate about engineering challenges!

Currently looking to fill R&D positions:

- C#, Java or C++, SQL, HTML, CSS, XML

- Must be hard working, team oriented, bright, creative, cooperative, and an exceptional problem solver

- Extraordinary analytical skills

- Solid understanding and working knowledge of relational databases a plus


2 points by binarymax 2 days ago 0 replies      
Needham, MA - Remote a possibility.

Node/C/C++ developers

Profitable and exciting Healthcare SaaS startup that was acquired, but independent.

max.l.irwin -at- googlemail -dot- com

2 points by oh_no_my_eyes 2 days ago 0 replies      
Percolate is hiring. We're an NYC-based startup looking for specialists in Python (Django experience a plus). Our needs include:

Interests in scalable web technologies (MapReduce, DB Clustering, Asynchronous Processing, Awesome Search/IR).

We are very young and have a prototype site and api (both of which are down for site maintenance atm).

Right now the team includes an engineer, a front-end developer, and a mathematician. We feel very strongly about the quality of our product and are excited to bring on smart people who love to build out the web in new ways.

will aaaaat percolate derp org

3 points by meghan 2 days ago 0 replies      
New York City, San Francisco Bay Area, and Europe

10gen, the creators of MongoDB: We are always looking for smart people to join the team. You get paid to work on open source software!


2 points by gracelaw 2 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco, CA - Flash Engineers / Game Engineers, FTE or Intern

Lolapps is a small, but growing social gaming company with respectful peers. We are as dedicated to building a great culture as we are to building great products.

We have teamed up with John Romero and launched http://www.facebook.com/RavenwoodFair in October (11M MAU now and Top 10 Social Game on Facebook.)

We only have 17 engineers now and are looking to grow to 30 this year. People like working here because they are:

- working with smart, responsible, and fun people: folks that they actually enjoy doing stuff with outside of work

- learning new things, solving hard problems, writing optimized codes and iterating quickly (Our core technology stack consists of AS3, Python, MySQL, MongoDB.)

- making a huge impact with a small and collaborative team in a growing space

- building feel good games for millions of people to enjoy

- loving the amazing food, free yoga, playing games like it is part of their job... http://www.flickr.com/photos/lolapps/

Want to help us take social gaming to the next level and work on Ravenwood Fair / other new IPs? We will relocate you to our office in San Francisco.

Full listings at: http://lolapps.com/career/

2 points by tmarthal 2 days ago 0 replies      
Los Angeles, CA in the Downtown Culver City area.

We are looking for an on-site back and/or front end software developer with experience in Java/Groovy, javascript, AWS, mysql&|nosql which isn't afraid of numerical analysis or statistical modeling. We are working on a web analytics optimization platform in an early stage startup. The esoteric job descriptions are listed here: http://www.jumptime.com/jobs

You can shoot me an email at tom@jump-time.com if it sounds like something you'd be interested in.

2 points by dj_axl 2 days ago 1 reply      
Cornerstone OnDemand, which IPO'ed last month. Located in Santa Monica, CA (Los Angeles area). Hiring for ASP.NET / C# / SQL developers. Specifically, Web Software Engineer (.Net/SQL), Software Engineer (WCF/.Net), Senior SQL Database Engineer (SQL Server 2008).



2 points by purzelrakete 2 days ago 0 replies      
Berlin, Germany & San Francisco, California

SoundCloud - http://soundcloud.com/jobs

SoundCloud is hiring! Back-end Developers, Front-End Developers, API Developers, VP Eng, Developer Evangelist, Partner Integration Manager, Systems Administrator, and Music Information Retrieval Developer.

Founded in late 2007, SoundCloud is an international start-up headquartered in Berlin with smaller satellite offices in London and San Francisco. With the 50+ people onboard, we've got 11+ nationalities covered and a range of interests so diverse that you'll fit in all over the place!

2 points by ianterrell 2 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco - Samasource is hiring developers and designer

Samasource is a distributed work system similar to Mechanical Turk, but aimed at eradicating global poverty by providing work to the people on the lowest rungs of the economic ladder; those who lost "the birth lottery." See the TEDx talk our founder gave: http://vimeo.com/9305118.

We're hiring Rails developers and a designer, and we'll relocate promising candidates to the Bay Area!


2 points by ctb9 2 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco, CA - seeking INTERNS, possibly REMOTE

equipster.com - we're creating the ultimate shopping engine for outdoor gear.

If you're into the outdoors and want to have a huge impact at brand new startup, check us out. We're looking for ambitious hackers willing to take the lead on projects that interest them. Opportunities all over in the stack + mobile.

frontend: knockout.js + html5
backend: php and python, mySQL (mongoDB soon), solr, htmlunit


2 points by AyanK 2 days ago 0 replies      
Pittsburgh, PA

Careerimp - We are a young company that develops neat web apps to make applying to jobs easier and to provide insights into the outcome of one's job application as they apply.

We code in Ruby on Rails and jQuery. We are looking for a prolific full-time web app developer/engineer or a senior engineer/developer to take us through the next phases of product conceptualization and development, and help us scale. We are are also looking for a summer INTERN for a similar role.

More info: http://jobs.rubynow.com/jobs/show/5226

2 points by ganjianwei 2 days ago 0 replies      
Burlingame, CA (between San Francisco and Palo Alto)

TellApart, Inc. is hiring Software Engineers and Machine Learning Engineers among other positions.

We're a startup founded by ex-Googlers building a next generation eCommerce customer data platform. If you're interested in big data, distributed systems and machine learning, check us out at http://tellapart.com/who_we_are/

Jobs page: http://tellapart.com/jobs/

2 points by douglasjsellers 2 days ago 0 replies      
Los Angeles (remote/H1B for the right fit) - Ruby on Rails Developers

Tired of just not doing evil and actually want to do GOOD? If so, check out @good worldwide (www.good.is). GOOD is a small startup in West Hollywood focused on building tools and relationships for people looking to push the world forward. We are currently looking for some super talented junior and senior software engineers to help us build out a a next generation social entrepreneurial-ship platform.

Interested? Email me at doug <at> goodinc.com

2 points by simonsez 2 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco

The Usual (http://usual.com/) is hiring generalist engineers to work on our back-end (python/django/rabbit/possibly socket.io) application as well as client applications (android, iOS) for mobile/online restaurant ordering. We're looking for smart people who'd like to tackle a variety of problems.

We're early stage, in a big space (online restaurant ordering), and have an experienced team. We'd love for you to be a part of it.

simon at usual dot com.

1 point by bluelu 2 days ago 0 replies      
Trendiction in Luxembourg:

http://www.trendiction.com/ http://blog.trendiction.com/tag/joboffer

No remote.

Looking for 3-4 more java developers in the field of: - distributed large scale crawling, content extraction, data analysis - web applications

We crawl, analyze (extract article, author, date, theme, sentiment,...) and monitor websites (news, blogs, ...) for our clients.

You can contact me directly under t.britz@trendiction.com

3 points by sequoia 2 days ago 0 replies      
http://www.democracynow.org/about/jobs Democracy Now is looking for a contract Ruby developer, if you're into that sort of thing.
2 points by elektrolyte79 2 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco, CA
UX LEAD:: Razorfish



2 points by raptrjobs 2 days ago 0 replies      
Location: Mountain View, CA (a couple blocks from 101)

Remote: Sorry, no remote work

Raptr is adding some exciting products to help our over 6 million users get more out of their video games, and we need some help!

We're hiring for frontend web, backend web, and desktop client application software engineer positions.

Raptr helps people get more out of their games with useful tools to track gameplay time, compare achievements, enable social interaction, and discovery of games and users.


We're looking for folks with a solid CS background, and a good top to bottom understanding of large scale web applications.

Backend web positions work on scaling, data, and providing apis to the frontend team (80% PHP, some Python, a tiny bit of legacy Perl).

Frontend web team writes html, javascript, and view layer php code using backend apis. Client Application team writes a python + QT application for chat + friends + gameplay tracking.

Take a look at the job descriptions at http://raptr.com/info/jobs and email me (chris-jobs@raptr.com) with resume for quick consideration if you're interested.

3 points by jneale 2 days ago 0 replies      
Camden - London - UK - Full stack Ruby devs

We're a rapidly expanding media technology company looking for lots of developers. We have a whole range of technologies working in production including Hadoop, Mongo and Clojure.

You can see our main site at http://www.forward.co.uk/, or our tech site at http://forwardtechnology.co.uk/

mailto:jon.neale@forward.co.uk, or jobs@forwardtechnology.co.uk

2 points by unwiredben 2 days ago 0 replies      
Sunnyvale & San Francisco, CA

HP's Palm GBU is responsible for the development of HP webOS, our premiere mobile operating system for phones, tablets, and more. It's based on WebKit, JavaScript, and node.js technologies, along with lots of embedded Linux under the hood. We're currently hiring over 100 positions from junior engineers to senior level specialists.

See http://www.palm.com/us/company/careers.html

1 point by nickmolnar2 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thirdi is hiring in Vancouver, BC.

Looking for excellent problem solvers, with experience building production web applications. We typically work with the Symfony or Yii PHP frameworks, with a heavy dose of JQuery, but developers are free to choose their tech on a project by project basis.

Also looking for a HTML/CSS vet, preferably with some JQuery skills who can help us deliver pixel perfect designs.

You can find contact info on thirdi.com.

2 points by phillytom 2 days ago 2 replies      
Conshohocken, PA - Monetate

We're a SaaS provider of testing, targeting, and personalization tools to internet marketers. We're currently hiring Javascript engineers for front-end development and backend engineers (we use Python) - and we have fun web and data problems at scale.

We're having fun and growing fast.

3 people on our team have found us through here and we always look forward to talking to more fellow HNers.

Feel free to email me any questions - tjanofsky monetate com

1 point by NewMonarch 2 days ago 2 replies      
San Francisco - Frontend Engineer or Ruby Hacker

Storenvy, an awesome online storefront builder and social shopping marketplace is hiring Ruby hackers and a front-end engineer.

Think of us as "Tumblr for online stores". We're building all kinds of amazing tools that make selling cool stuff on the Internet way more awesome -- from sick drag & drop online store builder interfaces to mobile apps. And we're a small team so you'll have loads of responsibility, autonomy, and big impact on the final product.We have lots of fun, pay well, and are making a meaningful impact in people's lives.

For those interested, we were funded be a dream team of investors (First Round, Spark Capital, Kleiner Perkins, CRV, David Cohen (TechStars), John Maloney (Prez of Tumblr) and more. Just closed a $1.5m financing and growing!


Thanks! - Jon

3 points by bramcohen 2 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco, CA - BitTorrent is hiring for a bunch of positions http://www.bittorrent.com/company/jobs
3 points by aurumaeus 2 days ago 0 replies      
NYC - Java/Android
NYC - Obj-C/iOS
NYC - Python/MongoDB
NYC - Python/JavaScript/HTML


2 points by lbbell 2 days ago 0 replies      
DC Metro Area - Blue Atlas Interactive is looking for talented and motivated web and mobile developers. As a web developer for Blue Atlas, you will have the opportunity to work with contemporary technologies/tools, and be involved in the full life-cycle of projects. We are looking for developers with strong HTML/CSS/Javascript skills. Experience with server-side technologies is ideal, but we are willing to train the right candidate.

If any of the following sound like you, we would love to hear from you:

    * You're curious - you want to know how it works
* Something just feels right about a new book from O'Reilly or Pragmatic Press
* You're a developer, but you understand the importance and value of asthetics
* You enjoy the process of talking through a solution
* You have interests outside of everything web

Will consider permanent or contract. Must be local to the DC metro area. U.S. citizenship required.

Interested? Email resume, salary requirements and portfolio examples to hr@blueatlas.com

2 points by agranig 2 days ago 1 reply      
@Sipwise in Vienna/Austria

- Web developer: Perl/Catalyst/MySQL and HTML/CSS/JS

- VoIP engineer: OpenSER/Kamailio/OpenSIPS and >3 years of experience in SIP routing

- System engineer: HA/Scalability/Mass-Deployment using Corosync, Pacemaker, Git, Perl

We develop and integrate carrier-grade VoIP systems for 100k-1Mio end users each at major European ISPs. Send an email to agranig at sipwise dot com.

2 points by wemakeit 2 days ago 0 replies      
SourceN - San Jose, CA - A Digital Agency/Venture Incubator that focuses on Mobile Dev, Web Dev, and New Product Dev is hiring Technical Project Managers, Front End Developers and Lead Architects.

They need bad ass developers who want to expand their skills across various platforms.


3 points by cuantilecorp 2 days ago 0 replies      
(1) C# developer full time in NYC (midtown east)
database work with sql server, good skills with sql queries and profiling. 2+ years experience. Finance experience a plus. Relaxed work environment, good benefits, hard software problems.
(2) Flex/Flash developer on a part-time contract basis to do work on a client app. 20-30 hours work.

Send resumes and salary/rate requirements to jobs@cuantile.com

2 points by fourk 2 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco, CA

www.focus.com is hiring another senior Django developer. What you should be: smart, use Python, Javascript (jQuery) and CSS (Blueprint/sass) or some combination of these things.
Must be willing to work on-site in San Francisco. Our offices are about a block from BART's Embarcadero stop.

Contact info is in my profile.

3 points by __mharrison__ 2 days ago 0 replies      

Fusion-IO - Tools Engineer

We are growing fast and shipping lots o product. Python is used all over the place where lower level languages aren't necessary.

Tools: Python/Django/JQuery/Postgres/Couchdb/emacs|vim/etc

Email: mharrison at fusionio.com (job isn't posted on website)

2 points by jimkass 2 days ago 0 replies      
Culver City, CA - Contract PHP Engineer

We're a small team looking for someone to help us with a specific client project, but it could lead to more.

Our web-based digital asset management application uses a PHP backend and javascript front-end that behaves more like shrinkware than web application.

We're also expanding our knowledge base into other areas, such as Nodejs and NOSQL, and looking for engineers not just coders.

Bottom Line: We want engineers with strong PHP5/Ajax background and a solid grasp on building great web applications. Read: A team player that can just all round BRING IT!

Company Site: http://5thkind.com

Job post/application here: http://bit.ly/hB4G8h

p.s. Excellent Foosball skills recommended

1 point by patrickxb 2 days ago 0 replies      
Chicago - Software Engineer @ StatHat

See the full listing: http://www.stathat.com/jobs

You're going to be working on all aspects of StatHat: the front end web application, the design and display of quantitative information, the back end distributed system, database storage, configuring servers, optimizing code, writing iOS and Android apps, and continuing to design the evolving architecture of our system.

We use whatever language or technology is best to solve the problem. We are open to trying out new technologies, languages, and ideas. This job will be full of learning opportunities and you'll never be bored.

1 point by cheriot 2 days ago 0 replies      
OPOWER is hiring in DC and SF: http://opowerjobs.com/engineering

Junior/Senior/Test Engineers that want to work with Java/Ruby/Mysql

Feel free to send me questions. H1B candidates are welcome.

2 points by genemiguel 2 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco, CA - ENGINEERING

Twilio, the web-service API that allows developers to build powerful voice and SMS apps, is hiring aggressively for multiple engineering and non-engineering positions.

DevOps Engineer
Lead Software Engineer
Senior Software Engineer
Software Engineer
Technical Customer Advocate
Mobile Developer
PHP Open Source Developer
Technical Customer Advocate
Startup Talent Manager (Recruiting)
Developer Evangelist
Director of Online Marketing
Product Manager

Why work at Twilio?

Job listings with descriptions

2 points by pjboudrx 2 days ago 0 replies      
Atlanta, GA. USA - .NET craftsman/woman http://www.opv.com/pio/jobDetails.jsp?site=daxko&jobId=a...

I'm a dev team lead looking for an agile .NET craftsman/woman to join my elite product team!

We collaborate, are learning to be more agile, and work do deliver value to our customers and rewarding careers to our team members! Come join me and my small team in Dunwoody as we make great software.

Learn more about the fun, fine folks at Daxko at http://daxkonation.com

1 point by jmtulloss 2 days ago 0 replies      
Rdio is hiring in San Francisco:


2 points by imoawesome 2 days ago 0 replies      
imo - Palo Alto, CA
Work with TopCoders, ACM ICPC World Finalists, and IOI medalists. Open to intern and international candidates. Looking for SWEs and SWEs specializing in operations: https://imo.im/jobs
2 points by scottbessler 2 days ago 0 replies      
Chicago, IL - .net software developer

Join our development team working on C#, ASP, WPF, SQL, and more. Looking for frontend or backend, experienced or fresh out of school.

Contact sbessler@stratadecision.com with your resume and any extra information to let us get to know you.

1 point by thomd 2 days ago 0 replies      
Cambridge or Brighton (UK) - Aptivate

We are an established not-for-profit organisation working in International Development. The core of our work is in providing IT services to the sector (think data visualisation and data transparency, knowledge management and mobile devices), though we also work as facilitators and trainers. We're currently looking for skilled web developers who are prepared to participate in all aspects of the organisation.

For details http://www.aptivate.org/job-web-developer

2 points by slloyd_sb 2 days ago 0 replies      
San Francisco, CA

Songbird is hiring full time developers for Android, desktop (C++), web services, and build/release. We're also looking for a good technical product manager.

Open positions are at http://getsongbird.com/jobs/, and feel free to contact me directly via the email in my profile with any questions.

We're currently shipping media players on Windows, Mac, and Android, and we're looking for people who want to help build out a seamless media experience across platforms and devices.

The positions are in SF, but we'll definitely figure out how to help get you here if you're looking to relocate.

2 points by janulrich 2 days ago 0 replies      
Vancouver, Canada - Rails Developer

Optemo is a fast-paced startup providing software-as-a-service to online retailers. We have a small team where everyone has input on the final product. We are looking for full-time employees and interns as well.

3 points by ktraub 2 days ago 0 replies      
Annapolis, MD
Many Software and Systems Engineering Jobs - Junior thru Sr.
1 point by amduser29 2 days ago 0 replies      
Life360 - SF - Head of Geolocation

Life360 is turning smart phones into the ultimate safety devices. We currently have close to 2,000,000 registered family members and are adding 20,000 / day on our Family Tracking apps. We are looking for an awesome geo location dev to help us take advantage of all the location data we have coming in to the system to provide even more value to our users. So if you are an awesome developer who wants to get their hands dirty working on some really interesting geo location problems, shoot me over an email: alex@life360.com.


1 point by BrandonSmith 1 day ago 0 replies      
Phonebooth.com is a hosted phone service. We are hiring UX and Erlang developers.

Fulll listings at http://bandwidth.com/about/join/careers.html

We use Erlang, PHP, jQuery, git, Selenium, Jenkins, iOS and Android, and more.

Apply online at the links above to find out more.

2 points by bretthellman 2 days ago 0 replies      
Mtn View - CompanyLine, jobs @ Companyline-inc

iOS & Rails devs with a CEO mindset

1 point by supernayan 2 days ago 1 reply      
Washington, DC - Audax Health

Work in a fun and entrepreneurial environment where dress is casual and flip-flops are encouraged. We provide the best tools such as brand new Apple computers for every employee. Collaborate daily with top talent from companies like Zynga, WebMD, Microsoft, Bloomberg, Booz Allen Hamilton, and XM. Your contributions will directly impact the way millions of people interact with healthcare.

Looking for Scala, Web, Cloud, Interface, and Mobile Engineers

Contact jobs@audaxhealth.com

1 point by SteveOS 2 days ago 0 replies      
Senior software Engineer, Paris, France

Mimesis is hiring a senior software engineer preferably with experience with Scala (but it's ok if just truly want to learn Scala).

We are building a new 3D universe with strong interaction with Facebook: http://www.mambanation.com
It is great company, with a really great team of developers.

Send me an email at steve.gury@gmail.com if you are interested.

3 points by brugidou 2 days ago 0 replies      
Paris, France - Criteo

C#, AS3, Hadoop/Hive, SQL Server
Twitter: @brugidou

2 points by zwischenzug 2 days ago 1 reply      
West London, UK. Software Developers/Engineers, any skills set, any level of experience.

Leading edge software dealing with FTSE-100 companies in a high-performance environment.

2 points by jprobert 2 days ago 1 reply      
ProCapital Technologies is always looking for amazing engineers. We're working on some cool technologies around social search and e-commerce. Email me if you would like further detail.
2 points by hshah 2 days ago 0 replies      
KISSmetrics is hiring. Ruby engineers, generalists and more. San Francisco Bay Area and Remote: http://kissmetrics.com/jobs
2 points by junkafarian 2 days ago 0 replies      
London, UK

Client Side Developer - http://largeblue.com - http://jobs.github.com/positions/49cd8d1c-4f22-11e0-8fdf-1a9...

We're looking for a talented Client side developer with experience in working on exciting web projects using cutting edge tools.

Please use the contact details listed on the Github posting

2 points by junkafarian 2 days ago 0 replies      
London, UK

Python Developer - http://largeblue.com - http://www.python.org/community/jobs/#large-blue-covent-gard...

We're looking for a talented Python developer with experience in working on exciting web projects using cutting edge tools.

Please use the contact details listed on the Python Job Board

2 points by vanhiker 2 days ago 0 replies      
Vancouver, BC - Front End Web Developer

Fulltime and Interns/Co-ops


SilkStart is a web-based membership management and social network software product for organizations. We're looking for front end developers with experience in html/css/jquery. The product is built using pylons and mongodb so python experience is a plus.


2 points by amac 2 days ago 1 reply      
Seeking freelancer.

Web developer, remote ok.

Project is to catalog every product in existence.

Database knowledge a bonus.

E-mail is in my profile.

2 points by jbarmash 2 days ago 0 replies      
NYC, NY - Sr. Software Engineer (Java, Groovy/Grails)
EnergyScoreCards.com - energy efficiency analytics.


1 point by ciju 2 days ago 0 replies      
Bangalore, India.

http://www.videopulp.in/careers.html (early stage startup)

web programming and machine learning (image classification, object recognition etc).

at this stage, we dont care much about which language u use, but rather what u can achieve.

1 point by everytrail 2 days ago 0 replies      
Palo Alto, CA

EveryTrail, part of the TripAdvisor Media Group / Expedia, is looking for world-class engineering talent to help bring our mobile apps to the next level. If you are passionate about travel and technology, and you want to play an important role creating the next-generation travel apps, we'd love to hear from you!

EveryTrail, based in downtown Palo Alto, was recently acquired by TripAdvisor. With over 40 MM users / month TripAdvisor is the world's largest travel site. TripAdvisor is part of Expedia, the word's largest travel company.

This situation creates very compelling career opportunities for talented engineers, product managers and designers:

* Fast paced start-up environment in Silicon Valley, but with the backing of Expedia, a well-known public company and a huge, global audience of TripAdvisor's 40 MM users.

* Be part of a team whose goal it is to build the very best mobile travel apps. We have a proven track record creating great consumer experiences, but we are still only at the beginning.

* Very competitive compensation.

We are currently hiring 3 full time developers:

- Web: back-end, front-end (PHP, MySQL, CSS, Javascript)

- iOS

- Android

Please send your resume to jobs@globalmotion.com

1 point by wenbert 2 days ago 1 reply      
Anyone hiring in New Zealand? My wife and I are in the process of migrating to NZ.
1 point by edruns 2 days ago 0 replies      
Mountain View, CA - PHP Backend Engineer / Web Dev ($5,000 referral bonus, even if you refer yourself!)

Friend.ly is a personal Q&A site that makes it fun to get to know your own friends better and also meet new people in your extended social network. As you can see at http://www.appdata.com/gainers/week, we were one of the fastest growing sites/applications on the Facebook platform last week, and we expect growth to further accelerate as we scale over the next several weeks.

We are 10 people (http://www.friend.ly/about) who work in an awesome office in downtown Mountain View, and we are currently looking for a couple more talented engineers to join us. Email jobs@friend.ly if you're interested in learning more!

2 points by derge808 2 days ago 0 replies      
Thank you for asking. Rackspace. Rackspace needs developers: http://rackertalent.com/
1 point by benhatten 2 days ago 0 replies      
Washington DC - EverFi

We're looking for Rails and Flash Developers.

email me - ben at everfi dot com

1 point by styloot 2 days ago 0 replies      
Styloot is solving fun problems in the visual and taste space, for fashion industry. Think of it is as hunch for fashion. An agile web 2.0 company based in Manhattan and Pune, India. Looking for front end designers and developers. Sorry no to remote.

Questions? info at stylewok dart calm.

1 point by mvs 2 days ago 0 replies      
Berkeley, CA - Ruby on Rails Expert/ Head of Technology.
Passion for smart, simple, elegant, and clean products a (huge) plus.
http://www.qohort.com is a very early stage educational start-up, hoping to change the way people learn.
Email: info@qohort.com
-4 points by gooberdlx 2 days ago 0 replies      
Skype 5 for Mac ignorethecode.net
267 points by shawndumas 4 days ago   110 comments top 37
66 points by raganwald 4 days ago 5 replies      
Skype has noticed that there is a discrepancy in quality between the two versions, and has decided to make the two versions more similar to each other. Unfortunately, instead of making the Windows version of Skype better, they've decided to fix the discrepancy by making the Mac version of Skype more like the Windows version.

This is the number one reason that I prefer Mac-only products to products that are available on both Windows and Mac.

Invariably, the companies decide that since they have 4x the sales on Windows as on Mac, the correct course of action is to build a product that is identical in almost every way with just a very thin GUI "skin" on the outside that is Mac or Windows specific. I don't know if this is because they think that the Windows sales "validate" the UX design or if it's an attempt to save money by having a single code base (or both?), but the results are invariably awful on the Mac.

Windows users are not interchangeable with Mac users. What "works" for someone who was given their PC by the IT department does not work for someone who deliberately chose to buy a product with a tiny market share.

16 points by erikpukinskis 4 days ago 0 replies      
This change butts up against what I think is a fundamental, unsolved UI issue. Power users often don't realize how much if an issue "getting lost" is for novice users. Dave Worthington's Mom said[1] of the iPad:

    Well, it's too touchy. Even though I'm better with it now… if you happen
just to move your hand or something, you know, then all of a sudden you're
out of what you're in. That's bad I think.

Notice she doesn't say "you go back a page" or "you've opened something" she says "you're out of what you're in". Anyone whose done some usability testing knows that users all the time get "out of what they're in" and are completely lost. And as the designer you are screaming in your head "You've just gone to your Account page! Just click the huge red "Back to my movies" link at the top of the page you ninny!" All. The. Time. Bless us, designers and users both.

I call this an unsolved problem because the options are equally bad:

1) Have one panel where you replace the contents frequently. Like a web browser. Unfortunately, as the article points out, prevents doing two things at once. And it forces people to learn often complicated mechanisms for navigating from state to state.

2) Show multiple panels at the same time. Takes up a lot of space, especially when there are lots of panels. Can be confusing at first.

3) Show multiple panels, but with the ability to close panels. This introduces the UI problem of reopening them. You can allow people to shrink/move around the panels independently, but that gives the user even more ways to lose something.

There are more advanced ways to deal with the problem. Zooming User Interfaces[2] were meant to deal with this somewhat... by giving everything a place and a context, they were supposed to allow you to maintain a good sense of where things are. But in practice, they turned out to be even more disorienting than a contextless browser window because navigation is less constrained and there are so many more places to get lost.

Microsoft, with WP7 does a little innovating here with their panoramic view control[3]. It puts UI elements in a context and lets you see a little bit of that context, without forcing people to do free navigation in a virtual space.

As for Skype, I won't argue that the new version is better for anyone, because I haven't seen the user testing. It's obviously worse for one person, but even objectively better designs are sometimes worse for power users who have deeply entrenched workflows in the old product. I do think there's a reasonable chance that they made the change because of user testing and that novice users are fundamentally happier in the new version. Again, I don't know because I haven't seen the testing.

But I will say that the OP is wrong about something. His problem is not the overall decision to integrate the video and chat into one window. His problem is that they hid the "open a chat for this person" button. If they had left the windowing exactly the same, but removed the "open chat" button from the user list and made you mouse over a video window to see it, he would've been equally lost.

The problem isn't that they made the wrong choice among flawed windowing models. The problem is they didn't do the work of making the UI work well within the constraints the windowing model provides. If they did extensive testing with a variety of users (including both novices who get lost, and advanced users who construct massive structures of windows to coordinate with dozens of people) they would've caught the video/chat bug.

[1] http://technologizer.com/2011/03/28/my-mom-reviews-the-ipad-...
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zooming_user_interface

35 points by poutine 4 days ago 2 replies      
I refuse to upgrade to Skype 5 after trying it once and accidentally upgrading a second time when the app tried to auto upgrade itself. The horrid UI combined with Skype's stated desire to bring ads to the client makes me search for an alternative which sadly there isn't.

In a business setting I would say that 90% of the time Skype is used as an IM client because of its working persistant groups and functional file transfers.

Entrepreneurs take note, there's an opportunity to make a competitor to Skype even though many would say that's crazy since Skype is so entrenched. However Skype has failed to innovate and is regressing in user experience. If someone nails the group chat features first and give table stakes for the voice/video chat we'd have a viable alternate for business use.

17 points by cjoh 4 days ago 2 replies      
I remember when Apple released FaceTime, they said it'd be an open industry standard. See:




Seems striking that it's been nearly a year and we haven't heard a peep about making it open. I would presume that if it were, it could be possible to bridge the two protocols or eliminate the need for skype.

37 points by yarone 4 days ago 1 reply      
Saw a tweet recently that summed it up nicely: "@anildash: Seems like Skype and iTunes are battling it out for the RealPlayer Memorial Award for Most Annoying Desktop Client App."

If you remember RealPlayer, know Skype for Windows, know iTunes for Windows, you'll know exactly what I mean.

23 points by jfrumar 4 days ago 2 replies      
I concur with the Skype 5 degraded UI. I also have a warning to others:

After struggling to see the benefit of Skype 5, I wished to downgrade back to the previous version. However, I couldn't find a link anywhere on the Skype.com website for previous versions. As a result I searched on Google and found a third-party website offering previous versions for download (http://mac.oldapps.com/skype.php?old_skype=37).

I downloaded and installed the older version, and logged into my account. Later that night I received an email from Skype confirming a purchase for an "Online Number" that I hadn't made. I immediately logged in to investigate and I could see the transaction pending. I managed to log into Paypal and remove Skype from my trusted billers in time.

I believe that the version of Skype I downloaded was stealing login credentials. Let this be a warning to others that are trying to roll back their Skype client!

I emailed Skype's security team (after long minutes trying to find a very hidden contact link on their site). The response was cookie cutter, but ridiculously contained a sales pitch for the very feature that was just illegally purchased from my stolen account! This was infuriating - like a slap in the face from Skype considering my state of mind:

<i>If you'd like to get more out of Skype, why not learn about all our great features - like Online Numbers? Anyone can dial your Online Number from any phone or mobile, your Skype rings and you pick up the call " wherever you are in the world.
Find out more at http://www.skype.com/go/onlinenumber/</i>;

6 points by ojbyrne 4 days ago 0 replies      
So far the best thing I like about it is that the upgrader offers a "Skip This Version" button. And I'm thankful I know lots of early adopters.
5 points by powdahound 4 days ago 0 replies      
We have been converting a lot of groups from Skype to HipChat [1] lately and I'm surprised how many of them cite the UI craziness as a major reason for wanting to leave the platform. Obviously good, consistent UI is important but it always seemed like the general public had an amazing ability to deal with crappy UI. Apparently there is a breaking point.

One thing that's particularly annoying about Skype's UI is that you have no idea how to help a coworker using a different operating system because the layout is totally different. Certainly doesn't help adoption.

1. https://www.hipchat.com

6 points by simonw 4 days ago 4 replies      
"Something I've noticed even casual Skype users do is to send URLs by text chat during a videochat. Well… How do you do that in Skype 5?"

That burned me in a Skype call yesterday (first time using it since the new version upgrade). I had to send the link by email instead. I also couldn't figure out how to hang up a call, so I had to quit the app!

6 points by commanda 4 days ago 0 replies      
As a dev with a remote team, Skype 5 is probably my most-used desktop application on OS X, besides my IDE.

The other day, after upgrading, I could not for the life of me figure out how to bring up the number key pad while on a voice call. I needed to "press 1 for X", but I couldn't do it. This used to be easy in Old Skype.

If a power user like myself can't figure something out, chances are it's too difficult or hidden for casual users too.

5 points by Legion 4 days ago 0 replies      
What other options are out there that are (a) cross-platform and (b) can be set to auto-answer video calls?

Skype has been in our plans for our poor man's Telepresence setup, but at the same time, I've never been super comfortable with relying on Skype, particularly with their bare-bones Linux support.

3 points by ernestipark 4 days ago 1 reply      
Skype on the Mac has always just been downright awful. The software is extremely buggy and confusing. Maybe some of my problems are with settings I can change, but that is bad UX in my opinion. When I get chats, I hear a noise, but then can't see who sent me the chat until I go to my buddylist and scan for a number indicating the number of messages next to someone. There's also that whole mood message thing which just dumbfounds me. The thing is though, as long as I can click a button to video chat my parents, these issues are ignorable for my usage, which is frustrating and relieving at the same time.
5 points by kemayo 4 days ago 0 replies      
Skype 5 is what really got my company looking for a different chat solution. The protocol and features are still generally wonderful, but the client is just horrible now.
6 points by kingatomic 4 days ago 1 reply      
I can echo the article's sentiments. I upgraded to the new client a few weeks ago and cannot adequately express the horror I experienced when my clean, intuitive UI/UX went away and was replaced by some forsaken window vomited up from a designer's darkest nightmare.

In what possible world does coverflow for contacts make better sense than just a simple list?

It took actual time for me to figure out how to find my contacts and place a call. I hold a degree, I am not an idiot. For a program designed specifically for the purpose of calling people, for that functionality to be that un-intuitive is simply mind-boggling.

4 points by stefanobernardi 4 days ago 1 reply      
Skype 2.8 UI was messy, with windows popping up everywhere and sidebars going crazy.
Skype 5 is just perfect, and in all honesty can't find anything wrong with it a part of the chat while calling thing.
3 points by bgentry 4 days ago 0 replies      
I've never seen my coworkers as universally excited as the day one of them posted the old version of the Skype for Mac dmg in our campfire room.

I'm exaggerating, sure, but everybody was thrilled to get rid of the Skype 5 horror.

2 points by liedra 4 days ago 0 replies      
Additionally to the very spot-on dissection of Skype in the article, what I find amazingly frustrating about this version is the list of recent calls in the left-hand menu thing. I call a lot of numbers in Australia, and where it used to show the full number, now it only shows the first 2-3 digits (i.e. the +61). When I click on that to hopefully see more about which damn number it is, the title of the right hand chat/history screen thing is "+61..." ARGH. NOWHERE does it show the full number. How am I supposed to know if it was my mum, my sister, or my brother I called? Very frustrating.

I discovered more recently that if I mouse-overed the number in the left hand menu it would eventually pop up in a tooltip, but eventually is the operative here. I have to wait a full 5 seconds or so for it to show up, and that's a long time in annoyed-liedra time.

I hope they fix a lot of this up, because at the moment it's just rubbish.

3 points by jwatzman 4 days ago 1 reply      
Does anyone have a recommendation for a cross-platform (Mac/Windows at least) video chat program usable by casual users and which works fine through a NAT? Skype is quickly becoming annoyingly unusable for the reasons the article discusses (and more).
3 points by exit 4 days ago 0 replies      
do you think skype will come to its senses and revert their ui changes? or is it motivated by something else, like increasing screen real-estate for eventual advertising?
3 points by dholowiski 4 days ago 0 replies      
Just to add, for a good percentage of mac skype users, video doesn't work in 5. It doesn't work for me on either of my macs and I had to downgrade.
4 points by danboarder 4 days ago 0 replies      
This post is right on, if a few months late. I recall testing the Skype 5 beta last fall and could not believe the step backward in usability. On the skype forums many users (including myself) left detailed UX feedback, with many topics titled things like "5.x user interface is thrill of horror". Sadly most of the user feedback has been ignored and the final product shows little improvement on the beta.
4 points by arthurgibson 4 days ago 0 replies      
I try not to publicly complain too much, but when I got this upgrade a month ago I was shocked. Its so bloated and unevenly proportionate for use. It seems like they are trying to take up as much real estate on the desktop and compete for the attention of the user , i.e. move them away from gmail/gchat etc.
1 point by technomancy 4 days ago 1 reply      
I've been grumbling for a while that the Linux client was still on version 2.1, but I guess that's something I should be thankful for. (Though these days with the pidgin and gnome-do plugins I rarely interact with Skype directly; I don't know how people can work in chat rooms without nick coloring.
1 point by grayrest 4 days ago 0 replies      
We use Skype to communicate at work and pretty much curse Skype 5 every time we use it. My personal favorite interface feature is that double clicking someone when you're video chatting between multiple people MINIMIZES that person. I've watched no fewer than 10 people double click the main presenter in chat only to make a face and start fiddling with things when it does the opposite of what they want.
1 point by jeff18 4 days ago 0 replies      
There is still no way to turn off birthday notifications on Mac OS X. That is, any time it is any one of your contact's birthdays, Skype sends you a mandatory message about it which requires user action to dismiss.
4 points by reaganing 4 days ago 0 replies      
One can get Skype 2.8 from Skype.com if you're worried about getting malware or problems from other sources as mentioned earlier. Took some digging.


4 points by dguaraglia 4 days ago 1 reply      
Great, now they just need to update the Linux client to 2.2 and we are all settled!

Seriously though, Skype has shown they don't give a crap about their Linux users.

2 points by simonh 4 days ago 0 replies      
I'm going to have to downgrade. My mother sometimes uses skype on my computer to chat with relatives, but the auto-hiding toolbar that now owns the buttons to stop a call or activate/eactivate the camera confuses her. It confused me for ages, since if you move the mouse off the video area to the top the toolbar stays permanently, but if you move the mouse away to the bottom it auto-hides. Took me several sessions to find how to reach the chat window as well. Gah!
3 points by jaxonrice 4 days ago 1 reply      
for those looking to reinstall Skype 2.8 for Mac:
3 points by lurker17 4 days ago 0 replies      
2 points by mahrain 4 days ago 1 reply      
I have used the Feedback function to complain, and they fixed the spacing a bit from beta to release.

I can "fix" the windows version by turning off a lot of the "Today screen" and superfluous information bars everywhere. To make it look more like the old Mac version.

3 points by beck5 4 days ago 0 replies      
Irrelevant and not surprising considering the author but thats a very clean and sexy looking blog.
3 points by yamilg 4 days ago 2 replies      
Ha: I happen to love the new Skype version
1 point by serpent 4 days ago 0 replies      
A small remedy is the "Contacts" window (command-3) -- but it doesn't show waiting messages.

Thinking about a downgrade myself...

2 points by adamskhan 4 days ago 0 replies      
Agree with you so well, and thanks for the link back to 2.8, which I've gratefully reinstalled.
1 point by sashthebash 4 days ago 0 replies      
A nice interface suggestion just came up on Techcrunch: http://techcrunch.com/2011/03/30/skype-5
Top Gear responds to Tesla topgear.com
259 points by vaksel 1 day ago   117 comments top 19
45 points by olivercameron 1 day ago replies      
I just can't see how Tesla can win this case in court. As anyone who has ever watched Jeremy Clarkson will tell you, you know he would rather resign from Top Gear than apologise for this.
44 points by cormullion 1 day ago 3 replies      
I'd forgotten just how much Clarkson sings the praises of the Tesla in the first half of the review. The electric Tesla thrashes the petrol Lotus Elise in a drag race. Clarkson is obviously amazed - "God almighty:, "this is biblically quick!" - "this car is electric, literally!". "Wave goodbye to dial-up, welcome to broadband motoring!". Then he says how much torque it produces, how quick it is from 0 to 60, and then: "it's even more 'not bad' when you start looking into the costs": £40 to fill the petrol Elise, electricity just £3.50. Wind noise is a problem, but "a small price to pay when you consider the upsides". "And I haven't even got to the big upside yet: 200 miles between trips to the plug." Some adverse comments about the handling, but then he waves goodbye as "the volt head" cruises past the "petrol head". "It is snowing in hell!". "This car was shaping up to be something wonderful..."

After a pretty positive first half, Clarkson does indeed go on to make fun of the car's electrical problems, and then is unimpressed by the practicalities and ecological claims of electric vehicles. Even with a range of 250 miles, and a 16 hour recharge cycle (if you're not throwing it around a track), it's just not - yet - a practical car for many people, or a supercar to compete with the likes of Ferrari or Porsche.

Clarkson's final words on the Tesla: "Incredible - but irrelevant [in the light of the hydrogen car reviewed later]".

As Top Gear and Clarkson reviews go, I thought it wasn't overly biased. I mean, he could have dropped a piano on it, or set it on fire...

I suspect Tesla are just in the need for some publicity at the moment.

29 points by CoffeeDregs 1 day ago 2 replies      
Seems as though a better plan would be to challenge Top Gear to a rematch of some sort. Make something fun out of this and get the auto enthusiasts cheering.

Southwest did this perfectly: got sued, took it to the ring, arm wrestled over it, got crushed, paid the other guy, laughed all the way to the bank and everyone cheered them on. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwU9m4oCtRE&;

7 points by d2 1 day ago 0 replies      
This is an incredibly well written blog entry. Having followed the accepted pre-court etiquette that Andy mentions in the past, this inspires me to take a different approach next time around and have my say in hopefully as professional a manner. [...In close consultation with my legal team as I'm sure Andy did]
4 points by akashs 1 day ago 3 replies      
First, Top Gear is testing on track conditions, and that will certainly give different results than the 220 mile range found on the EPA's ideal testing conditions. Top Gear has previously shown that a BMW M3 gets better mileage than a Prius in track conditions, but I don't think anyone believes this is representative of the cars on the whole.

Second, there's very few data points on the range aside from Tesla's press releases that I can find, but the two I can find are much closer to Top Gear's number and were also from less aggressive testing than what Top Gear did:
93 miles: http://www.autoweek.com/article/20080124/green/398811820/163...

95-120 miles (says 105-120, but I think there's a math error on the writer's part): http://green.autoblog.com/2008/01/29/so-whats-the-downside-t...

Third, Top Gear says Tesla calculated the 55 mile figure themselves, so not sure how they can sue them for that claim.

7 points by Cherad 1 day ago 1 reply      
Jeremy Clarkson's column in The Sunday Times shortly after the Top Gear review is an interesting read and covered most of the points made in this article back in 2009.


1 point by jrspruitt 1 day ago 0 replies      
I like what the Tesla company is doing, in regards to attempting to make alternative fuel cars, I'm all for such things. And yes, its an up hill battle, which I'm sure the internal combustion engine faced, while trying to oust horses for a viable mode of transportation. Not only is the technology not up to par/cost effective on a mass scale, there is the issue of charging station locations, and the nay sayers like the host of Top Gear, who isn't the only one that grumbles at the thought of electric or "eco-friendly" read Hot Rod magazine sometime. Which seems to be what Tesla wants to answer, electric cars can go fast to.
But this lawsuit seems like its disingenuous, more like they are playing off a couple social issues for their benefit. 1 "Environment" is an emotional trigger second only to stuff like racism and sexism level stuff, its got some emotional appeal just by saying the word, either for or against. So claiming foul on someone who is notoriously pro fast powerful cars, who inherently isn't going to like commuter based cars, really nails that emotion. 2 Taking it to the media, to hit a full scale marketing campaign about it, years after it happened, to help fuel that emotion and go after the media justice that seems to easy to do, like O.J. we all "know" he did it, but was proven innocent pretty much. Enough press coverage to one side, and we all start forming our own judgments. I think these are dirty tricks, that only add fuel to the opposition's fire. Like the scientists who were busted with bad data on global warming. Regardless if the position is true, getting caught doing dirty tricks, is going to make you look bad regardless, doing more harm than good. Just because I agree with their environmental position, doesn't mean I have to look the other way, when they break other beliefs of mine. I'm angered cause of the damage this could do for environmentalism, which I believe in first, their company second.
2 points by Joshhannah 1 day ago 0 replies      
The tesla roadster is unfortunately just not competitive with other internal combustion performance cars if you don't want to give it credit for either (1) being a super innovative EV or (2) being environmentally friendly.

Top Gear (and all the car mags) basically review it as a cool, fun novelty. But if you measure on looks + performance, as car enthuiasts do, it's just fundamentally not competitive in its price bracket.

Suing is obviously a mistake. Hoping Top Gear, Evo, Road & Track will push it is just naive. Tesla listens too much to their own marketing.

0 points by jrockway 1 day ago 0 replies      
PS: As this is going through the courts right now, we're afraid we've had to turn off comments on this one, but we wanted to let you all know how we see it.

Good thing that you can't comment on articles elsewhere on the Internet. Their legal strategy is saved!

1 point by motters 1 day ago 2 replies      
My question is: how did this get to the top position on HN? I could hardly care less about Jeremy Clarkson's opinions, or TV shows such as Top Gear.
1 point by bugsy 1 day ago 0 replies      
With this response, it sounds like both sides are now in complete agreement and there is no remaining dispute.
0 points by stuhood 1 day ago 1 reply      
Why would Top Gear use a calculated track capacity number (55 miles), given that they could have measured an actual number? I understand that 30 minutes of hard driving can be exhausting, but how exactly could they have calculated an accurate value?

Say what you will about EPA numbers, but at least they involve standardized measurement.

0 points by johnconroy 1 day ago 0 replies      
I enjoy Top Gear but their (ie Clarkson's) animosity towards hybrids, electrics etc. is pretty pathetic, epically antiquarian.
-1 point by CornishPasty 1 day ago 0 replies      
did they deliver the legal case via a tesla roadster? seems that way given how long it's taken...
-2 points by rlfromm 1 day ago 0 replies      
So what is the issue? Pure electric is cool in 55 minute segents. ;)
-1 point by periferral 22 hours ago 0 replies      
ohhhh the tesla jokes on top gear for years to come from jeremy is something i'll look forward to.
-2 points by rlfromm 1 day ago 0 replies      
I agree with top gear. UK top gear rules, hopefully the US crew can get their show together.
-3 points by cl8ton 1 day ago 0 replies      
Clarkson is a bit of a prick when it comes to favoritism on cars (you know, kinda like some top tier tech blogs)

He is a 98% octane gear head and will not tolerate electric cars, so his review did not surprise me much when I watched it.

I'm a long time Porsche owner and will never forgive him on an episode when he dropped a Piano on an older 911 or when he totally disrespected the Porsche GT for comparing its composite disk rotors to anti-acid.

Guess I will never get British humor.

-1 point by sliverstorm 1 day ago 0 replies      
Considering the tenuous relationship between the presenters and the studio as portrayed in the show, it's pleasing to see the rest of the company getting behind Top Gear and providing a united front.
Amazon Cloud Drive and Amazon Cloud Player amazon.com
258 points by davidedicillo 5 days ago   171 comments top 47
23 points by jkincaid 5 days ago 2 replies      
I think Amazon is trying to become the backbone for the 'alternative' set of Android core apps that will inevitably be developed. These apps will appeal to any carrier/OEM that wants to stop licensing from Google, or from companies like Amazon and Facebook who may launch their own devices with splintered versions of Android.

My guess is that Amazon will own content delivery for these devices (books, movies, TV, music) and that Microsoft will round out the rest, with a Bing Maps app and an email app that supports Gmail etc but syncs nicely with Hotmail (which has been totally overhauled since you last tried it). This is entirely a guess on my part, mind you.

10 points by jasonkester 5 days ago 6 replies      
This is actually a little bit worrying as an entrepreneur building things on top of Amazon's Web Services.

Amazon has always made a point of not building services on top of its Cloud offerings that directly compete with its users. Cloud Drive sets a precedent for them as the first time they've gone against that principle.

There are lots of "low hanging fruit" companies that were built on the understanding that Amazon wasn't interested in implementing that stuff themselves. There's no debating that this will make Amazon a ton of money. It remains to be seen, however, how much it will cost them in developer loyalty and businesses that never get built because "If they did it to JungleDisk, they'll do it to us".

10 points by wheels 5 days ago 2 replies      
I think there are two really interesting things about this:

• This is the first time Amazon has pulled together the two major branches of their business, retail and cloud infrastructure, into something (dare I say it?) synergetic.

• Amazon is taking the first steps into the non-retail consumer web, where, if successful, they'll probably give a good scare to a handful of startups as they sweep across segments (and without the Google / Facebook-like startup shopping).

17 points by slackerIII 5 days ago 7 replies      
If you want a free service to stream your music from your home computer to your work computer/android/iOS device, check out my service: http://www.audiogalaxy.com

Since we don't store the music in the cloud, we don't have any size limits (the current winner has about 530,000 files). Obviously this only works if you leave your home computer on, but we've found that isn't a problem for most folks.

5 points by dchest 5 days ago 1 reply      
"The 5 GB free storage plan is available to all Amazon.com customers, however further upgrades to the storage plan are currently unavailable in the following countries:
, Belgium
, Bulgaria
, Cyprus
, Czech Republic
, Denmark
, Estonia
, Finland
, France
, Germany
, Greece
, Hungary
, Ireland
, Italy
, Latvia
, Lithuania
, Luxembourg
, Malta
, Netherlands
, Poland
, Portugal
, Romania
, Slovakia
, Slovenia
, Spain
, Sweden
, United Kingdom"

Very strange, why is that?

7 points by pkulak 5 days ago 3 replies      
Streaming seems a bit silly when I've got 16 gigs sitting empty on my phone. I just want synching. I'll use Pandora if I want to stream. And then I'm not restricted to just my library.
8 points by itsnotvalid 5 days ago 4 replies      
As a non-US there is no way for me to use this.

Just put aside that, is it actually any legal reason for using things like dropbox to upload music purchased and streamed for private uses?

BTW that one album/20GB offers only last until the end of the year, and it only last for a year. After that, you would have the habit of using the service but be reverted to the free plan.

However since all the new purchases on amazon are automatically saved without counting towards the quota, I guess that solves the problem for many android users. Just that I don't listen to many of bands/artists that put their songs on Amazon MP3 may make this offer less appealing.

12 points by MichaelEGR 5 days ago 0 replies      
Glad to see the comments flood in for this and see it hit #1 on HN so quickly as I was beginning to wonder when it would ship. I was contracted to work on the Amazon MP3 v2.0 app rearchitecting the download architecture and adding cloud drive download support. It was "very interesting" being the only outside contractor / software architect level dev to be hired by A2Z / Amazon to work on core architecture for Amazon MP3. I finished my involvement mid-Feb. I guess I'm just posting to get an account started here on HN as I'm launching some very compelling Android platform / middleware soon called TyphonRT. I've been bootstrapping for years and this recent Amazon MP3 contract has opened up enough runway for me to launch my tech in the coming months. Hopefully I'll have some more time to post in the future too.
3 points by jazzychad 5 days ago 1 reply      
on ubuntu desktop: "The Amazon MP3 Uploader only supports Microsoft Windows (XP, Vista, 7) or Mac OS X running on Intel-based hardware."

yet the normal clouddrive uploader works. weird.

12 points by kin 5 days ago 0 replies      
Wow, Amazon is doing all kinds of great things for Android. First Amazon's Android App store with the awesome Test Drive feature and now this!
3 points by jambo 5 days ago 2 replies      
Can anyone see AmazonMP3 tracks in their library? I've purchased tons of music from AmazonMP3, and Cloud Player shows an empty library & 0 purchased songs. It seems like a big miss to launch this way. Hopefully it's just a bug.
3 points by baddox 5 days ago 0 replies      
Free persistent storage of Amazon digital downloads is the big feature here (to me). I've always thought it was insane how Steam lets you download dozens of gigabytes of video games ad infinitum, yet Apple's and Amazon's music stores require you to backup your digital purchases.
2 points by tzury 5 days ago 2 replies      
I suspect this 5GB quote is a "fake", since there is no need to actually "copy" a song to the User's virtual drive, rather add a pointer to a copy already available on their platform, that is, if 1M users are buying a popular song, there is no need to clone this song million times, right?

Having said that, since there are smart people working on this platform on amazon, I am sure they don't make a physical clone, which raises the question already mentioned above, why limit to 5GB?

1 point by ajg1977 5 days ago 2 replies      
I wonder if they're doing anything clever to reduce storage size. For example - an MP3/AAC song purchased from the same service has a small unique header (e.g. where your iTunes account name is stored) and then identical music data.

I imagine the music companies would have a hissy fit and demand streaming payments if that was the case though.

6 points by DonnyV 5 days ago 2 replies      
Amazon's storage plans are expensive compared to Google's



20 GB ($20 / year)

50 GB ($50 / year)

100 GB ($100 / year)

200 GB ($200 / year)

500 GB ($500 / year)

1000 GB ($1000 / year)


20 GB ($5.00 USD per year)

80 GB ($20.00 USD per year)

200 GB ($50.00 USD per year)

400 GB ($100.00 USD per year)

1 TB ($256.00 USD per year)

1 point by jasonkester 5 days ago 0 replies      
It's surprising that their player doesn't work in Mobile Safari. On my iPod touch, I can load the page and see my music (though it helpfully tells me I should upgrade to IE), but nothing will play.

I notice that they used Flash for the uploader. Surely they wouldn't have used it as the only option for the player.


2 points by dotBen 5 days ago 1 reply      
The music aspect of this makes a great headline - and also great case for why the avg joe consumer should want all this cloud storage.

But for me the real story here is the ability to store any file or document, and aggressive prices of bigger storage tiers.

Dropbox's prices have always seemed unreasonably high to me - and I'm tempted to move all my personal docs over to Amazon and use DropBox just for social sharing.

2 points by forgotAgain 5 days ago 1 reply      
It's becoming clear that the main competitor for iPad will come from Amazon. Apple will not be beat by a competitor on look and feel. Anyone who wants to compete with them will need to find their own area of strength. Amazon's strength is its years of experience with Amazon Web Services.
4 points by dstein64 5 days ago 1 reply      
I tried uploading a file to the cloud drive using Chrome, and then I viewed the file. I copied the URL and pasted it into Firefox, where I was not logged in to amazon.com or their cloud storage. It still loaded the file. If you tried doing this with a gmail message, gmail would prompt you to log in. I am not too familiar with cloud storage. Is this a security issue?
3 points by ffumarola 5 days ago 2 replies      
The 20gb free for purchasing an album makes this a pretty clutch deal.

They don't compete with dropbox's sync functionality, but they sure do on price and the mp3 cloud player!

3 points by joseakle 5 days ago 1 reply      
How long until someone posts their username(s) and password(s) to their whole music collection(s) ....
2 points by JabavuAdams 5 days ago 1 reply      
Is using the term "cloud" a branding / marketing mistake?

The cloud is generic and multi-vendor. It's a utility. This angle makes sense when talking to developers.

OTOH, I could see a lot of users being confused because they put stuff "in the cloud", but they can't get it back (from another vendor i.e. different cloud).

2 points by twodayslate 5 days ago 0 replies      
They fact that they are going to start backing up the Amazon MP3s is great news. Previously it was impossible to redownload a track once you have already downloaded it. Luckily I did not lose to much music when I got a new computer since I had a personal backup.

I would love Amazon Cloud Drive to have desktop integration like Dropbox.

Doesn't google have a cloud service now? It just doesn't have a pretty GUI or desktop integration?

3 points by jfeldstein2 5 days ago 0 replies      
There's an "upload your own mp3's" feature. I think this means I can stop waiting for google music.


> You have 5.0 GB of Cloud Drive storage. Upload your entire music collection.

I don't think this is going to work...

3 points by josh33 5 days ago 3 replies      
Is an iPhone app against the iOS T's&C's?
2 points by jbarham 5 days ago 0 replies      
How's that North Carolina data center coming along, Apple?! ;)
1 point by sandipc 5 days ago 1 reply      
how long until Dropbox makes a full-featured Cloud Player of their own?
1 point by tuhin 5 days ago 1 reply      
Why would one not prefer to use http://droptun.es/.

Is it the added meta info about music and other things that Amazon can use since it has a huge collection of music?

0 points by suprgeek 5 days ago 1 reply      
I wonder how telling this is:
"We do not guarantee that Your Files will not be subject to misappropriation, loss or damage and we will not be liable if they are. You're responsible for maintaining appropriate security, protection and backup of Your Files."
Is it "use at your own risk no matter how much money you pay us"?
1 point by pilom 5 days ago 0 replies      
This page crashes my computer. Not just IE7, my whole computer. Any idea what may be causing it?
2 points by dbjacobs 5 days ago 2 replies      
Storage cost is $1/yr/GB which is similar to Amazon's S3 reduced redundancy storage. It is unclear which level of reliability Amazon is promising for the cloud drive. If it is the higher level, it is a good deal.
4 points by justanotheratom 5 days ago 1 reply      
Just checking, did Ray Ozzie join Amazon?
1 point by jongraehl 5 days ago 0 replies      
No drag and drop (in Chrome). Slow and clumsy. Dropbox has a far better user experience (but more expensive storage).
1 point by IgorPartola 5 days ago 0 replies      
And yet another service that does not support Ubuntu... Ubuntu One just might get my money after all.
1 point by getpost 4 days ago 0 replies      
The OS X uploader requires installation of Adobe AIR. Adobe bloatware? Another piece of software checking for updates? Another piece of software that needs to be updated? No thank you. I'm all for getting a product out the door, but is a native OS X app that much trouble for an organization like Amazon? Does this bother anyone else, or is it just me?
1 point by jimmydo 5 days ago 1 reply      
It doesn't seem like they currently do this, but it would be great if Amazon applied file de-duplication (like Dropbox) to at least music files. If I'm trying to upload a song that Amazon already has on its own servers, it should just use that copy instead of uploading a new copy from my computer.
1 point by oskee80 5 days ago 0 replies      
What happens if your phone is in a poor reception area, or without internet connection? Then you can't listen to music? Can the app manage which songs you'd also like to have stored locally on the phone?

Is this meant to supplement your old ways of syncing music to the phone or replace it?

1 point by jorgeleo 5 days ago 0 replies      
I like this... But I would like ti more if there is a webdav address to access the storage from my iPad. I know that there are other solutions, but 5GB free...

Does anybody knows how to access Amazon Cloud Drive using Webdab?

1 point by misterkeeter 5 days ago 0 replies      
It feels like amazon is slowly dismantling the advantages of other content services. It's now competing head to head with one or several other companies within each media space.
1 point by naithemilkman 5 days ago 1 reply      
Am I correct to say that this is essentially a web based version of iTunes?
1 point by mone 5 days ago 0 replies      
Am I missing something or is Amazon (Cloud Drive) not giving the ability to import songs purchased from Amazon prior to this date??
1 point by ammmir 5 days ago 1 reply      
is there an S3-like (or simplified) API for this service?
1 point by markgx 5 days ago 0 replies      
It would be interesting to see if they expand the scope of Cloud Drive to include Dropbox-like syncing.
1 point by frsandstone 5 days ago 0 replies      
Do we know the bitrate of the stream?
1 point by ditojim 5 days ago 1 reply      
can you export from their cloud drive?
-1 point by is_computer_on 5 days ago 0 replies      
Would be great if it wasn't illegal to actually upload your music collection on there. I doubt that when you bought your music you got the right to distribute it to a third party which means uploading it onto Amazon's servers would constitute copyright infringement. Songs bought from Amazon probably come with a license that allows you to upload it to Amazon Cloud Player now, but with the music you already own and Music you buy somewhere else you're out of luck.
-4 points by die_sekte 5 days ago 0 replies      
The laptop is a HP Envy running a full-screen OS X Firefox. Man. Seems most designers can't fake a realistic chrome for web pages.
Success, and Farming vs. Mining wilshipley.com
245 points by aaronbrethorst 1 day ago   41 comments top 18
38 points by nostrademons 1 day ago 2 replies      
You have to be very careful when following advice like this, because a lot of the time things that look stupid and shortsighted simply reflect a deeper understanding of what the actual product is.

For example, for many VC-funded and fast-growing startups, the product is not the website, software, whatever that they're showing users. It's the knowledge that users have a particular need, and that need can be satisfied in a certain way. Startups are effectively outsourced R&D for big companies here.

It's quite possible that the most economically efficient way to satisfy that need is to simply fold the startup into some big company's other products. If that happens, the code, most of the employees, cash, and even existing userbase are essentially disposable. They can all be replaced at a larger scale once the company's been acquired. The actual assets that the acquirer is paying millions for is the detailed knowledge of the problem domain - key employees, key algorithms, history of other ideas that tried and failed, and any patents or other intellectual property. That's why acquisitions usually are contingent upon certain employees coming on-board, yet the acquirer is often all too happy to fire other employees.

19 points by DanI-S 1 day ago 2 replies      
On a slight tangent, modern farming techniques are more akin to the mining he describes than they are to farming. It's not just the software industry that is affected by this short-term thinking; it's the majority of human endeavour.

It's hard to tell whether the stock market is a cause or a symptom - our primary mode of 'investing in the future' is so prone to being short-circuited for short term gain.

16 points by d2 1 day ago 1 reply      
Wil's metaphor is brilliant and the values he describes are exactly what our industry needs to hear. I have been jumping from product to product for years, with the expectation of dump trucks arriving one day out front and unloading tons of money. I'm doing it again with my current company. We have a solid niche, strong traction and are leaders in our space, but rather than making what is good, really excellent, I'm considering jumping to the next shiny ball that may be the home run. This blog entry has caused me to reevaluate.
12 points by macrael 1 day ago 2 replies      
For those who don't know, Wil Shipley is the author of Delicious Library. <http://delicious-monster.com/>; A perennially popular MacOS app. It is a great way to catalog most everything you own.

It started off being only for books, but since has acquired the ability to keep track of just about anything.

1 point by teyc 1 hour ago 0 replies      
Ex-mining engineer here. Mining is very different to what Will describes. In fact, mining has very many similarities with the lifecycle of a software company.

Firstly there is the prospecting phase. This is akin to customer development. You look for where there might be traces of customers, and if you encounter them you drill a bit further to define the customers a bit better. Next, you do economic analysis to determine whether you are going to make a profit on this, or whether this is the right size/risk for your company. There is also a technical phase where you need to run trials to determine whether you will be able to successfully separate the minerals from the waste given whatever impurities that exist. You keep iterating, drilling, testing until you've hit the equivalent of product-market fit.

Then you have the expensive issue of scaling up. To build a mine takes great investment that will take years before it turns a profit. This is where the model diverges, because at this stage, the mining company has a defined asset but they do not build the mine themselves. These are done by a major contractor. It is like a giant civil engineering project and is managed as such.

When the mine is built (and roads, rails, port facilities are put in), the mining company then operates the mine. Operations is not anything like prospecting. It is dealing with daily issues and doing strategic planning, developing markets etc.. People live and work on a pretty steady basis, with rosters etc. In contrast, life as a prospector can be pretty rough. :)

Many startups function around the prospecting stages, since entry costs is lower but it is very risky. The rewards are high at this stage of course, but the prospectors have little ability to execute if they hit upon a mother load. Outside money will have to be brought in, or the prospector might sell up and get a nice exit.

14 points by kujawa 1 day ago 2 replies      
I come from Montana, and I hate this dichotomy.

The fundamental law of resources in this world is: if you can't farm it, you must mine it. They're a yin and yang. I come from Montana, a state which basically has only two industries: farming and mining. When you live that close to the land, it becomes very apparent who the actual producers are.

Everything else is wanking. Productive wanking, but wanking nonetheless. The welder is nothing without the miner. Without the farmer, he can't even eat. Me, as a software engineer, I'm so far removed from those who are actually producing things that what I do is as ephemeral as the wind.
I change states on a magnetic disk all day. I lift weights, run, and have a stand-up desk so my body doesn't decay while I do this ludicrously minimal amount of work each day, but because I know how to shape those bits in a certain way, society values me much more than the guy who feeds me, or the guy who mines the rare earths that make my job possible.

2 points by fleitz 23 hours ago 1 reply      
No when you're mining you use the capital you acquired to start more mines. There are lots of unprofitable mines, software is much more akin to mining in that your market is generally unknown, it requires a lot of capital cost and the the payoffs if you strike gold are enormous, however most will not strike gold. As we've discovered in Canada once you've dug that hole you can make decent coin by allowing cities to fill it with their trash.

Producing software is a capital intensive business with large pay offs that are irrespective of the amount of labour/capital inputted, consulting is a business in which one makes a slight profit over labour. Software that you own outright is a labour intensive capital good. If you're advocating the farming market of the software business then you're advocating consultancy which if done right can make you decent coin, the problem is that if you can actually make software that people want to use then you're generally better off moving towards the mining market.

What the OP is talking about is largely the difference between owning a mine and being a mining industry consultant / mine worker. Mining is an industry that is unpopular and his impression of farming is largely that of something that last existed in the 1920s.

Modern farming has nothing to do with returning the land to it's native state and has everything to do with pumping it full of nitrogen, spraying it with pesticides and hiring low wage workers, applying for gov't subsidies so that you can eek out 1-3% profit with enormous capital costs. The picture in the supermarket of a farmer is not reality.

2 points by jarin 15 hours ago 0 replies      
> What's upsetting is the number of people who have come to me with the idea of becoming miners: “I know nothing about software, but I can see there's gold in them thar' hills, and so I want to start up a company and make my million dollars! I've got an idea and everything, just tell me what magic incantation you did to get rich and I'll be on my way.”

Reminds me of an interview I heard with Steve Martin (promoting his book Born Standing Up), where he talks about the advice he gives to aspiring comedians. When they ask him what the trick is to getting famous, he just says "hard work". He said they usually seem disappointed, because that's not what they wanted to hear.

0 points by Stormbringer 9 hours ago 0 replies      
Wil is a great writer and worth reading. In this case, I'm going to raise objections to his thesis, but I have tremendous respect for his credentials. That said, I think the comparison to mining is a stretch, also farming, but lets start with mining.

Wil makes it sound like most mines blow up or explode at the first touch of a nugget of whatever you're trying to uncover. Or alternately that after taking investor money and building all the mine infrastructure, you sell it off as soon as you strike it rich. I would think the opposite is true, the last thing the mine owner would want to do is flog it off just when it starts making big money.

Eventually mines run out this is true, but sometimes they last for decades if not hundreds of years (the hundreds of years was probably more common before modern methods).

Secondly, with the mines if you read Jared Diamond's† book, I think it is called Collapse, he talks about this in great detail. And the biggest problem with mining is actually what happens when the mine closes. According to his research, nowadays the mining company is required to estimate the cleanup costs, and over the lifetime of the mine they contribute to a fund to cover the cleanup cost. Sounds good, right? The problem of course is that it is the company that estimates the costs, and they have an incentive to grossly underestimate the costs of cleanup. The usual discrepancy is something like two orders of magnitude. Ie assuming a large mine the company estimates costs of 10 million, hands the state govt a cheque for that as it closes shop. Then when the state govt discovers the actual cost is approx 1 Billion (maybe more) the company (which has long paid out all its funds as dividends to its shareholders) shrugs and declares bankruptcy.

I don't think that there is really any parallel in IT in terms of cleanup costs. You could argue that Y2K was similar, but I would point out that wasn't a uniquely mining only problem. All kinds of software was effected, from mining (startups on steroids), farming (slow and steady startups, the tortoise vs the hare), vendors, universities, consultants and even your big software retailers (Microsoft) all had this problem.

Okay, he admits he's stretching the metaphor (on the rack as it were). :D

What about farming? Personally I'm a fan of farming in the software sense, but farming in the real world is a nightmare. Assuming you don't manage to destroy the land, farmers I've talked to say that in good years they are making ~4% (return on capital), and in bad years they are losing 2-3%, and there are more bad years than good years. How do they survive? Typically by taking loans out against the (ever increasing) value of the property. But if the value of the property doesn't keep going up, or if the banks decide not to loan the farmers money, or if there is a particularly bad drought... then farming is much worse than mining and you get farmers walking away from their land, or just dying on it. Jared talks a little bit about how bad mining is, but the main thrust of his book is that improperly managed farming KILLS ENTIRE CIVILIZATIONS. In terms of cost/benefit, I think dirty water from mining >>> extinction. :D

He touches on another metaphor, the Lottery. Lotteries are usually regarded as a bad thing (a tax on people who are bad at math). The problem is that for every $1.00 you put in you get back out say $0.40 on average. In other words, all lotteries have a negative expectancy (with the notable exception of the UK Lottery, because even though you are unlikely to win, at the end of the day you can still get back all the money you spent on it (it is more similar to a savings account with pathetically low interest, and a miniscule chance of some excitement).

Okay, fine, lets take it as given that 'lotteries' with negative expectancy are bad....

If the 'software mining' (ie startup) industry was a lottery, would it have a negative expectancy? I suggest probably not. What if there was a lottery that for every $1 ticket there is a 1% chance of winning $200? That'd be a positive expectancy! I'd play that, you'd have to be bad at maths not to. Moreover, even if it was break even (ie for every millionaire ten people have to gamble and lose their house), as the mining example shows, sometimes there are hidden costs/benefits. I'm guessing that the startup 'lottery' has a positive expectancy (especially in silicon Valley, perhaps not everywhere else in the world), but if someone argued that the benefit to society of all the startups is negative I'd think they were crazy.

An example: I've heard it said that since the beginning of commercial flight in the US that the industry as a whole has barely (or not even) broken even. But to suggest that I personally don't benefit from the ability to fly round the world in 30 hours as compared to sailing round the world in six months is ludicrous. Even if the airline industry didn't make their average investor rich, it provided more than enough benefit to society to be able to justify its existence.

Lastly, and I suspect this is very wall of text so I apologise, there is a logical flaw underpinning Wil's entire thesis. He assumes that somehow the IT industry is special. He assumes if you launch a software company with an exit strategy that is somehow different (bad) compared to say launching a furniture company with an exit strategy.

I think that rather than just assuming that software is different in this regard, I think he should at least try to make an argument to that effect.

†If the name is familiar, he wrote Guns Germs and Steel as well, which is one of those books that lots of people have heard of, but few have read :D

2 points by crasshopper 23 hours ago 0 replies      
The stock market ... what's important ... is the potential growth of your sales, not your current sales, since the point of buying stock is to sell the stock to someone else later on, at a higher price.

Or to receive dividends. Heard of blue chip investors? Buy-and-hold strategy?

"Mining" versus "farming" is disputed in the stock market as well. That's why people talk about P/E ratio.

2 points by ph0rque 1 day ago 1 reply      
Hmmm, to torture the idea even further... what about permaculture farming that minimizes the amount of back-breaking work you have to do while building up the soil to be richer than before (albeit at a slow pace)? What's the software company equivalent?
2 points by msort 19 hours ago 0 replies      
The stories of Google, Facebook, and Twitter show that VC has values. We want more investments to start-ups, rather than the opposite. Let the market decide itself: the money will flow where the value is, eventually. I think success is hard either way: faming or mining, it is better than not trying.
2 points by mopoke 1 day ago 0 replies      
See also "built to last" by Jim Collins which covers the same ground from a different angle.
1 point by donnyg107 20 hours ago 0 replies      
It seems this guy is basically just describing the markets and calling traits problems. Obviously you need to invest in a company before its popular for it to be a good investment. A company with a fully stable profit won't even take your investment most of the time. "Mining" is just the process of investment! However, I do not think this is the point. The important point I think he's getting at is not that the markets are evil, but that founders shouldn't be investors. If you start a company, you should be interested in BUILDING A COMPANY, not selling a big company and making a boatload. Obviously, people want to make money, but for some reason the misconception that the cash in hand for a crappy company is worth more than the cash in stock for a great and growing company. And even further, the founder interested in building a great company is more likely to reach that amount of money faster, just because they are invested in making a good company, and will make efficient and secure progress toward his or her vision with every day of work. Great companies start with people who want the company to succeed and investors who wan to make a buck, not the other way around.
1 point by donnyg107 20 hours ago 0 replies      
At first glance, it seems this guy is basically just describing the markets and calling traits problems. Obviously you need to invest in a company before its popular for it to be a good investment. A company with a fully stable profit won't even take your investment most of the time. "Mining" is just the process of investment! However, I do not think this is the point. The important point I think he's getting at is not that the markets are evil, but that founders shouldn't be investors. If you start a company, you should be interested in BUILDING A COMPANY, not selling a big company and making a boatload. Obviously, people want to make money, but for some reason the misconception that the cash in hand for a crappy company is worth more than the cash in stock for a great and growing company. Great companies start with people who want the company to succeed and investors who wan to make a buck, not the other way around.
1 point by jrspruitt 1 day ago 0 replies      
The miner in this reminds me of the movie Easy Rider, make a big score, then take the money and do what ever you want, which in the end turns out to not be what they thought it was.
I've never had the fortune of making it into the industry, so from an outsiders perspective. I wonder since it seems a lot of what internet start ups are based on, is having a following, as in, your app is useless unless its got users to go with it. If some of the mining is similar to creating a product and selling it to someone with the ability to manufacture it. Like if I thought of a cool toy, patented it, and then sold that to Mattel, because I don't have the resources to capitalize on it. In the start up internet world, to prove the worth of the design, you need users. So the mining concept is just the adjustment needed in the internet world, for inventors to sell their inventions. Seems kind of similar. For me at least, I would probably want out as soon as possible, the business side of it, isn't as interesting as the building side of it, I would loose money on a successful business for sure, but it would give me the lateral mobility to pursue my interests, which are not being a CEO of a company.
1 point by nanoanderson 1 day ago 0 replies      
One thread that is interwoven throughout the piece but surprisingly not called out explicitly is the role of the tech media in the glamorization of high-growth, high-exit-return startups and their investors. Nostrademons has some good points about the virtues of startups that Wil didn't touch upon (though I'm sure he's aware of them. His piece doesn't strike me as though he's blanket-bashing venture-capitalized startups).

The dollar amounts attached to these "lottery" startups (whether in investment or in exit) are awesome, but not outrageous, especially given who the investors are. The one thing that Wil said that did bother me was his assertion that a funded started is necessarily a "mining" startup, to use his metaphor. I see it his way, and it brought me down a little bit, even though I already knew it inside.

1 point by nethsix 1 day ago 0 replies      
As long as there are VCs that are willing to fund, companies that are willing to acquire (demand), there will be developers looking to 'mine' (supply).
If enough people who made 'loss' in this ecosystem were to exit this ecosystem then 'mining' will be obsoleted. However, there are always people/companies looking for a quick-buck/fix to inflate their bank balance or complement their product line, therefore perpetuating 'mining'.
How not to protect against SQL injection (view source) wales.gov.uk
247 points by ssclafani 5 days ago   115 comments top 25
30 points by mixmax 5 days ago 3 replies      
I just fired off an e-mail to point out that they have a potentially serious security problem and they should get it fixed ASAP.

I see this as a civic duty, and think that this is the kind of action you're required to perform if you see a serious problem. Writing an e-mail takes ten seconds, but the potential damage could well cost serious money.

31 points by somedev 4 days ago 0 replies      
It was me that actually built this site. Around 2000-2001. To give you a bit of background or "excuses":

It was my first website at an agency, I'd just taught myself ASP and SQL in just a few months previous (with no help or guidance). If my memory serves me correct, that dodgy JavaScript was put in there by a more senior developer. I had no idea what SQL Injection was and it wasn't until at least a few years later that SQL Injection was even something any developers I knew were aware of - The Wikipedia page for SQL Injection (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SQL_injection) under "Known real-world examples" has the earliest dated at 2005 (but obviously, this vulnerability has been around forever).

And yes, I'm still a Web Developer (front-end nowadays - that also knows much better than this) and no, I no longer work for that agency and haven't for a long time.

In response to some of the comments:
* I've seen many many developers write SQL Injection prone code at least 6 years after this was written.
* Any developer that was around during 2000-2001 would know that this was before the time of CMS's (free or otherwise), libraries, frameworks, SQL abstraction layers etc.
* I'm pretty sure there is some server-side sanitising done too (before we'd heard of the term SQL Injection).
* I don't think it was using an SQL login with drop permissions.

15 points by Joeri 5 days ago 5 replies      
The saddest part is that tons of people will be reading this thinking that they're way smarter than that guy, while in fact their sites are wide open to exploitation as well. That last statement probably applies to me too.

Doing web security well is hard, too hard. Everyone gets caught with a security bug sooner or later, even google. It's easy to laugh with silly coding like this, but I blame the technology for allowing SQL injection in the first place. SQL is simply a bad API to be using in a web app.

14 points by MatthewPhillips 5 days ago 3 replies      
Since they're using SQL Server (hint is that they are checking for "xp_"), you can get a list of all of their databases with "SELECT name FROM sys.databases", then loop through and drop them. Hope the web login doesn't have drop permissions.
4 points by iuguy 5 days ago 0 replies      
H.M. Government has a specific set of standards that apply to websites based on the impact of information assets contained on them (as well as other bits and pieces that I don't need to go into). The weird thing is, this site is for the Welsh Assembly which, as a devolved government has to meet the standards but is seen in certain respects as a 'foreign government' within the civil service (our H.M. Government sector). Make no mistake, there are some things that this site will have to comply with, but the implied and genuinely air-quoted 'measures' put forward would add nothing to any of this.

A moderately large amount of this information is available on the Internet, start at http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/security-po... if you want a look. A brief look through the sitemap suggests they are holding or processing Personally Identifiable Information (PII) which puts them under the Data Protection Act. Again, the presence of the javascript doesn't imply actual SQL injection, but it definitely doesn't imply a measure against it.

In this instance, the compliance requirements are fairly low. I guess the exam question is, can they pass the bar, or do they limbo under it?

16 points by Animus7 5 days ago 1 reply      
I have a feeling that this site won't be up much longer after making front page of HN, and it will have nothing to do with server load.
13 points by elboru 5 days ago 0 replies      
"Terms & Conditions:
We are committed to ensuring that your information is secure. In order to prevent unauthorised access or disclosure we have put in place suitable physical, electronic and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect on line. We use encryption when collecting or transferring sensitive data such as credit card information."

I don't know why but I just don't trust them...

18 points by ZeroComplete 5 days ago 4 replies      
I'm going to assume that they have a server-side validation script running and the client side code is just to prevent/explain to mistaken users and if the server-side script every activates they know that someone's being malicious.
12 points by RossDM 5 days ago 0 replies      
When I was working in the financial sector, I came across an email thread involving a certain software vendor who had been notified of a SQL injection vulnerability. To fix it, they created an IF statement that did a string comparison to check for the exact SQL attack that had been used.
6 points by Stormbringer 5 days ago 0 replies      
Would have been better protected if their javascript was programmed in Welsh... :D
1 point by d2 5 days ago 0 replies      
There are more websites than competent admins so this kind of thing is inevitable. If you were a nice guy you would have reported it to the admin and left it at that.
8 points by jofabian 5 days ago 1 reply      
Funny is that I tried to warn them about that problem and their Feedback form doesn't work.
2 points by ignifero 5 days ago 0 replies      
They are not scared of sql injection cause they have Styled Scrollbars!!
1 point by JohnnyBrown 5 days ago 0 replies      
Well, it's still up after 8 hours, so apparently there was some server-side checking as well
3 points by arpy 5 days ago 0 replies      
Poor old Bobby Drop Tables will be out of luck again.
2 points by teichman 5 days ago 2 replies      
So for those of use who know nothing about websites: what is the correct way to protect against SQL injection?
1 point by evo_9 5 days ago 0 replies      
Well at least form & function are equals.
1 point by stevemoy 5 days ago 1 reply      
My take on this is that the scriptwriter's goal was not to stop SQL injection attacks but rather prevent regular users from inadvertently screwing with the database.

Looking at it that way makes it a much more understandable (and all-too-common, unfortunately) oversight.

2 points by gary4gar 5 days ago 2 replies      
Javascript - It can be Disabled!

Every Web Dev needs to remember this and Yet people tend to forget

1 point by rosenjon 4 days ago 0 replies      
Yeah...pretty sad. But at the same time, if the site isn't down by now, there is probably server side checking in place as well.
1 point by Lozzer 4 days ago 0 replies      
The linked page seems very safe. It has a very bad form checking function, but no actual form...
0 points by peterbe 4 days ago 0 replies      
Hello!!! Has anybody hacked the site yet? Perhaps it would be nasty to delete all database tables but at least some sort of update would be funny?
-2 points by vain 5 days ago 2 replies      
http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=2370022 CEO Friday: Why we don't hire .NET programmers)

Would an open source programmer do something like this?

-4 points by thomasfl 5 days ago 2 replies      
Upvote here if you too have discovered sql injection vulnerabilities in your own web apps.
Introducing /run lwn.net
237 points by rpledge 4 days ago   38 comments top 6
21 points by ascendant 4 days ago 1 reply      
TL;DR summary: H