Brajeshwar

4-min read

Hacker News

Hacker News1 is a link aggregator website started by Paul Graham2 on Feb 19, 2007 and officially launched the next day as Startup News. After 550 days, I signed up on Aug 23, 2008 at Unix Time: 1219467182.

It ran on stealth mode from Oct-9 to Oct-22, 2006. Six months later, it was renamed from Startup News to Hacker News on Aug 14, 2007.

WebArchive has the copies of the last of Startup News and the first of Hacker News.

I was once an active participant on Digg, which has a similar link aggregator vibe. However, Hacker News is in an entirely different realm. It is much easier to be simple and honest, making you stay modest and humble.

After about two years, my account saw some activity around Sep 16, 2010 with an impressive 5 karma points. At the beginning of the COVID-19 Pandemic, I started actively participating and saw an increase in karma to 11,738 as of Apr 6, 2020.

For the first time on Oct 21, 2023, I got into leaders. I knew only after someone, a graduate student from Georgia Tech, contacted me for an interview for her research work.

Hacker News is a fun gathering of the best technical and curious people worldwide. I have seen my comments upvoted, talked about, and also downvoted to oblivion with scorn and ridicule. I read them, laugh or ignore them, and sometimes engage in exciting conversations.

I have developed a typical routine to submit articles. I tend to gather interesting links during the day, and when America’s West Coast wakes up, I submit them in batches of bursts over an hour or so before I retire for the day. The idea is not to get emotional – the same links you submitted will die, but someone else submitting it after a few hours, or a day or two will get voted. While I slept and woke up the next day, an article or two got on the front page.

So far, the most number of stories I have had on the front page simultaneously is four, which is 13.33% of the front page stories. I have also seen my submissions as the 1st and 30th at the same time, and submissions that stay on for more than a day - which are rare occurrences.

The basic idea for Hacker News is anything that good hackers would find interesting, including more than hacking and startups — anything that gratifies one’s intellectual curiosity.

It is advised to avoid stories about politics, crime, sports, and celebrities unless they’re evidence of some interesting new phenomenon. Also, stay off videos of pratfalls or disasters or cute animal pictures. If they’d cover it on TV news, it’s probably off-topic.

Try to have curious participation — be kind. Don’t be snarky. Converse curiously; don’t cross-examine. I love one of the best lines of humanity on their guidelines, “Please respond to the strongest plausible interpretation of what someone says, not a weaker one that’s easier to criticize. Assume good faith.”

  1. Hacker News (HN) is a website focusing on computer science and entrepreneurship. It is run by Y Combinator. In general, content that can be submitted is defined as “anything that gratifies one’s intellectual curiosity.” The word hacker in “Hacker News” is used in its original meaning and refers to the hacker culture which consists of people who enjoy tinkering with technology. 

  2. Paul Graham is a computer scientist, essayist, entrepreneur, investor, and author. He is best known for his work on the programming language Lisp, his former startup Viaweb, co-founding Y Combinator, his essays, and Hacker News. 

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