I love HackerNews (HN). The quality of comments there are fantastic. The behavior that emerges from the community is facinating (most recently, the OfferHN meme… or back when the entire front page was nothing but Erlang posts). The peer network support this community provides to entrepreneurs seems to really help people. Kudos to Paul Graham for fostering such an excellent service.
If I had any say in how HN evolved (and I don’t… probably for good reason), I’d do the following:
- I’d remove the New Comment link in the header bar. I don’t understand the point of it and the content hiding behind it seems pretty low-value, especially out of context. Perhaps back when HN was smaller the New Comment page had a better signal-to-noise ratio.
- I’d create a way to follow a few users I really respect. I want to see all the comments and submissions from the people I consider most insightful. I know I can see them all on their user pages, but I don’t want to click through 10-20 user pages for all the people I find insightful… I’d like to see a single feed that threads all these people together.
- Similarly, if I’m on a comment thread for an article in HN, I’d love to see some visual cue that highlights the comments from people I’m following.
- I want to create a personal domain blacklist. It doesn’t have to be HN-wide, I just want to edit out a few domains for myself. The Internet reads Techcrunch to me often enough through other sources like Twitter and Techmeme… I don’t need to see it on HN too. In fact, one of the things I like best about HN is the random lesser-known sources it takes me too.
- I’d modify the bookmarklet so that anytime I click on it when I’m on a random page, if there’s an HN thread for that page it will populate right away. Right now, if you try to submit a page that’s already in HN, you’ll be taken to the previously submitted page’s convesation, which is great, but I think that should happen immediately upon clicking the bookmarklet, not upon submission of the link. Then I’d have a quick and easy way to figure out “what does HN think about this?”
I’m sure some of these ideas could be accomplished with Greasemonkey. Maybe I’ll tackle one or two of them if I pick up some free time (ed. note — hahahaha).