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    I wonder if the people marking this off topic read it beyond the title. There’s a lot here that certainly seems relevant to lobsters, or any link discussion site. We’ve had many of the same discussions here in fact.

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      Yeah, this being considered “off topic” IMO supports the critique of tech link aggregator culture in this quote:

      The site’s now characteristic tone of performative erudition—hyperrational, dispassionate, contrarian, authoritative—often masks a deeper recklessness. […] humane arguments are dismissed as emotional or irrational. Logic, applied narrowly, is used to justify broad moral positions.

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        I’m prepared to change my flag if you can point to specific points that are relevant.

        It’s an outside-looking-in piece, with the two moderators acting as “native guides”.

        It’s well-written with a lot of zingers, but there’s almost no input from actual users of HN. There’s plenty of quotes, and I suppose someone who is interested can wade through and make their own impression, but the general tone is “wow, this is a cesspit, I pity the dudes trying to keep order”. The only other longer quote is from the writer of N-gate, for Pete’s sake.

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          You can use your flags however you like. It’s an article about culture on HN. If you buy that HN and lobsters are at least related by being computing-focused link aggregators with similar interfaces, content, and discussion, while even sharing many of the same users, then the only other step is to also believe that meta commentary (discussion about this place) is on-topic. There’s precedent for this idea insofar as there’s a meta tag for stories.

          It’s an outside-looking-in piece, with the two moderators acting as “native guides”.

          I like that it’s an outside-looking-in piece. I think that the outside perspective enlivens our understanding in this case. “native guides” sounds weird to me.

          It’s well-written with a lot of zingers, but there’s almost no input from actual users of HN.

          OK sure, but I would consider the moderators users. Regardless, does this make it less “on-topic”?

          …but the general tone is “wow, this is a cesspit, I pity the dudes trying to keep order”

          This, to me, reads as a distorted take. The writing was certainly colorful, but behind the zingers, I thought there was a substantive critique of a style of discrete quantitative reasoning which, the author claims, gets misapplied to less quantitatively-based intellectual contexts, leading to flamey, uninteresting discussion. One could disagree or take issue with this belief, but nowhere did the author call or imply HN to be a cesspit.

          I also found the writing to be much more sympathetic to the moderators than simply pitying them. In fact, I thought it portrayed the mods as three-dimensional well-rounded people who are devoted to their community, evidenced by the mention of their 4-5 year email chains with various community members.

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            First off, thanks for taking the time to discuss this.

            If you buy that HN and lobsters are at least related […]

            OK, that’s the main divergence of opinion, I don’t buy that.

            I’ve been working on a tool to track the topics that occur both here and on HN. In July, around 2% of the links on HN were shared on Lobste.rs. (conversely, 60% of the links here also featured on HN). So Lobste.rs is a tiny subset of the stuff posted to HN. The article in question has 1,477 upvotes on HN, against 5 here, and it’s certain to be featured in next week’s N-gate.

            One of the topics mentioned in the article regards “sharding”. It’s not 100% what’s meant, but I’m assuming it’s the separation of topics. We have a soft version here in the form of tagging. HN has none of that. It’s a flat space encompassing everything from random Wikipedia articles to breathless discussion about the latest VC fundings. I don’t believe that scales. It leads to an awful lot of bleedover when a popular technology topic is hijacked by people seeking to improve visibility.

            The fact that we can have a discussion here about the “off-topic” flag is also different from HN. Flags there are binary. Moderation here is transparent. I was honestly shocked to read about how the moderators could promote or demote a comment at will (although I believe their intentions are the best).

            I thought there was a substantive critique of a style of discrete quantitative reasoning which, the author claims, gets misapplied to less quantitatively-based intellectual contexts, leading to flamey, uninteresting discussion.

            I agree, and I hope we can move beyond that here on Lobste.rs. In the interest of this goal I have removed my flag.

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              I’ve been working on a tool to track the topics that occur both here and on HN. In July, around 2% of the links on HN were shared on Lobste.rs. (conversely, 60% of the links here also featured on HN). So Lobste.rs is a tiny subset of the stuff posted to HN. The article in question has 1,477 upvotes on HN, against 5 here, and it’s certain to be featured in next week’s N-gate.

              That’s a cool tool, and nice work on it!

              I do also think that HN and lobsters can be related in more ways than sharing exact links to stories. Themes in content tend to overlap significantly, IMO, but setting aside how related the sites are by their content, I think that the culture and discussions tend to be similar in terms of tone, points of view, and length of comments. That said, I’ve found lobsters discussions to be typically more kind, but that feeling has changed significantly recently.

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          I read the entire article and flagged it as off-topic. I’ll expand on why tomorrow.

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          I appreciated this article.

          Don’t care for how HN opaquely shuffles things around for whatever purpose (I’ve had comments with loads of upvotes manually pushed beneath below-zero comments since they didn’t like what I was writing.), and consequently, not terribly wild about dang and sctb as the enforcers of that regime.

          But then, after reading this, I watched the freakin’ 10:00 news with my father-in-law, and realized that whatever warts there may be on Paul Graham and his outfit, compared to the MSM, they are literally Saints.

          I hope dang and sctb finish out their spreadsheet thing one day, and make metric shitloads of cash money with it.

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            Isn’t the culture tag exactly for articles like this one?