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    Things I really prefer about Lobsters to HN:

    • We (mostly) keep on topic for practical tech stuff, love it or hate it.
    • We (mostly) keep out news and marketing spam, even when people really really want news.
    • We moderate transparently and openly.
    • We generally keep our discussions and posts here civil, in no small part because we avoid news and politics.
    • We still have users that have the nerve to get downvoted trying to defend whatever community norms they believe in.
    • We generally encourage people to invite others who aren’t jerks.

    The biggest thing about Lobsters vs. HN though?

    Lobsters isn’t a mouthpiece and recruiting venue for startupcanistan.

    One of the other cool things is that we have stuff like @pushcx’s barnacl.es, which is a good place to redirect people that want to talk about biz stuff so that it doesn’t clutter up here too much.

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      There is something mind-numbing about HN that makes it difficult to be a part of that community. You almost know exactly how everyone is going to react to any given post and you have a pretty good idea of what’s going to get at the top of HN every day. It’s still useful as something similar to TechMeme, but the community just isn’t fun to be a part of.

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        There is something mind-numbing about HN that makes it difficult to be a part of that community.

        It’s the size.

        Lobste.rs feels better because it’s still small, but if we grow, this feel will dwindle. There’s nothing wrong about it, it’s just how communities evolve.

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            This is a thing I think Dan is right about: people who are concerned about capitalism see HN as a bastion of capitalism, and people who are concerned about socialism see HN as a bastion of left-wingism. It’s a cognitive availability bias thing.

            At least, if there’s a bias towards “capitalism”, it’s one shared by most Internet sites, very much including this one.

            (I don’t disagree that this site is often easier to engage with!)

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              I wouldn’t say that Lobsters is biased towards capitalism, actually–we shy away from posting the marketing materials and press releases and obvious attempts at self-promotion that plague HN. Growth hackers caught posting here tend to get mocked and downvoted.

              HN has a clear bend towards capitalism, because it’s whole job is to attract talented people that might be thinking about startup stuff and to encourage them. It’s Valley agitprop with just enough tech lingering to not scare off the young folks people need to do engineering.

              I think that the tone here tends to generally favor the developer and Labor, whereas over on HN you get an even split between some Labor, Capital, and people who want to one day be Capital. It’s neither good nor bad, but it is certainly different.

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                Yeah, I disagree with pretty much all of this, especially the YC-essentialism. I think HN does a pretty good job of not being a vehicle to get people into YC startups, all things considered.

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                  Given their jobs listings specifically for YC startups, and the HN picks YC entries experiment, and the large amount of threads dedicated to YC-related activities (especially around the time people normally would hear back on their applications, I would be curious what other information you’re considering when drawing that conclusion.

                  You’ve been on there for a while–maybe you’re perceptions are based in your earlier experiences?

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                    If anything I feel it’s changed in the other direction, though this is entirely a gut feeling. A much bigger part of HN when I first joined (about 8 years ago) felt like the startup-scene fan club, both the startup scene in general, and specifically the one oriented around Y Combinator and Paul Graham personally (back when he posted a lot). It was never exclusively that, or I wouldn’t have bothered joining, but it was kind of the underlying community norm. There are still a lot of startup fans there, but it now seems more like a general tech forum than it used to.

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                      Most of the threads on HN are about tech, law, science, current event, etc. Very little of what you describe on front page. I think you’ve been gone a long time and it’s changed. It hasn’t been like that the year or two Ive been on it.

                      Now, YC certainly benefits from it, it has YC-oriented posts, and so on. It is their site with a good chunk of startup fans in the community. So, let those two groups get some benefit, too. Im cool with it long as it’s mostly not that stuff. Front page has just 2, non-YC, business articles.

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                        I think you’ve been gone a long time and it’s changed.

                        Ah, that could well be the case!

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                      The bad news is the NSA one is exactly what they did lol.

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                But nevertheless paradoxical. The larger the communities become less diverse, not more.

                The solution would be to join many small communities, still giving access to many people, vs a few large communities.

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                  I found that Parable of the Polygons, a short essay with fun interactive visualizations, made that intuitive to me. Larger groups will default to be less diverse than smaller ones without constant work to keep that from happening.

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                    I love that visualization.

                    I am not sure how you arrived at that conclusion though. If I remember it correctly, the article arrives at a conclusion that demanding diversity lowers segregation. But this doesn’t necessarily mean larger groups are less diverse.

                    Do larger groups actually tend to be less diverse? I really don’t know, but looking at tropical rain forests, I wouldn’t bet on that. I guess it depends on the initial condition.

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                      Yes, your summary is accurate. I guess what I’m bringing in addition to what the article says is my knowledge that demanding diversity is easier in smaller groups because there are few enough people hostile to it that it’s practical to engage each one directly and talk through things. The article seems to mostly be thinking about where people live, which is certainly a very important topic, but it’s doing so at an abstract level that can be applied in other ways also.

                      There’s further discussion needed to adapt the article’s thesis - that diversity will not happen unless people actively prefer it, even if weakly, over homogeneity - to online communities. Everywhere you look at polygons “moving” in the visualizations, imagine that what they’re specifically doing is focusing more of their attention on Lobste.rs instead of on Hacker News… Then think of it from the narrow perspective of us being Lobste.rs; we perceive these movements as our community growing.

                      People who actively prefer diversity are a tiny fraction of the general population. It’s not something that there’s consensus on on Lobste.rs, but certainly the fraction is larger here. So most times when the community grows, the growth brings us towards the larger world’s status quo.

                      In retrospect, I am still glad I cited the article because it’s very important background information, but I appreciate your questioning my reasoning, and I hope I’ve elaborated a bit.

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                    I was thinking it would be awsome to have a reddit-esque platform that randomly creates the perfect size communities: large enough that there’s always discussion, but small enough that you begin recognize a lot of the posters.

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                      That sounds exactly like how subreddits work! There are many small, active communities there if you are able to find them.

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                    I agree with this. I’ve never seen a large community be surprising, change direction, or try to learn from its failures.

                    There’s still interesting stuff to be said about what makes it “large”, and how a large IRC channel is far fewer people than a large web forum. But I don’t have much in the way of insight there, so…

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                      Until lobster.s2, shhh, don’t tell anyone!

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                      There are some topics on lobste.rs that are completely predictable, but not many.

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                        INT. LOBSTE.RS CONFERENCE ROOM

                        PERSON 1: As an OpenBSD developer, I—

                        PERSON 2: You’re an OpenBSD developer? That’s funny, so am I!

                        PERSON 3 (from under the table): Hey, I’m also an OpenBSD developer!

                        PERSON 4 (emerging from the ductwork): Me too!

                        POTTED PLANT IN THE CORNER: I, too, am an OpenBSD developer.

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                          Anything about VPNs :P

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                        I have the opposite experience on HN, not mind-numbing, but nerve-racking. Say the wrong thing on there, and you’ll know it. I think Lobsters can be the last authority regarding news feeds for programming/tech. Obviously, HN is split brain, appeals to startups and tech, if Lobsters focuses on the later only, it could be king of the niche in the long run. Keep it up Lobste.rs – fun community.

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                          I’m very happy to read about this here. I joined lobsters only a short while ago but read it since a month or two before already.

                          I wondered what makes the difference to me and this post and it’s comments nicely condensed my thoughts into some well phrased sentences.

                          I still read HN, but more as a feed. I typically only skim through the front page headlines and open links that seem to be interesting. Comments are way to messy there. Sure, there might be something interesting hidden in them but it seems better for studying the social interactions of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs then to get much new out of them.

                          On lobsters though, I actively look through comments and they really add value. I hope this stays like this.

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                            I visit HN everyday, but it’s akin to entering a despondent conference room with a cacophony of people shouting over each other. I’ll slowly close the door and aboutface to Lobsters, which is more a quiet reading room with a nice window overlooking some pleasant Villa .

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                              That blog page’s colour scheme is very pleasant to me for some reason

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                                While lobste.rs is definitely growing, it’s nice how the invite mechanism is somewhat curbing the growth - and hopefully those that people invite are more likely to participate in the community than otherwise, as they’ve been “let in” by a friend.

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                                  I seem to be in the minority as I find value in HN comments. It is just the wealth of having lots of people. For most tech topics, you can find someone involved. Even famous people like Alan Kay are there.

                                  I like the hats here and lobster has the potential to highlight significant people much better.

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                                    I also like reading the comments on hacker news, usually because it gives a quick idea of what the story was like, but they still are usually not very personal on balance.

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                                    I’m coming way late to this party, but let me pop in.

                                    Hacker News sometimes has good comments. It depends on the mood of the day. Even if the community and culture sucks, there are some really smart people there.

                                    The quality of Hacker News submissions is lower, but if I have spare time (which I haven’t lately, because I’m polishing a novel and agonizing over the self-pub vs. trad-pub decision) I will usually check it for links. There’s definitely some gold that gets posted, even admit the garbage. If I find 1 link out of 30 worth reading, that’s still better than zero. Occasionally, I’ll find 2 or 3. Sometimes I read comments, not because they’re often good, but because it’s useful to know the pulse of the industry.

                                    For as sycophantic and VC butt-boyish as HN can be sometimes, it’s a lot more cynical than it was in 2009. This is also interesting because DanG spends a lot of time trying to fight that, and puts a lot of effort into threatening and banning people who criticize VC or Silicon Valley or major tech employers. Yet they still do it, which shows that the anger is rising (and, for those who don’t know me, I consider that to be a good thing). The amount of anger that you see on HN is still only moderate, but the fact that moderate anger persists in spite of DanG’s tireless wielding of the banhammer… is indicative of a more severe anger that is simply being censored.

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                                      For as sycophantic and VC butt-boyish as HN can be sometimes

                                      You probably should’ve stopped at sycophantic here.

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                                        I don’t apologize for that joke (“VC butt-boy”) because I’m not slamming gay people. I’m slamming people who sleep their way to the top. There are many women that I’ve called out for it. There are men who’ve slept their way to the top with women, and I call them out too.

                                        To be truthful, Silicon Valley’s culture has next-to-nothing to do with anything gay. It’s chickenhawking in the business sense of the word. A chicken-hawking business relationship is when an older man (usually heterosexual) supports the career of a young sociopath (again, usually heterosexual) in order to live vicariously through him. Like in many fraternities, there’s homoerotic bonding around the humiliation of women, but the actual sex is entirely heterosexual.

                                        There may be homosexual chickenhawking out there, but I’ve never heard of it. There may be chickenhawk relationships where chicken and hawk differ in sexual orientation, although it wouldn’t make sense to me. Meanwhile, I’ve seen the heterosexual variant at a number of companies.

                                        You don’t see many gays in Silicon Valley, but you see a whole lot of chickenhawks. Men who worked too hard in their youth and feel like they did their 20s wrong will support the careers of younger proteges in order to live vicariously through sociopaths, in expensive suits and bearing coke, who rip through club/party girls like a late-April tornado. That’s a big part of why a lot of awful people get funded: middle-aged men want to hear crazy stories about their proteges’ weekends.

                                        Gay people are not perverts– well, some are, just like some us are, but being gay doesn’t make one a pervert. I’ve supported gay marriage for as long as I’ve understood the issue. Chickenhawks are genuine perverts– and you can’t understand Silicon Valley until you understand chickenhawking, because it explains so many careers.

                                        If you really want to go into the rabbit hole of Silicon Valley perversion, read up on spider pooping. That answer is dated because he said it was “rare… even in… Atherton”. You can probably get funded without spider pooping, but you’ll never rise in Silicon Valley’s high society. It wouldn’t surprise me to see a YC startup making “toilets for two”. Like unicorn horns for various modes of insertion, that would sell in the Valley, even if nowhere else.

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                                      Lobste.rs is pretty dope

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                                        Please don’t tell to much people about this really nice and creative community! Else we get the normies in ;-)