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Hi Lobsters,

As you probably know, node.js is a framework for developing server applications on javascript. It is a relevant piece of software that attracts many developers and, if only for that, merits its own tag.

On the other hand, because of different issues, technology-related or else, people tend to have strong opinions on it and there is a tendency for a weekly “node.js drama” post to appear which provides little value besides venting/finger-pointing.

Some examples:

Currently, node.js-related posts are tagged with javascript, which makes it difficult for search and filtering. I am proposing the creation of the nodejs tag to allow users the use of tag-related tools to tailor lobste.rs frontpage to their liking.

Yay or nay?

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    I disagree.

    For better or for worse, NodeJS is just a runtime for Javascript. We similarly don’t have cython, rubinius, rails, or phoenix tags. People are too derpy to even mark software release articles correctly, so I’m bearish on asking them to properly mark javascript vs nodejs.


    You do have an excellent point that there is a category of articles whose primary component is a sort of “what the fuck?” feature. We pick on NodeJS–and especially npm–but we’ve seen the same thing in other ecosystems.

    Towards that end, I would suggest a wtf tag.

    This tag would help filter out all categories of articles whose main theme is “why the hell did this make it to production?” or “what they hell were these people thinking?”. That flavor extends far beyond the Node ecosystem examples you’ve given.

    Potential names for the tag:

    • wtf
    • clownshoes
    • schadenfreude
    • tirefire
    • shitshow
    • CADT
    • clusterfuck

    I would also suggest a hotness mod to make such articles dissipate a bit more quickly so we don’t get clogged up with news stories pointing out the latest disaster.

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      I’m honestly not that enthusiastic in general about stories where the intended purpose is to laugh at the absurdity of someone else’s well-meaning hard work. Adding a tag means making it explicitly on-topic, and I would be happier if we don’t do that.

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        I’m not sure I agree with the characterization that the purpose is laughing at someone’s well-meaning work. Maybe sometimes, but these are also cautionary tales about unintended consequences that all programmers can relate to on some level.

        Now if you are fatigued of that sort of thing and don’t want to see it, won’t a tag help with that? As it stands these stories get a fair amount of votes and visibility with no effective way to avoid them.

        My humble suggestion for such a tag name: facepalm

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          Your response makes sense to me, and I certainly feel that it’s generally some of both.

          I wonder how anyone would feel about tag names like regrets or oops? The point being to cast it in the voice of the person whose bad decisions they were, to suggest a position of empathy.

          I kind of don’t expect a lot of people to seriously want either of those tags for this category of story, and I hope that thinking about why that might be illustrates why I feel this way.

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            I like oops. I think it captures the essence of the stories without encouraging outright mockery.

            We’ve all gone oops.

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          I understand where you’re coming from, and I respect that we might want to not have this as explicitly on-topic.

          That said, one of the best ways of learning tends to be with humor, and one of the most ubiquitous forms of humor is the misfortune of others. The slow dawning realization of how near one’s own actions are to somebody else’s comically large foulup sometimes only happens after joining in the mockery. “Hahaha wow what an idiot they didn’t even–wait, we don’t either…shit”.

          I think that having a tag both lets us mark stories as having this as a primary character in them, and also lets people who are sick of seeing reposts of schadenfreude filter it out. If we set the hotness correctly, they will fade away so that even if they are on-topic they are on-record as being something of fleeting interest, as we have with the rant tag.

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            From the about section of lobsters:

            It borrows some ideas from, while also attempting to fixing problems specific to, websites such as Hacker News, Reddit, and Slashdot.

            This is the kind of stuff falls under problems, and belongs on those sites. Over here, the aim is to be above it.

            Very disappointing to see more comments like this one popping up lately.

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              Is the aim to be “above it”, though? One of the better tedu articles is basically just laughing at all the absurd and stupid things people do to seed random. There are doubtless other articles past and future that work in the same way.

              I completely agree that we don’t want to replicate the toxic environment of other communities: we want commenters to always be courteous and civil towards one another, even in disagreement. I humbly also assert that we want to avoid falling prey to content marketing and news spam. I understand your concern about the precedent this sort of thing would set.

              That said, people are going to post this sort of thing whether we like it or not. If you want it to stop, you have to flag such articles and say in the comments why and that you had done so…and then people will kvetch and downvote for meta interruptions. Ask me how I know this.

              So, we can either label these stories and hotmod them so they dissipate rapidly, burn karma policing the submission comment threads, or we can do nothing and watch them roll in now and again.

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                One thing I like about the tedu article you linked, compared to some others, is that at least it’s an article with some investigation, even if perhaps not my favorite style of investigation. The thing that I find very “HN-style” and less useful is when someone links to a random no-context mailing list post, bug report, or changelog entry that is supposed to outrage us for some implied reason, and I sorta worry that having an oops tag will encourage people to link that kind of thing under that label.

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                  someone links to a random no-context mailing list post, bug report, or changelog entry that is supposed to outrage us for some implied reason

                  This already happens, and there’s already a dedicated tag for it: “systemd”

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                  I agree about courtesy and civility. I would add that it would be nice to be considerate of people who aren’t around to see it, also.

                  This is, of course, my personal ideal, and I understand that in some ways it’s unrealistic. I’m certainly not going to police anything; as you say, that would be bad karma.

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                    That was a great tedu article. Epic actually. Mjn beat me to a central aspect of it: the mockery is a series of examples of problems you see in the real world that teach important lessons followed by at least one, positive recommendation.

                    Far as last paragraph, that’s a decent summary of options at first glance. Might have to think on it more if I find time.

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              I like CFIT for these sorts of rubbernecking stories.

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                That’s a hilarious term, although perhaps somewhat opaque for a tag.

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                  Yeah, true. A former coworker used it as the code name for a terrible last minute release of some software we were working on; that’s how I learned it.

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                I think a community codifying mocking other people, other people’s work and other groups is a dangerous route for it to go down. Even if there are valuable lessons to be learned in such stories, none of the suggested names for the tag even allude to that.

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                  As long as we’re listing names for that concept, I’m partial to mickey mouse, but in all honesty, I think rant almost always covers it.


                  I don’t think our tags are or should be delineated by category boundaries but by potential utility. Very few lobsters care to distinguish e.g. cpython versus pypy; people either care about both or neither. Conversely, there are apparently a significant number of people who care about javascript but not node.js or vise versa. (I don’t particularly care for either, except as a rich source of mickey mouse bullshit, so my personal inclination is to let the people who care argue about it.) If enough people care enough about the distinction, it’s probably worth tagging. Restricting our tags along category boundaries arbitrarily limits their usefulness with no meaningful benefit aside from possibly shortening the arguments in tag request threads.

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                    Restricting our tags along category boundaries arbitrarily limits their usefulness with no meaningful benefit aside

                    I’m not sure that I follow your reasoning here…would you mind elaborating?

                    I think that category-tagging instead of utility-tagging is a better principle because it helps establish a way of thinking about future articles that people haven’t complained about yet. It also helps us go back and clean up labels on things that could use it.

                    I do like the mickey mouse tag, though. :)

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                    NodeJS is just a runtime for Javascript.

                    It is a runtime, but also a set of extensions that give the JS language things like file IO. V8 fits much better into the “just a runtime” category imo.

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                      No extensions to the language–just libraries and modules that support file IO.

                      Language != runtime environment in most cases.

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                        I guess saying “JS API” is more correct. Not being able to drop arbitrary node.js programs (even the js-all-the-way-down ones) into other JS runtimes and have them function correctly must count for something though, right?

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                      That’s a good idea. We have a rant tag, but a wtf-like may also fit many submissions. Being a bit more politically correct, how about just critique?

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                        I do like tirefire though.

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                          Ill add to my other comment that the tag might just be “fad” or some variant of it. Point being that it’s a popular idea that might help someone, might even be next big thing as it rarely is, and probably is worth filtering out for most as fads usually are.

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                          I think it’s a valid separation between javascript and nodejs, since the latter exclusively relates to server-side JS, and the former, by deduction, relates to client-side.

                          These are two different development environments. This is not a separation of a framework from its language but two different ecosystems.

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                            The problem is that the ecosystems are somewhat interwoven as people use node modules in their frontend code.

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                              Node.js modules typically do not readily work in the browser. You usually need something like Browserify to make them compatible.

                              The fact that they are sometimes interwoven is a slight complication to the overall fact that one paradigm lives on the server, while the other in the browser.

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                            I’d say no.

                            Many (most?) articles on JavaScript will also be Node-related. Consider a new JavaScript library intended for the browser that is only available via npm. Is that JavaScript only? What about a tutorial about JavaScript UIs that uses npm as it’s build system? Conversely, literally every nodejs story would be a valid javascript story.

                            I think that there is sufficient ambiguity that the nodejs tag would likely end up being useless.

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                              Does npm imply nodejs? I don’t think it does.

                              edit for clarity: …so I don’t think your examples would be correctly tagged nodejs. Just because there’s a related piece of infrastructure, doesn’t mean a story has to be tagged with that infrastructure if it’s not the subject.

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                              Seems reasonable to me!

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                                I don’t think the posts themselves are low-quality, and the condescension of your post is probably not helping the case.

                                I do agree, though, that it would make sense to split the “javascript” tag into “nodejs” and “webjs”.

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                                  I think I understand the sentiment, but I don’t entirely agree. Maybe if similar tags were made for other languages' more popular frameworks it would make sense, but alone from those just because you find some articles about the framework uninteresting doesn’t make that much sense to me.

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                                    An added thought: those of you who argue against the creation of a new tag, why? What are the drawbacks of being more flexible and letting users filter tags? IMHO, it costs nearly nothing and has no drawbacks.

                                    I’d understand not creating tags for brainfuck or IMAP or SDL. However, node.js is a topic that appears frequently and I believe we wouldn’t be nitpicking too thin.

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                                      Agree, this is a good way to filter low-quality submissions.

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                                        I’m not sure it really is a good way to filter low quality submissions. Some articles about Node can be quite interesting and apply to things outside of just node.js.

                                        I agree that it would be a way to filter submissions, but to cast them all as low quality seems like you’re just biased against the entire framework and ecosystem.

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                                          shhhh. enjoy humor every once in a while

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                                            Some articles about Node can be quite interesting and apply to things outside of just node.js.

                                            I agree and suggest we use the proposed tirefire/clownshoes tag for that.

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