As best I can tell, there’s a moderation practice along the lines of:
If a story relates to a current topic, and there’s been a previous post related to the topic within the last week, fold the new story into that previous story.
This has several downsides.
- Posts suddenly vanish from the front page, often-times in the middle of active discussion.
- Merging disrupts the comment threading. There’s rarely a consistent discussion after a merge. Oftentimes comments are quite specific to the particular article they were posted in response to.
- Some relevant and interesting news effectively get hidden from a large part of the readership.
As a current example, you wouldn’t know by reading lobste.rs that Richard Stallman resigned from the FSF, because all follow-up stories were merged into the original accusations: https://lobste.rs/s/yxj6cd/remove_richard_stallman
Some suggestions for improving the current state:
- Improve merging technically to help avoid the negative effects, e.g.:
- bump stories to the front page if a front page story gets merged
- allow browsing comments by original story
- don’t lose “saved stories” on merge
- And while that’s not addressed, some immediate tweaks to the policy, like:
- cut the “merge window” to something like 24 hours
- limit the maximum number of stories within on merged story, to something like 2 or 3