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    The truth of HN (and most communities where conversation is king) is that there are relatively few people who are conversation starters. For many people, it’s hard to walk into what’s basically the equivalent of an empty room and say, “Well, here are my thoughts on the topic of the day!” It’s far easier to jump into an already flowing conversation.

    Another possibility is that much of the content here is duplicated on HN and people are still posting their commentary there (which would be sad, honestly).

    Still another is the idea that the more technical, less business content of Lobsters leads itself to less vigorous debate; it’s easy for everyone to have an opinion on a new startup. As (primarily) a JavaScript engineer with very little C experience, I have very little to say on the topic of Matrix translations in C—to use a recent example. Even if linked SO page was relevant to me; the conversation that’s already happened there is exceptionally detailed and well-researched; there’s just not a ton for people to add.

    All that said, I’ll commit to doing my part to help start conversations on the topics about which I feel comfortable contributing. I do believe that it will get better if we can have a few more folks actively “striking up the conversation.”

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      Mostly I’m curious: aside from VimScript (which, at this point, I think is honestly a straw man in these conversations) what is it about Vim that its users don’t like? I’ve been using Vim for about 18 months; I’ve put together a vimrc that works for me and a small set of plugins that add functionality that I find useful.

      What is it that drives people who really grok Vim to explore other editors—and then do their best to make them like Vim?

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        VimScript is more than just a straw man, IMO. VimScript is the entire gateway to extensibility of Vim and it’s abilities and flaws directly affect the experience in the editor. The main thing other than VimScript is how atrociously it handles external processes — especially if you want to interface with that process via a buffer (e.g. a terminal, REPL, whatever). Vim’s extensibility model is also complex and finicky.

        Don’t get me wrong… I put a lot of love into my .vimrc to get it right. But, when I have to use another editor, the things that are truly integral to the essence of Vim and the powerful abilities it brings are actually a pretty small part of Vim.

        I explored Emacs mostly because I was doing more Lisp and, being partially written in a lisp, Emacs' lisp support (esp with things like Paredit) is phenomenal.

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          I had a pretty elaborate vim setup https://github.com/mbriggs/dotvim, and now I am using emacs with evil. I’ll go through the reasons why, with a giant caveat being I actually don’t care what editor anyone who reads this uses, so long as they learn it and it works for them. As someone who has used both, vim shines for people who aren’t in to heavy customization. You can heavily customize vim, but it is so easy to make it dog slow, and even with a ton of work you won’t hit what you can accomplish in emacs. Here are some examples, and also essentially why I am no longer using vim, YMMV If I want to run a command and have it pipe to another buffer AND not completely lock up the editor, I can do that with a few lines and compilation-mode. This is next to impossible in vim. I can split my editor window and have a shell running on the other side, that i can use all the keys and tools on that I use to edit code, again, not possible in vim. I can have a repl connected to my editor that the editor uses for auto-complete targets, and to pass code to to evaluate it. You can fake some of this in vim with a bunch of hackery, but it is nowhere near as nice. There is also a pretty wide range of modes that are possible to do in vim, but for whatever reason just aren’t there. Some I use constantly all day: smex lets me fuzzy narrow a list of all commands in the editor to find what I want (kind of like sublimes command pallet) auto-complete will put up a light grey outline of text as you type if it finds things you can complete, if you want to select it you hit tab, if you ignore it it won’t intrude on your life. magit is sort of like fugitive, just way more full featured, and the UI is quite a bit nicer. I have tried a bunch of git gui tools, and even those costing ~80$ really don’t hold a candle to magit (once you learn how to use it) flymake tells me about syntax errors as I type js3 mode has some of the best js indentation I have seen, and does full AST parsing, which means it can tell you things that are wrong with the code as you type. Linting on save works as well, but this is nicer. org-mode is an amazing tool for many things. I use it for notes, team brainstorming sessions, todo lists. Lets say I am testing a csv output, if I paste it into an org mode buffer, I can c-c |, and it becomes a tablle that I can navigate, modify, sort, etc. Haven’t used any general purpose structured text tool that even comes close. If you pair it with deft, and store your org files on dropbox, you can have an amazing searching interface to a directory of your notes/todos/etc that auto-backups/replicates. This is just scratching the surface. calc-mode is the most advanced calculator app i know of on my computer. regex-builder i use regularly. IDO mode is so sweet it is really painful to watch vim people use :Explore Finally, the last piece is elisp vs vimscript. I got to the point with my vim usage that I needed to learn vimscript to do what I wanted to do, and I hated it. elisp has its own quirks and baggage, but it is so far ahead of vimscript in every way that you can barely compare the two. vimscript is a giant hack tacked on to a massive existing set of commands, compared to emacs which is an elisp platform that happens to have implemented editor functionality.

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            The formatting of your comment got messed up – it’s all one big paragraph. Here’s a version I made that corrects that, making the comment easier to read.

            Use two consecutive newlines for a paragraph break, not just one newline. See my version’s Markdown source for an example. You can check your formatting with “Preview Comment” before posting.

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              I wish I had read your comment before reading the entire über-paragraph.

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                I think I actually hit some sort of bug. It was nicely formatted, but I edited, which created a new comment. Then I copy pasted the edit into this one, and made mega-paragraph. Now I cant edit :(

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            In my comment on that post, I specifically mentioned that I thought it was news because he handles Twitter bootstrap, which is used by basically everyone. Things that would affect its future are relevant to everyone here.

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              I think that’s fair, Steve; and, I wasn’t intending to single you out or attack you in some passive-aggressive way. That said, I disagree that “basically everyone” uses Twitter Bootstrap; aside from when it was the subject of the “Great Semicolon Debate of 2012,” I didn’t know anyone who knew or cared anything about it.

              While I do understand your motivations, I’d have been much happier seeing a link to a blog post from Fat talking about why he left and what he’s going to do or, even better, a post directly about the future of Bootstrap, than a link to a Tweet saying that he left the building for the last time.

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                No worries, no bad juju here. I considered this exact topic, but decided it was worth posting in the end. We’re all still figuring out what goes here. For example, I had another post get voted down to -1 that I thought was very, very relevant here; I think people just read the title and not the article.

                I don’t think that Twitter will want to blog about ‘the future of Bootstrap now that a creator is gone,’ especially given their new marketing-focused culture. Fat doesn’t blog about this kind of thing at all, he blogs about sweet literature stuff. So I don’t think either of those scenarios are going to come about.

                And I’m surprised you don’t know anyone using bootstrap or any site that uses it; every time there’s a post about ‘my new project’ on HN or Reddit, there’s a whole thread of ‘omg stop it will all the Bootstrap sites already!’

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                  I think my lack of exposure comes from revolving in different circles than the typical HN reader; I’m not involved in the startup scene at present; so, I end up with an entirely different perspective on what’s big / important at any given time.

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                While I don’t think every single person of any possible interest who leaves a company is interesting news, this certainly was for exactly what you are stated which is that he handles Twitter Bootstrap. I’m very interested to see what happens with that project.

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                At first glance, you’re correct, I don’t think this is news. Unless I misunderstood the focus of this site.

                I guess it would be news if you were watching the Twitter staff fluctuation to extract a meaningful analysis, or if you wanted to point out that someone was either available for work or starting a new venture.

                That said, I would be curious if Mike Matas were to leave Facebook, or if Doug Bowman left Twitter. I agree that it wouldn’t be full-fledged “news” if the story didn’t include details on what those people were now up to, but I think it’s a relatively fine line between the two.

                And ultimately, in a vote-based system, what’s considered news will rise to the top, whether it fits with top-down preferences or not.

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                  I think my point is that if I cared about whether those people had left their jobs or started new ones, I’d be following them on Twitter (or elsewhere) to see that level of update on an individual.

                  As far as things rising to the top in a vote based system; that’s somewhat true. However, we can start to set the tone of how these things are perceived by the community as a whole early on.

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                    Agreed.

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                  It would be really helpful if links to PDF documents were automatically tagged PDF so users wouldn’t need to remember do it themselves.

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                    I just posted a story (https://lobste.rs/s/wymtvw/why_do_successful_tech_companies_fail_so_often) about the business of tech companies. Other than “news” I saw no other worthwhile tag. Would a “business” tag be useful?

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                      I feel like lobsters will be better if we stick to news just for hackers, which should help keep content quality high. Not having a business tag will probably help keep people who aren’t interested in new for hackers away.

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                        I feel like lobsters will be better if we stick to news just for hackers, which should help keep content quality high. Not having a business tag will probably help keep people who aren’t interested in new for hackers away.

                        Fair enough. So news about businesses that hackers may be running falls outside the scope of the site?

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                          I feel like it’s a slippery slope. Some businesses are clearly of interest to hackers, like Red Hat. But is news about Hipster or Sonar of the same importance? Not sure. That might be something it’s best to leave to TechCrunch, but of course I’m sure I’m not the only person with an opinion on this.

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                            I actually think this comment right here sums up the way that lobste.rs can actually become more useful than HN for a pretty big subset of HN readers; that is, those of us that aren’t really interested in the world of startups (at least, not as it pertains to home page stories). HN’s roots in Y Combinator mean that we get a lot of stuff about working with VCs, angel investment, and, of course, updates on the companies that have gone through YC. Some of it’s interesting, some of it’s not; but to many of us it’s not particularly useful.

                            I’d really love to keep it focused on technical / scientific topics; I suppose it’s up to us early adopters to set the tone.

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                              I’m generally not even all that interested in stories about specific companies, but about broader ideas and principles in starting or running certain kinds of companies. There are already many sites that will serve up details of this or that company’s latest events and offerings, and usually the information offers little to say beyond, “Gee, that’s cool.”

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                                I agree. I run a small business and appreciate reading things related to it, including how others run their business (even those self-congratulatory articles that 37signals posts would be acceptable even if no one reads or upvotes them). But “how I run my business” does not mean “let TechCrunch tell you what my business does”.

                                What about “smallbiz” or something? Or just “business” with the description set to something that says all of this in a few words.

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                                  Maybe there’s some way of writing a tag name and suggests that the link/post will be about those broader ideas. Maybe “hacker business” or something along those lines.

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                            Would it be helpful to include this guideline somewhere? I realize that the lack of a business tag is a good deterrent but I think this might be a common mistake.

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                              It would help get newcomers going in the right direction (however defined). It might also help if there was something to guide when to apply certain tags.

                              For example, there was a post that was basically about best practices in coding that was labeled “compsci”. Perhaps a tag of “programming” would apply there. (To me. a “compsci” tag would be more for something about, say, implementing the Lambda Calculus, or irreducible complexity.)

                              Now, maybe I’m right, and the post was wrong, or the reverse. Or something else. But something that helps clarify when certain tags are appropriate might help make sure they are at least applied consistently, and people aren’t surprised when they get down-voted for inappropriate labels.

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                            I personally tend toward the ‘no plugins’ side of things; the only plugin I use is cntrl-p.

                            That way I learn basic vim better, as well as having my usual setup on basically any computer.

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                              I’ve heard that line of thinking before; but, I honestly don’t buy into it. Aside from the ease of sharing a full configuration on Github, shying away from extensions seems to defeat the purpose of having an extensible editor.

                              Looking at my list of plugins, I’m not seeing anything there that would be world breaking if I didn’t have it (except Ctrl-P, because that should just be a part of Vim these days).

                              Not saying that one way is right or wrong; I just don’t grok the notion of abandoning Vim’s strength as being so customizable simply because it might prove inconvenient from time-to-time.

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                                I do use vim on multiple machines, and I don’t need to do any of that crazy dotfile sync that many people do. I also think that vanilla vim is quite rich.

                                I don’t use vim because it’s extensible; I use it because I think modal editing is a superior. I use it because I know that it’ll be installed everywhere.

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                                  To each their own; I agree with you that Vim’s modal editing is truly what makes it superior. I also use Vim across multiple machines (at least 4 on a daily basis and others sporadically). For my purposes, the daily machines all sync my dotfiles repository while other machines I simply use the available configuration. Like I said, I try to avoid plugins that are truly paradigm changing and stick with things that are more “nice-to-have” additions (vim-smartinput saves me a ton of time; but I’m not dead in the water without it).

                                  As I (hope) I implied in my first post, do what you like when it comes to how to set up their editor. I personally reject the notion that I would get tangible benefit from avoiding plugins simply to ensure that I’m more familiar with a vanilla configuration.

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                                    Totally! Just trying to provide a counterpoint. :)

                                    Oh, and one thing:

                                    to ensure that I’m more familiar with a vanilla configuration.

                                    I mean this in more of a ‘my personal journey’ way; even though I’ve used vim for a few years, I’m a relative n00b. I feel like I need to master a bit more of good old plain vim before working on adding tricked out extras; you don’t go from a bicycle straight to a Lotus, you pick up a standard transmission boring car first.

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                              Proposed tag: apis

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                                I think “api” would be better—but I support this one in spirit.

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                                  The “api” tag has been created.

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                                You know what really bothers me about posts like this? A clearly intelligent author spent what appears to be a considerable amount of time figuring these things out. I realize the appeal of “doing something for the sake of doing it” from time-to-time; it’s just very frustrating to watch so much potential get pissed away on novelties like this.