Why HN is the way it is, and why we hope it will stay that way

# · 🔥 345 · 💬 181 · 13 days ago · news.ycombinator.com · jacquesm
In conversation, to make high-quality comments you have to take the others who are present into account. Conversation means being conscious, while speaking or writing, of whom you're talking to and how what you're saying may affect them. In conversation, you do say what you think and feel, modulated by the relational sense. When you're in a relationship with someone, do you bluntly blast them with whatever you're thinking and feeling on any sensitive topic between you? Of course you don't-not if you don't want to stay up all night fighting. What do you do instead? You find a way to say what you think and feel while taking into account what they think and feel. It is how we get flamewars, and the problem with those is not that they are intrinsically wrong somehow, it's that they are not interesting, and thus are wrong here, given how we're trying to optimize HN. Some of you will say "But wait! I can be provoked into curiosity. As a matter of fact, I like it when people do that. I don't take it personally, and it makes me think. Actually, that's just the sort of conversation I think we should have on HN." Yes, some people, by virtue of being neuroatypical or having done a lot of self-work or who knows why, sometimes respond to provocation and flamebait by getting more curious. In other words, the argument "That's the sort of conversation I think we should have on HN" is wrong, not because you're wrong to think that or because such conversation is wrong in itself, but because it can't work here and there soon won't be any HN left if people do it.
Why HN is the way it is, and why we hope it will stay that way



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