How I read Hacker News

Kartik Agaram

November 2007

Good ol' Hacker News

“My invention”*

Like a feed reader..

  • Comments in a single column, newest on top
  • I can tell at a glance who it's by, what article it's commenting on

..but with more context

↓ click

Done reading? Just hit reload

Orange divider separates new stuff from old

Easy load balancing

One article dominating the comments?

Switch back to the original!

Done with that article? Return

↓ click to fade all comments on that story ↓

Summary: The benefits of RSS feeds

  • Easy update highlighting: new stuff goes on top
  • I'm scrolling where I used to be clicking
  • Mouse clicks are for precise actions. No uncertain “anything new here?” polling.

Exploiting structure beyond RSS

No leaky abstractions trying to do too much, just a few simple mechanisms that work well together:

  1. Context for each comment: author, root article, parent comments up to article
  2. Updates by reload
  3. Bookmark by cookie and horizontal divider
  4. Selective views by javascript filtering

Thanks for reading!

Try it out: http://hystry.com/newsyc/follow