Hacker News

Hacker News (HN) is one of the ugliest sites you'll ever see. And it's also one of my favorite corners of the internet.

If you're not yet familiar, HN is a link aggregator and social news site that's operated by Y Combinator. Users submit posts and links and receive Karma whenever another user upvotes a submission or comment they made, which incentives positive contributions to the community.

The site is tech-centric, but it also includes a lot of interesting content relating to science, psychology, productivity, and current events.

HN has exploded in popularity over the last couple of years and currently boasts at least 12-15 million unique visitors a month.

So from a marketing POV, this means that any post that makes it to the front page for any length of time potentially draws tons of attention.

HN Tabs - a quick overview

The Hackernews UI is minimalist by design. YC (and HN) founder Paul Graham said the idea was to make Hacker News look like your list of processes in a terminal window. The look and feel of the site was aimed at "hackers" who are familiar with tabular data.

These are the current tabs you'll see in your Hacker News interface:

  • New - A listing of the latest HN posts
  • Threads - A listing of the threads that you have been involved in
  • Past - A view that lets you jump back to the HN posts from the previous day, month or year
  • Comments - A listing of the latest comments left by users
  • Ask - A listing of questions posed to the HN community. These posts almost always include the "Ask HN:" prefix in the title
  • Show - A listing of product or service launches, or projects that people want to "show" the community. These posts almost always include the "Show HN:" prefix in the title
  • Jobs - A running list of job-opps from YC-related companies.
  • Submit - A submission form for a new HN post