John Piasetzki's Blog

My Thoughts

How to Write a Hacker News Comment

One of my goals for this year is to be more active on Hacker News in a positive way. I read through the guidelines and the top comments and came up with some observations on what make a good comment.

  • Make a point, even if you’re not disagreeing try to make it live up to DH6. Refuting the Central Point
  • Questions are rarely points therefore good commentors rarely ask questions (Never ask questions you can answer yourself)
  • Don’t beat a dead horse i.e. the older the story the better your comment has to be
  • Don’t write in first person
  • Be nice
  • Write enough to get the point across no more
  • Above all else, make it interesting

From these I came up with some habits to build:

  1. Ask myself (out loud where possible): What is the point of the comment and does it add to the discussion?
  2. Is the point I’m going to make important enough for the age of the post (it had better be a damn good point for anything older then 12 hours).
  3. Write the comment
  4. Run a timer for 5 mins Eggtimer and then check if I still want to say it.
  5. If I post something I come to regret (e.g. some of the comments on Programming prodigy passes away at 16), apologize.

I’ve also been considering listed my real name in my profile. Right now you could find it but it would take a little work.