The thing with HN, is it works for the startup/hacker/tech community, and that community has evolved here over time. If you want a link/topic sharing site for other interests, the answer is almost always going to be a subreddit.
But if what you really want is to be immersed in a community, those communities will be in weird corners that you have to discover. The reason for this is that a community almost always wants to be semi-private: discoverable by others that share the same interest, but just far enough out of the public eye to not get bombarded with bots/trolls/obnoxious people
Some examples I know of:
The cool part about finding these true pockets of a community, is you can learn a ton about what truly makes them tick. What do they get excited about, what do they have an irrational hatred for, etc. If you've ever asked yourself "how do I market my app/website/saas", it's almost certainly because you haven't yet encountered where that niche community resides, and are falling back to more generic strategies. Find the community, and they'll tell you what they want in spades
- Voron (3d printer)? You want to be on their discord - BigGreenEgg (kamado smoker)? eggheadforum.com - MMA? sherdog - Electronics/Robotics diy style hacky projects? hackaday and go to the comment secion
Nice conglomeration of headlines/links from lots of different sources. Lots of tech and science, but also a good mix of global news. Includes HN actually.
I'd suggest Lemmy? It still feels small, and has decent activity for self-hosting and homelab stuff after the whole reddit API debacle. That's where I plan to put more effort once I stand up my own ActivityPub server. Id like to try Mastodon again too but I bounced off last time
Kind of an old gen site and isnt without its issues, but I feel like metafilter gives me a few good links every day still so I keep it around. They are good at spotlighting stuff that is lesser known.
lowtechmagazine if you are interested in very practical sustainability. Their solar powered website (a 1-board computer on somebody's roof in barcelona) has been a recurring HN topic. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20038619
You can also make lists of such people so they’re separate from your main feed.
It does feel harder to comment on stuff though. Not sure why?
- /r/ProgrammingLanguages - /r/Compilers - /r/EmuDev - /r/DatabaseDevelopment (disclosure, I run this one)
which is less focused, more about everything (god I wish I could frontpage an article about sports on HN) but has a much higher ratio of discussions to links (e.g. Ask HN is a joke)
I have invites.
Like HN, with tags. Not many people yet though.
A sort of incipient decentralized blockchain hackernews