Anything that expresses a non-mainstream opinion might hit the initial downvote limit, but recover over time if it turns out to have some merit. (My fascination with capability based security falls into this niche)
Something non-obvious, but informative, tends to get a bit of upvoting.
The rare really good point that builds discussions... those get rewarded richly.
So, the moderation system, as near as I can tell, works as intended. The feedback cycle takes a while to train us for better behavior, but it seems to work.
You do have to weigh all of the above, against the factors that overcome inertia, and lead to someone posting.
Most people reading are likely to see something expressed at least as good as they would, and thus just lurk.
It's only when you've got a nit to pick, or an interesting tangent, or need to self-promote, that people tend to post. These are the forces always pushing against moderation.
Now, it's the most lucrative industry in the world, attracting lots of grifters and Wall St. types whose only concern is making a lot of money, and the dystopian downsides of technology have become ever more apparent.
Some people are jaded from how bright the future looked to how it's looking now.
> 1. For a Linux user, you can already build such a system yourself quite trivially by getting an FTP account, mounting it locally with curlftpfs, and then using SVN or CVS on the mounted filesystem. From Windows or Mac, this FTP account could be accessed through built-in software.
That said, right now the industry is going through some turmoil. We're coming off the high of low interest rates, and it's turning into a mighty hangover. Plus, we're trying to automate ourselves away with AI, and (working in) tech just isn't fun with Scrum/Agile/Meetings/Sprints/Bluh.
But the tone ebbs and flows over time, too. Eventually the community moderation gets the point across via downvoting pointless or rude snark and flagging people who are outright toxic, and we get back to the norm.
Give it time.
In the past part of that perception has been a difference in social standards, I think. Here we get people who can be enthusiastically adoring of an idea and doing their best to offer their ideas to improve it: and others (including the person they're trying to communicate with) may take it as unalloyed negative criticism.
Part of is may be the twitter September people too. Its always the n00bs, after all. Everything was so much better before they showed up.
It's much more profitable for your average joe to adopt a cynical 'lie flat' attitude and then not show up until someone pays you.
Broken promises does this to people. The traditional structures don't have this problem, militaries can turn the majority of joes into soldiers.
It's regular society that has fostered the environment where malaise is comfortable and profit is meaningless. The wind has been sucked out of the country into code, and you get energy deficits in the populace. Who made programmers the jailer of their own soul? Who made men subservient to machines?
Sometimes it is laziness. Sometimes it is just ego. But too often we will spend more effort on attacking a bad idea than in promoting a good one. This is not to say that much of the criticism isn't deserved. There are plenty of horrendous ideas floating around out there. But if we ignore them and spend our efforts on the good ones, then the cream will rise to the top faster.
A lesson I learned from raising kids - try to say two positive things for every corrective action you take. It will not only improve the world around you, but it will be good for your own well being.
Starting a comment with 'No.' is a sure-fire sign of this. As is seeking to never be wrong driving a long comment train where OP seeks to assure others they're both never wrong while also modest. This is especially bad when trying to limit self-perceived reputation damage when using their real name as a handle - isn't HN privacy-centric now? Should we not all the throwaway or anonymous cowards? Let the content matter, not the ego.
As HN's popularity has increased, especially with that have never compiled Slackware while walking up a hill backwards, in a blizzard, carrying a tree, so have the numbers of people starting spewing combative comments. Usenet never had flamewars, and frankly if I were to launch my GUI for rsync anywhere, it'd be there.
In terms of sentiment analysis of a 10 year window, I have yet to see someone try and attempt that. It would be a good exercise and would be concrete proof that comments have devolved to a sort of Reddit-esque commenting style.
You imply that being cynical has become "the norm," but there's always more friction involved in being cynical. Happy bullshitters never get in trouble.