My post regarding the increase of "hell banning" at Hacker News. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6061335_________________________________________________
After receiving 5000 karma points in June alone, due to the intersection of Snowden news and my 27 years researching China - I noticed that my posts started getting downvoted heavily by HN management.
HN management apparently does not believe Snowden news is hacker news. Assange, Jacob Appelbaum, and Snowden have more than proven their hacker skills in software, and censoring that news is not tolerable to me. All the YC companies combined are insignificant compared that important work.
Personally, I believe we've already reached "peak" Hacker News and "peak" Y Combinator. Even though I respect YC, HN, and PG, the main problem is that the number of users continues to grow, and the basic code behind HN hasn't changed in years. Indeed, what new code there is seems to be refinement in excluding people.
Journalists worldwide are descending on HN as a clear cut seminal news source, and no software is being written to maintain the integrity of HN, given the new influx of lay users. Banning is a blunt, ineffective tool to manage HN growth.
I am one of the earliest software engineers on earth (42 years), and remember/prefer the early pure days of HN (as we all do). I have many ideas how to solve that, however more and more hell banning wont do it. Give a man a hammer and everything looks like a nail.
Ward Cunningham's (inventor of the wiki) new work on federated wikis is excellent, trailblazing work on maintaining purity in an fast growing editorial environment. Allowing multiple "views" of HN is a better approach. Google Search does it well - every Google user has a unique "view", even on identical search terms.
Partly, I think PG would rather maintain his personal bully pulpit (he's earned it) than build a better mousetrap at HN. Editorial monoculture is always easier to build than an open multiview.
Funny part is, an open design would allow the original pure HN to be one of the "views" (and likely the main view). HN will never ban its way back to purity.
Attempts to return to purity via downvoting, censorship, and hell banning alone are bad software. The fact that HN leadership thinks this way is the primary reason for the fall in quality at HN. The growth in readership does not have to dumb down HN. Write better software.
I've contributed solidly to the HN community, especially with early breaking news in China technology, censorship, and gov't sponsored hacking. Yet, I'm 80% banned, even though my careful submits ranked #1 on the HN leaderboard in June.
I have never spammed, never organized up voting, and have abided by the the rules as I understand them.
The ban hammer is a tool, but a relatively an ineffective tool.
It won't solve the problem.