Questions and answers related to Hacker News

Questions and answers related to Hacker News

What kind of traffic does Hacker News bring? What’s the conversion rate?

If you make it top 3 on the main page, that probably means you got 10 upvotes from us and at least 90 organic upvotes, for a total of 100 or more. You’ll stay there less than a day, then you’ll fall to page two. which brings surprisingly good traffic still. Expect around 20-30k uniques, 2% out of which will respond to your non-monetary call to action. If you also sell something, expect more than 10 purchases.


What kind of content should I put there?

Anything that you won’t see on the eight o’clock news, but it would lift ones’ understanding of the world. It could be interesting knowledge that is hard to stumble upon yourself. Sadly, it’s also often about what’s happening at the big corporations. If any big executive at AAPL, MSFT, AMZN, FB or GOOG pees in a public place, you’ll see it on Hacker News.


What’s a good title?

Unlike Reddit, where you’d go for a long title that makes it very clear what the content or discussion is about, on HN you keep it short. Here are some titles that are either good or bad, try to guess which is which (answers after):

  • A great way to build friendships!
  • 10 ways in which you can improve your likeability factor
  • [myhistoryblog.com] Reasons for the collapse of the Mongol Empire
  • Reasons for the collapse of the Mongol Empire [myhistoryblog.com]
  • Good article about the collapse of the Mongol Empire
  • ShowHN: App that uses machine learning to tell you how beautiful you are
  • AskHN: What are the best books to learn about thermodynamics?
  • The 5 platonic solids
  • What Korean girls find attractive
  • What Japanese men look for in a woman [pdf]

Answers to the quiz from above: only the last three titles are fine to use.

More details about the guidelines here. Are here are the specific guidelines for Show HN posts. Notice that it’s “Show HN” instead of “ShowHN”. You need that space. Same with “Ask HN: …?”.


How do I tell my friends to upvote?

Copy-paste this to each of them:

Hello, my dearest friend! You’ve always been #1 for me. If you have a Hacker News account with at least 50 karma, please go here https://news.ycombinator.com/newest, find my post titled “How to murder your neighbor’s dog”, and upvote it. Thank you, greatly appreciated! If you ever need my help as well, let me know!


What kind of accounts do you use?

In order to upvote normal posts, we use accounts that average 800 karma. HN’s algorithm that controls front-page visibility for new posts can be approximated by the statements that follow. To reach the main page guaranteed (unless your post gets downgraded by a mod or receives two or more reports), you need to have been upvoted by more than 10000 karma from at least two different accounts. Do the math. This means you can’t post low-quality content, as even with our help, you will additionally need some organic upvotes from quality accounts. Don’t factor downvotes into the equation, because there’s no such button for HN posts; it only shows up on comments to high karma accounts.

How many moderators are there? Many of them aren’t truly active with filtering content, but at the end of 2017 there were a bit more than 50 accounts with superuser powers. A few accounts were on the other spectrum, being so active that it makes you realize that they must hold no power or ability of value creation in their daily life. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have focused so much on this unpaid job.

If your post is of obvious low-quality, like “Gaming laptops that you can buy online for under $2,000”, we will upvote you with the accounts that we normally use for commenting. The total karma received will be much lower, therefore you’d better be hoping that we were wrong and that you’ll receive enough high-quality organic upvotes to compensate. Your post will still be a lot more visible in the section for new items. We might recommend you to delete it so that we repost it ourselves with a title that respects the HN guidelines. This comes at no extra charge for you, it’s just something that we need to do from time to time in order to protect our accounts. If your posts are outright spam, we’ll refund you in credit, which you can use for another order.

For commenting, since no one actually clicks usernames to check their karma, we use low-karma accounts that in the rest of the time do domain-targeted upvoting, each on its own schedule. We’re trying to grow them so that we can move them in our upvoters pool.

For posts, we use accounts that haven’t been penalized in the past by the automoderator’s algorithm. There´s a surprisingly easy trick that can be used to determine if an account is penalized or not, and we use it regularly to check the accounts from our posting pool.


Anything else that I should know?

You can create polls if you have more than 200 karma: https://news.ycombinator.com/newpoll

Comment sections are ranked in the same way as posts, which means that time matters as well, not just the amount of upvotes received.

The karma of the account used to post does not matter! It only matters that it hasn’t been penalized in the past by the auto-moderator. Obviously, it shouldn’t be a new account because it looks suspicious and the benchmark that you must hit in order to have the post moved to the front page is higher.

Formatting for HN texts: https://news.ycombinator.com/formatdoc

Reposts are OK, if enough time has passed since the last duplicate submission that did not get enough interest. Maybe try a better title this time!

If your IP got banned because you’ve been using the website too fast, unban using this link from another IP (like the one mobile data would give you): http://news.ycombinator.com/unban?ip=…

At this point, you should have enough information. But if you want to see some basics as well, check out HN’s own Q&A.


You can purchase Hacker News services from us. We’ve been doing it publicly since 2004.

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