Hacker News

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Hacker News
Hackernews logo.png
Hn screenshot.png
Type of site
News aggregator
Available in English
Owner Y Combinator
Founder(s) Paul Graham
Website news.ycombinator.com
Registration Optional
Launched February 19, 2007; 11 years ago (2007-02-19)
Current status Online
Written in Arc

Hacker News is a social news website focusing on computer science and entrepreneurship. It is run by Paul Graham's investment fund and startup incubator, Y Combinator. In general, content that can be submitted is defined as "anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity".[1]


The site was created by Paul Graham in February 2007.[2] Initially it was called Startup News or occasionally News.YC. On August 14, 2007, it became known by its current name.[3] It developed as a project of his company Y Combinator, functioning as a real-world application of the Arc programming language which Graham co-developed.[4]

At the end of March 2014, Graham stepped away from his leadership role at Y Combinator, leaving Hacker News administration in the hands of other staff members.[5][6]

Vision, practices, and criticism[edit]

The intention was to recreate a community similar to the early days of Reddit.[2][7] However unlike Reddit where new users can immediately both up-vote and down-vote content, Hacker News does not allow users to down-vote content until they have accumulated 501 "karma" points. Karma points are calculated as the number of upvotes a given user's content has received minus the number of downvotes.[2] "Flagging" comments, likewise, is not permitted until a user has 30 karma points. [8]

Graham has stated he hopes to avoid the Eternal September that results in the general decline of intelligent discourse within a community.[4] The site has a proactive attitude in moderating content, including automated flame and spam detectors. It also practices stealth banning in which user posts stop appearing for others to see, unbeknownst to the user.[9] Additional software is employed to detect "voting rings to purposefully vote up stories".[2]

According to a 2013 TechCrunch article: "Graham says that Hacker News gets a lot of complaints that it has a bias toward featuring stories about Y Combinator startups, but he says there is no such bias. [...] Graham adds that he gets a lot of vitriol from users personally with accusations of bias or censoring."[2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Graham, Paul. "Hacker News Guidelines". Retrieved 2009-04-29. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Leena Rao (May 18, 2013). "The Evolution of Hacker News". TechCrunch. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  3. ^ "Startup News Becomes Hacker News". 
  4. ^ a b Paul Graham. "What I've Learned from Hacker News". 
  5. ^ Colleen Taylor (29 March 2014). "After Stepping Aside From Y Combinator, Paul Graham Hands Over The Reins At Hacker News". TechCrunch. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  6. ^ Isaac, Mike (29 March 2014). "Paul Graham Steps Down From Daily Hacker News Duties". Re/code. Retrieved 10 August 2014. 
  7. ^ Paul Graham. "New: Y Combinator Startup News". 
  8. ^ "Hacker News FAQ". Hacker News. Retrieved 1 March 2018. 
  9. ^ "Pando: Can the democratic power of a platform like Hacker News be applied to products?". Pando. 

External links[edit]