Hacker News Re-Imagined

Ask HN: Why doesn't HN have tags/filters?

Every post should have a set of tags: describing the subject. In the information overload age filtering is becoming essential.

Tagging is available on any serious platform with lots of data. It can be used to search for or filter out posts to save time/energy.

Personally I skip about 95% of posts here -- a lot of that is based on the post's category.

Some e.g's of HN relevant tags (multiple could be used per post): Code, Software, AI, Crypto, Linux, Politics, History, Space, Math, Biology, Health, Robotics, Microsoft, Apple, Startup, Social Media, Study, Games, Entertainment, News

If readers don't want to use tags/filters they don't have to.

  • 15 points
  • 1 day ago

  • @uuee
  • Created a post

Ask HN: Why doesn't HN have tags/filters?


@d--b 1 day

Replying to @uuee 🎙

HN is a community. One community. Mostly centered around discussing topics arising on the front page.

Add tags/filtering and you scatter the community in sub communities and that’s precisely what HN wants to avoid.

Reply


@AnonC 1 day

Replying to @uuee 🎙

The availability or non-availability of tagging on any platform has nothing to do with the quality or usefulness of the content. IMO, tagging is mostly useless because there needs to be a canonical dictionary of tags to choose from. That dictionary would have to be maintained by the HN mod and updated base on inputs. Otherwise every member may have a different spelling, wording, underscores or hyphens, etc.

I don’t think @dang has enough time to handle more requests and chores that add little or no value to the discussions.

I’d rather have larger fonts, an accessible interface, dark mode based on the user’s system/browser’s hints, etc. Those would make a much bigger impact for the audience.

Lastly, I’m being pedantic here: “Ask HN” cannot answer questions on HN’s implementation. Neither I nor anyone else commenting here has any clue as to why HN does not have tags or is considering adding tags in the future. Only the HN mod/admin can answer that, which can be asked by emailing them. A “Tell HN” would’ve been better to make a suggestion and get inputs.

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@kkfx 1 day

Replying to @uuee 🎙

You ask for usenet, with scoring etc like Emacs/Gnus for client :-)

Perhaps a day people will realize that we have had all we need and demolished that...

Reply


@Someone 1 day

Replying to @uuee 🎙

> Every post should have a set of tags: describing the subject. In the information overload age filtering is becoming essential.

You state that as a fact, but it is an opinion. I think using a filter would prevent users from seeing posts and comments that they would find interesting. In a sense, it would create a bubble for each user.

Also, HN isn’t that large that a quick visual scan of the home page doesn’t work.

> If readers don't want to use tags/filters they don't have to.

And if writers don’t want to use tags, or can’t even remotely agree on which ones should exist?

For example, in your example list, Code and Software would have significant overlap, AI about always would be software, Politics should be very rare according to the HN guidelines, people would disagree about the definition of Startup.

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@taubek 1 day

Replying to @uuee 🎙

This sounds like a great suggestion. It sure would make It more easier to find the content.

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@rurban 1 day

Replying to @uuee 🎙

We do have the three important tags already. look at the header.

more than ask, show, jobs would split the community

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@Vanit 1 day

Replying to @uuee 🎙

Personally wouldn't help me. I consume via RSS and just read every title anyway. Not sure how many users are in the same boat as me though.

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@tony-allan 1 day

Replying to @uuee 🎙

I prefer the simplicity of the current system and exposure to a range of topics. It doesn't take long to scan a couple of pages for interesting posts.

I enjoy the breadth of HN articles.

Bigger communities such as Reddit and Stackoverflow use ideas similar to tags to create more focussed communities.

Reply


@pella 1 day

Replying to @uuee 🎙

> Some e.g's of HN relevant tags : .... Politics, History,

A bad tagging system can have a fatal side effect - because readers start using it like any other social networking site.

see https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html

"On-Topic: Anything that good hackers would find interesting. That includes more than hacking and startups. If you had to reduce it to a sentence, the answer might be: anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity."

"Off-Topic: Most stories about politics, or crime, or sports, unless they're evidence of some interesting new phenomenon. Videos of pratfalls or disasters, or cute animal pictures. If they'd cover it on TV news, it's probably off-topic."

> Personally I skip about 95% of posts here

You can use the https://hckrnews.com/ "top 10" / "top 20" / "top 50"

> . It can be used to search for or filter out posts to save time/energy.

I am using the "Search Hacker News" site https://hn.algolia.com/

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Replying to @uuee 🎙

> If readers don't want to use tags/filters they don't have to

Then would be useless.

Maybe a tag system with a limit of 3 tags could be useful but people could use the wrong tags and manage it will request a lot of work from the mods.

The algolia search works well now, tags could help if well used by the users, but also create confusion.

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@turtledove 1 day

Replying to @uuee 🎙

Because HN is not Reddit? It's meant to be a cross section of interesting ephemera.

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@throwamon 1 day

Replying to @uuee 🎙

To anyone looking for a HN-like community with tags, Lobste.rs seems like a pretty good one. It has a few other interesting features, such as an invite tree (so you're more or less responsible for the people you invite) and "hats" ("a formal, verified, way of posting a comment while speaking for a project, organization, or company").

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@unethical_ban 1 day

Replying to @uuee 🎙

I used to think this, and I still wonder if it would be helpful, but on the other hand:

Just because you can do a thing doesn't mean you should. Just because people ask for it doesn't mean it should be done. See: Social media.

The spirit of HN is a public forum to discuss all sorts of topics, and to be exposed to a broad set of headlines/subjects - even if one isn't educated on it.

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