Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Hacker News ranking algorithm weirdness

Yesterday I submitted this story to Hacker News.  Here you can see it in the record of all the stories I've submitted:

It didn't get a lot of traction at the time, which was not surprising.  Not many people look at the /new page, and there are a lot of submissions.  So most stories languish.  You generally have about a 30-60 minute window to garner enough points to make it to the front page before your story drops off the first new page and enters HN limbo, never to be seen again.

So I was really surprised when this morning my story was on the front page, apparently having been re-submitted somehow five hours previously:

(Both of those screenshots were taken within a minute or two of each other.)

I really wonder how that happened.  I wish I knew how to make it happen reliably :-)

1 comment:

Zachary said...

HN is trying some things to give good submissions a second chance. From https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12638520:

>Another thing we did is build a system for story reviewing—initially by moderators only, now by us plus some users, with the plan of opening it to the whole community as soon as we figure out how—under which stories that get picked as good by reviewers get a random placement somewhere on the bottom half of the front page. These are stories that would otherwise have fallen through the cracks completely.

This might've happened to your submission. There might be other things HN is doing; I don't know. But they are trying to capture good stories that fall through the cracks.