commit: 6b2ca8a - #414 (2014-03-05 12:54:44 -0500)
TL;DR? By providing value as a productive member of the community.
A great story and lesson for all of us. :)
The sad thing about HN is that they don't do a good job of helping members understand the guidelines when they violate them. They just silently penalize them for it, and as a result the behavior continues until they are banned.
It's like silently watching while your dog chews sock after sock for weeks right in front of you, and then one day kicking him in the stomach while you're out on a walk. Not very helpful or effective at producing the behavior you want.
If they want to help promote good interaction, they need to reinforce that through communication. Could be something as simple as, "Hey, we saw you did X and we'd prefer you did Y here." Then at least people know what the heck is going on.
Agreed. There is little feedback and that can be intimidating and frustrating. It also makes users feel like you're either inside the inner circle or out.
Just to be clear, my intention wasn't as HN bash. It's more a story for those who may find themselves in the same position as myself.
Agree, it's a valuable resource and community. It's good to better understand the voodoo behind the curtain. Thanks for the post.
There's a pretty narrow slice of people on HN who are making bad posts, but are conscientious enough to know they're doing something wrong and respond to criticism (which is freely offered if the user looks salvageable.)
I think it's greatly to HN's benefit that Paul Graham doesn't have traffic goals and is so concerned with preventing decline. Making it difficult for poor users to learn to become mediocre users is a bit part of that because too many mediocre users are enough to drive away the best users and dilute the value of the discussions (downvotes no longer being reliable enough since mediocre users upvote mediocre posts.)
Please understand I'm not calling Andrew mediocre, although I do think he should share more of his experiences in comments. :)
I would disagree that feedback is provided to users. In fact the opposite is true, people flag/downvote with no explanation to users.
I wasn't just a mediocre user, I was downright bad. I wasn't using the system properly, but I didn't understand that I was in the wrong. I believe it is intentional that HN uses have to learn how to use the platform or be told by other technical people; it helps to maintain a certain type of thinker.
However, if I were designing a community platform, I'd make it overly obvious how to use it and be a productive member.