Hacker News

Request HN: Something nice for reaching 1000 karma

We get nice things at 250 and 500 karma. 1000 is a bummer. Nothing happens.

May be give us the ability to change the background color or something?

19 pointsstarbugs posted 14 days ago52 Comments
ken said 14 days ago:

I don't want people chasing karma here. I especially don't want to encourage it for something they can solve with one line in their user stylesheet. "Hackers", indeed.

I became so troubled by my own reaction that I added a couple lines of CSS to disable the absolute counter in the corner of every page. That number is toxic.


thecupisblue said 13 days ago:

I use it as someone-might-have-replied-to-your-comment indicator, if I see it change there's a high chance someone interacted with me and I wouldn't notice it otherwise.

1123581321 said 12 days ago:

There are a couple free services that will email you, which is more reliable. I’ve been using http://hnreplies.com for awhile.

I’m not saying that means you should hide your karma.

ChrisGranger said 14 days ago:

Why not share your CSS?

gtirloni said 14 days ago:
ChrisGranger said 14 days ago:

Oh, this is JavaScript. I was curious to see how ken was doing it with CSS. Thanks though. Your userscript does indeed still work.

trnglina said 14 days ago:

Here's a CSS-only hacky version I threw together:

  #hnmain td td:last-child .pagetop {
    font-size: 0;
  #hnmain td td:last-child .pagetop a {
    font-size: 10pt;
  #hnmain td td:last-child .pagetop a:first-child::after {
    content: ' | ';
elamje said 14 days ago:

Is this LightTable Chris Granger?

ChrisGranger said 14 days ago:

Afraid not. I'm pretty sure he has an account here though.

Edit: his username is ibdknox.

elamje said 14 days ago:

Oh okay, thanks for the response anyways!

ChrisGranger said 14 days ago:

Not sure if you caught my edit. Just making sure. His username is ibdknox.


RandomBacon said 14 days ago:

Rather than thinking there should be a "nice" thing we get, we should ask, does anything need to be added/changed?

HN already fixed my biggest pet-peeves: collapsable comments and the ability to undo an accidental up/down vote.

starbugs said 14 days ago:

> does anything need to be added/changed

The background color when reaching 1000 karma, for instance.

Just kidding ;) My post was not meant to be taken 100% seriously. I just thought it might be nice to brainstorm about what could happen at 1000. I agree that pretty much all of the must have features are there already.

Zancarius said 14 days ago:

> and the ability to undo an accidental up/down vote.

I think you can already do that via the "unvote" href that appears after voting--at least for upvotes; I almost never downvote, so I don't know if the reverse is true. I believe it is, though.

giaour said 14 days ago:

There's an "undown" link that appears after downvoting a comment.

dang said 14 days ago:

A compromise of English in order to tell you that you downed rather than upped.

jml7c5 said 14 days ago:

Do we really want people chasing karma on here? I'd be tempted to go the other way, and limit the visibility and usefulness of it. I.e., on user profiles just show "between 1-50 karma", "500+ karma".

JMTQp8lwXL said 14 days ago:

Given that the content quality here is high, chasing karma could be a good thing, if it encourages additional high-quality, thought-provoking discussion. People should be rewarded for sharing content like that.

claudiawerner said 14 days ago:

I'm skeptical of the notion that karma is gained through high-quality and thought-provoking discussion; in fact, in my experience (with previous accounts on this site and other sites with point/karma systems) is that thoughts which conform to pre-conceived notions, thoughts which sound clever (but may not be) and re-framing of old rigorous concepts in new sheen with new words gain the most karma. The illusion that good discussion is rewarded ignores the fact that despite thinking we are (and some even striving to be) we don't optimize our reward system for good discussion, we optimize it for things we like - which even for the readers of Hacker News(!) turns out to be not far off modern status-quo pleasing.

As a corollary to my point, we'd also like thought-provoking material rather than pure provocateurs. But I'd take an intelligent provocateur over a philosophically/historically uninformed HN comment any day of the week.

thrower123 said 14 days ago:

Submitting links also deeply skews the karma curve compared to regular commenting. A good submission that hits and gets to the top of the front page and stays there for a while can easily garner a few hundred internet points, and there is no risk of getting brigaded for an unpopular opinion. Even with points on submissions getting debuffed what seems like n/2 or something close to that (in any case it does not seem to be a one-to-one correspondence between the submission's point total and the increase to the submitter's score), submitting stories raises far more points than grinding in the comments.

As this brief discussion of the HN metagame shows, anything that gets a number stuck next to it will attract people to optimizing it like flies to a manure pile...

RandomBacon said 13 days ago:

Sometimes I upvote things I agree with.

Mostly I upvote if the user posted interesting/useful information.

Sometimes I upvote things I disagree with if I think it promotes a good discussion.

lastofus said 14 days ago:

Isn't partaking in thought-provoking discussion reward enough?

This also seems like one of those things where Goodhart's law may apply.

tptacek said 14 days ago:

We should really do that across the whole site (on comments, for instance, and stories), not just in user profiles.

quickthrower2 said 14 days ago:

It should show: floor(ln(karma))

krapp said 14 days ago:

The purpose of karma is to be chased, it's supposed to be addictive.

The utility of it as a means of operant conditioning and positive behavioral reinforcement can be debated (personally, I wish it would be done away with) but chasing karma is already a part of the site.

evian83 said 14 days ago:


dang said 14 days ago:

Anybody want to suggest other possibilities?

claudiulodro said 14 days ago:

Downvote posts? Not that I would really personally use that, but it seems the logical next step with the other "powers" unlocked at karma milestones.

My concern with any change made is that it would encourage people to try and get a bunch of karma which could have unforeseen effects on the quality of discussion/submissions. I'm sure you'll be taking that into account for any change made, though.

btown said 14 days ago:

Not allowing post downvotes is, IMO, a key factor in what allows HN to be such a great community. Subreddits that allow downvoting, for instance, often see topics that would expand their contributors' horizons "die in New" not because they are against the rules, per say, but because the user who happens to see them first thinks "this isn't my cup of tea." Flagging is the right answer - let people flag flagrant rule violations, but don't let them kill things they find uninteresting. That allows interesting content to rise for everyone.

krapp said 14 days ago:

There is already a hide function that will hide posts and its comments. People need to use it more instead of flagging stories they just don't want to see, or complaining about how those stories aren't "Hacker News material"

Downvoting posts could be used to build algorithmic feeds, so users could see content corresponding to the ratio of items they voted up or down. But that might be too much of a "social media" feature and I could see Hacker News getting out the torches and pitchforks for something like that.

JMTQp8lwXL said 14 days ago:

In other communities, clicking a "downvote" button should open the modal for reporting rule violations, allowing the user to select the correct type.

said 14 days ago:
dragonwriter said 14 days ago:

> Downvote posts?

I think both in practice and in theory the function downvotes serve for comments are served by flags on posts.

tptacek said 14 days ago:

Hide all karma scoring from the entire site once a user reaches 1000 karma.

toomuchtodo said 14 days ago:

“Enlightenment mode”

debacle said 14 days ago:

This would be a nice feature.

Ultramanoid said 14 days ago:

Actually the ability to change the background as already suggested, just like the top, would be great.

starbugs said 14 days ago:

Dark mode.

I know, I know, that's an old one as well. But hey, it would be really really nice.

splatzone said 14 days ago:

A nice T-shirt?

RandomBacon said 13 days ago:

The option to buy a nice T-shirt would be cool.

Maybe an orange shirt (thick cotton, I hate those thin cheap ones), with a white "HN" surrounded by a white box outline.

bdcravens said 14 days ago:

I recently crossed 10k - I don't think anything happens at that point. Above a certain point, I don't think it really matters. The idea is to constrain actions a little bit to ensure quality, not necessarily reward upvotes.

krapp said 14 days ago:

I was kind of hoping I would get automatic mod powers at 10k and then I could go on a ban spree but no luck.

drugme said 14 days ago:

You don't need to get something "nice" for building up karma points. It's supposed to be its own reward.

That's why it's called "karma".

sethammons said 14 days ago:

What happens at each of these benchmarks?

said 14 days ago:
kleer001 said 12 days ago:

Get yourself something nice, like a cookie.

buboard said 14 days ago:

what do we get at 250 and 500 ?

ChrisGranger said 14 days ago:

If I recall correctly, the ability to flag, and the ability to downvote.

dang said 14 days ago:

Flagging kicks in above 30. After 250 you can change your top bar color. After 500 you can downvote.

ChrisGranger said 13 days ago:

Oh, thanks for the correction. I'm using a custom stylesheet, so I've "always" been able to change my top bar color and didn't notice that that required a certain level of karma.

quickthrower2 said 14 days ago:

How about 1BTC?