Hacker News

Folks at the Lab have heard me talk about Hacker News.  I love it.  You may already know about it.  If not, it's a social news bulletin board: news.ycombinator.com

The news is start-up, tech, or internet related (or otherwise compelling).  Good stories get voted up, and over time, gradually fade to the background. The ranking algorithm is explained here: http://amix.dk/blog/post/19574

In practice, what HN is is a large group (thousands) of really smart people, that become your extended curators/editors of all things web.  They crawl all the corners of its corners and post what they think the community would find interesting.  The thing that really sets it apart though is the quality—this is a really smart crowd.  What gets voted up, is worthy.  The comments are very good too.

Simple, information rich presentation

Hacker Monthly

Okay, so one thing that HN spawned/inspired was Hacker Monthly. Their model is super simple:  "Every month, we select the top voted articles from Hacker News and put them in the magazine format." And printing is handled on-demand by Mag Cloud.

Don't know if it's a business or what, but it's kinda profound:

  1. A compelling magazine

  2. crowd-edited

  3. printed on-demand

  4. designed, "edited", put together by 1 person, the hatcher of the idea

Hacker Books

Now somebody's (Daniel B Markham)  just come out with Hacker Books. www.hn-books.com

It's a list of all the books recommended by hackers to other hackers on Hacker News.  But also with the caveat that those recommended texts had to themselves get voted up by other readers.  So again, it is the community providing the editorial intelligence.  And its a compelling list of books.


Both Hacker Monthly and Hacker Books are pure fallout of the vibrant Hacker News community.  They are also really interesting examples of how communities and publishing (and published) can interact.

Should we start a Hacker News for reference librarians/tech folk/book enthusiasts – start mining library intelligence?