Hacker News article annotations
Lindy Hacker News debrief, and a new annotations tool to try!
I hope you all had a few nice and relaxing Christmas days! I have fond memories of reading books next to Christmas trees, and this year I read some of Derek Sivers’ books. They’re absolutely packed with wisdom, and all the essays are free on his website if you’re curious.
But it’s also nice to get progress done, so there are a few updates on LindyLearn to share! The purpose of these letters is to gather feedback and improve our information filtering together, so please let me know what you think about this plan.
Lindy Hacker News
I posted hn.lindylearn.io on Hacker News almost two weeks ago, and it stayed on the front page for a few hours. Welcome to everyone who found us through this!
Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of views were on the landing page or /best, which directly shows you interesting content. Not many people clicked through to the “best posts per website” or search pages. The real test for the site will be how many people come back to it in the next few weeks, and use it as a library.
Since then, I tweaked the article ranking to prioritize links with many re-posts over purely ones with the highest upvote count. Overall, I think the site is in a good place as an occasional source of inspiration and a way for people to find LindyLearn.
New Annotations Tool
So, what to do with all those great articles we find? That’s where the next project comes in — reading the things we do spend time on more deeply.
If you used hypothes.is web annotations you know they work very well to take notes and remember highlights, but the social aspect is practically non-existent. You rarely come across other people’s annotations, and many notes we take are private. That’s a shame because all notes people took about the same sentences you’re wondering about are inaccessible. On social forums, it’s easy to just discuss article headlines.
Since Hacker News as a content source worked so well for timeless articles, I created another tool to convert HN comments that contain quotes into web annotations. For example, here’s what HN users think about "Life Is Short" by Paul Graham:
The idea is to read articles more slowly and see what paragraphs people resonate with, question, or disagree on. Right now we’re alone when reading, and in a hurry often skim over points that are worth considering. I think seeing other people’s detailed thoughts can be a great motivator to think more deeply — at least it’s worth a try.
The tool is live now at annotations.lindylearn.io. There’s also a button on hn.lindylearn.io that takes you directly to the annotations for each link. If you want to read some truly impactful essays, go to /best and click on the links with the most HN annotations (that has been my favorite distraction for the past few days).
That depends on your feedback. I’m just writing some code, the tools are meant for us all and only work if we use them together. So if you try the annotations tool, please let me know what you think about it!
One idea I already have is to expand the “curator” part. Showing annotations on a web page instead of through a browser extension makes discovery and creation harder, but sharing easier. It might be worth leaning into that, to make it really easy to share notes and talk about the excellent articles we’re all reading.
Another direction could be integrating more social context for each link, like showing other articles that reference and build upon the one you’re reading. But again, what’s useful to build depends on all of us ;)
See you next week.