Hacker News FAQ
Are there rules about submissions and comments?
How are stories ranked?
The basic algorithm divides points by a power of the time since a story was submitted. Comments in comment threads are ranked the same way.
Other factors affecting rank include user flags, anti-abuse software, software which downweights overheated discussions, and moderator intervention.
How is a user's karma calculated?
Roughly, the number of upvotes on their stories and comments minus the number of downvotes. The numbers don't match up exactly, because some votes aren't counted to prevent abuse.
Why don't I see down arrows?
There are no down arrows on stories. They appear on comments after users reach a certain karma threshold, but never on direct replies.
What kind of formatting can you use in comments?
How do I submit a question?
Use the submit link in the top bar, and leave the url field blank.
How do I make a link in a question?
You can't. This is to prevent people from submitting a link with their comments in a privileged position at the top of the page. If you want to submit a link with comments, just submit it, then add a regular comment.
How do I flag a comment?
Click on its timestamp to go to its page, then click the 'flag' link at the top. There's a small karma threshold before flag links appear.
Are reposts ok?
If a story has had significant attention in the last year or so, we kill reposts as duplicates. If not, a small number of reposts is ok.
Please don't delete and repost the same story, though. Accounts that do that eventually lose submission privileges.
Are paywalls ok?
It's ok to post stories from sites with paywalls that have workarounds.
In comments, it's ok to ask how to read an article and to help other users do so. But please don't post complaints about paywalls. Those are off topic.
Can I ask people to upvote my submission?
No. Users should vote for a story because it's intellectually interesting, not because someone is promoting it.
When the software detects a voting ring, it penalizes the post. Accounts that vote like this eventually get their votes ignored.
Can I post a job ad?
Please do not post job ads as story submissions to HN.
A regular "Who Is Hiring?" thread appears on the first weekday of each month. Most job ads are welcome there. (But only an account called whoishiring is allowed to submit the thread itself. This prevents a race to post it first.)
The other kind of job ad is reserved for YC-funded startups. These appear on the front page, but are not stories: they have no vote arrows, points, or comments. They begin part-way down, then fall steadily, and only one should be on the front page at a time.
Why can't I post a comment to a thread?
Threads are closed to new comments after two weeks, or if the submission has been killed by software, moderators, or user flags.
In my profile, what does showdead do?
If you turn it on, you'll see all the stories and comments that have been killed by HN's software, moderators, and user flags.
In my profile, what is delay?
It gives you time to edit your comments before they appear to others. Set it to the number of minutes you'd like. The maximum is 10.
In my profile, what is noprocrast?
It's a way to help you prevent yourself from spending too much time on HN. If you turn it on you'll only be allowed to visit the site for maxvisit minutes at a time, with gaps of minaway minutes in between. The defaults are 20 and 180, which would let you view the site for 20 minutes at a time, and then not allow you back in for 3 hours. You can override noprocrast if you want, in which case your visit clock starts over at zero.
How do I submit a poll?
How do I reset my password?
If you have an email address in your profile, you can request a password reset here. If you haven't, you can create a new account or email email@example.com for help.
My IP address seems to be banned. How can I unban it?
If you request many pages too quickly, your IP address might get banned. The self-serve unbanning procedure works most of the time.