What to expect from upvotes on Hacker News

This is what happens when you write an article and it gets noticed on HN.

Note: This is by no means a serious research. Just my anecdotal evidence. And of course there is an answer to the infamous "how do I get to the top of HN front page" question at the end.


Nothing happens. You might get a comment, though. Usually a snarky one.


You get some noticeable traffic. A couple of people actually read your article to the end. There might even be an interesting comment (but that's unlikely).


There is a real discussion in the comments. Usually a lot of criticism from people who only read the title. But there is some chance of deeper ones.


Comments become interesting to read. You might even learn something new about the topic. Some people follow you on Twitter (sorry, I'm not calling it X, ever).


Lots of traffic. Comments go sideways: people discuss all sorts of things that are only tangentially related to the article. More followers. Some people even write you a lengthy email.


This is when you start to feel like a (geeky kind of) celebrity. Now there are too many comments to read. All of tech Twitter seems to be discussing your article and mentioning you. Lots of new followers. Weird emails and pitches from startup founders. Podcast invitations. Your article gets translated into other languages.


You receive a dinner invitation from Y Combinator.

Just kidding, never been there.

Now to the Question:

How do I make sure my article hits the top of HN front page?
The Answer

You don't. But having a ton of passionate followers and writing great content helps. To some extent. Other than that — pure luck.


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