What's going on with DesignerNews?

over 4 years ago from , Lead UI/UX Designer

Having a glance at the front page, most top posts of today are several days or a week old. Then glancing at the recent page, there's a bunch of posts with no up-votes or a bunch of down-votes. What's up? Is the algorithm broken? Have people stopped posting interesting content? Is there someone manipulating the DN voting system? All of the above?


  • Mike StevensonMike Stevenson, over 4 years ago

    We should just move to a subreddit. DN seems abandoned.

    48 points
  • Duke CavinskiDuke Cavinski, over 4 years ago

    I still check the site out of habit but when I make a comment, it just feels like throwing a penny down a well.

    23 points
  • Perttu Talasniemi, over 4 years ago

    DN has been lately quite boring and most of the posts are just promoting Medium articles.

    18 points
  • Matthew Hollingsworth, over 4 years ago


    I honestly don't believe the downvoting feature is being abused by bots. As for the conversation generally, I can see the argument that downvoting may be doing more harm than good to make sure the best content is the most visible. I also think that people need to be more active and upvote the content they like rather than just down voting the stuff they don't. Just my opinion.

    That being said, we introduced it because it was the feature that was the most requested to try to solve some of the problems that we were facing last year. The hope was that it would self moderate and allow the community a more direct way of hiding the lower quality content. If that's not the right move, then that's fine. All we're looking to do is figure out what the best way to get the conversation going around the most interesting and relevant posts. If removing downvotes is the way to do that, then that's what we'll do.

    So -- question to the group. Do we go ahead and remove the downvotes? (upvote for yes, downvote for no) Any other ideas related to the downvoting?

    15 points
    • Ken Em, over 4 years ago

      "All we're looking to do is figure out what the best way to get the conversation going around the most interesting and relevant posts."

      Hasn't this been discussed previously? One of the big ideas was to go back to an invite registration system so that less junk initially makes it onto the site. Another would be to blacklist known domains who spam the site repeatedly.

      As for downvoting, it's clear it's being used in a retaliatory manner. If that behavior can't be reeled in by other means, I say kill it.

      12 points
    • Jim SilvermanJim Silverman, over 4 years ago

      the obvious thing to do is remove downvotes while you figure out how to fix the issue. i know self-moderation is key to keeping this running as a cash cow, but the site is currently useless. i can't remember the last time i saw an interesting post here besides these complaints about how the site isn't what it used to be.

      4 points
    • Radley MarxRadley Marx, over 4 years ago

      I think HackerNews obscures/hides posts when they hit a certain number of downvotes. Maybe try something similar? We'll see fewer negative comments, plus it'll protect people who might have been unfairly downvoted from taking a big hit.

      I'm also pretty sure HN users cannot vote until they hit certain thresholds. Upvoting requires 10 points (?) while downvoting is after 100. Finally, I think voting is removed after a period of time, like 2 weeks.

      4 points
    • Matthew O'ConnorMatthew O'Connor, over 4 years ago

      How about making up/downvote weighted based on the user voting.

      E.G. more karma = higher weight on a vote. So if a post has 10 ups and 10 downs, but the 10 ups were from high karma users, and the downs were from new accounts, the post would show 0, but rate higher in the backend.

      E.G.2 Downvotes are weighted 0 (or close to it) until the user has more karma.

      E.G. A user (bot) that just downvotes without upvoting, or has an overly negative proportion gets weighted down.

      Just some ideas, as I don't believe every vote should be counted equally. Youtube have recently been talking about how their trending page works and they give each video a "temperature" that scores the video on the speed that it's gaining engagement and then ranks the videos on that. Therefore the highest viewed video isn't the highest rated, but the one gaining traction quickest.

      P.S. Please can you fix the comment box! It's like less than 3 lines tall and not expandable (at least for me).

      -3 points
  • Aaron Wears Many HatsAaron Wears Many Hats, over 4 years ago

    66 upvotes and 27 comments, clearly there's a userbase here that wants quality content shared and discussed...

    9 points
  • Artur Eldib, over 4 years ago

    Agreed that DN has been very boring lately.

    8 points
  • Daniel GoldenDaniel Golden, over 4 years ago

    Mod here. What's happening is a combination of several issues, the most significant being the abuse of down votes. There are several (probably an understatement) users (or bots) who routinely down vote all the content (except their own). Which leads to most posts not making it beyond the recent page and the front page becoming full of stale content.

    There also may be an issue with the algorithm, but you'd have to ask @MattH, the community manager, about that. Just pinged him so, hopefully he'll pop in here to let us know what's happening.

    6 points
    • Pablo StanleyPablo Stanley, over 4 years ago

      Wow. Pretty interesting. Do you have an idea of where are the downvote bots coming from?

      1 point
      • Daniel GoldenDaniel Golden, over 4 years ago

        I meant to suggest bots as an option rather than communicate that we're sure bots are a thing here. Based on Matthew's comment below, I'm guessing it's just selfish people downvoting everything else. We're sure it's being abused, bots (in addition to users) was just my suspicion.

        -1 points
    • Sacha GreifSacha Greif, over 4 years ago

      Why not just remove downvotes then?

      0 points
    • Aaron Wears Many HatsAaron Wears Many Hats, over 4 years ago

      I noticed after I rubbished on a particularly low quality list-blog post from an Indian-based design firm, I received a sudden torrent on downvotes across all my historical posts.. I think I upset everyone in their company by saying the blog was bad.

      1 point
      • Catalin CimpanuCatalin Cimpanu, over 4 years ago

        Mod here: Oh yeah. I told a few accounts to stop spamming the index with listicles, and all my submissions have been downvoted en masse since then.

        2 points
  • Ken Em, over 4 years ago

    See the existing topic with moderator participation: https://www.designernews.co/stories/102011-so-this-downvote-bombing-thing-is-interesting-

    4 points
  • Jordan Simpson, over 4 years ago

    I was wondering this today as well. Must be a reason. Unless there isn't much to talk about at the moment... which I find hard to believe.

    3 points
  • Paul Bunyar, over 4 years ago

    I think taking the down votes off would be a good start. If I don't like something, I am obviously not going to up vote it. I will just ignore it.

    1 point
  • Matthew Hollingsworth, over 4 years ago

    Sounds like removing the downvotes is the next step, so that's what we'll do! Keep an eye out for it. Thanks again all for the feedback.

    I'm going to start a different thread about what the next steps are for the community, I hope we can continue the conversation there.


    1 point
  • Giulio MichelonGiulio Michelon, over 4 years ago

    Le temps destruit tout!

    1 point
  • Stefan SmiljkovicStefan Smiljkovic, over 4 years ago

    I am not sure

    0 points
  • Oleksandr ValiusOleksandr Valius, over 4 years ago

    Looks like sabotage. All recent news minused

    0 points
  • Andrew Hersh, over 4 years ago

    Step 1) Initiate downvotes Step 2) Allow echo chamber to form Step 3) Do nothing as people leave echo chamber Step 4) lol ware'd evry1 go??? Step 5) Remove downvotes Step 6) Hope crowd wanders back in

    0 points
  • Gaël PGaël P, over 4 years ago

    I find that DN is logging me out of my account a lot (every day?). I'm sure that I upvote less because of it. If it's not just me it could have a large impact on overall participation.

    0 points
  • John PJohn P, over 4 years ago

    By trying to keep the discussion too “nice” you actually killed discussion, it became boring and anyone who would have actually given interesting content or discussion left.

    HN is extremely shadowban happy but their mods are excellent at telling who is a troll or spam and who are people just having a debate or disagreeing.

    You basically just had an mod team who don’t understand what makes an online community good. Spoiler alert, twitter and reddit are not popular and self sustaining because everyone joins hands and sings kumbaya, Reddit likes to pretend to their investors that people are there for AMAs and cat pics but it just isn’t true.

    0 points
  • Mauricio Paim, over 4 years ago

    There is people here, there is content. Not sure what is happening.

    Now people moving to reddit? Doesn't make sense, we as designers should be able to find a better solution than leaving DN.

    No feelings regards DN however it has served well the community so far.

    0 points
  • Eddie LobanovskiyEddie Lobanovskiy, over 4 years ago

    This works way better imho https://rora.co/

    -2 points
  • Account deleted over 4 years ago

    algorithm? lol dn does not have any kind of algorithm or anything smart implemented. even phbb is more functional

    probably no one's paying dn to boost articles during easter time don't worry.

    -6 points
  • Kyle DonmoyerKyle Donmoyer, over 4 years ago

    Every topic has been talked about and talked about again, but then multiply that by 1000.

    The end was the emergence of "Dark Patterns". I haven't fucking worked with a designer in my life who intentionally designed with malintent. EVER.

    We're overthinking everything and doing less because of it.

    -9 points
    • joe andersonjoe anderson, over 4 years ago

      This sentiment seems the same even on design twitter, is it possible that designers are running out of interesting things to discuss around pure design related topics?

      -3 points
      • Falko JosephFalko Joseph, over 4 years ago

        I don't understand the many downvotes on these two comments. I think that's actually what's going on with the online design community in general.

        Just look at Dribbble, it's not as active / fun as it used to be. A lot of people moved on. I think that's just the way it is with many online communities.

        0 points
    • Adam Fisher-CoxAdam Fisher-Cox, over 4 years ago

      Not the main point, but you misunderstand dark patterns.

      -2 points