Tom MacWright

Hacker News

Here’s some new JavaScript on this website. It’s the only JavaScript on most pages, which are otherwise pretty minimal.

try {
  if (document.referrer) {
    const ref = new URL(document.referrer);
    if ( === '') {
      window.location.href = '';
} catch (e) { }

That snippet redirects people who arrive at from Hacker News.

If you’re lucky, you end up being good at a few things. If you’re really lucky, those are also the things you like doing. I’m good at writing articles that get upvoted and discussed on Hacker News, or But I don’t like it.

Writing on the internet can be a two-way thing, a learning experience guided by iteration and feedback. I’ve learned some bad habits from Hacker News. I added Caveats sections to articles to make sure that nobody would take my points too broadly. I edited away asides and comments that were fun but would make articles less focused. I came to expect pedantic, judgmental feedback on everything I wrote, regardless of what it was.

Writing for the Hacker News audience makes my writing worse.

I don’t like what Hacker News has become – or a lot of the web, for that matter. But I’m part of the discourse. I’ve written critical articles, mean tweets, silly comments, the whole lot of it. It’s impossible to separate one thing from another and neatly place blame. But it’s simple to notice a thing you want less of and turn it off.

So I can flex the freedom of an independent blog by embracing what seems good and pushing away what I don’t like. Redirecting Hacker News links away from this website makes sense to me. Traffic to this website doesn’t pay my bills. Disengaged readers just looking for a hot take don’t return to my site, or recognize me when I write something else, or write blog posts of their own and bring new creativity to the indie web.

Maybe posts will be less viral (I can hear, as I write that, someone writing “you haven’t written a hit in years, Tom!”), but writing viral posts or maximizing hits wasn’t my goal when I set out and it isn’t now.

Anyway, the RSS feed works great. The HTML site works pretty well. I tweet most new articles I write. Business as usual, just less of the orange site.

Brooklyn Skyline from Gowanus

September 15, 2022  @tmcw