Hacker News is a social news app for those interested in hacking, technology, and startups. The app is a community site for sharing news from those categories. Other types of posts or spam will be marked as "dead" by the editors. By maintaining the focus, users can depend on finding the type of information they are interested in reading.
Hacker News was launched in February of 2007 by Y Combinator. Statistics show a steady decrease in unique visitors from 146K in the beginning of 2011 to 75K at the end.
Hacker News has been compared to Reddit and Twitter as social news apps. Hacker News tends to have a stable community that returns regularly to view and comment upon news. Reddit has many subscribers, but most do not become repeat users. Twitter with a link to a post is usually good, but click-throughs from tweets are not very high.
The biggest difference is the prevalence of tech news and startups. Hacker News is dedicated to those topics, which appeal to a specific community and attracts those who don't want to wade through a lot of unrelated or spam posts to get to what they are interested in.
Once logged in, a user may click on their username to complete an optional profile. This includes a brief biography, an email address, notifo mobile address, showdead settings - whether a user wishes to be able to view posts that editors have indicated are off topic or spam, noprocast settings -with maxvisit and minaway settings - lets users limit use of the site because, a they remind us, social news can be addicting.
The News page appears as a news feed with links to articles that may be of interest to the Hacker News community. Threads may be searched by keyword and comments may be viewed in chronological order along with a link to the parent thread. There is a section for asking questions to the community in general, as well as a tab with job listings. The last tab is to submit something for the news feed.
If the user wishes to share a tech related news story, they may use the submit page and add the URL of the story and the title. If a URL is not part of the story or is unknown, the user may add text to describe the news. Once submitted, it is visible at the top of the new page.
One downside is that submissions are limited by time. In other words, a user cannot submit two news items or questions within a few minutes of each other without receiving a "submitting too fast" message. During testing a question was submitted. An attempt to submit another question during the following 30 minutes was denied several times and never posted.
Users may login using Clickpass, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Windows Messenger, OpenID, AIM, LiveJournal, Smugmug, or Technorati. Alternatively, users may create an account by simply providing a username and password. No other data is requested.
The application is completely free to use.
Anyone with an interest in technology, hacking (for video games, etc.), and startup companies would likely enjoy keeping an eye on the posts in Hacker News.