Hacker News – the social news site focusing on tech and startups is surprisingly popular and influential.
It was originally called Startup News, but in 2007 changed to Hacker News(HN) and I think this is a major part of its success. ‘Hacker’ has a certain edge, people can feel a little special using it, all users know what the site is really about and the mainstream term for ‘hacker’ – malicious practises and breaking into peoples computers or networks does not apply here. The term is more based on ‘hacking things together’ – putting pieces of code etc to get something working.
Reddit – another popular social news site with is noted as being a model, which HN aims to replicate the early days of, while wishes avoiding the the standard of content being lowered due to a quick influx of new users. Veteran users who have accumulated a certain amount of upvotes on their comments and submissions can vote-down items, while standard users can only up-vote. This techniques have so far helped to a degree, but there are still users whom say the site used to be better before its popularity increased.
The site has a very simple user interface, deceptively hiding it’s popularity from the start and form and function are heavily favoured over design. This is not to say the site couldn’t be improved, but the minimalist design sort of adds to the sites charm, and underground quirkiness I believe many users like about the site – again relating to why the ‘Hacker’ word in the title helps the sites popularity.
I’ll let you Google the site to find it 🙂