It never ceases to amaze me how many Hacker News comments are just people debating what they think the title of an article means, without reading the content.

My blog post made it to the front page, but I have no illusions that that says anything about the quality of the content. It just means that people wanted to use the title as a totem in a pre-existing culture war.

I could have chosen a less juicy / intriguing title, but then nobody would have read it at all. Such is the challenge with blogging.

@nolan That's a persistant problem with pretty much any online discussion platform.

I've had numerous of my own essays or contributions make the front page and observed the same. Increasingly, to attempt to head that off, I'll also post a submission comment (this can be done simultaneously w/ URL submission, though the comment simply appears in the thread, not otherwise distinguished) which highlights the key points.

I also try to choose my titles carefully, and will often selectively adapt submission titles both for length and clarity, following HN submission guidelines. (If you can find a better sentence/phrase in text, that's generally valid.)

@nolan What I'd really like to see is an online discussion format which reimplements the Scholastic Instruction model:

Scholastic instruction consisted of several elements. The first was the lectio: a teacher would read an authoritative text followed by a commentary, but no questions were permitted. This was followed by the meditatio (meditation or reflection) in which students reflected on and appropriated the text. Finally, in the quaestio students could ask questions (quaestiones) that might have occurred to them during meditatio. Eventually the discussion of questiones became a method of inquiry apart from the lectio and independent of authoritative texts. Disputationes were arranged to resolve controversial quaestiones.[39]

Effectively, this ensures that everyone is exposed to the content, and also that the discussion is directed around specific disputations concerning the content itself.

That said, I've no idea how well this actually worked, and there seems to be only one (Dutch) reference for this specific method:

van Asselt, Willem J. (2011). Inleiding in de Gereformeerde Scholastiek [Introduction to Reformed Scholasticism] (in Dutch). With contributions by T. Theo J. Pleizier, Pieter L. Rouwendal, and Maarten Wisse; Translated by Albert Gootjes. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Reformation Heritage Books. ISBN 978-1-60178-121-5.

Note that the situation is also frustrating for HN's mods. I'll see if I can dig up that comment....

@nolan FWIW, I can't find the comment, though I do find my own observation on it, dated about 3 months ago:


@nolan This was a thread in which I'd tried steering the discussion, and with some help from dang (2nd-chance queue, moderation) ... it didn't go entirely into the weeds as several prior discussions had.

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