I don’t post on hackernews, not because it’s more noisy and hodgepodge than a Taiwanese peasant barnyard, but because my desired user handle yc is both not being used and forbidden.

More recently, I had a spare hour to burn waiting for a Play Store cache to refresh, so I tried posting under my first name. It’s impossible not to get sucked into a barnyard, once you get into it.. Or rather, I made two posts and received the dreaded error message:

“You’re submitting too fast. Please slow down.”


Apparently, someone has already added this ambiguous and oddly-enforced message to the worst place for pg to start a features request list ever, and some tech-ish startup guy who writes less than me and has issues with hadoop thinks it has to do with political correctness. There are a bunch of people who believe that this is what the hellbanned message looks like.

So, reading the message at face value, my initial impression was:

Ridiculous, considering that¬†I spent many solid minutes pondering and reviewing content in-between posts. Apparently, “many” has been quantified by limits set here https://github.com/wting/hackernews/blob/master/news.arc

(def recent-spam (site)
  (and (caris (banned-sites* site) 'ignore)
       (recent-items [is (sitename _!url) site] 720)))

(def recent-items (test minutes)
  (let cutoff (- (seconds) (* 60 minutes))
    (latest-items test [< _!time cutoff])))

; New user can't submit more than 2 stories in a 2 hour period.
; Give overeager users the key toofast to make limit permanent.

(def oversubmitting (user ip kind (o url))
  (and enforce-oversubmit*
       (or (check-key user 'toofast)
           (ignored user)
           (< (user-age user) new-age-threshold*)
           (< (karma user) new-karma-threshold*))
       (len> (recent-items [or (author user _) (is _!ip ip)] 180)
             (if (is kind 'story)
                 (if (ignored user) 0 1)
                 (if (ignored user) 1 10)))))

It appears that users subject to this draconian punishment are discriminated based on

  • age (new-age-threshold* 0 – which is also the legit-threshold* 0),
  • karma (new-karma-threshold* 2),
  • recent items in the past 180 minutes, modified by recent items with a cutoff of 60 minutes (effectively 120 minutes, expressed in convoluted logic).
  • if it’s a story and you have the distinction of being an ignored user, this will always return false. But, even if you are ignored (read: hell-banned), you apparently only have to wait 10 minutes for posts that are not stories. Baas from sheeple are welcome, even if they’re deemed worthy of being ignored.
  • I’m tempted to fix up the snippet, except it’d never get accepted… and it really doesn’t seem a good use of time to spend any more time than the past ten minutes on arc, a language invented to be a dead language.

    (And, posted!)

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