As Reddit's Bored Users are Set Adrift, Hacker News Shuts Down Account Creation to Keep Them Away
In the world of large online communities, Reddit ranks among the largest, most active sites today. Right now, however, all of Reddit's users have been set adrift on the Internet, as Reddit is blacked out in support of the SOPA protests. Quite a few of those bored users, it seems, found their way over to Hacker News, a smaller but growing community that focuses mostly on startup and programming news. Seemingly afraid of this sudden influx of new users, Hacker News' founder Paul Graham today decided to suspend account creations for the time being.
Graham, of course, was rather political in making this announcement and argues that he doesn't want to "repay them for their impressive stand by stealing their users." Nobody on the site is really buying this argument, though. Instead, most Hacker News users assume that Graham simply turned off the ability to create new accounts to avoid an "Eternal September" effect – a term which refers to those early days of the Internet when new users (often college freshmen or new AOL users) would constantly ask the same questions on USENET and change the way many established online groups worked.
There is some irony in this, of course. Reddit, after all, greatly profited from Digg's fall in 2010. At the time, the established Reddit community was anything but happy about this influx of new users who weren't familiar with the site's rules.