Hacker News is an important social channel. Threads that mention GitLab's structure, values, product vision, or other sensitive blog posts, articles, etc. should be treated as important, while posts about GitLab that land on the front page of Hacker News should be treated as both important and urgent.
Hacker News posts are important because they can generate traffic for our website, backlinks to our content, and, most importantly, value feedback on our product and processes. As an example, a Hacker News post about this page from January 2022 generated valuable feedback for our team.
GitLab mentions on Hacker News are tracked on the #hn-mentions Slack channel. Posts about GitLab that land on the front page of Hacker News generate a notification that is shared in #community-relations.
In 2020, we ran multiple experiments to try to drive interest in new posts about GitLab. We learned that the key to a post reaching the front page was the content itself. Timing of when a post is shared can also help but is out of our control as we do not post our own content. Creating a coordinated response was not effective in driving interest in the posts without organic interest from the Hacker News community. The content is the key to success.
We conducted an audit to see what types of posts about GitLab landed on the front page of Hacker News. We learned that the following types of GitLab-related content generated the most interest on Hacker News:
When considering what types of content to publish on social media, these are all good types of posts and pages to share on Twitter, LinkedIn, relevant Slack communities, and other social channels.
GitLab Release Posts frequently perform well on Hacker News. Given that we know the post will be released each month on the 22nd, we should always plans for these posts to warrant a community response. For release days, we follow these steps to organize our response:
@mentions in the thread created in the #product channel with a link to the comment which they should address. Note: Don't be shy about engaging experts as the community feedback is valuable to them as they work to improve GitLab.
When new posts or comments about GitLab are added to Hacker News, team members can find alerts about these posts in the #hn-mentions Slack channel. You are welcome to share these with other team members and members of the wider GitLab community who may want to engage in the discussion. Developer Evangelism team members are encouraged to address comments and questions on new posts when appropriate.
When responding to a post about GitLab on Hacker News:
Remember that your comments are being read by many more folks than the person to whom you are responding. Make sure that the information you share is helpful to them, too. Aim to make your replies valuable to everyone involved in the conversation, not just the person you are replying to. When addressing criticism or negative feedback, it is unlikely to change the mind of someone whose comment or point-of-view is antagonistic or disagreeable but your reply can be valuable to the folks who are simply there to read and learn.
A comment on Hacker News sums it up well by suggesting to focus on "conveying without convincing". The commenter suggests, "Ensure the facts are made clear and point out disagreements. Share your motivations and reasoning. Ask people to clarify when they say something you don’t understand, or could parse multiple ways. Leave disagreement alone, and don’t press it to change into agreement."
Blog comments can be easily monitored by joining the #mentions-of-gitlab Slack channel. Please follow that channel and reply to any comments requiring a response directly in Disqus at the bottom of the blog post.
Note: You should review our team member social media policy before using social media relating to GitLab