You know the feeling of watching your post quickly drowning in the Newest section of Hacker News, right? It seems like pure, chaotic luck. Or is it?
I tried to crack the code of successful submissions.
I built a tool that parses Hacker News every two minutes and logs the state into the database. The program has been working for 14 days so far.
For the latest two weeks, there were 13846 stories, and only 1403 of them reached the first page of Hacker News.
It’s 10.1329 percents. It doesn’t sound too bad, does it? It turns out every tenth story hits the first page.
All time values are in UTC.
Stories and chances to hit the first page
It seems like Saturday and Sunday are the least active days when it comes to new stories. But it means you have the biggest chance to hit the first page during these days.
Total number of stories and chances by hour
Let’s take a look what about best hours to publish then.
- I wouldn’t post at 15:00 - 16:00 since it’s the lowest chance to hit the first page. Too many submissions during these hours.
- 11:00 - 12:00 looks like a good spot, everyone is getting awake and your post is already waiting them on the first page.
Votes and overall activity
The watcher continuously checks Hacker News and logs the current position and the score of every story into the database.
Let’s see what the most active days and hours were.
- Saturday and Sunday are the least active days.
- Monday is the most active day.
- 00:00 - 10:00 are the least active hours
- 14:00 - 21:00 (UTC) are the most active hours on Hacker News.
- 15:00 - 19:00 (UTC) are the best hours.
Finally, fun facts
- 48 stories hit the first page with literally 1 score point (you get it by default).
- 4 stories hit the first page with literally 2 score points.
- 590 stories needed 3 score points to appear on the first page.
- 318 stories needed 4 points.
- 143 stories needed 5 points.
The longest living posts on the first page:
- 65h13m56s Flash Animations Live Forever at the Internet Archive
- 63h34m18s macOS unable to open any non-Apple application
- 49h17m45s Zoom lied to users about end-to-end encryption for years, FTC says
- 45h29m29s Japan’s Onryō Spirits Inhabit a Purgatory of Revenge and Cosmic Rage
- 45h26m48s Large-scale multilingual audio visual dubbing
I’m going to analyze the statistics even further, it’s just a matter of time.
Follow me on Twitter to get updates: @reconquestio
Have an idea or want to contribute? Tweet/Email me.
The watcher records the position of stories on the page and this data is not illustrated on the charts.
There is enough data to come up with a specific interval of time required to get the first upvotes to get to the first page.
For instance, 3 upvotes in 12 hours will not get you to the first page, but will 3 upvotes in 5 minutes get you there?
How long do posts live on the first page on average?
- 2015, Best Time to Post? It’s Irrelevant
- 2016, /r/Enterpreneur: Findings on the optimal time to post to Hacker News
- 2017, What is the best time to post to Hacker News?
- 2019, The Best Time to Submit to Hacker News
Thanks to Ivan Mir for reading drafts of this.