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Inspired by yesterday's article on smartphone addiction, I would like to propose one idea and ask for other ideas about making HN in particular, and the thinkpiece/newspaper WWW in general, more useful to the persons reading them.

I feel like I spent a large amount of time reading texts on the internet in a way that didn't serve me, or by extension any community I want to be part of. I can imagine many people here feel the same. I think I can understand the reason: The interest of any person writing a text online is not to contribute to a view of the world that is accurate and useful to the reader, but to make the text being paid attention and/or money to. This is often accomplished by making readers outraged about things that don't concern them and that they won't change anything about.

Of course, making this attempt transparent to the reader would be counterproductive, so an excuse with some level of subtility will be used (as an example, "a 20 page slatestarcodex article about studies into in how far the gender pay gap is caused/not caused by women's choices"). This is adapted to the target group. But in general, if a professional journalist (or political advocate) tries to do this against someone with a different career (like me or you), they can probably win. And unsurprisingly, such a discussion isn't contained e.g. in New York Times articles about smartphone addiction.

I feel HN (and the WWW in general) is useful to me, but the use is diminished by articles of this form. I want to ask for ideas helping to change this. One idea would be the following: A reader on HN can not only upvote articles for quality, but, if they have a suspicion that the author makes (significant) use of such a trick, they can upvote for outrageousness as well. Then we could set to hide articles above a certain outrageousness level. What do you think will happen if such a proposal is implemented?