Hackaday Passes 1,000,000 Comments

For just over sixteen years we’ve been publishing fresh hacks every day. We’ve just passed another milestone: the one millionth Hackaday comment was made just a few minutes ago.

A million of anything is impressive, but it’s not the sheer volume that’s on my mind today, but how time and again I’m gobsmacked by the insightful comments I find on these pages, and the people who put them there. We find leads for futures stories, answers to unknowns voiced in the articles, and have conversations with thousands of people whose paths we never would have crossed otherwise.

Not a week goes by that I don’t lose myself in a comment thread, usually taking me down the rabbit hole of exploring a bit of technology previously hidden to me but revealed by a few words. How many Hackaday articles were spawned by someone posting just the right link in the comment section?

Too often the people who moved the world with interesting technologies move through their careers and beyond without anyone to really tell their stories to, and those are some of the best stories from the people working with the tech on a daily basis for decades. But then we publish an article that puts a spotlight on their corner of knowledge and we get to hear how it was from their perspective. It’s so gratifying to get these moments of insight on who and what have kept humanity’s relay-race of science forward.

So thank you! Keep those comments and those stories coming!

A Little Levity for the Regular Readers

Now when you mine for ore, not every granule is a gold flake. Throughout the years the Hackaday writers have come to recognize a few recurring gripes in the comments that are always good for a chuckle. Recently, Roger Cheng turned this into a game of bingo we can all play.

We’d love to hear your favorite (positive) comments from years of reading Hackaday. Let us know in the comments below. And remember, if you don’t have something nice to say…

[Editor’s note: Elliot totally cheated. He wrote a script to pull down the number of posts continually, and post a comment when the counter hit 999,999. This is Hackaday, after all.]

111 thoughts on “Hackaday Passes 1,000,000 Comments

  1. At least a thousand of those is me trying to offer a free Smoothieboard to somebody making a CNC-related project. Lots of people take me up on it, and over the years it’s actually resulted in quite a bit of contributions/feedback coming back to the project itself. Thanks Hackaday comments ! And happy million. If you had a nickel for each comment !

      1. wolf.arthur@gmail.com We are pretty poor from covid and the costs of the Smoothieboard v2 project, and this is something we typically reserve for people featured here that look like they could use the board, or people who otherwise could contribute to the project. But don’t hesitate to email and ask/present whatever you have to offer. If we are running out of proper boards, we can likely find a board in QC for you that has a minor defect that would be easy for you to solve. During Covid’s beginning where everybody was printing PPE, we offered on the Smoothie documentation’s homepage to offer smoothieboards to anyone printing PPE whose board died, and shipped out 20 Smoothieboards from the normal stock, and then 12 shipments of two boards from the QC stock ( that is a bit broken, but two boards can easily make one good one ).

  2. “We’d love to hear your favorite (positive) comments from years of reading Hackaday.”

    That would be quite the list, but links to reference material is always handy to building a library.

      1. Not for here… for the background image of a phone.
        This may be more prevalent than my target exposure, but on the Pixel 4 at least the IMU is enabled for the normal desktop display.
        This lets ‘live’ wallpapers use the angular position of the phone to modify the contents of the desktop background. Aka… you could do fire that always burns ‘up’ from the HAD logo and perspective of the logo itself to give it artificial depth.

  3. with 1 million comments, it’s a good time to celebrate the recent changes that were made so the comments are more supportive to people sharing and inclusive to more people. hackaday and supplyframe team, please continue to participate in the comments, guide folks to work together, and moderate when needed (disclosure, i am the founder of hackaday).

  4. OMG has it been 16 years?! Nothing like good old reality to remind you that you’re old. I remember the early days of HaD thinking that this site is destined for bigger things. Congrats to HaD and cheers to the people who have been contributing for ….16 years! We have a good community here and I for one love it.

      1. WordPress assigns numbers to everything, and just keeps incrementing them. Every post, image, comment, etc adds to the object count, as far as I can figure.

        So yeah. By the time the 1,000,000th comment was posted, there were > 6 million objects in our WordPress database.

        I just looked at the number of comments in the trash, 5408, but I don’t believe it. We get ~20 spam comments per day, so it much clear itself out somehow. Herbal remedies, qualified hackers to break into your cheating spouse’s cellphone, etc. Jerks.

  5. I would like to see the comment section really embrace the bingo card. Mods could check off the boxes as they mod, and a small icon in the comment header could alert commenters which have already been taken. Commenters who are aware of the card could also shorthand their comments to save everyone time. [O3] but [G1] and [B5] because they don’t have basic security! [B2] a horse that was acting weird and turns out someone had put an SBC under the sadle blanket and the horse was just saying [I1], and I was like [B4], but [I4] and [N2]. Anyways, I printed a smoothed out ABS case, and then I was like [I2] [G3], and you are like, [O4] . I’m rambling now, but [N3] and this beats scrolling mindlessly, right? So what was the first article?

  6. I got on the crazy ride when Leo Laporte and Patrick Norton were still on The Screensavers.

    I had an I-Opener, a Websurfer, and an Audrey, back when it really HAD was really “A hack per day”.

    Thanks doe all the interesting and not so interesting articles.

  7. Always knew I’d been reading more than 12 years daily, many years never commenting. Realized the guy I met who told me about the site I met when I was living in a specific place in 2004, I actually must have been coming here for all 16 years, only commenting for the last 3 or so.

    Great work guys, my life would be very different had I never found this place… but damnit, please get an edit system already!

  8. Like every comments section there is dross, In jokes, and poor opinions but there is a very high ratio of insightfull helpfull and interesting chat in these comments , far higher than most any “media” I read on a daily basis. So thankyou to the commenters, and thank you for the writers who inspire the chat.

  9. (B2): I know I accelerated this event by at least a few days, all by myself. I’ve often wondered how many posts WordPress would let you subscribe to, and what would happen when you reached the limit. I found out a couple months ago, that the number is in the mid-400s, and that when you reach the limit, it just doesn’t bother to send you a confirmation email. So now I have to unsubscribe from the oldest one before subscribing to each new article’s comments.

    Hackaday is my Facebook, because Facebook sucks.

  10. Dang, it’s hard to believe how long I have been lurking on this site. I think I started coming here sometime around ’08 or ’09, and it didn’t take long for it to become my favorite web site.

    Keep up the great work, Hackaday team! Here’s to a million more comments.

    1. ya. i remember when hackaday was brand new… a news feed dedicated JUST to people who like to maim hardware and assemble it into something new? That discovery is a great day. One of the few sites like it still in operation that i am aware of.

  11. Hate to say it but there would have been many more comments by now if you would just replace the wonky WordPress Jetpack garbage software that’s running the comment system. Lost comments, reply comments being dropped to the bottom of the thread (or lost entirely), having to open the Jetpack iFrame in a new tab to get it to work, no moderation notifications, on and on…

  12. “Elliot totally cheated. He wrote a script to pull down the number of posts continually, and post a comment when the counter hit 999,999. This is Hackaday, after all.”

    I’m shocked to learn you start counting from 1! ;)

    1. I understand that this is a joke, but it doesn’t make sense. When you count objects, you always start at zero. Zero is the number of objects before you count any. If you started at one, then the first object you counted would be object #2.

      1. When I start counting objects from one, the first object I count is object #1 … I work in industry and have never seen any part inventory start with object #0, it’s always first object being #1.

          1. I don’t get the question. If it’s widget X, I use number X… like by definition. If I’ve used the last one, I got no widgets so I’m not using any numbers…

        1. TL;DR: [B2]

          Here’s why you’re wrong: if you are keeping count of objects, you are keeping them in a variable, somewhere, even if only in your own mind. Before you get the first object in a given category, the value of that variable is zero, and if anybody asks how many completed widgets you have before the first widget has been completed, you give them the current count, which is zero. Without this convention, you’d be stuck in the situation that many ancient cultures created, where there is no numeric value you can give that indicates you have no objects. You would gesture around yourself and say, annoyed, “do you see any completed widgets? What a stupid question! How can I tell you how many there are, when there aren’t any?”

          The number you ASSIGN to an object is just the count of objects after that object has been counted. Numbers that are assigned to like objects are called ordinal numbers, and these always begin with 1, for that reason. You can’t have a “zeroeth” object, because if you have zero objects, there is no object to assign the ordinal value of 0 to. Which is probably why the concept of zero took a while to get any traction.

          So why do arrays in sensible programming languages start with element 0? Because these are not ordinal numbers. They are locations, which are a measure of distance from the beginning. So the first element in an array is element 0, because its distance from the beginning of the array is zero. So there is no inconsistency inherent in calling the first element of an array element zero.

          The problem is that we use the same words to represent ordinal numbers that we use for measuring locations. We HAVE the option of using different names; we can call the object in location zero the “first” object, using the ordinal name, and there is no confusion. The confusion comes when we get lazy and decide to call the first object “object number 1”, which I think we do mainly because in English our ordinal numbers are awkward, using number names with suffixes that differ according to the number. Which is why I believe we should promote changing all ordinal numbers to use the same suffix, “th”. Oneth, twoth, threeth, fourth, fivth, and so on.


          BTW, I LOVE the bingo chart. Now we can dismiss a comment we disagree with, with a two-character reply.

          1. It is a fact that I never see anybody in industry labeling any widget with a #0. The first object is object #1. No amount of arguing is going to change this hard fact …

            If I have zero widgets, I am not going to label any with with a #0, because I have nothing to label ( I have no widgets, you can’t label empty air ). And nobody labels their first widget with a #0, they label it with a #1 ( which makes things more convenient when counting them really ).

            Widget boxes are not programming arrays, they don’t require the convenience that using the 0 rather than not using it provides when programming. And when programming, you actually have to keep in mind that object 0 is in fact an object, and not the absence of an object. When counting the number of elements in an array, you keep having to use +1 or -1 to go from a position to a count and vice versa.

            This is also not an English thing, I have lived in France, Spain and Belgium and all used the system I describe despite speaking other languages.

          2. I worked at Tektronix, and their serial numbers started with B100000. Which technically isn’t starting with zero, but they specifically did NOT start at B100001. I suspect that they used a 1 in the most significant digit so that they wouldn’t have to deal with computers suppressing leading zeros.

            Since you ignored my explanation of ordinal numbers, I’m ignoring your argument as well.

          3. I was in fact addressing your explanation about ordinal numbers… I address the “zeroth” object, the programming arrays, pretty much everything… not sure what you are on about.

            I also think you are missing the point/original disagreement here ( « If you started at one, then the first object you counted would be object #2.» ).

            #100000 isn’t #0, and while I’ve seen people start invoices or other administrative counting at high numbers like this, I haven’t seen it done for objects personally.
            I’m sure it happens, but I’ve never seen #0 in any place I’ve worked in, and it’s extremely rare in systems I use.

            For the third time, I believe anyone working in industry will agree the overwhelming majority of object labeling setups use #1 for the first object. This is just a fact, and it’s all I was pointing out. I absolutely do not see how anything you have been saying addresses/answers this in any way, so I did answer your point, and it is in fact you not answering mine.

          4. I don’t dispute that people DO that; just that it makes SENSE to do that, aside from the fact that idiot programmers will sometimes reject 0 in places they shouldn’t. Like serial numbers. We don’t always do this – we don’t number buildings that way. The first building on the even side of the street) in the 500 block of X Street is 500 X Street, not 501 X Street. Although I can’t speak for the French or Spanish. Although I will admit I’ve never seen a building whose numbered address is 0.

          5. Also typically in industry when I’ve seen people use numbers higher than #1 for their first object, it wasn’t about leading zeros, but about making sure customers do not realize they are getting early production models, that are more likely to have defects than ones produced after several thousands have been made. #100000 might be a bit too big for this, or not depending on what they are producing. If I get object #101234 I’m not going to assume they started at #100000, and I am less likely to expect I got the 1234th object, therefore being tricked into believing I am getting an object produced with more experience than I really am.

          6. Actually, Tek used 100000 because the first three digits were a series number, so an instrument with a serial number of B100000 is “series 100, instrument #0”. As for why they started with series 100 rather than series 1 or series 0 was almost certainly to ensure that all serial numbers were the same number of digits.

          7. You bring up streets. Building numbers in a street do in fact start at 1 not at 0. I really do not get your argument that “it does not make sense” to do this. If I have a street with 10 houses, the 10th house has number 10, it’s really convenient and great, and if I had to set this up from scratch I would do it exactly the same way… having houses start at 0 would in fact be a hassle… One method has advantages, the other has the opposite, and I haven’t seen you provide actual argument against the first and for the second, that would change this convenience/inconvenience balance…

          8. I have no idea where you live, but buildings in the U.S. are not addressed sequentially, but by their distance from a reference line on a grid. So the first building on a block may be 500, and the next one on the same side of the street may be 512, then 520, and so on, because the resolution of the addressing is higher than the size of the smallest buildings. It is highly irregular to see buildings numbered sequentially.

          9. Tek starting with series 100 and serial number 100000. City blocks starting from 500. You keep providing examples that are not zero, and completely missing that this is an argument about starting counts at non-one values. Actually part of the arguments you present support my position instead of the one this was initially an argument about, I think you might be confused a bit, or very bad at concentrating on providing reasoning that is focused on the actual thing you are trying to demonstrate…

          10. I’m not saying they DO start at zero. I’ve explained multiple times, that using numbers that ARE zero is asking for trouble if a computer is ever going to be given that number. I’m saying that they DON’T have to start at 1, and I’ve given enough examples. I’ve had enough. Consider yourself the winner, because I’m not going to bother any more with this.

          11. If buildings in the US start at 500, then they are unrelated to this conversation and you are confusing the issue by bringing them up. The disagreement here is about 0/1, not large numbers. The fact you keep going to examples of large numbers instead of being able to provide examples related to the actual argument (#0/#1), makes it pretty obvious you don’t actually have arguments to defend your initial position. If you have any, you have been expressing them in a very indirect/confusing way. Can you clearly define exactly how you’d want exactly what things to be counted and what the advantages of that would be? You haven’t been doing that really.

            I live in Europe and street numbers start at 1, as in most of the world as far as I know. You say US buildings can be numbered 500, that’s true with *any* numbering system and is pretty much irrelevant… what would help your point is if any was numbered #0. Is there any? I doubt it.

          12. You’ve tried to bring the conversation into talking about large numbers, but that is not what the conversation was initially about, and it is not anything I care about.

            You initially said something about where to start ( 0/1/2 etc ), and I was answering that. If you want to have a second conversation about #100000, that’s a *different* conversation, and not one I have any interrest in.

            Let me remind you, you said: « When you count objects, you always start at zero. Zero is the number of objects before you count any. If you started at one, then the first object you counted would be object #2. ». I was answering this, and you keep either failing to provide arguments to support this initial position, or answering completely different positions.

            I guess completely failing to address the argument, answering a completely different and irrelevant argument, and then after a while saying you’ve had enough, is one way to go about avoiding providing arguments to support your initial position …

          13. If anyone has made it this far….

            GNU Octave and Matlab indices were defined by chemical engineers, who like to balance chemical reactions, and don’t think a lot about homeomorphic mappings between countably infinite groups.

          14. « GNU Octave and Matlab indices were defined by chemical engineers, who like to balance chemical reactions, and don’t think a lot about homeomorphic mappings between countably infinite groups. »

            I can’t say if this is a joke or if you are seriously taking this argument 50 times further away from the actual discution we were having than we were already. You already were completely missing the point going on about large numbers when this was a conversation about where to start counting, but now this sentence has zero link to what were were talking about originally, I have zero idea what is happening in your mind.

            I guess this is one way of trying to hide the fact you don’t actually have arguments to support your preferred method of starting counts, completely missing the point on purpose ( or at least not taking care to check if you are hitting the point or not, missing it out of laziness/lack of honesty )

          15. Ooops, didn’t see that it was “e” answering, and not “BrightBlueJim”. Still complete nonsense and irrelevant to the conversation it is answering, as far as I can tell though…

  13. Congratulations on your milestone.

    Of course you’d probably be at 10,000,000 by now if you didn’t hire so many editors who take a perverse joy in pissing off readers enough that they never return.

    1. or had a comment system that was actually functional… In the same time as HaD my local car club has had more than 10M, and the site us Aussies use to discuss ISPs has had about 60M…

  14. “Editor’s note: Elliot totally cheated. He wrote a script to pull down the number of posts continually, and post a comment when the counter hit 999,999. “

    I’m sure you just gave someone the idea to write a script to submit 999,999 more comments so someone’s can claim they submitted coment number 2,000,000.

    1. The part that I feel a bit of guilt about: the ability to count and post comments through the WP API requires edit privs on the site. Only one of the editors could have pulled this off.

      (Though to be honest, if Mike weren’t on vacation yesterday, I would have expected him to do the same, and then it would have been a fair fight.)

      Also for the record, I was out running errands when the script triggered. I came home and there were like a million and twenty comments. I was sweating bricks counting backwards through the list, but it worked. :)

      As for the bot to post another million… please, no! We’ve been through a few comment spam attacks before, and it’s just a lot of manual work, clicking the “delete” button. Yuck.

    2. I can see this becoming a problem, even without the malicious script: if HaD were to get really, REALLY popular, there could be enough comments to the post about the two millionth comment to trigger a post about the three millionth comment, and so on.

      Here’s a thought: maybe we can weaponize this to defeat the singularity. Doesn’t hurt to be prepared.

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