More and more I find myself writing posts specifically towards the YC Community. YCers really bring a lot of good thought and conversation so there is no harm there.
One of the most common questions on YC (and reddit) regards search, or the lack of it. I think that we don’t have search on YC for one of 2 reasons.
1 . Cost. I’m not talking about the cost to develop a search feature. I am talking about the cost of upvoting a post on YCNews.
Every time you upvote a story on YC the story is saved for you. This is a great little feature, but each time you add something to the saved list it becomes a little harder or takes a little longer to find an article you previously saved.
I see this as a cost of voting up an article. On reddit or digg there is no cost or association with voting an article up or down. When something is reliant upon that vote you give things a little more though, at least I do. I look at upvoting as saving an article that I will want to find later.
Why am I thinking about this? When there is a cost associated with voting you get more quality and less sensationalism. With the ShelfMade project there is a much higher cost to upvote. In fact we don’t even call it upvoting.
When you read an article online that you want to include in your magazine, you click a button on the site, we save the article and that article is printed in your next magazine. Our homepage features the most popular articles not based on votes, but upon shelves – how many people are including this in their magazine. There is a real cost here.
First of all there is a limit to the number of pages that you can have in each magazine. From the hundreds of great articles online everyday, our users can choose only a handful for each magazine. Additionally, the user will pay for each magazine, so there is a real monetary value associated with each article shelved.
The most popular list is a tool to find articles, not the focus of the site. We hope that this cost for upvoting/shelving articles brings more worthwhile content forward. If the user has to pay, no matter how little, then our front page should feature some really great posts. I think the voting and saving correlation on YC has improved the quality of the front page. There is no reason that I would want to save a funny picture or video (except that I Like Turtles kid) in my YC account.
Could this be the reason that we don’t have search, to make the saved list more valuable and decrease cheap upvotes?
2. Or maybe they just don’t want to build the search.