What makes a website interesting? For me, it’s some combination of:
- Well-written, accurate, engaging content; and
- A sense of novelty, exploring things that most sites don’t look at.
From Sturgeon’s Law, we can predict that 90% of websites fail #1. But even after filtering those out, many popular sites with professional editors still fail #2. The front page of the New York Times is all too predictable.
To find more interesting sites, I downloaded the Hacker News archives, ranked all of the domains by score, and then filtered out “mainstream” sites that already get lots of traffic (the New York Times, Reuters, Wikipedia, etc.). I then picked out the top 50,000. Since a list of domain names is kind of opaque, I then also picked a random story from each site, and added its title and a link.
Since I used Hacker News as a source, many of the sites are about software, but a fair number are not. Here are a few random links that go into other fields:
- The Octo-Bouncer
- The Mathematics of Music
- An-225 Mriya is the world’s largest aircraft
- Japanese Toilets: The Future Called 30 Years Ago
- Why We Don’t Believe In Facts, And How To Fix That
- NASA Mars Rover Opportunity Reveals Geological Mystery
- The Ocean Cleanup
- The Case Against Octopus Farming
- What happens when you try to publish a failure to replicate
- Chemistry of Cast Iron Seasoning
Here is the full list as a PDF:
Here is the data in Google Sheets:
Is the list in the pdf sorted by popularity or is it random? PDF isn’t the easiest format to parse online, especially from mobile. Any way you could put it into a plain text format like pastebin, or a google sheet, or something?
List is sorted by total karma of the given domain. Sorry, WordPress wouldn’t let me upload HTML, but I’ll try posting it in Google Sheets.