Thanks for thinking through that! Yes, I'd had a similar though not as fully-formed idea, but was stuck on distinguishing stdout from return value in the examples. But yeah, that's overthinking it -- we have to mentally parse the two at the repl anyway.
Only other quibble: a string isn't very nice to read next to code, even if it looks nice at the repl. Hmm..
Maybe we should make an auto scraper/notifier? Though iirc, the arc server doesn't really appreciate frequent queries. On closer look, it should be fine; the default throttle window should be 10s. It could query once a minute, and update an rss feed for arc forum posts and comments. Or provide webhook + email support.
I actually built one back in the day: http://akkartik.name/post/2011-05-13-05-47-29-soc. Trouble was, it kept getting banned/blocked even when I scaled back to crawl HN every five minutes. Eventually I was crawling so infrequently that I was missing stories that dropped off /newest in the meantime, so I stopped crawling.
I actually had an arc version for a brief period, but it didn't seem like there was as much need for it here. But perhaps the email notifications would be useful. I'll see if I can bring it back.
 I was certain I'd showed it here, but no I only showed it over email to a couple of folks. I really should bring it back just so y'all can look at it. Or at least locate the (rails) sources.