They picked up a comment that I made on HN about a friend of mine at Yahoo. They picked up my one comment, and turned it into two articles about Yahoo's attitude towards the Microsoft merger. They also posted information that personally identified my friend as the source of the information.
Granted, it was my mistake to begin with in posting that here, but I tried to make it right. PG edited the offending comment for me, and I wrote Valleywag asking them to remove the identifying information for fear that my friend might loose his job in the upcoming layoffs.
Not only did they not remove the identifiying information, but they were really nasty to me about the entire affair and I though needlessly hurtful.
My friend did get laid off. I don't know if it had anything to do with the article or not, however. I don't think it did, and either way, he's doing rather well for himself consulting.
So, while I do have some issues about quality of the content over at Valleywag; I have bigger issues about the editorial process there. If they can take a random post from an online forum and turn it into two articles about Yahoo's attitude towards Microsoft in the takeover process, all of their content is suspect in my opinion.
My opinion is that the majority of their content has a gossip rag/tabloid feel to it, and I would love to see that removed from the Hacker News listing. I see no reason to reward their trollishness with traffic from Hacker News, even if 15-20 people vote up a post linking to them.
I have made many comments about my experiences, but in "loud mouth restaurant mode", without names and places. Isn't that one of the purposes of this board, to learn and share with each other?
I often wonder if a sleuth" went through my posts, they could figure out names, dates, and issues. I'm not sure what they would do with that, but your experience, along with with HN's increasing popularity, gives one food for thought.
Yeah. There's a lot of players in the tech world that lurk on this site, even if they don't post. I mean, Arrington, D Shah, P Buchheit and obviously PG post fairly frequently. I'm sure that O'Reilly has someone lurking here, if not reading Hacker news himself. I have no doubt that a number of angel investors and VC's read up on HN users just to find out what's bubbling among the next group of founders.
Paul early on said that one of the reasons that he made the site was to be able to get to know founders and applicants and have a bit of reference material before they apply. I'd guess it has at least a little bearing on their YC application screening. I could be wrong.
All that to say, is... Post intelligent, well reasoned comments and interesting articles. Avoid trolls and flame-baiting. Avoid posting things that you might regret later. People are reading what you post.
I sincerely hope this does not turn into a common practice. Making decisions like forcing censorship due to an ideological difference of opinion is an extremely dangerous road to come to.
And I hate Valleywag.