Just apply if you don't get accepted then you know that YC isn't interested, maybe someone else is.
Why do I need to sign up to start reading?
The page IS stunning, but it takes a long time to load.
Instead of a feedback form, have you considered just having a next page button?
The site was designed primarily as a reader feedback mechanism (not simply reading -- which for one page just isn't that fun), and we want to ensure that people who provide feedback are committed to having an identity on the site -- which at a minimum requires a display name and an email address. Same goes for HN and Twitter... you cannot post without an account. Just like those communities, we want to know who is part of our community.
Thanks for taking time to respond here!