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LOL just got kicked out of @ycombinator (twitter.com/paulbiggar)
1041 points by bqe 16 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 588 comments



The person who the original tweet was referring to (it's not private; they admitted it), just tweeted a GIF about "witnessing karma".

https://twitter.com/Prafulfillment/status/140093402468041523...

EDIT: Reply on HN by the author: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27400221


>they admitted it

He's now denying that he instructed others on how to skip the line, although it's not really that clear of a denial.


The post specifically told others how to skip the line, which was lying about their profession to say they were one that was qualified but that then people on site couldn’t prove.


Where can I see this? Did the OP make a screenshot?


The parenthetical is more to indicate the comment isn't doxxing/a witch hunt.


It has a real "snitches get stiches" vibe to it.

You have no expectation of privacy if you announce (let alone advocate for, or instruct how-to) behaviour against public health policy _during_a_pandemic_.

The contrast with people who have been working hard to match people with appointments couldn't be more stark.


It does indeed have that vibe, and irrespective of what actually happened - it makes him look bad.

If he was indeed talking about inappropriately skipping the line, then this guy is a bad actor. But I should point out that we don't have any idea - the situation could have been very misrepresented - and he could have done nothing wrong.

But given the public information ... this Tweet is going to come of 'Snitches Get Stitches' in a 'lacking in self awareness' kind of way, as opposed to the 'I was slandered and misrepresented publicly, and that can be very damaging, I'm glad this issue is behind us" kind of way.

Why are adults in the US using Twitter/GIF memes instead of finding thoughtful and mature ways of communicating this stuff? I don't like this evolution.


> Why are adults in the US using Twitter/GIF memes instead of finding thoughtful and mature ways

This way they evoke more emotion, so, more of the unthinking (feeling-based) approval: retweets, reposts, just being remembered. When it's funny, it makes people happier along the way, when it's angry, it may make people also feel anger, but a righteous, just anger.

It's a potent drug which is very hard to stop taking recreationally, and also for a just cause. Not as a poster, but most importantly as a reader.


Memes pack more information and context into less content.

We're basically going through a mini printing press style communications revolution right now.

Before (say 1999) you had print which was cheap and audiovisual which was expensive/time consuming. Now thanks to tech audiovisual content is something the masses can use to communicate and it's affecting culture greatly.


'Images' can communicate some things, like emotions, in a better way.

But 'memes' are things which are pushed onto situation that probably call for more nuance i.e. 80% of the 'Karen' memes I see are not actually 'Karen' memes.

But they don't necessarily communicate 'more' information, and more often than not, they're just used to put an emotive 'playround' spin on something. If the issue is important, words are almost always a better choice.

Irrespective of what happened, a GIF response to something semi-serious I think is bad form. If people aspire to assume responsibility for some important thing ... like processing payments ... then they can assume responsibility for making basic, conscientious communications.


I almost agree. I think it's not information and context that's being packed, it's emotional load.

As any writer or poet knows, words are handles to emotions. Choose a slightly different word, and your readers will tend to feel very differently after reading a line containing, otherwise, the same information. It's a wetware equivalent of RPC API.

Memes are this, but taken up to 11. They transmit a much more complex and powerful emotional payload, in readily digestible form.

Like in this case, I could write a whole paragraph listing the kind of emotions that little GIF communicated. Calm distancing, depreciation, disrespect, feeling safe, ... Written out as words, it wouldn't fit in a Tweet, and wouldn't be as powerful a message.


“Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra.”


Almost. Tamarians were using references to shared cultural stories. Many, but not all, memes work like that. This meme is of a different kind - it packs emotional payload mostly directly, with only a reference to a simple activity and related concept (popcorn + Internet drama).

Put another way, if you consider a story to be a collection of handles (in programming sense, like a pointer) to concepts and emotions, then Tamarians communicate by speaking handles to stories. That's one level of indirection extra over this meme, which itself is a (simple) story - a collection of handles to concepts and emotions.


I kind of miss the old days when I could go through life without ever knowing that some guy in North Carolina got in a fight with his brother-in-law over a borrowed lawnmower. My solution is to stay off social media altogether.


It's hard to pack thoughtful and mature communication into 280 characters.


Postscript: the person in question states that this was an open site with no restrictions, and I am pleased to read that. However, it is still unclear if this was because of a special campaign to reach at risk populations (like undocumented people) and I can't help but think there was a naive element of playing the system here.

Regardless, they or YC should have addressed this publically at the time, rather than waiting and staying silent. The YC brand is damaged because we don't know if they acted ethically, or enforced the omerta. Everyone's reputation is taking an acid bath because of unclear communication.


It increases my respect for YC knowing that they would kick a member out of the club for airing another's dirty laundry.


At this point in the US, anyone who wants to get a vaccine can get one. That makes getting it a personal choice.

Then you have this person try to damage Ycombinator because one of their founders spoke internally about the matter. Absolutely tactless. You'd expect future founders to be able to consider potential repercussions for biting the hand that's serving them.


Why would alleged poor behavior among a handful of YC founders damage its reputation, unless it’s either endorsed by YC leadership or widespread enough that it’s unfortunately representative?

If anything, criticism of poor behavior within the cohort would reflect well on a culture that values sharp contrarian takes and productive disruption.

Or at least, it could...


>At this point in the US, anyone who wanted to get a vaccine can get one.

Pretty sure when this actually happened, vaccines were not actually open to anyone that just wanted one.


that site was well known locally at the time to accept anyone who walked up


Perhaps... But perhaps not everybody was supposed to go walk up in the first place: https://twitter.com/SarahBelleLin/status/1370071520953835520

Bingo. He uses the announcement of vaccines opening up to all in May as "proof" that it was allowed, but I can't see anything in the announcement that indicates that.


> At this point in the US, anyone who wants to get a vaccine can get one. That makes getting it a personal choice.

But since this all happened in March, when not anyone who wanted to get the vaccine could get any, your comment is irrelevant.


"Try to damage Ycombinator"... How?


It's a divisive political topic, and he associated an individual post made on an internal Ycombinator forum with Ycombinator itself. Comments of individuals don't represent the company, and by framing it like he did, he publicly dragged Ycombinator right into the middle of a contentious political debate.


That's like saying students at a university don't represent the university, and yet they do and don't, both in the eyes of the people and the institution. It's difficult to say how attribution will be finally concluded in society, no?

In this case the relationship between member and institution is even tighter, and the desperation of sink or swim is more palpable.


All I've been hearing on HN for the last 6 years is how so many things are inherently political, that to not act is to condone, and that organizations should be made to take a stand by their employees/students/passers-by. Why does YC get an exception?


I don't know how you missed the many comments saying the opposite.


Because we'd have to change bookmarked websites apparently.


It's like these two people are competing for the worst self-own. From what I can tell (and the communications on this are very confusing), Biggar goes after Prafulfillment without having his facts straight enough to avoid issuing a nearly immediate correction. Then when Biggar gets canned, Prafulfillment gloats in a way that draws attention to their identity, without clarifying what actually happened, leaving Biggar's version as the only account of events. Additional tidbits of information are coming out, mainly in responses to responses to tweets... but this is a ridiculous way to conduct public relations.


> Prafulfillment gloats in a way that draws attention to their identity, without clarifying what actually happened, leaving Biggar's version as the only account of events. Additional tidbits of information are coming out...

Tidbits which, AFAICS, slowly tilt the balance back over in favour of Biggar having been more right than wrong: https://twitter.com/SarahBelleLin/status/1370071520953835520


Nice to see that everyone involved are definitely fully grown adults.


The submitted title was "Y Combinator kicks out Paul Biggar over a tweet". That is inaccurate, so in keeping with the HN guidelines ("Please use the original title, unless it is misleading or linkbait; don't editorialize." https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html), I've replaced the title with the tweet text. That's the standard thing we do with titles, when people post Twitter links.

Much as I'd love to, it's not my place to say why the original title was inaccurate, so I'll just remind you all that there are two or more sides to every story and not everything on Twitter is true.

In keeping with the rule that we moderate HN less, not more, when YC or a YC startup is involved (https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&qu...), I'm not doing anything else to the submission. Normally, of course, we'd downweight this sort of petty drama.


I think your post could have not included:

“Much as I'd love to, it's not my place to say why the original title was inaccurate, so I'll just remind you all that there are two or more sides to every story and not everything on Twitter is true.”

And “Normally, of course, we would downweight this sort of petty drama.” And could have avoided unhelpful conflict in the threads below. You sort of threw your opinion out without expressing it outright.

For what it is worth I have no opinion either way and generally agree this sort of post should be downweighted.


I hear you, but both of those sentences are there for a reason. Without the first I'd be getting lots of "how is it inaccurate?" responses, and without the second I'd be getting protests about moderation practices. My intention was to give enough information (I'm not saying it's a lot) to preempt avalanches of predictable objections. I'm sure I could have done it better, though, because this was far from what Scott and I used to call a "splash-free dive".


I appreciate that this is probably a no win situation. Thanks as always for doing your best and keeping this community healthy.


There isn't a loss. There is nothing wrong with adding some sass to the comment if the moderator hat comes off. It'd be unreasonable to expect him to turn a blind eye to a situation where he has more at stake and better information than 80% of the comments.

Dan's opinion is only different from the average HN commentor because it leads to people being banned. As long as there is a careful separation of personal opinion from an official moderator view there isn't anything to take note of from one personal opinion.


I meant more that no matter what was said, someone would take offense.


You could just say “As there is a conflict of interest, I will not comment on the substance of this tweet.”


But that's not the reason and wouldn't be true.

There's another aspect too: I try to avoid being a bloodless ghoul in communicating with this community. People here don't want stiff corporate pantomimes, and that suits me fine, because I would hate to do that; or rather I can't because my body would reject it. That's an old Willie Brown line btw.


I would like to hear the other side of the story. I understand that dang is not the best person to tell us, but maybe there's someone else?


As a moderator of YC’s forum, you have a conflict of interest. That’s an objective fact.

Saying there is a conflict of interest is not saying that you actually feel conflicting motives. I’m not casting any doubt on that. The mere appearance of a conflict is sufficient, in typical circumstances where legal definitions are required.

Recognizing that the (appearance of) a conflict of interest exists and respecting it would go a heck of a lot further in garnering trust, IMHO.


I think we may have crossed signals somehow because I'm certainly not denying any of that—it's obvious and the community is well aware of it. Respect for the delicate conditions under which the HN community, the HN moderators, and YC interface with each other informs everything about how we moderate HN, as anyone who reads my comment history will find. You can look at https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&so... and https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&qu... for examples if you (or anyone) cares.

What I don't respect so much is Twitter drama and misleading rhetoric. To the extent that readers care about this at all, they should get to hear both sides of the story so they could make up their minds for themselves. But it's not my call, so I don't get to go there this time.

More interestingly perhaps, I think it would be a big mistake, for community relations, to hide behind bureaucratic language about this stuff (e.g. "as there is a conflict of interest, I will not comment"). HN readers aren't used to that. They're used to getting the inside story and to feeling personally connected to the people who run HN and to some extent YC. To flip a switch and suddenly turn that off when something like this happens would send all the wrong signals. My commitment to people here is to tell them as much as I can about whatever they're curious to know, and to interact with them as a human, not as a corporate role. That's what I meant by "bloodless ghoul" - I apologize if that wasn't clear - my language maybe gets more colorful late at night.


Are you claiming you do not have a conflict of interest here?


No not at all. I'm saying that it's not the reason why I couldn't comment further.

The conflict of interest (I'm not sure that's the most precise term here, but I'll go with it) is obvious, everyone's aware of it, and it doesn't normally (nor should it) stop me from sharing information with the community. HN readers are curious, generally like more information rather than less, and are smart enough to make up their own minds. And although you can call it a conflict, actually just sharing what's happening is a way to build trust with readers.

The difference in this case was not any of that—it's just that it's not my call what YC does or doesn't publish about its internal affairs, so I don't get to share information like I normally would. I don't like that; my comfort zone is, like I said, to tell HN readers whatever relevant information I can and let them decide for themselves. That has worked well over the years and continues to. But other people have different jobs and need to make decisions from different perspectives.


The actual difference between the bloodless "conflict of interest" and the line you did use to explain the title change is of course that the latter implies that this was not why Biggar was expelled, i.e. that there was some other reason -- "he had it coming anyway, it's just that I can't say precisely why."

Since you're not stupid we have to assume you knew very well that this was what you were saying, so we have to conclude you said exactly that because exactly that was what you wanted to say.


But then he couldn't subtly minimize or delegitimize it.


Be kind. Don't be snarky. Have curious conversation; don't cross-examine. Please don't fulminate. Please don't sneer, including at the rest of the community.

Any HN user should most definitely be applying this rule on Dang of all people. He deals with a lot of shit on here.


Well he basically admitted it. But if y’all want to suck him off, fine. This place is overrated anyway.


I didn't think I was being particularly subtle, though it seems I may have buried the lede.


> Much as I'd love to, it's not my place to say why the original title was inaccurate, so I'll just remind you all that there are two or more sides to every story and not everything on Twitter is true.

You've always been a fantastic moderator, dang. To be honest, it's not your place to say anything on the matter publicly, especially not an insinuating comment such as that. The conditions of separation are private. A company can create pretext and other excuses as to why they separate with someone. The only conclusive answer is that there is no conclusive answer here, and there probably never will be unless OP takes legal action.

I think this won't be the first time that a techie underdog goes up against the YC crowd and is shut down by ridicule, legalese, and other platitudes. It's important to not censor those folks, and also important to not try and publicly denounce them in the way that you have. It will only work against YC. The underdog will always have something more interesting to say than the company. They will bide their time and come together. It's best for the company and its constituents to not comment on the matter at all, or post provocative content that encourages uncivil discourse.

I've seen a lot of YC companies doing this to their employees. I think it's going to backfire in a really ugly way in a few years.


> Much as I'd love to, it's not my place to say why the original title was inaccurate, so I'll just remind you all that there are two or more sides to every story and not everything on Twitter is true.

This reads a bit like "not to be that guy, but...". You won't say why for some reason, but clearly it's not to stay out of it because you're letting innuendo do the job.

Alternative suggestion: "That is inaccurate but it's not my place to elaborate." It would still express the point but avoid reinforcing the circle the wagons/"blue wall of silence"ness of this situation.


I don't see that alternative formulation as so different really?

I'm sure you have a good point, I'm just not sure how to do it better. I needed to give enough of an explanation to satisfy people's curiosity at least a little bit even though I can't satisfy it for real. I also needed to make sure that my comment had enough information in it to answer (let's say) the top 10 obvious objections, or it would have brought a flood of them down on my head.


>not everything on Twitter is true

>I'm sure you have a good point. I'm just not sure how to do it better.

Probably without the allusion that the tweeter isn't telling the truth, to be blunt.


To say that the submitted title was inaccurate is already to say that.


I don't think the inaccurate title has much to do with the added color that the tweet could be a lie


You can't satisfy the people who don't want to be satisfied.


I think you are unwittingly coloring your words, likely because you are frustrated by this post (it's petty drama you want to downvote but policy says you can't, and you have inside information you can't share). This is like subtle apophasis, where you're implying that the tweeter (wow that sounds so weird) is on the wrong side.

I'm not taking sides here, despite being a YC alum (alternate account) I stopped looking at the forum forever ago and had not even heard about this nor do I care, honestly I just thought it'd be fun to read some drama on HN since it's so rare here.

I think enough other people are commenting on this to suggest it's not just me. I think you mean well, but none of us are unbiased. It seems like a no-win situation though. So it goes.


Unwittingly? That's fightin words.


Please adhere to hacker news guidelines https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


Sorry! I meant it in a nice way, though of course that may not have come across.


This is all petty personal drama that shouldn’t be a thread in the first place. Being concerned due to unspecified assumptions is less than wonderful.


Honest question, since I’ve seen the situation come up before: Would you be willing to modify the title of any post to be ‘accurate’ based on non-public information, without making that information public?

If so, how does one make that request, and what would the process look like?

There have been a few titles I knew to be extremely misleading or false, but never thought there was a way to rectify it without publicly providing information I wasn’t able to share openly.


It would depend on the specific circumstances, but I can imagine doing that, or perhaps there would be something else we could do that was better; it's hard to say in general, because cases like that are always very specific. We'd want to explain as much to the community as we could without harmful side-effects, but if someone's safety or privacy is at risk, I'm comfortable telling the community so, and I'm confident that the bulk of this community would respect that.

In such situations the thing to do is email hn@ycombinator.com.


This is a really disappointing answer. I know, I know discussing moderation here is frowned upon... but come on. You’re basically saying there’s a secondary set of rules that are decided and disclosed arbitrarily.

It’s your choice how to moderate, I don’t have any expectation or illusion of a right to use this platform. But can you understand how this creates ambiguity for people who don’t know what the rules ultimately are, and how it creates huge openings for people to cry foul when there’s nothing unusual?

Wouldn’t it be better to refine the rules and disclosure when gaps arise, so everyone is participating in the same system?


If you think that moderating a system as complex as HN can be reduced to a single set of unambiguous formal rules, you're profoundly mistaken. I can understand how that could be disappointing, but what's disappointing you is reality, because that's impossible.

Also: discussing moderation is frowned upon? Where'd you get that idea? I've posted 50,000 comments discussing moderation with HN users (not to mention...checking...24,000 emails, apparently). I'm not saying it's my favorite thing to do, but nobody's frowning upon it. Perhaps you were thinking of the guideline asking people not to go on about getting downvoted?

There's simply no way to avoid judgment calls, interpretation, and general messes, and I'm not into pretending otherwise. The best we can offer is to answer any questions people have, and that I'm pretty diligent about.


> If you think that moderating a system as complex as HN can be reduced to a single set of unambiguous formal rules, you're profoundly mistaken.

I’m not saying it can be reduced to that. I’m saying it’s disappointing that the resolution to that is a side channel where decisions are made privately and have no way to resolve generally. This is especially a problem for you, as you field tens of thousands of things that may be similar but might not be equally convincing in private. It’s also a problem for you as people are understandably going to wonder what those private decisions entail.

> Also: discussing moderation is frowned upon? Where'd you get that idea? I've posted 50,000 comments discussing moderation with HN users (not to mention...checking...24,000 emails, apparently). I'm not saying it's my favorite thing to do, but nobody's frowning upon it. Perhaps you were thinking of the guideline asking people not to go on about getting downvoted?

I’m thinking of several instances seeing people who were concerned about moderation decisions being directed to email rather than the discussion in public.

> There's simply no way to avoid judgment calls, interpretation, and general messes, and I'm not into pretending otherwise. The best we can offer is to answer any questions people have, and that I'm pretty diligent about.

You are! You’re beyond diligent and I don’t know you but sometimes I see your attention to HN threads and hope you’re not burning out. My disappointment isn’t about you making a judgment call. My disappointment is that you made a side channel available for private judgment calls that might not be disclosed, both because that creates separate rules for people who do or don’t have access to it, and because it creates an opportunity for people to imagine things that might be private and create alternative narratives.


> Wouldn’t it be better to refine the rules and disclosure when gaps arise, so everyone is participating in the same system?

I don’t agree with this. I think this idea works in computing systems and thus at least programmers are inclined to think in this fashion, however I don’t believe this is how every other framework functions, e.g., the UK legal system which is largely down to interpretation (and IANAL).


I’m not looking at this from the perspective of law, I’m looking at it from the perspective of judgment that’s partly secret and unknowable.

HN already has a reputation for skewed moderation (certain sites are pre-banned, posting them pre-flags subsequent posts). Making it explicitly something exceptional without any way for people to know what the exception is... again creates a separate set of rules and a basis for people to air unfounded objections.

If HN wants to be Fight Club fine but I’m happy to be on record opposing that so long as I can.


Any kind of working moderation system is going to have a certain level of "we have to play it by ear" or else it gets overrun by rules lawyers playing to the word and not the spirit of imposed rules.


I wasn’t objecting to playing it by ear. I was objecting to committing to doing so and keeping it arbitrary.

Edit so I can hopefully make the spirit of my own complaint more clear: my puppy is defiant and stubborn and clever and a big doofus. Rules are a living document and they get revised all the time. If I communicate them and my expectations we grow together and move on to the next misunderstanding with some grace and patience. If I just decide that the rules change without saying what they are, I’m setting my pup up for failure and myself up for her resentment and an inclination to impose more strictness that she won’t understand.


In that case I don't think we're so far apart. I wasn't "just deciding" to arbitrarily change things. Someone asked me how we'd handle a particular kind of rare situation and I answered based on established practice.

In fact, if you read my comment closely, it's not hard to discern what the principles are: (1) being transparent with the community, (2) protecting people's safety and privacy, (3) if there's a conflict between (1) and (2), then (2) wins.


This comment came while I was writing my last response but I want to say, thank you this is clarifying and helps a lot.


If so, wouldn't that be vulnerable to an attack where we make submissions enumerating claims and observe which ones get modified? :)


My main confusion from the title was trying to figure out who "Lol" was and why "Lol" got kicked out.

Took me a few minutes to realize it was LOL.


Well that nuance certainly escaped me. I suppose we can safely capitalize LOL in accordance with the site guidelines :)


It's only ethical that anyone who writes LOL should also actually Laugh Out Loud, otherwise it would be deceptive. Same thing for ROFL.


I read it and thought somehow League of Legends was part of YC.


There is an 'in' crowd, for which the rules protect but don't constrain, and an 'out' crowd for which the rules constrain but do not protect.

I'm paraphrasing.


Literally you’re the top comment, and it’s not a short one, and it expresses personal thoughts. Good job doing less not more.


I thought it was perfectly reasonable. "Less" doesn't mean "zero", and in the normal case this story would be downweighted way off the front page.


I certainly didn't intend it to be the top comment; that was entirely by upvotes.


You know what they say about the road to hell and it’s paving material.


Getting kicked out of ycombinator is petty drama?


That twitter fest is, as is telegraphed by the "LOL" in the title. Also, to be fair, the puerile GIF that the other side responded with, and ought not to have.


[flagged]


FWIW, I think that was probably because your comment was unsubstantive enough that it was unclear what you meant, which probably put it in a worst-case situation. Also, unsubstantiveness attracts downvotes in its own right, especially when it contains traces of snark. Also, your account has quite a history of posting unsubstantive comments—could you please not do that? We're trying for something different here.

https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html


We can set aside my history and focus on the simple point being made: labeling this issue as "petty drama" speaks volumes. It speaks volumes about you and the values you are espousing for this site and community, and reflects poorly upon YCombinator as an establishment in general.

In early March we were at a point in a global pandemic where vaccines were hard to come by in the US and real lives were at risk and changed by receipt of the vaccine.

That it is simply "petty drama" that someone is calling out the community for ejecting him over being repulsed by behavior that seeks to sidestep a good-faith system intent on helping those most at risk first is disgusting.

How's that. Is that substantive? I figured it was between the lines.


I don't think it's "petty" (to use dang's wording) because the underlying issue ("cheating" to get a vaccine) is petty. You're right - the underlying issue is serious.

It's "petty" because the discussion isn't about the underlying issue, the discussions is about someone claiming that they were kicked out of YC for posting to Twitter about someone else posting about skipping the line to a separate internal forum. That's very far removed from the underlying issue of vaccines, and brings in so many other topics into play, many of which are just not best reasoned about in this kind of forum (e.g. is the tweeter telling the truth? If they are, was it ok that they publicly tweeted about something from an internal forum? Did they first approach the original posted? etc.)

Much as you or I might like the discussion to be "Does YC condone lying/cheating to get the vaccine early", that's just not the topic we can actually answer here, since we have no access to the real underlying facts (and probably only one side speaking).

That is what to my mind makes this issue "petty", not the seriousness of the subject matter.


By the time something goes through this many twitterfilters, whatever non-petty quality it may have had to begin with has long been boiled away. It has become a self-licking ice cream cone of internet drama—something that certainly deserves the word 'petty'. Moreover, there was a long history of pettiness preceding this.

We can't set aside your history because (a) you've been breaking the site guidelines repeatedly and (b) we've asked you repeatedly not to do that in the past. If you wouldn't mind reviewing https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and taking the intended spirit of the site more to heart, we'd be grateful.


Yeah, I understand you don't want to set it aside in general which is fine. I was only requesting you set it aside to entertain what I was saying in the above comment.

And sure, happy to review the guidelines, all prior points aside.

Though to be clear, the problems of this community go deep when a moderator is dismissing this kind of serious issue as petty drama.


Ah ok—I get your first point now and I respect that you disagree on the second. Thanks for the kind reply.


> “petty drama” speaks volumes

Big time agree here. The comment was substantive and succinct. Saying it was “petty drama” in the top comment sets a tone for the convo.


>Saying it was “petty drama” in the top comment sets a tone for the convo.

Top comment is the top comment because it was voted to the top. One doesn't say anything in a top comment; one says something in a comment which may become the top comment.


'dang may have pinned the comment to the top to make clear that he had changed the submitted title to the tweet and be open that he had done so. From what I've observed, pinning comments in this case isn't uncommon.

Edit to add: as 'Nicksil kindly pointed out, 'dang made clear he didn't do this in this case.


>'dang may have pinned the comment to the top to make clear that he had changed the submitted title to the tweet and be open that he had done so.

But he hadn't as was said in this very thread:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27401409


Ah, cheers! I stand corrected.


Any post that challenges dang will likely get voted down. This is normal given his position and it's the price of admission (see my other reply to his post). People also rarely vote on how substantive your post is but on whether they agree with it or not. It's not in the spirit of HN to do this but you really can't control human behavior and people do this without being fully aware of it.

Due to how human voting behavior sort of deviates from the spirit of HN, it's a good excuse to have some people moderate the site as having an emotional mob control everything could have the entire site turn into reddit. The problem is the people moderating the site are also human and also victims of their own biases and business interests so you get hella sketchy stuff like this pinned post.

Still it's sorta good that this post wasn't outright deleted.


> "Any post that challenges dang will likely get voted down."

While this may be the case, the comment you reply to is a particularly poor example on which to hang this comment. It's a snarky, insubstantive insinuation, regardless of whom it's in response to, and was edited to complain about downvotes.

> "Still it's sorta good that this post wasn't outright deleted."

It's likely it wasn't flagged and removed because it was in response to 'dang, as he is generally leaves responses to his comments in place even when they're quite bad, even if he doesn't follow-up with a reply in what I take to be added transparency.


Oh don't worry, not complaining about downvotes. Just baffled that the community stands by that characterization of the issue at hand. Plays into crummy stereotypes about the tech community and their general naivety regarding social issues / norms (or perhaps worse, apathy?).

It's neither snarky nor insubstantive. It gets straight to the heart of the issue in few words. It does speak volumes. Few words can given context and choice.


The thread is a shitshow of bluster, vague accusations, mob down voting and carefully selected facts on both sides but it's interesting that it is still possible to piece together what actually happened by reading a selection of the comments from both sides.

My impression is that one side is slightly more keen on obscuring the full facts than the other without outright giving the impression that that is what they are doing.


It's good it wasn't deleted, but disappointing that he winds up editorializing it with his quip.

I've come to not expect much more from HackerNews. Sometimes http://n-gate.com/ is the best summary one can ask for.


Wow, that's certainly a faster way to read HN! :-D

Thanks!


> Normally, of course, we'd downweight this sort of petty drama.

Down weight? So you guys internally pick and choose topics to weight down? I thought HN was purely community driven with only comments being moderated.

Of course on the surface you guys say you only downweight petty drama but I truly wonder if that's actually true. The fact that you guys downweight anything without trusting the community makes me question how fair, balanced and unbiased things are on HN.

Additionally the person who this tweet was about posted here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27400221 and it doesn't seem like drama. It seems like injustice and misinterpretation and stubborn refusal. His only option is to appeal to the public but of course YC has to color it with their bias.

It really looks like he was kicked out over a tweet from his perspective. Getting kicked out of YC may seem petty to YC but it is not petty to the person who was kicked out. Even Dang calling this kind of thing "petty drama" does unparalleled damage to his reputation.

The right way to deal with this is not to touch this post and let paul make blog post or something and see if the community votes it up on HN.


> I thought HN was purely community driven with only comments being moderated

I'm not sure I buy that, given how long you've been around HN and how much of the last 8 years I've spent explaining how HN is moderated. But FWIW, HN is a curated site, and always has been; there has never been any claim otherwise.

HN's system is a complex interaction between three subsystems: community, software, and moderators. All three are necessary. If you or anyone would like to know more, here are some links to past explanations to start with. If there are still questions after familiarizing yourself with that material, I'd be happy to answer them.

https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que...

https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&so...

https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que...

> Of course on the surface you guys say you only downweight petty drama

That is obviously not at all what I said.


[flagged]


You changed what I said into "Of course on the surface you guys say you only downweight petty drama". That was (a) a massive distortion—you can trivially see from https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que... that there are many other kinds of downweighting. On top of that, (b) you added snark ("of course") and insinuation ("on the surface") in a way that strikes me as particularly uncharitable.

You've done it again with "Seems reasonable to say, don't trust news about YC on HN", implying that we somehow intervene to distort that, when the truth is that we do exactly the opposite—as I'd just explained in the comment you were replying, as well as on many previous occasions: https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&qu....


[flagged]


Can you address the semantic intent of your use of the word only and what Dan said please: the substantive point to me is you implied only == specific == evidence of bias and as Dan said it is well established they down weight for more than one reason which implies != only which I think, personally you haven't adequately addressed. You're basically wrong.


[flagged]


You're not addressing the point. You said he only downweights for one reason. Plainly, he has declared consistency in downweighting for many reasons. No amount of self justification changes the fact you said he ONLY downweights for one reason, and that's factually incorrect.

What he did in this specific case? Different matter. What he does as a matter of both stated policy and declared intent and I would suggest, evidence is different. He downweights for a range of reasons.

Why can't you just accept that and say so? What's blocking you from acknowledging your own words are just incorrect?


>Why can't you just accept that and say so? What's blocking you from acknowledging your own words are just incorrect?

Very simple logic. He's in a position where he can lie. Conflict of interest. He's paid by the company who sponsors this news site. Why can't you get this simple logic through your head?

>You said he only downweights for one reason.

Please read my post. I said what I meant WAS THIS: The only thing Dang can say is that when he downweights posts he can only SAY that he does so in the interest of the HN community. That's it. Mainly the point is because this is ONLY what he can SAY (keyword) you can't trust what he says, because of a CONFLICT of INTEREST. Get it? Take note I capitalized some words for emphasis to help you understand exactly what I'm saying. The language I use is specific and exact.

>You're not addressing the point.

I am addressing the point. The point is I'm not wrong at all and I'm telling you why. That's really all you need to get through your head.

>What he did in this specific case? Different matter.

What he did in this specific case IS ENTIRELY the point. It is NOT a different matter. ANY thing off this point is off topic. My initial post is completely and only addressing the point. I think your mind is wandering from point to point not latching on the main topic.

>What he does as a matter of both stated policy and declared intent and I would suggest, evidence is different. He downweights for a range of reasons.

Your suggestion is noted. And I suggest there's a conflict of interest here. There.


> Why can't you get this simple logic through your head?

Everyone knows he's paid by YC and almost everyone is taking his decade long track record into consideration as an excellent moderator + that he literally didn't do anything wrong here. You're trying to defend your allegation and everyone else doesn't agree with you.

> That's really all you need to get through your head

Perhaps the problem isn't someone else :)


Please chill. If you've never moderated a forum, you should start realizing that moderation is key to having a good community.

Cherry-picking statements and acting like this is not appreciated.

Fyi: I've been banned once and thought it was justified. They've done an amazing job to keep the community healthy and that's really hard to do.

What Dang mentioned seems pretty clear: we won't moderate this because it involves us, but this isn't the place for gossip.

YC has > 150 companies per year. Not everything is perfect, not everything is known and people will always try to say their POV of the story. That's life, we'll see how this goes, but I'd rather see it on Reddit than here.


I am chill. You're misinterpreting things.

It's perfectly reasonable things may never go perfect. However. Things become sketchy when Dang changes the title and pins his own opinion at the head of the comment section.

Gossip and news are literally the same thing. It feeds and lights up the same areas of the brain. It's hard to say whether this is gossip or news because from this guys post it looks like he got kicked out of YC for trivial reasons. It can potentially say as much about the reputation of YC as it does about the guy who got kicked out. That sounds like news to me.

>Cherry-picking statements and acting like this is not appreciated.

You know I make a huge effort not to cherry pick anything. But it's inevitable things are usually interpreted this way because of the medium of communication or my own trouble with articulating the meaning of what I say. My experience is that when you "think" someone is cherry picking words on HN, usually he's not doing it on purpose and that's how he actually interpreted what you said.

Look carefully at what I wrote. The only thing I am doing here is presenting a valid opinion that goes against the grain of public opinion. There's nothing else going on yet it's exploding into some kind of drama where you're telling me to "chill".

Consider the fact that the bias lies with you. You interpreted my comment as not "chill" when I'm literally just calmly typing my thoughts. I am calm, but why did you insert emotion into my words where none initially existed? Because you are biased. My guess is that you injected hostility into my words because my opinion is simply against your opinion.

It's normal human behavior to interpret a difference of opinion as an attack. I point this out to you so you can better understand yourself and to not classify a unique opinion as an attack. This is my interpretation of what's going on with you and I think it's pretty accurate.


Dang changed according to the > decade old rules.

He also added ~"there's 2 sides of a story". I don't see why Dang wouldn't be allowed to add a comment regarding this topic.

Every post about a company has an employee/CEO stating an opinion and often even stating their side.

Even if you would think Dang's opinion is subjective ( which i didn't interpret as such). Why would that suddenly be a problem?

I said chill for example because of this:

> Down weight? So you guys internally pick and choose topics to weight down? I thought HN was purely community driven with only comments being moderated.

You seemed ignorant to the basic fact that every half decent forum is moderated. And you "attack" them on something that is known by ( almost appearantly) everyone and the very thing that makes+keeps this community interesting.

Good moderation is too much undervalued from my POV. You only notice it when it's gone.

If I'm free to give my opinion, you seem to frustrated because people don't agree with you. I understand, it's normal and human behavior. You are not above it.

As an example your most recent comment

(first line)

> Any post that challenges dang will likely get voted down.

Ugh.

(Last line)

> Still it's sorta good that this post wasn't outright deleted.

Full of human behavior ( as you like to mention), because it doesn't fit your endgoal. Downplaying that the post isn't deleted, while admitting that the moderation was fair.

To be honest. Dang could have just moderated this thread. Reactions such as ours are the reason why and don't have any meaningful content.

But he choose not to. Even though he probably knew it would lead to content as this.

Useless content :)


>He also added ~"there's 2 sides of a story". I don't see why Dang wouldn't be allowed to add a comment regarding this topic.

The fact that it's the top post is the most questionable thing here, it seems pinned to the top.

The statement is seemingly fair and balanced but make no mistake it's not. A common technique among corporations and public relations experts is to try to seemingly be fair about things that are obviously wrong. A good example of this is educational creationism in the US. Many schools want to teach a fair and balanced view of biology by teaching both evolution and creationism. Like dang himself said, there are two sides to every story after all.

I never said Dang should be banned from commenting. It is a dictatorship after all. His opinion and comment and the fact that it's the top comment in this thread makes the whole thing sketchy. And that is all I am remarking on.

If I were him and my intentions were to be neutral I woulda just left the topic completely alone.

>Good moderation is too much undervalued from my POV. You only notice it when it's gone.

This is off topic. I'm not talking about moderation here as something to get rid of. My topic is the conflict of interest that has to do with this thread and dangs comment on it. That's it.

>If I'm free to give my opinion, you seem to frustrated because people don't agree with you. I understand, it's normal and human behavior. You are not above it.

You are, and I appreciate your opinion. I never said I was above it. But here you are again, after telling me to chill you tell me that I seem frustrated. Again it's your bias talking and inserting false emotions into places where none exists. I am simply explaining why I disagree with you.

>As an example your most recent comment, first line: >> Any post that challenges dang will likely get voted down. >It's snarky against a highly respected member that is part of the team that makes this forum HN.

It's not snarky dude. It's true. If I call someone who murdered 10 people a killer am I being snarky? No. I'm remarking on a fact. Now I admit I'm criticizing him but open and polite criticism is part of the spirit of HN.

Anyway this subthread has already degraded to uninteresting talk that's against the spirit of HN. I would say normally dang would probably kill this subthread if he saw it, but he may not in effort to appear fair and balanced. That's a good thing. But that doesn't mean you should just ignore the conflict of interest at play here. Either way, it's best not to continue this debate, I've made my point and you evidently disagree but neither of us can definitively prove whether censorship is happening or if it isn't so let's end it here.

>Full of human behavior ( as you like to mention), because it doesn't fit your endgoal. Downplaying that the post isn't deleted, while admitting that the moderation was fair.

And what is my endgoal? I have repeatedly said he could not be censoring things and that he also could Why didn't you bring those up? Are you CHERRYPICKING??? No you're not, you're simply not clear about what I am saying so I am clarifying the facts to you.

My end goal here is to remark that the actions dang took here are a conflict of interest and that makes his post highly sus. Does it mean dang doesn't do good things? No. Does it mean dang has never done no evil? No. It means that what he is doing here for this specific post is sketchy. THAT is my end goal.

>Useless content :)

See. This is rude and the smiley face is truly snark. This is actually against the rules of HN. A deliberate violation. I wonder how dang would react to this kind that kind of remark. Truly a test of his ability to stay centered and unbiased. Most likely he won't do anything given the context.


> "The fact that it's the top post is the most questionable thing here, it seems pinned to the top."

I thought he might have pinned it, but that isn't the case:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27401409

> "I certainly didn't intend it to be the top comment; that was entirely by upvotes."


[flagged]


> "I mean he can lie right?"

If you're not willing to engage with him in good faith, I have a hard time understanding why you’re commenting in this thread. Have a good evening.


Giving someone with a conflict of interest good faith is extremely unwise. I advise even for you never to do it.

In essence you can say my faith in him is 50% not 100% as good faith seems to imply. So with 50% faith, engagement is still has value. I never met a person who never lied, so every single person I've ever talked to in my life I technically never had 100% good faith towards. I expect everyone to lie and be untrustworthy at some point. For some people it's big things, for other people it's minor white lies. For someone with a conflict of interest I'd be more careful.

Additionally even someone completely untrustworthy can still be communicated with. You can still glean information from such a person by observing his actions. For example if dang censors this thread by deleting the whole thing, that would say a lot. Him not deleting the thread also says a lot.

What I don't understand about you is how you can say you don't "understand" something and then suddenly say "good evening" as if you're leaving. Wouldn't the goal be for you to "stay" and "understand" Or is the goal simply to debate and win or leave if you can't win?


So instead of good faith conversation, you just opted for conspiracy babble?


No instead of blind faith I choose to not trust someone with a conflict of interest. You choose to give him your blind faith and call any form of doubt a conspiracy bubble.


You literally ignore the basic facts that this thread wasn't deleted/flagged.

He didn't pin his comment as you claimed multiple times either.

It's not blind faith, but good faith based on Dang's > decade long track record on HN as moderator.


He's probably not deleting or flagging anything because he's aware it will make him look biased. This is a common strategy. Dang picking and choosing only to censor the most insidious things remains an open possibility.

Also, what decade long track record? You have a record of posts that were deleted or censored? That would be a track record. But guess what? none exists. That's a fact.

All I'm saying is that a conflict of interest exists and because of this conflict of interest, dangs comment is pure sketch.

Am I going to let my neighbor borrow a million dollars just because he has good credit? No. It would be unwise to do so and you blindly trusting dang is highly, highly unwise.

All forms of faith are blindness.

I claimed multiple times that it looks like this was pinned. Whether it was actually pinned is open for debate. So you make a claim it wasn't pinned, why don't you prove it with something other than blind faith in dang saying he never pinned it.


You are making the accusations. In the court of law, it's up to you to prove it and you obviously can't.

You're constantly making accusations without any proof.


[flagged]


You can't dox other users, or attack other users, on HN. I've banned this account. Please see https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27430579.

You're response to my appreciation of moderation is ( while you are protesting against any moderation outside of the community ):

> This is off topic.

You are literally comparing things with ( in 1 post): China, covid, dictatorship, serial killers, censorship, educational creationism, biology in schools, ...

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

It's an upvoted comment by a moderator... Nothing more, nothing less.

As I said before: chill.

Ps. Still useless content :)


>You are literally comparing things with ( in 1 post): China, covid, dictatorship, serial killers, censorship, educational creationism, biology in schools, ...

Those are called examples. Examples in service of helping to illustrate a point that is still on topic.

You on the other hand wanted to talk about things that were never remarked upon or even true. I never said anything about how dang should stop moderating anything. You brought that up out of nowhere. Hence. Off topic.

>As I said before: chill. >Ps. Still useless content :)

Then stop replying. Stop being rude. There's no point if it's useless for you.


> Those are called examples.

No. It's whataboutism.


[flagged]


Wtf? You can't dox other users, or attack other users, on HN. I've banned this account. Please see https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27430579.

Don't you know how Reddit started?


[flagged]


>Its not the first time you've been caught in a lie, dang.

>But folks, this is the secret hackernews site, called BookFace. This is the site that the event happened. Its also a nice site to conspire with other YC companies and YC itself as a cohesive market 'strategy'.

>https://bookface.ycombinator.com/

>Other secrets that HN/dang/pg don't want you to know is that founders can see each other with special flairs here. Of course, conspiring on BookFace also helps too.

None of that is secret much less anything anybody "don't want you to know."


What is this "lie" you speak of? Actually, can you please list the other ones too? It's not fair to readers to make a tantalizing claim like that and then not give them enough information to make up their own minds. It's practically dripping with duck fat.

Re Bookface: https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&qu...

Re YC founder usernames- it can't be secret if it's in the FAQ, right? https://news.ycombinator.com/newsfaq.html#yc.

None of these things are secret and to the extent you or anyone is curious about them, all you need to do is ask.


switch the letters of my username.

that's what I think of you.


Oh yes that's clear, but it's also bloody clever and you get points for that. I'm sorry if my reference seemed like a swipe; I was just trying to speak duck with you.

When people say this kind of stuff to me, I try not to take it personally because the truth is that you don't know me and I don't know you; what you're saying is not what you think of me, it's what you think of the image that you've constructed from a name plus very little information. That's not a criticism. That's just how it is on the internet.


I don’t know how you do this, dang, but I certainly wish I had your level of chill.


I think I could last about a week doing his job. Maybe a month.

I don't think $1,000,000 USD would be enough to entice me to do the job for a year. It would be too stressful.


Yeah, dang: We need to know what you drink, smoke, or inject.

Particularly the more choleric among us coughwho, me?cough could use some tips.


...also, thanks!


What?!! There are many, many posts with “inaccurate” titles. Would you like to change the John Carmack post to include his entire tweet as the title? YC moderation here on a YC-related post is not fair. It’s also unfair that this reply is placed above substantive discussion.


If there are many posts with inaccurate titles, that's because we didn't see them. If you skim these 500 comments you'll see that we make a habit of editing inaccurate titles: https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que... - and that's just a small fraction of the cases. Also these 250: https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que.... HN users are pretty adamant about title accuracy: https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que....

> Would you like to change the John Carmack post to include his entire tweet as the title?

No, "John Carmack on JPEG" strikes me as an accurate title for that post, and in any case the entire tweet wouldn't fit HN's 80 char limit. When users think there's an inaccuracy or come up with a better (more accurate and neutral) title, we're usually happy to make a change.

> YC moderation here on a YC-related post is not fair

The principle, as I explained above, is that we moderate HN less when YC or a YC startup is involved (https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=false&qu...). Less, however, does not mean not at all - https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que.... That would be a huge loophole. In this case I did the minimum to correct a false statement in the title and was hands off after that.

> It’s also unfair that this reply is placed above substantive discussion

That would be true if we had placed it there, but users upvoted it there.


As a past moderator for an unrelated forum, there’s a careful balance between “reducing confusion” and “fanning the flamewar using a moderator’s outsized leverage.” I really don’t see how the reply here strikes that balance. Moreover, my post here was +3 but is suddenly now -3 after Dang’s reply.

Dang, I’m sure you have a lot of work to do, but I recommend you take a critical look at how much of that “work” you’re actually creating for yourself. The behavior I’ve observed here really underscores the untrustworthiness of other things I’ve seen from YC founders and employees.


The behavior he's calling out is obviously abhorrent. But isn't this more due to him airing dirty laundry in public? If this is his last recourse after consulting internally to try and deal with this, then I get it. But there is definitely a trend (maybe not by him) of people running to social media with their complaints before discussing them with those involved. If that is the case i would understand his being sanctioned.


Yeah, it reads that way to me -- this post was a public leak, not just criticising one founder but also implicitly repudiating the culture and governing processes of the forum. If the forum and trust in the forum being a private space are important to the program, I think being asked to leave sounds reasonable.

I'm not saying that the internal processes were satisfactory -- I don't know either way, and I think this position is consistent with both cases. I think the two options available are,

1. Criticise publicly and leave, and

2. Work within the system, and accept outcomes that go against you.


I guess it would be important to know if anyone internally commented how jumping the queue wasn't a cool thing to do. Leadership internally needs to set good examples and question questionable behavior so folks know the boundaries of acceptable behavior.

Shooting the messenger, if the messenger went through all of the proper channels and made every effort to rectify the matter appropriately internally, would then be counterproductive because it magnifies the issue by creating a martyr.

It's difficult to know what actually transpired, but I don't think a reasonable person would air dirty laundry without trying every possible avenue and appealing to leadership to take a position. So either they're unreasonable or YC let them down, it's impossible to say without independent observers in the know stating their impression.


From the information available publicly, it's obvious the issue was him airing his grievance publicly.

But being banned from YC is a fairly extreme measure - especially for an activity that has a hint of moral impetus.

Both 'skipping vaccine lines' and 'immediately naming and shaming private conversations to the entire world' are kind of selfish and toxic signals.

If I were the King of YC I would have had condescending words with both of them and told them to grow up and then that would be the end of it.

Note however, we don't really know what happened behind the scenes.


> 'immediately naming and shaming private conversations to the entire world'

I don't know if it was immediate, but I'm pretty sure there was no naming.


Given that the people in question lack apparently any sort of civic virtue or else they wouldn't be engaging in this behaviour in the first place, where else do you propose one exposes dirty laundry other than in the public?

This is exactly why people in positions of power are afraid of transparency and why there is such a anti-media bias in the tech industry.


You're assuming the truth of one side in the matter, with very limited information.


This is the umpteenth time I've seen this "But we don't know anything about it!" argument, and besides surprising me it's beginning to piss me off. We know quite a bit. Why do people keep claiming we don't -- just too lazy to read the thread where this stuff is repeatedly linked, or trying to promote some agenda?

https://twitter.com/SarahBelleLin/status/1370071520953835520

https://archive.is/Z55Oe


not that big of an assumption given that, as we have seen, the person in question had no reason to make that up and a lot to lose.


People have all sorts of reasons to air dirty laundry; publicity, for one. Assuming you know the whole story based on the retelling of one side in a tweet is a mistake.


There were reply tweets from the other guy in literally the same Twitter thread, so what "retelling of one side" are you talking about?

At least we have a good example answer to “Please tell us about the time you most successfully hacked some (non-computer) system to your advantage”. Lie about eligibility to the health system, in order to get an advantage in the vaccine line! In a way, this behavior is kind of consistent with the “disruption” ethos of tech startups.


I’m confused. So YC kicked out the guy who complained about it on Twitter and not the people who advocated for lying to skip lines? Wtf?


Why is that confusing? If you condemn the in-group publicly, it's a sign of betrayal, and they kick you out. Monkeys strong together, that's all there is to it.


It's cool and reassuring that YC has no principles or morals other than "monkeys strong together"


(as an outsider looking in) I think, for YC, who pride themselves on their tight-knit alumni network and reach of their partners, in-group bias was always going to be a self-fulfilling prophecy.


There are no rules about these kinds of things in private organizations, so it defaults to the instinctive human behavior.

Whenever you hear about the "greats" of the industry, you can be aware that they rose to prominence through navigating power structures built on such principles.


It’s not a bad moral though.


We can do much better.


I'm guessing it goes like this:

1. Skipping vaccine line and talking about it is not actually against BookFace/YC ToS, or it would be a stretch to apply ToS.

2. Publicly talking about matters inside the private group is against ToS since it breaches privacy. In a way that paints the group negatively, nonetheless.

Pretty straightforward. It doesn't really matter *to YC* whether anyone skipped a line or not, what matters are private forum matters getting blasted to hundreds (thousands?) of Twitter users.

Edit: before you get angry, I'm presenting this from the most plausible perspective of YC, not my own feelings on the matter (which are irrelevant).

Edit2: what are people seeing that I'm not seeing here? Clearly I'm missing something, because wow I've never gotten piled on like this on HN.


Your post is a bit inaccurate.

Biggar tweeted about his unhappiness about the behavior of a person in the private group.

He received a public response fromt he person in question with a dismissive meme.

He in turn responded to that.

So, one could argue that the line-jumping-advocate relinquished his privacy in the first place.


I'm under the impression that any public commentary about what goes on inside that forum is generally discouraged, but that's just what I've seen. Although this is an interesting point, for sure.


You are correct. YC emphasizes regularly that the forums are private and otherwise the people wouldn’t share as much or give blunter truth.

Having seen screenshots of the post in question, it was bad, but it also would have been strange to kick someone out for that. The poster is an asshole and proud of it, but the community seems to have responded directly.


> I'm under the impression that any public commentary about what goes on inside that forum is generally discouraged

When private organizations in their internal culture and functioning deviate too far away from common social norms, you kinda hope that a whistleblower or the press calls them out for it.


That wouldn't surprise me. Don't worry about the downvotes, it's not unusual for votes on a post to oscillate wildly in any sort of hot topic because people often revert to tribalism as they first scan the thread.


And it’s why YC doesn’t have the reputation it once did. Letting Sam bro up the institution wasn’t the best decision in hindsight as this incident demonstrates.


pg believes the Civil War wasn't actually about slavery (http://www.paulgraham.com/marginal.html), so I'm not sure that Sam actually made the place worse.


That's a really disingenuous take from a single line in an essay that is not about the subject.

If we could say "The Civil War was about slavery" and be done with the subject, I'm pretty sure so many books, studies, and histories about the subject would not have been made.


I mean, we can say that and be done with the subject. For instance, just look at the seceding states' articles of secession: they quite plainly spell out that they are seceding because of slavery and to join the other slaveholding states.

But there are a whole lot of Americans who wish to believe that the South had a noble cause (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lost_Cause_of_the_Confederacy), and they are more than happy to buy books and watch TV shows explaining what that cause is, so such books and TV shows get written.

The Civil War was just a couple of generations ago, and involved a huge chunk of the country. The various organizations attempting to rehabilitate their legacy (e.g., the Daughters of the Confederacy) are younger still, and active today. It's not actually surprising that there are a large number of Americans who for whatever reason wish to believe that there was a better reason for the Confederacy to do what it did than slavery - the Daughters, for instance, are quite literally descended from Confederate soldiers, so there is a natural desire to believe that they fought for a worthy cause. But the number of people who believe it is hardly evidence that it's true.

What is noteworthy that Paul Graham (who wasn't even born in the US!) is one of those people, and moreover doesn't simply believe (as you're claiming) that there's a legitimate debate about what the Civil War was about - he believes that the possibility that the Civil War was about slavery is a "cartoon version" which can't possibly be true.

And yes, it's a throwaway line in an unrelated talk. But he still said it as if he believed it, and the alternative interpretation - that he doesn't really believe it and said it anyway because he thought it would please his audience - is that he is a man of poor judgment and a loud mouth in things he should judge less and speak less on, which goes to my point that Sam did not "bro up" YC, it was already rotten.


I think you are attributing a lot of things to Graham that he didn't say.

He did not say that it was not about slavery. Again, if it was an issue that could be expressed in a single sentence, it would not have inspired the many studies that it has. That is not to deny that the Civil War was about slavery, which I am certainly not. As to what Graham believes, a single sentence means only that. And does not mean he thinks its opposite is true. Not everything is an either/or proposition. Quite often things are more a both/and situation.


> I think you are attributing a lot of things to Graham that he didn't say. He did not say that it was not about slavery.

What you are saying is just simply quite literally not true. He said exactly that:

> "Better stick to the standard cartoon version that the Civil War was about slavery"

-- http://www.paulgraham.com/marginal.html


> If we could say "The Civil War was about slavery" and be done with the subject, I'm pretty sure so many books, studies, and histories about the subject would not have been made.

"We" can. Apparently some people can't. There's a difference.


ugh.


> 2. Publicly talking about matters inside the private group is against ToS

So never mind their high-falutin' ideas of Founders being A Better Class Of People; in the end it's just frickin' Fight Club after all.


I'm guessing he broke an internal rule about talking of what's said in the founders forum, while the founder is breaking unrelated outside rules and being a dick, which isn't as fireable.


Why is it not though? Intentionally misleading people is how you get Theranos. Being a dick is how you get a TK@Uber as a leader. Neither of those are examples one should follow of "how to be a leader"


Why would YC care about that? Their ethos is “how to make a boatloat of money”.

Theranos would be fine if they weren’t caught out before their IPO.


That's a very sad commentary on the human condition if you think anything about Theranos would have been "fine". If anyone involved knew what was going on and still pushed for the IPO to get their money, then they need to be hit for fraud.

As a collective, we've lost our humanity. I used to think we were losing it, but over the past few years I feel like we've moved past losing and now just lost it completely.


Humanity as in valuing service to mankind over the abstract point value of accumulating money?


Is it really that out of character for a tech VC company to have no objections to "disrupting" government processes?


Per the tweet replies, Paul Biggar's company that YC funded has been defunct, so that likely makes YC's calculus to remove him easier (optics aside).


FWIW I don't think that would much affect the decision. In past similar cases, where the startup wasn't defunct, YC has divested.

I've never been part of any such decision, but I do know YC and the people who have to make such decisions, and from what I've seen they'd be reasoning from first principles or at least trying to.


This is the part that I don't understand. CircleCI is alive and well last time I checked.


Apparently it was a startup wayyyyy back in 2010, before CircleCI: https://techcrunch.com/2010/04/12/ycs-newstilt-aims-to-help-...


Lying to skip lines is probably considered "growth hacking"


But he didn't lie. Many clinics are opening up to first-come, first-served because vax rates are dropping and they still have inventory. Feels like drama?


Were they doing that in March, when the incident in question happened?


Sites that were not getting enough people coming in to use all the doses they had available were doing that in my area. It was not all sites all the time but at a certain point, lots of places switched priority to getting doses to people regardless of demographic so that they didn't spoil. And lots of that info was word of mouth or social media posts, because there was little way to centrally coordinate it.


It’d likely count as a non-computer system you hacked.


I'm also confused. But it seems like the tweet in question is a false story that could be libel/defamation or something?

He later issues a 'correction' (why not delete the original wrong tweet?) that says that the story about "advocating for lying to skip lines" is false. [1]

I don't have any part of this and I'm confused and don't know what's going on here. But it does not seem like the tweet everyone is focusing on was even true. So the story becomes possibly, that YC kicked someone out for spreading lies about people in their internal community? I don't know.

[1] "I was incorrect in saying the 2nd founder lied, and would like to apologize." https://twitter.com/paulbiggar/status/1370144350861135881


>But it does not seem like the tweet everyone is focusing on was even true. So the story becomes possibly, that YC kicked someone out for spreading lies about people in their internal community? I don't know.

It's still partially true - the allegation of lying was wrong, but the allegation of instructing others how to lie is still being made. This is clarified by the tweet that you linked.


I didn't quite read it that way. The accusation is that both told other people how to skip the line. My assumption is that the both founders told other people how they could get the vaccine. A more charitable observation would be that the second founder told people how they could get it without waiting in line or lying.

The accusation still sounds gross. Though vaccine rollout wasn't great in the bay area. I got an email from my doctor about appointments being available. The ones in the bay area were taken really quickly. Availability was much better in other counties. There were also a couple other replies. One mentioned you could get vaccinated for volunteering for 4 hours. Another mentioned some sites were doing first come first serve.


>The accusation is that both told other people how to skip the line. My assumption is that the both founders told other people how they could get the vaccine. A more charitable observation would be that the second founder told people how they could get it without waiting in line or lying.

You're being charitable in the wrong direction, because you're not interpreting the allegations in good faith. What would be the point of taking to Twitter if all the second founder did was instruct people how to get a vaccine, without the component of lying to bypass the queue?

Since there would be no point to such an outrage, it's uncharitable to pre-emptively dismiss the contents of the allegations. Whether or not they are eventually shown to be true, they should still be interpreted in the most serious and direct way.


The guy who advocated getting the vaccine has chimed in with his side of the story elsewhere in these comments: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27400221

It makes sense because in some states its been basically any adult can walk in and get a shot for months already. I'm surprised there is anywhere in the country left where that is not the case.


This was not the case back in March.


That's exactly what I would expect. Can you explain why you would expect something else to happen?


What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.


Sounds like Biggar was being a massive drama queen and no one wanted to have that kind of toxicity around.


What’s so bad about skipping the line?

Priority groups don’t even make sense. It’s some egalitarian crap for the sake of it and more so for buying votes from older ppl.

Then we are left with: it’s simply against the rules. And as if people in SF care about that.

Why r so many people in SF on these moral crusades anyway. Getting high off enforcing rules and looking down on others.

Everyone should be equal…as long as I get my ridiculous salary and elite network. It’s like imposter syndrome for the privileged…so they need to pretend they are for the common man.

Good riddance to such crusaders. PG is a boss.


What an excellent demonstration of what values/norms a group really cares about.

Biggar violated the all time favourite in-group rule: Don't talk out of school. Don't talk about fight club. Don't snitch.

The other founders violated a norm against pushing yourself ahead and taking advantage of others that doesn't even seem to hold in many groups, especially upper class/wealthy ones.


Here's an analogy. You can get fired for always being late to work, but not get fired for bad behaviour (even crime) outside of work... say drunk driving.

This doesn't mean that being late to work is worse than drunk driving, or that person A is worse than person B. Not everything is a general judgement on worth or character.


I don't think that analogy applies. Both parties in this story did things in a 'work' context.

If I go on a work forum and describe my bad behaviour, behaviour that is harmful to others, and advocate for others to do it, I'm going to get in trouble, and possibly fired.

If I publicly discuss private work information, I'll definitely get fired.

If I mention the bad behaviour of someone at work publicly, without naming names, I might get a talking to, but probably won't be fired.

How a group reacts to those different things over time defines the norms and culture of the group.


Fair point.

I still think the conclusion applies though. Not everything is a judgment on overall worth or character. Most rules exist for banal reasons. Arrive on time, so we can open on time. Maintain confidentiality, so that we can have a non public forum. If heated arguments are settled by going to twitter, that's a cultural norm that negates private forums. It's not a moral norm, necessarily, but an operational one.

Very few things are absolute though. If someone brags about murder, and that confidentiality is maintained then it certainly does say something about norms and culture of a group. That said, naughtiness is an explicit part of YC culture, for better or worse.

In any case, sometimes there are choices. Civil disobedience can lead to consequences, to make another analogy. People participating in it accept that.

IDK what actually happened on the private forum, but I imagine this is an argument that spilled out from private to public. If Paul considered this a "the world must know" situation, then maybe he considers the price worth paying.


I have yet to see an actual source for this "bad behaviour, behaviour that is harmful to others, and advocate for others to do it" part.


Though based on dasickis comment, it seems there may not have been bad behaviour in the first place.


That is not a good analogy because most people's employment is "at will", meaning that they can be fired at any time for any reason other than discrimination against a protected class or retaliation for some protected activity (e.g., being a government whistleblower). If an employer wants to fire an employee who got arrested for drunk driving outside of work, that's usually not a problem.


>say drunk driving.

Unless of course, your job is driving.


I'm in Oakland, I drove someone to a clinic. It was a day of pouring rain. We got there end of day. I didn't meet whatever high priority groups were getting vaccinated (though I do have a breathing related health condition). They had extra shots, they said come get a shot, their form didn't have a spot for leftover shots being used, so the women said I'll put you down as X (which I wasn't).

This whole thing of trying to criminalize and be outraged at folks in this space seems way out of whack.

So good on ycombinator!

Same thing with masks, no one allowed to wear N95's but health care folks. I had masks from the fires and my breathing issue. I wore the same mask for a few weeks against the rules. Got flak from folks saying a) masks don't work and b) I should have saved it for health care folks. Not only is that contradictory it's dumb.


Your case is a bit different. If you hadn’t taken the shots, they would have been wasted because half-filled vials are disposed of at the end of the day. So in your case it was either vaccinate someone or vaccinate no one.

It’s not the same as the accusation of someone skipping the line.


Can you explain exactly what the "skipping the line" accusation is then? I don't see any evidence that is not what happened in this case.


I’m also surprised how many people bragged about jumping ahead in line when elderly people with much higher mortality rates were still waiting for theirs. At least keep it to yourself.


Agreed. When eligibility opened up, we drove 100 miles just to avoid potentially taking doses from people at risk in the metro area. Seemed like a good excuse to get out of the house for a road trip, as well as being the right thing to do.

We were able to schedule immediate appointments in an adjacent county populated by hardcore Trumpers. Upon arriving at the drive-through vaccination site, there was only one other car in the lot. No danger of cutting the line in that county.


We don't have full information about this story though. It may well be the case that the YC founder called out for lying about his qualifications for the vaccine was at a vaccination location where there were zero lines and poor community uptake of the vaccine. Idle doses sitting around doing nothing. At this point, the US has so many extra doses that it is shipping millions overseas. Depending on the location and timing of the founder who lied, he may be ethically doing a moral good by reducing his own potential to transmit the virus amidst a population of people who refuse to get inoculated anyway.

My point is only, it's sometimes dangerous to throw stones without asking questions or getting the full picture first. Taking doses when you aren't qualified for them is overall a bad thing I think we can all agree.


I live in Oakland. This incident seems to be back in early March. Back then the large vaccination sites were all listed on myturn.ca.gov (ie the Oakland Coliseum). They'd post new batches of appointments and they would be all booked really fast (within minutes or hours). But Curative was also running vaccinations sites in Oakland and Berkeley. They weren't listed on the myturn website, so people didn't know about them. They would post new appointments and they would be available for days, sometimes even available right up until the appointment time. This was during the time when you had to be 65+ or have a health condition. In my social circle there were many ineligible people sending links around for the Curative appointments. There was definitely a mentality of "there are so many open appointments, they're just going to go unused." Whether that was true or not I don't know, but there was definitely a reality that certain vaccine sites that were not integrated into the central database had tons of openings, while people who didn't know how to find the secret links were left to reload myturn.ca.gov constantly hoping to find appointments. It was also public knowledge that nobody ever checked that you qualified with a valid medical condition. So getting a vaccine appointment at that time for a totally healthy 25 year old was as simple as someone texting you a link and clicking a single checkbox to say you had a medical condition. In my small social circle, I know of that happening at least a few times.


The situation in Oakland was even more bizarre at the time. The state had generated certain “equity” access codes which would allow you to book non-public reserved appointments. The idea was that these codes could be used by members of otherwise hard to reach communities. Instead, they were shared by a bunch of local arts groups on Instagram. I’m sure they were abused. Witnessing that debacle made me lose a lot of faith in the prioritization as practiced at the time.


Seeing how this all played out in the Bay Area honestly made me lose faith in humanity a little bit.

It's was wild seeing rationalizations for bad behavior being invented before your very eyes in March.


Alameda County wasted more doses than any other county in California, so I wouldn't be surprised if there was a link between this fact and all the open appointments. It is true that if appointments were open, doses could go unused (and spoil because they were thawed in a batch).

https://www.sacbee.com/news/coronavirus/article251823018.htm...

If we continue using mRNA vaccines in the future, I hope some of these logistics issues can be solved. I'd rather the system prevents this, or allows it to occur in an unambiguous way that doesn't cause people to hate each other, question each others' morals, rat each other out, etc. I wouldn't say people skipping the line were doing the right thing, but I'm even less convinced that it was wrong. This was a gray area unaddressed by public health officials.


> Alameda County wasted more doses than any other county in California,

Not true if you look at per capita numbers. Alameda had 0.39% spoiled.


Hm. I'm not sure where the calculus lies on having a dose go slightly more slowly to populations that are more likely to get covid and/or die from it than quickly to young, affluent populations who are much less likely to die from it or get it.

I am sure that those decisions should be made by the state, not the individual 25-year old who decides that they are deserving of the vaccine now.

Also, many of those links that were floated around had equity codes embedded that were not supposed to be used by the general public, so would show appointments made available specifically for high-risk populations.

My general opinion is that people who skipped ahead in their 20s, especially in the Bay Area, were in the moral wrong.


The government, well in this case multiple levels of state/federal/city/tribal governments all made up their own decisions on what defined one as eligible for the vaccine, and then randomly changed them. The government should not be the arbiter of one’s morality.

It was a mess and IMO difficult to assign anyone in the moral right in the distribution of vaccines.

For example, looking at the vaccine distribution from a utilitarian perspective and not a political-agenda perspective it would have made sense to give the vaccine to healthcare workers first and then grocery workers next, as society in general will collapse if people are not able to get groceries. In a strictly calculative sense society doesn’t care if a few more old people in a nursing home die, but if grocery stores are closed there will be food riots/massive problems in a few days.

But politicians know that old people vote. So we had the age-tiered system.

IMO both if these perspectives were misguided and the optimal way to handle it would have been to had over vaccine logistics to Amazon who could actually make a web app that doesn’t crash to register for vaccines and just go first-come first-served.

Instead we had to try to register via Kroger (I think) who was using a chatbot to register people which was not very effective or high throughput. Costco had spaghetti code and had embedded way too much information in the page source, no idea who designed their signup page either.

This incompetence and unneeded beauracracy by the government literally cost lives.


> The government should not be the arbiter of one’s morality.

If people vote and decide that this is the way that it is being done, then people should respect that. Circumventing rationing because you feel like you are more deserving in that context is unethical.

> utilitarian perspective and not a political-agenda perspective it would have made sense to give the vaccine to healthcare workers first and then grocery workers next, as society in general will collapse if people are not able to get groceries

Not at all clear that this is the conclusion to reach. Grocery store workers are much more likely to spread, but are also very unlikely to be killed by it. Elderly people are likely to be killed by it. Most epidemiological modeling showed that vaccinating the elderly first and as quickly as possible was the fastest way to mitigate deaths, not vaccinating coronavirus.

This is exactly why it is better to come to these decisions as a society, not let individuals who may very well come to incorrect judgements about what the socially optimal thing to do is.

> IMO both if these perspectives were misguided and the optimal way to handle it would have been to had over vaccine logistics to Amazon who could actually make a web app that doesn’t crash to register for vaccines and just go first-come first-served.

This is classic HN backseat driver-ism. First-come first-served would have been ineffective, because again, there were ample reasons why vaccinating the elderly first made sense.


> Hm. I'm not sure where the calculus lies on having a dose go slightly more slowly to populations that are more likely to get covid and/or die from it than quickly to young, affluent populations who are much less likely to die from it or get it.

You went from two groups ("populations that are more likely to get covid and/or die from it than quickly to young") to one ("young, affluent populations who are much less likely to die from it or get it") whereas the latter group overlaps with the group who is more likely to get Covid. People who have work with human contact are more likely to get it, whereas people who live sheltered are not likely to get it, nor spread it (which overlaps with elder group).

Anyway, none of this warrants skipping the queue. The queue is there for a reason, and we could draw a parallel with responsible disclosure. Sharing a vulnerability with your co employees so they can exploit it as well is not responsible disclosure. However, the guy responded in this thread and I am not convinced based on that post that it is a vulnerability. It seemed to be just open for 18+.


The latter group "young, affluent" in the Bay Area, typically do not work jobs with extensive human contact. Most jobs with extensive human contact were prioritized in the Bay by March, so skipping ahead implies people whose jobs did not require human contact.

The only point I'm trying to make is that it was morally wrong to lie to skip ahead in the eligibility lines in March.


Ah right. I am not familiar with the Bay area in these regards. Makes sense though. For example here in The Netherlands, only the elder, disabled (certain disabilities), and the medical employees got ahead. Then the police wanted to get ahead of line, which is IMO justified (but I get that its fuel for people who are against vaccins or the Covid regulations in general). Btw, I edited my post while you replied to it, sorry. I added a parallel I see with responsible disclosure.


We should make those moral decisions as a society, not as individual apes who have incredible vested interest in tricking themselves into thinking that they are doing the world a solid by advancing their interest.


Your story doesn't sound that different from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27400221, tbh, other than the driving 100 miles and the Trumpian bits, which aren't relevant to the ethical question.

It seems to me that the important information would be: did anybody who was eligible fail to get vaccinated as a result of the extras dropping in? In your story the answer is no. In the other dude's story, it seems like we don't know. If his story is accurate then the answer is probably not because otherwise the people running the site would have told him "please don't do that because it might take doses away from the eligible". But who knows.


I was also surprised at some people I know going to great lengths to get the vaccine earlier. Maybe they have some risk factor I don’t know about, but as young stay at home workers, the risk of the virus is not high.

I just waited till it was generally available and the local website had appointments available. Added bonus is by waiting the vaccine trials run that much longer so you have more data that it is safe.

I’m the type of guy how likes to go to mediocre restaurants to avoid waiting in line for good ones, so maybe I’m just weird.


Jump to the front of the line? Do we still have a queue? I was able to get very prompt appointments and I live in a dense and relevant tech area.


The original tweet was from March, when there indeed was a queue.


The tweet was from early March.


I've seen people solicit stuff like electronics if someone could "get them a vaccine". This stuff is driving people nuts.


There’s so many more factors though than just the mortality rate by age group.

Will they really wait until all elderly are vaccinated first? This would never work.

Just give it to everyone and it goes faster. While we wait for old people to get vaccinated it still circulates among young, who come into contact with old and unvaccinated, hence not helping things.


What the heck is going on here, everybody in the bay above 18 is already vaccinated, what lines are you talking about?


The event under discussion happened in March.


I'm the person this original tweet was about.

None of you know any of the internal details but what I can state is that Paul has no idea what he's talking about and later admits to the fact I wasn't lying.

Here's the order of events:

1. I went to a neighborhood clinic in Oakland, CA that's literally next door to my house, I can see the church from my window. Paul lives in NYC which is on the opposite end of the country.

2. I asked them about eligibility and told them I don't clear CA guidelines. They told me it's first come, first served with an ID showing I am 18+.

3. I showed up the next day, waited in line for 4 hours then got jabbed.

4. Posted it in an internal forum for other founders.

5. A few people had issues so raised them which I addressed but YC still took down the post within the day.

6. I appealed but YC still held their decision as final.

Outcome: YC founder came with his aunt, uncle, and mom all over 65 to get jabbed who didn't know about the vaccine site.

---

Paul ends up tweeting about it and making a huge deal around something he has no idea about. He gets a bunch of people on Twitter upset about something they don't know about.

Outcome: Internet rage.


So just so everyone has the full context: Oakland opened up its vaccination sites to more people on a shorter timeline than the rest of the state, in certain ZIP codes with disproportionately poor residents, in order to get vaccines to those disproportionately poor residents. I know this because this is how several of my friends who live in West Oakland got vaccinated ahead of the eligibility opening up in the rest of the state.

Your post suggests that the result of your post on the YC message board is that people who did not live in those zip codes came to Oakland to take advantage of a program that was not meant for them (and please correct me if I’m wrong, but that’s what I’m seeing here).

I think if you really want to exonerate yourself here, you should probably come clean about what kinds of objections were raised to your original post, because it is very plain to me how the kind of thing you’re describing could be seen by a reasonable person as unethical.


I got vaccinated at one of these West Oakland "first come, first serve" vaccination sites back in March. They were administering J&J vaccines (which do not thaw) with no residency check, and not even a poster saying "please don't line up unless you live in this neighborhood." No statement of intent at all.

Others standing in line asked coordinators walking the line, "Am I eligible here?" and the coordinators responded, without hesitation, "Yes, you're in the right place! Stay in line." No questions asked.

The vaccination site may well have been "intended" for West Oakland residents and/or underprivileged folks, but if that's right, they could have at least put up a sign saying so, and maybe the coordinator(s) could have said "this vaccine is intended for West Oakland residents only."

I think there's an argument to be made that everyone in line who didn't live in West Oakland should have just assumed that the vaccine wasn't intended for them, but I strongly believe that the ethics of the situation are "If you're offered a vaccine, take it." https://www.nytimes.com/2021/01/21/opinion/covid-vaccine-eth... It's not just for you; it's for everyone around you, especially children and others who can't be vaccinated.


They don't ask for proof of poverty at a food bank either. And "Am I eligible here" could be seen about specifically asking about age/preconditions eligibility.

In fact, that whole conversation could have been changed trivially to picking up free food at a food bank and would not have looked out of place.

As for "if you're offered a vaccine take it", I don't think that applies to "I can go somewhere to get offered the vaccine." If there was a 4 hour wait, then it's not like they had spares lying around. If you had driven to a rural site where they have to thaw 6 doses for 3 people that would have been a different story.


The analogy to food banks makes no sense. I normally acquire food by paying for it at a grocery store. If I could have gone to a grocery store (or pharmacy) to get a vaccine, I would have. If I could have paid for a vaccine, I would have.

You're imagining a world where food banks give out magic apples that not only nourish you but also nourish everyone you come into contact with, a world where food is only available for free at food banks, and is not available in stores at any price, and many people are at risk of dying of starvation as a result.

If we lived in that world, and if a food-bank coordinator told me to come in and eat a magic apple, with no guidance (not even a sign) indicating that these magic apples were intended only for the poor, and if I (and others around me!) were at risk of dying of starvation if I didn't eat that apple, uh, yeah, I'm going to go into the food bank (just like they asked me to do) and eat the apple.

In that world, if someone offers you a magic apple, you should eat it, nourishing yourself and everyone around you.

Here in the actual world, if the vaccine is offered to you, take it.


You could have gone to a grocery store or a pharmacy for the vaccine. Every grocery store with an in house pharmacy and ever major chain of pharmacies offered it. You just didn't want to wait your turn.

But, besides that, Mt. Zion was set aside for a high-risk community. You didn't have the same risk factors but helped yourself to one of their doses.

I don't see how that's not applicable. I mean, the food was available to anyone. Other people needed it more, but you wanted it.


Mt. Zion wasn't "set aside for a high-risk community." It should have been, and indeed it was set aside earlier that week, but by Thursday morning they opened the gates and let everyone in. https://archive.is/Z55Oe

As a result, it was my turn, after I waited in line for four hours at a "first come, first serve" vaccination site.

Elsewhere you allege that @dasickis and I were "skirting eligibility rules." You know that's not true. Perhaps there should have been eligibility rules, but there simply weren't. There weren't even eligibility guidelines, not even a written sign saying "for West Oakland residents only."

The lack of rules actually means something. Due to the lack of rules, I didn't have the option to give the vaccine I took to an underprivileged person of color in the West Oakland community.

The SF Chronicle article describes the last person in line on Friday, "Roz M., a 37-year-old from Hayward with vivid purple hair."

Do you think I owed it to Roz to offer her the vaccine I took? You may say that neither of us deserved a vaccine, but, due to the lack of rules, in fact, it was me, or Roz.

(And let's not forget that I have a special obligation to my kid, who's not yet old enough to be vaccinated, to vaccinate myself and the adults in our family. I have no such special obligation to Roz.)


Mt. Zion was set aside for a high risk community. Your own article makes it quite clear.

It was specifically opened to counter the difficulty of members of that community to get vaccinated at the Coliseum. The "clinic was intended to serve: Black, Latino and Pacific Islander people." Organizers call people from outside the community "interlopers" (I recognize you may live in the community, but those you invited did not.) They say “You hope that word doesn’t spread".

The fact that they did not require online appointments or ID was because the population they were trying to serve often lacks ID or the means to make appointments. Again, this is directly comparable to a food bank. The food is first-come first-serve and there is rarely paperwork/proof of insolvency. Heck, they probably don't even have a sign that say "Free Food for poor people only". Why are you not going to a foodbank?

You then claim if you hadn't taken a vaccine someone else just as unentitled would have. That's a claim you can make about almost any crime or heinous act. If Bernie Madoff hadn't ripped those people off some other smart con would have. If you don't steal that drunk's wallet, someone else is going to.

But, beyond that, you advertised the location. The main reason there was... what? To score social credit by being "the guy who found me my vaccine" in stories for the next five years? To produce a sense of obligation among people you may need favors from? Because you valued you were communicating with over the poor people in Oakland?

Fundamentally, you did something wrong.


> Due to the lack of rules, I didn't have the option to give the vaccine I took to an underprivileged person of color in the West Oakland community.

You did have an option to give it to someone less privileged - The option is not taking it yourself so that someone who is at higher risk likely gets it, which is what the program was trying to achieve. In a world of limited supply/capacity one person getting a vaccine simply means another doesn’t.

I’m not from the states, but your post does seem to be the stereotype of American culture of “seek individual benefit at the expense of the wider community”, I.e. “I didn’t technically break any rules, so why am I being berated for jumping in front of other people who are more in need?”.


Fundamentally this comes down to the very American idea that everything legal is moral. What they did may not be illegal, but it certainly is immoral. People who do immoral things do deserve the public shaming they get.


> Due to the lack of rules, I didn't have the option to give the vaccine I took to an underprivileged person of color in the West Oakland community.

Huh -- how was that option taken away from you? You could have just not queued up there, or left the queue. Or were you chained in line?


They didn’t skirt some eligibility rules because no one asked questions. The west Oakland site first tried reaching out to local low income community members and after seeing low uptake opened it up to everyone one, the pastor of the church himself was encouraging anyone over 18 to come by.


mbgerring's post further up the chain definitely claims that they exceeded the eligibility rules. Inviting people from outside the prioritized neighborhood to come take shots and there being a 4 hour line implies skirting eligibility rules.


I’m saying that claim is not accurate, there were no eligibility rules at this site later on. They tried restricting to get shots to people in west Oakland reached through the networks of the church and other community organizers, then deliberately opened it up to everyone because they had excess supply. I didn’t get my shot there but live a few blocks away.

You could argue that they shouldn’t have opened it up, or that every healthy person under 65 should have waited until supply was plentiful before trying to get one to not edge out any seniors or other at risk people, but there was no rule breaking or duplicity here.

I’ll also add that after this there were further targeted efforts towards getting shots to these zip codes. Someone in 94607 was eligible at most East bay sites weeks before CA fully opened up eligibility. I think this is what mberring is referring to, but it was a separate program from the vaccination site at the church.


There were no formal eligibility rules because they didn't want to discourage people without IDs. The pastor did not open it up. Here is an article where he called people from outside the neighborhood "interlopers" and said he hoped word of the site wouldn't spread on social media: https://archive.is/Z55Oe


That quote was from someone at the office of emergency services, not the pastor. And the workers at the vaccine we’re telling people it was open to everyone 18+. I live here, this is information I got from talking to neighbors. There’s accounts on Reddit saying the same if you dig back in /r/oakland


Yes, it was legally open to everyone 18+. And food bank food is open to everyone too. What's the difference?


Everyone knows that food banks are only for the poor. Vaccination sites usually aren't.


> If there was a 4 hour wait, then it's not like they had spares lying around

Nonsequitur. They migh have been understaffed, or they might not have handed out paperwork beforehand, increasing the time required per person behind what they forecasted.


I'm not making a judgment on this situation, but as someone who lives in Alameda County (where Oakland is) and tried hard to get a vaccine as early as I ethically could, I can definitely confirm that this rollout was very confusing. The county and my city (Berkeley) kept on saying it wouldn't be available to the general public until the 15th. Then they changed the eligibility on the 10th, but with zero fanfare and without all of the websites being updated. I believe MyTurn wasn't even updated for a while. I was checking periodically and only happened to notice on the 11th. I also heard about these "certain ZIP code" vaccination centers and assumed that they probably weren't "for" me (not my ZIP code), but there wasn't much clarity.

I understand why the county probably did some of these things: they want to make the vaccine available to underserved communities without asking for documents that are typically a barrier for members of those same communities. They want to make it easy to get a vaccine, but not talk about it too much so people don't flood in from other areas. But it does leave you in a weird quandry when you want to do your part and line up when the time comes to get vaccinated, and the question of "is it time yet" isn't exactly clear.

In my case I didn't get the shot until the 16th, but I'm so glad I got it at all.


Gotta love the rationalization. In March there was a lot of issues with supply of vaccines and the program was intended to specifically target underprivileged people because COVID is drastically affecting them more than people.

But you said to yourself, fuck their rules, I found a news article that justifies me jumping the line. So you hacked the system and jumped the line and got yourself vaccinated ahead of someone who could have gotten their shot that day.


As an outsider, I see no real reason to believe that this guy is not just as deserving of a vaccine as anybody else. It's hard to express how judgmental this post is.

Imagine you're browsing HackerNews and you see that there's a controversy. So, you instantly associate one side with "the plight of underprivileged Oakland residents" and the other side with "Greedy bourgeoisie colonizer." Because it's completely obvious who is in the wrong, you proceed to type this comment.


He isn't as deserving of a vaccine as everyone else at the time.

This happened in March, when vaccine supplies were still severely constrained and eligibility was still restricted to those who could be affected by the virus; the elderly and those with comorbidities.

Just because this specific site opened up to all in an effort to serve the underprivileged members of the community who couldn't otherwise prove eligibility does not suddenly mean he is the intended audience for the vaccine at the time, nor that he is deserving of the vaccine. People who actually needed the vaccine were the only ones who were deserving of it at the time.

Everyone else can wait a month. It's not the end of the world or anything.


No offence intended by the following question, but if it’s not made clear who the vaccines are intended for, how can it be “hacking the system”? Hacking the system implies you know the intent but you ignore it and used the system in a way it was not designed.



The site is intended to vaccinate the population as quickly as possible. Ignore the rules, get jabs in every willing arm until there is none left. Vaccines in the fridge or thrown in the bin don't lower R0.

The goal of any competent vaccination program should be to get the most socially active population vaccinated as quickly as possible to lower R0. This means 15-35 and retail workers first. That's not what happened anywhere in the west because of gerontocratic politics.


If your goal is just lowering R0, sure… but a lot of countries prefer to lower deaths, which is why they start with the older population / those with health conditions.


People with health conditions won't get infected if there is no spread. By all means vaccinate the most vulnerable, but stay at home early retirees aren't exactly superspreaders.

The 18-35 cohort after vaccination with the Pfizer vaccine are going from being extremely dangerous asymptomatic spreaders to having high levels of sterilizing immunity.


After the 60+ people were vaccinated, Denmark started at opposite ends in parallel: from 59 down, and 16 up.


EDIT: I was mistaken here, corrected by a response below.

-

I don't think there was a way for the public health authorities to create an explicit rule about neighborhood residency without inviting lawsuits. The best they could do is place vaccination centers in more convenient locations for underserved communities, and hope that it could raise the rate of vaccination in the vicinity.

I think there were people assuming that if it wasn't against the explicit rules to commute there to be vaccinated, it must be OK, even though it might (in the event of limited supply) undermine the effort to raise vaccination rates in that specific area.


> I don't think there was a way for the public health authorities to create an explicit rule about neighborhood residency without inviting lawsuits.

Zuckerberg Hospital in SF was offering vaccinations to targeted zip codes ahead of schedule, and they were verifying residency.


That's interesting, thanks for the correction. I was extrapolating from https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/02/health/white-people-covid... but that might not have been applicable here.


This pretty much summarizes how it was taken advantage of:

https://archive.is/Z55Oe


Glad it was "taken advantage of", racism has no place here. Disgusting that people think this is ok.


They didn't set up a clinic and stick a "Colored folks only" sign out front.

At the county or state level, they looked at the data and identified that Black and Latino populations were not being vaccinated at the same rate as white populations, and also recognized that the pandemic has disproportionately affected those same populations.

So they committed resources to establish more clinics in areas with high concentrations of the given populations and may have waived certain documentation requirements that are historically more challenging for them to acquire.

The result being that people of means, predominantly white people, took time off of work and travelled long distances to take advantage of the situation. Taking the place of a non-zero number of residents that were the intended recipients.


[flagged]


You did?!? You still have poor neighbourhoods populated predominantly by black and latino people, and the “wealthy people from other zip codes” (there, satisfied?) who swoop in to take advantage of the vaccines intended for these neighbourhoods are still predominantly white... So how, exactly, can you claim to have “got rid of segregation”?

To be fair, this is a reasonable assumption based on past experience. The government normally has no shortage of rules - it literally governs us. It's not unreasonable for some people to assume that this is a disorganized or inconsistent rollout rather than a form of social engineering meant to narrow the eligibility guidelines.


Means Testing is stupid


I stood in one of those Oakland lines myself and what I saw sickened me, so I left. I had taken a day off (long planned) and decided to check out a line around a mosque, asked an organizer what was going on, and sat myself in the line. I saw people rushing into line. Many of them called their friends or sent status updates on their phones and their friends joined them in line. Almost everyone in that line _was not_ from the neighborhood. As I saw people chit chatting about their work from home life, I started feeling a bit queasy. When the organizers started mentioning that doses might be out, people started getting angry, which made me even more disturbed. When I saw someone kick over a candle on the sidewalk that was on a person's memorial, I just had the last straw. I left. It wasn't my place to get a vaccine, I was not from this zip code.

What's funny is that friends of mine who were okay with that waited for hours and hours (up to 8 for some) to get their vaccine. I got mine 2 weeks later in my car, and was in and out within 30 minutes. The mania seemed so stupid and gross in hindsight, but I think some of my friends at least regretted it.


There are tens of millions of people in the US who were careless, got covid, and then spread it to others in the past year who have more blood on their hands than anyone who cut a vaccine line. Vaccine line cutting is just such a bizarre thing to take a hard moral stance on. And even now months later when the opposite problem of vaccine hesitancy is a much bigger concern, you’re still calling someone out for not even having done it but for perhaps having inadvertently encouraged others to do it.

I’ve seen a lot of pointless internet fights but this is truly next level.


Are people culpable for flu deaths, too? That’s a shaky chain of responsibility.


In relative terms hey are in a worse position than those who theoretically got a flu vaccine by violating distribution rules, if such a thing existed, was I think the point.


> Vaccine line cutting is just such a bizarre thing to take a hard moral stance on.

Even if we stipulate that a hard moral stance may be "bizarre", it's still at least rather dubious, isn't it?

So, it's certainly more bizarre to excommunicate someone for merely pointing it out.


You are mixing two things. Even if the sites were setup for poor neighborhood, it doesn't necessarily mean they are exclusive for people from those neighborhood.

And also, basic common sense, the sites are run by adults. If the adults over there don't care, why should you care?

Unless you have specific knowledge of people lied to get to use those sites, nobody need your judgement to "exonerate" themselves.


"If the adults over there don't care, why should you care?"

What makes you think that the people running the sites, once fully informed, would not have cared? If you cheat on your partner, but your partner is not upset (of course, they don't know about it) your logic states that no one should call you an asshole for it.


> What makes you think that the people running the sites, once fully informed, would not have cared?

Without exception, every person I've talked to that has been involved with vaccine distribution has cared only about getting vaccines into arms. In their minds the gov't can make rules, but where the rubber meets the road they were 1000% more interested in maximizing the number of people who were vaccinated than spending precious manpower carefully scrutinizing eligibility.

Heck, even in official communications the gov't repeatedly pointed out that they wouldn't actually be checking documentation on site. Almost like they were inviting people to get vaccinated before they were officially eligible.


So you have asked these specific people?

People like the pastor of the church where this vaccination site took place, who called people outside of their neighborhood, the intended recipients of the vaccine, "interlopers"?

Because it sure sounds to me like they cared.


For further context, having seen the original post, there were also details on which questions made someone qualified and which answers were “unprovable”.

It was crystal clear what the intent was and the poster was called out for it. There was a strong negative reaction.


Agree. Really not tooting my own horn but I qualified very early for the vaccine because I am a “farm worker” and while I really do work at a farm and all employees qualified early, I’m actually a robotics engineer with no necessary contact between me and those that tend the fields. I have an isolated office and I work alone.

I felt that if I ever decided to get the shot because of my employment as a “farm worker”, there would be one elderly person or real essential worker that had to wait another day. And that didn’t seem fair. So I waited until the general population could get vaccinated in April.

Just because technically someone will give you the shot doesn’t mean you’ve made an ethical decision.


I agree with what you're saying, and made the same decision myself. I was advised by someone who'd looked into it that I could have qualified as a healthcare worker and gotten into phase 1B or 1C, because my startup Cyph has customers in the healthcare industry. However, I work remotely and don't have all that much human contact even outside of a pandemic, so it didn't make sense to me to skip the line and take a more deserving person's spot on a technicality. (I am fully vaccinated now, though.)

That being said, based on the limited information in this thread, it seems to me that Paul unfortunately started a whole lot of drama over nothing.

My choice was a personal decision that made sense for me, not an absolute moral value that I feel entitled to impose on the world. I don't know these people's situations, or why they felt they needed the shot more urgently than I did, but even if our situations were identical it's not obvious that my decision was more correct. Arguably, they were more correct based on the position from the NY Times article someone else linked ("If you're offered a vaccine, take it"). At worst there's an argument that they were inconsiderate, but it's silly to raise a stink about such a morally grey issue.

If anyone is truly upset about this, why not instead write/call whichever level of government is responsible for having structured the system such that these things happen and are neither illegal nor discouraged?


Here’s the thing: public officials created procedures with estimates based upon who qualifies. If you qualified and didn’t take it, you actually created inefficiencies in the system, and slowed down rollout.

Source: friend in high up gov in CA


I’m one independent contractor doing engineering at one farm. I’d be surprised if I was even on whatever list was used to estimate what must be tens of thousands of farm workers in CA. In fact farm workers are so often undocumented they cannot have an accurate tally.


I don't think it matters. They wanted to pipeline people, knowing that some would technically qualify but be lower priority, but efficiency was the most important thing. That and each person getting vaccinated means less risk to them, less risk to spread to others, and less risk to mutation.


That argument only applies if they are demand limited. If they are, sure, great, get a vaccine. If they aren't, then you are quite literally keeping someone else from getting a vaccine.


I read the news regularly and the bulletins from the San Mateo County health advisor. During the time I qualified they were still running out of doses every week for front line workers. I am not a front line worker. It was not my place.


Shot in the arm as soon as it is offered saves lives by being one less person that will spread the virus to someone vulnerable.


Shots in arms for people in neighborhoods with a much higher rate of infection and death from COVID are more valuable than shots in arms in neighborhoods like mine where people could work from home and were basically unscathed.

I understand what you’re saying but the neighborhoods in question weren’t prioritized randomly.


I should probably have been at the end of the list. I work from home, had a pod that works from home and we're all able to take precautions when we go to the stores. A grocery store cashier faces people for 8 hours a day and is therefore a huge risk to themselves and to all their customers. There's no reason to claim the two of us are at all equivalent (assuming that we are in the same personal risk group.)


I’ve been extremely cautious with covid and I do not need to interact with the public beyond quick and careful grocery store visits. It would be better for a front line worker, who is not able to exercise the same level of avoidance, to get it than for me to have gotten it. I also do not live with any immunocompromised people - we are all healthy and under 40 and they work from home - so again it was better for someone who lives with an older person to have gotten it.


I'll applaud what you did. Early on there was a very clear need for those at risk to be vaccinated and the guidelines for essential farm workers were pretty clearly meant for those getting food to tables who were working in close quarters with others.

The odds of one of them getting and spreading it to many others were much greater for them than you, and that's what needed to be considered.


That’s right. I pass by several farms on the way to work and there’s a lot of people working in close groups and using shared housing. Thats who those shots are for. I show up to work at 4:30pm and work at a computer till 10 or 11pm. If all the tech workers were on some vaccine list for some reason I’d have done it, but I’m not the kind of “farm worker” those doses were intended for.


A friend of mine flew out from Zurich to CA to get a shot.

They gave him one without checking anything. His response? “America has the best vaccine program on the planet. They have so many rules in Zurich that the confusion is holding things back. They’d rather throw away vaccines than break minor rules”.

Vaccination should be easy, bureaucracy free and straightforward; especially now. I can understand age restrictions from Dec-Mar.

This is not like standing in the line at DMV. The entire country needs to be vaccinated and if we put too many rules around this, we all lose and that’s unethical. I urge everyone to be reasonable and flexible. This does not mean you should go and cut lines, push elderly and others aside. The goal for everyone should be efficient distribution of vaccines.


> They gave him one without checking anything. His response? “America has the best vaccine program on the planet. They have so many rules in Zurich that the confusion is holding things back. They’d rather throw away vaccines than break minor rules”.

I live in Zurich, the vaccination program is crystal clear. If there are free slots, you can book an appointment. Up to recently, if you were not in a priority group (which are well-defined), you couldn't book. Now it's open to everyone. I haven't heard of vaccines thrown away.

I don't know what your friend found confusing in Zurich, or how he somehow concluded that flying long-distance during the pandemic to get a shot in CA is worth it.


I've heard of about 2 million shots thrown away so far, but only from internal medical sources.

You would not dare to call friends and neighbors, you rather throw them away. Public outrage only over the first


> I've heard of about 2 million shots thrown away so far, but only from internal medical sources.

I couldn't find any information about this, is that more than a rumor? Where did you read this? Honestly I find this hard to believe without more evidence.


I had a long chat with him and don't remember it all but I paraphrased his take on Zurich's vaccine program. I don't know enough about situation there but my guess of why they flew down to CA was probably that they didn't cut it for the tier, frustrated by the slow roll out and the trip was most likely not a dedicated trip - they also rented an RV to travel around. Vaccication!


The main differences between the countries which could have frustrated your friend could be:

- Switzerland got their doses later than the US for a variety of reasons, so the US was able to give them away earlier, and lift the age restrictions earlier

- Switzerland made clear groups to assign priorities, with which you friend might not have been happy (presumably because he is in the last group, as I am)

That would explain why in his personal situation he was better off getting the vaccine in the US while on vacation there, but that's not really a case of too many rules or red tape holding the vaccination back in Zurich.


I see, thanks for sharing your perspective.


I don't think anyone's disputing that extra vaccines should go in arms as opposed to getting thrown out. However, given wait times in the 4-8 hour range all over this page, that clearly wasn't the case.

And how is this not like standing in line at the DMV. We have a number of people to process and limited resources to process them. It seems like an excellent analogy. If we had to reissue all licenses, I would like to think we would prioritize truck/bus/ambulance/fire engine drivers over other people. Than probably people who need to go to work. The people who need to go to essential jobs. Then unessential jobs. Then people who were working from home.


I agree with you - it depends and there is a nuance to each situation. Also, it is not like DMV because of the scale of vaccination. Vaccination is more akin to voting - less bureacracy leads to be better outcome. Too many rules and complicated voting process means lower voter turnout.

I hope that makes sense. Vaccination isn't an individual's selfish activity (like DMV queue) - it is a social contract and responsibility to prevent the spread of virus by lowering the r^2 value and breaking the chain of spread. It's not a perfect analogy of course and we're bikeshedding on the accuracy of the analogy... :-/


Vaccination is positive for society as well, but when this took place in mid-March it was definitely a selfish activity.

It's not like voting - you voting doesn't prevent me from voting.

Obviously, too many rules is bad. And too few rules are. And, just like voting, this site did not require ID because it would have harmed their ability to help an underserved population. It used the honor system. The people we're talking about violated that.


I think there is a large difference between having guidelines and asking people to voluntarily follow them for the sake of expediency, and having a policy of first-come-first-served.

This incident was in March, and what is really sad is that back in March there were places in the US where it really was first-come-first-served. I know many people here in Illinois that got vaccines in Indiana because their official policy was that any open slot was fair game if it was less than 24 hours to go. That policy started in late February or early March.

There is absolutely no reason to be jumping in line, especially if you have the means to travel.


It was very different in CA than it was in IL. demand far outpaced supply here in CA during the time we’re talking about.


> friend of mine flew out from Zurich to CA to get a shot.

I call BS.

Unless said friend is a US citizen, people who have physically been to the Schengen area have been forbidden to enter the US for quite a while now. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/from-oth...


There are exceptions, I’m sure otherwise I would have not met him (!!). His wife is US citizen. He is not. What more can I say?

You can call BS all you want. Your response sort of violates the HN protocol of assuming the best of people.

Edit: Perhaps because his wife is US Citizen, this would apply but not sure: "As further provided in each proclamation, citizens and lawful permanent residents of the United States, certain family members, and other individuals who meet specified exceptions, who have been in one of the countries listed above in the past 14 days will be allowed to enter the United States". I really don't know.


If you click the link "European Schengen area", it leads to the detailed proclamation[1], and:

2 (a) Section 1 of this proclamation [the suspension of entry] shall not apply to: [...] (iii) any noncitizen who is the spouse of a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident;

So yeah, GP is typical of the world nowadays, calling BS without knowing all the details...

https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/presidential-action...


Why not assume their friend is a US citizen?


He is not a US citizen.


> Your post suggests that the result of your post on the YC message board is that people who did not live in those zip codes came to Oakland to take advantage of a program that was not meant for them

That part makes no sense. If it “wasn’t for them” they’d have been turned away. You have to provide your drivers license to get vaccinated. Your address is on the license. If it was limited to people living in a certain zip code they could easily turn them away.


> to take advantage of a program that was not meant for them

What’s wrong with this? Our whole society operates like this, but it’s suddenly wrong for some small fries to “take advantage of the law” ?” Write your laws correctly, and don’t blame people for looking out for themselves using completely legal means.


There is a huge difference between something being legal and something being moral.

What they did might have been legal, sure, but it sure as hell was not moral.


> the kind of thing you’re describing could be seen by a reasonable person as unethical

False. A reasonable person would know that the shots don't last after they are thawed out. If someone skipped the appointment, the ethical thing to do is put it in the next warm body that's standing by rather than waste the shot. No one owes anyone any "coming clean" over encouraging others not to let those shots go to waste.


Incorrect. J&J vaccine are designed to be stored at regular refrigerator temperatures. They are different from the mRNA vaccines which expire shortly after thawing. So J&J shelf life is much much longer than Pfizer and Moderna and are good for areas where recipients returning for a 2nd vaccine shot are less likely.


Irrelevant. J&J wasn't available at the time of the incident.


J&J was literally what the church was providing. It has been mentioned multiple times in these comment threads.

It was authorized for emergency use at the end of February. Just because it wasn't available locally doesn't mean it wasn't available.


So we getting offended at people getting vaccinated now? Smh


No, we're getting offended at well-heeled serial start-up founders getting vaccinated at the expense of others and then playing the victim card when it's pointed out that this isn't super nice.

Did you really not get that, or are you just pretending?


For context, this site was at Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church in West Oakland. It was intentionally located there to target the local underserved communities. At the time, California was in phases 1A and 1B. This was intended for elderly and essential workers.

There was misinformation that it was first-come, first-serve to anyone who wanted it. I looked into it at the time and it was easy to verify that this was not true. The CA State website, the church's fliers, and their help line were all clear.

Here's an example clearly listing who was eligible: https://twitter.com/SarahBelleLin/status/1370071520953835520...

They intentionally did not check eligibility to avoid putting barriers up for high risk people. It was effectively an honor system.

This site ended up being oversubscribed and most doses went to people outside the targeted area or demographic: https://www.sfchronicle.com/local/article/A-West-Oakland-chu...


Your account may very well be biased but it astonishes me how many HN commenters are willing to chime in while knowing next to nothing about what actually took place.

I know next to nothing and as such would typically hesitate to comment. Others appear to know next to nothing and appear very interested in sharing their opinions here, and I don’t quite understand why...


> Others appear to know next to nothing and appear very interested in sharing their opinions

The modern internet in a nutshell. Of course, this is nothing new. We just now have more powerful tools for doing it.

I wish saying "I don't know" or "I'm not sure but I'd like to learn more about that" was more widely valued.


I don't know anything about the situation, but what is evident is this is some of the worst of Twitter on display, and why I shy away from the platform more often than not.


The same comments were made here on HN...


I wish I could donate all of my karma as votes for this comment. I'm really astonished at how the dynamics of internet forums make so many feel like they must immediately pick a side, even when there is such little information and even when getting just a single side of the story.

The worst part about this is that when more information does come to light, it's so rare to see an "oh wow, I really shouldn't have jumped to conclusions" apology. Instead, a lot of the time you see folks dig their heels in more, lest they actually have to admit they were wrong.


On the second half, I saw a quote from C.S. Lewis (here on HN[1]) which I thought captured the same sentiment well:

Suppose one reads a story of filthy atrocities in the paper. Then suppose that something turns up suggesting that the story might not be quite true, or not quite so bad as it was made out. Is one's first feeling, 'Thank God, even they aren't quite so bad as that,' or is it a feeling of disappointment, and even a determination to cling to the first story for the sheer pleasure of thinking your enemies are as bad as possible?

If it is the second then it is, I am afraid, the first step in a process which, if followed to the end, will make us into devils. You see, one is beginning to wish that black was a little blacker. If we give that wish its head, later on we shall wish to see grey as black, and then to see white itself as black. Finally we shall insist on seeing everything -- God and our friends and ourselves included -- as bad, and not be able to stop doing it: we shall be fixed for ever in a universe of pure hatred.

-- C.S. Lewis

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=26614034


When I worked at Apple I got to read a ton of comments on HN when features I worked on were released and so much of it just wasn't true. Even articles, blog posts, and news reports.


I assume by 'astonished' you mean 'totally not surprised'.


Since most of these self-righteous comments below still have no idea what they're talking about. The site was for overflow of vaccines that were going unused & being thrown out. The Oakland Coliseum is one of these mega-sites. So many of you don't understand the on-the-ground realities of the communities you're speaking of where I live. I see my neighbors and when FEMA is running these sites they know their goals. It's not unethical to follow the guidelines and get jabbed. Also the line was most exclusively healthy adults coming in from all around California. Clearly I didn't invite 800 people myself from a deleted post on an internal forum.

Also on the Monday before the FEMA agents were telling me they had less people than vaccines, Tuesday they barely covered the people with vaccines, and Wednesday (when I got it) onwards they had slightly more demand when they asked people to tell their friends.

It's up to governments to enforce rules around their clinics instead of moral crusaders that live across the country with no on-the-ground experience to tweet an internal post to generate outrage.

Here are articles around why there was so few people getting vaccinated in our area and why FEMA requested us ask our friends to show up.

"COVID-19 Vaccination Hesitancy in the United States: A Rapid National Assessment " - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7778842/

"Addressing Justified Vaccine Hesitancy in the Black Community " - https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8009077/


That seems to be just not the case: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27402261


From what other people who saw your original post have said, it sounds like you got significant pushback at the time, and that you knew that you were skirting the eligibility criteria as you understood it.

As I’m sure you are aware, the brunt of COVID infections and deaths in the Bay Area were borne mostly by our Black and Latinx neighbors, especially those who continued to work during the pandemic, serving those of us who were able to work from home in our underwear all year. And I’m also sure you’re aware that the relaxed eligibility criteria that allowed you to get vaccinated early was meant to reach them, not you.

You can dismiss your critics as “moral crusaders.” You cannot dismiss the fact that the people public health officials were trying to reach with the vaccine you took died at a much higher rate from COVID than, for example, the community of Y Combinator alumni.

How you feel about any of that is up to you, but I hope you’re at least willing to be honest about what happened.


read the papers I linked and you'll realize that these sites have challenges with getting people vaccinated due to lack of trust in government and healthcare in general

it's been 3 months since that clinic and many people here are still hesitant to get vaccinated

these issues remain because few people understand how deep distrust runs especially in Oakland where people have seen the massive destruction caused by government agencies


> read the papers I linked and you'll realize...

How about you read the tweet someone else linked?

https://twitter.com/SarahBelleLin/status/1370071520953835520


What massive destruction? Have vaccines been a net health deficit for these groups?


you can go to a community with high vaccine hesitancy or you know actually click the links I posted


If you want people on your side, you're really going to need to get some more tact over here.

Unnecessary snark isn't going to get you fans.


Dude, you forget it is 2021 and facts don't matter. Outrage is up to 11, and nothing else matters.

Good for you. You got vaccinated, got a few people vaccinated, and the world is safer at large. Ignore the haters~!


Got downvoted for this comment by a mob. How very on brand.


[flagged]


Where’d he do that? Honestly don’t see it.

He said he understand the realities of how bad covid is the that area and the areas around it because he lives there.

Then that it was within the guidelines for anyone from around the area to be able to get vaccinated at the site.

While some days there was less people than vaccinates ready to be used along with days where it was busier.

People in my city went to different neighborhoods where vaccines were available for them too. To put it perspective say there was a vaccine site in west Harlem with plenty of vaccines while the surrounding areas didn’t. People from west Harlem, Washington heights, all the ones surrounding that, the neighborhoods below 125th, the one that encompasses Columbia, etc... to try to get vaccinated as soon as they can. Pretty much everyone who’s working class in the city saw how bad covid hit here and in other major cities . Those who want a vaccine should get it as soon as they can, period.


When I lived in Denver a few months back, the mass-vaccination site of Coors Field was right behind my condo. I love to skateboard and OneWheel that lot (Coors Field lot C) and just rolled up in my OneWheel and a nurse asked if I was there for a vaccination. I said I wasn’t but that I also hadn’t been vaccinated. She directed me to the line and said “Well, go get yours”. At this time CO hadn’t opened up vaccines for everyone 18+ (they did two weeks later). While I understand the frustrations some people have with the fact their state has waiting lists and eligibility requirements still, I also believe we should be happy people are getting vaxed. No input on the drama here but I’m glad you made the decision to get vaxed and Paul should do his part to make sure he gets vaxed. Internet outrage isn’t a sustainable community builder unless you’re into conspiracies or cancel culture. Calling out others for doing their part (whether ethically or not) is missing the point. Get vaxed. So we can all move forward.


I am split on that. Waiting in line behind all those having prioritized appointments in order to catch surplus doses, fine. Lying to get such an appointment? Not cool. Generally, we shouldn't make such a fuss vaccination on social media, either way.


People lie. All the time. The Karen’s of the world. If you deceived in order to get vaxed and someone who desperately needs the vax couldn’t get one, I understand the anger. I’ve lost friends to covid. What I will say is life isn’t fair, crying about it after the fact doesn’t do anyone any justice. Focus on you and just go get vaxed. If you need to make an appointment, do it. If you need to walk up to a clinic, do it. The sooner we can get everyone vaxed the sooner we can return to normal. I’m not downplaying the issue, I’m simply redirecting energy into more positive outcomes. I have no say on the drama of whether they lied to get bumped to the front of the line or not. People lie to jump lines all the time. Hell, some people just cut them. Does it anger me personally, yes. Will it change the overall outcome, no. Get vaxed. Call your congressperson if you must, but get vaxed.


Your original post is a bit unclear. You don’t state if you lied or not pretending to be eligible.

If you did I don’t really feel any moral superiority, we each make our own decisions. That being said you are now one of those Karen’s in your own words.


I didn’t lie to skip a line. I just showed up. Labeling me isn’t going to get people vaxed. Go get vaxed.

Also, Karen’s (internet term) are people who complain about issues that don’t affect them personally or take offense at others actions that don’t matter to them. Or using their privilege to get what they want. I specifically stated I just showed up.


Oh, I really didn't think it was clear from your comment or follow up.

Honestly I have friends who lied to get the vaccine early and I don't really want to blame them. We were all in different circumstances in this pandemic and like I tried to say I don't want to pass judgement.

If you didn't lie I cannot see in any way how you did anything wrong. I read that you did from your follow-up post calling other people Karen's.

Not that it matters, but I did get vaccinated the very first day it was open for me where I live.


>People lie to jump lines all the time. Hell, some people just cut them. Does it anger me personally, yes. Will it change the overall outcome, no.

I thought by me saying it angers me when people cut lines it was pretty clear that I follow the rules and will wait my turn. Glad you got vaxed. Tell others.


> 2. I asked them about eligibility and told them I don't clear CA guidelines. They told me it's first come, first served with an ID showing I am 18+.

There are a number of 'special' vaccination sites in the USA which are indeed vaccinating first come, first served people without going through any special qualifications/eligibility check. For instance FEMA was, and still is, running a mass vaccination site in Yakima, WA which was a massive hot spot of infections in WA state.

They quite specifically told the media that they were focused on getting "shots into arms" and not spending a lot of time on each person checking residency documents.

https://www.google.com/search?q=yakima+wa+vaccination+site+f...

Although by the time it opened it was also possible for most people in the Seattle metro area to get a shot without a very long wait, I do know a few people who drove over there and quite clearly showed their drivers license for ID, and got vaccinated without violating any policy or lying about anything whatsoever.


This was actually fake news, Yakima fema site had the same eligibility as elsewhere in the state

https://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/health/washingtoni...

A good example of how confusing and micro managed the eligibility charade was.


I live in Seattle. What I remember is that they advertised that they were following the same eligibility requirements as everywhere else in the state, but they were having such trouble getting enough people to show up that they put out requests for anyone over 18 to show up. I know a few people who drove out there to get their shots a couple weeks ahead of when they would be eligible to make an appointment elsewhere in the state. None of them lied about their eligibility factors.


My manager drove out to Yakima. While they don't enforce eligibility, I still think it's immoral to try to get a shot when you aren't eligible.


Information you think is wrong isn’t “fake news”. Please don’t be so hyperbolic. It’s akin to calling someone a liar.


There is no “think” there is a quote from the public health officials who make the rules right there


That may have been the policy which was published but the factual reality is that they were vaccinating very nearly any adult who showed up.


> There are a number of 'special' vaccination sites in the USA which are indeed vaccinating first come, first served people

Same here in Canada. Some private clinics have been offering FCFS vaccines to eligible age groups for some time now. I assumed the US must be the same and wondered what the outrage is here. I got messages from people encouraging me to do the same.


> There are a number of 'special' vaccination sites in the USA which are indeed vaccinating first come, first served people without going through any special qualifications/eligibility check.

As well as entire states in certain parts of the USA.

For example, Texas, where you only have to be at least 12 years old[0]. In many cities in Texas, they're at more than 50% and running out of arms to stick them in, and definitely very short or no lines. No idea why California has those requirements instead of just opening up more jab spots.

0. https://dshs.texas.gov/covidvaccine/


This is historical, there are no limitations in CA now. I believe that’s true for the whole country since April 15th. Bay Area removed requirements a few days before that due to higher than anticipated supply.


That makes a lot more sense -- thanks for the data.


However these vaccination sites were set up specifically for underserved communities.

https://www.fema.gov/press-release/20210326/california-fema-...

It also doesn't help that this person keeps changing his story all the time. On Twitter he claims that joe Biden announced that all adults are eligible for vaccination in March. This is patently false.


Link to that tweet?


https://twitter.com/Prafulfillment/status/140093960124245606...

"Also I never showed people how to skip a line given the rules for federal vaccination clinics were 18+ and the president announced it the same night as this rant."

The entirety of his reasoning that he didn't show people how to skip a line is based on the false premise that all adults qualified for a vaccine in March. In march, we had a tremendous shortage of vaccines for the 50+.

His tweets in march were super smug memes about what he did - "It is what it is". This simply doesn't jive with his story here that vaguely implies getting left over shots after waiting for hours. A completely different attitude from what he presents here. There is no verifiable history here, but I simply cant take the founder on his word.


Biggar's accusation is that you "lied to skip the vaccine queue". In your comment implies that you didn't, but it wasn't stated explicitly. For the record, can you affirmatively deny that you haven't "lied to skip the vaccine queue"?


The yc founders commentary is highly unreliable. On Twitter he claimed that joe Biden declared that all adults are eligible for a vaccine in March. Hence he didn't skip the line. This is patently false. He has a different story here. I would take his claims with a huge helping of salt.

All that we know is that he got vaccinated in March ahead of federal guidelines. Did he wait to obtain vaccines left over at the end of the day? Or did he enter a line meant to serve underserved communities. We cannot tell.


I believe what are being thought of and judged by some (not you necessarily) as hard rules are actually just guidelines as you mentioned.

And individual sites are encouraged to use their discretion in giving out available doses, when extra doses are available, to people who would otherwise not fit the guidelines. Because having doses go to waste is not desirable. So, people passing judgement may be being overly harsh.

It’s hard to speak generally about it though because rules and guidelines vary from place to place.


It’s perfectly acceptable to do this thing (in theory), but if stories about it turn into he said/she said there is part of the context we are missing.


Maybe the takeaway is that organizations may (fairly, imho) try to limit the toxicity when people initiate he said/she said accusations in public without having all the facts.


Can you post your original message to the forum here too? That way we can know for sure what was said precisely, otherwise it's just he-said / he-said.


Why is it we need to discuss this more? It’s not technical, or interesting. Just a bunch of people gossiping and trying to judge!!


Because people are interested and want to find out the truth? At the moment it's a he-said-she-said situation, with each side posting their own (probably biased) version of events.


The person you're replying to is suggesting that everyone who's "interested and want to find out the truth" here should stop and re-evaluate what utility that gets them, vs what disutility that information-seeking gets the people involved.

To put this another way: the paparazzi that chased Princess Diana to her death, did so because there was demand for tabloid journalism.


Because it’s just gawking curiosity, not intellectual curiosity - the latter being what the site is ostensibly about


The people that invested in this affair that doesn't concern them? They need a new hobby. Maybe volunteering at their local vax site for a few weeks could do some actual good instead of trying to play detective just to feel good about themselves pretending they are contributing.


The technical work that a lot of us are involved in is deeply intertwined with the venture capital business. This is a glimpse of how things operate inside of that business.


Posting the exact text would be sort of the opposite of gossiping. And it is somewhat important because of the possibility of ycombinator unjustly punishing someone(the other possibility being that ycombinator did nothing wrong and this tweeter just burned his reputation). The beauty of the internet and message boards is that if you don't want to take part in the conversation, you can just leave the page.


From the HN guidelines: “Please don't complain that a submission is inappropriate. If a story is spam or off-topic, flag it.”


[flagged]


Please take your racism and concern trolling elsewhere.


This comment is literally extremely racist. Why did you bring race into it?


Did the church site have to turn away elderly people, or other people who cleared CA guidelines, at the end of each day?


I am also super interested in the answer to this particular question. I know a lot of people who waited for surplus/standby shots at the end of the day outside clinics in SF. Anecdotally, a lot of my coworkers got early vaccines that way.

As a non-essential worker with no risk factors, I felt that my contribution to the pandemic was to stay home and wait until my turn. I did, by the way, wait until the vaccine was generally available before scheduling. Before general availability, most of my friends my age (mid-30s) had been vaccinated by stretching the truth. I felt like the idiot, and had a fair amount of resentment.

I wonder about the surplus doses, though. Did a substantial culture of seeking out unused doses result in outcomes that were net positive from a utilitarian point of view? It's unclear to me how much "line cutting" this resulted in.

Clearly, stretching the truth to get a dose ahead of others is selfish at least. Back in March, I assume that there were plenty of people in need that didn't/couldn't get an appointment that needed a shot more than YCombinator founders. This wasn't stretching the truth though, just exploitation of a loophole and small surpluses of a limited resource.

In the end, I think the morality hinges on your question, koolhaas. To what extent did standby shots interfere with mitigating the health crisis. Is that what dasickis was doing? Was dasickis aware of opportunity cost of taking that shot? Did he even care?

https://www.mercurynews.com/2021/03/13/covid-your-bay-area-g...


> I am also super interested in the answer to this particular question. I know a lot of people who waited for surplus/standby shots at the end of the day outside clinics in SF. Anecdotally, a lot of my coworkers got early vaccines that way.

How did that work with the two-dose vaccines? If you were not eligible under the then current phase but got the first shot from surplus (which is entirely legitimate), were you exempted from phase requirements for the second shot?


Essentially yes. Once you get the first, you are scheduled for the 2nd, and aren’t questioned (and really, it’s all very honor system anyways).

Early in vaccination, I believe sites were reserving 2nd doses for everyone who got the first. Then production became predictable enough where cdc instructed sites to not reserve in favor of increasing vaccine rates. Then sites always prioritized people returning for 2nd doses (internally, or through scheduling systems)


I would feel guilt if me waiting in line before becoming eligible resulted in another person being turned away at a busy vaccine site - even if I didn’t have to technically lie about my eligibility.

Even if I’m iffy on the morality now, I don’t want to look back 20 years later as a different person, thinking about how, as a healthy young person, I cut in front of the eligible.

Would that person who was turned away because of me get a shot the next day, or the next? Probably. It’s just principles for me, like a personal code. The morality is debatable, everyone is different.

There’s something nice too about working cooperatively with an entire country at a unique time in history, and helping the less fortunate by simply following the rules as best you can as a non-essential individual.

My 2 cents


I’d feel guilty, but it’s hard for me to get upset about other people skipping the line for the vaccine. Sure there are higher risks for certain people, and in a perfect world. But it’s hard for people to not be self-interested in their health.

And in public policy, the long game is always the important one. People will always cheat, and you have to decide what level of enforcement generates the most social good. Too much enforcement of welfare fraud leaves children hungry; too little enforcement gives out-of-state prisoners free money.

So here, since everyone needed to be vaccinated eventually, we really only needed the appearance of enforcement. Honestly, having rich people cheat only made vaccines more desirable, which in the long term may lead to a higher overall vaccination rate. I mean, if politicians and VCs and the elite all want it ASAP, maybe it’s safe for almost everyone?


> I’d feel guilty, but it’s hard for me to get upset about other people skipping the line

Same. I’m not upset, just wanted to walk through what goes through my head personally.

> And in public policy, the long game is always the important one

This is a key point. The policy did its job. Old and weakened people got their shots, line skippers are a blip on the radar. But maybe it worked because most people played their role and held back tiny personal infractions for the greater good.

> I mean, if politicians and VCs and the elite all want it ASAP, maybe it’s safe for almost everyone?

I think that is very theoretical psychoanalysis, but if it’s what people tell themselves to get that early jab, sure. In the end, this is an unprecedented global crisis and people are either going to fall in line or act in ways that help them cope with uncertainty and anxiety.


Don't know about the state of vax in the USA, but here in Germany it's pretty chaotic.

There are vax centers for priorized people and then every doc gets a bunch of vaccinations for their own patienst, which don't have to be priorized.

Now, some vax centers are temporarily closed, because they run out of vaccinations, so priorized groups cant get vaccinated anymore.

But if you find some doc somewhere, who still got a few jabs left, you can vaccinated there even if you aren't priorized.


Yep, Germany screwed up the whole supply management. Just saw a projection that Germany will reach 80% first vaccinations in July. Which was kind of expected, initial orders as of January were enough to get that in June/July. I guess we will one month behind everyone else in the EU, so I think July won't be that far off. In August we will see headlines complaining about all the over ordering of vaccines and what to do with it.

I'd love to write a case study about that one day. Or maybe not.


Yes it did.

All the fema pop up sites ran out every day and thus shut down and turned people away.


Why would people have issues with you simply posting you...went and got a jab? Is there more to the story? Sorry genuinely curious, not trying to put fuel on the fire


From what they wrote, it looks like they probably said something along the lines of "Hey, here's a location where they don't care if you are in an at risk group, you can just show up and get your vaccine." Considering it was back in March, people probably found it wrong to be advertising that to a bunch of people who are probably healthy and well-off, instead of people who actually needed the vaccine.

I'm not going to make any judgements about it though, considering I don't know anything about how things were in California. In Maryland they had county level registrations that went through tiers of at risk groups, plus state-wide vaccination sites that were open to anyone, so I ended up getting my vaccination a few weeks before I would have if I'd waited for "my turn" with the county vaccination program.


> Why would people have issues with you simply posting you...went and got a jab? Is there more to the story?

From the tweets now deleted, looks like the internal bookface post in question wasn't all that popular and got roundly criticized.

At least it got 0 upvotes and every single response told him he was wrong. Doesn't seem like he learned his lesson, however it's clear almost nobody else approves of this mentality.

(I think the first one was way worse; he was advocating lying.)

Seems like there's definitely more to it?

https://archive.is/6t7AG


Interesting. I can still see these "deleted" tweets when I retrieve JSON from the command line. I do not like using Twitter's user interface, especially the way it uses Javascript, so I wrote a quick shell script called 1.sh to read Twitter without using a graphical web browser.

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27056734

To read the JSON, I have been experimenting with json_reformat from https://github.com/lloyd/yajl

   1.sh > 1.json

   sed -n /{\"data\"/p 1.json|json_reformat|sed  -n -e 's/ *//' \ 
   -e '/created_at/p;/sation_id_str/p;/full_text/p'|grep -B2 full_text|less


This was back in March when vaccine demand outstripped supply & ensuring "fair access" to the vaccine was a big concern. It seems almost quaint now that we have the opposite problem. (FWIW I think Paul's reaction was pretty unreasonable, bordering on hysterical).


Well, if Paul was mistaken, then he should have been informed- not kicked out of YC for a misunderstanding don’t you think? Sounds like abuse of power


Yeah, I’m not gonna get particularly upset about either side doing something wrong at a time when there was a lot of confusion, lot of pressure, and frankly the correct moral decision isn’t all that clear.

But that swings both ways, and it does not speak well that 1 side was penalized so heavily for it, irrespective of whether they were in the right or wrong.

Of course, it’s even more egregious coming on the heels of a Ycombinator founder defending someone who did far far worse.


I am not surprised this comment was buried to avoid scrutiny. Technocracy censorship is common these days


FWIW: Early on California had a no leftover doses policy. But what do you do when you have more vaccines than eligible people? You lower the eligibility requirements. This probably wasn't official policy but it was required of vaccination site runners to comply with the policy, so as they got towards the end of the day and they still had doses leftover they probably started jabbing anyone who walked in. I don't know what the consequences were from having leftover doses, but they were severe enough that some sites started doing this kind of thing.


> 4. Posted it in an internal forum for other founders.

Why? That seems to be the key question and I don't see an answer to it anywhere in this discussion.


Several posters in this reddit discussion [1] about that vaccination site corroborate dasickis' claims.

It's still not clear why they were not sticking to whatever the current phase California was in at the time. I've seen a couple claims on that, both of which are believable.

1. The site was participating in a Federal vaccination program, not a state vaccination program. The state rollout phases only applied to state programs.

2. They didn't get enough people making appointments to use up their vaccine allotment. When that happened (or when people made but didn't keep appointments) sites were allowed to give the leftover vaccine out first come first served to anyone who met the requirements of the FDA emergency authorization for the vaccine they were using.

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/oakland/comments/m4bqx9/a_west_oakl...


This was a FEMA clinic for underserved communities in need

Make what you want to about it.

https://www.fema.gov/press-release/20210326/california-fema-...


You failed a basic ethical test: Can you wait until the needy have had their turn? The answer seems to be that no, you cannot. I recognize that YC views this as a positive trait in founders, but I hope that you recognize that the vast majority of folks view it as a negative.


This whole thing is about a COVID shot!? Yeah petty on all sides sounds about right to me.


I don't agree with this comment, but we should probably upvote it for credible argument's sake.


I agree with this comment and upvoted it for credible argument's sake


I read more about the location he got his shot from. He is most likely right that he did nothing wrong. Idk anything about the other person who supposedly bragged about skipping in line, but seeing as 1 of his 2 examples was incorrect, I'm going to assume the 2nd one is untrue too until I see something more than hearsay.


Judging from this poster, he is most likely not right: https://twitter.com/SarahBelleLin/status/1370071520953835520

As it is presented it does not seem controversial. If someone is not misrepresenting themselves, and they are following the rules of the site/clinic then there's no concern here.


>YC founder came with his aunt, uncle, and mom all over 65 to get jabbed who didn't know about the vaccine site.

Did this YC founder and his aunt, uncle and mom also live in the neighbourhood?

Also, I'm curious about those "issues" if you were just intending to help out people in your neighbourhood? What issues were there with your post?


I think they didn't have residency requirements. (just being 18+ and you are eligible).


So did you or didn’t you instruct people to lie about their profession in order to get vaccinated? I’m not making an accusation here, but I’m genuinely curious if that point is a blatant lie or something you feel is ok to omit in your description of events?


For people like me who read the linked twitter thread before reading the comments (admittedly guilty of getting outraged before hearing both sides): There is an "unvote" button underneath the headline.


It baffles me how people get outraged when other people get vaccinated out of "order" . Here in Mexico there's a lot of ruckus because of people going to Texas to get vaccine. Or when doctors vaccinated themselves and their families.

My thought is... when it comes to vaccines. It doesn't matter who goes first and who goes later. The fact that someone (anyone) is vaccinated helps us all. I still dont have the vaccine and will get it later. But I already feel safer with all the people that have been vaccinated. Theres no way people can do wrong!!


I think, assuming the vaccine is effective, vaccination only one group like what is happening in a small set of countries, will have a negative effect on the goal of eliminating a virus (is this the goal?). Supposedly allowing the virus to thrive and mutate in a subset of humans would make vaccines overall less effective at completely extinguishing a disease. But case by case has a negligit effect on national disparity, but socially it seems unacceptable.


Twitter is Internet rage defined.


You mean HN is internet rage defined? Twitter is awesome.


Totally! If your Twitter timeline is not awesome, it's your fault.


I was hoping someone would validate my suspicion that all of the people commenting without seeing any evidence were indulging in outrage porn.


NYC has been offering vaccines for all international tourists for quite some time: https://twitter.com/nycgov/status/1390389905033994246


As others have pointed out, the event they're discussing happened in March.


Not all. NY hasn't yet expanded eligibility to international residents, unlike some states like PA (other than Philadelphia) and TX which are okay vaccinating anyone of the right age regardless of country of residence.

Source: https://covid19vaccine.health.ny.gov/ "All individuals 12 years of age and older that reside in the United States are eligible to receive the vaccine." https://www1.nyc.gov/site/doh/covid/covid-19-vaccine-eligibi... used to mention this requirement but still links to the NY State COVID-19 Vaccine Form (seemingly hosted on S3!) https://forms.ny.gov/s3/vaccine that includes an attestation that the vaccine recipient "presently reside[s] in the United States".

They aren't just excluding international tourists, either - lots of non-tourist international residents are still excluded from vaccination in NY. I'm an American citizen who currently lives outside the US, but I've spent most of my life living in NYC and am preparing to move back there with my wife once she gets her US immigrant visa. We recently visited my fully vaccinated parents, primarily as a family visit and mental health break, and with tourism kept to a minimum for safety reasons.

When we got our first shots in late April, the rules were "NY residents only", so we each got our two doses in a relatively nearby, rural, and somewhat politically purplish part of PA that had plenty of spare shots and that didn't mind ID documents showing foreign residency. Even now we wouldn't qualify for getting our first dose in NYC, despite having a lot stronger ties to the area than tourists.

I hope NY removes this last restriction some time soon: maybe together with its so-called "full reopening" on July 1, maybe when the Canada-US land border reopens to travelers who aren't fully vaccinated, or maybe when the geographical travel restrictions get dropped for foreigners coming from the EU/UK/China.


That tweet from the official account of the City of New York says otherwise: “With State authorization, we can get vaccines to tourists and make sure they have a built in souvenir to bring home with them.”


That tweet is just being imprecise, not contradicting me - they can give it to tourists, just tourists who live somewhere in the US. The state did authorize that. The statewide restriction was NY residents only until the city started pushing the state to allow a broader policy. All of my links are from official state or city sources as well, and those reference webpages and official forms get a lot more attention as to the details than a single admittedly official tweet.

In practice, I doubt an international resident would be refused at many of these sites, as they're no longer asking for proof of residency beyond the attestation on that form, and it would probably be an informal or even formal policy not to turn people away who admit they don't fit within the guidelines. But still, that's just a question of tolerance for going outside the eligibility criteria, not a refutation of the existence of the criteria.


I don’t know when this occurred but a few months ago sites started having an oversupply problem and were taking people no questions asked. At that point the elderly and vulnerable had several months lead time and 95% of the people at the vaccination centers were 25-55. I was more outraged at the snitches rage. I personally don’t think there was a moral issue here at all.


> Paul ends up tweeting about it and making a huge deal around something he has no idea about. He gets a bunch of people on Twitter upset about something they don't know about.

I gave him the benefit of doubt, but should have been more skeptical upon seeing pronouns in bio. It's a curiously predictive heuristic. For whatever reason, pronoun people tend to be particularly good at generating internet drama.


Yeah, or we want to be treated like humans. Find a better heuristic.


That exaggerated oppression claim only reinforces the heuristic. In reality, approximately 99% of the time people use the correct pronouns based on name and appearance. The remaining rare cases consist of honest mistakes (that can be politely corrected) or bullies (who the rest of us already denounce).


This is really frustrating to me, I also got vaccinated at that clinic through the same mechanism - I live in the complex on the street a block away and perpendicular.

I also had people complain at me, and I had to patiently ask them, "would you rather the doses expire"? It's really frustrating but I understand the confusion and also the general feeling of "unfairness", as everyone right-thinking is eager to get vaccinated if possible.


When I was a child I remember going to food banks. I remember the food bank having no eligibility checks whatsoever.

I also remember a few rich people going there just to take advantage of it, and I remember days where we were so far back in line that we got nothing while the rich people walked out happily.

That vaccination site isn't any different. Those vaccines were intended for poor, underdocumented, at risk populations. Your vaccination saved one life (yours), but cost many more. It's not any different from the days I went hungry due to egoists like you.

Nowadays, I'm obviously in a different situation, but I still can't stand people with this "fuck you, got mine" mindset.


Apparently lots of vaccination sites were indeed different.

Your food bank analogy would work if they were serving fresh food and could not give it all away, so invited any and all to come and eat. Which was the situation at many vaccination sites. Doses were going to waste if people did not use them. And when not enough people in the designated groups were showing up or making appointments at some sites, everyone was encouraged to come so the shots did not go to waste. That so many showed up after the general call for people is a marker of success. Not the one intended for initially, but better than shots going to waste.


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