As we say in the guidelines,
HN is a news site, not a forum for people with issues with companies we've funded
(even when concealed as Ask HNs). So I'm killing this.
If you have an issue with Dr Chrono, please contact them directly.
With that said however, I think that over half of the comments in the thread were just getting ready to arm their pitchforks anyway so the constructiveness of any discussion was probably already over.
Clickable to original story: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7178004
Maybe we should move to a place where the power hierarchy is not as objectionable. As earlier suggested, maybe a place moderated by trusted HN members (I'm thinking patio11, potatolicious, grellas, etc.) - we can get started here if there's any interest http://www.reddit.com/r/truehn
For some very strange reason, this reads exactly like https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6929705, down to the PG retort about the guidelines.
Why do I say something is broken with YC? They should be inculcating certain values, including not leaving customers high and dry (which is what would happened here and in other cases had the posts not reached the front page). You may argue, correctly, that the customers in question were made whole, but that's only because HN worked as a forum for airing grievances about YC companies.
But they are company killers. And if I am an investor I want to find out sooner rather than later.
That's something that could be reasonably expected from a mega-corporation which has to deal with multiple layers of bureaucracy, but even in those situations a direct appeal to an executive officer usually gets the issue resolved. Getting the runaround is not something anyone should have to deal with when the company has a handful of employees and minimal, if any, layers of middle management. After all, isn't one of the primary benefits of being a startup supposed to be that the company is more responsive to customer needs?
I mean, that was his question. All he seems to have left is suing. He was asking if he had another option. And, of course the other option is "raise a stink on HN/interwebs". But that's a luxury reserved for "hackers"/VIPs, not lowly customers.
PG told him to sue DrChrono.
Which the poster has been doing, and it hasn't worked?
So, not looking for honest advice but using HN as a side channel.
UPDATE: I never said it wasn't well intended. I said it wasn't for honest advice, OP was using HN as a communication forum side channel.
UPDATE 2: If he wanted honest advice he'd have been wise to omit the start up name.
UPDATE 3: The primary purpose of OPs post was to use HN as a communication vehicle with the start up involved, not to seek advice.
UPDATE 4: If the OP was seeking honest advice then he wouldn't have posted the name of the start up. Posting the name of the start up which happens to be funded by the provider of the discussion medium you are using is going to result in BIASED advice.
It's obvious that HN is not a news site, but a discussion forum based upon censored news. If this complaint had been about a non-YC funded company, the moderators would have left the story up. Heck, every other story on HN is usually about somebody complaining about a company's product or conduct.
Why is YC afraid of open discussion? So what if one company out of the portfolio is having problems? Nobody expects the investments to be perfect, yet killing the conversation makes it look far worse, as though there is something to hide.
End of the day, profit trumps transparency. Remember that the next time people get on the soap box and talk about internet freedom blah blah blah.
Meta question....What are these penalties you are referring to?
My understanding was the only ban hacker news imposed on sites was a binary one. ie a domain was banned or treated as an equal to all other allowed domains.
> Some submissions get automatically penalized based on the title, and others get penalized based on the domain. It appears that any article with NSA in the title gets an automatic penalty of .4. I looked for other words causing automatic penalties, such as awesome, bitcoin, and bubble but they do not seem to get penalized.
> I observed that many websites appear to automatically get a penalty of .25 to .8: arstechnica.com, businessinsider.com, easypost.com, github.com, imgur.com, medium.com, quora.com, qz.com, reddit.com, rt.com, stackexchange.com, theguardian.com, theregister.com, theverge.com, torrentfreak.com, youtube.com. I'm sure the actual list is longer. (This is separate from "banned" sites, which were listed at one point.
Page ranking also decays with time, and I think also once you reach a discussion threshold. (I haven't re-read the entire article as thoroughly just now.) I highly recommend reading the article, as it's VERY interesting and well presented.
A good description of the math behind penalties (and a list of some penalized domains) is here: http://www.righto.com/2013/11/how-hacker-news-ranking-really...
Brace for business-based rationalizations as on why it's perfectly fine (HN is a YC marketing arm, he runs the website and can do whatever he wants, etc, etc).
If you're lucky, someone will start throwing around the word "entitled" to make you look like the bad guy just for expecting any standard of behavior from another that isn't exclusively profit focused.
HN is much more than a marketing arm — it's one of the most central forums for programmer discussions today. And this makes it YC's responsibility to treat it as such.
HN is a news site, not a forum...
I personally really just see it as a Forum about news that is primarily inhabited by a specific portion of the Tech Industry.
Of course, this isn't my sandbox and I don't make the rules. Etc.
EDIT: not allowed to reply to jacquesm, so putting it here:
Good points. I just don't think the community is that threatened by PG's moderation in this case. I know it looks bad, but sometimes the Internet can be a bit reactionary, so I can see why he tried to protect his company from a firestorm (like this) when it may not be substantiated.
As for the favoritism, well, it's YC's forum. It's mild enough that it doesn't really worry me.
Think of them as an opportunity to show that you do care about your customer, and that 'make something people want' is not just a hollow phrase, rather than to muzzle them and potentially adding insult to injury. If we're to believe what the OP wrote then PG's advice was especially bad given that he - by his own words, which I can't check but let's give the man the benefit of the doubt - had been trying to talk to the company for quite a while and turned to HN as a last-resort before suing them.
I've reached out to Dr. Dal to have a phone call today to see how we can resolve his issues. Me and my staff have attempted to have a phone call with him for the past several weeks to address his issues.
Rather than try to dig into the issues he brought up publicly, we'll do our best to contact him directly and resolve the issues he has.
One would hope that moderation will be just enough to keep HN from becoming a catch-all support site, without stifling the conversation altogether.
It wouldn't be effective if it became a complaint board.
Very glad to see that the CEO cares enough to comment, though. Good faith there, even if the op was "against the rules".
Your note here suggests you may not have spoken with him yet, and may not even have a confirmed time for a phone call.
This is tangentially related, but one of Dr. Dal's complaints was about raising your pricing for billing services. He made it sound like these were a fixed fee, which would be unusual for the medical billing service industry.
Nearly every medical billing service I've seen charges a percentage of collections, and I've seen them range between 4% and 10%. It's a model that seems to work well from the perspective of a provider, since the billing service is financially incentivized to collect more.
Have you decided on a different pricing model for drchrono, and if so, what made you decide to deviate from the norm?
(Tangent: I found out that if you submit a story linking into the killed thread, your submission gets auto-killed. This one apparently survived because the text URI was not parsed as such).
At some point there will a rather innocuous post which will be blocked, and it will be the straw that breaks the camel's back.
I think it's coming. I think people are sick of the nannying and censorship and ready to move on from HN.
I think there is a value to transparency and a space for a better alternative to HN with that as its founding principle, but communities don't form overnight, and how many sites have been successful with transparency over moderator actions?
Eh, what do I care.
This is not to say HN is evil. Think of all the problems that legitimate news outfits have with conflicts of interest. Now take away the imperative to do journalism -- HN has never taken on that mantle -- and there is now no reason to resolve said conflicts in the usual news-outlet ways.
We are in the uncanny valley of news: not quite corporate propaganda, not quite integral journalism. I happen to enjoy it, but let's not pretend that YC is the NYT.
EDIT: I see from other responses that PG addressed the issue in the original submission. The response feels like an inappropriate copout. The submission did not "conceal" anything. Furthermore - if the submission had been exactly the same but in reference to dealings with a company not funded by YC it would have stood as a useful source of advice to the OP. This relying on ToS puts my back up hugely.
I understand the reasoning behind killing it but considering the guy was only here as a last resort after trying everything else + it was a YC company it would have been more appropriate to offer some help, especially considering the OP had already tried pg's suggestion of contacting the company.
Also - around a month ago there were several Ask HN posts from people having trouble with Coinbase and they weren't killed. Why? 
 This is an example from almost a year ago but there were several in the last few months too: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5427985
NB: We don't know all the facts and can't pass judgement on drchrono but I think the above still holds true regardless.
If the OP had written an AskHN saying how happy he was with the service, would that have made a difference.
Can't really have a yes for one and a no for the other, in that case.
Ask HN: Should I be really excited about how awesome
drchrono is? They have treated me with dignity and
class since I signed up. This is in addition to saving
me hours per day and thousands of dollars on each
transaction. What do you think, HN?
I'm a firm believer in "if it is allowed while jumping through hoops, either allow it altogether, or ban it altogether".
(* Same thing about choosing descriptive titles for posts btw.. If posting a proxy blog post with a comment is ok, then posting directly should be ok, too)
After all, what was FiftyThree's letter to Facebook about Paper other than an attempt to leverage public opinion to get a company to respond to an issue ?
Negative threads often turn into flamewars and make people behave aggressively with each other. Sure there's a place for negative articles, but maybe that place shouldn't be HN.
Remember when HN was about startup founders and hackers helping each other ?
His Ask HN on an entirely different topic seems to have disappeared from his user page:
EDIT: Props to xenophanes for calling me out on my laziness. I've described more in depth the reasons for the attention called to this debacle: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7178857
So he has an opinion that he's willing to write out and expose to critical evaluation. You don't. You're thinking & conversing wrong.
"He explained why on that post, but if you're wondering when this page falls off the top of the front page, keep in mind the possibility that it was flagged off by users like me. "
People are honestly interested on how this issue is going to be handled by Drchrono. People are more interested in how pg handles (or in this case, handled) the conflict of interest between supporting a YC company and supporting the ability to have open discourse on what is a public forum.
These are the reasons why this thread is so highly rated, has a high possibility of not being downvoted into oblivion, and why people are taking an active interest in the previous killed thread.
"This thread is pure, distilled drama."
One man's "distilled drama" is another man's intelligent discourse. YMMV.
Those discussions often do attract some level of drama, but I don't particularly care. HN has stuff I don't want to read including some drama and some non-drama, and my solution is to ignore it.
I think that's the mistake right there. HN is not a public forum.
EDIT: Annnnnnd PG killed this thread as well.
That being said, I can feel the frustration of the original author, having been f*cked over before by a company I was a customer of. Seems like the problem is resolving itself, though. A rational corporate agent will try to repair this reputational blow in a swift manner.
I'd hate to see the front page of HN turn into a YC complaint board.