You have my sympathies and I wish I could give any solid advice.
As far as I am concerned, the whole "you'll never work in this town again" I would just see as "the company is in trouble if you leave". If you don't have any customers there are probably very few that actually care if you leave the startup. There are likely more people in your surroundings that would rather see you happy :)
The real dilemma you have to face is that you'd like to stay on your two co-founders' good side and keep working with them on other projects. Going with what you say it looks like you are on opposite sides here. They obviously don't want you to leave, while you want to leave. The only thing you can do here is talk to them, find a middle ground somehow. Maybe you can do consultancy work for them? Is there a chance that they might be better off if you are happy?
Note: OpenXYZ, not OpenSomethingSomething. Anyway, OpenBGPD, OpenOSPFD, OpenNTPD, OpenSMTPD, OpenSSH, OpenIKED. OK, so it's more like OpenABCD and I should probably have written "many" instead of "most". :)
It's really comments like this that make me scared to death of posting a project to HN these days (so I don't). Seems to be so common now.
It's getting quite common for me to just skip reading the user comments after reading the article. This was never the case before; the comments were -almost always- better than the article.
As a sidenote, I cannot even recall when I actually read the user comments on Slashdot. On the occasion where something pops up in the RSS feed; read TFA and move on to happier things that actually make me feel good. :)
I guess I'm not saying anything new. I really wish I had a solution other than asking -you- to please imagine sitting at the receiving end: You get excited to see your project on HN, you click through to comments, and the first thing that was said was ... that.
PS. You can call me a chicken for being "afraid" of these things.
Sometimes people get angry and irritated at stuff. That's ok. The tone is uncalled for, but irritated/angry comments often have legitimate gripes. Rethink should have had dates earlier, we just couldn't get it done.
I agree that people should try and be more kind with their tone, but I wanted to try and encourage you not to be afraid of criticism. People have good memory for good work and no memory for bad work. So if you post an atrocious project here, the absolute worst thing that might happen is that some people will write some negative comments and forget about you ten minutes later. It seems like a worst-case scenario most people can live with :)
Couldn't find an email address in your profile... We're about to launch something that may well address your needs; it's been an itch of ours as well.
I'd love to share the URL to the product right now, but we're really not ready to be judged just yet (at least not our world-facing website). So if you are interested in having a look at a beta in a few weeks time. Shoot me an email (address in profile). :)
And to think that a free (as in it didn't cost me a cent unless I want to pay for it) piece of software protected me from most of this. The phenomenon known as NoScript is quite marvelous in doing its job without eating much of my CPU cycles :-)
Of course, when you get down to the bottom line you know it's not a huge technical feat, but really, neither is anti-virus software. It's a matter of foresight and hard work. Donate today :)
(Disclaimer, I am in no way connected with NoScript other than being a happy user)
Edit: After posting this I realize it comes across as a bit of advertising and not contributing much to the conversation, I was about to delete it, but I stopped myself and wanted to add: I am -truly- happy not having to (even though I do) worry about what links I can click.
To kill some time many years back we wrote a 32-player "chess" game. We had some slightly modified rules, most notably anyone can move themselves whenever they want to and "killing" the king was a matter of checking him for a specified amount of time (say, 10-15 seconds). It was still black vs white.
The game turned out to be very fast paced, to the point where we had to add measures to slow it down. :)
As I recall, it was written with the "board" as a separate entity from the pieces. The board contained the game-rules, for instance whether it was turn-based or not. Now, this is what got me thinking... The platform we used, allow for live recompiling and upgrading of objects -- so we indeed did go in and change the rules even as a game was running (which was kind of fun, just to mess with peoples heads). But I do think perhaps that could be a nice twist to have as a "service" as well -- the ability for people to design their own chess-rules by giving them a framework (like, standard board, standard knight, pawn etc). Naturally saved online, for public scrutiny. :)
It would be be fun to see what people came up with. The target group for this may be somewhat limited. :-)
A friend has a version of what we made hosted on his personal site, but I'm afraid to link to it because it'll probably bring down his server. Throw me a mail if you want the link.