Stand-By Passenger on United Airlines Flights: Two Cautionary Tales

The following are two stories about FlyerTalk members who impart their first-hand experiences as stand-by passengers on recent United Airlines flights:
FlyerTalk member cblaisd was on stand-by for an earlier United Airlines flight, but seeing that he was first in line for an upgrade on a later flight on which he was originally reserved, he declined the upgrade, which ultimately caused the remainder of his entire reservation to be cancelled. What did he do wrong?
Meanwhile, FlyerTalk member teddybw was angry after learning that he did not secure an upgrade on a United Airlines flight for which he was standing by. He felt that if he was released from the stand-by list and confirmed on the earlier flight, he would have secured the upgrade.  He asks “Which list should clear first, upgrade list or standby list?” What should he do?

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