Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of 2012 On Techdirt

from the here-we-go... dept

As we did last year, I'm going to use today to do a post on the comments that you, the community, voted as the funniest and most insightful comments in the year 2012. Normally the weekly lists include some "editor's choice" comments, but that doesn't make much sense on the yearly list, so instead you get the top five comments, as per their voting scores in each category. There was only one comment that made both lists (as you'll see below), but it did surprise me that 7 of the 10 comments were "replies" to other comments, rather than thread-starting comments. If you'd asked, I would have said that thread-starters tend to get more votes, but that wasn't true with so many of these comments. Also, five out of the 10 comments came from anonymous commenters -- which (yet again) makes me wonder why so many sites insist that anonymous commenting is a bad thing. Either way, let's jump right in on the insightful side.

First up, we have an Anonymous Coward, responding to a comment on in article from all the way back in February. The post was about companies looking to move their web businesses out of the US due to over aggressive law enforcement taking down entire websites. Someone in the comments suggested that the world needs agreement that the internet is not controlled by any government, and that resulted in the following comment which topped the most insightful category:
As long as there are governments that consider "information" or "content" to be dangerous, we'll be dealing with this.

That includes (but not limited to) the following:

Terrorist communication
National security secrets
Child pornography
Religious beliefs
Hate speech
Anti-government speech
Copyrighted material
Bomb and weapon-making information

etc.

If you stand for unfettered freedom-of-speech and information sharing, you must also be capable of accepting much of the above.

Personally, I think the above examples of information are not nearly as dangerous as some make them out to be - I'd rather live in a world where global transparency and honesty is more important than my personal safety - we stand a better chance of surviving the future that way.
In second place, we've got JEDIDIAH, who responded to a story in September about how the content industry keeps "punishing" those of us who actually pay for our content by limiting/crippling it. In response, JEDIDIAH tried to add some insightful perspective:
Remember the bottom line.

If you're really worried about the money, a pirate and a lost customer "doing without" look exactly the same.

Being sanctimonious gains you nothing.
Coming in third was John Fenderson, responding to the bizarre claims of a Canadian politician who argued that ripping your legally purchased CD so you could listen to it on your musical device of choice was like buying socks, but then stealing the shoes to go with them. No, it didn't make any sense then either. But John tried to help out with a better analogy:
Let me fix that for him

Ripping a CD to your iPod is like buying a pair of socks then wanting to wear them with one of your other pairs of shoes.
In fourth place... we actually have the most voted on comment of the year -- when you count both the insightful and funny scores. This comment was actually voted the funniest overall comment of the year and the fourth most insightful. Oh yeah, and it's by an anonymous commenter. It was from a story from June about the RIAA's own admitted cluelessness over how Google's DMCA takedown tools worked. The RIAA made a bunch of claims attacking Google, which were simply not true, as could be easily observed if you just looked at the tool in question. In response to this story, one commenter joked that the RIAA wouldn't be satisfied until Google had a "click here to stop piracy" button. That resulted in this awesome comment that so many of you liked:
Actually, Google should on April 1st should have a "Click HERE to stop piracy" button.

When you click it a message pops up "Piracy has been stopped!"

Then two seconds later a message pops up "Oh noes! They've figured a way to work around our measure! Click the button!"

Repeat as necessary.
Coming in fifth on the insightful side, we've got Chosen Reject's comment from back in February, in response to a story about why innovation was the best way to deal with the entertainment industry's concerns about piracy, because focusing on "stopping piracy" was an impossible task. One critic responded in the comments with a pithy retort about how that was like saying we should make murder legal since it was impossible to stop. In stepped CR with this insightful response:
I'll leave aside your asinine analogy as others have already pointed that out and just say that you forgot the other part concerning innovating. So let's run with your analogy: Who cares if murder is wrong if stopping it is impossible and innovating provides better solutions?

For example, what if, rather than just increasing penalties for murder and hiring more law enforcers, we hired more counselors and arbitrators to provide counseling and arbitration free of charge to angry people. Let's say we try this and find that it reduces the murder rate more than increasing penalties and detectives does. Would you still say stand up on your soapbox and shout that penalties need to be stiffer and more detectives need to be hired?

What if having job location services, education opportunities, and access to medical and mental health care were to reduce violent crime (including murders) more than banning guns would? Would you still petition for stricter gun control laws?

This can be applied anywhere. What if lowering the tax rate and simplifying the tax code were to reduce tax fraud and raise revenues? Would you be asking for more IRS workers to conduct more tax audits? What if building sidewalks overpasses or underground streets in school zones reduced car accidents? Would you still be advocating 15mph speed zones? What if legalizing drugs and providing addiction recovery help and other self help systems for drug addicts reduced the amount of drug users and/or drug related crime? Would you still be crying for longer jail terms?

What if Hollywood provided a service that was better than the Pirate Bay and that reduced infringement and brought in revenue? Would you still be asking for increased fines for infringement? Oh wait, you are. Never mind, I guess you don't care about results, you only care about what you think is "right".
Great comment.

Moving over to the funny side, we already had the top voted comment above (as the fourth most insightful), so we'll add in a freebie at the end. Starting with the comment that came in second on the funny scale, we've got Jay responding to a story back in August about how non-sponsor condoms were banned in the Olympic Village (though 150,000 sponsor-laden condoms were distributed). Jay had a simple question about sex at the Olympics:
I have to wonder: do you still get a gold medal if you come in first?
Coming in third was another comment relating to a story about the Olympics -- this time concerning bogus terms of service on the Olympics website that said you can't link to the site if you say something mean about the Olympics. The terms also included a statement saying that you were automatically legally bound by the terms for using the site, even if you didn't read them or "agree" to anything. We pointed out that this was a crazy assertion. A critic in the comments insisted that our own claim was untrue and that of course, you were automatically "legally bound" by the terms of use found on the websites you surf. To prove how ridiculous that comment was, another anonymous commenter responded:
By reading this comment you agree to be legally bound to immediately throw your computer out of the nearest window.
Unfortunately, the original commenter proceeded to engage in complete cognitive dissonance, pretending that the situation was different, and continued commenting, almost certainly without throwing his computer out of the nearest window. Shame.

The forth funniest comment came from another anonymous commenter, back in July, in response to the story about the MPAA pointing to a bunch of crappy online movie/tv services to insist that no one should complain that it's impossible for them to legally watch Game of Thrones online in the UK. Of course, none of those services provided Game of Thrones in the UK. That resulted in this comment highlighting the insanity of the situation.
Consumers: We would like to pay you for x

Distributors: We don't want your stinking money.

-------------------

Distributors: We aren't making as much money as we think we should be making.

Politicians: How about we pass laws effectively tax people but give you the proceeds.

Distributors: That's not enough.

Politicians: Well what do you want?

Distributors: We're spending a fortune trying to enforce copyright against the vast bulk of the global population.

Politicians: Ah, so that's why you're making less money.

Distributors: Well strictly speaking no, but if you're willing to believe that against all evidence, then why not.

Politicians: How about we take over the vast bulk of those costs that you are currently wasting on ineffective recourse to the law to fix a problem that isn't actually affecting you?


Distributors: Well, that's something but we still get the feeling that you're not really trying.

------------------------------------------------

Consumers: WTF?
Sounds about right.

The fifth funniest comment, also from an anonymous commenter, is in response to a nutty story about the NSA spreading FUD about how Anonymous might one day hack power grids. That story included a really ridiculous argument: "A stateless group like Anonymous doesn’t yet have that capability, officials say. But if the group’s members around the world developed or acquired it, an attack on the power grid would become far more likely, according to cybersecurity experts." In other words, they can't do x, but if they could do x, maybe they'd do x. That led to the following comment noting that Anonymous might, you know, kinda want to keep the power up for its own purposes:
Anonymous doesn't yet have the capability to run computers without a power source, officials say. But if the group's members around the world developed or acquired it, an attack on the power grid would become far more likely, according to cybersecurity experts who spend their time giving stupid quotes for stupid articles.
And, since we lost the top "funny" comment to the insightful list, you also get the sixth funniest comment, from ahow628, responding to a story about how a conference of IP maximalists had a panel discussion on the importance of social media to counter the claims of people who were questioning the value of IP. The panel discussion noted that some IP maximalists actually have their own blogs and a few even use Twitter and Facebook, and thus they were ready to create an effective social media campaign in favor of IP maximalism. We suggested this was silly, but ahow628 suggested we were underestimating what was going to happen:
In your face, Mike...

Boy are you going to look stupid when their millions of blog readers, Twitter followers, and Facebook likers stand up and say, "We want - NAY, DEMAND - the content we consume be more expensive, less convenient, and of lower quality!"

Egg. On. Your. Face.
Rightfully shamed into submission, I'll end this post now. Have a happy New Year's, and we'll be back on Wednesday with the next batch of posts for those of you who want to shoot to top next year's "funniest/most insightful" comments list...


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Berenerd (profile), Dec 31st, 2012 @ 12:34pm

    FIRST!!!!!

    err...wait...would that be last? being the end of the year and all?

     

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    MonkeyFracasJr (profile), Dec 31st, 2012 @ 1:33pm

    "if innovating provides better solutions"

    Personally I feel this should have gotten #1.

    I know, the votes are in and numbers are numbers, but this idea cannot be promoted long and loud enough.

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 31st, 2012 @ 3:02pm

      Re: "if innovating provides better solutions"

      Personally I feel this should have gotten #1.


      Probably my favorite too (and I almost wrote that)... but... community voted differently. Still good to see it get lots of votes.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 31st, 2012 @ 5:31pm

        Re: Re: "if innovating provides better solutions"

        That community could have been affected by some factors, like.

        Time, number of participants, position.

        If the numbers separating those are not that great probably it doesn't matter as long as is grouped in the top ones.

        That day could have been a low attendance day, the post could have been missed by a number of people due to its position on the middle of a long thread, etc.

        So don't be sad, it still got there on the top, that means a lot of people do agree with it if we assume there was no distortion(cheating) like bot voting or multiple votes.

        Is not like this is an accurate representation, this are votes that have no security in them and so may not be precise to pin point exact order.

        Short version:

        Meh, is obvious that a lot of people see it that way, it doesn't matter if it was first or not, is probably one of the few points most of us can agree on, even if there are some variances to account for.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 31st, 2012 @ 3:22pm

    Oh gosh, what to watch tonight?
    "Strange Days"
    "Rent"
    "March Of The Wooden Soldiers" (Laurel & Hardy)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 31st, 2012 @ 3:23pm

    fight emotion with emotion

    Whenever "normals" hear about internet anonymity technology they immediately bring up child pornography. This is an emotional appeal and the conversation is basically over once that is mentioned. The only way to go is to win the battle and hope for a better audience/venue next time.

    The correct answer to this is to fake anger, become indignant and throw out an implied accusation that the questioner might be a pedophile because they would think of it in the first place.

    "Yes YOU would bring that up. Obviously it is on your mind if that is the first thing you thought of."

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 31st, 2012 @ 6:21pm

      Re: fight emotion with emotion

      Kind Sir, please consider this, what every emotion invokes in others?

      My own experience is that anger invokes anger, mockery invokes shame and anger. that most of the time.

      You must find a way so the idea seems to have come from the person, not from an outside source, you must guide that person through a series of experiments that have as an outcome the desired form of thinking.

      The most anti-drug persons I know have been users themselves or suffered at the hands of a more powerful user who put them through a lot of bad experiences, most pro-gun people I know are weak people who were bullied, there is a pattern here, if you want some people to think some way you must put them through the same experiences that shaped others.

      Like discrimination, people don't understand it until they feel it.

      Everyone feels fear about their young, this is why it is a powerful argument, now can people learn to let it go of that fear?

      Yes they can, but it is not easy, you must be willing to accept the consequences bad or good and most people don't know how to deal with bad, they feel they can fight it somehow they don't know when it is time to quit, this is where all those bad experiences comes into play they show us our limitations, they teach us when and what to let go.

      People with control issues must therefore be subject to loss of that control, it doesn't need to have emotions in it, so you don't need to fake anger or anything, you just need to say no, they will try to make you comply, they will try to force you and if they can't they eventually have to accept the loss of control or murder you, for which they would lose even more control over their lifes if they ever get caught.

      So what were the experiences in your own life that made you believe those emotional pleas are bad?

      I can't remember when I stopped believing in those pleas, or any other plea of that kind, but it was mostly by seeing those pleas attached to lies, they promise they would do one thing and they would do another.

      In case there are more people like me outside just compiling a list of emotional pleas that lead to absurd legislation and showing it to people would be enough, but for others this may not be, so what other experiences can be used that changes peoples minds?

       

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        art guerrilla (profile), Jan 2nd, 2013 @ 10:56am

        Re: Re: fight emotion with emotion

        1. nekkid apes are FAR MORE motivated by 'fear' than 'hope'... (which makes 'sense' from a biological/evolutionary perspective)

        2. one of the common/main problems with fighting 'evil' (and, YES, i do consider the bidness model, tactics, and intentions of the MAFIAA, and virtually all big bidnesses- to be evil), is that The They (tm) are NOT constrained by laws, morals, or 'good behavior', while we 'good guys' are so restrained...
        it is an unfair fight to start with, nevermind that 'our' (sic) system and 'our' (sic) kongresskritters we *SHOULD* be able to use to confront and defeat these evil bastards, is in collusion with them...

        in short: we need to defeat the copywrongers by ANY MEANS NECESSARY... i don't give a shit about being 'nice', or 'fair', or otherwise play right into their grasping claws...

        art guerrilla
        aka ann archy
        eof

         

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    Unanimous Cow Herd (profile), Dec 31st, 2012 @ 3:53pm

    Nappy Yew Hear!

    What if lowering the tax rate and simplifying the tax code were to reduce tax fraud and raise revenues? Would you be asking for more IRS workers to conduct more tax audits? What if building sidewalks overpasses or underground streets in school zones reduced car accidents? Would you still be advocating 15mph speed zones? What if legalizing drugs and providing addiction recovery help and other self help systems for drug addicts reduced the amount of drug users and/or drug related crime? Would you still be crying for longer jail terms?

    Common sense. This kind of discourse is why I return to TD time and time again. Hope everyone, even AJ and OOTB, has a peaceful and blessed new year.

     

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    Spencer (profile), Dec 31st, 2012 @ 5:27pm

    "Anonymous doesn't yet have the capability to run computers without a power source, officials say. But if the group's members around the world developed or acquired it, an attack on the power grid would become far more likely, according to cybersecurity experts who spend their time giving stupid quotes for stupid articles."

    Well, they could run them on generators, but I think it'd be hard to connect to the internet during a blackout.

    Hope everyone has a fun night and a great new year.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 31st, 2012 @ 7:30pm

      Re:

      Not only that, but a generator would be a power source.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 1st, 2013 @ 5:13am

      Re:

      The logic of the quoted statement is about right for management and politician types, where actually learning some technology is too much effort. They are however skilled in rhetoric, that is putting words together to say what you what, while ignoring how those words actually relate to the real world.

       

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    Anonymou$, Dec 31st, 2012 @ 7:46pm

    As a wise woman once said...

    Let's make the most of the night like we're gonna die young.

     

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    Shane Roach, Jan 1st, 2013 @ 7:14am

    Making the Internet Safer for Children

    makes it more dangerous for adults. The more snooping, the more false accusations and runaway prosecutors.

    Plus, it so happens kiddy porn is already as illegal as we can make in in a nation full of sex pervs.

     

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    Allen (profile), Jan 1st, 2013 @ 5:36pm

    Room for a "top conversations" category?

    "if you'd asked, I would have said that thread-starters tend to get more votes"

    Just a thought, have you considered a top conversations category? You could base it on the number of votes on all comments on the thread. It might be biased towards longer threads but often the conversation is more interesting than the 'one liners'

     

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    ahow628 (profile), Jan 2nd, 2013 @ 12:50pm

    Thanks...

    Thanks for your votes everyone! I could not have shamed Mike without you all.

     

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      Ninja (profile), Jan 3rd, 2013 @ 1:49am

      Re: Thanks...

      You did it awesomely right. Good thing the top funniest got eaten by the insightful section so you made your way to the list ;)

      Wait, Mike wouldn't do it on purpose, would he?

       

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    Ninja (profile), Jan 3rd, 2013 @ 1:51am

    Epic year. Surely there were lots of setbacks but overall we've seen awareness being risen everywhere to the excesses. I do think we have yet to go through a lot of hardships but there's light at the end! Cheers!

     

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