New Year's Message: Optimism On The Cusp Of Big Changes

from the make-it-so dept

While Techdirt started back in 1997 (yikes), since 2008 I've had an end of the year tradition in which I use the final post of the year to reflect a bit more generally on the topic of optimism. It kicked off after I received some comments from people questioning how I didn't go crazy after writing about all of these negative things -- and I noted that I'm actually quite optimistic and happy. The frustration comes from all of the efforts to hold back the pace of progress, but I'm quite excited about all the progress that is happening. In 2009, I focused more on the power of creativity and innovation, and followed that up in 2010 by noting that innovation can help turn pessimism to optimism. In 2011, I pointed out that we could then take that innovation and optimism and finally start to make a real difference, because the power was now in our hands. That turned out to be prescient, because 2012 was a year where we started to see real change, as people spoke up and actually made a huge difference around things like SOPA and ACTA.

For this year, that trend continues in a big way. The accomplishments of the past have only resulted in continued pressure to change things for the better in the future. The story of the year, without question, is the revelations about the surveillance state (thank you Ed Snowden), a story that is still just beginning, but has already had tremendous impact around the globe and will continue to drive efforts towards real, lasting and important changes. It's interesting to see that the infrastructure that came together around SOPA starting in 2011 is continuing to operate today on issues related to privacy and surveillance. Yes, there's a big fight ahead, and it may not go perfectly (nothing ever does), but to suggest that change is not coming is naive in the extreme.

This kind of change is not just possible, it's becoming probable. In the past, it was nearly impossible for the public and a loose coalition of folks nowhere near the centers of power to effect change. But that's been altered in a big, big way over the past few years, and it's only going to continue. It's easy to be cynical about all of this, but we're already seeing the beginnings of change and it will continue so long as people continue to speak out, speak up and push for basic freedoms and rights.

And, of course, we're seeing similar things happen beyond the issue of surveillance, in other areas that we normally talk about. After years of pushing copyright law to be ever expanded, Congress has now started a (long) process towards comprehensive copyright reform, in which it's clear they're paying attention to what the wider public thinks, rather than just focusing on what one legacy industry thinks. Again, this is the earliest stage of this process, but just the fact that Congress is open to comprehensive reform -- something most thought to be impossible just a few months ago -- is a sign of how far we've come.

Similarly, on the issue of patent reform, Congress is poised to pass significant legislation to try to limit patent trolling. The legislation doesn't go nearly far enough, but a year ago it was laughable to think that Congress would even take up the issue, since it had passed (basically useless) patent reform in 2011 and pretended that it had solved all of the problems. The fact that Congress was willing to go back and revisit the issue so quickly -- and this time to actually look at the problems -- is a sign that when people really speak out about these problems, it is possible to create change. There's still more to be done, but things are moving forward.

Yes, there's much to be cynical about. And there is tremendous frustration in bad laws, bad rulings, clueless policy, dumb decisions and lawsuits. But if you go back just a few years and look at where we are today, you're being willfully blind if you haven't seen the somewhat astounding progress. Two years ago, you'd be laughed at if you said that at the close of 2013 we'd be talking about significant reforms to surveillance, copyright and patents. Yet we're right on the cusp of all of those things.

That's an amazing statement of the power to create change in important ways.

We can and should be frustrated that this change happens as slowly as it does, and at the efforts to dilute or limit the change. We should be furious at the steps backwards that inevitably happen in this process. But we should be energized by the power to create change that we've seen over the past few years, much of it driven by large groups of people gathering together and speaking out. The amazing ability of the internet to bring together and amplify those voices and to drive home the message that these changes aren't just desired, but necessary, should not be discounted.

2014 is going to be quite an interesting year in so many ways, and each and every one of you should pat yourselves on the back for helping to get us this far... while gearing up to continue the fight.

Once again, I want to put forth a massive thank you to everyone who is a part of the Techdirt community -- whether you comment, lurk, read, share, submit stories, discuss elsewhere, tell others about us or just drop in occasionally. We even appreciate those of you who feel it's your job to disagree with nearly everything we write. For many years we've pointed out what an amazing community this is. It challenges me to think through a variety of issues each and every day in new and different ways.

We're looking forward to 2014 and additional efforts we're making to do even more for the community here.

I've been writing here for over 16 years and it remains an absolute joy and pleasure every day to share this space with all of you, to learn from you and to discuss and debate with you. You continue to inspire me, each and every day, to see what we can do not just to make this a better place for the community, but to look at ways that we might, in whatever little ways we can, make this a better world for everyone. Thank you again, for being a part of this effort.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    jingoi, Dec 31st, 2013 @ 8:02pm

    I've avoided all this type of info since I'm tired of being cynical/pessimistic, hasn't worked yet. That means I didn't hear any of this congress listening to the public about copyright stuff which sounds.....eh, still cynical.
    So I'm going back to my self-ban on the many bs choices of congress and obummer, hopefully when I check this (and eff and torrentfreak) site 6+ months later it will be more positive, less negative news.

     

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    Charles (profile), Dec 31st, 2013 @ 8:04pm

    Thank you, Mike and all the Techdirt staff and community, for making me a better informed citizen, even a better global citizen.

    Ed Snowden is the Story of the Year. May his sacrifice better us all.

    Happy New Year!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 31st, 2013 @ 8:12pm

    Techdirt is my favorite news site. The authors and comment system are top notch!

     

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    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), Dec 31st, 2013 @ 8:24pm

    Sense of humor is the major force that keeps us sane in this world. I started noticing that all the scumbags that poison out lives... are boring, humorless ilk. Finally my gut feeling has developed into a reliable criteria: if a person has a sense of humor, I can deal with him/her, even if we don't agree on everything. Otherwise I feel an evil cold.

    Never trust a person who is always dead serious.

    Champagne and cheers!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 31st, 2013 @ 8:31pm

    I would thank you too, Mike.

    I've been coming here now for years. I have never registered, nor do I intend to. I appreciate just being a nameless internet space in this day and age of trying to count every keystroke and the attempt of following every page visit, just to be able to comment anonymously.

    I've dropped commenting at several sites that have decided that Dicqus or registering must be part of the commenting. I refuse to join that internet dataminer and the spamming problem isn't something I invented nor play a part of. To be held incommunicado because I refuse to not to fold, spindle, or mutilate, just to say my mind is what it comes down to.

    Even so, there seems to be an echoing sentiment from time to time in my comments from the community. Enough so that I do know that my occasional comment hits home and those sites that bar my presence by putting barriers in place will not gain from those comments, ever how humble or off base they are.

    Here's to hoping this year is a better year than last, not just for the technical and political sides but for each person that visits your pages, including ootb for what it's worth.

     

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    CK20XX (profile), Dec 31st, 2013 @ 8:43pm

    Re:

    I personally feel that the absence of a healthy sense of humor may be a form of mental retardation, myself, because a healthy sense of humor I would define as having a robust intellectual quality to it, like the sort exhibited by the best of the world's raconteurs or even the good-natured riffing from Mystery Science Theater 3000. There's something very aware and even prophetic about an accomplished comedian.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 31st, 2013 @ 9:21pm

    Re:

    I've dropped commenting at several sites that have decided that Dicqus or registering must be part of the commenting. I refuse to join that internet dataminer and the spamming problem isn't something I invented nor play a part of. To be held incommunicado because I refuse to not to fold, spindle, or mutilate, just to say my mind is what it comes down to.


    You think that's bad, look at how all the major mail providers -- and YouTube -- are trying to force people to give them their phone numbers and real names now. And two weeks or so ago the War on Anonymity escalated yet again as a very large and rather diverse assortment of web sites all simultaneously started blocking browsing from Tor (not just commenting, but even just reading their web pages), all with suspiciously similar looking CAPTCHA pages none of which work.

    I think we need to push hard for a standard to be established (perhaps by ICANN or the W3C?) that web site content that is visible to most of the public somewhere (not members-only requiring signup) be made visible to everyone, without access barriers, in a nondiscriminatory manner, and that the static content of all pages must render reasonably for viewers who have Javascript disabled, and without spurious some-of-the-time redirects of any kind (e.g. ads, popups -- you can advertise alongside the content but the content must appear in any non-http-error response to the URI get request). So, a kind of net neutrality rule for sites rather than for ISPs.

    Merely viewing a (public) page should never require a CAPTCHA, spoofing HTTP Referer or geographical location, giving up Tor or another anonymity tool (such as a proxy or VPN), enabling Javascript, using specific devices (or avoiding specific devices), clicking past ads that completely obscure or replace the intended page, or any other such hoop-jumping. CAPTCHA-type barriers are only reasonable for those posting content, as a way of limiting spam and other abusive posting, and none of the others are justifiable even then; and there is no excuse whatsoever for subjecting people to such obstacles just to read a page without writing or changing anything on it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 31st, 2013 @ 9:26pm

    Missing posts

    I can't see Monday's or Tuesday's "Daily Dirt" posts. AFAICT all of the other posts from both days show up for me (there's a typical number of them, rather than a noticeably lower than typical number, at any rate); just not the "Daily Dirt" posts for those 2 days.

    Anyone have a clue what the problem might be? I'm blocking many of the 3rd party scripts at this site (but not techdirt.com-hosted scripts) and using ABP on latest Firefox. That configuration hasn't changed in weeks, and I saw "Daily Dirt" posts normally right up until around Christmas, which suggests that a change at techdirt's end either right before or right after the holiday is responsible for these symptoms.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 31st, 2013 @ 9:50pm

    Re: Re:

    Actually I've given up a long term email account I had with hotmail because Microsoft who bought them out now requires a home phone number or home address or another email address. Rather than jump through those hoops, I've dropped the account. It's not just Microsoft that is doing this. I joined another email provider only to have them want the same thing. I refuse to give it and just tell them I came to them because of leaving the very same request by Microsoft, only Microsoft barred the account until it got a response, which it is not going to get. This comes down to identifying you and many sites are now wanting you to log in with either your GooglePlus account or your Facebook because you are then identified. I won't do either one. Nor do I use their services.

    I from time to time find drop downs that bar your viewing the page until you activate javascript. Most of the time I will leave the site rather than do so. But occasionally I want to read the text and will use the Inspect Element to just remove it from the page and then read on ignoring their demands. When I arrive at news sites that are blank until you allow javascript I move on and close the page. If I want to know badly enough with in a few hours, it'll turn up on a search engine other than Google.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 31st, 2013 @ 9:56pm

    It's the holidays and it is likely the author of the content you seek (Daily Dirt) is enjoying his family get together. The last content posted was Friday.

    If it did not require registering I'd go to the site look and comment.

     

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    Karl (profile), Dec 31st, 2013 @ 10:13pm

    Happy new year

    I'll just drop all the bullshit and say this. Techdirt is one of the few sites I pay attention to, because it is always either informative, or produces constructive arguments. That is better than 99.9% of the sites on the Internet.

    So, happy new year, Techdirt. Here's hoping that there are many more.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 31st, 2013 @ 11:51pm

    pledge not to censor comments ?? this year ?

    I wonder..

    Or is that something you simply cannot bring yourself to give up, after all.. POWER !!!!!!

     

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    DMNTD, Dec 31st, 2013 @ 11:51pm

    HAPPY!! NEW YEAR!!

    CHEERS!!! *gulp* and with that, I agree that pessimism CAN indeed lead to a positive outcome!! Again, Happy new YEAR!!

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Jan 1st, 2014 @ 12:05am

    1) As everyone but you and a couple of other people know and realize, it's not censoring, it's the digital equivalent of a child being sent to time out after throwing a tantrum.
    2) If you don't want to be sent to time out so often, stop acting like a child.

     

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    ringring (profile), Jan 1st, 2014 @ 2:58am

    If to be a Judge is to be wise, If to be wise is to have knowledge, then why are there not Judges that handle each Class? And if they have all their clerks teaching the other Judges clerks that don't have that knowledge on a current decision, then why also are Judges not forced to take CLE courses to make them better Judges?
    AMEN

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 1st, 2014 @ 3:23am

    Re: no its censoring

    put as much lipstick on the pig as you like, or redefine words as is often done here.

    but lets call a spade a spade please.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 1st, 2014 @ 4:03am

    Re:

    Better dead serious than plain old dead, eh?

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Jan 1st, 2014 @ 4:55am

    Re: Re: no its censoring

    I am, you're the one trying to use a word that doesn't accurate define what's being done in order to make it sound worse.

    Having your posts hidden(hidden, not removed) once enough of the community have clicked 'Report' on it due to believing it to be 'Abusive, spam, trollish or otherwise inappropriate', to the point where it takes a single click to reveal and read it, is not even close to having your post removed, with no ability for people to read it once it's gone.

    The first takes all of one click to undo, people can still read the comment just fine, as demonstrated by the sometimes long strings of replies to hidden/reported comments, whereas the second is permanent, once the comment is gone it's gone for good, and no one can read it at all.

    So by all means, 'call a spade a spade', just don't call having comments reported and hidden 'censorship', as it's not.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 1st, 2014 @ 5:09am

    Re: Re:

    > all with suspiciously similar looking CAPTCHA pages none of which work.

    Let me guess... Cloudflare? It shows that stupid CAPTCHA page if it thinks the IP address you are coming from is attacking the sites, even if the webmaster dialed down the sensitivity to the minimum. A webmaster I know gave up on Cloudflare because of that; he does not want that interstitial, but found no way to completely prevent it, and his analytics showed it was having a real impact on his traffic.

     

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  20.  
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    Just Sayin', Jan 1st, 2014 @ 5:39am

    Re: Re: Re: no its censoring

    You need to learn that some posts aren't hidden by the community, they are NOT PUBLISHED and held for moderation before they ever make it onto the site. My comments are typically added 3 to 5 days after the fact, as punishment for calling Mike out once too often on various things.

    Call a spade a spade, Mike can't deal with the opposing view when it's well stated, so he censors the posts by delaying them until they are not longer relevant or part of the discussion.

    He's a big man talking against censorship, but more than willing to use it in his own petty, dictatorial way.

    yeah, Happy New Year Mike, hope you decide to change your stand on censorship one day - changing the world starts at home.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 1st, 2014 @ 6:31am

    Re: Re: Re: no its censoring

    It is true that this is not censorship, but at the same time it cannot be denied that an individual's opinion is being shunted into a "closet" because some unspecified number of individuals do not like what is being said.

    Personally, it may be useful to reconsider the "report" function to determine if its current scope unduly, unjustly limits expression that some here may find uncomfortable.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 1st, 2014 @ 7:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: no its censoring

    That's a conversation worth having. The techdirt community has a definite bias, so the report function limits the expression of individuals who disagree with the group. Those opinions are a valuable anti-echo-chamber component of the comments.

    That said, as someone who compulsively clicks to view the hidden comments, the *vast* majority of the hidden comments are off-topic, incoherent, purely ad hominem, or all three at once. Further, the not-so-bad comments that get hidden are usually from a few, well-known trolls that spew so much wackiness that many people report them no matter what they write. It's kind of hard to be too sympathetic in that case...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 1st, 2014 @ 8:08am

    Re: Re:

    Sure. Let's call darryl an idiot. There you go, you petulant imbecile.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 1st, 2014 @ 8:22am

    Re: Re: Re: no its censoring

    Unfortunately, these days we call a spade POTUS.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Jan 1st, 2014 @ 8:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: no its censoring

    The report button does get overused at times yes, and this can be unfortunate when it nets a reasonable comment that would otherwise help or start a good discussion on a topic, but as you note, almost all of those cases are when dealing with posters that have a long, consistent history of trollish, spammish, or ad hom filled commenting, so as unfortunate as it may be when their rare reasonable and rational posts get hidden, they really only have themselves to blame for it.

     

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    LAB (profile), Jan 1st, 2014 @ 9:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: no its censoring

    wow, racist much.

     

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    New Mexico Mark, Jan 1st, 2014 @ 9:39am

    Re: pledge not to censor comments ?? this year ?

    I don't think I've every responded to a flagged comment. After all, "don't feed the trolls" is a good policy. On the other hand, your post, while misleading and slightly ad hominem, didn't sink to the lowest levels of discourse and I wanted to sum up some of my thoughts about this policy.

    1. You are confusing "censorship" with "equal promotion". This is typical of today's "it's all about me" attitudes. In other words, if whatever expression you spew is not give equal value, prominence, and/or promotion with all others, you have somehow had your "rights" violated. Assuming you are an adult, it is sad to see such a childish attitude.

    2. The only "POWER" you are contending with is the power given to a community to have some say-so in the dialog in which it prefers to engage. Frankly, I'd probably lean toward a more permanent solution of automatically deleting not only comments voted "off the island", but responses to those comments as well. It would clear up a lot of clutter. Don't like it? Find another island, build your own, or choose to engage in civil discourse. How's that for freedom?

    I must confess that Mike is actually more tolerant than I am in this area and I've learned some lessons on patience from observing how he manages this site and responds to some of the vitriol and ignorance posted, sometimes even responding reasonably to people who can barely form a coherent sentence. Regardless of any agendas, Mike (and many on this site) often set a standard for excellence in civil discourse.

    3. You are quick to argue for unlimited free expression in any venue, yet some commenters seem to get upset when others exercise their rights to free expression in voting down their opinion, making it less visible. No doubt the irony that I and many others are responding to your "censored" comment will be completely lost on you.

    Slight change of topic, but you know what would be really fun? Have each "report" vote move a comment a preset value toward the background color of the site and each "insightful" vote move the comment back toward full visibility. If/when the comment reaches background color, only the "comment flagged" and unhide option would appear unless a preset number of "insightful" votes were received subsequently. It would be cool to see some comments gradually fade away or even reappear. It would also help illustrate that this is not one person exercising their right to manage their web site, but a community exercising its freedom to lower the visibility of truly obnoxious content or participants.

    Finally, shout out to Mike. Great job with this site. You have influenced my own views and my ability to engage in more informed dialog about things like IP rights, erosion of the Constitution, and some alternative takes on "everybody knows that" types of issues. If that is part of your agenda, add a +1 to the success column.

    Happy New Year everyone

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Jan 1st, 2014 @ 9:58am

    Re: Missing posts

    I don't think there were dailydirt stories for this Monday and Tuesday. I read TD every day and I don't recall seeing a dailydirt for either of them. I also did a search, just in case, and the last one is from 5 days before Xmas.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 1st, 2014 @ 10:15am

    Hi Masnick. Considering moving here from Slashdot, it's going downhill, and I like this site. Best wishes.

     

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    LAB (profile), Jan 1st, 2014 @ 10:22am

    Happy New Year

    Cheers to Mike and the Techdirt staff. As one who disagrees often with what is written and with the community, I thank you all for enriching my understanding and for the lively discourse.
    "We are doing what humans have always done, sharing ideas."

    Happy New Year to you and yours.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Jan 1st, 2014 @ 12:00pm

    *Tips hat*

     

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    Logs me Knot, Jan 1st, 2014 @ 4:03pm

    Re: Commenting anonymously

    I have an anonymous email account (set up with some difficulty) that I use for such purposes. As long as the phone numbers look real, then the sites don't care, as long as the names look real, then the sites don't care, as long as the addresses look real then the sites don't care.

    It is just getting the right combination to get the site set up that is the problem. Hotmail is useless though for this kind of activity.

     

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    Doug Coulter, Jan 1st, 2014 @ 4:05pm

    noob here

    But no noob. You've been doing great at your goals. While I may not always agree with all of them, or everyone here...doesn't matter. We share the goals.
    Happy new year!

    Doug

     

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    Marak, Jan 1st, 2014 @ 8:58pm

    Thanks for putting things into perspective a little. Its sometimes a little depressing thinking nothing is changing but your right.
    If i remember correctly this marks my 8th(or 9th?) Year of reading, thanks everyone for the great articles and comments. Always interesting comments here. :)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 1st, 2014 @ 9:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: no its censoring

    "...to the point where it takes a single click to reveal and read it, is not even close to having your post removed, with no ability for people to read it once it's gone."

    For those, like myself, that read with javascript disabled (for security reasons), a single click does NOT reveal the post. It is, instead, effectively REMOVED.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 1st, 2014 @ 11:43pm

    "In the past, it was nearly impossible for the public and a loose coalition of folks nowhere near the centers of power to effect change. "

    I guess you missed the whole civil rights movement things that occurred in the 60's !

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 1st, 2014 @ 11:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: no its censoring

    I am not talking about 'user censorship' that people here do in an attempt to stifle free speech.

    I am talking about Mr Masnick 'HELD FOR MODERATION (and disposal' based on MAC address, IP address and other meta-data, this is CENSORSHIP..

    So, you cannot just 'click on it' because YOU NEVER SEE IT, Mr Masnick likes to use his own form of censorship to stop people posting at all, its kind of sad to see Mr Masnick resort to this, considering he is all out "I hate censorship" in his outward stance.

    I am sure even you can see these things are not the same.

    and the 'hidden' posts are also censorship, it seems simply easier than having your beliefs questioned..

    and again, its sad that TD and Masnick allow this on this web site.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 1st, 2014 @ 11:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: no its censoring

    just admit your a racist and be done with it.. !

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 1st, 2014 @ 11:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: no its censoring

    that's the thing about censorship, you don't have to like what the comment is, but you should be willing to give your life FOR THEIR RIGHT TO SAY IT.

    that's is what free speech is all about. (except here).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 1st, 2014 @ 11:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: no its censoring

    if a post is "HELD FOR MODERATION" for the simple reason that Masnick does not like the person making the post, not what is said, THAT IS CENSORSHIP.. these posts are HELD FOREVER, they are never seen on TD, and that is CENSORSHIP..

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 1st, 2014 @ 11:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: no its censoring

    the posts I am referring to are the ones Masnick does not allow to be posted in the first place, he does this by using the IP or MAC address to CENSOR that PERSON, not the post, EVERY POST..

    That's censorship, it's done based on META-DATA gathered by masnick on posters to TD and is used for censorship.

    you can have a completely valid comment, that is not spam, but related to the issue.

    But because it does not support Masnick's opinion it never gets to be shown on the site.

    By any definition that is CENSORSHIP..

    This is not about 'hidden' posts, although that too is censorship, its about posts being blocked before they are read or posted, that never get posted.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 1st, 2014 @ 11:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: no its censoring

    not the hidden posts, the posts that masnick censors with his "HELD FOR MODERATION/DELETION" page, based on the commenter not the comment..

    Its not the same thing, but it is censorship..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 1:28am

    Re: Re: Missing posts

    Daily Dirt is on vacation... it'll return next week...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 1:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: no its censoring

    if a post is "HELD FOR MODERATION" for the simple reason that Masnick does not like the person making the post, not what is said, THAT IS CENSORSHIP.. these posts are HELD FOREVER, they are never seen on TD, and that is CENSORSHIP..

    I've said this before, but I'll say it again. What's stated above is simply untrue. While some legitimate comments are caught in the spam filter (which uses a variety of different algorithms and heuristics and services to sniff out spam -- catching nearly all of the 1000+ spams we get per day), we release *EVERY* legitimate non-spam comment, even those that disagree with what we have to say. The only ones that we may not release are when someone whose comment accidentally gets caught in the spam filter then reposts that same comment another dozen times (in those cases, we'll just post it that once...) or when they then throw a misguided tirade claiming that we're picking on them personally. We're not. In fact, we have one of the most open commenting policies anywhere on the web these days.

    If you've had legitimate comments caught in the spam filter, we apologize, but we try to be as efficient as possible about getting them on the site.

    And, of course, I certainly disagree with the idea that this is censorship in any way -- unless you believe that blocking spam is "censorship." I think most rational people would disagree.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 1:36am

    Re: Happy new year

    Thanks Karl. I'd say ditto for your comments which consistently rank up there as the most insightful. In 2012 you had (by far) the highest percentage of comments ranked insightful and while we haven't looked at the numbers for 2013 yet, I wouldn't be surprised to see it repeated.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 1:38am

    Re: Re: pledge not to censor comments ?? this year ?

    I must confess that Mike is actually more tolerant than I am in this area and I've learned some lessons on patience from observing how he manages this site and responds to some of the vitriol and ignorance posted, sometimes even responding reasonably to people who can barely form a coherent sentence. Regardless of any agendas, Mike (and many on this site) often set a standard for excellence in civil discourse.

    Actually, I personally think I fail at this way too often. It's one area where I hope to continue to improve.

    Finally, shout out to Mike. Great job with this site. You have influenced my own views and my ability to engage in more informed dialog about things like IP rights, erosion of the Constitution, and some alternative takes on "everybody knows that" types of issues. If that is part of your agenda, add a +1 to the success column.

    Thanks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    S. T. Stone, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 2:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: no its censoring

    You can present dissenting views via comments here. Doing so can spark good debates and conversations. But trying to present those dissenting views by insulting the other commenters and the Techdirt writers doesn't help your cause. Doing that on a regular basis can earn you such a poor reputation that commenters will report your posts based on your reputation rather than the content of your posts (e.g. Out of the Blue, who does manage to post something worthwhile and reasonable every so often despite having earned a reputation for coating all their posts with ad hominems and personal attacks on Mike Masnick). You can fight that reputation, but once you've earned it, you'll end up fighting an uphill battle - and doing the same crap that earned you said reputation won't help your case.

    With that said: neither report-hiding posts and Techdirt's spam filters catching posts count as censorship in any reasonable person's mind. You can go to any open-content site and complain all the live-long day if Techdirt blocks/hides your comments. Comment hiding/blocking doesn't stop you from speaking your mind elsewhere, Techdirt has no legal (or moral) obligation to give you a platform, and the law does not allow you to force Techdirt into giving you a platform.

    I cherish the idea of dissenting views and opposing ideas. Our differences can help us understand each other better and improve our lives, even if we end up disagreeing after a healthy discussion. But we don't get that discussion if you (and other commenters who cry "censorship") keep attacking people, claiming yourself as a victim of censorship, and using "I'm just trying to present a dissenting view" to excuse away your own bullshit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Just Sayin', Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 2:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: no its censoring

    Mike, you are being very dishonest here (and I doubt this comment will get posted in any timely manner).

    I have two other comments in this post, both have been held now for more than 24 hours without reason - except that you have decided you don't like my comments and as a result you censor them by delaying them until they are no longer relevant because the discussion has moved on or slid off the front page of your site.

    It's censorship, just a soft version so you have plausible deniability. I don't spam, I don't have links in my posts, nothing... just you blocking a dissenting voice.

    Why do you do it? Can you explain? I don't spam. I don't use a VPN. I don't post links, I don't do anything like that. Yet, there you go, delaying comments by holding them for moderation for as long as it takes to make them irrelevant.

    Censorship by blocking... it's something you rally against, and then use to shut down people you don't like. It's a two faced way to do things, and seems to be showing someone who is incredibly petty.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 4:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: no its censoring

    I seem to recall someone (Rikuo?) offering to help prove that you are being "censored" with a Skype call but you weren't interested. So instead of proving your accusations you want everyone else to disprove them. Also you suddenly seem to have found the reply button again. Or are you still blaming TOR for not using it previously?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    icon
    art guerrilla (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 7:08am

    Re:

    annoyingly enough, got a new box a while back which had win8 on it, with no choice to 'downgrade' (read: upgrade) to win7; *then*, after was having some probs with SWMBO 'puter not connecting/sharing with win8 machine, read that an update to win8.1 might fix problem...
    so -RELUCTANTLY- updated win8 to win8.1 and -besides not fixing network problems which i later resolved in a different manner- it also changed -WITHOUT A CHOICE- my login so it used my idiotic 'microsoft' account (which i was basically TRICKED into establishing when i downloaded some MS programming s/w), instead of my original non-microsoft login...
    fuckers
    a quick search has not given me the info to 'downgrade' my login to just be a 'plain' login, and not have microsoft looking over my shoulder through 'their' account...
    fuckers, i hate them all...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    icon
    Gwiz (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 8:53am

    Re: Happy New Year

    Happy New Year to you and yours.


    And the same to you LAB.

    Although we've disagreed on a few occasions, your willingness to at least hear the other side of an argument and remain adult and civil about it is most definitely appreciated.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 10:20am

    Re: Re:

    I think we need to push hard for a standard to be established (perhaps by ICANN or the W3C?) that web site content that is visible to most of the public somewhere (not members-only requiring signup) be made visible to everyone, without access barriers, in a nondiscriminatory manner, and that the static content of all pages must render reasonably for viewers who have Javascript disabled, and without spurious some-of-the-time redirects

    I think it would be better to let site owners do what they want, and if lots of people don't like it, they'll let them know by not visiting that site. If site operators want to give up the traffic from you and other like-minded people, that should be their choice.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 10:25am

    Re: Re: pledge not to censor comments ?? this year ?

    Slight change of topic, but you know what would be really fun? Have each "report" vote move a comment a preset value toward the background color of the site and each "insightful" vote move the comment back toward full visibility.

    I love that idea. More importantly though (to me) would be to hide all replies to a reported comment, at least in threaded mode.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
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    btrussell (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 2:03pm

    Great job Mike!

    Happy New Year all

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    icon
    DannyB (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 2:45pm

    Thank you Mike

    Please don't burn out.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 3:14pm

    Re: Re:

    I'm not so sure about that.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 3:24pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    In an ideal world, that might be an option. But there isn't always a perfect substitute for any given web site in the real world.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 3:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Missing posts

    What? Why?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 5:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Your post came out at less than half an hour before Masnick's post.

    Someone's being dishonest, and it's not Masnick, you lying scumbag.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 5:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    How are your posts magically appearing if you're so insistent that Masnick is censoring you?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 5:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    In an ideal world, that might be an option. But there isn't always a perfect substitute for any given web site in the real world.

    True, and if the proposal is just to create a standard and encourage everyone to conform to it, I'm all in favor of that. I just don't think anyone should be forced into it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    identicon
    Just Sayin', Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 7:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Notice I wrote the post early on the 1st, and you saw it LATE on the 2nd. He isn't totally censoring to the point of never showing the posts, he just has them sit in "pending" for 24-72 hours before releasing them, making them almost irrelevant to the discussion.

    it's like allowing free speech, but only when nearly everyone has already left the room.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    identicon
    Just Sayin', Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 7:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Nothing dishonest. Mike or his minions released all of my comment in this post pretty much the moment it fell off the front page of the Techdirt site, rendering it almost unimportant. Most second and third page stories don't get very many more comments.

    Basically, he's blocking my comments until few (like yourself) read them.

    Don't let the date / time stamp fool you, that is when I wrote the post, not when it was added on the site. The actual add time for my comment above was about 14 hours after I wrote it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
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    sophisticatedjanedoe (profile), Jan 2nd, 2014 @ 8:03pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Ha! Me neither.

    But steering away from false dichotomies, here is a popular Russian saying: "it is better to be wealthy and healthy than poor and sick."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 2:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    What you describe is called 'moderation.' Mike doesn't usually moderate posts. The spam filter, however, can be a pain in the rear. What did you do, you naughty monkey?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2014 @ 2:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: no its censoring

    I'm calling you on this one. From experience, if you have java disabled NOTHING IS HIDDEN. All comments are shown without qualification when I forget to enable java.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2014 @ 9:39am

    Nothing will change under capitalism.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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