Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the companies-versus-customers dept

There’s a very clear theme to this week’s top comments: they all come from stories about companies, governments and organizations fighting and punishing the people they are supposed to serve. For example, we’ve got the Florida homeowner’s association that is wielding lawsuits to shut down criticism in blog comments from resident James Schutt. Jeffrey Nonken stepped in with a comment that won most insightful and funniest of the week:

So… the HOA is using homeowner’s fees to fund a lawsuit over blog comments accusing them of misuing homeowner’s fees?

Can’t imagine what Schutt could possibly be thinking.

Meanwhile, America got one step closer to an online sales tax this week, as part of the ongoing war between traditional retailers and the internet. Those retailers seem to think that they can’t compete with stores that don’t charge tax, which led an anonymous commenter to win the second most insightful spot by highlighting the important counterpoint:

But online buyers have to pay shipping – even if it’s so-called “free” because it’s been wrapped into the price.

This is anti-competitive. I buy online because I can’t find the selection available at a retailer. They are living on another planet if they think I’m going to walk into a big box store, after wasting gas, time parking and then wait for service, wait again to check out, during the hours convienent for them – and half the time, I’m told I need to order what I want online anyway and have it shipped to the store. Wow. I just wasted several hours for that?

That wasn’t the only maneuver in that particular war that we saw this week: there was also the news of a store charging $5 just to look around, because they don’t want people browsing in-store but buying online. Once again, there’s a really big counterpoint here that the store is ignoring, and fogbugzd wins our first editor’s choice for articulating it:

So do if I get a discount if I get information online and go to the store to make an actual purchase? It seems like I should because I am not bothering store personnel with questions. The store is benefiting from information I got elsewhere.

But, of course, it’s not just brick-and-mortar stores trying to control customer behaviour. EA is still dealing with the grief of its SimCity launch, and is currently in the “denial” phase, claiming that SimCity didn’t have DRM. I’ve actually been beginning to wonder if they really are lying, or if they are just that stupid, and were sincerely trying to build the world’s dumbest MMO. So Rikuo gets editor’s choice for raising that possibility:

Only two possibilities.

1) Gibeau is lying, and they did discuss DRM and did intend to implement it

2) Gibeau and the rest of the execs at EA are so hopelessly incompetent that they don’t know what DRM is.

On the funny side, we’ve already had our top comment, so now we head back to the story of the store that charges a cover fee, where our own Capitalist Lion Tamer took second place for funny with a simple reaction:

Oh, good
A store with a paywall.

We might as well round things out with two more on-theme comments for the editor’s choice, since there were plenty to choose from. First, we look to the taxi and limo trade group that is fighting tooth and nail to stop any innovative new services from disrupting their business by better serving customers. An anonymous commenter wins editor’s choice for pointing out that, as is so often the case with services condemned by incumbents, their list of enemies serves as a great recommendation:

Let’s see, “Uber”, “SideCar”, “Lyft”, “Tickengo”. Got it. Thanks for the list of companies who do your job better than you do, TLPA! I’ll be sure to keep them in mind, and not you.

From home ownership to retail to video games to taxis… and finally we end on card games, where Wizards Of The Coast has shut down the Kickstarter project Kaiju Combat, a game based on the beloved tradition of giant monsters. Capt ICE Enforcer takes our final editor’s choice for expressing his awe at the power of the Wizards:

Wow. Normally it takes an entire army to kill Japanese monsters.

That’s all for now—barring a King Ghidora attack, I’ll see you next week!

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Comments on “Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt”

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special-interesting (profile) says:

Would like to propose a #3 option for EA’s rational for not being officially aware; Corporate Delusion. (clueless-ness) Regardless of competence many firms fall for group delusions based on corporate culture.

The president of EA is likely either clueless, incompetent or completely complicit in the DRM cover-up/doublespeak/PC.

Yes Mr president of EA you can go through 100 or more staff meetings and never hear the word/phrase ?DRM? especially if you don’t want to! Your staff will edit it our all by themselves just being the natural office animals they can be. All basic (office behavioral) human nature with no surprises and it happens all the time.

Dictatorial corporate culture can be called many things. Call it boot-licking, brown nosing, sucking up, yes-persons, minions or whatever junior/senior assistants its just normal. Your staff will create a world where you see only what you want. But that is ALL you will see. Since reality may not have been a requirement of them it will be an illusion fabricated especially and uniquely for the commander in chief. (This basic human principle works at all levels of command be it corporate or governmental.)

No problem yet.

The problem here is when such a corporate illusion (feigned or real) is attempted over the consumers eyes. Many people (not all, by the sales numbers, thats for sure) won’t buy EA products because in their opinion what EA uses is the very definition of DRM. Call it whatever but it still seems like DRM and DRM it is by definition of its control. Just by saying that there is no DRM sounds dysfunctional at the least and like lying at the worst.

Personally its a wonder that so many people tolerate this apparent abuse. Are they so susceptible to the whines of their kids? Are there kids so misinformed about privacy issues and or the economic loss derived from DRM’d loaned programs that they don’t care either? Kids need to care also.

One can see what might be the result of this. Its possible that to preserve your precious city from the ravages of an earthquake they might have to pay $22 bucks for outside emergency services. What about selling a city wide insurance policy for 5/month? Etcetera, etc, etc.

Is easy to see some motives here and just maintaining your kids fantastically created towns might cost 200/year each and thats not including the cost for special buildings. (Mom! I just HAVE to have the bubbly fountain in front of my grand palace. Mooooommmm! -jumps up and down-)

Whatever the rational for EA and there may be benefits to being on-line but there are those who just want to play in their own sandbox and enjoy that. By forcing the issue they remove a large segment of the market in favor of corralling the ignorant into a likely economic trap.

There are economic, property rights and privacy issues beyond the obvious. What does seem obvious is the EA/Maxis does not seem to be giving their ?all? to produce a consumer oriented great game.

Rikuo (profile) says:

” Corporate Delusion. (clueless-ness) Regardless of competence many firms fall for group delusions based on corporate culture.”

In my opinion, that would fall under incompetence. If all you’re doing is purposefully misleading your leadership, then you’re not working properly. Especially with them deliberating not telling their CEO what DRM is: given that he was the head of the largest video game publisher in the world, he’s incompetent for having needed to be told what DRM is by his minions.

special-interesting (profile) says:

No real argument to the categorization of delusion under incompetence. Other than the issues involved however real the possibility. (Which are always fun to turn over and see what lies beneath.) Its humor.

Its common that most think I am serious all the time (and am sometimes so its not easy to tell) but usually am just making fun of bad times and or ridiculous circumstances. (if ya cant cry then laugh principle) The EA story would definitely be ridiculous circumstances.

Think about it. In the same way the the Prendaa gang spoke doublespeak and used misdirection to try and cover their tracks (of whatever is going on, who knows) the EA guys are riding a similar horse down a similar road doing the unknown. Each trying to misdirect about something many educated people would take as obvious using monetary gain as motivation.

Point; What other areas of their business have been glossed over in the same way? Is this any way to run a respectable business? When people behave in ways that could be construed as funny… what else is a problem? What else is hidden when even the apparently obvious (DRM) seems obfuscated.

Makes one wonder… Gave some possible intent of the schism but who knows really.

special-interesting (profile) says:

Oops. Almost forgot the punch line. (always trying to parse a few paragraphs from wordy posts)

To me its hilarious that corporate management actions can be almost always described using basal human behavior sometimes better described with barnyard metaphors. Animals and feeding troughs complete with pecking orders and cock fights to determine them.

Going further with the imaginary relation. Who are the farmers? Government? Would the customers represent the weather? Lots of metaphorical fun.

Btw. Thanks for the challenge. Always turns up more stuff to discuss.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Well if teleportation is possible, then we can make backups of our biological data. Are you sick? Just restore a backup. Did you get injured in an accident? Restore a backup. Did you die? Loved one can restore a backup.
The unauthorized reproduction is insane. The pharma companies would throw a shit fit if you found a way to disrupt their medicare cash flow like that.
We’d see something like Human DRM that stopped you from making copies without paying for them.

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The question other AC is asking though is: is it still YOU? We don’t really have a definition of “the self” and one has to ask whether a copy of you is the same self.

If we can make copies after someone has died, then we can make copies while they are still alive. So if you make a copy of yourself, which one is you? Where does your “self” reside when there are two of you? If you die, you still experience death, and it’s not as though your “soul” jumps from the old body to the new…

The ontological implications of teleportation are massive and terrifying…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Well there’s no way of knowing until the day we achieve such a technological breakthrough and begin to perform tests.
I imagine then we can finally learn the truth about the meaning of life.
But I imagine even before we do learn what constitutes our ‘souls’, teleportation will slathered with all sorts of copyright protections and DRM. When has a little lack of understanding ever stopped the maximalists before?

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