Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of 2014 At Techdirt

from the the-big-picture dept

This week, we’re taking a break from the regular roundup to look at the top comments from all of 2014. Since it’s a little tough to choose editor’s choice comments from an entire year, instead we’ve got the top three winners from both the insightful and funny sides, plus one outlier comment that made the top three for total votes combined without placing in either category.

(For those who are still curious about this week’s winners, here’s first and second place for insightful, and first and second place for funny.)

Most Insightful Comments Of 2014

We don’t have to head back too far for the first and second place comments on the insightful side. In late September, several law enforcement officials and supposed experts — including two people from the Justice Department and two former FBI officials — started spreading the bad word about default encryption for smartphones, saying it would prevent them from solving and/or prosecuting crimes. Two responses to this post rose to the top, with the first (and our insightful winner for 2014) coming from BentFranklin, who steadfastly refused to play their game:

Police who say they can’t do their jobs without violating the constitution are saying they can’t do their jobs.

Hot on his heels was our second most insightful comment of 2014 from our most prolific and most frequently insightful commenter: John Fenderson. John played things with a little more sarcasm, racking up lots of funny votes as well — not quite enough to crack the top three on that side, but enough to make this the number one comment for 2014 in terms of total votes in both categories:

Have we all forgotten those dark ages?

Remember those dark days before smartphones existed? How could we forget those terrible times when no crimes could be solved because there were no smartphones to be searched?

For third place on the insightful side, we head back to April, when James Clapper was making the rounds in an attempt to convince students to stop viewing Ed Snowden as a hero. Nom noted that one of Clapper’s many problems appears to be a critical misunderstanding of what Snowden represents and why people applaud him, and offered some clarification:

“I understand that a lot of young people see Snowden as a courageous whistleblower standing up to authority”

That’s not quite right.

People don’t see him as a courageous whistleblower standing up to authority. They seem him as a courageous whistleblower standing up to corruption.

Well, that’s 2014 in the world of insight. Now on to the funny…

Funniest Comments Of 2014

For 2014’s funniest comment of them all, we head right back to January, when Derek Khanna began crowdsourcing a list of public domain works that Disney has relied on over the years. This time, the winner is a short and sweet anonymous comment, and in addition to winning first place for funny, it racked up so many insightful votes that it’s also the third place comment for total votes combined:

Disney doesn’t believe in seeding, only leaching.

For the second place comment on the funny side, we jump forward to July and the wake of the now-infamous “looks like a duck” Aereo ruling. In anticipation of the tortured logic that would surely be used to prevent Aereo from gaining the advantage of either being or not being a duck, the quantum physics jokes began to fly, and Gwiz‘s entry triumphed over them all, winning second funniest comment for all of 2014, with only two words:

Schrödinger’s CATV.

Finally, we jump back a few months to March, when Keurig was struggling to handle the blowback against its “coffee DRM” with hamfisted assurances that it was beneficial to the consumer. Of course, many people see DRM as just one more affront from the already broadly terrible idea of coffee pods, so criticism of the technology in general reigned supreme in the comments. I think it’s fitting for a community that believes strongly in the power and importance of shared and repurposed culture that at least one of our top comments would be a quotation from another great writer, and sorrykb (number ten on our list of commenters by quantity of funny comments) won 2014’s third place spot for funny with a devastatingly appropriate (but for one detail) excerpt from a definitive work of satire:

The “interactive” features, as explained by Douglas Adams

“When the ‘Drink’ button is pressed it makes an instant but highly detailed examination of the subject’s taste buds, a spectroscopic analysis of the subject’s metabolism, and then sends tiny experimental signals down the neural pathways to the taste centres of the subject’s brain to see what is likely to be well received. However, no-one knows quite why it does this because it then invariably delivers a cupful of liquid that is almost, but not quite, entirely unlike tea.”

The Outlier: Second Place For Overall Votes

Whether you’re looking at a single week or a whole year, most of the top-scoring Techdirt comments get the bulk of their votes in either the insightful or funny category. The top three spots for combined votes usually go to comments that won on one side and received a handful of votes on the other. But every now and then, comments soar up the charts with combined votes while failing to hit the top on either side, and such is the case with 2014’s second place comment for overall combined votes.

Back in March, James Clapper wasn’t the only one trying to put people off Ed Snowden. Rep. Mike Pompeo was also on the job, raging against SXSW for inviting Snowden to speak, including a snide comment about free speech and the fact that Snowden ended up in Russia. That Anonymous Coward (who also cracked all three top-ten lists in our annual numbers) latched onto the painful irony and scored an almost-even number of funny and insightful votes:

“flee to that beacon of First Amendment freedoms”

And I am demanding you not let him speak.

And that, folks, is our list of the top comments from all of 2014. Now for a couple of stray observations…

Did You Notice?

  • None of the winning comments came from posts on the top-ten lists for pageviews or quantity of comments, though the Keurig post is a follow-up to #2 on both lists.
  • Of these seven winning comments, five came from people with Techdirt accounts, one from an anonymous user with a handle, and one from someone fully anonymous (which was one of the biggest winners of all).
  • Of the winners with accounts, four out of the five also showed up on at least one of our top-ten lists for comment volume, number of insightful comments, and number of funny comments. The fifth is first-place insightful winner BentFranklin.

Share any other observations you make in the comments — you never know, maybe you’ll end up on our 2015 list. That’s all for this week (and last year), folks!

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