This Week In Techdirt History: October 18th – 24th

from the looking-down dept

Five Years Ago

This week in 2010, we saw lots of fights about various kinds of online behavior. The University of Calgary was told by a court that it can’t sanction students for their Facebook comments, while the University of Kentucky’s decision to ban a student newspaper from its sporting events was just begging for a legal challenge; Google was ordered to reveal the IP addresses of a bunch of mean YouTube commenters, while an infamous police officer from the G20 protests in Toronto was seeking to force them to do the same thing for him and a Broadway actor was starting the same crusade against Twitter; the owner of an anti-Ryanair website was forced to hand over his domain because he made a little bit of money, while the owner of a bedbug-tracking website was facing threats from angry hotel owners; one court rejected probation terms that banned a teenager from social networks, while another allowed criminal charges for violating Ticketmaster’s terms of service to move forward (and a Supreme Court justice admitted he doesn’t read EULAs and other fine print). Oh, and Gene Simmons decided it was time to somehow put Anonymous in jail.

Ten Years Ago

This week in 2005, we tried to figure out just what Rupert Murdoch’s plan was for all the online media he was buying up, because it didn’t really seem like he had one, though smarter online news businesses were realizing that the technology doesn’t just change the medium, but the whole approach to reporting the news. Also in the list of things that needed (and still need) an entirely revamped approach: intellectual property.

Also in 2005: India joined the list of countries objecting to Google Earth while a tragedy for its neighbor Pakistan demonstrated the good that satellite photos can do; anti-video-game-violence crusader Jack Thompson bailed on a challenge he issued to create a game for him while we wondered whether (serious, real) challenge competitions are the best way to jumpstart research; Netflix pretty much gave up on its plans to offer movie downloads because of licensing issues and, in other news that surprised nobody, it turned out tech companies in general are magnets for lawsuits.

Fifteen Years Ago

By this week in 2000, the dot-com bust was a reality nobody could shut up about, so everyone had to get in on saying wise (read: obvious) things about it. Some were listing out their reasons for the bubble and its bursting as though nobody knew, some were cataloguing the “lessons learned” as though they weren’t entirely clear, and some were reiterating investment fundamentals as though they were new ideas. Cooler heads were pointing out that the markets as a whole weren’t so bad; others were taking a look at the fallen VCs of the Valley; and some were showering dot-coms with sympathy in the form of free advertising. Did the bust mean the tech industry was out of ideas? For the answer to that, see the past fifteen years.

Sixty-Nine Years Ago

Today, we have a wealth of photos of the earth from space, in stunning high resolution and in almost every set of conditions imaginable. But it was all the way back on October 24th, 1946 that a V-2 rocket launched from New Mexico and returned bearing the very first photo of the earth from space that human beings would ever see:

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Comments on “This Week In Techdirt History: October 18th – 24th”

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1 Comment
Roger Strong (profile) says:

Narrative Technique: The Troll

When books get translated to the big screen, many of the details can be lost because there simply isn’t time to cover them. Books can simply show you the characters’ thoughts, but the big screen can’t. And so various literary devices are used to provide backstory and exposition in the least awkward fashion.

I’ll often click on Techdirt History links and see a Techdirt-hating, “Mike Masnick hates it when copyright is enforced” Anonymous Coward already flailing away years ago. Some ask “Then why are you still here?” Some flag them as trolls.

But most times someone will counter them with facts and links. Sometimes Mike and the other authors do it, and often it’s us users. And so we learn things that weren’t in the original story. Details left out for the sake of brevity get covered. Doubts we have about the points made, get addressed. Links provide backstory.

There’s even a reward system. Many posts patiently countering the trolls with facts and reasoning get “deemed insightful” by the rest of us. We might get a mention in the weekly “Funniest / Most Insightful Stories” post. This ensures that Mike and the other authors aren’t alone in countering the trolls and making them useful.

And yet other major news sites are dropping their forums because of trolls. Go figure.

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