New Year's Message: Keep On Believing

from the challenges-and-optimism dept

Since 2008, my final post of the year is one where I try to reflect on the year coming to a close — with a general focus on optimism. That is, the usual goal of these posts is to take a step back from the day to day grind and look at the larger picture to see what good things have happened, that often get missed in the daily struggle. Techdirt has now reached its 20th birthday, and we’ve now been doing these posts for nine years. The first one was a response to a few comments I’d received, asking how it was possible to write about all the stuff we write about without getting depressed — which made me realize that I was actually incredibly optimistic about the overall future. The things we write about are frustrating and annoying not because we’re pessimistic about the world, but because we’re optimistic. The frustration is a response to efforts to slow down or hinder all the good opportunities, and the progress and innovation we see. If you’re curious, here are the past New Year’s posts:

There’s no denying it: this year has been a struggle. As many of you know, at the beginning of 2017 we were sued by someone who disagreed with our coverage. There is no denying that the lawsuit defined much of the year for us here at Techdirt — and part of that was coming to terms with the very real impact the case was having on us as a site and on me personally. Thankfully, many of you stood up to support our continued reporting, and this fall, the case was dismissed, and the judge affirmed what we maintained all along: everything we wrote was protected by the First Amendment. That was gratifying. The case, however, is not yet over, as we are still dealing with the ongoing appeal by the plaintiff.

In many ways, I think that our experience can be seen as an analogy for how I view the year as a whole. It has been quite a challenge on a variety of different fronts. For people looking to be upset or pessimistic, there are plenty of reasons to be concerned. The FCC has gone through with its plan to destroy net neutrality without any effort to bring about real competition in the market for broadband access. Attempts to undermine “the most important law on the internet,” Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, have gained quite a lot of traction. While no such law has yet passed, it may pass early on in the new year. While Congress was just prevented from reauthorizing surveillance on Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act (temporarily), there’s been little real effort to reform our broken surveillance system to abide by the 4th Amendment. On top of all of that, it feels like 2017 was the year that the dam broke, leading many people to start to be more concerned about the power of the internet, rather than the opportunities it enables. This has manifested itself in many ways, but most concerning to us is an increasing willingness to toss aside the principles of free speech in order to support censorship of speech that some segment of the population declares “bad.” And that’s leaving out a variety of potentially larger political and societal issues that have left many people quite concerned about the future.

And yet, believe it or not, I am still optimistic about the future. I still see the promise of the internet. I still recognize the wonders brought about by protecting everyone’s civil liberties and how it has opened us up to many more insights and voices that were unfortunately silenced in the past. The ability to speak up on the internet has created a fascinating situation over the past few months, where often powerful men have been brought down for abusing their positions of power. We’re also starting to see the beginnings of some brand new opportunities online. The concerns that many people now have over large internet companies are driving lots of interesting efforts into new online tools and services — and, somewhat incredibly, new protocols which at least offer hope that we can return to the original promise of the internet: a truly distributed system, rather than a series of large silos.

As with the lawsuit against us, it feels like we’re living through incredibly challenging times. They create struggles and problems and challenges. But by standing up for what we believe in and in fighting for the rights and the future that we know are possible, we can still prevail. The fact that there are setbacks, or even derailments, along the way does not define the end result. The future always remains possible, and the promise and excitement and opportunity that led me to start Techdirt in the first place all still remain. I’m still amazed at how much has changed in the 20 years since we started Techdirt — and while it’s easy to remember the bad things, it’s often hard to recognize all the good that has come along as well. And that’s doubly true during the most challenging of times. But don’t be fooled by short-term swings and momentum. Tides change, and the long-term trend for innovation and for civil liberties tends to go in the right direction, even with some challenges along the way.

If anything, though, this year should remind us that even as the larger trajectory tends to go in the right direction, it only does that because there are lots of people who are fighting to make it so. It does not do that entirely on its own, and there are times when forces push back against such progress. In short: keep on believing in the good things that can come, and then go out and fight for them. Don’t get disheartened by the struggles — just recognize that those also present new opportunities.

We certainly intend to keep on fighting here — and we hope you’ll be right there alongside us. If you’d like to help us — you can do so by sharing our stories, by commenting on them, or more directly supporting us. You can support us at our Insider Shop, our First Amendment reporting fund at ISupportJouranlism.com, our our Patreon page or pick up some of our great t-shirts, hoodies and mugs. Many media sites have struggled in 2017 and we can’t tell you how much we appreciate that you choose to spend time with us and to support us and keep us going.

As always, the most amazing thing about Techdirt is the community of folks that are here. The community continues to amaze us and support us and to make everything that happens around here worthwhile. We reached 20 years of Techdirt earlier this year and I still wake up each and every day excited to write about these ideas, to share these ideas, and to debate these ideas. And a large part of what makes it such a joy is everyone here — and not just the commenters, but the lurkers as well, or the people who share our stuff on social media. And, this year especially, seeing how the community stepped up to support us in our most challenging times was truly incredible.

Thank you for being a microcosm of why I still believe in the power of community on the internet. Thank you for making Techdirt such a special place.

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Comments on “New Year's Message: Keep On Believing”

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157 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

The wooze, the wooze! Covers all like mud.

Believe WHAT? If we stop “believing”, do you fade away like Peter Pan?

Incomparably incomprehensible.

I read EVERY word, struggling to piece together some point, and take away only that Masnick is begging for money yet again.

20 years wrong on every major copyright case from Napster on. No admission that the “free as in beer” content is further away than ever: all law firmed and firming.

Anyhoo, only real point of note is THE CHANGE from last third of September, when my comments (from TOR) stopped being shunted into the lying “Held For Moderation” AND (generally) stopped being censored, I mean “hidden”. — PROVING that was administrator action all along. — And yet Techdirt goes on, proving that CAN stand a little bit of dissenting text.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: The wooze, the wooze! Covers all like mud.

Feeble AC! I KNOW YOU CLOWNS and did use logic! — I emphasize what wrote above: "stopped being shunted into the lying "Held For Moderation" AND (generally) stopped being censored"

But thanks for contradicting: turns out that goal of fanboys IS to censor, because Techdirt can’t stand a little bit of text in dissent!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: The wooze, the wooze! Covers all like mud.

You brain dead twat, the community does it. Your intentional buffoonery is beyond ignorant; it’s not even wrong.

“Yes, see: the site left open on an OFF day, yet no trouble even from TOR (still). You haven’t seen me (or anyone) complaining because no reason to.

PROVING that blocking and censoring was administrator action all along.”

Gwiz (profile) says:

Re:

Blue, I would personally like to thank you for being a part of the Techdirt community all these years.

Without the chuckles you provide with your outlandish and usually wrong notions and your childish insults and ad homs, this year would have been a bit more depressing. Keep up the good work of entertaining us all.

Cheers & Happy New Year, my friend.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: The wooze, the wooze! Covers all like mud.

“No admission that the “free as in beer” content is further away than ever”

I dunno about you, but I’ve been able to access every book, TV show, movie and song I’ve ever been interested in for free for the past 10+ years. Free content is the norm; it is the baseline; it is everywhere. All content is easily available for free. The only thing that’s “further away than ever” seems to be you and the entertainment industry facing up to that fact.

Anonymous Coward says:

optimistic > pessimistic

Thanks for the optimistic post, for the last few months I started reading less articles because I just felt like there was no point trying to defend good policies and laws when there is such a strong opposition force, and that negative force appears to be winning. I was getting discouraged. But this post helped to remind me that being optimistic about the future and seeing the potential is more important.

Thanks and have a good next year.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: optimistic > pessimistic

“I was getting discouraged.”

I would be discouraged by the ignorant solutions being advanced at TD too if I were in your shoes.

“But this post helped to remind me that being optimistic about the future and seeing the potential is more important.”

The future is bleak. Most people are easily fooled and by the time a good idea has passed through the political grinder it no longer serves its original purpose. Legislation and Regulation are written to appear to be “protective” of consumers while being the opposite of it technically.

Every benefit a consumer “thinks” they get from regulation a business receives twice that benefit in actuality.

Anonymous Coward says:

I bet 2017 is Techdirt's last full year.

Just look at the dull dreck put out of late. Comments are mostly by fanboys, and even they go off-topic, usually anti-Trump rants.

WHAT IS your goal, Masnick? Bullet points, please.

But since Techdirt isn’t driven by struggle for either popularity or advertising income, only Masnick’s vanity, may go on, getting more funny.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: I bet 2017 is Techdirt's last full year.

Y’know, for someone who apparently hates Techdirt, you seem awfully adamant about coming here and posting your comments, thus giving traffic to the site. If you really think Techdirt should go away, the proper solution would be to ignore it, not give it attention and say over and over and over that you cannot wait for all that attention you are giving it to go away any second now.

Besides, hatewatching/hatereading is the hobby of fools. I hate Breitbart, but I do not visit that site in a vain attempt to “own the neocons” or whatever. I just ignore it as best I can.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: I bet 2017 is Techdirt's last full year.

Greetings Troll,

Better for everyone to just stick to their echo chambers and have closed off views of the world and others right?

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”

~Mark Twain

You are sorely in need of a little travel youself. You are the bigot you accuse others of being.

I like TD but it won’t stop me from telling you all that you are wrong about things!

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: I bet 2017 is Techdirt's last full year.

Better for everyone to just stick to their echo chambers and have closed off views of the world and others right?

I can read conservative publications without subjecting myself to the kind of racism and bigotry spewed forth by an outlet like Breitbart.

You are the bigot you accuse others of being.

[citation needed]

I like TD

[citation needed]

but it won’t stop me from telling you all that you are wrong about things

Enjoy the next year’s worth of mockery and scorn, then! ????

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 I bet 2017 is Techdirt's last full year.

You mean enjoy more trolling?

“I can read conservative publications without subjecting myself to the kind of racism and bigotry spewed forth by an outlet like Breitbart.”

No, you prefer to subject yourself to the kind of racism and bigotry spewed forth by other outlets.

I have already cited why you are a bigot, and if I say “I like TD” then that is already proper citation of my position. Or do you make the claim that a parent that chastises an errant child is a parent hating them?

Are you certain you came prepared with any good logic? Cause it appears that you are already intellectually handicapped.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 I bet 2017 is Techdirt's last full year.

“Or do you make the claim that a parent that chastises an errant child is a parent hating them?”

No, but an adult who claims to “like” the work of some complete strangers, but then characterizes that relationship in such a deeply patronizing way and expects pats on the back, is a condescending narcissistic twat.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 I bet 2017 is Techdirt's last full year.

That is just your intellectually limited opinion.

TD recognizes the same problems I do with many things and then raises awareness about them, which is why I like them. We just disagree on the solutions to those problems.

Only people like you think we have to be enemies or hate each other because of it. Do you also hate your fellow coworkers that have solutions to problems that are “contrary” to your solutions? Work must suck for you, I actually enjoy my work and well paid for it as well!

In short, that is why you are the bigots. You hate anyone that does not subscribe to your solutions and seek to marginalize and belittle them.

I don’t hate you guys even though you disagree with my solutions, but you do hate me because I disagree with yours. See how that is working out? The hate is one sided. I know your hearts are in the right place, just that your brains are not.

My condescension is a figment of your imagination. I just happen to have a high degree of confidence in my opinions, ideas, and facts to the point that many of you have developed inferiority complexes.

But I have learned that many of you like to frame my disagreement with you in this way as a defense mechanism.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 I bet 2017 is Techdirt's last full year.

that is why you are the bigots. You hate anyone that does not subscribe to your solutions and seek to marginalize and belittle them.

Two things.

  1. Someone disliking your opinions does not make that someone a bigot, no matter how much you want to co-opt that word as a descriptor for your personal pain.
  2. You are belittled because of lines like “[t]hat is just your intellectually limited opinion”, which, in spite of your assertion that “[m]y condescension is a figment of your imagination”, is condescending towards those with whom you talk. You can make your points and share your opinions without calling people names and implying they are all too dumb to understand you. Trust me, we understand you perfectly. How else could we mock you?
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 I bet 2017 is Techdirt's last full year.

“Someone disliking your opinions does not make that someone a bigot, no matter how much you want to co-opt that word as a descriptor for your personal pain.”

I agree with this, you are attempting to misrepresent my position again troll, please stop!

“Trust me, we understand you perfectly.”

That does not appear to be the case.

“How else could we mock you?”

Intelligence, knowledge, nor understanding are required to mock someone or something. You apparently suffer from some form of illusory intellectual superiority in the same breath you accuse me of suffering it.

You fit the definition of hypocrite. You also need to frame me as a being intellectually egotistical to defend yourselves because you have no substance and keep putting your own foots in your faces while I call you out on it.

Chip says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Lawls.

Stop calling me “Egotistical” you sutpuud Idiots! I am Not Condescending, you are too “dumb” to Realize that! Stupid! Why are you all so “stupid”! Not “smart” like me. I am very Smart. Have I told you how “smart” I am? That’s what Smart people do. Talk about how Smart they are all the Time. That’s how you know how “smart” I am! Also because I use words like “Sycophant”, which I think means some kind of a bird, and i know lots of famous “quotes”, like this one: I may not “agree” with what you Say, but I will defend to the “death” your right to say It! – Magic Johnson

Every Nation eats the Paint chips it Deserves!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 I bet 2017 is Techdirt's last full year.

I was wondering when someone was going to go “Godwin” but in the Trump format on me here.

Don’t like Trump, but it’s your guys faults for running a clown like Hillary against him. It’s like you wanted Trump to win. Even John Oliver was awesome enough to apologize for that one.

O yea, I like John Oliver too and consider him to be one of the more honest opinion journalists out there even though I disagree with some of his politics.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 I bet 2017 is Techdirt's last full year.

“My condescension is a figment of your imagination. I just happen to have a high degree of confidence in my opinions, ideas, and facts to the point that many of you have developed inferiority complexes.”

Ooh boy. Folks, I think we have a new entry in the online tradition of viral “douchebag quotes”, rivaling even that infamous Rick & Morty fan copypasta.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 I bet 2017 is Techdirt's last full year.

I have to be “intentionally patronizing” to be condescending.

con·de·scend·ing
ˌkändəˈsendiNG/
adjective
adjective: condescending

having or showing a feeling of patronizing superiority.
“she thought the teachers were arrogant and condescending”
synonyms: patronizing, supercilious, superior, snobbish, snobby, disdainful, lofty, haughty; More

It is not my intention, as I said, it is something you have chosen to manufacture for yourselves.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 To be fair...

…he has to have a very high IQ to understand your point. The humor is extremely subtle, and without a solid grasp of theoretical physics most of the jokes will go over a typical viewer’s head. There’s also your nihilistic outlook, which is deftly woven into your posts – your personal philosophy draws heavily from Narodnaya Volya literature, for instance. The people who agree with you understand this stuff; they have the intellectual capacity to truly appreciate the depths of these jokes, to realize that they’re not just funny- they say something deep about LIFE. As a consequence people who dislike your point truly ARE idiots- of course they wouldn’t appreciate, for instance, the humour in your existencial catchphrase "My condescension is a figment of your imagination," which itself is a cryptic reference to Turgenev’s Russian epic Fathers and Sons I’m smirking right now just imagining one of those addlepated simpletons scratching their heads in confusion as your genius unfolds itself on their computer screens. What fools… how I pity them. ???? And yes by the way, I DO have a tattoo of your point. And no, you cannot see it. It’s for the ladies’ eyes only- And even they have to demonstrate that they’re within 5 IQ points of my own (preferably lower) beforehand.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 To be fair...

No he did not understand.

Letting people insult you or seeing insult where there may be note places one at a disadvantage, that is the point.

Additionally to hide behind accusations of someone’s hubris as your stand against their words is equally juvenile.

I am either correct or not, and if you are stupid enough to ignore what is right or wrong because you did not like the person that stated it shows a deep seated immaturity.

THAT is the point and he proved it! The problem is that he does not see it and neither do you!

All insults are figments of your own imagination and it is up to you to let them goad you and letting them goad you is what proves the point!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:9 To be fair...

“I am either correct or not, and if you are stupid enough to ignore what is right or wrong because you did not like the person that stated it shows a deep seated immaturity.”

No, you misunderstand. I think most of us here in this thread have a big long list of reasons that we think you are wrong in most of your opinions, completely unrelated to your attitude when conveying them. However, it’s that insufferable attitude that severely limits our desire to actually discuss it with you, and it’s your repeated assertions of your own infallible intelligence and opinions that convince us doing so would be futile anyway.

In other words, your mind appears closed. And I recognize that from your perspective, it’s us whose minds are closed. Both sides have largely moved past discussing our actual arguments, and spend most of our time impugning each other’s motives or intelligence or reasoning or attitude. For example, that is all you have done on this thread – and all we have done on this thread too.

So it appears we are at an impasse. And in a very real sense, both sides are behaving exactly the same way. But with one critical difference: you’re the one who keeps shitting on our doorstep.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:10 To be fair...

“it’s your repeated assertions of your own infallible intelligence”

Again, another construct of your own imagination. I have met no human with infallible intelligence.

“So it appears we are at an impasse. And in a very real sense, both sides are behaving exactly the same way.”

I agree… both sides are acting like humans.

“But with one critical difference: you’re the one who keeps shitting on our doorstep.”

“our doorstep” implying that I am not welcome here proving my point that you guys are the bigot and not me.

I do not hate you guys but you do hate me. I think you did an excellent job of explaining yourself here.

It does not matter what I say, but how I say it. Or rather how you “choose” to view what I have said. Even if I intend no offense you can choose at any time you wish to take offense at anything I say. You can also choose to believe I am being condescending because you need something to grasp at to attack me with.

The one over arching theme I do get from you guys is the constant desire to make TD an echo chamber where people with differing opinions are not welcome. Even Facebook has the intellectual honesty to recognize what happens when you succeed in sterilizing your environment from outside ideas.

Again, you are mono-culturalist and your post helps to prove it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 I bet 2017 is Techdirt's last full year.

“You’re all ignorant liars and trolls who live in echo chambers and are wrong about everything. But I don’t hate you!”

Damn, I wonder why the site and community aren’t falling over themselves to express their deep gratitude for your magnanimity.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 I bet 2017 is Techdirt's last full year.

Let me help you out friend.

Some of you are liars, some of you are trolls, and some of you call for an Echo Chamber and some of you are wrong about some things. No I do not hate you, I just disagree with you and see right through many of you.

“Damn, I wonder why the site and community aren’t falling over themselves to express their deep gratitude for your magnanimity.”

People hate the truth and a fast way to make enemies is to utter it. The same spit and vinegar was brought forth around here when Trump won the presidency. Many of you even scoffed at the idea that Trump could win a campaign against Hillary when people like me were warning you that your bravado was on shaky footing, yet you payed no heed.

You are so full of arrogance yourselves that reason is not part of your functional intellectual capacities. Naturally you will become upset when I point out the egg on your faces!

But no, I still do not hate you guys for it. If I hated you guys I would not be here trying to help you understand that you are a few fries short of a happy meal. I am trying to tell you that you are busy crafting the implements of your own destruction.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 I bet 2017 is Techdirt's last full year.

I deny nothing, I am just stating that it is a construct of YOUR thoughts.

I am just saying, that is not the intention here and that it is up to you to “feel” insulted, patronized, or affronted in some way.

Why do you choose to take offense at something not intended to offend you?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:10 I bet 2017 is Techdirt's last full year.

Well, we are just expanding on all they names you guys can come up with aren’t we?

You just keep proving my point that most of you have nothing but ad hominem attacks for people you don’t like because you are intellectually immature.

You can become more mature, if you desire it.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 I bet 2017 is Techdirt's last full year.

right there in the "quote"

Mocking your holier-than-Christ self-righteousness and your higher-than-Snoop-Dogg opinion of yourself is not bigotry. It is the natural response to someone who thinks himself better than everyone just because he can quote Mark Twain, string together five-syllable words, and imply anyone who does not share his opinions are intellectually disabled.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 I bet 2017 is Techdirt's last full year.

“Mocking your holier-than-Christ self-righteousness and your higher-than-Snoop-Dogg opinion of yourself is not bigotry.”

I did not make this claim. Your bigotry stems from your derisive statements about other groups not about your poor attempts at mockery.

“It is the natural response to someone who thinks himself better than everyone just because he can quote Mark Twain, string together five-syllable words, and imply anyone who does not share his opinions are intellectually disabled.”

Wow, you seem to be able to twist things up pretty fast. Lets unravel a few things.

Quotes are to pay respects to a person that is famous for a specific thought or subject because unlike you folks I have respect for others.

I do not think I am better than anyone else because I can quote Mark Twain, this is another manufactured misrepresentation from you.

I do not imply that anyone that does not share my opinions are intellectually disabled and you can’t even quote me properly. The accusation of you being “intellectually handicapped” stems from your inability to possess or utilize what reading comprehension skills you do possess.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 I bet 2017 is Techdirt's last full year.

Oh? Does it magically mean more if I dropped the quotes and attribution? The quotes and attributing are there to give respect to an idea I agree with as a truth.

Your fixation to the quote is telling. It does not matter who said what… it only matters if it is the truth. Or are you asking me to plagiarize someone else’s thoughts?

Now, Are you refuting what it claims or just tossing your less than significant contribution in for consideration here?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 I bet 2017 is Techdirt's last full year.

lol. There’s no claim to refute, smart guy. You know nothing about the “travel” experience of Stephen or anyone else here, nor do they about yours. It’s just irrelevant nonsense that you are trying to make sound like some brilliant bit of match-point wisdom.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Well, in fairness...

No, could we truly be in the presence of greatness? The great Donald himself?

Oh the honor we have been bestowed! The great Donald has descended to speak with us poor uninformed peasants! May we remember this day for all eternity and count ourselves blessed for the opportunity to glimpse greatness.

(/s just in case it wasn’t blatantly obvious, I’m going to go throw up now)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Well, in fairness...

And you guys wonder why Trump won the election.

I have been trying to help you guys understand that you ARE what you accuse me of being. And yes, that does mean that you are very much like Trump with blatant lies, ignorant, and a healthy refusal to see it.

It’s why you guys got Trump for a President. It is like God wanted you clowns to get a “Presidential” taste of your own medicine!

I think it cosmic justice is quite real in this regard. What was another saying from the bible of the same?

Do not case pearls of wisdom before swine least they trample them under foot and turn on you?

Trump is your comeuppance, plain and simple!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:7 Well, in fairness...

I have been trying to help you guys understand that you ARE what you accuse me of being.

So since I sarcastically accused you of being Trump, that must make me Trump (since I am what I accused you of being), which would make me the President.

In that case: you’re fired! Get off the internet! You are fake news! Very unfair to public, so sad, sad little man. I have all the answers, they are the best answers. Your answers are wrong and you should be ashamed.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 Well, in fairness...

yes, you do resemble Trump in many ways.

Refuse to accept when you are wrong.
Think you know more than you actually do.
When you fail you blame someone or something else instead of yourself or your ideas.

I can accept when I am wrong.
I don’t think I know more than I actually do.
I do blame myself for failing to find a way to help you guys past your cognitive dissonance.

Some people just have skills for doing certain things, and I just lack the skills to get people to listen to reason.

I tell it like I see it no beating around the bush and this is very off putting for lots of folks because they thing I am trying to insult them. I am just trying to tell you I think you are wrong.

My Condescension Is A Figment Of Your Imagination says:

Re: Re: Re:9 Well, in fairness...

“I can accept when I’m wrong! I just never have been about anything, so it hasn’t come up yet. Seriously guys, I have flaws – like, I haven’t been able to cure you all of the stupidity that prevents you from realizing I’m right about everything! I’m humble enough to admit that.”

My Condescension Is A Figment Of Your Imagination says:

Re: Re: Re:11 Well, in fairness...

“Okay okay I admit it – I am occasionally technically wrong about inconsequential and abstract details. Heck, maybe once or twice as a child I even had an incorrect substantive opinion! But now, due to my ‘high degree of confidence’ in what a genius I am, it’s not really an issue. And hey, I didn’t call you stupid, I just called you ignorant and retarded!”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: I bet 2017 is Techdirt's last full year.

I like TD but it won’t stop me from telling you all that you are wrong about things!

Just telling people they are wrong, without giving what you believe to be the right solution will not get people to change their opinions, but will get you treated as a troll.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 I bet 2017 is Techdirt's last full year.

I literally used a quote to explain why they were wrong.

And if you had any functional intelligence you would also notice that it implies a solution.

That solution is to get out, get to know others and stop being a bigot to other over your opinions.

Tell me which cards you are missing and I will see about getting you back to having a “full deck”.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

The concerns that many people now have over large internet companies are driving lots of interesting efforts into new online tools and services — and, somewhat incredibly, new protocols which at least offer hope that we can return to the original promise of the internet: a truly distributed system, rather than a series of large silos.

Honestly, this is one of the main reasons why I find myself preferring the Mastodon protocol (and my chosen instance, mastodon.social) over the hellsite that is Twitter. I never feel like Eugen wants to exploit me and my data for personal gain, and the specific instance I am on has a proper CoC and excellent moderation. If someone could do for Tumblr what Masto did for Twitter-style social media, that would make for an excellent addition to the distributed web. Something to hope for in 2018, I suppose. ????

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Eugen and co. is trying to run Mastodon like a centralized platform while claiming to value distributed and FOSS principles.

He’s a naked hypocrite.

If you want to use Mastodon because of the CoC and the moderation, go nuts. But don’t fool yourself into thinking that a top-down social network that threatens and blackmails instances that don’t conform with mastodon.social’s specific CoC, word choice, politics, and Western social norms is Free as in Beer.

I have nothing but contempt for this new clique in FOSS who bully others that don’t follow their niche social norms. Go back to whatever hole you bastards crawled out of and stop threatening the employment of awkward nerds who don’t think and speak and use the same verbage as you.

Anonymous Coward says:

See, that’s why being a pessimist is such a relatively cushy position: when you believe that we’re all well and truly fucked, we’ll never be not fucked, we’ll never get less fucked, the only unknown being how fast we’ll be getting more fucked – there will be not a single year to disappoint you or give you any reason to change that view, while others with misguided hopes will invariably come to see them crushed.

So: Happy New Year, just don’t expect anything to improve. Remember, Murphy was an optimist. It won’t get worse – it’ll get MUCH worse.

Anonymous Coward says:

Congratulations to all the trolls – out_of_the_blue, MyNamHere, the local armchair anarchist, Richard Bennett, and the other idiots skulking in the woodwork (hi, antidirt, how’s Slonecker doing without his oxygen supply?) Your hero Shiva Ayyadurai failed to take this site down and your indignant tears of self-righteousness are delicious, like the piss you took in your cornflakes.

Your support for government surveillance, unchecked infinite copyright and authoritarianism, and the tripe you post in subsequent masturbation, serve to drive people away, and watching you seethe in rage on a website you absolutely loathe with the intensity of a thousand suns is hilarious.

Here’s a resolution for you: try to commit to French kissing a chainsaw. It’s just as sadomasochistic as returning to a website you keep visiting yet despise with every fiber of your being.

To Masnick and the Techdirt crew, I anticipate the coverage of Paul Hansmeier’s trial. Have a blessed 2018 ahead!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Why should they care? It’s clearly not a real credible and immediate threat, it’s just an expression of loathing. And they know full well the protections afforded them by section 230 of the CDA.

It’s not in the best taste, and I wish that no one wished any harm on anyone, but it’s of no worry to Techdirt.

MyNameHere (profile) says:

Oh well, 2017

Usually your year end messages are a little more deep and meaningful. This one sort of comes off more along the lines of a preacher begging his flock to ignore reality and “believe” in him some more.

Consider Jim Jones, the preacher who so kindly created the concept of “drinking the koolaid”. His basic message was believe in me, no matter what. His basic belief system started with the idea that socialism (through communism) was the will of god, and that all should believe this. They moved to their compound in Guyana specifically to build the world that god had instructed him to make. To go there, you had to believe.

The kool aid was, in the end, just the final proof of devotion to a concept and man over logical thought.

Trumpkins are kool aid drinkers. They believe, even when their man is clearly wrong or heading in the wrong direction, they believe.

Believe is the message of “don’t think about it, just accept it”. A better message for 2018 is “think for yourself”. Stop worrying about fitting in with a social group or being politically correct, and start worrying about things actually being right and making sense.

Believing is for religions. Thinking is for yourself. Move boldly into 2018 with your brain on, and stay away from the Kool Aid dispenser.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Oh well, 2017

Did you actually read the post? It’s clear “Keep on Believing” in this context is another way to see “Keep up the optimism” or “Act under the assumption that progress is possible”.

This is more clearly stated in the middle where he talks about his own optimism for the internet and the future.

Inviting people to have optimism about the change they can effect is not a cry for blind faith, but merely an attempt at lifting spirits in the face of what has otherwise been a daunting year.

MyNameHere (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Oh well, 2017

For me, “keep believing” is the “hopes and prayers” for a group of people, it’s an empty stock phrase that generally doesn’t say much at all.

Mike actually usually writes interesting year end stuff. Most of it (even by the titles) is about optimism. This one? Not optimistic, much more like the half time speech for a football team that is down 80 already, and just lost their only quarterback to injury. I don’t smell the optimism, I smell a much more pessimistic message.

Hoping your 2018 is better, mine should be 🙂

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Oh well, 2017

I don’t smell the optimism, I smell a much more pessimistic message.

Pure optimism is as foolish as pure pessimism. Both mindsets poison your thinking in different ways—optimism by deluding you into thinking things will be instantly better any day now, pessimism by deluding you into thinking things cannot and will not ever get better no matter what. The best approach is to hope for the best, plan for the worst, and never assume that a given vision of the future—good or bad—is guaranteed.

If the annual year-end article seems a little less optimistic this year, well…have you looked at what happened this year? Goddamn, son, this has been a shitty year! Even a wide-eyed Pollyanna would find it hard to stay optimistic only on the basis of all the bullshit spewed forth by the current POTUS. But I would rather look for a bright spot in all of this muck and mire—look for something to stay optimistic and hopeful about—than give in to the swamp of sadness.

If you want to wallow in that swamp, feel free. But please stop trying to drag the optimstic among us down with you. We neither want nor need to choke on that much negativity. (Besides, that is what Twitter is for.)

MyNameHere (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Oh well, 2017

I don’t wallow in anyone’s swamp, thanks.

“Goddamn, son, this has been a shitty year!”

Look back at what Mike has written before. Happiness. Optimism. Innovation. Heck, one year is titled “: From Pessimism To Optimism… And The Power Of Innovation”

I wrote a whole long post, and then deleted it. I am not trying to drag anyone down. I am pointing to the change in tone. Honestly, I am surprised. Mike is usually a cheerleader and a man who can find positive in a shit sandwich. This year the message is much more messiah than reality.

Mike I think is experiencing his first real personal letdown, this year grinded on him personally as he dealt with legal issues, and with many of the things he was optimistic about falling by the wayside. It’s been a hard couple of years that have really come to a head in 2017. The tide hasn’t just turned, it’s pushed the boat out into rough seas.

2018 will be interesting.

Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Oh well, 2017

I am not trying to drag anyone down.

You are doing just that, only in a way you cannot recognize. All that talk about “messiahs” and “think, don’t believe” and literally comparing this article’s message to Jim Jones and the Jonestown massacre—of all things!—implies one specific outlook: “Stop hoping things can get better, you damned fool.”

Without a little faith that things can get better, we lose all hope and become cynical, cold-hearted bastards. Without belief in a better future, no matter how slight the improvement, people would become bitter and hard, and they would stop fighting for anything. Faith in the possibility of a better world drives us all—even if we disagree on our definition of “a better world”.

By all means, think I am a damned fool because I dare to have some faith that we can help create a better world. I believe that I am a damned fool—and I will still fight for a better world. What the hell else can I do?

MyNameHere (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 Oh well, 2017

“implies one specific outlook: “Stop hoping things can get better, you damned fool.””

Nope, it implies the exact opposite, keep hoping things can get better, but have the guts and intelligence to make your own choices.

Don’t “believe”… understand and go forward.

“even if we disagree on our definition of “a better world”.”

My point only ever is that you should make that choice for yourself. Take your own steps to make things better in the ways you see fit and appropriate. Don’t worry about a message or a belief system, worry about what you personally think is right.

You can change the world. You cannot change it unless you are your own man (or woman, cisgender, or what have you).

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Oh well, 2017

As per is your standard for what, a dozen years now(?) you get it exactly backwards. The point is the opposite of blind faith. There seems to be blind faith that the trajectory of today is the same as it will always be. The point of this post was to get people to recognize that if they believe in a better world, they need to fight for it, not give up. The “believing” here is not blind faith, but believing in fighting for what’s right. I had thought it was clear from what I wrote, but I should never underestimate your ability to get it exactly backwards. You’re the master at that.

Happy new year to Techdirt’s most prolific troll, no matter what name you go under (speaking of which, isn’t it about time for you to swap out names again?).

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Oh well, 2017

Actually, if you’re just going to be as contrarian as ever, you’ll always find something to bitch about over how Masnick doesn’t appease your police or copyright sensitivities enough.

There’s no looking forward to you not being a dick. A dick is someone who thinks unarmed, naked, fleeing people deserve to be shot in the back by policemen.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

See Above

This is an example of what one gets when they feed the trolls. No matter how logical ones counter argument, there is no winning the argument. The troll will not learn and will use any response to extend their trolling.

So the question becomes are the responders into self flagellation or do they really enjoy being holier than thou? Or is there yet another reason? Any way, it is a useless exercise, and puts a burden on the rest of the community. We have to go through the detritus and read useless comments to flag, and learn nothing. The troll certainly enjoys this attention.

Don’t give him/her/them any attention other than the flag. Save the rest of us from the nonsensical detritus. There is no serious discourse there.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 See Above

The thing is, these are not “trolls” in the classic sense – as in, people solely seeking to get a reaction, with no actual interest in or truly-held opinion on the subject at hand. They are pathological. They clearly think they have some sort of mission to be here. Silence doesn’t make them give up and go away – it makes them talk twice as much, twice as loudly. Which is not to say AAC isn’t partly right – sometimes it probably is wiser to ignore them. But if anyone thinks that will make them eventually go away, they are wrong. Pretty sure we just have to wait until they die of old age.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

I, for one, would not be entirely happy about it if you left. You’re clear-spoken and articulate, much of the time, and you occasionally have a good and valid point – and even when you don’t, you sometimes have a point that’s worth addressing in discussion.

I just wish you’d tone it down considerably – because while your anti-Techdirt bias and attitude are not as blatant or as offensively presented as those of some other resident trolls, they’re still very much present, and that takes away much of the value your comments could otherwise have.

If you said many of the same things you say, but tried to take an objective perspective and tone in saying them – one of pointing out problems and trying to help find solutions to those problems, or of “you have a point, but I’m not sure I agree; here’s why”, rather than “you’re wrong, as usual” – you could potentially even be a net positive presence here.

(That said, given other aspects of your posting history, I’m not holding my breath for this to happen.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

It’s being a dick to declare all opposition you face as “petty” and “censorship”.

The nuances between flagging and censorship have been explained to you umpteen times. Should you choose not to observe it you really have no one else to blame.

But considering that the things you want unhidden are your love letters to Hamilton and the flirting exchanges you have with out_of_the_blue it’s not surprising to see the vested interest you have.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

As the mouseover tooltip on the "flag" button indicates, flagging is intended to be used for posts which are "abusive/trolling/spam".

Even if we assume that "abusive" covers only "malware" posts (which seems like an unwarranted assumption to me), many if not most of the non-spam posts which get flagged are clearly trolling, and some of the exceptions are arguable.

Some people have clearly come to the conclusion that certain commenters are purely trolls, and that anything posted by those commenters is therefore automatically trolling, regardless of its contents. You may disagree with the classification, but the logic does not seem inherently faulty, and that approach would explain most of the non-arguable exceptions without invoking "flag because disagree".

(I’ve even gone so far as to mark a single post as both "Insightful" and "Trolling", at least once in the past; I think it may even have been one of yours.)

I’ll also note that I’ve seen many spam comments, which had been flagged as such, disappear (i.e., be deleted, presumably by moderators reviewing the flagged comments) on later reload of that comments page – but I have never once seen this disappearance happen for a non-spam flagged comment. Food for thought in consideration of the "censorship" label, perhaps.

Ninja (profile) says:

Oh the troll is strong here! I say we need to send them flowers and ,essages of hope, poor things.

Ahem.

Most of what I would say has been preempted by the community, which by the way is one of the most awesome parts of TD.

So I leave my best wishes to this awesome community and to all TD staff that makes it possible. May 2018 be an awesome year!

Wendy Cockcroft (user link) says:

Re: Re:

What Ninja says. Happy new year to all the TD staff. Keep up the good work and good luck in your lawsuit. It’s a clear-cut SLAPP case that should have been tossed out of court and I think it’s unfair that the appeal was allowed but hopefully this is the year you beat Ayyadurai and prove that the good guys can win.

Mike, thanks for all the thoughtful, well-argued posts on IPR and freedom of speech, etc.

Tim Cushing, thanks for all the reportage on cop antics, good and bad.

Tim Geigner, thank you for your reportage on Erdogan, etc.

Glyn, thanks for teaching me everything I know about FTA’s and OS.

Karl, thank you for explaining the relevance of Net Neutrality and why we need to fight for it.

Guest posters, thank you for your contributions.

Happy new year to you all, may 2018 be the year in which everything goes right for you.

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