Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the what-you-said dept

This week, three out of our four winners come from our post about Rep. Thomas Massie skipping past the First Amendment and blocking people for their responses to his gun-laden tweet celebrating the Second Amendment with insulting timing. In first place on the insightful side, it’s Rocky responding to the claim from another commenter that Usenet groups don’t moderate posts like social media platforms, and it works out fine:

You never have run an usenet-server, have you? What groups you see on most usenet-servers is what the server-admin allows you to see, nothing more.

The whole “post what you want and say what you want” are the rallying cry for those who lack discretion. If I’m reading a group about dust mites in upper Conservatoria I don’t want the asshats to pollute it with their “post what you want and say what you want” that’s totally off topic.

That you see less spam/trolls can be because the server you are using doesn’t feed from the server those people are using or that some admin has squelched those users.

And in regards to major web platforms turning into censorious asshats, none of my friends on the internet have ever had their posts “censored”. The point you are totally missing is that a majority people doesn’t want to see spam and assholes filling their feed and they don’t want to do judicious application of filters – they expect it just to work.

You and others blame the social platforms for their moderation decisions, but policies regarding moderation isn’t birthed in a vacuum, a majority of the decision regarding their policies are a response to what the trolls and asshats do, so blame them – the real culprits.

TL;DR: We can’t have nice things because of the assholes.

In second place, it’s an anonymous response to someone defending the original tweet on the basis that it was reasonable because “the world is not safe”:

The world is safe enough to where I have lived in 3 different states, traveled to 45 out of 50 states, and lived overseas in Europe for several years, all without needing a single weapon, let alone an arsenal. Oh, and I am close to hitting that half-century mark in age.

So please tell me, what ‘shithole’ country do you live in where you need an arsenal of weapons just to feel “safe” from the world?

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we start out with a comment from James Burkhardt responding to the “evidence” (an offhand tweet about Sinclair Broadcasting’s license renewal) that Gigi Sohn wants to censor conservatives:

The FCC has legal power to issue and renew broadcast licenses, specifically any carrier, like Sinclair, that uses public spectrum to broadcast OTA Television. There would be valid reasons the FCC might not renew a license.

Therefore, the question must be asked why gigi sohn made this comment. I notice you didn’t cite a date, so we can not know how old this comment is or look up context. Responses to events from 10 years ago may not reflect current views, or that comment may be made in response to real world events that provide reasonable context. Therefore, I will assume your omission of the critical date and context data is intended to hide the reason Gigi is making this comment. (An ‘Adverse inference’)

In 2018, Trump-nominated FCC chair Ajit Pai referred the Sinclair-Tribute merger to an Administrative Law judge after it was revealed that Sinclair might be seeking to use a dummy shell corporation to skirt ownership limitations in violation of the law. Tribune later sued Sinclair over their clandestine behavior.

Gigi Sohn at the time gave an interview to The Hill and provided this qutoe:

“I think Sinclair has been disingenuous about divestitures for months now,” Gigi Sohn, who served as an adviser to Democratic former FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, told The Hill in an interview. “I think the last filing didn’t satisfy anybody that Sinclair wasn’t going to still have some control over these stations.”

Her tweet was completely in line with that conclusion. When renewing broadcast licenses, the FCC should consider if Sinclair was being disingenuous, make a finding considering if Sinclair was intentionally lying about its intentions or if Sinclair was merely forging ahead unaware of the consequences of its proposed restructuring. And if that investigation finds intentional malfeasance, Sinclair should be at risk of losing its broadcast privileges.

None of this has to do with censorship of on-air content. It has to do with the content of filings made to the government, and potential lies made therein.

Next, it’s an anonymous comment about the vague insistence that “something must be done” to regulate the news media:

“We should start discussing this” and “we need media regulation” is the same line of thinking that gets us “if those nerds would just need harder we could safely backdoor all encryption”. The problem is fundamental to the premise: when you put someone in control of a system you necessarily enforce corruption of the system. The corruption doesn’t become a possibility, it becomes a command as certain as gravity. For better or for worse, government is the corruption we do together. It is the freedoms we choose to give up and the rights we give away to enforce some (supposedly) acceptable level of corruption so that the caveman from the next cave over doesn’t do us even worse. Speech should be left free because the caveman next door cannot hurt you with his words, whatever they may be. If the NYT says something wrong, they should be called out on it. We need free speech to ensure that people always can, because if/when the powers are allowed to choose who can speak who do you think they will choose? You, or the NYT?

Over on the funny side, we head back to the post about Rep. Massie for our first place winner — Samuel Abram with a comment on his selective respect for constitutional amendments:

Maybe Massie likes his Amendments like he likes his Star Trek movies.

In second place, it’s Derek Kerton with a comment about Devin Nunes joining Trump’s social network:


Nah, he’s just going to Truth Social to lure @DevinCow into opening an account…so he can finally get the IPs, etc, and see who TF it is!!

Beware, cow. That grass isn’t greener!

OTOH, this allows the rest of us to create a Spartacus moment over at Truth:
I’m Devincow.
No, I’m Devincow.
I’m DevinsCows.
No, I’m DevinsCow.

For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out with one more comment from that post, this time from Baron von Robber:

Nunes will run the Ministry of Rumination & Silly Lolsuits for Trump.

And finally, we head back to the Massie post one more time for a comment from MightyMetricBatman:

Since Representative Massie only believes in even numbered amendments, Biden should house some troops in Representative Massie’s home.

That’s all for this week, folks!

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

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Samuel Abram (profile) says:


When I wrote that quip comparing even-numbered amendments to even-numbered Star Trek movies, I just had a strong feeling I had a winner, especially since everybody I know says the even-numbered Star Trek movies are better than the odd-numbered ones (FWIW, I actually like Star Trek 3: The Search for Spock better than Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan, but I prefer Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home over both of them!), so when Mike pointed out that Rep. Massie probably likes the even-numbered constitutional amendments, I put two even numbers together and came out with another even number, which, as we all know, is something Thomas Massie likes.

Anonymous Coward says:

For those of you who keep defending social media censorship...

SCOTUS case Marsh v Alabama has something to say to you.
(Spoiler Alert: The court ruled against the private entity and for the individual)

Namely what the majority (5-3 majority at that) said about private entities harming the 1st Amendment

Justice Hugo L. Black noted that “[t]he more an owner, for his advantage, opens up his property for use by the public in general, the more do his rights become circumscribed by the statutory and constitutional rights of those who use it.”


Double middle finger salute to everyone

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: For those of you who keep defending social media censorship.

Except you’re ignorant of or ignoring the subsequent case history that demonstrates that your modern application is wrong.

Subsequent history
The Marsh holding at first appears somewhat narrow and inapplicable today because of the disappearance of company towns from the United States, but it was raised in a somewhat high-profile 1996 cyberlaw case, Cyber Promotions v. America Online, 948 F. Supp. 436, 442 (E.D. Pa. 1996).[1] Cyber Promotions wished to send out "mass email advertisements" to AOL customers. AOL installed software to block those emails. Cyber Promotions sued on free speech grounds and cited the Marsh case as authority for the proposition that even though AOL’s servers were private property, AOL had opened them to the public to a such a degree that constitutional free speech protections could be applied. The federal district court disagreed, thereby paving the way for spam filters at the Internet service provider level.

In Lloyd Corp. v. Tanner, the Supreme Court distinguished a private shopping mall from the company town in Marsh and held that the mall had not been sufficiently dedicated to public use for First Amendment free speech rights to apply within it.

The case has been highlighted as a potential precedent to treat online communication media like Facebook as a public space to prevent it from censoring speech.[2][3] However, in Manhattan Community Access Corp. v. Halleck the Supreme Court found that private companies only count as state actors for First Amendment purposes if they exercise “powers traditionally exclusive to the state".

Rocky says:

Re: Re: For those of you who keep defending social media censors

Except you’re ignorant of or ignoring the subsequent case history that demonstrates that your modern application is wrong.

I find that 99% of people bringing up Marsh v Alabama has no actual clue of the context and how to accurately apply it to situations today which means that anyone who uses the case as some kind of gotcha-argument for moderation choices done by social media is either a dishonest asshole or just a fucking idiot.

ECA (profile) says:

and on the stranger side.

How many of us Survived
‘sticks and stones may break our bones, but Words will never hurt us’?
How many of us didnt?
How many of us Kicked the hell out of the person?
How many of us got Whupped By that person?

Then comes the all mighty comment for Mr, Nunes.
Do you really think you can Trump that?
Even Trump has failed to trump himself.

As to usenet.
How long ago did they create the adage, ‘DONT FEED THE TROLL’. It does work, but the ban hammer there is especially MEAN.
As 1 person may be in charge of many sections/sites, and I would think also that the sysops have a way to contact each other, fairly quickly, to watch for certain personalities/persona.

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