from the it's-that-time-again dept
Happy new year, everyone! You know what time it is — time for our round-up of the top comments from all of 2021, based on user votes for Insightful and Funny. Plus, unlike past years where we featured a few outliers from the leaderboard of combined votes in both categories, this year there was absolutely no overlap for the second time — so we’ll be including all three of the comments from overall votes as well. Meanwhile, if you want to see this week’s winners, here’s first and second place for insightful, and first and second place for funny.
The Most Insightful Comments Of 2021
For our first place winner, we head back a few months to September, when GoDaddy reignited the debate over infrastructure-level content moderation by banning the snitch website brought into existence by Texas’s anti-abortion law. Naturally some more general points about the issue came up in the comments, including the perennial observation that pro-life movements often seem unconcerned about what happens to children once they’re actually born. That One Guy wins first place with a response to someone making this point, but in a way the real credit goes to the person being quoted:
A quote I ran across in a youtube comment section of all places sums it up nicely I’d say.
?The unborn are a convenient group of people to advocate for. They never make demands of you; they are morally uncomplicated, unlike the incarcerated, addicted, or the chronically poor; chy; unlike orphans, they don?t need money, education, or childcare; unlike aliens, they don?t bring all that racial, cultural, and religious baggage that you dislike; they allow you to feel good about yourself without any work at creating or maintaining relationships; and when they are born, you can forget about them, because they cease to be unborn?
You can love the unborn and advocate for them without substantially challenging your own wealth, power, or privilege, without re-imagining social structures, apologizing, or making reparations to anyone. They are, in short, the perfect people to love if you want to claim you love Jesus but actually dislike people who breathe.
Prisoners? Immigrants? The sick? The poor? Widows? Orphans? All the groups that are specifically mentioned in the Bible? They all get thrown under the bus for the unborn.
— Dr. Dave Barnhart, Christian Minister
For second place, we step just a bit further back to August, and our post about the Canadian government’s proposal for new (and terrible) legislation to combat “Online Harms”. Blake C. Stacey racked up the votes for second place by focusing on a point that the post didn’t dig into — the huge number of services covered by the expansive proposed language:
Through this framework, “Online Communications Services” (the government lists Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, Instagram, and Twitter as examples)
But it sure as hell isn’t limited to those examples. Quoting item 1(A).2:
The Act should define the term Online Communication Service (OCS) as a service that is accessible to persons in Canada, the primary purpose of which is to enable users of the service to communicate with other users of the service, over the internet.
That’s every forum, bulletin board, fediverse instance and comment section. Once again, lawmakers act as though Facebook is the Internet … and propose a regulatory regime under which it will be.
For third place, we jump back one more time to June, where a simple and utilitarian comment won the day. In our post about how bad patents get in the way of fun toys, we had originally been unable to find one particular patent filing — but samuelhopkins had better luck, and kindly provided the link:
US10,850,205 – Marble track piece with triggered light and/or sound
And that’s all for the insightful side! Now, on to…
The Funniest Comments Of 2021
For the first place winner on the funny side, we head back to October, and the absurd fiasco of Missouri accusing journalists who exposed its huge security flub of “hacking”. Much of that accusation hinged on the notion that they “decoded” the HTML, which led Chris Brand to make the comment that won first place:
Is the ability to read so rare in Missouri that it gets called “decoding”?
This year, the second and third place winners both come from the same post in August, all about when Apple announced it would undermine its security in the name of protecting the children. An anonymous commenter (the first of several on this year’s leaderboards!) racked up the votes for second place with a stirring call to action:
Apple, Google, Facebook and their ilk are clearly not the ones at fault here. It is time we face the fact who our true enemies are: The Children. Techdirt, since time immemorial, have hinted at their ungodly powers to sway the will of the most powerful corporations and governments. We need to stop them.
Personally, I have never seen one of these little fuckers so I have no idea how we can defeat them but we have to try.
Because if we don’t, then… The Children have already won.
In third place, it’s a different anonymous commenter on that post, this time with a quick reply to someone else’s comment. I’ll leave you to deduce, or click through and find out, what they were responding to:
And that’s it for the funnies! But we’re not done yet…
The Top Comments Of 2021 For Insightful & Funny Votes Combined
As noted, there was no overlap between the two individual category winners and the winners on the leaderboard for the combination of Insightful and Funny votes. This happened once before in 2019, but this time we’re going to go ahead and feature all three of the combined winners in full. In first place, it’s Bloof on our January post about social media trails making it easy to identify people who stormed the Capitol, with a comment about the incident in general:
Voter fraud that only happened in the parts of the ballots and the states that went against Trump, not the house and senate races where an unassailable democratic majority would be incredibly useful, only the top ticket featuring a massively unpopular republican candidate. Voter fraud so cunning that it only happened in cities filled with minorities among whom Trump is about as beloved as porcupine skin toilet paper. Voter fraud so cunning it somehow managed to happen in places where republicans controlled the elections. Voter fraud so cunning the Trump team have been unable to present any evidence of it whatsoever and had their legal teams back down the moment any judged asked them for actual proof because they don’t fancy parroting the same lies they vomit on TV in a place where there’ll be consequences for lying. Voter fraud so cunning that republican donors are suing the groups they funded that claimed they’re able to prove it happened, for not being, in fact, able to prove anything. Voter fraud so cunning even the most hyper partisan right wing ‘news’ outlets like Fox and Newsmax issued on multiple on air retractions the moment the election machine companies got the lawyers involved because their stories were based on 4chan posts and the say so of the son of the guy who runs notorious pedophile and Qanon hangout, 8kun.
They have no evidence, there is no evidence, it did not happen and screaming and committing acts of terrorism will not make your far right fever dreams of fraud and persecution into a reality. They had ample opportunity to present evidence in front of friendly TV hosts like Tucker Carlson, as well as judge after judge after judge, some of which were appointed by Trump himself and they showed nothing and their cases were rejected every single time.
It is clear to everyone with even a lick of common sense that the people parroting these lies are so full of sh*t even the Trump gutted EPA would consider them for a potential superfund site.
In second place, it’s an anonymous commenter on our post in February about Tennessee politicians asking colleges to forbid students from kneeling during the national anthem, with a comment about some people’s concepts of freedom:
“The flag represents freedom…No, not that freedom…No, not that one either…Okay, okay. The flag represents our freedom to tell you what to do when you participate in our most holy religion: college sportsball.”
Finally, in third place, it’s one more anonymous commenter, this time on our July post about a judge ordering the removal of “Fuck Biden” lawn signs. The comment is a simple callback to a rather similar legal decision that demonstrated a much better understanding of free speech:
And with that, we’re all done for 2021. A huge thanks to all our commenters, who keep supplying great material for these weekly and yearly posts — keep it coming in 2022!