by Mike Masnick

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the double-silvers-for-rubberpants dept

Lately, the top scoring comments have been pretty clustered. The top ones in each category were the dominant leaders... and second place finishers in both categories were also clear cut -- not too close to the leader... but still pretty far ahead of third place. Hadn't seen that one before. On the insightful side, the dominant winner came from Dark Helmet, with his plea to defenders of SOPA to actually debate the bill, rather than simply insulting everyone who disagreed with them. That actually resulted in a nicely substantive discussion, even though I tend to agree with DH that the arguments in favor of SOPA remain unconvincing:
You know, I've noticed something with the recent influx of ACs twirling around these here parts. Going through the threads from yesterday and last week about this bill, I note a complete lack of cohesive arguments and citations. What I've seen in their stead is a steady stream of insults (chubby? On the internet? WTF???!), blanket statements of un-cited contradiction (like here), and hints of some kind of connection to either Washington or industry (I heard you were a flop, mike, blah blah blah).

So, here's the thing. I want a real debate. I want the other side to show me where Mike, myself, and others might be wrong. But you're not doing it. All you're doing is walking up to a group of people discussing something, pulling down your pants, twirling your penis around, and then telling THEM that they're stupid. Stop that.

Give me something I can read. Something to cling to on the other side. Something to make me think.

Give me something NEW, for Christ's sake. This same "no, mike", "you're overreaching mike", "everyone but me is a freetard raporist communistic-fascist" makes me want to entrench my position on this side of the fence, because the other side appears to be filled with heavily retarded orangutans too busy playing with themselves to do the work required to have an actual discussion. It's like you've left remedial physical education to interrupt my AP class. I want you to be better.

Can you be?
Coming in second was rubberpants with an attempt at a psychological explanation for why those who believe in some legacy aspect of an industry have so much trouble recognizing the value of the new way things work:
I believe the entertainment industry is trapped in a destructive and unfortunately common psychological feedback loop.

For example: A man worries his girlfriend is going to leave him. He begins to interpret more and more of her actions as evidence that she is going to leave him. He becomes angry and so distances himself from her and stops investing in their relationship. She becomes dissatisfied because of that distance and begins thinking about leaving him. Repeat, until she does indeed leave.

Now, why did his relationship fail? Was it because of his girlfriend's actions? No, it was his incorrect and mistaken thoughts and the actions he took based on those that turned them into a self-fulfilling expectation. He will probably never realize this and will always believe he was right about her wanting to leave him.

In the same way, the industry believes any let-up or lose of control of distribution will lead to an orgy of piracy by their customers that will eventually leave them with nothing. So, they do everything they can to stop it: suing their customers, locking-down technologies, getting laws passed, overvaluing their content, etc. They make things so inconvenient and so unattractive to their customers that their customers become dissatisfied and increasingly turn to piracy. The industry sees piracy happening and interprets it as confirmation of their already held conceptions. Repeat, until the industry is indeed left with nothing.

Now, why did the industries' business fail? Was it because of piracy? No, it was their fear and stubbornness and the actions they took based on those that turned them into a self-fulfilling expectation. They will never realize this and will always believe they were right about those dirty pirates destroying their business.

This vicious cycle can be broken, but it takes a willingness to closely examine oneself, a desire to change, and the humility to ask for help.

We're trying to help them here. But, they don't yet believe they need it and so suggestions of how to make money in the new digital landscape are met with ridicule, derision, and anger.

In fact, right now, someone from the industry is reading this and thinking, "oh sure, I'll just give away my stuff - that will work! or analog dollars to digital dimes - great plan!"

See what I mean?
As for editor's choice, we're going with three this week. First up, was an Anonymous Cowards tidbit of info that might explain GoDaddy's self-damaging decision to support SOPA, even as it could easily be classified as "dedicated to theft of U.S. property" under the definitions in the bill:
Probably just coincidence that Godaddy recently hired a new deputy general counsel from the IP czar's office, right?
Then, we have Josh in CharlotteNC's total dismantling of someone's argument that firefighters support SOPA (which supposedly targets "rogue" websites) because of 18,500 counterfeit smoke detectors being distributed for free in Atlanta. The problem, as Josh discovered when he actually looked at the details: none of this had anything to do with the web, and SOPA would have no impact:
And this has exactly what to do with censoring internet websites? program
"More than 18,000 of the apparently uncertified units were purchased in 2005 and 2006 from a company in California." s.html
"The problem dates back five years to when the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department bought the alarms from a vendor in Calabasas, California."
"While the Atlanta firemen work to replace the alarms, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into the vendor, Silver Sails Corp. The City of Atlanta is “currently examining all available legal options” to recover the $100,000 spent on the counterfeit alarms, according to the fire department."
"We are an industrial supplier to local, state and federal agencies..."
"Purchase History:
Bids were submitted to AFRD, according to City of Atlanta Department of Procurement policies and procedures, with specifications for the detector purchase to include: new ionization type; Federal and State of Georgia Occupational Safety and Health Act compliancy; UL compliancy; continuous alarm duration; alarm sound level of 85 dB@ 10 feet; low battery indicator; hush button; test button; twist off mounting bracket; and long life 10 year lithium battery Three bids were submitted from the following vendors: Englewood Electrical Supply (June 7, 2005), Silver Sails Inc. (June 7, 2005), and Cintas (July 8, 2005)
July 29, 2005- Silver Sails Inc. was awarded the procurement bid (8337-BA)"

You can't even play the "sold on a rogue site" card on this one. A government program got duped into buying them and distributed to people.

Just FYI, it helps to follow up on web links and find out key details when you're grasping as straws to try to support a completely untenable position. Just Googling "counterfeit + smoke detector + firefighter" and cut and pasting the first thing you see ends up making you look like an idiot.
And... finally, we've got The Infamous Joe explaining why publishing giant John Wiley is wasting its time suing people for file sharing Dummies books:
Suing someone for pirating a digital good does nothing to increase your profits. If the publisher said he was suing Al Gore for inventing the internet that allowed piracy to exist, you'd be wise to stop doing business with that publisher, too, because it would be just as effective at bringing in paying customers.

People pirate for three major reasons: 1. They have no money to buy your product 2. They don't value your product enough to pay for it 3. They're freeloaders who won't pay for any digital goods.

If we could wave a wand and make piracy go away, none of the above-mentioned groups would suddenly start buying. Group 1 still has no money, Group 2 still doesn't value your products, and Group 3 is still a bunch of freeloaders.

It is *literally* a waste of time and money (aka, a bad business decision) to tilt at the windmill of piracy.
Ok, switching gears into funny. The undisputed champion (by a ton) was an Anonymous Coward trying to pre-troll the trolls by using their standard language to respond to my post about Rep. Bob Goodlatte admitting that the point of SOPA is to undo the DMCA's safe harbors at the same time that industry folks were insisting it has nothing to do with the DMCA:
Looks like Pirate Mike is attacking the messengers by using their own words against themselves. Typical freetard mentality; always stealing from others to advance their anti-IP agenda.
Coming in with a clear second place finish.... was rubberpants... who was in the same position on the insightful side as well (nice week!). This time, it was for establishing the troll topic of the week (which, if you haven't been following along in the comments, is a response to the fact that a few trolls seem to focus on a key theme for attacking the site each week):
The official Troll Topic of the WeekTM is "Mike is a lobbyist." Any trolls not discussing that topic will be deemed "rogue commentators" by a commitee of severely impaired box turtles and will have their posts removed immediately and without notice. Removals may be challenged in writing. (Please allow 10-12 weeks for a reinstatement petition rejection.)
For editor's choice, we'll go with three of them again. First up, we've got MrWilson response to GoDaddy supporting SOPA:
First they came for the pirates,
and I didn't speak out because I wasn't a pirate.

Then they came for me,
because I stupidly supported their legislation that I didn't read or understand.
Next up, we had qyiet, explaining that You can't compete with free:
If you could, people would be making money selling bottled water.
And, finally, we have Josef Anvil explaining how I'm wrong in saying that SOPA was too broadly drafted. Apparently, it's very narrowly drafted:
Mike, you got it wrong AGAIN. This bill IS narrowly drafted. It is ONLY targeting the entire INTERNET. Its has nothing to do with Unemployment, Abortion, or Gay Marriage.
Now that that's settled, I guess we can stop talking about SOPA, huh?

Reader Comments

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2011 @ 12:14pm

    Always amazing that only members of the choir end up on here. Self supporting, self justifying crap, perhaps?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      MrWilson, 6 Nov 2011 @ 12:27pm


      Since, with the exception of the editor's choices, the designations are voted for by readers, it just shows that the shills aren't the most populous readers/commenters on the site.

      Shill harder.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Richard (profile), 6 Nov 2011 @ 12:36pm


      Always amazing that only members of the choir end up on here.

      Look at the comments on similar issues on MSM sites where comments can be voted on and you will find the same "bias".

      Looks to me that it reflects the opinion of the majority (that have an opinion) on this topic.

      To put it more simply, the explanation is that you have lost the argument with the thinking portion of the general public.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Nov 2011 @ 7:47am

        Re: Re:

        EXACTLY! You don't come to pirate central and wave your stupid Anti-Pirate flag around. If you want respect here you have to hoist the Jolly Roger! Screw those movie studios and their over-hyped productions - I'm looking at you True Grit, and no one wants to pay for another Adele song ever!

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Mr. Oizo, 6 Nov 2011 @ 12:43pm


      What the frell are you complaining about. Most sites I know censor comments if they are not to the liking of the edutorial team. Belgian newspapers do this. Actually most newspapers have a policy in place to ensure that the comments walk in line. You have the opportunity here to disagree and now you complain about the fact that the votes are not to your liking. Grow up or go cry elsewhere.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2011 @ 6:29pm

        Re: Re:

        Not to mention that the government established mainstream media censors IP criticisms yet they sponsor pro-IP propaganda. IP maximists have absolutely nothing to complain about, critics are the ones that have good reason to complain.

        It should also be noted that IP maximists attempt to artificially fabricate their support base.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2011 @ 7:01pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          and if anyone wants to deny the reality of government established censorship, just look at the government established mainstream media and what the government has turned broadcasting airwaves and cableco infrastructure into.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2011 @ 12:51pm


      "Waaah! Wahhh! I wanted to be on the list too!"

      -- Anonymous Coward

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2011 @ 12:54pm

        Re: Re:

        yes, I am mad that I didn't make the list. But lets face it, us shills are humorless morons so we'll never get an insightful or funny award (well, not on purpose anyway).

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Marcus Carab (profile), 6 Nov 2011 @ 1:16pm


      Between the comments on the Favourites post and the comments here, it has become pretty clear what the trolls' real problem is: they feel left out.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2011 @ 4:39pm


      Anonymous Cowards are members of the choir now?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2011 @ 8:43pm


      Congratulations, you've discovered how people work. Now you can devote your time into learning how to converse with them.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, 6 Nov 2011 @ 2:03pm

    Scientific Study Of Trolling

    Interesting report on what makes a troll: “The main outcome was that of the four traits they tested for, the strongest correlation with cyber-smearing was a belief that ethics are relative and that there is no objective right and wrong”.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Nov 2011 @ 10:06pm

    Re: SOPA

    1. It has the potential to be abused, like many laws.

    2. The articles here cry that it will be abused maximally, which it won't, leading everyone who's not a rabid anti-government hater to conclude you're being histrionic.

    3. Because of the potential for abuse, it probably will be abused in some relatively limited circumstances.

    4. To whit you will write a bunch of articles claiming that this is exactly what you were talking about and how the abuse is the most awful thing ever and this has turned the United States into a police state.

    5. Which isn't really true, leading everyone who's not a rabid anti-government hater to conclude you're being histrionic.

    6. Meanwhile, you will have strenuously avoided coming up with or bringing to bear a single actionable way to actually influence the development or enforcement of this law or others like it.

    7. ...leaving history to repeat itself while you continue to deafen everyone who steps into your echo chamber with useless babble.

    At least the Occupy Wall Street people will leave their houses for something they believe in.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    Rosetta Stone Learn Japanese, 7 Nov 2011 @ 12:14am


    using funny spreading hate and ignorance relate.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    packrat (profile), 7 Nov 2011 @ 5:09am

    authortarins collaspe when they run out of stuff to steal.

    china, russia, are standard examples of these control freaks.
    lie, cheat , steal, kill is the dynamic.

    (i'm looking at you, mike. what's in a day for you, contest-wize?)

    the internet is being chocked off, the rest of the world will roar past us,

    food, water, clothing, rent... ownership / control of means of services, production, managment.

    see it yet?


    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    MAC, 7 Nov 2011 @ 1:41pm


    Well, the readers believe the editors have the best line so they vote for them,
    and the readers see this is re-inforced every time so they vote for them...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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