Techdirt

by Leigh Beadon




Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the pens-and-swords dept

This week, we looked at the story of Laura Poitras, who sued the government to find out why she was detained every time she flew anywhere. In one instance, she was denied use of a pen, lest it serve as a weapon, prompting one anonymous commenter to win first place for insightful by underlining the oblivious irony of this move:

As the famous saying goes, the pen is mightier than the sword.

It says a lot about a government when their biggest fear is a journalist with a pen. I doubt these thugs, who clearly had stabbing on their mind, even realized the irony of what they said.

Meanwhile, the Authors Guild reared its perennial "we hate the internet" head, this time with a focus on Amazon. The guild employed a twisted reading of antitrust laws and understanding of economics to suggest that we should focus on creating a robust, competitive market place but not on driving down book prices. took second place for insightful by breaking down the idiocy of this statement:

And what exactly would you like to point out? The two are one and the same, because a thriving, competitive marketplace always drives prices down. That's, like, Capitalism 101, guys...

Or, to borrow a local meme, Author's Guild just hates it when the laws of economics are enforced.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with a response to the White House agreeing to look the other way on Malaysia's massive human rights violations for the sake of getting the TPP passed. As Ninja points out, this is sadly not very surprising:

Well, what can we say? You have that joke of 301 report that lists perfectly good countries as some sort of potential terrorists or something because they don't do what the MAFIAA says, you have the Patriot Act and other incredibly unconstitutional things that allow all sorts of surveillance because a bunch of psychopaths and a huge industry behind the security apparatus likes it, you see serious environmental violations because some huge oil conglomerates and other base industries pay enough for it, you have a completely broken health system and outrageously expensive medicine because some big pharma industries say so... What were we expecting from a Government that not only disregards entirely what is good for the citizenry but often holds total contempt towards said citizens?

This shouldn't be a surprise as much as a reason for going Baltimore/Ferguson/etc on your Government. Sadly, it is happening everywhere in different clothings.

Next, we head to our big post about rethinking moderation in terms of protocols, not platforms. GMacGuffin shared his own story of developments in exactly that area:

I went to a presentation last night by the guys building OpenBazaar.org. It will be a decentralized P2P marketplace utilizing bitcoin (for now). They are building the open source core, that like bitcoin core, can be built upon by anyone. Users download the core program, and they are their own server and can sell anything they want directly to anyone else they want. If they want to use cloud servers to handle load, fine. If they want to build their own storefront on core, groovy, here's the API.

OpenBazaar's Brian Hoffman kept being asked if they would be adding this or that feature. Answer, probably not. Let other devs do that. The core features will be pretty standard: ratings, comments, friends. They are specifically staying out of being any kind of middleman in the traditional sense, to avoid any of the liability issues.

AND, if you want moderation, you can pay a bit for a neutral moderator/arbitrator to act as multisig escrow, or resolve disputes, etc. Anyone can do that job too, they'll be rated like the rest, so reputation matters.

If you want a curated space, they'll be available. Or build one. If you want to dive into the wild unregulated jungle, that will be there too. If you want to build an ad-based OpenBazaar search engine, awesome. It's brilliant.

Also there were some folks from blocktech.com, who are building Alexandria -- essentially the same concept for digital works, rather than goods.

Decentralized protocols are coming, and fast, because these people really want to build something that the govt. cannot shut down, because it's nowhere and everywhere at the same time.

(... this question always happens: "Don't you feel a moral obligation to keep people from using it for human trafficking?" Er, it's useful software; if others use it for bad, we can't stop that. [Auto makers aren't liable for drunk drivers either.])

Aside: Tech issues preclude this working on Tor, so if you're going to use it for bad, the IP address will be broadcast anyway, for now.

Over on the funny side, it's no surprise that we start out with a response to Comcast's absurdly expensive two-gigabit offering. DannyB used four adjacent links to remind us that there's more to life than price:

Please consider the value you are getting with Comcast

Comcast may be more expensive than Google fiber, but at least you are getting Comcast's Award Winning customer service. That kind of recognition doesn't come easily, or for free.

Next, we've got an excellent summing up of the story of Newegg, which politely nudged a judge towards issuing an extremely late ruling, only to be chastised for it. Mason Wheeler scored another second place win:

Counsel: Be careful with all this; the judges around here don't like being pestered.
Newegg: *waits 2 years* ...Mandamus, please?
Judge: HOW DARE YOU PESTER ME!!!

For editor's choice on the funny side, we'll loop back to two previous stories. First, Uriel-238 caught the critical detail about that dastardly Laura Poitras:

Did you not read the article? Ms. Poitras' Threat Score was 400 out of 400 points. You can't get threatier than that! Maximum Threatiness! That's the equivilant of a terrorist with standing orders, bombs, weapons and supplies at her disposal already available to her at the target site, and a plan B in case things go awry!

Poitras is a Modesty Blaise, Emily Pollifax, Felicity Flint and Sarah Walker open-faced sandwich topped with Cammie Morgan sauce with a side of Agent 99 and a bottomless cup of Cate Archer. At 400/400, she's a master infiltrator, agent provocateur, skilled saboteur, proficient in disguise and skilled in the secret ninja arts of Shiatjitsu.

I mean, compare her to all the other 400/400 threats on the list and it all makes sense.

They were right not to trust her with a pen. Unarmed she could kill everyone in the room in slow motion before the first victim hit the floor. She's the arch-nemesis of Jack Bauer, no less.

And finally, we've got an anonymous commenter who noted the critical (or at least implied) small-print on Comcast's new high-speed offering:

Fees of up to $ARM for installation and up to $LEG for activation apply.

That's all for this week, folks!


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • icon
    Paul Renault (profile), 19 Jul 2015 @ 12:37pm

    Re.: Ninja's comment about 301 reported countries.

    ..One of which is Canada, 'cuz our copyright laws weren't stupid enough.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jul 2015 @ 3:15pm

      Re: Re.: Ninja's comment about 301 reported countries.

      "..One of which is Canada, 'cuz our copyright laws weren't stupid enough."

      But I understand you're working on changing that.

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

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 19 Jul 2015 @ 5:49pm

      Re: Re.: Ninja's comment about 301 reported countries.

      Apparently, like some other countries on the 301 list, Canada's rules are as strict or stricter than America's.

      If it weren't America's list, America would be on the list.

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

      • icon
        Leigh Beadon (profile), 19 Jul 2015 @ 6:01pm

        Re: Re: Re.: Ninja's comment about 301 reported countries.

        Apparently, like some other countries on the 301 list, Canada's rules are as strict or stricter than America's.

        Copyright law being as complex as it is, the reality is it's not either/or. Canada's copyright laws do some things way better than the US, and other things way worse.

        An illustrative example is our "fair dealing" versus your "fair use". Both have pros and cons. Fair use is far more expansive than fair dealing -- it lists four subjective factors, and leaves the decision up to a judge, which means there are things that are potentially fair use in the US but which stand no chance of being fair dealing in Canada.

        On the flipside, Fair Dealing is an enumerated list of specific uses which are "fair". That means it's less expansive than fair use, and arguably doesn't cover as much — but it also means that people doing what it does cover can feel more secure in their protection. Canada's Supreme Court has also been pushing pretty hard for an expansive interpretation of fair dealing laws, and has even stated that the list of fair dealing examples is not exhaustive (which previously many people assumed it was - though this question has not really been tested since that ruling).

        Of course, as always, there are like a million layers to this. Law is one thing, practice is another. For example, Canada's fair dealing has a beautiful feature: it is very explicit that any and all educational uses are considered fair. But? Well... but... and it's a big but: this was not always clearly the case (again being recently confirmed by a supreme court ruling) and in the mean time, a huge and robust regime of collection societies for educational use sprang up (if you think the collection society situation in the US is bad... oh man... you have no idea). And, tragically and pathetically, despite the supreme court ruling that educational use is fair, Canada's schools have mostly opted to renew their deals with the collection societies.

        That's right: despite an EXTREMELY strong legal position that they should not have to pay for ANYTHING, Canada's universities are still paying licensing fees for photocopies and syllabi. I have some serious questions about how this came to pass... but alas, here we are.

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

        • icon
          Leigh Beadon (profile), 19 Jul 2015 @ 6:11pm

          Re: Re: Re: Re.: Ninja's comment about 301 reported countries.

          (er sorry, I'm mixing things up - the addition of "education" to the fair dealing list was part of our copyright reform bill, not a court ruling, but right around the same time the supreme court released five rulings that all pushed for expanded interpretations of the fair dealing definition)

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

  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 19 Jul 2015 @ 6:51pm

    Have Any Comments Of The Week ...

    ... ever disagreed with the point of the articles?

    Seems like only comments that agree with them get considered.

    (Feel free to mention counterexamples.)

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jul 2015 @ 7:30pm

      Re: Have Any Comments Of The Week ...

      Since you're the one making the claim, perhaps you should be the one providing examples of really funny or insightful comments that weren't considered.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Jul 2015 @ 9:53pm

      Re: Have Any Comments Of The Week ...

      I've seen insightful comments that expand upon the original article with further information that the author might not have known. They didn't necessary "disagree" but clarified or elaborated.

      Typically, if you significantly disagree with the content of the articles, you're either new to Techdirt or a troll, because who else would come back, read the articles, and write comments again and again if they weren't interested in the perspective that Techdirt authors provide?

      Since the community of readers who vote on the comments are likely frequent readers, they probably mostly agree with Mike and company's perspectives or else they would have quit reading Techdirt a long time ago.

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

    • icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), 19 Jul 2015 @ 10:44pm

      Re: Have Any Comments Of The Week ...

      One of our biggest critics once won most insightful, though I'm having trouble finding the exact post where it happened... I forget the exact context as well, but I believe people basically asked him for a legitimate critique, rather than his usual trolling and he provided one and people voted for it. And then he went back to trolling.

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

      • icon
        Ninja (profile), 20 Jul 2015 @ 5:37am

        Re: Re: Have Any Comments Of The Week ...

        That was epic. He kept complaining about people 'censoring' him then when he actually provided insightful stuff people sent him a big shut up. Obviously his mind was overwhelmed so he went back into trolling mode after that.

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

      • identicon
        Michael, 20 Jul 2015 @ 7:50am

        Re: Re: Have Any Comments Of The Week ...

        That one post was probably injected by Google using his IP address and login information that they captured somehow through their magical password collection facilities when he accidentally typed them into Chrome once. It didn't really get enough insightful votes, but you knew this was all happening and stacked the deck.

        It's all a big conspiracy.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2015 @ 4:42pm

      Re: Have Any Comments Of The Week ...

      Why don't you start your own blog with comments and have your own insightful comments of the week section? Then you can choose how you want insightful comments to be determined. Should there be an insightful mark where they are determined organically? Should you determine them? Should it be a combination of the two? With your own blog you decide.

      Why do you have to come here to express your opinion and then complain that not enough people here agree with you instead of just starting your own blog where people who agree with you can participate in the discussion.

      Could it be that very very few people would be interested in your blog because very few people are interested in your opinion? Could that be the same reason why very few people mark you or those very few that agree with you as insightful? Could the reason you come here instead of starting your own blog be because you know that no one is interested in your opinion and therefore no one would visit your blog? Or most of those that would visit your blog would visit it intent on either submitting comments that disagree with you (which you would either censor or disable comments altogether) or otherwise intent on criticizing your opinion (ie: on other blogs).

      There is a reason that most that visit Techdirt don't substantially disagree with it enough to mark a comment that you agree with that Techdirt disagrees with as insightful enough to make it to the insightful of the week at least when it comes to certain substantial issues that you take issue with. The fact that you are here instead of somewhere more agreeable to you or instead of starting your own blog suggests you already know why and therefore your complaint simply amounts to trolling. The answer is that you either visit this blog because most here disagree with you (explaining why certain viewpoints you hold don't make it to the most insightful comments of the week) and/or that most people in general (or at least on the Internet) disagree with you and therefore starting your own blog would not be a good way to get your opinion across since very few would visit it, at least not for the sake of agreeing with you.

      Very few people agree with you and you're desperate to make them but you can't. Starting your own blog requires more work and would probably result in a far smaller audience since very few would even visit your blog so you see your next best option as coming here to get an audience knowing, and hating the fact that, most would disagree with you and you can't make them agree and you can't censor those that disagree (unlike the dishonest mainstream media that feeds us one sided propaganda). but, little do you realize, your trollish behavior only makes you (and, by reflection, your position and those that hold it) look worse by making people associate your position with the trolls and dishonest people that hold it. Your presence makes your position look worse because it shows us that you and those that agree with you are given the opportunity to disagree here (unlike with the mainstream media), they are here to disagree, yet what they post is not very convincing at all. It shows everyone that Techdirt and its audience aren't arguing against a strawman (you are here to prevent that) they are arguing against the real thing and it is the real thing that's garbage.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2015 @ 5:39pm

        Re: Re: Have Any Comments Of The Week ...

        To be fair, Lawrence isn't one of the usual trolls going by the post history associated with his online handle, so his query was probably genuine and not rooted in malice.

        But you've hit the nail on the head otherwise. The usual trolls keep coming back for more despite consistently proclaiming their deep-seated loathing for anything contrary to their viewpoint, because if they created their own sites, nobody would visit them. There's already enough copyright-cocksucking garbage online run by the RIAA and David Lowery, heavily regulated to only produce one perspective - unlike Techdirt, which gives idiots an avenue to shit on everything.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2015 @ 6:35pm

          Re: Re: Re: Have Any Comments Of The Week ...

          "Lawrence isn't one of the usual trolls going by the post history associated with his online handle"

          If his post is a genuine query, as you suggest, then I apologize for prejudging him.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 20 Jul 2015 @ 4:08am

    Chuck Norris is scared of Laura Poitras.
    ... this needs to be a new thing.

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

  • icon
    Richard (profile), 20 Jul 2015 @ 5:15am

    this question always happens: "Don't you feel a moral obligation to keep people from using it for human trafficking?" Er, it's useful software; if others use it for bad, we can't stop that. [Auto makers aren't liable for drunk drivers either.

    To be more precise - the person who invented the automobile isn't liable.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Show Now: Takedown
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.