Techdirt

by Leigh Beadon




Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the games-behaving-badly dept

This week, we've got a double winner on the insightful side, with PaulT taking both of the top spots. In first place, it's his response to the idea that school shootings can be blamed on video games:

It's been said, but bears repeating - the vast majority of the Western world plays the same games as these American kids do. They play the same Call Of Duty series, the same PUBG, the same GTA, the same Rainbow Six series, etc. In most cases there is no difference in the code running, except perhaps for translation to other languages. Yet, those other countries don't have the same problem with school shootings. Some countries can count the distance between them in decades, yet the US can barely manage weeks if they're lucky.

There is a major difference between the US and the rest of the world that's causing school violence. Videogames should be one of the first things you can eliminate from the equation due to the above. Yet, there's always some grandstander intent on catering to the ignorant.

I actually think there is a difference that's explained by something more than the mere presence of guns (though, of course, the guns make it easier for people to die needlessly). What a shame some people are so intent on demonising something that it demonstrably cannot be, rather than searching for what it really is.

In second place, it's his response to the game company that infected its customers with malware in the hopes of fighting piracy:

I was wondering if this would be covered here after seeing it elsewhere a few days back. A few thoughts raised in discussions there:

- First, this is clearly illegal. No matter the motivation, they installed malware that has the express purpose of taking someone else's credentials. Furthermore, there's claims that they actually have used the logins obtained and posted screenshots as evidence in their forums. That's another law broken.

- Second, the installer exists on every copy that was installed. While the devs claim it was never triggered, every copy contained malware that was distributed to users' machines.

- Thirdly, while the devs claim it would never have been triggered on an innocent user's machine, they have acted so dishonestly that we cannot simply take their word. How do we know their information about "pirate serial numbers" was accurate? How do we know there wasn't the wrong number in the wrong database or wrongly flagged details? How do we know it couldn't be triggered by a reinstall, legitimate install on another machine, etc.? Even if they think their detection code was perfect (and no code is), there's room for error. That's one major reason I'm opposed to DRM - it inevitably affects innocent people.

- Finally, even if they are correct that *they* never used the malware on innocent people, what about others? From what I understand, they actually told people to disable their anti virus products when installing this because they were (correctly) identifying the installer as malware. As well as the chance their own malware could be misused, they subjected their customers to a non-zero chance of being infected with others.

Honestly, I hope they're prosecuted to the limits of the law. Which shouldn't be hard, since as I understand it they're headquartered in the EU, and we tend to have strict data protection laws. They have committed crimes and need to be punished. Whatever your opinion on piracy, committing further crimes and endangering your customer base is not the way to fight it.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we've got a comment from Thad highlighting a confusion that happens all the time when it comes to companies banning users, moderating speech, and generally controlling their platforms:

Why do so many commenters here seem to have trouble understanding the difference between "company is legally allowed to control how its service is used" and "this particular instance of the company enforcing its rights was a bad decision"?

Next, we've got an itemized anonymous response to questions about why the FCC is tracking broadband (though it had more of a "why does the government do anything at all?" flavor to it):

> Why should the government be tracking any commercial services availability and pricing?

Certain services are classified as "utilities" are are legally required to be provided to everyone within a certain area. Postal service and telephone service fall in this category. Plumbing is generally regulated by the state or local authorities. Water, gas, and electricity service are regulated and tracked by multiple levels. In many places, it is illegal to have the water or heat shut off without very specific conditions being met.

> What about household plumbing services,

Are you talking about plumbers' work, which needs to meet code and potentially be inspected by appropriate authorities? Or are you talking about water service to a residence, which is often legally required for a building to be "habitable"?

> piano teachers, and shoe sellers? Should not the government track those closely too?

If there is a valid reason for it, maybe. The government could easily have an interest in monitoring the prevalence of grocery stores, given how they are required for food-assistance programs and the impact that food quality and availability can have on health of the population.

> What's the ideological imperative in play here?

Sometimes public infrastructure benefits the public sufficiently that the government has an interest in ensure it is done to a minimum standard.

> Are you satisfied with the very high priced services sold to you by American government?

Not entirely relevant, but are you American?

What services do you think are too expensive?

Everyone I've ever met with municipal broadband has been extremely happy with the price/value ratio, as well as the customer service. Public transportation is a net gain to the economic activity of a city, despite the costs of running it. Government management of healthcare worldwide generally provides better outcomes and lower costs than what we currently have in the US.

> Who tracks the prices/availability/quality of FCC and other government services?

The Government Accountability Office, if you are interested in federal agencies.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is a mirror of the insightful side, with an anonymous commenter offering a quippier take on games-causing-violence:

Minecraft is pretty popular yet I haven't notice an uptick in preteens applying for construction jobs.

Second place continues to mirror the other side, though rather than the game company that infected everyone with malware, it's A. Cross Tick (hint hint) responding to the game company that ordered all its employees to buy its game and give it great reviews:

Not an employee of Insel

Many people play video games and hope they will be good. You can't always get what you want,

But if you try sometimes, Ooh, you get what you need. So perhaps this will give you Some satisfaction.

Most other video games lack something, And this video game is certainly unlike other games. Did you know that the title doesn't use any repeated letters, Especially the letter e?

Maybe you've been looking for something that Everyone else wants to play as well.

Wild Buster is the bestest game evah!!! 111 !!! Right down to the efficient use of pixels, It reduces photonic bleed at The Edges of

The screen and that keeps the environmental people Happy In So many ways.

Really, this game is so good that Even the programmers who wrote it have bought copies. Very few people would do that, so I think that says Everything about why you should buy this most bestest game evah !!! 111 !!! Wild Buster gets my completely legit 5 Thumbs Up

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with one more response to that game company — Stephen T. Stone delivered the ultimate insult:

Damn, even EA isn’t this stupid.

And finally, we've got wereisjessicahyde with an even more radical, crazy, never-been-tried proposal than that wacky idea for game rating systems:

"there's nothing to prevent the child from playing them"

I propose we create a new concept to solve this problem. My idea is that after the child is born someone looks after the child in a role I have coined "parenting" (patent pending).

How it will work is a 'parent' will say to the child "I'm sorry Tarquin, but although I understand that playing 'Call of Doom Medal Shooty Face Death GTA11' will not turn you into a mass murderer, I'm not complete idiot. But I don't think it's suitable for a 9 year old. You're not playing it, go and take the garbage out"

It's so simple it's genius.

That's all for this week, folks!


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  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 25 Feb 2018 @ 12:28pm

    #BoycottNRA Starts To Bite

    A bunch of major firms are stopping special deals for NRA members. Of course, the NRA accuses these companies of “cowardice”.

    Myself, I just want to point out that the cowards aren’t the ones taking on those who are armed with guns; they are the ones hiding behind those guns.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 25 Feb 2018 @ 1:37pm

      Re: #BoycottNRA Starts To Bite

      Before someone accuses you of not fully supporting the constitution, may I point something out:

      The constitution explicitly calls for the gunholders (the "militia") to be "well regulated".

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 25 Feb 2018 @ 1:46pm

        Re: Re: #BoycottNRA Starts To Bite

        "well regulated"

        I was under the impression that meant gun owners had to eat lots of baked beans.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 Feb 2018 @ 2:18pm

          Re: Re: Re: #BoycottNRA Starts To Bite

          "well regulated" … eat lots of baked beans.

          Cooled beans, like in a salad.

          Not just prunes: foods to help you get regular”, by Jessica Migala, CNN

          Beans

           . . .  "Increase your intake of fiber-rich foods gradually. You may feel worse before you get better," says Dr. Blaney. Eating cooled beans, like in a salad, may increase the resistant starch.

          Cooled beans, like in a salad.

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

        • identicon
          spodula, 26 Feb 2018 @ 12:59am

          Re: Re: Re: #BoycottNRA Starts To Bite

          Nope, thats well <i>Ventilated</i>

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

        • icon
          Toom1275 (profile), 26 Feb 2018 @ 6:22am

          Re: Re: Re: #BoycottNRA Starts To Bite

          "Well-regulated" means the general citizenry must be equipped and trained just enough that the nation's standing army shouldn't be a threat to the people.

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

          • icon
            The Wanderer (profile), 26 Feb 2018 @ 7:07am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: #BoycottNRA Starts To Bite

            Actually, I believe that an underlying assumption of the Second Amendment is that there will not, and either cannot or must not, be a standing army at all - that the army of the nation will be formed on demand by calling up the (armed) populace into the form of a militia.

            Since we clearly have a standing army, either we need to modify the Second Amendment to accord with that reality, or we need to abolish the standing army.

            I don't think it very likely that any of the gun-rights advocates would be happy with either approach.

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

          • identicon
            Bruce C., 26 Feb 2018 @ 2:42pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: #BoycottNRA Starts To Bite

            ...which worked out real well for the Confederacy in the Civil War. The other element of the second amendment that most people miss is that the militia is needed for the "state" to remain secure and free, not the individuals holding the weapons.

            The question of whether the militia was available to the states to resist encroachment of the federal government was decided both in the Supreme court and by the Civil war, and the answer was "no" in both cases. Both nullification and secession were determined to be illegal. The "security of a free state" in the second amendment is now interpreted to represent the maintenance of civil order within the boundaries of the state, not armed insurrection against the federal government.

            But in neither case is there any argument that the states can't regulate individual gun ownership. If the militia consists of all gun owners in the state, rather than members of the National Guard, the state has the authority to impose any regulations it wants to. And if the militia doesn't include all the gun owners in a state, there's a good argument that the state can ban those people from owning a gun.

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

      • identicon
        Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 25 Feb 2018 @ 6:13pm

        Re: Before someone accuses you of not fully supporting the constitution ...

        I should point out that the NRA Executive VP is on record as describing the Second Amendment as “the one freedom that protects us all”.

        So if you want to accuse someone of picking and choosing which part of your Constitution they like and don’t like, it would have to be him.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 25 Feb 2018 @ 6:35pm

          Re: Re: Before someone accuses you of not fully supporting the constitution ...

          I would quite classify that as picking & choosing, but it does appear to be overvaluing one part over the others.

          To me freedom of speech certainly looks more important, as that's what he's using to push his narrative.

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

          • identicon
            Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 26 Feb 2018 @ 4:47pm

            Re: To me freedom of speech certainly looks more important, as that's what he's using to push his narrative.

            Don’t worry, the powerful usually have a way to argue that their own actions should be exempt from whatever restrictions they themselves might be advocating.

            That is why we have the rule of law, and various frameworks for safeguarding a free and open society, such as the US Constitution and its First Amendment: because it is the weak that need protection from the strong.

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

    • identicon
      Who cares about guns?, 26 Feb 2018 @ 2:54am

      Re: #BoycottNRA Starts To Bite

      Guns are not the problem. If you really want to fix the problem, get rid of cars. You can kill so many more people with a car or a truck, if the fancy takes you. Guns are are so last century or even the one before that. Now a car - ohh you get to do your killing in comfort and to whatever music you want. You can even set things up so as to have the policey-man chase you all over the place as you do your mayhem.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Feb 2018 @ 3:10pm

        Re: Re: #BoycottNRA Starts To Bite

        Of course, there is a good counterargument to this.

        It is the classic debate of risk vs. reward.

        Pros vs. cons. (And no, not professionals vs. convicts.)

        What good, useful things can a potentially deadly thing do? And what alternatives are there?

        The pros of guns:
        - Hunting for food.
        - Self-defense.
        - Enforcement of law.

        The cons of guns:
        - Very difficult to distinguish lethal from non-lethal at cursory inspection.
        - Difficult to successfully detect and contain from areas one should not have lethal force, such as schools or concerts.
        - Can be created and concealed in secret.

        The alternatives of guns:
        - Knives. Still fail the last 2 cons, potentially the first as well, but can be used for all the pros, are less lethal, and can be used in many cooking, crafting, and physical rescue contexts.
        - Tasers. As electronics, they are slightly easier to detect, and are by far less fatal. Cannot be used for hunting.
        - Pepper spray and tear gas. Even easier to make and conceal, but even more difficult to be lethal than a taser, and requires relatively short range to be effective -- no spraying from a grassy knoll. Cannot be used for hunting.
        - Big sticks. Bats and boards can still be decently effective weapons for self-defense.

        The pros of cars:
        - Allow deliverance of goods, services, and people in ranges of over 1,000 miles per day, any day.
        - Can travel anywhere there is solid ground, even in extreme conditions.
        - Come in easily distinguishable types depending on function, from semi to pickup to SUV to sedan, and important markings are very easy to identify and confirm at a glance.

        The cons of cars:
        - Most are large, heavy, and fast, making effective battering rams.
        - Generally create immense pollution, burning fossil fuels at dangerous rates.

        Alternatives to cars:
        - Trains and trams. Faster and bigger. But much more limited in mobility and schedule, only being able to move on rigid tracks at set times.
        - Public busses and trolleys. Smaller than trains, bigger than cars, with the potential mobility of most cars, but most have the mobility and schedule of trains.
        - Motorcycles. Basically a car with 2 less pros and 1 less con -- no safety features, no storage space, and no battering ram ability.
        - Bicycles. A motorcycle that is slower and runs on human energy, effective for short-term, small-quantity travel but not longer distances.
        - Skates, scoots, and other devices: a slightly less useful bike.

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

        • identicon
          Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 28 Feb 2018 @ 2:36pm

          Re: The pros of guns

          Hunting for food.

          Not only is this dangerous to the hunters, it also buggers up the environment with toxic metals. All in all, more of a noxious first-world indulgence than a meangingful way to keep one’s family fed.

          Self-defense.

          Just one look at the gun-death statistics in the US should make clear to you what a sick joke this is...

          Enforcement of law.

          In my part of the world, cops do not habitually carry guns. Yet they are quite capable of enforcing the law regardless. Something about “government with the consent of the governed”, I think applies.

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


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