Techdirt

by Leigh Beadon




Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the winnin'-words dept

This week, our top comment on the insightful side comes from That One Guy in response to the UK government shaking down a third party in its efforts to go after Facebook:

"And we should trust you THIS time why again?"

In their short-sighted eagerness to get data that they apparently felt was 'owed' to them it seems the UK parliament might have just shot it's foot with regards to future cases involving the company.

By going after a third party because they were too toothless and/or gutless to challenge Facebook directly, followed by blatantly flaunting the fact that the documents in question are under seal in the US Facebook can argue that handing over any information to parliament risks having it spread elsewhere, as parliament clearly can't be trusted to show restraint or consider any legal or privacy issues involved in said information.

Not only do they come out looking all sorts of thuggish, but if they thought Facebook was stonewalling/ignoring them before they pulled this stunt I suspect they are not going to be happy with the stance Facebook is likely to take after it.

In second place, we've got a comment on our post about the FBI demanding the identities of thousands of YouTube users to go after one bombing suspect, where one commenter suggested the government had good reason and James Burkhardt noted how that was ridiculous:

Actually, no. The governemnt does not have a "legitimate cause for a wide dragnet". Ignoring for the moment that the constitution bars general warrants of this sort, Mike notes, specifically, that the police have information that would allow them to easily narrow search parameters. Device IDs, IP addresses, and other information could have been included as a means to narrow the scope of the request. So in this case they should have a far smaller dragnet, and maybe expand the net after they process these results.

Then of course outside the specifics of this case, they do not have a legitimate reason to make a wide dragnet. General warrants are prohibited by the constitution, and I expect once this warrant moves past a rubber stamp magistrate into an adversarial process, it will be squashed.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we've got a pair of responses to perennial complaints (from a small number of parties) about our comment flagging system. First it's an anonymous response to the idea that it somehow doesn't count as "voting" since there are no upvotes to counter downvotes:

So when I vote for my Senator, it doesn't count as "voting" because I can't downvote the opposition? Fascinating argument.

And before you claim that's somehow different because "upvote vs downvote," it's not. Most voting systems work by presuming a "default" state, and then accumulating votes until the threshold of the "special" state is reached. In Senate races, the default state is "not being Senator," but if you accumulate enough votes you reach the special state of "Senator". In Techdirt, the default state is "visible comment," but if you accumulate enough votes then you can reach the special state of "hidden comment."

Next, it's a response from Gwiz to the complaint that "Techdirt's notion of free speech is to protect yourselves from what don't want to see":

That is Free Speech, you dolt.

You're free to say what you want (as long as it's actually protected speech) and I'm free to ignore you.

Over on the funny side, we've got a double winner for the first time in a while: Gary. In first place, it's his response to a discussion on last week's comments post about whether markdown formatting for comments should be turned on by default:

I almost _never_ forget to check the markdown box!

(When we first rolled out markdown, it seemed like turning it on might just trip people up — but now maybe it's time to do so, and we'll consider it!)

In second place, it's a jab at our Australian friends in response to their challenges acquiring legal media at a decent price, if at all:

TAC your comments fail to take into account the immense difficulty of translating American movies into Australian, which easily explains the delay and added expense of releases down under.

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with an anonymous commenter who had an understandably defeatist response to the idea that you should fight your insurance company:

Good luck with that. Works well with any wild bears you may encounter also.

Not.

And finally, another anonymous commenter offered up a take on the strained, terminology-misinterpreting logic that folks use to declare social media companies the "public square" and subject to the first amendment:

Twitter is represented by a bird. One of the most famous birds is the Albratross. The Albatross is known in myth to be important to sailers. Who is in charge of sailers? ADMIRALS. Thus Twitter is beholden to admiralty court and needs to listen to Doug's superior arguments.

That's all for this week, folks!


Reader Comments

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Dec 2018 @ 12:11pm

    If I may, a suggestion: just start the box checked.

    Although it's probably been long enough that you can remove that "HTML is no longer supported" line. I don't think it's been supported since I've been reading the site.

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

  • identicon
    David, 2 Dec 2018 @ 12:16pm

    "I almost _never_ forget to check the markdown box!"

    Darn you Gary, that subthread was my pitch at the "Funny" award.

    Markdown box checked. Not funny.

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

  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 2 Dec 2018 @ 12:25pm

    Markdown

    I always assumed that HTML was no longer supported with the markdown ox checked, but is supported with it unchecked. Was I wrong in this?

    If so, then yeah, you don't need to keep saying HTML is not supported. Otherwise Use markdown instead of HTML.

    My wishlist would be
    ~ A user option to have markdown checked or unchecked by default, same, same the Email me checkbox.
    ~ Strikeout supported in markdown, like -this.-
    ~ An option to support HTML, in case I want to be fancy. With colors.

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

    • identicon
      David, 2 Dec 2018 @ 12:44pm

      Re: Markdown

      <blockquote>I always assumed that HTML was no longer supported with the markdown ox checked, but <em>is</em> supported with it unchecked. Was I wrong in this?
      </blockquote>
      <em>Yes</em>

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

  • identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 2 Dec 2018 @ 2:26pm

    Rule 1 Of Comment Posting

    Always preview.

    That is usually sufficient for me to verify that I have the right settings, formatting etc.

    Hey, could be worse; could be YouTube with its weird not-Markdown idiosyncratic comment formatting...

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

  • identicon
    Dan Under, 2 Dec 2018 @ 2:35pm

    translating American movies into Australian

    "TAC your comments fail to take into account the immense difficulty of translating American movies into Australian, which easily explains the delay and added expense of releases down under."

    If you have ever seen the American movie, Point Break, you may remember the part where they are surfing in Australia (Bell's Beach, Victoria). There is a short section where some "Australian police officers" walk past and one of them says something. Despite there being nearly 1 million Australians in nearby Melbourne (which they had to pass through on the way) and probably 100 aussie surfers locally, the producers were UNABLE to hire a SINGLE person capable of speaking with an Australian accent.

    What the officer said was UNINTELLIGIBLE.

    No translation would be needed if they had just hired a local. Many Australians can easily mimic an American accent due to the amount of US TV and movie content over there.

    Mimicking an aussie accent is exceedingly difficult, so most people end up blending British and South African accents.

    Having said that, when Obama was offered the chance to use a bit of local lingo, he did "give it a burl" when he visited in 2014 during the G20.

    https://www.businessinsider.com.au/barack-obama-gave-some-jokes-a-burl-for-the-aussie-audience-i n-his-g20-brisbane-speech-2014-11?nojs=1

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

  • identicon
    Catherine, 3 Dec 2018 @ 1:47am

    Nice article.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Major Hoot of the 118th Derisive Brigade, 3 Dec 2018 @ 7:51am

    Gosh, kids: thanks for the admissions!

    since there are no upvotes to counter downvotes:

    Okay, that's now established FACT. You kids don't seem to even grasp what you admit in the real world, want so bad to win an immediate victory on this tiny little site. I now have evidence, see, that there's NO UPVOTES EVEN POSSIBLE.

    The up votes in hypothetical election are for the other candidate. The lack of up votes is exactly like whether to have a representative or not, so even one vote always means "yes (hide the comment)".

    Besides that, the system is rigged in at least two ways: 1) No mere commentor knows whether there even any votes at all. 2) Techdirt will never state whether an Administrator approves the hiding.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2018 @ 8:01am

      Re:

      If you're not getting voted insightful or funny it's because you are neither insightful or funny.

      This isn't fucking rocket science.

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

      • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
        identicon
        Major Hoot of the 118th Derisive Brigade, 3 Dec 2018 @ 8:14am

        Re: Re: Gosh, kids: thanks for the admissions!

        If you're not getting voted insightful or funny it's because you are neither insightful or funny.

        YOU don't know that, unless are another Administrator astro-turfing the site.

        This isn't fucking rocket science.

        You're certainly no rocket scientist! Because IF an Administrator looks at any alleged votes, then it's that Administrator which is deciding, not "the community" as alleged. -- Techdirt states that it doesn't moderate. Now YOU imply that behind the scenes is actual consideration.

        WHICH IS IT? Techdirt won't say, so is LYING. And it's now caught in that dilemma, which is why Masnick can't even state WHETHER there is a Moderator doing as you imply, and I so conclude too.

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

        • icon
          James Burkhardt (profile), 3 Dec 2018 @ 9:09am

          Re: Re: Re: Gosh, kids: thanks for the admissions!

          Noting that the community doesn't find you insightful or funny does not imply that there is some behind the scenes decision making. Nothing about that statement implies admin action. A dumb AI can count votes, compare Insightful/funny votes to flags (maybe), and make a simple threshold based decision. No need to involve admins.

          You can even see it. The longer after the post goes up your comment comes, the less eyes it gets and the more likely it wont be hidden. In a busy post, you get flagged longer, but eventually the flags stop even as you are still being responded to. You can assume a conspiracy, or recognize that the pattern is explained by a bot that only hides posts that reach some threshold. Its why, despite the number of comments here, your post that just reiterates your previous comments isn't hidden. These posts don't generate a lot of commentary like normal ones.

          Personally, I find your refusal to argue in any form of good faith (arguing against a position blatantly not in evidence) a symptom of trolling. Which is why you get a flag. Happy holidays!

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

        • icon
          Gwiz (profile), 3 Dec 2018 @ 9:10am

          Re: Re: Re:

          WHICH IS IT? Techdirt won't say, so is LYING. And it's now caught in that dilemma, which is why Masnick can't even state WHETHER there is a Moderator doing as you imply, and I so conclude too.

          I've never seen you state whether you are or not a pedophile, so by your own dumb logic, you are obviously lying and I must conclude you are, in fact, a pedophile.

          Do you see how stupid your logic is here?

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

          • icon
            Gwiz (profile), 3 Dec 2018 @ 10:19am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Just to cover my own ass:

            I do not actually conclude that the above commentor is a pedophile. I have no knowledge either way and wouldn't presume to cast judgement without actual facts. I was using a form of the reductio ad absurdum argument to show how stupid their logic was and probably should have used a different example. Sometimes my annoyance with stupidity gets the better of me and I apologize for my lack of forethought on this one.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2018 @ 10:12am

          Re: we aren’t laughing with you

          I wonder how much of your hair you’ve torn out over this”mystery”? A not insignsficent amount I’d say.

          By the way how does it feel to have become nothing so much as a lame joke?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2018 @ 8:14pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          For someone who mocks other users for frequenting a website you personally loathe you seem to have developed a Gordian knot in your thong about not being voted funny or insightful.

          Frankly, most of us couldn't care less if a small online community chooses to reward certain participants for their contributions. We get on with our lives. That you're throwing this much of a tantrum over not getting the results you want, from a group of people you openly detest, is pretty embarrassing.

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Major Hoot of the 118th Derisive Brigade, 3 Dec 2018 @ 8:06am

      Re: Gosh, kids: thanks for the admissions!

      Next, ol' Gwiz admits (and is confirmed by it being repeated here) that "Techdirt's notion of free speech is to protect yourselves from what don't want to see".

      Okay, again, that's now established FACT.

      To be accurate, Gwiz then redefines it:

      You're free to say what you want (as long as it's actually protected speech) and I'm free to ignore you.

      Of course, to a rational mind, the question is whether it's "free speech" on avowed discussion board when some viewpoints are disadvantaged by "hidden" behind an added editorial warning and requiring another click.

      That's the actual circumstances here, which are ONLY possible because the site provides a censoring mechanism, and -- out of sight, but never even denied -- an Administrator makes a decision whether to actually hide comments.

      SO, just from your own admissions here: Techdirt's notion of free speech is to [hide comments with an alleged "voting system" in which no up votes are even possible by sneaky action of an Administrator discriminating against certain viewpoints, thereby flatly contradicting the site's advertising of "free speech", in order to] protect your [weakling, contradictory, easily "triggered" SJW] selves from what don't want to see.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2018 @ 8:35am

        Re: Re: Gosh, kids: thanks for the admissions!

        Techdirt's notion of free speech is to protect yourselves from what don't want to see".

        Forcing people to listen when they do not want to is indoctrination, not the exercise of free speech.

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

      • icon
        Gwiz (profile), 3 Dec 2018 @ 8:47am

        Re: Re:

        Of course, to a rational mind, the question is whether it's "free speech" on avowed discussion board when some viewpoints are disadvantaged by "hidden" behind an added editorial warning and requiring another click.

        Your notion of free speech is skewed. You cannot force others to listen to you. If you don't like how this platform works, find some other place for your speech.

        Has it ever dawned on you that people might flag your comments, not because of the content, but because you have shown yourself over the years to be an absolute asshole who isn't really interested in civilized conversation?

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2018 @ 9:15am

        Re: Re: Gosh, kids: thanks for the admissions!

        I just flag you reflexively now.

        In my case, I skim your posts just long enough to realize it's you speaking, and then proceed to ignore what you have to say.

        This is because your past posts have indicated you are saying nothing I consider worth reading. Therefore I exercise my ability to just not read it. Then I click the flag as a form of speech, to warn others that what you have to say is not worth reading.

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

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 3 Dec 2018 @ 12:10pm

          Likewise. As soon as I realize that it's them I hit the flag, as they have made crystal clear over the years that they are too dishonest and deranged to be worth interacting with(I can understand those that have fun poking at them and exposing their flawed and/or dishonest thinking, it's just not for me most of the time). As far as I'm concerned they don't even exist except to stress-test the report function, with anything they might say as utterly worthless and not worth time.

          If they have one redeeming quality it's that the tells they have make spotting them really easy.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 3 Dec 2018 @ 10:15am

        Re: Re: Gosh, blue thanks for the laughs

        “Of course, to a rational mind”

        You are anything but that.

        Keep on digging bro.

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

    • icon
      Gwiz (profile), 3 Dec 2018 @ 8:33am

      Re:

      I now have evidence, see, that there's NO UPVOTES EVEN POSSIBLE.

      Evidence of what exactly? The only evidence I see is that the Techdirt community, as a group of like minded individuals, have exercised their rights to ignore you by consensus.

       

      The up votes in hypothetical election are for the other candidate.

      We have the "other candidate" here too. If your comments were of any value here, you would be getting insightful or funny votes.

       

      Besides that, the system is rigged in at least two ways: 1) No mere commentor knows whether there even any votes at all.

      So what? How would knowing if there are other votes change how I wish to vote?

       

      2) Techdirt will never state whether an Administrator approves the hiding.

      I believe they have stated this (to you in fact) but I cannot find that comment. Personally I belive that the Techdirt staff have much more important things to do than to monitor and hide comments from a insignificant little ankle biter like you. Remember, Mike as made no bones about the fact that this site is a loss leader for his real business.

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


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