New Year's Message: Do Something Different

from the moving-forward dept

Techdirt has been running since 1997 in one form or another, but since 2008, each year for the last post of the year I've written something where I do a little reflection on the year. The initial reasoning behind this was in response to some questions about how I could possibly stay happy while so frequently writing about depressing stuff, and that's what many of the posts have been about: the general optimism of the forward progress of innovation, despite the annoying hurdles and roadblocks that get in the way. Rage all you want at the unfortunate impediments to bringing about a better world, but don't become so cynical that you miss out on celebrating all the wonderful things that have improved lives around the world in the meantime. If you want to view those older posts, here they are:

This year, I'm going to focus things a bit differently. Last year, I talked about the struggles of 2017 and the importance of hanging in there in the face of adversity. And, really, 2018, was a lot more of the same.. But, it also had some really fun highlights -- including our successful Kickstarting of a card game, based on a public domain internal (formerly) top secret CIA training game that came to light following a FOIA request. That game recently shipped out to all backers. We also got involved in another game -- a big election simulation game that got all sorts of attention based on confusion over what it was about... though, even that resulted in a fun opportunity to run that game again as well. Those two instances both took me out of my comfort zone and into something entirely new -- and has left me thinking a lot more about being proactive about doing new and different things.

After writing Techdirt for more than two decades, everything I do here is still my number one focus and passion, but it's been interesting to see what can be accomplished by branching out and trying something a bit different. So, for this post, I want to look forward to 2019, and trying some different things -- branching out and figuring out new ways to actually make good things happen. We've got lots of plans, some of which are well in progress (stay tuned), others of which are half-formed and hopefully will grow to reality, and some of which are still just inklings in the back of my head (or in the heads of my colleagues).

One of the most powerful aspects of watching how Techdirt has grown and evolved over the years is seeing how much of an impact it has had on various discussions and debates of importance. But we can, and should, do more. And you should too. One of the big complaints we hear about social media these days, is that it's just people sounding off, rather than doing anything. That's a ridiculously unfair criticism if you have seen at all the kinds of things organized thanks to social media, but there is still an important underlying issue there. If you believe in something: see what you can do to make it happen.

So, that's my focus for 2019: to do more and experiment with different ways of pushing the ball forward. Not everything will be a success (and many things may crash and burn), but if we want to make the world a better place, we might as well take every shot we can get. So stay tuned for hopefully some exciting announcements and plans this year (including, just maybe, one that will be announced, let's say... tomorrow).

Of course, we can't continue to do what we do -- whether it's keeping Techdirt going or experimenting with these other ideas -- without your support. We've put together a handy-dandy page on all the different ways to support us so you can just go check that out (though, I'll call out special attention to picking up our CIA card game, as that's available right away and is only available while supplies last).

And, as I say each and every year, what makes Techdirt so exciting and wonderful to me, personally, is that it truly is an amazing community of people. I still think too many journalism operations get things wrong by pushing off their community, but this site only exists because of the community that has built up around it. I wake up every day excited and energized by this community and the discussions and ideas shared around here. This goes beyond just the commenters (who make up one fun aspect of that community) to everyone who reads and who shares what we do. Thank you, again, for making Techdirt a special place this year, and we look forward to you joining us as we explore new areas in 2019.

Filed Under: 2018, new year's message


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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2018 @ 1:18pm

    I got my copy of CIA on saturday. Looking forward to taking it for a spin sometime!

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

  2. icon
    cad (profile), 31 Dec 2018 @ 2:21pm

    Typo

    Can you spot the typo?
    And you should to. <-
    Spell checkers are mostly useless for this type.

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

  3. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2018 @ 4:12pm

    If you want to talk about doing something different, I'd personally like to see Techdirt revisit the concepts presented in the article from earlier in the year about how free speech can be weaponized and how the Marketplace of Ideas can be or has been rigged or broken.

    Throughout 2019, write articles that take closer looks at such situations. An example from this year that, given its nature, will undoubtedly rear its ugly head again next year: A combination of the disturbing nature of parasocial relationships and a big platform wanting to maintain revenue and profits has enabled someone to stay at a prominent position in the marketplace of ideas in spite of all of the idiotic and vile things he's said and done.

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

  4. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2018 @ 5:32pm

    No John Smith/Whatever/MyNameHere/horse with no name/Just Sayin' screaming his doom and gloom because Techdirt is alive in the comments?

    It's going to be a good year. Thanks, Techdirt, for being around!

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

  5. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2018 @ 6:33pm

    Yes, thanks, Techdirt. There are few sites I am aware of that will publish such ridiculous articles and even in the face of withering criticism, continue to do so. My personal favorites included the articles that exclaimed there is a single “truth” and all other views are pointless. Wow, that’s a new slant on journalism and the art of persuasion. Very totalitarian and yet still unashamed in the face of well deserved ridicule.

    That takes a special kind of narcissism, and seeing it displayed in public is entertaining. Another special moment was when you raised money to support free speech while simultaneously silencing your critics on this very site. Wow. About thanking your “community”, sometimes I wonder if there is actually anyone at all in the “community”, or if this is just a single voice put forth under different anonymous aliases.

    Looking for something new to do sounds like a good plan. It’s just taken you way to long to figure that out.

    Happy New Year.

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

  6. icon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 31 Dec 2018 @ 7:07pm

    Re:

    Got anything to support your delusions? Community, well, yes there is. Free speech while silencing critics? Well if that 'silencing' is on this blog, it is the community that is doing so, not the producers.

    Then you state 'well deserved criticism', but you don't specify what that criticism is, or where it was published. If you mean on this blog, well not all criticism is flagged, and that which is. is because the perpetrators are well known trolls who never back up their accusations with anything that resembles evidence, lucid thinking, or actual counterpoint. Or they are just random trolls who have nothing actual to contribute to the conversation. Contributing is an important point to people who flag, mere denigration with some articulable arguments are not always flagged, though sometimes the community gets rambunctious.

    I too look forward to new things from this blog, having followed it for most of its history, and I expect we will find it. That you won't enjoy, or comprehend any of it is the real shame. A shame for you, but not for us.

    Oh, and your point about being a 'single truth', would you like to point those out? There are times when in the face of other's claiming 'single truth' Techdirt points out another. There are also times when there are multiple possibilities of truth, when more than one of them have some degree of 'truthiness' where one stands out over others for some reason or another. Then there are the times when more than one truth is in fact relevant and that the better methodology is to use them all in conjunction with the others. That those 'truths' are pointed out, to your apparent consternation, does not mean they don't have some level, or even a higher level of truth, alone or in concert. Got evidence? I bet the articles you claim but don't mention do.

    Here is to the New Year bringing you a new level of clarity which years in the past have obscured.

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

  7. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 31 Dec 2018 @ 7:12pm

    Re:

    You're stretching a bit to call your posts here "articles."

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

  8. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2018 @ 7:31pm

    Re: Re:

    To be fair, when Whatever/John Smith gets inspired, he writes novels. At least in terms of length. General consensus indicates that few aside from himself are going to refer to his rants as "novels", or of any significant literary value. He pulled the same shit last year under his "MyNameHere" account. It's almost comforting to know he hasn't changed jack, or has any intention of doing so.

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

  9. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 31 Dec 2018 @ 7:32pm

    And the 2018 year-end tally of fact-based claims made by MyNameHere, Jhon Smith, Chip (the original), Richard Bennett, and tp (collectively) is:

    000

    Better luck in 2019, boys.

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

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2018 @ 7:33pm

    Re:

    Let's not be too harsh on the guy.

    They're still grieving after Section 230 emptied their sisters and raped their houses.

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

  11. icon
    ysth (profile), 31 Dec 2018 @ 7:47pm

    Believe something, say something.

    And most importantly, do something.

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

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 31 Dec 2018 @ 8:54pm

    Re:

    Hai MyNameHere. Glad to see you're still being your obnoxious self. You seem to enjoy forgetting that people can read the previous New Year posts and see the similarities between the pessimistic, loaded, "if it wasn't for you meddling kids!" prose you love to write so much.

    Here's to another year of you still being incapable of staying from a site you can't stand the guts of! How's that Paul Hansmeier defense fund coming along? You said that Prenda would appeal and Prenda would win, right? Karma's a fucking bitch ain't it?

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

  13. icon
    techflaws (profile), 1 Jan 2019 @ 12:50am

    Re:

    "withering criticism" = whiny asshattery

    Don't be surprised that people report your drivel and will do so in 2019 if you keep this up.

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

  14. icon
    techflaws (profile), 1 Jan 2019 @ 12:52am

    Mike, thanks and keep up the good work!

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

  15. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2019 @ 1:26am

    Re: Re:

    Two things are certain about Techdirt - the community here is full of fakers, and the critics here are real. The fake community tries to make out that the critics are fake, but in fact the opposite is true - the critics are the only real thing here.

    This has been pointed out time and again, with many examples of “posers” who claim to be programmers, or policemen, or republicans, when in fact they are the same tired of voices of the same tiny community of scammers hiding behind fake names. Or, in the alternative, harvesting comments once every 2 or 3 years from named commenters that “arise” to be heard and then silent again for years on end. Obvious fakers, pointed out repeatedly, with no plausable alternate explanation.

    The critics, however, are real. I am not Shiva. I am not blue, or orange, or whatever other name you imagine. The projection is obvious. Fakers see only other fakers, when in fact the critics don’t need to fake anything. This site is fun to criticize, because it is so obviously ridiculous.

    The reality is that Techdirt is as fake as a 3 dollar bill, always has been, always will be. I doubt there has ever been more than half a dozen in the entire worldwide “community”.

    Happy New Year, fakers. Find something better to fake. You’ve got a great faker leader.

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

  16. icon
    Hugo Connery (profile), 1 Jan 2019 @ 1:38am

    Anti-trolling

    Hi,

    Firstly, well done again TD. Another year of looking issues in the eye and trying to work out how best to navigate them.

    I have a pet peeve, and wish to try to address it constructively.

    When the comments receive an obvious troll comment either it is responded to pithily and the thread stops there (yay!) or it goes on and on. Personally, I find that the second version just wastes space and I cant be bothered reading it, and just scroll down and down until we get back on topic. I would like to encourage more of the former and have a suggestion.

    The easy solution is for people just to hit the troll button, which many do. Great. But, some feel a need to verbally respond. For that I suggest a very small response, which may be an acronym. Perhaps we should have a TD survey to come up with some great ideas and choose one.

    Some ideas:

    ICGN = I Can't Get No (Satisfaction) ; a reference to a Rolling Stones song but meaning "get a life"

    WDFT = We Dont Feed Trolls

    You get the idea. I am certain that this community could up with a real hum-dinger.

    Then, if the chosen short response is the first response to a troll comment, you can then just hit the 'lol' button for that first response. Thus, you feel like you have helped the anti-trolling but dont need to go through the typing, and you're not feeding the troll either.

    Finally, any 'lol' points for the chosen short response are not counted towards "funniest comment of the <period>".

    A better suggestion would be to have a new button for "Yeah I agree that the above is just trolling garbage designed to waste our time". But, that requires effort by TD.

    Just an idea.

    Happy new year all,

    Hugo

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

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2019 @ 2:05am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Wow, the triggered snowflake wrote a sob story for his mommy, what a mindblowing surprise. But since I'm in a generous mood I'll address your sad little points in turn.

    the critics here are real

    Uh huh. So damn real they can't actually say who they are. You know, to substantiate themselves as worthy of being listened to. Instead we get fucktards furiously typing behind TOR addresses because the idea that policemen shouldn't flashbang babies or shoot unarmed naked fleeing men in the back is just too culturally insensitive a suggestion to make.

    programmers, or policemen, or republicans

    Don't know where you thought those among the sane at Techdirt ever claimed to be policemen. Policemen hang out at their own forums where their racist, misogynist, elitist commentary at having to cull the overpopulated plebeians is encouraged. Republicans? There's probably a few. Not all of them want to associate with your wall-building king or pander to your level of idiocy; shocking news, I know. As for the programmers, what the fuck did you expect when you keep beating on encryption backdoors? Did you hate your mommy too when she told you Santa Claus doesn't exist?

    Obvious fakers, pointed out repeatedly, with no plausable alternate explanation.

    Every time you get asked how this faking is "obvious". Every time you fail to give an answer. You realize that idiocy isn't easy to masquerade, right? Who else is going to tap away angrily at his mobile phone and leave typos in his wake like you do?

    I am not Shiva. I am not blue, or orange, or whatever other name you imagine

    Oh, sweetie, don't worry your poor little head. You're not Shiva or out_of_the_blue; you're far, far too coherent. You still verbally vomit absolute tripe but, as strange as it sounds, you're leagues more intelligible than Shiva or blue. Not so spammy with your links, either. But you're all cut from the same branch of people that lost their shit when John Steele admitted he was guilty. Shiva, bless his divorced-from-Fran-Drescher-in-a-ceremony-that-he-later-claimed-wasn't-a-marriage heart, even begged Masnick for money just to go away because he couldn't stand the idea that Steele was getting punished.

    The critics, however, are real.

    I don't know when this was ever in question. Unfortunately, you knuckle-draggers just won't stay away despite every hissy fit you throw threatening to do so. Outside the fact that you exist, though, that's about where all the "realness" ends. You can't support your claims. At all. Hamilton and his list of several thousand inventors "hurt irreparably" by Techdirt? Waiting for nearly two years and still counting. What evidence he has? A disgraced SEO, Ajit Pai's personal cocksleeve, and Janice Duffy (who later took herself off that list, because unlike you, some people know how to admit they were mistaken).

    I doubt there has ever been more than half a dozen in the entire worldwide “community”.

    For a community that numbers no more than the average number of fingers on a human you sure seem to have a huge obsession in making sure this subatomic particle of a site is wiped off the face of the virtual planet.

    Every single year you come and drop off a passive-aggressive rant. Every single year you threaten to leave then reappear under a veneer of supposed benefit-of-the-doubt authority, which barely masks your own obsessed revulsion. (And on the unlikely idea that you are being faked - if the "fakers" have to find something "better" to fake... well, this shit doesn't write itself, but thanks for admitting to your own mediocrity. Literally, how is it humanly possible to imitate the meticulously crafted, grade A horseshit you spew?)

    You know what, John? How about you do something different. Follow through on your police investigations, dox every person here who makes you want to piss your pants. As in, the same thing you'd been threatening us for months with? Maybe you'll sell enough self-help books to bribe Congress into making a law against people being mean on the Internet this year! (Then turn in average_joe for his Masnick-in-a-wood-chipper fetishes. Or not, because we all know that you copyright-types are a trainwreck when it comes to self-policing the same laws you bribed into existence.)

    Now go away like you said for last year's message, or I shall taunt you a second time!

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

  18. icon
    PaulT (profile), 1 Jan 2019 @ 2:30am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "To be fair, when Whatever/John Smith gets inspired, he writes novels. At least in terms of length."

    Also in terms of their level of fictional content.

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

  19. icon
    PaulT (profile), 1 Jan 2019 @ 2:34am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "I doubt there has ever been more than half a dozen in the entire worldwide “community”."

    Which of course raises the question of why you are so rabidly obsessed with lying about them. If there are so few people here, then your attacks will rarely be viewed, by your own definition. You are announcing that you believe you are wasting every moment you spend here, yet here you are again and again.

    Once again, even by your own terms, you're a pathetic loser.

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

  20. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2019 @ 2:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    John?

    You made my point for me again.

    Hahaha.

    It’s you, Wendy, isn’t it? I recognize your writing, your vocabulary is just as ugly as you are.

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

  21. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2019 @ 2:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Now that's just insulting to actual, proper fiction.

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

  22. icon
    PaulT (profile), 1 Jan 2019 @ 3:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well, I never claimed it was good, or even competent fiction, just that it wouldn't belong in the non-fiction section of the library.

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

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2019 @ 3:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Turns out you're shit at figuring out who's who, too. Confusing me with someone who actually has an account, who would have expected such a display of ignorance? The dig at another person's appearance is also highly adorable, for a moment there I thought you copyright-types might have developed a modicum of basic decency.

    You not addressing any of the other points is the two-ton cherry on the shit sundae you defecate in the toilet. If you want to be referred to as something else, pick another name! (And unlike blue, actually stick with it! Having the same writing style while still scribbling the same schoolyard insults is pretty fucking obvious.)

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

  24. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2019 @ 3:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No, but can you imagine putting it in the fiction section of the library? I'm not sure even fanfiction archives would allow that shit in...

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

  25. identicon
    Hypo, 1 Jan 2019 @ 3:07am

    Re: Typo

    There's a comma missing in your post. Find out where.

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

  26. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2019 @ 3:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Hey, go easy! He's going to inflate this thread to over a hundred and fifty rants just like last year if you keep that up.

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

  27. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 1 Jan 2019 @ 3:45am

    Techdirt is as fake as a 3 dollar bill

    Then why do you act as if Techdirt is as powerful as Disney?

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

  28. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2019 @ 4:17am

    Re:

    Mostly to justify Shiva's ransom demands in court, because he can't prove defamation.

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

  29. identicon
    Daex, 1 Jan 2019 @ 7:34am

    Vague 2019 Focus ?

    kk

    "So, that's my focus for 2019: to do more and experiment with different ways of pushing the ball forward."

    ^^^^^

    well, OK -- a nice general sentiment, but way too vague to be actionable.
    What is the specific goal?
    What is the strategy to reach that goal?
    What are the tactics to implement that strategy?

    Past few years show TD tactics to primarily be a daily cataloging of various offenses by specific private and government entities (ISP's, businesses, police, courts, FCC,politicians, etc). This is mixed with a secondary, moderate implication that better government is the solution to these problems. Little emphasis placed upon 'technical' solutions to problems identifies.

    Thus, this is mostly a political (not technical) blog... that is good because the troubling problems highlighted here mostly stem from dysfunctional political viewpoints and practices. Fix the political system -- need a TD 2019 strategy and tactics towards that goal.

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

  30. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2019 @ 9:04am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Ah yes, the always hilarious zombie conspiracy. This one really proves that you're reasonable and worth listening to!

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

  31. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2019 @ 1:03pm

    Re: Blues clues

    “That takes a special kind of narcissism”

    As ever your level of projection is astonishing.

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

  32. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2019 @ 1:13pm

    Re: Anti-trolling

    Agreed. I love Techdirt, I really do, but the manner in which everybody feeds trolls or willingly responds to incendiary attacks and lies isn't conducive to constructive comment threads.

    If we're talking about doing something different, then flagging trolls and moving on rather than engaging with them would be a colossal positive change.

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

  33. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2019 @ 4:17pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Who mentioned that old dried up turd of a wannabe Shiva? There’s only one dipshit who’s still fantasising about him these days. How that lawsuit going bro? Bout as good as Jhon boys “police investigations”. You two really should meet. The only problem I can see is your wield obsession with gender swapping so ima hafta assume he’s wearing the dress and the strap on on the first date.

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

  34. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2019 @ 5:55pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Your tears are delicious.

    Just as well, since it seems you're very insistent on putting up the same performance.

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

  35. identicon
    Christenson, 1 Jan 2019 @ 7:18pm

    Re: Re: Anti-trolling

    I think feeding trolls here is kind of a sport, and, in any case, takes an unnatural amount of discipline to avoid -- so it is gonna happen, sorry that is the reality.

    But..the real complaint is that you have to watch the disgusting, boring spectacle of a troll eating and can't easily skip over it. Making it easy to skip the troll feeding is a user interface design problem with multiple solutions.

    For a straw man, how about the first line of the first five responses to a flagged comment are shown by default, and can be expanded in exactly the same way as we now look at flagged comments. If people upvote a response substantially, then the response is shown in full. Additionally, there is a "skip" button that jumps to the end of all of the responses.

    I don't think that would be terribly difficult to implement; I know techdirt has some smart programmers available.

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

  36. icon
    Thad (profile), 1 Jan 2019 @ 9:05pm

    Re: Anti-trolling

    I know nobody else uses my NoScript script (check the link on my name), but I found that once I tweaked it so that it hides replies to flagged posts/posts from names on my blacklist, that mostly solved the problem of people feeding trolls. They still do it, but I don't see those posts.

    Course, it doesn't solve the problem of people talking about the trolls before they even show up, which I rather wish people would stop doing.

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

  37. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 1 Jan 2019 @ 11:13pm

    Re:

    You're being far too generous.

    I'd tabulate the claims, but numbers don't go that low.

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

  38. icon
    That One Guy (profile), 2 Jan 2019 @ 12:56am

    Re: Anti-trolling

    I both agree, and disagree with you.

    While passing time troll-stomping can waste time and fill up the comment section with junk, it can also lead to some funny comments/counter-comments(hell, just look at what won the funniest of the year award), provide an opportunity for people to hone their minds playing 'spot the fallacy', and allow people a chance to research a subject and/or learn more as the person responding lists in detail exactly why the other person is wrong.

    Sometimes it can be a waste, other times it can lead to productive, well, comments I suppose(conversation would imply that both sides are involved honestly and in good faith), making it a tough thing to definitively make a choice on, as shutting replies down entirely could also kill otherwise interesting and/or funny comments with them, that wouldn't have occurred without a rousing round of 'poke/mock/expose the gross dishonesty of the troll'.

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

  39. icon
    PaulT (profile), 2 Jan 2019 @ 1:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Anti-trolling

    "I don't think that would be terribly difficult to implement"

    I'm not so sure myself. These kind of features do get abused on other sites, and I have no doubt that the obsessive regulars who already do things like use VPNs and Tor to avoid the spam filter will find ways to get around it. Plus, given that anonymous posting is important to Mike here, it's already an uphill battle. Without a login, and with a displayed willingness to go way further than would normally be considered sane to get posts viewed, it's hard to see what would actually work.

    To be honest, I'd just suggest using the tools already available to you. View in threaded mode and you'll see where people are responding to a hidden post. I'm not sure if i's the same when logged out as I'm always logged in, but I can confirm the site will automatically flag the messages you haven't read since last time you visited a page as well.

    It might be annoying and less than perfect to do the above, but I do believe your suggestion might actually make things worse rather than better.

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

  40. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2019 @ 3:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Anti-trolling

    but I can confirm the site will automatically flag the messages you haven't read since last time you visited a page as well.

    Works without being logged in as well, making it easy to scroll through the threaded view looking for new comments.

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

  41. icon
    PaulT (profile), 2 Jan 2019 @ 3:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Anti-trolling

    OK, nice to confirm that, thanks!

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

  42. icon
    Ninja (profile), 2 Jan 2019 @ 4:18am

    Re: Anti-trolling

    We should give the trolls cats. So they can go get busy with all its 7 lives and stop being annoying.

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

  43. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2019 @ 4:35am

    Re:

    Read this nugget of wisdom InstaFreude and consider your own behavior.

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

  44. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2019 @ 5:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Anti-trolling

    If one could collapse a part of a thread at any node, i think that would be the best option for those who do not want to see, and least disruptive.

    And there is certainly a value in responding to trolls well. Those who may share or be inclined to share a similar point of view as an obvious troll can benefit from reading the responses to the troll's statements.

    The problem with taking anti-troll measures in a more hide-and-delete fashion is that this method tends to run away with itself, and anti-trolling itself is frequently a form of concern trolling, which is different from the desire to post raging, foaming idiocy, but in the end, not really a whole lot better.

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

  45. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2019 @ 5:23am

    Re: Vague 2019 Focus ?

    You didn't read it, did you.

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

  46. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2019 @ 7:51am

    Re: Re: Anti-trolling

    all they would do is gnaw upon their kitties.

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

  47. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2019 @ 7:56am

    Re: Vague 2019 Focus ?

    How does one remove politics from public discussion when some people see politics in everything, every second of every day?
    They "fight" what they think are conspiracies against them and their cohorts, no logic or consolation is successful in these cases and it seems they just dig their holes faster.

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

  48. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2019 @ 8:00am

    Re: Re: Anti-trolling

    Frankly, they make it too easy. Seriously, the most basic form of logic shatters their arguments so hard the only thing they have left is to call everybody a pirate. They wield all the money and influence and power on the planet and their idea of a good time is to take a dump on a site they personally deem too insignificant to do anything. But they'll still sue it into oblivion while gleefully masturbating to the thought of actual rape and murder because someone's randomly generated numbers might have downloaded a fragment of a song.

    Any sympathy they had was flushed down the toilet when their paymasters the RIAA squandered that away. Send them to the burn ward, then refuse them treatment because somebody else holds the copyright to it.

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

  49. icon
    PaulT (profile), 2 Jan 2019 @ 8:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Anti-trolling

    "If one could collapse a part of a thread at any node, i think that would be the best option for those who do not want to see, and least disruptive."

    Perhaps, although I dare say that the extra complexity probably wouldn't make the extra effort worth it, especially if you're expecting the site to remember what was and wasn't collapsed between visits without creating a login. Then, people would probably be complaining a bout the need to click anyway.

    "Those who may share or be inclined to share a similar point of view as an obvious troll can benefit from reading the responses to the troll's statements."

    Honestly, the reason why I sometimes bite is because I know I've personally learned plenty from reading responses to conversations here and elsewhere. Even where the original comment was so laughably obvious that it wouldn't even be worth considering in a serious manner, there can be value in responding.

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

  50. icon
    Ninja (profile), 2 Jan 2019 @ 8:42am

    This year was... Complicated. At least here it was much worse than 2017 but possibly not the worst I've lived. Still, it's reassuring to see people like you guys at TD fighting the good fight on their area of expertise. I'm quite sure I'm putting my money to good use with you and the others I try to support.

    Hope you keep rocking for a long time! Cheers!

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

  51. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 2 Jan 2019 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re: Anti-trolling

    While passing time troll-stomping can waste time and fill up the comment section with junk, it can also lead to some funny comments/counter-comments(hell, just look at what won the funniest of the year award), provide an opportunity for people to hone their minds playing 'spot the fallacy', and allow people a chance to research a subject and/or learn more as the person responding lists in detail exactly why the other person is wrong.

    This is generally how I feel about it as well. I've said in the past that I see responding to trolls a form of batting practice that has significantly improved my ability to respond to whatever nonsense actual serious people throw at me in other situations. Having been on panels and debates with copyright maximalists, I have to say that having gone through every possible angle of every possible topic here with trollish commenters had me pretty well prepared to knock off whatever silly pet theory the maximalists had. And they tended not to be able to respond all that well, as they don't have the practice.

    So, while I wish some of the commenters here were more intellectually honest, rather than just spewing utter nonsense, they do tend to present a low risk, "practice" scenario in which to hone stronger and stronger arguments.

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

  52. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2019 @ 9:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Anti-trolling

    Oh the hilarity never ceases here...

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

  53. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Skip Tumaloo, 2 Jan 2019 @ 9:47am

    IF rational and brilliant as claim, wouldn't need cheerleading!

    This very piece shows that you must re-assure yourselves with Mutual Admiration Society every week, because no one on the planet outside of Google-funded EFF and piratey TorrentFreak ever do.

    I don't have to have argue. Masnick has the site numbers (this year he isn't even bragging about the daily 27 Bangladeshi) and you all can SEE the site sliding into obscurity. All that's left is screeching that their stealing of copyrighted content is STILL illegal.

    The regulars ignore their many failures of predicting pirates will win major court cases from Napster to Aereo, while always mentioning the very minor Prenda / Hansmeier / Rightscorp. -- Which no one outside of regulars even know about! The very mentions show them as an insular few hanging on to imagined victories in the past.

    Techdirt is fun (if taken right) because of the unrivaled un-self-conscious self-absorption, preening themselves as brilliant and knowledgeable, refuting all challenges, so clearly exampled above. The fanboys only actual ability is to endlessly ad hominem and gainsay until everyone reasonable goes away. (BTW: I agree may be only half dozen real fanboys! The uniformity of views here is astonishing.)

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

  54. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Skip Tumaloo, 2 Jan 2019 @ 9:49am

    Re: Typo -- "cad" first Zombie of the year!

    Another ardent supporter with 3 whole comments since late 2015, 18 and 20 month gaps.

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

  55. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Skip Tumaloo, 2 Jan 2019 @ 9:54am

    Re: Re: Techdirt provides the "silencing" mechanism.

    Well if that 'silencing' is on this blog, it is the community that is doing so, not the producers.

    NO, YOU MUST PROVE THAT IT's "THE COMMUNITY" without ANY Administrator input from Techdirt!

    You start off the year with classic Techdirt lying/ploy asserting what YOU can't prove while challenging some other person to prove the censoring / uniformly piratey views which is manifest on this very page.

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

  56. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Skip Tumaloo, 2 Jan 2019 @ 10:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Anti-trolling

    I see responding to trolls a form of batting practice that has significantly improved my ability to respond to whatever nonsense actual serious people throw at me in other situations.

    Yeah, sure. But in reality, you're batting at softballs in a sand lot and claiming you're Major League.

    Anyone can make up glib counters (as above) and boast.

    In fact, you've predicted wrongly on EVERY major court case from Napster to Aereo, always support piracy -- until get prosecuted then you back away, push ridiculous notions like selling T-shirts and giving away music / content for free, push corporatism such as the notion that CDA Section 230 empowers "platforms" over individual "natural" persons.

    You're basically ONLY on this one site that you pay for, where supported by rabid fanboys -- and astro-turfing Zombies such as "cad" on this very page (are dozens more with odd long gaps).

    And you're a corporate shill (yet never challenged on it by fanboys, supporting that most are astro-turfing). For any readers, that isn't opinion: Masnick brazenly shows proof on the moribund "Copia" site:

    https://copia.is/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/sponsors.png

    Anyhoo, if you ever win arguments with "real" people, Masnick, it's only by surprising opponents from out of the blue with silly ideas you glean from the kids here.

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

  57. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 2 Jan 2019 @ 10:30am

    Re: Re: Typo -- "cad" first Zombie of the year!

    I've asked in the past what exactly you think is the "scam" here, in which some of our commenters only comment very occasionally, which you seem to think is proof that those commenters are actually controlled by us or something. But... uh... why? I can't fathom a way in which that makes sense.

    Even in this example, this commenter is pointing out a (stupid) typo that I made. What could would it do for me to fake a comment pointing out my own failure?

    Secondly, if we were faking comments, why not just create new accounts, which is just as easy?

    Help me understand your delusions...

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

  58. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2019 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Mxyzptlk-in on you

    Damn bro that one got your feathers ruffled so bad you used your own name.

    Now if Mike could just get you to say it backwards....

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

  59. icon
    PaulT (profile), 2 Jan 2019 @ 12:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Anti-trolling

    "Masnick brazenly shows proof on the moribund "Copia" site"

    Still waiting for that explanation about how he's shilling for Automattic, Yelp and The MacArthur Foundation, but you really are so desperate that you think that public full disclosure represents some kind of "gotcha". I do keep asking, but you always refuse to answer.

    I mean, I know it's hard for you to address the arguments that were actually made on this site rather than the ones you wish were easier to directly attack, but after all this time you're think that you'd have made your one core claim make any logical sense.

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

  60. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 2 Jan 2019 @ 1:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Anti-trolling

    Yeah, sure. But in reality, you're batting at softballs in a sand lot and claiming you're Major League.

    I have no illusions that I'm "Major League." I'm just a guy with a website. And I write what I think, as I've done for over 20 years, and if people want me to talk about what I think they are free to ask me to do so. Many have, and it still surprises me each time. But, alas.

    In fact, you've predicted wrongly on EVERY major court case from Napster to Aereo, always support piracy -- until get prosecuted then you back away, push ridiculous notions like selling T-shirts and giving away music / content for free, push corporatism such as the notion that CDA Section 230 empowers "platforms" over individual "natural" persons.

    What a weird paragraph that is borderline nonsensical. I've been wrong on some cases, and right on others. To say that I've got every major one wrong is cherry picking at it's finest (I was right about Kirtsaeng, Google Books, Garcia, and many others, and I still think Aereo was one of the worst reasoned rulings from the Supreme Court in years). But, really, none of that matters. I'm not in the business of "predicting" the outcome of the Supreme Court, nor have I ever represented myself as such. I state my analysis of what the law says, and anyone is free to disagree with that.

    And I have never "supported" piracy -- but merely pointed out that the cost of fighting it tends to vastly outweigh the benefits of trying a different approach. It's a nuance that seems to fly over your head.

    My support for alternative business models is actually an attempt to help artists deal with the downsides of piracy -- downsides you falsely claim I ignore. For you to mock those things (which many, many artists have found work wonderfully) is also bizarre. You can deny the rain, but it still falls.

    Finally, your notion of "natural persons" suggests, as many people have pointed out to you, that you have no clue what you're talking about. CDA 230 does not support platforms over "natural persons." CDA 230 is the sole reason why PEOPLE are able to post online in many forums (including this one). Without CDA 230, I would not let you post here, because with all of the nonsense you post, I would be liable for you posting defamatory content about others. We support CDA 230 not because it protects platforms, but because it enables those platforms to ENABLE THE PUBLIC TO SPEAK OUT on the internet.

    You're basically ONLY on this one site that you pay for, where supported by rabid fanboys -- and astro-turfing Zombies such as "cad" on this very page (are dozens more with odd long gaps).

    I already addressed (or rather questioned) your weird claim about "zombies" above -- which makes no sense. And I'm not sure what you mean that I'm only on this site. It's my site. Where else should I be?

    And you're a corporate shill (yet never challenged on it by fanboys, supporting that most are astro-turfing). For any readers, that isn't opinion: Masnick brazenly shows proof on the moribund "Copia" site:

    Copia is alive and well and doing lots of stuff, but whatever. And, yes, Google sponsored Copia at launch, as did lots of other organizations, including Yelp who is the leading company focused on taking down Google through antitrust and other regulatory actions. Funny how you ignore that Yelp also sponsored our launch as well. And also, you act as if I hid the fact that these organizations sponsored it... and yet you point to our own graphic about it.

    And I didn't realize that having a company sponsor us once meant that we were then deemed to be a shill for them for the rest of our lives, despite our regular citicism of that company. If I'm a shill for Google, I'm not a very good one.

    Anyhoo, if you ever win arguments with "real" people, Masnick, it's only by surprising opponents from out of the blue with silly ideas you glean from the kids here.

    Heh. You truly are in denial. Anyway, I need to go pack for a conference where... I'll be debating people who actually matter. Thanks for the practice round, buddy.

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

  61. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2019 @ 1:59pm

    Re: still smarting from Prenda

    “All that's left is screeching“

    As ever you project so hard we could use you to carve letters on the moon.

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

  62. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 2 Jan 2019 @ 2:26pm

    YOU MUST PROVE THAT IT's "THE COMMUNITY" without ANY Administrator input from Techdirt!

    If you want to claim the flagging system is somehow rigged or one of the admins has their finger on the scale, the burden of proving that claim lies with you. With that said…

    Please provide proof of your claim and the necessary citations required for verifying your evidence.

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

  63. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 2 Jan 2019 @ 2:27pm

    Someone in this comments section suggested using acronyms to reply to you. In that spirit:

    G.F.Y.

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

  64. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2019 @ 3:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Anti-trolling

    And what conference would that be?

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

  65. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2019 @ 4:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Anti-trolling

    Every major court case?

    Tanya Andersen. SOPA. Evan Stone. Perfect 10.

    You lose again.

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

  66. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2019 @ 4:55pm

    Re:

    You know he can’t do that. Partially because crazy needs no proof and mostly because he’s full of shit.

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

  67. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2019 @ 4:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: blue provides the "whininng" mechanism.

    By the way bro. Have an extra DMCA vote, on the house.

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

  68. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2019 @ 4:56pm

    Re:

    So is it 27 of us or a half dozen?

    Make up your goddamn mind!

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

  69. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2019 @ 6:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Anti-trolling

    Prenda, Rightshaven, et all anomalies don’t you see?!?

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

  70. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 2 Jan 2019 @ 7:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Anti-trolling

    Also the Shiva Ayyadurai case.

    2017 was supposed to be the last full year Techdirt was supposed to have.

    That judge's decision left a huge hole in the trash heap blue uses for a functioning heart that all the crappy fake names in the world can never fill. "Skip Tumaloo", seriously?

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

  71. icon
    Thad (profile), 2 Jan 2019 @ 8:16pm

    Re: Re: Anti-trolling

    hell, just look at what won the funniest of the year award

    ...a joke premised on how great it would be if a certain troll weren't allowed to post here?

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

  72. icon
    Thad (profile), 2 Jan 2019 @ 8:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Anti-trolling

    Again, this is something I've implemented as a custom script: you can blacklist usernames you don't want to see, and there's an optional setting to also hide replies to blocked or flagged comments. I find it tremendously useful, though it makes some comments sections much shorter.

    I wouldn't mind seeing features like that implemented into the actual comments system. I'm fine rolling my own solution, but I do think there are far too many interesting conversations that get overtaken by the usual gang of idiots.

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

  73. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jan 2019 @ 4:48am

    Re: Re:

    You seriously expected the resident RIAA cocksucker to be good with numbers?

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

  74. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 3 Jan 2019 @ 6:41am

    Re: Re: Re:

    His problem seems to be with the difference between multiplication amd division.

    27 = half dozen
    12 x 2 = 12 / 2


    Or his claims that a milliom-to-one (1,000,000/1) occurrence like DMCA fraud is actually a one-in-a-million (1/1,000,000) chance.

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

  75. icon
    Gwiz (profile), 3 Jan 2019 @ 1:59pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Help me understand your delusions...

    I think you might need a year or so and an army of mental health specialists.

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

  76. icon
    Gwiz (profile), 3 Jan 2019 @ 2:11pm

    Re:

    My personal favorites included the articles that exclaimed there is a single “truth” and all other views are pointless. Wow, that’s a new slant on journalism and the art of persuasion.

    [citation needed]

    I don't believe Mike ever said that. He did say that the journalistic tradition of presenting "both" sides of a story is kind of pointless because (1) there is always more than two sides to a story and (2) journalists are, by nature, biased one way or another and it shows in their writing, so why should they be forced into half-assed attempts to give "the other side".

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

  77. icon
    Toom1275 (profile), 3 Jan 2019 @ 2:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Or a large hammer and no head-preservation reflexes.

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

  78. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jan 2019 @ 3:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Typo -- "cad" first Zombie of the year!

    It's the Aereo paradox.

    If Masnick says it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, there is no cock blue will not gobble if the law can call it a chicken instead.

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

  79. icon
    Hugo Connery (profile), 4 Jan 2019 @ 5:31am

    Re: Re: Anti-trolling

    Hey That One Guy,

    This sort of comment is why I actually read the comments at TD. Thanks for the thoughtful response.

    Actually, thanks to most of the non-troll responses :)

    I think the "batting practice"/"sport" argument sums it up best. The "threaded view" is perhaps the most useful actionable response, and the "expand/shrink" feature is perhaps the best useful technical innovation.

    Oh, and I found a rather wonderful anti-troll response at The Intercept. Its stolen from photosymbiosis and goes:

    Pay no attention to this one. It’s just a youtube comment section bot that has forgotten where it’s supposed to be.

    lol

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


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