Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the speak-up dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is a reminder that cliches exist for a reason, with Stephen T. Stone offering up the simplest apt response to the claim that "stronger copyright law will help, not harm, revenue":

[citation needed]

In second place, it's bt responding to Attorney General William Barr calling for more executive power:

The Worst Part is...

That guys like Barr, spouting their doctrine of the Unitary Executive and unlimited Executive Powers, only seem to show up when there is a Republican President. John Yoo also comes to mind, he of the torture papers; there are many others.

Who all seem to disappear into the woodwork as soon as the other Party is in The White House. Then's it's back to the separation of powers, checks and balances, constant hugging of the sacred Constitution, and constant criticism of executive overreach. Suddenly using Gmail or lying about a blowjob is totally disqualifying and certainly impeachable.

Such complete and total intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy gives the game away completely. If they didn't have Fox News and all the rest of them salting the earth it wouldn't work at all.

The shorter story: when a Republican President does it, it's always legal. This goes back to at least Nixon in Watergate. When a Democrat President does it, it's always Treason.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we've got a pair of anonymous responses to Mike's post about his Impossibility Theorem regarding content moderation. First, it's a simple reply to the proposal that a "notice of harm" system that invokes liability for platforms would solve things:

That is a form of moderation that would be abused by scammers, spammers, politicians and others who want to make their fictional view of things the truth.

Next, it's a thoughtful proposal that content moderation should be seen as a more flexible optimization problem:

I like to think of people's online behavior as being defined by two levels: the level of incivility they are willing to accept from others and the level of incivility they act at.

If the overall tone of a community becomes worse than what a user will accept, they eventually leave.
If the tone of a community is enforced to stay above a certain level, most users who act worse than that will be driven away, perhaps even by force (ban).

A highly tolerant and civil user will fit in anywhere.
Most people will have a much narrower band where they will both fit in and want to stay.

Moderation is what you do to keep bad behavior from making to many people leave, without also forcing away too many users. It's an optimization problem, not an absolute.
There is no "perfect" moderation. Not even at smaller scales. You get the behavior you allow.

A highly tolerant and toxic user will be able to drive others away, without anyone being able to do the opposite. Those are the people you need to moderate. A community of only people like that is the end result of having no moderation.

And then there are the people who repeatedly act worse than what they accept (or at least what they silently accept) from others, usually arguing that in this particular case their own behavior was called for and rational, but the other people are just being unnecessarily rude and touchy. That's where the drama is 😉.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is an anonymous response to the claim that strong copyright is the only way to prevent freeloaders from destroying the market:

Bro that excuse is so old and busted that it’s in the public domain under current copyright laws.

In second place, it's timlash getting sarcastic about the Impossibility Theorem:

Not again!

There goes Masnick again! Pushing another reasonable take on a current technology battle. Acknowledging that there are multiple viewpoints to an issue with no simple solutions. Sheesh, when will someone subscribe to the 'Silence Techdirt' level of support so we don't have to hear his centrist schlock anymore. (/s for those who need it.)

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with a response to a music collection society's claims that its booming revenues prove the need for even stronger copyright law:

"People still have money that we're not getting." - Jean-Michel Jarre, CISAC President

And finally, we've got Thad with a response to Laura Loomer's latest failure in court, because someone had to say it:

OK Loomer.

That's all for this week, folks!


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  • icon
    OldMugwump (profile), 24 Nov 2019 @ 1:01pm

    It's symmetrical

    Re Barr and executive power, "bt' is quite right.

    But it's equally true on the other side of the aisle - when a Democrat president does a power grab it's fine with Democrats. When a R president does it, it's treason - to the Democrats.

    Our two major parties are much alike - partisanship and a skewed view of the world is quite symmetrical.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 24 Nov 2019 @ 1:08pm

      when a Democrat president does a power grab it's fine with Democrats

      Modern Democrats, by and large, aren’t nearly as corrupt and theocratically-minded as Republicans. Power grabs are shit, but between the two parties, I’d rather have Democrats doing the grabbing.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2019 @ 2:52pm

      Re: It's asymmetrical by design.

      Both sides are bad. So vote Republican!

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

      • icon
        Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 24 Nov 2019 @ 4:29pm

        Re: Re: It's asymmetrical by design.

        Both sides are bad. So get rid of sides. Eliminate political parties.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2019 @ 8:14pm

          Re: Re: Re: It's asymmetrical by design.

          To eliminate political parties entirely isn't really feasible without preventing people from associating.

          To borrow a phrase, though, starving the current two of money until they're small enough to drown in a bathtub might be feasible, if sane election financing (i.e. heavily downsized, publicly funded election campaigns) were to come into effect.

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

          • identicon
            Annonymouse, 26 Nov 2019 @ 4:15am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: It's asymmetrical by design.

            That could only happen due to the impossible
            Reform of financing
            Punishment thay hurts, I mean really hurts, anyone breaking those rules.
            That would include any parties contributing funds or resources. Go so far as sending them to a commercial prison in a mine somewhere out of the way. Tuktuyaktuk sounds nice.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 24 Nov 2019 @ 9:51pm

      Re: It's symmetrical

      Tell that to Johnson and Nixon. Both of them got done in by their own party. Things got out of hand with Reagan and its all downhill from there.

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

      • icon
        ECA (profile), 25 Nov 2019 @ 8:31am

        Re: Re: It's symmetrical

        I think it was soon after Lincoln Died..
        About that time frame, Some of the corps decided to PAy for backing the person they wanted..In debt them to the Group..
        And the 2 main groups consolidated, and got bigger while eating up the competition..
        Making a 2 sided opinion out of a multi faceted Problem.

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 24 Nov 2019 @ 6:06pm

    repub's

    It WAS...
    red, right, religious, Conservative...
    But I think religion left, as they Aint conservative nor religious.

    And I thought we didnt like the red's(Russians)

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

  • icon
    btr1701 (profile), 25 Nov 2019 @ 10:59am

    Partisan Hypocrisy

    Such complete and total intellectual dishonesty and hypocrisy gives the game away completely. If they didn't have Fox News and all the rest of them salting the earth it wouldn't work at all.

    The shorter story: when a Republican President does it, it's always legal. This goes back to at least Nixon in Watergate. When a Democrat President does it, it's always Treason.

    You're only half right. This 'it's only okay when we do it' theory of government is a hallmark of both parties and both sides. One only has to look at the ongoing DACA fight to see that.

    When Obama created DACA-- which unilaterally amended an act of Congress, something that only Congress itself is supposed to be able to do-- he did it with a mere memo to Homeland Security. He didn't even issue a formal executive order. But the entire Democrat establishment accepted that unprecedented and constitutionally unsupported use of presidential power as perfectly fine when Obama did it.

    Then Trump comes into office and issues an executive order rescinding DACA and suddenly the same Democrats who had no problem with the president amending acts of Congress all on his own are now screeching about abuse of power and suing the White House for not jumping through all the legal hoops required under the Administrative Procedures Act. None of which were followed by Obama when he created DACA.

    If you're only seeing this kind of hypocrisy on one side of the aisle, then that says more about your own biases than reflecting any kind of actual reality.

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

    • icon
      Wendy Cockcroft (profile), 26 Nov 2019 @ 3:16am

      Re: Partisan Hypocrisy

      Wrong. Obama didn't create it, and presidents are allowed to set policy.

      DACA was formally initiated by a policy memorandum sent from Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to the heads of U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). The memo formally directed them to exercise their enforcement discretion on behalf of individuals who met the requirements.[40] - Wikipedia

      The Republicans are a funny lot, per the same source:

      Nearly all Republicans in the House of Representatives (along with three Democrats) voted 224–201 to defund DACA in June 2013.[37] Lead author of the amendment Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) stated, "The point here is ... the President does not have the authority to waive immigration law, nor does he have the authority to create it out of thin air, and he's done both with these Morton memos in this respect."

      Trump did the exact same thing with his bans on Muslim travellers from countries he doesn't have hotels in. He waived it and created it out of thin air, and like Obama before him he was taken to court for it and lost.

      I'm not a mad fan of Obama, for the record, but he was less horrible than Trump. This might interest you:

      Research has shown that DACA increased the wages and labor force participation of DACA-eligible immigrants[6][7][8] and reduced the number of undocumented immigrant households living in poverty.[12] Studies have also shown that DACA increased the mental health outcomes for DACA-eligible immigrants and their children.[9][10][11] There are no known major adverse impacts from DACA on native-born workers' employment, and most economists say that DACA benefits the U.S. economy.

      So... you have a large population of undocumented immigrants; it's impossible to deport the lot of them (it's been tried), and it gets more complicated when their kids are birthright citizens. What do you do apart from providing a legal pathway to citizenship for those who behave well and don't cause problems?

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

      • icon
        btr1701 (profile), 26 Nov 2019 @ 10:51am

        Re: Re: Partisan Hypocrisy

        Obama didn't create it

        He sure did. You think the DHS Secretary just decided all on her own to enact a sea change in immigration enforcement and create a legally protected class of illegal aliens? If you think that was done without the permission and direction of the president, I have a few bridges to sell you.

        presidents are allowed to set policy

        Not if those policies contradict duly enacted U.S law.

        So... you have a large population of undocumented immigrants; it's impossible to deport the lot of them

        It always amuses me that the same people who claim it's impossible to deport 12 million illegals nevertheless think it's possible to confiscate 600 million guns.

        it gets more complicated when their kids are birthright citizens

        Not really. The parents can do one of two things. Allow the citizen kids to stay here with a relative or friend, or take them back to Mexico (or wherever they're from) when they're deported. The kid will still be a citizen and can return whenever he/she turns 18 if they want to.

        However, it's the parents who knowingly entered another country illegally and then had kids knowing what would happen if they got caught who have caused this turmoil in their families. It's not the government's fault for having an immigration law and/or enforcing it.

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


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