Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the the-word-is dept

This week, our first and second place winner on the insightful side is PaulT, on our post about the pro-Trump 12-year-old who was told that people calling him a defender of racism and sexual assault is protected speech. One commenter asserted that this means these terms have lost all meaning and can be lobbed at anyone you don't like, and Paul put that notion to bed:

You do know that Trump was sued several times for the former and one of the most famous parts of his campaign was him openly admitting to the latter, right?

Yes, words do lose meaning when the person displaying himself as being well defined by them faces no consequences from doing so, but that has nothing to do with the media showing you that person's own words.

For second place, it's Paul's prior comment with thoughts on the same post:

"In one popular clip, C.M. called Hillary Clinton “deplorable.”"

Well, that is the level of insight and originality I'd expect from whoever pushed him into this...

"They’re calling Donald Trump a psychopath. They say he’s mentally unfit"

...and he's done nothing since the day of his election to disprove that, and seems to be getting steadily worse. I wonder how the 22 million unemployed confirmed today feel about his fitness for office as he ensures his name is on their pity cheques that might keep them fed for a few weeks while he sneaks in more tax breaks for the rich.

"It was this interview -- along with C.M.'s interview with Alex Jones"

How am I now shocked by that association? Did Dan and Jordan do an episode? I'll have to track it down.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with an anonymous comment about the French government forcing Google to pay newspapers for sending them traffic:

I have no sympathy. Zero. Any company that doesn't want to show up in Google search results, or have a snippet shown, just has to set a flag. The news agencies want to get paid rather than pay for something which they claim is essential to their survival. (I mean, in the aggregate search results are essential for Google too, so it seems the current price of "free" is about correct once you take the monopoly power out of it.)

From the linked article:

Google may have treated in the same way, economic actors with different situations outside of any objective justification, and therefore of having implemented a discriminatory practice.

Discrimination by treating them the same! I wonder if this makes more sense in the original French.

Next, it's Thad with a response to a common oversimplification about congress:

FFS, spare me on the "everyone in Congress is the same" crap. There are good people in Congress and there are bad people in Congress.

There are deep and serious problems with money in politics, and they go deeper than partisan divisions. But this tedious bullshit about how everyone in Congress is alike is both wrong and lazy.

Maybe you're the one who should be reading up on your representation in Congress and their specific strengths and weaknesses. There is, after all, an election in November, and you've probably got a House seat and possibly a Senate seat to vote for. To say nothing of down-ballot offices.

But actually familiarizing yourself with who's sitting and who's running and who's taking money from where is a lot more work than painting 535 people with the same broad brush.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is another comment from Thad on our post about an unexpected tweet-thread from Steak-umm:

I think we've already established Trump doesn't know how to sell steak.

In second place, it's Stephen T. Stone with another comment on the post about the 12-year-old Trump fan:

Roy Moore isn’t a racist and a sex abuser. He’s a Republican.

…whoops, tautology!

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start out with one final nod to Thad, this time for responding to the comment that the 12-year-old does a good Trump impersonation:

That's because Trump does such a good twelve-year-old impersonation.

And finally, we've got a comment from Norahc about our post entitled Senator Tillis Angry At The Internet Archive For Helping People Read During A Pandemic; Archive Explains Why That's Wrong:

You do realize you could have stopped the headline after the first six words, right?

That's all for this week, folks!


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 19 Apr 2020 @ 3:41pm

    Not Just France

    Now Australia wants to look at how to get money out of Google and Facebook for its local news organizations.

    Before thinking of this as a bad thing, consider how you might feel if the tables were turned: if some Australian- or French-based advertising organization was siphoning large amounts of revenue away from US-based news outfits, would the US government sit by and do nothing?

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 19 Apr 2020 @ 3:45pm

      Re: Not Just France

      It would be a short-sighted cash-grab if the USG was stupid enough to do that as well, so yeah, it's a be a bad thing no matter who does it.

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

    • icon
      Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 19 Apr 2020 @ 3:59pm

      Re: Not Just France

      Before thinking about turning the tables, you should ask yourself what US news agencies would do without search engines (it is NOT just a Google thing, and Facebook is included because money (I don't use Facebook so I don't know how it works over there)) to send them traffic. From what I am seeing, they seem to be having problems, even with the traffic search engines send. Without those search referrals, they might not exist anymore.

      And to be clear, Google makes money on their search, through advertising, but they aren't taking anything away from the news agencies they refer. Those agencies get their own ad revenue from page views, often sent by search engines.

      The complaint is that the search engines are using their IP and not compensating the IP owners. They aren't thinking about fair use (or fair dealing as it is called in some parts of the world), or the benefit to them from the search engine snippets that are used to send them traffic. No, no, they want the benefit and some cash too.

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

      • identicon
        Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 19 Apr 2020 @ 10:36pm

        Re: Those agencies get their own ad revenue from page views

        Which is only a tiny fraction of the ad revenue they were earning before.

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

        • icon
          techflaws (profile), 20 Apr 2020 @ 12:58am

          Re: Re: Those agencies get their own ad revenue from page views

          And whose fault is that exactly?

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

        • icon
          Anonymous Anonymous Coward (profile), 20 Apr 2020 @ 5:20am

          Re: Re: Those agencies get their own ad revenue from page views

          Before what? What changed that took away their ad revenue? Be honest, was it that search engines stopped sending traffic? Did the search engines steal their ad revenue, and if you claim so, how (please be detailed and specific).

          Or did the new agencies find it easier to re-post AP and Reuters articles while acting as stenographers for the governments and politician they cover? They got rid of their investigative reporters, who tended to start their own blogs, and now blogs are where readers find interesting stories and not at the news agencies, and the readers took their page views with them. Which caused the news agencies to ask out loud, how the hell did that happen?

          Given the above, what the search engines are guilty of is posting appealing snippets about news stories (sometimes from blogs) rather than news agencies and the excuse of snippet usage is merely the vehicle to create an ongoing cash flow.

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

          • icon
            Thad (profile), 20 Apr 2020 @ 9:37am

            Re: Re: Re: Those agencies get their own ad revenue from page vi

            Or did the new agencies find it easier to re-post AP and Reuters articles while acting as stenographers for the governments and politician they cover? They got rid of their investigative reporters, who tended to start their own blogs, and now blogs are where readers find interesting stories and not at the news agencies, and the readers took their page views with them. Which caused the news agencies to ask out loud, how the hell did that happen?

            While I certainly have some serious complaints about this behavior, I think it's silly to suggest it's the primary reason people aren't buying newspapers in the same numbers they used to. Was Playboy unable to continue as a magazine due to a decline in the quality of the product, too?

            The rise of the Internet, and the availability of free content, are certainly the primary reason that print sales are down. People aren't buying newspapers for the same reason they're not buying Playboy: it's not because they're less interested in the content, it's because they can get the same thing online for free. You can acknowledge that without believing that Google is "stealing revenue" or owes papers a snippet tax.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2020 @ 4:32pm

      Re: Not Just France

      Asking for someone to subsidize an industry is a sure sigh that it is failing in the current markets. Also note, that while Google is an add broker, it works with various online business to find placement for its adds, sending some income to those businesses. As newspapers are losing audience to blogs and social media, the latter of which often does a better job on distributing news that the papers later pick up on, it is natural that their income is dropping, and they need to innovate and reinvent themselves to regain an audience.

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

      • identicon
        Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 19 Apr 2020 @ 11:50pm

        Re: failing in the current markets

        Well, the “current markets” disproportionately favour certain big, faceless US megacorporations, and that has to stop.

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

        • icon
          techflaws (profile), 20 Apr 2020 @ 12:59am

          Re: Re: failing in the current markets

          So, it's the market structure not the better service provided? Should Google find less relevant hits than its competitors?

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

          • identicon
            Lawrence D’Oliveiro, 20 Apr 2020 @ 1:53am

            Re: better service provided?

            Remember the old saying: “if you are not paying for the product, then you are the product”.

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

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 20 Apr 2020 @ 1:59am

              Re: Re: better service provided?

              'Waiter, I ordered a steak not red herring.'

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

            • icon
              techflaws (profile), 20 Apr 2020 @ 2:52am

              Re: Re: better service provided?

              Which they seem to be selling better than their competition, right?

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

            • identicon
              ryuugami, 20 Apr 2020 @ 3:28am

              Re: Re: better service provided?

              Remember the old saying: “if you are not paying for the product, then you are the product”.

              That saying no longer holds true. Example: Linux vs Windows -- can you guess which one treats you as the product? Or try finding a modern TV or a kitchen appliance that doesn't treat you worse than Google does.

              Here's a new saying: "Paying or not paying for the product is not an indication of whether you are the product."

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

            • icon
              Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Apr 2020 @ 6:48am

              Re: Re: better service provided?

              "Remember the old saying: “if you are not paying for the product, then you are the product”."

              Unless ghostery, ublock, or scriptblock in which case, you are no longer the product.

              But I agree, those french and australian webpages should really stop putting tracking cookies and bad ads on their webpages to monetize the passing readers. That way google won't have the traffic data to sell to the advertising agencies actually monetizing the traffic.

              Let me ask you a question - are you really as ignorant a fsck as your disingenious bullshit implies or are you just pulling bad arguments out of your ass one after the other because you've got a vested interest in the concept of a functional "search engine" disappearing from the internet?

              Because so far your arguments are pure unadulterated "Baghdad Bob"-style nonsense.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 20 Apr 2020 @ 3:36am

          Re: Re: failing in the current markets

          Google is not the root cause for the newspapers problems, but rather social media doing a better job of distributing breaking news, and many people using blogs and videos to doing a better job of detail reporting and analysis.

          The newspapers are becoming ice sellers in the age of the refrigerator, that is others meeting the same objectives by a better means.

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

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Apr 2020 @ 6:42am

          Re: Re: failing in the current markets

          "Well, the “current markets” disproportionately favour certain big, faceless US megacorporations, and that has to stop."

          Easy enough. Have Australia or France build search engines which work just as well as Google does.

          In fact, they'll have to. Google will simply withdraw from those markets. Google will still be getting the same traffic - the citizens of respective countries still being able to access google through other national domains - but there's a good chance the complaining news agencies end up in googles "chilling effects" list, along with all the links de-indexed due to DMCA claims.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2020 @ 4:59pm

      Re: Not Just France

      siphoning large amounts of revenue away

      Please provide evidence that all the revenue made by Google as a result of search referrals would otherwise have been earned by the destination site, had Google not existed.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Apr 2020 @ 8:29pm

      Re: Not Just France

      No "siphoning" is being done. Please stick to reality.

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

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 19 Apr 2020 @ 10:25pm

      Re: Not Just France

      Before thinking of this as a bad thing, consider how you might feel if the tables were turned: if some Australian- or French-based advertising organization was siphoning large amounts of revenue away from US-based news outfits, would the US government sit by and do nothing?

      Boy, I don't even know where to start.

      First, the premise is bullshit. Google News is not "siphoning revenue away from news outfits".

      Second, you seem to be arguing that "the US government would do something" is an argument in favor of doing that thing. It's not. The US government does things that about half of the US disagrees with pretty much all the time. I'm sure if you think really hard, you can think of at least one occasion where the US government has done a thing that was bad. If you need a hint, here's the Wikipedia entry on US history to get you started.

      If the best argument you can come up with in favor of the snippet tax is a false premise and an appeal to nationalism, then there's not really anything I can add to that. I couldn't possibly make an argument against the snippet tax that's more damning than the one you've made for it.

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

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 22 Apr 2020 @ 6:38am

      Re: Not Just France

      "...consider how you might feel if the tables were turned: if some Australian- or French-based advertising organization was siphoning large amounts of revenue away from US-based news outfits, would the US government sit by and do nothing?"

      You mean if the more true analogy applied - US citizens all going to france or australia to shop rather than spend the money in the US?
      I'd say that's a matter the US can or should do all of jack shit about.

      Google indexes an australian webpage. The aussie puts up ads on their webpage. When someone looks for a headline or keyword google finds that aussie webpage and the user goes in and sees the ad the aussie put up using an ad agency.

      The one getting paid is the aussie webpage and the ad agency. What google gets out of it is the traffic statistic which upon sale of the same allows the ad agency to tailor the ads the aussie webpage puts up.

      So in this actually real description of how web traffic is "monetized" just where do you see google "siphoning" off revenue? By taking a dump and running divinations over the resulting pattern?

      So yes, Australias legislation here is a bad thing. What will actually happen is that france and australia will both be finding their respective news agencies de-listed from every web index around and their cizitens only able t6o access web search through the dot com domain.

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

  • identicon
    Dan Under, 19 Apr 2020 @ 4:40pm

    Right to repair

    A little bit off topic, but while we're talking about Straya and government actions, perhaps some good news for a change, https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-04-19/right-to-repair-tractors-taken-up-by-the-accc/12156196

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


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