Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the comment-culture dept

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is That One Guy offering up a definition of cancel culture:

Ooh, ooh, I know that one! It's another way of describing the mysterious and totally unfair phenomenon of applying consequences for being an asshole, especially if the person being so persecuted has money/power/fame.

In second place, it's an anonymous commenter responding to complaints that Facebook blocking news in Australia has brought the country to its knees:

If an entire country is brought to its knees because of a single corporation, that is a sign of a bigger and entirely different problem than a link tax.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we start out with virusdetected and a comment about the North Dakota lawmaker who clearly does not understand Section 230:

"Even though I don't understand this problem, or whether there is a problem, I was elected to solve it..."

I continue to be disgusted by the ignorance continually demonstrated by those we elect to positions where they can directly influence the instantiation of new laws and regulations. I suspect that the ranks of elected officials would be severely reduced if each one had to pass the same citizenship exam as an immigrant wishing to become a U.S. citizen.

Next, we've got Narcissus with a response to another claim about the Facebook/Australia situation — the idea that Facebook is incompatible with democracy:

I think Murdoch is incompatible with democracy.

Over on the funny side, we stay on that story for both our top comments. In first place, it's an anonymous comment with a plan in case Facebook does cave to Australia:

  1. Create a Facebook page with links to my website.
  2. Demand Facebook pay me for my own links to my own website.
  3. Profit!

In second place, it's another anonymous commenter pushing back against the insightful editor's choice comment asserting that Rupert Murdoch is incompatible with democracy:

Nonsense. Democracy is "one man, one vote". Murdoch is in absolute agreement, so long as he is the "one man".

For editor's choice on the funny side, we might as well stick around for two more comments about Facebook and Australia. First, it's an anonymous commenter dispelling any myths of hypocrisy about people who are mad at Facebook for fighting and at Google for caving:

That's not it. People wanted Facebook to cave and Google to oppose. Had that happened everyone would be happy!

That, or we're all supposed to be hailing Emperor Murdoch.

Finally, it's Tech 1337 offering up a summary of events so far:

Facebook: So, you want us to pay publishers who voluntarily choose to publish their stuff on our platform?
Government: Yep, that's what the law will require.
Facebook: And what about the value we're giving them from free brand advertising, customer relationships, and clicks?
Government: What value? Look, we're giving you two options. You either have to take all the news, or none of it. Your choice.
Facebook: OK, we choose none.
Government: You bully!

That's all for this week, folks!

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  • icon
    ECA (profile), 21 Feb 2021 @ 12:23pm

    Interesting Words/comments.

    Seem to describe what is happening.
    Always rooted from some rich person not having their way with things.
    'cancel culture'.?
    'Gov. should not compete with the private sector'(ask the military about this problem)
    'The Gov. is to big'.? Most agencies were created After some GROUP/CORP did something and we dont want it to happen again.
    'Capitalism is competition'.? NOT in this country. If we forced them to compete, most would go out of business.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Feb 2021 @ 2:39pm

    I guess the second place funny commenter is a Pratchett fan.

    "Ankh-Morpork had dallied with many forms of government and had ended up with that form of democracy known as One Man, One Vote. The Patrician was the Man; he had the Vote."

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

    • icon
      Leigh Beadon (profile), 21 Feb 2021 @ 6:48pm

      Re:

      Occurred to me too as a huge Pratchett fan myself - but in truth I suspect it's one of those jokes many people have made independently before and since

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

      • icon
        Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 23 Feb 2021 @ 1:07am

        Re: Re:

        "...but in truth I suspect it's one of those jokes many people have made independently before and since"

        It's essentially a paraphrase of Plato's assorted statements about democracy. Though it's no doubt been rediscovered many times since, with every great statesman since describing, usually in many paragraphs, the hazard which Pratchett summaries in one poignant sentence.

        The world lost a great many laughs when Sir Pratchett left it.

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

  • identicon
    Crafty Coyote, 21 Feb 2021 @ 2:44pm

    Such a shame that the Metallica Twitch fiasco happened over the weekend when you guys were away. Seeing these guys who moaned incessantly about copyright infringement online twenty years ago have their concert replaced with elevator Muzak because of copyright measures they insisted on was hilarious. You'll need to cover that next week https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MGvJiVdqKMU

    I know copyright is important because we need to think of the artists- especially the ones whose incredibly evocative art is being turned into mashed potatoes by copyright filters

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

  • identicon
    Bobvious, 22 Feb 2021 @ 2:10am

    Bringing a country to its knees

    "Australia was well regarded as a paragon of common sense with its response to COVID, and the resulting low infection and death rates. Then it took a facebook to the knee."

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

    • identicon
      David, 22 Feb 2021 @ 3:31am

      Re: Bringing a country to its knees

      It would have made more sense for Facebook to stop distributing lies rather than news. But I suppose that would have been a more disruptive change. Also, thanks to Australia, more expensive.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 22 Feb 2021 @ 4:09am

        Re: Re: Bringing a country to its knees

        The truly disruptive change would be for people to actually read and understand the news rather than blindly parroting whatever a headline or a meme told them.

        The ease by which some of that misinformation is being spread on Facebook is a concern, but it's really just a symptom of people taking minimal effort to remain informed and opting for things that confirm rather than challenge their worldview.

        I'm not sure what the solution to that is, but I do know that handing over free money to Rupert Murdoch is not it.

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 22 Feb 2021 @ 4:25am

        It would have made more sense for Facebook to stop distributing lies rather than news.

        People would’ve gone elsewhere for their “news”, in that case. Filter bubbles are a hell of a thing, and no bubble is worse than that of the right-wing mediasphere. Pundits and commentators like Rush Limbaugh (God help his soul) built an empire upon an ethos of cruelty, ignorance, and lying with the same ease as breathing. Their modern-day counterparts have taken that SOP to its logical extreme — “freak out the libs at any cost because fuck their feelings” — only because their audience keeps asking for that.

        Conservative media peddles in outrage. When the last outrage is no longer outrageous, that mediasphere ups the outrage to nigh-unbelievable levels because it satisfies the audience. Therein lies the rub: People who want you outraged are often liars and manipulators. And conservative media is nothing but a self-perpetuating outrage machine, always wanting its audience angry so they don’t question why their lives don’t improve whenever the GOP is in charge.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 22 Feb 2021 @ 5:05am

          Re:

          Bubbles and clickbait / outrage media are a big problem, but I think there's also a problem where people just depend on information being fed to them rather than seeking out more information, then self-selecting sources without considering their biases.

          I've noticed something recently in my local area. Lockdown / business openings, etc. in my area are fluid. The local government make regular announcements based on a particular metric of COVID infections on a rolling 14 day figure that's adjusted by population. Depending on that figure reaching certain thresholds, they may order restrictions on travel and gatherings, order non-essential businesses to close or restrict their opening hours, and so on, or make a decision to reverse restrictions already in place. The official figures are quite easy to find, are fairly transparent, and fairly easy to read depending on your understanding of what the figures are.

          But, most people don't go to the primary source. They tend to get informed by and share newspapers and websites that sensationalise and make predictions with a particular slant. That's not a problem in and of itself - for example, one source has taken the time to present a more easily readable graph of the trends with easily read spots to tell you how close you are to existing restrictions being lifted. But, others surround the figures with commentary that's not always accurate, which leads to all sorts of arguments when predictions don't turn out to be correct. This last weekend, a lot of people were expecting some restrictions to be lifted, because a few days before one of the more tabloid sources said they would be, based on an optimistic prediction on how quickly figures were dropping. On the day that decision was to be made, the figures weren't quite there yet so no changes were made.

          That's not a problem on its own, but now we have the usual half-informed crowd crying about how there's some conspiracy to keep everyone locked down and unemployed, because they believe the tabloid's now-out of date wild predictions rather than the actual figures and the fact that they clearly indicate that the decision to drop restrictions could not yet be made.

          The fix for this kind of thing is for people to look at the actual data, understand where the thresholds for decision making are set, and to continue doing what's necessary to have the cases on a downward trend so we can all be less restricted next weekend. Instead, people are taking second- or third-hand predictions by people not involved in the decision process and believing those instead of the real data and rulebook.

          Facebook aren't the problem here, they're just a symptom of what happens when you get fed a skewed re-interpretation of the facts rather than looking at the facts themselves. Until you can get people to either look at the primary sources, or at least understand that they're being fed skewed commentary instead of naked facts, you're not going to fix the problems just by forcing people to get the commentary elsewhere.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2021 @ 4:33am

        Re: Re: Bringing a country to its knees

        It would have made more sense for Facebook to stop distributing lies rather than news.

        Except that doing so would effectively be Facebook declaring war on politicians.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2021 @ 6:52am

        Re: Re: Bringing a country to its knees

        It is far easier to compute news than it is to compute lies. You do realize that Silicon Valley isn't a community of motherfucking sorcerers?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 22 Feb 2021 @ 8:32am

          Re: Re: Re: Bringing a country to its knees

          If someone thinks the problem is Facebook's fault (as opposed to turning human nature up to 11), then "the internet" and "Facebook's algorithms" are sufficiently advanced technology.

          So yeah, they think Silicon Valley is full of wizards.

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

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 23 Feb 2021 @ 1:10am

          Re: Re: Re: Bringing a country to its knees

          "You do realize that Silicon Valley isn't a community of motherfucking sorcerers?"

          Someone ought to inform the various bodies politic of this fact. Maybe that'll curb the witch hunts on anything technological.

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


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