Stephen T. Stone 's Techdirt Comments

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  • Trump’s Truth Social Big Payday May Be Falling Apart

    Stephen T. Stone ( profile ), 29 Jun, 2022 @ 06:05am

    Seems like even some of Trump’s ass kissing followers are starting to see the Truth about Trump.
    In a few years, when hating Trump is as American as apple pie and Tom Cruise movies, they’ll say they always hated that orange son of a bitch. But they’ll never admit they were wrong about him⁠—hell, they’ll even try to admit they never supported him. Nothing hurts a conservative’s feelings more than admitting to being wrong about something.

  • Twitter Successfully Quashes Sketchy Copyright Subpoena Over Billionaire’s Critic On Twitter

    Stephen T. Stone ( profile ), 29 Jun, 2022 @ 05:52am

    It is immoral (in a society that holds freedom of speech to be a moral right) to deny people the ability to speak based on their viewpoints
    Yes, it is.
    when you host a platform that ostensibly is a place for everyone to speak.
    Now tell me how Twitter denies anyone the ability to speak their mind by banning people from Twitter. …yes, yes, I know what you’re thinking now: “They’re denying people the chance to speak from a platform that’s supposed to be for everyone!” Well, the funny thing about that word everyone: It’s a matter of perspective, really. A forum for Mongolian basket weaving will open its doors for “everyone” with any level of interest in the art. Doing so doesn’t oblige the forum to put up with rabble-rousers, trolls, and spam. That notion also applies to forums that think of “everyone” as literally everyone in a given area, up to and including the whole damn world. The use of privately owned services like Twitter is a privilege⁠. That those services open themselves to the public is an invitation to let people use them, not an obligation to host all speech. If you want to argue otherwise, do it from a legal standpoint⁠—your morality argument isn’t changing any minds here.
    I do understand that you no longer believe in the principles of free speech
    That’s the thing: I do believe in those principles. People who hold the most vile and odious beliefs should have the absolute right to express those beliefs, even if doing so would offend sensible people. We must have the right to provoke, to offend, to make people uncomfortable or else we have nothing. Where you and I differ in our beliefs is in whether a given platform should be obligated to host that speech. You obviously believe that a platform should carry speech even if it otherwise wouldn’t; while you’ve said you wouldn’t force that hosting by law, the only way to ensure such hosting of speech would be to force it by law. I believe⁠—and the law backs me up on this⁠—that no platform, regardless of size or popularity or subject matter, has any obligation to host any speech its owners/operators don’t want to host. You speak of the repugnance of Holocaust denial, then call the refusal to host that speech equally repugnant. You’re implying that the refusal to host speech denying the Holocaust is an objective moral failing of anyone who makes that refusal. I hope you realize exactly how fucked up that logic is one day⁠—especially if you apply it to Jewish people!⁠—but I’m betting it won’t be this day.
    My home is not a generic platform for people to speak. But if it were, perhaps because I was hosting some community meeting, then it would be immoral for me to prevent someone from speaking based on their viewpoints.
    No, it wouldn’t. I mean, yeah, you’d be a dick for doing it, but you’re still allowed to set boundaries as to what will and won’t be said in your home even if you open your doors to your community (for whatever “community” means there). If you don’t want to risk having those boundaries violated, you can refuse to hold that meeting in your home. What the hell is so morally repugnant about setting boundaries for your private property and asking people to respect them?
    Denying people a right to speak on a generic platform based on their viewpoints is censorship.
    Do you own that platform? No? Then getting kicked off it isn’t censorship⁠—it’s moderation, and it’s the loss of the privilege to speak from that platform. Losing a Twitter account doesn’t violate or abridge the free speech rights of whoever loses that account any more than choosing to not have a Twitter account does the same.
    I don’t know why you believe that I defend any platforms that censor.
    You never bitch at length about Parler or Gab or Truth Social banning people based on political viewpoints that the owners/operators hate. You only ever focus on Twitter and Facebook, which⁠—despite their insistence in bending over backwards to preserve the comfort of conservative users⁠—are widely seen as “left-leaning” platforms. If you can’t see why I (and probably a few others here) think you’re okay with one kind of “viewpoint-based censorship” because your politics aligns with that “censorship”, that’s your problem. And by the by, all five of those platforms have the same right to ban speech based on the viewpoints of the owners/operators. Want to argue otherwise? Be prepared to also argue that Mastodon instances run by (and for) queer people should host anti-queer propaganda. Man, I can’t wait to see you say the mods of are morally heinous for banning anti-trans viewpoints. 🍿

  • Twitter Successfully Quashes Sketchy Copyright Subpoena Over Billionaire’s Critic On Twitter

    Stephen T. Stone ( profile ), 29 Jun, 2022 @ 05:16am

    From its description, the play should have been rejected by anyone in editorial control with a modicum of sense or taste
    That you’re whining about the content of the play even after defending the idea that it should’ve been put on is the height of hypocrisy. Those “principles of free speech” you keep talking about don’t (or shouldn’t) make exceptions for content you find distasteful, objectionable, or otherwise morally repugnant.

  • U.S. Companies Don’t Much Want To Talk About Abortion Data Collection And Protection

    Stephen T. Stone ( profile ), 28 Jun, 2022 @ 10:38am

    Yes or no: Do you believe the law should prosecute any pregnant person who undergoes an abortion or suffers a miscarriage after the moment of conception?

  • U.S. Companies Don’t Much Want To Talk About Abortion Data Collection And Protection

    Stephen T. Stone ( profile ), 28 Jun, 2022 @ 09:00am

    It can be revoked, sure, but that still won’t do much of anything to change the minds of fascists. They’ll either get better at opsec or deny any accusations as “fake news” from “the enemy of the people”.

  • U.S. Companies Don’t Much Want To Talk About Abortion Data Collection And Protection

    Stephen T. Stone ( profile ), 28 Jun, 2022 @ 08:20am

    To fascists, hypocrisy is the point: The law must bind the “other” but protect the fascists. Feel free to point out their hypocrisy all you want, but doing so won’t change their minds⁠—or the minds of their most ardent supporters.

  • Twitter Successfully Quashes Sketchy Copyright Subpoena Over Billionaire’s Critic On Twitter

    Stephen T. Stone ( profile ), 28 Jun, 2022 @ 04:26am

    Even moronic plays like the described one should not be prevented from being staged.
    And yet, you’re not calling for the venue where that play would’ve taken place to “respect the principles of free speech”. I wonder why that is… 🤔

  • Twitter Successfully Quashes Sketchy Copyright Subpoena Over Billionaire’s Critic On Twitter

    Stephen T. Stone ( profile ), 28 Jun, 2022 @ 04:24am

    Private entities censor by censoring
    One platform telling one person to leave based on what viewpoints that person expresses isn’t censorship.
    they use their physical power over their property to prevent someone from speaking based on the viewpoint of the speech
    You are a private entity. Are you saying that you tossing someone out of your home for talking shit about your mother is censorship?
    When that private entity is a large platform where people gather to speak about every topic under he sun, that platform should feel a special obligation to the principles of free speech
    No platform, regardless of size, carries that obligation. Twitter is no more or less immoral for banning queerphobic speech than Truth Social would be for banning “heterophobic” speech or a “family-friendly” forum would be for banning all speech about sexual orientation. What you’re arguing for (whether you realize it or not) is guaranteed free reach, which no one has any legal or moral right to claim.
    If they do censor, they are behaving immorally, and that is true whether they censor left or censor right.
    And yet, you’d defend one and excoriate the other based only on the viewpoints they moderate. (Which viewpoints? You know the ones…)
    When a site chooses to host speech, but censors speech so that only one side of an argument appears, they are acting immorally
    By that logic alone, the choice to ban speech that denies the truth of the Holocaust is more immoral than those who deny the Holocaust. I doubt you want to die on that hill⁠—but if you do, at least you’ve already dug your hole.
    they are violating the principles of free speech for their users
    The principles of free speech, whatever you believe they are, don’t give anyone the right to hijack property they don’t own to say anything they want at a captive audience. You have the privilege of using an open platform⁠—and losing that privilege doesn’t rob you of your right to express yourself. Keep arguing otherwise, though. Your hole ain’t gonna dig itself.

  • Twitter Successfully Quashes Sketchy Copyright Subpoena Over Billionaire’s Critic On Twitter

    Stephen T. Stone ( profile ), 27 Jun, 2022 @ 05:41pm

    I don’t know what point you think you’re making.
    They’re making two points:
    1. That article contains an example of actual censorship because the play is now far less likely to find a new venue due to the potential for further protest (and possibly death threats), which means the chances of it being put on have dropped considerably.
    2. You’re not denouncing this particular form of “viewpoint-based censorship” as immoral because you agree with it.

  • Twitter Successfully Quashes Sketchy Copyright Subpoena Over Billionaire’s Critic On Twitter

    Stephen T. Stone ( profile ), 27 Jun, 2022 @ 05:36pm

    Nobody has the legal or moral right to use someone else’s property as a soapbox. Your argument says “yes they do, and denying them that right is censorship”. Take this paragraph, for example:

    It is not a matter of anyone being entitled to speak in a given place. It is whether the platforms that offer a place to speak respect the freedom of speech of their users, or if they will choose to censor their users based on viewpoint. If they choose to censor, then they are acting immorally, regardless of the fact that their actions are legal.
    Private entities can only censor people through lawsuits, violence, or credible threats thereof. Booting someone from a social media service or a private country club or your home for saying shit you disagree with isn’t immoral unless you genuinely believe being denied the privilege of using anyone else’s property for your own purposes is immoral. I don’t care about the political leaning of either the platform’s owners/operators or the speech they choose to punish. Twitter discourages (and punishes) queerphobia, whereas Parler likely welcome it, and a third platform might ban both sides because they don’t want to host discussions on sexual orientation. All three decisions fall within the legal and moral rights of those platforms to make. Your argument, taken to its endgame, would argue that all three decisions are equally immoral. Per the logic of your argument, the only viable solution for this immorality⁠—regardless of whether you agree with this conclusion⁠—is to make all three platforms host the offending speech. What makes your argument any less immoral than the idea that a private entity should have the absolute legal and moral right to decide what speech it will and won’t host based on the viewpoint of that speech?

  • White House Launches Yet Another Task Force To Try To Curb Online Abuse; But So Far It Seems Extremely One-Sided

    Stephen T. Stone ( profile ), 27 Jun, 2022 @ 01:43am

    Worse people than you have done a far better job of goading me into near-suicidal depression and incessant self-loathing. Try harder if you really care.

  • Twitter Successfully Quashes Sketchy Copyright Subpoena Over Billionaire’s Critic On Twitter

    Stephen T. Stone ( profile ), 26 Jun, 2022 @ 08:58pm

    Free speech is not free reach. Losing a social privilege is not an infringement of your legal rights. And the owners/operators of a platform telling you to fuck off (by force, if necessary) because they don’t want to host your bigoted bullshit hasn’t censored you. You have a right to speak your mind on any privately owned platform that will have you and to anyone who will listen. That right doesn’t entitle you to have an audience, use someone else’s platform, or make someone else give you an audience/platform. Cite a law or court case that says otherwise; if you can’t, at least have the steel-plated balls to admit your argument is built on a fallacy that seeks to turn the Internet into a bigger cesspool than New Jersey. I’d respect that kind of honesty coming from you for once.

  • Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

    Stephen T. Stone ( profile ), 26 Jun, 2022 @ 05:04pm

    The mistake is forgivable if it isn’t repeated in the future.

  • Twitter Successfully Quashes Sketchy Copyright Subpoena Over Billionaire’s Critic On Twitter

    Stephen T. Stone ( profile ), 26 Jun, 2022 @ 03:49pm

    Copyright minimalists wouldn’t be saying “destroy copyright” if copyright could be used reasonably instead of abused in ways that turn a supposedly limited monopoly over distribution of a creative work into both a welfare check for the successful and a government-supported method of silencing legal speech. I don’t speak for other copyright minimalists, but this is what I want the government to do about copyright: Shorten copyright terms to 15 years (with an optional 5-year extension). Make copyright an opt-in process instead of a mandatory obligation so people can place their works in the public domain by default. Give people a way to place a work they copyrighted in the public domain before the copyright term on that work expires. Make any abuse of the DMCA takedown system punishable by massive fines (and possibly jail time). Change the DMCA takedown system from notice-and-takedown to notice-and-notice. Enacting even one of those changes would go a long way towards repairing the balance of copyright that is supposed to benefit, rather than hinder or outright destroy, the public domain. But if⁠—when⁠—copyright becomes an insurmountable barrier to enjoying, creating, and sharing cultural works, the general public will stop trying to climb it and start trying to destroy it.

  • Twitter Successfully Quashes Sketchy Copyright Subpoena Over Billionaire’s Critic On Twitter

    Stephen T. Stone ( profile ), 26 Jun, 2022 @ 12:34am

    The presence of a different place to speak does not make an action to silence speech in one place any less censorship.
    Except it does. The New York Times can refuse to run an op-ed I submit to that paper; that doesn’t mean I’ve been censored. I can still submit the same column to other newspapers both national and local, and I can post the article online for anyone to read. Censorship is about silencing people. I can’t be silenced by a private entity’s refusal to carry/host/publish my speech. (Oh, and as for your “public college” argument: They lost because they’re government entities⁠—something Twitter and Facebook are not.)
    It is the action of the censor that defines the censorship, not the universe in which the speaker is embedded.
    Two things:
    1. We’re all in the same universe, so maybe tone down the hyperbole and choose a more accurate noun next time.
    2. Losing the social privilege of posting on a popular platform doesn’t censor anyone⁠—Donald Trump alone proves this point so well that I hate how I can point to him as an example of this point.
    The self-serving “go elsewhere” attempt to define away censorship is obviously false; it would make every act of silencing not be censorship except for the very last one, when there is no place left to go.
    But that’s precisely my point: When you’re left with no other options for getting your voice out to the world⁠—including an inability to create your own platform⁠—you can say “I’ve been censored”. Until that day comes, you can speak your mind on any platform that will have you. That such platforms may not be as popular as Twitter is irrelevant: The right to free speech doesn’t give you the right to make others listen.
    I will call viewpoint-based censorship what it is no matter how many times you deny it.
    No, what you’ll do is complain about what you believe are “leftist” social media services banning people who break the rules by spouting the kind of hateful rhetoric that forced Mike to start holding your comments for approval. Every interactive web service has the right to moderate speech depending on the viewpoint of its owners/operators. The law can no more force Twitter to carry “pro-life” propaganda any more than it can force Truth Social to carry “pro-choice” propaganda. If a popular service wants to ban anti-queer speech, that service can do so without legal penalty. Your “moderation is censorship” argument tries to undermine that right. It implies that any moderation of a specific viewpoint, no matter how vile, is censorship and should therefore be punished under the law. That argument, taken to its logical endgame, would require all interactive web services to allow all of the worst (legally protected) speech imaginable under threat of penalty for “viewpoint-based censorship”⁠—including speech they currently choose not to host. Imagine for a moment that you run a Mastodon instance. The TOS of your instance bans users from using racial slurs⁠—and since this is you we’re talking about, that same TOS also bans users from speaking kindly about trans people. Now imagine that one day, the law says you must host the speech you’ve had banned from the moment you opened your instance because refusal to do so would be “viewpoint-based censorship”. Would you accept being forced to host the speech you banned, or would you continue moderating your instance as you see fit (which is your actual, factual, no-bullshit legal right outside of this hypothetical)? Your “moderation is censorship” belief, taken to its logical conclusion, would justify turning the entire Internet into a cesspool worse than 8kun. Your belief, were it to become law, would allow all the worst speech to flood all the best platforms⁠—and leave moderators/admins with no way to fight back. I can’t see how that would help the Internet in any possible way. But if you can, by all means (and I mean this sincerely): Enlighten me. I insist.

  • Twitter Successfully Quashes Sketchy Copyright Subpoena Over Billionaire’s Critic On Twitter

    Stephen T. Stone ( profile ), 25 Jun, 2022 @ 12:34pm

    because you like the censorship that they platforms are providing for you, you keep insisting that I am advocating for forcing the platforms to host speech
    I don’t care what speech a given platform chooses to moderate. Truth Social could ban any mention of Joe Biden by anyone but Trump himself, for all I care. Every interactive web service⁠—from squeaky-clean “family-friendly” forums to the vilest shitpits imaginable⁠—has the right to moderate speech as its owners and operators see fit. What you and your “moderation is censorship!” brethren have tried to do is equate moderation with censorship to make a fallacious moral argument: “If moderation is censorship and censorship is bad, then moderation is bad.” By default, such a position implies an underlying belief: “The government should stop censorship by way of stopping content moderation.” Whether you actually believe that idea means little if your rhetoric implies the point anyway.
    The platforms do not owe me anything, and they may censor as they like. And in turn, I may criticize them for their censorship and ask them to do better.
    Literally no one has said you can’t. Hell, Techdirt rips on ridiculous moderation efforts from Facebook and Twitter all the time. What I (and a good chunk of other commenters) want from you is a good-faith effort to stop referring to moderation as “censorship”. Censorship, by definition, involves the suppression of both speech and the right to speak freely. It doesn’t involve losing the privilege of speaking on someone else’s platform or being denied an audience. The right of free speech doesn’t give you the right to free reach.
    Censorship is the silencing of ideas and opinions based on their content.
    Donald Trump claims he lost the 2020 election because of massive amounts of voting fraud. That he can’t say so on Twitter doesn’t mean he lacks other places to say so in both cyber- and meatspace. If people don’t want to host or listen to his speech, that isn’t censorship. No one owes him their property or their time⁠—and he isn’t entitled to those things.
    It is censorship when the government does it, and it is censorship when private entities do it.
    Did Twitter stop Trump from starting Truth Social or getting an account on a competing social media service? If the answer is “no” (and it is), you can’t claim Twitter censored Trump and make anyone other than your “moderation is censorship” allies believe you. Censorship involves someone being prevented from using their right to speak regardless of whether anyone wants to listen to or host that person’s speech. Twitter didn’t do that when it banned Trump.
    When people gather on the primary platforms for public speech and discussion, and those platforms silence some of those people, those people are being censored.
    Using any platform you don’t own is a social privilege, not a legal right, and losing that privilege doesn’t censor you. Show me any law, statute, or “common law” court precedent that directly, explicitly, and objectively proves that statement wrong.

  • Ed Sheeran Wins Legal Costs After ‘Shape Of You’ Verdict

    Stephen T. Stone ( profile ), 25 Jun, 2022 @ 11:51am

    …and leave when I step into the conversation. 😁

  • White House Launches Yet Another Task Force To Try To Curb Online Abuse; But So Far It Seems Extremely One-Sided

    Stephen T. Stone ( profile ), 25 Jun, 2022 @ 07:56am

    That link means nothing unless it states, with citations of objective fact to back up the claim, that the sect in question is The One True Version of Christianity. You lack the authority to claim that a given sect of Christianity is “real” or “fake”. The kicker? So does everyone else.

  • Roku, Netflix, Start Behaving More Like The Annoying Cable Giants They Once Disrupted

    Stephen T. Stone ( profile ), 24 Jun, 2022 @ 12:49pm

    Hey, it gets the job done~. 🙃

  • Roku, Netflix, Start Behaving More Like The Annoying Cable Giants They Once Disrupted

    Stephen T. Stone ( profile ), 24 Jun, 2022 @ 12:49pm

    We didn’t have a pandemic on our hands. Netflix did have up-and-coming competition before COVID-19 was a thing, to be sure. But the same pandemic that boosted Netflix also boosted the other services, which helped the major studio-backed services gain a better foothold against Netflix. Whereas Netflix could still coast on what legacy content it still had prior to the pandemic, it can no longer do so now that the studio-backed services have yoinked almost all of the most popular legacy content from Netflix within the past couple of years. But to be fair, this argument doesn’t counteract your point. Things were heading in this direction before the pandemic; the past two years have only made the situation worse. That said: Next time you want to say "years ago", maybe specify (or at least approximate) how many years you mean. You could’ve meant five or ten years ago, for all I knew⁠—which is how I took your original comment. I’m willing to own my mistake if you’ll admit how I could’ve made that mistake in the first place.

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