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Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, our first place winner on the insightful side is Wyrm with a response to Eric Goldman’s post about the top myths about content moderation:


All these myths are based on a single misconception: that content can be evaluated objectively and by itself.
However, nearly all content is evaluated subjectively and requires context (including in-service context, poster-profile context, overall social and cultural context…) Denying this fundamental problem leads to being blind to all the aspects you mentioned. Virtually anything depends on context.

  • Violence is bad in real-life, but is fundamental to lots of entertainment products.
  • Sincere hate speech is bad, but can be quoted or parodied for criticism.
  • Criticizing someone is allowed, as long as you avoid libel/slander, but will make the target feel bad. (Particularly when they are thin-skinned, even more so when orange-skinned.) They might lash out, claim victim-status, pretend the critic is lying… or claim copyright violation.

Nothing is easy to judge as the spin given to the reports of the instance can sway public opinion regardless of the merit of the report. Something is often presented as an “obvious” case despite not being objectively obvious at all. This is done by several means, such as slightly misquoting the content, ignoring context or inversely adding false context, etc.

This makes for lots of cases presented as “black-and-white” issues, whereas the immense majority of edgy cases are often ignored because they are harder to spin as “obvious”. This issue, which is pretty common in the media landscape, leads to the biased myths above, that – in short – “moderation is easy”.

In second place, we’ve got a comment from Dan responding to our post about how there are many problems with the police interrogation firm’s lawsuit against Netflix:

There are, but I think you’ve missed the biggest one: a “technique” is simply not susceptible to defamation. You can defame people, companies, organizations, etc., but not an idea or a process (or, for that matter, a product).

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we start out with a comment from David.A.M. about AT&T’s reasons for not releasing 5G coverage maps:

AT&T said, stating that “requiring 5G coverage maps in this early stage of 5G deployment could reveal sensitive information about cell site locations and even customer locations.”

Is this not the company that would sell your exact G.P.S. location to the highest bidder?

Next, we’ve got PaulT slightly correcting our assertion that the adults who got a 12-year-old arrested for making finger-guns didn’t feel compelled to use common sense:

I dare say it’s the opposite – they were compelled not to use it. Usually at the root of these kinds of events is that administrators have decided to put in zero tolerance policies to fend off the risk of lawsuits. Zero tolerance = zero thought, and someone daring to use common sense might find their job at risk.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is a response to that same incident, this time from JoeCool repurposing an old saw:

When it’s a crime to make finger-guns, only criminals will make finger-guns.

In second place, it’s Gary responding to the simplistic assertion that “it’s just a known fact games are addictive”:

If you are loose with “Fact” and “Addictive” then maybe!

For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out with an anonymous suggestion about how Bret Stephens could have been convinced to participate in a public debate:

All they had to do was put a huge mattress in a back room that he could scuttle under when things didn’t his way.

Finally, we couldn’t have the first place comment above without its counterpart, dutifully brought to us by the National Finger Association:

Only thing that stops a bad guy with a finger is a good guy with a finger.

That’s all for this week, folks!

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Author: Leigh Beadon

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