This week, our first place winner on the insightful side was… me! But I prefer to highlight reader comments, so I’ll just link off to that and move on to featuring the second and third place winners. First up, it’s an anonymous response to Larry Lessig’s new campaign for electoral reform, suggesting a different take on the problem:
The real problem isn’t one of how we elect the president, or for that matter, any political figure. The real problem is getting competent figures into office. And that is a real bitch of a problem. Reason is quite simple. At this moment, the only thing that a political figure needs to be competent in is collecting votes. Period. End of discussion. The ability to actually understand the issues. The ability to actually act in the public good. Everything that would make a ruler a GOOD ruler doesn’t even come in a close second behind the ability to actually attract votes. And unless some method is created to put competent capable people in charge, no method of electing them will work. Hell, look at the 2016 election. We had a choice of Hillary or Trump. Would anyone honestly claim that either of those two people would be capable and just ruler? I certainty hope not. We basically had to choose between two very bad choices that no rational person would desire.
Next, we’ve got a comment from Michael on a post about SESTA, responding to the assertion that “we don’t allow physical sites to be KNOWN criminal bases”:
Yes we do. Take, for instance, US highways. People are constantly breaking the law on those things by going faster than the speed limit. Are we holding the department of transportation responsible for the actions of those drivers?
Or let’s try something much closer – what about a prison? If an inmate sexually assaults another inmate, is the prison administration found criminally liable?
Of course not. In the real world, we hold the criminals responsible. It baffles me why anyone making the argument for SESTA would not already be calling for laws that “prevent” criminals from using the phone system, highway system, and utilities by holding the phone company, DOT, and utility company responsible for not policing the use of their services. Or, well, I suppose it is possible that the SESTA supporters would want that as well.
For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we start out with a parallel response to my first place winning comment, which was in response to someone questioning an apparent contradiction in Techdirt’s commentary on piracy. Orbitalinsertion had a different and equally compelling way of framing it:
It’s not about “exactly the way Techdirt wants”, Techdirt notices what people actually do.
It’s almost as if you think this is ideological…
The point is, if you want subscribers, you don’t drive them to ignore you, or [back]to piracy, by doing a crap job at your offering. People who could never afford it, or who are the stereotypical “i want everything for free, just because” sorts who the cranky types like to hold up as the only kind of pirates, are going to pirate or not either way.
Making content costly or annoying to consume will lose customers regardless if it is in the format of cable tv or streaming. It isn’t about some sort of ideological “format war” in that regard, either. Comcast could do exactly what Netflix does, only they won’t. Near the entire benefit of a newer technology delivery system in this case is psychological/cultural: they got providers to treat them differently because reasons, even though they would probably like to treat streaming just like cable. It’s new! Maaaaagic. That’s how stupid these industries are. And this is them being stupid again.
Next, we head to our post about Elsevier’s new Wikipedia rival, where we were accused of yet another hypocrisy — condemning Elsevier’s monopolistic practices, but supposedly not Google’s. Though any company with the reach of Google bears keeping an eye on in that regard, an anonymous commenter clearly spelled out how the “Google monopoly!” crowd is exaggerating things:
Can you point out what is monopolistic about Google? I use Google because they makes a good product but I think in just about everything Google offers, I have at least 2 other alternatives to choose from. The only thing I see that is monopolistic is that everyone uses it, willingly. Windows doesn’t even come with Chrome or Google Search as the default. It is Edge and Bing. Mac and Linux default to Google search but usually they are Safari and Firefox. Elsevier on the other hand is a company that I think shouldn’t even exist in this day and age. Any research that is paid by the government/public should be freely available to everyone and not put behind the paywall of a private company.
I signed the rights to my hard drive data over to the St. Regis Mohawk Tribe. He can’t touch it.
Our second place winner needs a little context, and so we’re going to go out of order and slip in an editor’s choice first to make that possible. The first comment that arrived in response to the Elsevier post didn’t even earn a funny badge (quite possibly because the winning reply siphoned off votes) but is still deserving of a nod. It was TechDescartes latching on to Elsevier’s description of its new service:
Department of Redundancy Dept.
“completely automated, algorithmically generated and machine-learning based”
This is repetitive, redundant, and repeats itself.
Just like Elsevier.
That just leaves us with one more editor’s choice on the funny side, and this time it’s Dan with a response to the silly copyright dispute between two makers of banana costumes for Halloween:
I’m glad my plantain costume is safe to wear.
That’s all for this week, folks!