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Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, we wrote (as we have many times) about the huge challenge of moderating online content and how it’s unrealistic to expect social media companies to be magically perfect at it. One commenter insisted we were wrong, making the strange comparison to a bouncer at a bar, and an anonymous response won first place for insightful:

You have absolutely no idea of the scale difference between a bar where a few dozen people, or even a few hundred visit in one night and social platforms where thousands of accounts are created every minute.

In second place, we’ve got Roger Strong responding to Marsha Blackburn’s “net neutrality” bill with some well-chosen additional material:

Wikipedia: Marsha Blackburn: Telecommunications

Blackburn has been closely associated with the telecommunications industry over the course of her career, as of 2017, Blackburn had accepted at least $693,000 in campaign contributions from telecom companies over her 14-year career in Congress.

Blackburn is an opponent of net neutrality in the United States, referring to it as “socialistic”.

Blackburn opposes municipal broadband initiatives that aim to compete with Internet service providers.

She supported bills that restrict municipalities from creating their own broadband networks, and wrote a bill to prevent the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from pre-empting state laws that blocked municipal broadband.

In early 2017, Blackburn introduced to the House a measure to dismantle an Obama-administration online privacy rule that had been adopted by the FCC in October 2016. Blackburn’s measure, which was supported by broadband providers but criticized by privacy advocates, repealed the rule which required broadband providers to obtain consumers’ permission before sharing their online data, including browsing histories.

The measure passed the House in a party-line vote in March 2017, after a similar measure had been passed by the Senate the same week. She subsequently proposed legislation which expanded the requirement to include internet companies as well as broadband providers.

Also a climate change denier, anti-civil rights, a reliable source of anti-Obamacare wingnuttery, and a border wall and Muslim ban supporter.

In her defence, there’s no word on her being banned from any shopping malls.

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we start out with a comment from An Onymous Coward providing a more detailed explanation of why policing social media ain’t so easy:

You’re not a software engineer so you can be forgiven for not knowing what follows. But you cannot be forgiven for pushing an agenda based on false and incomplete information then abusing your opposition from that ultimately flawed platform. Read on and educate yourself:

Twitter handles millions of tweets every day. Processing that amount of information is not something you can hire enough people to do in a manner that results in those tweets reaching their audience in anything less than several hours and at a cost that would cripple the company. No, this kind of thing must be automated.

Computers do not think. They don’t reason and they don’t have any capacity to be “subjective”. There is a lot of software out there now that seems somewhat “intelligent” and “reasoned” but it isn’t. It’s pure algorithm and even the best AI is still following a script of sorts. We have not developed the computer that can independently think like a human and accurately determine, in just a few milliseconds, which tweets should be published and which should not.

Even humans would mess this up with alarming regularity. 140 characters is too little context to understand every message. Often you have to know that user’s tweet history, the culture where they live and numerous other factors to determine with any degree of accuracy whether any given message should be posted.

We are nowhere near the technological level required to emulate a flawed room full of human reviewers much less improve upon them.

tl;dr You have no idea what you’re talking about. Please go away and let the adults talk.

Next, we’ve got an anonymous response to the strained defense of the cop who shut off his dashcam during a drug dog search:

I would submit here that the something like 50% of the entire purpose for the existence of standard cops is the collection of evidence. They aren’t there for prosecuting criminals, that’s what district attorney’s are for. They aren’t there for determining guilt, that’s what courts are for. They are there for collecting evidence (and then carrying out warrants based on that evidence), and acting as first responders in issues of public safety.

So when a cop deliberately fails to collect evidence, then what exactly is he doing? There was no public safety issue here, meaning the only thing he should have been doing was collecting evidence of criminal activity. Except he deliberately avoided doing that.

The police did not do their job here. In fact, they specifically avoided doing their job. They stood up and said “Right now, we are attempting to gather evidence that can be presented to the courts/prosecutors. So we are going to go around and turn off all of our evidence gathering devices. Because the best way to collect evidence for the court is to deliberately not collect any evidence at all.”

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is, amusingly, a response to one of last week’s winners via last week’s comment post. Got that? Here’s David taking the joke one step further:

Missing crucial information

In totally unrelated news, Verizon announced today that its next round of infrastructure investment would extend service to over two million new subscribers, all over the United States, in alphabetical order. Many, perhaps most, of these subscribers, the spokesperson emphasized, are still alive.

Will that also be the case by the time the service arrives?

In second place, we’ve got a nice solid joke from charliebrown in response to retailer Five Below’s attack on an ice cream shop with a similar name:

I think they’re just upset because 10 below is cooler

For editor’s choice on the funny side, we’ve got a pair of responses to the latest developments in a lawsuit over a Star Trek/Dr. Seuss mashup. First, it’s That Anonymous Coward celebrating this triumph for the rights of the creator:

I am happy to see the estate prevail!

Now as soon as they can bring Dr. Seuss back from the DEAD he can enter into negotiations with Paramount to perhaps produce a Seussian Star Trek book.

And finally, we’ve got Ryunouske gamely taking on the obligatory Seussian translation:

TLDR this article

We will take you to court.
we will also claim our tort.
You cannot use our Trek.
Without cutting us a big fat cheque.

You cannot claim Fair Use.
for our definition is very loose.
We have thrown money at our Judge.
On our claims, we will not budge.

We will continue to sue.
Even if it looks like a zoo.
We will have our money.
Because rhyming is our honey.

That’s all for this week, folks!

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Author: Leigh Beadon

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