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Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

This week, we’ve got a double winner on the insightful side, with PaulT taking both of the top spots. In first place, it’s his response to the idea that school shootings can be blamed on video games:

It’s been said, but bears repeating – the vast majority of the Western world plays the same games as these American kids do. They play the same Call Of Duty series, the same PUBG, the same GTA, the same Rainbow Six series, etc. In most cases there is no difference in the code running, except perhaps for translation to other languages. Yet, those other countries don’t have the same problem with school shootings. Some countries can count the distance between them in decades, yet the US can barely manage weeks if they’re lucky.

There is a major difference between the US and the rest of the world that’s causing school violence. Videogames should be one of the first things you can eliminate from the equation due to the above. Yet, there’s always some grandstander intent on catering to the ignorant.

I actually think there is a difference that’s explained by something more than the mere presence of guns (though, of course, the guns make it easier for people to die needlessly). What a shame some people are so intent on demonising something that it demonstrably cannot be, rather than searching for what it really is.

In second place, it’s his response to the game company that infected its customers with malware in the hopes of fighting piracy:

I was wondering if this would be covered here after seeing it elsewhere a few days back. A few thoughts raised in discussions there:

– First, this is clearly illegal. No matter the motivation, they installed malware that has the express purpose of taking someone else’s credentials. Furthermore, there’s claims that they actually have used the logins obtained and posted screenshots as evidence in their forums. That’s another law broken.

– Second, the installer exists on every copy that was installed. While the devs claim it was never triggered, every copy contained malware that was distributed to users’ machines.

– Thirdly, while the devs claim it would never have been triggered on an innocent user’s machine, they have acted so dishonestly that we cannot simply take their word. How do we know their information about “pirate serial numbers” was accurate? How do we know there wasn’t the wrong number in the wrong database or wrongly flagged details? How do we know it couldn’t be triggered by a reinstall, legitimate install on another machine, etc.? Even if they think their detection code was perfect (and no code is), there’s room for error. That’s one major reason I’m opposed to DRM – it inevitably affects innocent people.

– Finally, even if they are correct that *they* never used the malware on innocent people, what about others? From what I understand, they actually told people to disable their anti virus products when installing this because they were (correctly) identifying the installer as malware. As well as the chance their own malware could be misused, they subjected their customers to a non-zero chance of being infected with others.

Honestly, I hope they’re prosecuted to the limits of the law. Which shouldn’t be hard, since as I understand it they’re headquartered in the EU, and we tend to have strict data protection laws. They have committed crimes and need to be punished. Whatever your opinion on piracy, committing further crimes and endangering your customer base is not the way to fight it.

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we’ve got a comment from Thad highlighting a confusion that happens all the time when it comes to companies banning users, moderating speech, and generally controlling their platforms:

Why do so many commenters here seem to have trouble understanding the difference between “company is legally allowed to control how its service is used” and “this particular instance of the company enforcing its rights was a bad decision”?

Next, we’ve got an itemized anonymous response to questions about why the FCC is tracking broadband (though it had more of a “why does the government do anything at all?” flavor to it):

> Why should the government be tracking any commercial services availability and pricing?

Certain services are classified as “utilities” are are legally required to be provided to everyone within a certain area. Postal service and telephone service fall in this category. Plumbing is generally regulated by the state or local authorities. Water, gas, and electricity service are regulated and tracked by multiple levels. In many places, it is illegal to have the water or heat shut off without very specific conditions being met.

> What about household plumbing services,

Are you talking about plumbers’ work, which needs to meet code and potentially be inspected by appropriate authorities? Or are you talking about water service to a residence, which is often legally required for a building to be “habitable”?

> piano teachers, and shoe sellers? Should not the government track those closely too?

If there is a valid reason for it, maybe. The government could easily have an interest in monitoring the prevalence of grocery stores, given how they are required for food-assistance programs and the impact that food quality and availability can have on health of the population.

> What’s the ideological imperative in play here?

Sometimes public infrastructure benefits the public sufficiently that the government has an interest in ensure it is done to a minimum standard.

> Are you satisfied with the very high priced services sold to you by American government?

Not entirely relevant, but are you American?

What services do you think are too expensive?

Everyone I’ve ever met with municipal broadband has been extremely happy with the price/value ratio, as well as the customer service. Public transportation is a net gain to the economic activity of a city, despite the costs of running it. Government management of healthcare worldwide generally provides better outcomes and lower costs than what we currently have in the US.

> Who tracks the prices/availability/quality of FCC and other government services?

The Government Accountability Office, if you are interested in federal agencies.

Over on the funny side, our first place winner is a mirror of the insightful side, with an anonymous commenter offering a quippier take on games-causing-violence:

Minecraft is pretty popular yet I haven’t notice an uptick in preteens applying for construction jobs.

Second place continues to mirror the other side, though rather than the game company that infected everyone with malware, it’s A. Cross Tick (hint hint) responding to the game company that ordered all its employees to buy its game and give it great reviews:

Not an employee of Insel

Many people play video games and hope they will be good.
You can’t always get what you want,

But if you try sometimes,
Ooh, you get what you need.
So perhaps this will give you
Some satisfaction.

Most other video games lack something,
And this video game is certainly unlike other games.
Did you know that the title doesn’t use any repeated letters,
Especially the letter e?

Maybe you’ve been looking for something that
Everyone else wants to play as well.

Wild Buster is the bestest game evah!!! 111 !!!
Right down to the efficient use of pixels,
It reduces photonic bleed at
Edges of

The screen and that keeps the environmental people
So many ways.

Really, this game is so good that
Even the programmers who wrote it have bought copies.
Very few people would do that, so
I think that says
Everything about why you should buy this most bestest game evah !!! 111 !!!
Wild Buster gets my completely legit 5 Thumbs Up

For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start out with one more response to that game company — Stephen T. Stone delivered the ultimate insult:

Damn, even EA isn’t this stupid.

And finally, we’ve got wereisjessicahyde with an even more radical, crazy, never-been-tried proposal than that wacky idea for game rating systems:

“there’s nothing to prevent the child from playing them”

I propose we create a new concept to solve this problem. My idea is that after the child is born someone looks after the child in a role I have coined “parenting” (patent pending).

How it will work is a ‘parent’ will say to the child “I’m sorry Tarquin, but although I understand that playing ‘Call of Doom Medal Shooty Face Death GTA11’ will not turn you into a mass murderer, I’m not complete idiot. But I don’t think it’s suitable for a 9 year old. You’re not playing it, go and take the garbage out”

It’s so simple it’s genius.

That’s all for this week, folks!

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Author: Leigh Beadon

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