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Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Year At Techdirt

It’s that time again! This challenging year has come to a close, and now it’s time to look back at the top comments from 2020 based on user votes for Insightful or Funny. As usual, we’ll be covering the top three in each category, plus a couple of outliers — and if you want to see this week’s winners, here’s first and second place for insightful, and first and second place for funny.

The Most Insightful Comments Of 2020

For our first place winner, we go back to July and our post about a woman who complained about a Starbucks barista who refused to serve her because she wasn’t wearing a mask, and then demanded half of the money that came flooding in to a GoFundMe for said barista. She claimed that medical conditions exempted her from mask requirements, and Grey racked up the votes to be the most insightful comment of the year by sharing some personal experience that underlines why this kind of thing is so infuriating:

As an actual disabled person….

Every person playing this fake “I’m disabled” game should spend one day in my body. If you are so medically fragile that a mask is a risk, you shouldn’t be exposing yourself to the public for your own safety.

I can understand the need to feel normal. Those of us who already have their ability to interact with the world limited by circumstance usually don’t enjoy additional restrictions.

I’ve been disabled for almost 30 years now.

I’m up to 7 shoulder procedures. Plate, 6 screws, Suprascapular nerve nearly severed on the right side due to bone regrowth. Left side anterior Bankart, right hand crushed in a press, both feet spiral fractured through the arches, jawbone dislocations, hip dislocations.

“You’re so big, you can’t be disabled.” (6’5″) I look “normal”, and my life has been a string of random people trying to fight me for using disabled parking, I’ve had a Vet go after my (at the time ) 17 year old daughter for inheriting my genetically bad connective tissue.

I walk with a cane, sometimes 2. Can’t lift them much past my hips.

I can’t even wear glasses that hook down at the back, otherwise the frames cut through the tops of my ears. Straight-arm glasses are a pain to find.

I can go on. Look up Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, rest is bad luck/manager took safety off the press that would have saved my hand.

My circulation draws my blood out of my limbs, concentrating it in my torso, I get heat exhaustion anywhere over the mid 70’s. A mask is sheer torture. I still wear one when I go out.

My mask ties at the base, and crown of my skull. If I can manage it, with my shoulders, anyone healthy enough to walk around can do it.

People who pull this fake disabled crap just make my life even harder.

Next, we head even further back to May, when someone sued Amazon for describing movies on Prime as “purchased” when in fact it can still remove them from your library whenever it wants — something that most people don’t even think about enough to object to, and a sign of how much copyright is chipping away at concepts of real property. Thad got the second most insightful votes of the year with a perennial response to these kinds of shenanigans by content providers:

Pirates, as always, are unaffected.

Finally, we go back once more to January, and one of our early 2020 warnings about Joe Biden’s worrying and often largely incoherent stance on technology issues and, especially, Section 230. In response to one commenter who asserted a bizarre techno-panic meaning to Biden’s confusing words, another anonymous commenter delivered our third most insightful comment of the year — and while in some ways it may not have aged well as Biden performed better in general at the presidential debates than many people feared, when it comes to Section 230 and free speech online, there hasn’t been much improvement:

In the abstract, he’s talking about whatever point someone wants to make, because you can turn this nonsense into anything.

He’s basically as incoherent as the current president. Can you imagine a Trump-Biden debate? 2 hours of your great-uncles who hate each other trying to out ramble the other. Can we get a constitutional amendment that you have to pass a senility test before you can be elected president?

And that’s all for the insightful side! Now on to…

The Funniest Comments Of 2020

Well, I can’t believe this worked so well! In September, we wrote about students that gamed the AI their school was using to grade exams, and justok offered up a meta-joke in the comments that aimed to hit the top of both comment leaderboards. Though it didn’t rise quite so high up the Insightful ranks, it did manage to get voted the funniest comment of the year:

Funniest and Most Insightful Comment

This is both the funniest and most insightful comment. This comment is both the most insightful and funniest. Joke. Laugh. Post. Comment. Keyword. Funny. Funniest. Insightful.Laugh. Side-splitter. Blow. Your. Mine. Mind.

For our next comment we only need to go back to early December, when Trump made good on his threat to veto the NDAA because it didn’t include a Section 230 repeal. An anonymous commenter swooped in and rode the wave of frustration to the second place spot on the funny list this year:

PETA has really dropped the ball. Please, for the love of what little sanity remains in this country, spay and neuter your Republicans!

For the third funniest comment of 2020, we head to June and our post wondering why politicians weren’t up in arms about GOOGLE THREATINING TO DEFUND TECHDIRT with its crappy AdSense automated moderation system. There’s lots to say about that story and the silly things that AdSense flagged for various reasons, but BentFranklin spotted the most amusing one in our post about a certain piece of less-lethal weaponry:

Sorry, I giggled when I saw that talking about tasers is “shocking content”. I will go sit in the corner now.

And that’s it for funny, but before we go…

The Double-Winner & The Outliers

There’s an additional fun fact I didn’t mention about one of the comments above: justok‘s keyword-laden comment that hit the top spot for funny also racked up the most votes across the two categories combined, even though its insightful votes weren’t quite enough to crack that leaderboard on their own (that’s just how funny people found it!)

Apart from that, there wasn’t any overlap between the top ten lists for funny and insightful individually and the list for combined votes, much like last year. So we might as well go ahead and include the other two winners from the combined list — starting with second place, an anonymous comment about the famous “disagree with what you say/write…” quotation regarding free speech:

‘Voltaire’ only by popular attribution…

The Voltaire quote has its origins in one of Voltaire’s biographers, one Beatrice Hall.

Remember that other famous quote:

The problem with quotes on the Internet is that it is hard to verify their authenticity. — Abraham Lincoln

And, last but not least, a comment that came in third on the combined list with almost exactly equal numbers of funny and insightful votes — once again from an anonymous commenter, this time responding to George Gershwin’s nephew expressing concerns that the now-public domain Rhapsody in Blue might get turned into (gasp) hip-hop:

If that Jonny S. Bach dude’s reputation can survive being Moog-synthesized, whistled, Jazzed-and-drummed-up (not to mention being sung by musical illiterates in churches every Sunday), then Georgio will just have to take his chances with the punk-rappers. In any case, G. G. is just another corpse, and his feelings are beyond our ability to offend.

But I think Wilde’s aphorism still applies: the only thing worse that being rapped-about is … not being rapped-about.

And that’s a wrap on 2020 comments, folks! Thanks for keeping the conversation on Techdirt going and making these posts fun to write — I look forward to seeing what you come up with in 2021.

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Author: Leigh Beadon

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