Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Year At Techdirt

from the 2020-edition dept

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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  • icon
    Uriel-238 (profile), 3 Jan 2021 @ 12:35pm

    Not being rapped about

    This runs parallel with a similar situation commonly discussed here on TD:

    The only thing worse than your content being watched by pirates is... not being watched by pirates.

    🏴‍☠️️

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 3 Jan 2021 @ 1:22pm

    not so bad as.

    Protection is like a Locked on a door.
    Even a key can be broken, and really cause problems.
    A thief with a lock pick Can enter, Lock the door after, Slide the Couch Against the door, Sit down and watch the movie.
    And hope its in 7.1 stereo, on a 72" Full 8k interpolated Screen. Then wonder whats in the fridge.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jan 2021 @ 5:16pm

    How has the lawsuit against Amazon progressed?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Jan 2021 @ 6:17pm

    The best thing about the year 2020 on Techdirt was the general lack of out_of_the_blue and Jhon Smith gumming up the works. A shame it didn’t last, I genuinely expected them to have stood in solidarity with Trump and caught COVID. Still, Biden taking over should mean those two will be pissing themselves even harder this year...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 7 Jan 2021 @ 1:29am

      Re:

      "Still, Biden taking over should mean those two will be pissing themselves even harder this year..."

      For those of us old hosers remembering the wilder days on Torrentfreak many years back, I'd, at least, off even money that old Baghdad Bob will just copy-paste his rants from the Obama era.

      Just like all the other reich-wing trolls still stuck with the belief that every argument needs to contain at least one "But Obama!" to comemmorate those horrible days when a Kenyan Muslim had deep-fried children delivered to the oval office for breakfast from that pizza parlor every morning.

      If there's one thing you can't accuse Baghdad Bob and his peers of it would be imagination, ingenuity, or common logic.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bobvious, 4 Jan 2021 @ 2:39am

    Can't wait for the Inauguration Day showdown!

    I can just imagine the Cheeto-in-Chief hunkering down in the White House on January 20, expecting the Proud Boys and malicious militias to "defend the vote" and take on the US Military, whose only role on that day is to drag the turnip kicking and screaming out of the Oval Office and take him downtown to the nearest cop shop to be charged with felony trespass, https://www.chicagotribune.com/election-2020/ct-trump-defense-secretaries-20210104-76svitimevgmrkdxl eb526xdya-story.html

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 4 Jan 2021 @ 2:49am

      I’m hoping that as soon as Trump leaves the White House, he gets arrested on charges of trying to interfere with an election — based entirely on that phone call he made this past Saturday, natch.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Thad (profile), 4 Jan 2021 @ 6:30am

        Re:

        I doubt he'll ever face serious federal consequences. His family's going to be tied up in New York state prosecutions for years, though, plus any number of civil suits.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 7 Jan 2021 @ 2:49pm

          Re: Re:

          Yeah, I'd just like to note that yesterday the odds of serious federal consequences just got a lot higher. I think the incoming administration would have really rather not had to deal with investigating and prosecuting the previous one, but at this point he's kind of forced their hands.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 7 Jan 2021 @ 4:49pm

            Re: Re: Re:

            If nothing else I suspect we're going to find out real quick the answer to the 'can the president pardon himself/is the president above all the laws?' question that's been floating around.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 4 Jan 2021 @ 6:25pm

        Re:

        You'll miss Trump when he's gone and you realize that he was never as bad as you feared

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 7 Jan 2021 @ 1:31am

          Re: Re:

          "You'll miss Trump when he's gone and you realize that he was never as bad as you feared"

          Why, because the next GOP candidate will be just as bad but less openly clumsy and narcissistic about it?

          I rather doubt that. Even if the GOP puts Hitler on the stand next election no one's going to look back fondly on when they endorsed Nero.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 7 Jan 2021 @ 2:40pm

          Might as well miss a parasitic tapeworm and hemoroid combo

          Will Biden somehow rack up a death count of five hundred thousand during his term due to gross incompetence and narcissistic spite? Because barring that I'm not seeing it happening.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 4 Jan 2021 @ 7:23pm

        Re:

        Nice thought but not a chance, the GOP is filled with gutless cowards who wouldn't dare make a move like that against him(assuming they saw anything wrong with his actions in the first place), and the democrats are going to be focused on damage control and are unlikely to want to fan the flames of his deranged, psychotic cultists. Best that can probably be hoped for is state prosecutors who might be looking for a big win to go after him.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Uriel-238 (profile), 4 Jan 2021 @ 9:58pm

          If there is no response...

          If nothing happens from that phone call, then it's been established, from the Russian collusion fiasco, from the Ukraine debacle, from the multiple efforts to overturn the 2020 election, that doing so, even criminally, is fair game.

          If that's fair game, what isn't?

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Stephen T. Stone (profile), 5 Jan 2021 @ 12:23am

            After the impeachment of Donald Trump (and the failed vote to convict him/toss him out of office), Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she believed Trump had learned a lesson from the episode. Turns out, she was right: Trump learned he could do it again and get away with it.

            To my knowledge, no Republican currently in Congress has called what Trump did a crime. (It totally is; mobsters have been put behind bars for similar phone calls.) And they never will, even if Trump goes to jail for that or for any other crime. They stand in slack-jawed horror at what they have unleashed upon this country, but refuse to do anything about it. They’ve shed their principles for the sake of power by any means possible. Democracy no longer matters to them; power for its own sake does. That fact should — but sadly won’t — disqualify every Congressional Republican that plans to contest the electoral vote counts from ever holding any public office ever again.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 5 Jan 2021 @ 9:45am

              '... And don't do it again.' '...I'm gonna do it again.'

              After the impeachment of Donald Trump (and the failed vote to convict him/toss him out of office), Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she believed Trump had learned a lesson from the episode. Turns out, she was right: Trump learned he could do it again and get away with it.

              The clip I saw ended at the 'he learned a lesson' bit but it would have been really nice had they held her foot to the fire over that.

              'He's escaped any sort of punishment for his actions thanks to congressional republicans making clear they didn't see anything wrong with what he did, other than 'I can get away with this' what other lesson was he supposed to learn from that?'

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            Thad (profile), 5 Jan 2021 @ 6:28am

            Re: If there is no response...

            If nothing happens from that phone call, then it's been established, from the Russian collusion fiasco, from the Ukraine debacle, from the multiple efforts to overturn the 2020 election, that doing so, even criminally, is fair game.

            As long as you're a Republican.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 5 Jan 2021 @ 9:38am

            'That's only fair game when WE do it!'

            If nothing happens from that phone call, then it's been established, from the Russian collusion fiasco, from the Ukraine debacle, from the multiple efforts to overturn the 2020 election, that doing so, even criminally, is fair game if you're a republican.

            You left off a few very important words at the end there, because I guarantee you the same people who are willing to look the other way(if not provide active support) when Trump engages in such practices would be calling for heads, criminal charges and/or impeachment were a democrat to even mention the possibility of doing similar only to immediately switch back to claiming it's acceptable when one of theirs does it.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • icon
              Uriel-238 (profile), 5 Jan 2021 @ 12:10pm

              It's only acceptable when THEY do it.

              Well that fully kills the notion of rule of law, now if we can get the press and the justice system to both stop pretending it's a thing in the United States.

              So long as one person can shoot someone on Fifth Avenue (or steal an election) knowing he'll walk without consequence, all our inmates are political prisoners.

              Period.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 4 Jan 2021 @ 6:28am

      Re: Can't wait for the Inauguration Day showdown!

      I don't see that happening. Trump will never admit he lost, but his ego won't allow him to be dragged out. He'll leave under his own power, grousing all the while.

      Last I heard he planned to hold a rally at the same time as the inauguration. I expect that's exactly what he'll do.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Bobvious, 6 Jan 2021 @ 2:10pm

      Re: Can't wait for the Inauguration Day showdown!

      Ok. I was wrong, Pro-Trump protesters storm the US Capitol building https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-55568131

      It looks like they couldn't wait.

      Now the Security services HAVE to ring-fence the Capitol.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        Uriel-238 (profile), 6 Jan 2021 @ 5:46pm

        Today's exciting episode

        All the king's horses and all the king's men shot up blm protestors with cs gas and rubber bullets but some took selfies with the MAGA mob and let them through without resistance. (Other officers were outnumbered and pushed back, all the while find their brethren too preoccupied to lend support.)

        Oh and 🍿

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 4 Jan 2021 @ 2:21pm

    But, but..

    Taxes,
    As with the most famous crooks of all. Taxes, and a few years in jail, safe from himself. AND his kids monitored TO DEATH.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 4 Jan 2021 @ 6:24pm

    My mom can't wear masks

    She has lung cancer and asthma. It's small, not malignant but it's there and she gets heckled over not wearing a mask.

    She can't even breathe if the air gets too cold or if someone's burning something.

    So to that person with the "stay home" line.

    F off.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 7 Jan 2021 @ 2:37pm

      Like adding a bullet to russian roulette...

      If she has trouble breathing then you know what she should really not be doing: Going outside when there's a pandemic that has as one of it's symptoms difficulty breathing.

      Someone claiming that they can't wear a mask because they can't breathe going out when there's a pandemic on is like claiming to have a peanut allergy and going to tour a peanut factory, they are just begging for a Darwin Award. Get someone else to do your shopping or use services that will deliver for you, because even if there is a valid medical reason not to wear a mask that doesn't make not doing so during a pandemic not grossly irresponsible to those around you.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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