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Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Year At Techdirt


It's that time again: for our final comments post of 2018, we're looking back on the comments you voted the funniest and most insightful throughout the year. As usual, we've got the top three winners from each category, plus a special outlier that racked up a lot of votes across the two categories combined. For those of you who want to see this week's winners, here's first place for insightful, first place for funny, and the double-winner that took second place in both. Now, on to the yearly round-up...

The Most Insightful Comments Of 2018

Back in July, we covered the story of a restaurant that was accused by the local police union of serenading some officers with N.W.A.'s Fuck Tha Police, only for CCTV footage to reveal that the incident never happened — one employee just mouthed the words from across the restaurant, and the police department itself had to call out the union for lying. This garnered our 2018 first place winner for insightful from an anonymous commenter:

Personal Comment

The other night, my family and I were eating at a hamburger place-type family restaurant. Four cops came in to get their dinner. I was shocked to realize that I suddenly felt LESS safe, not more.

Restaurants aren't the only reputations cops have ruined.

Our second place winner comes in response to another far more heinous incident of police insanity. In March, after a cop hit a woman's car at 94mph (on a 50mph road) and killed her infant child, the mother was arrested for negligent homicide on the basis that she didn't secure the child's car seat properly. While there's obviously no way to confirm the expertise claimed by commenter Alexander in responding to the incident, the information was convincing enough to win 2018's second place spot for insightful:

As an Automotive Engineer who has engineered seats in cars I can tell you for certain that none of them in ordinary vehicles are designed to deal with a 94mph collision. Cars disintegrate at that speed.

Those videos you see for car safety, the super slow motion ones, they occur at ~20mph. Yes, that is how much the seats move at 20mph. At 94mph they disintegrate.

Fastening the straps correctly or not would likely not have changed the outcome at those speeds. The officer is clearly grossly negligent and the mother did not contribute in any significant way to the death of her infant. I say that with confidence of someone who's signature is still on the approvals for seats still carrying children in cars today.

That cop should have his drivers license cancelled for reckless driving for a decade. If he loses his job, then stiff shit. Then talk about trying him for negligent homicide.

For third place, we head to our post in May about some copyright insanity: a director suing an actor for using a short clip of a movie in her demo reel, calling it an "unauthorized derivative work". Killercool racked up quite a few funny votes with a quick response, but not as many as the votes that made it 2018's third place winner for insightful:

I hate to tell you...

If a clip, or even several clips, from your movie is equivalent to seeing your movie, then your movie is bad and you should feel bad.

And now, on to the funny...

The Funniest Comments Of 2018

With all the often-uninformed nonsense flying around on the subject of regulating internet platforms this year, we've had plenty of comment-section dust-ups about moderation and free speech. In July, after Senator Mark Warner laid out some detailed ideas about platform regulation — in one of the few incidents of a lawmaker actually giving the issue some real thought and not getting hysterical — one regular commenter's angry rant about Section 230 led Mike to point out that, without those safe harbors, we wouldn't be able to let him comment here at all. Regular fixture Thad (and this was back before he created an account) responded to Mike's point with 2018's funniest comment of the year:

But there'd also be a downside.

Most of you probably recall in August when voting machines took another lump after an exercise at Defcon where an 11-year-old successfully hacked an ES&S machine and changed vote tallies. An anonymous commenter anticipated their response, offering up 2018's second place winner for funny:

Voting machine company: "This was a useless test of the machine's vulnerabilities. Eleven-year-olds can't vote. So your machines are safe from them getting into and changing any records. "

And if voting machine problems are a perennial story, so too are freakouts about video game violence. In February, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin decided to blame Florida's recent school shooting on... violent video games. This garnered many responses both flippant and substantive, but one anonymous commenter rose to the top and became 2018's third place winner for funny:

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

And now, one more...

2018's Outlier Winner

As per usual, the combined leaderboard — based on the total votes for both insightful and funny — is primarily dominated by high-ranking comments from the individual categories. This year the third place insightful winner topped the combined board thanks to its surfeit of funny votes, while the first place insightful winner came in third by sheer force of insight. But the second place winner for combined votes got there with a pretty equal share of each, despite not having enough of either to even crack the top ten for insightful or funny alone. That's our outlier this year.

Back in July, following the merger of AT&T and Time Warner, some comments from AT&T executive John Stankey suggested the company might try to wantonly mess with success by changing the HBO formula. His most memorable statement was an odd comparison to child birth, suggesting it would be painful now but rewarding later — leading our anonymous outlier this year to sum up how he could find himself saying such dumb stuff:

The reason Stankey likes to compare childbirth to innovation is because he has zero experience with either.

And with that, we wrap up the 2018 comment season! It's been fun rounding the winners up every week, and I look forward to what's to come in 2019 (in our comments moreso than, like, the world in general...)

That's all for this year, folks!


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