Comments: Declan McCullagh E-annoyance

Well, actually, I probably wouldn't have come across the debunking if you hadn't written about/linked to it. Informing one otherwise informed person may not make it worth it to you, but I certainly appreciate it.

Posted by Laura at January 10, 2006 07:46 PM

Thanks, Laura.

But it's still just a drop in the ocean :-(

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at January 11, 2006 10:42 PM

There's a story in the queue at kuro5hin right now which basically regurgitates Declan's fear-mongering. I've linked this entry in the comments.

So now it's a slightly bigger and more noticeable drop.

Posted by James at January 12, 2006 04:15 AM

interesting. did you do a search on links to the original article?

in any case, while i thank you sincerely for the expansion and clarification, i'm not sure i'm willing to accept the story as "debunked" at this point, so much as "provisionally deflated." i think there may be room for interpretation, both publically and in the courts. we'll see. it may well be deliberate overinterpretation. it may also be something more. i don't pretend to be well informed on the subject, and my own retransmission of the story was more in the spirit of curmudgeonliness.


Posted by cigfrain at January 12, 2006 11:55 AM

You wrote: "you know Declan has been utterly egregious"

A-list bloggers are by definition egregious ("chosen, select, separated from the herd"). Did you mean "egregiously [adjective]"?

For us readers of your blog, Seth, you too are egregious. :-)

Posted by BobK at January 12, 2006 01:10 PM


The original definition of egregious was as you describe. But like the word "nice", it's been through some serious changes of meaning since the 16th Century. It then meant "outstandingly good". Now it has come to mean "outstandingly bad" or "shocking" - to the point that when people write "egregiously bad", they are just writing a tautology.


The story might not have been comprehensively debunked, as the amendments might have opened up all sorts of loopholes. But it's clearly not the Chicken Little scenario that McCullagh painted. A lawyer would have to work really hard to prove that a comment posted on a forum like this was covered under the amended Act. And then they would have to demonstrate "intent to annoy" rather than just annoyance - they are two very different things.

Posted by Chris Edwards at January 14, 2006 03:32 AM

Well, it's still an appreciated drop. But then, I grew up amongst drop-in-the-ocean academics, so perhaps I'm just accustomed to the phenomenon, or resigned to it.

Posted by Laura at January 14, 2006 11:19 AM