Moving Toward a Better Patently-O Ecosphere

Patently-O Comment Policy:

Over the past few years, Patently-O readers have posted over 200,000 comments to the site. Many of these comments have been excellent, thought provoking additions to the discussion of the patent law issues.  As an example of this, a number of comments from the blog have been cited in articles (or to me informally) as the inspiration for further proactive work.  My hope is that the comments can help to build a community, share ideas between diverse groups, and negotiate toward workable solutions to the real issues facing the patent system today.

At the same time, the comments have often strayed away from proactive discussion of law, policy, and practice — moving instead into the less productive rhetoric of meta-bickering and inside-shorthand only accessible the handful of individuals who constantly monitor the site.  I have never watched any party win these arguments and the eventual result is offense to the participants and Patently-O.  This situation has discouraged many from reading the comments and has discouraged even more from participating in the discussion by writing their own comments.  And, it has put me in the unenviable position of de facto comment editor and nanny.  The anonymity factor of internet communications has, in my view, encouraged frank discussions but has also allowed for bad behavior.

With all this in mind, I want to ask Patently-O readers to help in moving forward with a better community of comments. Thoughtful, respectful comments are welcomed and encouraged on Patently-O, but we’re also not going to tolerate repeated disruptive behavior.

For commentors, here are a few ideas to work toward:

  • As you post, think about the tone of your comments.  Be polite and avoid all name-calling (both implicit and explicit).
  • Think about writing longer more substantive comments rather than one-liner criticisms and, when you disagree, do not be rude but instead provide constructive and helpful feedback.
  • Recognize that the weight of patent law is not sitting on your shoulders. [See http://xkcd.com/386/] There is no need to challenge every comment with which you disagree — especially when the challenge is snarky or itself lacks positive substance.  Rather, gather that time to prepare a post that truly explains your position or question.
  • Recognize very few (if any) readers read all of the comments and most of us (including myself) do not understand shorthand references to arguments found on other threads or obscure cases.
  • Re-read your comment before you hit submit–think before you send! And, although you may be writing anonymously, post written work that you would be willing to attach to your professional name.
  • Do not launch an avalanche of comments in quick succession.
  • Stay on topic (of patent law, policy, and practice) and avoid meta-bickering
  • When you can, provide positive statements (what is correct about another post/comment or correct about the way to think about an issue) rather than only criticisms. That gives us something to build from rather than only tearing-down.  To be clear, I want to encourage debate and sometimes the best outcome is to be able to define the points on which we agree/disagree.
Let me know if you have any thoughts on this! Folks who repeatedly fail to adhere to these ideals will be blocked from further commenting – either temporarily (with restriction) or permanently.
Some interesting discussion of these topics: here

160 thoughts on “Moving Toward a Better Patently-O Ecosphere

  1. I stopped reading the comments on this blog many moons ago, precisely because of all the name calling and general low quality of the vast majority of the comments. We all know who they are, just axe them Dennis. Your blog does not need someone incessantly commenting to each and every post you or an invitee makes. I come hear to learn something, and outside of your posts Dennis, the comments mostly waste my time. I looked at these comments because of the topic, only to find the same old stuff.

    Cheers

  2. I also stopped reading most of the comments, because many are not interesting or particularly well thought out, and the discussion is often dominated by the same folks. It takes too long to find the interesting ones.

    Perhaps Dennis can add a thumbs-up/thumbs-down feature to allow community voting regarding the usefulness of each comment. There then could be an option to sort the comments by vote ranking. (This sorting option would probably need to disable threads.) If this is abused, perhaps Dennis could require registration for the right to vote, to ensure one vote per reader.

  3. Well done and thank you. I stopped reading the comments long ago on all but the most curious of posts because I got sick of reading the pointless fighting and degrading. I hope everyone will aspire to raise the level of discourse. My thought was always, if you wouldn’t raise your hand in law school and say it, don’t leave it as a comment.

  4. Somehow I don’t think asking people to “play nicely” will be very effective. At the same time moderating all comments would be very time consuming…probably just have to live with it and just delete / restrict people who are way out of line.

    1. I can understand how some people would be reluctant to sign their name to positions on issues that might conflict with those of their firm’s clients, their employer, agency, etc.

      There’s no reasoning with some people, Dennis. If a comment is way out-of-bounds, maybe give one warning. Next time they’re blocked.

  5. Anon2: I do think it is important, however, that even the *appearance* of preferential treatment of commenters based on substantive views … would be a bad thing for [Dennis] and the site.

    Tell everyone what constitutes a “substantive view”. Also, who decides when it “appears” that Dennis is giving preferential treatment to a commenter or commenters who shares (or “appears” to share) his “substantive view”? I can take a guess at the answer but I want to give you credit for it.

    1. MM I believe you are referring to this post:

      So that it is not taken out of context (which no one would want) I repeat it here:
      ……

      Denis, like all of us you have your positions on patents, politics, and other substantive issues discussed here. I am sure each of us here both agree with much of what you think and disagree with much of what you think, as we agree and disagree amongst ourselves.

      I cannot say that I have noticed any differential treatment of commenters based on how much or how little your positions on those substantive issues align.

      I do think it is important, however, that even the *appearance* of preferential treatment of commenters based on substantive views rather than on objective assessment of “substance independent” *bad* behavior, would be a bad thing for you and the site. I believe you already strive to keep that image of fairness and objectivity and I encourage you to stay the course, especially when you agree or disagree with the views of those you are tasked with judging fairly.

      ……..

      “Substantive view” is meant to refer to the “substance” of a view, the content of the ideas to be contrasted from (a portion you have removed in your quotation, presumably by accident) substance independent bad behavior.

      Avoidance of even the “Appearance” of bias or unfairness is a well known principle of conduct of adjudication/adjudicators, anyone involved with law (like Denis) would understand what is meant by *appearance* of preferential treatment.

      Any (other?) reader who reads the original post in its entirety surely will understand its meaning in full.

      The goal is not only to be fair but to “appear” fair, independent of alignment of views.

      Do you disagree with this goal?

      1. For clarity, I am of course referring to objective and “fair treatment” in the context of corrective action/response for *bad* behavior.

        Obviously, during a substantive discussion Dennis can and should give “preference” to ideas he agrees with.

          1. Thank you. I’ve made my concluding remarks below.

            PS MM I do not doubt there will be disagreement on this forum but I sincerely enjoy the civility. Where ever you are have a good weekend!

      2. The goal is not only to be fair but to “appear” fair, independent of alignment of views. Do you disagree with this goal?

        I don’t disagree with the goal in the abstract sense but it strikes me as a very strange goal for one’s personal blog. Have you raised this issue at other blogs dealing with a patent law, or is it just a concern that you have for this blog? Do you avoid participating on patent blogs that “appear” to give preferential treatment to commenters who share the “substantive views” of the blog owner because “that’s a bad thing”? Serious question. I’d love to hear your answer and whether you’d recommend that other commenters here avoid those kind of patent blogs.

        It would seem to go without saying but Dennis, in the role of a guy with a blog, is not an “adjudicator” whose salary is paid for people who expect him to avoid the appearance of “bias” in exchange for that salary. Seems to me running a blog is almost the furthest thing from that.

        I’ll also add that my personal experience after many years of discussing patent law here and elsewhere is that, in the minds of some, it’s impossible to avoid the “appearance” of “bias” because the failure to stick to an approved script will be construed as evidence of “bias.” Let everyone know if you are unaware of that mindset or if that strikes you as surprising.

        1. I responded to your posts because they were about a post I made. I did not want to go on at length but felt I had to respond.

          I think with my clarification (thank you for noting it) it is apparent all I urged was fairness in dealing with bad behavior, and raised the need to “appear” fair as well.

          I understand your misunderstanding was caused by my lack of clarity. I take your pointed questions as causally stemming from the wording of my posts, and given that the misunderstanding is likely now cleared up I will politely ignore them.

  6. AAA JJ You won’t find a single post of mine where I used the term “impeach.” Yet you continually bring it up. …. [P]lease do cite/quote even one post of mine where I called for impeaching judges. In other words, produce some evidence. Or STFU.

    Here you go:

    link to patentlyo.com

    January 31, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    AAA JJ: Judges who insist on referring to the exclusionary right that a patent provides as “monopolies” need to be removed from the bench. Pronto.

    Many weeks later you claimed that this statement was a “joke.” Perhaps you had in mind a different method for “removing judges” that’s even funnier than impeachment. If so, let everone know what it is so we can share in the laughs.

    Also I’d love to hear from anyone who thinks I treated AAA JJ rudely or unfairly with this comment, and why.

    1. That’s your evidence that I “called for a movement to impeach judges”? That’s pretty weak sh!t. Even for an a$$hole like you.

      Actually the comments on that topic contain dozens of posts by you that are exactly the type of behavior I described to Dennis. Feel free to review them and explain to all of us how your comments are some paragon of civility and professionalism.

      1. the comments on that topic contain dozens of posts by you that are exactly the type of behavior I described to Dennis.

        Again: Dennis and I have discussed your concerns.

        You can rest assured that when you suggest that the many judges who use the term “monopoly” in the context of a discussion of patent rights should be impeached, I won’t call you names.

        But I’ll ask you if you are serious. How you respond to that question and where the discussion goes afterwards is up to you, just as it was in this instance.

        It’s really all up to you now.

        1. MM: Yes I think you are treating him unfairly. You are harassing him about one comment. If he choses to drop it without further comment he should be allowed to. Stop harassing him and making us all read your harassing posts.

          That is probably your biggest characteristic is that you just post over and over and over again stating essentially the same thing over and over and over and over and over again.

          Give it a rest. New rules. Stop harassing people.

          1. I think you are treating him unfairly. You are harassing him about one comment.

            *sigh*

            AAA JJ was not “harassed” by me in this thread.

            AAA JJ made a comment impugning my character. I responded to that attack in a perfectly civil manner by explaining how things were going to be from now on. In response I was accused of being a liar. I responded civilly to that accusation. I was then called an “a hole”.

            This is my last comment on this subject: I spoke with Dennis about the dynamics here. He’s aware of the situation.

            You and I and everyone else are going to continue to disagree about stuff. For the community’s sake, before you make a comment about impeaching judges or putting people in jail or who is more or less like a “criminal” a “raper” or a “killer” or a “commie” or a “like the Gestapo” or who is “being paid to post here” or “you must be an Examiner,” just think long and hard before you hit the post key.

            Think about what Dennis wrote upthread.

            I’ve made a lot of comments in the past few days. I’m pretty sure if you read them you’ll see that I “got the message”.

            Also, I’m not going away unless Dennis bans me. And my opinions aren’t going to change unless I’m convinced that I’m wrong by reasoned argument.

            Have a great weekend!

        2. Did you honestly, sincerely, actually truly believe that my post was “a call for a movement to impeach judges”? Because if you did then you’re an even bigger dipsh!t than I thought. Which is pretty remarkable considering what a t00l you are as evidenced by the posts you made in that topic you linked to. Your posts there were a true low point in the tone of comments on this site. Even for you.

          I couldn’t care less that Dennis and you discussed my “concerns.” It’s clear to me, and to every other poster on this site, that he gave you free reign to post disgusting and degrading comments about other posters on this site and others (e.g. Ray Niro, Gene Quinn, etc.). Why Dennis put up with those posts from you I’ll never know or understand. At this point I really don’t care why he did it, or why he’s had a change of mind. I’ll take him at his word that he’s looking to elevate the tone of the debate here.

          As Dennis is providing a certain amount of latitude on this topic, I’ll make this my last post on this topic. And I’ll abide by whatever conditions Dennis requires for the other topics. As for it all really being up to me now, that’s pretty funny coming from you. We’ll all get to see how this little “reformed” act of yours actually lasts. My guess is: not too long.

          1. We’ll all get to see how this little “reformed” act of yours actually lasts. My guess is: not too long.

            Too bad we can’t bet on that. 😉

            Have a great weekend.

  7. Disable threaded comments. Threaded comments just encourage engagement between commentors. The engagement between commentors frequently results in recursive repetition of the commentors’ respective historical positions.

    Instead of engagement between commentors, the goal should be engagement between the post author and a commentor.

  8. Does anyone see the irony of Dan’s original post asking for learned discussion rather than snarky name calling and the below posts falling directly into calling out the ‘bad’ posters?

    1. I caught on. No one is a perfect poster, and everyone one of us should think before we post. “Time to self-reflect,” says Dan, and then people just say, “yeah, why doesn’t X do some self-reflecting?”

      But, focusing on the positive, some people are posting on here for the first time, which is great. I’m always an optimistic, so maybe we’ll straighten out.

      I think, though, people should do something that was not mentioned above… when snark is directed at you, do not respond to it. Starve the beast, so to speak.

    1. I think it is also naïve not to recognize that there are paid bloggers everywhere on the Internet. I have linked to articles about this written by the top newspapers in the country, e.g. NYTIMES and Washington Post.

      I think it is naïve to think that some of the people on here are not paid to blog.

      1. NWPA – I have never seen any evidence that any of the the posters are being paid directly to post comments. That said, most of the patent law professionals who post on this board have a strong vested interested in various aspects of the patent system.

        I would ask you to refrain from accusing individuals from being paid bloggers unless you are able to present actual evidence of such.

        1. Fair enough, although I would contend that spending greater than 3 hours a day blogging on this site is at least circumstantial evidence particularly when they blog on other sites as well. But, apparently you have higher evidentiary standards.

  9. I got an email in my inbox from Dennis today. I went on here and discovered that this email was the same as what Dennis posted above. Let me share with you another email I received from Dennis some time ago.

    “Thanks to all of you for your comments on Patently-O. I’ve been getting some complaints from readers who are very interested in the topic of the day, but who are not interested reading through the the personal attacks against various posters. I’m writing to get your help in refocusing the debates on Patently-O. Let me know if you have some thoughts on how to do this.”

    Dennis and I then exchanged a couple of emails in which I made some suggestions — some of which are identical to the ones I have read below. One of my comments was “Unfortunately, I think the only solutions are technology-based solutions. On every board I’ve ever frequented, there are people who like to stir up trouble. Asking them nicely to stop antagonizing people never works. The only things that work that make the boards livable is a very active moderator that deletes posts and/or sanctions bad users or the ability of posters to ignore certain users/threads.”

    My last comments to Dennis were: “I hate to say it, but I think you are out of luck. I understand that you are limited by the technology provided by your host. As such, if you cannot implement a technology-based solution, there isn’t much you can do.”

    The kicker is that these emails were exchanged not quite 8 years ago. In the mean time, what was bad then has gotten much worse. I’ve never seen a blog directed to professionals with such mean-spirited comments directed to both individual posters and the profession as a whole — not even close. I dare say that the none of the “power posters” here have lived up to the ideal associated with being a “professional.”

    1. pds, interesting that Dennis had this problem 8 years ago.

      I also agree, more than agree, that we need to be able to filter out some posters regardless of the moniker they take.

      1. “interesting that Dennis had this problem 8 years ago”

        You may also find it interesting that the poster in the middle of it all 8 years ago is the same poster who is in the middle of it all today. He also happens to be the reigning volume poster for 8 years running.

        link to patentlyo.com

      2. Oh … in case you were wonder about the identity of the person I referenced above, let me quote one of the commentators from the link I reproduced below:

        “I second the suggestion for a separate Malcolm Mooney thread. His/her comments are increasingly obfuscatory, childish, and argumentative. The valuable content contributed by Mooney is in my opinion vastly outweighed by the burden placed on the reader to both divine that content, and to navigate around the personally-directed comments made by, and responding to, Mooney.”

        By Peter Papp, June 4, 2007 at 12:42 pm

        1. I see, pds.

          Well I personally like MM’s posts and look forward to them, and he has always been polite to me. But he does seem to draw a lot of fire and he fires back. I think that must be because he has been saying things that are highly controversial.

          But I think these things need to be said. He has hammered on software and business method patents for as long as I have been here. He hammers on trolls. When once he was alone, in a sea of hostility, the world has changed largely to agree with him. It might be in some measure to his complaints.

          But I have listened to him and my views have changed. MM is the most valuable poster on this blog, by far.

          Malcolm will always draw fire. But we need him.

          1. Ned:

            Like many before you and many after you, you are incapable of separating the message from the messenger. You endorse Malcolm Mooney’s message, and that colors your opinion of the messenger. Because you and he support the same thing, you are willing to condone anything he writes — no matter how unprofessional. That makes you nearly as bad as him.

            Dennis did not ask us to stop expressing our opinions. However, he did ask us to be civil. If you are incapable of acknowledging that Malcolm Mooney has been uncivil on this blog for 8 years running, then we having nothing more to talk about.

            Nobody is asking yourself or Malcolm Mooney to stop expressing your opinions/advocating your positions. What is being asked is that the personal attacks stop.

            As I told Dennis nearly 8 years ago, and I’ll repeat today — absent some technological solution or active involvement by Dennis (or one of his proxies) in this blog, I don’t see anything changing. We’ve had 8 years of terribly unprofessional behavior on this blog — by the one poster that has always dominated the conversation — does anybody truly believe that things are going to change?

            1. terribly unprofessional behavior

              I’m not terribly impressed by your behavior, either. Never was. I doubt that I ever will be.

              I will continue to point out where your assumptions are incorrect (if I believe that they are) and when your arguments are weak or nonsensical (if I believe that they are), along with articulate and coherent explanations in support of those beliefs.

              How you choose react to having your assumptions and your arguments challenged is your problem and, I suppose, Dennis’ problem if your choices in that regard are poor.

              I spoke to Dennis about this issue specifically, by the way, and I’m happy to speak to him about it again, anytime.

      3. By Dennis Crouch, June 4, 2007 at 3:46 pm

        Top Twenty-Five Patently-O Comment Posters:

        Count “Name”
        624 Malcolm Mooney
        186 MaxDrei
        183 Joe Smith
        161 stepback
        148 Michael L. Slonecker
        135 SF
        135 CaveMan
        121 anonymous
        106 me
        102 pds
        88 anon
        74 Lionel Hutz
        70 small guy
        69 metoo
        66 Fredric Goldstein
        65 Mark Perdue
        65 Alun Palmer
        62 Tom Kulaga
        62 softwarevisualization
        61 Alan McDonald
        59 Gideon
        54 johng
        52 Tom
        50 small inventor
        45 Paul Cole

        As of June 1, there have been 1701 separte [sic] names used and 7000+ comments. The top-25 names represent 41% of all comments.

    2. I think it is disingenuous not to notice the following. Every post that could be considered pro-information processing is blasted with responses from a group of about 5 people (and 1 most of all) and that they often then make new posts around the “pro” information processing post. It makes it impossible for any pro-information processing post not to be drown out by the noise.

      This is something that can objectively be seen and measured. And it is hard to believe there is not intent.

      1. It makes it impossible for any pro-information processing post not to be drown out by the noise.

        You are assuming that the “pro-information processing post” is not mere “noise” itself.

        I can write a “pro-information processing post” that deserves to be “blasted.” So can you.

        But I’m not going to do that.

  10. So does this mean that the next time somebody, e.g. poster or judge who wrote a decision under discussion, tells us all that something is “so notoriously old and well known that nobody ever even bothered to write it down!!!!!” and I ask for some evidence of that I don’t have to read a bunch of posts about how I’m a softie-woftie loving, bottom feeding, txx bxgging, patent fluffing grifter? If so, great. But I’ll believe it when I see it.

      1. No, because, without insulting him (really), Dennis seems enamored with MM. MM has done so many things (abuse, language, etc.) that would get him banned for life at every other forum in the world, but Dennis is ultimately fine with it.

        I somehow wish I get get across to Dennis MM is not all that great. He’s not all that smart, not all that clever, there isn’t enough to him that makes him worthy of so much deference and desperation to keep him commenting on P-O.

        1. I mean, even see the comment below at 10.1.1.1. Does MM really need anyone to go back and find all his posts that are insulting, abusive, and include terrible language, etc. etc.?

          That’s okay, MM, we really believe that many of your posts are one’s to which you’d “be willing to attach your professional name to”.

  11. Overall I agree with the overall effort. I myself am on occasion abusive or not as helpful as I could be to well-meaning posters. I will endeavor to be more helpful as time goes by. And certainly to avoid the meta.

    That said, I’m still a rather large advocate for a pretty wide berth being given people when it comes to these topics we get into. When the majority of people are discussing these matters on here they’re not discussing some pie in the sky abstract concept of patent law, they’re discussing work. Their work. And inevitably there is going to be very strong feelings about that.

    1. I was thinking the same thing. We argue about these matters loudly because many of us have shed blood, sweat, and tears in this practice area for many years. Seeing work product you produced years ago figuratively burst into flames years after the fact is frustrating. Seeing other people glib or gleeful about it just adds insult to injury.

      It’s good to take a step back and realize that people are behind the comments. Actual people. We should all act as if other posters were sitting across the table from us rather than some disembodied blurb of text on a screen…

      1. I hear what you’re saying, Bluto.

        A few quick thoughts: the “disembodied blurb” is a beautiful equalizer because, especially with the addition of anonymity, it encourages people to focus on the content rather than on the credentials or lack of credentials or some other feature of the commenter. Second, it minimizes the squelching of dialogue due to unrelated social considerations (“gee, if I say this to his/her face, will I get invited to his bar b q?”) as well as the some of the weird content-free social games that people feel obliged to play when they wish to communicate “in person”. That’s the magic of these virtual forums and it’s one of the reasons that so much of new technology (“it’s exactly as if you are there!”) fails to replace the old technology.

        In addition, without belaboring the point or getting too philosophical, the practice of law is one of those many human endeavors where, at the end of a long withering process, coming up with a goose egg and watching your victorious opponent high-fiving his/her team is unavoidable. Unless you’re a masochist (a perfectly valid way of life), you have to get by on the little victories (or the occasional big one) and your enjoyment of the process because defeat of some sort or another is always just around the corner.

        1. especially with the addition of anonymity, it encourages people to focus on the content rather than on the credentials or lack of credentials or some other feature of the commenter

          True enough, I guess, if it weren’t for the fact that so much of the discussion on the interwebs (and yes, I’m looking at you Malcom, Ned, 6, and the Anons) is snark-filled, distraction-prone rants that serve more to stroke your the commenter’s own ego without advancing any substantive discussion of anything.

          1. Astounded, huh? Can you imagine what it is like to try to discuss issues when you are constantly being assaulted by the likes of anon?

            Stop blaming MM, me or 6. The source of all the problems here lay mainly in one poster.

            1. Of the posts I’ve made making comments that are serious in nature and seeking to work these the issues, the snark started with Ned and MM. My experience.

              1. IsaacsTM, ?

                I have been having good conversations with you for the last few days. Can you link to something I said that you would call snarky? I generally find it quite refreshing to discuss issues with people.

                1. Frankly Ned I think IsaacsTM is exactly right about you. You have an agenda to push on here and you push it constantly. Your claims that anon never had a substantive discussion on here are ludicrous. And your support of MM is just ludicrous as well. Even when I have pointed out to you MM viciously attacking new comers who were civil, you ignore these attacks.

                  Frankly, the only reason I pay any attention to your posts or the other members of your group is that it is interesting to me how the propaganda of your anti-patent group has won out in some circles. And it is interesting for me to see how you ignoring reality wins out. Your legal analysis is by and large not worth anything.

                  Frankly, I think the people that taunt and blast this board with posts are alive and well, so I expect nothing to change.

                  Anon was closest to another poster on here years ago, Noise Above the Law who fought with MM constantly in pointing out his misrepresentations. Noise Above the Law finally said she was tired of it and decided it was a waste of time to blog on here due to the strong anti-patent crowd on this board. She stopped for that reason. Anon has said he was stopping for the same reason.

                2. Night, substantive only to a point. I could never get anon to discuss the facts of a case, nor even quote a holding. Not once. I gave it my best effort though. I simply never could break through to him on anything because he simply refused to discuss cases thoroughly.

                  I began to doubt and still doubt whether anon was a lawyer.

                3. “Noise Above the Law finally said she was tired of it and decided it was a waste of time to blog on here due to the strong anti-patent crowd on this board. She stopped for that reason.”

                  You do know that she had a baby right? And you do know that I was flirting with outting her the day she just so happened to “quit” right?

                4. 6>>>flirting with outting her the day she just so happened to “quit” right?

                  If there is one behavior that should stop is this accusing to know who people really are. 6, you have said I am someone for years that I am not. And it wrong to do so.

                5. “If there is one behavior that should stop is this accusing to know who people really are. 6, you have said I am someone for years that I am not. And it wrong to do so.”

                  “Accusing to know”? You’re funny NWPA. Usually I simply present the evidence of the poster’s existence and let people draw the parallel themselves. Is that cool with you? Or should that also be off the table?

                6. “I could never get anon to discuss the facts of a case”

                  Ned, you and I always asked too much of him in that arena. He doesn’t know how to discuss the facts of a case. He’s just a GUI designer pretending to be a lawyer.

    2. 6, I did have a lot of fun reading your psychoanalysis of you know who. I think you may have been right. Some day, I will discuss your diagnosis with my daughter, the shrink.

  12. For people interested in these topics, the quality of intellectual argument on this site is like crack, and peoplez like to hit the pipe repeatedly.

    I think there is a community here, dysfunctional as it may be, and the form of the architecture of the site is actually driving some of the maladaptive behavior.

    Perhaps a better format would be forums built around topics like; 101, procedure, 285 cases, design patents, software patents, etc. Then the thousands of repeating comments at least are coherently related in time rather than the random pattern of Prof Crouch’s front page selections. In that system, when he tags posts, the comments flow to those forums.

    I do think unfettered, wide open post it and its published comments are the best way to go overall. The crackheads need to be contained, but it works better for everyone else and provides way better discussion quality.

    With a touch of self-reflection I see I have been spending a little too much time at the pipe myself…so I’ll be chillin on the comments here for awhile.

    1. “I think there is a community here, dysfunctional as it may be, and the form of the architecture of the site is actually driving some of the maladaptive behavior.”

      You and I will have to disagree there. The architecture of the site surely takes a backseat to mental illness in driving the maladaptive behavior, just the same as it does in many other arenas.

  13. Hi Dennis, thanks for your attention to this matter.

    Are you aware with how forbes.com manages comments? The post author flags certain comments as being “called out”. Viewers by default see only the called-out comments, but can click to see all comments. This serves numerous functions:

    1. Hiding valueless comments from casual viewing.
    2. Providing obvious guidance by the post author regarding the type and tone of comments that provide value.
    3. Allowing people who want to argue, to argue, without imposing their arguments on casual viewers.

    1. This may result in a lot of additional effort for the post author. I think a community-driven moderation system (e.g. Slashdot’s system) would have equal effect without undue burden. Comments are rated up or down by randomly selected moderators – or, by everyone logged in, in another version – and comments above a certain threshold are featured and presented in full, comments below a second threshold are hidden unless explicitly requested for viewing, and comments between the thresholds are shown in abbreviated form.

      1. Dan, clearly you are unaware with how comments work at forbes.com . The purpose of comments there is engagement between the commentor and the author (not between two commentors). If the author does not want to engage, the author need not call-out anything. The comments there do not tend toward arguments between commentors, because the author does not enable that type of engagement.

  14. Great policy update.

    I apologize for any misguided comments posted by me in the past.

    I don’t agree with the Alice Corp, et al decisions but will try to keep the discussion on point.

    Best,

    Splinter

  15. As an occasional Guest Poster on this and other blogs I welcome comments on what I have written. It shows that people have read the posting and that it is interesting.

    However, comments in Patently-O are a problem in overall length, number and quality.

    On any contentious topic such as CLS v Alice, the overall length of the comments rapidly becomes a multiple of the length of the original posting. It is then impractical to scan through this mass of verbiage, some of it helpful but most not, and derive any important information. Most comments rapidly go off topic which does not help.

    The comments are often too many in overall number and repeated postings by a few individuals do not help. Often you will find 100 comments, but if you track through you will find that about 80 of them have originated from a group of 5 or 6 repetitive commentators. Not only is there then little indication of how widely the postings have been read, but also debate about the topic with which the posting is concerned is drowned out.

    Relatively few comments contain sound legal discussion and authority to back up the arguments being made. Overall the quality of the comments is low and it is difficult to reconcile the high quality of the Patently-O blog with the poor quality of many comments. The respect that ought to be accorded to Patently-O as a leading blog in our field is thereby undermined, and it is difficult to see how postings can be influential e.g. amongst senior members of the USPTO staff or judges if this mayhem continues.

    Comments on IPWatchdog are now reviewed before posting, as also with PatentDocs and Patents4life. Regrettably commentators are not a self-policing community and the only way forward in my submission is to review comments in advance of posting. What is needed is not a host of poor quality comments but a small numbner of good ones.

    1. An apology – IPWatchdog had a technical problem delaying comments which I thought were being moderated. However, Gene has now confirmed that it was a technical problem, not deliberate policy. That does not detract from the need for moderated comments on Patently-O.

  16. What about making all comments non-anonymous. My experience has been it is the only way to prevent the type of excesses you describe. People are much less likely to troll under their real names.

    1. JohanBrag, there are two sides to that coin, are there not?

      Consider examiners.

      Consider lawfirms who would prefer to control what their members say.

      Ditto most companies.

      Such a rule might limit participation severely, unless one were, in his or her comments, towing the party line as one commentator noted about the patent bar in general. People who disagree with the zeitgeist would be afraid to speak up.

    2. Why not require registration in order to comment? The bona fides presented during the registration process would only be known to Patently-O, and registered commentators could post using a pseudonym. Wouldn’t that sufficiently protect the identity of Examiners etc., while discouraging abuse since Patently-O would know who the commentators were. I think that would achieve the goal of a lively discussion among the dedicated and responsible.

    3. I for one would never post if I was not anonymous. (As it is, I rarely join the fray, but even that small amount would be zero if I was not allowed to be anonymous.)

  17. Dennis, one of the reasons I read (many) of the comments here is that this is one of the few venues in this profession where actual, strong debate occurs and is tolerated. I cannot think of the last patent-oriented CLE I attended where there was any real debate on any issue, especially with respect to cases like Bilski and Alice. (Can’t the organizers of such events find even one speaker willing to comment favorably on the decisions in Bilski and Alice?) I am in favor of commentators stripping out personal attacks and snark (if I want tea, I’ll drink it), but if that results in a comments section that becomes little more than yet another source for Patent Party Line views and little else, it will be a fail.

    1. if that results in a comments section that becomes little more than yet another source for Patent Party Line views and little else, it will be a fail

      I am 100% sure that Dennis is aware of the gravitational pull.

      The best preventative is to engage in the manner encouraged by Dennis.

      I’m also 100% sure that Dennis, having been on the receiving end of some very silly insults in the comments as little as 24 hours ago, appreciates that some folks who will inevitably comment here simply aren’t capable of reasonably defending their views or justifying their assumptions, or they aren’t willing to do so. Instead, they react harshly when questioned, regardless of how reasonably and “civilly” those questions are presented. This doesn’t amount to much when the commenter(s) is not posting frequently; it may be a bigger problem if/when non-responsive commenter(s) choose to flood the comments.

      1. Huh? I was 100% certain that he’s referring to your conduct, your abusiveness, and your swearing. I haven’t seen any “insults” to Dennis that I think he is afraid to deal with.

        I also am left with the conviction that you, MM, certainly do not “post written work that you would be willing to attach to your professional name.” No way, no how.

        So, really, unless you change 180 degrees, you shouldn’t be posting per Dennis’ request.

        Looking forward to your comment reconciling that.

        1. Hi Mike,

          I haven’t seen any “insults” to Dennis that I think he is afraid to deal with.

          I never said that Dennis was “afraid to deal with” the insults directed at him. I just pointed out that the insults were made and they certainly did not accord with the vision set forth above.

          I was 100% certain that he’s referring to your conduct

          I’m 100% certain I was responding to a point made by Egon and not to Dennis’ comment. Regardless, you should read Dennis’ post more carefully as it not directed solely at “abusiveness or swearing.”

          you, MM, certainly do not “post written work that you would be willing to attach to your professional name.” No way, no how.

          In fact I make comments here on a regular basis that I have made in public and I’m quite proud of them. I’ve made several in the past few days in fact.

          unless you change 180 degrees, you shouldn’t be posting per Dennis’ request

          Dennis’ request hardly seemed to me like a request for a “180 degree change” in my comments. Suffice it to say that Dennis and I reached a consensus about how the comments could be improved for everyone, including me. And Ned. And MaxDrei. And DanH. And 6. And RandomGuy. And quite a few other commenters.

          If you think there’s “something missing” from the comments after these changes, you should feel free to express exactly what that “something” is.

          1. “Suffice it to say that Dennis and I reached a consensus about how the comments could be improved for everyone, including me. And Ned. And MaxDrei. And DanH. And 6. And RandomGuy. And quite a few other commenters.”

            Oh well that’s good.

            As I’ve noted I’m actually kind of looking to “retire” a bit myself from commenting. The law has more or less been set straight over these last few years. The CAFC’s influence is diminished. Only one true bastion of nonsense remains to be stormed and the USSC has already signaled that they’re on to what is going on. I can leave that bastion for others to lead the charge upon. Surely another leader can and will step up. The rest of the mop up efforts are surely work suited for others who get paid to do so.

            1. Surely another leader can and will step up. The rest of the mop up efforts are surely work suited for others who get paid to do so.

              We thank you for your service, 6.

        2. Mike, MM has long been one of the posters here that I most value. I always looked for his posts eagerly as MM has a very good grasp of the fundamentals. From my observation, MM’s posts were always genuine efforts to discuss the issues. If he disagreed with me, for example, he stated why, and always with respect.

          The problems were caused, in my view, by people who simply attacked MM, misrepresented what he said, used strawmen arguments and the like. He reacted, as often did I when subject to the same.

          In the end, I simply stopped reading anon’s posts and recommended that MM and MaxDrei do the same. MM himself began pleading with Dennis to do something about anon. Apparently, he listened to MM, if not to me, for which I am very grateful.

          1. ” MM himself began pleading with Dennis to do something about anon. Apparently, he listened to MM, if not to me, for which I am very grateful.”

            Oh and here I was wondering if he’d just been on vacation.

              1. Ned, 6, and MM are fabricating all this. If anon isn’t posting much, it is because of the reasons that anon has posted about many times. Not because Dennis has restricted him.

                I am sure MM didn’t have any more of an influence on Dennis regarding the new rules than any of the other posters.

                Geez, can’t you lot just move on with the new rules and not try to get in these revisions of history.

                1. “Ned, 6, and MM are fabricating all this”

                  I can promise you that I had no hand in this outside of anything I’ve posted on this board for all to see.

                  Though I think you’re likely right that anon probably is not banned, and if he is, it is likely temp.

                2. Night, I don’t know who or if anybody contacted Dennis privately about anon, but I know that Malcolm and I have been complaining, even begging, that something be done about anon who made this place all but intolerable.

                  In recent posts, not only was he insulting attacking Malcolm and me as usual, but he’s attacking new posters such as Martin, an older posters such as Max. He had gotten away out-of-control.

              2. So Patently-O officially endorses the viewpoints of MM and silences anon?
                I cannot recall Dennis ever giving props to any poster after a post — save one. This same one that admits to having conversations with Dennis outside this blog. Don’t shoot the messenger … it is what it is.

                1. I recall D giving “props” to many posters. Including notably anon, not a month ago.

                  That said, I have yet to see any “official endorsement” of MM or anyone else.

                2. Have some of Anon’s previous posts been deleted? I was looking at some of the previous topics on this blog and they appear a little “light.”

                3. Oh No, anon almost never posted serious arguments. Not once, ever, and this goes back years, did he ever discuss a case in a serious fashion with me, or with anyone. He absolutely refused to discussed the facts in Alappat, to cite what he believed its holding to be. Ditto another favorite of his, Nazomi. When confronted time and again by many posters of the facts of Diehr, he continued to attack folks for not acknowledging that the software was the sole novelty in the case.

                  Rather, his form of argument was simply an attack of one kind or another. Regardless of whether you agreed with his snipes, snarks and snivels, the man’s self-appointed role here was to make life intolerable for anyone with whom he disagreed, and that was just about everyone.

                4. 6, from some of his comments, though, he seemed familiar with patent interviews and other details of patent prosecution that indicated to me that he was at least a patent agent.

                5. “6, from some of his comments, though, he seemed familiar with patent interviews and other details of patent prosecution that indicated to me that he was at least a patent agent.”

                  His resume doesn’t indicate as much, nor does his current “job” if you can call it that. It appears to me like he simply did some work for MS and was probably involved a bit on some GUI patents prosecuted for them. Had some interviews, looked over some stuff, read a bunch on the internets. Remember, that’s exactly what pa th olo gical lia rs like to do in order to take on a fake persona.

                6. 6, how do you know any of this? According to you I am someone I am not. According to you I am not a patent attorney but an inventor, which I consider flattery.

                  But the fact that you are so wrong about me means that you may be wrong about anon too.

                7. “6, how do you know any of this?”

                  Google your buddies fav phrase “ladders of abstraction”. Follow the breadcrumbs to an obviously mentally unstable author (based on his own writings) who has a background in GUI’s, an interest in rules/law, fancies himself an “inventor” (though his “ideas” box is left blank and is listed on no patents) and who shares anon’s personal definitions for words. Who was also unemployed for a very long time during anon’s prime posting times. Check out his trying to personally define “intellectually honest” on your interbuts to meet his exacting criteria on his buddies/associates website (supposedly the very first wiki). There are plenty of other indications I won’t trouble myself to bother you with them all. One really nice one though was that when I was first on to him I asked him 2x “You’re the victor though aren’t you anon?”. He replied yes both times hoping I’d keep him a secrit.

                  The thing that initially tipped me off though after I found his site was when the author had posted on a obscure off-site thread that I had linked to from PO years and years ago under his own name.

                  This is the last time I’m explaining this to you NWPA, I tire of repeating myself for you.

                8. ” According to you I am someone I am not. According to you I am not a patent attorney but an inventor, which I consider flattery.”

                  I don’t know about that one little bit. There’s no reason you can’t be both. But yes, I’m the first one to admit the evidence indicating who you are is the weakest of all the people who I know of. As I have stated before as a matter of fact. Indeed, you could be his close brosef or attorney.

                  Check out this quote from one of the two of you btw: “It is a fact that software and mental processes are interchangeable, thus mental processes are patentabe”” Is that Martin speaking or is that you NWPA? For those that might have guessed NWPA the answer is below!

                  link to techrights.org

                  Nice article wherein Martin follows the same line of “reasoning” as you’ve taken a shine to here of late about circuitry is an algorithm or something like that.

                  link to zdnet.com

                  It’s a def possibility you could just be bros. I’ll say it right up front. It is awfully uncanny how every time you change your mind on something Martin publicly follows suit shortly thereafter though isn’t it?

                9. 6, you call anon a psycho and you spend your time trying to figure out who we are? Why do you care if not to harm us? You sound like our views on here are somehow personally against you. Scary. My advice to you is to chill. And ask yourself perform harming someone else what right have I to harm this person?

                  Sheesh. I am positive, by the way, that you are wrong about anon. I am not going to tell you how I know, but you are wrong.

                  And, I am not Martin and I don’t know Martin. Maybe Martin reads my posts and I influence him.

                  I wouldn’t say:

                  “It is a fact that software and mental processes are interchangeable, thus mental processes are patentabe”

                  There is a lot wrong with that statement or at least incomplete.

                  Man 6, you are one scary dude to be spending your time trying to unmask people. I thought someone had recently unmasked you on here. But, no one really cares because we have no desire to harm you outside this board.

                10. Also 6 my “line of reasoning” is nothing but what academics think right now. All I do is apply what I know about science to patent law. So the fact that many others would agree with me or present the same arguments is not surprising.

                11. “6, you call anon a psycho and you spend your time trying to figure out who we are?”

                  You obviously have not looked up what the word psycho (psychopathic) actually means.

                  Though tbh, I wasn’t intentionally trying to figure out anon’s ID. As usual I just stumbled into his ID while looking into his “ideas”, ironically just doing as he asked me to. And that’s just as many people who know who I am discovered me. Then I look into the person a bit more deeply to see who it is making these statements and was tipped of that it was indeed anon. Usually confirmation literally drops in my lap with nothing more than a google or two.

                  “Why do you care if not to harm us?”

                  Usually it just falls straight into my lap, I don’t actively research folks. You essentially out yourself. If anything you’ve been posting “harms” you then that’s your business.

                  “You sound like our views on here are somehow personally against you.”

                  When your “views” (coupled with you and yours personal judiciary body) cause me to implement upon the public an unjust entitlement it may not be “personal” but it surely isn’t “all business” anymore. If you had any power and any desire to use it justly then you’d understand.

                  ” that you are wrong about anon. ”

                  K.

                  “I wouldn’t say”

                  Course not, you’d say “scientific fact”. Lol.

                  “Man 6, you are one scary dude ”

                  You ain’t just whistlin’ dixie.

                  “I thought someone had recently unmasked you on here. But, no one really cares because we have no desire to harm you outside this board.”

                  A lot of people have unmasked me. At this point anybody who’s anybody knows exactly who I am and have shook my hand.

                  In any event, this is entirely too meta brosef, we must cease discussion. I’m going to have to cut us off. Have your final say. Anon is out for a bit, there’s no need for us to further discuss him. Enjoy this time. If you beg reprieve for yourself then simply do so, I’m not without mercy. Heck, I haven’t brought up your ID myself in quite sometime, you bring it up much more than I do.

    2. Egon, I personally find the debates here very educational. I listen as much as I post, especially from the European commentators. If others just reading this blog find the debates educational, I might recommend to the likes of the AIPLA that they schedule regular debates on timely patent law issues. I participated in several years ago, to very packed and entertained audiences.

    3. “Dennis, one of the reasons I read (many) of the comments here is that this is one of the few venues in this profession where actual, strong debate occurs and is tolerated. ”

      I have to agree that this very thing is the no. 1 largest selling point for PO being the leading patent blog. The articles are nice, D’s contribs/OPs are great, but in the end, you’re simply not going to find anything even somewhat close to the lively debate found here. Regardless of its failings and those of the commentators themselves. It’s been like that since the beginning and there’s no getting around it.

      “Can’t the organizers of such events find even one speaker willing to comment favorably on the decisions in Bilski and Alice?”

      They can always book me :) My rates are extremely reasonable.

  18. Some websites use a feedback system for comments that (in my experience) greatly improves the quality and appearance of the comments. Here’s generally how it goes:

    A user posts a comment. The comment appears in chronological order and has small “+” and “-” buttons off to a side/corner. Other users can use these buttons to upvote a comment they like or find important, or they can downvote a comment they dislike or find unimportant/offensive/etc. The tally of votes for each comment is displayed near the “+” and “-” buttons.

    The website admin can set thresholds for what happens at certain numbers of upvotes or downvotes. Generally what occurs is that after a certain number of upvotes, the font size is increased to signify that the readers have found the comment worthy of attention, and conversely after a certain number of downvotes, the font size is decreased.

    After a larger threshold for downvotes is reached, a comment will be hidden from view with only a small link displayed to show the comment. This allows the community to hide the irrelevant or offensive discussions from immediate view without the admin having to censor anyone.

    And now, commence snark about how this should/shouldn’t be patentable…

    1. “Ouch” to the last sentence…

      I cordially raise the point that “popularity” never was a measure of an idea’s validity.

      If the commentary is to serve as an exchange of ideas in the spirit of “free” discourse, it should be civil, but its content, I respectfully submit, should not be “censored” based on agreement/popularity with any comment’s particular substance.

      After all, in such times, and in fact at all times it is always important that valid ideas, no matter how unpopular, be allowed to see the light of day, and considered by open minds.

      1. Perhaps the “+” and “-” buttons aren’t the best way to characterize the value of a comment, because as has been pointed out, they may just invite people to vote based on agreement or disagreement.

        Maybe better labels for the buttons would look something like what Amazon does for its customer reviews – add a question along the lines of “Does this comment contribute to the discussion?” and then “Yes” or “No” buttons.

    2. I’m sceptical about the upvote/downvote feature. I think it can nudge commentators into two opposing camps. We want less of that, I think, not more.

      I would prefer a feature that simply nudges commentators towards civility.

      The most powerful nudge I can think of is a moderator simply deleting a post with words indicating that the posting did not comply with site policy. I personally would be mortified if Dennis were to do that to any of my posts, with my pseudonym remaining, above the “post deleted” message. So I like to think that only a few such deletions will be a powerful nudge towards civility. Moderating time ought then to be less than all-consuming, and gradually less and less onerous.

      And those that don’t get the idea then get (as on the Patent Watchdog site has it) “banned”.

    3. While there are certainly sites that use this system, they tend to reinforce the notion that one opinion is correct on a particular website, and controversial opinions are unwelcome. Even if you tell people that the rating system is meant to be used for whether a comment is high quality debate or low quality trolling, they’ll still use it to indicate instead whether they agree or disagree with the opinion expressed in a post.

  19. Bravo, I have expressed the same concerns for years. Since the problem- commentators seem incapable of realizing that many of their comments are merely outlets for personal hostilities directed against other commentators and/or legal developments they disagree with, of no value to anyone actually interesting in patent law realities, and discouraging both readers and substantive contributors, they must be actively filtered out.

    1. “Disagreement with legal development” is not necessarily of “no value”… nor absent “substantive contribution”. Lawyers, adjudicators, policy-makers, and journalists all play a part in influencing the formation, creation, development, repeal, and overturning of law, whether by statute or by precedent, of patent law, and individuals of each of these categories likely read and or comment on Patently-O.

      It is a good thing that those who read and comment on this blog can encounter disagreement and reasoned argument.

      I agree that “personal hostilities”, to the extent they are *merely* personal and not genuine substantive concerns of U.S. Patent and related laws, have no value and serve only to distract from actual principled discourse.

      I for one am happy there will no more reference to the tea industry…

      1. ““Disagreement with legal development” is not necessarily of “no value”… nor absent “substantive contribution”. ”

        I will have to agree with that. Especially in so far as the person is cogently able to explain their reason for disagreeing. Many folks on here reading or commenting are people in positions of power, and them reading dissent after dissent may well open their eyes eventually.

        If I’m being 100% honest I’ve been very influenced by even the worst of the worst on here, and it would by my opinion that at least some of the influence was for the better.

        1. there will no more reference to the tea industry…

          Just for the record, that “reference to the ‘tea industry'” in the context of patents was coined by me not as a “personal” attack but as a shorthand to identify the strange anti-government, jingoistic rhetoric that was (and still is) employed by self-professed “patent apologists, which was (and still is) indistinguisable from the rhetoric of the self-identifying members of the original “tea industry”, with its reflexive “regulation of business is destroying America” “principles.”

          The political views of the major proponents behind the maximization of the rights and power of patentees, and most of the major players (e.g., the Texas NPEs), are rather transparent, I think. It is what it is. I recognize — as I’m sure Dennis does — that it’s difficult to discuss those relationships in an online forum like this without generating unwanted levels of heat. The fact that public opinion of the original “tea industry” cratered in the meantime didn’t help, I suppose. link to cbsnews.com

          1. MM – The obvious problems with your ‘tea-bagging’ approach are (1) the sexual reference that doesn’t need to be there; and (2) the tying of the patent-law issues directly to the tea-party issues with the result of doing nothing more than raising the heat. As far as I know, the tea-party does not have any real stance on patent law.

            1. I understand the “heat” issue, Dennis.

              See: link to forbes.com for an example of the convergence of interests identified by a conservative writer.

              Regardless, we’ll find out soon enough whether I was the primary source of politics-laden “heat” being unnecessarily introduced into topics here. Pretty sure there’s plenty of unnecessary heat being brought from “the other side”. There always was and, I predict, it will keep coming from that direction. Your libertarian thread is already devolving into “commie bashing”.

              The s ex thing honestly was not in my mind at all, at least not with that particular reference. 😉 I didn’t coin the use of the term to describe like-minded members of a political group. They coined it themselves or, more accurately, paid one of their brilliant marketers a lot of money to brand themselves with that name.

              1. “The s ex thing honestly was not in my mind at all, at least not with that particular reference.”

                Right. Your little smiley face suggests otherwise. As does your obsession with patent “fluffing.”

                Put the porn down, Mooney and get back to examining your protein bits and DNA fragments.

            2. Dennis, you have noone to blame for the mess on this site but yourself. When Examiner Mooney would go off on a tirade against anybody who even suggested that a claim reciting a computer might be patent eligible subject matter and label them a “softie-woftie loving, bottom feeding, txx bxgging, patent fluffing grifter” you did: absolutely nothing. But when Examiner Mooney whined like a little baby that he was being called a baboon you immediately jumped in to his aid and comfort.

              You made your own bed. Now lie in it.

              1. Hey AJ –

                I’m letting things pass on this thread because it is all about how to have a good commenting community. I don’t really get this, but it is clear that your reference to “examiner mooney” is a form of name-calling.

                I have deleted thousands of comments that I saw as problematic, many from you, many from MM, many from anon, etc. I’m certain that I did not catch them all as I have not read all of the 200,000 comments that have been posted. So, I don’t really understand what point you are trying to make here.

                1. Dennis if you don’t know what “fluffing” is you should look it up. I’ve only heard it in England, but it a vulgar term related to s ex. It doesn’t get worse than being called a “fluffer.” And yet MM has been calling many of us on this board that for years despite my many protestations.

                2. The point I’m trying to make Dennis is that you’re partial to Mooney. You accuse me of name calling yet you’re silent as a church mouse when Mooney has on numerous occasions called me a “softie woftie loving, bottom feeding, txx bxgging, patent fluffing grifter” for the crime of posting that a claim that recites a computer might actually be a patent eligible invention or that the evidence, or complete lack thereof, used to find a claim obvious is somewhat lacking.

                  Say what you want about anon but at least he doesn’t repeatedly refer to his opponents as “fluffers” in the disgusting and degrading manner that Mooney does, and which you do nothing to stop.

                  So I’m all for your call for substantive and civil debate on this site, but until you actually show me that you’re capable of being impartial in your enforcement actions, it’s pretty hard to take you seriously. That’s my point.

                  And if you don’t know what a “fluffer” is, feel free to Google it.

                3. And I think most blogs would ban a person for life for calling others that. And if he called me that in person I would punch him in the face.

                4. Denis, like all of us you have your positions on patents, politics, and other substantive issues discussed here. I am sure each of us here both agree with much of what you think and disagree with much of what you think, as we agree and disagree amongst ourselves.

                  I cannot say that I have noticed any differential treatment of commenters based on how much or how little your positions on those substantive issues align.

                  I do think it is important, however, that even the *appearance* of preferential treatment of commenters based on substantive views rather than on objective assessment of “substance independent” *bad* behavior, would be a bad thing for you and the site. I believe you already strive to keep that image of fairness and objectivity and I encourage you to stay the course, especially when you agree or disagree with the views of those you are tasked with judging fairly.

              2. Examiner Mooney would go off on a tirade against anybody who even suggested that a claim reciting a computer might be patent eligible subject matter and label them a “softie-woftie loving, bottom feeding, txx bxgging, patent fluffing grifter” y

                Uh…. no. That’s a gross mischaracterization of the way things have been but I can imagine that it seems that way to people who, e.g., are used to posting in a forum where their utterances are never challenged or who believe that they have a right to express whatever view is most pleasing to them without criticism.

                We could, if you like, revisit your own comments here and those of many others and see exactly how our “online relationship” devolved to this point.

                Or we could just move on. You can continue to post your “jokes” about which judges should be impeached and why. I won’t call you names. If it’s unclear that you are joking, it’s reasonable to expect that you might be asked if you are serious. You can answer that question any way you’d like.

                It really is up to you.

                1. Of course I don’t believe that judges who refer patents as monopolies should be impeached. And I asked you a week or so ago to produce even one post where I “called for a movement to impeach judges…” and what have you provided? Nothing. You won’t find a single post of mine where I used the term “impeach.” Yet you continually bring it up. I especially love it when I post something that exposes the ridiculousness of your position and you respond with “How’s that movement to impeach judges going?” which I guess is your way of acknowledging that you routinely post bullsh!t opinions on cases and patents that you haven’t bothered to even read.

                  So please do cite/quote even one post of mine where I called for impeaching judges. In other words, produce some evidence. Or STFU.

                  And no, it’s not a gross mischaracterization of the way things are/were. Any call for you to provide some actual evidence was met with, “Oh, you need evidence??!!!! You must be a bottom feeding, txx bxgging, patent fluffing grifter!!!!!” At least you have the decency to not lie and claim you never called anybody that. I guess that’s some progress.

                  And no, I’m not somebody who can’t handle criticism of my opinions. I’ve had plenty of back and forths with Ned without any of the bullsh!t that I’ve had to put up with from you.

                2. BTW, any time you’re unsure if any of my posts are “serious” or a “joke” feel free to ask. Or you could just make ridiculous mischaracterizations of them over and over and over and over and over and over like you’ve been doing for months now.

                  Up to you.

                3. BTW, any time you’re unsure if any of my posts are “serious” or a “joke” feel free to ask.

                  I will.

                  And together we can do our best to make it clear to one another when we are joking and when we aren’t.

          2. MM, I would second Dennis’s motion.

            You write persuasively as it is. The political attacks distract in an unnecessary way.

            As to blog trolls, why not just ignore them? They are just trying to provoke you. Don’t make it so easy.

            1. There are blog trolls here who are trying to provoke me? Really? 😉

              Seriously, though: I got the message, Ned. Trust me.

              Presumably these “blog trolls” will get the message from Dennis, as well.

    2. P.S. Another [albiet not necessarily as hostile] big time-waster in these comments, and among some academics as well, are all the debates over whether Sup. Ct. or Fed. Cir. decisons are “logical” or “correct” (in their view). As Justice Oliver Wendel Holmes famously pointed out many years ago, the life of the law is not logic, it is human experience. Furthermore, one has to live with these contolling appellate court decisions unless they are overuled or narrowly distiguished, and that is clearly not going to happen for recent and unanimous Sup. Ct. patent decisions [much less a pair of them like Alice and Bilski].

    3. All “debates” over whether Court decisions are “correct” or “logical” are a big-time waster?

      Would you say the same is true about all “debate” over whether Legislation passed into law is “correct” or “logical” are similarly time wasters?

      Or perhaps all “debate” over the executive branch’s execution and administration of the Law is “correct” “logical” (“fair” “just” “consistent with the law”) are similarly time wasters?

      In Summary then, would you say all debate over Govt, and its control of Patent Rights, whether by creation of statute, decisions rendered by Courts, and actions taken by the execution/administration of the executive branch are all time wasters?

      Discourse of how the governed are governed is pointless then…?

      Respectfully, I disagree.

      1. I think Paul is getting at something more specific which is that at some point, particularly after a unanimous Supreme Court decision that is well-regarded by most people, it grows beyond tiresome listening to rants about it particularly when the arguments supporting the decision are never addressed by the complainer(s) and where the complainer(s) refuses to present a feasible alternative that would address the issues that led to the Supreme Court decision in the first place.

        It’s certainly not inappropriate to point out that a Constitutional issue is presented by a particular set of facts or a decision, for instance. A bit less appropriate in most instances to wrap yourself in the flag and accuse anyone who reasonably questions your assumptions of being a communist, destroying the economy, returning us to the iron age, or otherwise being “un-American” in some respect.

        1. MM, when Benson came down, the patent bar reacted with dismay. They really, really disagreed with it. This lead to a long, bitter guerilla war between the bar and the Supreme Court where the PTO and the courts were used by the bar as pieces on the chessboard whether they knew it or not.

          Paul is expressing his hope that the patent bar finally accepts Benson and the recent cases on business methods. I express that hope too, but the bar is persistent, especially when their clients business interests are adversely affected.

          1. Ned,

            The reaction to Benson was that it had the science wrong and did not apply patent law properly. See Chisum for a scholarly analysis of Benson.

            Ned, the reality is that the attack on information processing has been severe and sustained. That the PTO and the DOJ wanted to exclude information processing without Congress. That is the history–for real. Not the bizarre nonsense you push on here everyday.

            1. The problem with Benson was that it was inarticulate.

              It would have helped mightily, in retrospect, if the Justice Dept. had simply cited Hotel Security and its line of cases as a proper mode of analysis.

        2. I agree wrapping oneself in a “flag” is irrational and an appeal to “nationalism”. Such a thing lends nothing to the validity of an idea presented… which should stand or fall on its own merits.

          I also agree that accusing a person of “being” a communist, out to destroy the economy, or un-American, is not appropriate.

          Ideas themselves, and consequences of actions/policy can and should be evaluated in open civil discussion.

      2. This is not a political blog, or a personal opinions blog, it is supposed to be an patent law information blog.
        Of course specific and realistic suggestions for new patent law legislation or possible patent law judicial distinctions should be welcomed. But not mere endless bare repetitions of “…. is all wrong and terrible.” Or “I personally disagree with …, so it must be unconstitutional.” That merely missleads naive readers as to the actual state of current patent law.

        1. endless bare repetitions of “…. is all wrong and terrible.” Or “I personally disagree with …, so it must be unconstitutional.” That merely missleads naive readers as to the actual state of current patent law.

          Agreed. Patent law is always evolving, relatively rapidly compared to other areas because of changes in technology, and there are always going to be disagreements.

          It’s important to explain why you believe that a law (legislative or judicially created) that you disagree with needs to change, and how it needs to change.

          Likewise, it’s important to recognize that every change in the law or application of existing law affects different people differently. A declaration that one has been wrongfully denied a patent claim without the relevant details (e.g., the claim and the denial) don’t provide much of a foundation for a discussion.

  20. I echo the sentiments here, and also encourage anon to participate.

    Given the U.S. great history and legacy of individual rights and capitalism that gave birth to our (recently?) flourishing patent system, it only seems right that an advocate of those U.S. ideals like anon should continue to participate… he is one that can bring needed balance to the … commentary.

  21. Sounds like a great plan. I hope our favorite poster anon will return with his substantive comments and that it will encourage more readers to participate.

    1. Night, you might know that I tried making a deal with anon a few weeks ago. He stops posting snarky statements that are little more than “you are wrong” and I would endeavor to answer his questions.

      Didn’t last long.

  22. I read often but have never commented until now, largely for the reasons articulated by Dennis. Thank you for posting this.

  23. A welcome change, Dennis.

    While it may be difficult to implement, what about a Slashdot-style community based moderation system? Or even a simple up-vote/down-vote system with comments with scores below a threshold hidden unless explicitly clicked?

    1. I agree and think something like this is the answer–I’ve recently thought some voter-like reddit system should be implemented on these boards (and several others, as this problem is not unique here) but slashdot seems about right.

      a username/password would likely be required . . . maybe a simple “like” tally for each post could help reward the best?

    2. Dennis,
      The people over at SoylentNews can likely help you set up a powerful community-based comment-moderation system using our version of the open-source code that runs Slashdot.

      To give a little background: SoylentNews PBC is a Delaware Public Benefit Corporation established earlier this year. According to our charter, “The specific public benefit purpose of the Corporation is to engage in and promote free and open journalism through the production, publication, and community-sourced analysis and discussion of news and original and third-party-sourced works of fact and opinion.”

      Our next board meeting will be held this Friday at 6:30 EDT here, and will be open to the public. Feel free to send me an email or drop by the board meeting if you are interested in learning more.

  24. Wow! People do click on the Link Dennis offers, cos it’s great.

    Very usefully, Dennis reminds us of what we all know already, that it is oh so much easier to tear something down than to build it up. How about we here on this blog set ourselves the higher standard, of criticising constructively enough that the criticism is not mere tearing down but, rather, as material which builds the thing up.

      1. Crikey. Steady on Ned. I’m the one round here who does hyperbole!

        No thanks needed. I’m here for my own self-interest.

        Even though I don’t go along with everything that you post, I do enjoy reading you. It must be said.

Comments are closed.