, Derry, New Hampshire

Online Extras: News to Note

July 6, 2012

For one week, good triumphs over evil online


Ensuring Klein never needs to step on a school bus again doesn't mean that the bus environment will get any better, just that she won't have to witness it, and that that her donors get to feel happy about their part in that. Mob-rule generosity is absolutely a better response than mob-rule justice, but both are versions of chaos. (A counter-faction responded to Klein's plight by suggesting her tormenters — minors — be tarred and beaten in the town square.)

A sprite solution from last week that I liked better involved no personal monetary gains, but did unleash a greater-good mentality. After weeks of an ongoing, increasingly absurd legal battle between humor sites TheOatmeal and FunnyJunk — it involved copyright and libel — the founder of TheOatmeal attempted to quelch the madness. He proposed that instead of paying the $20,000 that FunnyJunk had requested, he would raise $20,000 for the American Cancer Society and the National Wildlife Fund. Ultimately, TheOatmeal's readers helped him raise more than $200,000.

Does the money solve questions of copyright and libel online? No. But the money went to a truly good cause, instead of just causing people to feel good.

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