Chinese Supreme Court makes service providers liable for "human flesh search engine"


Mob rule and mob justice simply doesn’t work.

And yet, it has immense appeal to the segments of populations that would rather be passionately angry and violently reactionary about things, than get to the truth of important matters and distinguish between shades of gray.

A troubling problem, and yet one as old as time, with little in the way of a solution.

Is “verified celebrity” a state-level thing in China, or is that a feature of a particular social service (like Twitter does)?

Because I think the idea of an official celebrity list is all kinds of ludicrous fun.


There are proven solutions: debate and deliberation. But they are not popular with authoritarians because they might not get their way. Children should be taught rhetoric, logic, and debate by elementary school, but in many societies the populations are deliberately not taught these skills - ever.


An even more troubling problem is that sometimes the mobs are right. Sometimes they go after a witch, and sometimes they go after a crooked politician, and people inside and outside the mob are just terrible at telling the difference.

It helps when we have authorities who are fair and just, and work hard to sort out right and wrong. This is possible, but very rare. There’s really no good solution.


Well, as “right” as they can be while still being quite demonstrably wrong. “Technically correct”, rather than in any way “moral” or “acceptable”.

The ends don’t justify the means, and all that jazz…

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I’m pretty sure that this rule coming from the government would not have come about simply to protect the little people who get targeted by these mobs, but rather because it started becoming more and more common for corrupt officials to be targeted this way.


Depends on the ends. What about some rock’n’roll?

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The juxtaposition of this headline with the item two up from here had me worried for a moment that the zombies had figured out the Internet.

“Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against?”
“Whaddya got?”

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To quote a source I can’t remember, if the ends don’t justify the means, what else possibly could? In other words, why do people only bring out that statement in response to means they don’t like? A bit off topic and pedantic and even academic in this case, so sorry there, but if you acknowledge that each possible means causes additional ends, then yes, ends are the only things that can and do justify any means.

The implication of the phrase is that the specific ends of a given course of action do not justify the specific means of that course of action.

For example, you can’t find your car keys.

One option is to burn your house to the ground and sift through the ashes with a metal detector, but the ends (finding your keys) do not really justify such means.

The ends would, however, justify the different means of retracing your steps through the entire house and trying to think where you put the keys when you had them last.

The phrase exists to illustrate that the speaker believes that the suggested course of action cannot be justified by its producing the forseeable outcome, and to imply that another, different course of action will have to be considered instead.

It’s like “throwing the baby out with the bathwater”. The ends of emptying the tub of dirty bathwater do not justify the means of disposing of the contents of the tub indiscriminately.


No matter what “human flesh search engine” means, it just sounds creepy.

Human flesh search engine? Either the working title for Videodrome 2 or an awesome punk band name.

Either way creepy as hell.

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Reading the headline I thought it was a search engine optimized for organ donation.

China being what it is, I would not be surprised to learn of an “official” list of celebrities, vetted and approved by government.

I have to disagree, Throwing out the baby with the bathwater is to dispose of a good idea, simply because there are bad elements in it.
It’s like throwing your car away and getting a new one because the ashtray was full.

I’m afraid you’re off the mark here, and have things backward.

The world, contrary to certain popular beliefs, has not always had indoor plumbing. People used to take baths in free-standing tubs, manually filling the basin full of water, and then manually pouring the water out when they were done.

“Throwing out the bathwater” was therefor a regular occurance, and the point of it was to remove the useless dirty water left over after you were done washing up.

So imagine now you’ve just given a baby a bath. The tub is full of useless wastewater, which you naturally are going to remove. But the baby is also still inside the tub as well.

If you throw the bathwater out without first removing the baby, you aren’t “disposing of a good idea, simply because there are bad elements in it”, you are doing the expected thing by throwing out a bad thing (the dirty water), but failing to first salvage the good parts within it (the baby).

Tying this back into my original comparison, the point of throwing out the bathwater is to get rid of the dirty water - not to get rid of the baby. Hence, the means (emptying the tub without first retrieving the child) are not justified by the ends (getting rid of the wastewater).

Thanks for the convoluted, incorrect explanation and the plumbing history lesson (I had no idea).
Your explanation is still incorrect, however.

The very first paragraph of your wikipedia link says:

Throw out the baby with the bath water is an idiomatic expression and a concept used to suggest an avoidable error in which something good is eliminated when trying to get rid of something bad, or in other words, rejecting the essential along with the inessential.

This is exactly what I just said.

In contrast, here is what you said:

Throwing out the baby with the bathwater is to dispose of a good idea, simply because there are bad elements in it.

In your example you are equating the baby to a “good idea”, and suggesting that the baby is purposefully thrown out because it has “bad elements in it” - meaning I don’t know what, that the baby drank the bathwater?

In my example, I am equating the bathwater to something bad that a person is trying to get rid of, and the baby is something good which is eliminated via an avoidable error.