He was responding to a comment making the argument that something cannot be a crime if no damage is done and no one is hurt. He even quoted the as much of the comment he was replying to.
Please, please, please, pay attention to context before accusing someone of ignoring context. It makes it very difficult for people to have nuanced debates about complex events if nobody is allowed to isolate a part of the problem independent of others.
I don't think I said that! I did say that if I had to chose between "federal crime" or prank that I'd chose prank. But if you extended the list to include misdemeanour or somesuch I guess I could see that.
Rather than wasting my time explaining to you why it is wrong...
As a matter of fact, explaining why someone is wrong is generally less of a waste of time than insulting them.
Consider the benefits: they might learn things they didn't know, you will have a better understanding of your own feelings, and you may both get some insight into a different point of view than your own. These are, in my opinion, more valuable things than the fleeting satisfaction one gets from telling someone off.
Suppose it takes five times as long to write a decent comment as it would an insult. Would you rather look back at some point in the future and say "I wrote 50 insults", or "I wrote 10 good comments"?
Wouldn't MIT losing all JSTOR access for several days count as damage done? Given MIT's research focus and its size, it is hard to imagine how that could not have disrupted the work of a lot of researchers.
There's also the potential for harder-to-measure future damage. For example, when an organization like JSTOR approaches a publisher and tries to work out a deal that will allow university patrons access to one of their collections, a major factor in whether the publisher agrees is whether their data will be safe from scraping. When someone does scrape a large portion of it through just one of these arrangements, the publishers get spooked and less likely to make them in the future, and the end result is that the general public ends up with less access to knowledge than they had at the start.
I think it still has the wrong connotations. I think it's reasonable for a reader unfamiliar with the case to interpret "prank" to mean that there was no political motivation behind it. That it is better than "federal crime" is a false dichotomy.