Whack-A-Troll with Collaborative Social Blocking


Exactly. By running this tool, you’re letting the Atheism+ community use your account to block people they don’t like. That might be fine if you agree with everything they think and say. This is the automated version of telling a community to flag a list of pictures of mothers breastfeeding on Facebook. Except with that the people being asked to flag might decide that a particular picture is ok with them. With this, you don’t even see what your account is being used for unless you look specifically.


None of those things are superior to Usenet. If developers had focused on specialized newsreaders instead of umpteen thousand different crappy web forums (each with their own login, password, interface, formatting rules, etc, yay! (And that are liable to disappear altogether, taking their archives with them without warning.)) the Internet would be a better place today.



Having used Usenet myself, and all the alternatives I listed, they most certainly are. Of course, the fact that you manage to list a series of perks that makes forums better than usenet as if they are some sort negative makes it pretty clear that for you, they are not. That’s fine! People have different needs and desires. And pretty much everyone who has needs and desires that are best met by Usenet still uses Usenet! It’s got more users than it ever has at any point in history before now!

But every one of those things are superior to Usenet for situations and sets of desires that not you, and that’s ok. It means your service gets a bit worse, since everyone who used to be essentially forced to use it can go off and use something else instead and you probably lose some good people that way, but that’s the price you pay for options and progress.

For me, I like forums and IRC for general purpose communications and playing social games with people. Comments threads are great for commenting on articles like this, which I certainly want cluttering up my regular forum feeds as a normal thing! Tumblr and Twitter I never really got, personally, though there are a few funny twitter accounts I like reading now and again, and Blogs/Blog Comment Areas are great for a type of thing that Usenet always did poorly, in my opinion, though again I’m more a producer than a consumer there. Facebook is good for dealing with people I want to fill social obligations to but don’t particularly like or want to have real conversations with. Most of the others I could take or leave, but some like Reddit I occassionally find a use for.

But Usenet? I can never ever seem to find a reason to use Usenet anymore. It’s just, like… what’s the point?

It doesn’t fill a niche I have a need for. And that’s okay. It’s a niche that apparently plenty of other people want filled!


I feel you are being a bit hyperbolic here. I don’t see how a person could possibly read this article and not know that The Block Bot is run by Atheism+. It looks like it is useful as a generalized anti-harassment tool, and an accusation of “dishonesty” seems a bit too much. All tools that filter things have false positives. The article even quoted someone explicitly acknowledging the cost of using the tool (that some things may be blocked that she didn’t want blocked).


Looks like someone just discovered Slashdot’s commenting & moderation system.


Need something like this for Disqus, Livefyre and all the other Comments services even more. It would make it no fun for the crazies, fundamentalists of all sorts and other trolls and we might be able to have civil discourse.


From Glenn’s post:

deleted tweets can’t be used as evidence (nor can screen captures)

Hmm. I fielded a question from a reader about this in November for my USA Today column, and at the time Twitter’s D.C. public-policy rep Nu Wexler said that although the report-abuse form insists on a URL, that was not actually necessary. He wrote me in an e-mail:

When a user reports a tweet or account, it starts an e-mail chain that the user can then use to attach a screen shot via e-mail.

At the time, I didn’t get any feedback from readers indicating that this wasn’t the case in practice. But if Wexler was putting… let’s say, an optimistic gloss on reality, I’d like to know.

Edit: Either way, the form needs to spell that out so a bullied user doesn’t need a hack like me to inquire on their behalf with Twitter PR.




This is something that was lost from the days of bbs and usenet, you had effective blocking tools. Now, we need social ones, that are more adhock that what are talked about here, and broader, idleally, they would cross service boundries. Making the trolls shout into the void would make things much better for almost everyone.


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