All of the commenting, none of the comments.
July 14, 2015 9:37 PM   Subscribe

"When a user submits a comment, echochamber.js will save the comment to the user's LocalStorage, so when they return to the page, they can be confident that their voice is being heard, and feel engaged with your very engaging content. It does not make any HTTP requests. Since LocalStorage is only local, you and your database need not be burdened with other people's opinions."
posted by NoraReed (95 comments total) 69 users marked this as a favorite

 
the screenshot is perfect.
posted by snuffleupagus at 9:42 PM on July 14, 2015 [30 favorites]


That screenshot is excellent, but what really got me laughing was the timestamps on it
posted by aubilenon at 9:45 PM on July 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


But what if I want to post more than 10MB of hate and vitriol?
posted by ryanrs at 9:46 PM on July 14, 2015 [11 favorites]


Hellbanning is not a new idea, but hellbanning everybody by default is truly revolutionary.
posted by contraption at 9:52 PM on July 14, 2015 [26 favorites]


ryanrs, it sounds like you'd better go post that question in the support thread, I'm sure they'll get right on it.
posted by contraption at 9:53 PM on July 14, 2015 [10 favorites]


(that was a localstorage joke)
posted by ryanrs at 9:56 PM on July 14, 2015 [5 favorites]


Metafilter has the same thing, we just generate other comments for a fuller experience.
posted by The Devil Tesla at 10:05 PM on July 14, 2015 [33 favorites]


it definitely means something that we've reached a general consensus that 'comments on stuff on the internet are almost always garbage that doesn't deserve to be repeated to other humans' but i'm not sure what exactly it means
posted by p3on at 10:15 PM on July 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


Technically it's not well-foundedly a comment if nobody else reads it.
posted by polymodus at 10:20 PM on July 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


does anyone write the posts down here?
posted by NMcCoy at 10:23 PM on July 14, 2015 [12 favorites]


Metafilter has the same thing, we just generate other comments for a fuller experience.

MarkovFilter never went away, it was just fully integrated.
posted by carsonb at 10:35 PM on July 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Hello?
posted by Artw at 10:41 PM on July 14, 2015 [8 favorites]


Needs to be implemented on youtube. The screenshot will need way moar racism for Google to deem it a suitable replacement.
posted by benzenedream at 10:45 PM on July 14, 2015


That's very interesting. Please, tell me more about implemented on youtube the screenshot.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 10:55 PM on July 14, 2015 [48 favorites]


Mr. Sandman?
posted by clavdivs at 10:55 PM on July 14, 2015


The funny thing is that it could just be attached to some RNG and occasionally "notify" you that you'd been up-/downvoted arbitrarily and you would never even know
posted by DoctorFedora at 11:15 PM on July 14, 2015 [11 favorites]


Could also use an option to add occasional fake responses which quote the comment and follow it with dismissive snorts like "Cool story, bro", and "Yeah, right", just to drive them nucking futs.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:36 PM on July 14, 2015 [33 favorites]


p3on:it definitely means something that we've reached a general consensus that 'comments on stuff on the internet are almost always garbage that doesn't deserve to be repeated to other humans' but i'm not sure what exactly it means

I think it means it's time to start reevaluating IRL. I wouldn't be surprised if a tiny fraction of what words I process on a daily basis are really net contributions to the world, including these I just wrote. I'd delete it, but I just can't resist..the..shiny..yellow-ochre button..
posted by Jack Karaoke at 11:38 PM on July 14, 2015 [2 favorites]


Every news site everywhere should implement this immediately.

This developer deserves a Nobel Peace Prize.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 11:51 PM on July 14, 2015 [22 favorites]


Testing. Can anybody see this comment? TESTING!
posted by mazola at 11:58 PM on July 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


Really to make this thread perfect someone has to try desperately to make the case that the so-called problem that this is supposed to solve is feminist hogwash and to implement this on your site is misandry; in hilarious and characteristic obliviousness of what they are in effect admitting.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:59 PM on July 14, 2015 [9 favorites]


It's all about the ethics of gaming comments?
posted by chavenet at 12:23 AM on July 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


Making it appear like you've commented but hiding it from everyone else, so you think you commented but no one ever replies... isn't this basically cyber-gaslighting?
posted by JHarris at 12:58 AM on July 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Could also use an option to add occasional fake responses which quote the comment and follow it with dismissive snorts like "Cool story, bro", and "Yeah, right", just to drive them nucking futs.

https://github.com/tessalt/echo-chamber-js/issues/6
posted by xqwzts at 3:15 AM on July 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


(a) you ask whether it's gaslighting as if gaslighting internet comments is a bad thing.

(b) In my understanding, gaslighting is about making slow, systematic changes to the environment that are disavowed if noticed. So to really gaslight someone in this way, you'd have to apply it to all the places they comment - probably via some sort of local malware.
posted by Fraxas at 3:23 AM on July 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


If it's gaslighting to pretend that you're listening to someone who you are in fact ignoring, the term "gaslighting" has lost all useful meaning.

As someone who's been through a fair amount of gaslighting, the comparison of that to the blog comment version of a hellban or twitter mute is a pretty offensive way to attempt to co-opt that experience.
posted by NoraReed at 3:32 AM on July 15, 2015 [22 favorites]


Apparently, it's all about the gaming of ethics comments.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 3:33 AM on July 15, 2015 [15 favorites]


As someone who's occasionally unsure you aren't all just sock puppets from my imagination, it's actually a bit comforting to know you may actually be nothing more than sock puppets from my imagination.
posted by panglos at 4:39 AM on July 15, 2015 [4 favorites]


I don't understand, why offer commenting at all?
posted by indubitable at 4:47 AM on July 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Because you can also get called out for abuse if your blog doesn't allow comments. This allows the trolly types to shit through their fingers all over your site, believing they've done their job, without leaving anything for you to clean up.
posted by ardgedee at 4:56 AM on July 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


I have NO CARRIER but I must scream.
posted by blue_beetle at 4:56 AM on July 15, 2015 [7 favorites]


Sorry, did you all say somethiing?
posted by IncognitoErgoSum at 4:59 AM on July 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


First!
posted by michaelh at 5:06 AM on July 15, 2015 [65 favorites]


If it's gaslighting to pretend that you're listening to someone who you are in fact ignoring, the term "gaslighting" has lost all useful meaning.

But, is that a bad analogy? When you're ignoring someone, you don't then present to them all the signs that they aren't being ignored.

As someone who's been through a fair amount of gaslighting, the comparison of that to the blog comment version of a hellban or twitter mute is a pretty offensive way to attempt to co-opt that experience.

I asked a question: is this like this? How about answering it with a "no, because...." instead of just taking offense or assuming bad motives? I did check the term on Wikipedia before asking.
posted by JHarris at 6:30 AM on July 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


[Trying to definitively pin down or debate what is or isn't "gaslighting" is a derail we don't really need to have here, so let's let that drop. Thanks.]
posted by taz at 6:38 AM on July 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


The next step would be to apply this approach to the drivel on the blog itself.

But bloggers might check logs. Maybe a script that downloaded posts and threw them away?
posted by Hizonner at 7:35 AM on July 15, 2015


If you don't want want to have to deal with comments then don't have comments.
This is just trolling the trolls. It may be satisfying, but in the end, you're now a troll too.
posted by cuscutis at 8:20 AM on July 15, 2015


If you don't want want to have to deal with comments then don't have comments.

And then you're accused of not being willing to stand behind your arguments, being afraid of any contrary arguments, and quashing the so-called "free speech" of anyone who disagrees with you. Now, this is bullshit, mind you -- Anita Sarkeesian is in no way obligated to keep comments open on her posts, and most of the "contrary arguments" the mouth-breathers offer are also bullshit. But they keep hammering away at her (and other so-called SJWs) for not allowing comments.

So let them comment! Or let them think they commented.
posted by suelac at 8:32 AM on July 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


I dunno. A friend of a friend launched her Kickstarter for her progressive, feminist childrens' songs this week and after seeing some of the comments on her song "Yes Means Yes" -- A SONG INTENDED FOR CHILDREN -- I think YouTube should implement this software IMMEDIATELY. Because surely a song about consent for children deserves to be bombarded with comments about uppity bitches, masturbation and sexytimes. (No.)
posted by bitter-girl.com at 8:45 AM on July 15, 2015 [8 favorites]


cuscutis: "This is just trolling the trolls. It may be satisfying, but in the end, you're now a troll too."

"What Jefferson was saying was, "Hey! You know, we left this England place 'cause it was bogus; so if we don't get some cool rules ourselves - pronto! - we'll just be bogus too!" Get it? "
posted by Chrysostom at 9:29 AM on July 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is just trolling the trolls. It may be satisfying, but in the end, you're now a troll too.

Using the same word for "jokey button-presser" that we use for "abusive, froth-mouthed, hateful internet commenter" is dumb and we should stop.
posted by almostmanda at 9:47 AM on July 15, 2015 [14 favorites]


From the Urban dictionary:
The art of deliberately, cleverly, and secretly pissing people off, usually via the internet, using dialogue. Trolling does not mean just making rude remarks: Shouting swear words at someone doesn't count as trolling; it's just flaming, and isn't funny. Spam isn't trolling either; it pisses people off, but it's lame.

The most essential part of trolling is convincing your victim that either a) truly believe in what you are saying, no matter how outrageous, or b) give your victim malicious instructions, under the guise of help.
Trolling requires decieving; any trolling that doesn't involve decieving someone isn't trolling at all; it's just stupid. As such, your victim must not know that you are trolling; if he does, you are an unsuccesful troll.
Using echochamber is trolling. This is attempting to 'cleverly' and secretly piss people off. This happens to people who are actually attempting to engage with you. Not everyone is a misogynistic, abusive twit, though I am sure it seems that way at times.

There may be an extremely small baby in the bathwater that you're throwing out.

Better to not have comments at all.

The idea of this thing makes me a little sick to my stomach and everyone here appears giddy at the idea of using it.

I guess I just haven't received enough abuse online to find this anything other than repugnant.
posted by cuscutis at 10:19 AM on July 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Using the same word for "jokey button-presser" that we use for "abusive, froth-mouthed, hateful internet commenter" is dumb and we should stop.

Telling people 'you're using this word wrong' rather than trying engage with their reasons for using it as they have is anti-intellectual and we should stop.
posted by lodurr at 10:27 AM on July 15, 2015


I've been a troll for years I'm just trying to troll for good these days.
posted by atoxyl at 11:06 AM on July 15, 2015


How about just the statement "2873 comments awaiting moderation" and a comment form that does nothing but increment that number?
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:17 AM on July 15, 2015 [9 favorites]


We just need to apply haptic feedback to comments.

Troll a little and your computer slaps you across the face.

Godwin a thread and it punches you in the mouth.

It could work.
posted by tommasz at 11:18 AM on July 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


The idea of this thing makes me a little sick to my stomach and everyone here appears giddy at the idea of using it

It's a joke project, and is funny to think about in the same way that it's funny to think about sending a stranger a box with a spring-loaded boxing glove inside. It's definitely not a practical solution to anything - whatever problems you might avoid by disabling comments come back tenfold once anyone notices what's actually going on, which is not hard to do.

A better solution would be a comment form where when you hit submit it gives you a server error.
posted by aubilenon at 11:19 AM on July 15, 2015 [12 favorites]


Using echochamber is trolling.

Citing UD is not the best approach and doesn't really help your argument. I realize "troll" as a noun or verb has nearly lost all meaning, but come on. This tool is a means of stemming abuse, typically from people who are savvy enough to use any means at their disposal to perpetuate said abuse. I trust that people who actually enjoy the comments they get on their blogs will not be using this. Those who are subject to abuse, who are followed and hounded and harassed as they attempt to change URLs or moderate comments, on the other hand, have no fucking obligation to suffer these fools, not least of all when disabling comments will often be taken as a cue to move the harassment to other arenas. This tool is a stopgap solution. No one has some god-given right to post comments, and the internet is not being harmed by this script. Take an Alka-Seltzer for that upset stomach.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 11:23 AM on July 15, 2015 [14 favorites]


Calling it a tool for stemming abuse strikes me as odd.

If all you want to do is stem abuse, you turn off comments. That is clean, simple, has smaller blowback, and is largely invulnerable to criticism of your motives.

The only reason to actually use something like this would be to gain a sense of superiority over the people you're tricking.

Maybe 'trolling' isn't the right word for 'maliciously tricking people into thinking they've interacted when they haven't, to enhance your own sense of superiority.' Maybe we need a new word for that. I for one would be open to suggestions.
posted by lodurr at 11:30 AM on July 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


I get the idea of it as a joke-project that's not meant to be used. I even totally get why you package it up as though you expect people to use it. That's just basic craft, it makes the joke better. Shit, I run 'Millenials to Snake People' (which, by the way, they seem to have extended so that it replaces 'great depression' with 'clutch plague'). Someone clearly had way too much time on their hands, there, and so do I at some level if I use it.

And if people want to joke about it, fine. But can we be clear that actually using this would be a hostile act, analogous to "sending a stranger a box with a spring-loaded boxing glove inside" (though obviously and admittedly far less injurious)?
posted by lodurr at 11:37 AM on July 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


If you turn comments off, angry gamergaters or whoever are more likely to try to yell at you via other avenues, like email or your site's Facebook page.
posted by Corinth at 11:39 AM on July 15, 2015 [15 favorites]


I kept seeing "Clutch Plague" show up on the internet for a couple of weeks and I thought, 'wow, that's a cool new piece of slang. Finally I saw it in a context where I was pretty sure it was...not right. only then did it hit me that I was letting M2SP massage my content and make the connection...
posted by lodurr at 11:40 AM on July 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


It probably is the troll in me (old definition) that finds this funny but what exactly do you think the worst case scenario is for impact on users?
posted by atoxyl at 11:40 AM on July 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


lodurr: The only reason to actually use something like this would be to gain a sense of superiority over the people you're tricking.

The only reason news websites turned on comments is because it's proven to increase traffic to the site by having people feel like they're interacting with the news or by checking back as they argue with each other. But the news site never actually cared what anyone said, and probably never even read any of the comments unless they were flagged as offensive or spam. So in a sense... this is exactly the same as before except with bandwidth reduction and without the need to moderate spam/offensive comments.
posted by bluecore at 11:42 AM on July 15, 2015 [9 favorites]


"in a sense" that doesn't include anyone actually reading anyone else's comments, and so having nothing to reply to. So, "in a sense" that is totally irrelevant and not apt, yes.
posted by lodurr at 11:44 AM on July 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


... impact on users

Most users? probably nothing. I mean, seriously, without the technical improvements suggested up-thread, it's utterly useless for its stated purpose, which is one of several reasons why it only works if you don't implement it.
  • If the comments are only from you, you're either going to get suspicious or bored. so as-distributed, it's useless for the case bluecore implies.
  • If it's used for remote hellbanning, it's going to become obvious even faster that this is what's happening and so will be ineffective at best.
  • As Corinth points out, it's liable to spike the blood pressure on some users. I don't know if you've ever been cyberstalked. I have, and it's scary (and all the guy did was threaten to tell my employers I was on the internet during work hours, nothing like what they do nowadays).
So in all seriousness, I think most of the risk falls on the user, and I think that risk is twofold:
  1. It can blow back on you in a number of ways alluded to in this thread.
  2. It encourages you to get kicks by conning other people. Of course if you're fine with that, then developing this aspect of your character is not really a downside.
The technical enhancement discussions are fun and I know enough open source folks to know that they're not really serious about using it. (Though, if I showed this off at the regional barcamp, I bet it would become all the rage on the local campuses.)
posted by lodurr at 11:53 AM on July 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


Wow. I must admit that I'm having a lot of difficulty understanding some of the reactions to this javascript thingy (that's probably just a gag anyways). "Repugnant"? "Hostile act"? "Malicious"? I guess the harm might be that someone could be pouring their soul out into well thought out and heartfelt comments only to have no one read them and yet tricked into thinking that someone might have?

lodurr: "But can we be clear that actually using this would be a hostile act, analogous to "sending a stranger a box with a spring-loaded boxing glove inside" (though obviously and admittedly far less injurious)?"

I'm not sure I see it this way. In my mind, I would place this pranking well, well below "Spring-loaded boxing glove". I'd think it's below "Spring-loaded snakes in a peanut brittle can", below "Is your refrigerator running?", below "Douchebag says 'what'", below "What's that on your shirt?". Personally, I'd put it around "Guess what? Chicken butt." territory but that's just me. Maybe I can see it to be around "'Kick me' sign" level, so long as no one was actually doing the kicking.

More practically, it's really a version of a suggestion box that leads directly into a garbage can. If that suggestion box were something like Comcast's customer service email, then I think users should be rightfully indignant. As the joke is presented, though, it's really not so I'm having some trouble empathizing with this particular point of view.
posted by mhum at 12:04 PM on July 15, 2015 [12 favorites]


I wouldn't put it on levels, myself. I'd compare it to people. Someone who would actually use this in its superficially-intended mode is basically someone I'd feel dirty for hanging around with.

I say 'superficially-intended' because if you don't somehow let people know their comments are totally private masturbation, then it's just a private joke that serves no purpose but to remind yourself that you're better than the idiots who read your blog and try to flog.

For myself, I'm quite clear that it's a gag. You don't put together something like this as a distributable project that actually works without the fact that it totally won't work to fulfill its stated purpose having occurred to you.
posted by lodurr at 12:22 PM on July 15, 2015


Think of it this way: Keeping a whoopee cushion on the shelf in your cube is funny. Using it is crass.
posted by lodurr at 12:23 PM on July 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


And engineering a technically superb whoopee cushion? Hilarious. But part of the reason that's funny is someone who would actually do that is not someone who would go around using it.
posted by lodurr at 12:26 PM on July 15, 2015


I think seeing "hostility" or "maliciousness" or [insert hyperbolic allusion to violence here] in a script that makes you think you posted a comment on a blog when you didn't is pretty much self-trivializing of the concern it's supposed to raise.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 1:04 PM on July 15, 2015 [15 favorites]


I really hope that the people who are mad that this exists are also mad about how reddit displays comments that have been deleted to the person who left them, Twitter muting, hellbans, email addresses with inboxes that no one checks but that still actively accept emails, people who are socially or financially required to pretend to listen to you while you talk at them but who actually are planning their grocery list in their heads, and children's letters to Santa.
posted by NoraReed at 1:04 PM on July 15, 2015 [34 favorites]


We had some people mad that The Verge removed their comments, so some people will be mad at anything.
posted by Artw at 1:07 PM on July 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


I really hope that the people who are mad that this exists ...

I really hope people who are mad that some people think this is rude will have the grace to let us think that, without lecturing us about how wrong we are.
posted by lodurr at 1:29 PM on July 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well when you levy charges of maliciousness against someone who wrote a script you can expect there to be some uh lively disagreement. If you just wanted to say your piece without being contested, I don't know what to tell you.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 1:32 PM on July 15, 2015 [15 favorites]


If you wanted to say your piece without being contested, I just added comments to my blog and would really like to see you add your feedback there
posted by NoraReed at 1:33 PM on July 15, 2015 [27 favorites]


Wow the whole people getting upset about not being able to comment thing is even bigger then I thought.

Basically if your someone who any real foray onto the internet means dealing with crap, like in my case daring to be female, you can't win.

Have comments. Deal with crap and horrible shit.

Don't have comments. Deal with crap and being shit upon for not providing space for crap.

Hee hee at something jokey, that's based on a real and actual super big problem that people (like females) have to deal with ALL THE FREAKIN TIME by daring to internet and you get crap.

How could we even dare!

This nice little repo is about catharsis. I like catharsis because it sucks ass to have to deal, be fearful of dealing and having to be always be aware of mitigating people who feel oh so entitled to crap without having a 'ha ha could you imagine?' break.

Plus I've just started using Git and Github and am tickled that you can also use it to make pointed jokes!
posted by Jalliah at 1:35 PM on July 15, 2015 [16 favorites]


Well when you levy charges of maliciousness against someone who wrote a script....

Right, except I never actually did that.

I understand that's how you read my comments. But if you go back and re-read them, you will find that I am concerned not with who created it, but who would actually use it.
posted by lodurr at 1:36 PM on July 15, 2015


If you wanted to say your piece without being contested,...

As I said earlier, you can dismiss the argument, or you can engage with it. You're dismissing.
posted by lodurr at 1:37 PM on July 15, 2015


lodurr: "Using it is crass."

Fair enough. I guess the gap I'm not quite able to close is between "crass" and "malicious" or "hostile" or "repugnant" (not your word, I know). I think I understand the viewpoint that it would be rude or undesirable or impolitic to actually do this. I'm not quite sure I can get behind the more severe appraisals. I allow that this may simply be a failure of understanding or empathy on my part.
posted by mhum at 1:38 PM on July 15, 2015


I am engaging, I am just doing so hilariously.

I put it on What Is GamerGate Currently Ruining and it looks really good. I'm inviting Gaters to comment on it. If they waste any of their time shouting into that the void of LocalStorage, I will consider my mission a success.
posted by NoraReed at 1:40 PM on July 15, 2015 [13 favorites]


[Disclaimer: comments will not become visible to other users until approved by a moderator]
posted by ckape at 1:44 PM on July 15, 2015 [2 favorites]


For the record, I do think using it would be a hostile act. So would using a whoopee cushion. I understand that people find that funny. I think what people need to understand is that people commit hostile acts all the time, often in the name of humor. And often it's funny.

It's not an easy world to live in. We don't have clean and simple moral rules to navigate it by. When people participate consensually in humor, how do you decide whether they're being abused or they really are participating freely? And if someone's not participating consensually in the humor, is that OK? ("Grandma's Skateboard Fail" won the weekly Funniest Video prize, so I guess it's OK.)

I do think it would be qualitatively worse to use it for its stated purpose than to use it as a one-shot gag. The reason why is that as I said, the kind of people I can imagine using it are not people I would want to hang out with.

And as I've said, several times, I think it's funny that it was made. You may think the funniest part is when it gets used. We won't agree on that. The fact that we don't agree, does not mean I don't understand your position.

E.g., I don't actually think NoraReed would use this, whatever she says. I think she'd just turn off comments, like any sane and decent person. But I could be wrong about that.
posted by lodurr at 1:45 PM on July 15, 2015 [1 favorite]


NoraReed: I put it on What Is GamerGate Currently Ruining and it looks really good. I'm inviting Gaters to comment on it. If they waste any of their time shouting into that the void of LocalStorage, I will consider my mission a success.

Right, but how will you know? As the owner, all you'll see is a blank comment form.
posted by lodurr at 1:47 PM on July 15, 2015


Also, seriously, please don't do that. Totally snark and argument free, I really don't think that's a good idea.

I know it sucks to have to protect yourself, but a lot of those guys are just barely clever enough to figure out your contact info.
posted by lodurr at 1:49 PM on July 15, 2015


At worst, someone will leave a well reasoned, well thought out comment and nobody will see it or respond to it.

So like 99% of the time when someone does that in a comments field.
posted by Artw at 1:50 PM on July 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


actually, as the owner I see a comment from someone called "buttface" that I used to make sure it works
posted by NoraReed at 1:55 PM on July 15, 2015 [6 favorites]


Nice try, buttface.
posted by snuffleupagus at 2:03 PM on July 15, 2015 [5 favorites]


I know it sucks to have to protect yourself, but a lot of those guys are just barely clever enough to figure out your contact info.

I don't know if you've been following what doxing is, but this statement belittles the problem it is trying to prevent.

People happy with the comments they get will not use this, I reckon. This is for bloggers who are subject to harassment and, rather than escalating matters, are opting to let trolls yell into the void. Everyone's happy. But most importantly, absolutely no one has some divine right to leave comments with a blogpost. Not a one. And the hyperbolic reaction ("any sane or decent person" would just disable comments? Is this shit for real?) this script gets reflects a weird entitlement to do just that.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 2:08 PM on July 15, 2015 [25 favorites]


I don't actually think NoraReed would use this, whatever she says. I think she'd just turn off comments, like any sane and decent person. But I could be wrong about that.

It's pretty disrespectful to tell another participant in the conversation what they would or would not do.
posted by Lexica at 2:09 PM on July 15, 2015 [27 favorites]


I really hope that the people who are mad that this exists are also mad about how reddit displays comments that have been deleted to the person who left them, Twitter muting, hellbans, email addresses with inboxes that no one checks but that still actively accept emails, people who are socially or financially required to pretend to listen to you while you talk at them but who actually are planning their grocery list in their heads, and children's letters to Santa.
No, I'm okay with that because the banning in those cases is after bad behavior. I don't like sites where the admin deletes posts or disemvowels posts they merely disagree with. That just ends up being childish.

Over time, almost every site that has comments has a downward spiral into a cesspool.

Most sites probably shouldn't even have comments. Some sites have turned off comments for a few months at a time to let things cool down - and they needed it.
posted by cuscutis at 2:23 PM on July 15, 2015


Also, the "protecting yourself" thing is an INCREDIBLY patronizing thing to say, especially to someone who obviously has experience with the people who are likely to be harassing her because she runs a website explaining them to laypeople. Talking about your guesses about how "clever" they are is just mansplaining, and thinking that you're in a position to explain internet safety to any woman who's spent more than 15 minutes doing feminism online is completely ridiculous. You clearly know nothing of the context of the activist work that I do or the flack that I catch for doing it; don't flatter yourself thinking that you can give me anything remotely resembling useful advice regarding how to implement comments, or the lack thereof, on my blog.

This is nothing like watching someone fall off a skateboard and laughing at it; the reason that this is so fucking great is that it is a tool to take what men think they are entitled to-- women listening to them-- and fools them into thinking they're getting it when they aren't. That's subversive and great, and it's also funny as fucking hell. It makes them look like fucking jackasses, not because they made some mistake and were physically hurt, but because they labored under assumptions that they were entitled to have people listen to their horrible shit.

Margaret Atwood was right when she said that women are afraid that men will kill them and men are afraid women will laugh at them, but they're SO SCARED OF IT that it breaks their fragile little masculine egos to be laughed at, and for that reason I am determined to point and laugh at as many awful men as possible, as often as possible, until they stop being goddamn shitbags. It's not all of my activism-- WIGGCR isn't set up to be funny, though occasionally it is-- but that humor is both a cornerstone of what I do and a survival tool to keep myself from offing myself every time I think about the society that festers this kind of shitty harassing behavior. This tool helps me in both of those. Thinking about it makes me imagine angry men furiously piling slurs about me into their LocalStorage (instead of shouting them at me on Twitter, as they usually do) and laugh. Considering the shit that I write about and the shit that I get for it, even if that was ALL it did, it would be 100% worth installing it.
posted by NoraReed at 2:27 PM on July 15, 2015 [54 favorites]


#NotAllSkateboarders
posted by Chrysostom at 2:32 PM on July 15, 2015


Now I don't encounter harassment online or have ever had a website of mine plagued with awful comments or had anyone disagree with me generally in the places I frequent (most of them start with /r/ if you know what I mean) but I do know one thing: my voice must be heard and it is an absolute miscarriage of internet justice that anything, anything prevents my voice from being heard in a forum in which the hearing of my voice is offered. I am disgusted and sickened and vomitacious from people suggesting that echochamber.js be used. Don't you people understand that such a tool is an atomic bomb strapped to an ever bigger atomic bomb that's fired from a rail gun in outer space directly into the vocal cords of me, the man who must be heard for the internet to remain free? If you support this or use it in any way on your website I have no choice but to report your activities directly to President Obama and then you'll be sorry.
posted by griphus at 2:45 PM on July 15, 2015 [43 favorites]


Oh, I love this. Brilliant.
posted by rmd1023 at 5:08 PM on July 15, 2015


If all you want to do is stem abuse, you turn off comments. That is clean, simple, has smaller blowback, and is largely invulnerable to criticism of your motives.

Sorry, have you been on the internet lately? There's a still open discussion from just a week ago about how shirty people get about disabled comments. Anita Sarkeesian turned off the comments on her Tropes vs. Women videos because they were an unrelenting firehose of awful, and that gets spun as her "covering things up" or as encouragement that Gamergate's harassment tactics are "working" (in fact, a similar thread comes up in the linked post.

You don't even need to leave this site to hear about guys who are enraged that a woman was involved in the decision to remove their comments and feel fine flinging gendered shit about it.
posted by kagredon at 7:01 PM on July 15, 2015 [19 favorites]


There's a still open discussion from just a week ago about how shirty people get about disabled comments

Sure, but any shitstorm you duck by pretending to have comments enabled you'd get back tenfold when folks realize what's going on. And they will realize it, if anyone has more than one computer, or if anyone talks about the zinger they left, or says "hey let's go do ethics in games journalism to this person" or whatever.
posted by aubilenon at 12:49 AM on July 16, 2015


Or, they will think their comment(s) were merely deleted, and post again. Either way, it's at least another tool against harassment, even if it's not going to end all harrassment forever/completely failsafe.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 3:36 AM on July 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


I have to say that I miss griphus now he isn't around any more. I wonder where he's got to, because his voice must be heard and it is an absolute miscarriage of internet justice that anything, anything prevents his voice from being heard in a forum in which the hearing of his voice is offered.

It'd be awful if MeFi started serving this script to much loved users and they wouldn't even know that they weren't being heard.
posted by ambrosen at 5:23 AM on July 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Sure, but any shitstorm you duck by pretending to have comments enabled you'd get back tenfold when folks realize what's going on. And they will realize it, if anyone has more than one computer, or if anyone talks about the zinger they left, or says "hey let's go do ethics in games journalism to this person" or whatever.

So what? No, really, why should the targets of harassment have to worry about the moral failings of the harassers in any way? Would you expect a woman wearing headphones so that she doesn't hear catcallers to be responsible for them getting violent? I doubt it. This and the arguments about how repugnant this is to discourse or whatever are exactly the mindset of the people being assholes online. They feel that if they say something, you are obligated (or as others put it, entitled) to read it or even to respond to it. Which, to be blunt, is utter and complete bullshit.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:31 AM on July 16, 2015 [14 favorites]


It's super-ridiculous that the only time someone would actually get harmed by this script is when some self-entitled asshole discovers that it's in use and goes after the person using it.
posted by that girl at 9:02 AM on July 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is awesome.

Anyone who gets bent about someone using this is either:

-Going to just fuck off and go bother someone else on the big Intertubes
-The kind of dog-after-a-bone asshole you want as many firewalls & cutouts between you as possible anyway
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:30 AM on July 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty unlikely to comment on a site I don't know anything about and which has no other comments.* But if I did and later found out I'd been caught by this, I'd just laugh.

*One exception which has and does occur is technology postings, on the occasion that I'm able to offer some information to help the poster out with a problem they're describing. In which case they'd be pretty absurd to use echochamber.js and no loss if they did -- anyone who posts a tech problem to a site and deliberately prevents comments is clearly not looking to be helped.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:59 AM on July 17, 2015


[Several comments deleted. Please drop it, there's no point in repeating the same fight from earlier in the thread. Thanks.]
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:24 PM on July 18, 2015


I think if I was facing harassment again on my own site, I might use this script in the short term as a fairly hilarious prank but I don't believe I could in good conscience keep it up long term. I would be concerned that users of my site might post honest and well meaning comments and then have them disappear into the void, which doesn't seem fair to them as collateral damage from trying to weed out the idiots. Just shutting down comments might come at a higher toll for my own well being, as the harassment just finds a different venue to target me, but in my personal view that would be worth the sacrifice for me. Well meaning comments that really reach out to me can, in my situation, erase a lot of hate. Your own situations may vary for very reasonable reasons.
posted by Drinky Die at 3:44 AM on July 19, 2015 [1 favorite]


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