Twitter

Block Bots Automate Epistemic Closure on Twitter. Are You Blocked?

Peer behind the Block Bot!

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@libertarianblue/Twitter

The first time I noticed it I merely found it odd: a person whom I had never interacted with in any way on Twitter had blocked me. But then it started happening more frequently; I would click on someone's handle after seeing an interesting retweet or mention and find myself blocked by yet another stranger. 

If you're not familiar with how Twitter works, blocking someone prevents them from following you, messaging you, and showing up in your mentions. The feature was designed to compensate for Twitter's notorious inability to really banish abusive users. Unlike other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter makes it easy to create multiple and anonymous accounts, so someone who violates Twitter's terms of service can be back on the platform in about five minutes. Blocking gives any user an instant way to tune someone out entirely. 

But as I mentioned: my blockers were people I had never tried to follow and never so much as tweeted "hi" at, let alone anything disagreeable, abusive, harassing, or unkind. And I had few to no friends in common with these individuals, making the chance of me being frequently retweeted into their timelines very unlikely. How did these people even know of me, let alone find me odious enough to block me? 

And then I learned about the Block Bot. Created by Twitter user @oolon, the Block Bot "automate(s) the blocking for anyone that signs up, so you don't need to … worry about what trolls are trolling the twittersphere -> they will be removed from your timeline seamlessly," as its FAQ page states. Subscribe to the Block Bot, and anyone added to the list will automatically be blocked by your account. And how does one get on the list? 

The short answer is anyone that a blocker defines as block list worthy. If you trust the people adding to the list have similar judgement to you then sign up. 

There are three tiers of block-worthy individuals, with the first tier reserved for "accounts that in the opinion of the blockers the vast majority of our subscribers would likely wish to ignore"—that's folks "that appear to engage in aggressiveness, threats, harassment, dishonesty in an effort to infiltrate social groups, impersonating someone, posting shock images, encouraging self-harm, spouting dehumanizing rhetoric, promoting hate speech, etc." Level two is for people who "appear to include slurs, insults referring to identity, humiliation, ridicule, victim-blaming, etc." Level three is for the merely "tedious and obnoxious." Subscribers can block any or all of these tiers.

Another version of the block bot, called the Good Game Auto Blocker, "compares the follower lists for a specific set of twitter accounts that are known to incite the mob campaign to attack a single user. If an account is found to be following more than one of these campaign leader accounts, they are added to a list of problematic users" who are automatically blocked for list subscribers.

Critics of these block bots have objected that the criterion for being added are overly subjective or unfair. Perhaps, but I can't get too bothered by a system folks voluntarily sign up for. People who feel it necessary to preemptively block not just known harassers but anyone who is potentially "tedious"—to cede judgment about the parameters of acceptable discourse to a third party, essentially—are probably not people worth worrying over. 

The premise of the Good Game blocker does seem especially flawed to me, though—even if all the accounts deemed "problematic" really are abusive trolls, there are plenty of reasons why one might follow some of these accounts without necessarily endorsing them, especially during the height of a high-profile Twitter dust-ups. During GamerGate, I followed quite a few people I found ridiculously obnoxious because I write about and comment on these sort of controversies. [I also follow some terrible liberals, some terrible conservatives, a few federal-agency propaganda campaigns, and at least one ISIS sympathizer (who followed me first) because I am curious about what these groups and people are thinking, saying, and sharing.] 

Another big criticism of the block bot lists has been that there was no easy way to see who was on them—until now. A group called League for Gamers recently launched a site that allows people to check whether any particular Twitter user is on either of these block lists. "While we understand the value some users find in these tools, we hold blocklist operators to a high level of professionalism," the site states. "We believe blocklists should respect the users added to these lists, including their data privacy and reputation." 

This morning I checked the status of myself and other Reason editorial staff, as well of a few of our regular columnists and freelancers. As suspected, I am on one of the lists: 

So is longtime Reason contributor Cathy Young—also unsurprising, considering Young was active in the #GamerGate debate on Twitter. But while Young definitely butts heads with progressives a lot, I've never seen her be particularly unprofessional or harsh about it. I guess that's why she's only a Level 3 Block Bot offender, too. 

Would you believe, however, that not another regular Reason editorial staffer is on either block list? No @JD_Tuccille. No @RobbySoave. No @edkrayewski. I'm not suggesting anyone should be on the list, I just find it hard to believe that I am somehow the most offensive among us to the social justice crowd. Do you think it's my pro-feminism writing? My criticism of transphobic policy? My advocating for states to do a better job catching rapists

Whatever it is, at least I'm in some good company: Pope Francis, porn star Mercedes Carrera, and biologist/writer Richard Dawkins are all on the blocklist. Kentucky Fried Chicken was on the list but has since been removed.  

Find out if you've been blocklisted here

NEXT: N.Y. court: Legal to surreptitiously photograph people in their homes, and sell those photos

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  1. Did Block Bot get the alt-text?

    1. that’s my story & I’m sticking to it.

      1. Wouldn’t being blocked by these people spare you from suffering a brain-damaging onslaught of stupidity? It sounds like a sudden, unintentional blessing to me.

      2. For a dirty alt-text heathen, you’re alright.

  2. ” I just find it hard to believe that I am somehow the most offensive among us to the social justice crowd”

    What’s the old saying?

    “An apostate is always reviled more than a heretic”?

    1. The heretic is always more the enemy than the heathen.

      1. I believe they both go together like ham and cheddar

        (unless you’re jewish.. or muslim… or vegan….or lactose intolerant)

        e.g. From the POV of the “true believer”, the Apostate (worse than) Heretic (worse than) Heathen

        Because
        The Apostate *once was a true believer, but has now rejected the faith/been cast out by peers*
        The Heretic actively refuses to accept the truth despite being exposed to it
        The Heathen’s only guilt is that he knows no better

        1. Wrong. The heretic differs from the apostate in continuing on in a pretense of being an orthodox adherent. The apostate openly admits his heterodoxy and his separation from his religious tradition of origin. The heretic, in contrast, claims to follow the original tradition in its truest form, and any contradiction between his teaching and that of the orthodox adherents is in fact a case in which his is the truer, orthodoxer belief and theirs is somehow degenerate or decayed. Another important distinction is that while the apostate openly admits his separation from the church, he needn’t make himself a champion for apostasy and exhort everyone else to follow him; whereas the heretic is by definition a champion for whatever heterodox beliefs he’s come to hold, actively promoting them as the purest form of the religion.

          1. One may come to hold some heterodox beliefs, thinking them truer to the traditions of his faith, and refrain from either openly divorcing himself from the congregation or going around trying to show other members where they are wrong. He’s nor heretic nor apostate. I don’t know a term for it, offhand. The Romans used “infid?litas”, but in English ‘infidel’ is already used up for something completely different. At any rate, heresy is not an error of belief but rather of action, specificly the propagation of a deformed version of the religion. It’s worthwhile to note that the heretics were generally, in early Christian Time, also bishops (laymen, lacking the “teaching authority”, were usually incapable of proper heresy), and so, according to Christian mythology, prevented from mistaking false religious beliefs for true ones; as heretics then they weren’t just spreading heterodoxy, but could not do so, at least starting out, without some awareness that some of their teachings were false. Whether the heretic or apostate is despised more seems to vary with the age: in some periods, a heretic was much likelier to get reconciled with the congregation; in others, the heretic just gets more heretical till he catches on fire in the middle of Smithfield Market, while apostates stand some chance of reconciling at some point. And with what regard honesty was generally held by the folk. Of course, none of it amounted to six piles of owl manure.

    2. No, it’s that a misogynist is a man who hates women as much as women hate one another.

  3. I actually think this might be an extremely useful tool given time to evolve.

    For one thing, progressives seem to regard twitter as their exclusive property, engaging in silencing campaigns against anyone who tweets something they disagree with. But if they are blocking all those people, then they won’t KNOW ABOUT those racist tweets in the first place. Thus sparing their eastwhile vitcims the mobbing.

    If progressives want to close themselves off into an insular little world where they only speak to eachother (so they can carry on those important discussions about which of them are the most morally enlightened), please don’t stop them.

    1. I agree. Psychologically infirm pinkos isolating themselves from unsympathetic parties to mutually masturbate each other on the Internet over the moral supremacy of their degenerate ideals allows the saner elements of the population some measure of peace, at least.

      1. It also creates a feedback loop that totally deteriorates their ability to debate opposing ideas due to lack of exposure to them. Which makes them more frustrated and offended which leads to more insulation and so on.

        1. It reminds me of that weird species from ‘Star Wars’ whose members entirely lost their ability to walk, manipulate the world around them with their hands, or even to support their own bodies functionally without constant maintenance by robotics, if I remember rightly, because they locked themselves into virtual reality for countless generations.

          When the aforementioned pinkos breed, you think their kids’ll come out permanently braindead?

          1. Nah. As an act of youthful rebellion, they’ll cut their hair short, eschew piercings, buy a bunch of guns, and build a small farm in Idaho.

          2. Did you mean Star Trek? Hate to throw the nerd-card…

        2. And ultimately to a culture where no one debates any questions of any importance (since on any question of importance, there will be conflicting views), where people are philosophicly insulated into wee philcotes where no disagreeing voice is ever heard, and where it becomes unproper and unseemly for a person to dispute a question of importance in company of mixed philosophies. The inability to discuss important differences of opinion bears with it an impairment in one’s ability to understand any views other than those of his own philcoterie (and by extension, even those are poorly understood since they stand in relation to nothing). A race of mindless, shrieking queens and eusocialised, willbereft automata.

    2. I wonder what criteria is used for people submitting names to block. What if the progs start getting blocked themselves?

      1. You really need to re-think the process of adding people to the troll list. MNG and I are now on it and neither of us fits the profile of a troll. Also I was able to increment my ignore-count (assuming that’s what the number next to the name is on the list) by just unignoring and ignoring over and over again. Well, unless several other people happened to be ignoring me at the same time, which I think unlikely. That’s just asking for abuse from a dishonorable user who has a grudge against someone.

        –Tulpa

        1. Well, unless several other people happened to be ignoring me at the same time, which I think unlikely.

          I lol’d

        2. Jesus, what a heap of stupid. I am so glad he’s been…

          NEVER MIND! I wasn’t saying anything about anyone…

          *throws salt over shoulder*

          1. Touch wood, touch wood! His gaze can’t burn you if you touch wood.

            1. *reaches for groinal region….stops…..touches desk….*

              1. There’s no way to look at an opening that big and not aim for it, amirite?

                1. “an opening that big”

                  *checks zipper surreptitiously*

                  1. Al’s obsessively touching and looking at his crotch. My work here is done.

                    1. *thanks Hamster as he exits*

      2. What if the progs start getting blocked themselves?

        Oh well, that’s going to be inevitable. I can’t wait for the internal scisms to start resulting the SJWs blocking eachother into smaller and smaller factions are they fight eachother for moral supremacy.

        But soon there are going to be legions of cripled dysfunctional social justice exiles wandering the internet searching for acceptance. Those are the people who are going to be really dangerous.

        1. “They are a wandering, mendicant order of Twitter SJW monks…”

        2. The community political officer will have things well in hand before it comes to that.

      3. It’s determine by social standing in online social justice cliques. If you are in one, you can say whatever you want. Journalist – I mean “journalist” – Ben Kuchera was on it as a rape apologist because he made a rape joke at some point. Since he is in the soc just clique, he got taken off.

    3. There is something to what you say

      either way, i think the Prog-hive’s perpetual attempts to silence and shut out all dissent/criticism/dialogue… making the walls of their little bubble-world entirely opaque… really just gives their worst element free-rein…. and they then eventually start to eat each other, lacking anyone else to fight with. because ‘attack and denunciate’ is all they know.

      …and they also increasingly become completely unaware how idiotic and unappealing they appear to people in the real world. They are shocked and surprised when people laugh at them.

      1. and they then eventually start to eat each other, lacking anyone else to fight with. because ‘attack and denunciate’ is all they know.

        Yes, they are great at marching lockstep and unifying against an “other” to oppose. But when they run out of “others” they will have to eventually invent some new ones.

        1. It’s already started.

          https://imgur.com/a/iwX1N

          1. And before that, we had the attacks on Wu over talking to a gator at a coffee shop. (Yeah. Let that sink in for a second.)

            Still, though, this shocks me a lot more. People who support/make echo chambers are generally polarized assholes, but this puts Harper ahead of 2/3 of active aGGros, at least.

  4. The premise of the Good Game blocker does seem especially flawed to me, though?even if all the accounts deemed “problematic” really are abusive trolls, there are plenty of reasons why one might follow some of these accounts without necessarily endorsing them

    ENB, you’ve just got to think more like a progressive. If you disagree with someone, you should cut yourself off from that person so thoroughly you don’t even know what they are saying. That’s called tolerance. Having a dialogue or even just keeping aware of their views is the same as donating money to them.

    This morning I checked the status of myself and other Reason editorial staff, as well of a few of our regular columnists and freelancers.

    But none of the commenters? Discrimination!

    Seriously though, your writer doesn’t sound Level 3 worthy at all. That sounds like it should be used for Bo.

    1. But none of the commenters? Discrimination!

      How many Commentariat Twitter handles do you know?

      1. Well, I don’t know any Twitter handles at all, actually. I tried it once for about 2 weeks and decided it was stupid and deleted the account. Without scrolling back up to the article, I couldn’t even tell you what ENB’s is. But I presume she has several commenters in her follower list.

        1. LOL. The nonprofit I volunteer at has a monthly board meeting:

          Social Media Marketing Officer: “We need everyone to follow our twitter account and to retweet our announcements.

          “tarran, you haven’t done this. can you do it this week?”

          Me: “No.”

          SMMO: “Why not?”

          Me {takes a sip of water}: “I still don’t use twitter.”

          SMMO: “How can you not have a twitter account in this day and age?”

          Me: Smirks and reaches for the tea service.

          CFO: “By not signing up!”

          laughter

          SMMO: “You should get on twitter.”

          Me: “Sorry. I think it’s a waste of time, and want no part of it.”

          Every fucking two months we have a version of this conversation.

          1. I don’t really know what twitter is. I’ve never watched it. So maybe I’m in no position to judge…, but, bloody hell, it’s called “twitter”. Isn’t that enough? No matter what it is, I’d never be able to talk about using it without feeling ashamed and bad and slightly unmanned.

            1. Just imagine yourself saying, “I just retweeted about this!”

      2. Commentariat Twitter share: go!

        (just a suggestion)

        1. ITS A TRAP

          you’re just a mole for the blocklist! you put yourself there to try and get street cred.

          I’ve seen spy movies, so i know how this stuff works

          1. She will get off the blacklist if she can supply ten names handles!

            1. Its like Amway!

        2. I am every guy on twitter who has his cock as his profile picture. I am not a fan of subtlety, I guess that is my point.

          1. You’d think guys would use a picture of someone else’s dick. All the nascent swagger without actually handing over a picture of your own cock, and all that.

        3. My Twitter handle is not my H&R handle is not my real name.

          I’d rather not link any of the three.

          I do follow ENB though. And She Who May Not Be Named.

        4. My Twitter handle is my real name, but I follow people like LUCY, and Matt Welch, The Jacket….

          *quickly brings up the Tweeterz, follows ENB….*

          You can follow back if you want.

          1. Now there so many levels of nickname and handle and pseudonymous userid between one and the physical world that I don’t even know my real name anymore. I’m not even sure I know what “real name” means with young people today.

    2. Its like Christ said ‘And if thy neighbor offend thee, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell.’

      1. (Adds “@Christ” to the blocklist)

      2. That’s Matthew…5?

        How do I know that off the top of my head? I’m starting to scare myself….

        *ingests Agile-Cyborg level of drugs and just goes for it…*

      3. I think you left out a word there. Just from memory, I think it was “If thy neighbour’s EYE offend thee…” or something like that.

  5. So. What I’m hearing you say is that Twitter’s BlockBot is misogynistic.

    We should warn people.

  6. So tedious and obnoxious

    1. Speaking of obnoxious, I’ve been given a mission.

      HoD, you need to relay that story to Playa and tell him I told you to.

      I think I was outside of Yachats one morning when I spotted a coffee shack. They were serving spinach quiche for breakfast. Having come from Texas, and thus really in need of a good bacon/egg/bean breakfast taco, I saw that freaking quiche and laughed, and laughed, and laughed.

      The weather’s nice, and it’s pretty. Pity they don’t eat real food.

      1. Who is the story from?

        1. The story’s mine, from hitchhiking California a couple years ago. Francisco d’Anconia told me to troll you with it.

          1. Francisco eats bowling alley pizza. That’s all you need to know about him.

            1. You’re just upset that that’s all you do know about him.

            2. No bowling alleys in pburg. Nearest is a couple hours away. You need to get out of LA once in a while.

        2. I don’t know from whom this story is.

          1. You probably eat spinach for breakfast, too.

            1. My breakfast is a pot of coffee. Black, no sugar.

              1. Is that how you like your men?

                1. I like my men like I like my coffee – illegal and Cuban.

                  1. I like my black cock like coffee… no, fuck I got it wrong.

      2. What the fuck kind of broad doesn’t like quiche??? W

        1. Exactly. All broads like quiche and ponies. It is science.

        2. What the fuck kind of nancy-bois serve spinach for breakfast instead of bacon, as the good Lord intended?

          1. SPINACH AND BACON ARE NOT MUTUALLY EXLUSIVE

          2. We became a weaker society when we stopped eating bacon by the rasher. And beans. More beans and rashers. #rasherbeans

          3. Look, woman, this morning I had eight eggs and a corresponding amount of ham and bacon, and I didn’t have any spinach, but if I had known you were this way I WOULD HAVE.

            1. Warty = Popeye.

              1. Well, my forearms are pretty gigantic…

                1. *faints*

                2. It’s true what they say. No matter who you are, someone is masturbating while thinking of you.

                  1. Precisely. *masturbates*

                  2. *puts penis away hastily*

                    I don’t know what you’re talking about.

                    *whistles tunelessly*

                  3. No matter who you are, someone is masturbating while thinking of you.

                    I am the exception that proves the rule.

                    1. I wouldn’t be too sure about that. There are probably Japanese school girls out there who fantasize about elderly pedophiles.

          4. Eggs Florentine? With bacon on the side?

            1. I’m over here, judging you for bringing the Italians into this.

            2. The Laconic just doesn’t want to be reminded of Canada during breakfast.

              Side note: Julia Child’s blender hollandaise sauce is incredible, and “the technique is well within the capabilities of an 8-year-old child.”

              If you haven’t tried it, I recommend filling your gut with emulsified butter and egg yolks this weekend.

              1. On the contrary. I’m basically suggesting Eggs Benedict with spinach and the usual Canadian “bacon”, and then regular bacon on the side.

                Substitute spinach for the English muffin, and you got yourself a paleo delight.

                I will try to remember to check out that recipe. I could use more hollandaise sauce in my life.

                1. Meh, spinach with the hollandaise just doesn’t sing. I’d go for a crisp buttercrunch bibb. Throw in extra cured meats, and now we’re talking FOOD.

                  1. This weekend I’m breaking out the double-smoked bacon from this place in the Sierras. I would blow so much money there if it weren’t 5 hours away,

                    1. Ahem. Did you get me a stash?

                    2. You didn’t tell me what you wanted in a timely fashion, or ever for that matter.

                    3. I have it in writing, you liar!

                    4. Do you? Last I remember you told me you’d look over their site and let me know. Los Doyers did the same thing.

          5. Quiche is a pie full of eggs and cheese. And bacon or ham if you do it properly. Nothing nancy-boy (or nancy-bois, which I guess is a French version from the woods or something) about that. And spinach makes Popeye strong.

            1. I agree. I love quiche.

  7. So tedious and obnoxious

  8. In many ways this reminds me of Reasonable, which really grew out of a similar problem: the pollution of comment threads by griefers during the mid-stages of the Mary Stack infestation.

    The nice thing about Reasonable is that one can override the community generated list o’ trolls very easily. I imagine eventually the blockbot designers will feel a need to add a similar feature at some point going forward.

    1. I don’t mind the idea of the Level 3 block list, I just don’t that ENB displays the behavior it describes.

      But then again, that might just be because I don’t equate me disagreeing with her positions with her being obnoxious.

      1. That’s it, pal! You just made level 3!

        1. Is it because I need EDIT BUTTON

        2. Now literally everyone who tweeted the #AreYouBlocked hashtag (which includes Reason) is also blocked! http://tinyurl.com/na2twpl

          1. That’s… beautiful.

          2. I don’t normally stoop to this level of discourse (we’ve got to keep up the readability scores, after all), but it’s too appropriate:

            lol

          3. It was a race to see how fast they could prove them right, lol. Not the first time that’s happened.

          4. +1 Echo Chamber

              1. +1 Echo Chamber

            1. Is it still an echo chamber if no one can speak?

          5. I think the blockbot’s becoming self aware. It’s only a matter of time before it tries to kill Eddie Furlong. THIS IS HOW SKYNET STARTS!

            1. This dude wins. I haven’t laughed this hard since Gilmore.

    2. Is there any way to see the community generated block list. I’m curious to see if I’m on it.

      (Also, is it weird psychologically that I’d be annoyed to be on the list, but also annoyed not to be on the list?)

      1. It’s only weird if you’re not a troll.

      2. There is only one thing in life worse than being shunned, and that is not being shunned.

      3. You’re not on the list. I believe the only people on the block list when you first install reasonable are the Mary avatars, for obvious reasons.

      4. It’s not weird, it just means you’re a narcissist.

        Not because of the list or anything, just because you apparently have a Twitter account.

      5. I had that problem in contests at grade school. I always won a prize, but never FIRST prize. Sometimes I feel like the experience of never entering a school contest without winning a prize left me with a kind of impairment in some function later in life. A person, I think, ought to have the experience of entering a contest and getting no prize, no “honorable mention”, no DICK. I probably would have grown up to be less of a jerk, useless and stupid all night like that fat little quetzalcoatl from Mars. I think it all just turn into this endless prayer, more or less moreso as time goes on. Getting POWERED and BLENDED perfectly. But instead I end up rattling round in the soup bowls of hell. I never cope with anything. I don’t think anyone would ever accuse me and point his finger and say, that one, he, tha, he’s coped with something! More likely there’s somebody around here [censored]

        They could have give me first prize onced, just to keep me out of the deep end.

  9. So basically this is the Twitter equivalent of sticking your fingers in your ears and singing “la la la la I can’t hear you!” Nice.

  10. Tolerance in action.

  11. @lucystag is not on the ggAutoblocker’s blocklist.

    @lucystag is not on The Block Bot’s blocklist.

    1. DON’T TALK ABOUT LUCY!!!!

      1. So you’re saying you want Lucy on the blocklist?

        1. What’s the first rule of Lucy Club….?

          1. If this is your first thread, you have to fight Lucy?

            1. That’s the 8th and final rule of Lucy Club.

          2. To… uh.. lubricate it?

            1. Your brain works in….interesting ways.

              I am interested in subscribing to any newsletters you may publish. Thank you.

          3. The first rule of Lucy Club is: You do not talk about Lucy Club.
            The second rule of Lucy Club is: You do not talk about Lucy Club.
            Third rule of Lucy Club: Someone yells stop, goes limp, taps out, the Lucy is over.
            Fourth rule: only two guys to a Lucy.
            Fifth rule: one Lucy at a time, fellas.
            Sixth rule: no shirts, no shoes.
            Seventh rule: Lucys will go on as long as they have to.
            And the eighth and final rule: If this is your first night at Lucy Club, you have to Lucy.

  12. What the fuck does this have to do with Rand Paul?

    1. Has anyone checked to see if he’s on the block list?

      1. Hmm well he just wen’t from “Sen Rand Paul” to “Dr Rand Paul” on teh twitter, maybe he’s trying to outflank it.

        1. He’s pretty crafty for a racist, homophobic teathuglican

          1. worst of all he is a shusher.

            1. Oooh, so’s the BlockBot.

            2. Your problem with Rand Paul is that he skiis?

              1. Why you bringin’ the Pollacks into this, Stormy??

        2. wen’t??

          Just for that you deserve to be on the highest level of the block list.

          1. Can we add George Wendt too, because fuck it, why not?

        3. Wouldn’t work, as the A+ block bot identifies you by your internal twitter id, not your handle.

          If it were that easy to get off it, no one would count it a problem ….

      2. He appears not to be.

  13. Nothing wrong with blocking people. You have every right to speak but no right to be heard. I still lurk around Twitter from time to time, but I’ve stayed away from following the political discussions.

    1. Depends on what definition of “wrong” you are using.

    2. I’m the opposite, Twitter for me is almost all politics and news and I have no friends followed or following.

      1. I use it as a news source. But I find political discussion tedious to follow. I’d rather discuss TV shows, movies, and scientific discoveries than the 2016 election.

    3. Wrong.

  14. Would you believe, however, that not another regular Reason editorial staffer is on either block list? No @JD_Tuccille. No @RobbySoave. No @edkrayewski.

    War on wimminz!

  15. Whenever I try to read a dialogue on Twitter, I can never tell who is talking to whom. The whole thing seems like a word toilet.

    **shuffles off to Cadillac to drive to earlybird special at Cracker Barrel.**

    1. Someone just told us really likes to watch Fox News.

    2. I’m with you. But can we go to red lobster instead?

    3. Their cornbread tastes like shit. It isn’t even edible, no matter how much butter one slathers on.

      1. Dude – I JUST had this argument with Mrs. A on our trip down south. I fucking LOATHE the White People Barrel – she loves it. LOVES it. The corn muffins…”they have NO FLAVOR – they’re AWFUL” – “Oh, they’re SO good”.

        I took her to lunch there the second to last day of our trip and choked down the bakes trout (which was not too bad) and some green beans. But NONE of their shitty, flavorless, awful muffins nor bisquits.

        This is why we’ve stayed married for 30 years as of this June 1….

        1. You went south and ate at Cracker Barrel? Why didn’t you go to Italy and eat at Pizza Hut while you were at it?

          1. lol

            that said, getting baked and eating at cracker barrel was the bomb. Can i get a “Chicken and Dumplings, Second Helpings” whoop whoop.

          2. Did you not read the part about HAPPY WIFE….THIRTY YEARS?

            Yeah – it was my one concession. Otherwise, all local places. Had SUPERB eats in Hendersonville, NC diner. Steak in a local place in Nashville. It was a great trip. Except for the stop at White People’s Grill.

    4. I’m almost never one to get in big twitter back-and-forths or arguments. Mostly I share my own articles, share other Reason articles, share articles from elsewhere that are related to things I cover, share new songs that are stuck in my head, and tweet random ephemera I find funny.

      1. *goes back to Tweeterz – blocks ENB*

        /jk

      2. “and tweet random ephemera I find funny”{

        AHA! THAT is why you made the list!11!!11!oneoneone!!1

        1. Of course, “random ephemera I find funny” was what got me banished from IRC years ago when I tried that experiment. Maybe “carefully selected and exclusive ephemera I find funny” would work better. Harder to distil into a quantifiable operation, however. Seems like it would be way too hard to figure out the rules for twittering.

      3. It’s twitter ENB, it’s fucking stupid, ENB, don’t take the bait.

      4. How clever! I may incorporate part of your “method” into my code when I catch up to the time and start operating my own Twitter Account.

    5. The whole thing seems like a word toilet.

      That’s because it pretty much is. It’s the random brain droppings of every mental midget in the world 140 characters at a time.

      1. This^^^^, tweets are generally tweeted by twits…don’t go there ENB, you are better than that.

  16. Kind of weird that Robby isn’t on the list, actually. Surely he’s offended enough soi-disant feminists. Or is the blockbot mostly for GGers?

    1. The patriarchy protects me, no doubt.

      1. *gives Robby secret Mansplaining handshake*

      2. The writers are talking to us.

          1. That was my first response.

            O.O

            O.O

            O.o

            -.-

        1. We’re the only people they can be sure haven’t blocked them yet.

    2. I think we are all surprised by this one, including Robby

  17. Twitter is stupid and I want nothing to do with it. All “social media” sites make me hate the internet and everybody who uses it.

    1. I used to think that. Then I discovered that Twitter is basically a brew-your-own comment site. Like H&R from hell on steroids on acid.

      It’s addictive. Without Twitter, how would I know the latest insanity spewed out by Arthur Chu?

      1. Go check out Mischa Collins trolling his fans. It’s an amazing way to blow a couple hours.

      2. Arthur Chu is one of two people who have blocked me (that I’m aware of), even though we never had a Twitter exchange.

        The other is Amanda Marcotte.

        1. So… like… nobody who really matters, right?

        2. The other is Amanda Marcotte.

          I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise.

          Actually I would think being blocked by Marcotte would be a badge of honor.

    2. Zeb has spilled the semen of truth onto the svelte genitals of this thread.

      Slight caveat, tho, in favor of lovely ENB. Writers are sorta forced to interact with and blaze trails through the ever-winding hills and valleys of social media culture. She really doesn’t have the option of being a hermit. So, I feel for her.

      I’d never make it anywhere on the regular internet and social media. Filthy-mouthed, tripping, drunk, and sex-obsessed paganzoids have no home among the masses- even anonymously.

      1. We like that you’re OUR sex-obsessed paganzoid, Agile

        *gives man-style hug – no homo*

        1. Heart glows… sends Almanian! piles of cute Japanese ladies.

          1. GODDAMN I LOVE THIS MAN!!!!!!!

      2. “No Home Among the Masses” – thanks for the album title, dude!

      3. It’s genuinely a shame that the Twitter-sphere has turned out to be a stuffy place full of intoletant church ladies. In a just universe, tripping sex-obsessed pagazoids would have legions of followers and their filthy mouths would be celebrated as fonts of frothy, juicy prose.

        1. Twitter is full of delightful whores, don’t worry. NSFW.

        2. I think that’s what the not-SJW part of tumblr is for.

        3. Jesus Christ, HazelMeade just went all g-force. My monitor melted into a pile of bubbling plastic and my goddamn mind was sent hurling into a wall of spinning galaxies… I might need to rent a fucking spaceship to get back home from this…

        4. tripping sex-obsessed pagazoids

          Dibs on the band name.

    3. I have only ever used Twitter to follow a sports team I liked. I really couldn’t give a crap what actual people have to blurb about.

    4. Zeb, I hate to break it to you, but you’re on social media…right…now…

      1. Yeah, but most of the idiots are filtered out by obscurity.

        1. “Obscurity Filter set to maximum!”

    5. Me too. Especially myself.

  18. Be polite and don’t harass others.

    Two simple rules for getting along with people.

    1. Dammit, I may have to be unCanadian.

      This wasn’t covered in my copy of “How to Lose Friends and Not be Bothered by Idiots.”

    2. Sure. Worked for the citizens of the USSR and Nazi Germany. Just be polite and don’t speak up and you’ll probably be fine. Just obey, right?

    3. Except there are plenty of people who adhere to those and still get blocked for opposing radical feminism (TBB), supporting some form of GamerGate (GGAB), and/or protesting against anti-intellectualism (AYB).

      All three were made by people intending to create echo chambers. Like I said before, only one of them (GGAB) could be justifiably used by anyone, and even then, it’s rare.

      The fact that anyone would ever WANT to create an echo chamber reflects a failure in the education system of whatever country/ies they’re from, but I digress.

    4. Don’t be an asshole.

  19. @iowahawkblog is reason enough to have twitter.

    1. Don’t forget Popehat. If you only followed those two, it would be worth your time.

      1. I prefer Popehat’s blog, few words.

      2. No doubt. Tessa Fowler and Doug Stanhope are also worthwhile, in my opinion, for very different reasons.

        1. Doug Stanhope can eat my wife’s pussy any time she wants.

    2. @_youhadonejob is another

      1. In addition to Iowahawk and Popehat, Not Chuck Norris is pretty much the reason I stick with it.

        “Chuck Norris found the file lost by Error 404”

    3. I’ve never used twitter, but the desire to read @iowahawkblog was the only time I ever came close to setting-up an account.

  20. My new goal is to get on that block list personally. Wish me luck.

  21. You know what I find interesting? There appears to be no blockbot used by conservatives or libertarians.

    Doesn’t that tell you all you need to know about what anti-intellectual scared little children progressives have become? Even the fucking Republicans aren’t this immature, and Twitter Republicans are incredibly immature.

    1. Yeah, wow – this is utterly shocking.

    2. Meh.

      Is it anti-intellectual to not want to read every single book in the library? Automatically blocking certain things you don’t like just makes Twitter more convenient and efficient.

      1. It’s anti-intellectual to insulate yourself from all competing ideas that you could potentially come into contact with.

        Especially given that you don’t personally add people to the block list, other people add them for you. The fact that it’s group blocking essentially means ‘I am a progressive and would like to never have my special snowflake fantasy land intruded upon by any people who might happen to disagree with me about anything.’

        1. Okay, so you’re against the “automated” part. I got ya. I still don’t think blocklists are intrinsically anti-intellectual. If their purpose is to filter out creeps and harassers, then they are serving a useful purpose. If their purpose is to filter out different points of view, then yeah, they might have a negative impact on discourse.

          1. This blocklist blocks ENB and Cathy Young entirely because of legitimate disagreements they have with the left.

            This isn’t a situation where they’re blocking ‘harassers’ or people they’ve personally come in contact with and don’t want to interact with. There’s already a way to personally block people on twitter, so using the blockbot basically is a way of blocking everyone who differs from your point of view, not legitimate harassers.

            1. How are the Blocklists automated?

              Maybe ENB and Cathy Young would not have been blocked if the automation were more sensitive to mere disagreements?

              Because Cathy Young has been a frequent contributor to GG discussions, a fairly crude protocol would block her immediately. Maybe the Blockbots and Blocklists can grow smarter in order to tell the difference between the harassers and non-harassers?

              1. It’s not really automated so much as it’s a group blocking mechanism. What happened is that one random person added them to the blocklist and now everyone with blockbot has them blocked.

                Not only that, but blockbot will actually block you IF YOU FOLLOW TOO MANY PEOPLE ON THE BLOCKBOT.

                I don’t know how anyone can look at a situation where people who follow people on the blockbot also get blocked without concluding it’s obviously meant to insulate people from all political dissent.

              2. The Block Bot was designed to identify and block anyone who doesn’t unquestioningly follow Atheism+ dogma – just look at its official page and comments. This is the one that operates the way Irish just described.

                The GGAB was designed by someone who actively blocks every single person identifying as pro-GG (even the ones she acknowledges aren’t mean to her). She maintains a list of the “heads” of GG (Yiannopoulos, Kern, etc.), and the bot keeps track of everyone who’s following more than one person on that list. (According to her, Yiannopoulos is the only “head” with any major non-GG content, so this one is theoretically usable as a “panic button” for targets of mass harassment without making an echo chamber, but this is rare in practice.)

                There’s now a third bot that checks Twitter every night for people who have ever posted in #AreYouBlocked, and blocks them all. It’s from the same person as GGAB, so it probably has the same purpose.

      2. Convenient and efficient for what exactly?

      3. Oh yeah. Not all of us go through life with blinders on. Not all of us want to filter out ninety percent of experience and only see the eight percent that doesn’t challenge our beliefs. Some of us are psychotic.

    3. Don’t forget that tire fire attempt to make a conservatives only version of wikipedia.

      1. You mean the conservative only version of wikipedia that had like 10 contributors and swiftly became infested with leftist trolls who were there to mock the losers who created Conservapedia?

        For that matter, progressives then proceeded to create Rational Wiki which is vastly larger and more successful than Conservapedia and has more contributors. So even in the example you give progressives did the exact same thing, only to a larger extent.

    4. Libertarian blockbot would result in a huge flamewar over the definition of libertarian, with everyone involved in the project eventually vowing to henceforth read their own tweets and only their own tweets.

    5. You are correct sir.

    6. You know what I find interesting? There appears to be no blockbot used by conservatives or libertarians.

      At one point “Reasonable” had a collective block list.

  22. I’d just like to point out that Richard Dawkins is apparently on the blocklist.

    Richard Dawkins. This is such a fucking joke.

    1. Elevatorgate and beyond, dude.

    2. Why would a bunch of neo-puritans hate an atheist? Oh, wait.

  23. I may have to sign up for a twitter account after all, just so I can be blocked.

    1. I’m going to say something embarrassing about myself. I don’t understand Twitter. I don’t mean I don’t get the concept, it’s that I don’t get the site or its traffic.

      I feel like I’m reading switch or firewall/router config.

      I literally have trouble with the structure. Did this guy say that? Did someone else say it, is that a response? What are all these @signs. Everything seems out of context, or utterly lacking in context. It’s like a word jumble that everyone else in the internet is in on, except me. There can be fifteen hash tags, @signs, links and other mumbo jumbo, with like… A two word message…Or what I presume is the message.

      1. I sort of get the concept.

        I find it repellant.

        1. Well yeah. That goes without saying.

      2. I have thought of the concept of attempting to construct entire sentences purely out of hastags. I suspect this will become a “thing” at some point.

      3. Every now and then the cosmic Message comes through, and, well, to me at least, it’s kind of like what you’re describing.

  24. I find it interesting that Twitter is going the same way as SMTP servers. There are several high profile no-fly lists for smtp servers and if your company gets on one, *poof* people stop getting your company’s email traffic. It can be frustrating and embarrassing. And if you go through the process of getting removed, and suddenly find yourself back on it, it gets harder to get off the list each time.

    1. I love the existence of these curated whitelists and blacklists. They seem like a very libertarian mechanism to me — self-organized & market-driven.

  25. The reason to be on Twitter is the same as the reason to be anywhere else on the Internet – thousands and thousands of sluts, delivered fresh daily.

    PS: this side swipe thing on the mobile version is REALLY PISSING ME OFF. Whoever implemented that is SO blocked.

  26. Disclaimer: I have never tweeted, nor even read a tweet, AFIK.
    But this sounds like a self-policing feature; keep it going long enough and everyone will be blocked from everyone else, and twitter will simply cease to exist!

    1. keep it going long enough and everyone will be blocked from everyone else, and twitter will simply cease to exist!

      We can only hope. If there’s anything in the world more obnoxious and useless than twitter and the people who obsessively use it I don’t know what it is. /NOW GET OFF MY LAWN

    2. The last tweet…

  27. It may be noncoercive. That doesn’t mean it’s a good trend.

    Naturally people are going to tend to block people with viewpoints they disagree with, leading to increased polarization, and the partitioning of public discourse into echo chambers where TEAM members exchange talking points with each other. The few debates we have between TEAMs quickly devolve into talking point shouting matches.

    Liberty cannot survive in such an atmosphere; it leads to the “we fuck you for 8 years and you fuck us for 8 years” pattern we’re seeing today between the TEAMs. What some here seem not to understand is that there are a million different sequences of perfectly noncoercive events that lead to the loss of liberty.

    1. Ironically, I’m guessing a lot of the people that make and use these lists would say the same thing. They would just fail to understand that it meant something more than being able to harangue the heathen reds.

  28. Kudos to all commenters on this thread – a spectacular effort.

  29. Who cares? Twitter is for celebrities and celebrity wannabes with nothing to say.

  30. Epistemic closure? So the bot knows everything entailed by what it knows?

    The fuck are you talking about?

  31. Liberty cannot survive in such an atmosphere; it leads to the “we fuck you for 8 years and you fuck us for 8 years” pattern we’re seeing today between the TEAMs. What some here seem not to understand is that there are a million different sequences of perfectly noncoercive events that lead to the loss of liberty.
    ????? ??

  32. Liberty cannot survive in such an atmosphere; it leads to the “we fuck you for 8 years and you fuck us for 8 years” pattern we’re seeing today between the TEAMs. What some here seem not to understand is that there are a million different sequences of perfectly noncoercive events that lead to the loss of liberty.

    http://forums.banatmasr.net

  33. Liberty cannot survive in such an atmosphere; it leads to the “we fuck you for 8 years and you fuck us for 8 years” pattern we’re seeing today between the TEAMs. What some here seem not to understand is that there are a million different sequences of perfectly noncoercive events that lead to the loss of liberty.

    ????? ????

  34. this game Agood games in google serche if u need to download this game go to this link http://www.masrsofts.com/Download/computer-games

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