The Worst Ideas. Updates every Monday!

Your weekly source for terrible ideas.

Tag: internet commenting

One weird application of the “invisible fence” dog collar that’s setting the world of Internet comments on fire! And possibly also setting people on fire, depending on the amperage involved.

Background:

The staggering degree of stupidity and general mean-spiritedness of Internet comments is a well known and undeniable phenomenon. But what can be done to prevent the anonymity of the Internet from causing people to write inhumanly monstrous things in Internet comment sections?

laptop

Fig 1: Even if your web site is about historical Danish model trains, your comment section will quickly fill up with arguments about subterranean trilateral commission lizard people. But perhaps there is some way to dissuade the stupidest comments?

Proposal:

The solution is simple: if a user wants to comment on a web site, they first have to put on and plug in a USB shock collar. Then, while the collar is on, they are free to comment to their heart’s content.

However, for a certain amount of time after the user has commented (say, 15 minutes), the shock collar will remain active, and a small “lightning bolt” icon will appear next to the user’s comment. Anyone who thinks the comment is stupid (or perhaps this is a privilege reserved for the site moderators) can click the button and administer a presumably-non-fatal electric shock to the commenter.

internet-comment-shock-collar

Fig 2: This USB device consists of a shock collar which you 1) put on yourself and 2) plug into the USB port of the computer that you will be writing Internet comments from.

To discourage the commenter from attempting to game the system by unplugging the USB cable early (before the comment-vetting period has expired), the collar could be set up to automatically administer additional painful shocks if the cord is disconnected prematurely.

Conclusion:

PROS: Reduces the frequency of stupid  Internet comments without sacrificing the (occasionally very valuable) anonymous nature of the Internet.

CONS: May result in electrocution. This peripheral could draw unfavorable comparisons to the Milgram experiment (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milgram_experiment).

 

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How to solve spam forever and make your web site comment section useful again, with “robo-banning”

The issue:

As all visitors of Youtube (or any site that allows user interaction) are aware, it is difficult to have a “comments” section that isn’t populated with incredibly horrifying contents.

 

Solutions to this problem thus far:

1. Do nothing. Disadvantage: spam / scams overrun the site, making it totally un-usable for legitimate users.

2. Ban / block unusually abhorrent users. Disadvantage: they can just re-register.

3. Require real names of users. Disadvantage: severely restricts discussion of any controversial topics (a “chilling effect”) where users may not want to publicize their opinions.

4. “Hellban” a user (a “hellbanned” or “shadow-banned” user’s comments are not visible to other users). Disadvantage: the user may become suspicious when none of their comments are ever remarked upon. Then the user may register a new account.

 

The proposal:

Let us start by just plain “hellbanning” a user (hiding their comments from other users), but also add in several chat bots that personally interact with each hellbanned user. This will simulate normal chat / commenting behavior.

We propose to refer to this as “robo-banning,” since the banned user can, henceforth, only communicate with chat bots (“robots”), and no longer with any real users.

The chat bots could come in various types with different personality traits and political beliefs.

These could even be tailored on a per-individual basis (for example, a chat-bot could be selected with the opposite political beliefs of the robo-banned user).

The idea would be to occupy as much of the “robo-banned” user’s time as possible in talking to the chat bots, so they wouldn’t annoy the real users.

 

PROS: Would be highly entertaining. Interactions between “robo-banned” users and the bots that they argue with could be posted for the amusement of others.

CONS: None!