Introduction to @TheBlockBot

 

Note for those coming here when blocked, please understand that our service is created to help our subscribers ignore accounts that they likely wish to ignore. The purpose of our service is nothing more or less than that. The levels are merely a guide and our records exists to increase transparency for our subscribers and to maintain an ability to review blocks. When adding an account to the Bot, the blocker ideally makes the call according to their sincere judgment of what action would be of the greatest use to our subscribers.

If you believe that you have been added in error and you wish to make the case that a significant number of our subscribers would likely wish to interact with your twitter account, you may contact any blocker (including admins) or post on this thread at the atheismplus.com forum.  If you believe there has been a significant misunderstanding or problem, you may wish to inquire with one of the admins @TheBlockBot,  @MAMelby,  @Xanthe_Cat, @VanguardVivian. However, the best course of action may likely be to make peace with the possibility that some people on twitter may not wish to talk to you and that’s okay. (Refer to the linked comic strip.)

Please do not contact CollectQT with questions about current technical issues, policies, or blocking decisions. Only direct constructive inquiries concerning the *technical* aspects of  the proposed code rewrite, that is in the planning stages, to their team. Thank you. 

For more information on blocking consult Twitter’s help center.

 

The Block Bot is a Twitter application to automatically block the people added to its lists. Once installed, it works in the background, discreetly blocking them on your Twitter account.

The Block Bot can be used anonymously, and makes no change whatsoever to your Twitter profile. The blocks are made silently, and (from the point of view of the person being blocked) are indistinguishable from ordinary blocks. You may follow @TheBlockBot Twitter account if you wish, but there is no requirement to do so.

The Block Bot was created specifically for the atheist feminist community and currently includes a strong contingent of transgender social justice activists and intersectional feminists. It should go without saying that blockers, as with any other human beings, make assessments based on their own perspectives and world-view and any commentary they make is their own. Blockers do not make judgments based on a set rubric, but make complex decisions based on a variety of factors in an attempt to serve our subscribers as best they can.

You can adjust the strictness with which blocks are applied, by choosing from one of three levels:

Level 1 is populated with accounts that in the opinion of the blockers the vast majority of our subscribers would likely wish to ignore.

This may include, but is not limited to, accounts 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.  New accounts that appear to be created to circumvent blocks or participate in harassment campaigns are also often added to this level.

Level 2 includes those in Level 1, plus a wider selection of accounts, that in the opinion of the blockers don’t belong on Level 1.

This may include, but is not limited to, accounts that appear to include slurs, insults referring to identity, humiliation, ridicule, victim-blaming, etc.

Level 3 goes beyond The Block Bot’s main purpose, and expands the list to include accounts that appear to be tedious and obnoxious.

This may include, but is not limited to, accounts that appear to frequently engage in microagressions, parrot tired talking points, show a sense of entitlement to have a conversation, exhibit a lack respect for the lived experience of others, etc.

The Block Bot does not affect your ability to block people manually, and does not interfere with your existing block list. It does not block anyone who you are following, and will unblock anyone who you later choose to unblock. If you no longer wish to use the bot, it can easily be removed and the accounts blocked unblocked.

(Alternatively can use the blocktogether.org lists Level1Level1 and Level2Level1, Level2 and Level3)

 Posted by at 10:17 pm

  37 Responses to “Introduction to @TheBlockBot”

  1. You know when these technologies are turned around and used against the marginalized..
    The history books will lead us all back to you!
    There are some genies that you simply cannot put back in a bottle.

    • The response from the marginalised to the idea of the people on the bot creating their own blocking lists has been a resounding “yes please!”. So we are not sure what dystopian future you are imagining here, but we are sure @oolon will be glad to hear it is all his fault. You can put him up against the wall first, come the GamerGate revolution.

  2. Yo, just so you know, that change to the intro/FAQ isn’t enough to get everything dropped. Although I did notice that the list is looking a bit anemic now. How ’bout that.

    • How does the song go. You’re so vain … Why do you think these changes are about you? We’ve updated incorrect information on the website and toned down the language to make it more professional, we are doing this in preparation for an announcement.

      If you want to look up the history of the bot there has already been an attempt to sue by lots of people when it was first on the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation). The BBC’s lawyers for one laughed at the suggestion, Popehat gave us some advice and also pointed out how ridiculous the law suit was, no one followed through strangely! Bear in mind the descriptions were a lot more, err, colorful way back then, they’ve been changed many times since. If you want to sue for being on a list which has always had very vague definitions for it’s levels, since they are subjective, and never been demonstrated to have a quantifiable negative effect on anyone then go ahead.

      • What? You’re going to get civil suits if not libel.

        • Based on what? Libel is not a civil matter, the Information Commission has told the person who hosts the bot he doesn’t have to register under the Data Protection laws as they don’t apply … So how exactly are you intending on issuing these civil suits?

          • And you just gave up on it? It is clear you were getting too much heat, as your lawyer probably told you to hand it off or try a different approach. Absolutely hilarious,

          • Um, the lawyer who looked at the original threats stopped giving us advice over a week ago. Because the person who has been telling you the “lawsuit” is real dropped all his complaints of libel as they were clearly ridiculous. Might have something to do with the harassment warning he got from the police for sending spurious libel threats intending to intimidate. That is a permanent record on your name that comes up in any enhanced Criminal Record Bureau check … So the only vaguely “legal action” taken has been by the police against the GamerGater spearheading the “lawsuits”.

            Seems his latest wheeze is to complain to the ICO, given they’ve stated the person who hosts the block bot servers is not a data controller and does not have to register under the act. There are no complaints you can make against him! Unless the ICO change their minds, so good luck with that, I’m sure they want to be responsible for policing data held on US servers :D

            ETA: Oh, and given up? Read again, we are improving and expanding on it!

  3. I got put on this thing for sending a one off joke to a user and there i am among the “worst of the worst” with all the stalkers, MRAs and neonazis.

    Is there seriously no way off this thing?

    • Check who added you, either on the Storify or use Twitters search function and ask them. If they don’t respond check the list of blockers on the FAQ and find one to ask, anyone can remove or re-level you. Quite a few people have been incorrectly put on level1 as they are assumed to be socks, as well as the “worst” any suspected fake accounts are put on level1 until they can be identified.

      You’ll likely either be removed or re-levelled to a lower level when they review.

  4. I sincerely appreciate the irony of promoting free speech on the front page of your website while handing out a tool to censor and hide others’ views.

    • Um, exactly how does it hide or censor anyone’s views? All the Twitter accounts added are still up, still expressing their views for anyone to read in the free marketplace… You seem confused about what the bot does, it is an opt-in service that will make it impossible for someone on the bot to contact a person who subscribes. That is it, no censorship, no hiding of views. The users can still read any tweets they like, unblock or follow people on the list and engage however they like.

      • “Um, exactly how does it hide or censor anyone’s views? All the Twitter accounts added are still up, still expressing their views for anyone to read in the free marketplace…”

        An online Free Speech Zone if you will…

    • Luckily your right to free speech does not mean that I have an obligation to listen to your drivel.

      Other people have rights too (I know, shocking) and they’re exercising their right to not have to read your tweets. No infringement on free speech has been done, you’re still allowed to say stuff you just can’t force people to have to listen to it.

  5. You’re garbage. Really.

    • This is from someone from the Gate-cult, they obsess over some “literally whos”, one of which is Randi harper, hence the reference in their nym. An interesting anthropological study awaits I’m sure … Their email address is “[email protected]”. Classy!

  6. As much as I like the XKCD comic here and as much it is pretty much factual correct and as much as it is a perfect reply to those that that would invoke freeze peach at any instance… freedom in general isn’t just freedom from the government. With great power comes great responsibility and if you are maintaining a popular list of something (be it search results [Google], an ad blocking list [Adblock+] or whatever [media]) then you have de-facto some power you should use wisely (or be made to use wisely). Being more professional and transparent is certainly the way to go.

  7. It’s sad that people need to be told what they should listen to and what they shouldn’t listen to.
    There are people on this list that don’t deserve to be put on this list as a criminal.

    Not only that, who is to judge on who to accept the block request or not.
    If it is automatic. Then who is to stop blocking both sides? Then where is the argument? Where is the rationalized talk?
    If you resort to this kind of decline in what humans are best at, communicating, then there will never be common ground, just the continuation of the same problems. If you ask me I want @FemFerq to be on the block list, but I see @thunderf00t for example. Good job, it’s the other way around censorship at it’s best.

    • Create your own block list if you want @femfreq on one! No one is stopping people from talking, we are giving people who *don’t* want to talk a mechanism to keep you out of their mentions.

  8. I have a major problem. Everyone has been talking about this Block bot Checker so I checked it out. Apparently I am on there for asking how a video is sexist. But that is not my issue. My issue is my real name being on the checker even thought I have never put my real name on twitter or even gave my consent to have my real name on the checker at all. This feels to me an invasion of my privacy as I did not release my real name to the public on twitter or anywhere near it really. I personally feel that if anyone wanted to they could just find that and bother me or harass me. I hope you can get back to me so we can, for lack of a better word, deal with this in a professional manner.

    • Cool story, what’s your twitter id so we can check it out?

      BTW there is no storage of your “real name” anywhere in TBB systems, only a public Twitter id. But a nice try there ;)

  9. You guys put Richard Dawkins on here = You’re opinions are no longer valid.

    • Fallacious reasoning from a Dawkbro? How is this possible … :-/

      • so why did you block him then?

        • What has this got to do with your fallacious reasoning? Your claim was that blocking him makes our opinion invalid, this is clearly not true.

        • Actually scratch that. Can anyone become a Blocker? Say if one of my friends suggests me to become a Blocker, what’s preventing that? Seems like you’d have to do an awful lot of monitoring, very messy.

  10. I see where you say to use twitter search or storify to find the particular tweet – but I can’t seem to. Can you provide more specific instructions please?

  11. Cancelling a show because of the objections of others is violting free speech. Your basic idea that it’s not censorship if the government doesn’t arrest you is flawed.

    • No, it really is not. The makers of the show in question have no right to a private platform, hence they are cancelled and they have no recourse through a “free speech” complaint.

      Or to put it another way, you have all the rights in the world to speak, but no right to make people listen to you.

  12. Apparently I was put on this block list for “ableism” but when I checked the storify the tweet it showed didn’t have ableism in it. All I did was criticise a medical website’s legitimacy.

    • Just saying… comments by ‘Concerned’ would be of much lesser concern to all if they included a Twitter account ID to back up the nature of those assertions.

  13. I, for one, welcome our new SJW overlords…hopefully they do better than the chaotic evil types who are in denial about their insignificant minority status on the modern Internet.

 Leave a Reply

(required)

(required)

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>