Posts Tagged ‘spam’

How to defeat “mark as spam” comment bombers

SchrodingersFinch
SchrodingersFinch
Sat Jul 25, 2009 7:23 pm by SchrodingersFinch

As many of you may know, in addition to votebots that rate down videos there are also bots that mark all the comments on a video as spam. Although the comments can still be read when you click the “Show” button, it’s quite annoying and a direct attack against free speech. The problem would be easy to solve by simply clicking the “Not Spam” button above every comment. Unfortunately, as many things on YouTube, the button doesn’t work.

It’s still possible to unmark comments as spam by going through the page source, but that can be rather time consuming. But now there is an easier solution, a program that does this automatically.

There are, however, a few objections to using the program. For one, is it right to use a bot against a bot? Here’s why I don’t think there’s anything wrong about it:

  1. You can only moderate comments on your own videos.
  2. You can do the same manually, it only takes a lot more time.
  3. It would be about as fast to do manually if the “Not Spam” button worked properly.
  4. You are defending free speech and harming no one.

Could the program be used wrong, for example, modified to mark comments as spam in other people’s videos? Here’s what the programmer has to say:

“Only if the user has pretty intimate knowledge of decompiling/editing compiled programs. A malicious programmer could look at the source code as an example of some general principles one might use to create a spam bot, but a programmer with enough knowledge to understand my example would not need it (it’s exceedingly simple).”

What about YouTube’s Terms of Service? Section 4.H. says the following:

“You agree not to use or launch any automated system, including without limitation, “robots,” “spiders,” or “offline readers,” that accesses the Website in a manner that sends more request messages to the YouTube servers in a given period of time than a human can reasonably produce in the same period by using a conventional on-line web browser.”

In the program you can set the time period between actions. In my opinion, 1 second is a reasonable period of time for unmarking comments as spam. Of course, you could set a longer time period if you feel like it.

As long as the “Not Spam” button is non-functional I see no problem in using the program. If I was hit by a creationist spambot, I would certainly use it. But this is just my personal opinion, not necessarily the official position of the League of Reason.

You can download the program here. The program should run on Windows Vista and XP. It won’t yet run on Mac OS X, except via VirtualPC. Downloading and using the program is at your own risk. Neither I nor the League of Reason can be held responsible for any possible damage caused by the program.

Even if you have no need for the program please check out joshTheGoods’s channel.  He also has many great videos about evolution, creationism and atheism.

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