I wanted to enjoy online discussions again
I’m on social media and I’m a regular reader of several news blogs. I often read the comments, and occasionally participate in the conversation.
Sometimes messages are needlessly inflammatory, offensive, polemical, or otherwise not useful to me. I find these posts distracting, annoying, and ultimately “noise” that my brain has to filter out.
It’s unfortunate, because on most sites there are genuinely thoughtful comments that I want to read, but they’re mixed in with so much trash that my reading experience becomes unbearable (Reason.com, I’m looking at you). So I end up either missing out on posts I’d enjoy reading by skipping the comments entirely, or wasting mental energy filtering out the crap that scrolls by, trying not to miss the good stuff.
Many of these sites do not have any “block user” feature at all. Even when they do, it’s often possible for the person you’ve blocked to know they’ve been blocked, when you’d prefer to have more discretion.
I wanted a one-click block user function. Whether the site has that feature or not. Click the block button and posts from that user disappear; never see posts from that user again. The blocked user would have no way to know they’d been blocked, and the site would have no way to know who you were blocking.
In part 3 of this series, I explained how ShadowBan makes this possible on Facebook. Even better, it allows keyword-based blocks and much more. So I extended ShadowBan to support other social media and news/discussion websites.
Today, ShadowBan works on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Reddit, and a handful of blogs with discussion forums: HackerNews, MarginalRevolution, and Reason. It’s fairly easy to write plugins for new sites, so we plan to continue expanding ShadowBan over time to cover more of the sites that our users enjoy.
Are you ready to throw the trash to the curb? Want to enjoy more signal and less noise? Try Bubble!