Browser Add-ons, Comment Snob, Google Chrome, Programming, Yahoo!, YouTube, YouTube Comment Snob

YouTube Comment Snob is now Comment Snob

In 2007, I wrote a Firefox add-on called YouTube Comment Snob. Its main function was to filter out the inanity from YouTube comment threads, and it worked (and still works) very well, but the comment I heard most frequently from people who tried it out was “Can you make this for the entire Web?” Until now, my answer has been, “No, not yet.” But now, my answer is “Very yes.”

Announcing Comment Snob

Comment Snob is an extension for Google Chrome that filters out undesirable comments from comment threads all over the Web.

Before: After:
YouTube (before Comment Snob) YouTube (after Comment Snob)

You can install it here. It still comes with support for YouTube built in, but you can add support for many other sites by installing Comment Snob rules.

What are Comment Snob Rules?

Comment Snob rules are JSON objects that dictate how Comment Snob finds and filters comments on different websites. Here’s the rule for YouTube that ships with Comment Snob:

{
	"id": "youtube@chrisfinke.com",
	"label": "YouTube",
	"url": "^http://www\\.youtube\\.com/.*$",
	"allCommentsSelector": "#comments-view",
	"commentContainerSelector": "li.comment",
	"commentTextSelector": "div.comment-text",
	"commentHideSelector": "> div",
	"statusElementTag": "div",
	"statusElementAttributes": {
		"class": "content",
		"style": "color: #666;"
	},
	"ajaxInitiatorSelector": ".comments-pagination button, .comments-pagination a, .comments-pagination button > span",
	"updateURL": "/comment-snob/rules/youtube.snob"
}

If you know HTML and understand how to use jQuery, you can write rules for Comment Snob. (Full instructions for writing rules are available here.)

For each rule that you install, you can choose a unique set of filtering rules:

Where Can I Install Rules?

I’ve written eight rules myself and made them available on this page (scroll down to “Featured Comment Snob Rules”); as other people write rules, I’ll link to them from that page as well. Eventually, I’ll have a proper site put together for showcasing the most popular rules.

Where Can I Install It?

Install it from the Google Chrome Extensions Gallery. It’s not available for Firefox yet, but I’ll most likely be releasing the next version for Chrome and Firefox simultaneously.

What’s Next?

This version of Comment Snob is just a shell of what my final vision is for comment filtering on the Web; right now, it’s all very manual, and the chances of false positives are too high for my taste. Adding a proper spellcheck filter will help that somewhat (Chrome doesn’t yet have a spellcheck API like Firefox does), but imagine a future where all comments on all websites could be filtered automatically based on their content, grammar, and keyword frequency, without having to account for personality differences between different websites. (e.g., The expected quality of a YouTube comment is much lower than the expected quality of a Hacker News comment, so Hacker News comments should be judged more stringently.) That starts to get close to what I want Comment Snob to be.

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Feed Statistics, Plugins, RSS, WordPress, Yahoo!

Feed Statistics: Now with fewer bots!

I’ve updated the Feed Statistics plugin for WordPress again, this time to stop it from counting bots as users. If you’ve been running the plugin already, it will take a few days for the bots already counted as users to filter out. So your subscriber count may drop a little, but on the plus side, the plugin will now count subscribers represented by Yahoo!’s FeedSeeker bot, which reports its subscriber count in a slightly different format than other feedbots.

There are also a few small performance upgrades in this version (1.0.2), but I haven’t been able to duplicate the “Plugin could not be activated because it triggered a fatal error” error some users have been seeing. If you get this error when activating the plugin, e-mail me at chris@efinke.com and we can figure it out together.

Download the zip file of the newest version here, and overwrite feed-statistics.php in your blog’s wp-content/plugins/ directory if you downloaded an earlier version. If you’re downloading it for the first time, just copy it to that directory and activate it from the Plugin administration menu.

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JavaScript, Programming, Recommendations, Yahoo!

Video Tutorial: The JavaScript Programming Language

Yahoo!’s video of Douglas Crockford’s The JavaScript Programming Language lecture is definitely the best overview of JavaScript that I’ve ever seen. (The first part is embedded below, and the remaining 3 parts are linked after that.) I saw it a while back, but it’s been getting a fair amount of press in the social media space this week.

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4

I’m self-taught when it comes to JavaScript, as I’ve never taken a formal class that dealt with it, and it was refreshing to find that I’ve managed to pick up most of the good habits that Crockford recommends while avoiding most of the bad habits he cautions against. I must have made good choices as to which sites’ and browser extensions’ source code I studied.

I think next I’ll get started on watching their “Advanced JavaScript” series.

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