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.
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:
"commentHideSelector": "> div",
"style": "color: #666;"
"ajaxInitiatorSelector": ".comments-pagination button, .comments-pagination a, .comments-pagination button > span",
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.
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.