Mozilla, Mozilla Firefox, TubeStop, YouTube

Adopt an Add-on: TubeStop

Notice: TubeStop was discontinued on December 25, 2012 and is no longer supported.

I’m no longer going to be updating TubeStop, a Firefox extension I wrote that disables autoplay on YouTube videos. I don’t have the time or the inclination to keep up with YouTube’s HTML changes.

TubeStop has been around for about five years, and it has 17,000 users. It was the first browser extension that made it possible to disable YouTube’s autoplay feature (if you don’t count the all-purpose Flashblock), and it gained notoriety in 2007 for inadvertently stripping ads from YouTube videos.

If you’d like to adopt this abandoned add-on, let me know, and I’ll transfer ownership of the extension to you on Mozilla Add-ons. If nobody wants to take over development, I’ll shut it down and the void will be filled by one of the other anti-autoplay extensions on AMO.

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": "",
	"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.

Browser Add-ons, Mozilla Firefox, YouTube, YouTube Comment Snob

YouTube Comment Snob updated

YouTube Comment Snob is an extension for the Firefox Web browser that allows you to filter YouTube comments based on spelling, capitalization, and punctuation usage.

I’ve updated YouTube Comment Snob to work with YouTube’s latest redesign, as well as to add compatibility for Firefox 3. It’s available for download from the Mozilla Add-ons sandbox until it is approved by an AMO editor for mass consumption.

Browser Add-ons, YouTube, YouTube Comment Snob

Filter YouTube comments by spelling mistakes

I’m sure that I’m not the only one who has noticed that the discussion threads at YouTube typically contain a low percentage of quality comments. Earlier this week, I remarked to a co-worker that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to be able to filter the comments based on the number of spelling mistakes made by the author. Inspired by that thought, I’ve written a Firefox extension that makes that kind of filtering possible.

With the YouTube Comment Snob Firefox extension, you can hide comments that meet any of these criteria:

  • More than # spelling mistakes: The number of mistakes is customizable, and the extension uses Firefox’s built-in spell checker.
  • All capital letters
  • No capital letters
  • Doesn’t start with a capital letter
  • Excessive punctuation (!!!! ????)
  • Excessive capitalization

For example, here’s part of a typical YouTube comment thread:

YouTube Comments

And here’s how that same section looks when using YouTube Comment Snob:

Example of YouTube Comment Snob’s work

(You’ll notice how foreign languages are categorized as spelling mistakes; if you speak a different language and have that dictionary installed for Firefox’s spellchecker, you can choose to have YouTube Comment Snob use that dictionary instead.)

You can install YouTube Comment Snob from its homepage. It is compatible with Firefox 1.5 through 3.0a7, Netscape Navigator 9, and Flock.

Browser Add-ons, TubeStop, YouTube

TubeStop also stops YouTube ads

Notice: TubeStop was discontinued on December 25, 2012 and is no longer supported.

The TubeStop Firefox extension that I wrote in order to stop YouTube videos from auto-playing also has the serendipitous side-effect of removing ads from YouTube videos. Since YouTube is only serving ads through the player on their main site, and not on the embeddable/syndicated player, and TubeStop works by replacing YouTube’s native player with the embeddable version, you won’t see any ads when you’re using TubeStop.

Try it out by first viewing this video without TubeStop: Rock Yo Hips. (I recommend muting your speakers; the content of the video is terrible, but it was the first video I could find with ads.) You’ll see around the 15-second mark an ad pops up over the bottom 15% of the video.

Now install TubeStop, restart Firefox, and view the video again. You’ll notice that while the video still sucks, there are no ads layered on it. I don’t know how long this will be the case, but it works for now.

Update: It looks like Google has removed all video ads for now. I’ll update this post if I come across a video that still has them. Maybe I should rename this post to “TubeStop also stops YouTube ads… FOREVER”.

If you like TubeStop, check out my other YouTube-specific Firefox extension: YouTube Comment Snob. It adds powerful filtering controls to YouTube comment threads.

Browser Add-ons, TubeStop, YouTube

TubeStop updated

Notice: TubeStop was discontinued on December 25, 2012 and is no longer supported.

I’ve updated the TubeStop Firefox extension to work with YouTube videos that have embedding disabled (like this one of Ben Folds covering Elton John). Since TubeStop replaces the auto-playing video with the non-auto-playing embeddable version, these videos were not being properly replaced.

You can install TubeStop from the TubeStop homepage.

What is TubeStop? It’s an extension for Firefox that prevents YouTube videos from automatically playing when you open the page.

Browser Add-ons, TubeStop, YouTube

TubeStop extended to non-YouTube sites

Notice: TubeStop was discontinued on December 25, 2012 and is no longer supported.

TubeStop was mentioned today on the the Global Geek Podcast, and the main drawback discussed was that it doesn’t disable the autoplay on YouTube videos embedded on other sites. I’ve added this feature and subsequently released TubeStop 1.1.

You can install TubeStop 1.1 from the TubeStop homepage.

TubeStop is a browser extension that stops YouTube videos from automatically beginning playback when the page is loaded.