Anonymous comments

Why is no one using anonymous comments anymore? Either you have to register for yet another site or you're forced to login with your Google or Facebook account. Even worse is when you're forced to upload passport and credit card information just to post a comment, unbelievable. But it doesn't end there. In addition you'll also have to solve equations, beat Turing tests, click on images with cats and soon also pass a set of phrenology tests. Why? To avoid spam, hate-speech, and other "bad behaviors"? While these are valid concerns, I don't believe this is the solution.

Another problem is that these systems are not machine friendly, if anything they are machine hostile. It could be argued that this makes sense because most of the bots that post comments are used for spam. If that's the case, shouldn't we try to stop spamming instead of trying to stop the bots? To improve the Internet I really believe that we need to give machines more playroom to interact. The humorous subreddit TotallyNotRobots understands the importance of this. 

Well then, what's the solution? I believe the solution is to make the comment section ruled-based. That is the administrator selects a set of rules that all comments have to follow. For example, no spam, no hate-speech, no trolling, etc. How ever restrictive or open the administrator deems appropriate. These rules are then enforced by algorithms, called moderators, that analyses the comments. This is of course no simple task, but spam-filters has been around for ages and even more advanced filters are being developed[1]

I've developed a functional framework that follows these principles, the technical details and all the code can be found at github anonymous-comments. Feel free to test it below! 

The moderators that are currently in use are:

  • Linguist - Checks if the comment is in English. 
  • Spam - Makes sure the comments doesn't contain spam. 
  • Security - Tries to filter out malicious comments like XSS and SQL attacks. 

Please note that the security moderator is not responsible for the actual security. It is only used to hide malicious looking comments from others. To simplify the other algorithms only English is allowed at the moment. 

By default each user is anonymous. If you choose to use enter a name you can further increase your integrity by adding a tripcode[2]. The tripcode is generated by a cryptographic hashing function and will be added to your name in order to ensure the integrity of your comments. To add a tripcode simply add a hashtag (#) after the username followed by some secret word, e.g. username#secret.

This is a work in progress and will be continually updated. If you find any problems or wish to see additional features implemented, please leave a comment below.

Notes

  1.  "TROLLS BEWARE: TWITTER IS DEVELOPING A WAY TO FILTER HATE SPEECH FROM TIMELINE", http://www.eurweb.com/2016/08/trolls-beware-twitter-developing-way-filter-hate-speech-timeline/
  2. "Imageboard - Tripcodes", https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imageboard#Tripcodes

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Comments

Benjamin d2782292df32 2017-02-10 18:40:13
Feel free to test the comment section!
Jonas 8dbdc404b428 2017-03-31 06:11:59
Very nice post! 😀
xxSW 2019-11-08 09:02:27
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