Block Bot

From P2P Foundation
Jump to navigation Jump to search



Glenn Fleishman:

"The Block Bot seems to be the first or first widely used Collaborative Blocking tool, and its original developer, James Billingham, says that he had to rewrite it last September to better conform with Twitter’s app rules. Block Bot’s administrative governance remains tied to the Atheist+ movement, a group attempting to accommodate diversity in “organized atheism,” as Stephanie Zvandescribes it. The five administrators are part of the A+ forum. Admins can add blockers who don’t need to be part of that group, and there are 33 such now. Accounts authorized by Block Bot are monitored for hashtag-based commands, such as “+ #AddBlocker”.

But Block Bot’s utility has shifted well beyond facilitating discussions about atheism, with a broad inclusion of people committed to ideologies around men’s rights (MRAs), anti-feminism, and exclusionary feminism (opposition to trans people and sex workers). These are all terribly loaded terms, and I’ll get to how that’s dealt with in a moment.

Block Bot users can opt in at Level 1, 2, or 3; Level 2 includes Level 1 blocks; Level 3, both 1 and 2. Level 1 blocks those sorts of people that most sensible people would agree were prima facie abusive; it doesn’t take a strong ideological association to identify with the sort of threats or abuse, or to recognize stalking and fraudulent accounts. Level 2 adds ideologically identified people who may or may not be per se abusive. Level 3 could be defined as the clueless and irritating.

To meet Twitter’s rules, Block Bot provides a public lists of those currently present in each level. Billingham notes, “It never blocks someone you follow; also if a user unblocks someone it never reblocks them.” To avoid triggering Twitter’s spam reporting algorithm, blocks are added in small waves. Block Bot has a tool, partly at Twitter’s request, to remove blocks by level (or even all blocks) on an account when one leaves the service. On August 8, the Block Bot account tweeted that the service had applied about 320,000 blocks to its subscribed accounts over the course of seven days.

Block Bot is currently hosted on Github as an open-source project for non-commercial use, and Billingham says he and others now helping with the project have a code rewrite plan to make it work in a more distributed fashion." (

More Information


"Two other projects are also underway. Block Together has a similar aim as Block Bot, though it’s more of a framework that the developer, Jacob Hoffman-Andrews, is looking for help with, and is building and testing through a beta stage. It will also be replicable, and could function as a plug-in option to a site that wants to offer a list to members, or be a component of a more comprehensive Web-based Twitter app.

Flaminga takes a broader approach, though it’s still very much in its early stages of development by its creator Cori Johnson. “Considering how little Twitter has done to solve this problem, I want to give users as many options as possible to manage their received content however they choose,” she says. Flaminga will allow shared blocked lists (and potentially making use of Twitter’s mute, too) among friends, rather than A list for an entire deployed service." (