StupidFilter Needs Some Education

Gru­ber had post­ed this after­noon about a great-sound­ing, open-source project titled Stu­pid­Fil­ter meant to help fil­ter out stu­pid com­ments on the web. From the Stu­pid­Fil­ter site:

The solu­tion we’re cre­at­ing is sim­ple: an open-source fil­ter soft­ware that can detect ram­pant stu­pid­i­ty in writ­ten Eng­lish. This will be accom­plished with weight­ed Bayesian or sim­i­lar analy­sis and some rules-based pro­cess­ing, sim­i­lar to spam detec­tion engines. The pri­ma­ry chal­lenge inher­ent in our task is that stu­pid­i­ty is not a bina­ry dis­tinc­tion, but rather a mat­ter of degree. To this end, we’re col­lect­ing a ranked cor­pus of stu­pid text, gleaned from user com­ments on pub­lic web­sites and ranked on a five-point scale. 

How­ev­er, when I tried the demo out, I was very dis­ap­point­ed. I thought I’d start easy and enter:

First post!

Which is just about the dumb­est com­ment I could think of which might appear online. The response from the online demo?

Text is not likely to be stupid.

Uh-huh. We clear­ly have dis­parate def­i­n­i­tions of what con­sti­tutes stu­pid­i­ty. Good luck, guys. I am real­ly root­ing for this to work. If the trolls, flamers, and idiots know they’re being ignored, then they real­ly might go away. We’re just not there yet if I still ever have to read “First post!”

So, Yikes! I thought I’d try and lob them anoth­er slow and soft pitch to see if I had jumped the gun with my two-word gimme. This text gave the same “not like­ly to be stu­pid” result:

You’re and idiot! I can­not believe that you’d ever agree with Bush and/or Oba­ma! You should die you Nazi and/or hippie!

Could some­one please give an exam­ple of what is stu­pid text, then?

By Jason Coleman

Structural engineer and technical content manager Bentley Systems by day. Geeky father and husband all the rest of time.

1 comment

  1. You would not believe how tempt­ed I was to leave a “First!” com­ment to this post. :-)

    That’s an excel­lent project, and real­ly hope it can be made to work. I tried “you suk!”, which was deemed “not like­ly to be stu­pid”, and “u suk!”, which was con­sid­ered like­ly to be stu­pid. They’ve got a long way to go.

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