YouTube Insult Generator Extracts (Some) Value from Trolls

Comments to your YouTube videos can provide valuable feedback and additional information about your audience as well as your videos. Viewers will tell you what they like and don’t like about your videos. But you need to have a bit of a thick skin since there are lots of trolls.

Fortunately, Adrian Holovaty has just introduced the YouTube Insult Generator. Angela Watercutter of Underwire gets a tip of my cap for uncovering Holvaty’s tool in her story “YouTube Insult Generator Means None of Us Are Safe”.

Here’s the backstory: Holovaty is a Web developer and musician in Chicago. On Oct. 16, he wrote a blog post, “Introducing the YouTube Insult Generator,” that was adapted from a five-minute talk he gave that at Ignite Chicago.

Holovaty said, “Everybody knows YouTube comments are atrocious…If only we could extract some value from all that crap.”

Then, he added, “After groaning about these types of comments for a while, I realized they’re a sort of semistructured information — it’s always a number, followed by some sort of insult. And, besides, some of them are actually kind of witty.” And that’s when his project was born.

youtube-insult-generatorHolovaty has created a “search engine for insults.” Type in a YouTube search term, and his tool will give you insults you can use against a person who doesn’t like that term.

For example, if you enter “the godfather,” the YouTube Insult Generator will suggest, “You sleep with the fishes,” “You sleep with a horsehead in bed” and “You will get an offer you can’t refuse.”

Enter “alfred hitchcock” and the YouTube Insult Generator will say “You had your eyes plucked out by crows” and “You have Vertigo.”

Enter “mario brothers” and the YouTube Insult Generator will observe “You aren’t Super enough for Mario.”

Get it? Got it? Good.

I tried the YouTube Insult Generator out by entering “search engine optimizer”, and it said “You use Yahoo!”

I entered “paid search”, and it said “You are addicted to facebook” and “You are jealous because you have no creativity. ;-)”

Then I entered “social media,” and it said “You don’t understand this”, “You work for facebook”, and “You hate people.”

The YouTube Insult Generator will often tell you “No insults found.” But when it does work, each insult includes a link to its source YouTube video.

And don’t be surprised if your insults vary.

When Watercutter used the YouTube Insult Generator for her story, she entered “Lady Gaga” and got “You can’t dance”, “You wish you had a cool Nebraskan guy :D”, and ”You don’t know good music when you hear it” as suggested insults.

But, when I used the YouTube Insult Generator for my story, I entered “Lady Gaga” and got “You don’t have enough brain to appreciate REAL ART. shame on you people…”, “You are ding dongs”, and “You forgot the girl in the midl 😮 :D” as suggested insults.

According to Holovaty, his YouTube Insult Generator uses the YouTube API to search for the top 50 most relevant videos for each search term. For each of these videos, it grabs the latest 50 comments. Then it looks through all that for comments starting with a number followed by a word such as “people,” “youtubers” or “nincompoops.” Finally, it just replaces the number and the word “people” with “You.”

It doesn’t do anything fancy like caching or giving users a way to mark searches as particularly funny, but it’s not bad for a quick hack. Enjoy, and please use the insults wisely.

If you need to warm up before trying out Holovaty’s new tool, then watch Harry Hanrahan’s “The 100 Greatest Movie Insults of All Time.”

Yes, insults are nothing new. But Holovaty’s new tool has taken crowdsourcing to a whole new level for discovering new ones.

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