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YouTube insult generator pokes fun at trolls

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By John Glenday, Reporter

October 26, 2011 | 2 min read

Adrian Holovaty, a Chicago based web developer, has come up with a humorous use for the reams of vitriol generated by YouTube users on video comments – a random insult generator.

The simple site accepts text searches of commentators output to produce a choice selection of insults of its own.

This works by filtering out those users who “dislike” videos – and the resulting arguments with fans, these ‘comebacks’ are then pulled and incorporated into a list of search terms.

Holovaty wrote: “Each video displays how many people have liked -- and disliked -- it. In a classic example of interfaces influencing behavior, this has encouraged users to make insulting remarks about the dislikers. I'm sure you've seen the type: it's comments like "439 people own a zune" on the 2001 Steve Jobs iPod presentation. (439 people had disliked the video at the time the comment was posted.)

“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.”

Though intended as just a piece of fun, the program does offer an eye opening insight into the mindset of the average YouTube commentator.

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