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The StupidFilter Project

“Madness is the exception in individuals but the rule in groups.”
-Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (1844-10-15 – 1900-08-25)

As the size of a group of people goes up, the IQ generally goes down. We’re starting to accept it as a fact of life that on uber-popular sites (such as YouTube, MySpace, etc.), 99% of the user-generated content is just completely and utterly inane. For example, I think reading YouTube comments out loud is prohibited by the Geneva Conventions, and one of the tactics for which the CIA is currently under fire is forcing detainees to read MySpace pages for 8 hours a day.

While we have a number of filters to block spam from our inboxes and epilepsy-inducing Flash advertisements from websites, there isn’t currently a filter to block stupidity. Well, now there’s the StupidFilter Project. From the project’s site:

The concept behind the StupidFilter Project originated during a conversation between Gabriel Ortiz and Paul Starr. StupidFilter was conceived out of necessity. Too long have we suffered in silence under the tyranny of idiocy. In the beginning, the internet was a place where one could communicate intelligently with similarly erudite people. Then, Eternal September hit and we were lost in the noise. The advent of user-driven web content has compounded the matter yet further, straining our tolerance to the breaking point.

It’s time to fight back.

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 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.

Eventually, once the research is completed, we plan to release core engine source code for incorporation into content management systems, blogs, wikis and the like. Additionally, we plan to develop a fully implemented Firefox plugin and a WordPress plugin.

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October 10, 2007 - Posted by | Geeks and Gadgetry, Oddities

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