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filter commentsSpace is silent, the digital one is not. Text and sound occupy much of it and users give vent to their feelings with both. Sharp-tongues and foul-mouths are the staple of comment boxes. This is one of those little tips that can make the online world a much civil, if not a better place.

For instance, the popularity of YouTube has meant that it is a much frequented digital hotspot. One of the ills is the poor quality of comments.

That’s when it time to turn to browsing tools that are there to counter the bad and ugly of the web. Let’s take a look at two extensions for Firefox and Chrome which help you to filter out undesirable and abuse laden comments on YouTube specifically and other sites on the web.

For Firefox: YouTube Comment Snob

This Firefox extension is absolutely free, but the if you feel that it does its job of filtering out offensive YouTube comments, then you can drop the little donation the coder asks for it. Freeware or ‘donationware’, this handy add-on is worth an install if your child browses YouTube more often than you would like.

After installing the add-on, go to your add-ons list under Tools and check out the Options:

filter comments

If you have no interest in YouTube comments at all and would like to keep a clean interface, check the topmost box which hides all YouTube comments. The remaining settings of this Firefox extension filters comments, hiding those that contain too many spelling errors, undue punctuation, or swear words. Though Firefox does a good job of hiding all comments, it doesn’t do so for the other selective filters.

Here’s a screen of a YouTube comment thread before the extension goes to war on it.

comments firefox add ons

Here’s one after the filters are applied and the interface gets cleaned up.

comments firefox add ons

The Chrome extension though does a far more thorough job. Let’s check it out.

For Chrome: Comment Snob

Nearly four years after he coded the Firefox add-on, the developer released a similar extension for Chrome. Along with the slight rechristening of the name, the other change is that it filters out undesirable comments from comment threads all over the Web (with a bit of work). The filter for YouTube is very much still in place alongside the extended functionality. As the Option screen below shows, Comment Snob also lets you filter out custom keywords or phrases.

comments firefox add ons

Here’s how the YouTube page gets cleaned up:

filter comments

Comment Snob also introduces Rule Management. I won’t go into much detail with this except to say that this feature allows you to set filtration rules for any website. It gets a bit geeky (a tutorial is provided) and you need to know a bit of HTML and jQuery to frame the rules for any website. Rules can be customized for individual sites. You can try out few of the sample rules that are provided on the homepage for sites like Mashable, Yahoo News, Hacker News, and Reddit etc.

How useful do you find the Firefox add-on and Chrome extension? Is a bit of censorship desirable when it comes to profanity laden comments? Let us know in a polite way.

Image Credit: Shutterstock


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  1. Cell Travis
    July 27, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    I'm in favor of selective censorship specially in case of YouTube where off-topic mud slinging has become an annoying habit among commenters. The sheer volume of traffic it gets means moderation tends to become ineffective. For viewers like us (including kids who frequent YouTube) these plugins are simple yet useful.

    • Saikat Basu
      July 28, 2011 at 4:38 am

      So true. In fact, I haven't seen the amount of negative comments in any other social site site so far. YouTube outdoes them all. They should include a filter as a default especially when the site's major audience are kids.