"Drowned in a sea of ASCII penises."

I often look around at the world of today and wonder what parts of it would have most surprised younger-me if he got a glimpse into the future. The supercomputer in my pocket that I mostly use as a Walkman, for an easy example.

But today a very strong contender is this non-joking use of the phrase "improved ASCII art detection".

YouTube hilariously impotent against ASCII comment pornographers:

The Google+ integration has also proven unpopular in a broader sense for a couple of reasons. The change constitutes a) meddling with a well-understood, if broken, system in the interest of creating engagement and more data affiliated with real people, thus creating more business for Google, and b) doing so using Google's social network, which sits somewhere on a spectrum between reviled and ignored. Google seems to be counting on the outcry against Google+ itself to eventually settle down. The company's response to the newly bad YouTube comments has been to finally introduce better content moderation at a high level. The update to the system will have "better recognition of bad links," according to the YouTube blog post, as well as "improved ASCII art detection" and altering the display of long comments. [...]

The Google+ integration, though, appears to be here to stay. That's despite the fact that the strongest user-based case for its use -- that accountability will prevent trolls from trolling -- has been killed, drowned in a sea of ASCII penises.

Previously, previously, previously, previously.

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Current Music: K.Flay -- Rawks ♬

20 Responses:

  1. "accountability will prevent trolls from trolling"


    While John Gabriel's Greater Internet Fuckwad Theory is certainly accurate, real-name accountability has never stopped trolls.

    • The problem is that the Internet Fuckwad theory isn't accurate. The problem is "freedom from consequences", and anonymity is just one way to reach that goal.

      • Chris says:

        Does incomplete qualify as inaccurate?

        • Grey Hodge says:

          It does not, unless you try to expand the realm covered by the theory. Quantum theories work very well, but they don't explain gravity. If you stick to what it does explain, it's great and not wrong.

  2. Other Jamie says:

    Remind me again what was gained by moving away from Usenet?

    • ardgedee says:

      I don't know anybody who misses maintaining miles-long trn killfiles.

      Instead we get to use account privileges and run multiple process-consuming browser plugins and ever-increasingly fragile content manipulation tools like greasemonkey and stylish.

      Okay, yeah. I got nothin'.

    • Ewen McNeill says:

      Inline images and video.

      I'm still not conviced it is an overall win.


  3. Mike Hoye says:

    Somebody - probably a team of somebodys - is in the darkest corners regex hell right now. Their manager got yelled at, and then they got yelled at, and now they're staring at a terminal window asking hard questions about whether or not they want to spend a year becoming ASCII-Penis-Regex-Guy. Just so that they can be ASCII-Penis-Regex-Guy for the rest of their careers.

    • Skreidle says:

      I would think "high ratio of punctuation to alphanumerics" would cull most ASCII art -- until they redrew them using alphanumerics, which aren't as graphically flexible.

      On principle -- grammatical and anti-troll I'd support a motion to bar more than five contiguous punctuation marks, amirite?!?!?!?!?!?!!!??

      • James C. says:


        Also U+200C Zero Width Non Joiner and its kin will defeat that approach.

        • Skreidle says:

          I see what you're getting at -- breaking up contiguous punctuation strings -- but wouldn't "ratio of alphanumeric to non-alphanumeric" still preclude non-AN-based ASCII art?

        • Skreidle says:

          Admittedly, I'm thinking anglocentrically, with A-Z and a-z (plus accented variants) and 0-9 comprising the whole of "alphanumeric".

          • jwz says:

            I haven't investigated, but I'll bet the picture-to-ASCII tools out there are able to take great advantage of all the craziness in the recesses of Unicrud these days to draw better lines, like Thai accents and whatnot. E.g., @glitchr_.

            If I was ASCII Penis Regex* Guy, I'd convert the text to an image, blur it and run edge-detection. Normal text won't have edges. But that doesn't find 8====>, which, incidentally, was the most common Twitter reply to this post that I received.

            * Now you have two penises.

    • Yeah, but think of what a hilarious set of unit test data ASCII-Penis-Regex-Guy would collect. Doesn't that lessen the soul-crushing horror of the job somewhat?

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