On blocking, and the coinsplaining cryptobros

In the last week, I have been referred to as "Daddy" more times than ever before in my life. And apparently I'm a "boomer" now.

I've also been told that my blog is a psyop to protect the dollar.

Since the twit-shitshow (twitshow) began, it looks like I got 1.7M "impressions", around 30K likes, 7K RTs, 700 replies, and my number of followers went from 15K to 24K. (But then I immediately blocked about 1000 of those new followers, so I'm not sure if those are reflected.)

The top response (number one with a bullet) was "do your research". I used to think that "do your research" was a signifier of people who like a little bleach in their horse paste, but it turns out that it is also the rallying cry of cryptobros. There's probably significant overlap between those two groups.

The coinsplainers just cannot fathom that someone wouldn't want to sell Amway with them. You must Just Not Get It, that's the only explanation.

But once they move on to the insults, those usually include "virtue signalling". Is it safe to assume that anyone who uses that phrase is also mad that they aren't allowed to use the N word? I think it is.

There was also a fair amount of whataboutism. None of them have seen Mr. Gotcha and it shows.

I keep seeing people adding me to twitter lists like "tech" and "founders" and it makes me remember that I need to post more poop jokes.


Block, Also Block @jwz blocked you I am forever advising people, "Why hit Reply when the Block button is right there?"

But the struggle is real. I feel it too, especially these last few days. There are so many people who are wrong on the internet. So many! You don't owe them your time. Block with righteous glee.

It helps if you think of the "Block" button as the "Go Fuck Yourself" button. Maybe try to imagine Jeff Goldblum singing the "It's maaaahhh birthhhhhday" song every time you press it.

Basically, I block someone if they have said something stupid enough to make me want to hit reply and frustratedly explain it to them. We all know that there is no future in sending that reply, but as I said, the struggle is real. So instead I block them, because the chance that this person will ever say something I want to hear is... not large.

But, maybe some day Mr. Firstname Bunchanumbers dot Eth and I woulda been pals. My loss!

And those blocks happen not just for people who have replied to me. If I see your comment, and you're a dumbass, you get a block. This sometimes leads to perplexed people saying "but he blocked me and we've never spoken!" So if that's you, and it made you sad, my sympathies. But this is a matter of self-defense and one does what one must.

Now some people may think that if you blocked them, they have "won", but I don't care about that even a little bit. What they think is irrelevant to me. The goal is to remove them permanently from my experience. I will, by definition, never see their "he actually blocked me lmao" posts.

"You mean I can push one button and make this weird guy I've never heard of go away forever? Neat."

But, if you do reply to a dumbass before you block them -- let's bring back *plonk*.

During the Recent Unpleasantness, I blocked over a thousand new followers based on keywords in their profiles (dot-eth, etc.) Fortunately, crypto-bros always self-identify, because it's a cult. The grift requires total commitment. (Don't ask for the script, it was messy.)

I have also made good use of megablock.xyz -- it blocks a bad tweet's author and every person who liked it.

I reported a couple dozen of the more abusive ones, but to the shock of absolute no one, Twitter finds nothing to be against their terms of service. I would like to be in the habit of reporting twits more, but it is so many clicks, and it's about as useless as telling 311 about a blocked bike lane.

I am once again asking for you to untag me in your replies Because Twitter is terrible, after you've blocked someone, all of the replies from people who are making the mistake of continuing to engage with them still show up in your mentions. You can mute the entire thread, but then you lose everything, not just the sub-thread with the dipshit you blocked.

In summary, Twitter is a land of contrasts.


Blocking is time management. You block someone who's spending their time trying to waste yours. When you block someone on twitter it's because both you AND THEY agree that your time is more valuable than their time.

Relatedly, anildash:

A reminder that may not be obvious: amplification on social networks has monetary value. Twitter's algorithm counts it as engagement even if you shared a tweet to criticize it or mock it, and uses that signal to amplify the tweet further. Only RT what you would pay to promote.

Do not reply to, retweet, or quote a tweet from a fascist unless you would give them your money. Apparently some people would rather make that gift than change their behavior online, and I don't know what to do about that.

If you think that quote-tweeting does not juice the engagement numbers of the bad take, you are wrong. If you think that screenshotting it does not do the same thing, you are probably wrong. Twitter has very good OCR, and if they aren't scanning screenshots for twitter links and handles in order to decide what to show to more people, I would be shocked.


And since we're talking about "engagement" and all of that horseshit, how about giving a follow to @dnalounge and @dnapizza? It would be nice to get those numbers up. My staff thanks you in advance. Tip your bartenders.

Also, please follow @dnalounge on Instagram -- we are getting very close to 10K followers, and I understand that once we reach that, we unlock a secret prize: the ability to add a "swipe up" link to our posts, so that it's possible to go from a post about an event, to the actual ticket page, rather than having just the one Lincoln Bio. Imagine that.

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32 Responses:

  1. Delurking to out myself as one of said new followers—and I was pleased to learn you own DNA Lounge, even though I haven’t made it there since having kids (and I am now following DNA). Also, your blog is a good reminder of what I appreciated and enjoyed about the pre-monetize/centralize-everything internet, so thanks for dropping that viral tweet and leading me here.

  2. Steve Gifford says:

    I’ve enjoyed watching you emerge from the depths of internet history like a tag team Godzilla match to body slam crypto but you’re still wrong about OpenGL.

  3. Andrusi says:

    Another new follower here, and regarding the terms of service... man, I don't think there's actually a human involved in enforcing Twitter's rules anymore. The other day I got suspended for something the algorithm had mistaken for a death threat, and when I appealed, it got rejected less than a minute later.

  4. Rod says:

    You don’t need a certain number of followers to put links in your stories any more. Add a LINK sticker to your post and you can have any arbitrary link in your story.

  5. Dude says:

    Crypto-bros are all: "But... but... I thought jwz was the hacker-rebel legend? Why doesn't he love my support of de-centralised digital finance? WHYYYYY?!!!"

  6. dr2chase says:

    Compiler guy, wrote crappy Bayesian analysis and crappy network analysis to block based on whatever information I could inhale through Twitter's soda straw API, and it was amazing. The false positive rate is 1% or lower, and it found about a million people, including fascists in other countries in other languages.

    Twitter could do so much better. I think part of the problem is that they're too in love with the idea of solving all problems with Morse Peach, which just accidentally helps goose their numbers, instead of trying to recognize antisocial people and get them they hell out of their social network.

    I need to do the next step and turn it into an on-line algorithm (it's batch now), I finally loaded it into Postgres and it turns out I've got 33.5M profiles and 401M follow-edges (of 98000 really terrible people) cached.

    • Yep. Finding spammers and griefers on Twitter is easy. Early-2000s anti email spam tech works great here. Twitter doesn't do it because they like it this way.

      • granville says:

        When Jack Dorsey was going on about promoting "conversational health" on Twitter and media began treating it like it was a legitimate thing, someone broke everyone up by asking "Do you think Twitter enjoys it when two strangers politely agree?"

        Fuck no, they want people to scream, rant, throw shit at each other and invite everyone they know to watch it. There's no engagement in civility, baby. Every profile is open by default, there is no way to post to a private community and they keep it that way even when it freaks out 90% of new users who want no part of this shit and never post once.

      • Ian says:

        In the 140 character days, I did look at applying a Bayesian filter to my Twitter reading feed back but there wasn't really enough info for it to work - in terms of just showing me stuff I wanted to see - reliably enough.

        Has anyone made it work with the longer ones now?

  7. Lloyd says:

    I relish being blocked on twitter (for pointing out that a video tool will of course have video tutorials for it, which is very much eating your own dogfood) and yet still being occasionally able to entertainingly add to the incandescent ongoing mirth that is this jwz.org ragefest.

    this month's hate target: cryptobros!

    We have just gotten a wake-up call from the Nintendo generation.

    Remember blocking is more than just a choice, it's a survival trait.

    Block the planet! BLOCK THE PLANET!

    • jwz says:

      Dude, you're on the moderation list here because 95% of the time, your jokes are more annoying than funny. Take this as an opportunity for self-improvement. Quality, not quantity.

  8. bierlich says:

    Outing myself as a newcomer as well, to say that I really appreciate finding this blog as a consequence of that tweet. Diving down a couple of the rabbit holes was amusing, and got me thinking about stuff I have not for a long time.
    Looking forward to trying the payphone next time I am in SF.

  9. LionsPhil says:

    Christ, yes, I see so many more awful right-wing ideas showing up on my screen because of lefties trying to dunk on them for internet points by propagating them verbatim.

  10. thielges says:

    Full blocking makes it harder to see the same old dangerous nonsense being peddled. And of course blocking is of little help against the shape shifting liars who keep creating new sock puppets.

    Instead I just ignore them until they try to float a familiar turd of misinformation to a new batch of naive readers. Then pseudo-reply not to their post but instead a sibling post and refer to the cretin in the third person with a curt warning like “bolus_2022 keeps trying to fool us with this lie. Here is a thread [link] and [another] where he was decisively proven wrong. Yet he continues to sell the same bag of lies. Don’t engage with him if you’re expecting anything approximating intelligent discourse”.

    I’m addition to avoiding a boost to their “engagement score”, replying to a sibling post also avoids alerting the cretin to rebut your condemnation, often leaving an enduring “last word” as a warning on the thread.

    • elm says:

      That approach might work for some communities.

      It won't do any good for anti-communities like Facebook and Twitter.

    • jwz says:

      Full blocking makes it harder to see the same old dangerous nonsense being peddled.

      I promise you, no matter how much you block, you will have no difficulty being aware of this. And if you're a glutton for such things, you can dip your toes in the Fox latrine any time you want.

      • thielges says:

        OK, I get it. I was thinking of blocking only from the standpoint of improving your own signal/noise ratio and not the benefits of decreasing the noise for everyone on the thread. That makes sense.

  11. Eric TF Bat says:

    I don't tweet, but I still have the remnants of a Facebook presence (everybody unfollowed except my wife and Wil Wheaton) and there are still Friends™ there who think it's important to grant every last arsehole my undivided attention in order to avoid something they call "the echo chamber". My usual response to that is that you couldn't pay me to listen to that crap, so why expect me to do it for free? I use antisocial media for a small set of defined purposes, like "entertainment" and "gossip" and "showing off"; the set does not include "suffering" and "finding reasons to slash my wrists". So, like you, I block -- or at least unfollow, which has the advantage of being invisible to the unfollowee.

    Regarding your rant on blocking: thank you! I will bookmark this. As far as I'm concerned, the list of things JWZ has given the world now comprises:

    - Mozilla
    - XEmacs
    - xscreensaver
    - an astute and frequently true comment about regular expressions
    - the last real blog left in the wild
    - the final word on the topic of blocking people on social media

    That's a hell of a resumé!

  12. Carlos says:

    While I am sure that this twshitstorm caused a lot of additional work for jwz - blocking all the cryptobros might be simple, but it's still labour - I do have to confess that I enjoyed the original post, and the response it engendered, more than perhaps any other 'net phenomenon of the past year.

    Well, "past year" is kind of fluid. It's March 679, 2020 after all.


  13. Lloyd says:

    When cryptobros plan how they will finally leave this world and pass on, they'll arrange to be cremated.

    Because it takes more energy.

    But the funeral costs will be defrayed by issuing NFTs of the ashes, immortalising them.

  14. Derpatron9000 says:

    I'm sure you'll be as happy as I to learn fart jar NFTs are now a thing.

  15. fer says:

    Ah, blocking!

    Recently a major concert I was looking forward to was postponed due to COVID, and the FB post about it was full of replies with overflowing support and selfless understanding. I wasn't sure if the world became saner, or that niche musical genres bring out more empathic people, or I just simply blocked all covidiots in my immediate surroundings. And I'm happy not knowing!

  16. Paul Wright says:

    There's probably significant overlap between those two groups.

    There absolutely is: when I encounter a promoter of COVID quackery/anti-vax (as I do by following real scientists), pretty often their profile will contain cryptobro spoor.

    Secateur.app provides the missing "block them and all their followers" functionality for when you find a truly deserving candidate. I've also recently run across Bot Sentinel which seems to have a bunch of useful tools.

  17. Rebecca Ore says:

    I had someone claim that Nicaragua had not done anything against Covid and was beyond it (several months ago). I live in Nicaragua and know a whole lot better. And, yep, the idiot was a Bitconner. Blocked. Most of the Covidiots here tend to be gringos who imagine the blockchain will solve property disputes or allow them to con fools easier.

  18. J. Peterson says:

    I just came across Bruce Schneier's essay on the fundamental flaws of the blockchain hype.
    It's from a few years ago, but everything still applies.

  19. Jim says:

    Jamie, did you see that you got mentioned here?

    • jwz says:

      I clicked that link eyerolling in advance, expecting a libertarian coinsplainer cesspool of comments. Pleasantly surprised that it doesn't see to be going that way, overall.

  20. For my small part in this, I'm sorry. I retweeted your original tweet about this and mentioned Dunning-Krugerands. Liam Proven (author of The Register article) is someone I've shared a beer with in a London pub and follows me on the bird site. I'm pretty sure that's why he mentioned the term in his article.

    On blocking: I'm taking a similar tactic. If someone mentions Cryptocurrency, has 'dot eth', or mentions anything to do with that EV manufacturer in their profile: instant block, no regrets.

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