Suggested Patreon :P – Matthew Hopkins News and The Big Hat


The Big Hat. This is a proof of concept logo. Yes, I know it is badly drawn – merely a proof of concept. It is a nice, reassuring shade of black though.

The Witchfinder is semi-seriously considering a Patreon and inviting his many kind supporters and fans to support him.

Your Inquisitor has a development project in mind. It is a crowd-sourced neighbourhood watch tool for Twitter. Basically, instead of having a huge Orwellian block list, it would work a bit more like a friendly neighbourhood watch team.

The underlying problem with all the current block list services is that they involve maintaining large lists of blocked persons. This is quite problematic because obviously there are those who may misuse their power to add to the lists. In addition, the Twitter API rate limits blocking so specific blocking software can have insurmountable technical problems. For example, a blocking engine with 10,000 blocked users would take over a week to block them all for a new user.

Even if the Twitter API increased the rate limits for (say) – POST blocks/create that would only delay the problem. The capacity of some people to find things offensive is likely to generate ever greater lists of blocked accounts. Maintaining such lists requires ever greater resources and processing power. The more subscribers a block bot has the more operations it needs to carry out and the more storage space and bandwidth is needed. There are also regulatory and data protection issues around maintaining lists that may fall foul of (for example) state or EU law.

The Big Hat is a proposed idea to deal with these challenges. Represented by a big reassuring black felt hat the Big Hat targets the worst offenders with a kind of neighbourhood watch system where individuals volunteer to authorise the application to make reports on their behalf. Junior Inquisitors would then identify offenders on Twitter and the program would enable the public spirited volunteers would all simultaneously block / report them. This would be very empowering for members of vulnerable groups.

For example, say a predator was on Twitter posting illegal pictures or attempting to contact vulnerable young people. The users of the Big Hat would press the button and hey presto! This would avoid holding lists of target users for more than the transitory period needed to file, say ten thousand spam reports. At present the Twitter API does not support reporting people automatically for anything else but reporting a predator for spam will cause Twitter admins to look at the account quickly.


Some proof of concept code. Click for full size.

Where there is not yet an automated API in addition a smaller activist group of volunteers could file manual reports managed by an email list.

The Patreon would have 4 revenue target levels enabling Matthew Hopkins News to produce more content in support of decent, shared values.

1 – Matthew Hopkins News thanks you for your support

2 – As grade 1 and in addition MHN will produce at least two articles a month

3 – As grade 1 and 2 and in addition at least one video.

4 – Work will commence on the Big Hat

The Witchfinder does not have time to work on the Big Hat this weekend but is thinking of having a private proof of concept test for some like minded souls. Drop me an email to the address on the about page if you agree!

Note – This project may require tweaking to comply with Twitter API Rules. Feedback is welcomed.

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