BlockBot Busted? Front Page Rewrite and a Resignation for a Block Bot Team in Disarray

It has been a busy week for the Block Bot. A front page rewrite, a resignation and more troubles to come … The Witchfinder explains the possible legal consequences of running an enormous public blacklist.


These are some utterly false allegations about Richard Dawkins hosted in the database on Sarah Noble’s site. She needs urgent legal advice.

The Witchfinder, as followers will know, is a law student who is studying an LLM LPC as a weekend student and who does pro-bono work. After your Inquisitor’s recent video on the Block Bot, which expressed concerns about the inclusion of women and minorities, he was marginally irritated to be added to ‘Level 1’ on the Block Bot. As followers of the laughable Block Bot project will know your author is in good company with such luminaries as Professor Richard Dawkins, Professor Brian Cox and Beatrix Campbell OBE. Hell, Barack Obama was on at one point.

Having said that, the definitions of ‘Level 1’ that the Block Bot had last week were pretty extreme. The front page of the Block Bot site had this to say about those it blocks –

“Twitter is polluted by a number of anti-feminist obsessives, who viciously harass those who don’t support their warped views.”

“Level1 people might have something to complain about in terms of being labelled “abusive, stalker, doxxer or faker”, few have however as it’s a pretty clear cut accusation.”

“Level 1 is sparsely populated with “worst of the worst” trolls, plus impersonators and stalkers.”

The Witchfinder was slightly dischuffed and considered that this may fall foul of UK Defamation law not to mention Britain’s very strong Data Protection laws. In UK law, before suing someone for libel (or anything else) you have to send a special letter called a ‘Letter of Claim’ and give the other side an opportunity to set out their side of the story. There are costs penalties for ignoring them. So I wrote letters of claim to the Blocker who added me and to Block Bot author James Billingham. I had them delivered by process servers.


The Top of a Letter of Claim. All Very Melodramatic. Addresses and Names Blacked Out.

Since then the Block Bot’s normally sedentary front page has been a hive of activity. The homepage has been significantly amended. Fortunately your author had created forensic snapshots for evidence purposes. Link before – and after. So what, exactly, has changed?


Phrases removed or changed on the Block Bot homepage.

The highlights in red show the text removed or changed and give a little hint. At least one of the Block Bot team talked to a lawyer who presumably pointed out the potential pitfalls of creating a category of ‘the worst of the worst’, ‘anti-feminist obsessives’ and ‘stalkers’ then adding people for merely e.g., criticising the Block Bot or being involved with #GamerGate. Also, the ‘Blocker’ who added me seems to have resigned, although whether that is connected is unknown.

Hilariously, having removed all the dubious allegations the Block Bot front page no longer mentions the word ‘Troll’. Recall that trolls are what it was originally supposed to be for. Having said that, they missed a few places – the word appears on the FAQ page and of course @TrollOrNot will have to go.

For his part, your Inquisitor is very grateful to wise Stefano Lucatello, Senior Partner of International Law Firm Kobalt Law LLP, who gave a second opinion and advised pro-bono that I should drop the libel claim due to the costs risk and focus on the Data Protection aspect as it can be used to similar effect much more cheaply.

Our analysis of the legal exposure of the Block Bot team is staggering. Leaving aside the main site for a moment, there is the secondary database run by Sarah Noble. The ‘Block Bot Checker’ records all the so-called ‘evidence’ the Block Bot team use to justify their actions and makes it available to the public.

The contents of the ‘Block Bot’ checker are astonishing. For example, per the screenshot at the start of this article, eminent Professor Richard Dawkins is labelled – ‘racist’, ‘gross’, ‘rapeapologist’, ‘childabuseapologism’, ‘transphobia’, ‘youradick’ . This is of course all untrue. Much as I disagree with Dawkins he is guilty of none of those things and the allegations appear to be wildly libellous. There are of course storified tweets but as so often with the Block Bot they prove nothing. He just said some sex crimes are worse than others. So does the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (that is why some crimes have longer sentences than others)! Noble could stand to lose everything she owns if sued.

Meanwhile, the Block Bot team have apparently been frantically contacting the police trying to claim that ‘being sued’ is harassment. This reached its nadir when James Billingham received a notice from me under the Data Protection Act 1998 and claimed he would report it to the police. Given the nature of their database in holding hilariously unjustifiable allegations against thousands of people I suspect they can expect more ‘being sued’ by many villainous types who object to their actions.

In the meantime, anyone, whether in the UK or abroad, who feels aggrieved by the Block Bot is entitled to ask the UK authorities to look into it. The responsible authority in the UK is the Information Commissioner’s Office. It does not matter that the server is located in the United States – that just means the UK based Block Bot team have exported data, which is prohibited under Data Principle 8.

Certainly, your author feels he has got his money’s worth for his letter of claim. At this stage the lawsuit has not even been sent to the Court and the Block Botters are running around like headless chickens. The followup will now be via firstly the Information Commission or if all else fails, the author will consider the County Court.

Your author strongly suggests that anyone aggrieved by the Block Bot contact the Information Commissioner. The Deputy Information Commissioner for Data Protection Act supervision, his assistant and the case work team at You can explain you are backing the complaints made by others about ‘The Block Bot’ or you can lodge a complaint of your own and fill in the form here.

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63 thoughts on “BlockBot Busted? Front Page Rewrite and a Resignation for a Block Bot Team in Disarray

  1. I actually pointed out to them in a now-deleted comment (not deleted by me I might add) that placing a gay man (me) at level 1 as “an abusive, stalker, doxxer or faker” was potentially defamatory.

    They got rather hostile in response.

    I merely ignored their response as I was amused by it. I’m even MORE amused now….

  2. They have me at level 1 on the blockbot for (get this) tweeting physical evidence to support my statements. I was not harassing anyone, I made no misogynist statements. Other tweets for why I was added were just hyperbolic morale boosting that again, were not misogynist, and were in fact tweets that mentioned no one.

      • You jest, but I have a tweet archived on my comp that actually says “evidence is oppression and marginalization of the victims”.

        I thought it was a joke, at first ._. I asked the person who showed it to me like 4 times if it was a joke. He was IN THE CONVERSATION that tweet appeared in, and no, it was not a joke.

  3. I hope this will provide a nice precedent to other blocklists such as the also infamous GG AutoBlocker, and that this action is continued and perhaps expanded upon. I hate these people and their slander/libel through labels.

    • GG has an auto blocker realy its funny that but iv spent 3 months reading up on the whole GG thing and I haven’t heard of GG having an auto blocker.
      if it is soooo infamous how come I haven’t heard of it before now??

      can you post a link to some evidence of this I may have missed it

      • ah I see now sorry my fault
        IGDA has a blocker called ggblocker for a second there I thought you said GGs had a block bot that would block the Idiots ‘sigh’ well I suppose if you ignor the idiots they just multiply I guess

  4. I’m intending to follow up on this, any suggestions on what info/best way to frame a support of other complaints regarding the blockbot?

  5. Curiously enough, Richard Dawkins does qualify as “youreadick”, since “Dick” is often used in place of “Richard”.

    Me? I chuckled and moved on. It’s hard to get out of Purgatory (Level 2) and into Sovengard (Level 1).

    Level 1 has been referred to as ‘Hall of Heroes’ among its critics.

  6. I’m (proudly I might add) Level 1 on this little bot. My crime? I supposedly misgendered someone once. I guess their standards for the worst of the worst isn’t very high. 😉

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  8. I may be on the list. Not sure at which level. Had a long dialogue in which having attempted to convey solidarity with some trans women over their harsh treatment by some feminists they turned on me. It seems that they need to continue being outsiders in order to be able to express how much being an outsider hurts them. Showing the consideration they purport to be asking for, if you are not one of them, is seen as a disruption to this and so they take it as hostilty so they can continue reacting in the manner in which they have had the mosrmost practice. For a long time I had followed trans speakers on twitter in order to learn more about them, but eventually discontinued after my attempts to engage were at best ignored while tweets continued to pour forth expressing how no-one wanted to take an interest in their concerns.

    It’s a good thing I’m not silly enough to assume that the loud voices on twitter are an accurate representation of trans people worldwide.

    Not sure if I can be bothered to work out whether I can look up my own block bot status, but thought I’d share my story anyway.

  9. Could this be upgraded to a class action lawsuit against IGDA? I have a list of hundreds of innocent developers blocked and labelled harassers by the organization

    • These two blocking systems are different. The IGDA could be liable for the ggautoblocker, which it did sponsor, but not this on. This one emerged out of ElevatorGate/ Atheism+

  10. I remember seeing some really ridiculous tags on those blockbot reports, jennofhardware was tagged for being a “humanist” , others had nonsense words. the humanist tag was removed once it became too embarassing from the attention.
    Others like icz4r “cankerboot” “allaboutethics” etc, its just revealing about the level of immaturity involved with such people, they are a mean girls clique who get their laughs off trashing people.

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  12. I’m on the list Level 1. Why? They think I’m Cathy Brennan. I didn’t even know who that was when I was blocked for supposedly being her.

  13. I’m level 2 on that blockbot. I guess just being your normal, level headed, call-bullshit-as-you-see-it, question-everything self is appearntly something that is highly offensive to these people.

    God it must suck to live in their world.

  14. Thanks for this info. Being an EU citizen I suggest everybody from EU start reporting
    as it’s storing data against EU data protection act. That’s one less supporting site for them.

    If somebody says “Ha, storify isn’t EU!”, they’re wrong it saves its data to cloud and it [cloud] has servers on EU soil in Madrid.

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  16. I believe the block bot is against freedom of speech. It suppresses freedom of speech. It is like what dictators did to the people by giving them only one strain of news. People have the right to free speech regardless of what they believe.

    • The right to free speech does not mean that other people have to pay attention to you. The Jehovah’s witnesses are entitled to leave their little tracts in my mailbox and I’m entitled to throw them in the trash without reading them. Their freedom of speech is not diminished in the least by the fact that I choose to ignore them. Same principle applies to Gamergate fanatics and their self-important tweets.

      Fucking whiners…

      • > The right to free speech does not mean that other people have to pay attention to you.

        And if that’s all the BlockBot did – just block people – then there would be no issue.

        The problem is the BlockBot takes it one step further and accuses people on the list of being stalkers, criminals, and “the worst of the worst”. That’s not just blocking. That’s a falsifiable claim.

        And as the BlockBot has now been featured on BBC there is now a real case for libel.

        I’m sure you already knew this and I wonder what stake you have in all of this. The BlockBot authors better start lawyering up.

        • They did lawyer up. And their lawyer did a sterling job of setting out their case. I responded politely explaining I would pursue the Data Protection aspect.

          Then one of the people I was suing resigned and the rest decided to remove the objectionable language and move the whole operation out of the country.

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  18. These folks are unbelievable. I got into Level 1 with my very first tweet. The tweet said: “#gender is not your whole life”. I—a new user with 0 followers, 1 tweet, and following 5 people—am apparently among “the worst of the worst” in the whole network for writing something that is trivially true and not even directing it to anybody in particular.

    • Some of us are more concerned with how we will be viewed by people looking at the blockbot list who do not know the story behind it, who do not know the criteria for being added to the list, who saw the BBC program and who assume that anyone listed there must be a horrible person to deserve to be listed. This is libel.
      I care not who does and does not read my few silly tweets. I do care that my reputation is being tarnished. I intend on pursuing action and I hope others do too.

      • Good luck with that. First you’ll have to establish that simply being on the list is actually libellous. Then you have to establish that it’s possible to libel a pseudonym…(unless you actually were blocked under your legal name) then prove that the alleged libel actually caused material harm to your reputation.

        Good luck with all that. Frankly I think lawsuit talk is a fucking joke.

        • Considering the coverage blockbot had on BBC libel is certainly possible. Go ahead and laugh, some of us are serious about our reputations and there appears to be an avenue for us to seek vindication. I have nothing to lose in this, my reputation has already been harmed.

    • Yeah… Being called a rapist, child molester, racist, misogynist is so much fun. Yes, sir, it’s really fun to be ostracized by the community while a bunch of jerks (like you) feel its okay to label someone something they’re not because you can’t tolerate the slightest disagreement with your patently false worldview.

  19. Pingback: TheBlockBot is Being Sued For Slander and Libel - Not Particularly Pauciloquent

  20. I don’t understand why they might be breaching data protection law – can you expand on that, maybe in another post? Also, is it the case that the UK libel law covers this situation, but other countries would exclude it?

  21. Isn’t it ironic that “Twitter is polluted by a number of anti-feminist obsessives, who viciously harass those who don’t support their warped views.” is stated on their page, when you just have to leave out the “anti-” and you have exactly what they do.

    This form of “feminism” is nothing but dogmatic evidenceless conspiracy nuttery. And everyone not in it, is part of the conspiracy and has to be silenced.

  22. I am also on there, for disagreeing with one of the admins and citing a scientific study concerning some mental health issues.
    These people don’t care about evidence or truth, they are simply ideologues who slander everyone who does not agree with their worldview.
    I am glad to see, that someone finally does something against these authoritarian bullies.

    I wish you good luck!

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  27. Pingback: Insults and harassment are two different things

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  30. Very interesting work. I think the whole idea of a block bot shows a large degree of irrationalthough in the first place and as such I think its dumb. But hey if people want to be shep let them.

    On the other hand defamation of character is a serious issue. So, lets hope that this gets the exposure it deserves. Good work, I am gathering you must have had a few laughs in the process.

  31. The painfully inept yellow journalism surrounding the block bots is more an insight into the writer’s issues than any of the people doing the blocking.

  32. The problem with suing the likes of Sarah Nobel for libel is that she has no money therefore you’d end up stuck with a load of legal bills even if you won. It is fairly clear that automating the block function is a violation of the TOS. Your best bet is to lean on twitter to enforces its own rules and suspend those engaged in automated unfollowing or blocking.

      • I can see why the Sarah Nobles of the world get upset. They try to fit into the feminist movement but a large chunk if it rejects them as they present a philosophical paradox with relation to the generally position of feminism that all women are oppressed by the “patriachy”. If you no longer have a black and white definition of what a woman is then these people are a major impediment to your narrative. Conversely a lot of men find them alien and other and generally confuse trans people with homosexual people. The whole point of replacing “transexual” with “trans” is a political denial that anybody actually moves between sexes at all. I can see absolutely why some of them would be so frustrated they feel they have to go down the road of censorship but it is ultimately an intellectual dead end.

        One reason I don’t desribe as a feminist, atheist or anything at all much is they seem to me to be pseudo-religions populated by people of much the same kind of religion as actual religious. Examine for example the Opus Dei self censorship system
        Build lists, categorise content, have a few people at the top responisble for categorising content …it’s basically the Block Bot, isn’t it?

        Purveyors of such systems claim that this is not censorship because it is not legally enforced but it is self censorhsip via relational aggression. Relational aggression is a mostly but not exclusively female form of bullying whereby every individual supposedly has personal control but in reality those who “live outside the rules” are subject to penalties of social ostracism. This is the ultimately socio-political aim of the block bot. Superfically everyone signs up to the block bot because they want to be free from “harassment” but in reality everyone signs up because they fear social exclusion. Or that’s the worst case senario. But how do you define harssment…?

        Apart from being morally dubious it is an inefficient censorship system. The mainstream arm of the RCC gave up on such methods long ago because 1) there is simply too much content to police and 2) witch hunts and example making of individuals is a far more productive method of imposing censorship on other people.

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