Back in my college days, as I prepared to interview sci-fi author Harlan Ellison for a group project, I stumbled upon something he said on his website: “We are not entitled to our opinions; we are entitled to our informed opinions.” Tell that to the rest of the Internet, where opinions are truly a dime a dozen.
Cranky, old Ellison would probably not be pleased that YouTube is the Wild West of comments—most of what he said in 1996 about opinions rings true today but on steroids. What was just a domain of stupid users making short but lame comments has become a cesspool of trolls, negative attacks and downright bizarre spam.
YouTube is trying to combat the trolling problem with a rumored plan to make the website troll-free. In the meantime, while Google developers are asking their tech geniuses to figure out a solution, computer developer Tanner Stokes has something to offer.
Those two unintelligible words may seem like babble, but it’s an improvement from the 99.9of comments on YouTube these days. Instead of trying to police every comment for possible racial hatred, awful grammar and spam, the extension replaces every word in the comments box with the words “herp derp.” This browser extension—available for Chrome, Firefox, Opera and Safari—is available for download right here.
Check these before and after shots of the “Herp Derp” browser extension.
So far, according to Stokes, the extension has garnered “thousands of downloads” and his main reason for putting it out there is because he simply loathes YouTube comments.
While having “Herp Derp” essentially turns all comments into gibberish, it’s not like we would be pleased with most of the comments we read anyway. It does bring awareness to this “Wild West” of YouTube and hopefully would bring some meaningful solutions to the viewer and creator experience. Viewers don’t need more bombardment of silly crap that trollers and blind fans scream out. Creators should have value more meaningful criticism of their work, instead of reading through bits like “X number are too dumb to understand” or even random crap like “First!” “Second!”