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YouTube Insult Generator automates online cruelty

YouTube Insult Generator

I just hate it that I can never think of what to write when I really have to leave a mean comment online.

Ok, I'm speaking hypothetically. I've never genuinely felt the urge to be needlessly cruel to a faceless stranger so far — but if I ever did, I'd use the YouTube Insult Generator for the task.

The YouTube Insult Generator is a clever — and rather peculiar — data mining tool created by Chicago-based Web developer and musician Adrian Holovaty. (It's worth noting that Holovaty is also the founder of EveryBlock, a neighborhood news and discussion site now owned by msnbc.com.)

To use the tool, all you have to do is enter a search term. In return, you'll get a list of things that you could say to insult a person who doesn't like that term along with links to the YouTube videos from whose comments the remarks came.

In case you're wondering how the whole thing works behind the scenes, Holovaty has a brief explanation on his blog:

[The YouTube Insult Generator] uses the YouTube API to search for the top 50 most relevant videos for your search term. For each of those videos, it grabs the latest 50 comments. Then it looks through all that for comments starting with a number followed by a word such as "people," "youtubers" or "nincompoops." [...] Finally, it just replaces the number and the word "people" with "You." 

To get an idea of how that looks in action, take a look above and below. You'll see the results I saw when I entered "android" and "apple" as search terms. I don't know how well any of the remarks would work to insult people who dislike either of the terms, but I suspect that they'd at least break the tension of a heated fanboy vs. fanboy argument.

YouTube Insult Generator

You can generate your own insults by trying out Holovaty's tool, but keep in mind that he originally created it as a demonstration — to show how "structured data [can be found] in unexpected places." So don't get too upset if some of the results aren't perfect or don't help you win an online battle of wits.

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