Is Your Comment Toxic? Find Out Now!

The US Constitution’s First Amendment is the cornerstone of America’s freedom, protecting our freedoms of speech, religion, press, assembly, and the right to petition the government.

Unfortunately, your Freedom of Speech doesn’t protect you from any consequences, good or bad, legal or not: That comment you’re about to make online might get you banned, and you may not know it until you’re actually banned. And with some websites not providing any warning, explanation, justification, or remedy for their decision it was already “too late” the instant you made your comment, no matter how innocent or well-intentioned it seemed to you.

Want to find out if the comment you’re about to make on Disqus, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, or some other website might be censored, marked toxic, or even get you banned BEFORE you even make the comment?

No problem: Just use this convenient and free online tool: Perspective

What is Perspective?
“Perspective is a free API that uses machine learning to identify ‘toxic’ comments, making it easier to host better conversations online.”

Perspective must be pretty slick: Developed by Google’s Jigsaw and Google’s “Counter Abuse Technology Team” and released in 2017, it has a number of partners including Disqus, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. If you’re handy with Python programming they offer a programming lesson, and you can even use Perspective on your own website.

Here’s How to use it:

  1. Type your comment on your local comment board
  2. Copy your comment
  3. Visit Perspective and scroll down to the Demo Screen on the right.
  4. Paste your comment in the Demo Box
  5. Look at the rating at the bottom of the box. If it rates over 70% “Toxic” – as defined by Artificial Intelligence, not a human being – it will display a message.
  6. If no message is displayed, your comment may still get the attention of Disqus or a human reviewer.
(click image to enlarge)
Perspective API - Demo page
Handy tip! If you select “Create Custom Demo” and select “Add Positive Feedback” and “Add Neutral Feedback” you will see the entire scale of rating from 0 to 100%.

Now imagine this: Almost every comment board publishes “Terms of Use” designed to shield them from almost any potential liability imaginable, rarely will they post a list of words and phrases they consider unacceptable. Using a tool like Perspective API and crowdsourcing it might be possible to construct a “Unacceptable Words” list a website might be using to moderate content. In essence, “Watching the Watchers“.

While your imagining that remember this important distinction: I’m not talking about abusing the system, “paying back” websites, or acting maliciously: I’m talking about transparency and full disclosure, to protect Free Speech and benefit everyone.

Thank me later, and…

Thanks for reading!

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