Statement on the TwitBlock backlash

Constructive criticism of TwitBlock seems to have quite rapidly turned into some quite aggressive complaints including several demands for immediate closure.  This is not intended to be a malicious project, but with a sudden rush of large numbers, I am experiencing a minefield of issues that I did not predict. I am doing my best to fight these fires, but please bear a few things in mind a few things when feeding back to me:

First and foremost, this is alpha software.
I did not expect 7,000 visits a day after just three weeks. (I can thank Mashable for that overhead). I am constantly thinking of ways I can please everyone and still keep the application doing what it needs to do, which is help people remove illegitimate followers.

Secondly I accept that the scoring is misleading out of context.

The scanner is designed to show your most likely spam followers, which is why it lists them in order. In terms of accuracy, the real spammers do seem to top this list with huge numbers. The problem is when people analyse an individual account (often their own) – they think that any number appearing on the screen means they have been identified as spam.

The heuristics used are only relative indicators.

By adding up various indicators, most likely spam can be identified – This works well in context, but I am not saying that if you follow more than twice the number of people that follow you that you are a spammer. My task now is relay this information to avoid offending you.

It is quite possible that I will remove the single-scan feature and internalize the scoring mechanism, so that you can only see your followers in relative terms as a leaderboard of “most likely” spam.

TwitBlock does not report you if you get a score

The application does not contact Twitter or black list you if your account gets a score. A score is just a number to be put in context.
People are saying their account is in jeopardy because it will encourage people to block them, this is a fair point and I’m addressing it, but only Twitter can suspend your account and they are unlikely to do this without manual investigation. I apologise if you feel your reputation is somehow ruined, this is not what I intended for this application.

TwitBlock is not intended to replace the brain

In 30+ years of email we still haven’t really cracked automatic filtering of spam, so in 3+ weeks of TwitBlock I don’t expect to either.
Please don’t block users who come up in scans without looking a bit closer. The tool is just designed to bring them to the surface.

TwitBlock only uses the tools Twitter provides

Twitter provide a blocking feature, and the Twitter API makes this data available to applications. This could well change in future, I think a lot of things are going to change in the near future. If you think access to blocks is against Twitter’s responsibility to your privacy then take it up with them. I promise to never reveal to anyone who is blocking who.

Finally, this is not a commercial product

I developed this application in my “spare” time out side of my 40+ hour week as Technical Director of Public. I am not trying to make money, I actually hope that this application makes itself redundant. I don’t want for it to be required, because I want spam off Twitter the same as you. When feeding back, please try to be constructive and polite. This way I will be much more likely to implement features and ideas based on your comments. I am listening, even if you don’t @ me directly.