No, I do not care what a fourteen-year-old thinks about copyright law — complete with misspellings, incorrect grammar, zero capitalization, awful sentence structure, and incoherent thoughts flavored with copious amounts of profanity. Multiply this by hordes of armchair experts, and a web page becomes a noisy mess of senseless, banal text.
I feel dumbed down just opening a web browser. Rather than simply ignoring the comments, I would prefer to eliminate them from a page completely in order to reduce visual clutter and focus on the content.
In the past, I would resort to my own low-level blocking techniques, but, thankfully, others have recognized this plight and responded by developing user-friendly comment-blocking browser plugins for various web browsers. This makes comment-blocking easier than ever.
However, not all comment blockers filter all comments, and some refuse to work properly at all or have become outdated.
I tested seven comment blocker addons for Firefox 46.0.1 running in Linux Mint 17.3 to see which ones would block comments from YouTube.
There is a specific reason for using YouTube as a test case: Recently, YouTube comments have become some of the most difficult comments to block. Whatever is happening behind the scenes, it seems as if YouTube is determined to shove those comments in your face.
Real simple: Browse YouTube with only one comment blocker addon installed and active at a time. Do comments appear?
Installing the Comment Blocker Addons
In Firefox, I searched for and installed the comment blocker from the Addons page. Each was tested individually by closing Firefox, restarting Firefox, and manually browsing various YouTube pages.
I tested the top seven comment blocker search results as of June 13, 2016, and I used the latest update of each (some are outdated):
- Comment Snob
- No Youtube Comments
- Block comments
- YouTube comments remover
- Don’t Read the Comments!
- YouTube Comment Blocker
As much as possible, I tested with the default installation and then tried adjusting an addon’s preferences if the defaults did not block comments.
Of the seven, only CommentBlocker blocked YouTube comments. All others failed, and comments still appeared. Whatever the reason might be, the others refused to work with my system.
I tried adjusting preferences where available, but to no avail. And besides, that required extra installation configuration and time. My goal was to find a quick and easy comment blocker, and CommentBlocker just works. Simply install it and go, and YouTube comments are blocked.
This is not to say that the others do not block comments from other sites. Some do, but with varying degrees of success. CommentBlocker seems to be the best all-around comment blocker for many sites in addition to YouTube. I also like the icon it places in Firefox’s address bar. If comments are detected, it will let you know so you can click the icon to view the comments without uninstalling the addon. This is a convenient option to have.
I tried to coax the other comment blockers into blocking YouTube comments, but nothing worked despite consulting their support pages. CommentBlocker was the only one out of the seven tested that functioned properly out of the box — at least for me.
If you wish to block comments, comment blockers exist for other browsers as well, so check the available extensions to your browser of choice. With all of the blocking extensions available nowadays to remove the excess junk from web pages (ads, scripts, flash, comments, images, web bugs, and whatnot) in order to clean up a page and make it readable again, we can almost achieve pure white web pages with plain text — just like it used to be when the World Wide Web began.