The Racist Death-Mongering Citizenry of Youtube

So I’m browsing some election coverage, reading some blogs, and generally surfing when I came across this video.

Childish and pointless, but a comment by an oh-so-cleverly-named user caught my attention:


Now, some of you may be surprised, but you certainly should not be. Let me assure you that this sort of behavior on youtube is perfectly normal. Since I was well aware of this vibrant community of very happy people on youtube, I figured there must be some way to kick them in the balls and send them packing never to return. I was wrong.

I went to the youtube help pages, quickly realized that wasn’t going to help whatsoever, so I headed to the “Contact Us” page. Well below the first link on the page (the one that points to incredibly detailed instructions on how to submit DMCA takedown requests), I was shuffled over to the “Abuse and Policy Center” which tells me the only option for dealing with harassment or hate material is either closing my eyes and wishing really hard that the person fatally cuts themselves while shaving, or ignoring it and proceeding with life. Then, if I truly want more information, I should look at… the “Contact Us” page again!

From the Harassment help page:

If you have blocked and ignored someone and they still continue to intentionally try to upset you, you may report the instance to us as harassment. Harassment reports are taken very seriously, so please take a moment to consider whether you are actually being harassed. While it might be unpleasant to receive a comment that is rude or that you disagree with, it may not be considered harassment. If you would like to file a harassment report, please use our contact form.

After clicking on this link several times and being forwarded not to a contact form, but the Contact Us page, I realized the website wasn’t really going to give me a form which I could use to submit this person’s username, or an abuse email address that I could send the information to, so I started looking for any email addresses on their site. I found and, then I threw in (just a guess, but I haven’t gotten a bounce yet), and fired off the following email to them:

I would be genuinely surprised if someone reads this email. You clearly care far less about the safety of your users than potential copyright infringement. The relative ease of submitting a frivolous DMCA request is chilling when juxtaposed with the mind-boggling complexity of warning you that people are posting death threats on your own website. I sincerely hope you do something to fix your apparent lack of interest immediately.

The point:

The following user has been spreading death threats against Barack Obama (I attached an example image). I think every action this user has taken while on is blatantly in violation of the TOS.

One might think youtube would have a quick way to handle user input within this context, what with the shear quantity of half-witted backwoods sociopaths that gravitate towards websites which don’t require reading to spout comments which exude unfathomable levels of ignorance. Or, maybe it’s just me.

I hope you will act to quickly ban this IP address from the website and submit the information to the United States Secret Service as soon as possible.

Have a wonderful day (which should be relatively easy to do since people aren’t threating your life and such),
-Ryan Bruce

P.S. – In addition to sending this to the Secret Service I’ll also be posting this at

I have not been able to alert the Secret Service/FBI yet, but I will call the Chicago Secret Service office tomorrow morning to fill them in. Here is the link to the list of Secret Service field locations.

So in closing, I hope that youtube can fix this broken system to acquire user input so that these issues can be taken care of as quickly as possible in the future. I also hope that youtube users will somehow wake the hell up.

What do you think?

The user in question has been suspended.

Remember the contact form that I mentioned actually redirects to the Contact Us page? It only does this on Linux in Firefox. Windows in Firefox is fine.


I received an email very promptly from a Scott at Google, to which I responded immediately. Both messages are below:

Hi Ryan,

I received your email to YouTube about the videos regarding Barack Obama.

We take issues like this very seriously. We count on our users to flag content they believe doesn’t belong on our site. We review flagged videos quickly, and if we find that they violate our Community Guidelines, we remove them, usually within hours.

By the time I received your email, we had already taken action on this particular matter.




Thank you for the prompt response. The current system you have for reporting seems to have two problems from my perspective. Firstly, the system relies on the user to post video content for the other users to flag. This process works well when the user in question posts videos, but many users do not. Rather, they lurk in the comments of others’ videos promoting hate speech and tending to other generally unacceptable hobbies. Users could use the Mark as Spam feature, but this is a wholly different beast than a comment inciting violence or threatening another users well-being.

You currently have a very broken method for reporting these incidents. There is a page at however it fails to function in Firefox on Linux, which is just as useful as not existing at all. Instead of doing its job, the page redirect to your “contact us” page. In addition to the page not working, there is no publicized path to get to this page. You have to mull through several vaguely-related help pages instead of clicking on a “Report this User” link in the user profile, or on the first page of the help documents.

All in all, this is definitely something you need to look at further. I’m also curious whether you have the right processes in place for alerting the proper authorities when threats such as these are made.

Btw, did you respond to the email addressed to abuse, copyright or press

Thank you,
-Ryan Bruce

Installing OpenCV from CVS on Ubuntu Edgy

These are my notes concerning the installation of OpenCV from CVS on Ubuntu Edgy. While I’ll try to be helpful if you have problems, I’m not responsible for blowing up your system.

The charade:
Check out the OpenCV code from cvs:

cvs login
cvs -z3 co -P opencv

Then make sure pkg-config and g++ are installed:

sudo apt-get install g++ pkg-config

At this point, you should be able to configure and install opencv, but it probably won’t find some of the libraries it needs to work with video and certain image formats. To get all the functionality of OpenCV, I installed the following packages (Some of these are in the multiverse repositories. Go here to find out how to add more repositories):

sudo apt-get install libgtk2.0-dev libavcodec-dev libavformat-dev libjpeg62-dev libtiff4-dev

Now you can run:

cd opencv && ./configure

Check to make sure all of the fancy features you want show up as enabled. The packages we installed earlier make my configuration show up something like so:

General configuration =============================================
Compiler:                 g++
CXXFLAGS:                 -Wall -fno-rtti -pipe -O3 -g -march=i686 -ffast-math -fomit-frame-pointer
Install path:             /usr/local

HighGUI configuration =============================================

Windowing system --------------
Use Carbon / Mac OS X:    no
Use gtk+ 2.x:             yes
Use gthread:              yes

Image I/O ---------------------
Use libjpeg:              yes
Use zlib:                 yes
Use libpng:               yes
Use libtiff:              yes
Use libjasper:            no
Use libIlmImf:            no

Video I/O ---------------------
Use QuickTime / Mac OS X: no
Use xine:                 no
Use ffmpeg:               yes
Use dc1394 & raw1394:     yes
Use v4l:                  yes
Use v4l2:                 yes

Wrappers for other languages =========================================
Python                    no

Additional build settings ============================================
Build demo apps           yes

Now run make ...

If everything looks good, we can now compile and install OpenCV:

make && sudo make install && sudo ldconfig

You may need to run the following command if /usr/local isn’t in your library search path (make sure you trust users who have write access to /usr/local/lib):

sudo sh -c 'echo "/usr/local/lib" >> /etc/ && ldconfig'

Instead, some guides may instruct you to change the LD_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable, but this is not the best way to get your programs to work. Modifying this variable is generally used as a hack to get things working in the moment, but it should not be used as a permanent solution, as it poses security problems. This means that you shouldn’t try setting this variable in any startup scripts… See this page about shared libraries.

Now you can start writing programs which employ the functionality of OpenCV. The best way learn how to do this is by looking at the sample applications. You can compile the sample applications by doing the following:

cd samples/c
chmod u+x

Now you can run the sample apps just like any other executable:

./ProgramName --ProgramOptions

Please comment if you find problems or have suggestions.

If you get an error like the following one after running your application, then you didn’t correctly add /usr/local/lib to the library search path. Go back and do it correctly…

./ProgramName: error while loading shared libraries: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

The wiki for a class using OpenCV. There are examples, tutorials, problems, and students’ solutions all open to the public.
The official OpenCV wiki.