Getting Banned from Twitter’s Search Results: @ResponsibleWI

Did you know that you could get your tweets banned from Twitter’s search results for being a vulgar jerk? Here’s the deal.

I recently had an exchange on Twitter with a self-proclaimed fiscal conservative tea party sports fan from Milwaukee. The topic? Public welfare for sports stadiums. While this dude claims to be a fiscal conservative, he got really pissed when he discovered that a guy in Minneapolis has the gall to question whether public dollars should be spent on a private sports entertainment enterprise.

This particular Twitter user’s username is ResponsibleWI. He has managed to get himself banned from Twitter’s search results.

Here is how I can tell.

Below is a search for the term “edkohler” which shows recent mentions of that term on Twitter:

Twitter Search Results for: edkohler

Notice that it includes tweets by me, tweets replying to me, and tweets that mention me.

Here is an example for another username, snyde043:

Twitter Search Results for: snyde043

Again, it shows tweets by him and tweets mentioning him. Also, notice that one of the @snyde043 tweets mentions the Twitter user @ResponsibleWI.

Now, check out what shows up when I search @ResponsibleWI:

Twitter Search Results for: ResponsibleWI

Either Matt Snyder and I were having one-sided conversations with @ResponsibleWI, or, you guessed it, @ResponsibleWI’s own tweets aren’t showing up in Twitter’s search results.

Here is Twitter’s explanation:

You are being filtered out of search due to a quality issue: In order to provide the best search experience for users, Twitter automatically filters search results for quality. This Search Quality help page [link no longer works] has information why accounts are filtered from search

They don’t explain what exactly it takes to get yourself banned from search results, but here are two things that may be causing it in @ResponsibleWI’s case.

1. Profanity. Actually, it’s the vulgarity that may be hurting him. Although that may be tough to quantify.

2. Blocks. I can’t prove that people have blocked him, but it seems likely that people have, considering that the two Twitter lists he’s been added to are called:

lying-sacks-of-shit
god-damn-disgrace

3. Audience metrics. As of this writing, @ResponsibleWI has sent 1,754, yet only managed to build an audience of 70 followers. While not likely a precise correlation, it seems likely that Twitter could take this ratio into consideration to determine whether it’s worth bothering to show a particular user’s tweets within their search results.

The frustrating part about this is that Twitter doesn’t have a way to seek out the lying-sacks-of-shit / god-damn-disgrace Twitter users tweets. Sometimes that’s the really good stuff. Like when @ResponsibleWI (again, a self-proclaimed fiscal conservative Tea Party dude) decides to attack me for questioning the wisdom of public welfare for private sports enterprises.

Update: Not surprisingly, pointing out @ResponsibleWI triggered a response:

@ResponsibleWI on Not Being A Better Person

He has a point. Rather than attempting to be a better person on Twitter, he could start declaring Twitter bankruptcy every time Twitter detects how much of a profane jerk he is. That seems like something a profane jerk would do.

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