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Opt Out of Klout Now (shkspr.mobi)
218 points by johnjlocke 1371 days ago | hide | past | web | 99 comments | favorite

No, I am not going to opt out.

1. A system in which I personally have to contact every scammer that had the same idea is not a system I wish to accept and play along with.

2. By going to their site and authenticating, I have proven to them that I am a) an active user and b) there is a chance they may hold some power over me by collecting my data. While they may make a "promise" not to store my data, they can toss the list of opt-out users over the wall to another "entirely different" company which also collects my data and now sees fit to prioritize me. I don't know about this other company, so I can't opt out. See 1.

3. As nochuck13 said: Their Facebook opt-out auth demands access to your friends list.

> A system in which I personally have to contact every scammer that had the same idea is not a system I wish to accept and play along with.

I get where you're coming from, but I don't think this is a real danger. Klout had to work hard to gain traction, I don't think any copycats are going to find anywhere near enough success to even show up on your radar. I think most people, even outside the tech bubble, are well aware of Facebook whoring as a phenomenon and Klout's business model is headed towards in inevitable jumping the shark and backlash against social media fetishization. We are quickly approaching the point where Facebook and Twitter are simply utilities and there is a limited appetite to go all meta on this stuff when it isn't novel anymore.

That said, I agree nothing really good can come from opting out that can't be gained from simply ignoring Klout entirely. If the scenario in the OA ever happened where my performance evaluation at work evaluated by Klout score I would take that as a golden opportunity to heavily berate said evaluation system. Of course I'm an engineer not a social media wank, so perhaps a douchey performance review for a douchey job is in order?

I've already replied to nochuck13's comment, but I'll add it here as well.

For #3, access to your public profile AND friend list really is the minimum level of access you can ask from the Facebook API. See https://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/login/public-....

The fact that the facebook API is broken in that manner does not make giving them that permission something I want to do.

That's nice, but I'm not taking a business like Klout at their word to not use the information. Even if they're only receiving it accidentally.

Seeing this as anything but an elaborate scam is quite hard.

The odd bit is, you can still see users that have gone through the opt out process. Their handle is just replaced by a tilda and some sort of internal ID.


This does sound like a bait-and-switch from Klout, but I don't understand the appeal of networking for networking's sake.

Heh! You got me :-)

But, in seriousness, with those buttons you can see the reach of that post on each social network. It would be fairly trivial for you to verify those numbers are correct and to come to your own conclusions about whether my blog has "influence".

I'm not against badges per se - but I don't like an obfuscated way of calculating something.

Given that I know very little about Krout, perhaps you could explain why you participated in the first place. I don't wish to sound rude; I'm genuinely interested in what exactly you did, and why you thought it was worth doing.

Basically, can you expand on: "A vaguely plausible "score" that you can use to justify your "investment" in tweeting all day long."


I didn't participate. Klout hoover up public information. Are you on Twitter or Facebook? Congratulations! You are a Klout user by default!

They have a score for you which they can then sell on.

Sme with Kred. You don't sign up - they just assume passive consent.

How come ?! This is blatantly illegal in Europe ! I genuinely really don't see how they could get passive consent unless FB and Twitter themselves give them access. Or they just scrap public profiles ?

Why is it illegal in Europe? Klout analyses your Twitter interactions which are publicly visible.

In Europe you it's opt-in by default. You have to explicitly consent to the creation of an account as far as I understand it. So, to me, they could scrap content but not go as far as create automatically an account without your consent. Or I misunderstood something and would be glad someone explains it to me.

I don't think they create an account for you, they just compute a score based on your activity on social media accounts you already have.

So if you have a twitter account, they can generate a score for the twitter user using publicly available information and then if you sign up to klout, link these existing calculations to the newly created account.

Just public profiles.

Ah, I see - wow. Things make more sense. Thanks.

Klout: "To opt out of Klout, please verify the you are the owner ... Note that we request only the bare minimum information provided by Twitter or Facebook for authentication."

Facebook: "Klout Opt-Out would like to access your public profile and friend list."

I've never done Facebook OAuth. This isn't really the bare minimum is it?

It is. From https://developers.facebook.com/docs/reference/login/public-...: "When a user logs into your app and you request no additional permissions, the app will have access to only the user's public profile and friend list."

Yes. Also, they're not legally allowed to store or make a copy of your friend list.

It is not.

You're incorrect. It's a very frustrating part of Facebook's authentication process - it's not possible for a developer to say "I really don't care about their friends list, don't give me it".


Better option: don't get a job that involves raising your social media "influence", unless you want that to be your job?

A manager could equally well bring up your number of twitter followers (that's publicly viewable, right?) in a performance review.

The day Klout scores start being taken into serious consideration in performance evals is the day people start gaming Klout hardcore, and consequently, the day Klout scores cease to have any value whatsoever.

Case in point: some recruiters are starting to take Twitter follower counts into consideration. That trend, coupled with all the perverse incentives associated with having a putatively massive Twitter following, have led to the gaming of Twitter, the purchase of zombie followings, the proliferation of bot farms, and so forth.

We'd better believe the same thing will happen with Klout if it ever becomes even mildly important in professional life.

This right here. I'd consider this a canary more than anything.

Happy to say that for once, I had done what I knew in my heart was right and opted out of klout sometime last year. Never got a confirmation msg but I just double checked and my profile is unavailable on Klout [1].

Also checked and saw that they didn't start constructing another page of me using my FB address, so I think I'm Klout-free so far. What makes it hard is that these bartards make profiles without your consent. I honestly wonder if there's anything that legally prevents them from making another ID of me through tumblr of facebook url identifiers.

[1] http://klout.com/hkmurakami

I opted out some months ago, now I checked back the page related to my twitter account and it's present. I tried to sign in to check what happened and was greeted with a "You already opted out from this account, do you want to opt back in and reinstate the account"? It seems that, at least in my case, the page is apparently permanent.

I have never cared out Klout. The day my employer cares about it is the day I move on to bigger and better things.

Regarding the guys website. When did it become a thing to make all content bold? I have been seeing this more and more. It's horrible. Recently The Guardian mobile website started using a bold font and I haven't used it since..

The font on my site shouldn't be bold (apart from the title). Mind if I ask which browser you're using?

It's quite heavy for me (too much for my liking as well) - Chrome 27 on OSX. The culprit is http://shkspr.mobi/blog/?custom-css=1&csblog=1&cscache=6&csr... giving a font-weight of 500. Probably affecting OSX people only

The 500 weight makes the font look bold in both Firefox and Chrome. Both Latest. Windows 8.


Thanks both. Fine in Linux - but will make some changes for those on lesser OSes :-)

Linux-on-the-desktop superiority complexes are usually annoying- but this one is especially amusing to me, since you're replying to a thread about discovering a major deficiency in your font rendering.

We all have our blind spots :-)

indeed. I've dealt with, what feels like, every possible font rendering issue on linux. something of a pet peeve of mine. :)

that said: if you have a screenshot of your browser w/ the font showing and what desktop env+browser you're in, I can probably tell you what's wrong.

Actually it looks bold on Linux too.

We have been employed by how well we market ourselves for at least two generations now.

It's no longer about our skill in our work, but by how well we market ourselves. You can see this when you see people doing jobs they are unqualified for, or just plain bad at.

Social networks, including Twitter double as self marketing tools. Klout exposes this clearly. For some, under the guise of "keeping up with friends" or "keeping abreast of technology", it's a clambering to the top of the ladder of the "self-marketeers"; either socially, or in industry.

I beg people to consider, is that really the pinacle of human existence?

At what point in history do you think success in human society was based on skill in work and not on "who you know"?

Edit: by the narrow standard of skill, Steve Jobs would qualify for someone who made it early on through hustle and his affiliation with Woz. You can argue that hustle and ambition is a skill...and those who are considered high-influencers might argue that they, too, are ambitious hustlers.

Knowing "a good plumber" is no longer knowing a genuinely skilled plumber. It's knowing a person you have an affection towards, one that has been marketed well to you.

Perhaps I am naïve but I believe that in the past people were more discerning about the true skill of an individual and less clouded by the appeal of the individual.

Yes, you are naive, and I don't mean that as an insult, but as characterizing what, IMO, is a flawed interpretation of how human interactions and assessment work.

How do you judge a skilled plumber? Some might judge that person on speed. Others might judge it on cost efficiency in fixing the specified task. And others might judge it on the ability to anticipate other problems in the system and provide reliable estimates and options.

What I might consider the best plumber is different than what...the Plumbers Society would consider it. But a friend whom I trust may have the same standards as I do, and in that case, the hired plumber benefits from knowing my friend. Despite the many, many instances of when this has led to cronyism, is that such a wrong way inherently for business to be conducted?

You have reduced the discussion to what, subjectively, makes a good plumber.

I will try to bring this back to my original point - One that is not necessarily a good marketeer may be far more suitable for the job, yet good marketeers but unskilled plumbers (to say unsuitable for the skilled job at hand) seem to be "successful" in terms of success and profit in their field.

So how are you quantifying this? The metric that you've set up: skill level vs. popularity/success, is not easy to measure. Because for the most part, the examples that will easily come to mind of good and bad people will also be the popular ones...

So when you go into this with the expectation that success/popularity should be directly related to skill, you are going to naturally remember the many examples of when bad people somehow have success. And so you conclude: success is not correlated enough to popularity, or else Person XYZ would not be famous/rich.

But let's say I, on the other hand, think there's a strong correlation between success and skill...and I can think of lots of successful people who also happen to be skillful...but I suffer from the same confirmation bias as you do.

So who's right here? I don't know, but I'm just pointing out that your assertion may not fit the actual facts (if we could ever quantify it).

My bias is towards there being a lack of connection between ones marketability and their skill based on my biased and limited observing of people performing roles they are believed (by people who put them there) to be better at than it is revealed that they are.

I have also observed people keeping these roles through the relationships they manage with the people they are accountable to. Relationships in these circumstances are about marketing one individual to another.

I'd be surprised if these observations are limited to my own experience. Somewhere in amongst all the biases of our individual experiences we must determine something to be fact. For if I read and agree with a scientific paper which outlines something I regard as fact, it is still subject to my experience and hence we must ground ourselves on the basis of our collective experiences aligning.

I hadn't even realised that they had a profile on me even though I've never participated in their site.

I've now opted out, but I suspect doing so has fattened the profiles of everyone I follow as verifying Twitter id to opt-out meant granting access to who I follow for a brief moment.

How do you check without login in ?

klout.com/<your twitter username>

The de facto opt-in without realizing is wrong. What if a future employer sees you have a high klout score and thinks you waste time on twitter etc? When in fact you only use it for keeping up with trends in tech world like web dev or python. It's nuts to be assigned a number without knowing how its generated.

Also great use of the word frippery. Never saw that one before.

Seconded. I used the word 'frippery' in my opt-out comment. I only remember seeing this word in Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe books.

I just had a quick look onto it myself and can official say its a complete joke of a ranking system.

Apparently some of my friends from the news industry (where I used to work), being minor local celebs/TV personalities... with thousands of follows they interact with daily... friends with proper international celebs... are scoring lower than some of my friends that just rant bullocks.

I wouldn't bother about this service being very indicative of anything in the real world.

The idea of a web site keeping a profile on me based on a conglomeration of my other profiles makes me think of it as an "open source" PRISM...

What exactly is "open source" about it?

From a software sense nothing, hence the quotation marks, but as someone else described, open source means something different when talking about intelligence gathering.

Intelligence people call reading the newspaper "OSINT", open source intelligence. They'll claim there's more to it than reading the paper, of course.

Unlike most people, I have a protected Twitter account (my tweets are not public). In order to "opt out", I have to authorize their app to be able to read all my tweets! Insane.

I guess I'll just continue to hope they're not building a "shadow profile" on me based on my friends' public tweets (and pretending said profile doesn't exist... I don't appear to have one, anyway).

As a founder of a company in that same space I would like to add some nuance to this blog. Putting it as simple as scoring people and helping you sell back the data so you can improve your score is to simple.

Scoring, ranking and sorting people is important for the future of the web. It's comparable to Google's pagerank. You need some sort of analyses/score/rank to value the content shared by someone. But with pagerank nobody complaint because the value was directly visible in the Google search results and it was just a website not a person that got a score. Know we're in the social age and it's not site's that are the publishers but people. And Klout is not the only one that's doing this, we are doing it, Google's doing with the G+ authorrank and Facebook probably has it as well in their edge rank.

The thing with Klout is that it's the only one that puts focusing on the person himself and touching your ego which can upset some people.

The applications and possibilities of the data are rarely thought of.

Google provides a service: finding content on the internet. We want pagerank because it (presumably) returns quality answers to our questions.

Klout and companies like it (and presumably yours) don't add any value. I can already find people just fine through Twitter or Facebook search. Klout scrapes my data, applies some formula and then tells everyone it means something and tries to convince people I don't know that this number tells them something about me, while trying to convince me that I should do something about that number so that strangers will think better of me.

I already have a job thanks. Klout is not providing a service or adding value. Go away.

It's perhaps not providing a service directly to you but it is for loads of other people. And don't get me wrong, I'm not defending Klout here, there are loads of stuff if would do different, and we do. I'm trying to get people look at it from a wider perspective.

I don't see people complain about karme score's here on HN, reputation on stackoverflow and loads of other site's while it's basically the same. A score that help people make sense out of the content these people are producing.

It's not quite the same. Karma/rep on HN, Stackoverflow etc are a core part of the site. Companies like Klout are parasitic. They are doing something with the content I generated and then trying to tell me to do something else "or else" (I'll have a low Klout score).

They draw most of their ire because the service is opt-out. Change it to opt-in and only the people who care about Klout will use it and the level of vitriol will go down.

Is your service opt-in?

  Scoring, ranking and sorting people is important for the future of the web. It's comparable to Google's pagerank. You need some sort of analyses/score/rank to value the content shared by someone.
Well, I for one value the contents shared by someone on the merits of such contents.

Why exactly should I trust a service, any service for that matter to make such judgments for me?

And if you want to argue that it's the same thing as pagerank; well, that analogy is spurious, at best.

I wonder if services like yours won't just perpetuate and strengthen the so-called "superstar" effect.

It's a feedback loop where a few people at the top reap all the rewards for being at the top already (and being "recommended" to everyone else).

I'm not interested in having Robert Scoble or Michael Arrington recommended to me, I already know about them and am not interested in following them.

I'd like to know about much lesser known people who've made very useful technical contributions in their fields (instead of prima donnas). So far, I've found out about these people from mailing lists, github profiles and perhaps hacker news, not ranking algorithms.

The superstar effect is true, and even google has trouble coping with that, hence the changes in their algorithms over and over.

The "prima donnas" you're talking about are perhaps known to you but a larger majority not. But if you would look in the longtail you would definitely find interesting people.

> Scoring, ranking and sorting people is important for the future of the web. [...] You need some sort of analyses/score/rank to value the content shared by someone.

This strikes me as some kind of variant of the ad hominem fallacy. You don't need to know anything about the author to value their content. A piece could be anonymous or the author's sole work and still be worth reading; conversely, people with high internet reputations often write garbage.

Edit: I meant appeal to authority, not ad hominem. Insufficient coffee error.

> This strikes me as some kind of variant of the ad hominem fallacy. You don't need to know anything about the author to value their content. A piece could be anonymous or the author's sole work and still be worth reading; conversely, people with high internet reputations often write garbage.

Er, while we're citing logical fallacies...isn't your last assertion here an example of confirmation bias? Often, people with "high internet reputations" are heard most often, which means that when what they say is garbage, it will be quite prominent and memorable.

True, but anonymous posts that get endorsed by the people you know have authority on that subject is a good indication.

And of course, you as a person can do this as one of the best. But can humans process a daily 400 million tweets this way?

You're new to HN, so I'll let you in on something: while sometimes the message is more important than the messenger, many times it's not. Who says something is just as important. If that we're not the case, HN would remove the usernames as well.

There is a reason people provide context for what they say by sharing their experience. And just like in real life, taking legal advice from IANAL isn't something you should blindly do.

> If that we're not the case, HN would remove the usernames as well.

That doesn't follow. And, funnily enough, HN does deemphasise the author by showing the name in small grey text. There are plenty of reasons to attribute posts: the conventional expectation that one can be identified as the author of one's work, for one; the tendency of people to be more civil, for another.

> You're new to HN, so I'll let you in on something

Come on, I know I've only been here for nearly four years, but there's no need to be quite so patronising.

> Come on, I know I've only been here for nearly four years, but there's no need to be quite so patronising.

I wasn't being patronising. I was trying to make a point (though, I'll admit, it wasn't obvious). I admit that attempt was clumsy. Sorry for making you feel like you were being patronized. My intent was 100% honest though.

I was trying to show what could happen if association was removed. If context was removed. If I don't know who you are, how can I quantify your advice. After all, I'm much more inclined to appreciate people's opinions on the state of HN year over year if they've been participating longer than that.

> the conventional expectation that one can be identified as the author of one's work, for one; the tendency of people to be more civil, for another.

And context. Advice is cheap. Everyone can offer advice. And context helps us rate that advice. Just because something sounds good doesn't mean it should be followed, or even listened to.

And it's fairly easy to make a mistake in authoring what you say to the point that people misunderstand you, even if it's not what you meant.

You need some sort of analyses/score/rank to value the content shared by someone.

I am perfectly well able to do this myself, thanks. Most of the ratings that surround online content are useless noise.

Like I mentioned above, I'm sure you can, but can you do that for all the +400 million tweets each and everyday?

What's up with all the drama? These arguments hold true for any service out there. Nowadays, it's almost like everyone is actively trying to find reasons to hate everything. How is that productive?

Nothing stops you from sharing rumors without creating a big movement around them. Being part of a boycott doesn't make you more important.

For me, it was because it wasn't an "opt-in" service. They will create a profile for you and advertise your "klout" whether you ask them to or not.

That's what angered me about it, anyway. I opted out a looong time ago and encourage everyone else to as well.

> it's almost like everyone is actively trying to find reasons to hate everything. How is that productive?

Just helping natural selection along.

First thought - I would never take a job where I have performance reviews, especially those which account for my Klout score.

Second thought - The activity that goes into my Klout score brings in a lot of work (networking!)

These seem contradictory. I guess in some ways, my Klout score is my own personal performance review. ;)

I am always amused by articles saying how silly social media visibility is, and they have a giant bar of "share this" iconography on them. Either you care or you don't.

A related question to HN community:

Is there anyway to opt out of Wikipedia? Say, somebody created a profile page for me without asking for my permission. Is there anyway to delete my page?

In general, anyone can edit or delete Wikipedia pages.

If you are a "notable person" then you can expect your edits to be reverted, however; on the other hand, if you are not very notable, a page about you would probably not survive very long anyway.

My original question was: let's say I'm a well-known person in my field, somebody created a Wikipedia profile page for me, and the page has been there for years. Is there anyway to have it deleted?

No. Wikipedia itself does not grant you any special right to delete your own article page. You may have (IANAL) certain legal rights that would allow you force them to delete the entire page or parts of it, but this rarely happens.

Yes, I would like to have the entire page deleted. Do you know what the procedure is?

Wikipedia isn't opt-out: you can't opt-out of being written about in newspapers if you do things that make newspapers want to write about you. Wikipedia doesn't delete stuff just because the subject doesn't like or want the article. (Plenty of politicians don't like the fact that the articles about them accurately report the things they've said that they now find impolitic.) But it may be the case that you aren't notable, in which case we should delete it.

Easiest thing is to email me - tom@tommorris.org - I'm an admin who has handled hundreds, possibly thousands, of deletion debates. My Wikipedia account is here FYI: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Tom_Morris

Or you can email info-en-q@wikimedia.org and you'll get an email from someone (possibly me) who is an experienced Wikipedian who'll be able to have a look at the article and sort out any issues therein, put it under protection if there's been vandalism etc. or nominate it for deletion if it doesn't meet the notability requirements.

The 'Contact Wikipedia' link is at the bottom of every page and the email addresses are linked from there - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Contact_us

You can generally get the page deleted only if it doesn't meet their criteria for a biography of a living person. Asking permission or being acceptable to the subject aren't in the criteria. See:



Let's say I'm a well-known person in my field, somebody created a Wikipedia profile page for me, the page does meet their criteria for a biography of a living person and the page has been there for years. Is there anyway to have it deleted?

Subject to it meeting the criteria, no.

I don't see the problem. If you're playing on Facebook all day rather than working, perhaps that discussion at your annual review is needed. I get on Facebook and Twitter occasionally at work, but not enough that it would impact my work and consequently, not enough that I'd worry about anyone knowing how much I'm on social networks.

I actually see one good use of Klout. If I have a critical information I'd like to be shared across to most people in a short span (in such a manner it has the most impact), I'll simply choose one of my friends who has the highest Klout score, simply because people really take him seriously. They might not take myself that seriously :P.

An absolute disaster for my productivity would be getting a performance review which accounts for my Hacker News karma score.

Are they showing some non-public score to companies, or is this just the same public score available to anyone?

Alternative title: "Quick, everyone, authenticate your twitter account with Klout!"

All the comments so far are about opting in because we're concerned the boss thinks we're not visible enough online. What if it's a little more nefarious.... Companies want to use it to see who is wasting time online?

I'm guessing the people who spend all day on Facebook will get a raise :)

The Klout score is a joke. My score never falls below 56, which I hear is pretty good, and I am in no way influential. I hardly ever tweet and have maybe 12 followers.

Actually, it's not all that great. That score doesn't suck, but it'd be nothing to brag about (among those for whom Klout scores are any kind of bragging).

Well, honestly, I feel my score should be somewhere near 0. My score is high enough to qualify me for silly promotions like free access to the American Airlines Admiral's Club, and is 10 to 20 points higher than other people I know who I would actually consider influential.

I don't get it? Why would my employer care how many cat pictures I share?

I guess not everyone posts cat pictures.

If people really want to avoid having their social media activities catching up with them, then make sure that you give [potential] employers completely different contact details. Ideally, have a separate email address for each social media service and never link them together.

...Says the guy with 14 social network 'clicky' buttons :)

doesn't google do the same thing? i don't see the problem here. they collect public info, run it through their proprietary algo, and try to monetize the results. so what?

Google doesn't give you a Google+ page that looks like you deliberately created it but is actually based on whatever they could find about you.

Maybe when they stop sending me free gift cards.

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