Oh boy, do you still remember that day when Google shoved it's Google+ system up YouTube's rectum? Some even say they're willingly admitting that it was a mistake to revamp the comments like that, but you have to respect how they're sticking to their guns like that.
But this wouldn't be a Sunday rant if all you'd read here was some unexpected praise and a lamentation.
You can consider this an open letter to Google. But in reality, it will
simply be my Twitter followers who are most likely to read this. A sad
truth, but that will not stop me!
For those not fully aware, YouTube comments used to be better. (HA! How
many of you would ever imagine yourself thinking that, ever?)
You had limited writing space, and up-votes were dominant on whether a comment rose to the top.
If your video had a comment, you would be notified in your YouTube mailbox. Simple, right?
And that's all there was to it. Think of it as having double the writing space as a Tweet.
Now, we have a system that's, against all odds and expectations, has
proven even worse. Yes, now you have free reign to type what you want in
a comment. Rumors go of comments that have the entire script of Star
Wars written out. I've yet to see this for myself, but there is no
reason to doubt it's possibility. Because hey, unlimited writing space?
Oh, but surely such spam won't be a thing. You have to link your Google+
account to it? Well, turns out it's not fully necessary by my
knowledge, and you can safely neglect your Google+ account you've used
just for this one purpose.
But the greatest sinner of this new system is how popular posts are
determined. Mind you, I'll be rehashing the point of some other famous
Critics and other Intelligent Gentlemen or Ladies. The simple fact now
is that a comment that has many responses is considered a top comment.
Surely, if people are heartily discussing and communicating with you,
that must mean you are a great purveyor of thought provoking topics.
Well, actually... The old system was better. An upvote simply meant it
was deemed worth reading by the person pressing those thumbs up. People
who simply spent ten seconds writing down an insult toward the channel
owner, were usually drowned in down-votes and the occasional flame-war.
But all these often found themselves in the lower colons of YouTube.
However, flame-wars now often cause a comment to mistakenly be seen as a
top comment. Yes, no matter your amount thumbs up, as long as you have
hundreds of people hammering on the fact that you are a horses' behind
for your comment, you are sure to be seen as the best comment available.
This does not set a great precedent. Especially when you, as a starting
or semi professional YouTuber, are faced with hurtful and maddening
comments. Are we to be surprised that many channels over time have
decided to shut down their comments? Especially channels that can be
seen as controversial or addressing topics that are either sensitive in
nature, or are approached in a way that may cause comment backlash.
Deserving or not. (more often than not, absolutely not deserving)
So, just to have it out there, here are some solutions to these problems and their nuanciation:
The problem with unlimited writing space is that it allows us to be
lazy. It takes some intelligence and consideration to form your point in
a limited space. This is why Tweets and the generations of Steam
reviews have worked relatively well. Even with Steam Reviews' huge
writing space, it is still limited. Urging you to consider your point
and remove parts that are less relevant to what you're trying to get
across. Yes, writing too much can indeed be a problem.
Return the limited writing space. Make it generous, make it 500 or even
1000 characters. Please feel it up, Google. See what would work best.
But make it limited. The sheer idea that we can only say so much,
inspires us to concentrate and perfect our point.
Google+ integration... if you insist, it can stay. But it deserves it's
own framework. From what I understand, a comment I want to show on my
Google+ stands equal to a blog post in how it gets exposed. That's not
right. YouTube comments shouldn't be blog posts and certainly will not
thrive as such.
Make it different. Give it's own system. Do something with it. But do not keep it like this, please!
Return up-votes as the dominant method of determining top comment. Even
as a substitute while something better is found, the current method
simply does not function as intended and only creates more grief than it
normally could have.
A complicated mathematical formula that not only considers the original
posts up-votes, but the comments that reply to it, could be a start.
Such a formula would favor a conversation that is largely positive of
nature, against a conversation that has two very polarized parties
opposing each other.
For example, a comments conversation about appreciating the work put in
editing should take preference over a conversation where Lovers and
Haters go neck to neck, even if the starting comment has the most
up-votes versus the first example. This almost-democratic system should
work to show what comments are better worth someone's time.
Also considering the amounts of up-votes vs down-votes, a post that has
750 up-votes and 500 down-votes should not take preference over a
comment with 250 up votes and 10 down-votes. A formula must be made that
can consider a sanity check to this. But hopefully this should get some
I hear you, though. The aforementioned solutions seem more like patches,
band-aids to fix a problem that came from a problem. This wouldn't
correct the sewage that used to be the comments section, before the
sewage that we call the comments section NOW.
I don't see using humans as moderators as a solution for a problem of
this scale. So, again, a formula with a sanity check should prove
My ideas will fit in with each other, so please with hold your judgement until you've completely read it.
For starters, a cool-down on new accounts being able to post should be
enforced. You should still be able to post them on your own Google+
profile, but comments shown on the actual video page should be
restricted until your account reaches a certain age. A day? A week? Two
A month may seem excessive, unless you link your account with a
cellphone number to immediately allow yourself to post comments. This
inspires a sense of responsibility. No longer are you entirely anonymous
in your mischief. It's better than having to fully expose your identity
on the internet.
Secondly, a comment posting limit is also in order. Right now, if you
post too quickly after another one, you should be halted. I haven't
tested whether that system is still there, but I assume it is.
But having a daily limit on how many times you can comment might be a
good idea. Now, I can already hear you yell at me. That's why I would
suggest that the initial posting limit to be very, VERY generous.
Arguably more than you can spend in one day, for at least the common
However, this limit will get more stern as your account gets flagged for
inappropriate behavior (and subsequently proven guilty). Or, to a
lesser extent, on how many down-votes you get. The latter should only
become a factor when the numbers are seriously overwhelming. It's also
important that there are, again, sanity checks to see that someone isn't
just being bombarded by bots. Which is why I am hesitant to include
down-votes on this system. But an idea is an idea.
Thirdly, I am looking for a good idea that allows channel owners to
moderate their own comments section in a way, without allowing them to
abuse and inappropriately use the system for their own gains. I am not
sure yet, but I'm open for suggestions on how to make that work. The
balance of power must remain standing.
What do you think? Think the ideas are solid, rubbish, or do you have
additional ideas yourself? Let me know what you think with a response
Tweet or send me a Twitlonger if your point is too long for the limited