YouTube considers changing comment system

Misanthropy doesn't seem too hard to embrace when people write this.

A quick look at a popular video on YouTube is enough to leave you doubting the future generation. With good reason, it has to be said. In about a minute's searching there is a good chance you'll find something that is racist, homophobic, or generally disruptive and offensive. It is the way the site works. Thanks to its design, and the fact you're hidden behind a username, you can go around intentionally posting nonsense on videos with little chance of being punished.

It is a prospect that leaves internet trolls salivating at the opportunities. They can attack anyone for any reason they want from behind a veil of anonymity. While the same can be said about other sites, there are few as easily abused as YouTube. As the world's most popular destination for sharing videos, and one of the most popular websites on the internet, it's an open forum for douchebaggery. Trolls will be able to find videos and users to attack for the rest of time, and that's what they rely on. Their time might be limited though, for it seems there are plans in the works to cut down on these comments.

Wired Magazine reports that we could be seeing changes in the future to cut down on comments such as the example above. The above example was harvested from a music video, and one word in particular was censored due to its highly offensive nature. During Google's I/O presentation there was a Q&A event with YouTube's developers. A member in the audience questioned the developers about what could be done with comments. Dror Shimshowitz, one of YouTube's 'heads of product', observed that the comments section is the "Wild West of video", and comments can be turned off.

Shimshowitz also took the time to explain that Google is not fond of disabling comments, for it is said to be 'cutting off the community'. For this reason the site is focusing upon fixing its comments system and weeding out the people intent on ruining it. The damage might already be done. With the site having been around since 2005 it has had long enough for the trolls to become well rooted in the YouTube community. Unfortunately for everyone interested in uploading video content to YouTube, Shimshowitz declined to comment further on the changes that the company intends to make. A Google spokesman also stepped in, stating that the company did not have any intent to provide further commentary.

There are, thankfully, some alternatives to putting up with the comments you'll view on the internet. Herp Derp Comments comes highly recommended, for it preserves the meaning of the majority of the comments you'll read on popular videos. There's also Comment Snob, if you do want to read some comments when they apply to a specific set of rules you determine. Of course, there are also blogs for showcasing the best of human stupidity online. If you decide to check out the blog, it might be worth noting that the comments may not always be safe for work. The nature of YouTube means that some nasty things can be said with almost complete protection from your actions.

YouTube has tried in the past to curb its problems with comments on videos, but it does not seem to be sufficient. If an account has a long enough history of making offensive comments on videos it does seem that the site takes action. Having observed at least one of these accounts in the past they all were shut down after some time. Whether this is trolls getting bored, trying to remove themselves from these online personas, or Google taking control of the matter is not entirely clear.

Two possibilities have appeared in the past: associating YouTube accounts with Google+ accounts (some Google+ accounts already contribute to YouTube with their profile names), or using comments via Facebook. Neither method is perfect, but a site where the trolls can post virtually anything they want, offend who they want, and disappear again is not much better.

The site does need to do something drastic if it is going to deal with the problem, for it is only becoming more widespread as the site becomes more popular. Try watching any video with over 500,000 views or so, and you're guaranteed to see at least a few comments that will sway your views to dealing with the trolls if they are not already.

Source: Wired
Herp Derp: Herp Derp Comments

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46 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

How about this?
If your comment gets, let's say, 10 votes as spam, your registered email address is revealed. At 15, you're suspended for a short period. At 20, your account is closed.

There needs to be consequences to the vitriol and who better to implement them than fellow users.

Cheers

People also have the ability to thumbs down a comment, which makes it disappear after a few votes. So I don't know what the big deal is here. Obviously Google is just trying to use this as an excuse to add more spyware.

This also will NOT stop people posting mean comments. They are a fool if they think it will.

If people are afraid of comments on Youtube, the person who posted the video has the ability to disable comments. So I don't see what the big deal it.

If youtube starts doing this, I will just delete my current account. We don't need more invasion of privacy. Facebook and Google+ are both a prime example of invasion of privacy, and the very reason I don't use either of them. Google is the king of spyware, which makes this all the more bad.

One thing I have learned over the years, is NOT to use your real name anywhere. Due to the fact that Google archives everything and keeps it forever. One day it will come back to haunt you.

I have a gmail account, I really should dump it. I prefer hotmail anymore as it is.

Youtube has gone downhill anymore anyways. They constantly keep changing their design format for the worse. And their videos constantly lag.

I hate the comments on SOME YouTube videos, specially those on science. You get YouTube scholars debating about theism vs atheism and both sides are annoying.

Good thing I spend most of my YouTube time on cat and airplane videos.

A340600 said,
I hate the comments on SOME YouTube videos, specially those on science. You get YouTube scholars debating about theism vs atheism and both sides are annoying.

Good thing I spend most of my YouTube time on cat and airplane videos.

"Keep up the disinterested work Great Creator"
Ford Prefect

The character limit and the fact you can't post links is so annoying on youtube. Idiots have ruined it for people that genuinely have something constructive to say, and want to share other info.

DARKFiB3R said,
The character limit and the fact you can't post links is so annoying on youtube. Idiots have ruined it for people that genuinely have something constructive to say, and want to share other info.

Couldn't agree more!

Glassed Silver:ios

I simply just click "block user"... people can moderate their own comments.. or "approve comments" is a better deal. I don't dare believe videos with millions of views even need comments enabled. Just watch the vid and ponder it to yourself.

Anyway, most of the troll activity occurs with video content that promotes it. Maybe it's time to censor these videos.

This problem is not only related to YouTube... but every site with comments. YouTube is a place too big for moderators.

They are already moving in that direction though, top comments are well... on the top - hiding the rest (unless you scroll down)

Trolls get their satisfaction from people retaliating to their comments. The best way to stamp out trolls is to ignore them.

I'm a fan of community moderated comments, people down-vote or mark as spam and it goes away.

I'm also a real supporter of truly free speech. I'd rather bigots speak clearly (so everyone can ignore them) rather than construct their opinions into something that may sound deceptively reasonable.

Derges said,
I'm a fan of community moderated comments, people down-vote or mark as spam and it goes away.

This wont work though for example some gay person writes a genuine comment about being gay or whatever then along come a load of religious people and vote it down, the comment is then removed and you have lost a genuine comment. repeat this many times and you are basically censoring homosexual comments... you could replace this with anything many people do not like and come out with the same result.

Derges said,
I'm a fan of community moderated comments, people down-vote or mark as spam and it goes away.

I'm also a real supporter of truly free speech. I'd rather bigots speak clearly (so everyone can ignore them) rather than construct their opinions into something that may sound deceptively reasonable.

My thoughts exactly!

I like some of the crazy comments however some of the tripe users throw is increaingly poor. If the G+ system was used more it would be good, rather like putting your facebook details on there, except i'd hate to have facebook on anything of mine

When people say "Disable comments", there's one slight problem: Youtube videos are partially ranked by the number of comments on them, which of course is an incredibly stupid thing.

David085 said,
herp herp derp derp... I hope there is a option to turn off the annoying filter.

That's a third party addon you install yourself, it's not what Youtube is doing.

David085 said,
herp herp derp derp... I hope there is a option to turn off the annoying filter.

Using the latest Developer build of Chrome as of this time of writing, it seems they won't even let you install 3rd party .crx anymore... unless you drag the .crx file into the Extensions manager now. I'm so disappoint.

Call me crazy, but I'd say a full blown shutdown on these idiots would be welcome. By that, I mean freezing their YouTube account and any Gmail/Google account they have tied with it.

Can't access your email? Too bad.

And I mean this for at least the comments that could be in zero way "misconstrued" to mean anything else. I say this as the community on YouTube is a damn eyesore to behold as is.

dead.cell said,
Call me crazy, but I'd say a full blown shutdown on these idiots would be welcome. By that, I mean freezing their YouTube account and any Gmail/Google account they have tied with it.

Can't access your email? Too bad.

And I mean this for at least the comments that could be in zero way "misconstrued" to mean anything else. I say this as the community on YouTube is a damn eyesore to behold as is.

Wish this could happen but it won't. If Google believes in the freedom to speak and allowing everyone to post their comments offensive or not it's safe to assume Google would not do this - but it's a good idea nonetheless ;-).

Say whatever you want, the comment section > videos. Without the comments, youtube wouldn't be half as interesting.

I agree, Google needs to sort it out. They're basically permitting this sort of behaviour and are encouraging it, because people know the comments won't be removed. It's frustrating that Google does little about it, because it ruins the experience. I don't want to have to have to disable comments just because Google is blind and doesn't see it properly that offensive comments should be removed and YouTube users penalisd for. It's the only way Google are going to sort it out. I do think this is cultural behaviour now, because so many people are now doing this.

bastones said,
I agree, Google needs to sort it out. They're basically permitting this sort of behaviour and are encouraging it, because people know the comments won't be removed. It's frustrating that Google does little about it, because it ruins the experience. I don't want to have to have to disable comments just because Google is blind and doesn't see it properly that offensive comments should be removed and YouTube users penalisd for. It's the only way Google are going to sort it out. I do think this is cultural behaviour now, because so many people are now doing this.

i am sure it's mostly teenagers and those in their early 20's doing it as from my perception of people those in their early 20's and younger are the core group that still act like kids more often than not in general as once people reach their late 20's they start to mature a bit and stop acting like total kids.

but anyways... i do agree they need to clean up some of those comments but only ones that are blatantly in there to start stuff where as everything else should be pretty much left alone as some places admins are quick to go on a power trip and remove stuff that might be more of a grey area. so in the end i would rather have a place be a little lax on what they filter out than to strict.

but for me personally... one thing i hate about youtube is people will falsely list their videos and put a billion different tags on their videos that don't truly represent the content of the video correctly as they do it just to get more hits on their crap videos and as you already know, while youtube has a lot of quality stuff on there, there is also a ton of pointless videos you have to wonder why people even posted in the first place. but i guess youtube has it's ups and downs and one positive thing about it is since it's so popular you can find nearly anything on there pretty much.

ThaCrip said,

i am sure it's mostly teenagers and those in their early 20's doing it as from my perception of people those in their early 20's and younger are the core group that still act like kids more often than not in general as once people reach their late 20's they start to mature a bit and stop acting like total kids.

but anyways... i do agree they need to clean up some of those comments but only ones that are blatantly in there to start stuff where as everything else should be pretty much left alone as some places admins are quick to go on a power trip and remove stuff that might be more of a grey area. so in the end i would rather have a place be a little lax on what they filter out than to strict.

but for me personally... one thing i hate about youtube is people will falsely list their videos and put a billion different tags on their videos that don't truly represent the content of the video correctly as they do it just to get more hits on their crap videos and as you already know, while youtube has a lot of quality stuff on there, there is also a ton of pointless videos you have to wonder why people even posted in the first place. but i guess youtube has it's ups and downs and one positive thing about it is since it's so popular you can find nearly anything on there pretty much.

I would hope it is only. People need to realise that stupid behaviour / offensive and ignorant comments only encourages others to do the same.

Nightwind Hawk said,
The comments sections on youtube and any other news sites (CNN, etc.) really show how stupid people are...

while i agree many comments are pretty pointless on youtube etc, i don't think that speaks for everyone. it's just the types who are active there are mostly kids and when you get a bunch of those together in comes the spam posts.

but i do agree they need to raise the quality of posts some as i don't mind some basic comments but some stuff people say is pretty much equivalent to spam. but at the same time i prefer websites in general to be less restrictive than to strict as being a little lax is always better than admins who are power hungry which can quickly kill any forum and make it arguably worse than people spouting off at the mouth a bit that you see with the youtube comments.

Nightwind Hawk said,
The comments sections on youtube and any other news sites (CNN, etc.) really show how stupid people are...

yeah sometimes its funny to see what people write but most of the time its just stupid

ThaCrip said,

while i agree many comments are pretty pointless on youtube etc, i don't think that speaks for everyone. it's just the types who are active there are mostly kids and when you get a bunch of those together in comes the spam posts.

but i do agree they need to raise the quality of posts some as i don't mind some basic comments but some stuff people say is pretty much equivalent to spam. but at the same time i prefer websites in general to be less restrictive than to strict as being a little lax is always better than admins who are power hungry which can quickly kill any forum and make it arguably worse than people spouting off at the mouth a bit that you see with the youtube comments.

Except a lot of time it's NOT kids. I've seen the same rhetoric on sites discussing luxury cars. LUXURY. CARS.

The problem isn't age. It's the mindset people have when they post online. That transcends age, race, nationality, religion, economic status, gender and sexual preference. Pretty sad indictment on society when so many use the most advanced form of communication known to mankind and THAT is how so many choose to use it ...

I remember this one time, someone posted "first" on one of my videos, so this other dude replied "Congratulations, you came FIRST in the small penis contest". My subscribers managed to get 35 likes on that comment xD

GTAComplete said,
I remember this one time, someone posted "first" on one of my videos, so this other dude replied "Congratulations, you came FIRST in the small penis contest". My subscribers managed to get 35 likes on that comment xD

Maybe I'm drunk but your comment makes no sense

PmRd said,
Maybe I'm drunk but your comment makes no sense

It's probably the way I've worded it. It's 9AM here and I've been put for 36 hours, so my writing must be kinda terrible

We should pass a IQ test before being able to comment on any website. The internet would be so much better! Or it may just become boring

I would just love to have the option to see the face of the person who posted. That would make me happy.

Ok, can you reply with your real name (and perhaps picture)? It would really help the internet to identify you

Edited by LAMj, Jul 2 2012, 10:50am :

PmRd said,
We should pass a IQ test before being able to comment on any website. The internet would be so much better! Or it may just become boring

I would just love to have the option to see the face of the person who posted. That would make me happy.

Even better, when someone writes a comment, make youtube read it back to them before they submit it so that they hear how retarded they look! (Source: http://xkcd.com/481/)