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YouTube Comments Suck – Here’s How to Make Them Better.

Dear YouTube,

Youtube comments suck. You are a beautiful, psuedo-central hub of the internet where people from all walks of life come to watch, share and talk about video content. It’s all so zen… except for the talking thing. For some strange reason your comments section is complete and utter garbage. Precious few comments contributing anything valuable. It’s pretty surreal when you think about it; People are given the opportunity to discuss content they enjoy with other fans and they use that privilege to bicker, fight and… post whatever this thing is:

(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻”

Very Valuable Input tyvm Credit: Stupid Youtube Comments

Very valuable input tyvm. Credit: http://stupid-youtube-comments.blogspot.com/

Now, you’re probably asking yourself “Why me? Plenty of places allow comments… why are mine so terrible in particular?”  Reddit user Anylchemist put it eloquently,

 

“There is generally a large audience and usually total anonymity. Combined with the fact that virtually no moderation exists, it is a venue for people to express their worst, most ill-conceived thoughts to a large audience with no consequence.”

 

If a YouTuber wants order in the chaos that is their comments section (and I mean that both in content and formatting) they are required to moderate comments themselves – which is obnoxious and time-consuming. YouTubers already have their hands full balancing work, life and content creation. They don’t need an extra task to slap onto that hot stack of pancakes they call a day. It’s easy to see why some more prominent YouTubers have opted simply to disable their comments section altogether (Like PewDiePie.)

But I’m hopeful, Youtube. Really, I am.

I believe that comments can be a very valuable part of the YouTube experience. In my opinion, a direct way for creators to interact with their audience perfectly captures what you’re all about my dear sweet YT.

Can I call you YT?

My solution is actually pretty simple: Allow Content Creators to assign fans as Mods of their channel – treating each individual video as a forum thread.

Channel moderation provides commenters with some much needed accountability. Bad posters tend to hang around the same channels like a creepy Uncle at a pool party. Having a team to monitor comments and ban toxic posters channel-wide makes an example out of these trolls… and puts the fear of Mod in potential trolls. Discouraging bad behavior is just as important and punishing it – this is a “two-birds-one-stone” kind of deal. Toxic users are like weeds; they take up space and they seem to multiply. Banning, silencing and warning users is like plucking these weeds. This keeps the comments section as a beautiful, on-task garden completely free of racist idiocy and Darude – Sandstorm.

Hey, does anybody know what song this is?

Channel Moderation promotes a sense of community. There are tons of dedicated fans who would love to get closer to their favorite YouTubers – what better way than volunteering to help them in very real, impactful way? The mod loyalty is already built-in by way of the mods being fans of the channel and wanting to do a good job for the creator.  Managing a group of 10 or so mods is significantly less stressful than managing 100,000 meme-posting, psycho 14 year olds. By promoting order and rewarding good behavior with mod-status or aknowledgement, you’re also encouraging commenters to post more valuable input on videos and less Darude – Sandstorm.

Channel Moderation makes sense for YouTube. Moderating comments based on a site-wide set of rules across ALL channels of YouTube would require an insane amount of time & energy. Many creators wouldn’t like YouTube moderating their community either; some channels are more liberal than others and thus would be more comfortable with a lax set of rules. Handing 99% of the moderation responsibility over to content creators is not only great PR, but allows for better allocation of resources on your part YT.

YT… there’s a problem. You’re one of the biggest sites in the world – you should be spending your money a little more wisely. Maybe instead of focusing on helping your users create content (which they can do on their own) you could throw a few dollars towards fixing infrastructure (which they can’t do). Priorities are important. You’re completely ignoring the importance of community in content creation which could very well be your eventual downfall.

Please don’t downfall Youtube. I love you.

Your truly,

– Tim E. Kish

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