The YouTube comments system recently underwent a huge change, with Google, in its infinite wisdom, deciding to use Google+ as the means by which everyone can comment on the most popular video-sharing site on the Internet. This change went down about as well as could be expected (hint: not well at all).
Then came the impassioned pleas for a reversal of the decision, a petition signed by hundreds of thousands of people asking Google to reconsider, lots of anti-Google videos posted to YouTube itself, and comments registering distaste for the change using the very medium which was being hated on. Ironic.
We asked you, What Do You Hate About YouTube’s Comments Section? You took to our comments section in good numbers to explain your reasons for hating the new YouTube comments section. The reasons given were many and varied, but most of you agreed on one particular thing: Google+ sucks.
First, the other reasons, which include the way comments are now ordered and organized, the lack of a dislike option, and how this new system doesn’t offer any legitimate improvements over the old system. Trolls and spammers are still hanging out on YouTube in droves, so what, people are asking, was the point of all this?
Google+ was the point of all this, of course, at least according to the vast majority of respondents. Google+, for the few people who haven’t yet been caught in its snare, is Google’s answer to Facebook, but Google+ isn’t anywhere near as popular as Mark Zuckerberg’s baby.
This isn’t for a lack of trying, however, as Google is essentially forcing people to join Google+ whether they want to or not by integrating the social network into its other services. YouTube is just the latest of these, and this integration has ruined YouTube for lots of once-loyal users of the site.
Comment Of The Week
We received a lot of great comments, including those from Steve Yegge, Zach L, and coleto. Comment Of The Week goes to Tom W, who won with this comment:
Well, first and foremost it is an absolute abuse of power. Google is blatantly attempting to shore up a failing service by cannibalising a very successful property. This wouldn’t be so bad, but they executed it very poorly. No beta period, no testing the water, no tweaking, it was dumped on the users, and content creators and then Google employees were left floundering around trying to fix the huge mess they had created. But apart from that…
1) It put users at risk by allowing unvetted links to be posted by anyone. Facebook has put vast amounts of work into controlling outbound links, and Google failed miserably.
2) Only innocent users use their real name. Google has nothing in place to prevent fake names and fake accounts. If an account gets banned, a new one can be created easily, just like before.
3) Not everyone wants to use their real name online. It is a basic tenant of the internet to not reveal more personal information than necessary.
4) Continuity between online accounts. Most people online know me as Scutterman (and I was here too until login switched from Twitter to Facebook). Me commenting on Youtube as Tom means a lot less than me commenting as Scutterman.
5) Longer comments open it up to further abuse.
6) Editing of comments means that comments can become popular and then change the content to (for example) contain a dangerous link.
7) Comment ordering is partly by replies. This means that replies saying “This link is malware” will make a link more likely to be seen.
8) When the comment system first went live, there was no “report” or “downvote”, like the previous system. It seems like this has been fixed, but the omission just made some of the previous issues all the more dangerous.
9) They blatantly lied about their intentions. There were no benefits above the old system, and they labelled it as an improvement to the system rather than just coming out and saying that they just wanted people to use Google+. They can now claim artificially inflated user figures in an attempt to make it seem more successful.
I may seem like I’m against Google+, but I’m not. I just have no interest in it, and I don’t think that Google acted honourably here.
-DO NO EVIL.
We chose this comment because it clarifies the whole sorry situation in a very digestible format. Tom gets to the heart of the matter by suggesting it’s not just about what Google did but also about why and how Google implemented these changes. The opening line suggesting that “it is an absolute abuse of power” sums up the feelings expressed by many who are opposed to these changes.
We Ask You is a weekly column in which you have your say about a particular subject. We ask you a question each Wednesday, with the results compiled and compressed into a follow-up article the following Tuesday. This column is nothing without your input, all of which is valued.