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It used to be the case that, if you wanted to see the lower levels of Dante’s Pit of Hell, you only had to go as far as the comments section on YouTube. There lived all kinds of lowlife, racists, foul-language lovers, and those with keyboards with the caps-lock key permanently stuck on upper-case. And once you were in, it was difficult to claw your way back out again.

But now Google has drained the swamp and replaced it with a sparkly new Google+ powered commenting system, which has made me want to actually start reading the comments again! This is a day I thought I would never see.

First of all, and this is probably the most significant change, the comments are sorted by default as “Top Comments” (although you can filter it by the newest ones first, if you want). The advantage of having the “top comments” by default is that you will first see the ones which have been most upvoted, the ones from people in your Google+ circles, and from the owner of the video. That means that all of the trolls will have been buried out of sight! Excuse me while I go and open a bottle of champagne.

You can also start a conversation about the YouTube video either publicly on Google+, or privately with one or more of your restricted Circles.

Plus it just looks nicer. The fact that every comment is tied to a Google+ account means that there are no more people attacking from behind anonymous accounts. Having their face and name clearly attached to their comments forces them to take responsibility for their words – and hopefully that will force them to either grow up – or move on.

Source: 9to5Google | Image Credits: Listen To Yourself – XKCD

  1. Ke En
    May 3, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Hello, anyway, can you answer this question? If it's like that, then can you explain why I can't harmlessly post a single comment on any video? When I want to look at my notifications, it will tell me to sign in which I already did! I'm in a dilemma over what to do, please help!

  2. Bozobub
    February 8, 2014 at 11:11 pm

    "Having their face and name clearly attached to their comments forces them to take responsibility for their words – and hopefully that will force them to either grow up – or move on." Pardon me? My Google+ name is "Bozobub Clownlord" - lol. This forces no one to do anything at all, except tie their Google+ account to YouTube.

  3. Kitty
    December 18, 2013 at 6:03 pm

    In case you didn't know, Google latest change is to mark GOOD ON TOPIC comments as spam. Then you don't even know it's marked as spam because you see your comment or reply and then it disappears when you log off. Google claims that owners will approve them later and that this will train their spam filters, but many video owners have a lot of videos and day jobs. They don't have time to approve 20*200 comments that shouldn't have been in spam filter to begin with. So the replies to question "who is the singer on this video" "- ..." or "does anybody know where I can get the album containing this song with this same singer" go unanswered because the reply gets marked as spam and the video owner doesn't have time to approve.

    This happened to me zillion times. It's enough to have one or two e.g. German or Schubert or "Barbara Bonney" or "Walter Scott" in replies to two different people for your second reply to be marked as spam. Incidentally -- don't you think that it's kind of natural that a song by Schubert to words of Walter Scott poem sung by Barbara Bonney will have more than one reply with these words???? This destroys conversations.

  4. kitty
    December 12, 2013 at 3:17 am

    "Cleaned up"???? LOL - the most obnoxious comments still get through, but now GOogle's "brilliant" algorithm marks completely innocent on topic replies to comments e.g. answers to a question about the name of the singer in a movie clip "the singer is X not Y" as spam. The worst of it - if you are the person who replied, you think your reply went through, but then when you log off you don't see it, so it's only visible to yourself. In another case, a comment that complimented the video author on a great video got marked as spam.

    Many of the people who upload videos don't have time to review all the comments as they sometimes have a lot of videos. So many good comments get marked as spam.

  5. Dan
    November 15, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Just wondering how much google paid you for this. The comments section is far worse than before. But I guess you like reading the entire script to Braveheart or the entirety of Macbeth, not to mention the virus links and hundreds of Adolph Hitler accounts

  6. ken
    November 15, 2013 at 12:41 am

    You should burn in hell for this article. You have no idea what you are talking about. I suggest you delete the article and link a page asking for forgivness..... Along with your loony ideas you are atracting a bunch of other loonies that actually agree with your trash.

  7. J
    November 13, 2013 at 8:49 pm

    It marks the last nail in youtube's already lifelessly contained coffin. I was getting sick of everything on there being marketed and made towards advertisement. I was getting tired of all these dullard north american idiots who have branded themselves as 'personalities' doing mundane things with their gf/bf in front of millions of other views, half of which only exist because youtube had rammed it down our throats in the main page. Yeah yeah it may be good that less so called trolls are evident, but let's face it, this will only be supplanted by another and in this case in the hands of a unstoppable search engine which has taken over youtube and changed it far beyond the half decent promise it had many years ago. I dont use any social networking sites anyway, only linkdn, for business related things but that too seems pointless, so i'm not too concerned with the whole google plus thingy but i do miss being able to ridicule and add to stupid comments of my own. that was part of its minor fun... I only use the site now to download old unobtainable music anyway, but i guess i can do that elsewhere now.

  8. GoogleAstroturfing
    November 13, 2013 at 6:40 am

    Google caught astroturfing YouTube comments. All the positive comments about Google+ are up-voted by Google marketing. This is why the new comment system is bad. Its scamming peoples perspective to use their failing social network.

    • Mark O
      November 13, 2013 at 11:58 am

      Paranoid, maybe just a little?

  9. Tom
    November 13, 2013 at 1:37 am

    I am willing to bet to bet that this comment won't make it past moderation, because I can smell the BS in this article from a mile away. And you don't want to be exposed for who you truly are. You are obviously partners with youtube, and getting paid by google. 99% of the people who are pro-google+ are nothing but corporate google shills. And if by the slightest 1% chance I'm wrong, then you are just a corporate google conformist. Which is even worse. You just let google launder your head. You go along with every change google makes, and is okay with, and don't even question their motives.

    You really need to watch "Launder My Head" on vimeo. It's a six minute CGI video made in 1993, that predicted what life would be like in 20 years (2013). Youtube actually banned the video from being shown on it's site, because it is about them. But I bet you won't even take to watch it.

    I hope you had fun reading my two cents, because I know this won't make it past moderation you coward.

    • Mark O
      November 13, 2013 at 11:57 am

      Well, look whose comment made it past moderation!! :-)

      I wish I WAS partners with YouTube and getting paid by Google. Then my bank manager would be on better speaking terms with me about my overdraft.

      I always love reading the hate mail. As the saying goes, if they are insulting you, you're obviously doing something right.

      Have a nice day Tom.

  10. gunnar
    November 12, 2013 at 5:53 am

    The vote down no longer works, which mewans that the trolls with sock puppet accounts get the top comments in video after video. It used to be those comments got removed because the majority of viewers would downvote them and thereby countering the upvotes they make to their own posts. That's broken now. For the love of God, bring back the ability to downvote obscenity.

  11. Kelly
    November 12, 2013 at 1:58 am

    I dont need that Google Plus garbage! Google Plus is filled with Google shills!!

  12. Kelsey T
    November 11, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    Personally, comments don't bother me much. Why? Because almost every site I go to I've used a browser extension called "Shut Up" (in Chrome). It simply eliminates the comments section completely. I do that because if you actually realized how much time is wasted reading and responding to comments daily by people (not to mention prescriptions written for blood pressure medicine as a result of that interaction), you'd soon understand why important things don't get done.
    I do leave comments on for MakeUseOf, and any article anywhere else I read that looks ripe for interesting conversation, I simply click the icon in my toolbar to turn those comments on. Click it again when I'm done to put things back right.
    I waste radically less time on getting PO'd at trolls lol.

    • Kfir
      December 10, 2013 at 9:05 pm

      I use an light-weight extension that works with any browser and doesn't drain computer resources. When I go to a site and don't want to waste time reading the comments section I simply turn off my reading function. Once my eyes have scrolled down the comments section up to its bottom end I turn it on back again.

  13. Molnar O
    November 11, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    what clean up??
    this new system is absolutely horrible

    it forces people to link their YT account with a Google+ page whether they like it or not (I for one don't) otherwise they can't comment can't rate

    the comment section is now littered with stupid ASCII "art" and strings longer than the distance between the Milky Way and MACS0647-JD

    you click on "in reply to..." and it opens a new tab WHYYY OH WHYYY?

    you have to uncheck "Also share on Google+" every time you want to post a comment arrogantly assuming that I want to share it by default

    the whole thing is a shameless attempt to promote Google+ on the back of YTs popularity

  14. me
    November 11, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    now... if only reddit has a video sharing capability........

    • likefunbutnot
      November 12, 2013 at 2:46 am

      Why bother with reddit and its god-awful interface? Reddit is practically nothing but links to imgur. You can cut out the middleman and just participate in the community there.

  15. Nicole F
    November 11, 2013 at 7:23 am

    I am really disappointed how little research is going into some of the articles here lately.
    As others have already pointed out, the new commenting system facilitates spreading malicious contents via cleverly disguised links and there is no easy way to report them at the minute.

    I think this article summarises my feelings about Google+ spot on: http://www.theguardian.com/technology/blog/2013/jun/04/google-plus-the-matrix

    Google does not care how well G+ does. We are the product, not any of the Google services.

    • Mark O
      November 11, 2013 at 1:28 pm

      How little research? Our news stories are only supposed to be brief summaries (300 words or so) explaining a new development, and then we link to it, so the reader can read more themselves.

      And I would just like to affirm that I research my articles a lot. But not everyone is going to agree with me, which is fine. Life would be very boring if we all thought and said the same thing.

  16. qwyzl
    November 11, 2013 at 3:35 am

    I don't like the new commenting system. first of all, people should be able to use screen names if they want to. as to people making offensive comments, there only need be a way to report them - like, the word "report" should appear to the right of each comment, and moderators should be employed to take care of the problem. and the reporting system shouldn't be ridiculously complicated as it was when youtube alone was running the show. really, their reporting system was stupid, I must admit. continuing on - secondly, I don't like it that I can no longer get or make replies to other users of youtube. it was fun seeing if and how many replies I got from other people on youtube. now I can neither reply nor receive replies. I hate this new comment system.

  17. likefunbutnot
    November 11, 2013 at 2:47 am

    I have chosen not to make a Google+ account. I'm well aware of what it is and I've repeatedly and explicitly said that I do not want to use it. Because of this I can no longer participate in discussions on Youtube or provide feedback on applications from the Google Play.

    I really dislike being lumped in with the sea of humanity that might've been low-IQ trolls and spammers, but I'm not going to participate in a social networking service because other people online refuse to act in a responsible fashion.

    MakeUseOf seems to be pushing social media services lately. I find that disappointing.

    • Mark O
      November 11, 2013 at 1:23 pm

      And what is wrong with social media services? Why is it disappointing that we talk about them?

    • likefunbutnot
      November 11, 2013 at 1:37 pm

      @Mark O

      1. MUO needs properly threaded comments. Like Youtube.

      2. As a general rule I have not yet found a social media service with terms of use that I find agreeable. Part of using Google+ is the creation of a publicly accessible profile, something that I do not want to do, even if it's otherwise empty of personally identifiable information. That's not a space where I want "likefunbutnot" or my real name to exist. I realize that to a certain degree Google has already collected a great deal of information about me in spite of my efforts to compartmentalize its access, but I don't want expose any connections I might have to others publicly or to make that information easily available to third parties.

      3. Some of us just don't like social networking for whatever reason, and its use should not be compulsory.

  18. Clifford
    November 11, 2013 at 12:43 am

    "Cleaned up"? Mark, have you actually been on YouTube in the past 10 hours? The comment section is worse than ever! Spammers now have unprecedented ability to post spam and potentially harmful links. And all of the racists - once limited to text-based abused - are posting giant ASCII art swastikas and Hitler portraits.

    This is not a good change by any account. Not at all.

  19. g
    November 11, 2013 at 12:33 am

    Just look at the comments for the Ylvis - The Fox video, and tell if commenting on youtube is any better?

  20. Straight Daves
    November 10, 2013 at 11:50 pm

    Nice to see you're against free speech, you google-sucking shrill. What a useless article.

    • Mark O
      November 11, 2013 at 1:22 pm

      I'm not against free speech. I AM against cowards who hide behind keyboards to insult people for the fun of it.

    • Maria
      November 11, 2013 at 4:15 pm

      Straight Daves is one of the reasons the comment function was changed. If it wasn't for those sociopaths who mistake free speech with hateful insults, we wouldn't have to deal with G+ now.

  21. Jon Donnis
    November 10, 2013 at 11:21 pm

    Are you being paid by Google? Forcing a failing social media system on people isn't going to stop if failing. Most of what you said appears false as anyone can call their account name anything, hence the many that were named Hitler.

    Ironically the video you've posted proved how bad it is because all the top comments were ASCII art of a cock. Comments are more full of spam now than they ever were.

    Only good part is the longer comments but that's also up for amusing abuse.

    • Mark O
      November 11, 2013 at 1:25 pm

      I wish I WAS being paid by Google. I could certainly use the extra cash.

  22. Charles Ziegler
    November 10, 2013 at 10:22 pm

    The whole google+ thing that tends to annoy users who desire anonymity doesn't bother me much. Certain changes to the comments themselves, do.

    There are trolls on youtube. There will always be trolls on youtube. And before, they only had approximately four lines of text to use to do so, and links that actually took effort to follow if you want to.

    Not so anymore. ASCII art is now the "thing", and I've seen several levels of obscenity, some disguised as honest, interesting comments, many on videos aimed at children. I don't want to have to explain what a penis is to my 6 year old little sister. I don't want to have to explain pedobear and his suggestive comments to her.

    And I don't want her redirected from a children's show to pornography by a cleverly disguised link. You thought spambots were a problem before? Now that you're just a misclick away from viruses, they're going to explode in popularity.

    This wouldn't be a problem, really, except that liking is anonymous, so all the immature little kids and teenagers who like that sort of thing vote for these to be the top comment.

    Youtube isn't safe for children anymore. It never was, really, but it was still an option, at least. No longer.

    • Maria
      November 11, 2013 at 4:13 pm

      Kids don't belong on the internet. It's a mature medium and Youtube was never aimed at kids.

  23. EmmaBlackeryRTW
    November 10, 2013 at 10:05 pm

    With the changes to YouTube's comment section, trolls have only gone from bad to worse. What look like innocent "click here to expand comment" buttons turn out to be links to pornography websites, screamers, or viruses. Chapters and chapters of the words SPAMSPAMSPAM show up in massive chunks in the comments section. Google+ doesn't make you use your real name (I mean, who does?), so there's no chance of trolls being "called out" or "shamed," or whatever it was that was being gone for with the new system. Now creators on YouTube have a hard time controlling their comments sections and most just switch them off, removing the sense of "community" that helped make YouTube unique. Now we can no longer vote down a vulgar comment or mark it as spam, so no matter what the comment is - whether it be phallic ASCII art or an interesting yet irrelevant fanfic between Elrond and Picard, we cannot choose to not see it.
    There is no longer any point to get up in arms about trolls and spammers and haters in the comment sections, no point in going after them and starting arguments; they're everywhere now. What was once a tolerable issue has been turned into an uncontrollable monster, its rage originally directed at Google+ now turned right back onto the rest of us where it started, 8 years ago.
    The YouTube comment section has been called the "armpit of the internet." It seems as though Google+, what with all of its new members, will soon become YouTube's brother-in-arms in that respect.

  24. K.
    November 10, 2013 at 9:17 pm

    Maybe instead of forcing a social network down someone's throat they could have just implemented the commenting system of G+ without it needing to be connected. I freaking hate G+. I don't want to be a part of a social network, nor a bad one at that.

  25. Matthew Unwin
    November 10, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Your view is not shared by many and you have clearly not been on many videos as a lot of them have their comments filled with Google+ Sucks!!! at the top and upvoted.
    if anything there are more spammy comments than ever.
    People can name their G+ account anything and people don't care about showing their names.
    comment threads are a good addition but they are different than replies so replies should not have been removed.

  26. Adam Kind
    November 10, 2013 at 8:43 pm

    Anybody can still create new google account with fake name, new mobile phone number, and start commenting on youtube again.... We can not stop people using the internet.

    • Kfir
      December 10, 2013 at 8:16 pm

      Actually, Google could link your account to the holder's name of a credit/debit card as Apple does with the comments section of their iTunes Store (or even to download a podcast), and also Amazon, eBay, and other sites.

  27. PaidGoogleShill
    November 10, 2013 at 7:30 pm

    The comments are actually worst. There is no word limit, you can post links, and anything you like. Spam filter is broken. No thumps down... The fact they are forcing people to use their failing social network is even worst. I do not want a damn Google plus profile! The top comments are always Google plus employees or some Google shill, never has anything to do with the video! One reason why I don't use Google Plus because everyone on their is like a bot, always kissing Google's ass.

  28. Richard Green
    November 10, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    It doesn't make you anonymous, but it does allow people to post trick links and spam people with no character limit.

    • Robyn McIntyre
      November 11, 2013 at 9:59 pm

      Thanks for making this information available to the trolls.

  29. Don Gateley
    November 10, 2013 at 6:25 pm

    I certainly understand the backlash to the Google+ requirement but since I already use it I don't personally mind.

    As to the actual changes, I love that they've added threads. That was SO necessary. I don't understand, though, why on earth they don't let you see comments with the oldest first. I have a lot more respect for the flow of time, I guess, than Google/YouTube has and I am also a big fan of causality.

    It can't be about slow database access time from that direction; threading belies that. So why, I wonder, the omission of something so useful as ordering in the direction of the flow of time.

    • Jorick
      November 10, 2013 at 8:52 pm

      Dear sir, I suffer from Avoidant Personality Disorder, characterized for an intense fear of failure and rejection/criticism, whether in social situations, in a classroom or whatever.

      By forcing me to make a G+ account with my identification, I am being displayed for the whole world to see and laugh, sort of like a public humiliation parade. My therapist advised me to avoid that kind of crap, which is why I loved commenting on YouTube though my anonymous nick.

      Now I cannot chat with my fellow users unless I send private messages, which is unfair if I have an interesting piece of data to convey, since not everyone will see it. Please, give me a reason why I should make a G+ account and keep commenting on YouTube, and don't say crap like "Man up, pussy" or whatever...

    • KarjamP
      November 11, 2013 at 11:32 am

      Jorick, do you know that Google can create a Google+ account for your channel separately from your main one (without any personal details from you)?

      They'd have to do this due to the fact that someone can have more than one channel assigned to their account (and since they want to integrate Google+ with all of the channels...).

    • Jorick
      November 13, 2013 at 11:51 pm

      KarjamP, do you know that I don't even want anything to do with social networks? The fact that I am being forced to sign up for one if I want to express myself hast to be a violation of my civil liberties.

      I want to chat with my friends (a set with one-digit cardinality, but still friends) and comment on videos to express my support or provide constructive criticism. I don't want to worry about a flood of mails that I receive just because I'm getting bombarded with spam or people talk to me with hashtags or whatever. When I said I wanted to remain anonymous, that includes public G+ pages or whatever that have my internet handler plastered all over them.

      Honestly, I don't derive any kind of pleasure from social networks, they don't help me study nor entertain me. I know that, right now, everything is gravitating towards social networks and it's really sad.

    • Jorick
      November 13, 2013 at 11:59 pm

      How could I forget this? Here, enjoy your drugs...

      http://zenpencils.com/comic/129-marc-maron-the-social-media-generation/

  30. bob
    November 10, 2013 at 5:35 pm

    You are brainswashed...

    • Mark O
      November 11, 2013 at 1:23 pm

      If you are going to mock me, at least get your spelling right....

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