There is an internet trope that's been around as long as at least the age of youtube.

"Don't read the comments"

It's horrible to read some internet commentary, but for some reason on youtube it goes to a whole other level.

There are literally thousands of examples of horrible youtube comments for the picking. They span from the conspiratorial to the racist then from the ignorant to the obscene.


What kind of user experience are these people getting out of being so hateful and so angry and so altogether unpleasant?

You might be wondering what brought this on, maybe not, maybe you've already clicked away, but here is a new campaign asking people to stop using the word "bossy" to describe ambitious young women who take on leadership roles.

This is not controversial. There is nothing about this ad where someone is being hurt, nobody is saying anything mean, no violence, no sex, no poking fun at people. In fact, the ad itself is kind of boring.

Yet below the video lies the pus like remains of what was once a human thought. The splintering bodily fluids aim to make points about how Beyonce is part of the Illuminati (what?) and how evil liberal feminists (by the way Condoleezza Rice is predominately featured) are taking away the god given right to call little girls whatever they want.

The video was simply saying "Try to use your words carefully"

So after reading that pile of garbage, I wanted to take a look at the new Annie trailer, I'm not a big fan of the original Annie. I've seen it and the story is clouded somewhere in my mind along with the plot to "Freaky Friday", but nonetheless I am a movie fan so I'll at least watch the trailer.

Now this movie's not going to be my cup of tea, but I'm not going to hate on it. Seems like every other heartwarming Christmas movie that comes out every year to get butts in seats at theaters.

But then below the trailer, what do we find? Oh it's just the beaten dead rotten carcasses of the words that Shakespeare used to write his plays.

Racism, sexism, spewing from the comments. But all of them surrounding one major issue put so eloquently by one "Mike Valley"

> Annie is white not black!

Annie is a fictional character in a story. If a writer decides that Annie's skin color happens to be different that is up to the writer. You aren't being forced to watch the movie.

This isn't exclusive to youtube of course, but the low barrier of entry along with anonymity and popular nature of the site probably lends of heavy hand in allowing it.

I know why google doesn't ban comments, even the horrible ones, because even if those horrible commenters are being horrible, they are still revenue streams. They are still watching ads. They are participating and making google more powerful.

But maybe not. Maybe there is a bit of hope.

Google recently release youtube feather

Which disables comments and allows you to quickly browse without the extra youtube features. This is a nice feature but it takes away from the central point which is that people are being horrible in the comments.

I understand that google can't change user's minds, but maybe if they had rules about being respectful online to other people it would help. Maybe if your comments were flagged by the video owners your comments would get moved to the back of the pile or your ability to comment would be eliminated entirely. A man can dream can't he?


Please don't disable comments youtube.

A lot of them are helpful (in my youtube circles, "skip to :38 for the first chord" etc are common examples). No one is making you read them. If you're an uploader, I'm pretty sure there's a box for disabling them on your videos.

So yeah. Where's that xkcd about never getting rid of a feature without adding a toggle that lets people keep it in place?

posted by mknod: 1774 days ago