We all knew it was coming, we even talked about it a few months back. So why are people all up in arms about Google’s change in the YouTube commenting system? Isn’t it supposed to be a cleaner, streamlined and relevant experience to rescue us from the ape house antics that plagued the site before? People must be overreacting to change once again, right? The internet says no.
The response to the much heralded change has been fiery, rousing the ire of Reddit and other users who feel they’re being forced into adopting Google+, a platform they have no interest in using either publicly or privately.
Users are flooding YouTube’s official channel with complaints in the comments (the sweet irony of it all) and even Jawed Karim, one of the co-founders of YouTube, is weighing in against Google’s commenting shift. From International Business Times:
The change hasn’t been well received by everyone, including one of the original creators of YouTube. Jawed Karim, the 34-year-old entrepreneur who also helped design many of the core components of PayPal, took to YouTube for the first time in eight years to express his displeasure.
“Why the f–k do I need a Google+ account to comment on a video,” Karim said.
As herculean writer and part-time prognosticator Dan Seitz wrote back in September, this action is a flawed step in a positive direction. YouTube needed to update and change their comment section, moving it away from being the Double Deuce of the internet and more towards becoming a respectable member of the community. An internet “Pygmalion” if you will. Not an easy task when you consider “more than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month.”
But what has a lot of users crying foul is the required integration of Google+ into the YouTube experience. A move that hinders on the theory that forcing comments to be public will help to curtail bad internet behavior and clean up the discourse to a point that your mother could read the YouTube comments without even a faint hanky nearby.
According to Chris Gayomali at The Week, this is a theory full of holes:
In theory it makes sense: Something like a Facebook profile should encourage better behavior through accountability.
Only that hasn’t been the case. Earlier this year, for example, the Silicon Valley blog TechCrunch reverted back to anonymous comments after giving Facebook’s comment system a try. Politico did the same thing when the volume of comments — and thus pageviews — dropped precipitously without any notable improvement in the quality of its discourse.
And Gayomali urges readers to look for themselves, especially at the YouTube announcement video for the new system. I can personally spend a few minutes on Facebook and read some of the worst screeds that someone either wrote themselves or re-posted as their own. And then we have sites like Public Shaming that exist solely to point out such bad behavior on a daily basis. The computer screen is a weak shield for the weak minded at times.
I just wonder if this will affect the YouTube premium paid service that was announced back in May. Will users leave the site in a very public breakup or will life return to normal within time? It’s hard to tell if we have another Netflix revolt on our hands.
Until then, I have no problem sitting back and watching the chaos ensue. I will personally miss the wild days of YouTube commenting. I never partook, but it was always a pleasure to scroll down and see the unintentional humor of eighteen comments claiming “first” and ten others questioning the sexuality of the poster. Memories are made of this indeed, Dean Martin.
In the mean time, enjoy this adorable little NSFW tune from musician Emma Blackery regarding YouTube’s recent upgrade.