YouTube Comments Process—New and Improved

Oct 16, 2013

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Casually scrolling through the comments of a popular YouTube video can quickly turn to purposely screening explicit and lewd remarks. But YouTube is developing new features to clean things up.

The current system on YouTube allows the most recent comment to be the one featured at the top. It is based on chronology rather than content.

The new system will feature algorithms that figure out the people you will most likely want to see near the top. This means comments from friends, from “popular personalities” (i.e. types of celebrities), and from the video creator will be the comments the user sees first.

Another adjustment the update fixes is with conversational comments. Since the current system displays comments chronologically, attempting to follow a conversation with replies and rebuttals can prove extremely difficult.

The update will display threaded conversations. This will make it easy and intuitive to follow the discussion and its speakers.

YouTube is also adding privacy to its conversations. The new conversation platform is actually powered by Google+, since Google owns YouTube.  This means that when adding a comment on a YouTube video, you can choose if it can be viewed publically, by people within your Circles, or by specific people of your choosing. This also gives the content creators the option to begin conversations that are exclusive to just their fans or paying subscribers’ viewing.

Also, YouTube and Google+ will share a cross-posting feature. You can post a YouTube video on Google+ and any comments made through Google+ will show up on the YouTube site, as well. However, the user can choose to have the comment only show up on Google+, or only on YouTube, allowing for more control.

 The anonymity of YouTube comments presents another problem. People write ignorant, homophobic, racist, sexist, and/or horrible comments on just about every popular post. Currently, uploaders can choose to permit all comments, prevent any comments, or manually approve each comment. For large channels that receive millions of views a week, it is impossible to go through every single comment that comes in.

However, YouTube is creating filters that will make comment monitoring easier. With filters, uploaders will be able to assign commenters to an Approved list or a Blocked list that will automatically approve or reject comments, respectively. The filters will also allow the uploader to add keywords to a Blacklist. This will flag any comments that contain the Blacklist words (or words closely resembling them) and send the comments into a type of limbo, where the uploader can sort through them and approve them manually.

It will be interesting to observe how well YouTube’s new features and filters catch inappropriate comments and words.

Net Nanny is another program that can assist in filtering foul content. It can monitor not only YouTube, but also virtually any websites and prevent the display of any inappropriate themes. 

For additional information on YouTube's new system, visit