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YouTube “Fixing” Its Comments—Good Luck!

In case you’re new around here (meaning the Internet), let me just tell you: sometimes, comment boards usually devolve into vile gross-out fests attacking the content of the page, other commenters, or random political officials. (Not here, of course [meaning Marketing Pilgrim]—here our wonderful commentators always add value, and we love you for it. Comment today!)

YouTube, however, is fairly typical. It seems like the average video there receives approximately 2% of its comments on the actual content, 48% calling it various levels of ‘awesome’ and 57% questioning the parentage, politics and/or brainpower of the video’s creators, stars and/or anyone else who has ever lived. (And yes, that’s 107%—the comments are also largely illogical.) But today, YouTube is introducing a new page layout to try to change all that.

Good luck.

The new experimental layout reorganizes the comments:

Today, we’re introducing a “highlights view” of comments which summarizes top rated comments, uploader comments, video responses and recent comments in a single “front-page story” that you can drill into for more detail. You can see an example on this video and this one. We’re continuing to make the highlights better as we learn how people interact with it, so please let us know what you think in the comments below.

The comments sorted by recency are available below the “front-page story”:

The layout is the third overhaul in four months, including the Feather experiment and the new page layout in January. Inexplicably, these stripped-down layouts still included comments, even though YouTube obviously knew they were pretty much useless.

This time around, some users are “permanently opted in” automatically—meaning they can’t opt out of the highlights view. YouTube says this is to help them learn about what does and does not work about the page. You can also opt-in if you’d like.

Other changes to the layout this time around include a new “Videos I Liked” section, separating “Liking” a video and adding it to your favorites, and other improvements to the ratings system, which was also overhauled as part of the January layout change.

Overall, there may be some limited effect to the quality of comments (if only two comments are showing, there’s less incentive to see your “username in lights,” which is probably one strong motivation for the stupider comments)—but if you opt-in, odds are good you won’t know ;) .

What do you think? Will this affect the quality of comments and discussion on YouTube? Will you opt-in?