Blocking is just one of several changes YouTube is making to the comment system in an attempt to make the conversations there more relevant. They have a big job ahead of them but they’re giving it a go and it could be good news or bad news for video producers depending on how it all shakes out.
First, they’re addressing the issue of timing. Says YouTube:
“When it comes to the conversations happening on YouTube, recent does not necessarily mean relevant.”
Oh, there’s so much I could say about relevant comments on YouTube. . . but I won’t.
Here’s the plan:
Comments you care about move to the top: You’ll see posts at the top of the list from the video’s creator, popular personalities, engaged discussions about the video, and people in your Google+ Circles.
Join the conversation publicly or privately: You can choose to start a conversation so that it is seen by everyone on YouTube and Google+, only people in your Circles or just your bestie. Like Gmail, replies are threaded so you can easily follow conversations.
I worry when social media sites assume they know what I “care about” and I’m even more disturbed by the use of the term “bestie” but let’s move on.
Starting this week, you’ll see the new YouTube comments powered by Google+ on your channel discussion tab. This update will come to comments on all videos later this year, as we bring you more ways to connect with familiar faces on YouTube. Here’s what comments will look like later this year in a sample video from SoulPancake:
And now we see the real reason they pushed us to hook our YouTube channels to our Google+ pages. I suppose it’s nice to offer the ability to have a private discussion involving only those you choose, but is it practical? Does anyone really need to have a private conversation about a public video on a public forum? Can’t I just post the video to my own private Google+ page for discussion?
This whole concept feels like a way of appeasing the masses with the appearance of privacy but I still wouldn’t post any comment I didn’t want my mother to see.
I do like the idea of prioritizing comments by relevance not date. This way, a relevant discussion has a chance of staying alive near the top of the page while all the nonsense comments drop out of sight. If it works really well, it might even discourage trolls from leaving their tainted links and spammy offers. Probably not, but I can hope.
All Things in Moderation
YouTube is also making a few changes on the moderation side:
Better ways to moderate comments: You have new tools to review comments before they’re posted, block certain words or save time by auto-approving comments from certain fans. These can help you spend less time moderating, and more time sharing videos and connecting with your fans.
This is great news for anyone working with a busy channel. I work with several family and teen oriented channels, so the ability to block inappropriate words before they hit the page is amazing.
YouTube doesn’t say when the new moderation tools will be available. As of this morning, I didn’t have them. I’ll be checking every day and in the meantime, I’m going to start my list of inappropriate words for blocking. Now that’s something I don’t want my mother to see.
Thoughts on the new YouTube – Google+ commenting option?