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YouTube Responds to Comment Backlash By Improving the Bob Filter



youtube bobWhen YouTube switched the entire site over to the Google+ based comment system, I’m sure they thought they were doing what was best for everyone. Or, they didn’t care and they just wanted to increase traffic to Google+ for all sorts of financial reasons.

No, that can’t be it. A site that depends on the continued presence of content providers and users would never put financial gain in front of user satisfaction. . . would they?

Either way, they made the change and the Bob Army arrived – guns a blazing.

The new comment system forces people to be themselves in a world where people want to be anything but. And I’m not talking about people who want to fake a name for nefarious reasons. YouTube is a creative society where a lonely teen can be the popular kid with a rockin’ name and cool avatar. I know plenty of TV fans who create videos that they want to share only with their fannish friends not their co-workers and family members. Nothing wrong with that. But strangely, YouTube either doesn’t understand or doesn’t care.

The one thing the system does do well is filter out spam and abusive comments so they never hit the page. I like that. But I’d like it more if they’d work the bugs out, like the ability to moderate old comments that got stuck in the filter. Seriously, YT – let me either delete them all or approve them all, I’m sick of checking the filter notice only to see the same old comments I couldn’t moderate last week.

YouTube knows we’re unhappy and so they’re taking steps to make things right. . . . . (insert laugh here.)

From the YouTube Creator Blog:

An Update on YouTube Comments

Since we launched the new comments experience on YouTube two weeks ago, we’ve received a lot of feedback from creators on the increase in comment spam. While the new system dealt with many spam issues that had plagued YouTube comments in the past, it also introduced new opportunities for abuse and shortly after the launch, we saw some users taking advantage of them.

They actually sound surprised that people have found a new way to game the system. That’s in our nature. Even if the new comment system was the next best thing to an XBox One, people would find a way to abuse the system.

We’ve worked hard to combat the increase in spammy comments and have made a number of updates, including:

  • Better recognition of bad links and impersonation attempts
  • Improved ASCII art detection
  • Changing how long comments are displayed
We know the spam issues made it hard to use the new system at first, and we’re excited to see more of you getting involved as we’ve fixed issues. New features like threaded conversations and formatted comments are coming to life, thanks to you and your fans.
Basically, they improved the filter system so it grabs all of those Bob’s Army comments.
I’d also like an explanation of “Changing how long comments are displayed.” Does that mean comments will disappear after a time? I don’t’ understand that.
So what’s next? We’re moving forward with more improvements to help you manage comments on your videos better. Bulk moderation has been a long standing creator request and we’ll be releasing tools for that soon. At the same time, we’re also working on improving comment ranking and moderation of old-style comments.

Bulk moderation would be a joy. And it seems they’re looking into those old comments that are stuck in the filter. That’s good news, too.

But that’s the end of the blog post. They say thanks for sticking with us and then they sign out.

The one thing they don’t address is the Google+ login that has everyone in an uproar. Why wouldn’t you at least acknowledge that. Say, yes, we understand this is cramping your style but we feel strongly that it will make YouTube better for everyone. People won’t be satisfied but at least it’s a response.

What’s your take on this new comment system. Is it leaning more toward the better or the worse? And do you think YouTube will stick with the Google+ login requirement?

  • Chris Paterson

    It doesn’t matter what anyone says or does. They are going to continue to shove google+ down our throats. But we clearly don’t want to use that service. I prefer not to use any google services because they just want to collect all of my personal information. What a creepy business! I think most people will find that sites such as DuckDuckGo, Ravetree, HushMail, etc. are collectively just as good as Google, but with great privacy!

  • Scott

    collect whatever, call it what you want, this is plain an simple. If you kiss the feet of Boy man King BO, you can expect more of this crap. They have taken over our healthcare system. Next is the internet!!! Vote Republican 2014, E-mail you congressman an tell them no more. We are done (restore to default).

  • Poke Pokechu

    By long comments, they mean ones that have a long length. As in repeating the same word or something.
    Not how long in time.

  • Jewel Markess

    While Bob comments were simply a minor annoyance that people ignored, YouTube’s current spam filter destroys conversations by marking many normal on topic comments as spam. E.g. let’s say there is a video of Schubert’s song. You reply to two comments, but did use Schubert in each comment e.g. one would be about the song’s history and another about Schubert’s having many other beautiful songs. So now, YouTube decides that since Schubert is repeated in two replies it must be spam… Or the song is in German, someone asked what language is it in, you reply “It’s German”, someone else says “No it’s in Latin”, you reply “No, it’s a German, please listen, does Latin have words like “Jungfrau mild”? Now YouTube, marks the second reply as spam after all it uses word “German” in both comments. Similar things happen when the video doesn’t identify a singer or identifies her and you correct or simply reply to comments asking who the singer is.. You find you can’t because Google spam filters decided it’s spam. Worse – you don’t even know that your comment didn’t go through unless you log off and check. So many people aren’t even aware of it.
    The video owners are upset about it too — video owners who post clips from existing recordings often have upwards of 200 videos. Many of them don’t even know about all those comments going into their spam folders because they aren’t used to check for spam. Many of them don’t have time. So these comments sit in spam folders and google engine never learns that this isn’t spam.

    I’d much rather see 10 Bob comments, than have one of good replies marked as spam.

  • Jewel Markess

    I recommend searching for a video on you tube called “comment ghosting: test video” and see for yourself how many innocent, on topic comments get marked as spam regularly. This video was set specifically to test the issue so that the owner could then tell google about it. Within 2 days, 1/3 of comments on this video was marked as spam. On an opera singer’s video I cannot even reply to questions addressed to me.. Someone made a comment related to the singer’s voice, I replied – very complimentary comment that was posted, the person replied back to me, I tried, and couldn’t. I posted the singer’s age at the time of the video incorrectly (this is public info by the way, it’s a very famous singer, Montserrat Caballe, a legend, so this info is on wiki), but made a mistake, tried to correct it – agree with another person that she is 57 and not 67 in 1990, and explain the vocal issues for women after the menopause, and I couldn’t even post that.

  • Mike

    I am not going to post to youtube any more. Part of the fun of youtube was responding to the comments made on my videos and responding to the comments other people made on other videos. Now its just a means for google to make money. Sorry. No more youtube for me and no more facebook.

  • Anthony Gilpin

    Oh, this new YouTube comments system is good at filtering out bad comments, alright, along with many good comments. The way they are going about it, with this “ghosting” system, is absolutely sadistic and trollish at the same time. How are people supposed to know that their comments are invisible, while Google is lying to them and saying that they are visible? Someone could be going along, posting quality comments, and just thinking that they are being ignored without ever knowing the truth! It could even make some people depressed.