Science confirms the obvious!

Did you know that YouTube comment sections are a cesspool? And that women get harassed more than men? It’s been checked out.

I have a small-time YouTube channel and don’t get all that many comments, but I can tell you that I’m not enjoying the discourse. I’ve activated the YouTube comment filter, which lets a lot slide through, but also holds a lot of crap back for approval…and I’ve looked through those and am usually disgusted. I’ve also been quick on the trigger to ban people, but the way YouTube works, they can just bounce back instantly with a new pseudonym.

I doubt that YouTube will ever do anything to fix the garbage. Hey, you wanna whine about civility? Stop complaining about leftists repudiating Nazis, and pay more attention to trolls on social media.


  1. says

    Youtube is just a craphole of ads now, anyway. I’m only using them because it’s easy/cheap/bandwidth. I keep toying with the idea of setting up my own player app on my personal site and just putting stuff there – fuck ads and banner clicks.

    What youtube and similar organizations don’t seem to realize is:
    – if you have to FORCE your customers to see your ad, they probably hate the ad
    – if you have to FORCE your customers to watch things they hate, they will come to hate you
    – as soon as there is a better alternative with no ads, they will drop you like a red-hot ball bearing

    Depending on how you look at it, the advertising industry was backlashing against sites like megaupload, to get them shut down, because it was a knife across the throat of their click-revenue. Or, they care a lot about copyright. Your guess is as good as mine.

    The commenters are and always have been a side-show. Like some disgusting act at a circus.

  2. Alvina Angela says

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  3. mnb0 says

    “you wanna whine about civility”
    Delete all the uncivic comments and the rest is still totally uninteresting, specifically including those I agree with.
    One of my favourite YouTube videos is Shostakovich Symphony nr.8, movement 3 as conducted by Mravinsky. The first time I saw it was in the 1980’s and it’s fantastic that I can watch it over and over again.
    The comments are all very polite – and totally boring, except the one about Stephen Fry playing the trumpet solo. That’s a very meagre justification for YouTube’s comment section.
    Really, I wonder – how many people do actually read comments, especially if there are more than 30 of them?

  4. Matrim says

    Any trafficked comment section that isn’t highly curated tends to be a shithole, and YouTube has no particular interest in curbing this, given that comments drive interaction, which (allegedly) increases viewership, which exposes more people to ads. Same reason why Twitter doesn’t kick all the fuckrockets, because the quality of discourse doesn’t matter so long as it drives usage.

    While I hate ads, I wouldn’t mind them as much if they varied a little. Seems like I always get the same three over and over.

    Tangent: Who decided the mobile layout for FtB was a good idea?

  5. ridana says

    @ Matrim: is that what the blue star and “Loading…” at the end of every comment is about?

  6. wzrd1 says

    Comparing the YouTube comments section to a cesspool is to demean a device that, while odious to clear periodically, is at least useful.
    YouTube itself is useful, the comments, not very much so.
    There is an excellent video on how to change the spark plugs in my 2000 Toyota Sienna. Apparently, the enterprising gentleman wanted Jesus Christ to come assist him in his endeavor, as he repeatedly called out his name during frustrating times in the rather contortionist movements required to disassemble the intake manifold to enable access to the spark plugs.
    Total time to change the spark plugs: 3 hours.
    I think I’ll just junk the thing…

  7. psanity says

    OK, PZ, what is with the “like” button BS? Did you not take a principled moral and ethical position years ago that you hate those things?

    So, are you trolling us, or is the platform pulling a fast one on you, or what?

    Inquiring minds, and all that.

  8. blf says

    (This comment is deliberately borked.)


    blockquote>No idea on the blue thingy loading / “like” probable-silliness here at FtB(? poopyhead’s?), but there obviously has been a change of some sort. For instance, some of the Preview behaviour is subtlety different — the example this comment is showing is that, at least in Preview, a unterminated-<blockquote> renders in a very confusing fashion.

    I do not know what is going to happen when posted, which is why this comment, except for the notice at the top, is a deliberately-unterminated blockquote. It looks nothing like a blockquote in Preview, and starts with the very mangled “< newline blockquote>”, which is not-at-all what was typed.

  9. says

    PZ, I don’t get your comment about banning people and them coming back. In my professional life I run several YouTube channels with several million subscribers, tens of millions of monthly views, and thousands of comments. The ban system of YouTube is opaque to the end user. They have no way of knowing they are banned. You just hide the user from the channel and they still see their own comments, but no one else does.

  10. zetopan says

    @jy3, Social Justice Beguiler (4)
    “@Alvina Angela (2)
    Yes, those are certainly words.”

    And the best part is those words come embedded within a free included salad!

    A SPAMBOT for sleazy “essay writers” has invaded via #2’s nonsensical posting. That word salad is actually an ad for a “”business” that writes essays for the laziest of morons. Trump could use that service since it might end up creating an actual coherent sentence for him to attempt to vocalize correctly (not that I would presume that he is even capable of achieving such an “elite” goal).

    Also, “Like” buttons?! What kind of crap is this? If you are going to go that route at least provide two opposite choices like ARS Technica. After a sufficient number of down votes an idiot posting drops out of normal view. Also, being able to respond directly below the appropriate posting would be a nice touch, instead of having to reference via @# or equivalent.

  11. says

    Rebecca has just posted another video on a similar topic: the moderator of Reddit hive-of-GamerGate-scum-and-villainy KotakuInAction has a change of heart and shuts it down, Reddit’s admins promptly reactivate it because lovely, lovely ad revenue FREEZE PEACH you guys!

  12. elysof says

    I remove Likes-type stuff from all sites I visit. Using an add-on like Stylus (Stylish is bad, BTW), this:

    [id*="like-comment-wrapper"] {
    display: none;

    … will hide/collapse the Likes widget and revert comment formatting to how it was. Right thread this time. Hopefully. covfefe

  13. tmink128 says

    I’ve been thinking about starting a YouTube channel. Other than my complete lack of technical skill, and entertaining and knowledgeable content, the sheer volume of hate gives me pause

  14. says

    As a statistician-in-training, I have deep respect for the people who take the time to wade into a cesspool like YouTube comments, analyze the hip-deep crap, and calculate p-values and rejected null hypotheses.

  15. says

    tmink128 @ 17: For what it’s worth, you can disable commenting and the voting buttons on your YouTube channel. Anita Sarkeesian had to do it after she became a hate figure for the man-baby contingent.

  16. davidc1 says

    have only been on line for 8 years ,i avoided youtube because i thought it was just for people filming themselves acting the prat .Then i found videos of songs i had not seen for years ,same with films and tv .
    It is useful in my hobby of model making .
    So on the whole i think the good out weights the crap .
    I have started leaving comments on the smart alex jones youtube channel ,some of the replies are very funny ,i count it as a small victory if i don’t get any replies to my replies to their replies (hope that makes sense )

    In the late 1970s the BBC made a series called “The voyage Of Charles Darwin ” ,someone must have videotaped it and put it on youtube ,don’t know if it is still available ,the few hours of that is worth all the crap out there

  17. blf says

    In the late 1970s the BBC made a series called “The voyage Of Charles Darwin”, someone must have videotaped it and put it on youtube, don’t know if it is still available, the few hours of that is worth all the crap out there

    It is available on DVD. A trivial search reveals most or all of the series is on-line (I presume ripped from the DVD rather than a steam-powered illicit videotape).

  18. davidc1 says

    @21 Hi ,didn’t know it was on dvd .Just remembered the BBC did a series about Alfred Russell Wallace .

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