Music Tech

YouTube’s Google+ Comments Currently A FAIL

G+YouTube's comments have long been one of those downsides of web communication. Google is supposedly trying to fix that by requiring Google+ logins to comment. But beyond the normal resistance to change, some users are finding that YouTube's Google+ comments are now even worse than before. It's unclear whether they simply botched things or whether their commitment to improved comments was corporate-speak for "We're going to assimilate you into Google+ whether you like it or not just like Clyde said two years ago."

Comments have long been an issue on the web since people could make comments, I assume. 10 years ago many bloggers were buying into the idea that all or almost all comments should be allowed. That led to a lot of unneccessary nastiness finding breeding ground on blogs that should have known better. Since then a variety of experiments have been conducted to improve comments with mixed results.

When YouTube first posted news about requiring Google+ accounts to comments, they claimed that it would improve the abysmal commenting scene on YouTube:

Comments you care about move to the top.

Join the conversation publicly or privately.

Better ways to moderate comments.

That sounds nice although the current move to integrate Google+ with other Google products is similar to their earlier shift to requiring Gmail accounts for all their services.

Of course there was an uproar back then too but the current response to YouTube's comment changes seems to go beyond kneejerk reactions from the "Fuck you, Google Plus" video to a protest thread on Reddit.

While many responses are similar to YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim's question, "Why the fuck do I need a Google+ account to comment on a video?," other responses are revealing problems with the implementation itself.

boogie2988: PLEASE Fix Youtube and Google+

In the above video, which currently has over 760,000 views, boogie2988 says he's following other YouTube stars like "TotalBiscuit, DanNerdCubed, and even PewDiePie in completely disabling comments on youtube starting November 12th unless we have heard from youtube."

So far they're still up. Don't know if he heard from YouTube or not but what he describes in the video is a bunch of crazy stuff happening in the comments due to the Google+ integration including:

most read because most hateful comments rising to the top,

commenters who are banned being able to come back with new accounts with the same name,

a situation that's so totally out of hand that moderation is impossible.

So all three of YouTube's stated benefits aren't occuring with the current version.

But do check out the video, he gets into some interesting detail about crazy stuff he's seeing including the ability to post huge documents in the comments because they don't seem to have a limit on length. Also, comments now have live links out which is already leading to a great deal of spam and links that could quite easily lead to attack sites.

Since I don't comment on YouTube posts this has only affected me with a shift from the incessantly annoying repeated question about which name I want to use to a somewhat more confusing choice of my current YouTube login or something more specific to my Google+ account. I did click on the latter the first time I got the request but whatever came back confused me enough to go back to my current YouTube login.

I couldn't tell how big an issue that might be but Devin Colewey broke down his experience which revealed an extremely poor grasp of UX from a team that supposedly "worked on this very hard for the last year."

I'd be extremely surprised if Google undid this change but, if things are as bad as people are saying, they need to act fast before the response goes even further beyond simple reluctance to change.


Hypebot Senior Contributor Clyde Smith (@fluxresearch/@crowdfundingm) also blogs at Flux Research and Crowdfunding For Musicians. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.

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  1. I have over 300 videos on youtube and have not received 1 comment in the past week. I used to get between 1 to 5 comments per night before youtube started forcing people to sign up to google+. This tells me that, although I see that people are still subscribing to my channel, they would rather forgo commenting if it means they have to join google+.
    My whole reason for putting videos on youtube was to get people’s reaction to a video via their comments. I really looked forward to seeing the comments in my inbox each day.
    Unless google reverts back to allowing comments without joining google+, I will no longer upload anymore videos to youtube and will remove 99% of the videos that I already have on youtube. All of the goodwill that google had earned from me is just about gone.

  2. I agree. I’ve noticed a huge drop in comment rates on my videos as well. I used to get 2-7 comments per day and now with the Google+ changes, i only get 1-2 per day now. It makes me feel sad that no one is willing to comment anymore and that also makes me want to think that i shouldn’t make videos anymore.

  3. As a Youtube video maker, I have found the new system helpful, because I can share my video with people who will be interested in them. Although I know the system is very far from perfect, being able to share videos is fantastic for youtube users hoping to build a profile.
    On that note… Here’s a fine video about a new Nudist Cafe opening in Dalston.
    (Come on, I had to)

  4. I am extremely disappointed with Google’s actions. I hope there will be a change soon. And I agree with Pewdiepie and other youtubers disabling comments. It may be a little harsh, but it needs to be done in order to fix them. I do hope google realizes what they are doing and that they need to fix it.

  5. since your email and name on google plus will be connected to your youtube account, there is a bigger privacy violation than facebook, which you could have a fake name on.

  6. I’ve deleted my YT channel, and I’m in the process of changing my email away from Gmail. Once done, I’m deleting my entire Google account and never looking back.
    I’ve used a Greasemonkey script to block the new YT comments because they are pointless to look at especially if you can’t participate in any way.
    There’s one thing to consider – Google is arrogant, they never never listened to feedback or complaints before. Now go and look at Google stock prices. They shot up $200 when the YT-G+ abomination was born. They smell money (imagine how much coke the execs can snort now!). The arrogant deafness will only increase.
    Google is not going to change unless something disastrous occurs like people deleting accounts in droves, and moving to other services. I’m doing my tiny piece to make that happen.
    Google is dead to me now.

  7. I don’t think the problem is people unwilling to comment. I think the problem is that people won’t sign up to another service (Google+) just so they can comment when they already have an otherwise working Youtube account

  8. “…being able to share videos is fantastic for youtube users hoping to build a profile.”
    If you’re implying you couldn’t “share videos” before, you don’t have a point. At all.

  9. By forcing everyone to use something nobody wants, Google is going to kill Youtube. So fuck them, I’m moving to Vimeo.

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