Talking tech since 2003

Back in September, I wrote about how I thought Google’s plan to integrate Google+ into YouTube’s famously horrible comments would be a positive step. By forcing commenters to go by their actual names, there’d be fewer chances for anonymous trolls and creeps to keep the discourse in the gutter. But to my surprise—and, it seems, Google’s—the new system not only didn’t reverse the negativity, it only made everything worse.

A post on TechCrunch reports that the Google+ integration has opened the floodgates for comment spam, since the former restriction against putting links into comments went away with the inclusion of the company’s social network service. Even worse is the new system’s promotion of bad comments, since folks who don’t simply ignore obvious trolls inadvertently promote them to the top with their responses.

For their part, Google and YouTube have admitted that the new system has more than a few kinks to work out:

“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.”

In that same post, Google says that YouTube will now feature “better recognition of bad links and impersonation attempts” as well as “changing how long comments are displayed.” Improvements to comment ranking and bulk moderation is also on the docket, so hopefully the new comment system will soon start to resemble the more civilized forum for video-based discussion that YouTube and Google had envisioned when the Google+ integration was first implemented.

Considering how important YouTube has become to not just the Internet, but to culture at large, finding a way to make that service’s discussion section a less hate-filled place would certainly be a big benefit. Let’s hope Google figures out a way to make that dream a reality.

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