On the Internet it is common to find references to the YouTube comment section and more specifically how awful the YouTube comment section can be. Many YouTube comment creators will claim that they love their viewers for the fun and productive conversations that can develop but in order to get to these productive comments one often has to sift through many unrelated spam comments first. This is mostly due to similar reasons as our discussion on 4Chan last week. On YouTube comments are anonymous meaning people can say whatever they want and it won’t be linked back to them. This anonymity combined with how accessible and open YouTube is created an extremely negative reputation for the website.
An effort to change all of this has been recently made by Google in an attempt to improve the comment system. A list of the changes can be seen here but this subpage is relevant to Guins book we read this week. The first major change is an effort to link all YouTube comments to a Google+ page which will remove anonymity from the website and would hopefully stop people from posting offensive content.
Though the more important change is the ability for creators to moderate their comment section. In the past the only thing that could be done to comments was to turn off comments or to down vote specific comments enough so that they would be flagged and hidden for being spam. This new system involves heavy moderation and censorship. It includes the ability to remove comments, ban specific commenters from commenting, allow only approved users to comment, making it so that all comments must be approved before being posted, or blacklisting words so that they cannot be posted in a comment (Comment Moderation 1). This is a huge change to the YouTube comment section, for the first time there is real customization for content creators and with the moderation hopefully that productive conversation can become easier to find. The other side of this however is that it comes with censorship, heavy censorship in fact. Yes YouTube comments were full of filth, but at least it was an open forum and these new rules will certainly take away from that.
Guins in his book Edited Clean Version: Technology and the Culture of Control speaks on how the digital age can allow for extreme censorship because of new technologies in moderation. The digital era is one of openness and a flow of information but there is also the ability to block information and communication based on restrictions such as what we see with YouTube or something as simple as parental controls and ratings.
“Comment Moderation.” YouTube.com, N.P. Web. 12November2013
Guins, Raiford. Edited Clean Version: Technology and the Culture of Control. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota, 2009. Print.