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YouTube is Auto-Deleting 100% of my Comments @YouTube #YouTube

A Fox in Space · Youtube · 807 HN points · 2 HN comments
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Dec 04, 2021 · rvz on YouTube – Dislike Count Gone
They are now deleting comments criticising removing the dislike count and will mask that under 'moderation'. [0]

Like I said, it will only get worse.


you're right. Youtube's just killing itself or at least killing fair criticism.
Dec 03, 2021 · 807 points, 565 comments · submitted by jafitc
The majority of YouTube traffic comes from mobile devices (this can be observed in Google Ads for any video campaign), which is losing market share because of Tictoc.

Google will do whatever it takes to monetize every inch of their investment. By turning off dislikes, users will be forced to engage with additional content.

This is also visible on the other side of the spectrum - Google is pushing heavily integrated campaign products (e.g. Performance Max Campaigns), which include non-performing channels as display and video (in comparison to search), which can't be turned off.

At this point they can, as they are a monopoly, but I hope they will get burned, as they are introducing more and more dark patterns, which result in lower than poor user experience.

My take on this - AdBlock relentlessly, support creators directly. Switch platforms eventually - there's choice out there.

> By turning off dislikes, users will be forced to engage with additional content.


The only other way to engage is to leave a negative comment
Which is not really sufficient because negative comments can be deleted, commenters can be blocked & comments can disabled for a video entirely.
They will comment instead, which is a more valuable form of engagement. A quick dislike and then moving on is less time spent on a video? People return to see responses to their comment, end up in conversation or reading other comments. My guess anyways.
no because they can delete comments...
There is a positive to this. New creators get a little bit more of a chance.
Please explain how this gives better chances to new creators.
How so? New creators will have far fewer likes than established creators. Having a better ratio was a way new creators could shine, but that's been taken away now.
Because you can't see a video has a 1:9 like:dislike ratio to tell you it's not worth your time. Granted, you'll (probably) be able to tell from the comments, for now.

I'm not convinced how much it'd actually impact watch time, but it seems to be the thesis.

>Because you can't see a video has a 1:9 like:dislike ratio to tell you it's not worth your time

I see this argument every time dislikes are brought up but no one seems to ever mention views as a third data point. I've never really paid attention to dislikes (other than hearing about dislike raids), but you can still see videos' like:view ratio, which IMO has always been more significant than dislikes anyway.

You cannot infer anything aside "engagement" from that actually, but that is still an bad argument against just displaying the information.
No, you can't see it. You need to calculate it. Are you seriously suggesting that people will start doing math?
like:dislike ratio (grandparent comment) is same math as like:view ratio (parent comment). :)
1:9 was merely an example of a video that is likely to be garbage or highly controversial (with exceptions, namely COVID & governmental videos), there was also a visual bar indicating where it sits at for people who find it hard to tell which number is larger than the other. That ratio was irrespective of engagement which is highly variable per video, creator or topic. To pretend it conveys the same amount of information is plain disingenuous for the sake of it.
Yes, except there used to be an extremely readable bar that would let you see the like/dislike ratio at a glance.

Sure, you and I can do the math, establish a threshold value above which a video is worth watching (this was _much_ more intuitive with a like:dislike ratio btw), and compare that for each video. But can your mom do that? Can your kids do that? Can you do that while drunk? Can you do that with mind fog and high fever from Covid? Can you do that during a schizophrenic episode? Can you do that when you have early stage dementia?

This change is an attack on the people most susceptible to manipulation. I am outraged that you're making up excuses.

I don't always like a video I've watched that I like. Especially when watching via a playlist with the video full screen.
I never checked the likes to watch a video, I think if you have enough YouTube "experience" you can probably figure out what videos are good and which aren't.

(No hate, just my opinion, I don't care about the likes)

Same here, I didn't realize so many people relied on the voting metrics. Were they visible in the video list view or did you have to click through to see them?
I have no clue despite watching YouTube everyday. I'm using YouTube Vanced, so my YouTube will slightly differ?

Checking it back, I only see the likes when I click through them.

Tutorial videos are a great example why this is a big problem. I know nothing about replacing brake pads in a car but there are videos on YT that show you how to do it. Sadly among tutorials you will definitely find some that despite high view count are misleading or even dangerous.

High view count does not mean high quality. They are pretty orthogonal.

You are spot on here. I encountered a short viral video on YouTube the other day which used the dislike removal to their advantage. It was a clickbait titled video with millions of views, and oddly there were only two supporting comments that had several thousand likes. The rest of the comments that probably called out the video being clickbait were obviously deleted. Usually I'm able to parse the comments quickly to see what the video is really about, then navigate somewhere else, but not this time... I watched until the end.
That’s simply going to force users to do something else. YouTube still has plenty of great content, but if users can’t find it then it may as well not exist.
That’s because the like:dislike ratio on contentious issues no longer tells you if the video is worth your time but rather is a reflection of some manipulated brigading effort, atleast anecdotally. This actually does make the ratio useless.
The dislike ratio was never reliable when a downvote army comes through to kill anything that threatens their worldview. Play too roughly with a cat? The cat people dislike you. Promote an exercise of liberty some don't want you to have? Dislike.
This is nonsensical argument to use. Out of all the videos you've watched on YT in years how much do you really think got brigaded?
OK, so it was inaccurate 0.1% of the time, and accurate 99.9% of the time. Let's scrap it!
The dislike ratio was very reliable when determining whether I should watch a video purporting to show a solution to a technical or home improvement problem. The dislike ratio was a sure way to know whether a video was a waste of my time, because for videos of that nature, either the creator offered a valid solution (and was heavily upvoted) or they did not (and was heavily downvoted). Now I'll have to trudge through the comments section like a savage beast.
> 1:9 like:dislike ratio to tell you it's not worth your time

Is this really a good metric? Counterpoint: many news videos related to Covid are heavily downvoted. Does that mean that they're bad coverage? or that people don't like to hear what the news has to say?

It’s pretty telling for some types of content and not so much for others. I’m more then capable of using it where it matters and understanding why some content might be massively downvotes (but then still often find it informative)
> many news videos related to Covid are heavily downvoted. Does that mean that they're bad coverage?

It does mean for sure many people don't agree with them.

> or that people don't like to hear what the news has to say?


This metric isn't meant for a bot, it's meant for people to use common sense on.

If I see a covid related news story, I'll just ignore the like/discount ratio. But if I see a tech tutorial or conference talk with 50% like/dislike, I'll be fairly confident that the video isn't worth my time.

Imagine the number of dead PCs if that Verge video hadn't been riddled with dislikes.
Tricking users into watching low-quality content on YouTube seems like such an obviously bad strategy it would pierce through even a few layers of corporate madness. Their reasoning is in all likelihood different.
Might have to do with everyone downvoting the scary carona news from the major news channels
My first thought is that the reason is to take the incentive away from "dislike" trolls. I reasoned that trolls got some pleasure out of seeing that ratio being skewed and it would encourage them to continue disliking videos.
Hmm, I wonder if a campaign to tell everyone to go and dislike every video they watch would gain traction. The same way Google destroyed this metric for viewers, it would destroy the usefulness for creators.

Act of petty revenge for sure, and they'll probably remove you from their fiefdom for being a troll.

Why would anyone join that campaign? That would only hurt the creators they follow and damage their recommendations.
If there's enough traction, the creators would start complaining to YouTube, and they'd have to rethink it.

Also it would confuse creators: is this video shit, or is it the campaign?

Creators are already complaining to YouTube. So far they aren’t listening.
Let's not do anything then, and let the emperor do as he wish... /s
No, what we should be doing is figuring out a way to solve the root cause: that YouTube has this much power in the first place.
why would youtube care what the dislike trolls do or what gives these "dislike trolls" pleasure? I would think that youtube's business model would not include any plan to determine what gives "dislike trolls" pleasure
They already said but people are allergic to knowing what they're talking about.

They didn't remove the dislike button, they removed the count.

They removed the count because they found it reduced spurious usage.

That way they can use the dislike count for their algorithm ( and you can still use it for curating your content) without having it influenced by brigading.

I mean they still show it to creators anyways, so I don't get what the weird conspiracies are. Like this is such a nothing of an issue it's insane.

Imo, people get endorphine hit from hitting dislike and feeling like they publically revenged. You are taking that away.

There are of course also arguments there and back. But the emotional reactions are either about interests or feelings. More likely to be feelings here.

> Imo, people get endorphine hit from hitting dislike and feeling like they publically revenged. You are taking that away.

This is a wonderful case for removing it. Better than I could have ever proposed.

Youtube didn't add it for revenge and their statement on removing the dislike count shows this.

prediction: next, youtube will delete/hide negative comments to prevent people from looking at the top comment (as a proxy for up/down votes) and seeing that a particular video is not worth the time.
OTOH and WRT the comment hiding (i.e. article topic) it's not hard to understand why YouTube doesn't want their comment sections filled with meta. HN "heavily discourages" it as well.

On the issue of hiding dislike counts itself, I don't think it's a big deal, as I don't believe it's the quality signal that some suggest:

1) there's the trolling behavior it encourages, which detracts from the meaning of dislikes

2) relative likes are sufficient, harder to game and less troll-inviting

3) the content, being video, speaks for itself more than text, making it easier to determine what's likely to be of interest.

4) what does dislike even mean on YouTube? Disagreement? Something else? I don't trust that there's enough consistency to give it meaning I care about

5) the number of views is also a better indicator of potential quality than dislikes.

In fact, on that latter point, the percentile of the percentage of the video watched, relative to other videos, would probably be an even better indicator.

That dislike count was essentially noise.

> "the number of views is also a better indicator of potential quality"

Can't agree. Perhaps you've forgotten about clickbait thumbnails and video titles.

"Top 10 Scariest Roller-coasters" with photo-shopped thumbnail of a coaster car mid-air between fake section of track. Literally millions of views from people wanting to see this incredible coaster that jumps the gap. What you find is an ordinary video of copied, grainy clips of ordinary coasters.

Previously, such a video had a HUGE number of downvotes. Now those dislikes are hidden, the deception is permitted to flourish.

I mean, all stats are game-able, so it's really relative. Dislikes seems among the easiest.

So, again, I said views are (generally) a better indication than dislikes, not a perfect one.

>Literally millions of views from people wanting to see this incredible coaster that jumps the gap.

Don't know how much of a vid must be viewed before YouTube counts a view, but that's also where my suggestion to rate by percentage of the video viewed comes in.

>Now those dislikes are hidden, the deception is permitted to flourish

I think (hope) most people are trained to ignore those fake vids over time, but content that is outright misleading should really be flaggable and removed by moderators anyway vs hit with vague dislikes.

Yes but people watch the whole video waiting for the thumbnail's promise that never arrives. Partial view stats won't help in that case.

Link integrity has always been a thing. Fake thumbs and misleading video titles are a link integrity issue. By hiding downvotes, Youtube has awarded a gift to clickbait content creators.

Don't forget clickbait thumbs and titles range from blatant lies to "somewhat exaggerated". View count won't indicate quality for those.

Besides, a video released only 2 weeks ago might be high quality but low view count. 200 likes and zero dislikes for example on a new video from a low-key channel about a niche subject, is a very good indicator of quality for that new video. Now with that ratio hidden, all we see is "200 likes" but with possibly higher dislikes hidden from view.

Again, your entire position is premised on a reliably non-troll abused and reasonably uniform usage of the dislike button, two things we have reason to believe aren't the case.

>people watch the whole video waiting for the thumbnail's promise that never arrives. Partial view stats won't help in that case.

Neither signal is perfect, but it's easy to simply smash the dislike button for any or no reason. OTOH, actually watching the video takes effort and commitment, which is in itself a signal. Many people will give up fairly quickly.

So, the chances that the majority of people are watching entire vids waiting for the thumbnail to happen is IMO substantially less than the chances that people just effortlessly smash dislike.

And, I think people get trained pretty quickly to avoid the "impossible" thumbnail with massive landsharks eating trains or whatever.

>video released only 2 weeks ago might be high quality but low view count

Relative like-to-view ratio is probably a better indicator than factoring in the oft-abused dislike button.

>200 likes" but with possibly higher dislikes hidden from view.

Again, YouTube should offer a flag button for scammy or otherwise disagreeable content, then moderate accordingly. That's far better than a generic dislike button.

But, we're probably going to agree to disagree here.


It is still a big Internet out there. All it takes is an up and coming platform to steer people elsewhere.

YT is big, and yeah they will carry on via inertia, but for things like news, organizing, commentary? Yeah, people will seek it elsewhere.

You have never dealt with bandwidth costs for video, have you.
Nope, but they are off the charts!!

Others will figure this out. The value is high enough for users to fund it. I would for sure. In fact, funding that via small money from people is likely the best model. AD driven stuff has too many conflicts of interest.

Oh I absolutely agree, I think once R2 becomes GA it will be a game changer for a lot of VOD content or youtube-like platforms. Amazon, Google, and Azure are holding back an entire industry because of the price gouging they have on bandwidth.
Youtube Shorts (TicToc competitor) is pure evil. If I accidentally click on it I can find myself two hours later after watching hundred videos I can't even remember anymore. Sure it's high engagement, but it's truly bad for user satisfaction and long-term user retention. On top of that they blatantly and prominently push their political agenda in "news" section.

But I don't think there is deep evil thinking behind dislike change - in large corporations people need promotions, some entrepreneurial PM and couple devs identified the opportunity and went for it. Directors/VPs are too disengaged to truly understand impact of changes.

>I don't think there is deep evil thinking behind dislike change

this isn't a small change, it's a major platform decision that impacts user experience, usability and engagement -- it's also received strong criticism from the community including from the original founder of Youtube [1] (see description), but they're pushing it through anyway

You're being too naïve about the corporate agendas behind this change.


I worked at Google and other big corps. Generally public attributes way deeper thinking process than actually happens when decisions are done. For YT as business it doesn't actually matter if dislike counter is visible or not: recommendation engine ML works on what people actually watch, like/dislike signal is secondary at best.
It doesn't have to be deep to be evil.
Clearly you don't know about actual evil people in the world, and what they do from their high position in global companies or governments.

It's always been like they I think. Good people can't imagine just how evil people can be because it's so far from their own reality.

You don't even have to move to far up or around the social ladder/network to run into these people. They aren't that far. It's just that they might as well be a light year away if you never pierce your social bubble.
Not any different from TikTok original.
>they blatantly and prominently push their political agenda

What is their political agenda?

the agenda of the politicians they are in bed width to get the laws and subsidies that support their business. In the case of SV, the politics of the DNC, which isn't really any better or worse than the RNC, but has it's own logo, theme, and set of shiboleths.
Money good. More of a religion, really.
Shorts are awesome.
But they are just tiktok content farms. Which is kinda ironic since its a Googles product.
the videos may be decent, and I do kind of appreciate there being a part for only rather short videos, but the UI is terrible. If you want to write a comment on one, it keeps playing the audio on loop. Who's idea was that? It's a terrible idea. Did they not do any user testing on it? Or is it in order to artificially inflate the viewcount numbers?
> blatantly and prominently push their political agenda

Only if you consider egalitarianism and diversity as political issues. To most of society they are universal values so it’s not contentious.

Having a universal opinion suggested to you is not diversity. Egalitarianism is probably the opposite of their algorithmic suggestions too. But if that is the case, you should remove voting completely.
Wait are you saying YouTube's political agenda is egalitarianism and diveristy? Amazing.
Well, they are political issues, because they don't exist in a vacuum and nuance exists.

For example, what do you mean by egalitarianism? Equality under the law? Well, Republicans/Liberals tend to agree with equality under the law, whereas Leftists and Gender/Racial Identitarians don't. California recently tried to repeal 1960s civil rights legislation preventing discrimination by race, precisely because they'd like to discriminate on the basis of race...because to them, egalitarianism doesn't mean equality under the law, but rather that the law should have weighted parameters necessary to transform societal outcomes into equal measures by arbitrary population, irrespective of those population inputs. Mind you, these are the people claiming to be egalitarian. As Ibram X. Kendi says himself, "The only remedy to past discrimination is present discrimination. The only remedy to present discrimination is future discrimination." To many (most?) people, that isn't it's political. It's clearly not a universal value when it's actually a bundle of competing values claiming the same word.

What about diversity? What, that diversity is just good? Is that the point? Because what exactly do you mean? What if there was a group of liberal people who had democratically made their society in accordance with what they felt aligned with liberalism, and were suddenly being told that a major influx of right wing evangelical Christians were to be allowed to come into their society (and be given exactly the same voting rights as them)? What about a group of frat bros? Is this the kind of diversity you mean? You just accept that diversity is indiscriminately a net positive? What exactly is the mechanisms that makes that be the case? Surely it matters what the cultures are that are being made to coexist, what degree to which they have common ground, what degree to which their respective strengths cover for their respective weaknesses, the rate at which the cultures can tolerate the encroachment of the other while still remaining cooperative rather than hostile, the degree to which each culture has its elements preserved independently of the product of the two cultures interacting, and the degree to which the cultures are encouraged to and are actively assimilating. I mean, this is just scratching the surface. There are many factors that determine whether or not diversity is actually a good thing, and it often comes down to magnitude and rates, which are seemingly unwelcome from that sort of conversation. And then there is the (now tired) distinction between superficial diversity and diversity of thought. There is the (racist) notion that diversity of skin color will result in diversity of thought, proposed by exactly the sort of people who actually detest diversity of thought, and just want to see different colored faces in the crowd. Again, this is just scratching the surface of this conversation.

So to say "it's not contentious" is pretty ridiculous, because these are completely loaded terms that mean completely different things to completely different people who ultimately have completely different goals for society. They're not universal values.

Diversity for these purposes is biologically defined. Different race, different sex are pretty much it. A difference in ideology within the same race or sex doesn’t doesn’t count as diverse as I’m using it.
Ok, so, diversity of gender and race is just good, period? Do you mean that people should be represented by race and gender in accordance with their population makeup? i.e. 13% of doctors should be black, and 50% of nurses should be male? At what cost, and what makes you think that would be a good thing?

For one, Indian immigrants in the US disproportionately enter medicine, as do other Asians, in total constituting 17% of doctors. This is despite Asians constituting 6% of the population. 5% of doctors are black, despite constituting 13% of the population. In accordance with most advocating diversity for the sake of diversity, the reason for the disparity is assumed post hoc to have been due to discrimination...but why? It's as if the inputs have absolutely no bearing whatsoever on the outcomes. In order to seek population parity, that would mean arbitrarily capping the number of Asian doctors, and arbitrarily pulling black doctors from a pool of applicants that literally doesn't exist.

Rather than a deontological approach, of perhaps simply ensuring that the hiring process is as blind and devoid of bias as possible, diversity advocates are instead interested in diversity for the sake of diversity.

Again, this is political beyond just "being a good person" or not.

Yes it’s just good for it’s own sake. The aim has to be the mitigation of problems that will arise from integrated living like that.
This is fucking stupid.
No you’re a dissembling idiot trying to wheedle your bigotry. This will go fine for a while but you’ll become a stone hearted shell in due time.
What bigotry, exactly?
Has it ever occurred to you that a person might be for egalitarian values and diversity without approving of the particular flavor of it being pushed by some factions?

It's not black and white.

I find the UX for Youtube Shorts to be so horrible I don't watch more than one video a session. It doesn't support landscape, and if you make the mistake of watching it to the end it starts over but with a darkened screen, forcing you to hit Back twice to get out of it. Who the hell watches a one minute video and then goes "gee, I really want to hear just the audio from that over again right now"?
Youtube Shorts is just a frontend, you can watch those videos with the same UI as regular youtube by changing the url from to
Of course it's horrible. It's a cheap copy of a Chinese app which itself is designed horribly. YouTube added the feature out of pure panic instead of try to create something better, the poor result is expectable.
I mean, to be slightly pedantic, TicTok is not a horrible design. It is a genius design with a horrible purpose. It’s genius because it’s extremely successful at its core purpose: driving engagement metrics for ad revenue. In terms of raw engagement, an endless stream of videos injected into your brain is way better than something like YouTube, where you’re normally doing some “heavy lifting” to curate your own content via search or subscriptions. TikTok is probably the best implementation (so far) of an addicting content consumption platform. By “best,” I mean it has the best engagement metrics.
Hacker News has a similar problem with comments:

  net_votes = up_votes - down_votes
You need at least two of the above variables to get an idea of both the direction and magnitude of the voting. Hacker News provides only one: net_votes. YouTube used to provide up_votes and down_votes, effectively providing all three. Now YouTube has reduced its information to up_votes, so they're now down to one variable in the equation, as Hacker News has been all along.

The difference between 102+/100- votes and 2+/0- votes is large, but invisible on this site. I think it would be better for HN to go to where YouTube was, giving us an idea of both the net vote and the level of activity. Like up/down or up/total or net/total.

I think that net votes is still far far better than just up votes. With net votes at least spam or misleading can at times be somewhat detectable.
Moderation here is quite opionated, isn't it? I would guess that it's a very conscious choice to not show votes or downvotes, since it makes commenter interaction even more contentious. I like it the way it is.
HN is the most heavily moderated, manipulated and astro-turned forum I've even seen, but you don't realize that until the mods start suppressing your posts and comments. Titles are constantly edited for no apparent reason, users who post unpopular facts are permanently penalized, and you can watch as negative stories about large tech companies are quickly flagged off the front page.

There's literally zero transparency here. At least on Reddit you can track the censorship in real time.

Hacker News is the most heavily moderated, manipulated and astro-turned forum I've even seen, but you don't realize that until the mods start suppressing your posts and comments. Titles are constantly edited for no apparent reason, users who post unpopular facts are permanently penalized, and you can watch as negative stories about large tech companies are quickly flagged off the front page.

There's zero transparency here. At least on sites like Reddit you can track the censorship in real time.

Bookmarking for posterity
HN is popular because of its moderation, not in spite of it.
According to HN
???? according to me, actually, I'm the one who said that just now
I personally have a problem with the front page being heavily curated by dang instead of relying on user preferences (as it should be). At some point it's not moderation any more. it's censorship.

Of course when you point it out it's just a "moderation mistake"

HN is the most heavily moderated, manipulated and astro-turned forum I've even seen, but you don't realize that until the mods start suppressing your posts and comments. Titles are constantly edited for no apparent reason, users who post unpopular facts are permanently penalized, and you can watch as negative stories about large tech companies are quickly flagged off the front page.

There's literally zero transparency here. At least on Reddit you can track the censorship in real time.

HN is the most heavily moderated, manipulated and astro-turned forum I've even seen, but you don't realize that until the mods start suppressing your posts and comments. Titles are constantly edited for no apparent reason, users who post unpopular facts are permanently penalized, and you can watch as negative stories about large tech companies are quickly flagged off the front page.

There's literally zero transparency here. At least on Reddit you can track the censorship in real time.

> you can watch as negative stories about large tech companies are quickly flagged off the front page.

you’re literally writing this underneath a very popular, negative, front-page post about a big tech company.

Hacker News at least somewhat shows when a comment's net_votes is negative by fading the visibilty out. Which is kind of the exact opposite of YouTube's new system, showing only negative responses vs only positive responses.
Yeah, HN shows the net_votes, YouTube is now only showing upvotes, so the person you're replying to is wrong here. It's not the same since HN's showing what people think of the comment, vs YouTube only showing people who liked the content. Not saying it couldn't be better, it's just a flawed comparison.
It's very interesting to ask what's gained by seeing downvotes in addition to upvotes, and whether that differs based on whether the content is video or commentary.

HN comments can still be downvoted (if you have enough karma) so arguably you can still get signal quality from the sum of votes.

Especially since in most cases, you can simply comment instead of downvote.

> HN comments can still be downvoted (if you have enough karma) so arguably you can still get signal quality from the sum of votes.

Downvotes on HN comments aren't a pure quality signal. HN's culture is that downvoting something just because you disagree with it is perfectly cromulent behaviour, as established by PG himself:

Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of that decision, but I didn't start this site.

It might be cromulent to some, but in my experience it is not widespread. Definitely done at a much lower rate than other places like reddit. Main indicator of this is that on HN it's not uncommon to see an upvoted comment that has almost exclusively argumentative replies. However on reddit when I see a comment with so many disagreeing responses, it's well into the negative.

Also, at a sample point of one, I make an effort to never downvote because of disagreement. I don't behave that way on reddit. Something about herd mentality perhaps.

Venue, setting and audience definitely matters. On HN I get downvoted for being too inflammatory and I learn & adjust my posting. Other sites (subreddits or political commentary sites) I might get upvoted for the same.
> Main indicator of this is that on HN it's not uncommon to see an upvoted comment that has almost exclusively argumentative replies

It could be that people who agree upvote without replying, people who disagree reply to argue against it. HN discourages non-substantive replies; if you agree with everything someone says, it can be hard to generate a substantive reply to it. (In practice, occasional non-substantive agreeing replies are tolerated, but people who do it more than occasionally often encounter some pushback.)

All the downvote - or upvote for that matter - does for me is tell me what the prevailing opinion is for people who likely have similar backgrounds to me, have had similar experiences as me, and who have similar attitudes as me.

If my comments are highly upvoted, I've hit upon a truth or realization with which many people agree. If my comments are downvoted, I've also likely hit upon a truth or a realization, but one with which many people are deeply uncomfortable.

It's up to my own powers of discernment and wisdom to determine if people are all wrong and the prevailing sentiment is incorrect, or if it's me who's out in left field and is significantly off-base. We will never engineer a button to press to give us this insight.

Because on HN there are only two possible states for comments. Flagged or visible. The upvotes and downvotes just help compute the order.

This is better for freedom of expression and showing the split would be a bad idea imo. Comments who are more upvoted are also more downvoted because they are more visible (as they rank first)

> Because on HN there are only two possible states for comments. Flagged or visible. The upvotes and downvotes just help compute the order.

That's an oversimplification; downvotes may also reduce the visibility of comments by making them an eyebleeding gray-on-white.

It doesn’t provide either except on your own posts, right? Or is that some super karma unlock feature.
I agree. I think the most valuable comments are the ones which have a balance of a large amount of "up" and "down" votes.

Those are not just "upvote if you agree with this positive sentiment", but often giving valid reasons against someones opinion.

> The difference between 102+/100- votes and 2+/0- votes is large, but invisible on this site.

I wonder whether using a ratio instead of difference would help?

Didn't we just have a conversation about how not to average things?

The same principle could be applied to upvotes/downvotes too, yeah?

The main difference is a +102/-100 post is "controversial" whereas a +2/-0 post is not. It's interesting to see both what the "net score" is and how "intense" it is.

If by "ratio" you mean showing both the net score and the total number of votes, I guess that would be one way to solve this. But a single ratio score (i.e. net score divided by total number of votes) is probably just going to look weird and useless.

I was thinking of something like (upvotes+1) / (downvotes+1). Adding 1 to denominator is necessary to avoid division by 0. Adding it to numerator too balances it out and makes varying number of downvotes visible in spite of 0 upvotes.

Controversial posts would get a score near 1 instead of fluctuating. You would also get a rough idea of intensity as more ratios become possible when the number of votes increases.

I think it's still simple enough to be transparent to most users.

Having a functionality and then removing it is very different than never having it in the first place.
The problem is voting is that it confirms what views are popular, not what is correct . The assumption that voting can help correct misinformation is probably wrong.
Hacker news has a minimum karma requirement for downvoting; you can't just create an account (or a dozen accounts) and start downvoting something you don't like, or to harass someone with serial downvotes. You must first attract a certain number of upvotes for your comments and submissions.

That fixes many of the abuse problems with downvotes.

HN situations are also monitored by the site operators themselves, who intervene. YT is too vastly big for that.

> HN situations are also monitored by the site operators themselves, who intervene. YT is too vastly big for that.

Agreed. Another way of framing this is that HN is sponsored by an organization that makes a lot more money per HN user than Google makes per YouTube user. In other words, HN users don’t have to pay for their own moderation by generating revenue in the same way YouTubes users do.

op has no problem with karma requirement. They are saying all downvotes and all upvotes should be visible to provide a better picture.
Am I wrong or does Stack Overflow deduct a point from your own karma if you downvote someone else?
They do subtract 1 point.
Something a bit more complicated if I remember well. Something like: - You can down vote questions for free - but down voting answers costs you 1 karma (and encourages you to provide a proper answer instead)
> YT is too vastly big for that.

No it's not, it's our society that's fucked. It's our CEOs' legal requirement of fiduciary responsibility that causes these problems.

YouTube was 10.9% of Google's revenue for the year 2020, with something around $19,770,000,000 of income. How many employees could Google hire to manually investigate and take action against users? Even 10% of that income to address this problem would hire literally tens of thousands of people to tackle the issue.

The "problem" with Big Tech is that they're convinced of their own intelligence and they all believe they can automate their way to Utopia. Well you can't. You're not that smart. You're not that wise. You need bodies on the ground, you need hands doing work. We may get there some day, but it won't be today, tomorrow, ten years from now, and it may not even be a hundred years from now.

A little painful hubris in the form of some of these enormous social media platforms collapsing not under their own weight, but under their own arrogance in the form of thinking they can automate their problems away, would be a good dose of medicine sorely needed.

> It's our CEOs' legal requirement of fiduciary responsibility that causes these problems.

This is nonsense pretty much every time it’s trotted out. There is no objective “requirement of fiduciary responsibility” that governs every action a CEO might take in a given situation, especially not for dumb minutiae like “allowed unfettered downvoting.” If it was this simplistic, we wouldn’t need CEOs at all.

> Even 10% of that income to address this problem would hire literally tens of thousands of people to tackle the issue.

Tens of thousands of people moderating comments sounds like the worst of both worlds. Not nearly enough to keep up with volume, and way too many to ensure quality moderation. You'll get a horde of randos deleting stuff in idiosyncratic ways while bad stuff keeps getting through anyway.

There is no fiduciary duty to maximise shareholder value.

Use your preferred search service to search for fiduciary duty myth.

Suppose a person hired by Google is paid $60 per hour, and can review 20 video comments in that time with a reasonable thoughtfulness. So every human review costs Google $3.

The entire revenue of $20B could be blown through on reviewing 6B comments.

If you want to keep this activity to 10% of revenue, that caps you to 600M comments.

> No it's not

And I specifically said the site operators; people hired by Google to moderate are just hired help. They are not equivalent of a dang.

Suppose a person is hired by google is paid $1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 per hour and they can review one video every 5000 years. Google is bankrupt in 8 minutes and we are all dead for thousands of years before one video is reviewed and all the economic activity of all of humanity between now and then is not enough to pay the bill for it.

GIGO, your numbers are incredibly rediculous.

OK, put on your manager hat.

What do you think is the average number of quality, thoughtful reviews you can obtain per hour, from an individual, week over week, month over month?

Don't forget that people eat lunch, pee, call in sick and have productivity slumps.

And how little do you think they should be paid?

It takes about 5 seconds to read an average length comment.

Lets just assume perfect efficiency and then handicap it to account for lunch, peeing, pooping, killer bee attacks, etc. How about peak efficiency * 3/8, which basically says you only expect your workers to 'work' 40 hours per week, but in an 8 hour day only actually get 3 hours of work done?

Lets say a long youtube comment takes about a minute to read at most, and since we aren't going to quiz people for comprehension later we just need them to see if there is anything objectionable in the comment, we can take 1 minute to be a hard upper bound for the time it takes to handle one comment. The shortest comments take around 5 seconds. Let's assume the average is about 15 seconds (most comments are less than 1/4 the length of the longest comments).

So given the above they can do (3 hours/day * 60 minutes/hour) * 4 comments/minute == 720 comments/day. If we are forced to hire in the US we can easily find people to do this work for $25/hour working from home.

So every human review costs ((8*25)/720) == 27 cents. This is like 1/10th of your estimate and I feel like I'm going out of my way to make the numbers unrealistic in your favor.

Realistic numbers would be that it takes 15 seconds per comment on average and you hire people part time so they don't get burned out on reading comments (or full time but only part of their day is spent reviewing comments). With the same numbers as above, but not paying them to poop and pee for 5 hours out of an 8 hour day gets the cost per review to like 8 cents.

who in their right mind would hire a content moderator for 60$ an hour? It would most likely be the work of some off shore English Speaking Country like India and they would get 6$ an hour, AI would first flag or not flag things and then the human moderators would intervene, just like how Facebook and China does it.
> It would most likely be the work of some off shore English Speaking Country like India and they would get 6$ an hour

Could they do it better than an algorithm which already does it for free?

Algorithms in their current state can only do so much and even the best ones can accidentally flag a picture of a cow as human breasts or mistakes a human would never make. In practice algorithms would probably heavily handily flag stuff with humans to deal with the appeal requests
"These offshore low paid moderators are doing a bad job" - hackernews 2022
> Suppose a person hired by Google is paid $60 per hour, and can review 20 video comments in that time with a reasonable thoughtfulness. So every human review costs Google $3.

You do know most moderation is contracted for much less than $60/hour. Potentially to offshore corporations paying less that US minimum wage.

It's doable, but an uncomfortable reality.

you trust you just need 20$/one hour, and at outside of USA, it will be cheaper
So wait you think it takes 3 minutes from someone making ~120,000$ per year to determine if “gg” is an abusive comment for a let’s play video?

Also, I think your overestimating the number of YT comments. Let’s assume 1 billion hours of watch time per day, and say 20 billion videos, but only 1 in 10,000 views get a comment. That’s just about your 600M threshold per year picked from super inflated costs.

Did nobody watch the linked video? It's obvious he had comments restricted because his comment was deemed as abusive, and not because it was critical of "hiding dislikes".

"That's not abusive at all", you may be thinking. But calling others names, even something as nonsensical as calling them a "handjob", can still easily fall under their terms of use.

If you refer to the original video[1], people are nothing but critical of the change. Why aren't those being disappeared? Maybe because Youtube doesn't care what people post as long as they follow their terms of service.


You might very well be right and of so these are some good points, but there is a bigger theme here:

Many of us who used to defend Google before now don't.

Some because Reader.

Some because the nymwars/Google+ (the single identity part).

Some because Google shuttered Google+ after they had made it the only social network some of us ever liked.

Some because Google is sucking the oxygen out of markets and then leaving.

Some because of how eager they are to obey China.

Some because of the James Damore story.

Some because search has been more or less broken for a decade and nobody cares.

Point is: there is a limit how many times and how badly you can disappoint/hurt users before even the most ardent fans gets tired of it.

Google is a big boy/gal/firm, it can defend itself. And there are new fans of G who never ever heard of any of these.

But it must be weird to go from everyone supporting and cheering you forward to everyone suspecting you of having something foul in mind again.

As soon as I saw that he had used the word "handjob", I was skeptical that the reason for the shadow ban had to do with opposing the dislike change.

Everyone is hating on the removal of the dislike count; across many videos and many comments. If I hear that more of them are getting removed or shadow banned and that they hadn't used a vulgar word, I'll start believing that YouTube is suppressing opposition to the change.

I also thought it was not helpful that he chose to include the word 'job' in the demonstration comment.

Their systems could perceive it as an attempt to evade the filter.

Maybe not in this particular case (though I'm not sure about that), but they certainly do care what people post (irrespective of their ToS). Remember the "communist bandit"/"50-cent party" fiasco? [1][2]

Also, their terms of service are not divine unambiguous laws. They makes the the rules themselves, and enforce them as selectively as they please.



Abusive to who? To YouTube?

This is one step removed from not being able to criticize [elided so as not to send this thread the wrong direction; use your imagination].

It was a handjob. He wasn’t wrong. And his comment abused no one, merely a corporation.

If you’re arguing that an ML algorithm picked up on their comment and deemed it problematic enough to shadowban him forever with no appeals process, then that’d be even worse. But doing it manually is nearly as bad.

Remember, you can’t just “create a new account” on YouTube. You have a fan base. The only reason we heard his message at all today was because YouTube chose not to restrict his ability to post videos too; other moderators might. Especially against someone so abusive, who is clearly harming the wider community… right?

I think this type of thing is going to become a bigger deal over the next decade. Being shadowbanned from Twitter would kill me; I’ve put years of effort into it. But we’re one handjob away from people being fine with it.

I visited your Twitter. You really think you can't live without THAT?
> And his comment abused no one, merely a corporation.

Corporations are people too you know.

Are you sure it would be that bad? Social Media is a horrible addiction.

Look at me, dead account and I'm still posting here.

Why not make a new account? Because I realized this is all worthless shit.

Whether anyone sees my comment or not, it doesn't fucking matter, it's just people puking their thoughts on a screen.

Which is exactly what I'm doing right now, it's a fucked up compulsion and addiction I've developed over a decade.

I was happier in 2005 when all I had was a few niche forums where we actually worked on shit together.

These general discussions are garbage.

> Being shadowbanned from Twitter would kill me; I’ve put years of effort into it.

This doesn't sound like healthy engagement. When people talk this way about online video games we consider it an addiction issue that needs addressing.

You can't think of one single 'healthy' reason to invest years of effort in cultivating a social media presence?
On a single platform, no.
I really hope this backfires spectacularly on YouTube and the zealots who pushed for this change are held professionally accountable. I already click on fewer videos in search results and recommendations because I can no longer gauge how worthwhile they are to try and watch.

The end result? I'm sticking to my current channels. I can't be alone and knowing that YouTube takes recommended content so seriously, I have to imagine this is going to panic plenty of product managers at YouTube.

I'm really puzzled why anyone cares about this so passionately. I'm not a YouTube diehard but I use it pretty regularly to watch a handful of channels I like, maybe 2-3 hours per week watching videos on the site. Occasionally I'll search for how to video and click on whatever is in the top few results on Google. I've seen several posts now across different sites lamenting this change, but I've yet to see anything remotely persuasive that this is a bad thing. Sometimes I think it's just people being grumpy about any change at all, the way some people will grumble about a logo change despite it having no real consequence of how things work.

In my personal experience, I rarely even noticed the dislike count. Sometimes I'd wonder who the few unfortunate people were who disliked a video with about 1000x as many likes. It reminded me of the 1 star reviews you see on Amazon complaining about the postman for a product that otherwise has a stellar record. I just assume something is wrong with those peoples computers which made their video glitch out or something. I don't really trust negative feedback that much when it is paired with an overwhelming amount of positive feedback for the same thing. And I don't think I ever encountered a video with anywhere near the number of dislikes as likes, let alone more dislikes. I personally have never disliked a video. If I'm watching something new, I'll just watch part of the video myself, and decide if I want to watch the rest or click away to something else.

When I heard the announcement of removing the count as an effort to combat brigading, it made a lot of sense to me. I've seen the growth of negativity across the internet in the last few years. People are actually addicted to outrage these days, so anything that can help eliminate that seems like a good idea to me. The fact they kept the button there and still show the count to the uploader seems like they've at least tried to appease the diehards who appreciate having that dislike button - pretty fair if you ask me.

You may challenge the assumption that only diehards care about this, but I've just looked at a few videos in my feed to see the number of likes and it's abysmal. 40k likes for a video with 4M views. 18k likes for a video with 800k views. They're all like that. The like/dislike metric just doesn't have much engagement. While you predict dire consequences for YouTubes future and panic among their employees, I am thinking that casual users probably have not even noticed at all.

I watch a lot of of diy/how-to videos and the dislike count is really key for knowing if the video is worth watching or a waste of time. I don’t want to sit through a 10 minute video where the person rambles for 9 minutes and then doesn’t answer any questions. Obviously for very popular videos, it’s not super meaningful, because the popularity of the video is already indicating the quality to some extent. But for more niche videos, it’s super useful to see that one video has 10 likes and 50 dislikes. Then I can move on.
No idea what HOW TO videos you watch, but in my domain, 80% are garbage, where the dislike ratio saves me minutes of watch time on each.
As a user who does not engage in the parts of youtube where "downvote brigades" happen, but does participate in parts of youtube where downvotes indicate lack of quality, the change is all downside for me.

I absolutely frequently used dislikes as a signal of quality. Not just "there are dislikes, therefore bad" but also "there are almost no dislikes at all, this must be great content that is worth my time."

I'm with you. It baffles me how much people claim to care about a metric that seems only to be legitimately useful in the edgiest of edge cases, and has literally never been of any use to me. And, maybe I'm being unfair, but many of these people seem like exactly the sort of people who'd get involved in an ideologically-motivated downvote brigade. Ironically, all the signals I do trust to tell me which videos are worth watching are telling me that this one, even if it contains some grain(s) of truth, is probably heavily biased and not worth my time.

The fairest critical take I've seen (not that I totally agree with it, but I respect his experience as a creator) is probably Linus' "rant":

I'll disagree. It seems you and GP have been lucky enough to never stumble on videos with #dislikes > #likes, for whatever (usually well-deserved) reasons.

I'd seen some; wishing I could unsee those.

> It baffles me how much people claim to care about a metric that seems only to be legitimately useful in the edgiest of edge cases, and has literally never been of any use to me.

Different use cases for YouTube, presumably? If you're listening to music or watching well-established content creators, then dislikes are basically irrelevant. But if you're looking for a "how to" tutorial, dislikes and comments are the only way to quickly sort the good from the bad.

I think comments are less useful since the channel owner can arbitrarily delete and filter them (correct me if I'm wrong). So part of the outrage is that dislikes were the last semi-reliable metric left to check for garbage/troll videos.
check out flat earth videos... they remove all comments that are critical and now with the dislike counter gone i guess the earth is flat.
Perhaps not just different use cases but different user types as well.

By that I mean for example, I knew of many people who were outraged and dismayed when RSS feeds started to disappear from websites. They belonged to a class of individual who prefers things to be categorized as granularly as possible. That kind of person is highly upset when their categorizing toolset is downsized.

But other people never bother with those tools, don't care if they're eliminated, and frankly find it hard to sympathize with their hypercategorizing comrades.

> But if you're looking for a "how to" tutorial, dislikes and comments are the only way to quickly sort the good from the bad.

This is the "edge case" (not the best term for it, but whatever) I'm talking about, but I still don't really buy it. There are a lot of signals for how worthwhile a video is going to be, and frankly I'd rank likes/dislikes as the least useful one, mostly because they provide no context and aren't normalized to the video's view count.

If we see an epidemic of amateur electricians getting zapped, etcetera, I suppose YouTube will have some egg on its face. But somehow I don't think that's going to happen.

so your telling me its fine to leave only likes for a video showing you how to make a DIY air conditioner ? using a bucket full of dry ice and a fan?

100% this will end up killing someone.

Content likely to end up killing someone should be flagged and removed, not community-downvoted.
That particular example may have been exaggerated or extreme, but I think the point still stands.

Someone just commented this "check out flat earth videos... they remove all comments that are critical and now with the dislike counter gone i guess the earth is flat.".

Indeed. In this case for example it should not be flagged, but down-voted by the community.

I honestly couldn't tell whether that flat earth comment was being ironic or not, but I think it's an interesting case study either way. Is a visible YouTube downvote count really the only thing standing between a meaningful number of people and belief that the Earth is flat?

I don't really buy it.

> Is a visible YouTube downvote count really the only thing standing between a meaningful number of people and belief that the Earth is flat?

I do not think so either, to be honest, but perhaps there may be something to it.

>There are a lot of signals for how worthwhile a video is going to be, and frankly I'd rank likes/dislikes as the least useful one, mostly because they provide no context and aren't normalized to the video's view count.

What are those other signals to help filter quality? Because in my experience, the dislike-to-likes ratio is the #1 statistical signal. It beats the #likes/#views ratio which is far weaker. Comments are not a better signal because (1) they can be deleted by the channel and (2) they take more work to scroll through than just looking at the public dislikes number.

It doesn't even matter that dislikes don't have "context" (do you mean "downvote reasons"?). To me, the context is the video itself.

If I come across a plumbing how-to and it has more dislikes than likes, it's a junk video. MKBHD is another youtuber that explains the usefulness of dislikes counts:

EDIT add: also note in the MKBHD video the comments from other famous youtube creators that they also depend on public dislike stats when they themselves consume videos.

I watch how-to videos a lot, and I think dislikes are not that useful. In my case either it's either A) a common topic, and I just go by total view count and watch the top 3-5 videos or B) it's a super niche topic and I watch all 1-5 videos available.

It feels like people are imagining some fantasy scenario where there are hundreds of similar videos with not that many views but very different vote count patternsm...

The primary signals I use to judge the worth of a video are 1) its prominence in search results, and 2) the video itself.

This is because dislike counts are in my experience extremely unreliable—they may be elevated for stupid and irrelevant reasons on a really great video, or they may not be significantly elevated on a video that is very much not worth my time. Anecdotally (though no more so than any other account in these comments, AFAICT), I've found this to be true even on videos with relatively objective subject matter.

>The primary signals I use to judge the worth of a video are 1) its prominence in search results,

This is not as good a signal because for many long-tail videos, the topmost video in the search results has a bad dislike-to-like ratio.

>and 2) the video itself.

This is not efficient use of time for the viewer because the point of a quick statistic is to avoid watching the video in the first place.

>This is because dislike counts are in my experience extremely unreliable—they may be elevated for stupid and irrelevant reasons on a really great video,

Totally opposite experience. For thousands of videos I've consumed that are not-politics and not-music such as tutorials, the bad dislike ratios were the most reliable indicators Youtube had for trash videos.

To be clear, I'm talking about dislike ratios and not absolute counts. Maybe that's the source of the disagreement? E.g. if I see a video with hundreds or thousands of dislikes (absolute counts), it's not a problem unless the ratio is out of whack.

The problem with this discussion is that (presumably) neither of us will ever have the data to back up our position. We can only disagree based on how we ourselves use YouTube, and maybe how we've observed friends and family using it.

So what is the point? Unlike a lot of people I've discussed this with, I can at least respect your position as being based in some kind of believable and relatively well-developed use case. But nothing we've said here has even touched on the (alleged) negative externalities of visible downvote counts that (allegedly) motivated this change in the first place. And, again, we just don't have the data to understand the tradeoffs there.

I entered this discussion because I really, honestly don't understand why so many people are so angry about this. And, despite your efforts, I still don't. I have no trouble believing that these legitimately bad, long-tail, high downvote count videos exist, but I still see them as exactly what my original comment characterized them as: an edge case.

I guess I'm just looking for a bombshell that will make me understand, because that's how obvious the downvote count stans make this issue out to be. You aren't wrong just because you don't have such a bombshell, but you aren't going to convince me you're right just by telling me that the way I use YouTube is wrong.

They care because none of this seemed to matter until the White House and then the big media, who is being tagged as authoritative despite getting a lot wrong, were ratioed consistently.

People asked why disliking POTUS matters now, when it didn't before.

People asked why big media gets to fact check everyone, despite obvious, daily bias and error, and dislikes are hidden for them and this helps everyone how exactly?

People noticed some creators are widely disliked consistently, yet enjoy consistent promotion. They noticed money seems to matter.

Creators who generate many ratioed videos are different from those who don't, or who have a mix of some kind too.

All of these were brought up in discussion, brought to me by normies basically unable to buy into the, "you do not need that info because..." line they were given.

And now that they are talking about it, topic of interest, they are wondering about other things, like why their Facebook keeps removing what they thought were private exchanges...

Your bomb shell is watching people lose trust and see less value in all of this than was true a year ago.

I don't think videos on politicized topics getting "ratioed" is a very good signal of anything in today's political climate. Many, many users are willing to downvote content featuring people and/or organizations they've been told are their enemies, without engaging with the content at all.

In fact, this sort of thing is IMO one of the best arguments for removing downvote counts.

Beyond that, I frankly don't think people should have trust in "platforms" telling them what to think, so if this change wakes up some of the "sheeple" I can only see that as a good thing. I certainly think that taking away a tool that allows people to trivially express their shallow hatred of a thing can only improve the state of discourse and critical thought in society.

This is all trying to tell people what to think!

Pages of discussion on how data should be interpreted.

All the while ignoring the big players who did not like the fact that they are widely disliked.

As for taking away a tool...

POTUS has a very low approval rating. The dislikes follow, as they should.

That same POTUS getting after long overdue policy with majority public support would very likely see a different outcome.

People disliking big media and government sell jobs? SHOCKER!

Of course they did, and of course it leads to questions which, of course led to eliminating the source of those questions.

Finally, "I don't think people should..." Full stop. We need to realize those other people have agency and work from there.

>The problem with this discussion is that (presumably) neither of us will ever have the data to back up our position. [...] I have no trouble believing that these legitimately bad, long-tail, high downvote count videos exist, but I still see them as exactly what my original comment characterized them as: an edge case.

Because the public dislike counts are now gone, examples are hard to find. In any case, here's a screen shot of a popular video from The Verge that's not long-tail. The deep link showing 1200-dislikes-vs-839-likes:

That's an example of a high "dislikes ratio" alerting the viewer to a trash video. Lots of bad videos with corresponding dislikes on Youtube are not an edge case. I encounter them every day (e.g. product reviews, DIY how-to, etc)

>, but you aren't going to convince me you're right just by telling me that the way I use YouTube is wrong.

If you're happy using Youtube without considering dislikes, we're not saying you're wrong. The point is that your dismissal of public dislikes is not relevant to how _others_ depend on it to avoid wasting time. The examples of famous youtube creators also looking at dislike counts to save time is very telling. Even though they themselves suffer from dislikes on their own channel, they still depend on dislike counts when consuming others' videos. The youtube creators are also some of the most sophisticated viewers of Youtube content and their usage of dislikes ratios matches the reality of many in this thread who use the metrics in the same way to filter out bad videos.

This is all well and good, but—again—what you aren't addressing is the (claimed) negative effects of visible downvote counts, mainly (as I understand it) spurious downvote brigades against relatively small/vulnerable creators. These use cases you and others (claim to) care about so much must be weighed against the (claimed) damage done by continuing to support them, so it's not just a question of live and let live.

When downvote brigades are brought up, the first response is always something along the lines of "all engagement is good" and "downvotes aren't a negative signal in the algorithm", the thrust being that downvotes don't actually hurt creators and they're just being a bunch of crybabies. But it is, frankly, totally incoherent to claim this and then turn around and also claim that downvotes are an important signal for deciding which videos to not watch. I hope you can see the contradiction there.

I point this out, and the next claim they trot out is "downvote brigades are rare to the point of being insignificant". To which I say, well, prove it. Prove it, show me the data, and make the case to me that saving X man-hours of wasted time watching unworthy how-to videos is worth crushing Y creators' nascent careers.

I've heard of a number of Youtube creators that are also placing their content on Odysee as a potential backup. I first heard of this site from Dave at EEVblog:

Maybe I live under a rock, but I’ve never heard of odysee. I’m definitely checking them out. I love that their tag line is “welcome, we have dislikes.”
there is also altcensored, but it's kinda slow and can be a little unreliable.. It has a lot of content from 2014-2018 that has been removed by Suzan Wucccicizchzky
Interesting - I first heard of odysee this week too from a VR channel I follow - it seems like a decent setup
“Welcome to odyssey: we have dislikes”, this made me smile
Doesn't give me a lot of hope with Dave being in the top list on odysee surrounded by alt-right creators who escaped there from other platforms. Plus his recent shilling of the crypto currency connected to odysee on twitter.

I get that creators want to be paid and need a better home than youtube, but none of this bodes well to me yet.

He's been dropping dogwhistles in his recent videos. It feels very mercenary, like he's saying controversial things because it makes his engagement numbers go up. It's fascinating to see the gears of the machine moving. Any gaps in the narrative "attention economy monopolists are profiting off divisive misinformation" are sewn shut in one picture.
The chance this change was pushed without data, and tests, seems antithetical to what we know about the change and how it was rolled out.

They did this with an understanding of its impact on engagement.

From my experience the ones pushing for these ideas are the fresh grad PMs trying to do something big for "perf". The whole platform feels like Waymo, driverless.
This is ridiculously. Major changes like this are decided at the top.
I think hanging out in places like this is drastically altering your perception of how much anybody noticed or cared about this change.
I agree and do take time to ask others about this stuff.

Right now, I enjoy having a broad mix of people, young, old, men, women... to talk to. One thing I love is when they bring me stuff to discuss.

The trick is to express an interest and make those conversations fun, real gives and takes.

The numbers on people seeking news outside the established media are pretty high.

YT and the White House did that public beta and that was noticed! Brought to me by others who probably would not otherwise.

"Why hide dislikes for POTUS?"

Why indeed!

The people saying few care about the details like the HN crowd usually does are not wrong.

But there is more to this than that.

Discussing whether dislikes is useful to understand potential video quality is a mixed bag like proponents of that idea say. And in some instances, say for how to videos, it is a great metric, like those proponents say too.

A higher order look at this is more like what normies are into.

They ask how come this became an issue after POTUS, CNN and Fauci got ratioed non stop?

They ask, "who decides what is misinformation? Is it the same people getting RussiaGate wrong for years, and who always seem excited about endless wars?"

I can make a case for how hanging out here alters perceptions in like kind.

Maybe more people talking outside their comfort zone, with a more diverse set of people and contexts is a good thing. Having done it for a while, I sure think so.

People do not care too much about the details. They care a lot about being managed, essentially told they need to be guided in this way.

It sounds a lot like the people you're talking to are Republican partisans who view most events through that lens.
Not from the US, but how would that change anything? Because just like that you sound more judgmental than this abstract group and that you have a problem with downvotes.
I have many of those same questions. Dem for decades.

Just saying...

YouTube was an outlier in keeping the thumbs-down for as long as it did, as pretty much every other platform has long since gone to a more "positive" direction.
Those moves do not make sense either.
They happened before Donald Trump was even President.

They still do not make sense, and I do not care who was POTUS.

You were just insinuating it was a plot to hide dislikes on videos of Biden and Fauci.
Add big media to that list. CNN and friends are not happy about the fact that indies can clean their clocks.

Personally, I do not feel POTUS needs dislikes hidden, no matter who the POTUS is. Biden, at this time, has a pretty low approval rating and has not made good on many promises people value highly. And I only mention that to highlight the large number of dislikes make sense! Same goes for CNN and friends, who regularly get major things wrong, and who are being held up as authoritative.

Generally speaking, these disconnects are not partisan at all. People in general are going to oppose this kind of information management, and it's implied they are too stupid to do it for themselves and need the help.

Viewed through this lens the broad and sustained opposition to this move is no surprise at all.

What “broad and sustained” opposition? You’re off in fantasy land. And again, the fact that these changes long predate the political issues you’re talking about suggests your theory is wrong.
Number of proponents is far less than opponents.

Changes to favor big media are unpopular. Changes to hide dislike data, which further underscores the favoring of big media, are unpopular.

There are other things, and I see no need to detail them.

This is all about both suppressing dissent and the support for it.

Unless you have a super compelling alternative...

I think the simple answer is just that platforms have been concerned a long time that their user bases are too mean.
Not at all.

I have a solid mix, and have cultivated that over a considerable time too. Started a decade ago.

Indies, Dems, GOP, you name it. I enjoy politics and culture. No judgement, just frank talk.

More people than you know find that to be high value and it is not easy.

Those questions are not partisan.

They do speak to class though.

I stopped using YT recommendations a while ago, not I only go back to the same channels and if any new channel gets added it's not from a YT source.

Stupid "I don't want to think" content got replaced by twitch, even through many twitch streams contain hardly any interesting "content" they are sadly stile miles better then most/close to all "dump" YT content (because "dump" YT content has gotten pretty bad).

And high quality YT content often gets demonetized and seldomly recommended, because its either not advertisement friendly enough or doesn't cover a wide enough audience spectrum.

> The end result? I'm sticking to my current channels

Isn't that good for them though? Generally speaking, it's a lot easier for youtube to do a few red carpet partnership shenanigans with the ssniperwolfs and mrbeasts in the top ranks and screw the long tail. That story has played again and again all over the entertainment media industry.

If everyone does what you're doing, they can potentially even get away with having to do less content moderation, or quietly "disappearing" channel categories, etc. You're already getting sort of played by relying on recommendation systems in the first place. People seem to think recommendations scour the deep web to cater to them personally, but the Occam's Razor take is that you get shown whatever the algorithm determines is clickbaity enough for your general flavor of hivemind.

I'm so confused why would hiding the dislike count impact the internal recommendation engine that has access to the dislike count?
As a heavy YouTube user the removal of the dislike count didn't effect me at all since the number was always useless to me.

>because I can no longer gauge how worthwhile they are to try and watch.

That is YouTube's job. Their recommendation algorithm will try and suggest videos that are worthwhile for you to watch. The order that videos are recommend is how know which videos are likely more worthwhile for you to watch. After clicking on a video most people judge the video be just watching the first few seconds an opposed to looking at the likes. They will switch to a different video if they didn't find that one interesting. Another common behaviour is just skimming through a video.

Youtube doesn't f*** care. Where are you going to go watch your favorite content creators? Oh, they only upload on our platform? Thought so.

They can do whatever they want and they won't lose a single user.

In fact, I wanted to cancel my Youtube Premium, but I know it's not gonna affect their decision in the slightest, while I will hurt my favourite content creators as they won't get that thousandth of a cent they get from my Premium view.

>"I will hurt my favourite content creators as they won't get that thousandth of a cent they get from my Premium view."

That's why I choose to reward them through non YouTube platforms like Patreon. I've also noticed a huge trend in content creators making sponsorship deals that they embed in their own videos. I sense that canceling your YouTube premium won't hurt them as much as it used to in the past. Plus, you can give a portion of your subscription to them directly, should you so choose.

I use Patreon for 10 different creators, but I watch at least 50 different ones on YouTube in a given month I might want to support. Some perhaps only for that month. And I don't want to spend $500/mo in Patreon either.

Monthly donations are cool but limited as they only distribute the money among few people because they're expensive and a commitment.

My dream, if I had the patience to build it, would be a platform that distributes some amount of budget among every content creator you have watched. Out of my $100, everybody gets $2. A bit like Brave Rewards, without the crypto stuff.

Do you know of any recent reports or tweets of YT Premium CPM vs ad-supported? The only report I have is from 2016 when YT Red was even smaller than what Premium is now:
> In fact, I wanted to cancel my Youtube Premium, but I know it's not gonna affect their decision in the slightest

Long running project of mine. "Corporate change bounties". Customers leave some supplier and then state why and somehow demonstrate how much cash has exited with them as a customer.

Here's an example. Let's say att lobbies hard against net neutrality and customers were fed up and left. They could go to this site and somehow select "att + net neutrality + i will return if they support it" and then through some black magic prove that they were a long time att customer that paid $X/month that just cancelled.

There's a way to avoid the black magic by making it a "crowd funding" style site but in many conversations effectively zero people would want to give, say Nestle or Walmart, a gift in return for them not being an evil prick.

So there's gotta be some kind of balance. A number representing potential money on the table that can be captured if a policy change happens.

I made two versions of it a while back but new ideas are hard so oh well. But maybe a third time it will work, who knows

New ideas aren't a hard sell. Cumbersome ideas that cost more than the benefit are a hard sell.
I believe it was one of Steve Blank's fairly complicated books that differentiated different kinds of new[1]

Simplifying dramatically, there's new solutions to acknowledged problems and unacknowledged problems.

What you say satisfies the first one.

The unacknowledged problem requires you to first connect desperate ideas and consolidate them together in the prospect's mind. Then you need to convince them that it's a suboptimal state of affairs. Then you need to convince them that an amelioration is attainable. Then you need to convince them that you provide it.

Contrast this to the first one. The prospect knows things are suboptimal, has a current insufficient remedy and is open to a better one. You need to convince them that you provide it.

That's way way easier - like orders of magnitude, a "completely different problem domain" kind of easier (It's worth noting that elevator pitch templates address the easier type of new)

Next task, solve the first one in under 5 or so seconds of exposure: connect ideas, show it's a problem, demonstrate the mechanism, and propose a plausible solution that's easy to participate in.

Maybe that's trivial for you but I personally have very little aptitude for that and struggle immensely with it

[1] all those startup books become a giant soup after you read a bunch so sorry if this was like Moore or Christensen, I think it's Blank. If anyone remembers exactly where this was I'd love to find it again.

There's also the issue that solutions to "unacknowledged problems" can be perceived as grifts.

"Your app predicts when my lightbulbs will go out and it costs $1? Wait, why wouldn't I just do what I do now which is have some spares and wait till one actually goes out?"

Nice insight. Reminds me of another problem: targeting.

If the target customers have already found each other, it's an easier sell. If they haven't then you have a "customer diaspora"

For instance, if I have a new game, there's plenty of organizations, institutions, and forums I can introduce my game on.

If instead, I have productivity software that helps disorganized people manage time better, there's no "disorganized users group" or "decluttering news" website to find the people ... it's a slog. Where would those people concentrate? A bar on a weekday night maybe? The most inconvenient parking spaces of an office park? I don't know.

At least to me this is a harder problem

You could use TLS notary perhaps.
I'd like to see torrent hosting become a thing. I don't like to leave my computer\network connected to the internet all the time, but would like to make video/audio I've produced available. A hosting provider that lets me upload my content and host it as a torrent would solve many of the problems we currently face with private gatekeepers deciding what can and can't be hosted, displayed, voted on, commented on etc.
The generalization of the premise of Bittorrent to easy file hosting is IPFS, and there in fact are IPFS hosting providers (and decentralized protocols for such, including Filecoin).
When the best example of something is a coin, then I'm not really impressed as a file store/share platform.
Filecoin is only for paying others to host your content; you can host it yourself (as I do) or on a VPS and ignore Filecoin, and IPFS still works great.
Maybe not what you want/need, but I suspect you could accomplish this by just buying a seedbox, then seed your content into it so it's always online, then just make sure you use an open tracker. This isn't an area I've done much in so I may just not be thinking in the right direction :)
You don't need a full sized computer to be connected 24/7, Just grab a Raspberry PI or any (sometimes even cheaper and less power hungry) equivalent, flash the smallest OS of your choice that does what you want: serving videos and files, seeding torrents, hosting a node of your favorite communications platform, etc. You can keep the system on SD then use two USB drives for data, the second rsynced to the first, so you have some sort of redundancy without RAID. Total cost less than $100, possibly a lot less if you already have some parts (used hard drives and USB enclosures, SD card, etc). SSD drives would be overkill and more costly. If well tuned (drives spinning down when not used after a safe limit, say 2 hours, efficient CPU throttling, etc) It could draw less energy than the smallest lamp in our house: totally sustainable.

About the software, I have a dream (tm): NNTP expanded so that it can be integrated with other services, include small binaries natively, or magnet links when above a certain size, the torrent being automatically created, seeded and linked by the originating user's client, employ enough security to become troll/vandal proof, etc. The infrastructure is already here, but the protocol is too tied to the limitations of the Internet in the 70s and 80s and takes for granted that everyone is a gentleman, which makes it hardly usable today.

Not related to the dislike feature in particular, but Youtube is definitely losing the next generation of creators. Plenty of people are using TikTok as their main platform nowadays, as it has bigger reach for their markets.
TikTok is targeting a different type of content, there is no competition with YouTube as we know it, which is videos longer than 10 minutes.
Which is frankly still a wild concept to me because when I was of prime YouTube-binging age, the maximum length of a video was 10 minutes.
What's the Youtube-binging age? Correct me if I'm wrong, but you're probably implying you've "grown out" of your YouTube phase.

As I grow older, I watch longer and more informational videos than I did 10 years ago.

Many educational YouTuber push heavily for their extended / deeper content on Nebula in their YT videos.

I don’t know how well Nebula is doing, but I don’t see it as impossible that there is going to be some fragmentation in the video space in the future.

I'd say there is more competition, but on much more specialized platforms with different purposes and smaller user bases- MOOC sites, other types of online learning sites, remote workout class platforms, Patreon, etc. There is a good amount of that video content which could be hosted on YouTube, but would be less easily accessible or monetizeable if it was.
When the timing is right tic toc could pivot to longer videos.
Longer videos aren't suited to the tiktok formula(endless feed of videos and you where you never know what's next). It works for 30 second video, maybe for 3 minute video, not for two hour video and not even for twenty minute video.
YouTube now has “shorts” but it’s definitely not the same since they aren’t able to emulate the TikTok culture.
And yet, when you see the number of views shorts get compared to other content on Youtube, you could conclude that it's a success for Youtube...
Same thing as Facebook/Instagram Reels, another attempt to blatantly clone a rival platform.
Like TikTok cloning Vine? :)
Monkey see, monkey do, as the saying goes.
Which Twitter bought and promptly shit down. I never understood it; Vine was hugely popular (I was in college at the time, such things tend to spread pretty rapidly on a college campus), even getting celebrity attention. I really questioned the idea that Twitter couldn’t make the product work when we see TikTok doing just that. I guess Vine was, literally, ahead of its time.
> TikTok is targeting a different type of content, there is no competition with YouTube

This is not a logical conclusion.

Twitter is different to blogging (also shorter) it has killed a lot of the blogging market.

In fact, a lot of Youtube is too long, as the content producers chase the ad revenue.

Logically things will continue and everything will go to smaller chunks.

> TikTok is targeting a different type of content, there is no competition with YouTube as we know it

I something learned from the MMO boom back in the days of WoW. After WoW came out, there were a glut of other MMOs. Game companies were like, "Look at WoW! Players love MMOs! If we make MMOs, we'll be rich!"

Almost all of them failed. The problem wasn't that the games were bad. Many were technically and artistically better. It definitely wasn't that gamers couldn't afford them. Cost was within the level of disposable income for most. The problem wasn't even network effects and userbase, though those do have an effect. Gamers move to new games all the time.

The problem was that there is one fundamentally scarce commodity: human time.

Thinking of competition in terms of physical goods is using an Industrial Age definition of competition when we're living in an Information Age. Consumers need a wide variety of unrelated physical things, so competition is only really meaningful between the products of the same kind. Also, producing goods has a significant per-unit cost.

With information—especially entertainment media—anything that takes user attention competes with every other product that does the same. It doesn't matter if the products are completely unrelated: they burn the same scarce resource, so users using one are less able to use the other. And this is the only scarce resource in the equation since the marginal cost of streaming the same movie to one viewer or a million is essentially the same.

YouTube, TikTok, Netflix, Fortnite, Instagram, Fox News, Minecraft, Reddit, Spotify, they're all competing against each other.

As Reed Hastings said once, "You get a show or a movie you’re really dying to watch, and you end up staying up late at night, so we actually compete with sleep. And we’re winning."

All communities including online ones take less outsiders over time and grow old and tired. Google and Facebook are no exceptions to the inevitable business lifecycle treadmill on which they could be on the downtrend. As the companies become dominated by decision-makers who are no longer agile and a user base who are ever more inert (read: old), their products lose mindshare and their companies lose vitality, to be replaced as a community by upstarts.
>as it has bigger reach for their markets.

TikTok has a horrible conversion rate though.

You mean China owned TikTok?
Some are already hedging their bets. Linus Tech Tips, which is a pretty big channel to say the least, launched their own Floatplane service which they use to give exclusive access to paying subscribers. Like early viewing, live streaming and videos that don't even end up on YouTube. They offer it to other channels as well. As far as I'm aware, it has no discovery so far (you need to know a channel URL).

I wish Peertube or something would take off. The kind of centralization YouTube has isn't healthy, and it's easier and cheaper to host video now than ever since HTML5 video became a thing. If you're running a business, depending on the goodwill of a third party company's free offering (which costs them a fortune to run) is nonsensical.

That would be cool, but vertical integration does have a bunch of obvious advantages, which is why you see open source options often struggle compared to proprietary equivalents, like here, or with Discord vs IRC.
As much as I hate Discord, I do not think it is a fair comparison. Discord offers much more than IRC does, and requires less knowledge to get started.

Not an uncommon state of affairs, for open sources va proprietary.

Is there an open source project that is doing well that has similar functionalities that Discord offers though?
That’s exactly what I’m saying. Open source software often struggles to provide the same functionality. The nature of open source makes it harder.
Yeah I know that it is your point. In any case, are we sure there really is no open source alternative? Maybe there is not because Discord is a bit "unique". Perhaps since then open source alternatives have spawned, or will spawn.
I cancelled my premium, unsubscribed from all my channels, and have stopped browsing YouTube (which I did daily for years).

Basically, I've stopped using YouTube as a source for finding new content. If I get linked to a video from a trusted source (here, reddit, etc), then I'll watch the video, but they lost me as a member of the community.

Gotta pay the Premium, or burn 1500 mAh / hour because you can't turn your screen off without Premium. You and about 4 billion others can't afford the Google toll, so pay for electricity instead. One way or another, you will pay.

Gotta get that gold.

If only I could calculate the total electricity burn planet wide because 4 billion people can't turn their screens off. I wonder how a 4 billion screenburn compares to 1 million Bitcoin miners, or whatever the total is.

I listen 95% of the time, lectures, opera, podcasts, other stuff, and there are multitudes of data that don't need me to be staring at my screen.

Check out NewPipe.
You could always side load something. Better cercube for iOS?
> while I will hurt my favourite content creators as they won't get that thousandth of a cent they get from my Premium view.

Over time this should put pressure on them to be open to a better platform and make the move as soon as such platform exists.

No, I just explained that nobody will move out of the platform because everybody's there. Where are you going to watch your favourite USB gadget reviewer that only uploads on YT?

Over time means nothing until there's actually competition, and there's nothing on the horizon that can compete to the scale of YouTube. Your content creator is not moving anywhere any time soon.

Competition can only appear if there's a selling point and demand for it. If creators get paid on YT, they have less incentive to seek out an alternative. If they stop getting paid (because people like you cancel their Premium subscription) they become potential customers for an upcoming alternative that does pay them.
It may stop people exploring as much outside their current favourite creators. The issue is quickly judging the quality of unknown channels.

So no, they probably won't lose "users", but they may lose "engagement," however they're measuring that at the minute.

>Where are you going to go watch your favorite content creators?

Rumble and Rokfin, where more and more them are moving. History is littered with bankrupt companies who thought they were untouchable because people had nowhere else to go.

Rumble is going public soon via a SPAC[1]. They have 30 million active users, up from 1 million a year ago. 50% of the voting public who voted for Trump is a pretty good demographic for starting a big new Internet company. It's as if Microsoft in the 90s said they wouldn't sell software to Republicans or something and everyone had to switch to Apple. I think it's unprecedented in the history of American business that a company would alienate such a large demographic purposefully.


Bit hostile. I pay £30 a year for RoosterTeeth, who are a company that put their content on YouTube (with ads) and their own site without.

YouTube is becoming the place you find content, not necessarily though where you spend money. They're going to start caring about this.

Content creators are already moving to TikTok. YouTube has a weaker position now than they’ve ever had.

You may be a HN TikTok skeptic (there are many) but TikTok is already expanding to things you’d find on YouTube historically, like tutorials, DIY, arts and crafts.

The important aspect is less of where the video is hosted, but where people are looking for content discovery. With the removal of dislikes, YouTube is actively making their content discovery worse. On the margin people should be looking for new content discovery options. You might see people drift to Reddit, you might see people drift to DIY StackExchange. That's the message we should be pushing in these conversations as a result of this, you should be changing your behavior.

Once you move the discovery off YouTube, it becomes trivial to move the content to another video host. The discovery is the lock-in.

Where are you going to go watch your favorite content creators?

A lot of them are cross-posting to Odysee, and some are also on Nebula.

2 platforms I have never heard of before this post. It's like saying Mastadon is a replacement for _______. Yeah, no it/they are not replacing. Those sites are like the catch can for those willing to step away from THE place. Until those creators actually leave YT to 100% commit to other places by no longer posting to YT, then the masses are not leaving YT (or FB/Twit/etc).

Edit: Do any of these content creators posting to other non-YT sites mention the availability of these sites in their YT videos? If not, then they are not really convinced of their staying power themselves.

Do any of these content creators posting to other non-YT sites mention the availability of these sites in their YT videos?

Yes. EEVblog mentions Odysee all the time, and many many channels mention Nebula when shilling Curiosity Stream. They tend to tread lightly on YT itself because of the reverse of the prisoner's dilemma.

> They tend to tread lightly on YT itself because of the reverse of the prisoner's dilemma.

Why so? Are these other platforms unable to payout as much as YT? Seems natural that ad revshare would not be the same on a site that nobody has heard of compared to the numbers available from YT. Doesn't seem too enticing for creators to go to other platforms where there is less revenue potential.

I'm just not seeing the prisoner's dilemma here. I just see people placating a noisy herd by offering content on other sites while still firmly attached to the teet of YT.

The (reverse, sort of) prisoner's dilemma comes from the perceived risk of being banned by YT for promoting competitors on their site. If a single creator defects (from YouTube) too early, that creator loses, so creators have to cooperate.

I assume this is less of a risk now than it used to be, because more creators are promoting alternative sites, and I'm even seeing ads for TikTok on YouTube itself.

Was this a real risk or just a perceived one as you stated? I think banning people because they advertised an alternate site would have put YT in a spot of bother.
I seem to recall that happening to a channel a few years ago, but can't remember any of the details well enough to search for it.
Where do I go to watch their videos? Rumble.
I think if you feel like YT is in the wrong and still care about your favorite creators the right thing to do is to cancel your Premium membership. The greater good here is to team up against YT since in the long run removing dislikes is bad for majority of YT users including the creators.
I just don't subscribe. It isn't even about incentives or trying to punish or whatever.

Paying for the privilege of interacting with some shitty thing I don't like to be entertained.... doesn't seem entertaining to me.

What's stopping publishers from publishing to multiple platforms? Publishing is free, why wouldn't you cast a wide net to increase reach as much as possible?
Peertube, Patreon, Netflix, Sky.... do I need to list more?
TikTok will be what takes down youtube. It'll happen.
If they don’t care, why do anything?
Yes, that's a common attitude that is corrected with antitrust legislation.
> youtube premium


Gotta pay the Premium, or burn 1500 mAh because you can't turn your screen off without Premium. You and about 4 billion others can't afford the Google toll, so pay for electricity instead. One way or another, you will pay. Gotta get that gold.

If only I could calculate the total electricity burn planet wide because 4 billion people can't turn their screens off.

Some of the more well-known YouTube creators are also on

- Curiosity Stream/Nebula (Adam Neely, Mary Spender, Ali Abdaal, Thomas Frank, Super Bunnyhop)

- LBRY/odysee (DistroTube)

- FloatPlane (Linus Tech Tips)

None of these has a nice recommender like YouTube, so you'll likely either have manual curation (Nebula, Floatplane) or drown in a sea of bad/uninteresting content (LBRY)

Your list also doesn’t have a single YouTuber I actually watch. Well known or not, viewers have very fractured tastes.
Probably i don't watch any of the YouTubers you're watching either - the long tail is exactly why people watch YouTube (and maybe a handful of 10k-1M subscriber channels) rather than, or in addition to, TV programme and streamable shows that are modeled after it that are less niche.

The main point of that list was: there are multiple platforms that try to be a "YouTube for people who don't like YouTube, for a point in time when YouTube gets horrible", with some people creating content there, and e.g. odysee lets creators sync their videos so you get exactly the same videos from them on YT and on Odysee. But for most creators this is still additional work for little benefit since their main audience is on YT.

Just 99.99% to go

It would take over a hundred years for a person to watch a single day's worth of YouTube uploads. At this point it would take the literal apocalypse to stop them.

Firstly, the entire point of YouTube for me is the long tail. I don't watch any of those channels you listed, and the only two I've heard of are Linus and Adam Neely.

But the more important point is that even if all the many dozens of mostly small channels I subscribe to were on some other paid video service, I wouldn't want to track down and check in on all those services. Even just 3 would be a vastly worse experience than YouTube, especially since there would almost certainly be huge variation in the features and quality of their various web, mobile, and TV apps.

RSS/Atom feeds and video files you can play with whatever video player you want seems like it'd cover most of those concerns? The relatively closed nature of YouTube isn't necessarily something you'd want to replicate.

The bigger issue would be search and discovery, especially since I can't think of any obvious way to prevent services from spoofing engagement data to influence rankings.

> RSS/Atom feeds and video files you can play with whatever video player you want seems like it'd cover most of those concerns?

Absolutely, as long as there was widespread agreement in both the distribution mechanism and important video features like closed captions.

> The relatively closed nature of YouTube isn't necessarily something you'd want to replicate.

No, but the consistency and ability to get everything in one place is pretty vital, and is something you pretty much get for free from single centralized sources. The closed nature is obviously one of the huge downsides.

> The bigger issue would be search and discovery, especially since I can't think of any obvious way to prevent services from spoofing engagement data to influence rankings.

Yep. Another big one is the cost of serving videos.

Likes and dislikes are a horrible way to judge a video, ime. I don't know who liked or disliked a video or for what reasons. A like by someone may be a good reason for me to watch the video where a like by someone else might be an excellent reason not to watch it. Similar for dislikes. Of the two, I guess I prefer likes. People who dislike videos are usually upset about something specific, often things I don't really care much about. People who like something generally actually like it, as far as I've seen.

When I'm considering whether I might like to watch a video, I do the unthinkable and just give it a go for a few minutes if it looks like it might be interesting or entertaining. I don't really need aggregated opinions from random people on the internet to help me make my decision on whether I like it or not. I couldn't, for example, tell you if I'm currently seeing dislikes on videos even though I've watched a fair few of them recently.

Other people have already made this point but the places it’s very clear likes/dislikes are great for is for “how to” type videos. In that case you very likely know that the dislike or like is because it effectively showed you how to do something.
You'll see some video of some guy in Bangladesh doing some "you should never do this, but you can do this" wiring job to make some piece of industrial machinery run and it will either be 1000:1 likes or 1:1000 in favor of dislikes, pretty much wholly dependent on whether Reddit has found it. So I just wind up watching it to figure out why everyone hates it so much.
There are better ways to prevent downvote brigades than removing dislikes altogether. Not to mention that keeping likes around doesn't solve anything, as it can be exploited in the same way by upvote brigades! As long as you don't start to actively detect fake accounts and don't limit the number of upvotes / downvotes per day a person can give, it will always be possible to game the upvote metric by a small group of people / bots.
The metric I use in hn is votes to comments. When I want a good non controversial read I go for a low ratio of comments to votes. When I want a more controversial topic I find the things with more comments to votes.

It's just additional signal on the content in a world where I just can't read it all.

I actually can't believe some people are defending youtube on this.
Why not? They have a hell of a lot more experience running a video sharing and networking service than most folks do.
And that somehow means they are making decisions optimal for users or society, contrary to their behavior history?
It means they're more likely to have the resources and data to think decisions like this through.

Especially given that I've seen other social networks take a similar course, I trust Google's analysis of the effect of visible vs. invisible dislike counts over the ad-hoc common sense of the uninvested technorati.

And that makes you naive. Did you ever consider that their interests and the interests of their users are not aligned?
Sometimes I tend to hold some controversial beliefs temporarily for the sake of arguing. It helps to keep an open mind.
> I do the unthinkable and just give it a go for a few minutes

You do this on a societal level and you waste centuries. There's no need for thousands of people to watch a few minutes of a bad DIY video to conclude that it's crap.

>You do this on a societal level and you waste centuries.

What you are missing is that YouTube recommends videos that you will likely enjoy. YouTube's recommendations try to minimize this waste.

YouTube's entire business model is to occupy your time; whether it's a waste or not doesn't matter to their bottom line. They will absolutely not do anything to minimize the waste.
If YouTube notices people keep bouncing from your video it will not perform well due to the algorithm. YouTube wants you to be watching content, and not spending time searching around for content to watch.
Some of us are looking to learn or do a specific thing, not just waste time on whatever videos YouTube is recommending. This weekend I am planning to install a tow hitch on my car. I highly doubt YouTube is going to recommend just the right video for that at exactly the right time. YouTube knows me pretty well, but I doubt they know whether I want to learn about dark matter or modular synthesizers at this exact moment.
That's what the search bar is for. You can ask YouTube to recommend you videos based off of a search query.
YT's recommendation algorithm is shit and you have zero control over it, even if you wipe your usage history and try to actively manipulate it.
Doesn't seem like society is all that concerned with how much time it wastes watching Youtube videos either way. But, in this situation why wouldn't prioritizing videos with more upvotes not work just as well?
A bad DIY video is an innocent example. Removing dislike counts is a blanket net gain for people publishing misinformation.
Relying on viewer voting to identify misinformation is a terrible idea. These videos are deceptive by design - and in our polarized environment the voting is probably a better reflection of the audiences's priors than the truthfulness of the content.
I am pretty sure it depends on the type of content. Under music videos, the likes are most likely from people liking the music, and the dislikes are from people disliking the music (or the artist). We cannot really argue about taste anyway.

On the other hand, when it comes to DIY videos, I am pretty sure the likes and dislikes are based on how well the video managed to help the voter.

Because you don't know whether the video on the top of the queue is one with like/dislike ratio of 90% or 10%. If it's the latter, you are inclined to get off YouTube and start searching elsewhere.
The "criticize their hiding of the dislike count" part is irrelevant. I've done no such thing and all my comments have been getting auto-deleted in the same way for a few months now, long before this dislike count thing happened.

It's something fucked up on their end, lots of users are affected (also since long before this dislike count thing happened), and they're in no hurry to fix it.

And there's no point posting on about it because clueless "Product Experts", aka non-employees who don't actually know anything, will just parrot the same old "Oh your comment must've been detected as spam" "Oh your comment must've violated Youtube policies" "Oh the channel owner must've deleted your comment" nonsense.

Hmm, I tried to comment on a video recently and it got shadow deleted. I figured the channel author had done that.
Yep, this person is creating a correlation where there is none, and everyone is just riding the confirmation bias. It's strange how HN collectively throw their skeptical side out of the window and accept a single anecdotal evidence as proof whenever it's a topic like this.

This is just a shadowban / temporary suspension from commenting, and there is no evidence it's in any way related to "criticizing dislike removal".

>there is no evidence it's in any way related to "criticizing dislike removal"

That was the last thing he commented which strongly suggests it is. The other few comments he showed were innocent ones praising animations and stuff too.

Since his last comment is still visible, it's the comment he left afterwards that may have actually started the ban (and was removed). So this could be disingenuous.
> which strongly suggests it is

I'd say correlation != causation, but it's not even correlation because it's literally a single data point. In no other context would people from HN try to extrapolate a single data point into such a strong claim.

>This is just a shadowban / temporary suspension from commenting, and there is no evidence it's in any way related to "criticizing dislike removal".

There's no evidence that it's "a shadowban / temporary suspension from commenting" either. It's not in my case, nor I doubt for all the other users I've seen complaining about it. It's a bug on Youtube's end, plain and simple.

Just in case someone in a position to do something about it is reading this, there's a graceful way out for Youtube. Leave dislike counts publicly available via the API. That way people who use the ratio to evaluate videos (very useful for reviews) can install a browser extension, but dislike mobbing will be minimized, seeing as most casual users will not bother installing such extensions.
Honestly I think the best solution should have been to let creators enable/disable dislike visibility on each of their *own* videos. Removing that for every single video on the platform is a supernova level of overkill.
They already have that. You can disable comments and voting, as far as I know.
I would guess that doing so absolutely destroys your video discoverability, knowing YouTube.
The Google Chrome team uses a similar strategy to deal with backlashes: They leave a feature they want to removed behind a feature flag to keep the outspoken users happy. A few releases later, they remove the flag, when the casual users have moved on and there aren't enough outspoken users to cause any kind of mobbing.
Feature flags are not meant to be used as a general settings, it's mainly for testing, flags also auto expire so they need to be renewed after certain amount of chromium releases [1]. Old features behind the flag are left for few releases so they can be rolled back in case something bad happens, not that users manually should toggle them on.


I mean really, if you want a downvote button, I'm sure there is or will be a browser plugin that you can install that will put the downvotes back in there. Then you know YT isn't messing with the counts as an added bonus (of course, you have to trust that the plugin maintainer isn't...)
The downside is that you'd end up with facebook memes showing all of the dislikes that "YouTube doesn't want you to see".
This would be useless from facebook's perspective since the brigaders would just make a browser extension to monitor up/down votes anyway.
Most people probably view from mobile so this would have limited usefulness.
They don't need a "way out." Just put it back the way it was.

It's like finding a street full of protesters and trying to figure out the best way to make sure nobody sees them. The problem isn't your method, it's your goal.

My bet is that people will start posting a comment saying "upvote this comment if you want to downvote", the comment will rank first and it will be as if you have a public dislike count
they might, but chances are that if you force people to move their dislikes into the comments, they're going to provide more information than just "downvote", and the top comment will be some variaton of

* "the information in this video is wrong"

* "i don't like the person who made this video"

* "this isn't the content i expect from this channel"

all of which is vastly more useful than just a downvote.

Task failed successfully. I would love for this to come to pass. I don't think that was their intent.

Unfortunately comments are less indelible (more delible?) than downvotes. As evidenced by the shadowban in OP.

I doubt YouTube’s comment ranking would put this at the top, since it looks a lot like the type of brigading that they are trying to reduce with this change.
Then they'll get shadowbanned exactly like OP's video.
They will probably be added to the list of auto-delete I suspect very quickly.
yeah, it's not like creators can delete comments ...
The tiktok community has adopted a similar strategy for voting on comments. Someone will post a spicy comment, which gets a certain number of likes, then someone will reply with the comment "L" (as in "take the L, you lose"), which competes for likes.
The youtube automatically deleting comments thing is strange, it happens to me quite often for no clear reason. I once left a commend on a veritasium vid where I got something wrong. Replies kept coming about what I got wrong. But anytime I edited the comment, or leaving a reply myself. The exact thing happened to my edits or replies as happened in the video.

It is not like I can't leave comments anywhere like the guy in the vid, it just, sometimes happens with specific things, with no clear indication as to why it happens.

Youtube comments are incredibly plagued with spam. Every time I comment on video, I get a reply from a crypto scammer.
It's likely that the reason the comments are deleted are due to the spam filter. I don't see the connection with a critic of the disappearance of dislikes.
Indeed, but HN/reddit is happy to throw away any logic/skepticism and give in to their confirmation bias as soon as it comes to a topic like this. All it takes a single anecdotal evidence in the form of a video.
Google does this as a whole, IME. A body shop did a really shoddy repair and when I went to check my review later, it was gone. I don't understand why; it shows when I'm logged into the original Google account, but not otherwise.
There was a data-center that recently sent out an alert for a rather amusing sort of non service impacting issue but something that you'd want to warn anyone who'd need to visit about. I decided to leave a 5-star review that said they were great except for a comically worded reference to the issue and included a screenshot of the issue notification. Same story, only shows up when I'm logged in. I assume I used some key word that their AI didn't like.
I guess that body shop bought the correct amount of Google AdWords.
That's just all online reviews. I have never trusted them since I did a review of some LED light bulbs on Amazon. They were green and buzzed. I gave them one star, talked about the color rendering problems, and uploaded a screenshot of my spectrophotometer readout so that you could see just how green they were. Amazon sent me an email saying that didn't meet their community guidelines. Meanwhile, a bunch of 5 star reviews from similar sounding misspelled common names remain up!

My takeaway is that I've minimized my interactions with Amazon's fake reviews. I don't trust them, and if I need something "for real" (not on a whim), I just go to a reputable vendor instead of "Aliexpress but with 100% markup". (The reputable vendor still marks things up by 100%, of course, but at least they're not Amazon.)

It's just flabbergasting how much YouTube has regressed.

I remember when YouTube comments still had a neat and convenient little "translate" feature. Made it actually possible to practically cross the language barriers in comment discussions.

That lead to many interesting insights and discussions, and then, it was suddenly just gone. Which in practice meant that a whole bunch of people that used to be able to communicate with each other, crossing language barriers (How wonderful!), now suddenly couldn't anymore..

It's like the exact opposite to what the web was supposed to do, and the trend has been steadily keeping up. Removing the downvotes is also removing a form of signaling, and thus communication.

And the trend is not just reserved to YouTube, it's even more and more of a thing in places where it absolutely doesn't belong; Many modern video games do not have an "all talk" function anymore, out of fear nasty things might be written and then read by too many people, possibly leading to controversy in the bored "gaming press".

At this rate I wouldn't be surprised to even see YouTube comments go away for good.

I still miss annotations all these years later. Completely senseless removal of a wonderful feature with no technical drawbacks.
Speaking of translations.. the last few days I've been wondering why some YouTube videos are titled in English although the people in it are talking German, and I'm in a German-speaking country (but using YouTube with the English interface). So, apparently YouTube have started auto-translating titles. Or maybe, since the videos have English subtitles, they're using the creator-provided translated title.

But there is no option to turn this automatism off... and this automatic changing of shit is totally pissing me off.

That particular feature has been in place for years, at least for me, just for some subset of videos (maybe those which have been provided with translations for the title?). Luckily I've been seeing it less often recently, whereas when I first started seeing it it was popping up constantly, so maybe that subset of videos has grown smaller.

It is indeed infuriating to have titles translated behind your back. But even worse is the fact that the feature assumes that people only speak one language. Most of the world, myself included, speaks several languages. I don't want video titles translated, but I especially don't want them translated when they're in a language I speak fluently. You'd think that the mindset of inclusivity, which is perhaps the most valued in the places where these tech giants reside, would perhaps allow them to consider that telling people on the other side of the planet how they should use a thing as fundamental and personal as language might be a bad idea, and that their monolingual bubble is the exception, not the norm.

Sounds like his account has been put into some sort of shadowban mode, which is needed for the {human|bot} spammers out there (not that I know why it would be applied to them).
As is the case 99% of the time someone makes stupid claims like this. You would think of all people, the users on HN would know this, but apparently not.
There's a chance that the individual was acting bot like.. perhaps they posted the same comment, verbatim, to multiple videos in a short time span.
That's what he says, he goes to some small channels, and keep saying "Great content!" or "Great video!"
Then it doesn't really sound like the world is missing much by not having that comment. Make a comment on HN like "Great thread!" and it'll drop like a stone. It's a useless comment. "Great thread/video! I really like ______" would at least tell someone why you think it is great and much more useful.
Bots and other un-persons.
Shadowbanning is pretty useless for spammers, the pain they receive by getting one of their hundred bot accounts made invisible is nothing compared to the pain the real person gets.

Shaddowbanning should be like the justice system, it is better to let a a hundred guilty go unpunished than to convict one innocent person.

The justice system would work if the 'hundred guilty' were actual humans - instead one human gets to be tens of thousands of bots at once since creating bots has an astronomically low cost compared to creating / hiring 100 humans.
I'll bet he got flagged for "handjob", which seems like a plausible entry on the list of words disproportionately likely to be used by spambots. Somewhat poetically, "poof" also seems to be on a list (perhaps because in some countries, it's a slur for a gay or effeminate man) [1].


What gets me is the silent deletion. I generally don't post swear words but recently I posted "ass" and I refreshed it was gone. This could be on a personal user setting but still. It's funny though you could comment/not look at something again so does it matter that your comment stayed... idk.

It doesn't tell you "that's not allowed" or something. It updates the UI so you think it went through but it actually didn't.

That happens even if you don't post anything rude.
Youtube has an option for channels to hold "potentially offensive" comments for review. If that's what you encountered, the channel can then decide whether to show or delete your comment.
The submission topic is misleading.

The issue is that someone is complaining that Youtube is auto-deleting their comments.

Unless you know someone inside Youtube who has the technical knowledge and access to dig into this there is no way to know exactly what happened to your account: how your account's auto-deletion state got triggered.

It could be due to some completely different reason not related to the content of their posts being remarks against the Youtube change with regard to downvotes.

Maybe the comments were simply too repetitive in their content, and triggered a mechanism against repetitive posts (being predicated on the hypothesis that repetitiveness is an earmark of spam).

Or maybe the comments used offensive language; could be that YT has some mechanism to put serial posters of comments that use certain words on ice for a while.

If you look into the Youtube support forum, a large number of people have or have had this problem.

It may resolve itself if that person just stops commenting for about a week.

Looking at a lot of timber framing technique videos this week and realized how badly I miss the dislike as a signal that the video-taker is doing something wrong or dangerous.
Same. The like count is completely useless without the dislike count. They may as well have just gotten rid of both.
It's frightening to think that this decision from YouTube might literally end up killing some people. Given the userbase of YouTube, I don't think this is a hyperbole, as unlikely events become likely once the number of samples is high enough.
Yeah, for chain-sawing videos it was VERY helpful. Although in egregious cases usually there are a few comments warning the viewer as well.
Honestly, this was bound to happen sooner or later. YouTube wants to become as mainstream as televisions are for households. It will do anything to please its corporate advertisers. Some people claim YouTube has done this due to various political reason, for example the ruling in Kyle Rittenhouse's case.

I fail to understand why people think that's true. I see a far simpler explanation, which is that advertisers don't want people to know people think of their products. Let's just take the Juicero company\1 for example as we all know its product really "missed the mark" 2. Assume the fact that they released their juicer via a huge amount of digital ads. A lot of people would probably think their product is good just because they like their ads 3 as they seem to be competently made. But since we all know the product is extremely bad, people would probably give their ads a thumbs down on YouTube. However by removing the dislike button, determining if the product is good or bad by seeing the likes or dislikes on its video would become impossible.Of course over time the press would have shown the product as being a complete waste and word of mouth would be terrible, so the company would eventually implode as it did in real life.

1 I know its defunct



This whole conversation has been baffling to me.

I am a huge fan of YouTube, and I consume way too much YouTube. I mean, there's also problems with YT, make no mistake, but I'm admitting my bias, and also proclaiming my experience level.

A year or more ago, someone alleged to me that the like:dislike ratio is informative, and I've been watching it since then on videos that I was watching anyway. I've also been watching it especially closely since they announced this any people said they value the ratio. Nearly every video I see on YT has near the same ratio, about 90:1. 30:1 is extremely rare, 150:1 is even more rare. I don't doubt that there are worse videos out there than 30:1, but YT never shows them to me.

When I want to just binge on woodworking crafting videos, they suggest good stuff in my feed. With a 90:1 ratio. When I want to teach myself something, I search for that specific topic and they suggest good stuff. With a 90:1 ratio.

And when they do suggest crap, like often my feed will contain some "how to do basic web dev" video that is full of distortions or outright errors (as a moderately senior web dev, this is an area where I am not subject to Gell-Mann error), those videos STILL have the same damn like:dislike ratio, so how could I use that ratio to protect me from errors?

How the hell are other people allegedly finding these videos with dislike numbers as high as 10%? (I mean, before this month. Obviously now you cannot do the experiment I've been doing.)

As a side note, my Dislike Count only went away a few days ago. I dunno when it went away for other people.

Videos from corporate news media are frequently in this position.

They've lost their grip on reality, and the majority of viewers understand that and show their distaste towards their non-stop lying and gaslighting, while they brazenly push narratives funded by billionaire philanthropists in spite of their abysmal, spiraling ratings.

You clearly don't watch any political videos if the ratios you're seeing are universally that favourable. Almost all mainstream news content was heavily downvoted. More recently content promoting vaccines, LGBT politics, diversity / BLM related topics, etc have all come under significant fire from viewers and is very often downvoted.

I strongly suspect YouTube is having the same problem rotten tomatoes has been having in recent years... In their case we've seen films such as Captain Marvel do very poorly with audiences, while largely receiving praise from critics. What's the problem with that? Well, if you happen to land on a certain side of the culture wars you may start asking if the film's audience review is actually a reflection of the films quality or if it's just a reflection of it being vote bombed by misogynistic trolls. If you think it's the latter then you might feel the need to take action, and in the case of rotten tomatoes you might start altering and deleting audience reviews to ensure the audience score is conforming with what you know to be their true opinion of the film.

I'm not saying YouTube did remove the dislike button for political reasons, but their reasoning for doing so certainly doesn't make any sense. If creators are being harassed by the dislike button they can just disable it as many creators had been doing. And if you disable the dislike button you're only encouraging hate in the comments, which is probably worse for a creators mental health, and already enough of a problem on YouTube as it is. The timing of this move is also extremely suspicious. Nowadays my YouTube homepage seems to be full of mainstream news channels which I haven't subbed too often pushing the mainstream narrative in regards to COVID vaccines or some other hot culture war issue.

Right now I have 6 mainstream media videos being shown on my homepage none of which I have subbed to, 5 of which are COVID related and the other is about Ghislaine Maxwell. I have absolutely no interest in this content, in fact I actively try to avoid the news but YouTube for whatever reason has been pushing these videos onto my feed recently and therefore if I do end up watching them I'm likely not going to enjoy it much and am probably quite likely to downvote them.

I guess I'm not saying big tech have an interest in controlling what information you see and how you perceive it, but it certainly looks a bit suspicious.

You're right, I definitely do not watch political content on social media, haha. What a mess that would be.
I see videos with more dislikes than likes pretty regularly when searching for tutorials or DIY videos. Avoiding those has surely saved me a lot of time.
There is a youtube alternative that some creators are using called odysee. . It still has the dislike button.
This site also has 100% CPU usage on idle for some reason.
Mining coin?
I don't think so, my cpu is fine, doesn't use any more than youtube uses. I think the poster must have something wrong with their browser. I've seen more than a couple of people who got kicked off youtube move to odysee as they are much less aggressive on removing content. They also have downvoting.
As soon as I clicked on that link my computer fans got really loud. I closed the tab and they died down. Opened it again just to verify and they got loud again. I don't think it's just GGP.
gotta earn money some how. if you can't make it with ads, put your viewers to work in other ways. just a guess
It's stunning how often things like this get wildly upvoted. The video shows nothing at all about "YouTube deleting comments who criticize their hiding of the dislike count"; the guy shows a comment of his that has nothing to do with the dislike count getting deleted, although he asserts without evidence that this is related to a different comment he made (which was not deleted) regarding the dislike count. A lot of people are successfully exploiting HN to spread false stories about controversial events.
Tech companies get away with randomly and invisibly doing things to people which no one can verify or understand why. Yes of course we can't know why exactly this happened, but it's still youtube's fault for deleting all of these comments without explaining why.
The unfortunate reality, as anyone who's had to moderate online spaces can confirm, is that unexplained shadowbans are a necessary tool. Turn on showdead on HN some time, and you'll see some great examples of smart, coherent people who are incredibly dedicated to ruining the quality of discourse and couldn't be stopped by lesser measures. I was a big opponent of shadowbanning too until I spent some time moderating a subreddit.
This one's funny because the actual behavior is egregious enough without having to be artificially inflated.
Watch the first few seconds of the video again, and then it's your own comment which makes no sense.
Of course. You can't be 100% certain.

You know what else you can't be 100% certain of? How many dislikes this video got.

It's one thing how the comment disappears. It's a whole other thing how you are asked to "take a screenshot of the disappeared comment to investigate".

If you feel this singles out Google, think twice. Yes, Google definitely wasn't afraid to meddle with its search results for its own gains before. But there are other companies having practices just as shady.

Like "how the Apple Podcasts app went from a 1.8-star score all the way to 4.6 stars in a month without any actual fixes"

Hiding dislikes, disappearing comments, tricking users into reviewing unrelated services.

There is a broader issue unfolding recently about platforms and transparency.

Let's just host the downvote count somewhere else... all we need is a KV store, right? If we assume there are 10^10 videos there (it's surprisingly hard to find the exact numbers) and the downvote count won't go over 40 bits, then storing that data would need less than a terabyte in total.

(Only half-serious. I've seen a few "upvote this comment to dislike the video" and similarly clever workarounds already, so there does seem to be some bits of opposition and creative thinking left.)

> I've seen a few "upvote this comment to dislike the video" and similarly clever workarounds already

Great idea! Too bad it doesn't work if the creator disables comments...are there any ways to navigate around that obstacle?

Or make a bot that leaves a "like this to dislike the video" comment on videos.
Just grab an extension or userscript to reveal them, Here's a good browser extension That is working as of today-

I absolutely oppose heavy censorship but some is required otherwise it would turn into, the only way to have a censor free platform is to be rid of the scum bags that post scams, child porn etc.... Its unfortunate politicians managed to creep their way into youtube and impose biased censorship but its no surprise with how Google is already under the governments thumb with how biased their search results are. Youtube will never be what it was before and I doubt an alternative can take its place without the same thing happening. Thats part of living in a corrupt society, where Wallstreet reigns supreme,the rich exploit and profit off loopholes in our laws instead of doing the right thing, politicians are allowed to be bought through campaign donations and the media isnt held accountable for blatant tabloid like lies. Things will get substantially worse when Meta goes live and studies its users as they go on VR. On the bright side it could be worse, at least were not in a police state like China, Iran where they are trying to ban pets since its Haram or a country with no widespread internet access like North Korea.

Do people actually look at the votes before watching a video? I don't think I've ever done that on YouTube. The outrage over this just seems so manufactured to me.
I don't really watch YouTube much (I don't get sitting through somebody talking about something rather than just reading it myself) but I've seen a lot of people who do use YouTube to find educational videos using the like/dislike ratio as an indicator of the quality of a video. I guess if you're about to invest a half hour in listening to somebody talk about math or computer programming, you want some indication that it's going to be a half hour well spent.

I guess I do the same when I'm thinking about buying a book about a technical topic, after all - I read the amazon reviews to see if it's going to be a waste of my time.

You can get better feedback on whether a video is bad by skimming comments. You should also acknowledge that you may like content that is unpopular (highly disliked videos are never universally disliked).
>You can get better feedback on whether a video is bad by skimming comments.

But many videos disabled comments while the dislikes count was still visible to help decide.

>You should also acknowledge that you may like content that is unpopular (highly disliked videos

For non-politics or non-music videos such as how-to tutorials or product reviews, I've never experienced this. The crowdsourced dislikes was a very accurate indicator of a bad video and I've never disagreed with it.

Disabled comments is a very strong signal in its own right. Ratings can also be disabled and usually are as well. Either way, it is still very easy to discern whether the video you are about to watch is controversial.
>Disabled comments is a very strong signal in its own right.

It might be but often it's not. A common reason comments are disabled is that a female is in it which invites rude sexist remarks. For example, there was some advanced math university lectures taught by female professors and every one of them was spammed with "men of culture, we meet here again". Understandably, the channel later disabled the comments out of respect for those women but at least the dislike numbers were still visible.

>, it is still very easy to discern whether the video you are about to watch is controversial.

No, it's actually cumbersome and wastes extra time to determine if many how-to videos are bad quality without a dislike count. That's why so many are irritated that Youtube removed it.

I too have watched Numberphile. Rest assured, there's little to no risk of their extremely popular videos being bad.

> No, it's actually cumbersome and wastes extra time to determine if many how-to videos are bad quality without a dislike count.

If this is such a hassle, why participate here on Hacker News, a website providing nothing but informational content with no visible downvote ratings? Could it be possible that this inconvenience is not as bad as you're making it seem? There's plenty of low effort and low quality content reaching the front page every day. Whatever method you use to filter through the content here can also be applied to any other website with similar rules.

> I too have watched Numberphile. Rest assured, there's little to no risk of their extremely popular videos being bad.

I mean there's the Numberphile where they claim that the sum of 1 to infinity is -1/12, supporting their claim by rearranging terms in an infinite series in ways that are not allowed, while not explaining that the actual topic that they are talking about requires both a different definition of equals and extending a pattern into where it is not properly defined. So yeah, even Numberphile can put out a trash video full of errors.

By the way, I just checked the dislike ratio using an extension and while that video was still mostly liked, it has about 20% dislikes whereas most of there videos are less than 1% dislikes, so while the dislikes didn't work perfectly, they at least did inform people that something was going on with that video.

>I too have watched Numberphile. Rest assured, there's little to no risk of their extremely popular videos being bad.

No, I wasn't talking about Numberphile. I was actually talking about videos from Institute for Advanced Study:

Last month, every one of those videos that had a young female professor in the thumbnail had the "men of culture we meet again" spam and other rude comments. All the comments have been recently deleted and disabled.

>Hacker News, a website providing nothing but informational content with no visible downvote ratings?

The HN (net) downvotes are visible because the posts are greyed out. For tech topics (not politics), I don't scroll to the bottom to read a bunch of greyed out comments. Downvotes lowering their visibility are saving reading time on HN. Same idea as Youtube dislikes.

Watching any type of Minecraft tutorial on YouTube is impossible without dislikes. There's an insane amount of clickbait, including for contraptions that literally do not exist. It's crazy.
I don't think it's manufactured. I think there are two kinds of people:

* a smaller group of people who care about it (like me);

* and a majority of people who don't care either way about votes.

YouTube can satisfy both by keeping downvotes, but Google is notorious about not giving a fuck about users and only caring about results.

The small number of people who care about downvotes aren't going to stop watching because they're gone, so when viewed through the lens of Google's metrics these people simply don't exist at all.

Yes, I used to do that every single time, and I would Cmd+W out of it immediately if the like/dislike ratio looked suspicious. Plenty of other videos in the sea.
It can be helpful on the DIY help videos (home improvement stuff, etc) where the author of the video may have something wrong or dangerous in the instructions. It's not the only indicator since we have comments as well, but it's certainly a useful indicator.
Honestly, I was surprised to find that I miss the downvotes. I did quickly use it as a sort of gauge of "is this chopped or not".
what does "is this chopped" mean? Is this a new Gen Z term that I've yet to hear?
No idea.
It's helpful to spot fake stuff like fake trailers or some kind of scam.
From the perspective of YouTube, the goal is to increase engagement, so you end up watching more video content = you win. Though it's a pretty sad tactic and deceptive in the long-term.
Yeah it's already employed where you can't tell how good a search result video is since the ratings aren't displayed there.
The order of the results shows you how good it is
The argument for "Nobody looks at it" logically leads to removing most features/buttons except play, but UI isn't designed that way for a single workflow/use case. I sometimes look to see if people overwhelmingly disliked the video.
Yes, first thing. Anything with >=10% dislikes is usually not worth the watch imo.
I'm with you. This feels a lot like when people grumble about some big company changing their logo. Mostly inconsequential but a vocal minority takes to the blogosphere to complain and it all dies down after a few months.

People rarely even use the like button, let alone the dislike. I'd wager the majority of casual users don't even know anything has changed.

Not sure what your definition of "rarely" is. Normal well-liked videos have a 10 views to 1 like ratio; that does not fit my definition of rarely.

When the dislike count was available, videos in the same category I mentioned above would get 100 likes to 1 dislike, perhaps that I'd call somewhat rare.

But either way, I also don't care about the removal of the dislike count at all, one can still access the ratio via views to like count.

It does sound actually crazy that people are up in arms about this.

Some times I do look at the votes while already watching the video, but that's it. Same with with the number of views.

I have a feeling Youtubers are probably the segment most annoyed by the change, which happen to be the ones with the megaphone.

Yeah it's definitely a vocal minority. I bet there is next to no drop in traffic on youtube or in ad revenue. For youtube it's probably a public opinion win.
Your comment seem to be manufactured
Agreed. Following the drama has been so stupid. I challenge everybody who has a problem with this to boycott YouTube.
>Do people actually look at the votes before watching a video?

Yes, lots of people do that to avoid wasting time on bad videos.

Especially for product review videos or tutorials, the first thing I look at is the dislike count compared to the like count. If dislikes are high, it's because the reviewer didn't provide useful information. E.g. a "top 5 dash cams" where the video is simply a slide show of dashcams will have more dislikes than likes.

Dislike counts may be unreliable for politics videos but it was an accurate indicator for other topics like DIY how-tos. With the dislikes gone, I now scroll through comments first before hitting play. (But some channels disable comments so that doesn't always work.) I hope Youtube brings the dislikes counter back as their policy change is very user hostile.

Is there actual data on this somewhere that shows how the number of likes and dislikes affect users likelihood to watch? You don't even see the number of likes or dislikes in the video listing page, right?

My experience with how to videos is that I'll search on Google, it'll pull up a good video and take me directly to the point in the video that discusses what I want to know. Sometimes I use number of views or number of subs to judge whether a video is worth watching.

I've only ever used the like button a handful of times when I want to quickly save a video. I've never used the dislike. I always thought of them more as a metric YouTube uses in their algorithm and not something people pay much attention to , which can still be the case when the numbers are hidden. Maybe I'm wrong though.

>Is there actual data on this somewhere that shows how the number of likes and dislikes affect users likelihood to watch?

I'm unaware of such statistics.

>You don't even see the number of likes or dislikes in the video listing page, right?

Correct, the dislikes count was only visible if you clicked into the video. So users that depend on the dislikes count to avoid a bad video would have to click into each video and take a quick glance at the dislikes/likes ratio. If the dislikes are too high, immediately exit out and click the next video.

>I've only ever used the like button a handful of times when I want to quickly save a video. I've never used the dislike.

I also never use the Like & Dislike _buttons_ but that's not relevant to how I found the dislikes _counts_ useful. (Because enough of other viewers expressed their vote by pressing the dislike button.)

> I always thought of them more as a metric YouTube uses in their algorithm and not something people pay much attention to

Lots of viewers pay attention them especially when searching for new videos from unknown creators who are not in their feed. A short video from MKBHD explains the usefulness of dislikes counts:

E.g. a tech conference might have generated 50 videos each an hour in length. The ones with too many dislikes, I just skip. The dislikes stats helped prioritize what to watch in this age of information overload.

>which can still be the case when the numbers are hidden. Maybe I'm wrong though.

Yes, Youtube says the algorithm will still consider dislikes even though they are hidden for recommendations. But people still want to see numerical stats to quickly curate videos that Youtube did not recommend.


So frustrating not having the dislike button

the content I watch (mostly intellectual or political conversations or lectures) rarely has a dislike rate of more than a few percent, so I don't understand what good the dislike button does.

>So frustrating not having the dislike button

I can understand the satisfaction of smashing the button on something you don't like... but does your frustration take a different form that translates into more/less usability?

(I can also imagine that a dislike button might help in an overall rating system like Yelp or Rottentomatoes, but then those systems don't serve me particularly well either. If something is hugely popular, that means middlebrow tastes like it, which isn't that useful. I don't want to watch or read Stephen King, and after all, people vote with their dollars for McDonald's. I suppose this could be a useful metric on youtube for gaming livestreams or skating videos or something?)

The dislike button is extremely useful to indicate scams and erroneous information.

Even outside of outright scams its still useful. For example, there's a Numberphile video (a high quality channel that explains math to ordinary people) where they go off the rails and make a bunch of errors to claim that the sum of 1 to infinity is -1/12. It's based on real concepts but the way they present it is completely incorrect. It had a dislike ratio of 20% whereas most of their videos have a dislike ratio of about 1%. By seeing such a high number of dislikes, it alerts the user that something could be off about this video and that they should not take what is said at face value.

Is this youtube staff purposefully deleting critical comments?

Or is it anti-spam algorithms getting triggered by people flooding the comments sections of videos with the same inane comments? And/or getting flagged by creators and other youtube users?

Frankly, I can't see most creators wanting their youtube video comments full of "BRING BACK THE DISLIKE BUTTON", and I could see lots of their fans being annoyed by such comments as well.

My guess is that 95%+ of youtube users are more annoyed by an extremely vocal minority disrupting things than they are the removal of the dislike button.

Oh the dislike button is still there. It just does nothing anymore. Isn't that what we all supposed to be? Dumb and beautiful.

What do you think about our product? interested? very interested? or very interested? which one? which one? which one?

With the dislike count gone you cannot make a quick judgement about what Youtube recommended to you. Less power to the people, more power to Youtube.

It's a very subtle change. Also a monumental one.

I think it is automatic, a similar thing happens to me every so often. I am don't think it is related to the content of the comment, I barely even use youtube in the browser anymore and I barely ever leave a comment. I don't think I have left any comments that could be seen as offensive. The only thing that I could think of is that my ip is setting off some kind of spam protection because I watch so much youtube, just through youtube-dl + mpv. Idk what it is exactly, but I can confirm that something like what is shown in the vid happens to people, and that it is really frustrating.
The same thing is happening to me right now. Maybe something is wrong in Youtube! My comments are about Youtube and it's under a video that the person is angry that their views are going down (JayzTwoCents). But I can see it being deleted! I have seen multiple content creators also mentioning something like "if you leave a comment and it gets deleted it's not me, youtube is doing it and I don't know why" in the past week.
Youtube Alternatives :

Centralized : Dailymotion, Bitchute, Rumble, DTube, Vimeo, Vidlii, DLive, Triller

Decentralized : Odysee(LBRY), Peertube

"welcome to odysee: we have dislikes", on their homepage lol
I am more than ready to degoogle myself, if only my pinephone were fully functional :/. I need a phone that can support ANY OS of my choosing, not the one the vendor provides/allows, I am a paying google customer, drive and youtube, the former mostly due to the music, I guess its time to go back to the good old days. ARRGH!!! ;)
As of Dec 6, 2021, no changes for me, I'm still seeing dislike thumbs-down on youtube (and its count), I can click it and see the increment. They might only be removing it for individuals they don't want clicking dislike? Evidently that would be many of you. Why am I still allowed? I'll take a guess ...

They like my dislikes since I frequently 'dislike' videos I actually like as a strategy, I do so specifically for truth-tellers that I figure youtube doesn't like, for two reasons:

(1) I write algorithms and thus know it causes pain for YT algorithm writers, going ... crud, the pattern is not as easy as expected so now I have to write another exception/condition. Each one makes their code more complex of course and a little bit less maintainable. (2) To help protect the content creator from rising to top of the list for getting canceled as the higher the views combined with the ratio of likes/dislikes the more likely humans in the office will be talking about them and drool over dropping the axe.

I'm subscribed to over 200 channels but many are truth-tellers. Others are science/engineering/computing but some are even lefties, and of those, when they are pushing the official narrative bull, sometimes I upvote (the opposite of what I really think).

For 1+ years I've been saving my comments to be able to prove in court some day that I am civil yet often shadow-banned (2.48 MB today). Anyone can sue via the Sherman Antitrust Act etc etc in Federal court for collusion and so on.

(YT likes people trying to viciously tear each other's throats out, good times, but posting intelligent informative content does not serve to create a wonderfully dumb underclass. Yesterday for example, someone had asked how to really understand voltage, was asking for help and my reply was deleted immediately).

I'll take it one step further. I appears, surely, youtube's code is so refined now, when I am away from youtube for awhile they lure me back by making some older comments of mine visible to some people so likes from others occur. If I were not being shadow-banned, perhaps my comments would be rising up towards the top, can't have that as they are well-aware that I am one who disbelieves every narrative.

I'm only aware of one comment of mine with more than a mere handful of likes. Currently at 3.9K, quoting the scientist in the video ...

"Cats may purr for any number of reasons" Scientist code for: We weren't able to get a cat to purr to study it

He called a YouTube employee a "handjob". What else should you expect? I think calling it criticism is mischaracterizing somewhat.
There is a higher order evaluation in play here.

There are content creators who make the occasional video that gets ratioed. And there are others who have a majority of their videos ratioed.

When people see that, they ask why?

And you look at big media, and government, and I think this removing dislikes doesn't make any sense from our point of view, but it does from theirs.

This is evidence that YouTube breaks the user's trust.
This whole controversy strikes me as a sign of intellectual rot. YouTube has so many levers to control what you watch that getting mad about this is like getting mad the captain of the titanic won’t tell you how many deck chairs there are as the boat is going down. It simply doesn’t matter. It’s just one more in the long line of tweaks and AB tests YouTube uses to increase engagement. The learned debate club you’re looking for on YouTube is a mirage. If you find a video via YouTube search or recommendations you’ve already lost. If you find a video through a link from a trusted friend the dislike count doesn’t matter. Please, I’m begging you, find something important to care about
So Youtube let him make a video but not make a comment? Something doesn't add up here...
Lets say that there is a video that says you can cure any cancer by eating specific food. Now, you will have people that believes this and you have video with 400-1k upvotes.

Person sees the video and how liked it is. In the past he would have seen 3k dislikes and perhaps started to think, what's wrong with the content? Perhaps they would not buy my book..

But not anymore, now we can sell the ideas much easier. And if we think positively, buying likes is much cheaper now than before. No need to worry about those dislikes so much. Just buying enough of them for making the content more believable!

Thank you YouTube for making these business practices easier.

I don't think this is so bad. Overtime users will find a way to cope. There are also a number of secretive things YT is doing that users will never become aware of. Focusing on just the thing that gets publicity creates bias. YT is what it is and it will evolve the way Google wants it to. Either use it or not. Giving this much attention to one feature makes Google even more careful next time they make a change that negatively impacts users to do it in a more hidden way.

Kind of like the more a weak person's immune system deals with a virus the more mutation the virus makes and in the end the stronger it becomes.

Next update: removed comments.
I support such a move. YouTube comments have always been trash.
I find a lot of them hilariously funny actually.
Only sponsored comments!
Big companies need comments for astroturfing, Google will keep them.
Why not make this an opt-in feature? That way, big media companies with a YouTube presence who constantly have often post videos with high dislike ratios can hide the fact (although, we'll know this because of the hidden dislikes).

It's quite annoying when I'm looking at neutral, nonpolitical content, and I can't get a sense of whether or not other viewers hate it. I look at a decent amount of tutorial content for various things, and the like-dislike ratio is fairly indicative of whether or not the content is wrong or if I should even continue watching it.

That already exists. You could disable likes on a video.
> although, we'll know this because of the hidden dislikes

That’s exactly the problem, though. Nobody hides the like bar unless they expect a bad rating, so a hidden like bar might as well just be all red (people tend to assume the worst).

No matter what your view is on this (harassment or genuine negative sentiment, it doesn’t matter) an optional like bar might as well be mandatory for all the good it does.

I can see why people would be annoyed at being shadow banned. Alternatively get your circle of friends to upload videos to your own site and manage the comments/spam as you see fit. I am not convinced by the arguments that Youtube is needed to handle bandwidth unless you are popular in which case you can probably afford throwing a few small CDN's at the problem. The harder part would be finding advertising partners and embedding code for sponsors but apparently some youtubers are finding ways to do it.
> Alternatively get your circle of friends to upload videos to your own site and manage the comments/spam as you see fit

I’m confused by your suggestion. I have no interest in watching videos that my friends are uploading (because my friends aren’t uploading). How would having a site where my friends post videos help this situation?

The point being that if people moved from depending on YT and instead had their own circles of friends, at least one or two being technical then comments would be under the control of those people and not YT. If your circle of friends don't like particular comments, they can remove them. If you want up/down votes on your videos, you can implement it. The control is back in your court and the rules are entirely up to you and your friends, within the laws of your nation of course. Your friends don't have to upload videos and you don't have to watch them. I am of course assuming that you and your friends share similar interests, but really this is about control. YT has full control of their systems and always will.
A shadowban doesn't make it obvious to the target they're banned.

This is something else... Probably a bug.

You really don't need Youtube for that. You need infrastructure and you need monetization. The former you can achieve today using any service provider with autoscaling (i.e. AWS, Rackspace, Linode, and a hundred others too numerous to list here). The latter you can achieve through any number of ad exchanges that handle pre-roll ads and banners. Youtube is handy primarily in being a one stop shop for both of those things and more. It allows the technically illiterate a place to vent their spleen without having to know anything about the internet works... including, I might add, how to actually market their works so they get eyeballs on them. If, however, you have an IQ higher than your shoe size and can manage the above, including figuring out how to circulate your content to places where potential viewers are so you don't need to rely on Youtube's algorithm, then you can make a go of it yourself and win. Youtube is betting, quite correctly, that most of you will never do that.
I agree with all of this. That's why a small number of people and their circles won't be a threat to Youtube at all. Even the handful of popular Youtubers moving to self hosting probably won't get their attention for some time. And yeah, most non technical people won't be going down this path any time soon. That said if each small circle of people had a couple geeky friends and pool together some money they can do it. It's happening albeit it very slowly. Too slow for YT to notice or care about the insignificant churn-and-burn. I would not be surprised if there were also a chunk of youtubers that don't even want monetization.
Honestly, it's better if YouTube doesn't recognize the threat. Let them crash and burn with no survivors. And yeah, there's a lot of people who talk a big game about not wanting monetization (where monetization = ads) and tout peercasting as a universal solution to the problem, not realizing just how much bandwidth video consumes. There are peercasting solutions for video out there (like Bitchute), but they're by no means a replacement for Youtube. In any case, probably the best development in the last fifteen years has been the emergence of people willing to pay directly for content. Whether it's something like paying for a network like Hulu, or patronage on Patreon or Twitch, it's proved that you don't have to sell your soul to advertisers to make money. The next few years are going to be very interesting for sure.
I adblock youtube now and I cancelled premium due to their censorship
I personally think there's a good compromise to prevent "dislike" campaigns while keeping roughly same amount of information (putting quality labels with simple anti spam modeling would work fine), but still it looks like YT wants to get rid of the button itself ultimately? Otherwise it's hard to explain why they didn't even try such middle ground first.
Because dislike campaigns are a lame excuse. Don't forget the most disliked video of all time was published by Youtube itself. Now it's just a video with 220M views and 3M likes.
That's an awful lot of views for something people "dislike.'


It became a meme in it's own right and is still referenced fairly often 3 years later. It was downvoted heavily because it's a particularly laughable example of how out-of-touch corporations can be. I think this is the most likely reason why YouTube is removing dislikes: they need to protect their advertising dollars.

Here's the video, for reference:

Here is a simple tip/formula for you: Thumbs Up / View Count. The higher the number, the better the "Like" quality.

Base on my personal experience during the last few days, a "Fairly Good" video should give you something close to 0.06 on the metric. (reminder: the sample matters, you have to do your own numbers)

I guess now they have to remove the view counts too LOL.

In the early days, the distinct feature of the web was bidirectionality. Unlike TV or radio, on the web the communication went both ways. The user could finally give their opinion and comment. We have gone full circle, with YouTube hiding dislikes, and even with some channels disabling comments, we have unidirectionality again.
Before the dislikes purge I more or less had 80/20 proportion of interesting videos vs bad videos after I clicked to watch them. Dislikes highlighted bad videos and made the choice easier. After dislikes were removed the proportion flipped. Now 80% are bad videos and 20% interesting ones.
I'm not liking any videos right now. Not sure what to do with the videos on my 'liked list'. Only original & creative content that's impressive is spared from a dislike. Gathered it's subjective.

My block-list & 'don't recommend channel' is growing faster now.

I've noticed that the number of likes on videos have fallen since the dislike count was hidden.
If anyone wants to restore the dislike count there is this chrome ext that works great
Has anyone built a browser plug in that we can down vote or up vote videos? Outside of Youtube?
It wouldn’t help. Not enough people would use it to be helpful. The chances of someone with the extension installed having watched and voted on the obscure tutorial you’re about to watch is near zero.
You make a good point. To bad there is no way to incentivize it. I hate wasting time on repair videos and get all the way through it and it really isn’t helpful. I hope we one day see people pivot away from YouTube.
I often use YouTube videos to learn coding stuff. Recently followed a bunch of tutorials to learn Flutter. Taking away dislikes had made it very hard for me to judge the quality of a tutorial and have wasted a few minutes of my time.
It's easy to imagine the next logical step - Google only shows you targeted comments - if you're right leaning, you only get right leaning views etc.

(I'm guessing Facebook has already experimented with this).


Seems great from a board room, YouTube is too big to fail in 2years...

But this is just a signal that the platform is decaying to the latest generation of artists/creators...

Shame that for now they have a stranglehold on money and advertisers.

Just don't use YouTube regularly for infinite scrolling. I stopped 2 years ago and only head over for a specific video or two. I don't engage at all.
So... wait... YT is deleting all his comments... except the one that criticized the Dislike button? Wouldn't they just delete that comment?

Something is amiss here.

They probably use a different mechanism to suppress that comment as to reduce the possibility of users finding out that their comments are being deleted. Or at least reduce the impact of that particular user if they are going to keep posting similar comments multiple times.
It would be nice if high profile content creators would move to alternative platforms like Vimeo or Daily Motion. Many users will follow.
Their desperation never smelled so good. YouTube shoots itself in the foot time and time again. It's seriously a shame.
Hm... creators could just start publishing dislikes.

That might actually prove reputable amidst this whole mess. Just putting it out there.

They're just copying HN in hiding ratings of UGC ...

(Yes, Im still salty about comment ratings and still want them back.)

The irony of criticizing YouTube deleting comments in a video posted on YouTube does not escape me.
No one in my family (young and old) uses YouTube or Instagram anymore. It's all about TikTok.
I'm still struggling trying to understand why YouTube decided to hide the dislike count.

What does it achieve?

Anti-brigading social engineering. Without the Pavlovian feedback of seeing the dislike count go up, people are less incentivized to downvote because other people are downvoting instead of because they personally dislike the video.

That's the theory anyway. No idea if it works, but YouTube's not the only network to adopt this approach.

The only Google successful product is search. The rest, like Android and YouTube were bought.
BREAKING: Private company does something to selfishly protect their profit!! More at 11
Make a bot that leaves a "like this to dislike the video" comment on videos.
I wouldn't be surprised if auto-delete stops if OP deletes the offending video.
YouTube without showing dislike count feels like participation awards in school.


YouTube has been deleting MANY, MANY, MANY kinds of comments for a LONG time.
As a shallow person who likes shallow content, YouTube sucks. Their recommendations suck. They literally offer the same things over and over. There’s a billion videos and nothing to watch…
Dislikes still visible on incognito tab. Most fiction/speculative authors assumed tyranny would be from governments, not private companies. How wrong they were.
> Most fiction/speculative authors assumed tyranny would be from governments, not private companies.

I was under the impression cyberpunk got that right, generally.

Yep. Weak, incompetent or absent governments, with corporations governing most affairs in practice.
"tyranny" Okay, I'm definitely not on YouTube/Google's side here, but calling this tyranny is legit hilarious
"first they came for the dislike buttons..."
Looking at this as a single instance of censorship as tyranny might provoke ridicule, but I see where OP is coming from.

Taken in aggregate, in a world with multi-trillion dollar corporations censor their users, it's not ridiculous to talk about this as tyranny. There is no one tyrant, but every corporation rules like one and taken as a whole, the "world's government" (in this case the set of the most powerful corporations) is tyranny.

Anyway, I'm neither here nor there on the argument, but I don't see what's so laughable about OPs offhand comment.

right. huge companies but also fewer choices. Choice is supposed to be a feature of capitalism, free markets. When so much speech is online, then yet privatization of said speech does become a problem , imho.
I look forward to your treatise on how Taco Bell's removal of the Grilled Stuff Nacho was tyrannical overreach by an unaccountable food monopolist.
cuz if you don't like taco bell there are 2000 other choices that are also good or you can make your own tacos. the same cannot be said for Facebook or YouTube alternatives.
>the same cannot be said for Facebook or YouTube

There are literally hundreds of social media platforms and video hosting sites on the web. Many Youtubers are even advertising their content on alternative platforms.

but YouTube is 1000x more popular than the others and much nicer interface and useability. They are not interchangeable in the same way food choices are interchangeable.
Nothing is stopping those other platforms from becoming more popular over time, or from improving their interface or usability.

Being popular is not the same as having a monopoly. Youtube doesn't control infrastructure, they can't prevent users from watching other sites or hosting videos elsewhere. They're not granted special privilege by a government. We've just convinced ourselves for the sake of political narrative that these platforms have far greater power than they actually do.

You’re assuming an even playing field.

Once a corporation reaches a certain size, do you really think it’s possible for any other company to overtake it?

There is in fact something stopping them. There are in fact many things stopping them.

When you have $100 billion war chest, are you really going to let someone just walk in and eat your lunch?

Regulatory capture, lobbying, price manipulation, etc., are all things stopping these companies you just referred to, FYI.

… and Taco Bell is 1000x more popular than the vast majority of other restaurants.

Video services are interchangeable. They all have video. They may not have the videos you want to watch, just as other restaurants may not have food you want to eat.

YouTube makes a product. You use that product. No one is forcing you, legally or otherwise, to use it. You can easily not use the product. There are viable competitors to that product. If YouTube stops being good, people will move on to another product.

You cannot, on one hand, remark on how much nicer of an interface YouTube has while also complaining that a change the team which created the superior interface has chosen to make, in hopes of making the interface better, is somehow "tyranny".

It's governments resorting to tyranny. By expecting a violation of bodily autonomy as a prerequisite for putting bread on the table and participating in society. Germany's government for example is now locking down covid-unvaccinated people and presuming to tell everyone who you can even have in your own home.

“Under rules announced Thursday, gatherings are limited to “one household” plus two other people, if those among them include people who are unvaccinated or who have not recently recovered from covid-19”

And this isn't yet as bad as in Australia, where you have armed and masked police officers arresting and harrassing people just for leaving their home to go outside. It is now a "paper's please" penal colony once again. You can find videos of these types of interactions online.

Australia has been going to shit for over a year now. Here are a few examples of how:

They're going to force people who quarantine at home (rather than a government-mandated quarantine "hotel" with guards) to install and use an app. Facial recognition, GPS tracking in your own home. And it will randomly ping you, and if you don't respond within 15 minutes it'll send the police to your house to conduct an in-person quarantine check. Source:

They can arbitrarily lock you in your apartment building for up to weeks, no one allowed to leave. Sources:

And there's more examples if you look online.

So while private companies do have issues at times, they lack the power and reach of governments to enact these types of violations against freedom. This is hiding a dislike counter. It's a stupid product design decision that will cost them money as people seek alternative platforms, but it's not comparable to tyranny. We are seeing actual tyranny unfolding in Australia, Austria, and Germany. These democracies are collapsing because of the bureacrats there. Not the companies. It's time to start recognizing who the real enemies to personal freedom and health are.

You just equated the removal of a software feature, by a private company, on a free platform, as "tyranny".

You are not a serious person.

always glad to spot a fellow ancap in the wild. private companies should be able to do whatever the fuck they want.
Dislikes are visible since it's an A/B test where they gradually put more and more people into group B until it's 100%. Only then will they stop sending the dislike count via the API.
I did notice this "recently" like there was a recent change before dislikes of making their icons thinner. I would notice it in one account but not another.
What do people want? On the one hand you have misinformation and psychological harm that social media causes people and all the people complaining about that, and on the other hand you have heavily curated/censored content to try and craft a specific experience on a platform, and all the people complaining about that. So what actually do people want social media companies to do? Hands off or hands on? You can't have both.
> "Please take a screenshot of the comments that are missing so that we can use it as samples for investigation."

I cracked up. This is the hell world we have been pushing for - it's arrived.

I have a similar IRL situation where I live. I need a vaccine passport to go into places where I can request an ID (which can only be done in person). I need an ID to apply for a vaccine passport.

One has to wonder whether these systems are broken by design.

if their comments are apart search then this is considered tampering search results
My account is completely shadowbanned and I don't know why. Googling around gives an impression that that doesn't happen. My comments aren't removed, they're just invisible. Oh I'm also banned on here so yay for me
To put my tinfoil hat on: I believe that the recent crackdown on the dislike count and the twitter rule change/bot purging has been orchestrated by the Biden administration in an attempt to combat a repeat of foreign interference via social media.
If foreign governments can have a discernible effect on America because of a dislike button - removing it wouldn’t make a difference.

Removing the ability to _comment_ would be something different…

I think it does make a difference. Its a small one, but one that hits home. After all, when you see those videos online of the Biden admin with 1000s of dislikes...don't you feel that there is a segment of people out there that don't go along with the cultural zeitgeist of the internet? That maybe left-wing opinions (although dominant on the internet) may have some push back in the real world? When you lose that ability to voice opposition you get something not exactly dystopian but something marching closer to it.
How do you figure left-wing opinions are dominant on the internet?
I don't, and I think the strongest argument against the dislike counter is that it encourages people to. Dislike counts aren't an accurate metric of what people "out there" think because they're heavily dependent on who ends up seeing the video - it's easy for a video to have lots of dislikes even though it expresses popular views, or few dislikes even though it expresses unpopular views.
I definitely agree with this. If you go to any video right now that even mentions vaccines you can look at the comments of people talking about how evil Pfizer and Moderna are, and it dominates the entire comment section. I'm reasonably certain that a lot of these people are looking for vaccine videos just to shit on them in the comments and downvote them.
Not to mention, regardless what most people think or ones self thinks, I didn't think, or didn't like, much of the most important information and concepts that have ever been told to me.

It's fine to filter entertainment by taste and preference, but having news of the world treated exactly the same way is a problem. It's not only not a good idea, it's literally not sane.

I agree, Biden is regularly downvoted heavily. I would think primarily by Americans.
I would guess primarily by Right-wing Americans, the very Left-wing americans I know don't love him but wouldn't down vote him regularly.
The very left-wing Americans I know hated Trump a lot more than they love Biden. They have no particular love for Biden because Biden is not very left-wing at all. Biden comes from the old neoliberal contingent of the DNC, not the new lefty progressive camp. Biden is no Bernie or AOC and only has lukewarm support from very-left people, in my experience.
This path is kinda the obvious path to go down if you have a large public site 2021. It is what the data says. Even for small sites with 1M users this is obvious. HN would benefit a lot from going down the same path too to avoid premiering all the zealots.

Edit: Landed well as expected. Maybe HN could provide a service where users could battle about facts in different areas. So all the useless fatty Americans could show their true credentials.

The real travesty here is him using the context menu to refresh the page.
I find this debate a little strange. My position is that youtube is a private company, they should be allowed to do whatever they want, and people should be able to choose a video service that meets their needs. If you feel that youtube is so dominant that this is cramming a "no dislikes" policy on the whole world, isn't the problem really that you think youtube is a monopoly, not dislikes per se?

Edit: I clearly didn't word this well, because people are responding to me with things I agree with. Let me try again. Certainly, everyone can and should complain about this if you want to! (You have my thanks in this case, I don't like it either.) I'm just saying that in a "normal" situation you'd be able to respond to this change by switching to a competitor. I don't think the complaints are strange but rather the lack of complaints about the fact that there are (sorta/kinda) no alternatives.

Isn't that a strawman? You can call out companies for doing crappy things with their products without advocating government intervention.

Is this a new thing? I see this argument all the time.

When Coca Cola made their impopular recipe change were people defending it with "oh it is a private company, haters gonna hate".

Seconded. This “private companies can do what they want” isn’t the “gotcha” many people think it is. Societal values exist independent of the specific implementations of laws meant to protect them, and in places where the law doesn’t reach—like the USA’s 1st Amendment not applying to private businesses—I think it’s still worth talking over “Hey, the law doesn’t really enforce this value here, but maybe it’s a good idea to abide by it anyway”. Saying private companies can do whatever they want is just stating the obvious and avoiding the question of what they should do.
In addition to this, I find "private companies can do what they want" a particularly one-sided view in the context of a platform like YouTube since such a significant portion of the value of the platform was generated by the creators, i.e., users of the platform themselves.

This is different from, say, a restaurant that changes one of their recipes and sells me food that I can either continue to order or stop ordering if I no longer like it.

In this specific case, the creators of the platform themselves invested into the platform, presumably under the assumption that certain core principles or features of the platform would be upheld also in the future. It is easy to see that this assumption is mistaken, and we have seen repeatedly that everything can be changed easily and quickly by the owners of these platforms without any regard to the creators and content producers, but that does not make it particularly heartening either.

>"youtube is a private company, they should be allowed to do whatever they want"

Yes? But this isn't the source of why people are upset. As far as I can tell, no one is protesting YouTube's ability to do what they did. No one is demanding the government force YouTube to reverse this decision.

I also feel like reflexive arguments like "So-and-so is a private company and can do whatever they want" is unhelpful and irrelevant to the discussion. Do I really need to be reminded that some giant corporation has control over their own platform? Was I ever under the illusion otherwise? Why is corporate criticism met with a reminder that they had the right to make the decision?

Additionally, the entwined mindset of 'you can just go somewhere else if you don't like it' is also unhelpful. Very few decisions like these are bona-fide deal-breakers.

The problem is that network effects determine what video service we use, mostly, as internet users. Saying that you could choose an alternative service is like the old argument that you could move to another country if you don't like it here [1].


Is this an argument for a centralized govt provided video platform?
The average government would invest billions, privatize it immediately for millions and socialize the difference.
The thing is, it’s not just about some general “video service”, people want exactly what YouTube provides just without the specific things that they don’t like. Finding a specific service that does that is nigh impossible.

It is however totally possible to find or create and alternative video platform (this is something that plenty of YouTube creators already do). People just don’t want to make the trade offs that solution requires.

They're a private company who is free to do what they want, and the people complaining are private individuals who are free to do what they want. There's no assault on anyone's liberty in either direction. Companies can freely modify their products, and customers are free to be pissed off when they do. In this case, people feel that YT is removing dislikes to prevent PR damage to brands and individuals who post unpopular videos on their website. They think Google is prioritizing its profits at the expense of their product. Let them complain.
Nobody is asking the government to step in to stop Youtube from making the change. People are just complaining about the change, like they would for any other change a company may make.
These "private companies" are effectively governments of their own. Capital is global and claims no single nationality.

"'cause you are the government. You are jurisprudence. You are the volition. You are jurisdiction. And I make a difference too."

YT is a private company on paper. In reality it's a fiefdom that has complex relationships with the emperor of the White House. The YT fief has a good deal of influence on the empire's subjects, the fief decides what they get to see, the emperor himself uses YT to speak to the public, and thus the fief has soft power over the emperor. It so hapoens that the emperor is wildly unpopular, his edicts on YT get wooed by peons, but the emperor also has power, and can force his will onto the fief in many ways. YT had to yield in this case, perhaps in exchange for a small favor from the emperor.
No one has argued Youtube isn't allowed to do it. It is just customers complaining about the move. If McDonalds got rid of their Big Macs, people might complain about it, but that doesn't mean that McDonalds has a hamburger monopoly or that the complainers think McDonalds did something illegal or something they weren't allowed to do. It is just customers complaining about a feature they liked being removed.
If you go to the store, demand a Big Mac, and complain to all present that the Big Mac got cancelled, then they'd ask you to leave. And, sure, folks would be upset about being asked to leave.
Yes, and if McDonalds saw tens of thousands of people complaining that the Big Mac got cancelled, they might decide to uncancel it.
Or they might hold the line. Corporate execs got their agendas (egos)
Everything stems from YT being a monopoly, but since YT is so ubiquitous it can feel good to vent/rant with everyone else about something we all agree on, and here it's that the dislike counter was removed for an arguably bad reason.
Pretty much, YouTube is for video watching what IE used to be for browsing back in the obscure IE6 times. Unless you live in China where it's blocked.

Some countries (mostly of the EU) already try to enforce some control against this kind of monopolies but they are still too bland.

And competition fails to appear thanks to the WhatsApp effect. If most of the content/friends are on it, its not easy to change to another platform unless something drastic happens (like the Great Firewall).

Public debates around policy changes are just another feedback mechanism to let companies know when they effed up. Its up to YouTube to consider how much they value it.
yes, they are allowed to do it. nobody is demanding the government to intervene and bring the dislikes back. I don't know which debates are you referring to.

that being said, it is also their right to shut down whatever content Russia/China/Iran/etc finds disagreeable, I'm sure you don't mind that either.

So being a private company means no one can criticize you and the detrimental effect you're having on public life? Besides, that YouTube is a monopoly isn't the main problem. Few people complain about utilities that work well. It is rather that YT has done harmful things as a monopoly.

The public/private distinction is important to respect, but according to reason. They don't live in hermetically sealed off universes as some libertarians would have you believe. Just as government can overstep, so can private business.

I don't see how that is relevant to this debate. Of course they are free to make product changes. As a user I am free to dislike it and complain about it in an effort to get it to change. What do you suggest we do? Should we all just shut up? I've been a paid youtube premium member since the beginning. As well as a youtube tv subscriber. They should take user feedback seriously. But they aren't.

I use youtube for entertainment and learning. This change has seriously made youtube less useful to me on the learning side because the dislike count was a good signal to the quality of the information in the video.

I see what you're saying. Certainly, I didn't mean to imply that anyone isn't entitled to complain about it! I should have worded what I was saying differently: There are tradeoffs in having dislike counts visible. Having it will be better for some people, not having it will be better for others. So if we only have one only service that provides video to everyone, then we're stuck in a situation where one of these groups has to get a worse experience.
You seem to be coming to this debate with a very different set of assumptions. I think with a bit of creativity, YouTube could satisfy both sides. Give creators the ability to remove dislikes. They previously had that ability, but they were forced to remove likes and dislikes together if they wanted do to that.

A lot of the YouTube community is reeling from this because the harassment concern brought up by YouTube management doesn't seem legitimate. They've never proven this is a real issue that warrants such a big change. It just seems like an excuse to push an unpopular change for nefarious reasons.

Of course they are!

That's how this goes. Once the door is open for censorship, it all works just like lies do, and it's often associated with lies and or hurt egos, say lack of acceptance and respect, and it tends to spread, until it's ridiculous.

And let's get real here: This whole mess is because the government and big media don't like being near constantly ratioed.

They do have the option of improving how they work and what they say, but maybe they feel it is easier to just try and hide the problems. People went away from broadcast because of this crap, and reproducing it online means people will go somewhere else again.

What it won't do is transform things into being reputable.

The evidence presented in this video isn't anywhere near enough to confirm that this is actually true, yet you're already offering up speculative explanations about google's intentions as if it's all a foregone conclusion and you know exactly why. I think that's a little weird.
Who says we are constrained to this video?

This matter is a running conversation.

If you can present evidence that YouTube is deleting comments that criticize the removal of the dislike button then I'll retract my skepticism of your comment and endorse it myself.

From my perspective, there is a least considerable evidence that what you're saying is not true, consider for just one example, the entire comment section on the very video this thread is about.

Here you go
Check the comment section of that video.
For what? Burden is on you here, due to your position in the conversation.

What are we looking for? Why does it matter?

The entire comment section is full of comments criticizing the removal of the dislike button.

I see 'em. Have seen them elsewhere too. I didn't see anyone saying ALL comments were being removed, did you?

Now, before we go farther down this road, there is a lot going on. YT, and others, are doing many things to nudge, bias, favor, some speech over other speech. Not all of those make sense. Some are offensive. Others make sense.

These actions in general, and the low transparency related to them, as well as some overt and excessive actions, bans, demonetization, etc... are very highly objectionable. That's where I am at on it.

And I'm going to stay there, until such time as the burden I put up thread is met in a compelling way.

Some are saying these things are just unfortunate artifacts from necessary actions, I do not agree.

Cheers, I've got other things to do, but I did enjoy this conversation.

You've the last word, and I'll read with interest.

> I didn't see anyone saying ALL comments were being removed, did you?

It's very convenient for your argument that you can dismiss all the evidence that directly contradicts the claim as stated. Seems to me like this is made up outrage by somebody reading signs in tea leaves.

The important distinction is the type of user making the complaint. A youtube partner gets their comments deleted whereas random people don't. It would then go without saying, the larger the voice the more scrutiny it may receive.

All I'm seeing from your responses however is just intellectual laziness, borderline concern trolling and trying to mostly defend anti-American actions from a large American corporation. I'm not sure what your goal is, but I don't think you're having this discussion in good faith.

You're also asking for proof of censorship, I'm not sure if you understand how what you ask literally would be nearly impossible to provide because it would be censored. It would have to have you go on and trust to some degree that something was said.

If you want to go about arguing with your "strongly intellectual" mindset you're going to have a rough time being able to comprehend counter intuitive discussions involving the destruction of the very evidence you're trying to discuss.

A bunch of bloviating nothing-speak sprinkled with accusations, name-calling, and speculation about what's in my head. Spare me.
Well, there we go!

Seriously, and with due respect, I do not need your endorsement. In the court of public opinion, it's all about the passers by and how this conversation plays out over an extended amount of time. You have put your thoughts here, as have I and we both get to do that!

Bonus: Seems a reasonable conversation. I like those.

My perspective is that of a student of corruption, these general dynamics over a broad range of contexts. There are some basic truisms in play here that speak very strongly to the opinion I expressed.

That's why I lead with, "of course they are", because "that is how these things go."

Time tested, production proven basic wisdom right there. Our history is littered with this crap, and the tech, context, etc... will change, but the humans really don't.

This is a human issue, not a technical one.

You've written a lot of vague platitudes about corruption, but have offered no evidence to support your speculation.
I don't need to.

The technical arguments are not sufficiently compelling to undermine the entirely obvious transition to a more big media friendly model in progress.

Further, I'm on the solid majority opinion on all this.

To get past that requires proponents show people need this to be done, they are better off, and that somehow they will be better informed, see more value.

Not gonna happen.

> I don't need to

Ok. Obviously you don't need to do anything, but presenting evidence for a claim when asked is a pretty basic standard for discussion around here. Peace out.

We do not have an absolute here. Time will tell.

You want hard facts on political and power motivated behaviors. Over time, as I said, we will learn more.

And hey, I could be wrong. That will come out too.

It's intellectually lazy arguing. They're basically trying to take the position of "It's not real until you can have a scientific or political consensus by APPROVED thought leaders."

It's a chicken and egg issue. You can assume if you have an egg you'll eventually get a chicken, but he's saying "you don't know that 'for sure'" until the chicken hatches. It's just feels like concern trolling.

Noted and filed away for the future.

Thanks. That makes sense.

Please don't speak for me, your explanation of my position is totally off base.

> They're basically trying to take the position of "It's not real until you can have a scientific or political consensus by APPROVED thought leaders."

This is a bizarre and bad faith summary of my position. I have made no statements about "approved thought leaders". What I said is that evidence has not been provided for the claim that YouTube is deleting comments for criticism of hiding the dislike button. I understand that you believe this to be true implicitly and that no evidence is needed to make the claim, but I reject the suggestion that your claim doesn't need evidence. Lacking evidence, you lash out and label me a troll... a foreboding omen for the possibility of civil discussion.

I literally provided you evidence of it happening. I guess that wasn't the evidence you're looking for hence "approved thought leaders". If it doesn't come from specific sources for you it's not relevant or "evidentiary".

Go back to reddit.

When it comes to censorship, I think at best it doesn't really matter why, and at worst it's fair to assume mal intent, even if it's not obvious or provable. Otherwise (and without an affirmative reason), why hide it?

That's the nature of censorship.

But especially so when the "alpha testing" is specifically done on videos of the new White House administration.

Unless you're questioning whether removing the downvotes qualifies as censorship at all. Which I would find a little weird.

What hypothetical "pure" intentions would you suggest are possibilities?

Bingo. Censorship opens the door to all of these questions.

Censorship is bad, even if done for the right reasons.

> When it comes to censorship, I think at best it doesn't really matter why

Your "censorship" framing is just a speculative assumption. There is no proof that censorship is going on here.

> What hypothetical "pure" intentions would you suggest are possibilities?

There are billions of comments on YouTube and anyone who actually works in software understands that software very often does things that the programmers didn't intend, and I'm not even talking about ML which is literally statistically applied logic, i.e. the wrong thing happening is inevitably assured and assumed from the start.

This whole argument is moot anyway, there's no commercial incentive to hire a legion of moderators because for all that extra money spent they'd simply be accused of bias even if the moderation was actually fair, a statistic of which there is literally no trusted party to arbiter.

I'm taking about hiding downvotes and selectively disabling comments. (Ignoring for now the selective hiding of particular comments or blacklisted words)

That's hiding information that's normally available due to the nature of the content. That's censorship.

I hope that the slippery slope is not real, and it doesn't get to the point where comments such as yours get deleted across all platforms, but I fear I'm wrong.
If Youtube views were really upvote/downvote driven, and if democracies were really vote-driven, if we actually listened to people’s vote instead of telling them what they should think… the world would be much, much different.

We would actually listen to the People.

No, that’s clearly not the world we want. Bring on those “crowd shaping tools.

(Edit: Removed the middle paragraph).

>"No, that’s clearly not the world we want."

Who is "we"? Obviously not the people from the rest of your message.

> if democracies were really vote-driven,

It’s interesting that let’s go Brandon has become a thing for the most popular president. Why didn’t it happen before?

Indeed, but adding to the problem in this egregious way should be called out and the reputability of those involved questioned.

Might not do a lick of good. That's OK.

I can, at a minimum, gauge who to trust, who I am working with. A short conversation says a lot. And that's enough to manage what I do, say, risk, reward.

Maybe that is as good as it all can get right now. Maybe not. Real people having real conversations is a path forward though. More people than ever are seeking that having seen the mess you describe unavoidably. The illusion was better before. Now it's all sort of overt, in our face.

YouTube is on the side of profit, so is now moderating its platform like the large media companies who have moved in from TV/Cable to also using YouTube. The creators and users are always last place.

As I said days before, [0] it will only get worse and YouTube will not change.


Ironic, because what made them popular was community content. Now that media producers use their platform, it has to cleaned up in the interest of advertisers. Youtube kids (what a horrible idea) for everyone. I really hope for a new alternatives taking root. I don't want TV 2.0 and the content of established media on Youtube is lacking to say the least.
Not reputable.[1] And that's OK, expected. [not OK as in, I approve, because I just don't. OK in being aware and acting reasonably and prudently]

Best move is to use it with eyes wide open and continue to seek options for news, commentary, matters of importance.

At some point, "profit", being a higher priority than people, and their needs / interests, isn't going to end well. Never does. To me, the question is all about the timeline and where I'm at personally when it does seriously shift.

[1] And I do not mean to denigrate anyone or YT frankly. See my other comments. It's a rough world. Seriously,

One nit to pick on your otherwise fine point:

Profit means playing ball with entities that can very seriously impact the enterprise. The money is great, but the cost to everyone is YT and friends doing some bidding they would otherwise want to avoid.

Essentially, it's similar to the military industrial complex. Private extension of government, and big business always does this. Has to, or the real threat might be accumulating soft power, the hearts and minds of the people,

Just saying it's not all money here. Power, and I mean established power, is a factor here as well. Corruption is legal here, and in many parts of the world. What we are seeing now is a part of that playing out.

If we were to have some real conversations, perhaps over beers, in a trust type scenario, I'll bet a whole lot of people in tech get this, have no answers, and would prefer it go much differently. We all know how this stuff can empower people, really improve the world.

That's not changed. But there are things in the way.

Corruption is not legal. It is simply the apparent norm that we have come to expect from our elected officials, bureaucrats, journalists, courts, police, and many other occupational classes. And when in Rome….
Corruption is absolutely legal. For example, the revolving door between regulatory agencies and large businesses, insider trading by Congress members, large government contracts (especially in the military) being awarded not to the best companies bidding but the ones that will employ people in a given politicians district, and so on. All corruption, all legal and normalized. Many are just trained not to see it as corruption.
Corruption may be the de facto standard operating procedure for the majority of government, but that does not make it legal. However, being illegal does not mean that we the people stand a snowball’s chance in hell of draining that swamp.
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