Google changes YouTube comments once more - receives a mixed response

New comment system makes it easier to remove comments, flag them as spam, or reply underneath the video

YouTube has revealed a new comment management system, which allows users to respond to comments in one place.

YouTube’s changes in September, including switching to Google+ comments and comment notices to alerts, proved unpopular.

Users protested against the integration of Google+ with YouTube comments, leading to an online petition with over 200,000 supporters. Commenters were concerned about their privacy, as commenting with a Google+ profile could reveal their identity.

YouTube acknowledged the unpopularity of the product in a blog post, stating: “Many of you have told us that you use your YouTube Inbox to manage comments. With the new commenting system moving comment notices to alerts, removing this feature was, well, a bummer”.

YouTube said that they consequently “fast-tracked the development of a new comment management page that lets you see, respond to, and moderate your comments all in one place”.

From this central page, users can “easily remove comments, flag comments for spam or abuse, give a thumbs up, or click over to the video watch page and reply”.

The new system also allows users to see comments from people who are just in their Google+ circles. With further Google+ integration, YouTube commenters can have private conversations on the site by leaving comments that are just visible by those in their Google+ circles.

Nundu Janakiram, a YouTube product manager, told TechCrunch that comments from the video creator will be ranked very highly under the new system. He also advised the technology blog that comments from popular personalities and those in user’s Google+ circles will appear higher up in the comment chain than comments from others.

The new comment system will also allow users to moderate comments on their videos differently. Video creators can create a “blacklist” of words that they would want to automatically lead to comments being reviewed. Users can now also create a list of people from their Google+ circles who can always comment on their videos without the need for moderation. The changes may therefore lead to less spam comments.

The response from users has so far been mixed. One user, Robin Madsen, commented on the blog post: “Gotta say, thumbs up! Actually better than the old option! When replying directly from the page becomes available then this will become extremely useful!”.

However, another user disagreed and said: “It doesn’t seem like they ask actual creators who changes (if any) they’d like to see. Change can be good, but change has to have a purpose. Google+ really doesn’t seem to have been thought through before implementation”.

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