An end to the slurs? Google attempts to clean up YouTube comments

Comments under videos are notoriously idiotic, but owners have a solution

There are a lot of places you can visit if you want to be insulted by online strangers, but there are few websites where the quality of the comments is as gross as YouTube. 

The comments section on the Internet's favourite video-sharing site are a petri dish for elaborately stupid opinions, ugly racial epithets and endless spam. The more popular the video, the more intellectually bankrupt the commentary - a fact of which Google, which owns YouTube, is under no illusion.

However the Californian web giant reckons it has hit on a partial solution to its problem. Yesterday it announced a new commenting system based on its Google+ social networking platform. The new system will rank comments according to relevance, as opposed to the current method which puts the most recent comments at the top. It will also feature a much-needed new set of moderation tools.

Under the new system, comments from the video's creator or publisher will rank very highly. It will also prioritise input from popular YouTubers, and people in your own Google+ circles. Up and downvotes remain, but will have a greater effect on prioritisation, while it will also be possible to conversations in private.

"Currently, you see comments from the last random person to stop by," Nundu Janakiram, a YouTube product manager, told CNet. "The new system tries to surface the most meaningful conversation to you. We're trying to shift from comments to meaningful conversations."

The is already a certain amount of Google+ integration with YouTube. Last year the site began to ask users to merge their accounts on the two platforms, to encourage more people to post under their real names.

YouTube aims to roll the new commenting system out gradually over the coming weeks. That might make it a little harder to come across all those opportunities to earn $10,000 a day from the comfort of your home, but with luck we'll see a change for the better.

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