YouTube comments revamped, users give thumbs down

Google has shaken up YouTube's commenting system in an effort, it says, to improve the quality of conversations -- but its users aren't impressed.

Google has shaken up YouTube's commenting system in an effort, it says, to improve the quality of conversations -- but its users aren't impressed.

Among the changes are the ability to make your comments private, reply in threads, share comments to Google+, edit your comments and get notifications.

Comments can now be much longer -- which one user tested by posting the entire script of the 177-minute movie Braveheart -- and can include URLs, which seems like an open invitation to spammers.

This video explaining some of the changes, which focuses heavily on its integration with Google+, is already deeply unpopular, with 85 per cent of voters giving it a thumbs down at time of publication.

Reading the comments, many focus on how the increased size of comments and ability to include special characters will increase the potency of trolls. Unicode phalluses and depictions of Hitler are among the top-voted comments.

When you go to leave a comment, even if you've chosen before that you want to keep your YouTube and Google+ accounts separate, it asks you again, and prompts you to agree to new 'Pages terms', whatever they are. What's my channel? Is that the same as my account? Why does it want to link it to a work-related account?

The biggest change for many users will probably be the ordering of comments. Instead of showing the top two highest voted recent comments and then everyone else in reverse time order, all comments will be sorted for relevance.

"Let's say you're enjoying Lindsey Stirling or Epic Rap Battles' latest video and want to join in the conversation," YouTube explains. "Would you rather see comments from people you care about (including Lindsey or ERB themselves), or just whoever in the world was last to post?

"Starting this week, when you're watching a video on YouTube, you'll see comments sorted by people you care about first. If you post videos on your channel, you also have more tools to moderate welcome and unwelcome conversations. This way, YouTube comments will become conversations that matter to you."

What do you make of the new YouTube comments? Does Google+ need this boost to its visibility, or will forcing people to use it dent its reputation? Do you think this will improve the amount of constructive comments after the initial fuss has died down? Leave a constructive comment in full anonymity below, or use your real name on our Facebook page.

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