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Four ways to combat YouTube's new comment system

YouTube's new comment system forces you to create a Google+ account, and introduces some problematic features. If you want to hide or change YouTube comments, here are a few options.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

With Google's change to YouTube's comment system, you are now required to have a Google+ account in order to post a comment. This has angered many users who would rather continue posting under their current anonymous profile or simply don't want to be forced to create a Google+ account. People are so irate that a petition has been started to bring back the old way of commenting.

Personally, I like Google's attempt to clean up YouTube comments, but what has me worried about this change is the ability it has given users to post URLs in comments. (I also don't enjoy the limitless character count that's now in effect.) I have two young children who like to peruse YouTube from time to time, and I would rather avoid them stumbling across a link someone posted on YouTube that might lead them to an unseemly corner of the Internet.

Thus, it's time to remove or otherwise change YouTube comments. I have three extensions for the job, for either Firefox or Chrome, and one userscript.

First up, the Chrome extension, Reddit Comments for YouTube. As the name suggests, this extension replaces YouTube comments with a Reddit comment thread that's associated with the video. And if you find there are no Reddit comments for the video, you can toggle between regular YouTube comments and the Reddit comments using the two links at the top of the comments section.

For Firefox users, there are a number of extensions that hide YouTube comments, but many of them do not work with the new G+ comments system. One extension that does, is Comment Snob. It's available for Firefox as well as Chrome, although the extension didn't work with either browser on my Mac, and only with Firefox on a Windows 8 machine.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Comment Snob lets you set a variety of rules to filter YouTube comments. You can filter out comments with profanity, spelling mistakes, excessive punctuation, ALL CAPS, and so on. The extension also blocks comments with certain keywords or phrases of your choosing. Alternatively, you can check a box to simply hide all comments.

Since I had some issues with Comment Snob, especially using Chrome, I wanted to find a Chrome extension that just hid YouTube comments. What I found was Turn off Youtube Comments Toggle. It hides comments by default but adds a Comments link (between About and Share below the video) which lets you unhide and hide comments.

Screenshot by Matt Elliott/CNET

Lastly, there is a userscript called Toggle Youtube Comments. With it enabled, it hides YouTube comments along with some other elements on the page such as the footer, making the page look a bit of a mess. And its behavior is a bit erratic.

The Toggle userscript for Firefox adds a Comments link next to the About link below the video player that lets you toggle comments on and off. With Chrome, the button goes missing (Windows 8) or is present but doesn't do anything (OS X). Thus, your only option for toggling comments in Chrome is to disable and enable the extension from Chrome's extensions page. Also, the Comments link goes missing on any video page you arrive at from a related videos link.

At any rate, those are your current options as I see them. If you find an extension that you find useful in combating YouTube's new comment system, please share in the, well, comments below.