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YouTube opens up its Moderator tool to all users

YouTube's Moderator tool gives YouTube channel owners a way to prioritize and harvest user ideas. It's a carryover from Google's own Moderator service, which offers many of the same features.

Google's Moderator service, which up until now has existed as a standalone product, is now available within YouTube and to all its users. Previously, YouTube had integrated it into the service for special events, and given access to a few select users.

The core of the service, which has users voting up or down on user-submitted ideas, began as a pet project of Google engineer Taliver Heath, who built it to help prioritize the barrage of questions asked during Google's company meetings and hosted lecture series. In its transition to YouTube it serves a similar purpose: bringing order to the relative chaos of a few hundred million users chatting about videos--many of which leave such rowdy feedback that the company added a tongue and cheek audio preview system for comments back in 2008.

Though unlike comments, which rest on a video page, the company has put Moderator on channel pages where channel owners can police items that are off-topic or offensive. And like its Google Moderator sibling, the list of ideas can be embedded outside of YouTube. It also has sorting tools to rank ideas by date or popularity--both total votes, and items with a high velocity of voting.

The new tools are live for everyone. Google also gave a dozen power users early access, including how-to site Howcast, which is using the tools to source new ideas for its videos.

YouTube's new Moderator feature is essentially an embedded version of Google Moderator, a tool for organizing user ideas and suggestions. Screenshot by Josh Lowensohn/CNET