Google+ comments integration angering longtime YouTubers

YouTube offers an apology for the rough rollout of its comment system replacement powered by Google+, but it's not going back.

Seth Rosenblatt Former Senior Writer / News
Senior writer Seth Rosenblatt covered Google and security for CNET News, with occasional forays into tech and pop culture. Formerly a CNET Reviews senior editor for software, he has written about nearly every category of software and app available.
Seth Rosenblatt
2 min read
YouTube's new commenting system powered by Google+ is suffering severe birthing pains. Google

YouTube channel owners appear to be taking the stance that the Google+ cure is worse than the common YouTube comment.

When Google announced that it was going to replace its original commenting system with one powered by Google+, reactions seemed split between a positive reception for improving the level of discourse and giving channel owners more moderation tools, versus the concerns of commenters who felt that their free speech would be infringed. However, in the aftermath of the Google+ comments rollout, some longtime YouTubers are taking their displeasure with the new system public, posting their videos on YouTube but moving discussions elsewhere on the Web. The complaints from channel owners are multi-faceted: while some are merely annoyed at being forced with their fans to use Google+ more than they had, others such as math video blogger Vi Hart are describing a complicated and messy integration with Google+ that has interfered with the ability of YouTubers to make a living off of their videos -- one of the site's most important draws. The problems also reveal an important flaw in Google+ itself: while the social network was designed to discourage anonymity in the hopes that the use of real names would encourage more respectful behavior online, "there are more than enough people who are willing to be jerks under their real names," said Boing Boing. As a demonstration of how flawed the new comments are, many YouTubers appear to be turning to Reddit as a safe bastion of comments, and are suggesting a Chrome extension to help facilitate the change. The new system is so ineffective that one commenter was allowed to post a comment with the N-word repeated 85 times. When asked about the complaints, Google said to CNET that the company is "working hard" to fix the problems "quickly," including those involving spam and abuse. "We've already made a number of changes in the last 24 hours to reduce spammy comments and bad links, and we have more fixes coming soon." It's not clear yet what kind of brand damage this has done to YouTube, if any, or if it's scared off any of the site's most popular contributors. But it's definitely another poor reception for Google+ that the company didn't need.