A Solution to Fix YouTube's Crappy Commenting System
Per usual, my morning at work starts with a browser overflowing with tabs. I queue up many news sites, Huffington Post being one of them. One particular article on this July 6th morning gave me a good laugh because it described to a tee the temperament of the YouTube commenting community.
Scrolling down to the comments section on YouTube is like wandering into
the middle of a dodge ball game where everybody is aiming at everyone
else's face and nobody ever wins. It is a frenetic, unceasing 500-million-car
demolition derby, spattered with racism, homophobia, profanity, and
incendiary genital-wagging, all submitted with a clear disregard for grammar,
punctuation, capitalization, and spelling.
The article transitions into a number of browser extensions that mop the mess, and replace the grime with mindless herp derp chatter. Brilliant, good developer sirs! Gilbert also makes reference to blogger Ryan Tate's Wired article that reports YouTube is working on "some improvements to the comment system," which doesn't sound hopeful to me.
The Top Comments section, originally designed to highlight what other viewers elected as top-worthy, is now overrun with "Firsts!" and "Like if you're listening in 2012" spamminess. As I said to myself many times, there has to be a better way, and it has to be more than a hands-off approach. YouTube, as "uncool" as it sounds, needs to play mom and dad to tell "juvenile delinquents" (a term forever burned in my mind from a droll school librarian) what they're doing isn't right and that their words sometimes hurt others.
To say I wholly welcome a new commenting system is an understatement, for I have cleverly devised a solution of my own. I perceive the most common YouTuber as millennials (Gen Y) accompanied with a good mix of Gen X’ers. Like naughty babies, covert corrective behavior should be introduced through the way of positive reinforcement. More to the point, YouTube should teach baby what good behavior is by rewarding her and also teach baby what bad behavior is by taking away a toy or two. The all too-expected Mark as Spam option (a.k.a. Click to Tattle) is dated and doesn't really fix the problem long-term. So, ladies and gents, here's my proposal:
- YouTube should introduce a merit system of sorts to be displayed on each user profile, something fluffy and fun-sounding called "Star Power." Think Foursquare badges or eBay ratings here.
- YouTubers can earn up to five stars (the goal being to become a five-star member) which allows full privileges. This means access to exclusive content, enhanced web editor tools, better odds of being featured on the home page and other incentives. Wow, kids!
- One's journey to five-star stardom is the accumulation of:
- Total "likes" received from comments contributed
- Uploads that garner a high view count
- Flagging bad behavior and so on
- On the flip side, one's descent to the bottom begins with:
- Being flagged for spam or offensive comments
- Here's my favorite part: those who upload will get a new setting to define who may comment. If you want only those with two stars and up to comment, so be it. Three or more? Sure! Channel subscribers only with three or more? Heck, why not? Keeping out the riff raff has never been easier. Zero-star users cannot comment period.