Google+ Commenting

SiderealSidereal Member
edited November 2013 in Geek & Sundry Discussion
I've been such a huge fan of G&S, and was so excited about the vloggers added to the channel when it first happened! I've been a faithful fan of Nika, in particular, as I'm a professional writer. Regrettably, financial and work issues have caused me to get swallowed up these past couple of months, and I can barely find the time to watch her bi-weekly post.

Now that I've gotten a little breathing room, I've come back...only to find that my basic YouTube account - the "trolling" account, as seems to be the sentiment of Google - is now a useless doorstop. My old comments are locked out, and I can no longer post new comments without using my actual name in that context, the very thing I created an alias account to avoid. And there's no clear way to link my existing YouTube account to a new, generic Google+ identity (as G+ didn't exist when I first joined YT). Which means that, as of right now, I can no longer comment privately at all without abandoning my existing "private" channel and all the work I've put into it - comment history, favorited videos, etc.

I know, I can just create (yet another) Google+ account that I'll never use (I think I have four now, thanks to the convolutions required to start new YT channels...and I genuinely tried to use the first one...but no one I knew was even on the darn thing!  O.O) and simply put no personal information on it. But that makes me feel like I'm doing something underhanded and subversive, and it's a hell of a lot of extra work just to be able to comment on a video without people being able to track me down over it. And it's not like getting around this step solves the problem...this is only one in a series of overreaches that Google has committed against YouTubers of late, with no sign that it's ever going to end until they get their way, our complete submission, and every marketing penny they can squeeze out of us.

Look...I don't like spamming, flaming, or trolling any more than anyone else does. But giving up my right to privacy is far too high a price to pay for "protection" from those things. Since I can't comment with any identity protection anymore (without jumping through hoops), that means I can no longer comment at all. Which makes having a YouTube account pretty impotent, if you ask me.

So I'm grateful to G&S for having these forums, as they will now be my only chance to interact with this community unless something changes or Google comes to their senses and buries Google+ as a failed enterprise once and for all.

Respect if you're a Google+ user, or love the new commenting system. I'm not knocking anyone who gets utility out of it.

I'm just personally am not a fan.  :^/
Welcome back to WordPlay, Nika! It's good to be back…writing on!! :^D


  • now with the new systems like mentions, tagging and longer comments. it seems like they are trying to make the comment section more "forumy" and "twittery", trying to goad people out forums such as these and reddit and back on to "their" system. One comes here to discuss the G&S content in more depth than a YT comment box could allow and to converse with other like minded individuals.

    fear Googlethulu
  • alanalmeriaalanalmeria Member, Moderator

    I'm actually one of those fans of Google+, as an independent means of spreading news and videos its actually helpful, and I much prefer it to the twitter-verse. But I have to agree that the merging of the two has not been especially successful. On a lot of older G&S video's for example, all the top page of comments are up-voted Google+ links from the times of their original postings, and its impossible to see if anyone new has questions.

    Having see some pretty horrendous cases of trolling, its difficult not to sympathize with the desire to remove the anonymity that a lot of trolls hide behind. But there are a lot of people who have legitimate reasons for shrouding their identities, such as social anxiety. 

    Maybe the solution lies in a two pronged comment system, where you allow people to continue to comment anonymously, but provide video posters with the tools to filter out the anonymous posters, from those linked to a Google plus account. I know Felicia has stated on a previous occasion that she wished their was a method of separating the subscriber comments from the rest, and this would be a similar idea to that. Sadly we all know that even if such a method existed, she would continue to read the anonymous comments anyway :-(

    On the bright side if the missteps of Google/YouTube, encourages people to spend more time and posts on the G&S forums, its hard to consider that a bad thing :-) 

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  • the anonymity is pretty much what makes the internet both a beautiful places and a scary place. It means a lot to people (I'm fine with using my real name for my accounts so its not much of an issue for me) so really its not a surprise that they have stomped on a lot of internet users toes. So google, like most other social networks (looking at you FB), might go back and improve upon their mistakes until they make something that works (hopefully).

    I've had G+ for a while now, its decent but I'm really just apathetic towards it, I might occasionally visit but really its about as compelling as Facebook. I can understand any persons unwillingness to join G+.
  • SiderealSidereal Member
    edited November 2013 PM
    I appreciate all of the comments you've all left...and all of your positions on the subject.

    Maybe for some people with modest to large networks, a Google+ account makes sense. But literally 1 person I know from a network of some hundred or so on Facebook is even on Google+...and never actually uses it. I have zero reason to go there other than to make a new YouTube channel, or whatever. It's just another layer of maintenance, identity administration, and online vulnerability that I'm forced to manage.

    I completely understand and sympathize with the desire to control flames and discourage genuine trolling. But allowing even negative commentary is a fundamental part of free speech. That it's of late coming from anonymous, protected sources is frustrating...but trying to fix that problem by forcing everyone into the light is not a sensible solution. First of all, you are not compelled to use your actual identity on Google+. You can't be, as, if you were, you'd be able to have only one Google+ account and, therefore, one YouTube account, which would make the site unwieldy. That means that all a dedicated troll has to do is throw up a pseudonym and they're back in the trolling business. Yes, the new tools will help down-vote their comments. But it won't stop those comments from existing. Only genuine censorship could do that. And genuine censorship is something I can't support in any form.

    Worse still, the "protections" that are being proposed only weaken comment trollers at the expense of completely exposing the posters and legitimate users. I hearken back to the days when Catie "Boxxy" Wayne was hunted down and death threats issued against her because she once made a video for some friends where she talked in a silly voice. She was 14 years old at the time. The terrorism issued against her was committed in a time where anonymity (for even the video poster) was protected.

    Google now proposes removing the most important step of that protection process by exposing people's real names from the outset. Sure, I understand sensitive people not wanting to have to see comments that are degrading or accusative or threatening. But do you know what they want to see less? Actual threats and attacks in person, on their doorsteps! If you make everyone say who they are "to play nice," the terrorists win. They now have your face and your name, and it's a much shorter walk to higher levels of privacy violation and direct abuse.

    And even for people with the courage to share their identities in certain contexts, having an anonymous alternative can be powerful and precious. Some people don't want the world to know that they regularly frequent channels on gender identity, or religious or atheistic themes, or that are aligned with certain political positions. Some people want to be able to view the sites of people half their age, and even comment on them, without being accused of being "perverts" or "pedos." Some people just want to be able to drown out the din of people unrelated to certain parts of their life chiming in on them because everything's connected always.

    And if you disagree with homosexuality or atheism or being able to issue a compliment to someone much younger than you, that's fair. But you don't have the right to dictate your position by forcing others to expose themselves to ridicule and public humiliation.

    That's the ultimate problem with the whole "War On Trolling."  The solutions cut both ways.

    And this one, in my estimation, seems to cut the innocent far more than the guilty.  :^/
    Welcome back to WordPlay, Nika! It's good to be back…writing on!! :^D
  • Jamc888Jamc888 Member, Moderator
    If I'm not mistaken (and I may be) there should still be the option for you to continue using your YouTube account without a real name. You do still have to connect it to Google+, but you don't need to disclose your name at all.

    I switched over to another account that wasn't connected to Google+ and connected it (there are settings to do so under Overview at and it asked if I wanted to keep my real name or continue using my YouTube name. I selected that I wanted the YouTube one and it asked if I wanted to use that name for all of the connected Google products (Drive, Gmail, etc.) or keep both separated. I selected to keep them separated and I now can post comments using my YouTube alias easily.

    I agree that it's definitely a bit of a hassle though, especially for those who only want to leave genuine comments.
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  • @jamc888 I occasionally get prompted with that: Do you want to use your G+ name or keep your Youtube name? I always pick the latter but there doesn't seem to be an option to say "DON'T ASK ME AGAIN!!"
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  • @Sidereal, I know what you mean. Google seems intent on pressuring users to mash everything they do online into one easily stamped box that can be shared and exploited freely across the Internet. I don't use Facebook, and one of the reasons is precisely to avoid all that networking hive mind stuff that I find incredibly intrusive and unappealing. I did jump through several hoops to keep a separate identity for YouTube comments, but as @Molokov says, they like to regularly poke me and "suggest" that I flatten my stack into one layer, just using my regular email profile for everything. It is annoying. Part of the advantage of separate profiles is compartmentalization, and the ability to keep things sorted.

    Imagine if all the comic book superheroes had to abandon their secret identities to go online and chat. It would be chaos!
  • torontogaltorontogal Member, Moderator
    edited November 2013 PM
    Really interesting points from everyone, above.  On my end, I'm also a bit disheartened by the direction that the new YouTube comment system has taken.

    I think it's a noble idea to try and fight trolls, etc.  In theory that's a great goal - but in practice, I think the implementation feels problematic.  There's a great Tumblr post by Hank Green that explains his take on things via a recent example.

    In essence, a friend of his posted a criticism of the new comment system via a funny little musical video.  But if you read the new version of 'Top Comments', YouTube is pulling in the comments from people that are active/popular on Google+... and those people are presenting a negative minority view, rather than being representative of the majority view.  In a way, the system is actually *rewarding* trolls, rather than showcasing the general consensus.

    Hank explains it better in his relevant posting, over here.

    I guess on my end, I miss the idea that YouTube comments were more of an equal opportunity endeavor.  In the old system, anyone could post what they want and it would be viewable by everyone - and from there, it would be down-voted into oblivion, or upvoted to greater visibility.  It had its flaws, but it was at least democratic.  Under the new system, it feels a bit more like popular Google+ members will always end up as the stars of the show.  And that's a bit of a bummer for good-intentioned fans.

    On my end, I've always made it a habit to use the YT comments to spread some G&S love - either by thanking Felicia and team for their work, or by answering questions from fellow fans, or by providing some info that may be helpful to the community.  And it was always gratifying to have fellow community members occasionally up-vote those comments, to help spread the positivity.

    Under the new system though, I feel like that ability has been handicapped.

    For example, I posted the following in the Marble Madness Co-Optitude episode - when I'm logged into my account, I can see that I've posted something:


    However, if I log-out and view what the general population would see?  Well, my posting doesn't even appear.  Likely because I'm not super-active on Google+, so the new system doesn't consider my posting relevant enough to display.


    So I dunno - it's somewhat disheartening that fellow fans might be in the same boat - i.e, they try and post something nice/supportive/positive, but their post is never actually seen by anyone because the YouTube algorithm deems it 'irrelevant'.

    To her credit, Felicia seemed similarly concerned about that topic when I tweeted her on it.  She sent a followup reply and noted that she's having the G&S team investigate workarounds:

  • I *hate* the new comment system.

    I realize that they are trying to drive people to use Google+ (*vomit*) but I don't think it will have the effect they want. People are not going to join G+ just to leave comments, they will simply stop commenting which in turn will hurt channels with small viewerships (like mine).

    Less comments means less of a chance for YouTube's algorithms to recommend your videos to new people.

    It sucks.

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  • Just how new (and buggy) are these new comment systems?

    I recently commented on one of Joseph Knitt's videos, mostly responding to a prior comment left by @MrGroknRoll. Later, I got an email notification of a reply from @jknitt, which contained his comment, and a few hours later Jens also made a reply. But when I go look at the video on YouTube again, neither of their replies shows up in the comments I see on screen. That seems weird. Have they changed the setup? Maybe replies are set to private mode, and only the person who sent the original comment sees them? Personally, I enjoy seeing a bit of back-and-forth chatter in the comments of a video, as it does reinforce the sense of community.

    I definitely do not understand what Google is doing.
  • Though I've solved a small part of my problem, my irritation with Google only grows. When they first began their campaign to force everyone to Google+ about a year ago, they started this paradigm where you would be logged out every few hours and forced to log back in. Every time you did so, you got that annoying "you sure you don't want to use your real name?" dialogue that some of you have mentioned. It cost a lot of attrition as well, since you'd first have to figure out in any tabs you had open that you'd been logged out (and some of them didn't refresh automatically), then refresh every tab once you logged in or possibly get confused as to why the tab wouldn't allow you to comment or whatever since you'd already "logged in" (this caused my more than one lost hour of troubleshooting a problem that didn't actually exist at that moment - like when a video in a tab "off-state" from your login simply wouldn't play anymore, for no apparent reason), and you could also easily lose track of important things - such as the comment you were actually attempting to reply to in the first place - after the refresh.

    Well, they're doing something new, now, and I just fell for it. They compelled me to "Sign In to post a comment!" even though in the upper right-hand corner, my Pseudonym was still listed. To me, that meant, "your alias isn't good enough...sign in with your real name!" I tried to avoid this (and losing my alias log-in) for as long as possible until I'd researched and scoped out the problem.

    As it turns out, this was just another log-in bump. Except that now, instead of the "Sign In" button that used to appear in the upper-right corner - which made it clear that they'd logged you off the system - now, inexplicably, it shows you the last name you were logged on with. Or something. It's more confusing than ever, now.

    So when I finally broke down and logged back in (having given up, largely, on saving my pseudonym), I was just expecting to see how bad things had gotten before giving up on YouTube for awhile and doing something else. allowed me to log back in with my alias and to post comments with it. In other words, the exact same state it was presenting me with before the log-in demand. I have no idea why this extra step was included, or makes sense to them, but, for the short-term, at least, I've solved my problem.

    But that doesn't mitigate any of the other things we've discussed here. As @torontogal most cogently observed, legitimate commenting is getting lost under the noise floor of "popular kid" chat, sometimes with the annoying symptom of breaking the relationship to replies and comments entirely. How much of that is relieved by the "Sort By Newest" pulldown, I haven't tested. But even that extra step - and the "Relevance" default - are an unnecessary barrier.

    So I'm still uncomfortable with a host of issues this new system has created:

    * Locking out old comments from replies;
    * Shutting off our inboxes so that we now have to troll Google+ for comment updates;
    * Eliminating the "in reply to" link that at least used to take us to the original comment;
    * The absence of the so-called "threaded discussion;" they say it's in now, but I can't find it;
    * The various trips and land mines that hobble us during normal channel use, attempting to either trick us or wear us down into surrendering to the all-Google+/real name paradigm;
    * The overall complexity and lack of intuitiveness that the new system has saddled us with.

    The new system seems crippled. Things that used to be simple now seem either difficult or impossible to do. And, as we all know (and @TheMightyJerd expressed), any barrier to entry - real or perceived - reduces people's responsiveness, thereby hurting the small channel most of all.
    Welcome back to WordPlay, Nika! It's good to be back…writing on!! :^D
  • TriencoTrienco Member, Moderator
    I can't help wondering how stubborn Google will be with this. Considering that the comments are currently made rather pointless by most comments complaining about the new comment system (or how some of YT's videos are still using the old one).

    A simple setting for each channel to select old or new comments would probably be enough to make most people happy.

    On the bright side, maybe it will drive more people over here to the forums (which might even be too much hassle for the trolls to bother coming here as well).
  • Daniel_WallaceDaniel_Wallace Member, Moderator
    @Trienco: Oh great, do you really have to invoke a wave of trolls hitting the forums, now that we seem to have gotten rid of most of the spam bots? :-)

    BTW: The new comment system sucks. I tried to like it, but it's crap.
    If you see any spam, @-mention me in the thread and I will come in to kill it with my hammer. The hammer is not my... you know.

    I try to attack ideas and not people. If I fail, let me know. You may be wrong but I still love you. ;-)

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  • TriencoTrienco Member, Moderator
    @Daniel_Wallace don't worry, it's okay. I knocked on wood when I was typing that.

    If nothing else, the new comment system gave us this enjoyable little NSFW song/video...
  • Daniel_WallaceDaniel_Wallace Member, Moderator
    The nice thing is: I'm usually not locked in into anything unless I need to, so for me, the YouTube comments have simply disappeared. The most hateful and stupid place on earth... gone. YT is so much more fun without any comments, I can tell you.

    Oh, and I actually like G+ on itself. :-)
    If you see any spam, @-mention me in the thread and I will come in to kill it with my hammer. The hammer is not my... you know.

    I try to attack ideas and not people. If I fail, let me know. You may be wrong but I still love you. ;-)

    twitter: @evildanwallace
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