Big Frame

New YouTube Comments

November 7, 2013

As you may have noticed, YouTube’s long-anticipated new comment system launched yesterday. Several official posts highlight the new features: +mentions, private threaded conversations, better moderation tools, and “Top Comments” sorting, to name a few.

The underlying change is that commenting now requires a YouTube account to be merged with a G+ page or profile — the backbone of Google’s identity management system. If you haven’t yet merged, you can do that here and view instructions here.

While the rhetoric has been around community and conversations, the obvious benefit will be cleaning up the infamously troll-y world of YouTube comments. Comment volume will surely drop, as we’ve seen with sites like TechCrunch that have integrated Facebook comments attached to real identities. While I will personally miss some of the standards, none of which are fit to print, I will not miss the banality and nastiness found in some corners. The quality should definitely improve.

Since the rollout, we’ve observed many changes that we expected and a few we did not. Here’s a quick summary of the surprises:

  1. It looks like you can only reply to and thumbs up/down comments that were published after the re-launch. “Old” comments are now frozen.
  2. You can edit your comments!
  3. You can post links to your videos.
  4. Nice comment threading in the sidebar on iPad.

From an audience development perspective, we think there are some cool opportunities around +mentions and hashtags. We’re also curious to see how creator comments across channels are handled by the new “Top Comments” sorting, and the impact of syndication to G+.

Let us know what you think in the comments below. No merge required.

Jen Robinson
Chief Technology Officer