Long considered home to the worst commenters on the internet — racist, cruel, idiotic, nonsensical, and barely literate — YouTube is in the process of upgrading its comment system in order to better tame its most loathsome members.
Word of the overhaul slipped out during the Q&A portion of a YouTube developer session at Google I/O, the annual developers conference from the video-upload hub’s owner, Google.
A member of the audience, which was stocked heavily with online video publishers, asked for advice on handling negative comments within his YouTube channel. Dror Shimshowitz, a YouTube “head of product,” replied that “comments are kind of the Wild West of video” and can be turned off. But Google doesn’t like it when people do that, he said, because it cuts off the community. So the company is working on fixing the system.
“We’re working on some improvements to the comment system, so hopefully we’ll have an update on that in the next few months,” Shimshowitz said.
Shimshowitz declined to elaborate further in a follow-up interview, in which he was asked about the scope and nature of the planned changes. “We’re working to improve comments as much as we’re working to improve all parts of the site and YouTube experience,” a Google spokesman said, adding that the company would not comment further.