YouTube Kindly Requests You Not Be So Terrible in the Comments

YouTube Kindly Requests You Not Be So Terrible in the Comments
Image: Olivier DOULIERY/AFP, Getty Images

Are you sure you need to post that?

YouTube this week announced a new Community Guidelines feature meant to help clean up the vitriol on the comments section of its platform and help facilitate “respectful interactions.” Now, users on Android may see a pop-up before they post a comment on YouTube that may be hurtful. That prompt will ask them to “Keep comments respectful” and consider whether the comment they’re sharing “is appropriate.” Users will still be able to go ahead and post the comment anyway if they choose to be terrible, but the prompt includes an “edit” button meant to curb abuse on the platform.

Now, short of axing comments entirely, YouTube’s Community Guidelines measures likely won’t wipe out offensive comments. YouTube itself notes that whatever systems and filters it has in place “are continuously learning and may not always get it right.” Additionally, comments that don’t get the prompt beforehand are still subject to removal by the commenter, the video creator, or by YouTube if they’re found to violate the platform’s rules.

Image: YouTubeImage: YouTube

But YouTube says the measure is part of a larger initiative to make the platform more inclusive, adding that it has ramped up the removal of hate speech in the comments by 46 times since early 2019. As another measure, YouTube will begin asking creators on a voluntary basis to share their gender, sexual orientation, race and ethnicity. This information will help the company identify patterns of hate and harassment as well as understand how some communities are treated with respect to monetisation and discovery, YouTube said.

YouTube users who regularly follow creators have likely seen channel owners incorporate language in their captions along the lines of “be kind in the comments.” It’s astonishing that it’s taken YouTube this long to incorporate some kind of official prompt along those lines as well, but hey, better late than never I guess.