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What's Wrong with YouTube Comments?

Nothing, nothing at all.

We are all aware of the reputation of the comments section of YouTube videos: the comments there are crude, profane, idiotic, ignorant, combative, offensive, and often have poor spelling and grammar. I have heard at least one person remark online that YouTube comments are where you go to lose faith in humanity, but I look at it differently: YouTube comments are where you go to point and laugh at humanity, and where you go to be entertained.

Back in the late 2000s, when I still maintained an account on YouTube and used it daily, in the comments section of many videos I would often encounter poorly-written, idiotic comments with a lot of cursing, or perhaps a heated argument between two or more people, in which a great deal of insults and name-calling, but very few serious points, were exchanged; at times, I even found myself getting drawn into an argument, or feeling the need to criticize or mock the video and its uploader. It was normal for pretty much everybody who used the site back in the day to leave a negative, insulting comment on a video: we could, and so we did. YouTube, even back then, was already an enormous site, too large to be moderated, so the comments section of videos were, in effect, wonderfully unmoderated. Nobody had to fear getting banned over a nasty comment or two that he left on a video.

Unfortunately, there are far too many folks who take mere Internet comments too seriously; they want to see YouTube comments cleaned up and made all nice, pleasant, and positive. However, if YouTube comments were to be purged of all negativity, meanness, cursing, stupidity, etc., they would become much more dull and unexciting. It's hilarious to find and then read a very long comment chain on a video between two YouTube users, both of whom are equally stupid, arguing about religion or politics, trading insults with each other, and then laugh at both of them the entire time; it's entertaining to scroll through the comments section of a video, never knowing what bizarre and laughably poor-quality comments you might come across; it's fun to find a comment which you wholeheartedly disagree with and find dead wrong, and then (if you have a YouTube account) replying to that comment to tell off the cretin who made it, and (if you're in the mood) hope that he replies so you can continue to hurl more verbal abuse at the bastard because, well, it's very amusing. Such amusements would disappear if the iron fist of moderation were to come down and clean up the comments.

YouTube used to be prime trolling ground, and I fear that the site will most likely never return to that state again, partly because, in recent years, they have tried making the comments section of videos all nice and friendly (and therefore boring). I do not think anybody denies that YouTube comments tend to be ill-informed, poorly-written, full of cursing, generally offensive, and stupid—the contention is whether this is a good thing or a bad thing, and I believe with all my heart that it is a good thing which should be left alone, because we are able, I think, to derive much entertainment from pointing and laughing at all the idiots, egomaniacs, know-it-all pseudo-intellectuals, potty mouths, drama queens, and other various online lolcows who comment on YouTube videos.

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This page last modified on 1 May 2021.