One of the many things I try to shy away from is making generalizations. They’re often harmful and downright inaccurate.
But one generalization I do feel comfortable making is that the comments on YouTube are among the worst I’ve ever seen. Even the few that are coherent tend to contain egregious grammar problems. I’m not talking about a missing comma. im talkin about like riteing like this i mean its so dummm why do they do this its like their never lurnd 2 right
Those are the good ones. The bad ones are offensive, pointless (“i like this video so much1!111”), or just downright bizarre. (In the video to one of my favorite songs, you barely see The Killers at all, yet someone left a comment that they love videos like this one where you can see the band playing the whole time.)
I want to know why this is the case. There are some sites (Digg, Slashdot) where there are some dumb comments. But YouTube is notoriously bad. Hilariously so. Except it’s gone way past hilarious, to the point of being irritating and kind of depressing. Is it a demographic thing? Is it swamped by 13-year-olds? (With apologies to 13-year-olds, who probably far exceed the average commenter on YouTube.) Is it a broken windows type thing, where people leave stupid comments because everyone else does?
YouTube recently implemented a rating system, where you can give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to comments. Good idea. Except it really doesn’t work! For one, they made my classic mistake, but in reverse: they clearly never tested in Firefox (well, Flock or Firefox 3, but Flock is basically Firefox with some more addons and a fancy theme). But that’s not my point. A comment might voted up or down a couple points, but that’s all. There’s no suppression of comments, and the comments remain in chronological order, so comment moderation is pretty pointless.