It is a well-accepted fact that trolls are to YouTube as clouds are to the sky: inevitable and uncontrollable. Their harmful, hateful comments are the constant enemy of creators and a go-to joke for YouTube critics.
For this very reason, creators and media outlets perked up when it was reported by wired.com that during a Q&A session with YouTube developers at Google’s I/O, Dror Shimshowitz, YouTube head of products, leaked some startling insider information regarding possible YouTube modifications and troll prevention.
Shimshowitz called comments the “Wild West” of video when answering an audience question regarding controlling YouTube trolls. He went on to say, “We’re working on some improvements to the comment system, so hopefully we’ll have an update on that in the next few months.”
Although Shimshowitz’ ambiguous comment do not really scream “We’re making everyone sign up for Google+ and banning YouTube trolls,” it does give way to thoughts of a YouTube free of aimless critics. This possibility of a troll-free YouTube can take the creative mind all sorts of places, in a “Oh, the places you’ll go!” Dr. Seuss sort of way. I began to think of the positive effects that these kind of changes might have on three aspects of YouTube.
Why a troll -free YouTube is better for:
The creative process
Trolling severely inhibits the creative process.YouTube creators post their art every day, and it is essentially open to scrutiny from the moment it hits the world wide web. There is no buffer time or benefit of the doubt for creatives on YouTube; they are constantly bombarded with negative feedback from trolls who are generally just looking to be destructive. For this reason, a troll-free YouTube would help enable an open and creative environment for new media artists who use YouTube as a creative outlet.
The community atmosphere
The YouTube platform is built on community. The relationship between the content creator and viewer is grounded in the comment box. It was created to encourage a sense of interaction and community; by allowing trolls to stir up dissention amongst viewers and bring a wave of negativity into a forum that was supposed to be communally based completely breaks down that community atmosphere within YouTube.
The legitimacy of the comment box
Trolling significantly dilutes the legitimacy of YouTube comments. Aside from creating a sense of community, the comment box was meant to allow constructive feedback from fans and viewers. Thanks to trolls, creators and viewers are forced to weed through negative and hateful comments just to find any sort of emotionally enlightening feedback. Trolls have delegitimized the comment box and made it more of a joke than the constructive forum it was meant to be.