In an effort to improve the bottom half of the internet, YouTube has begun the roll out of a new comment system that highlights relevant content, connects conversations and increases control of who sees what through Google+.
This added functionality for YouTube comments is powered by Google+ and you may have noticed increased pressure from YouTube to connect your Google+ profile to your account this week.
When you connect these two online identities, your name on Google+ (which, for many, is their real name) will replace your username on YouTube. Once this has been completed, you can visit the discussion tab of a YouTube channel, such as SoulPancake, to try out the new comment system.
The comment box, like your revamped YouTube profile, now pulls in your name and picture from Google+. When you choose to add your input to the discussion, you can share this on Google+ as well as YouTube. In doing this, you can control whether the comment will be public or viewable only by certain people or Circles. You can even +mention users just as you would in comments on Google+.
When reading comments already posted, users can choose to see either comments from everyone or just the thoughts from those in their Google+ Circles. Comments are now ranked by which ones YouTube have determined are most relevant, pushing comments from the video curator or known personalities to the top, as well as comments with the most engagement.
This engagement is also easier to follow, as replies are now threaded in one conversation.
Of course, if you’d rather see the most recent comments at the top, you can always switch back to the ‘Newest first’ format.
There are a number of benefits to YouTube’s comments overhaul. Connecting profiles to real names on Google+ is one way to prevent bullying and hateful comments from anonymous accounts, while using algorithms to surface the best comments limits the amount of attention paid to spam comments.
YouTube has also added new tools for video curators to moderate conversations, allowing them to review comments before they are posted, block certain words or save time by auto-approving from certain users.
The new comments system starts rolling out this week to channel discussion tabs, eventually reaching comments on all videos by the end of this year.