All Caught UpI’m not as down on the deeper Google+ and YouTube integration as a lot of YouTubers. I think it brings some interesting things, some of which can be beneficial to content creators and for community building.

YouTube eliminating comment notification emails was not one of those things.

When it comes to manual moderation, this represents a step back. I used to archive all email comment notifications to serve as documentation for any comments I removed. For example: I ban someone. They email me asking why. I can go back, look at my email archives and remember that “oh yeah, you are a racist.”

YouTube has no system of documenting removed comments or why someone was banned. I really dislike not being able to remember or having doubt. Documentation always removes doubt. For me, emails were that documentation. They weren’t perfect, because they didn’t include the full comment, just a truncated version. But they usually included the gist.

That’s gone now and it stinks.

I have no doubt that some of the changes Google has made have improved YouTube comment moderation. But this isn’t one of them. This is a regression and for those who care enough to moderate professionally and want to properly document their actions, they have made it harder.

In addition, the whole system for viewing notifications makes it harder. Previously, here is how it would work:

  • Receive new comment notification emails.
  • Click link to comments page for each comment that needs a reply or any attention. Each comments page is just comments, no video. Each opens in a new tab.
  • Go to browser, tab by tab and reply or take action.

Now, it looks like this:

  • Visit YouTube to see if there are any notifications.
  • For each video, all comments are grouped. Click each video, view all comments.
  • For each video with only one comment, you can reply inline, in the notifications window.
  • For each video with multiple comments, you can’t reply inline. You click the comment to open the video page. Just the video page. It doesn’t take you to the specific comment, just the video with the comments list beneath.
  • You can not moderate inline in any circumstance. All moderation occurs on video page.
  • For each video page that you open, the video begins to play. Either mute speakers, mute YouTube or pause each video. Plus, all of these YouTube videos can lead to a slower experience in your web browser.
  • Find each comment on each video page and reply or take action.

If this isn’t really clear, I went ahead and put together a screencast to demonstrate what I’m talking about.

In addition, I find that this system has me viewing comments later than I normally would, since I have to actually visit YouTube to check the notifications. And once a notification is marked as read, it is lumped into other comments for that video – comments you may have already read. This can make it harder to find the new comment if you accidentally mark something as read or YouTube thinks you’ve already seen it.

I would love to see YouTube improve in these areas to make manual comment moderation a more enjoyable experience on the platform. If they want to improve the quality of the comments on YouTube, this is a worthy area to invest.