So recently, if you've been following my twitter, I've been reporting on the YouTube 2018 rewind, because in the past 24 hours it had become the most disliked video in YouTube history, and the first video to cross 10 million dislikes. It's clear that the community has grown very sour towards YouTube as a whole, especially with these past two years. Controversy after controversy, faux pas after faux pas, and the sense of a changing culture.
YouTube's official twitter has responded to their new record with this quote: "Thanks to the creators that took part in Rewind, and the community that responded. We hear what you're saying, and we want to make next year better for all of you. Watch this space!"
I want to give them the benefit of the doubt. I really do, so... with the spirit of the season, being Christmas and all, I thought it'd be fun to make sort of a... wish list. A series of changes that I, as someone who is part of the community, would want them to enact going forward. And I suggest other content creators do something similar to this.
Number 1: Consistency
This is the most important thing I think that we could ask from YouTube. For example, if one creator, like say Pewdiepie as a controversy and gets his YouTube red series cancelled, and another YouTuber has a controversy, like say... Logan Paul doesn't have his movie cancelled, it makes the platform look like it has a double standard of sorts. And people with double standards, well that tends to be the only standards they have.
Since the beginning, it has always felt that some people were above YouTubes' rules. And nowadays, it seems like it's the late night talk shows. Casey Neistat can't monetize a video going to charity because it was talking about a shooter, but of course the late night talk shows and mainstream media news sources can, and none of that money is going to charity.
If you want people to care about your rules, they must be consistent. If you've made a standard, stick by it. This is the most clear sign of who you're selling out to, and it's probably the biggest sore spot in the entire community. If a YouTube news source would get demonetized for mentioning a particular story, then do the same for things like CNN or FOX. If you don't do this, the community will only continue to feel ostracized.
Number 2: Fix the trending page
So... right now videos with millions of views in the first few days don't get considered "trending" while other videos with less than a few thousand views can be considered trending. YouTube has said that "trending" reflects more than just views. However, that's kind of the definition of the word "trending" - being talked about more and more, or widely discussed. When something like Jontron's "Flex Tape II" video gets over 2 million hits in the first 24 hours, after 11 months of absence, something feels fishy. When YouTube's 2018 Rewind gets dropped from trending as soon as it's on the course for being the most disliked video in history, something feels fishy.
The trending page should be one of the few things on the site that should be left 100% to algorithms. Algorithms are objective. And the trending page feels like it's overseen entirely by human curation.
Number 3: Fix your copyright mess
I'm not going to tell YouTube to get rid of its copyright matching system. This is entirely an understandable feature, and YouTube couldn't exist without it. It's a necessary evil, but it's beyond broken. Everyone on the site agrees with it, so this one has sub-clauses.
3a. Make it so copyright can only be claimed by the copyright owner - Right now there's a cottage industry of people like AdRev for a Third Company who make their money by claiming content for the large companies. These people are entirely useless. If Third Company owns the copyright... they can make the claim themselves. YouTube gives them all the tools to do so, and do it automatically. Not only do they make frustration for the user, I don't think that it's legal to do this, and they're scamming the big corporations. Why shouldn't the big corporations get all of the money from their copyright claim, if it's one in good faith?
3b. Bring in a third party for disputes - Right now, when something is copyright claimed - either in good faith or not - the power is still all in the copyright holder. If it's disputed, the copyright holder is the one who makes the decision if the use is fair or not. Then if the judgement is disputed, it's once again that the copyright holder makes the decision. If you ask anyone if they're guilty or not, they're going to say "no", even if you ask twice. The first one would be... fine to keep with the copyright holder, but the second dispute should have some kind outside oversight. Or it should be removed entirely, since all it does is slow things down.
3c. One per customer - I can't tell you how many videos I've had taken down by Viacom, and put back up only to be claimed by Viacomb. I've had at least two videos taken down and put back up only to be claimed by different versions of the same company to take the video down again.
3d. If a video is to be taken down, take it down instantly - One option that an unscrupulous company can do is to monetize the video for a week, and schedule a take down. Or, they can also block said video if they want to. The user can do nothing until the copyright holder - the real one or not - takes it down at an arbitrary point. Not only is this scummy, but I do believe that this is illegal. If there is content believed to be copyright infringing, the safe harbor provisions require the content to be removed as soon as possible. Not in two weeks, asap.
Number 4: Stop Removing Features
One thing that's been continually annoying is having features removed for no reasons or bad reasons. Custom channel pages were removed to make the site seem more uniform. This is nothing that users care about. Video responses were removed because they didn't get clicks. This is nothing that users care about. The five star rating was removed because users usually only clicked on one and five. Users don't like removing options.
Annotations were removed because you couldn't get them to work on mobile. This is nothing that users care about. And in removing these, you've removed a very valuable tool that could be used for all kinds of things. You could correct errors within a video with them - better than the YouTube editor - and no, we can't take down older videos because your algorithm counts all of the views on said video against us, damaging our channel. Beyond that, annotations had a few cool tricks. If you linked to the beginning of the same video it would make it infinitely repeat. It was also the basis for an interactive brand of content on the site - a sort of choose your own adventure time of thing. People could put easter eggs in their video, as could be seen with things like Kaizo Trap.
You're removing the credits page. This time, without any reason. Here's an idea. Any time that you're tempted to remove a feature... ask the community first.
This wouldn't be so bad if the stuff that was added in its place didn't feel forced on us. Google+ integration. It was something that no one wanted, but it was forced upon people for years and years and become so intertwined into the site that to remove it, the site had to go down for a few hours. And these updates seem to break other things. Did you know that comment downvotes don't do anything? Even after years of being there.
Aesthetic changes, while people complain, aren't really important in the long run. So what if the likes bar isn't green and red anymore. Everyone should be able to experience colorblindness, I guess.
Number 5: Remove the bell (or fix it)
The notification bell is stupid. If someone subscribes to a channel, it means that they want to see their videos. This should be a binary thing. Either the person wants to get notified of someone's videos, or they don't. But, if you've decided to only throw a "sometimes" option into the mix, here's one thing you could do that would benefit the community and you could keep your stupid bell. Give that choice to the content creator. Give them the option to send their video to all subscribers, or bell subscribers only. That way people who are around for the main stuff, for example Cinemassacre's AVGN videos wouldn't have to see some of the other content in between.
"But wouldn't a bunch of people send all of their videos to everyone?" Yeah, I think so. Imagine that... content creators wanting all of their subscribers to see their videos. It's a tool. That brings us to our next piece of advice. Just because not everyone uses a feature doesn't mean that it's bad. In fact, if you need to force a feature on everyone (Google+), then it probably is bad.
Number 6: Look into things, for real.
So, it's been reported that there's a subscriber glitch. When people upload something they tend to immediately lose subs. What you did is that you said that there was no glitch... because you looked at 100 channels. In a website with a billion active users. 100 is not even one percent of one percent. Here's an idea, whenever you do one of your "experiments" make the data public. All of it. Let any random user essentially peer review it. Because it makes you look like you're either incompetent or lying when you do things like this. Is the glitch real? My sources say yes.
Stop assuming that YouTubers are stupid. Stop just saying things and assuming that we'll believe you.
Number 7: Care about youtube burnout, and nix subscriber burn
Burnout is becoming an increasing problem in the YouTube sphere. While obviously views are going to go down while people are away and that's understandable, getting the kind of traction that you had ... even with your own audience is an uphill battle. Even after a period of as short as two weeks some people report. Not helping is the other issue of Subscriber burn. Where, if a subscriber stops watching a certain amount of videos, YouTube will stop sending them the videos. So "filler videos" while a YouTuber works on the big stuff can only work so well can't really help in the long run.
After JaidenAnimation's video on burnout earlier this year, YouTube said that they cared about burnout... and everyone called them out on it.
Number 8: Stop Deleting Channels Randomly
It'd be... nice if everything that you worked for couldn't just disappear in an instant. Almost every YouTuber seems to have a story of their channel being terminated, either because of "spam" or false copyright claims. The YouTube subreddit always seems to have these stories of people who have worked 2, 5, 8 years just being randomly deleted because... of some stupid bug.
Yeah, accidents happen, but that's why any reputable business cares about accident prevention.
Listening to: Shane Koyczan
Reading: 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die
Playing: Animal Crossing New Leaf
Eating: tuna sandwich
Drinking: Iced tea