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YouTube has become the worst place on the Internet to leave a comment – and there are a lot of seedy places on the Internet. Everything from kittens falling asleep to Rainbow Loom tutorials are plagued by homophobic, expletive laden comments from trolls who thrive on the misery of others.
The YouTube comments section has reached such a profound level of despair that many businesses have closed it off entirely. This was a major step back for YouTube, as limiting comments takes away the community aspect of video creation and sharing.
Fortunately, the Google gods have listened and answered. They’re rolling out a new system today that’s supposed to build back the reputation of the comments section and add value to discussions about the video.
CNET broke down what the new system means for trolls. Video creators can flag inappropriate comments and block certain words from posting. This means an entire batch of abusive and offensive comments will never see the light of day. Facebook has a similar filtering system on its pages. Admins can add words they deem inappropriate and Facebook will hide the comments for moderation.
The new system will rank comments based on reputation. Someone with a strong Google+ following will rank highly and users who are flagged often will get buried. This means that people who roll around YouTube spamming the comments section with horrible rants will face a losing battle next time they post.
But if you’re a YouTube fan who loves reading the ever-engaging and raunchy comments section, fear not. You can switch how comments are sorted from most popular to newest. Only one more challenge stands in your way: you’ll have to sort through the all of the Google+ shares associated with that video.
For those who were reading those last two paragraphs carefully, you’ll notice Google+ was mentioned a few times in regard to comment ranking.
YouTube keeps encouraging users to sync with Google+, both to add transparency to comments and to improve its chronically unpopular social network.
Google wants YouTube users to share videos publicly and privately on Google+. Instead of copying the URL and sending it to a Facebook friend, users should tag a Google+ connection or circle and share the content there. As more YouTube visitors see Google+ shares, they’ll start to believe Google+ is a thriving network and consider joining. Google is determined to make Google+ popular in any way it can.
The other reason for the Google+ integration is to make commenters more public. It’s harder to hide behind a persona when you’re posting from your Google account. YouTube believes that trolls won’t be as prolific if they can’t hide behind their usernames.
Seeing as we are all top-notch marketers and respectable citizens of the Internet, we don’t really have to worry about getting flagged for trolling. But we should feel good that the same brand we’ve meticulously built through Google+ profiles and Authorship gets to continue growing on YouTube. Watching the trolls get pushed down and silenced is nice, but having the YouTube and Google+ connection is awesome.