Friday, April 2, 2021

YouTube Testing Removal of Dislike Count

YouTube (via Hacker News):

In response to creator feedback around well-being and targeted dislike campaigns, we’re testing a few new designs that don’t show the public dislike count.

This seems like a bad idea, as dislikes were a good, quick indicator that a video might be misleading or at least controversial.


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My initial reaction is more positive. I never trusted Dislike counts, especially since so often I will see a video that's informational and perfectly neutral yet with a smattering of dislikes. The only reason I can see for such dislikes is to be mean and make the creator feel bad. (Or maybe to hurt a perceived competitor.)

I agree that some sort of community feedback can be valuable in warning others about a misleading / incorrect / biased video, but I don't know that I've ever run into a video that seemed on the surface like it would be good, yet it had a lot of dislikes (other than cases where it seemed likely that the dislikes were political).

(Not that I put a ton of stock in Likes either.)

Mike Oldham

I kinda like it. It solves a problem I have with Youtube, although not in the best way. Once you are watching a video the dislike button is the best way to tell the algorithm you do not like something. I don't need the world to know I didn't like the video, I just want the algorithm to know I didn't like it, so it won't show me similar things again.

A better solution for me would be the same "Not Interested" button you get for stuff it recommends on the video itself. But once you are watching the video the dislike button is all they offer.

IMO, this is good. Videos can still get ratioed, so you can still see if a video is controversial. At least this way, people actually have to write a comment and spell out why they don't like something, instead of just brigading the thumbs down button.

"Once you are watching a video the dislike button is the best way to tell the algorithm you do not like something"

You can still do the "don't recommend this channel" thing, which is the most effective way of managing poor recommendations, in my experience.

@Plume How can you still see that they got ratioed? Some videos don’t allow comments, and the comments are often so poor quality that as a viewer I don’t want to wade into them. Overall, I don’t see how this is different from hiding low ratings on Amazon or the App Store. Yes, sometimes such ratings are unwarranted, but removing them undermines trust in the system and gives even more power to the algorithm.

Sure, if comments are turned off, videos can't get ratioed. But that's kind of an orthogonal discussion, because people can already turn off ratings, so if you're concerned about not seeing ratings, that's unchanged from the status quo.

It doesn't really matter what the comments are, the only thing that matteris is the ratio of comments to upvotes. IMO, that is a better indicator than the ratio of upvotes to downvotes to identify controversial videos.

Ah, I see what you mean. Thanks. I do tend to see a lot of videos with comments turned off (or where the comments fail to load) and few if any with ratings turned off.

Maybe a better solution would be to determine video quality by the number of views, assuming YouTube doesn't log a "view" until someone watches a significant percentage of the video? 70%?

Wait, why not hide the like count as well? Just use those features for the algorithm behind the scenes?

In more than a decade use of YouTube, I have never liked or disliked any videos as far as I can remember. I'm not sure I've subscribed to any channels either, but I would hazard a guess that my own use of the service is atypical to the average viewer. Either way, this change means nothing to me, but it is oddly inconsistent.

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