YouTube comments: Fast-growing petition calls for video site to bring back old system

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The stink kicked up by YouTube’s decision to require commenters to post via a Google+ account continues to linger, with many disgruntled users putting their name to an online petition demanding the video-sharing site return to the former system.

Hosted at change.org, the petition – titled, “Google: Change the Youtube comment section back to its original form” – at the time of writing has just over 87,000 supporters.

Petition creator ‘John Doe’ – clearly someone determined to retain their anonymity despite Google trying to spoil the party – writes, “Google is forcing us to make google+ accounts and invading our social life to comment on a youtube video and trying to take away our anonymous profile. They are also trying to censor us unless we share the same world view as they do.”

‘Ruined a great thing’

The current most-liked comment on the petition page reads: “They have completely RUINED a great thing. Comments were the number one reason why I checked my YouTube account daily. Now that desire is gone.”

Another is more scathing, saying, “Stripping us of our anonymous profiles, forcing outside media and advertisements down our throats, censoring our comments and selectively giving commenters the ability to disable replies and ratings on their comments, among a host of unwarranted changes to the original, much more efficient and streamlined Youtube layout as a whole are just some of the many negative changes that are being made to Youtube.”

It continues, “It’s ethically wrong to force these changes [onto] an unwilling userbase as it alienates them while devaluing the quality of the site and tarnishing your credibility. This callous behavior needs to stop.”

Co-founder comment

YouTube co-founder Jawed Karim, who’s no longer associated with the site, is also upset by the changes being made to his baby, posting a comment on his channel page (which comprises one video that happens to be the first ever posted on YouTube) asking incredulously why he has to create a Google+ account to make a comment.

Google and YouTube say the decision to get commenters to tie their posts to a Google+ account should result in more meaningful conversations, with “comments from people you care about” rising to the top, and comments containing colorful yet abusive outbursts sinking without trace to the murky depths of the video streaming website.

While Google believes tying comments to a Google+ account with a ‘real’ name will also mean fewer negative posts from what it calls “unwelcome voices”, many believe the move is simply a ploy by the Mountain View company to bolster the number of users for its social networking site, as well as to help it gather even more data about users.


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