Saturday, September 24, 2016

Glory to Youtube!

Normally I use the fifth and final blog post of each month to show some video game related artwork, screenshots or animated GIFs.  However, I'm going to make an exception this time and talk about Youtube a bit instead.  Don't worry!  I'll still put up the normal end of the month stuff.  I'm just putting it off until the start of next month.  Anyway...on to the reason for this blog post!

Youtube has had a long running string of bad ideas in recent years.  An automated copyright ID system (that is open for abuse), Youtube Red (a paid service that limited sharing of videos internationally), and an ad-friendly policy (that allowed advertisers to influence the kind of content found on Youtube).  Which brings us to Youtube's newest blunder their "heroes" program.  In a nutshell it allows people to volunteer their time to moderate Youtube.  People who prove useful to the website will have increased privileges such as the ability to mass flag videos and remove undesirable comments.  Another way to gain advancement is by "sharing information" know...a small part of me almost gets at a board meeting somebody in a suit stood up and said "I know how we can solve our cesspool of a comment system for free!"  Apparently, none of these highly paid, "brilliant" people had ever heard of the term political officer.  Youtube isn't asking for "heroes," they're asking for "commissars."

Actually, I take that back.  Commissars at least got paid for what they did.  Youtube is too cheap to even offer a salary which is pretty insulting considering how much money Google rakes in every year.  So, there's really only three types of people who are going to go for this kind of thing.
  1. People who have an sociopolitical agenda they want to foist upon others
  2. People hoping to abuse the system for their own amusement/entertainment
  3. People who are actually being paid to do a job
Since we've already established there's no money in it for these "heroes" the vast majority of volunteers are coming from the first two categories.  Sure there might people a handful of folks who really are idealists willing volunteer their free time toward the task of trying to make the internet free of trolls and bigots, but they are few and far between...and lets face it, I doubt many of them would last long, or worse yet some might even eventually turn into villains.

Now, I know some readers have made it this far and are wondering what the heck any of this has to do with video games.  Well...nothing directly, but tangentially quite a bit.  Even if you're not a fan of LPers or even video reviews of games there are people on Youtube who do quality work when it comes to the craft and industry.  Guys like Jim Sterling, Errant Signal or Noah Caldwell-Gervais are just a few examples. Yes, I know there's a ton of garbage on Youtube. Guess what? Regular old TV Broadcasting (in the USA at least) is just as bad...if not worse...and has way more obnoxious advertising to boot.

The joke here is that Youtube had a very obvious solution to their problem. Give individual channels the tools to moderate themselves. is a great example of how moderated communities can work. Instead of just banning users or deleting comments mods can do stuff like issue warnings, remove individuals from particular threads, or even suspend an account's posting privileges for a certain number of days based on the type of infraction. Sure, it isn't a perfect solution. There's a danger of some rogue channel trying carve out their own little den of hate-speech or whatever on Youtube, but an appeals process (again like they have on and law courts in real life) should address that potential hazard.

Sadly, that idea was too simple of a solution for the "geniuses" at Youtube.  So instead we have this "heroes" program instead.  You know what really bothers me most about it?  The tagline at the end of their promo video that says "...Because all heroes deserve a little glory."  Glory?  Glory to these fools?  Nay!  Glory to Astortzka, I say.

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