Sunday, 7 January 2007

Wanted: YouTube h8r cancelbots/ crowd-moderation

YouTube, til recently a cause of great joy and wonder, is now turning into an embarrassment and cause for despair. Why? "leet h8rz" speech. Almost *any* post that gets popular enough is certain to receive shitloads of hateful comments. You can't call it criticism, and "comments" is giving it too much weight. It's more like cowardly sniping by morons, hiding behind their usernames.

David Pogue on the NY Times wrote something recently about the decline of Netiquette, so the issue's been lingering in my head and I'm wondering if this is all just being alarmist or if it's actually getting worse.

I was just looking at a video of a baby smiling after it farted (it was a YouTube Featured video okay, I didn't look for it!) and it has received a 1million views and around 2000 comments. Most of the comments consist of - "ugh! this is so gay", "faaaake!", "this baby should've been aborted", "ignorant white trash dads". Oh come on! Whatever happened to babies being cute and adorable and undeserving of such trash talk?

Then I clicked on a similar vid, of a Spanish baby making farty noises with its mouth (it's a whole new genre for short film!), and what do we get? Racist taunts about Mexican immigration! Fucking hell. Doesn't take long to get the rats coming out of the woodwork.

Was looking at another one where this Vietnamese-Australian girl was complaining about "bogans" causing a disturbance on public transport , and sure enough, after a day or two, out comes the comments along the lines of "If you don't like it, go back to your country", "Your ancestors were savages in rice paddies", "Me love you long time suckee suckee".

I think there should be another law similar to Godwin's law, a YouTube version of it, stating that "As the number of comment pages on a video goes past 4 and there's any indication that the person in the video is not a white American, the probabilty of a racist comment approaches 1."

Anonymity is the reason why juvenile idiots, racist scum, and plain old jerks are able to pour out their hate (and I use that word repeatedly because that's what it is) without any regard for the consequences of their speech. I'm pretty sure people would at least think twice before spewing this much bile and filth if they had to use their real names to make a post.

Of course, those with underdeveloped IQs and potty mouths would be doing it - but how long would you persist if you knew that everyone in the world, or at least everyone you would ever meet from that point on - friends, future schools, universities, employers, would-be lovers - would be able to Google your name and see what an asshole you really are.

I can't see why Google, having spent truckloads of money to buy YouTube, would just sit by and let it get clogged with all these moronic, hateful comments. Given the collective IQ at that place, can't they find a way to institute some form of self-policing by the public, or have a system where certain users can get responsibility for controlling the comment flood. Slashdot and Digg have crowd-moderated systems, and WikiPedia still seem to be successful with a system that everyone can still edit - so what's YouTube gonna do?

This is the user-generated content that Time voted as "Man of the Year"? Nice one.

1 comment:

ben c. said...

I liked your proposed corollary to Godwin's law. Pero consider decreasing the page range to 2 hehe.