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YouTube Upgrades Its Comments



The comments under YouTube videos are not exactly renowned as a location for rigorous intellectual debate, and chances are they never will be. But the Google-owned video service is now taking steps to bring more important and useful comments to the fore — and to let the channel owner automatically delete comments with certain words.

"There's a lot of room for improvement," said Nundu Janakiram, YouTube product manager, when asked about the current state of comments. "So comments will soon become conversations that matter to you." (Here's his official blog post on the changes.)

YouTube already offers a "top comments" section for the most upvoted comments, but they can still often be irrelevant to the video in question. Starting this week on channel pages, and rolling out slowly to video pages by the end of the year, reverse chronological comments will fall away entirely.

You'll start to see a new set of comments rise to the top: those by the video's creator, "popular personalities" (i.e., YouTube celebrities), "engaged discussions" with a long thread, and people you know and interact with — both on YouTube and Google+.

So no two users' YouTube comments section will look quite the same, and Google will be offering another reason for you to use its still-not-quite-popular social network. (You'll be able to post YouTube comments to Google+ automatically, along with the video, by checking a box.)

The Google+ integration also allows you to post a comment that will only appear within a given social circle. And if you're not keen on circles, you can select specific users who will be the only ones to see the comment. In other words, you and your friends can have your very own YouTube comments section, and make it as dumbed-down or intellectual as you like.

Finally, channel owners will get the ability to create a blacklist of certain words that they don't want to see appearing in the comments under those videos. Comments containing those words will be sent to purgatory, pending moderation.