Anyone who regularly posts on YouTube over the past year or two has likely noticed the changes YouTube made to its comment system, such as Google+ integration, the ability to include links in posts and so on. What many may not realise is how terrible YouTube is at ranking comments, particularly newly posted comments. At a first glance, YouTube gives the impression that your comment appears on the top immediately after it is posted, but have you actually tried logging out to see where your comment ends up right after you posted it, assuming you can even find it logged out?
Well, take a look at the following video where I post a comment on a cat video:
It is not just top comments YouTube shows first, these are followed by comments without any +1’s, which appear to be posted by those who have a lot of subscribers or who may have accumulated lots of +1’s in their previous comments. So on videos with hundreds of comments, you may need to spend at least a minute repetitively scrolling and clicking ‘Read More’ to see where your new comment ends up.
While there is a drop-down to show the newest comments first, how often have you actually chosen this option? I know I have never changed the sort order as I have always assumed that fresh comments were mixed in along with the top comments, like how I recall YouTube use to show them. I’m sure many others have the same assumption or don’t bother changing the sort order on every video they watch.
As our senior moderator Albert pointed out on our forum, he could not change the sort order on YouTube’s mobile app. I checked the YouTube app and sure enough comments are sorted by the top comments first and I could not find any option to change the sort order either. Like the browser version of YouTube, the app falsely gives the impression that my comments are on top. So this means that most comments are effectively being censored from YouTube’s mobile app, such as on popular cat videos.
To make matters worse, if your comment gets trapped by the spam filter, you will not even know about it either unless you actually check in the logged out view, which can be quite tricky to do if you post comments using the mobile app. YouTube will still show your comment while you are logged in and does not give any indication that it is awaiting moderation, unlike posting in a moderated discussion forum. Based on my experience, you don’t even need a link in your comment for it to get stuck in the spam filter.
I recently posted a comment which I mentioned Amazon in (without specifying any product) and the comment was nowhere to be seen logged out, even when I sorted by newest comments first. I also waited a day in case the video author checked any spam-filtered comments awaiting approval, but that never happened. I deleted my comment, reworded it and made sure I removed the word ‘Amazon’ and when I posted it, it finally appeared in the logged out view.
So the next time you comment on a video, particularly a cat or music video, just try looking for your comment while logged out.