YouTube’s new ‘respectful comments’ feature won’t work because it can be ignored

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YouTube, like many other online platforms of late, is looking at ways to make its community a better place to be in and interact with. The latest attempt at this is a new feature aimed at notifying users when they are making a comment. This respectful comments feature, however, can also easily be ignored.

“Today we’re introducing a new reminder in comments to help encourage respectful interactions,” wrote YouTube in a recent community post.

“Now on Android, the reminder may pop up before posting a comment that may be offensive to others, giving the commenter the option to reflect before posting. From the reminder, the commenter can move forward with posting the comment as is, or take a few extra moments to edit the comment before posting it,” the post adds.


As Engadget points out, this new feature is similar to the one that Instagram recently implemented, which too aimed to notify users that whatever comment they were about to post, may be deemed as hateful or disrespectful.

While it is indeed commendable that YouTube wants to tackle this issue, our inner cynic can’t help but feel that the notifications can very easily be ignored, especially as comments can simply be posted as is.

Added to this is that comments will be moderated by machine learning algorithms, which take time to learn and may not catch all disrespectful or potentially harmful comments.

That said, a comment can still be removed for infringing community guidelines if it is not flagged or a user does not receive a notification pop-up at the draft stage.

Either way, it seems like an imperfect system, not to mention the fact that the comments section in YouTube has proved a difficult area to moderate in the past.

How voices on the platform, particularly divisive ones, will react to the announcement remains to be seen. Regardless it will interesting to see what impact, if any, this new feature has on the amount of respectful comments get posted moving forward.

For now, only Android has this feature active, with no date noted on when it will roll out to other operating systems and platforms, but it is expected.

[Image – Photo by Christian Wiediger on Unsplash]

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.