YouTube Comments Get a Makeover

November 2, 2013

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. tweak [tweek] (v.) – to make adjustments to something
Example:  She tweaked the camera’s settings to get a good picture despite the dark surroundings.

2. unruly [uhn-ROO-lee] (adj.) – refusing to follow the rules or the law
Example: The website strictly implements the new rules to keep unruly users off the site.

3. trolling [TROHL-ing] (n.) – the act of posting hateful comments or articles on a website
ExampleTrolling is usually done to stimulate strong reactions or to start fights online.

4. bolster [BOHL-ster] (v.) – to make something stronger
Example:  The company bolstered its website with an improved online viewing system.

5. test the waters [test thuh WOT-erz] (idiom) – to partly implement an idea to see if it will work
Example:  The CEO decided to upgrade only 10% of the company’s computers to test the waters before committing to a full upgrade.


Read the text below.

YouTube has announced that it will tweak its comments system to make feedback from users more relevant and less hostile.

In an announcement, YouTube’s parent company Google said that with this change, it aims to turn comments into meaningful conversations.

The decision is welcome news for many YouTube users who watch millions of videos and read comments on the website every day. While unruly comment sections are a widespread internet problem, they are particularly evident on YouTube, whose comments sections are often overrun by trolling, bullying, racism, sexism, and other hostile behaviors.

One of the biggest changes will be the integration of Google’s social network, Google+, into YouTube’s comments system. Under the new system, commenters will need to link their YouTube account with a Google+ profile, a move that Google hopes will encourage responsible speech and behavior.

The new system will also prioritize relevant comments over recent ones. Instead of showing the newest comments first, comments from friends or celebrities will automatically rise to the top of the list.

Finally, Google will bolster video creators with more powerful tools to better regulate discussions. For example, creators will be able to create a blacklist of offensive words. If a comment containing a blacklisted word is posted, it will automatically be filtered to await approval.

To test the waters, Google will roll out the changes gradually over the coming months. Those who prefer the current system will have an option to revert to the old system, but the redesigned system will be turned on by default.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree that the unruly comments on YouTube are an inconvenience to users? Why or why not?
·         What other ways can you think of to encourage responsible and civil comments on YouTube? Discuss with your tutor.

Discussion B

·         Do you consider trolling to be a form of freedom of speech? Explain.
·         Do you think the Internet should be regulated by the government? Why or why not?


November 2, 2013