YouTube is trying to make their appeals process easier for members by adding features to the account interface.  In the world of YouTube, when you upload a video that ultimately ends up flagged as a violation of the Community Guidelines, your account receives a strike.  Get too many strikes… and you’re out.

As with most things at YouTube (and parent Google), this is an almost-entirely automated process.  Random users flag a video, and after enough flags, that video’s creator receives a flag (and the video is usually removed or moved behind the age-verification wall).  And just like any automated system of this size—2 billion views served a day is pretty huge—there are mistakes.

And apparently there have been enough mistakes in the system to warrant a change.  YouTube has implemented a refined appeals process for content uploaders, which aims to make it easier to fight a video takedown or an account strike.  The fundamental change is that you can now fight the injustice from right within your own YouTube account.

When a video receives a strike, the user who uploaded that video will get a notice upon their next login, and it requires the user to acknowledge the strike before moving on.  Under the new system, though, users can stay within their own account and immediately protest the strike by going to their Manage Account section (under Account Status).  Here’s a screenshot:

Any strikes that YouTube finds were made in error will then be undone—the videos will be reinstated and the strike on the account will come off.  You’ll even get a nice email from them explaining how your appeal turned out.

The YouTube blog closes with a cute baseball analogy, suggesting that the video portal needs rules just like baseball does… only now, users will be able to “talk to the umpire.”

This is limited to just strikes for Community Guidelines violations, meaning there are other strikes your account can receive that cannot be appealed this way—I’m guessing this mostly applies to stuff like copyright violations.

Just as any massive website that uses a flagging system, YouTube’s flagging system is surely being abused by ill-minded users seeking to punish their competitors.  I’ve seen the same kind of thing on Craigslist and even with review systems like Amazon uses.  So I think this is a good step in a good direction.  Surely there are lots of users who have seen their videos removed or their account stricken who have been frustrated by the appeals process.

This new system doesn’t make your appeal any more or less likely to win out, mind you, as the ultimate authority still rests with faceless YouTube officials.  This won’t eliminate the issue of wrongfully-flagged videos receiving strikes.  But it does make appeals easier, which is something that was long overdue.

If you’d like to learn more about the new appeals process for strikes, check out the special Help page YouTube created for it.