Say what you like about the way YouTube updated its comments system to integrate with Google+, but it did it cut the head off a lot of trolling activity, and gave creators some breathing space from relentless, and unnecessary attacks. Today, Yonatan Zunger, the Chief Architect of Google+, posted a study about the way positive and negative feedback on social networks affects the future behavior of the individual being judged, in relation to the changes YouTube made.
The report, “Data Mining Reveals How The “Down-Vote” Leads To A Vicious Circle Of Negative Feedback,” asserts that a contributor who is constantly down-voted goes on to produce lower quality content in future that is valued even less, leading to more down-votes. The report also suggests that there is a definite pattern of negative behavior, as contributors will go on to down-vote others after they have been down voted themselves. The end result is a rabbit-hole of negative behavior that can escalate, and benefit no-one.
Zunger commented on the report by saying:
This is actually stuff which has been known in practice by people in the field for a while, and (for example) it’s part of why I’ll be damned if I ever allow a “-1” button on Google+. In fact, many of the changes we made to YouTube commenting over the past year have to do with applying ideas like these, in very subtle ways. (That one is going to take longer to take effect, since YouTube has quite a lot of inertia, but we’ve already observed significant changes in tone).
So, after months of feedback from the changes, is YouTube going to significantly alter the way viewers interact with creators once again? If Google is taking such a stand on Google+ by resisting the -1 voting option, and Google+ and YouTube are now so intertwined, then can we expect more restrictions on feedback via YouTube comments?
H/T to RustyBrick