Entry: 50aefd98< < Back
Google has started the large process of integrating the YouTube experience with Google+. A lot of people have strong feelings about that, but I'd like to quickly talk about just one aspect of this integration that many people don't seem to worry about. When YouTube gets updated, all indications seem to show that the dislike button will be gone, replaced by a G+ one.
Personally, I think that's a very bad idea. I use ratings a lot, and I have to say I press on dislike more often than like. The reason is simple. YouTube ratings are an excellent way to see whether a video is going to be good or not. I spend a lot of time on YouTube, and usually it's to watch short videos, around 5 minutes or less. Any time a new video loads, the first thing I look at is the rating, because if it's very high, then there's a high chance I will like it, but if it's very low, then it's almost certainly a waste of time.
As a result, I very rarely watch something that I completely wish I hadn't taken the time to watch. And if I happen to view a bad video, I will press the dislike button. Views can't work for this, because the number of views isn't updated when a video is seen through an embedded link. It's not rare to see a video with 300 views and over a thousand ratings.
Let's take a concrete example. Let's say you're looking for videos about wild car action, and you're presented with these two options. Without the ratings, which one would you pick?
Personally, since I don't speak Russian, and because both images seem just as enticing, I would pick the bottom one. Now let's see what the ratings are for these videos:
Well, as you can see, most people find the bottom one bad, hence the very low rating. And true enough, I found the top video far more interesting than the bottom one. The top one is fairly unique, with something really wild that you don't find often, while the bottom one is boring, has loud annoying music, and is mostly comprised of a slideshow of images, which is frowned upon by the community.
Most of those who don't like the dislike button say that people can abuse it, or that their videos could be unfairly judged. But personally, as an avid YouTube viewer, I find the rating to be exceptionally accurate. On average, if the rating is about 70% or so, it's almost certain I will like the video, whereas if it's under 30%, it's most certainly not going to be pretty. There are several things that will make a video have a very bad rating:
* Untrue, misleading title
* Using a slideshow instead of a video
* Loud annoying music
* Bad editing, such as a long video that could easily have been trimmed to a much shorter one
Now I do admit that there are cases of unfair ratings, but it's never on a single video basis, it's always a channel wide effect. For example, a while back some threads appeared on how Machinima was apparently unjustly keeping talents into their contracts, preventing them from doing videos for other channels. This led to a big user backlash, and their ratings took a dive regardless of the video content. Things like that happen, but usually there's always a cause behind it. And if you don't want to take the risk, YouTube already provides an option to disable ratings on your videos.
So the bottom line is that for YouTube, I think ratings work very well. The comments may be another story (I find YouTube comments to be some of the worse on the web) but the dislike button should remain.