When YouTube first rolled out its new comment moderation tools, it was generally viewed two different ways by two different camps. Camp One saw it as a means to clean up (if not eliminate) the writhing scum tank that are YouTube comments. By integrating Google+ into the mix, trolls would be ranked based on their downvotes, which would instantly bury any comment they made and provide more opportunities to blacklist them. Overall, it seemed like an even-handed solution to an ugly problem.
Camp Two, however, saw it differently. By working in Google+, Camp Two-ers saw it as just another step that Google was taking to shove Google+ into our collective maws. There was also confusion based around the fact that Google+ integration, in some cases, would mean that online personas (you know, the ones you troll with) would be scrapped for real names. With this, sweet internet anonymity would be eradicated and our horrible real selves would be exposed.
Luckily, YouTube had to make some clarifications today after a Forbes article condemning the Google+ integration came out. According to a YouTube rep who contacted the post’s author, comment moderation tools will not require a user to use his/her real identity. The rep’s official statement is below:
1. You’ve always needed to have an account to comment on YouTube. That could be soccerguy54 or Jane Smith.
2. This change won’t affect your ability to choose your identity on YouTube, whether you want to keep your existing channel name, use a totally new one, use your real name, etc. Control of your identity is paramount on YouTube, whether you’ve built your business on it (e.g. Epic Rap Battles) or your livelihood depends on it (e.g. Syrian dissident).
I recognize others are trying to fix comments by removing anonymity — we’re instead trying to improve comments by showing you ones that are relevant to you, versus just the most recent ones.
So there you have it concerned trolls, YouTube won’t be taking away your personas, they’ll just be taking away your relevancy.