YouTube’s ongoing mission to exert control over its unruly comment sections continues with the addition of pinned comments and a new algorithmic screening process. Starting today, the company will let channel owners and creators handpick user comments to feature. Once selected, those replies will be pinned to the top of the comments section and therefore show up more prominently for viewers when they scroll below the player.
It’s also launching an opt-in review system in a beta testing phase that will algorithmically screen new comments and hold inappropriate ones from publishing. That way, channel owners can review those comments and approve them as they see fit. One last feature coming to YouTube today is the ability for creators to “heart” user comments on their videos as a way to show appreciation and highlight examples of how to have civil conversations on the platform.
These are just the latest in a series of changes and tweaks YouTube has made over the last few years to try and clean up the mess its users continue making below the fold. The company notoriously failed to switch its user base over to real names that would be tied to Google+ accounts. Since it rolled back that measure, YouTube has employed a number of moderation methods and new features designed to let channel owners take matters into their own hands.
YouTube already allows channel owners to blacklist certain words and phrases, which then prevent comments containing those snippets of text from publishing without getting approved first. The platform also lets you delegate channel moderation to another user. Back in September, YouTube added a new Heroes program to reward helpful users who flag inappropriate comments and videos, add subtitles, and answer forum questions. This latest change, however, illustrates how YouTube plans to help creators elevate positive behavior instead of simply stifling the negative.