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#1 Respree

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 01:24 PM

I've wondered about the ability to comment on social media (SM) sites. Is it a good idea? All the popular SM sites seem to feature this. What is the purpose? Do they believe commenting builds community and helps to make a connection with other members.

Personally, I find nothing communal about them and no doubt, there's something I'm missing. But what?

I've been spending a fair amount of time on youtube trying to entertain myself and avoid doing my regular work and couldn't help but notice the countless instances of spam, pointless comments, insults and utter garbage posted by the 'community.' To me, it degrades, not enhances, the user experience.

Here's an example:

i watched it and thought it was kinda funny but not really.

Hey Jerry, you and your prices are HOT!!

I thought the salesman was a terrible actor, but it was a good video.?

ARE YOU READY FOR THIS???

This will blow you away!

___________.*com

check out our HUGE bottle rocket explosion!!!?

DONT READ THIS. YOU WILL GET KISSED ON THE NEAREST POSSIBLE FRIDAY BY THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE. TOMORROW WILL BE THE BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE. HOWEVER IF YOU DONT POST THIS COMMENT TO AT LEAST 3 VIDEOS YOU WILL DIE WITHIN 2 DAYS. NOW UV STARTED READIN DIS DUNT STOP THIS IS SO SCARY. SEND THIS OVER TO 5 VIDEOS IN 143 MINUTES WHEN UR DONE PRESS F6 AND UR CRUSHES NAME WILL APPEAR ON THE SCREEN IN BIG LETTERS. THIS IS SO SCARY Cuz IT? ACTUALLY WORKS THIS reaLLY WORKS!!!

VEry? Nice :)

Click my profile to cheek my marihuana vids :D

PLEASE DONT READ THIS. YOU WILL GET KISSED ON THE NEAREST POSSIBLE FRIDAY BY THE LOVE OF YOUR LIFE. TOMORROW WILL BE THE BEST DAY OF YOUR LIFE. HOWEVER IF YOU DONT POST THIS COMMENT TO AT LEAST 3 VIDEOS YOU WILL DIE WITHIN 2 DAYS. NOW UV STARTED READIN DIS DUNT STOP THIS IS SO SCARY. SEND THIS OVER TO 5 VIDEOS IN? 143 MINUTES WHEN UR DONE PRESS F6 AND UR CRUSHES NAME WILL APPEAR ON THE SCREEN IN BIG LETTERS. THIS IS SO SCARY BECAUSE IT ACTUALLY WORKs

watch our videos at __________.com. laugh why don't ya

hey guys watch my new video rubiks cube done in 7.59 seconds!!!world record!!

hey guys watch my new video rubiks cube done in 7.59 seconds!!!world record!!

hey guys watch my new video rubiks cube done in 7.59 seconds!!!world record!!
that was pretty stupid

get more nervous...stop shaking dam you! :P

u get me nervous dam u

Awesome video!

Click my profile to check out our music!

Cheers!

brill


What purpose does this serve? I don't get it -- at all...

Comments and your thoughts are welcomed.

Edited by Respree, 10 July 2007 - 01:45 PM.


#2 Adrian

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 02:59 PM

Anything that has comments will be spammed. If there's no point to comments on social networking sites, is there any point to comments on blogs?

Comments on Digg/Slashdot/Reddit type sites don't tend to be spam laden, but they do tend to be full of people critising each other and slagging each other off.

Make a video blog, and don't bother with spam protection, you'll probably get the same spam problems YouTube has.

#3 kulpreet_singh

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 03:20 PM

I agree.

Comments only work for sites that already have a community, and the members have a track record and some accountability.

For example Facebook users have their individual profiles, then they have groups and walls and whatnot.

But when you leave a comment, you are accountable for your comment because your profile has your personal details on it.

As Adrian said, most sites that allow comments will receive spam and require moderation.

#4 SEOigloo

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 03:22 PM

Hi Guys,

I thought I would chime in on this as I just published an inteview-style blog post on this exact subject called The isms of SM. I spoke with our own Bill, Kim and Sophie, as well as Barry Schwartz and Matt McGee, and I thought you might find this interesting.

It wasn't so much the foolish and inane comments that bothered me when I began trying to understand SM, but rather, the scary racist and prejudiced ones. I was really disturbed by what I saw. Hope this post might help you!

Miriam

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 03:22 PM

...couldn't help but notice the spam, pointless comments, insults and utter garbage posted by 'commenters.' To me, it degrades, not enhances, the user experience.


I think you're absolutely right - but I think it's a criticism of the community which creates those comments, rather than a problem with accepting comments.

The comments on social media sites are a significant part of what makes them what they are: social. Sure, the agreement of "we all thought this was a good video" is somewhat inherently social, but the provision of individual voice makes it far greater as an interaction.

Note that I said "greater" (as in "more substantial"), not as an "better." Unfortunately, a lot of the commentary on social sites is juvenile at best, spammy at worst, and simply cruel in the middle. There are well-reasoned thoughts and comments out there, but they're very hard to find!

The main problem is that there isn't really anybody in charge of the dialogue. (Or, alternately, there really isn't a dialogue present.)

I think that all social sites need to be able to accept comments in order to really be social sites. But I'm not about to read them, in most cases, because they're rarely worth reading.

It may also have something to do with the fact that social sites are commonly more of a meta-document than a conversation. The core which the comments revolve around is frequently external to the site (Digg, Reddit, etc.), so the conversation is more about itself than the original document. Comments on the source document logically end up at the originating site.

#6 Respree

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 07:15 PM

I think we're all seeing (and thinking) the same thing.

Interestingly enough, youtube has a links called "spam" and "flag as inappropriate." The thought here is to have a self-policing community, where objectionable comments can be reported to be assessed and removed, if deemed appropriate. The thought and mechanism is all well and good, yet there remains a proliferation of what I described earlier. Seems, for the most part, the 'community' doesn't mind it, doesn't pay attention to it or is unwilling to do anything about it.

It's very easy to understand the self-policing format they've set up. I would imagine it would be impossible (or cost a ton of money) to have paid staff policying the many millions of inappropriate comments. So they do it by exception management. In theory, it 'should' work, but doesn't.

Is this really interaction, Joe? Is there a bond between members forming that I don't see? Is this the intent of having comments? Or do people just like the sound of their own voice on the Internet, so they give it to them?

I wonder...

#7 Guest_joedolson_*

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 07:53 PM

Is this really interaction, Joe? Is there a bond between members forming that I don't see? Is this the intent of having comments? Or do people just like the sound of their own voice on the Internet, so they give it to them?


As I see it, "interaction," is the ideal - the reality is something else entirely. There needs to be some kind of interaction for social media to function socially - and as long as SOME of the commenters are providing real interaction, it's working for some visitors. But a lot of it is, as you perceive, crap.

And yes, people just like the sounds of their own voices. That's really where the whole thing starts to suffer.

With content ownership, a good blog has the control to dictate what is acceptable commenting and contribution to their site. These social media sites depend on community self-policing, like you observed - but the community doesn't perceive itself as owning the resource, so there's little motivation to really get involved in the self-policing.

Also, reporting spam is far from equal to being able to just get rid of it. I don't know how effective these sites generally are at that, myself.

#8 Ron Carnell

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 09:23 PM

Perhaps I'm a bit confused. I haven't published anything on YouTube myself, but I have a few friends who do and I came away with a bit different understanding of how it works.

I "thought" each publisher was essentially their own, uh, publisher. It's not much different than putting up your own blog on one of the blog conglomerates. As the publisher of your material, you decide whether you'll accept comments, whether you'll pre-moderate comments, and of course, whether a comment will be allowed to be posted or removed as spam/inappropriate. You have more or less full control over what appears with YOUR content. At least, that's the impression I've been under?

#9 Guest_joedolson_*

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 09:36 PM

You have more or less full control over what appears with YOUR content. At least, that's the impression I've been under?


Could be - at least concerning YouTube. I have to say I have no idea!

#10 Respree

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Posted 10 July 2007 - 10:25 PM

Actually, Ron, you're not confused. I am.

I don't have a youtube account either and it appears I made an incorrect assumption that the company was responsible for the comments.

Apparently, comments are maintained and edited by the 'publisher' and not youtube, which makes what I seeing even more confusing. Why do people tolerate these nasty comments? For some illogical reason, they seem to be okay with it -- except for this guy (actually, quite amusing, if you have a minute or two).

#11 Adrian

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 04:44 AM

Why do people tolerate these nasty comments? For some illogical reason, they seem to be okay with it


Don't think it's anything to do with being 'ok with it', it's jsut people can't be arsed, or don't want to moderate it.
A lot of people aren't adding youtube videos with the idea in mind of properly maintaining them as their own content, they're using Youtube because it's a quick and easy way to post a video. The spam comes in, and as much as anything, they probably just ignore it.

I hardly even look at the comments on youtube, I'm put off comments on Digg and Slashdot, and I generally don't bother with the comments on Reddit.

Sites like Facebook are a whole different kettle of fish. On those, you can't post unless you're allowed to post. On youtube/digg/reddit etc.. you can post unless someone stops you.

Self policing is only an answer if it works.
Say you flag a comment on youtube as spam or whatever, what then happens? Does the comment dissapear? Or is someone notified of it? And if they can be bothered, they go and have a look, and possibly delete it? Say they get a couple thousand of those reports in a week, say people start report non-spam comments, purely because they didn't like what the person said, or because they wanted to p*** them off etc...

There's a difference between intended use for these things, and how they end up being used.

The company I just left has recently launched a large new site, merging in some existing forums.
As part of the design, they wanted the titles of the 10 most recent forum post displayed on the home page with a link to the thread.
The intended idea being, that as the forums are on the same topic as the site, there would be link to relevant content within the forum, straight from the homepage.
Of course, the forums get used for a lot of 'general chatter' as well, so in reality, you get a few links to threads 'on topic', and then a bunch of links to irrelevant chatter threads, and a link such as "Rohypnol or Chloroform - which do you prefer". That's a real forum thread title that was on the home page of the overall site at one point, a jokey thread, but completely unrelated to the topic and feasibly damaging if people unfamiliar with the forums see it. All because in the design stage, the assumption was that the forums were used solely to talk about stuff relating to the main topic of the site.

#12 cre8pc

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 08:26 AM

I seem to always return to this image of the Internet being like the old Wild West in USA pioneer days, where everyone had a gun, was ready for a fight, and it seemed as though there was little control over one's circumstances because everything was new, lawless and unorganized.

There's a definite difference in the content of comments depending on the age and gender of the commenter. I get a continuous education from my teenager, who was an early adopter of social media sites. I had to work hard at protecting her and teaching her and her friends (who are always here at the house) how to negotiate the Internet and places like MySpace. They tolerate and accept things that shock me.

What shocks me is that young people seem to take abuse, put downs and hateful remarks in stride. Where I have tolerance for it, I've watched the kids just shrug and laugh it off.

I wonder what it says about the millions of people who think unintelligent discussions are worth their time to write or read. I wonder when those millions of people will wake up and take back their right to exist without the constant onslaught of verbal abuse and sheer stupidity of most comments and spam.

#13 pleeker

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 11:48 AM

If there's no point to comments on social networking sites, is there any point to comments on blogs?


I think these are two entirely different things. I don't recall ever starting a friendly relationship with anyone who has commented with me on digg, MySpace, etc. However, I have become friendly with people who have commented on my Flickr photos. And I think if I spent more time on Newsvine, there might be a chance to become friendly with some folks there.

And I have developed friendships with several people who have commented on my blog -- including one of the posters in this thread. (Hi, Miriam!) When I traveled to Minnesota earlier this year, I met with 3-4 "friends" whom I'd only know before from them commenting on my blog, or me commenting on theirs.

So I think we need to be careful about lumping all comment functions together, at least based on my experience. :) Blogs are different from social media sites, and not all social media sites are created equal.

#14 Adrian

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Posted 11 July 2007 - 05:20 PM

Blogs are different from social media sites, and not all social media sites are created equal.


Is that becuase of how they are run though?
Like with forums, there are a few places do discuss the same kinds of things that we do here, but we create something of a different atmosphere for that discussion.

The communities involved in the various social media sites are presumably based on what the people who run the site allow.
If the runners of Digg came down on the commenters there about things consistently, I'm sure the general level of comment quality would rise. A lot of people who comment there now might not bother, and it wouldn't be so busy, but you can imagine the community would be different.

By 'allowing' (whether it be by action or inaction) the kinds of comments they get there, they end up just breeding more of them.

If YouTube are placing the burden on the video publishers, then comments across the site are going to generally reflect the actions of those video publishers, which may be to just ignore the comments, it may be to actively moderate them, or whatever.

Shaping a community isn't terribly easy, especially when it's a very large community, and relatively anonymous like many people who use Digg or YouTube are, despite the user accounts.

Forums can be a lot more personal, as with blogs, the same goes with certain sites like Facebook, and Flickr has presumably made greater efforts to 'guide' their users in the kind of conduct they expect as well.

#15 Respree

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 08:05 PM

No doubt, Social Media sites attract a much wider (i.e. interests, age ranges, education, etc.) audience than, say, this community. I'd agree with Kim that despite the last decade of Internet revolution, it's still very much the gunslinging "Wild, Wild, West."

I theorized that these nasty comments, for the most part, were coming from kids and perhaps, to a lesser extent, had some connection to socioeconomic status (lower household income, college students, teens, etc.).

I thought of department stores like Ross (a large US-based discount clothing store) where I'll go sometimes to buy a cheap pair of shorts. The store looks like a demilitarized zone. Anytime of the day I would go, honestly, it looks like a tornado just went through the store. People throw clothing on the floor after deciding not to buy them, rather than hanging them back up. There are only two words that come to mind -- "No class."

Contrast that to a higher-end department store, like Nordstrom's, and you see the other end of the spectrum.

So what makes behavior of the two demographics different?

I can't help but think 'money' and/or 'education'.

This demographic report on YouTube is a little dated, but was very surprised to see my theory the complete opposite of what I was expecting to see.
http://www.imediacon...ntent/12474.asp

- The lion's share of YouTube's traffic (55%) is between the ages of 35 to 64.

- Household incomes for 62% of their visitors was $60,000+

The results of which now leave me more confused than ever. So if it's not money and it's not age, what is it?

Maybe I'll never figure it out...

#16 SEOigloo

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Posted 13 July 2007 - 11:11 PM

Hello to you, too, Matt!


Garrick -

I thought of department stores like Ross (a large US-based discount clothing store) where I'll go sometimes to buy a cheap pair of shorts. The store looks like a demilitarized zone. Anytime of the day I would go, honestly, it looks like a tornado just went through the store.


:) Garrick, that is EXACTLY what Ross looks like. That description is so perfect, it made me laugh. It's absolutely horrible in that place...dim lights, screaming children, clothing thrown everywhere. I get a migraine going in that place. Seriously.

Your findings about the YouTube age group surprised me very much. Could it be that certain types of films appeal to a younger crowd and the comments are more slackjawed on those posts than on others? For example, would a short video of a man teaching how to fix a lawn mower elicit more intelligent comments than a rock video?

I haven't noticed, so I don't have the answer to my question.

I continue to feel that the idiocy one encounters in many comment fields points to people allowing a dark side of their personality to come out because of the anonymity factor.

This is a very interesting thread.
Miriam

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Posted 14 July 2007 - 10:13 AM

I'd be interested in seeing more information about those YouTube audience numbers. That's the problem with statistics - they always tantalize with the suggestion of a metric, but actually leave you wanting more!

I want to know how they measured usage; what qualified as a user, etc. I'd also want to know how many in that 35-64 age range were professionals - either in the video industry or the marketing industry, etc. There's no doubt that YouTube is being used for marketing; but to what degree?

There's also no doubt that it's being used to spread banality (by whom, I'll elect not to say. :) )

Could it be that certain types of films appeal to a younger crowd and the comments are more slackjawed on those posts than on others? For example, would a short video of a man teaching how to fix a lawn mower elicit more intelligent comments than a rock video?


That's certainly a likely division. I can see the logic behind it; although I can also easily imagine it differently. Anybody spend enough time on YouTube to actually notice?

#18 NYU85

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Posted 17 July 2007 - 09:54 AM

Community policing is HUGE when it comes to preventing spam. People need to take pride in the site...then they will start reporting those who don't by spamming.


Build a solid community and clean postings will follow <_<



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