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They Changed It Now It Sucks / YouTube

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YouTube is perhaps the biggest video sharing site on the internet, notable for its ease of use and enjoyable content. So of course, when one thing changes, there'll always be someone who won't be happy.

    Design Changes 

  • Users with lower bandwidths can no longer pause a video and let it buffer for a while so that they can watch it uninterrupted, especially at higher qualities. Trying to do so can cause the video to restart buffering as the site tries to adjust the video's resolution or trigger an ad to play and to restart buffering the pause point.note 
    • Also note that should you disable "Dash playback" to get the old buffer caching method back, you'll lose access to 480p, all qualities at 1080p and above, and support for 60 FPS.
  • The forcing of Google Accounts. Hope you got a Yahoo! account instead. Otherwise, you'd better have a mobile phone. Don't have one? Luckily it seems like the mobile phone number is only used as an optional security measure. Doesn't help though that the skip link on it is in a very tiny font.
  • Homepage Redesigns:
    • The December 6, 2012 design update. There were many criticisms about this design, such as the fact that the default tab on the front page became "what to watch" instead of "my subscriptions." They also made it where to log in, you had to use your email address, rather than your username. On wider screens, there was a massive amount of empty space taking up the entire right half of the screen. There were also complaints of it being fairly unorganized. The February 2014 update made the disorganization problem worse, leaving main page more or less a clusterfuck.
    • The March 2018 design update. Users complained that apart from it being ugly, it felt like the website was trying too hard to feel like something you'd look at on mobile or a tablet. The backlash led to them giving users the option to switch back to the old layout... before removing that option a few months later as well.
    • The November 2019 update was criticized for making thumbnails needlessly bigger and thus, having less videos on the page. Other criticisms were tearing town the organization of the old homepage, increasing the amount of scrolling people have to do to see all their recommended videos, and being, yet again, more tailored to mobile devices to the detriment of all other platforms.
  • Channel Redesigns:
    • "YouTube Channels 2.0", introduced in 2009, got a lot of flak. Mainly for removing a lot of the customization options channels had and replacing the layout with one that was considered far more generic. Nowadays, it is considered Vindicated by History thanks in no part to the later changes made to channels.
    • "YouTube Channels 3.5 (Cosmic Panda)" was also widely hated for the same reasons. The biggest cause of the negative feedback by the community was that the only customization that could be done on a regular user's channel was changing the background. Partners could add a banner at the top, but no color scheme could be changed whatsoever. Like with 2.0 before it, the hate lessened over time in no part thanks to...
    • The "YouTube One Channel" layout. This was the update that removed almost all remaining customization to channels (i.e. custom backgrounds, modifying colors, moving the comment box) as well as removing many of the discussion features compared to all layouts before it, leading many to accuse YouTube of stripping away the very thing that made the site great, the creativity. This is the design that has been used ever since, with very few changes being made over the years.
  • Comments Section:
    • The comment section update in 2013, which removed the character limit and changed it into something akin to Reddit caused massive amounts of trolling by posting sections of books, offensive ASCII art, and whole movie scripts. It gets even worse from there, allowing users to link to other websites. This doesn't seem so bad at first, until you realize that 99% of the commenters that even use this feature only use it to link viewers to Shock Sites, viruses, Screamer Pranks, porn, and other malicious places.
    • Originally, comments on a video were separated into numbered pages, allowing users to easily skip around. This was changed to a far less practical drop down message format, meaning that a person might have to load up hundreds or even thousands of comments to find a specific one. The "show all comments" button was removed as well later on.
  • Removing the 1-5 star rating system, changing it simply to a Facebook-style like/dislike system. Made worse by video creators no longer being able to disable ratings, leading to an influx of trolls. Users also couldn't see a video's rating before watching it anymore, depriving them of one possible way to measure if a video was worth watching or not.
  • Trying to force users to use their real name instead of their username. It was an attempt to curb spam, but all it did was cause users to put in obviously fake names like "Chuck Norris" and "Bruce Wayne". This convinced YouTube to back off.
  • On November 6, 2013, after years of pestering and stealth changes to YouTube accounts that weren't merged with Google+, Google updated the YouTube comments so that the feature and infobox connected directly to Google+. Meaning that if users wanted to comment and receive comments, it required a registered Google+ account. Even one of the co-founders of YouTube, Jawed Karim, reacted negatively to it. Thankfully, Google would put an end to Google+ integration and shut down Google+ several years later because it just couldn't compete with Facebook.
    "why the fuck do i need a google+ account to comment on a video?"
    "I can't comment here anymore, since I don't want a google+ account."
  • Users needing to access the video manager to find their inbox. Many users had a hard time trying to find it and had to resort to trying to look up videos on where to find it since YouTube itself did not offer this info.
  • The removal of subscription folders, which helped keep large lists of subscriptions manageable. This removal was, pointedly, not followed up with anything to effectively replace it, meaning that there was no longer a way to manage long subscription lists, and all the management that people had already implemented was erased. What's more, some reported that their subscriptions had been lost because of the change.
  • The removal of the option to disable autoplay for playlists. Annoying if you only want to watch one video and a playlist is the most convenient way to access it.
  • In 2013, there was a complete overhaul of the algorithms used to determine how likely a video was to appear in the right-hand Suggested Videos column (which was once called Recommended). Prior, the algorithm centered around video views, giving priority to other videos uploaded by the same person. The new algorithm, the one that has been used since, is instead based on retention (how much of a video someone watches) and repeat viewing, and priority was now given to people who already have high amounts of subscribers and views instead of the uploader's other videos. This change was not taken well by those with videos with high numbers of one-and-done viewers and also established a system that made it much harder for newcomers to get noticed. People who had 6-digit amounts of views suddenly had their numbers plummet to near nothing overnight.
    • A group that particularly hates the algorithm are rookie or obscure animators with demo reels on YouTube—the former algorithm made it pretty likely someone could stumble upon it, and more than a few found work in this way, but the current algorithm causes them to get crowded out by already established animators.
  • Several changes were introduced on August 29th, 2017, including a new logo, shifting the emphasis from "Tube" to the YouTube play button. This put an end to the iconic logo that symbolized the website for more than 12 years. No wonder it got so many hate comments when it was revealed on Twitter.
  • The removal of annotations. While it's true that many users simply disabled them, they were still useful for going back to elaborate on details the creator may have overlooked or fixing a mistake made in the video, and removing/disabling annotations was entirely up to the viewer. They were replaced with End Cards, which work in similar ways to annotations, but have less features, can take up lots of space on the video screen for up to 20 seconds, and can't be disabled.
  • On May 2019, YouTube announced that by August, live subscriber counts would be hidden (1,356,924 million subscribers would be shown as 1.35M) to "make things more consistent", with it going into effect that September. This immediately garnered criticism for not only depriving the community of yet another important statistic, but for severely hampering every site that depended on YouTube's API to track subscriber counts, most famously SocialBlade. The fact that this was implied to be a knee-jerk reaction to both "PewDiePie vs T-Series" and "James Charles vs Tati Westbrook", the latter of which had just died down not a week before the announcement, did not help matters.


    Policy Changes 

  • The changes made to the monetization policy on August 30th/31st 2016, where YouTube could label videos (as well as whole channels) as "not advertiser-friendly" for including content such as controversial opinions, violence, partial nudity, sexual humor, and even swearing, quickly drew hatred due to its very Orwellian nature. The policy has since been amended multiple times to restrict even more content, making it even harder for creators to monetize their videos.
    • The stricter rules that became part of the YouTube Partner Program to monetize videos on the site, which was implemented in 2017, was heavily criticized by users. While the 10,000 overall views wasn't a deal breaker for some, the new rules in 2018 required 1,000 subs and 4,000 hours worth of views in the past 12 months as well. Many considered it a giant "fuck you" to small and niche channels, creators of short videos, and people who were starting out on YouTube, as well a way to pander to big channels while eliminating rising stars. The lopsidedness of this only helped to further erode the diversity of YouTube content, pushing new creators into being either daily vloggers or Let's Play livestream channels, both of which make it much easier to get to the 4000 hour mark. To add more insult to injury, it was implied that this was a reaction to the controversial videos of PewDiePie and Logan Paul, owners of big channels who were not affected in the least by these rules. Another thing this did was bring new life to the sub4sub epidemic that plagued YouTube from 2009-2012, which had largely become unpopular once people realized it didn't work. Now a bunch of new creators had an excuse to become sub4sub spammers.
  • In mid-September of 2019, YouTube announced that they were increasing the requirements to become verified. Previously, channels only required 100,000 subscribers to get verified. The new requirements are instead based on internet prominence (i.e, channels have to be widely recognized outside of YouTube and/or be highly searched online). In the wake of the announcement, many creators, even some with over 1 million subs, found themselves with an email saying they were being unverified. This unsurprisingly garnered criticism due to it, yet again, only catering to big brands and channels. Another complaint was that it would deprive smaller creators of a way to fight scam accounts despite one of the big points of the update being to provide authenticity.
  • YouTube changing their policy in late 2019 to force creators to mark their content as either "for kids" or "not for kids" garnered a lot of vitriol after it was revealed that it was due to the COPPA bill, which could result in thousand-dollar fines because the videos were not marked to indicate that they aren't for a demographic YouTube wasn't even made for in the first place. Many were also not happy that the new rules were essentially shelving the blame and responsibility entirely onto creators for something YouTube had done. Videos marked as "for kids" will not be able to use features like comments or end cards, and most of the options for sharing videos (such as the ability to appear in recommended) will be disabled, making it much harder for channels to grow. The rather vague guidelines for what qualifies as "for kids" didn't help, with several gray areas not covered, carrying the risk that a video with adult content might be fined for not being labeled as "for kids" because it contains elements that could be considered suited for children (i.e. a video about toys falls under "for kids" in the guidelines, but videos about toys featuring swearing are not covered by the system). Fingers were pointed at YouTube Kids Channels and parents who let their kids watch videos for ruining the platform for everyone. Attention was also drawn to dead and small-time channels who in no way would be able to handle these fines, with people fearing that deleting all their content was the only way to escape the impending doom.
    • And then action to comply with COPPA happened around the second week of 2020 and the overall backlash has been enormous. As predicted, not only were many videos and channels with content clearly not meant for kids flagged as such (with animated content being the most common target such as Harley Quinn (2019) and the first episode of Don't Hug Me I'm Scared), but it was also discovered that the disabling of these video features was implemented without the creators' consent and/or knowledge!! This means that if a creator had long left the site and their video or even their channel as a whole was flagged as "for kids", their legacy is pretty much going to be snuffed out and nothing can be done about it. As a cherry on top, the mini-player in the mobile app will pause the video if it is marked "for kids". Understandably, the entire community has been up in arms about the mismanaged and misaimed censorship.


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