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"What happens in D.C. stays on YouTube!"
Walter
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YouTube is a video sharing site that has achieved worldwide popularity since it launched in 2005. While the official purpose of the site is to host amateur videos and promotional clips, it is unofficially the place where you can watch copyrighted materials from all types of mediums, search for random / odd clips and/or check out the latest blog entries and videos from notable users. It was founded by programming students Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Jawed Karim; the idea came to Karim when he had trouble finding clips of two major events in early 2004: The South Asian tsunami and later Janet Jackson's Wardrobe Malfunction at that year's Super Bowl halftime show.

Prior to Google's purchase of the company in November 2006, YouTube was a much smaller place. It hosted communication between individuals, who used it visually in otherwise the same manner as they had previously used Usenet or IRC. YouTube was also once the host of a number of people who had alternative news and media shows, but the opinions of such people were often extreme, or otherwise politically incorrect, and most of them have now been banned.

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Users can upload their videos on whatever subject they want (unless it violates the "Community Guidelines" or someone files a copyright claim). The quality often ranges from below Ed Wood-type works to studio quality materials, depending on what it is. Surprisingly, a lot of the personal videos of individuals often do have something to say that are actually worth watching and listening to. Some of the material is actually supplied by studios, including music videos which were uploaded by authorized agents of the record company. It should be noted that YouTube is also a place to watch movies and shows that have never been officially released, or are unavailable anywhere else.

On any given day, you can find:

    YouTube Video Staples 

  • Epic Fail videos, which mainly consist of someone trying and failing to pull off a stunt.
  • Snarky blogs by online users.
  • The latest trailer for a major movie release, usually copied off a website.
  • Cat videos.
  • Durability tests wherein an electronic device is either smashed with a sledgehammer, lit on fire, or shot with a gun.
  • Several videos from a recently-held sporting event (bonus points if it involves a ridiculously improbable shot or goal).
  • Political commentary videos.
  • Videos promoting conspiracy theories, usually something along the lines of a musician being a member of The Illuminati.
  • Parts of the latest episode of America's Next Top Model.
  • American Idol/Britain's Got Talent performances.
  • A spam filter for the comments section.
  • A video that's been marked as age-restricted despite the content being similar to non-restricted videos.
  • A video that had its audio removed due to one of its music tracks not being authorized by a major record label.
  • A video removed for terms of use violation (most times for obvious reasons, though other times, it's anyone's guess why).
  • A video removed for copyright infringement (often times, the user would get a warning strike for that, And then they are forced to watch The Happy Tree Friends episode: Youtube Copyright School and take the trivia questions about Copyright).
  • A video removed because the YouTube account associated with that video is deleted (for example: The account was banned due to Multiple or Severe Community Guideline Violation, or Multiple or Severe Copyright Violation, or they just closed their account).
  • A video removed by the user of his or her own accord for reasons unknown.
  • A video set to private for inexplicable reasons even though it was public when you added it to your playlist.
  • Videos of people doing everyday, ordinary things, or just playing around.
  • Videos complaining about YouTube censorship.
  • Screamers and Jump Scares in general(protip) .
  • The occasional Rickroll.
  • Youtube Poop.
  • Video game Lets Plays and walkthroughs.
  • A video of someone taking something out of a box.
  • A prank that's not related to Screamers.
  • Videos with millions of views about people talking about absolutely anything while playing video games.
  • Videos that begin with a montage of parts of games put to a song as an intro.
  • Videos that end by asking the viewer to subscribe to the channel.
  • Pony videos.
  • Animated Music Videos.
  • Strange videos featuring a tall, faceless businessman.
  • Anime - usually in several parts and fansubbed/dubbed.
  • Commercials so old that even your grandmother hasn't seen them.
  • Commercials so weird even your grandmother can't make sense of them.
  • Concert footage shot on low-resolution cell phones.
  • Tons of cosplay otaku girls and guys, for good or ill.
  • Tens of thousands of fake emergency alert tests. Many real EAS and EBS videos (mainly tests and tornado warnings) have been uploaded over the years.
    • Don't forget the hate videos that popped right the fuck out of nowhere in 2011 and were forgotten as if they never happened.
  • Episodes of still-running or forgotten TV shows. Some users will trick people into viewing their video by uploading a spoof image of an expected episode and filling it with spam, a still image, or a link to their own site instead. However, a portion of the site is dedicated to officially uploaded full seasons/series for shows ranging in age from the 60's to the late 00's. Not outside the US (and sometimes Canada and/or the UK).
  • Fanimes / fanvids.
  • Flash animation videos from sites like Newgrounds or Nico Nico Douga.
  • Funny captions that are (for the most part) way, way off from what's being spoken.
  • Video Game playthroughs (especially of older or not-exported games, or Nintendo Hard Platform Hell titles complete with expletive-laden running commentary.
  • Old movies in multiple parts or in one long video. These will either be public domain, or so old/obscure the current copyright holder either doesn't know or doesn't care that it's up on Youtube. Still best to watch them quick in case they do decide to take it down. But sometimes, if you're lucky, it was the copyright holder themselves that uploaded the film, perhaps hoping to make money off ad revenue because they can't profit from the film any other way.
  • Parodies of almost any popular song you can imagine.
  • Popular scenes and moments from movies, TV shows, and the like.
  • A song, particularly a music videos, played backwards (or, if the lyrics don't match the video's visuals, a "literal music video").
  • Video game cutscenes.
  • Videos of alleged ghost, Bigfoot and UFO sightings (that usually end up being... say it with us and cringe... screamers). A helpful tip: turn your volume off and read the comments before watching these videos.
  • Videos of amateur performances of everything from covers of popular songs, to performances of original songs written by whoever is singing them, pre-taped videos of everything from school plays to dance recitals, etc.
  • Videos of animals being cute.
  • Videos of animals being terrifying.
  • Videos of people making stunts with skateboards, snowboards, parkour or other extreme sports.
  • Instruction videos of everything from making push ups to sewing Victorian era ball gowns.
  • Videos with the Mondegreens invoked of what the words sound like to an English (or any other language) speaker.
  • Videos wherein the author rants on some topic of religion, evolution vs. creationism, or politics.
  • Videos promoting Misplaced Nationalism and insulting a country or ethnicity, or just comments doing the same thing on a video that isn't promoting Misplaced Nationalism and just happens to be about a particular country.
  • Videos of people doing really stupid things.
  • Reaction videos, either of something very nasty, or popular TV shows. Yes, there is an entire Youtube genre of watching people watch tv. Arguably the most famous of these are reactions to the Red Wedding from Game of Thrones, where fans who've read the books had set up hidden cameras to record their friends and family's horrified reactions to the massacre.
  • Videos by fans, employees, and even creators of animatronic pizza parlor characters like CEC Florida, Big Cheese, therockafire, and Bren Bill.
  • Videos by the Seven Awesome Kids channels.
  • Cringe compilations.
  • Videos of politicians saying things they just went on record as denying having ever said.
  • Videos of songs being performed in music-composing programs, including Mario Paint Composer.
  • Videos of tourists driving or walking through foreign cities. Alternately, people conducting drives or walkthroughs of their hometown.
  • Videos ultimately complaining about YouTube's copyright policy, or how to bypass it.
  • Videos labeled "Bloopers" that turn out to be fanmade bloopers.
  • Videos redirecting you to a website saying that you can watch the video there - that will force you to take a survey, never allow you to watch the video, and send you spam.
  • Videos that have virus links. There's always one up. Most notably the spam you've been seeing on your Facebook profile, disguised as a link to something "shocking!". Either that, or it's a video saying it's the full movie of a film still in theaters, when it's really just a screencap or at most a trailer, with virus links in the description.
  • Videos of kids throwing temper tantrums when asked to go off the computer and leave their online games.
  • Short video clips of rage scenes (Such as Penn Jillette's YOU NEED TO SHUT THE (BLEEP) UP!.) Quite often use for A Message to (Bad Users/Trolls/Cyberbullies).
  • Videos of adults throwing temper tantrums when someone goes around and starts sabotaging games.
  • Barney Bunch videos that never seem to get flagged.
  • Haul videos, wherein somebody displays and discusses the items that she/he bought during a recent shopping trip. These items can be anything from designer shoes to dental floss.
    • "Unboxing" videos which go beyond "someone taking something out of a box" through "video dissertation on the quality of the packaging" to "video rant about the quality of the packaging."
  • "X does Y for Z minutes", basically a particular scene looped around for a few minutes.
  • A cell-phone shot video.
  • Episodes of short-running TV series most people didn't even know existed.
  • Videos with deformed people or animals, either real or a Special Effects Failure. Comments will usually have people wondering how they ended up at the weird side of Youtube again.
  • Mirrored copies of videos taken down for unknown terms of use violations (most often false-flagged DMCA notices).
  • Caramelldansen Vids
  • 10 hour loops of memetic songs such as Rickroll and Trololo.
  • 10 hour loops of anything in general. Why not enjoy Space Core for 10 hours?
  • Music that's extended to insane lengths.
  • Super Mario 64 Bloopers.
  • Touhou music remixes ranging from IOSYS-style denpa to J-Metal in English.
  • Combat footage from Iraq and Afghanistan, mostly from helmet cameras.
  • Defense-relatedNote  news channels that frequently use voice synthesizers to narrate the news—usually resulting in awkward pronunciations of military terminology/jargon, acronyms, names, or awkward pauses between lines. And said news items are usually lifted from actual defense websites (e.g.: IHS Jane's), blogs (e.g.: War is Boring), and newsletters anyway. But once in a while, one may be lucky to stumble upon a defense-related news channel that has actual interviews of people who work within the defense industry and has media coverage of various defense/aerospace expos around the world.
  • News channels that may or may not be of dubious veracity or authenticity—and are not even satirical news shows similar to The Daily Show. These channels would also have clickbait-y headlines and video that's copied (usually without permission) from legitimate television news outlets while passing themselves off as a legit news channel.
  • Amateur DIY videos revealing the "secret trick" to taking the radio out of an '88 Dodge or repacking the CV joints on a 2003 Honda with titles like "taking the [thingamabob] out of your [whatsit]".
  • Self-proclaimed "booty shaking" videos. Miley Cyrus might have made "twerk" a household word in 2013, but the phenomenon got started on YouTube long before the term itself was in common parlance.
  • Vine Compilations. Usually of all the above.
  • Fetish porn, which gets around Youtube's policies by not showing sex or nudity. This includes official previews from professional sites, pirated full videos from said sites (until they're taken down), and amateur videos. Note this also means that completely innocent videos that happen to be "useful" are also shared among fetish communities. That funny video of your ticklish friend laughing through a pedicure? Someone's masturbating to it as we speak.
  • Lots and lots of Top 10 Lists, most likely by WatchMojo or one of their imitators.
  • Good old fashioned Paint Drying.
  • Animation memes.
    • Cringe compilations of animation memes, usually featuring ones of very amateurish quality.
  • Dramatic Readings of copy/creepy pastas, greentexts, etc, sometimes with sound effects. These are referred to as "storytimes."
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"Please Don't Forget to Like, Subscribe and Click on the Bell to Be Notified when Our Tropes are Updated":

  • April Fools' Day: One each year, in the same vein as Google, from 2008-2016 with it making an apparent return in 2019.
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: After YouTube settled with the FTC over allegations it violated the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), creators are now required to mark if their videos are directed at kids. All child-directed content no longer can get personalized ads, and those who mislabel their videos could be fined. To avoid possible revenue hits, many creators shifted away from producing family-friendly videos by adding more mature content.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Before 2013, two highly requested features for the comments section were to remove the 500 character limit and allow links to be posted again. Come the 2013 Comments Section Update and users got both features... and everything that came with them.
    • Similarly , the Adpocalypse of 2018 led to YouTube trying to promote themselves as "Family friendly" in order to get Advertisers to return and adult only content to be ad unfriendly....only for it to be revealed they were violating COPPA as a result, leading to an increase in adult only content in return. Oops.
  • Berserk Button: Content ID for both creators and users alike, in no part because of how broken the system is.
  • Butt-Monkey: Animators. They tend to get the least exposure from the site, especially after the algorithm change in 2013 destroyed their way of getting noticed and earning revenue. During 2017, when there was a huge boost in popularity for them, they were finally included in the 2017 edition of YouTube Rewind... for the credits.
  • Easter Egg: The site used to have a lot of these. Sadly, not a lot of them work anymore, but there are still a select few that do.
    • Type in "awesome" when playing a video in fullscreen. The red time bar will become a flashing rainbow bar.
    • Right-click on a video, and choose the option “Stats for nerds". It will give you a rundown of statistics of the video you’re watching, including dimensions, frames and volume percentage.
  • Flame War: You can locate them on many videos. Some span over weeks, months, or even years if someone replies to an age-old comment.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • As discovered by Markiplier sometime in November 2019, emote spamming in livestream chats can apparently get the entirety of your Google+ account banned (yes, not just YouTube, all of Google), with no reason given.
    • What Google's AI considers "reused content" is a mystery to many, as much like other bot detection measures, Google does not disclose the reason why a channel would be demonetized or banned lest they make it easier to circumvent. Whatever the term means, it certainly isn't plain-old plagiarism as the Virtual YouTuber community has found themselves getting demonetized en masse after growing in popularity thanks to fan translators. The only lead people have to go on is that the fan translators themselves might be the problem as their content may not be "transformative" enough for Google's standards (most are just clip reels with subtitles rendered on top of them), and so their AI falsely assumes that these content creators are perpetuating their content with multiple accounts.
  • G.I.F.T.: The YouTube comments section can be filled with this. Quite a few YouTube videos often lampshade and parody this.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Creators who have been on the site since the beginning will tell you that being a YouTuber was something that was formerly looked down on, and that it would never be a viable career choice. Needless to say, many of those creators have since gone big and proved the naysayers wrong.
  • Locked Out of the Loop: A major criticism of the site since Google took over.
    • Many creators get understandably upset when the rules for viewership and monetization are suddenly changed with no warning, leaving many creators to wonder why their views are suddenly tanking or why their content isn't being monetized anymore.
    • YouTube not communicating with its creators about problems that the site has while pretending that everything is fine has also been a major subject of criticism. Prime examples are the infamous "Lets Talk about Subscriptions" video and the increasing amount of bugs that emerged after the server-wide shutdown on October 17, 2018.
  • Network Decay: Since The New '10s, the site has been trying to make the platform more like TV, no longer focusing on individual creators and shifting their rules in favor of keeping advertisers on the site, going so far as to sabotage entire channels just to keep up a wholesome "advertiser-friendly" facade. The site has also created paid original shows and movies in an effort to compete with Netflix, Amazon and Hulu.
  • Not the Intended Use: Many people started to use the site for uploading copyrighted content rather than uploading videos of themselves. This is reportedly why Chad, Steve, and Jawed sold off the site to Google.
  • Political Correctness Gone Mad:
    • The search suggestions automatically filter out curse words, sexual terms and any other term that might have any offensive connotation... Including words like "black" or "child". Not that this prevents the user from typing in the words in any form, but it creates an effect that the developers are going out of the way to make the search engine as neutral (or neutered, depending on how you see it) as possible. It also does create a weird effect when you're looking for, say, a live performance by Marvin Gaye and the engine suggests "Marvin Garvey" to you.
    • Google seems to have it out for banning or otherwise restricting relatively tame violations of their community guidelines, like punching a feminism-advocating NPC in Red Dead Redemption II or having literally any footage of the Mortal Kombat franchise after its ninth installment. Rather bizarrely, Google seems to be okay with more extreme violations of their community guidelines, with commenters all too happy to point out examples exposing this sort of hypocrisy — some of which have existed on the service for years.
  • Product Placement: To indicate that a video has product placement, you can add the "Includes paid promotion" tag to the bottom left.
  • Propaganda Machine: From early 2018 onward, Google started labeling videos from state-funded media with their country of origin in an effort to combat this trope.
  • Retraux: In mid-2018, YouTube updated the player so it automatically adjusts its size to fit the video instead of letterboxing it like it did beforehand. One of the things this feature does is that it makes older videos look as they did back then (this does not work if the video was letterboxed to begin with, or if it was formatted in a size the player doesn't support).
  • The Scapegoat: Google+, for its status as a Scrappy Mechanic, tends to be blamed for any bugs or problems the site experiences, whether it's the cause of them or not.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Do you have a bunch of subscribers who don't adblock? You get held to your own set of rules than everyone else. YouTube moderation is only concerned with advertisement revenue, hence they notoriously are very selective about actually enforcing the rules equally if not period.
    • While it is not the first case, Logan Paul practically showed everyone that if you are a high roller in terms of viewers (And thus, advertisements), you can do whatever. He even tazed animals and only got a slap on the wrist.
  • Sturgeon's Law: There is a good amount of professional, studio-like videos on YouTube. The only catch is that it's buried under larger heaps of unprofessional videos.

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This stinger is no longer available due to a copyright claim by Statler and Waldorf Studios.
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