Jul 24, 2012

Do you think YouTube's change to real names on comments will make the commenters behave any better?

One think that can be counted on in this world is things that are often horrible, sometimes racist, sometimes nationalists, and generally unpleasant to be posted in comments on YouTube. How much of a improvement in the amount of common decency shown in comments do you expect to result from the push to use actual names on YouTube?

I'd like to think so, but I'm not holding my breath. Have you ever been on a site that uses the Facebook comments plugin? Well, I have and I've seen comments that are just as stupid and nasty as the ones on YouTube despite people apparently using their real names.

Sometimes people are just trashy, and I don't see that changing based on this policy change by Google. On the other hand, it's not like the comments could get any worse, right? Heh, heh. ;)


The decision to encourage instead of mandating, for now at least, takes the teeth out of it.  But maybe it will still make a small difference.  I suppose if you switch to your real name and have an impulsive "jerk" moment, and aren't the type that makes a habit of trolling insecure teenage girls on YouTube, it might cause you to think twice.  Keyword, "might." 


Even it Google made it mandatory, just because someone knows your name doesn't make you all that much less anonymous to the majority of people on earth.  The risk of a broken nose just doesn't increase enough because a post identifies the commenter by name to have a real deterrent effect.  Think about those jerk kids who tormented the bus lady.  They didn't try to hide who they were, they were proud of it and wanted to show the world.  Same thing with a lot of trolls.  A lot of them think they are being funny and clever (and as much as I hate to admit it, a few actually are), they aren't all likely to be embarrassed by using their real name.  They might change their mind if they run afoul of some of the 4Chan crew, however!


Oh, and as a rule I don't troll or make particularly nasty comments, but I'm not switching to my actual name on YouTube.  It would make for asymmetrical warfare if I did so and got into a snit with someone who was not using their name.  They could potentially screw with me using from my Google+ profile, and I wouldn't be able to respond in kind, so there is no deterent effect.    



Google is encouraging, not requiring, real names, so I don't think this will change anything.

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