Scrolling through YouTube comments can sometimes leave you with the feeling that all of the positivity has been snuffed out of the internet, replaced with vitriol and questionable grammar.
Don't despair, though – you might not know it, but on YouTube there are volunteer users who seek to do good and make using the site a better experience for everyone.
They do this in big and small ways, from subtitling videos, to reporting videos that violate community guidelines and giving useful advice on the site's help forums. And now YouTube is going to give these users more help to keep the video portal a clean and friendly place.
Don your cape
In an effort to reward these users for what is likely to sometimes feel like fairly thankless work, YouTube has decided to introduce a program called YouTube Heroes.
YouTube Heroes has been inspired by, and will expand upon, the success of YouTube's Trusted Flagger program, which gave greater reporting powers to users who frequently and reliably reported community guideline violating comments and videos.
Right now YouTube Heroes is only available to a "select group of contributors from across the globe who have histories of high quality community contributions." For anyone that'd like to be a part of the community there's also an application process and YouTube say they will gradually admit more contributors.
If you do become a YouTube Hero, what do you get? Well, you get your very own community site, separate from the main YouTube site, where you can track your contributions. (Is anyone else imagining something akin to SHIELD Headquarters?)
This is more than a basic forum, though. YouTube Heroes are divided into levels and they can gain points to level up by continuing to accurately moderate and contribute to the site.
There are 5 levels of YouTube Hero, and as they level up users are given more abilities such as mass flagging, chatting directly with YouTube team members, and moderating within the Heroes community site itself. Meta moderation.
It's important to note that the YouTube Heroes community is only intended to supplement the existing official YouTube moderation team. Heroes are only able to flag up possible community violations, and YouTube still has the final say when it comes to the decision to remove content.
Interested in doing your part? You can apply here.