YouTube could disable downvotes to stop 'dislike mobs' spamming videos

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YouTube is about to start experimenting with ways to prevent 'dislike mobs' spamming videos with unwarranted downvotes, which can lead to fewer recommendations in future and damage creators' channels.

As The Verge reports, YouTube's director of content management Tim Leung, addressed the problem in a recent video on Creator Insider – an informal channel that the technical team use to share information with the wider community.

Right now, the only way for creators to avoid their videos being bombarded with malicious downvotes is to disable ratings entirely in their settings, but that means missing out on important feedback, so Leung says his team are currently discussing other options.

Rules of thumb

One of the ideas being investigated involves requiring anyone downvoting a video to give a specific reason for doing so.

"That could give the creator more information, and it would also give viewers pause instead of just doing it impulsively," says Leung. "On the other hand, that’s complicated to build, complicated to collect, and then to relay the results to the creator in analytics or Creator Studio.” 

As a last resort, YouTube could remove downvotes entirely, though as Leung notes, that would be a less democratic option because not all thumbs-down come from dislike mobs.

The button won't be going away just yet, though; Leung says the various options are only being 'lightly discussed' for the time being, and creators will be informed before any changes are made. In the meantime, you can share your ideas by commenting on Leung's video (and voting on it, if you like).

Cat Ellis

Cat is the editor of TechRadar's sister site Advnture. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better)