YouTube announced the launch of a new “Pause comments” feature for creators to temporarily disable comments on their videos. This move gives creators more control over comment moderation and their community.
For years, creators have struggled with comment moderation on YouTube. Managing a community and keeping conversations productive is difficult, especially at scale.
While YouTube already gives creators tools to filter comments using keywords, toggle approval settings, and blacklist certain words or phrases, these controls still require constant monitoring. With millions of comments flowing in daily for top creators, that can be an overwhelming task.
The idea for a pause feature has likely been in the works for some time. But recent creator feedback seems to have catalyzed YouTube to make this a priority.
Last month, popular creator Ludwig Ahgren publicly called out YouTube over hate raids and lack of comment controls:
“YouTube comments are so devoid of value, I legitimately think the platform would increase in value if comments were removed.”
Clearly, YouTube wants to keep comments. But they recognized a need to empower creators and improve the situation.
On December 7th, 2022, YouTube announced the global launch of “Pause comments” on the YouTube Studio Community tab and via email alerts to creators.
This feature allows creators to temporarily disable new comments on one or more videos. Existing comments remain visible, but new comments cannot be posted.
Creators can pause comments for up to 60 days on a per-video basis. There is no content eligibility requirement – any video can have comments paused.
|Videos With Paused Comments
|New Comments Allowed?
While comments are paused, viewers see an informational panel explaining that commenting has been turned off temporarily by the creator.
Motivations and Reactions
Controlling toxicity has surely been the top motivation for this launch. YouTube is also likely trying to prevent creators like Ludwig from removing comments altogether.
But community control was not the only driver. YouTube product leader Tom Leung told reporters that some creators wanted a break over the holidays:
“The idea there is that they’ll get some respite over the holidays so they can rest and rejuvenate without having to worry about what’s going on in the comments.”
Initial reaction from creators seems positive. Though some wonder if it goes far enough.
Popular creator Marques Brownlee tweeted approval of the feature:
“This is great. Optional comment breaks are super needed sometimes.”
But others like creator Roberto Blake questioned if one must “choose between income or sanity”:
“While I’m sure many YouTubers are glad for the small mercy of being able to pause comments, the fact remains that this avoids the larger issues.”
So while it helps, disabling comments temporarily does not fix underlying problems.
The pause comments launch is just the start. YouTube has committed to shipping more comment moderation features “in the coming months.”
We can likely expect controls based on sentiment analysis. For example, auto-filtering comments detected as toxic.
Creating a healthy community is crucial for YouTube. So they will continue investing here to keep creators and users engaged.
As for pausing comments, the feature will remain in an experimental phase through early 2024. YouTube will monitor usage and creator feedback closely.
There is still room to expand capabilities as learnings emerge. Potential future iterations could support longer pause durations, scheduled comment windows, or advanced filters.
While not solving every problem, giving creators more control over comments is a positive step. The video platform and the creator community will both watch eagerly to see the impact it has.
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