The Importance Of Anonymity And The Wonders Of YouTube's Saddest Comments
from the sharing-doesn't-always-need-a-name dept
Yes, you're saying, but YouTube comments are the absolute worst on the whole internet. But, even in all that crap, there are moments of poignant interest, and Slutsky finds a bunch of them -- often involving someone writing detailed, interesting and (yes) sad comments about an emotional memory connected to a song. Some of them are really fascinating glimpses into someone's life -- and in many cases, those glimpses are the kind of things that people are willing to post anonymously, rather than associated with their real name.
But, of course, YouTube has recently changed its system to push people to use their real names with the comments. We've been pointing out for years that "real names" proposals aren't such a great idea, often stifling important and interesting conversations, and this seems like yet another example. Yes, YouTube comments are notoriously terrible, though it's arguable if they've really improved at all since pushing people to put their names on them. But this new policy almost certainly means fewer people will be willing to share such random, poignant memories when they can easily be traced back to who wrote them.
As we've noted plenty of times ourselves, while having a rather open comment policy can encourage some crazy comments, it also leads to plenty of fantastic comments. Each week, when we look at our best comments of the week as voted on by the community here, there are plenty from completely anonymous users. I recognize the temptation to "fix" bad comments, but there's a real risk to throwing out plenty of good stuff when you don't let people post anonymously.