Ask any YouTuber what Google needs to do to improve YouTube and they will mention the copywriting system’s algorithms, incompetent moderators, ad-pocalypse, and more. But that’s not what I want to talk about in this piece. Instead I want to focus on the platform’s features. There are certain quality of life features that it could use, and other features that it might want to think about removing.
Live Stream ‘Technical Difficulties’ placeholder
I’ve been into the YouTube game for about 2 years now, and recently I created a 24 hour music live stream that plays songs from various video game soundtracks. It was an idea I had for a quite a while and was initially inspired by Chilledcow’s Lo-Fi livestream.
Unfortunately my current living situation and equipment can make its reliability a hinderance. Especially during the last month or so, my internet has been prone to failing, either for a few minutes or until I reset my router. Once the stream goes down for just a few seconds, YouTube archives it and once I’m back online it treats it like it’s a new stream. So all the views and likes that I received before disappear.
What I would like is the ability to keep the same stream going. If my internet goes down than it’s replaced with a picture that reads: “The stream is experiencing technical difficulties at this time. Please stand by.” Maybe we can use the streams thumbnail or better yet, have a custom image for it. That way I can have a picture of a giant iguana attacking the ISP’s headquarters.
Reworked Comment System
My main issue with YouTube’s comment system is that it can be hard to follow who is talking to who and about what. You hit reply on someone’s post and unless you write their names in yourself then… Actually I don’t even know what. Do they still get a notification? Does everyone in the tread get notified? I’m still unsure if I’m supposed to use a sign, like an “@” at the beginning or not. I have no idea how this crap works.
Perhaps they should model it more like Reddit. There’s still no need to allow people to post links, images, or gifs. But I would like to see people’s replies to one another or to one person, be sectioned off into subthreads.
Improved Notification System
While I do experience desktop notifications showing up hours after something happened, or they don’t show up at all, that isn’t what I’m referring to. Currently you can customize notifications along four criteria. Until recently, there was a “messages” section in the “community” tab of the creator’s studio. YouTube never told anyone about it, nor could the creator receive notifications if they were sent messages. YouTube removed this feature; which I say was the right thing to do, given the circumstances.
On a channel’s page there is a “discussion” tab that functions much the same way. People can leave messages that the channel will never be told of. YouTube should remove this feature as well. I can’t say that it’s useless, because it’s worse, it’s detrimental to have. People would leave messages and creator’s won’t see them for months or ever, unless they constantly check it. The people who leave messages might end up thinking that the creator is ignoring them.
Some of the larger channels are given a “community” tab instead, where the channel can leave messages that subscribers will be notified of. Subscribers can then engage in actual discussion with replies. I understand why this is reserved for larger channels, you don’t want to inundate people with notifications. But if you do roll it out for everyone to use, then you could make it an option when someone subscribes to a channel. “Would you like to see message notifications from this creator? Yes/No”
Those are the big ones. I only have two suggestions left.
1. In the creator’s studio, I can sort videos by newest but not oldest.
Yes, sometimes I have business back there. It’s a lot of pages to keep clicking through.
2. Let us upload custom thumbnails for playlists.
How did this get overlooked? Just do it.
That’s all I got. Did I miss anything? Yes, I know, YouTube needs some real competition.