YouTube is the most successful disaster on the WWW.

YouTube is the 24/7 Meth Santa of distraction and it’s so successful at its drunken confetti flinging approach to video sharing that a meaningful redesign, let alone a socially responsible reimagining, is a distant possibility on a galactic scale of distance.

It’s sort of ridiculous critiquing YouTube; it’s such an irreplaceable, giant hub of internet life that a shrug and “well, what can ya do?” might be a sensible place to leave this. But I’m not sensible and we all know an intervention is needed.

This year I’d like:

  1. Fewer suggestions. I know you are infatuated with your supposed ability to detect my heart’s desire and serve it up to me, but you are not actually good at this. The fact is I really don’t WANT your suggestions. I want my subscriptions and whatever I feel like searching for and nothing from you unless I ask for it…This is part a.
  2. And this is part B. Your suggestions suck and may even pose a danger to society. This is because your system of competition between channels and your resultant ranking of those channels drives them to endlessly inflate drama and conflict. In ordinary video channels, this just results in lots of stupid talk, overstatement and ginned up make-believe conflict but with your political channels this is further dumbing down the national dialogue, widening our dangerous divide and making the search for accurate news at YouTube impossible as titles claim lurid or thrilling content and drama that doesn’t exist anywhere BUT the title. This is disinformation. You are driving a race to stupidity and you don’t suffer a single qualm.
  3. I want you to stop showing me right-wing political videos just because one time I watched a right-wing guy.
  4. Not surprisingly, I want at least the OPTION to change my homepage within youtube away from your recommendations and to my subscriptions, by default.
  5. A little x button (or thumbs down) on every recommendation that would let me exile it forever. I want to make some of those suggestions go away FOREVER. If I want them, I’ll go looking.
  6. A little check button (or thumbs up) on every recommendation that means “More like this please”. But I worry because you make bad guesses. You guess wrong a lot more often that you should. You’re like a crazy girlfriend generously giving me plaid shorts, black knee socks and 142 jars of green olives. Why just why?
  7. I’d like a “Please pretend I never watched this” button on every video I watch. YouTube, most of the time when I visit you I’m just indulging a vague curiosity in a Reddit link or letting a friend show me something funny they want me to see. I don’t WANT you to learn anything about me from it. YouTube, I really want you to stop interpreting each of these moments as equal to the things I search for on your site. I want to be able to communicate with you. I want to be able to say “Ignore this…this isn’t me.”
  8. And YouTube, someone has to tell you, uncomfortable as it is…your search algorithm…stinks. You need to clean it up. Honestly, everyone’s been talking about it for years and you’ve been in denial. YouTube, you give search results like someone hard of hearing answers questions.  When I type in “Yogscast xephos and honeydew the walls episode 12” I’m actually telling you quite a bit about what I’d like to see. You can use this information to return a list of things that could be …related to those words. For example, the list could only include those words or even just most of them. Are you with me? When my list of results come up and 75% of the entries don’t even have those words in them and the others will be every other episode of the series in random order scattered over 3 pages of search results with mine at the top of page 4… I feel…disappointed, YouTube. I feel like you aren’t listening or maybe that you are just sort of… well…stupid?

Well, thanks for listening…what’s that? What did you say? Gerbil eats first piece of broccoli? Drunk kid gets knocked out? Too fat to get out of bed?