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YouTube Opinion The Dislike Button and Why #BringBackDislikes is Stupid

Stanley | Team TB

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I went perusing Reddit this morning to see what people were talking about in order to get an article written for here and BOY did I step into a quagmire. Everyone is freaking out because YouTube recently announced that they are going through the process of removing the dislike button. I had no idea this was such an issue... and that there were so many misinformed creators regarding what the dislike button actually was.

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For anyone who is interested I did an article exactly a year ago regarding the dislike button and you can find it here should you want more information on this subject: https://community.tubebuddy.com/index.php?threads/34797/

So the basic argument against removing the dislike button is because it is used for 'Trusted Flagging' and now enables the creator to not only control what comments are seen by the viewer but now the viewer can not tell the quality of the video based on the number of dislikes and likes it has. While I can attest that these are not entirely baseless arguments there is a lot that these arguments miss.

The intention of the dislike button is first and foremost to signal to YouTube whether the viewer should be served content like this again in the future. When the viewer dislikes a video YouTube takes note of many aspects of that videos and tries to cater future search/suggested results accordingly. Now, one dislike will not make much difference but after 100 or 1,000 likes and dislikes on various videos YouTube will start to paint a picture of the type of creators, the type of content, video length and style and other factors that this viewer enjoys. And what happens if that viewer left a dislike on your video? What if they left dislikes on ten of your videos?
Well not much. YouTube isn't going to share your video to that viewer as much... they straight up said they do not enjoy your content by flagging it with that dislike button. But YouTube understands that not all videos are going to be 100% enjoyed by every viewer and they are not going to penalize your video due to someone disliking it. They are not going to penalize your channel because that one viewer disliked ten of your videos either.

There is a consideration that the dislike button does give feedback to future viewers regarding the quality of the video. You can compare the number of likes against the number of dislikes when determining whether you are going to continue watching the video that you already clicked on... notice that likes/dislikes are not presented in search or suggested or any other place you would need to see them before you click on the thumbnail. I am curious though... when was the last time you looked at the dislike counter while watching a video and you thought to yourself 'Nope... too many dislikes' and you stopped watching that video as a result? I've never done that. I've never let the dislike counter play into a single video that I ever watched. And aside from a few very notable examples YouTube doesn't do that either. We know this because the single-most disliked video in the history of YouTube still ranks in search and...

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It still ranks number one for a several keyword phrases. For anyone who doesn't know the back story this is kinda funny (if not a little callous). So in 2018 YouTube did their annual YouTube Rewind and everyone was all mad because the previous year the YouTube Rewind was catered only to the top handful of platform creators... it didn't really cater to all YouTube creators but more only to the absolute best whom we already knew. So in the 2018 YouTube Rewind everyone decided to exact revenge by disliking it. That's right; YouTube's own video is the most disliked video on YouTube. You'd think that huge black eye would give them reason to pull the video or let the dislikes take over but no... even the most disliked video and this huge stain on the YouTube legacy still tops the searches.

And there in lies the flaw that is the argument behind this drama. The dislike button is not a flag to report bad videos. That is what the reporting and flag features are for. The dislike button is tool for bullies in need of a means to spark a troll campaign against creators who they do not agree with. Having been misunderstood it serves only to hurt the feelings of smaller creators and honestly it is no longer needed even to serve the purpose for which it was originally intended. YouTube no longer needs you to dislike a video in order for them to understand what you like and what you do not like. They can judge based on your watch time. They can judge based on the elements of the video that you skip through or the thumbnails that you click on.

As a creator you need to understand something... every few months there is going to be something that happens that is going to give cause for all these creators to get upset over. The dislike button isn't the first and it is definitely not the last. Take it from someone who has been through COPPA, the Adpocalypse, 1k/4k, Article 13 et cetera. You are going to need to be ready for this drama, and don't buy in to the nonsense.
 

MattCommand1

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Strictly as a viewer, I did pay attention to the number of dislikes on a video as an indicator that a video might be misleading, pure clickbait, deceiving, etc. I myself have hit videos with a dislike when I felt that a video was misleading people.

Having said that, I have also been undecided when to click a dislike when I DISAGREE with an opinion vehemently. But videos where I feel I will disagree vehemently, I tend to avoid to being with and NOT provide a click view for even 1 second.

I've gotten a few dislikes on a few videos and it didn't bother me that much. I guess because the number of dislikes I get is still very small.

But I tend to agree that it does seem Dislikes are a means of attacking someone.

Through analytics, a creator will know when people are NOT watching their videos or simply jumping ship but the public will not.

I agree it is curious the amount of outrage over the decision to NOT display dislikes. I have taken the position that there are more important issues and challenges for me to deal with.
 
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Stanley | Team TB

Stanley | Team TB

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I honestly don't care about dislikes on my videos in the end, it just is what it is.

Also, stupid theory, what if youtube hid dislikes simply because they wanted to cover up the fact that that 2018 rewind video sucked.
I don't think that is the case. Even today that is the #1 ranked video in search for YouTube Rewind and 'most disliked video ever.' YouTube could have made that video private, they could have pulled it from the search ranks etc. But they never did. All of that would have been far easier than waiting three years to make a major platform adjustment in the dislike button removal.
 

The Jungle Explorer

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To kind of back up what Stanely said here, just yesterday, I was looking for a very specific thing. The top video suggestion on YT search was this one video, so I clicked on it. About 20 seconds into the video, I was like, this is a horribly produced video. I mean, it was BAD. Then I looked over at the likes and dislikes and saw that it had 75% Dislike to Like ratio. Since the likes vs dislikes ratios are not shown in search, it has no effect on whether people watch a video.

While there are many opinions of what the function of the like and dislike buttons are, here is what my experience has taught me. YT looks at activity, any activity, positive or negative. There are channels out there that are extremely successful that thrive on negative activity. They seek it out. In radio, this is called the "Shock Jock" tactic. You make people love to hate you. A dislike or a like has the same effect on your channel as far as YT is concerned. It is all activity. People who want to attempt to hurt a channel by starting a flame war against it, are actually promoting that channel and helping it.

I am not sure why YT thinks it needs to remove the Dislike button, but I know they are just following a trend. A long time ago, Facebook had a Dislike button too. They got rid of it years ago. At first, they only had the LIKe button, and then later they introduced the emoji REACTION buttons. You have to remember that YT and Facebook are just clever marketing companies. Research has shown that in general, positive marketing is better received by this generation than negative. So these companies are taking away people's ability to directly express dislike.

Referring back to Facebook getting rid of the dislike button and replacing it with emojis. It seems like the same thing but it is not. A dislike button sends a much more clearer message. It says in no uncertain terms, "You are wrong and I don't like you." A reaction emoji does not send such a clear message to the creator. An emoji is about how the viewer is feeling. They say, This made me feel happy, This made me laugh, This made me feel sad, This WOWed me, This made me feel angry." It does not specifically say why the viewer felt this way, and it does not tell the creator that they are wrong. An emoji is subjective to individual interpretation, a Dislike button is not.

The simple fact is, we live in a secular humanist world where all things are subjective. The only thing that is considered wrong, is for one person to tell another person that they cannot decide for themselves what is right. We don't want people to have the ability to say, "I think you are wrong and I don't like you." We want people to only have the ability to tell people that they are right. So, say goodbye to the Dislike button. It is no longer Politically Correct because it is socially offensive to Dislike anyone or anything they do for any reason.
 
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Stanley | Team TB

Stanley | Team TB

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To kind of back up what Stanely said here, just yesterday, I was looking for a very specific thing. The top video suggestion on YT search was this one video, so I clicked on it. About 20 seconds into the video, I was like, this is a horribly produced video. I mean, it was BAD. Then I looked over at the likes and dislikes and saw that it had 75% Dislike to Like ratio. Since the likes vs dislikes ratios are not shown in search, it has no effect on whether people watch a video.

While there are many opinions of what the function of the like and dislike buttons are, here is what my experience has taught me. YT looks at activity, any activity, positive or negative. There are channels out there that are extremely successful that thrive on negative activity. They seek it out. In radio, this is called the "Shock Jock" tactic. You make people love to hate you. A dislike or a like has the same effect on your channel as far as YT is concerned. It is all activity. People who want to attempt to hurt a channel by starting a flame war against it, are actually promoting that channel and helping it.

I am not sure why YT thinks it needs to remove the Dislike button, but I know they are just following a trend. A long time ago, Facebook had a Dislike button too. They got rid of it years ago. At first, they only had the LIKe button, and then later they introduced the emoji REACTION buttons. You have to remember that YT and Facebook are just clever marketing companies. Research has shown that in general, positive marketing is better received by this generation than negative. So these companies are taking away people's ability to directly express dislike.

Referring back to Facebook getting rid of the dislike button and replacing it with emojis. It seems like the same thing but it is not. A dislike button sends a much more clearer message. It says in no uncertain terms, "You are wrong and I don't like you." A reaction emoji does not send such a clear message to the creator. An emoji is about how the viewer is feeling. They say, This made me feel happy, This made me laugh, This made me feel sad, This WOWed me, This made me feel angry." It does not specifically say why the viewer felt this way, and it does not tell the creator that they are wrong. An emoji is subjective to individual interpretation, a Dislike button is not.

The simple fact is, we live in a secular humanist world where all things are subjective. The only thing that is considered wrong, is for one person to tell another person that they cannot decide for themselves what is right. We don't want people to have the ability to say, "I think you are wrong and I don't like you." We want people to only have the ability to tell people that they are right. So, say goodbye to the Dislike button. It is no longer Politically Correct because it is socially offensive to Dislike anyone or anything they do for any reason.
Well said sir. This is some great info.
 

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An emoji is about how the viewer is feeling . . . It does not specifically say why the viewer felt this way
But, the same is true for the dislike button itself. It can also be about a person's feelings, nor does it specify why they are feeling that way. Neither buttons nor emojis can express that. The only way to express that is actually using the comment section.

You can still say why you don't like someone, actually take the time to express it in words. That will be far more helpful to the creator than a dislike. When people disliked my videos I had no idea why they disliked it. It could have been the color of my skin or it could have been that they hate the kind of videos I make, I have no idea.

The same is true when they like my videos, I have no idea why they like my videos. It's only in the comments section that those views are expressed and where conversation can be stoked.

I argue that neither the like or dislike buttons are very helpful with actual communication with the audience and viewers.
 

MattCommand1

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I am not sure why YT thinks it needs to remove the Dislike button, but I know they are just following a trend. A long time ago, Facebook had a Dislike button too. They got rid of it years ago. At first, they only had the LIKe button, and then later they introduced the emoji REACTION buttons. You have to remember that YT and Facebook are just clever marketing companies. Research has shown that in general, positive marketing is better received by this generation than negative. So these companies are taking away people's ability to directly express dislike.

Referring back to Facebook getting rid of the dislike button and replacing it with emojis. It seems like the same thing but it is not. A dislike button sends a much clearer message. It says in no uncertain terms, "You are wrong and I don't like you." A reaction emoji does not send such a clear message to the creator. An emoji is about how the viewer is feeling. They say, This made me feel happy, This made me laugh, This made me feel sad, This WOWed me, This made me feel angry." It does not specifically say why the viewer felt this way, and it does not tell the creator that they are wrong. An emoji is subjective to individual interpretation, a Dislike button is not.

The simple fact is, we live in a secular humanist world where all things are subjective. The only thing that is considered wrong, is for one person to tell another person that they cannot decide for themselves what is right. We don't want people to have the ability to say, "I think you are wrong and I don't like you." We want people to only have the ability to tell people that they are right. So, say goodbye to the Dislike button. It is no longer Politically Correct because it is socially offensive to Dislike anyone or anything they do for any reason.
YT emulates the traditional TV media model which is why YT calls our YT accounts "YT channels". We don't say Twitter Channel, FB Channel, or Instagram Channel. We refer to them as "accounts" no matter the underlying media. But on YT, we were to our "accounts" as "channels".

In that traditional tv media, we are governed by "ratings" aka "likes". But if we don't like the TV show, we tune away. We don't have the ability to directly communicate with the producers of the show. In a sense, the best way to show our disapproval is to just not watch a channel and not give them any attention.

We, as viewers, tune in or tune out. YT allows people to leave comments (which nasty and mean people do). If people really want to be mean and ugly, they have to spend more time and effort to do so.

I have videos that sit dormant with no thumbs down or nasty comments. But I get the message loud and clear, that people just don't care about certain videos based on the number of views.

It certainly is true that some in the younger generation are definitely much more sensitive to negative feedback. But I think there are a lot of older who is quite sensitive too. Personally, I think we need to keep an eye on the prize. The ability to dislike a video and see the dislikes is (I think) a very low priority issue despite the fact that I did occasionally find it helpful.

I guess I view my personal energy (especially negative energy) as something I need to watch and monitor. It seems to me directing so much negative energy towards YT's decision to remove a viewer's ability to provide/abuse negative feedback is better directed elsewhere.
 

The Jungle Explorer

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But, the same is true for the dislike button itself. It can also be about a person's feelings, nor does it specify why they are feeling that way. Neither buttons nor emojis can express that. The only way to express that is actually using the comment section.

You can still say why you don't like someone, actually take the time to express it in words. That will be far more helpful to the creator than a dislike. When people disliked my videos I had no idea why they disliked it. It could have been the color of my skin or it could have been that they hate the kind of videos I make, I have no idea.

The same is true when they like my videos, I have no idea why they like my videos. It's only in the comments section that those views are expressed and where conversation can be stoked.

I argue that neither the like or dislike buttons are very helpful with actual communication with the audience and viewers.
I was speaking in general terms about how society views these things, not specifically YT interaction. I agree with you that neither are the appropriate way to express things. But, you and I are old and we don't mind sitting down and writing out our feelings or thoughts. This younger generation feels like they are being tortured if they are required to express themselves in anything longer than a meme or emoji. LOL!
 

MattCommand1

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This younger generation feels like they are being tortured if they are required to express themselves in anything longer than a meme or emoji. LOL!
Some things to endure is when people write and communicate like everything is a text message. It seems to be a generational thing to not spell, capitalize, punctuate, or use complete sentences.

I am by no means an English major or the language police but jeez, is it too much to ask to TRY to use proper written English to communicate?
 
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The Jungle Explorer

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I am by no means an English major or the language police but jeez, is it too much to ask to TRY to use proper written English to communicate?
Me neither. I am actually severely dyslexic. I am so bad, I was diagnosed by my first-grade teacher. I spelled everything backward and inverted. And = DNA (the D would be backward as well), THE = EHT (E would be backward), so on and so forth. Thank God for computers and spelling aids (I use Gammerly), because you really do not want to try to read my handwriting. I am the last person to criticize others on spelling, but for crying out loud, at LEAST make a dang effort! I do!
 

Amanda Summers

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To kind of back up what Stanely said here, just yesterday, I was looking for a very specific thing. The top video suggestion on YT search was this one video, so I clicked on it. About 20 seconds into the video, I was like, this is a horribly produced video. I mean, it was BAD. Then I looked over at the likes and dislikes and saw that it had 75% Dislike to Like ratio. Since the likes vs dislikes ratios are not shown in search, it has no effect on whether people watch a video.

While there are many opinions of what the function of the like and dislike buttons are, here is what my experience has taught me. YT looks at activity, any activity, positive or negative. There are channels out there that are extremely successful that thrive on negative activity. They seek it out. In radio, this is called the "Shock Jock" tactic. You make people love to hate you. A dislike or a like has the same effect on your channel as far as YT is concerned. It is all activity. People who want to attempt to hurt a channel by starting a flame war against it, are actually promoting that channel and helping it.

I am not sure why YT thinks it needs to remove the Dislike button, but I know they are just following a trend. A long time ago, Facebook had a Dislike button too. They got rid of it years ago. At first, they only had the LIKe button, and then later they introduced the emoji REACTION buttons. You have to remember that YT and Facebook are just clever marketing companies. Research has shown that in general, positive marketing is better received by this generation than negative. So these companies are taking away people's ability to directly express dislike.

Referring back to Facebook getting rid of the dislike button and replacing it with emojis. It seems like the same thing but it is not. A dislike button sends a much more clearer message. It says in no uncertain terms, "You are wrong and I don't like you." A reaction emoji does not send such a clear message to the creator. An emoji is about how the viewer is feeling. They say, This made me feel happy, This made me laugh, This made me feel sad, This WOWed me, This made me feel angry." It does not specifically say why the viewer felt this way, and it does not tell the creator that they are wrong. An emoji is subjective to individual interpretation, a Dislike button is not.

The simple fact is, we live in a secular humanist world where all things are subjective. The only thing that is considered wrong, is for one person to tell another person that they cannot decide for themselves what is right. We don't want people to have the ability to say, "I think you are wrong and I don't like you." We want people to only have the ability to tell people that they are right. So, say goodbye to the Dislike button. It is no longer Politically Correct because it is socially offensive to Dislike anyone or anything they do for any reason.
What if there was another way? Youtube could make a 1-5 sliding star thing and next to it there could be the running average, 3.5 rating.
 
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Stanley | Team TB

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What if there was another way? Youtube could make a 1-5 sliding star thing and next to it there could be the running average, 3.5 rating.
I like this idea... but YouTube used to do this and they moved away from that model years ago. I don't remember why, but they switched from a Star rating to the likes/dislikes option. The problem is that these ratings are not shown to viewers in search so they don't really play a part into discovery and it's just another tool that can be manipulated unfairly. There should be some form of feedback tool for viewers, but I think the viewers common response should be taken into account when weighing the value of a rating. For example; if a viewer leaves a dislike or a 1-star rating on a video that's fine but if they continue to come back to the channel and leave consistent dislikes or 1-star ratings on more videos then there should be diminishing returns on these subsequent dislikes. Furthermore, if a viewer consistently leaves poor or negative feedback on channels and rarely provides positive feedback then their feedback (dislikes etc) should not count as much as a viewer who has a more fair delivery of likes and dislikes.

That's my 2 cents... but at the end of the day the system doesn't really work like that anyway. Likes and dislikes don't count against your video, in fact they both count as engagement and affect your video in a positive way. Likes/Dislikes are intended as a means of telling YouTube 'I don't like this video, please don't show me videos like this.' It isn't a reflection of the creator or their work, it's a reflection of the viewers preferences. It doesn't affect the creator negatively at all.

Just search for the most Disliked video in history; it's still around, it still tops the search ranks and it is still getting views.
 

Amanda Summers

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I like this idea... but YouTube used to do this and they moved away from that model years ago. I don't remember why, but they switched from a Star rating to the likes/dislikes option. The problem is that these ratings are not shown to viewers in search so they don't really play a part into discovery and it's just another tool that can be manipulated unfairly. There should be some form of feedback tool for viewers, but I think the viewers common response should be taken into account when weighing the value of a rating. For example; if a viewer leaves a dislike or a 1-star rating on a video that's fine but if they continue to come back to the channel and leave consistent dislikes or 1-star ratings on more videos then there should be diminishing returns on these subsequent dislikes. Furthermore, if a viewer consistently leaves poor or negative feedback on channels and rarely provides positive feedback then their feedback (dislikes etc) should not count as much as a viewer who has a more fair delivery of likes and dislikes.

That's my 2 cents... but at the end of the day the system doesn't really work like that anyway. Likes and dislikes don't count against your video, in fact they both count as engagement and affect your video in a positive way. Likes/Dislikes are intended as a means of telling YouTube 'I don't like this video, please don't show me videos like this.' It isn't a reflection of the creator or their work, it's a reflection of the viewers preferences. It doesn't affect the creator negatively at all.

Just search for the most Disliked video in history; it's still around, it still tops the search ranks and it is still getting views.
This is the way I thought it worked, but my videos are shown a lot at first and then it goes 8 likes or so and then here comes the dislikes and I get to 4 and the ratio goes to 50% like/dislike ratio and they stop showing it to people. But am I wrong and the algorithm just deosn't notify that person or put my videos in his feed? If I'm wrong you just made my day.
 
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Stanley | Team TB

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This is the way I thought it worked, but my videos are shown a lot at first and then it goes 8 likes or so and then here comes the dislikes and I get to 4 and the ratio goes to 50% like/dislike ratio and they stop showing it to people. But am I wrong and the algorithm just deosn't notify that person or put my videos in his feed? If I'm wrong you just made my day.
A 50% like/dislike ratio doesn't mean anything when it is just 8 likes. It might not even mean anything if it was 100,000 likes/dislikes. Honestly, this is probably one person being a jerk and if they are doing this from one IP address (on different account) YouTube sees that and it's only going to count as like 1 dislike. But also, remember that the dislike button is not a reflection of your channel. It's intended to be a means for the viewer to send a signal to YouTube that they don't want to be shown this type of content. It only affects your video positively (because you received engagement). Remember; the single most disliked video ever still tops the ranks of every search category that it was ever featured on.