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YouTube deleted an electronics repair channel [video] (youtube.com)
775 points by lmilcin on July 7, 2020 | hide | past | favorite | 554 comments

We had YouTube take down our church livestream in the middle of service, claiming that we violated their community guidelines (we didn't). The clip in question was blank, and the note said that it was an automated takedown. I immediately appealed, switched our stream key, and let everyone know to refresh their browsers. But still, serious interruption to people's worship because google relies too-heavily on automation.

This is the problem with combining services for infrastructure and services for discovery. Discovery, by definition, requires a carefully curated approach to filter based on interest, applicability. This forces discovery services to take for the material shown and promoted. Given the scale that services like YouTube operate at, this requires automation that is invariably going to make stupid mistakes.

Infrastructure services on the other hand are dumb pipes, giving them a lot more leeway. Historically (e.g., the safe harbor provisions of the DMCA, the recent debates around Cloudflare and the far-right), society has proven to be far more tolerant of services simply hosting a video or a stream, than services promoting it or deriving benefit from it (e.g., through ads).

Arguably, the latter is also the more critical. A lot of smaller-scale entities (like your church) can tolerate losing promotion for a day or a week far better than they can tolerate losing their infrastructure.

What emphasizes this issue further is the insane content you can wind up browsing after just 3-4 “suggested” clips on YouTube. I’ve watched folks get from pretty banal comedy sketches and the like to Ben Shapiro and Jordan Sather with no effort on brand new accounts.

Indeed. The best place I have found new accounts is a bigger youtube recommending them. Namely Austin McConnell.

Youtube claims to be both though.

This comment is sort of victim blaming.

...but I agree that people should not rely upon social media companies whenever possible to distribute content and communications, due to increasing efforts to police content.

I may be reading it wrong, but to me it seems less like victim blaming and more like explaining the situation that lead to the environment that lead to this event.

This was exactly my intent. The problem is with YouTube trying to be a discovery service, while simultaneously requiring the use of its own infrastructure service to benefit from discovery. What is needed is discovery services that are not tied to any underlying infrastructure.

So in the case where Youtube's automated filter flags an infraction, what about them just removing channels from the discovery service rather than pulling the underlying infrastructure out from under them?

I would think that would work, although I could see it going south in the case of "Google tried to hide the fact that they allowed this video to stay up."

I would guess there are some passages from many religions' sacred texts which could get your whole channel deleted if promoted. Unless there's a written or unwritten exception.

The conflict or tension that troubles me the most is between platforms' incentive to have the most vague and broad TOS and users' reasonable expectation of consistency and explanation.

The same tension exists in government police/arrest powers and resulted in many historic documents and rights. YT is not a government but their power rivals many actual countries. It will be interesting to see if the same revolutionary actions result. I don't think it's clear yet that it will or could happen.

* This section of the Bible is copyright BMG Music Group and has been removed. This is your first strike.

To paraphrase Red Dwarf:

Newsreader: Good evening. Here is the news on Friday, the 27th of Geldof. Archeologists near mount Sinai have discovered what is believed to be a missing page from the Bible. The page is currently being carbon dated in Bonn. If genuine it belongs at the beginning of the Bible and is believed to read "To my darling Candy. All characters portrayed within this book are fictitous and any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental." The page has been universally condemned by church leaders.

That's a quote, not a paraphrase

I can't find an authoritative source for the original quote, so I found something that I believe to be close but didn't want to give it the authority of "quote" as it could be innacurate.

Many bible translations are in fact copyrighted.

A lot of Christian worship music is also copyrighted, and churches pay for licenses.

To be more specific, there is no royalty required to perform music as part of a worship service. However, the church is required to pay to license sheet music for all performers.

>there is no royalty required to perform music as part of a worship service.

An in-person service yes. But if it's streamed online I think a license is required.

I just looked and it appears to be the case based on the music publisher's website that I looked at. When I used to do liturgical music, there was no such thing as streamed online.

I don’t think this is surprising? KJV, for example, is such a foundational and original cornerstone of English language poetry that if it were to have been created in 2020 I would fully expect it to be copyrighted.

I find it surprising; inhibiting the copying of the Bible would seem to contradict most of the goals of the Church.

Many (most?) of the full texts are available online through authorized sources. Copyright is exercised as a means of quality control as much as if not more than as a mean of generating revenue/restricting distribution.

>through authorized sources

That can be just God's bookshelf itself right?

>Copyright is exercised as a means of quality control

Is that God too, or another 'authorized source' like the Vatican? ;)

Protestant translations tend to be held by publishers, I believe, with Zondervan being the biggest player, I think. I can't speak too much about how all of that works.

For Catholic translations there's a requirement that a Bishop sign off on the accuracy/suitability of the translation and its accompanying commentary (at the minimum, a Catholic Bible will include references to parallel/related passages in the other parts of the Bible and usually also includes significant additional commentary). The most commonly used Catholic Bible in the US has its copyright held by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops who have published the full text on their website as well as have authorized multiple (20, according to Wikipedia) publishers to produce print editions.

It's under copyrightish in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_James_Version#Copyright_s...

"[T]the letters patent are held by the Queen's Printer [… T]he Queen's Printer is now Cambridge University Press […] Cambridge University Press permits the reproduction of at most 500 verses for 'liturgical and non-commercial educational use; if their prescribed acknowledgement is included, the quoted verses do not exceed 25% of the publication quoting them and do not include a complete Bible book."

The monarchy is founded on "the grace of God" so it makes a kind of twisted sense that they should collect the license fee to peddle God's book.

Given that God himself is credited as author of at least parts of the Bible, the "life of the author plus 70 years" doctrine of copyright should help keep the Bible out of the public domain for the foreseeable future.

It's OK nobody agrees on who actually represents god so nobody has clear standing to sue or rather everyone thinks they do and would most certainly spend the next century suing each other and you could claim to need to hold any suit against you until all their suits against each other were settled.

> nobody agrees on who actually represents god

That's only true if “nobody” can reach up to approximately 1 billion people.

“Not everybody” ≠ “nobody”.

Is the crown ripping off God? Or have they been giving the Almighty his royalty checks every month?

It sounds like an MIT license.


But would it have attained that status if it could not Have been reproduced easily?

Hopefully not by unrelated third parties that like to release bots that claim all sorts of random content is under their copyright and take it down.

Turn Turn Turn by the Byrds

Psalm 137:9

Yes, there's context. How often does context help?

The whole of Psalm 137 is actually quite relevant in this whole censorship discussion.

"By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the willows we hung our harps, for there our captors requested a song; our tormentors demanded songs of joy: 'Sing us a song of Zion.' How can we sing a song of the LORD in a foreign land?"

Be sure to check out the awesome Reggae take on it by The Melodians, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4tAb5rYRXvs, as well as the great pop cover by Boney-M, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYK9iCRb7S4. Although, unfortunately, yes, both versions leave out the bit about dashing infants against rocks. After all, this is a foreign land, and if the Psalm were sung in full, it would be unacceptable to our captors!

Imagine posting some of the things our president posts or says verbatim. Just start with the whole white genocide and banning of muslims....

I imagine most people would get fired for such an offense. Not sure why I was getting downvoted.

When it’s that easy to fix surely it’s pretty easy to say “goto otherstreamingsite.com”?

Why is the narrative “Google relies too heavily on automation”?

Why not “I rely too heavily on Google”?

In the attention economy all it takes is giving them less attention.

I totally get what you mean, but there's the thing where most people know how to use the most common platforms, and youtube is probably among the top, so it's the first thing people try. Go tell your grandma her next service is going to be on Twitch and she'll think you're planning to attend it high.

This does not invalidate your questions, but still it's something to be considered.

Grandma isn't going to YouTube and looking up the "Holy Trinity Church Sunday service", she is just clicking on the link the deacon sent her. As long as the page it sends her to has a play button like her VCR remote she will be fine.

This is true for the majority of people, but not everyone. If my mom gets to a page she has never seen before, even if it's as simple as clicking the "play" triangle in the middle of the screen, she may be confused and ask for directions before proceeding.

You reminded me of my own mom.

My mother (diagnosed schizophrenia in the '70s) tried to get to her webmail one day, but the ISP had moved the page. She got some generic 404 message like: "We couldn't find the page you were looking for."

She immediately spazzed out asking who the "We" was and how did they know what she was looking for!?? She shutdown the computer and many years later, to this day, will not use a computer. So yeah, some people handle disparities in user experience better than others, and mental health is a thing in the population at large.

> google relies too-heavily on automation

Consider that you may be relying too much on a free service that you paid nothing for.

I'm not saying that google sucks. It does. But it will never get better unless you actually move to another service and take your money with you.

> Paid nothing for.

People pay everyday with their data. If it was truly a free service that provided no benefit to Google do you think they'd keep running it?

They definitely have no aversion to shutting shit down. I guarantee the only reason they really shutdown google plus was because they weren't getting as much datamining out of it as they wanted.

Did you guys find a self-hosted solution to this? I think we should really start self-hosting all aspects of free speech content, or at least be able to switch to self-hosting at a moment's notice.

For live content, you can host your own RTMP ingest server and serve HLS video using this Docker container:


If you're a church or nonprofit, you can run it for free on Azure by applying for a sponsorship. I wrote automation to setup and teardown the system on Azure: https://github.com/awakening-church/live-infrastructure

Video playback is handled by Video.js with the HLS plugin. Our existing frontend web server reverse-proxies to the Docker instance serving HLS playlists and video chunks.

I used this software from 2016 until about 6 months ago. We use Vimeo + Restream nowadays. If we ever needed to self-host again, it would be easy to switch back.

If you read the old testament word for word on YouTube it violates their policies and would get taken down. They dictate modern day public appropriateness. Turns out it goes hand in hand with advertising dollars.

Same goes for Mark Twain.

The furry AV community has been seeing lots of policy takedowns for furry convention streams on YouTube.

This was especially apparent during a POC DJ's stream at a recent virtual furry convention.

I suspect that theres a certain number of reports to viewership that allows streams to be taken down by trolls.

I regret to to say that I'm quite familiar with religious text, thanks to my childhood & younghood.

Religious texts and religious conversations use words like war, murder and rape quite generously. Those words used mostly in context of discussion, or prohibition, but automated systems cannot yet distinguish that reliably. There's a great chance that's what happened to your stream.

Should be noted however, it's not so rare that religion orders their followers to do unfathomably gory things to other human beings. Which is sadly excused by most people quickly and in great effort, instead of scrunitizing further and pondering on it.

It was bots will.

You should be ex-communicated for that joke. :-)

(Disclosure: I work for Dailymotion)

I think personally that anyone having a serious presence on YouTube should consider at least having a backup of all their videos on Dailymotion or other service. AFAIK we don't do massive automated deletions like YT does. There are also tools to upload videos to both platforms at once.

While DM is not chasing youtubers to host their stuff there and even lowering the share of revenue for non-verified creators (the company has pivoted to "premium content" strategy and prefers to partner with big brands) and reach and monetization is way lower than YT, having a backup/fallback strategy (especially when you embed your videos on your website) is something worth considering given history of YT dramas.

DM is here to stay and your videos as well AFAICT. It was acquired by Vivendi (huge media conglomerate, owner of Universal Music Group) in 2016 and the company is rebuilding itself and growing.

> It was acquired by Vivendi (huge media conglomerate, owner of Universal Music Group) in 2016 and the company is rebuilding itself and growing.

That doesn't actually help. Archive.org might be a better party to save important material.

Yeah, I’d say “owned by a huge media conglomerate” is a negative in this context given that’s what Google is. Any other large company is likely to be similarly incentivised to minimise reputational risk to advertisers.

My point was "it's not gonna disappear next year".

But for sure, brand safety is an important KPI and clearly, unlawful content is definitely being removed, and certain kinds of content get demonetized.

> My point was "it's not gonna disappear next year".

Like Geocities, right? The web rots, and video / media sites rot faster than most because of commercial interests which typically do not align with the long term interests of the users of those sites. As soon as a large corporation acquires them, especially a media company it becomes a different ballgame and what goes for Youtube goes just the same for DM. Youtube isn't going to disappear next year, but some of its content will.

There's no fundamental difference between DM and YouTube, unless your CEO is going to make a public statement stating that even if they disagree with you, they will fight to defend your right speak. Haven't seen any such announcement.

Minds.com is also adding a video system and an encrypted chat system based on the matrix protocol.


I'm impressed with the incremental approach that they've taken to making improvements.

LBRY is great, but the fact that the token is unstable makes it impossible to set a consistent price barrier for your content. And it's difficult for normies to understand how to get money back out of the token economy. That's why I think crypto currency systems are great, but should either be opt-in or a first class on-boarding experience that explains like you're five.

These alternatives are ultimately the solution to the controversy of online censorship - no matter which side you're on.

The ability to control and censor broad swaths of human communication globally is not a power any corporation should have.

...it is just one of many negative by-products of oligopolies.

Well a large amount of censorship has to do with being attractive to advertisers. And there’s this strange viscous cycle of how the Overton Window[1] is formed and then rigidly enforced. It’s not clear to me what comes first, chicken or egg, but I do think it’s not ideal.

I think Minds does have a pretty unique system for moderation[2]. It does seem pretty resilient because the voting happens in private, so you can really vote your conscience.

[1]: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overton_window

[2]: https://www.minds.com/content-policy

They help, but there are other ways that something like minds.com could be inconvenienced that don't relate to financial issues. Gab.com, for example, has been dropped in the past by at least one domain registrar, by at least one web hosting company, and by a couple of different payment processors.

The ability to control and censor broad swaths of human communication globally is not a power any corporation should have.

Scale it down for argument's sake, such that people are using a video service that you own and operate to spread extremely destructive false information about everything from elections and politics to public health. Your first reaction is "This is fine, the marketplace of ideas will sort it out in the end." Instead, it turns out that the more offensive, destructive, and just plain stupid the content is, the more people eagerly lap it up.

Are you going to take steps to prevent this from happening? If not, how are you not at least partially responsible for the real-world consequences of the videos on your service, which seem to be mounting by the day?

How about if someone posts a video calling for political assassinations or other violent criminal activity? Do you act to keep that sort of content off your channel?

Where do you draw the line? And why should Google be prohibited from drawing the line at all?

None of this justifies the unaccountable use of flawed algorithms to delete random channels, of course. But that's a separate point from the one you've raised.

The argument most people make hinges exactly on the scale of the corporation and their reach. When a corporation is global and controls a very wide segment of all human communication, then it inherits certain ethical duties because frankly it's starting to look more and more like a government entity - one with zero accountability.

> Where do you draw the line?

Somewhere reasonable. I'd say Facebook, Twitter, Google, Reddit, Microsoft, and maybe a couple other massive communications companies, have a duty to preserve free speech - with a small number of exceptions like CP, calling directly for violence, etc...

Ideally, the market would have more competition, but until that happens these companies should remain obligated not to bar content.

Imagine if ISPs started blocking content to people who went to the "wrong" websites, or cell phone providers who overheard the "wrong" phone conversations.

Somewhere reasonable

No comment.

Imagine if ISPs started blocking content to people who went to the "wrong" websites, or cell phone providers who overheard the "wrong" phone conversations.

For the record, my actual opinion mirrors yours almost 100%, except that I don't believe Google or Facebook should be forced to publish anything they don't want to. That's no better than overt censorship. These companies are not ISPs or public utilities, in that they don't rely on government-granted monopolies over public airwaves and physical rights of way. So they shouldn't be subject to strict content neutrality requirements.

There is this weird thing that actually specifies what should be taken down and what should not. I think it was called the codex of law.

I am the UI engineer for lbry.tv/lbry desktop app.

This is a really hard problem and we've taken an incremental approach too (mostly because our team is so small). We sorta have an opt-in system since you can use lbry.tv or the app without owning any LBC.

I'm planning to spend some more time really digging into our onboarding flows over the next couple of months to make this crypto knowledge dump a lot easier for new users to understand.

i really wanted to like minds but the inability to mute that terrible facebook-level feed without paying is a non-starter for me

Alternative platforms exist but they much less content and it seems implausible for significant numbers of viewers to switch.

In particular bitchute seems to be entirely filled with conspiracy videos to the point where it would be better if people didn't suggest it as an alternative.

They need some way for people to voluntarily filter the content they see.

With opt in for crazy talk

Dangerous suggestion. Who gets to define what's "crazy talk"? Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Literally everybody has their own personal definition, and if you decide to rely on the choices of other people then their definitions will apply.

It doesn't have to be very draconian, just a little tick box:

include controversial videos in search results yes-no.

The OP was suggesting, however, that this little "enable censorship" checkbox be checked by default.

But it would almost have to be, or your feed / suggestions would be 99% trash and porn.

> entirely filled with conspiracy videos

Not entirely, and I see a lot of conspiracy vids on youtube and other platforms too, so I believe suggestion is justified.

Well what do you expect ends up on such an alternative site. Certainly not pop music. Recommendations don't matter, content does.

> entirely filled with conspiracy videos

Better than having the content be deleted, though. Choose for yourself what you want to watch, and don't choose for other people.

In practice, it’s nowhere near this simple. Even if a platform has “unlimited” capacity to store and serve content, the real estate available in places to advertise/surface this content (homepage, suggested/related content, etc.) is finite and generally tiny by comparison. So right off the bat you have a nontrivial task here to solve that will involve bias, algorithms to determine why a piece of content should be shown over another, etc. And that's just the beginning.

The bigger, more abstract, more difficult task is implementing the above as well as all other aspects of the platform in such a way that it fosters the sort of community you are envisioning, attracts the sort of user you're building for, and this is incredibly nuanced. If you want the platform to appeal to, say, creators of animated or short narrative content who are interested in friendly conversation and critique, you aren't likely to do this if they visit the platform and find nothing but fringe political content and the perhaps less-than-friendly conversation this may attract.

Ironically, building a platform that appears to be fairly unbiased and balanced that puts the control in the hands of the user generally involves an immense amount of curation and control behind the scenes to achieve this. And similarly, failing to put tons of work into this, opting to let the users decide everything organically, etc., will likely find your platform's content and community dominated by whatever group is able to rally the most like-minded users to join up the fastest. You're at the mercy of the mob, and most likely, you won't enjoy what they've brought with them.

My point is that there's almost nothing else to watch.

Most people use Bitchute only for the channels that they're already subbed to on youtube.

So you log in to Bitchute and just see your subs which are like 5 channels that got deleted from youtube. Subbing is the curation system.

and how do you discover someone to sub to them.

Usually through their YouTube channel or twitter or telegram. “hey, I just got my channel taken down on YouTube. Sub to me on bitchute instead”

Personally, I’m not confident bitchute is technically competent enough to implement a real discovery algorithm. They haven’t made any discernible technical improvements to the site since they first launched.

no what you are describing is how I keep up with someone after I've already found and followed them (ie Twitter / Youtube / other social platform). I asked about discovery ... because at the end of the day that is the difference maker.

I know what you’re asking. That’s why I said

> Personally, I’m not confident bitchute is technically competent enough to implement a real discovery algorithm.

If true, the relative proportion of such videos would only decrease as new users join. If your goal is to suppress such videos, then turning prospective users away would be counterproductive.

> entirely filled with conspiracy videos

That's just a lie. It's filled with videos that don't match your politics.

With Joe Rogan moving to Spotify, including video streaming, I wonder if Spotify is seriously contemplating building out a true Youtube competitor.

Is Spotify offering video hosting as well as streaming? I ask because of mixcloud - I can _live_ stream video which gets broadcast, but only the audio currently gets stored for future playback.

Havent seen anything public, but it seems like they are building this, for when Joe Rogan launches.

Also fediverse version: https://joinpeertube.org/

not a user of peertube but I wish some good channels move to there as a stress test (and a warning sign for centralized platforms)

Had never heard of bitchute before. The homepage is scary, looks like an alt-right hiding spot...

That is pretty much all the "free speech" debate these days; copyright infringement and child porn will get hammered wherever they are, regular porn has its own infrastructure, and FOSTA-SESTA sex workers appear to have been effectively suppressed. That leaves material which is not illegal but is incredibly unpopular.

Well yeah, as youtube deletes these type of videos a lot.

Both Youtube and FB banned a shit ton of right wing / conservative channels. They have to go somewhere. They go to free speech platforms.

If you're a viewer, there are also some paid alternatives like https://watchnebula.com

Somewhat unrelated, but I saw the mirror on bitchute of this video and dear lord are the comments toxic. Like they make YouTube seem tame.

Why not twitch.tv?

Because they ban channels just like Youtube. They just banned Trump's channel a few days ago.

Googler here, who doesn't work in the YouTube PA.

It does certainly seem like this was an erroneous take-down. I'm not familiar with the content, but I can't imagine a more innocuous channel. If JPdylon is out there, the first recommendation is to appeal the decision [1].

Granted that doesn't always work, and it's unfortunate that common next step is to resort to "Support via Hacker News". That being said, content moderation is a super hard problem. It needs to get better and more fair on both sides (i.e. taking down what should be; leaving up what is quality content), but the scale here is often forgotten.

There is far, far too much content posted to manually review. If EEVblog's suggestion was taken and Susan (YouTube CEO) had to manually review every moderation action on channels with 5K+ subs, she would not be able to keep up. If you had a team of people, they would not be able to keep up. Even if you had a fleet of people, the scale is just unreal.

EEVblog's suggestion to diversify platforms is reasonable. The fact that those platforms don't have some of the same problems doesn't necessarily mean that they're better at content moderation, however. They just don't have to operate on the same scale.

[1] https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/185111

May I make a simpler suggestion:

- a list of clear rules

- takedowns must provide a reference of which video caused the takedown, roughly where in the video it was, and which rule it was violating

Someone may reply that this is feeding information on the rule boundaries to spammers, at which point I make a second suggestion which could apply to more services:

- a "this platform is valuable to me" deposit, of say $10, which guarantees human review of administrative decisions.

It's people's livelihood. You can't just vaporise it. Well, you can, but eventually the angry mob you create will get large enough and come for your statue.

Simply requiring a small fee for review is a great suggestion!

It would be difficult to structure this but simply allowing a video creator (or any fan of the channel!) to pay a Youtube analyst or a third-party auditor at cost ($10 seems reasonable for 15 minutes of even a decently-payed, English-speaking Western employee's time) to review the channel/video for 15 minutes for actual violations would be a huge boon to real content creators.

This would also allow Google to identify what takedown requests are blackmail botnets and block them from doing further harm.

If anyone at Google is reading this please consider it! So many viewers would be willing to pay that this need not even impact creators.

(Obviously this would have to be kept from getting out of hand and turning into Google racketeering with multiple takedowns of the same channel, but I trust them not to do that)

Asking people to pay for a human reviewer is a recipe for bad PR. Inevitably, some content creator is going to pay $10 and disagree with a ruling even if it's justified. They'll then complain that it's all a scam. To be fair, there wouldn't be a way to prove that it's not a scam. Also, humans are inevitably wrong decisions, especially when it comes to videos that are borderline.

> Asking people to pay for a human reviewer is a recipe for bad PR. Inevitably, some content creator is going to pay $10 and disagree with a ruling even if it's justified.

I don't really see how this is any different now. Google is already generating bad PR by not having an appeal process for these issues and plenty of people are already complaining that it's all a scam.

If a nominal fee gets you a written report that details exactly how you offended YT's policies and creates a possible scenario which you're given the opportunity to course-correct perhaps, then it's a win. What you're arguing would happen is already happening.

> I don't really see how this is any different now.

Right now, blocking a video will lead to Google being unable to earn money from it. Their incentives are aligned with those of the video creator.

> What you're arguing would happen is already happening

No, right now you are not pressured into giving Google money to review their automated decisions. With the suggested system implemented, you might fork over $10 individually for each of your 452 videos and get humans picking mostly the same useless text block in response, not really helping you to understand their decision. You will feel kind of like now, except you notice that YT actually made more money by banning your videos and start to wonder if that is by design...

Courts are great, but have to be independent. Even arbitration can be skewed in favor of bigger companies, since getting their recurring business is in the arbitrators interest.

I'd still be in favor of setting up something like that for lower level decisions, but understand this can only happen if Google finds a way to stay out of the line of fire. And still keeps a way for them to overrule those third party decisions...

> "Right now, blocking a video will lead to Google being unable to earn money from it. Their incentives are aligned with those of the video creator."

I would say that's only true if the volume of video content was a bottleneck for their advertisers. They have more than enough content.

There's the problem that money is an incentive. So if you pay to review takedowns, it is an incentive for Google to do EVEN MORE takedowns, because then they would earn more money.

Another suggestion is to simply hold a small amount of ad revenue for review for larger channels.

The given channel was estimated to make $4 per video. Just holding a small amount of revenue for review would pay for the human time.

Losing $10 is vastly better for the monetized creator than losing the channel completely.

Fee can be refundable if review is not malicious. Win-win.

The bot that issued the takedown should be charged the $10 fee for every decision that is reversed. Today there is basically no consequence for automated false takedown notices if you are a big media cartel, so they don't care. They tune their systems to minimize false negatives at the cost of many false positives because nobody is stopping them.

Of course there are "no consequences" to YouTube for an incorrect anything. They are a private company. Why would they punish themselves?

This isn't about consequences to YouTube. It's about consequences to copyright holders for frivolous takedowns.

When you issue a DMCA notice, you're certifying that the content is yours, under (theoretical) penalty of perjury. But big content studios erroneously issue them using automated systems all the time, and the only way to actually enforce this is for you, the individual getting targeted by one, to personally take legal action against a multinational corporation.

Meaning that, for all practical purposes, the people this affects have zero recourse.

That is wrong.

Nearly 100% of people who receive a DMCA notice of alleged infringement (read: 'copyright strike') from YouTube have the option of filing a counter-notification.

In nearly all cases, YouTube responds to valid counter-notifications by informing the party that initiated the takedown. Counter-notification starts the clock on a 10-day window, within which the party alleging infringement must - if they want to keep the video down - sue you in federal court and prove to YouTube that they they have filed suit against you. Otherwise the video goes back up.

That procedure is almost always available. The downside, of course, is that you might get sued for an enormous amount of money that you may be held liable for. Statutory damages are scary. (But thy are a consequence of infringement, not notice-and-takedown.)

This is why automated content takedown doesn't use the DMCA. It's a system designed by the content cartels.

I’d argue that bot should be charged multiple orders if magnitude more than $10.

The only way to modify that behavior is to make it hurt.

Something I didn't make clear in the original proposal was that the "please treat me with respect" fee would have to be paid before any dispute.

Or the far more radical point of view that people who are economically dependent on Google are employees .. although that is probably impossible to define and unworkable.

Why not ask the reporter for the fee?

These are really basic, reasonable suggestions. It's baffling Google/YouTube doesn't at least afford such basic dignities to its most important population: original content creators.

The answer is pretty obvious, the current system is what Google wants. It’s perfect in their eyes.

The videos are removed because somebody reports them. The "reporters" should also have "a skin in the game" e.g. their "karma" should suffer (i.e. the "amount of belief in their claim") every time they report and the claim is rejected. The initial "karma of the reporter" (for new accounts reporting) should also be low.

On the other side, the content producer's "defending" karma should also increase each time the claim is rejected.

And then, the "content police" should somehow need more "work" to ban or remove something the weaker the claim is or the defendant is "stronger."

I am aware that the "platforms", however, simply don't care much now, simply prioritizing the "reaction."

I love this idea, albeit there are definitely ways to game the system. As a content producer, I would probably pay to have a bunch of fake-users report my channel just so that I could gain "karma" to defend against actual future attacks. Still, I suppose it would probably be an improvement upon the current situation, where there is absolutely no recourse other than posting on various social media channels and hoping your complaint gains enough attention.

Sometimes simple suggestions are complex to implement or have wide reaching implications.

For example, it is very hard to come up with a sort list of clear content rules. There are all sorts of ambiguities. For example, when is nudity ok? What about violence? Every line you draw in the sand will have false positives and false negatives. See any number of stories about Facebook moderators who despite having lots of content rules, will make subjective and contradictory judgement calls.

Furthermore, with a concrete list of rules, bad actors will act just to the left of rules violations. Clearly, having some feedback is required. In this case, however, we don't know what Jordan Pier knew, since this was initially a reaction to the channel's deletion without consulting with Jordan about what happened.

Finally, having a support deposit--no matter how small--will disadvantage many creators and increase the divide between haves and have-nots. I admit that it's frustrating that you literally can't purchase a human's attention, but every policy decision like this has profound ramifications when you have billions of users.

> it is very hard to come up with a sort list of clear content rules. There are all sorts of ambiguities. For example, when is nudity OK? What about violence? Every line you draw in the sand will have false positives and false negatives

These aren't new questions, organizations like the BBFC and MPAA have been wrestling with them for years. And Google will have been wrestling with them internally .. in total secrecy. Yes, there are always going to be edge cases and people intentionally working up to the edge.

> having a support deposit--no matter how small--will disadvantage many creators and increase the divide between haves and have-nots.

I get that, but at the moment everyone's disadvantaged, and the larger creators potentially for tens of thousands of dollars.

The BBFA and MPAA, if I understand correctly, watch every second of content they rate. They have a back-and-forth with creators when there are disputes. They can afford to communicate, well, this is one f-bomb too many and usless you remove it, it's an "R" rating.

Secondly, they work with (largely) mainstream content producers (e.g. movie studios), who rarely act with downright malicious intent because of reputation and money on the line.

I don't believe content moderation is a problem solved well anywhere.

How come you don't moderate Google's search results and remove homophobia/violence/rape content from them? You already have a platform where you don't care at all about the content you host and present the user with. Your company chose to enter into the content moderation business on YT solely to make it more ad friendly and make more money, its should not be the creators responsibility to suggest changes to your moderation that can "scale" (i.e. make you more money).

If bad actors act just left of the rules violations, change the rule. Google is a private company, not a government. They can change their content policy 20 times before lunch if they wanted. Making things vague hurts legitimate channels more than anything.

If Youtube has the power to change rules whenever they found something new that is inappropriate, they would no longer be simple and clear. Also, they would also have to apply that rule retroactively to innocent videos that also happen to break the rule.

No there should be a deposit for flagging content, refundable one, if content is not in violation fee is kept for work done, if content is malicious. Content is taken down - fee refunded.

There are no ambiguities. Daddy Google doesn't want to look like a movie review board, with all its reactionary decisions, but they want to act like one.

It is ambiguous, because they are dealing with advertisers that don't want their ads around specific contexts. Which are very multivariate and ever changing.

Youtube tried having a list of clear rules. The problem is it doesn't work. People will always find a way to find a way find a grey area. Youtube doesn't want to be in the position where they have to explain why a video of little girl roleplaying a cop is inappropriate, but a regular video of a kid playing is fine. People would complain that it's actually Youtube that is sexualizing children.

When? Explain? I don't remember them trying a clear list of rules..

> come for your statue.

Joke's on them: Google Maps will just give the angry mob directions to the Amazon HQ instead.

That is why you use apple maps ;)

Google will never post a list of clear rules. It would restrict their ability to take down content that goes against their political ideology. Facebook and Twitter are the same in this respect.

Make heavy financial penalties for false takedowns.

With respect, when I hear FANG employees putting forward scale as a reason why "moderation is a super hard problem" I'm bemused.

If this was a hardware or software issue it would be obvious that you're trying to scale systems that do not scale.

In technical terms, social "algorithms" are O(k^n), exponential.

You're trying to do the impossible, eh?

(Really, the argument could be made that FANG et. al. are becoming a new de facto world government. From that POV you're attempting to solve the hardest human problem, eh?)

- - - -

No one is forcing you to be that big. At the end of the day, scraping away all the bright-eyed rhetoric about "connecting all the people, places, and things for great good", you're doing it for money. Building a moderated social network isn't impossible (maybe) but it's woefully expensive.

The existing systems are, arguably, harming people and messing up society, tech companies notoriously have a lot of money already, but are unwilling to prioritize and pay for the moderation that could (arguably) improve things.

So... what? I don't have any answers, I just want to point out that from my POV the problem is clearly hubris and basic cheapness.

Indeed, the question is what should be done, or how should it have been done differently? Should YT have grown more slowly?

FWIW, I don't think money is the limiting factor here. If there was a known good solution, but it took $10B to implement, I think it would be done.

You could pay X thousands (more) moderators, but there are drawbacks in a human solution as well. First is the fact since there's human judgement, rules will be applied inconsistently, and probably with some bias.

Second is the fact that moderation is a very mentally exhausting effort. You can observe some of the cyclical nature of this balance from the news over the past few years. Article about moderators with PTSD? Well, automation is the solution. Automation fails in a lot of edge cases? Well, why not hire armies of people to do it for you?

I don't think there is an obvious solution here, no matter how much it cost.

> I don't think there is an obvious solution here, no matter how much it cost.

The issue is centralizing social decisions to a single entity. We already have a model where corporate entities provide services at scale without taking on much of the social aspect: Utilities and infrastructure. So find a way to become a video hosting utility. An uncaring pipe. Create tools for users to build their own fiefdoms and branding and have it moderate themselves. Tying advertising into that might be difficult, but perhaps it would be up to those users, pay for the services or automatically enter an agreement with advertisers. If advertisers pull their content for whatever reason then people could choose to pay themselves or perhaps make a deal with different advertisers.

Hosting adult-related content that most brands don't want to touch? Perhaps make a deal with seedier advertisers. Youtube would still take its cut, but only as part of infrastructure fees.

Want to promote your content to other circles? Well, you're essentially an advertiser yourself now.

> I don't think there is an obvious solution here, no matter how much it cost.

If that's the case, then it may be back to Youtube doesn't scale.

> Second is the fact that moderation is a very mentally exhausting effort.

You have an impossible trilemma. Youtube:

* Allows/must allow anonymous or pseudonymous content creation, without the ability to ban bad actors;

* Faces significant social (sometimes legal) liability for content hosting and especially curation/promotion; and

* Wants to provide friction-free, speedy, and consistent policies to its content creators.

Those can't all exist at the same time. Right now, what gives is a bit of #3 (seemingly arbitrary, severe, and algorithmic actions against channels) and a bit of #2 (occasional stories about how Youtube is evil for promoting flat-earth Nazism vaccine-denial theory to children or whatever).

Youtube could go with a heavy-moderation approach, by requiring content creators first register with a government ID (plus business license in each country of intended audience) along with prior human-moderator approval of each uploaded video. But that would fundamentally change the platform into something more like a traditional TV network rather than dynamic social media.

Other commenters here go heavier on the "free speech" side of things and think that Youtube ought to face no repercussions (social or legal) for hosted content, freeing it of the need to moderate. I'm not sure how we would get there from here, but nevermind that job for lobbyists.

Society as a whole seems to implicitly solve this problem by not being a big giant curator under its own brand. Traditional media still exists as many (notionally-)separate outlets, each with their own branding and editorial views to offer at least limited competition. But if this is the only viable model, it's still another way of saying that Youtube doesn't scale.

To be frank the only hubris I see is from the critics who complain about YouTube that it "shouldn't be that big" and that "big tech is ruining society and democracy".

The critics think that they know better than society and impose demands not codified in any law nor how things remotely work. How the hell should YouTube have decided to keep its size acceptably small then? Youtubes 1 to 99999 and hope people go to the right arbitrary subsegment? The demanda are arrogant and clueless as saying that builders should only use rubber headed hammers and nailguns should be banned because it would reduce construction noise knowing nothing about the field or its practicalities. Now /that/ is hubris.

They could certainly be smaller. If they were 50% smaller, which 50% of their current content do you think they should get rid of? Anything smaller or with more moderation will have less content. I suspect what we have now is the best that we can have.

Panama! (Nice user name.)

> If they were 50% smaller, which 50% of their current content do you think they should get rid of?

Couldn't they just split in twain? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cell_division

(I lied when I said, "I don't have any answers". I do have answers.)

- Don't delete accounts entirely when they are reported, just lock them. If it's not disputed delete them 1 year later.

- Add a "reputability score" for every channel which is log((total videos) * total views * total likes * months since first video). Obviously there should be a HUGE burden of proof when deleting a channel with millions of views and over a dozen videos.

- These are just two 15-minute-ideas of an engineer who can't get an interview at google. I'm sure among the thousands of employees somebody has an even better one.

I doubt the account and videos are actually "deleted". I don't think Google deletes anything.

YT moderation is genuinely baffling.

YT has policies against animal cruelty, but a search for "electric mouse traps" shows a bunch of live animals being killed. (There are a lot of these).







Legally and conceptually animal crueltly doesn't just mean "painful or deadly things happening to animals. Despite the name it is more implicitly "gratitutousness animal cruelty" which is defined as not serving a purpose.

Tar paper traps lead to a slow death by starvation but it is a side effect of the function - to work without "triggering" and inconveniencing anything much larger instead of risking harm. No need to take a cat to the vet if they step on it, just wash them off and maybe clip some fur keeping it attached. The fact it causes more suffering than a mechanical trap isn't enough to qualify although one may object to its usage. But breaking a mouse's leg just to laugh at it and watch it crawl? Gratitutous and would qualify as animal cruelty.

This is most likely not a problem of policy but rather that nobody has flagged these videos yet.

And you should blame that (that nobody flagged them) on the double-standard most people have towards "not hurting innocent animals" vs "freedom to do any slaughter with the so-called 'pests'".

This. I was watching a video of some pigs playing the other day and suddenly became an "ovo-lacto" vegan.

I eat meat but the dairy industry sickens me... Cows are damn clever, and they only give milk when we take their babies away (to then eat them for veal often).

As I say I don't mind the killing of a healthy animal for meat, but the milk industry just sticks in my throat (especially when it is so easy (and tasty) to cut out milk these days)

(or was your comment a joke :p)

I'm not sure if sarcastic but how is that different from a vegetarian? The exclusion of honey?

ovo lacto is a "vegetarian" that also eats eggs and dairy so i presume it is something to do with other things, like the exclusion of leather goods? honey is a touchy subject even for vegans

Actually, it's a really good question. I don't know. I haven't thought things through (yet), I just realized that I can't abide the thought of eating such a cool critter now that I've actually seen what they're like.

Plenty of people flag these videos.

If this is really so, then the reason would be that Google intervenes on the basis of illegality: animal cruelty is illegal, whereas pest control is not.

This discrepancy between how we pretend to protect animals but still do plain "pest control" is weird (this is a weak word), but this is a quirk of our "modern" society.

The law is made democratically, so that just means that a majority of the citizens think that it is not ok to hurt animals, but that it is ok to use mousetraps. Blame on the lack of awareness of the society.

But then, in turn, this means that not a lot of people flag the video, if the majority of them still think that pest control should be legal. If not, then now should be the right time to change the law of the country where you/me live.

The moderation isn't baffling,it just can't keep up. For every topic you choose that YT isn't moderating correctly, I can find 10 more topics that they aren't moderating correctly, all that break YTs rules. At what point would you consider the issue isn't that the moderation is biased, the issue is that the moderation can't keep up?

You can't just ban everything with electric mouse trap in the title - this video [0] is on the first page of searches and doesn't contain any rule breaking content. If a band appears titled "electric mouse trap", do you want that content to be removed?

There are so many topics, so many videos,so many people actively trying to skirt the rules that it's just infeasible to moderate purely by scale. According to [1], there are 30k hours of content uploaded to YT every hour. How do you suggest they moderate even just the new content, never mind the backlog of content.

To be clear, I'm not defending the content on YouTube, or their moderation/takedown practices and responses, I just want to point out that it's not as simple as "just moderate better"

[0] https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=GYIk14jyXzw


> The moderation isn't baffling,it just can't keep up....

> There are so many topics, so many videos,so many people actively trying to skirt the rules that it's just infeasible to moderate purely by scale. According to [1], there are 30k hours of content uploaded to YT every hour. How do you suggest they moderate even just the new content, never mind the backlog of content.

That's really an argument that they have to reduce their scale until it matches their moderation ability (or increase their moderation ability until it matches their scale). We wouldn't accept a car company failing to recall and fix defective cars that they sold because their repair shops lack the capacity to do so.

I don't understand what you imagine when you say "reduce their scale".

Send 999 out of 1000 viewers away? Delete 999 of 1000 channels? Block 999 of 1000 video uploads? I genuinely don't understand what you are looking for.

And note that this would still be 30 hours of new content per hour. And it would change nothing about the economics of moderating content.

It shouldn't be that baffling when you realize that the policy language is entirely irrelevant.

The only content policy that matters is unwritten: "No content which could cause a large or loud enough objection to disrupt add revenue."

Objections to mouse traps or hunting is not large or loud enough to hurt the bottom line.

This whole article is about an innocuous channel that was deleted for no reason.

The reason is pretty clear to me. The channel was bycatch for algorithms intended to block offensive content.

If you mean that the channel didn't do anything "wrong", and shouldn't have been deleted, I totally agree.

In the same vein that "hate speech" means "political opinions we disagree with", "animal cruelty" really means "animal cruelty towards animals we don't like for reasons we don't like"

The problem is that Youtube's policy of aggressive takedown has enabled a massive abuse of the system. You can go and find many prominent YT creators complaining about their videos being taken down by false copyright claims. Literally any of us could go to a single channel, issue 3 copyright strikes and their channel will be taken down, with no regards to fair use whatsoever.

Moderation here isn't the problem. Youtube's policing has downright enabled censorship on the site.

So, there's the solution then: massively file false claims until each and every channel is taken down forcing Google to deal with the problem.

> but the scale here is often forgotten.

I don't think anybody here is forgetting the scale; they simply understand that Google-scale problems come with google-scale revenue.

Omitting this fact seems like an insincere overture to the community of upset users, to me.

It's the small content creators getting hurt here, though. As in, the ones that don't generate google-scale revenue. You're asking a for-profit business to lose money on inconsequential revenue streams. That doesn't work.

The channels that do actually have revenue impacts are the ones with actual people reps already.

Also please have a look at Craig Tube/Vinyl TV, his channels have returned under a slightly different new name, but all the previous content has been lost from the old ones:



Archived copies:



I get that YouTube is attempting to pick through a torrent of stuff and that manual review is not feasible at such a scale. This is fine. This is self-evident.

Saying what video and when in the video tripped what part of the magic algorithm is also doable. I think we both understand that the algo has to do the work, and it has to output a "yes/no" at the end. However, absolutely nothing forbids coming up with some kind of feedback or error message. The algorithm is doubtlessly complex, and was therefore debugged. Yes/no was not sufficient for debugging in its development. The mechanisms are present.

Expose this to the user.

There appears to be a disturbing consensus here that YouTube HAS to moderate. Why? If YouTube isn't held responsible for the content, and are treated merely as a carrier, you can imagine layer 2 filtering businesses emerge, if YouTube let them. YouTube could still be the repository, still make money, but get out of the business of deciding who gets to see what.

Because they already found out what happens when they don't moderate enough: major advertisers leave the platform entirely. With their money.

YouTube is an internet advertising company like pretty much everything else Google. That they serve video content is ancillary.

> If EEVblog's suggestion was taken and Susan (YouTube CEO) had to manually review every moderation action on channels with 5K+ subs, she would not be able to keep up.

Maybe perform fewer moderation actions?

If there were fewer moderation actions, then we'd be seeing more articles saying how obviously abusive content that should have been taken down and wasn't.

There are many sophisticated actors that try and game the system, and it's because of them at sometimes the system makes the wrong call.

I feel only the questionable removals make it to HN or other tech sites that make it feel like lesser moderation would be better. But the fact is there is a vast ocean of disturbing content that literally causes some moderators to lose their mental and need counseling.

Why not offer a model of pay-for-support, instead of ramming us with ads and saying "LOL it's free so f off"? Not you specifically, or even Google specifically, but that seems to be a common theme. I'm sure plenty of people would be willing to pay a monthly fee to avoid exactly this.

This takedown was presumably automated, which seems to be a bulk of the complaints. The algorithm to automate "objectionable content" seems to be horribly inaccurate. A better approach might to be to disable all automated takedowns, and don't take down anything except content manually flagged for illegal content, which are then manually reviewed.

And before you say this won't scale, this is how Reddit moderation works, and seems to work for millions of posts made every day.

Also, some sort of public log of takedowns and reasons in some form we could verify might also be nice. It's super creepy seeing someone "disappeared" from the Internet without so much as a peep from Youtube/Google.

It is one thing to make mistakes. It is another to present a person who spent significant part of their life invested in your platform with no way to get hang of a real person to appeal their process.

People should not be expected to somehow get another famous youtuber and a hang of an insider through HN front page to get their problems resolved.

So hire more people to cope with the load? Implement automation (verifying that a takedown is appropriate) where it makes sense to reduce the load? Have established guidelines and procedures? Place the majority of the burden of proof on the initiator of a takedown action? Place repeat offenders on a blacklist after warning them?

Maybe not workable due to scale but can they never the less set up a pre-emptive review system where if you’re willing to have something pre-approved (reviewed before publishing) by moderators that that content cannot be automatically axed and would require manual intervention with an independent appeals process?

How much do you think they would have to charge for that service? And how much would you be willing to pay?

> the first recommendation is to appeal the decision

Well this is BS, it's like saying the author of a book at a library should be the one to complain if the library censors the book. Don't the library's patrons get any say?

> They just don't have to operate on the same scale.

If Google can't operate at scale, then maybe it just needs to be shut down so maybe someone who can will take their place.

Google simply doesn't WANT to operate at scale because that will impact profits.

There is far, far too much content posted to manually review.

Then don't take it down, and let the Justice Department do it. Or accept being an editor. You can't have it both ways.

Why does he need to go through an appeal when it's had attention brought to it?

Your appeal to scale here doesn't apply to this case.

Because it's not clear why the channel was taken down in the first place. I don't have any insider information in that regard. I don't have access to the system that would tell me the reason.

It's possible (however unlikely) that there was a justified reason for the take down. Has anybody heard from the original creator?

> but the scale here is often forgotten.

Is there a reason why Google cannot hire more people?

This comment could easily be interpreted as you speaking for Google.

To clarify, I have no insider knowledge of this matter, I don't speak in any official context and all of my opinions are my own.

I consider adding that to every Google related comment, but it gets tiring.

Why not just add it to your profile 'about' section?

That is a good suggestion. Done.

At some point, the collective tech community needs to develop a serious alternative to the current reality of a single corporation controlling the overwhelming majority of a) online video content and b) online content in general (via search.) Online video is in its infancy now, but within a few decades, it will have become the modern equivalent of the book. Do we really want a single Kafkaesque, politically-biased entity controlling which books can be published?

Presumably/hopefully this will happen when storage becomes cheap enough to easily host video and someone figures out a way to filter through all the undesirable content which currently afflicts free-speech-oriented alternatives.

Unfortunately, there are a number of things at play here that overall results in progress towards anyone being able to be "their own YouTube" very difficult.

* Storage costs have decreased over the years and will continue to do so, but video quality has increased during this time, as well as the number of delivery formats you need to create. For each video uploaded, you likely need to encode and store 5+ different variations.

* Bandwidth is not cheap, and while it may be lower than the cost of storage initially, for any chance of survival you'll eventually need some popular content, at which point its cost of delivery will exceed that of storage

* To prevent the video from buffering and provide an experience that is tolerable to the average user, you need to have all of the above replicated on a dozen edge nodes around the world, and serve a user the video they've requested from the one nearest to them. This is a situation where the latency differences here really can make or break the entire thing

There are numerous ways to try to optimize these things, or filter out costly/undesirable content, or prioritize only things that people are actually watching, or whatever, but few that come without consequences or that will cause bigger problems down the line.

I think looking for a "YouTube Killer" is the wrong direction anyway, unless you're just looking for another large corporation to take over video dominance.

What I would personally love is an aggregator, or many aggregators, that act like YouTube, but are actually a distributed network of video sources.

The key to the concept is thinking of a source like a library of content, and the individual uploader manages their own source. You could consider it a channel, and then that uploader can syndicate their source/channel to any aggregator they want. Sources can be private/public, sources can be tagged, discoverable, and searchable.

Another key point is that uploaders need not host things themselves, SaaS products will quickly fill that role.

a) Anyone can start an aggregator and immediately have content, lowering the bar for entry.

b) A niche aggregator can pick or have submitted to them video library sources that match their niche, and can curate them just like any other video hosting site.

c) A cottage industry for video hosting can utilize an "average user" friendly UI to allow for anyone to create a source and submit it to these aggregators.

d) Allows free information to flow freely

f) Allows content creators full control over deals with aggregators on how they'll be reimbursed for access to their source. You can imagine YouTube accepting sources with an ad revenue share model just like they have now. Some aggregators will choose to "cache and redistribute" content from sources to allow for consistent UX to their users, but that's their decision.

You're going to get a flood of porn, pirated content, illegal-for-other-reasons content, and, of course, nazis who have been banned from all the other platforms.

Which will, of course, drive all the normies away. (Well, okay, all the pirated content might not, but then you'll also include 'all the media companies' and 'the government' as your list of enemies.)

And if you add federated moderation (Like Mastodon did), you're going to quickly understand why federated moderation is a labour-sucking, drama-ridden, centralized-censorship, tire pyre.[1] (Like Mastodon did.)

[1] Mastodon instance administrators blacklist instances that produce problem content and problem users.[2] (Child pornography, nazis, furries, etc.) These ban-lists are centralized, because nobody has time to investigate every single other instance in the network. I hope you trust the person running those centralized lists!

[2] Oh, and if a troll group does not like a particular person, they can follow him around, shitting on every instance that he posts in. How do instance operators deal with this sort of thing? By banning[3] the target of the trolls, because then they can stop wasting time playing whack-a-mole.

[3] https://www.theverge.com/2018/8/31/17801404/mastodon-harassm...

I think the “niche aggregator” part of the proposal (c) completely addresses your moderation concerns.

No, it doesn't, because that is exactly how Mastodon instances work - or rather, fail to work.

Really what I'm proposing is just a protocol between hosting services and aggregators, that they can use to accept sources from any supporting hosting service, if they so choose.

The aggregator can build their site however they want. So then the moderation and community guidance is their responsibility. Maybe the site doesn't have comments, maybe the site has a 30 day source verification timeframe. Unsurprisingly I don't have the solution to the internet's cultural problems, except to say that moderation is probably the hardest problem for any internet community, and YouTube hasn't figured it out yet either.

In some countries, the hosting services would also be on the hook for policing of content on their hosting. Not everywhere has safe harbour type laws, and some authorities have the ability to take down servers they deem break the law.

Of course, an aggregator could accept all public sources, and inevitably succumb to the unmoderated internet.

Do you have a link about mastadon's moderation problems?

In addition to Wil Wheaton's experience linked above, we have:


https://hackernoon.com/mastodon-is-dead-in-the-water-888c10e... [1]

https://www.theverge.com/2019/7/12/20691957/mastodon-decentr... [2]

[1] See section on identity and moderation - you can't decouple them when you have a hybrid between a content platform and a social media application (Which is what any video hosting service that allows comments, or shows recommended videos, or cross-links to other distributed aggregators is.)

[2] Bad[3] people show up to the community, everyone loses their mind, hard-coded bans starts happening, because the community interfaces with things like app stores, and app stores have policies that don't care one whit about your federated free-as-in-speech ideals, not to mention that developers and moderators are human beings too, and maybe they personally can't stand allowing furries/commies/fascists/homosexuals/homophobes/Englishmen in their space.

[3] For whatever someone's definition of 'bad' is.

[2] seems more like an instance where we need more app stores that understand how the internet works. The idea that we're going to ban Tumblr because it has porn on it but allow web browsers is so horrendously misguided that it's a singularly unique example of corporate doublethink.

Wil Wheaton is a poor person to choose here; He is an incredibly toxic personality who's presence on the internet causes more people to turn to the alt-right.

I say this in good faith, as I'm not part of the alt-right nor do I agree in any way with them. But toxic people are of all kinds and we should be aware of those in our camp who do harm to our causes by acting in deleterious ways.


However, it raises a more valid point about 'what do we do about controversial figures' in general, and you would expect, as with most federated services, to be able to prevent "non-local" personas to be blocked from interacting with local users.

In those situations though it degrades the experience; the best part about mastadon though is that you get to choose who you federate with, so you could, in theory, have linked mastadon installations for government officials (who are often controversial) and signup could be linked with an oauth2 identity system that ties back to a real identity somehow (this would be possible in Estonia with their e-ID systems).

Out of curiosity, in what way is Wil Wheaton incredibly toxic and how does he turn people to the alt-right? I did some googling, but couldn't find anything specific.

It's not just one or two things; it's his general demeanour and method of engaging with people who disagree with him on any small thing.

He will denigrate, attempt to belittle and often pick very bad faith arguments about the smallest of issues.

To give an example of his demenour: https://youtu.be/pHckKckhBYc

There's also this account from a fan, which goes into how he is: https://v1.escapistmagazine.com/forums/read/18.874144-I-need...

He also called PewDiePie "A Racist Piece of Shit Bigot" and while PewDiePie did use a racial epithet and there's no excuse for that, he did apologise profusely and regardless that's not a decent way to engage a stranger. https://boundingintocomics.com/2019/04/02/wil-wheaton-attack...

He will block you for any disagreement; and I don't mean people being crappy to him, anything that goes against what he says: https://steemit.com/blocking/@awgonnerman/is-this-why-wil-wh...

For whatever it's worth his introduction to mastadon was mired in controversy after he bleated calls to have a user blacklisted from the platform for the following joke:

> “Hey, did you watch that awesome show on Bofa last night?”

> “What’s Bofa?”

> points to crotch “Bofa deez nuts down here.”

And when Mastadon wouldn't (couldn't) blacklist the user from the platform he got viciously angry.

EDIT: His fans are on hackernews; please don't "downvote to disagree"; he is known to be toxic and curates blocklists of anyone who slights him in any way. If you disagree, please prove me wrong.

A federated system is better for this, since the instances can decide to ignore / blacklist other instances hosting content they deem unsavory, and each instance can set their rules, like PeerTube.

I'm currently working on something just like this.


(It's 95% ready but still a WIP, so excuse any clunkiness and the lack of content)

It's a content aggregator for content creators (plus custom postings) -- Make your YouTube channel, Vimeo Vids, Twitch streams, etc. available to your audience all in one spot.*

My hopes is that once this catches on, it will become easier for new video hosting services, etc. to pop up since the huge current barrier to entry--providing an audience for content creators--is no longer a necessity. The only thing new services need to compete on it the value they contribute as a content host.

This isn't quite as technical a solution as what you described, but the current problem is that of coupling content hosting and audiences, and I believe severing that connection will bring about many improvements to online content creation and distribution.

Feel free to respond with any questions or email me (yaniv <at> mynexus <dot> io).

*The list was about to include Mixer too, but that opportunity faded away, unfortunately. Will be adding more content sources over time as they are requested by creators.

In other words, separate "curation/recommendation" from "hosting."

I've been thinking the same thing about Amazon lately: things would be a whole lot better for the experience of buying things "on Amazon" if "Amazon.com, the storefront website" and "Amazon.com, the platform+marketplace that sellers register with" were two separate businesses.

I'd love to use the latter without the former—to use some third-party "Amazon client" that talks to Amazon's marketplace backend but has its own way of searching, browsing, and recommending products, with its own curation, its own reviews, its own ratings, etc. added on top. In the end, you'd still be putting Amazon.com warehouse SKUs into your Amazon.com shopping cart, but those SKUs might be ones Amazon.com the website would never have surfaced for you no matter how much you searched.

For just one thing, someone could build a "classic Amazon" frontend that filters out SKUs coming from "Amazon Marketplace" sellers.

For another, someone could build a version that applies actual modern spam/scam-filtering techniques to the SKU database, paring it down such that any random thing ordered from the "safe" subset should actually be what it seems from the listing. (Not the approach that most benefits you if you're Amazon.com-the-website, because its listings might look empty; but certainly a niche to be filled!)

Video storage and delivery is expensive. YouTube can make money because they're piggybacking on Google's massive infrastructure.

Building a tracker/aggregator (like PeerTube etc) is straight forward. It's actually getting video content to clients that is challenging. Video is both large and sensitive to internal ordering. You need packet 1 before you can do anything with packet 2, if you have those but packet 3 is stalled you can't go forward.

To serve video you need enough online storage to actually house it but then enough upstream bandwidth (and good latency) to serve it to clients in real-time. Serving up HD streams at a reasonable bitrate will quickly saturate a gigabit connection.

A network of HTTP servers or even an overlay network like IPFS don't help solve these problems. Video needs a lot of storage and is very sensitive to a server's upstream capacity.

Torrent based streaming can distribute that load but introduces its own problems. Torrent based streaming clients just request video content blocks in sequential order versus normal BT clients just accepting a random ordering of blocks. But again unless you've got a bunch of high bandwidth seeders it's difficult to serve content at playable rates. If the content is encoded to use 5Mb/s in order to play it back without buffering you need it delivered at least that rate.

Both methods to distribute video suffer from popularity problems. If transitional servers stop hosting old/unpopular content or seeders for it drop off it becomes unavailable on the network even if it's still referenced in the aggregator.

Not that YouTube is an overall good service or that monopolies in the space are good but online video is an area that gravitates towards centralization if not monopolies. If you want to compete with YouTube, or more likely Vimeo or another smaller player, you'd need to replicate their infrastructure. That's the difficult/expensive thing to build and maintain. Other self-hosted services are trivial by comparison.

I feel like cryptocurrency micropayments could 'solve' the seeding problem with torrents. I think licensing is the biggest issue - need a mechanism to give seeders confidence that the true content creator authorized them being compensated for seeding without being exposed to liability for IP laws.

I'd love to set up a seedbox that works like a ~bitcoin mining rig but consumes upload bandwidth rather than CPU/gpu time. However I'm not sure anyone has figured out a good way to do this while avoiding copyright issues.

I don't think micropayments (cryptocurrency or not) do anything to help the situation. The costs of seeding (electricity, bandwidth, the actual hardware) are all macroscopic costs that micropayments are never going to cover.

End users do not want to deal with micropayments, they'll just watch one of the billion hours of content on YouTube. Few content creators have any sort of following that will follow them to SelfHostedTube.

Self hosted video streaming (of any configuration) is competing with "free" and convenient YouTube. Unless some independent service offers a similar level of service it's not going to catch on.

I think these are all technical hurdles that would be solved by the hosting middlewares that pop up to serve such an ecosystem. While it would be possible for a creator to host their own, my expectation would be that they would upload them to "Source as a Service" type hosting platforms that handle this. You would also get aggregators of all sizes and advancement. From small aggregators of niche model train videos serving directly from the source, to large aggregators with their own hosting solutions they serve the source from.

You're right though of course, which is why we have a YouTube monopoly in the first place.

Middleware doesn't and can't solve the distribution problem. The aggregation of content is a non-problem.

Video distribution is expensive and technically complicated.

Say I've got a video channel and most of my content is "talking head" style. Encoding 1080p using in a widely compatible h.264 configuration (Main profile level 3) I could easily get good quality output at a data rate between 1-2Mb/s, let's say 1.5Mb/s. That's about 11MB per minute of video for storage purposes (for that single config).

In order to serve those videos to streaming clients I'll need 1.5Mb/s of bandwidth for each client. Any lower of a transfer rate and the playback will stall. Faster data rates can allow for a larger buffer but the file's data rate is your transfer minimum to actually play the content as it downloads.

So back to our video channel. Self hosting on my residential connection means I'm limited by my shitty upstream bandwidth and throttling from my ISP if not outright T&C violations. My home connection I could serve maybe a half dozen clients simultaneously. So long as my content is unpopular that might be ok. Bubbling up on an aggregator or just making an interesting video would DDoS me and no one would get to see it. It I want to spend ~$60 a year on cloud hosting I could serve a lot more connections. Then I'm out $60 a year or more if I want to make a longer history of my content available, remember 11MB a minute.

If I want to have better compatibility and broader reach I would need to encode a couple more versions of my videos at the cost of storage and my time.

So self hosting either costs me money or severely limits the availability of my content. P2P distribution can help a little but it has its own issues. Even an aggregator offering paid hosting doesn't really solve the issue because I'm still out some money. Were I to make any money from advertising or patronage that hosting cost would come right off the top.

The situation is even more difficult if you consider mobile access which is a huge portion of online video access. For a lot of reasons self hosting from mobile devices isn't practical. P2P from a mobile device is likewise impractical. So for anyone with a mobile device as their primary computing device, a non-trivial number of people, they would have to pay for some third party hosting without a meaningful self hosting option.

Demand from mobile devices also significantly increases your need for multiple encodings of a video. Mobile streaming needs to respond to much more drastic traffic conditions than your laptop on your home WiFi. This increases storage requirements meaning less historic content or increased storage costs.

There is no doubt video hosting is hard, but I think you have misunderstood my proposal. The aggregators don't need to host nor do the content creators need to host. Once they are significantly big they could choose to tackle the technical problems themselves to improve UX. In the mean time, video hosting companies fill the need for content creators hosting while making it as easy as using YouTube to upload their videos.

TrainVids.com doesn't get many hits so for now they rely on the source' perfomance, but CatVids.com gets millions of hits and they long ago invested in a redistribution layer. Meanwhile ContentCreatorMatt pays $5/m on his source hosting with burst protection should a video go viral. Hosting can afford this because they have thousands of creators who never get a hit video. While CreatorTom only submits to large platforms with redistribution so he doesn't have to pay for traffic.

I wouldn't use P2P nor expect people to host the videos at home because that would never work for the reasons you outline. But think of live streaming and how that distribution works and that is just one possible method an aggregator could choose to increase performance of slow sources.

The idea is to break up the video platform monoculture and make the space competitive again, so that there will be some variance in performance to end users depending on the aggregator they visit isn't an issue.

I get what you're trying to say but your ideas have to compete with YouTube et al which are not only "free" for the content creators but can actually make them some money. A content creator already has a non-zero cost to make a video, having to pay more money to host it just makes them less likely to keep making content.

There probably are ways to keep a catbirds.com running but as the difficulty increases the likelihood of the site's maintainers keeping with it decreases significantly. If the site tanks all of its hoisted content goes with it. Ask all the people that had their content wiped from MP3.com how that feels.

So from a content creator's point of view, why hitch their wagon to catvids.com? It costs them money and isn't guaranteed to be around in a year. They're also far less likely to make any money no matter how much traffic aggregators send them. Sticking with YouTube is way less of a hassle and gives them a far better chance to make money if nothing else to break even to keep making content.

You're right and I absolutely agree it's unlikely to work. YouTube is so much more than just a technical solution too, it's success is strongly tied to it's community dominance.

The aggregators don't own or host the content in the system I am thinking of, they just consume and redistribute their sources. So if catvids.com goes away the creator's source is still online. It's also probably syndicated to a bunch of other cat video sites simultaneously from that one source. Thinking through it more, it's pretty much an RSS feed but for videos. In fact I would probably just use the RSS protocol if I were ever to try and get something like this off the ground. Have an open source aggregator template so it's easy to start one, and then monetize it by starting the first video source hosting as a service company.

I don't think it could ever take off though, the "Next YouTube" will be another massive corporate, closed platform with deep pockets or venture capital.

You just invented video podcasts.

Well now I can't help but feel you're intentionally missing the point to be reductive. To spell it out, the core value proposition is that Platform A, and Creator B, actually want to work together to syndicate video for profit, because we have solved for Video Hosting by creating an ecosystem that makes it profitable. The technology isn't important, and nothing has been invented. I was just using it as a language to convey the platform/ecosystem I had in mind. Could it work? Probably not, I don't think users would go to hundreds of different websites to find what they want.

Sounds like tvlinks with links to megavideo and friends

you have reinvented peertube

Actually I would avoid peer to peer technology, as that takes a large group of peers to work well, and you can end up with practically orphaned content if it's not popular and there's no peers for it. Maybe the latter is a solved issue with new P2P networks, I haven't torrented in years.

The other part of avoiding peer to peer is to ensure there's money in it for hosting and advertising. I hate to be cynical, but for companies to play along and join in, there has to be money in it.

Working on an infrastructure layer project to address this called Skynet - https://siasky.net

Data storage costs at around $1/TB/Mo raw ($3 for 3x redundancy), bandwidth costs at around $1 / TB egress. Pricing comes from an open marketplace, and we do a lot of sophisticated stuff to make sure it's high reliability.

We've got video buffering solved as well. The latest builds of Sia (decentralized storage network) can retrieve files at about 700mbps with a time-to-first-byte of under 200ms. We haven't fully rolled this upgrade out to siasky.net yet, but it should be there in the next 1-2 weeks.

The decentralized cloud is a lot closer than people realize, the infrastructure is finally reaching a point of being competitive.

I've been cautiously following projects like this, and will add this one to the list.

Do you happen to have a list you can share?

I'm sorry, egress is far more expensive than that.


Current rates on the network are $0.70 per TB, cloud to user. Many of the nodes are serving bandwidth from unlimited connections, either at home or from cloud providers like Hetzner.

What about using PeerTube and other technologies that utilize webtorrent in combination with WebRTC? People should help others stream videos while watching them, rather than let a sole provider do all the heavy lifting.

While I'm a big fan of the concept and tech around p2p video, it has a number of flaws, the predominant one being that WebTorrent, etc. won't work at all unless the video being requested has a number of fast peers available right now to serve that content. (For browser-based things like Peer5 or BitChute's implementation, this translates to concurrent viewers of the same video, at the same time, thus only helps with very popular content.)

Having users act as nodes that always store and share some chunk of content is a noble idea and a piece of the puzzle, but the scale required to support something like YouTube is very different than how simple it usually is to find a torrent of a popular recent film or whatever. Ensuring that the network also always has available an unpopular 6-hour video someone uploaded last year of some birds in their backyard is a lot harder. If users can't use your video platform without some basic guarantee that the video will even exist or have peers, this would likely be a much bigger problem than most people have with YouTube (though perhaps not philosophically).

I personally feel that decentralization and shared distribution is likely the only way a viable alternative will be able to surface, survive, and not make the same mistakes, but we aren't there yet, and PeerTube is too simplistic of a solution.

One potential piece of the puzzle that I'm closely following and casually involved with is VideoCoin (https://videocoin.io/) which distributes the expensive work of encoding videos across nodes, and aims to fully power the delivery of their livestreaming product the same way. (Yes, I know anything "blockchain" in 2020 is likely to force your eyes to roll, but it's actually a fantastic product and has made lots of progress.)

> Ensuring that the network also always has available an unpopular 6-hour video someone uploaded last year of some birds in their backyard is a lot harder. If users can't use your video platform without some basic guarantee that the video will even exist or have peers, this would likely be a much bigger problem than most people have with YouTube (though perhaps not philosophically).

I'm not sure I follow. Peertube works without peers. I maintain an instance for my personal videos, most of them have maybe 5-6 views total, and they'll still work fine whenever anyone visits the server. The peers are only there to handle bandwidth spikes and scaling.

And if you're worried that my server will go down, other instances can just mirror it.

Of course, if I stop hosting the content and nobody else mirrors it, it will disappear. But from my understanding of VideoCoin, nothing seems to be different there at first glance. If I stop paying for people to host my video on VideoCoin, are random nodes just going to keep storing it for free?

I'm trying to think of any distributed storage system that actually solves the problem of unknown content disappearing. Filecoin & IPFS don't remove the need to pay for storage, torrents still need to be seeded. The point isn't to make it impossible for content to vanish, the point is to make it easy for people who do care to archive and share the content that they care about.

> But from my understanding of VideoCoin, nothing seems to be different there at first glance.

I did not mean to imply that VideoCoin solves this issue, just that it is, in my opinion, a clever and functional solution to one or two pieces of this very large puzzle.

> The point isn't to make it impossible for content to vanish, the point is to make it easy for people who do care to archive and share the content that they care about.

My personal opinion is that anything truly viable and useful will need to do both, at least to the extent that this can be done. I have a huge problem with content availability being so dependent on popularity (and likely also temporal factors) and don't really think a system that doesn't inherently support content longevity (whether peers like the content or not) could be considering a big improvement over YouTube or centralized options.

If I had my way, I think a hybrid approach of some sort would be the place to start -- let peers explicitly choose to mirror and help distribute content they care about, but also force all nodes to also devote some % of whatever they're allocating to the platform to mirroring anything the network has chosen to give them after various calculations intended to maximize data integrity and performance.

Yet I look at my youtube saved lists and there's so many "deleted video" or "this video has been removed" entries. You can't even see what the title was.

Right now I think of any video on youtube as temporary and archive any videos I think there's any chance of wanting to watch later using youtube-dl.

https://satellite.earth/ is doing exactly that. Using WebTorrent (over WebRTC) for the distribution layer and Ethereum as a decentralized an auth layer so people can digitally sign everything they upload and prove authorship of the data they're sharing with peers.


Peertube has been doing exactly that as well. I don't really see what Etherum brings to the table. You can have signatures without the weight of a blockchain.

Actually not relying on one is more portable across isolated networks, and requires way less computing resources. Plus, blockchains are usually a privacy issue.

I'm highly interested in the topics of decentralized (federated or distributed) platforms and identities, but I don't see what a single blockchain brings to the table? I could see profiles-as-blockchains, though, or instances-as-blockchains. But the rationale isn't clearly explained in the website, so it feels more of a buzzword and less of something that efficiently solves an issue (content discovery and global indexing, I guess).

Lastly, would you mind stating your affiliation? Thanks :)

Just as an example of how crypto can help solve some problems in this arena see VideoCoin's proof system: (https://medium.com/videocoin/proof-system-for-videocoin-stor... and https://medium.com/videocoin/proof-of-transcoding-as-a-new-c...)

They are attempting to decentralize and distribute video encode/delivery, and a big piece of that is a poof of work implementation to incentivize and reward reliable nodes.

Just one example, but there are others, and a lot of progress has been made to reduce the strain caused by throwing crypto into something that fundamentally needs to be very fast and lightweight to be usable.

Edit: Corrected duplicate links

Peertube neatly solves part of those issues.

* Storage costs are likely paid for by the uploader. Most regular uploader do (or should) keep at least a local copy of their work. Plus the original materials. So the weight of the video is likely not that significant.

* With webtorrent, the more a video is watched, the more it is shared. If you want to handle the worst case though, you'd need enough bandwidth to serve a couple times every file over simultaneously. That gets worse the more videos you have, but simultaneous watching of every one of your videos is unlikely, I think, over a certain number. It would be nice to get some stats on this.

* That's not really needed, is it? Latency isn't likely to be big enough to cause issues, and I would think available bandwidth doesn't change that much with distance. With a couple of local torrent peers, that also gets better.

Now, this isn't perfect, but there are ways this can be improved:

* Peertube intances can mirror content to provide at least one peer (and a backup HTTP source I think). It would be nice if subscribers could choose to support their favorite channels by asking their instance to mirror that content (with a lower priority than local content, of course). That could more or less solve the local CDN issue, if "peertubers" participate in content exchange to reduce downtime and improve experience. A form of insurance, if you want.

* I wish scalable video (SVC, or adaptative video bitrate, however you want to call it) was more supported by ffmpeg & container formats. Using a single file for the various qualities would be a natural fit for Webtorrent, as it would allow HQ watchers feed LQ watchers.

* Multicast would be a great thing to have on the Internet. Maybe some future/alternative IP stack implementations could bring that back? Yggdrasil is promising, for instance. If nodes could subscribe to a given content, I guess it could be delivered across the network, splitting where it should.

YouTube's (and most social media) value is not in its storage and bandwidth. it is in Discoverability.

That is the problem the tech community needs to solve, not storage or bandwith, ways to distribute that is really a solved issue in several ways.

The problem for creators to move off of YouTube is the discoverability for an audience.

It is definitely true that an enormous part of YouTube's value is its ubiquity and the discoverability of content there. Absolutely. But the immense technical and financial challenges are a huge part of why it's such a Herculean task to build an alternative and survive long enough to provide value.

I think this is a much more solvable problem than people think, it just requires not considering everything in such a centralized manner. We don't have to build "their own YouTube", content can be shared peer to peer - the torrent community has solved many of these issues already.

Most importantly, the audience should expect and accept a delay.

Youtube goes to great lengths to make videos play instantly, including running huge local caches near large traffic exchange points. The audience is conditioned to see a clip start in under a second, faster for popular clips.

Anything that runs off distributed (not replicated) storage, let alone peer-to-peer links, will inevitably be slower to start. It may take 10 seconds, or 30 seconds, for a clip to begin playing.

This alone can kill such solutions for the mass audience, hungry for instant gratification.

>Most importantly, the audience should expect and accept a delay

Demanding that people accept the shortcomings of your product/service as a fact of the Universe isn't going to get you far.

>hungry for instant gratification

How many hours of video content are uploaded to the web every second? Life is too short to wait around to see if your video is worth watching in full.

Thank you for a nice illustration.

Sia is able to load files over a peer-to-peer network in under 200ms, and has streaming solutions built in which allow for super smooth playback.

A lot of people have this bias that p2p networks cannot be fast, but those days are behind us.

I find my peer to peer video streams higher quality and more reliable than my paid streaming services. Seriously, they've gotten quite good, and a unique feature is sensible buffering. The peer to peer stream will buffer through the whole video so you can seed it. The paid streaming service buffers only like the next 30 seconds to save on their bandwith, and if you are regularly running past that buffer you will have an awful experience, compared to the peer to peer option where you might buffer initially for 30-45 seconds, but then never buffer again nor drop quality. There is an advantage to frontloading more buffering time.

> The peer to peer stream will buffer through the whole video so you can seed it. The paid streaming service buffers only like the next 30 seconds to save on their bandwith

I think you're seeing how these systems actually work in practice, and why they operate this way. They don't quite work as you describe, and they work the way they do for the benefit of the user's playback experience more than anything else.

Most adaptive video implementations are using HLS/DASH and are serving up each video in 2-5 second chunks. (Usually closer to 2.) This is by design, and a very good thing for the vast majority of users and use-cases. You aren't beind mindlessly spoonfed chunks of the video you're trying to watch -- your playback experience is also being heavily measured, and the next chunk you receive is determined by this. If your bandwidth suddenly drops, or you've been watching a higher-quality version of the video than you can support, within a couple seconds you'll be served a slightly lower-resolution version. If it goes back up again, same thing, it'll be corrected very quickly.

If you're watching a video on your iPhone and walk from your fast wifi to the 3G outside to your garage with almost no service and back into your house again in a single minute, the video can have adapted to each of these situations quickly and fairly seamlessly.

This also solves another problem -- letting the user have near-instant playback at relatively high-quality without having to worry much about if your one-second bandwidth test wasn't as accurate as you'd hoped. The scenario you describe, where buffering for longer at the beginning to improve performance overall, is not a big concern here. If you serve a version a bit higher quality than the client can sustain, it'll be kicked down in a couple seconds. (By the way, the 2 seconds preceding every Netflix stream, when you see their logo and hear the tone that accompanies it, that's when Netflix tries to very quickly measure and determine which quality level to start you out with.)

If you have blazing-fast, highly-stable internet, that's great! And that's not most users. But in this case, most services should still be giving you far greater than 30 seconds worth of chunks, provided that the system determines this is safe/stable for your connection. If you're seeing a shorter buffer in web browsers, it's likely the cache readahead limits in Chrome/Firefox. (You can modify them!)

I can see how one might think having one big video file buffered might result in lower performance for peers, but in the ideal scenario, peers aren't being served byteranges of a single big video file that you have buffered locally with your fast internet, but rather the next chunk(s) that make sense based on the client's current playback experience.

I will admit that shoehorning adaptive video standards into p2p has been a more difficult challenge than letting WebTorrent handle the full file the way torrents have worked for years, but it's getting there, and it's the proper way to go.

Fortunately, all these can be reasonably dealt with for niche videos (say, <10k plays by month). You could keep a collection of a few thousand of such videos on one Hetzner box for €20-30 a month (skipping wouldn't be smooth, put normal playback should be). This would make sense for small orgs though, not individuals.

What's needed is some kind of almost insurance scheme so that the long tail of content can be served up, but if a video goes viral, it doesn't become completely unavailable.

Needs care with adverse risk selection, because freeloaders who want cheap video bandwidth for god knows what will crowd around.

That's an interesting idea. Could default to slow performance served directly off your laptop, and if it goes viral the network automatically moves it to a CDN at no extra cost to you. As an extra bonus, whatever small fee you pay to buy in isn't a complete waste of money, because presumably you get value from the viral content of others, ie as a consumer of their content.

> * Bandwidth is not cheap, and while it may be lower than the cost of storage initially, for any chance of survival you'll eventually need some popular content, at which point its cost of delivery will exceed that of storage

If only IP-SSM worked on the open internet. Even some sort of best-effort routing would be a start.

Peer to peer video streaming on top of bittorrent has already existed multiple times and it has worked well at scale. It's just that there wasn't centralized control and monetization of it so each time it was shut down by the legal authorities.

The problem is not technical. It's legal.

That's the CDN model, but what about the peer to peer model? I can stream a video over bittorrent with just one good seeder.

You might be able to stream over BitTorrent with one good seeder. It doesn't take many connections to saturate that seeder's upstream capability. Once a torrent's total seed upstream capacity is exceeded clients' playback will stall until they can buffer enough video to restart playback.

It takes a lot of upstream bandwidth to stream even just passable quality video. Between shitty upstream bandwidth for residential Internet and swarm participants limiting their seed ratios or further limiting upstream bandwidth scaling torrent streaming is unreliable at best and impractical at worst.

Let's not forget the issues like SESTA & FOSTA

Someday tech people will have to realize that there are some problems that can't be solved with a website.

We already have several alternative means of distribution for content, and searching that content, that are quite mature and successful. There is a huge community of people hosting, indexing, searching, and sharing all kinds of media in a distributed peer-to-peer fashion, for instance, the vast majority of it just happens to be pirated.

The real problem is that such distribution mechanisms are not a way to make money, and you aren't going to solve that with a new algorithm. People have tried, it doesn't work.

Yes. It's a solved problem from a technical perspective. However, as with individual blogs and websites, discoverability is fairly poor. And, in the case of video in particular, not only is individually hosted content not monetized in general (unless you're a subscription site of some sort or beg for donations), but it can actually be fairly expensive to do at scale.

The issue is that many people aren't really looking for a way to host their videos; they're looking for someone to host their videos for free, with easy search, and to actually pay them money.

It just goes back to considering who your target audience is in order to market your blog. There is no reason why niche blogs should lean on SEO/target ads, when they could more effectively just directly advertise in like minded niche placements and capture their desired base. If you have a website full of videos about car repair, buy ad space on vwvortex forums. You can't ever possibly know all the disparate secondary interests of your target audience (although FANGs are trying to model this), so stick with what you know, your niche.

My thoughts exactly. And beyond just payment, the network effects are massive.

I recently started running a peertube instance at https://battlepenguin.video I don't have a lot of stuff on YouTube/Vimeo and none of it has ever gotten a lot of views, but I am in the process of uploading old videos to my peertube instance and changing all the embed blocks on my website to show my peertube video instead and just have YouTube and Viemo below it as Links under a section labelled "Mirrors" on each of those posts.

For big content creators that depend on the ad revenue, I realize it really isn't practical to mirror everything on PeerTube. Even if you know how to run your own peertube server and keep up with security updates, now you're eating into your own ad revenue (with the advantage of keeping your videos online in case the YouTube robots and/or gods decide to take down your channel).

It's a double edge sword, but I hope more content creators will mirror their videos on services they pay for and have more control over.

"I hope more content creators will mirror their videos on services they pay for and have more control over."

I think this is the key...using the YT up/until you no longer can and then (presumably once an audience is present) reverting to your backups/hosting and going 'indy'.

Or retain shorter, teaser content on YT for marketing and a link to the full content on your main platform.

Then YouTube just downranks your teaser content and you end up effectively invisible.

I don’t know that you need to filter anything. I think the solution is to move away from centralised platforms into self hosted decentralised channels where the owner of the channel controls their own content.

Naively I see three obstacles.

1) cost + technical complexity, but that could be overcome through time, kind of like you have many platforms today that give you a way to create your own blog in a few clicks, and the cost of storage and bandwidth will only go down.

2) revenues. You kind of need an advertising platform (and then we are back to the google monopoly) or a payment platform (visa/mastercard/paypal oligopoly)

3) marketing, which I think is probably the easiest part. You lose the organic traffic of the next video suggested, but it is easy to do cross website subscriptions (rss style), and if people can share your videos through social networks or messaging, you can still have some powerful ways to pass the word (plus advertising).

2) is the one I am the most pessimistic about.

Marketing drives revenue so... 3

Michael Moore's solution to a YouTube takedown (a copyright dispute) was to switch to Vimeo. [0] Seems to have worked in that instance.

Doubtless the film got far fewer views, as YouTube is not only a video-delivery engine but also a video-discovery engine.

(Shouldn't need to be said, but this is not an endorsement of Moore's film. Also I can't comment on the legitimacy of the copyright complaint, it's quite possible it's legitimate in that instance.)

[0] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planet_of_the_Humans#Release

>Michael Moore's solution to a YouTube takedown (a copyright dispute) was to switch to Vimeo. [0] Seems to have worked in that instance.

Sometimes Vimeo will also delete your channel. Example: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20347254

I doubt that video will become the modern equivalent of the book. Written text is still the best medium to transmit information. For entertainment purposes sure. But video probably already dominates that domain since we have more than 3 TV channels. Electronic repair might be a special case but I claim that a blog post with a bunch of annotated photos makes a more practical repair guide. People make YouTube videos nowadays because they can be better monetized. I agree with you, it is not a nice development, but I don't see free speech endangered because of that. (Google dominance in the search market is of course another story)

Electronic repair is not a special case — learning how to do just anything practical is better done with video. When trying to make or repair anything, it is WAY better to watch someone actually do it, rather than read blog posts with photos.

Before I renovated my house, I might have agreed with you. But leaning building, carpentry and plumbing by watching is by far better than reading.

Did you consider the fact that writing a good blog post with a ton of photos is going to take much longer than shooting and preparing a video?

You need to write, edit, and proofread the content, while you can just speak as you go while shooting a video.

You need to sort through a ton of photos and annotate them, while you can do with a worse quality video, because the motion helps perceive the details in imperfect conditions, and annotate much of it by voice?

Some tricky parts of repairing stuff can be more easily shown in a 20-sec video clip than by 15 well-made annotated photos, the latter taking way more time.

I think for certain areas, like the electronic repair stuff, video may be not just the most adequate medium we have, but also the fastest and easiest-to-produce medium.

I think you're mixing everything together.

>you can just speak as you go while shooting a video

You're comparing a "good blog post" with a unscrippted/uneddited "video log".

It's not the same - it's comparing Louis Rossmann VS iFixit. One is a form of educational entertainment, or entertainment, other it's a guide. You can learn from L.R., but it's not a step by step guide.

You don't need to go back and try to find time stamps, you don't have issues of not understanding something that got muffled by him moving, you can miss a reference, etc.

If you're talking about video guides, then they are scripted and will for sure be harder to edit than a blog post.

There's a place for everything, and production costs (SHOULD) reflect on quality - the medium is irrelevant.

When you dig into the amount of video editing work required for a half decent youtube video, even when you include the 'guy babbling while pressing the record button' genre, it can be a lot more work than you think it would be. While writing and taking a few photos is relatively less.

There's been a few youtubers who've tried to go elsewhere with their content. My guess is that given a viable alternative a huge number of them would jump ship entirely. The challenge for alternative youtubes is that they don't have the tight integration into their own ad network which is how google can afford to host lots of long-tail media and provide a sustainable service.

However the flip side is that youtubers are all fighting with ridiculous cuts in revenue over time, bans, copyright strikes on the wrong content, and so on. And the number of videos of youtubers complaining about this comes in huge surges.

In other words a lot of youtube content is creators talking about problems with youtube.

Take a look at Satellite. https://satellite.earth/.

Launched last month. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23558483

Video hosting is a solved problem, there are multiple mature and viable competing services. Creators use Youtube because of built-in discovery, community-building, and monetization services, which benefit much more from network effects and are harder to replace.

Just because youtube is obtuse about video take downs, it should pay out supposed lost income during take down and it should take refundable escrow for flagging malicious content. Suddenly it will cost money and provide financial trail to abusive parties. Leading to fiscal responsibility in case of lost income greater than that might be covered by youtube if mentioned above scheme is implemented.

Maybe I am being naive but could this not be accomplished with simply a self hosted website with links to torrent files of the videos? Nobody can take down your personal website (relative to what youtube can do now), and distribution by torrent solves the bandwidth and storage problem.

Of course, not as convenient as streaming, and you lose the comment section (is that truly a bad thing, though?), but it is a viable solution that can be implemented right now. People are talking about "alternative" websites as if they will find some magic bullet on that path. But who will create that website? Who will maintain it? And if the answer to those two questions isn't "me", how can you guarantee that the same problem won't eventually happen?

The problem that YouTube solves isn't simply delivering video content. People could make videos available for download long before YouTube existed, yet YouTube still quickly rose to prominence.

People use YouTube because it aggregates content for people in channels, makes engaging with videos and their creators easy, makes discovery easy for users through search and suggestions and allows people to roughly measure notability and quality of videos through up/down votes, views, and a creator's channel subs. They make becoming a content creator as easy as making an account and hitting upload. They make monetizing that content as easy as hitting a checkbox.

Similarly, people could get around the privacy concerns and constrictions of big social media sites by having a self-hosted blog or something along those lines... but we all know that the chance of someone— even someone you care about— breaking the comfort of their daily digi-routine to visit your site and comment on your happenings is pretty much nil. If all of their "friends" did it, then the whole ecosystem... well it wouldn't be an ecosystem anymore.

Everything comes down to UX. If you don't have a strong UX, you aren't going to be able to accumulate users. A webpage pointing to a list of torrent files is mechanically sufficient, but isn't going to be able to accumulate users.

This approach has issues with discovery. The hardest prt about producing content these days is getting people to watch it.

Sometimes I miss the days when the internet wasn't one great big monolith and you had to discover things organically through word of mouth. But those days are gone.

Maybe, but having a pipeline to get people to content is overall better for everyone involved. So many creators would have no audience (or revenue) at all without YouTube and its (often touchy) algorithms.

EEVBlog is a good example of content that wouldn’t exist without youtube. Dave is a full time youtuber who can focus on creating content instead of making money some other way.

Dave is trying to move away from being dependent on YouTube, and he absolutely should, but he built his audience on YouTube in a way that isnt feasible in a world without algorithms pushing content towards people

Right now you have a choice between youtube, which pays you money for your content, or hosting your own videos, which costs you money. even distribution by torrent still has some minor infrastructure costs, but the bigger problem is that by quitting youtube you are giving up that youtube money.

as long as there's no easy revenue model for non-youtube content, people will continue to put their videos on youtube, because that's how they get paid.

Storage isn't the problem. It's transmission.

Reliable Bandwidth isn't cheap.

Exactly, reliably streaming video is much more complicated and expensive than given credit for. YouTube being $0 does not actually mean it's free, it just means the creator/publisher isn't paying for it directly in money, but in skimmed traffic. The viewer pays by exchanging personal data on what they watch and are interested in, as well as their time in watching commercials.

All of these costs are much higher than anyone actually estimates as people incorrectly valued them while YouTube arbitrages the real value in this.

We created an alternative to YouTube for those who have discovered the real value of these costs at Swarmify[1], but there are other options as well depending on needs/wants.[2][3]

[1] https://swarmify.com/ - No code/low code easy YouTube migration option

[2] https://mux.com/ - API based option

[3] https://vdocipher.com/ - Enterprise DRM option

Can you pay to get a self-hostable version? If someone issues a take down, does your policy give your customers a reasonable amount of time to get a fully backup? Have you considered just a CDN option that can connect to local peertube instances and offer to always seed their videos on your CDN for a fee?

Our entire service is based around the belief that you should control the video source files. So while we can auto-import existing YouTube videos, our core belief is that you should provide a self hosted version of the original video files, and we provide a seamless way that will transform that to the 5-10 formats needed for optimal streaming, as well as deliver it over our global cdn. Implementation with us is just insertion of a javascript snippet. And that means that switching away just means deleting that snippet.

You always maintain that source video file and you can easily switch to another provider. You don't actually upload to us at all. You insert our javascript snippet and everything else happens magically behind the scenes.

Storage is a problem too if you're anywhere near YT scale.

Get to YT scale, then solve that problem.

You're going to run into transmission problems waaaay before that.

Bandwidth only needs to be fast for video, aka it can be very cheap.

It's not cheap at all if you intend to create a playback experience that is tolerable to users and somewhere close to what they expect and are used to from existing platforms. If your video has even a couple seconds of buffering/rebuffering from failing to do this, you typically can say goodbye immediately to a percentage of views/users in the double digits.

It's free to you if you make a peer to peer model. Honestly my peer to peer streams are more robust and higher quality than Netflix et al, which usually hiccup and drop quality down to 144p while the p2p stream keeps on plucking at 1080p for the entire run time. Maybe it's p2p buffering more at the start, maybe it's maximizing my available bandwidth, but either way, it is a better experience than what the big players offer and can be done by anyone without huge costs associated with CDNs.

If Netflix is having those problems it's more likely your ISP causing them than Netflix or it's distribution model. You've got a sampling bias simply because your ISP isn't screwing with torrents the same way it is with Netflix.

Torrent streaming has a lot of scaling issues that you've just been lucky enough to avoid. A new torrent will have issues with its initial seeding. A new torrent is limited to the seed bandwidth of whatever seeds have the complete file. The initial members of a swarm can't help each other because they're all downloading the file sequentially so can't really share with one another. They only increase seed bandwidth to subsequent participants in a swarm and only so long as they seed the content.

In the traditional BT model swarm participants download blocks out of order so they can share them with peers. So even the initial members of a swarm can share with one another. Streaming requiring blocks be received in sequential order breaks that peer amplification.

With torrent streaming unpopular content and new content can easily stall or just never begin playback. At a small scale torrent streaming is workable but it quickly starts requiring a lot of infrastructure costs. Long tail content on BitTorrent is virtually impossible to find as popularity required for availability.

Couldnt you fake this? A really good spinner/loader experience, or perhaps a preroll prefetched video while buffering. How i remember netflix in the old days, the DA DANG clip seemed to be a preroll clip before the movie.

Any sort of delay or buffering can affect you very negatively (see: https://mux.com/blog/buffering-reduces-video-watch-time-by-4... and https://mux.com/blog/rebuffering-the-most-frustrating-and-fr... )especially now that most YouTube users no longer are used to it.

Sure, you could do something like you mentioned, but doing this for every single video is not likely to go well. But very clever! And helpful, I'm sure. Not a true solution most of the time.

I do very much enjoy the Chrome side-scrolling dinosaur game that appears when I'm offline, but I don't enjoy it more than once every few weeks :)

Does the second half of your post not contradict the first?

In what way? By ‘cheap enough to host video’ I meant in a distributed way, just as it became easier for more publishers to print books when the cost of paper/ink/presses went down.

It’s the filter out part that is seemingly contradictory.

I don’t have a problem with users choosing to filter out certain content. I have a problem with a single corporation or entity deciding what should be deleted (not simply filtered) for me, without my input or choice.

The issue then simply becomes one of labeling. You can remove or relabel content for mislabeling itself, but not for being controversial.

Oh you just meant let the user filter out content they don't want to see? I thought you meant the platform would remove it, hence my confusion.

> Do we really want a single Kafkaesque, politically-biased entity controlling which books can be published?

Have you met actual book publishers? And while KDP is pretty unfiltered, it's also kafkaesque and has its own weird little spam and infringement problems.

A future with KDP is worse than with traditional publishers because there is at least some competition with the traditional model.

It's not enough to develop though, people need to want it and use it. I think the problem is the later one. Or may be, the bigger challenge is not the engineering of such a platform but the marketing of it...

> Online video is in its infancy now, but within a few decades, it will have become the modern equivalent of the book

We're already there. When you want to learn how to do something where do you go first?

You must live a very different life than I do. Video has so very many problems...

- search doesn't even deserve to be called 'search'. I search on a well-known name from the news, Youtube shows me results from a band for a video I watched a month ago.

- you must consume a nontrivial amount of a video to determine if it is any good.

- information density is terrible.

- most people are not practiced at being on camera, and you end up focusing on that rather than whatever you wanted to learn.

- You can't reference things. What are you going to do, build your own index of '&skip=' links?

- people feel the need to be funny, cute, or worse get a marketing budget and feel the need to create a "brand" with the time you're trying to use to learn something.

- copy/paste. Enough said.

- and so on.

If video were somehow optimal pedagogy, there would be no arguments about reopening in the face of Covid - we'd all just watch TV.

In conclusion, video sucks.

"video sucks"

Completely and strongly disagree.

You seem to focus on educational videos, and just regarding that I consider youtube one of the greatest educational tools in all of history.

I've learned so much through watching youtube videos, much faster than I would have learned it by reading about it.

This is especially the case with learning things that have a visual component, like learning GUI apps, painting techniques, etc. There's no substitute to watching a master painter work, for example, and you've got dozens if not hundreds of them on youtube.

Regarding information density, I've found "a picture is worth a thousand words". It might not correspond to kolomogorov complexity or the sort of information that compsci people are used to, but just like looking at a painting (which is arguably equivalent to a single frame of film/video) can convey and enormous amount of information that even a book can not equal, the amount of such information conveyed by moving pictures can be almost infinitely greater than print.

Of course, the amount of information will differ from video to video and book to book, but it does not to justice to say that for video "information density is terrible", unless you're talking about something like a video of someone reading something (though I find even there, I can listen to speech at a much higher rate than I can read, and usually listen to videos at 2x or 3x speed, so can consume way higher amounts of verbal information through audio or video than I can through books).

If you step outside the realm of educational videos, your argument becomes even less tenable. The "information density" of a music video, for example, is terrible? Compared to what? There literally is no equivalent.

Or how about a film, or watching someone sing on camera? Outside of educational videos, talking about information density in these contexts seems to be missing the point of such videos entirely.

But if I am looking for a specific thing, I want to be able to skip. I want a transcript first world, where I can skim, ctrl+f, click, and THEN the video plays. It's fine if you want to watch a whole video, but the amount of "Hey there campers, dont forget to subscribe" almost outweighs actual content. I find the idle banter and chatter on podcasts equally distracting. Scrubbing through a video to find what you are looking for is infinitely more annoying than scrolling down a page of screenshot with captions.

I, like your parent, if I run into a video, will press back and try and find an article first, and then use the video as a last resort. For some process type things, like you describe, things I'm less familiar with, like a mechanic working on a car, a video might be easier.

I do very much like the rev interface for transcript/video. https://www.rev.com/transcript-editor/shared/MHjYIxnUkQQJMJ6...

What would be cool is crowd-sourced chapters for the videos. Anyone can create a chapter marker, and people can downvote/flag those chapter markers if they're irrelevant.

Then you would have chapters so you could avoid the waffley "please like/subscribe" begging and longwinded intros that don't get to the main part of the video.

Youtube would still be able to embed their ads whenever they want.

>but the amount of "Hey there campers, dont forget to subscribe" almost outweighs actual content.

The "Hey guys, blahblahblah" is insufferable but you quickly learn hammering L about 4 times gets you to the real meat of the video.

> You seem to focus on educational videos

I was replying to the parent, who was focusing on learning.

> If you step outside the realm of educational videos

I was only talking about educational use. Entertainment, of course, is different, also explaining why most schools don't hold class in night clubs.

I notice you devote almost all your attention to the density question, but that's hardly the worst problem I listed - pacing, discovery and reference are all far worse problems. But to focus on density,

> the amount of such information conveyed by moving pictures can be almost infinitely greater than print.

Ah yes, I aced many exams thanks to the almost infinite amounts of knowledge I picked up watching slow sweeps of dancing corporate logos and stock footage of the Grand Canyon.

This is semantics. In a learning context, the illusion of "infinite information" your brain creates in response to a pretty picture is at best a comfort for the student, more typically a distraction only there in the first place because people expect it out of video.

"Ah yes, I aced many exams thanks to the almost infinite amounts of knowledge I picked up watching slow sweeps of dancing corporate logos and stock footage of the Grand Canyon."

Just because an exam might not test you on all the information in a video doesn't mean it's not there.

You seem to focus only on certain types of information, perhaps (though you don't specify) "useful" information, but there's lots of other types.

Think of a high resolution photograph (or a frame of video) of a person wearing some clothes. With a high enough resolution you're going to see thousands or millions of fibers of cloth on the clothes they wear, the subtle gradations of color of each fiber, the direction of each tiny fold of clothing, millions of pores of their skin, gradations of color on their skin, thousands of hairs, their direction and color, and many details of the background of the image (such as, say, millions of blades of grass).

It could take volumes of books to describe all this precisely in detail. And that's just for one photo or one frame of video. You'd 30 such frames per second in a 30 FPS video, and with many of these details changing based on the lighting changes and movement of the scene in question, making for insane amounts of information for, say, a whole hour of high resolution footage.

Now, of course, you could compress this and write it out very efficiently (as is actually done in computer video file formats), but this virtually unreadable for humans.

And, of course, on the other hand, a human normally isn't going to pay attention to or be conscious of all these details in a photo or video, but that doesn't mean the information isn't there.

Humans are also going to be subconsciously influenced by or subtly affected by videos or images in ways they may not be by words -- as is clear from looking at the difference between a book and the film adaptation of the same book (nevermind that no complete, 100% faithful translation from one form to the other is possible). So the information in an image or video arguably matters even if one is not consciously aware of it.

This is all quite apart from any test one might have on the material in question. It doesn't really matter if you're not tested on the color or direction of one of a million fibers in someone's shirt, for example. Those colors and directions are still there in the image regardless.

To make the example a bit more meaningful, consider, say, Goya's The Third of May 1808[1] or Picasso's Guernica[2], or any of hundreds of other incredibly famous paintings. Entire books have been written about each of them, and that's just for one single image each. I suppose whether you would get tested on their information content would vary on the art history course you took, and its instructors, but that's almost beside the point. Arguably, these paintings contain information that can not be expressed equivalently in words (else we wouldn't need to look at the paintings at all but just read a book on them instead).

The same goes for movies, except they contain millions of images each, and not just one. So the informational content is that much greater, and is again not reduceable to something you can say in words without doing them injustic (which, of course, never stopped a movie critic, analyst, or summary writer from trying).

[1] - https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fd/El...

[2] - http://i.ebayimg.com/images/i/121341829928-0-1/s-l1000.jpg

> You must live a very different life than I do. Video has so very many problems...

I'm more on the side of design/art than programming so maybe its more of a thing in my industry but basically anything you can think of a video exists, "How to remove green leaks from greenscreen footage" "How to render great metal material in 3D software" etc

But now I even use it in the rest of my life, if I'm going to cook something I check 2 or 3 videos on the recipe before I make it looking for tips. Sure I could have used a cookbook but that would mean I'd have to own multiple cookbooks to get the same information for the dish that I get from 2-3 videos and also I'd need to have planned ahead not just watch the videos then go to the supermarket.

I completely get the things you're saying about the format and I used to feel the same, but honestly the amount of content has overruled my previous feelings.

Definitely not Youtube.

I don't use Youtube for detailed technical documentation, but I watch a lot of conference talks and lectures on technical topics. I also like to watch other people programming to pick up their small tricks and the details of their setup. This is invaluable information that would otherwise be inaccessible except by acquiring it by chance at the workplace, a meetup, or a conference.

Youtube's the first place I go to learn about any topic I'm a beginner on, especially topics which require manual skills, like home repair, automobiles, playing an instrument.

It is a repository of the informal knowledge of mankind that is unprecendented in scale, breadth, and probably depth. It may be more revolutionary than book-learning in how it has disseminated knowledge to the world, and large parts of it would have incalculable value in being preserved.

I only wish the Internet Archive had the sort of resources necessary to back up Youtube, but that seems unlikely to happen given the huge amount of storage necessary.

Not even to know how to create, disassemble or repair something in your house/car?

> At some point, the collective tech community needs to develop a serious alternative to the current reality of a single corporation controlling the overwhelming majority of [...]

I think we all can agree on this.

The question, however, is: What is gonna pay for it? Especially the transmission of videos is very expensive. And while I would believe, that a lot of nerds would sacrifice resources to keep a P2P form of a specialized content distribution network running, it would not reach more than a few: the nerds themselves.

>it would not reach more than a few: the nerds themselves

Couldn't that have been said about the World Wide Web itself in 1994?

Peer-to-Peer distribution only doubles the bandwidth required on a per peer basis. I don't think most broadband internet connections are >50% saturated by a youtube video.

> Couldn't that have been said about the World Wide Web itself in 1994?

And for a long time, it was!

Let's not forget, that the novelty/impact of Internet ("a new world, we need it!") and an abstract concept like a "net in the net" is very much different. While the former is cool, the latter is, well: "who needs that", the average person says?

You don't need seperate distibution networks for Facebook and Twitter, email, shopping and the web. And that's where the majority of the people wannt to hang around. Yes, Netscape was around, when Microsoft introduced IE, but it really came to everybody with IE and Outlook Express (otherwise, the net would still be a more refined and better mannered place, I dare say).

I don't think implementation details matter. Isn't the Facebook backend a private 'net in the net'? What matters is the ability to create high quality content, and that's something 'nerds' tend to do a lot of. People only hang out on the big platforms because that's where the 'cool' people were in 2005.

> …it will have become the modern equivalent of the book.

Strongly disagree with at least that statement.

If we combine all three parts of Peter Jackson's Lord of The Rings, it still can't match the depth and length of Tolkein's work. Also, given that less than 3% of the book market actually reads digital file sold as a book, I'd say tech community in general is way off the course here.

Ground reality is a lot more complicated than 'video is the new book' or 'blog is the new book'.

I've been working with Mastodon, but it is REALLY hard to get people to use it because it is too small. I'm trying to get friends to join, but the response to me has been: "Too much effort, just use Facebook, dork."

I don't think we've figured out how to build a distributed social media network yet that matches the ease-of-use and scale of Facebook. I'm hopeful though.

what about

1. credit card monopolies that kick you out.

2. dns servers like cloudfront

I'm seriously considering making a reddit competitor with some significant tweaks to the karma/voting/mod system

Sounds like a great idea, might I suggest Hacker News as a name?

Lol I wouldn't want to soil these grounds

I don't you understand, he's saying it exists and its hacker news.

There are a couple in current development you can contribute to. Look at Lemmy and Lobste.rs. There as Prismo too, but it's been discontinued (but you might be able to pick up and fork the code).

Cool thanks. I might have to start from scratch just because of the underlying mechanisms that I'd want in it. The premise is to use microtransactions for posting/comments, mixed with a bit of the patreon model, to reward good posts and have a barrier to entry for reposts/trolling.

Sounds like a great way to discourage people from saying anything they think won't be popular with the echo chamber. Rewarding people with upvotes/reddit gold is bad enough, rewarding them with real money will make it much worse.

May I suggest a way to weigh votes. Either "count voters who vote like the people I follow" or "elect seed voters for a community, and extrapolate votes based the seeders and people who vote like the seeders."

It would be cool to be able to sort a comment section, with a dropdown, between "best", "like people I follow", "like /r/askhistorian seeds", "like /r/askscience seeds"

Have you also looked at Tildes.net?

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