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The Boring YouTube (gist.github.com)
111 points by iosifnicolae2 14 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 125 comments



I know recommendations are hard, so I don't want to be too critical, but youtube does a couple of things that drive me nuts: they recommend videos I've already watched, and which they know I've already watched because the site fills in the red progress bar on the bottom; they recommend videos I've added to my watch later list; and they recommend the same videos over and over even though I don't click on them and don't watch them.


I suspect, without proof, that this is because a large segment of the global population watches music videos and variety show clips on YouTube, over and over on repeat.


I'd be more inclined to believe that it's just the nature of how most users consume content.

If you look at the recommended content for most major services, they give a lot of space to "stuff you've consumed before". Anecdotally, this is true of Netflix (which tends to rank already-seen content below it's own-brand shows but above other third-party stuff); and it's especially true of Spotify, which is constantly pushing me (in a real variety of ways) mostly music that I've already listened to.

I think it's likely that, music video or not, most users on YouTube are watching the same videos over and over again - hence why the algorithm tries to hard to cater to those users.

From a cynical perspective, such an algorithm is also a "safe" bet - if you won't even binge videos YouTube knows you like (because you've seen them), it will probably be much harder to get you to watch lots of videos you might like. Users who like to see the same stuff over and over are probably giving the best return on YouTube algorithmic investment, and they might even be YouTube's most valuable users outside of content creators.


> Anecdotally, this is true of Netflix

i thought this was a bug and I contacted Netflix about it. found out it isn't a bug, it's a feature. although i do not know anyone who would actually watch a 2hr movie the very next day after watching it in the first place. realistically their discovery algorithm is not really an algorithm, more like a static list of their own productions. i do wonder if the "like/dislike" buttons have any sort of effect, but it doesn't seem so.

> Spotify

i rarely use Spotify as a music discovery tool. i usually read reviews from various sites then I search Spotify for the exact album/song. but what i found is that Spotify can actually give me some good recommendation after i filled a playlist with songs that i like.


> anyone who would actually watch a 2hr movie the very next day after watching it in the first place

Kids.

Also, people who fall asleep watching TV. Some people share a profile.


I think Netflix is bad exple, because their recommendations are especially bad in general. Them recommending something does not want people actually watch it.

But I agree with larger point.


I'll attest that info sometimes I need to do a boring but slightly involved task such as putting together a vision chart where most of the thinking has been doing, but there is a lot of little fiddly arranging boxes and pulling lines that is annoying and tedious but requires some degree of attention.

The only way to make that bearable for me is to either solve the meta problem which often isn't feasible, or turn on some mindless show that I've already seen and don't have to pay attention to enjoy. I find in particular The Simpsons seems to often hit that sweet spot between funny enough to be entertaining and mindless enough to not be distracting.

Whereas if I try and listen to a podcast or audiobook it requires too much focus and I miss the book or can't pay attention to that task I am working on, liking filling in a years worth of time sheets at the end of December.


> liking filling in a years worth of time sheets at the end of December.

10 lines of Python and some browser automation. You did mention "solving the meta problem", and this looks like it is a candidate for that.


>> I suspect, without proof, that this is because a large segment of the global population watches music videos and variety show clips on YouTube, over and over on repeat.

That's a great point, and could very well explain showing me videos I've already watched. Fixing my other two complaints would require keeping track of how many times a video has been recommended, and consulting my watch later list when building the recommendations list. It seems safe to assume YT is not unaware of these possibilities, so they must have reasons for not adding these signals in.


If youtube can detect copyrighted music - then why can't it detect the difference between a music video and a non-music video?


Some waiting rooms put on long youtube videos of stuff like "jungle scenery" or "fish" as makeshift screensavers.


Scenario for music videos makes some sense if you're one of those, but wouldn't it be easy for the algo to only do it for music videos only? I agree with parent, that behavior is absolutely senseless..


I think a lot of tutorials get re-watched too.

I also think that whilst the algorithm is quite good at finding things I'd like, it's quite bad at contextualising them so music videos and tutorials get mixed up in playlists it autogenerates for me anyway.


Other than tutorials and music, there's music's cousin: "for noise in the background".

I'll put documentaries or other informational content on as "noise in the background". If I'm trying to sleep or whatever, then each re-watch can start a few minutes later depending on how much I could recall/recognise.


This is probably true! However YouTube also knows how many times I personally have clicked on a video I have already watched. Which is zero, barring the possibility of a mistimed mouse click.


I think this comment sums up my complaints in a lot of ways.

Google's entire business model is based around customizing content to an individual level. Youtube's whole deal is that it theoretically understands what I want to watch.

But it doesn't. And it's really weird to me to even have a discussion about what the average user might or might not want out of a recommendation engine. I feel like that misses the point -- with all of the data Youtube collects on users down to what portions of every video they watch, why is it so hard for individuals to tell Youtube what kinds of videos we want recommended?

Why is it showing repeat recommendations to people who don't want them? Google's entire business from Youtube to advertising to its calendar features, it's all built around knowing what individuals want, and this is an instance where even when people are consciously trying to signal to Youtube that they don't want something, they can't, and the site just kind of ignores it. It's a failed outcome no matter how you look at it; the average person's recommendation tastes for repeat videos don't matter because Youtube isn't just the "trending videos" page, it has a section called "your recommendations".

Those recommendations should reflect the preferences of the individual using the site, that was the entire promise behind all of this invasive user tracking.


As someone who does put Youtube videos on repeat and does follow up on old videos that I still enjoy as "comfort" entertainment, I have two points to amend to the above:

1. I still don't want them showing up in recommendations. Recommendations are not a history view, if I'm listening to a song on repeat for 5 hours I don't need Youtube to recommend it to me. It has been recommended once very successfully, and if I need to find it again it should show up in my history[0], or at least it should be quarantined to its own recommendation section that I can toggle off. Even among people who obsessively revisit old videos, revisiting old videos and looking for new content are two separate categories of searches that should usually be handled differently imo.

2. The fact that I revisit certain series or listen to music on repeat for 5 hours does not mean that I want every video recommended to me that way -- ideally it should just be the variety clips and music videos. Youtube's algorithms are theoretically advanced enough to tell the difference between music and a programming tutorial or product review. So there shouldn't be repeat recommendations for me showing up for stuff like... one video in isolation out of an entire Lets Play playlist.

I feel like, Youtube knows that's not a music video: I know they know because they already put the video in the gaming section. They're just being obstinate and refusing to use that information in their recommendation engine, and refusing to ask the obvious question of "is a music video consumed differently than one video out of context from a Lets Play."

----

I don't think you're wrong, I think you're probably 100% correct, I think that Youtube kind of just optimizes to get people to click on things and repeat videos are a way of doing that, and the algorithm just does what it does. But I'm not sure I know anyone who likes that, I should be the target audience for that behavior, I obsessively rewatch stuff all the time, and I don't like that behavior, the algorithm doesn't feel like it's tuned to my preferences. It feels like just kind of mish-mash.

In theory, if it was optimized for me, then I shouldn't be losing track of music. But it's not like its reliable enough to use as a bookmarking system, if I have a favorite song on Youtube I like to listen to, then I can't trust recommendations to have it in front of me, I have to actually bookmark it or (nowadays) download it and save it to an offline playlist.

So if they're trying to please people like me, then... it's not working.

<ranton>Personally, I feel like every time I interact with Google products or try to dig into how they work or recommend things, I always feel like the designers/programmers are almost deliberately trying to make their own jobs harder. Like they think it's cheating or something to have a toggle that could let people turn off this behavior. They have to organically have an AI come to every decision or else it's not 'real' programming; it's very weird.

I don't understand the reasoning why this wouldn't be user-configurable behavior at the very least, why it wouldn't be something where we can apply human reasoning on top of the AI algorithm. If you work at Google, I promise that no customer is going to be mad at you or shame you or say that you're bad at programming if you give us really clear controls that let us just tell you what we want in a predictable way. No one is going to be offended if you just ask us if we want to see repeat videos, you don't have to intuit that, we can all tell you ourselves and we won't be mad that you asked.

I hate feeling like I have to do reinforcement training on a cat to get good Youtube recommendations just because some product designer is scared that I'll think less of them if they ever admit that they don't magically know my preferences without asking. Some people might want repeat videos, and some people might not want them, and this shouldn't be an existential problem for Youtube, I thought the whole point of this algorithm stuff was that I could have an individual experience that was customized to me. Instead we've got the worst of all worlds because Youtube thinks its a personal failure if they don't come up with one single, universal strategy for serving videos that makes everyone happy across the entire world.

----

[0]: Shoutout to NewPipe that allows sorting history by the number of views. History in general could be way better on pretty much platform, but even just that sort option is useful on its own.


I suspect its because Google reused the same recommendation code they wrote for ads.

You just bought a new car? have some car ads.


> You just bought a new car? have some car ads.

You are a guy? Have some scammy dating site ads while you already are dating, as you get enganged, married and have more than three kids.

Doesn't matter that you have taken the time to click not interested / not relevant.

My guess the advertiser wasn't too careful and paid good money for pay-per-impression in those spots.


> Doesn't matter that you have taken the time to click not interested / not relevant.

On YouTube I click this every time, marking "irrelevant" vs. "repetitive" ads. Since I've never seen a relevant ad.

Sometimes I even go "inappropriate" for casino ads (it feels like it's not just irrelevant but inappropriate to try to encourage me to gamble).

I've never once noticed Google take that into consideration. Marking an ad "repetitive" seems to encourage it to repeat.


Could be, but YouTube does, not for all, but for many, know if the video is a music or not.


This is actually what makes me bored and stop digging in youtube, the general public must have much higher tolerance for this. I don't even get shown youtubers I'm subscribed to on the main page if I haven't watched their videos in a while.


The one that drives me bonkers, to the point where I destroy my YT container and start over is if I watch ONE video, even a few seconds (just the click!) means I get flooded with the same content. Things like "fixing the thermo-resistor in your wall oven" or a specific career YT'er. As a result I am far less willing and ready to click around and explore, which you would think is directly counter to what they want in the first place with their relentless engagement machine.


I turned off watch and search history because of this. There are a lot of downsides (you lose progress meters and recommendations tend to suggest watched videos a lot), but there are upsides too: namely, that YouTube only considers upvotes, subscriptions, and "Not Interested" when it makes recommendations, so your homepage is only stuff you've explicitly signalled that you're interested in, plus YouTube's usual spam (the off-the-wall suggestions they always have no matter what—for whatever reason I get a lot of cat/dog and meditation music videos).

Genuine question: Don't you re-watch your favourite movies and TV shows? Why would YouTube be any different?

Your answer to the above might be "never". Which is totally cool.

But I think lots of people like rewatching favourite content, and YouTube is no different in this regard.

They don't care about recommending you something new, they care about recommending you something that you would watch.


>> Don't you re-watch your favourite movies and TV shows? Why would YouTube be any different?

I honestly don't very often, and when I do it tends to be over a span of time long enough to forget many of the details. I do have some music videos on youtube that I have watched several times, and some instructional videos I have returned to occasionally.

So yeah probably its the weakest of my three whines.


> Genuine question: Don't you re-watch your favourite movies and TV shows? Why would YouTube be any different?

Very rarely. Even more rarely do I re-watch movies less than a month later, but that doesn't stop Youtube from recommending things I watched the day prior.

If I got recommended something I watched a year ago, sure. But what youtube frequently does is just recommend all of the videos I watched the day prior.

I would be less annoyed if this wasn't such a recent development. Youtube recommendations used to be fantastic for me ~5 years ago. I would actually get recommended stuff I haven't watched, from creators I didn't know about, on topics that I have shown interest in. Now I mostly just get the same videos I have already watched or nearly the same video uploaded by another channel. Or I'll watch a single 15 second video about something I normally don't watch, and suddenly half of my recommendations are about that.


It's not very discoverable but the category bubbles includes one called "New to you".

I've only seen it right at the start or end of the list.


I think showing “watch later” as a recommendation makes a lot of sense, if you can trust users to actually wanna watch those videos later.

There are videoed you want to watch and there a videos you want to want to watch.

There’s a quote about classics book being the books you want to have read.


Exactly! These points drive me crazy!

I think YouTube is filled with interesting content but they always choose to recommend the same videos for weeks!

However, their "New to You" section is much better and I think it should be on the home page.


I am definitely someone who will re-watch videos, especially video essays, songs, or memes, depending on context.

That being said, one would hope that Youtube would have better user segementation, but I can't imagine that is an easy problem.


I hate that I can't follow an artist on YT Music without being subscribed to that artist's channel in YT Video, and having it affect my video suggestions. When I say "can't", maybe it's possible, and if so, I would love to know how to separate them.


I have multiple google accounts and have tabs up for each of them (thanks to multi-account containers in Firefox). For each account, I have tried to to focus on sets of specific interests - always being careful to switch to the proper tab when I subscribe or search. The recommendations engine only shows me something good on a ~1:20 ratio. It seems like it would be so easy to improve it:

1. Show me new videos from my subscriptions! It does this rarely and, when it does, it shows me the same video over and over and over.

2. If it shows me a video >4 times - stop showing me the damn video!

3. Have a robust tagging system and use that for new discovery.

4. Use my subscribed channels for topical relevance REGARDLESS of what I have been watching lately!

5. Youtube is begging to be disrupted by anyone providing good curation.


5. I agree.


If only it had a feature to get rid of every video with someone pulling a stupid face on the poster frame. I might even actually visit YouTube if it did.


Try a plugin called "Clickbait Remover for youtube". Your thumbnail will be replaced by freeze frame from video. I love it. And you can turn it off/on easily.


I think the parent's goal was to use the presence of a stupid thumbnail as proxy for low quality and completely hide those videos instead of merely replacing the thumbnail.

Now if there's also something that could detect "YouTuber voice" (https://www.vice.com/en/article/aepn94/the-rise-of-youtube-v...) or the awful trend of putting a short clip in the intro with no context which wastes your time at best or spoils the video at worst that would be great as well.


"Stupid thumbnail" as a proxy for low quality is no longer a valid metric. The good channels have been, reluctantly or otherwise, mostly been forced into following suit.


But it is still a proxy for "content that the creator deliberately chooses to make irritating in order to appease the Algorithm Gods" which qualifies such content as "things I don't need more of in my life". Nobody has a gun to their head, forced to making "YouTube Face" thumbnails. "Incentivized" is probably the better word.


They kind of do have a gun to their head, forcing them to make “YouTube Face” thumbnails.

Like, if you’re proud of your work and want it to get seen at all, this is what you have to do. It sucks, but in many cases any trace of “annoying YouTube culture” vanishes the moment after you click and the whole video itself is good.

If you want to turn down good videos so you can make a point, then go for it I guess. But you’re not likely to actually change anything.


> Like, if you’re proud of your work and want it to get seen at all, this is what you have to do.

Assuming what you're saying is true, I wonder why channels like Rare Earth, Kraig Adams, Super Eyepatch Wolf, and 3Blue1Brown have their videos seen at all then.


I think all the channels you named were popular enough before the clickbait become nearly mandatory. The question is, if they restarted today could they also succeed without it? It's hard to know, but it's also hard to conclude that the deck wouldn't be that bit more stacked against them.

> I think all the channels you named were popular enough before the clickbait become nearly mandatory.

If that's the case, their viewership and growth right now would either be stagnant or on a steady decline. Is that the case? I doubt it.


Sadly this is true. I definitely used to use "stupid face" as a proxy for low quality but I've seen people who make good content doing it recently too, so now it all must go.

I'm also painfully aware that I'm an old man shouting at clouds.


The reason for this is if your videos stop having a very high click-through rate, or impression-to-watch ratio, youtube stops recommending it as much, meaning your videos likely won't get as many views as they would have had youtube not interfered at all!


I have this rule that no matter what the video is - if I open it and I hear "hey guys" I immediately close it and remove it from my history. I may even block the channel itself.

Unrelated, I also tend to have to "block channel" a lot after watching a trailer for a movie where I get 10 recommendations for the same trailer on unofficial channels.


about the short clips, try the browser extension "sponsorblock" it skips many of those.


Thanks, turns out from this GitHub thread that there's even a Safari version - https://github.com/pietervanheijningen/clickbait-remover-for...

edit: Bought and installed and I can confirm that this makes YouTube at least 43% more bearable. Most of the other 57% is taken care of by Vinegar - https://andadinosaur.com/launch-vinegar


Discovered this extension a few months ago from another HN thread. It's great, the annoyance levels caused by 'Youtube face' was getting to be intolerable. I was making judgements on videos before even watching them, because of the thumbnail.


I've been using this for about half a year now and it's great!


Installed. Wow.


I'd pay for a YouTube that bans all reaction videos. I can't stand them.


Yea, I don't get the appeal of watching someone pretend they haven't seen "The Empire Strikes Back" and are watching it for the first time and are agog at the the twist.


The original Star Wars trilogy is decades old by now. Most modern Star Wars fans haven't even seen them, much less the general public.


Sure maybe? but it's penetrated popular culture enough that I refuse to believe anybody would be surprised by 'No, I am your father'


I don't know... I'm as familiar with it as anyone of my generation, but I honestly can't remember when I actually saw it last referenced in media or popular culture. I'd definitely be skeptical of anyone close to my age being unaware of it, though.

That's really the most annoying thing. Even people who make good videos do this shit. I just can't say how much I hate(and I don't use that word often) seeing angry, sad, or surprised faces. When I'm on Linux most of the times I just use newsboat and on android it's newpipe with the previewimages turned off. But somtimes I have to use the webpage, and it always makes me angry.


Some YouTubers outright say it increases views. Given that some of them make a living out of this and that I'd rather keep seeing their content, I can live with some pandering to the algorithm/trends in thumbnails.


or when you try to use youtube not for entertainment but utilitarian (e.g. how do I take a part a door hinge again?) and they start the actual information halfway through the video


I’ve learned over time that many people who make helpful videos are not skilled at how to edit or pace a video at all. But I often need the content and can’t get it elsewhere. 2x is so great for screencast tutorials for things like Blender. I can’t imagine watching them any other way.


The trick is to recognise those early and switch to a different video. Or quickly figure out which channel is more serious about getting to the point, and pick their video.


Youtube tested some sort of feature where you can see what are the parts which are the most watched by people.


heaven forbid they could adjust their "algorithm" to encourage people to make better content for this category. How many googlians are considered brilliant and none of them ever stopped to think "what are the use cases of this product"

> I might even actually visit YouTube if it did.

It's much easier for YouTube to get someone who already views YouTube videos for some amount of time per day to view more using clickbate than it is to get you who doesnt view YouTube to start.


The bizarre part is - I've seen a lot of youtubers say that they hate it, but that it also increases views by a fair amount. Which is... wierd.


Linus Tech Tips talked about this a while back, and it is just like when Wikipedia uses Jimmy Wales face to raise money. Everyone say they hate it, but it is what yields the best results.


My problem is that whenever I want to have a video recommended and open the YouTube homepage I just get a list of videos that I have watched before. I don't know how this can possible be an effective way to watch videos.


I recently found the "New to you" category bubble that's solved this issue for me.

I don't know how they sort the categories but I've only found the "New to you" at the start or end of the list.


To me it's hidden at the end of the list, but sometimes it's unreachable unless I resize my browser and many times I don't have that section at all on my Android TV. Not very useful how it's implemented.

Also, let us tell YT we're not interested in a category. I've watched a blacksmith video once, I had the Metallurgy category recommended to me for 6 months.

Google, the world famous AI company, presents the proof that recommendation engines are incredibly dumb and annoying except in very tightly controlled environments. There is nothing intelligent about it.


Yeah, I suppose that they are testing new algorithms there..


Do you tell youtube that you've seen this video before? Usually after 5/6 of these it starts serving new stuff again.


I do sometimes but it doesn't seem to help. Roughly a third of the videos have a progress bar underneath (usually complete or nearly so) so YouTube knows that I have seen them.


You have to be aggresive about it for it to work. It totally bogles my mind that youtube doesn't have a toggle for this, I get recommending things I've seen before, my wife loves it, I must have seen her watch the same youtube video 300 times, she doesn't explore youtube she just wants the same set of 50 videos recommended to her over and over again, this has been a pretty common observation I've made... people like this... so then make it a toggle for people who don't.


I see you bought a washing machine recently, you will LOVE this selection of washing machine ads.


You'd be amazed how well these work.

Sometimes the order falls through, sometimes the washer needs to be returned. The thing is that these items are so high-profit that targeting this small chance of purchase is very valuable. And these users, even though they have just bought this thing that typically they need 1 of for 20 years, are still higher probability than average to purchase another.


Even more boring YouTube:

Remove YouTube Suggestions

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/remove-youtub...



FYI, if you're using Ublock Origin or something like it, you can block whole divs with it, wihtout another extension.


Its syntax [1] is also surprisingly powerful. You want to block an element if it doesn't contain an element matching a particular string/xpath/css selector? But only on specific pages? Even if the URL is manipulated by .pushState? Easy.

I've also used it to blur the text of newsarticles talking about a particular sports event.

Frankly that part of the extension on its own is amazingly useful.

[1]: https://github.com/uBlockOrigin/uBlock-issues/wiki/Static-fi...


There is so much incredible content out there that we're being deprived of. As someone who loves the "discovery" aspect of the internet, I can't believe we dont have better tools for this. It's disturbing the degree to which our web experiences are curated now.


If you think you’ll get better suggestions doing this I’m afraid you’ll be surprised. Just open the Trending page to see what kind of junk is popular. Hint: Curate your feeds if you care about them.


The curation tools are limited especially with playlists and worst of all watch later SILENTLY fails after 5000 videos are added to the watch later playlist.

Yesterday a watching now playlist glitched and kept looping in the middle. I had to manually click on the next video as the next button and shift N didn’t advance the playlist but looped instead.


If you just tell youtube to stop recommending things you've seen and channels you don't want to see as you go, and subscribe to a very wide variety of channels, it gets very good at serving you new content quickly, at least mine does.


I should search for a list of 100 popular channels where I can subscribe to :)


It would be nice if apps/websites that offer "tailored" content (basically every social media and media consumption company) had an official way of letting you do an "algorithm reset" to your account.

I get why they don't do that - it's all about creating the most addictive environment possible to keep your eyes glued to their service - but it's something I find myself wishing for all too often.


I wouldn't mind it if the recommendations were actually useful. A couple years ago I watched a martial arts movie on netflix. then it recommended some french art film because I had watched a foreign film. Last year facebook suggested I join a group for progressive Asian Christians. I am not Asian or Christian. If Facebook can't even tell what race I am, then what is all this data being used for?

Or on youtube I watched one video by a guy and hated it. Now I keep getting recommended his other videos.


Good idea, unfortunately the default youtube recommendations also suck.

Unless you are really interested in minecraft.


I think logging out or just starting a new account suffices. I also think in settings Youtube allows you to delete your history and therefore the algorithm's learning from it.

Most times I see the front page of youtube I'm happy they take me into my own universe of interests.


I think I've disabled my watching history in Youtube and the frontpage suggestions are quite poor (mostly videos from my subscriptions I have already watched or videos that might share one or two tags with a video I watched last year and don't interest me at all).


Yup, I've noticed that when I use an account old enough (like for 7-8 years), Youtube recommends the same videos.. (it seems to be in a local maximum).


Yes that would be wonderful. Sometimes I don't let my significant other search for her stuff while i'm logged in, i dont want to get suggestions based on her search.


It doesn't really worked when logged in, but I have used Firefox's mult-account containers to create 'profiles' for different topics on YouTube.


In the YouTube app (android), go to library, history, three dot menu, history controls, clear watch history.


Might also be interested in astronaut - random low-view count youtube videos.

http://astronaut.io


I was going to say "there's probably a reason these have low view counts" but it's actually very entertaining and I just spent a few minutes watching these random videos.

- Some birthday party

- a random hiker somewhere in latin america where I even clicked through to their channel

- skiing in Korea

- person singing in a car


There are reasons why: Keywords being used in title are not popular ones, account not having any videos, subscriptions, likes etc. All this is taken as criteria when ranking algorithms rank videos.


this is awesome. It reminds me of early youtube when you could go to the new tab and watch videos from randoms pouring in. The glory days before youtube face. I hope they add some more features, like navigation and control, and maybe choose a country or continent. And make the UI more obvious, it took me a minute to realise I could stay on a video by tapping the circle.


This is awesome to watch while stoned too. I just teleported through a hundred different realities. Awesome.

Anyone remember the Iconian gateway from Star Trek: TNG?

This reminds me of that for some reason.


YouTube is no longer a video hosting platform built on the best tech. They're a video discovery platform built on network effects. And any startup or open source project that wants a piece of this pie is going to have to win on that front.


What's the outcome of doing this, do you just eventually end up with weird and/or no recommendations?


Maybe it is just defaulting to most popular? I would be also interested in the outcome.


give it a try :)

Usually, you might get videos that you haven't seen before.. (at least, that's my hypothesis)


YouTube's recommendation algorithm works great for me. I consistently tell youtube to not recommend videos that I don't want to watch and it will cut them out of my feed. I've gotten rid of most clickbaity material and it shows me longer form and more in depth content. If your recommendations aren't good I suggest using the features to not recommend certain videos or ignore entire channels. The algorithm will figure out what you want to watch


I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum, I guess. I've unsubscribed everything, hidden/removed all recommendations and like/dislike, view count, subscriber count, etc with some user CSS/JS. Logged out for good measure.

Then I've put the 20ish channels I care about into my RSS reader (NetNewsWire + The Old Reader, I recommend both), which allows me to do things like "mark all as read" on whole folders.

You can get the feed for a user/channel like this: https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?user=xxx or https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=xxx - it's a bit cumbersome since YT doesn't provide either link in the channel's meta tags.

I only had to do this once, so I've thrown away the code, but I had two bits of JS: to generate an OPML file with the feeds for import, and to mass-unsubscribe everything afterwards. Maybe I should rewrite and publish that somewhere? If there's interest.


>Maybe I should rewrite and publish that somewhere? If there's interest.

Please do.


I watch a lot of youtube because its really the only form of TV I enjoy any longer. But the recommendations are a drag for the reasons mentioned here. What I'd really like is a better channels concept -- collections of videos from people I subscribe to -- or perhaps other's channels that get regularly updated content. A mix of algorithmically generated, user generated, and generated from myself (ex: put all my guitar subs into the same channel). I keep expecting these things to exist but perhaps user error is holding me back.

Having a shared viewing experience with people with comparable interests would be particularly interesting. In that case, having channels that work a bit more like TV -- as opposed to on demand -- wouldn't be so bad because it links you up with other people currently watching it. Perhaps even voting to skip or replay.

Its one of those things where, I feel like there is an extraordinary amount of potential in this product still, but will it ever be tapped? It has so much innertia that time is more on its side than perhaps it should be.


I used https://youtube.videodeck.net/ for a long time to have Youtube "TV channels" but it got unreliable due to youtube api shenanigans.

Now I use a script that makes direct youtube playlists I keep in a bookmark folder. Bonus you can set playlists to public and use 3rd party youtube apps with sponsor block on mobile.

https://github.com/Elijas/auto-youtube-subscription-playlist...


Interesting idea.


https://i.imgur.com/awJ6vCe.png

Yeah it's solid setup, one can get a youtube api key and setup a decent management spreadsheet that pulls channel names and other info.

Only issue with spreadsheet+script is it polls for new video on set timer. Apparently possible to be locked out with too many requests. I have it every 4 hours, with a bookmarket that forces a refresh. Overall it's not a bad system.


Last month I setup tartube to download my YouTube Playlist videos through yt-dlp and then I play the videos through Plex.

This was the problem I ran into after doing so, because I never officially watch any videos, all of my recommendations are either unwanted or downloaded videos. This quickly pushed me to subscribe to everything I want to watch, but it's made browsing YouTube itself useless as a content recommendation service.

I suppose that could be considered a good thing?


>I suppose that could be considered a good thing?

It depends. I personally find Youtube's recommendations to be useful, particularly at discovering new music and tutorials. But that requires putting in the effort to curate your account - subscribe, watch, smash that like button, all that stuff.


Useful script, but has to be coupled with this extension: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/hide-youtube-watch...

It hides all the videos you've already watched from appearing in the homepage or searches or related.


Recently I added my YT API key on a Kodi box at work and it "poisoned" all of my recommendations I see on my YT homepage. I look at it as a feature and not a bug, as it has curbed my ability to go to the home page and be entertained. Compared to the other plugins/add-ons that change the thumbnail or hide all the recommendations this seems to be a preferable alternative.


1. Doesn't seem to be working for me in Firefox

2. Convert this script into a handy bookmarklet to be able to use it with a single click using this tool: https://caiorss.github.io/bookmarklet-maker/


1. I've updated the code to be compatible with Firefox.

Nice!

1. Hmm, feel free to propose a cross-platform solution :) 2. Nice.


Every once in a while YouTube places a tile on my front page asking if I wanna see some different kinds of recommendations and I get all excited to see something different and new and get so disappointed in myself when I realize I actually just wanna watch pretty much the same thing as always.


It would be useful if Youtube would have some sort of agents with which users can talk, something like:

User: hey, the feed is boring - I see the same videos. Could you please recommend something I haven't seen?

Youtube: sure, I'll try.

Youtube: is it better now?

User: hmm, a bit better, but I would like some not so boring educational videos

Youtube: sure


You don't have to mark all YouTube videos as "Not interested"; you can make front-end which hides all recommended videos so you can focus on the video you are currently watching and not be distracted.


Wouldn’t it be trivial for YouTube to just make a filter that says “If a user marks over 20 videos ‘Not Interesting’ in 24 hours, stop counting their ‘Not Interesting’ marks in our recommendation algorithm”?


I can imagine a future where users of content/social networks can pick (an open source) recommendation engine/model they like, and train/use their own if they want to


slightly off-topic but the single most frustrating part of the YouTube android app is that when you accidentally tap on another video, it loads it up immediately, and there doesn't seem to be any way to go "back" to the video you were just watching, aside from going over to your History and finding it there. I don't watch a ton of YouTube videos but this gets me about once a week. is there anything I'm missing or is this as crappy as it seems?


Oh no, I liked my recommendations! Is there a way to revert?




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