This will be a short post, mainly to draw attention to something that has been bothering IT circles and YouTube users alike in recent weeks.
In a recent blog post, YouTube announced that it will be removing the Dislike counter (and not the button, just the counter – the button will still be available) for everyone below videos from 12 December onwards.
This one, here:
Why is this a problem?
Without going into a rant about the intelligence-destroying effects of today’s social media, in a nutshell: because the content of a video and its value can be most quickly determined by the number of likes and dislikes, and the ratio of those.
In the case of YouTube, this is particularly relevant because there are millions of how-to and instructional videos on the platform, where it is important to see this ratio when you open the video, rather than having to watch a 20-minute video and then realise that the information in the video is out of date, doesn’t work or is misleading.
For those who are interested, Marques Brownlee, a tech reviewer known on YouTube only as MKBHD, gives an elegant and longer-than-usual video address to YouTube, summarising the consequences of removing the dislike counter.
What can be done about it?
Not much, unfortunately, but maybe one thing.
A developer has created a browser extension called Return YouTube Dislike.
As explained in the FAQ page, the sole purpose of this open-source, still relatively rudimentary extension is, as its name suggests, to store the number of dislikes still available for each YouTube video opened in a huge database for as many YouTube videos as possible until 12 December. After 12 December, the plugin will use its own database and a bit of algorithmic magic to try to display the dislike count for videos to those who have the plugin – if it’s available.
The plugin has now been used by over 40,000 users since its release, but of course it’s a race against time, as in less than 15 days we’ll only see the values saved so far (and of course, for new videos, a new counter managed by the plugin).
If you want, you can install the add-on on Chrome or Firefox as described on the website, and contribute to the inclusion of the dislike counter of every YouTube video you have opened.