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If you’re regularly posting YouTube videos, then you know that the comments section can be a great place to extend the conversation around your content. Comments add more context for readers, drive interest in your channel and videos, and attract more subscribers. However, if you’re not paying attention to what’s being said in the comments section, it can also be a breeding ground for negativity.
No doubt, you put a lot of time and effort into creating your videos, so don’t let the comments section get away from you. It’s important to monitor, engage, and respond to comments appropriately, so you can steer conversations in a positive direction. If you plan to turn on the comments section and open the floodgates, use our guide below to properly manage your comments section and gain positive traction for your brand.
Set Your Preferences
First things first: Decide how much control you want to have over comments. The default setting on a YouTube channel is to publish comments immediately and hold potentially inappropriate comments for review. However, you can adjust your settings as follows:
- Allow all comments. User comments will be instantly visible once they submit them — the good, the bad, and the ugly.
- Hold all comments for review. On the opposite end of the spectrum, this setting requires you to approve every comment from your review tab prior to publication. Your review tab will hold comments for up to 60 days.
- Hold potentially inappropriate comments for review. YouTube will flag any potentially inappropriate comments and hold them for review. You can also create a blocked words list for an extra layer of protection (more on that below).
- Disable comments. Just like it sounds, this setting turns off the ability to post any comments under your video.
Changing Your Settings
Should you ever wish to change your comments settings, navigate to your Dashboard, click on Settings, and select Upload defaults. Click on Advanced settings and scroll down to the Comments tab, where you can select your preferred level of comment visibility from the dropdown menu. Don’t forget to click Save to solidify your settings!
Creating a Blocked Words List
To create a list of blocked words and phrases, go to your Settings, click on Community, and scroll down to the area called Blocked words. Add any words or phrases that you want YouTube to automatically hold for review. This can include anything from jerky comments to spam, such as people who ask other users to subscribe to their channel or watch their videos — all the stuff that gets under your skin.
Tread lightly when deleting comments; not everyone needs to agree with the content of your videos. Allowing comments can help inspire healthy debate, and it gives you an opportunity to respond to conversations as well as handle any negative comments. If you respond professionally, it can work in your favor, as users will see that you are able to maintain your composure even in the face of negative commentary.
At times, however, deleting comments will make more sense — as in the case of explicit, hateful, or spammy comments. To delete a comment, go to your Dashboard and select Comments from the sidebar. Click More to see additional options and delete the comment.
Which Setting Is Best?
Let’s take a closer look at each possible setting, so you can decide what works best for your brand.
Allow all comments
This setting puts the control in the hands of users. If you’re concerned about inappropriate comments getting published on your page, you may wish to adjust your settings to allow for more checks and balances on your part. Remember, too, that you can always delete comments later.
Hold all comments for review
You may be tempted to hold all comments for review before they get posted on your page, thinking you can make sure that any inappropriate comments don’t get published. However, this could be time-consuming, and you could also end up preventing organic engagement on your page. Keep in mind that you don’t want every comment to be strictly agreeable. Healthy debate and constructive criticism are much more interesting than a series of pats on the back.
Hold potentially inappropriate comments for review
This setting might work best if you want to avoid inappropriate comments altogether. You will still need to moderate your comments because YouTube likely will not catch everything — and you want to make sure you’re engaging with users — but this setting can help cut down the time spent on reviewing comments.
Disabling comments cut out the review process entirely, which can save you time. However, disabling comments also prevents engagement with your target audience — one of the key benefits of social channels. Only you know what works best for your brand, but you might want to consider allowing for some level of commentary on your videos in order to grow your audience.
No matter how great your YouTube videos are, there will always be people who want to rain on your parade. Known as trolls, these people seem to have nothing better to do than to scour the internet for opportunities to post disparaging comments about brands, products, services, people, and more.
To be clear, we are not talking about people who disagree with your point of view or like different things from you — that’s just normal human behavior. Trolls are people who post negative comments with no value or purpose other than to cause trouble and make others upset or angry. They may also leave comments that contain offensive language or content just for fun (or because they’re bored). Others may be strictly trying to gain viewers for their channels or videos.
While you can certainly delete these comments and block the trolls from posting on your page, trolls have a way of always coming back. They may create new accounts and return to the same trolling behavior, making it nearly impossible to keep up with their comments. It’s enough to make some creators want to quit making and posting videos altogether, and that’s not a fun place to be.
There are ways to handle the trolls, however, that will allow you to keep posting content without having to engage with these users.
Trolls Will Be Trolls
The first thing to realize when you are a content creator is that by nature of the fact that you are putting yourself out there on the internet, you’re opening yourself to potential haters. From people who comment on your appearance to those who criticize you, ridicule you, blame you and scorn you, YouTube and other channels are filled with people who feel empowered by the anonymity of the internet. In fact, some people seem to be waiting by their phone or computer for a new video to drop — only to rush over to your page and “dislike” the video before they’ve even watched it!
It’s not your job to engage with the trolls, but if you want to keep posting content, you will have to develop a thick skin. Remember, too, that many of the comments you receive will be positive, glowing even, so try to focus on those users instead of the trolls.
Tips for Handling Trolls
So if you can’t prevent trolls entirely on your page, you have to find a way to deal with them, right? The following tips will help to minimize trolls’ comments on your page and keep your channel positive, welcoming, and engaging for all.
1 – Don’t Acknowledge Trolls
To put it another way, don’t feed the trolls. The second you interact, disagree or acknowledge the troll exists, they’ve won. They got a rise out of you or a fellow user, and they will take great pleasure in seeing others writhe in agony over things they have said. If you don’t “feed” them, they will be more likely to get bored and take their negative comments somewhere else.
2 – Make Use of Blocked Words
Remember that comments setting that let you create a blocked words list and hold comments for review? This setting is particularly useful for handling trolls. Simply add words or phrases to your blocked words list that trolls tend to post over and over again, and YouTube will automatically flag these comments for review. Note that trolls can be pretty clever about trying to game the system by wording things in different ways that you haven’t yet flagged for review. So stay on top of it and keep adding to your blocked words list as trolls attempt to post on your page.
It might take some time to learn which words and phrases your trolls are using. Eventually, however, you should have a good list of comments for YouTube to auto-moderate and hold for review, keeping these comments out of public view. Theoretically, you don’t ever have to look at these comments if you don’t want to, saving you time and headaches while keeping these comments off your page. This way, you can keep more positivity on your channel and interact with your comments section in a way that’s productive.
3 – Hide the User
As mentioned above, blocking a user from your page isn’t necessarily going to keep them from coming back — under a new account, for example. However, YouTube offers another option that might be even better, and that’s hiding the user from your channel. The beauty of this method is that you can simply hide the user from public view; they can shout all they want in the comments, but nobody will ever see it because the user and their comments will be hidden from public view. To hide someone, simply click on the three-dot menu to the right of their username, and select the option to hide that user from the channel.
If you want the benefits of crowdsourced comments, just keep in mind that there’s always a downside. Fortunately, YouTube makes it easy to moderate your comments and review them in one place so that you can take action. Remember to moderate your comments and use the tips above to keep trolls out of your comment section, and you’ll build a community of engaged users who eagerly await your video drops (for all the right reasons). If you interact with your community, promote positive discussion, and moderate your content, you’ll help produce a video commenting experience that will encourage regular viewers to keep coming back for more.
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