How To Manage YouTube Comments

Whatever your YouTube video comment section looks like – a celebration of love or Snark City – it’s a place where conversations about brands will happen – both good and bad.

YouTube comments give the site’s 1.7 billion monthly visitors a chance to share what they love, hate, or just troll about. YouTube comments can be like the Thunderdome of the Internet, but they can also be an incredibly powerful tool for building community and connecting with people.

How To Set Up Your Channel For Comments

You may hear some people say not to allow comments on your channel. We’re convinced that you’d give up much of the effectiveness of YouTube by following that advice. 

Much of the concern folks have about comments stem from the fact that some channel managers have done a less-than-stellar job around content moderation, which meant that some channels’ 

Comments sections turned into toxic cesspools. That’s a sign of a channel manager falling down on the job, not proof that comments can’t work in a YouTube context. 

Enabling channel-level comment controls

As a channel manager, you first have to enable comments for your entire channel; with that out of the way, you can then move on and decide your level of comment control as well.

You control whether comments are posted automatically or only with your approval. In the following steps, we explain how you can screen bad comments before they get posted.

1). Log in to your YouTube account.

2). Click the guide icon next to the YouTube logo on the top left of the screen and select My Channel from the menu that appears. The My Channel screen appears.

3). Hover the mouse cursor over the channel name to bring up the Edit button. The channel name sits just below the channel art; the Edit button should appear on the top left, below any links you may have configured.

4). Hover the mouse cursor over the Edit button, click it, and then select Edit Channel Navigation from the menu that appears. The Channel Navigation screen appears.

5). Look at the Discussion section and confirm that the button to the right is selected and labeled Enabled. If it says Enable with no check, simply click the button. Your channel is now enabled for comments.

6). Determine how you want comments displayed by clicking the button under the Discussion label and choosing the appropriate option.

Your choices are

  • Display Automatically posts appropriate comments without your approval.
  • Don’t Display Until Approved requires you to explicitly approve a comment before it is posted.

7). Click Save.

In the meantime, you need to enable or confirm that your channel is set up for comments.

Enabling video-level comment controls

With your channel enabled for discussion, your videos can receive comments. You can also control comments on a video-by-video basis. You have three ways to enable comments on individual videos:

  • Default: YouTube allows channel and video comments by default.
  • Upload defaults: In the Creator Studio Channel section, you set the default comment controls for all future uploaded videos. This allows you to set a general policy so you don’t have to configure each individual video.
  • Advanced settings: In the Creator Studio Video Manager section, set the comments controls for an individual video and click Save Settings.

For the last two options, you can go with one of these two settings:

  • All will post appropriate comments for the video without your approval.
  • Approved requires you to explicitly approve a comment on the video before it is posted.

To set up video commenting at the individual level, do the following:

1). Log in to your YouTube account.

2). Click the Channel icon in the top right of the page and then click Creator Studio in the menu that appears.

3). On the left side of the screen, click the Video Manager heading in Creator Studio’s navigation menu.

4). Select Videos from the drop-down menu that appears.

5). Scroll through your videos to find the one whose Comments feature you want to configure. If you have quite a few videos, you can use the search bar on the Videos page to track down the one you want.

6). Click the Edit button to the right of the video and then select Advanced Setting under the video.

7). Under Comments, check the Allow Comments box to allow comments for this video. (To block comments, uncheck the check box.)

8). Click the button to the right of All Comments to select whether you want all comments added automatically or whether they need to be approved first.

9). Click the blue Save Changes box on the bottom right to save your changes.

How To Moderate YouTube Comments

As your audience engages more and more with your videos and your channel becomes increasingly successful, comment moderation on a video-by-video basis can become rather tedious. Fortunately, YouTube allows you to moderate comments all in one place — in the Community Comments section of Creator Studio. To access these comments:

1). Log in to your YouTube account.

2). Click the Channel icon in the top right of the page and then click Creator Studio in the menu that appears.

3). On the left side of the screen, click the Community heading in Creator Studio’s navigation menu.

4). Select Comments from the drop-down menu that appears. Doing so brings up the Comments page. By default, clicking on Community should bring you automatically to the Comments section.

Note the following three tabs:

Published Comments: These are the comments currently posted on your channel. You can do all the standard things with these comments — allow the comment, allow and respond to the comment, remove the comment, report the comment as spam or abusive, or ban the commenter from the channel.

Whether you’re on the Watch page or in the Comments section, you have icons and pull-downs to the right that allows you to remove a comment, block a commenter, or report spam. (You’ll probably make much use of the Trash icon, which quickly vaporizes an inappropriate comment.)

Held for Review: Comments are held here when you don’t allow automatic posting or when comments are caught by blacklist filters you set in the community guidelines. (For more on blacklist filters, check out the “Configuring Community settings” section, later in this chapter.) If the comment is acceptable, click the Check button; otherwise, click its associated Trash icon to remove it. Review your held comments regularly so the appropriate ones get posted on your channel.

Likely Spam: YouTube, in its efforts to root out spam, places comments here that it regards as likely spam. Ultimately, however, you are the judge of what’s spam and what’s not. You should make sure that YouTube hasn’t jumped the gun and mischaracterized a comment as spam. If it’s not spam, just click the check button to accept; otherwise, click the Trash icon to remove it.

Anything you can do to a single comment on the Comments page — accept, respond to, delete — can be done to multiple comments in one fell swoop. Simply check one or more of the comments you’re moderating and take bulk action.

How to Handle Inappropriate Comments

As a channel manager, you need to draw the line as to what comments are appropriate to be shown on your channel. Just because someone disagrees with you doesn’t mean you have to call out the military. 

Some channel managers and creators like a debate, but there are situations where comments are abusive and inappropriate while providing no benefit to you, your viewers, or your community.

With comments, you have the following options:

1). Remove. This will simply delete the comment.

2). Report spam or abuse. Comments and those who comment are subject to the same community guidelines. The Report Spam or Abuse flag is there to report a guideline violation, not a channel or video comment disagreement. See the next option if community guidelines are adhered to and yet you still need to address a situation.

3). Ban from the channel. Sometimes you just need to divorce yourself from certain viewers. This setting prevents them from posting comments.

If circumstances change and you want them back, then you can remove them from the banned user list in your Community settings. 

To remove a comment, report spam or abuse, or ban a user from your channel, channel managers can:

  • Use the pull-down to the right of the comment that appears on the Watch page.
  • Manage a comment from the Community Comments section in Creator Studio.

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