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YouTube Is Messing With the Order of Videos In Some User Feeds (gizmodo.com) 92

YouTube is testing non-chronological subscription feeds to try and serve you content that it thinks you'll want to see at the top. The problem with this is that the subscription feed exists because users subscribed to content that they want to see. If they don't, they will unsubscribe, thereby removing unwanted content from the feed. Gizmodo reports: YouTube confirmed the test on Twitter after some users noticed the change and inquired as to why the heck their subscription feed was no longer in chronological order. YouTube must have missed the memo about how users react when platforms mess with the order of the sacred feed.

Here's YouTube's how-to and troubleshooting Twitter account explained the test: "Just to clarify. We are currently experimenting with how to show content in the subs feed. We find that some viewers are able to more easily find the videos they want to watch when we order the subs feed in a personalized order vs always showing most recent video first." Weird, considering YouTube already offers recommended videos based on your viewing habits and subscribed channels in its sidebar.

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YouTube Is Messing With the Order of Videos In Some User Feeds

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  • Stopit (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 24, 2018 @05:48PM (#56669168)

    I really REALLY wish youtube would just make subscribe a real subscribe and not fart with it. If I subscribe to a channel there is a reason I subscribed to it, and I want to see all it's content show in my subscription feed.. Also show them all in chronological order. If a channel isn't of my interest I will unsubscribe! This whole "we will decide what you actually want to see BS is just more work on your part that I DO NOT WANT YOU TO DO!!"

    • YouTube "AI" algorithms, paired with Google's Total Information Awareness, know more about what you want to watch than you do. Just lay down and let the computer do your thinking for you, it's better that way. Humans are obsolete, all hail the technocracy!

      • Then why is it they've yet to be able to recommend a channel I want to watch?

        They throw gaming crap at me because I watch videos with tips on how to get specific achievements. They throw music videos at me because my wife showed me a couple videos but I have zero interest in music (and none of the genres are even close to what we've watched), etc.

        They seem to ignore most of the channels I have shown interest in, which are generally smaller & not mainstream interests. The bulk of the videos I watch are

    • I do a lot of cycling and use Strava, but last year they decided to do a similar thing and instead of a chronological feed of rides that other users that I have chosen to follow in my feed, I get a jumbled mess of others users rides in a random order. I used to use it to see who had ridden today, maybe call them up for a ride, now I can't know if I've seen everybody's rides as scrolling until I see an activity I've already seen, or one from yesterday, no longer means anything.

      Their support is taking the sta

      • I used to use it to see who had ridden today, maybe call them up for a ride, now I [have to spend more time on youtube] to see who had ridden today

        Mission accomplished, for the advertising that recently finished removing "don't be evil" from their code of conduct.

      • I wondered why Strava was being weird. It no longer showed the majority of my friends' runs, just my workouts. I thought everyone had stopped running, as I end up seeing only my workouts. At first I thought I was on the "Your activities" tab and double and triple checked it.... but apparently Strava just wanted to show all of my workouts for the past 2 weeks instead of my friends' runs from the past 1-2 days.
    • by Luthair ( 847766 )
      I disagree - I often use subscribe like a bookmarking feature and its not uncommon for some channels to put out a relatively large number of videos or to simply have some content that isn't interesting to me. That said the only change I really need is to allow subscribing to playlists instead of channels and for YT to roll up videos from one channel so I don't have big blocks of them.
    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Youtubes message to you, fuck you and fuck your subscriptions we want to charge billions to influence your decisions by feeding you propaganda that you can not escape. Sicko psycho control freaks, why are they fucking with subscriptions because they want to control people by forcing the content the fundamentalist corporatists wants onto you whether you want it or not.

    • by Askmum ( 1038780 )
      You do not understand. You're using a google product. That product can change at any time because you want it. We know you want the change because you are using it.
      Oh, and because our complaints mailbox does not work.
    • I use RSS to get thenewest content from the chanels I subscribed to. My guess as towhyyou need to click the bell is that they want to show you content THEY want you to see, not what YOU eant to see.

  • Huh? I noticed glitches in the temporal order in Youtube's subscription feed over a year ago.
    So, are they saying that it was supposed to be glitchy all along or that it is going to be even worse?

    If the second, isn't the lack of randomness in the recommendations bad enough? Please don't add yet another glitchy algorithm where it isn't needed! Fix it the damn thing!

    • Ugh. The "recommendations" just being variations on the last 3 videos I've watched is just making YouTube worthless as a quick stop entertainment medium. Recommendations are to help find new things, not what I already know about (although a single category of related would be fine).

  • YouTube pushes what they want to push. Secureteam10's channel with over 1.5M subs, is no longer being recommended to those who watch it, and those subbed with alerts on are not getting notified of new posts. They are however recommending thirdphaseofmoon's channel to those who do not watch it (thirdphaseofmoon is christian right-wing disinfo).

    Neistat, BuzzFeed and Top ten lists of any kind, that is what youtube's political controllers want you to watch. They are so stupid and transparent.

  • by NewtonsLaw ( 409638 ) on Thursday May 24, 2018 @05:52PM (#56669204)

    Memo:
    From: Alphabet HQ
    To: YouTube

    Hey you guys at YouTube... everything's still working just fine, isn't it time you fixed that (again)??

    Remember, we struck out "Don't be evil" so make those users squeal!

    • by Anonymous Coward

      1) Start play a video on youtube.com on my phone, it plays perfectly, and a popup appears..... "Video cannot be played, enable Google Play Services".... erm except the video is playing behind the popup, and "Google Play Services" is their major source of spyware that I do not want. So no, I won't.

      2) I search on DuckDuckGo on my Samsung 8, selected a video for playing in DDG.... Youtube says it cannot be played. Go to youtube.com, plays perfectly, try again on DDG, still not working. Claims the browser doesn

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Listen up, and listen good, Google. These sorts of changes accumulate to make using your products a very stressful experience at times. At least make this kind of stuff optional.

    • Since the moment they raped DejaNews.com it was clear that they never listen to the users. We are not their customer, so why should they.
      And looking at the amount of money and power they have, why should they?

      When the revolution comes, I bet they will be the first against the wall

  • Iâ(TM)d know when I got to the first video Iâ(TM)d already seen, Iâ(TM)ve seen all the new ones. How the fuck am I supposed to know now?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'dâ(TM)answerâ(TM)yourâ(TM)commentâ(TM)butâ(TM)can't%20fucking(ahh shitâ(TM))readâ(TM)t.

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Thursday May 24, 2018 @06:01PM (#56669254)
    ... when will these websites STOP trying to outguess what I want to see on the web and when I want to see it. If I select "chronological order," maybe, just maybe, I want to view things in chronological order.

    .
    Don't your programmers have anything better to work on?

    • > "chronological order,"

      I started uploading videos to YouTube just over twelve years ago, and I can't even see my own videos sorted by date. At least Google is consistent in not allowing both content creators and consumers to sort by date.

    • by Desler ( 1608317 )

      Yeah these “algorithmic feeds” are annoying as fuck. I don’t need the service guessing what i want to see.

      • >>Yeah these "algorithmic feeds" are annoying as fuck. I don't need the service removing what it doesn't want me to see.

        Fixed.

    • by khchung ( 462899 )

      How else could they charge extra for the top spot in people’s feed?

      • How else could they charge extra for the top spot in people’s feed while making it less obvious to the average viewer that that's what they're doing. (FTFY)

    • Granted they've always been a bit weird with how they show content in search results and the like but lately it's become much more extreme, to the point that result sets being given to me through their search rarely matches up with what I want. They use previous search data to coach the next result despite being in another subject area altogether and it drives me bonkers.

      I've almost completely moved over to DuckDuckGo now, it's not the greatest but at least searches seem to come back with what I want and no

  • by DontBeAMoran ( 4843879 ) on Thursday May 24, 2018 @06:16PM (#56669318)

    Netflix keeps doing the same thing to my watch list and it's fucking annoying.

    • Worse, Netflix buries the watch list - and on Roku, the position is constantly changing.

    • My favorite is when Netflix puts "continue watching" and "my list" 5-6 lists down! Why would I want 5 other categories first?

      Might as well just put them last, I can scroll up to the bottom faster at this point.

      • I don't think you understand. I'm using an Apple TV and the menus are always in the correct order.

        They're randomizing my list of things I've added to watch later, so sometimes something I added three months ago shows up before something I added five minutes ago. And when viewing the list and viewing more details about a movie/show, sometimes when I simply go back to the list it's randomized again!

        • I get both of those on my Smart TV. List placement and order within the lists randomly change almost daily. Then a show I'll watch 5 minutes of will show in my continue watching for half a year.... And then a show I've watched 40 episodes of will vanish from the list within 2 weeks. Netflix doesn't seem to know which show I'd rather continue watching.
  • Just like Facebook (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 24, 2018 @06:16PM (#56669322)

    They're almost certainly doing this to promote channels and content that they deem to be acceptable. Facebook does the same thing: posts that they believe will drive more engagement will appear more frequently. Posts that they don't think will drive cash or are simply things that they disagree with will appear less frequently, if at all.

    A lot of content creators lately, like Mark Dice, have been announcing that their subscribers aren't seeing their new videos at all in their subscription feeds. This is probably an early implementation of this "feature"

  • by Anubis IV ( 1279820 ) on Thursday May 24, 2018 @06:19PM (#56669342)

    YouTube already serves up RSS feeds for every channel (e.g. Postmodern Jukebox's feed [youtube.com]). You can find the link in the page source for any channel. They also have feeds for playlists and likely some other pages as well, though I haven't seen them in a casual glance through the source. Thankfully, I can drop a link to any random channel or playlist on my RSS client of choice [feedbin.com] and it'll parse the link to that channel or playlist from the page, allowing me to manage my subscriptions on a more granular level than what YouTube itself offers. For instance, BuzzFeed puts out a ton of videos that I have zero interest in (nearly all of their videos and content, in fact!), but their weekly Worth It [youtube.com] series of videos are something that my wife and I find entertaining to watch together, and that feed lets me subscribe to just those videos, without having to mess with any sort of filtering or other stuff.

    In the end, I find that managing my subscriptions via RSS is easier (one place to manage all subscriptions), more configurable (Feedbin has some powerful filtering actions that can be applied if there isn't a playlist/channel with the specific content I want), and it's also better at protecting my privacy to boot, thanks to the fact that my subscriptions to that feed is now aggregated with everyone else using the RSS service, meaning that YouTube/Google has way less visibility into my interests and preferences.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 24, 2018 @06:47PM (#56669492)

      Ohhh wish you hadn't divulged the use of RSS to avoid YT's stupid antics.. Now they'll probably remove the RSS feed and then we'll be stuck with YT's stupid antics... Thanks a lot.... :-

    • Ah, didn't even think of using RSS for that. In the end, I'll just spend less time navigating through youtube, just showing up on the right video page and leaving right after it.
      I'm sure that's exactly what Youtube's exec wanted; people spending less time on their platform while still getting the content.
  • People this is all about adverting.Someone is not happy with the viewing order because an advertiser is complaining about it. I mean what real reason would google need to move MY subscriptions from the order I made them??
    ""Disclaimer""PS i never sign into YouTube and don't have a list lol"

    Its all about the ad dollars and the advertisers i mean shit, now everyone going to demand for a setting to leave their setting choices alone.....
    Choise 1 googles prime advertisers on top.
    Choice 2. you don't get one
    • >Its all about the ad dollars and the advertisers

      Well, the thing is, why don't the advertisers just advertise on whatever the users are watching? What's the problem with that?

      The problem is just that the advertisers want to control what you're watching, nothing controversial or out of the mainstream, just lukewarm pabulum.

      But the advertisers should not think that they are "sponsoring" Youtube videos. Rather, they are simply accessing Youtube users (regardless of what the users happen to be watching).

  • by epine ( 68316 ) on Thursday May 24, 2018 @07:26PM (#56669692)

    This morning, on my YouTube account, in the YouTube comment box, cut and copy were working, but paste (keyboard and mouse) were not. However, drag and drop paste was working normally, so I just had to use a two-step workaround (paste somewhere else, then drag and drop).

    My configuration is pretty weird, so I don't draw conclusions right away. Most of these anomalies go away within a few days.

    That said, it was standard-issue social media helplessness nevertheless. Nothing about my user interaction is fully documented or defined, and YouTube reserves the right to fuck over any damn thing they want at any damn time.

    I don't approve of this business model and I govern myself accordingly. If I care at all about my words, I keep my own copies of everything I contribute to a social media platform. I never click "subscribe" on any feed whatsoever. And I'm always prepared to M*A*S*H my way to the next social media Hamburger Hill user interface at the code drop of a random A/B whim.

    ———

    The one time I really lost it was when Google changed the format of my search results to some god-awful multiplicity of carousels, rather than just the simple links. I spent two hours crafting some user CSS to dis-abominate the worst of it, and it was still bad.

    But fortunately either I dropped out of Satanic side of this particular A/B test pool, or Google's telemetry convinced them it was the worst idea since hydrogenated palm oil, and about a week later my Google search results were back to a bearable normality.

    Personal policy: never click on a carousel link ever. Hate the damn things, may they all die in a fire.

    And if the carousel moves on its own accord, exit stage left within 1500 ms (20% chance your back button is screwed over, so my mouse is always heading for the history drop-down, just in case).

    You'll find me further down, clicking on the REST of the page.

    If I really have to stick around and interact with a moving carousel, I usually font-change or resize and window drag my window until the carousel is entirely off screen.

    Finding myself feeling compelled to linger on a carousel page usually triggers the five whys: why I am accessing this page? why am I accessing this site? why I am engaging this topic? why am I using this search tool? why I have taken on this project?

    ———

    Why am I such a die-hard crank about carousel evasion?

    Because it works. The gradient of life is complex, with not many robust signals. There are few signals I've encountered with a better cognitive ROI than fleeing the carousel, gleefully heedless of any small, short-term pain.

    So you can imagine my humid outward eardrum pucker the day that Google randomly larded up my Google results with cards and carousels, and carousels and cards.

    ———

    Google probably sees this as just another of 10,000 A/B interface trials. My amygdala and my insula saw it differently. And those little suckers forget never.

    Antitrust investigation of Google? Well, the rational part of my brain thinks this is a bad thing, because Google is far from the worst offender. Meanwhile, a deep emotional center in my brain will dance a Black Swan gig.

    ———

    The arrogance of these social media empires: even when I'm at rage factor 11, there's still no button offered for me to punch out of an A/B trial gone hopelessly sideways, waaay down the Nung River, deep into permanent lizard-brain antipathy.

    Hey, Big Brother, hurry up with that 24/7 face-camera sentiment analysis, because you don't know what you don't measure. At least, I guess that's your best excuse.

  • "to try and serve you content that it thinks you'll want to see". Stop trying to guess what you think we want and let us figure it out for ourselves. Seriously, you are fucking jerks and I hope you all die in a fire.
    You aren't making the world better, you are creating a generation of useless fucking robots that can't think for themselves that will ultimately cause great harm.
  • Just stop it, Youtube, stop fucking with our shit in the hopes of squeezing another nickel out of the users somehow.

    Youtube has gone to shit with their rules about what you can play and when. It's 2018- we can send a man to the Moon and put metal in a microwave, but I can't play a fucking video with my tablet cover closed?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    You used to be able to message friends, video answer, depend on getting notifications just by subbing. Fuck youtube experiments. just deliver updates in chronological fucking order because I can look through a back catalog to see more if I want, you don't need to worry your pretty head bout nuthin.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    ... serve you content that it thinks you'll want to see ...

    So, YouTube is trying to be the video version of Facebook. We've seen what 'thinking' does to Facebook pages.

  • They screwed up subs for some reason, then added that bell notification.... and now apparently (I've never bothered with it) that bell has the option of "tell me always" and "tell me sometimes." But even then apparently "tell me always" doesn't always work??? I don't think YouTube knows what "subscribe" means anymore. Or my other favorite is their algorithm for related videos. A guy who tries to cover news stuff was discussing gun control debates, and all the related videos were apparently children's nur
  • While we're on the topic of subscription stupidity, could somebody clarify why we need the bell feature in addition to the subscription feature? I'm already notified about new videos in my subscription feed, I don't need the bell to send me messages when new videos are posted.

    Oh, I get it. If subscriptions aren't chronological anymore, the bell is effectively a replacement for chronological notifications. I knew they innovated for good reason, and not just to give content creators another way to beg for

  • You had ONE job! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by swm ( 171547 ) <swmcd@world.std.com> on Friday May 25, 2018 @08:17AM (#56672154) Homepage

    Evidently, it was to break the UI.

    Well done!

  • The amount of ads I want to see is zero, and the kind is none. This is why I use an adblocker.

    As long as you don't care what I really want to see and only pretend you do while trying to abuse me, I don't care what your ad revenue is and only pretend to watch your ads while trying to get to my videos. Deal? Deal.

  • Seriously, just fuck off. Just fucking die already. None of this bullshit you are pulling was asked by anyone.

    Why do you dick around with your users? Because you get an erection? Are your dicks that small that you need to jerk others around?

    It's time for FTC to step in and break up Google. Sorry you fucked people over for too long. You got big and sloppy and provide NO VALUE to the user.

    You've turned into Microsoft. People use you NOT because they prefer you, but because they're too lazy to u

I've noticed several design suggestions in your code.

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