YouTube's Community feature launches

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 14, 2016
Updated • Jan 4, 2018
Companies, Music and Video, Youtube

YouTube Community is a new feature of the world's most popular video streaming site that allows content producers to interact directly with their community.

One of the shortcomings of YouTube up until now was that interaction between video producers and users was severely limited.

Users had options to leave comments underneath videos, and to send a message on the channel's about page.

Both options are far from ideal, which is why many content producers use other sites and services for that purpose.

Popular choices include social networking sites like Facebook, other streaming services that offer better community features, or websites operated directly by channel staff.

A third-party report suggested in August that Google was about to launch a feature called Backstage on YouTube. Backstage supposedly would introduce options on YouTube to share photos, text, videos and polls with subscribers.

YouTube Community

Google revealed YouTube Community on the YouTube Creator Blog yesterday. The feature adds a new Community tab on YouTube that publishers may post to, and subscribers and YouTube users may reply to as well.

The feature is in beta currently. This means that only select channels participate in the community beta feature while all others don't have access to it yet.

The brand new Community tab on your YouTube channel gives you a new, simple way to engage with your viewers and express yourself beyond video. Now you can do things like text, live videos, images, animated GIFs and more, giving you easier, lightweight ways to engage with your fans more often in between uploads, in real time.

You can check out the Game Theorists channel on YouTube to see the Community feature in action.

Community enables channels to post messages, images and videos to that page. Google hopes that this will strengthen communities on YouTube, as communication is directly between channel staff and users.

The feature looks on first glance very similar to video pages on YouTube but with the difference that text or images may be posted instead of videos.

That's the only distinction for now it seems. The only other benefit is that it is easier to interact on the community page than on individual video pages.

Comments seem to be identical to those posted underneath videos, maybe less toxic but it remains to be seen if that remains or will deteriorate as well.

Now You: What's your take on the Community feature? Good move? Too late?


YouTube's Community feature launches
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YouTube's Community feature launches
Youtube Community is a new -- currently in beta -- feature on YouTube that allows content producers to post text, video or image messages.
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  1. Ammar said on January 25, 2020 at 12:29 pm

    Thanks for this article. This is what I had been looking for.

  2. P said on December 5, 2018 at 3:41 am

    Muddies up an already full interface. The tab is hard to find. Also it’s good for the “Youtube Stars” and narcissistic wannabees who either have a “following” based on who they are or desperately want one to feed their ego, but 98% of us are nobodies who put content on a channel every now and then that over time people people end up seeing and liking. To do anything more than that isn’t necessary, plus making videos is very time consuming. I don’t want something else to do on Youtube. In the end it’s a useless feature. Youtube is about content, it’s rarely about the creator.

  3. SocialMediaGrandpa said on September 17, 2016 at 3:44 am

    I’ll wait for them to retire this and introduce Youtube Telepathy. “Just think about stuff and pretend people are responding to you”. The perfect way to clean up the comments. Plus moderation will be eady. Just take your Xanax

  4. Ben said on September 15, 2016 at 10:44 am

    In their latest genius move they removed replying to people via +username.
    This is btw not active for all accounts yet. Hit my account some days ago, others had it for some time longer.
    Really annoying.

  5. Mikhoul said on September 14, 2016 at 7:32 pm


  6. gh said on September 14, 2016 at 10:30 am

    It’s neither “too little” nor “too late”, but who asked for this? Already a number of responses on the googleblog announcement page (by channel creators, I guess) are asking “How can I turn this off? “How can I opt out?”

    Before I blather, let me mention that “I don’t have a horse in this race.” Zero vested interest — I’ve never so much as “logged into” youtube (nor viewed a youtube page while logged into a google account) let alone upload a video or establish a “channel”. Similarly, I’ve no twitter account, no facebook account, no zippohippo account…

    Even if a channel owner can moderate/delete undesirable comments (and I get the impression that’s not possible — it’s supposed to be self-regulating? Too many thumbs-down and a comment gets buried?), clearly many channel owners would not welcome the timesink the extra task of moderation represents. If a channel owner could choose to charge a fee to join the channel’s community, the quality of comments might improve AND, for heavily-trafficked channels, the fee might cover the wages of a paid staffer/moderator.

    Seems to me that google (and many other sites) are attempting to forcibly redefine “community”. The framework they’re setup so far, that surely doesn’t fit my definition of what makes a community… or more accurately, an attractive community meetingplace”. The participants will self-define “what IS our community — our shared interests, ideals, mores, etiquette, memes, etc. The happy-dippy (mommy, where did the word hippie come from?) framework which youtube is providing, that can’t reasonably be expected to “foster the growth of healthy communities” — any dog can drop in, lift his leg and pee on their wall; the participants are essentially powerless to gate their community, to insist upon adherence to etiquette, to enforce community standards. Google expects that people would choose to populate such a neighborhood?

    Obviously (obvious to me) each online community has specific, distinct, needs — in terms of features/functionality of their shared platform, their online meeting place. Consider the myriad “plugins” which have been (and continually are) developed toward modifying “stock” discussion forum platforms to suit specialized group/member needs, Google seems deluded in believing they’ll successfully entice communities to embrace a one-size-fits-all platform. I’m saying: It’s not a matter of “wants”, it’s a matter of needs… and I’m unconvinced that google is prepared to build/offer a suitably customizable “communities” platform.

  7. CHEF-KOCH said on September 14, 2016 at 8:27 am

    YouTube is showing what is wrong with comment system on internet, it’s horrible.

    1. ams said on September 14, 2016 at 10:43 am

      Is youtube’s presentation of the coments supposed to be mobile-friendly?
      A viewer is a treated like a little rodent.
      The page doles out 10 more inane ‘comments’ each time the reader (scrolls down and) presses the “View more” lever. Press, press, press… yeah, like that’s gonna keep me “engaged”?

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