Any YouTube creator who sticks with their channel beyond a handful of videos will eventually need a strategy for handling the most active among their subscribers.
While leaving comments unmoderated lets you avoid upsetting those whose comments would be removed, doing so risks that audience upsetting one another instead. Moderating, on the other hand, takes time and risks potential backlash from viewers who have their comments moderated out. However, most creators will find the result of comment moderation is a healthier and more welcoming community. Viewers will feel empowered to contribute to the discussion if they know they aren’t vulnerable to responses from trolls.
Generally, the benefits of moderating comments outweigh the drawbacks, but doing so can eventually come at the expense of productivity. As your subscriber count climbss, the amount of time spent moderating can become daunting.
YouTube offers channels a tool for overcoming this headache: comment moderators. This is where the hard work a channel puts into building a healthy community pays dividends. Loyal viewers make great moderators.
When comparing the comment sections of Vice News and the Vlogbrothers, it’s clear that two highly-respected YouTube channels of similar size can have starkly different communities. The Vlogbrothers generally have positive and supportive commenters, but on Vice News, it’s common to find flagrant racism on the first page of the discussion.
Part of this phenomena is probably due to the content of each channel, but Hank Green of the Vlogbrothers has been vocal about his enthusiasm for comment moderation. Vice News has taken a hands-off approach. Considering some of the blatantly offensive content in the comments, it’s safe to conclude they don’t look at it often.
How you decide to manage your community is up to you. Ultimately the decision boils down to whether or not you want to cultivate a true community or just a collection of detached voices.