A YouTube channel which is just a teenaged guy sitting in a bedroom playing computer games while an army of disturbing dolls chant "Don't Forget to Like and Subscribe. Don't Forget to Like and Subscribe" and hands open boxes containing every possible consumer good

If you liked this toot and you want to see more of it, remember to click Like and Subscribe to my channel, now, right now, oh god, the Algorithm is watching us both, do it, do it before they put me back in the cell again, feed me those precious click points, if we don't obey the Algorithm we're all dead, you don't know what it's like in here, they watch our every move, the rations came late today and they were sour and mouldy and only my vast charisma can get me out, CLICK THAT BOX DAMMIT CLICK

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I don't even know what 'subscribing to a YouTube channel' *is". Why would I do that? It's a web page. If I want to go to it again, I bookmark it. (Actually I just leave one of my 5000 tabs open and then I search in my browser, but I totally could bookmark it if I still remembered how to raise the menu bar now that it's always hidden). What does subscribing get me? An email? In my email app? To tell me that a web page has refreshed? Do any of you people realise just how silly that sounds?

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@natecull .....It puts them all one one page, so I don't have to check every single page one by one for the several hundred channels I subscribe to, some of which only update once a year or so.

@Canageek but... That's the thing, if I subscribe to a thing now I feel this massive pressure to have to watch every thing, but if I don't, I can just quietly sidle away and nobody is they wiser. They don't know that I've become a Bad Fan Who Doesn't Consume Every Product and I don't have a burden of crushing expectations. It's a win-win!

@natecull Right, but shaming people who do use subscriptions to track lots of things so they don't miss things isn't nice? Implying we are idots for wanting all our videos in once place is kinda rude?

@Canageek @natecull did nate shame you for using subscriptions, or imply you are an idiot? he’s just talking about his setup (incidentally, also my setup) is incongruous with the presumed usage model

@garbados @natecull " What does subscribing get me? An email? In my email app? To tell me that a web page has refreshed? Do any of you people realise just how silly that sounds?"

So yeah, that pretty much says anyone who uses subscriptions is a silly idiot who doesn't know how the internet works

@garbados @natecull I don't like it when tech elitists, even ones I like, imply I don't' know what I'm doing and make categorical statements like that?

@Canageek @natecull not to speak for nate, but i really don’t think that’s what is happening. he talks about HIS model, and when you offer yours for comparison, he doesn’t say “that’s stupid” but “it doesn’t fit my model”, the subtext of which is that his model is ignored in software design because it hampers the monetization of surveillance.

@Canageek It's not that I'm shaming you so much as that I honestly do not understand. People must have vastly different use cases for YouTube than I do.

Ie: Following lots of different, continuous, yet periodically updating channels, and feeling anxiety about missing an update. Maybe it's just that I've not yet seen a channel I enjoy following. Or that I tend to binge-watch and search a lot.

All the YouTubers who beg people to subscribe because metrics, I am absolutely shaming them though.

@Canageek
Well, you still get videos from channels you don't subscribe to on that page if you watch their content and interact with it.
So probably subscribing makes the videos more likely to show up.
Probably, there's no way of knowing for sure. The Algorithm is as mysterious as it is inscrutable...
@natecull

@Hyolobrika @natecull No, you are mixing up the youtube front page and the subscriptions page. If you click subscriptions it gives you every video you have clicked subscriptions on, in order from most recent to some point in the past.

The front page servers you algorithmic stuff that usually doesn't work and usually thinks I need to rewatch the same video I watched yesterday again. It will still show you videos from places you unsubbed.

A *lot* of people don't seem to know about the subscriptions page for some reason? That is why there was suddenly such an interest in getting you to push the bell icon. There was this myth that if you didn't youtube wouldn't show you every video you subscribed to, and people complaining youtube wasn't showing them stuff they subscribed to, but it turns out they weren't going to the clearly labelled subscription button?

@Canageek @Hyolobrika

<< A *lot* of people don't seem to know about the subscriptions page for some reason. That is why there was suddenly such an interest in getting you to push the bell icon. >>

Ah! That would explain it.

And yes, I'm one of those people. I've never visited YouTube's "subscriptions" page - because why would I? On every other site on the Web, a "subscription" means either 1. Pay us money (no?) or 2. Let us spam you with emails (also no). It's a thing you learn to avoid.

@Canageek @Hyolobrika

I guess it must be a learned interaction pattern from the RSS and Podcast era that migrated to YouTube when podcasts became channels. For some reason I never did podcasts (maybe because not having public transport commutes?) and the few times I tried RSS to read blogs I hated it. So the idea of 'subscribing to a feed' became alien to me (except on Twitter and Fediverse).

@natecull @Hyolobrika Yeah, might be a generational thing, they never really sorted out what to call following something.

Follow, subscribe, join, friend, etc. Every website wanted their own language for the thing, so we never really got a good way of doing it.

Subscribe makes sense to me, as its like subscribing to a magazine, you do the thing and you see every issue. I got into it with news websites and webcomics, which makes them about 100x easier to follow.

I remember reading webcomics before RSS. Bookmark the one you read last, then every few weeks check all 100 you've bookmarked, one by one, eventually deleting the ones that don't update, gradualling getting 10 old bookmarks to that webcomic in your Flipside folder or whatever you need to delete....

@Canageek @Hyolobrika

You know, this has suddenly answered my bafflement about why websites all started sprouting "give us your email to subscribe" links in recent years.

Are blog-type sites just trying to replicate the old RSS subscription usage pattern, but people don't use RSS anymore, so they have to do it by email now?

@natecull @Hyolobrika That seems very likely. RSS is still around, so some reason people stopped using it when google reader went away?

I still have dozens of RSS feeds in my reader

@Canageek @natecull @Hyolobrika I am enjoying the clarity that came from this discussion

@natecull @Hyolobrika yeah, I subscribe to 346 channels. Many of which haven't updated in literal years (but could start updating again, you know?) Or that only put out one video a month, or every few months, etc.

See, I associate subscription with RSS, and watch people get confused when they have to pay to subscribe on twitch (what they want to do is follow).

I agree an RSS feed is better, but am not going to check 346 pages on a regular basis, and you've got stuff like Clickspring (last video 4 months ago, 11 months before that), Steve1989MREInfo (Will put out two videos in a month, then go three without anything), etc

@natecull @Canageek @Hyolobrika The terminology is confusing, but the difference between Subscriptions and Home is whether you're choosing the content vs the algorithm. I'll go to considerable lengths (eg. disabling history, using ad block rules to hide related videos) to stop the algorithm directing my viewing, because it's a brain-poisoning machine.

@nebby
Idk. I've found some interesting videos recommended by the algorithm. Like one about the history of r/place
@natecull @Canageek

@Hyolobrika @natecull @Canageek It can certainly show you a lot of interesting stuff. I don't need it, but it's a trade off.

@nebby @Canageek @Hyolobrika

Ah! That's really helpful to know. I avoid Home for much the same reason.

@Canageek
I didn't know about that. Thanks.
I typically don't analyse every site I visit in much detail. I just skim them.
@natecull

@natecull Yeah, I do subscribe since Youtube's RSS feeds are broken bullshit now. It's that or follow each person's twatbird and hope they post links to each video.

@natecull your just memeing,sure, but I use subscribing a lot - it's nice to get email about a new video in that one channel I really want to watch

@natecull subscribing works well for channels about stuff like electronics projects, car maintenance and detailing where content is only produced once every two weeks or thereabouts (and I monitor about 3 channels in German and a similar amount in English). The issue is with the level of desperation particularly younger creators have about liking and subscribing (not as much a thing on channels where people have normal day jobs in places like garages or are retired)

@vfrmedia I understand from a friend who runs an educational channel that YouTube metrics basically mean a creator MUST get subscribes if they want to be paid, so it's very much a "the system says we have to do this, so we do this" thing.

It does feel very desperate though, and it's very off-putting for me. I am wired to react strongly and negatively if I feel someone is giving me a pressure sell technique.

@natecull the older YouTubers (and the Germans) tend to be less insistent about the subscriptions, and more honest about declaring sponsored products or things they were sent probably because they have other day jobs (and the tax authorities and advertising regulators could give them hassle if they /aren't/ honest).

Whats worrying is there seems to be *less* integrity for content aimed at teens/young adults particularly the "popular" stuff..

@natecull

I also suspect one /big/ reason for the relatively good behaviour of folk on motoring related channels is they generally feature their own personal cars in the channel, and these vehicles are often distinctive (even without the registration marks being shown!).

If they don't behave well, every traffic cop in their area will be on their case (this is also why you very rarely see people hooning on YT videos, many drivers have been caught this way)

@natecull it's so you can view an aggregated list of updates, like on an RSS reader or a fedi timeline

@natecull This is a good point, with the caveat that I get pretty damn bad w/ organizing browser bookmarks b/c "out of sight out of mind". With other ppl's websites, organizing no longer my problem (until their backend fails) :D!

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