I sometimes feel weird about the way Hank and John talk about nerddom - as if having it become more mainstream is not a great thing. Isn’t it good if the children in younger generations can express themselves and value learning, without suffering for it? Sure, you had to suffer, but when we hold onto the idea that everyone else has to suffer like we did, in order to earn the right to be openly intelligent and interested in things, then we’re not making the world better, we’re sustaining the burdens that were placed on us by generations of dysfunction.
Let’s not make bullying be a rite of passage. It’s abuse. Let’s treat it not like something that the sufferer is responsible for suffering through, but something that’s not acceptable.
The only time I ever remember talking about Nerds this way was during my Ear Biscuit in which I refer to it as a personal failing. It’s a thing that I feel that I wish I didn’t feel…I feel many feelings that I wish I didn’t feel, not because they make me feel bad, but because they are bad ways of thinking. I work to try and not feel those ways.
Hey, Hank! I know you've done some research on pre-roll ads on YouTube videos, so I was wondering if you've come across a way to make sure that certain things don't play? I have a hard time with the horror movie trailers (woo anxiety!) that keep playing, but I obviously don't want to use AdBlock and hurt content creators. Is there a way to tailor your interests for pre-rolls?
Use AdBlock, you have my permission. Unfortunately, Google currently doesn’t have a system that allows you (or me) to tailor ads by type or content. I think that’s messed up, so if it’s interfering with your ability to enjoy content, you don’t just have my permission…I request that you please install AdBlock.
There are two questions here…first, what’s the evolutionary advantage to having egg-shaped eggs.
We’re not precisely sure but there are two prevailing theories. First, the “egg” shape is a sphere tapered to a point on one end creating a kind of wedge. The muscles inside the bird squeeze down on that wedge to push the egg out blunt-end first. A sphere would be much more difficult to squeeze out. (Not that either way sounds particularly fun to me.)
Second, a spherical egg would be able to roll forever in any given direction while an egg-shaped egg, when shoved, rolls in a circle around a central point, which would increase the likelihood that eggs would stay in a nest. This theory is reinforced by the fact that cliff-dwelling birds have an even more pronounced egg shape.
The other question in your question is how do birds make their eggs egg-shaped. Obviously, if it were left up to simplicity, the egg would be a perfect sphere. Unfortunately, I do not know the mechanics of how this shape is actually achieved inside of a bird…and I really would like to know.
So I didn’t make any official statement about Sam Pepper until today because I had a feeling that he was up to what I refer to as “shenanigans.” I figured that if I posted something and then he threw a curve ball, it would make whatever I said feel empty because it would have been condemning him for something he didn’t do. Then I’d have to post ANOTHER thing and who knows what that thing would say because I didn’t know what sort of shenanigans he was up to.
But of course I needed to say something so I just said “Anyone sexually harassing people in YouTube videos won’t be allowed at VidCon” which is not Sam-specific and also a policy that I am happy to enforce no matter what creator is in question.
Sam successfully hoodwinked us all (at least it seems so, as Sam is stating that those women agreed to be in the video) and so all of the conversations we had about whether it’s OK for him to grab women’s butts in the street (obviously not) are now invalid because they agreed to have their butts grabbed before the cameras started rolling.
Which is why sometimes you see me not responding immediately when something upsetting or odd is happening in the YouTube community. Not all information travels at the same speed. (Though, to be clear, I’m very pleased the YouTube community reacted in a concerted and open way to Sam’s video.)
Oh, and also, Sam says that it was all just an elaborate experiment with the goal of bringing to light the unspoken issue of abused men.
To be clear, I am in favor of discussing abuse of both men and women.
And for further clarity, Sam Pepper is still not welcome at VidCon. When the first video in question went live, I was immediately linked to several other videos of Sam Pepper harassing and abusing women. He handcuffs himself to strangers in the street…one of them, he says he won’t release until she kisses him, which she does.
He lassos them, he kisses them while they’re talking without ANY form of consent, he generally puts women in awkward situations and then takes advantage of the power imbalance granted to him by his gender and / or his status for “comedy” …I guess.
Now it is entirely possible that ALL of Sam’s videos in which he harasses women feature actors who have agreed to be in the video, and that the videos are just vile sketch comedy. However, all of those videos in which he didn’t get called out for harassing women were never responded to and never part of a broader social experiment to shed light on some important topic.
They simply sit there on Sam’s channel, showing young people that it’s OK for men to force themselves on women for a laugh…or worse.
I’m not going to guess about whether Sam really had parts 2 and 3 planned when he made “Part 1.” Whether or not he planned this to bring light to an issue that affected his friend or not, it was still in extremely poor taste in the vein of “let’s film ourselves pretending to beat a dog to shed light on issues of animal cruelty.”
But his previous track record shows a complete disregard for the impact of his videos on the world, and even if he is not abusing women in his videos (which it seems quite clear that he is) he is certainly perpetuating a culture of abuse that doesn’t mind when women are forced into submission for a laugh…as long as the cameras are rolling…
Thanks for taking the time to read this letter. As fellow YouTubers, we have much respect for others who put so much hard work into building their channel. It’s not easy, and you should be proud! That said, we’ve noticed that in your success, there has been a lack of respect in…
There are a lot of blurry lines in the world, but this isn’t one of them. I’m very pleased the our community has come together to discuss this openly and rationally. Five stars to Laci for binding people together in that, with an open and clear message.
I hope (expect even) that Sam will be taking the video down soon, because every moment it’s up is another moment where he’s normalizing assault and societal dominance of women.
Top Comments is Broken and Bad and it has made YouTube Worse
About a year ago, YouTube introduced a system that they thought would increase the level of discourse on the site and make it a better place for everyone. Instead of just showing you the most recent comments on a video, you would (by default) see algorithmically selected comments that would take into account who your friends were, how highly ranked commenters social media profiles were, how many people “like” the comment, and whether the comment inspiring discussion.
I never liked that system because, basically, it ensured that the average comment would never be seen because it would be buried by previous comments or comments from famous people. But I didn’t think it would be this bad.
Whether by design or by chance, Top Comments seems to weight whether comments inspire discussion extremely heavily. It also does not seem to take into account the number of downvotes a comment gets. As a result, the most controversial (and often disgusting) comments sit on the top of a video for everyone to see. Top Comments is a system that literally (and seemingly intentionally) promotes the worst sort of trolls.
Thus, every SciShow video has a promoted comment from the same guy arguing about creationism or global warming. Racist comments sit on top of the comments in Vlogbrothers videos. VLOGBROTHERS! The comments of Vlogbrothers used to be (and still largely are) the nicest place on the internet.
But because people acting terribly get promoted, the comments appear to be a terrifying and disturbing place.
I thought Top Comments was meant to prevent that…and it would be a very easy fix (simply weight downvotes heavily). And yet it hasn’t happened…which makes me wonder if YouTube actually likes the trolls. Maybe trolls in the comments increase time-on-site…a statistic that YouTube is praising very highly at the moment. That /really/ can’t be the case. I’m not allowing myself to walk down that line of reasoning because it indicates a lack of interest in the community that I cannot believe possible by my friends at YouTube.
So, for now, I believe that the YouTube comments team is bound up by some internal bureaucracy or logistical problem and wants very badly to fix this problem (that they MUST know about). That’s bad, but it’s not as bad as the alternative.
But whatever the cause, fix it, because it’s making the platform hostile and unpleasant to my viewers and me, and there are other platforms out there…
In the meantime, I would like to call on Nerdfighters for a bit of a hack. Trolls will be trolls…when you reply to their trolling you are literally promoting them. So, instead, click on “newest first” every time you go to a video and leave reply comments to good comments. Funny comments. Insightful comments…or leave one yourself. This shit sucks, maybe we can make it a little better.
Just watched (listened to?) Jonathan Mann's song about xoxofest. I want to watch (listen to?) your "Fuck your Dreams" talk. Is that something that is possible? Or did I have to be there to see it? Thanks :) and DFTBA.
It’ll be up on the internet eventually. The talk was pretty laser-focused at people who are a fair way into their professional careers (which is not my core Tumblr audience), but possibly it will be more universally interesting as well.
This is kind of random, but: Have you and John been asked to participate in a YouTube Rewind before? If so, what made you turn it down? And will you do it this year if they ask?
They always ask and we always say “WE ARE HONORED TO BE ASKED, let’s make it work!” and then the schedules do not align because our schedules are /totally/ messed up. Hopefully we’ll be in it this year, but let’s be honest…probably not.