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.
sam pepper recently made a video of him pinching random girls butts without their permission. please use your magic internet powers to fix this
I’m horrified by what I saw of the video. It seems to me an obvious violation of YouTube’s Terms of Service, and I don’t understand why YouTube hasn’t already taken it down. This harassment and abuse can call itself pranks, but it isn’t; it’s abuse. It needs to stop—whether uploaded to YouTube or vine or facebook or wherever. It’s just reprehensible, and further indication that we have a lot to discuss when it comes to consent, harassment, and abuse both online and off.
Obviously I don’t have magical internet powers to fix this (or any other problems), but I do understand that Hank and I have a platform, and we are trying to amplify and fund creators who are fighting to inform more people about abuse and consent, including Kelly Kend’s documentary. A nerdfighter task force continues to develop a video series about consent and abuse online, which is taking a while because it needs to be properly researched and written and funded and so on, but it will happen.
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.
Great post, Hank! Top Comments blows chunks, and we can’t wait for it to get fixed. When you’re on YouTube, bury trolls by not replying to them, and instead reply to nerdfightastic comments. Thanks, and DFTBA.
“I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.”—Mary Oliver, from the book A Thousand Mornings
Have you and Hank ever considered doing the Amazing Race?
Hank and I think television is cool, but we don’t really want to be on it, especially not in a sustained way. This is not in any way a dig at people who like being on TV. Just a personal preference thing. We like the Internet, where we control the stuff we make and get to decide how it gets sent out into the world.
Also I find it difficult to stand on a table, so I don’t think I’d really be a good Amazing Race candidate.
Hey nerdfighters. As you know, the Project for Awesome is coming up (on December 17th!) and we at vlogbrothers headquarters are working very hard to make sure this year’s P4A is a great one.
This year, we would like to include a new kind of perk, kind of like the Nerdfighter Art perk, but with music!
We are looking for any and all songs by nerdfighters, about nerdfighteria. These songs will be collected and formatted into a compilation album (or compilation albumS, depending on how many submissions come in) that will be available for purchase as a downloadable perk as part of the Project for Awesome Indiegogo campaign. Money will be raised for charity. People will be able to acquire lots of great nerdfighter music. Super cool stuff.
Read on for submission guidelines and the like.
All songs must be either about nerdfighteria, about any/all of John’s books, or covers of Hank’s songs.
Artist name & song title must be included with your submission. You may also include a link to your music on the web (bandcamp, itunes, etc), and any other text about the song you like.
Songs must be submitted in as high a quality as possible; lossless files (AIFF, WAV) are preferred.
Submit all songs via wetransfer to email@example.com with “P4A MUSIC” included somewhere in the message.
Submissions will be accepted until November 1st, 2014.
Multiple submissions are very much allowed, but please send them in one at a time!
We will reach out to those whose songs are selected for the compilation to confirm their inclusion no later than December 1st.
If you have any questions, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re very excited to listen to all the lovely things you make!
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
W.B. Yeats, “The Second Coming.”
I find myself thinking about Yeats’ “rough beast” a lot of late. Yeats thought a shared apocalypse was nigh. But it seems to the beast comes for us one at a time.
Hello! I know this isn't the loveliest of questions, but in your UN child morality post you said that one of the preventable diseases that 1/3 of children die from is diarrhea. I know diarrhea is disgusting and unpleasant and all, but how do you die from it?
You die from diarrhea because of dehydration. Sometimes kids have diarrhea that requires IV hydration, for instance, and there’s very little of that available in rural areas in the developing world. There are much better rehydration solutions than there used to be, but the only good solution is 1. better sanitation so toilets don’t flow into water that gets used for drinking, and 2. clean water.
When he was 2, my son had a diarrhea illness (campylobacter) that in the developing world could’ve proven fatal, but he was fine because he lives in the U.S. and we can go to CVS and buy Pedialyte, and if we couldn’t keep him hydrated, we would’ve taken him to the hospital. Bugs that cause childhood diarrhea are almost never fatal in the U.S., but more than half a million kids under five are going to die of diarrheal illnesses for want of clean waters, good toilets, and antibiotics that cost 20 cents per dose.
It’s infuriating. I saw a boy in Ethiopia who was extremely sick and possibly dying because of diarrhea, and it’s just so needless. He probably had rotavirus, and there’s a rotavirus vaccine, but it costs $2.50, which means many communities can’t provide it.
I am so angry about that boy’s needless suffering. I am so outraged about the needless deaths of millions of children every year. The progress in health outcomes in Ethiopia and many other countries in the developing world over the last 20 years is astounding. It’s unprecedented in human history. But we need to invest much more to get people in the developing world the basic resources they need to afford the 20-cent antibiotics and the $2.50 vaccines.
you had one non-american/white, non-stick thin character and you get a white,blonde stick thin actress to play her
1. I have never written a central female character who was described as thin other than Lindsey Lee Wells. Also, Margo and Q are two of the only white-identified people I’ve written, so I don’t really know how to respond to that part of your statement.
2. I do not cast the movie adaptations of my books. I am a novelist, not a casting director. I did not choose who would play Margo anymore than I choose where the movie will be filmed or what the budget or soundtrack will be.
3. That said, I think Cara will do a wonderful job as Margo. As I’ve learned in the past few hours, a lot of people who don’t know Cara have extremely strong opinions about her as a person, which is weird, because they don’t know her. They have a lot of opinions about her body, too, especially its supposed inadequacies. Cara is living, on a much larger stage, the Margo Roth Spiegelman experience: She receives massive amounts of attention but she’s more a mirror than a window. The way people respond to her seems to be a reflection of one’s own experience and worldview more than it has anything to do with the actual person Cara is. I think this is part of why Cara’s audition was so powerful: Her understanding of Margo is deep and profound and about a lot more than the shape of her body.
And if you’ve started work on a rug for Episode 10 - Fritz Haeg - Make a Rug, keep on going! Fritz would like to give you a guys a WHOLE YEAR before we consider making a highlights video. So even if you thought you were done, wait until you wear through some more t-shirts and add to it throughout the year.
Always remember that there are no hard and fast due dates for these. We routinely do highlights videos so we can share with everyone the good work you’ve done, but we’ll continue to reblog responses as they come in, and will consider making additional highlights videos for a particular assignment once enough time has passed.
This year has been weird and wonderful and lovely in so many ways and also difficult and terrifying in so many others, and definitely the year that has featured the most crying of my life since I was probably five.
And through it all, so many nerdfighters have been kind and empathetic and supportive of me and my work. And I’m so grateful for that. It is has been a great gift to me this past year, whether I was in the hospital or at a movie premiere. So yeah, thanks. That’s all.
Were I not frail and half broken inside, I wouldn’t be thinking of them, who are, like me, half broken inside. I would not climb the cemetery hill by the church To get rid of my self pity. Crazy Sophies, Michaels who lost every battle, Self-destructive Agathas Lie under crosses with their dates of birth and death. And who Is going to express them? Their mumblings, weepings, hopes, tears of humiliation? In hospital muck and the smell of urine, With their weak and contorted limbs, And eternity close by. Improper. Indecent. Like a dollhouse crushed by wheels, like An elephant trampling a beetle, an ocean drowning an island. Our stupidity and childishness do nothing to fit us For this variety of last things. They had no time to grasp anything of their individual lives, Any principium individuationis. Nor do I grasp it, yet what can I do? Enclosed all my life in a nutshell, Trying in vain to become something Completely different from what I was.
Thus we go down into the earth, my fellow parishioners, With the hope that the trumpet of judgment will call us by our names. Instead of eternity, greenness and the movement of clouds. They rise then, thousands of Sophies, Michaels, Matthews, Marias, Agathas, Bartholomews. So at last they know why And for what reason?
“To have great pain is to have certainty; to hear that another person has pain is to have doubt. (The doubt of other persons, here as elsewhere, amplifies the suffering of those already in pain.) … The rarity with which physical pain is represented in literature is most striking when seen within the framing fact of how consistently art confers visibility on other forms of distress (the thoughts of Hamlet, the tragedy of Lear, the heartache of Woolf’s “merest schoolgirl”). Psychological suffering, though often difficult for any one person to express DOES have referential content, IS susceptible to verbal objectification, and is so habitually depicted in art that, as Thomas Mann’s Settembrini reminds us, there is virtually no piece of literature that is NOT about suffering.”—The Body in Pain by Elaine Scarry. (Been thinking a lot lately about the experiences—physical pain being one, but I think there are others—that are rendered invisible by the inability of language to describe them referentially, or else the dominant culture’s inability to hear the voices that are describing them.)