How is thumbs an effective feedback method?

by Sayraphim on February 5, 2020

This is a first for me! I have a video that’s attracted some thumbs down…

This video (which you can see here was put on a History playlist that the excellent Mr Beat complied at the end of last year. You can see the full playlist here.

I was really honoured to be invited to include something on this list and this particular video is the history vid I’m most proud of. And I picked up around 20 subscribers around the same time, which I assume was from people watching the list.

I also got my first ever thumbs down after the list was published, all 5 were on this video, so again I’m assuming it was from people watching the playlist. It’s made me very curious. What was it they didn’t like about the video?

  • Was it too long?
  • Did they not agree with the subject matter?
  • Did they not agree with just one point I made?
  • Did they not like the lighting?
  • Did they not like me in particular?
  • Did they not like my presentation style?
  • Did they not like the editing style?
    what made them thumbs down it?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not at all obsessing over this. As an artist I long ago learned that some people arn’t gunna like your art, no matter what you make. And that’s ok. My stuff isn’t everybody’s jam


But it did get me thinking, the ‘thumbs down’ thing isn’t any kind of constructive criticism, it doesn’t help me understand what they didn’t like about it and if you’re the kind of person chasing popularity, it doesn’t help you to change things, cause you’re guessing why they didn’t like it and what you have to change.

It’s such a strange feedback mechanism. I’m a tutor at uni and I mark assignments and essays from under grads to post grads. Although I’d occasionally dearly love to mark in gifs (this one often pops into my head when I’m marking an essay with sweeping generalisations or weird massive leaps


Imagine if you submitted an essay and you just got this back:


How is that helpful?

And so if the thumbs down thing ISNT about constructive criticism (and again, how could it be), what’s it for? In reddit, comments can be voted thumbs up or down and the more thumbs up a comment gets, the more it rises to the top so more people see it. But what about youtube? Maybe it affects The Algorithm, so the video is shown less often in searches? If so (and it’s impossible to know, The Algorithm is a closely guarded secret) it’s a community tool, so watchers know what other watches like and dislike.

But whatever it’s for, it’s still not helping content creators. 


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