Tuesday, December 30, 2014

YouTube: the 1% sweet spot in ratings



Many reasons may lead you to watch a video on YouTube. Maybe you're a frequent YouTube user like I am and you're subscribed to 200 channels. Or maybe you're arguing with someone who told you to watch that one ultimate video that supposedly puts the debate to rest with rock-solid arguments.

YouTube lets viewers rate the video by giving it a "thumbs up" or "thumbs down". From my observation, and it's just a hint of the video's quality you can expect based on the ratings, the sweet spot of a really good video is: 1% downvotes against 99% upvotes.

There are exceptions of course, and there are social dynamics that may affect the rating of a video. Imagine for instance that an interest group, an online community, decides to "raid" the video of an opposing group! The rating will go down, down, down. But this kind of raid generally has effects limited in time. So over the years, more viewers are likely to come by and vote sincerely, without the bias of the raid, and balance the ratings, thereby reducing the bias caused by the raid. But raids are not entirely negative ; though YouTube viewers may be somewhat representative of society at large (but a bit more progressive in average), the "active" viewers likely to take part in such raids may be more learned than the average. Which is why YouTube ratings are generally favorable to progressive scientific ideas and unfavorable to bigoted ones.

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