Near the end of 2021, YouTube made the controversial decision to make dislike counts private across the entire service. You can still dislike YouTube videos with the thumbs down button, but the only people who will ever see those dislikes are the channel’s owners. At the time, YouTube explained that the goal was to protect creators from harassment and dislike attacks, but it also removed a potentially valuable metric that viewers could use to evaluate a video.
Pros and cons aside, dislike counts probably aren’t coming back soon (if ever), but there are a few alternatives. One is a browser extension, such as Return YouTube Dislike, which effectively restores the feature on YouTube.com. Another is a site being hailed as “the Rotten Tomatoes of YouTube,” where users can review their favorite (or least favorite) channels.
Earlier this week, one user disappointed with the removal of YouTube’s dislike counts took to Reddit to promote their new site Favoree. Rather than simply giving a channel a thumbs up or thumbs down, you can give it a rating out of five stars and even write a review. That way, you can actually see why people like or dislike a given channel.
This is a new site, so only a small handful of YouTube channels are currently represented (much less have many ratings or reviews), but the channel pages themselves convinced me to spend a few minutes browsing around. For example, Summoning Salt is a stellar channel a friend turned me on to a few years ago, which features long-form documentary-style videos about the history of speedrunning video games. The channel page on Favoree features a short description, a list of relevant keywords, embedded videos, and several written reviews.
Obviously, this is only going to work if Favoree really picks up steam and thousands of users start writing reviews and submitting new channels. That said, it’s an interesting project, and the creator is accepting feedback on Reddit and acting on many of those suggestions rather quickly. It will be interesting to track Favoree to see how it develops.