A very common question that gets asked about YouTube is whether or not the platform can ban you from commenting on videos, and it can be a very misleading question for one simple reason; it is YouTube’s platform, they can do what they want. The more appropriate question, then, is does YouTube ban you from commenting on videos? And the answer is a little complicated.
Firstly, YouTube does not seem to be openly banning people from commenting. They may ban people from the platform entirely, but that’s a different matter. Of course, if you are banned from YouTube, you are banned from commenting.
Now, onto the trickier side of the topic.
YouTube has been caught actively removing comments with specific words in them. This process appears to be automated and does not seem to carry any other penalty with it. That is, nobody seems to be getting banned or even warned about their comments. The comments just… disappear.
Crucially, however, those commenters can go on commenting after YouTube has decided to take one of them down. Not a ban, then. Of course, the phrases that YouTube has targetted here seem to be mostly bot-fodder, so maybe they are banning those accounts but no one is complaining about it because the banned accounts aren’t real.
YouTube may not be banning people from commenting overall, but individual YouTubers can certainly ban you from commenting on their videos. Of course, this only affects you if you try to comment on that specific YouTuber’s content, and saying it affects you is being a bit loose with the term.
In reality, a YouTube block is more what is known of as a “shadowban”. In other words, your comments will be hidden from the YouTube channel and no one else will be able to see them, but you will still be able to make them and will have no way of discerning that you have been blocked other than guessing from the lack of engagement. Well, unless the YouTuber explicitly tells you, that is.
Shadowbanning (also called “muting” on other platforms) is an effective way to stop troublesome commenters because they don’t know they’ve been blocked. In contrast, if YouTube told you that you were banned from commenting on a specific channel, you might go and make a new YouTube account so that you could comment from there instead.
The other way in which your commenting abilities may be curtailed is when comments for a particular video are disabled entirely. YouTubers have the option to disable comments when they upload a video, but don’t worry, this isn’t just you. If comments are disabled, it’s affecting everyone the same.
Of course, a video with disabled comments may not be down to the YouTuber not wanting discussion of their content. YouTube will automatically disable comments on videos that are either made for children or prominently feature children. In these cases, the YouTuber will not have a choice about the comments, as YouTube’s terms state that content for children has to be treated in this manner.
I’ve Been Blocked, What Now?
As with any situation like this, the first thing to consider is whether the blocking reflects poorly on you. Sure, some YouTubers are just very easy with the block button, and the fact that you were blocked by them may say more about them than you. That being said, it can’t hurt to take a moment to truly think about how things unfolded. If, on balance, you find that the YouTuber was probably justified in blocking you, it may be something you will want to work on in future.
There are other possibilities, however. For example, you may conclude that the YouTuber was justified in blocking you, but you are still comfortable with the way you handled the situation and do not feel the need to change your behaviour. In this situation, there is little to be done but move on. You do not wish to change and the YouTuber does not wish to engage with you.
You may also conclude that you were being perfectly civil/reasonable and that the YouTuber was entirely out of line in blocking you. Once again, there probably isn’t much to be done. If you are a YouTuber of a similar size and you consider the point of contention important enough, you could perhaps open a dialogue that way, but the chances are you will once again have to put the situation behind you and move one.
One final note in this regard; if you are not sure who the reasonable party was, there is no harm in telling the tale to someone who can be unbiased and getting their opinion. Just remember that you will have to represent events fairly if you want to get a useful answer.
When I Should I Block?
That was all well and good for someone who has being blocked, but what if you’re the one doing the blocking? If you’re a YouTuber who is dealing with a commenter you would rather not be dealing with, when should you hit that block button?
The first thing to consider is whether the commenter is being disruptive or creating a negative experience for other commenters, or if they are just rubbing you the wrong way. It might be that they get on with your other viewers but you don’t like them, in which case we’d suggest leaving them be and just ignoring their comments. If they are making the experience bad for everyone, however, drop the banhammer!
The other thing to consider is what kind of community you want to foster. For example, if you are trying to run a family-friendly channel and a particular commenter repeatedly swears or says unsavoury things, it may be worth asking them to tone it down. If that fails, block.
For channels with large followings, this would obviously be an impractical approach, but if you set these ground rules early on when your channel is small, you will usually find that your community becomes self-policing once you start hitting the kind of numbers that are impossible to manage alone.
Top 5 Tools To Get You Started on YouTube
Very quickly before you go here are 5 amazing tools I have used every day to grow my YouTube channel from 0 to 30K subscribers in the last 12 months that I could not live without.
1. VidIQ helps boost my views and get found in search
I almost exclusively switched to VidIQ from a rival in 2020.
2. Adobe Creative Suite helps me craft amazing looking thumbnails and eye-catching videos
I have been making youtube videos on and off since 2013.
When I first started I threw things together in Window Movie Maker, cringed at how it looked but thought “that’s the best I can do so it’ll have to do”.
I soon realized the move time you put into your editing and the more engaging your thumbnails are the more views you will get and the more people will trust you enough to subscribe.
That is why I took the plunge and invested in my editing and design process with Adobe Creative Suite. They offer a WIDE range of tools to help make amazing videos, simple to use tools for overlays, graphics, one click tools to fix your audio and the very powerful Photoshop graphics program to make eye-catching thumbnails.
Best of all you can get a free trial for 30 days on their website, a discount if you are a student and if you are a regular human being it starts from as little as £9 per month if you want to commit to a plan.
3. Rev.com helps people read my videos
You can’t always listen to a video.
Maybe you’re on a bus, a train or sat in a living room with a 5 year old singing baby shark on loop… for HOURS. Or, you are trying to make as little noise as possible while your new born is FINALLY sleeping.
This is where Rev can help you or your audience consume your content on the go, in silence or in a language not native to the video.
Rev.com can help you translate your videos, transcribe your videos, add subtitles and even convert those subtitles into other languages – all from just $1.50 per minute.
A GREAT way to find an audience and keep them hooked no matter where they are watching your content.
4. PlaceIT can help you STAND OUT on YouTube
I SUCK at making anything flashy or arty.
I have every intention in the world to make something that looks cool but im about as artistic as a dropped ice-cream cone on the web windy day.
That is why I could not live on YouTube without someone like PlaceIT. They offer custom YouTube Banners, Avatars, YouTube Video Intros and YouTube End Screen Templates that are easy to edit with simple click, upload wizard to help you make amazing professional graphics in minutes.
Best of all, some of their templates are FREE! or you can pay a small fee if you want to go for their slightly more premium designs (pst – I always used the free ones).
5. StoryBlocks helps me add amazing video b-roll cutaways
I mainly make tutorials and talking head videos.
And in this modern world this can be a little boring if you don’t see something funky every once in a while.
I try with overlays, jump cuts and being funny but my secret weapon is b-roll overlay content.
I can talk about skydiving, food, money, kids, cats – ANYTHING I WANT – with a quick search on the StoryBlocks website I can find a great looking clip to overlay on my videos, keeping them entertained and watching for longer.
They have a wide library of videos, graphics, images and even a video maker tool and it wont break the bank with plans starting from as little as £8.25 ($9) per month.