YouTube filled with junk, needs video-veto system

YouTube, once a little known outpost for people to post their favorite video clips, has grown into one of the most popular sites on the Web. Its massive video library has given rise to a laundry list of catchphrases such as “Let’s get some shoes” and allowed us to revisit some of our favorite childhood TV shows. However, under all of the fun and laughter, a sinister underbelly threatens to destroy the Web site as we know it.

No, it’s not a hyper- virulent computer virus invented by a bunch of 17-year-old Moldovan computer hackers hellbent on showcasing that the former USSR still has some semblance of a leg up on Johnny Yankee. It’s something much worse: bad videos.

For every good video on YouTube, there are thousands of pathetic excuses for visual media. Look, I’m glad little Timmy managed to brave the trials and tribulations of the third grade and earn his diploma. Surviving a year full of Beverly Cleary books, spelling words and tetherball-related injuries is no easy task. But that doesn’t change the fact that the other 6 billion people on Earth don’t care.

I wish it ended with crappy family reunion/graduation videos, but we’re just beginning to scratch the surface. YouTube is chock full of bored suburban teenagers making videos to pass the time between heavy drinking and therapy appointments. Most of these videos contain references to inside jokes that no one outside of his of her circle of friends can understand. A bunch of kids running around with underwear over their heads screaming unintelligible garble about Kirk Cameron’s armpits may be hilarious to those involved, but it is utterly idiotic to anyone else. Also, it makes us wonder what kind of Guatemalan super-drug America’s disenchanted youth have managed to get their hands on this week.

Even if you’re in the mood for a good, old-fashioned music video, people have managed to clog the server with junk. For every actual music video, there are probably ten Japanimation music videos in which the song is left intact, but the background video has been replaced by clips from whatever Japanese cartoon the creator pleases. Instead of watching your favorite band rock out, you’re treated to an epileptic seizure-inducing battle scene from Dragonball Z. Look, I just wanted to watch a music video, not violently convulse in my computer chair. If you know people who make these kinds of videos, please implore them to get out of their parents’ basements and do something productive with their lives.

In order to curb the “bad movie” epidemic, YouTube’s creators need to institute a “blamming” system. Newgrounds.com, a Web site featuring humorous videos and flash games, sports such a method. When a piece of media receives consistently poor ratings, it is “blammed” and removed from the Web site. Thus, only well-liked pieces can remain long, and shoddily made ones quickly find their way to the graveyard. The process is fair, democratic and sorely needed on YouTube.

While often criticized, YouTube has given us its fair share of great videos. However, as the rising tide of litigation continues to remove copyrighted material from the site, the piles of filth that people upload will continue to form a larger percentage of YouTube’s total media.

The trend of haphazardly uploading movies that do nothing to entertain the populace needs to stop.

David Hall is a freshman news-editorial journalism major from Kingwood. His column appears Wednesdays.