In March 2021, on the Empire Minecraft forum, I promised that I was going to write something about my experience with YouTube, and release it as a Minecraft book there and as a webpage here. Then I didn't do it for a while, and the intended subject changed to my YouTube comments (I only noticed that I had initially intended to write about my experience with YouTube in general a few minutes ago). In August 2021 I finally wrote the book, as I had been putting it off. I wrote it completely linearly, with very little of a plan. It contains some interesting information, but it is mostly a ramble... if I got the meaning of that word right. Anyway, I am a man of my word, so here it is. Remember that I did not edit anything: in particular, I made some claims earlier on in the piece that later turned out to be wrong, and at some point near the end I forgot to create paragraphs. Oh well. :P I guess you tend to get better results, even for a flowing style of article, when you do a little planning, and are willing to make edits.

I am a very active media consumer. When I've watched a film I look up extra information about it, when I've listened to a new song of the music group I follow I want to share my opinion on it, when I see a friend post on Facebook I'll often comment, but I'll often comment on businesses' posts as well, and when I watch YouTube I very often leave a comment. Sometimes several.
This is a reflection on my YouTube comments. I do not yet know where it will go; it will likely be wholly uninteresting to you. But I hope it will be interesting to me to write it.
Google doesn't let you create YouTube channels when you're under the age of 13 (at least that's what I remember and that's what's the case according to what I find on the web; contrarily I have seen a lot of channels ran by children). When I turned 13, I created a YouTube channel, and started uploading videos. Besides introducing that option, having a channel also allowed me to post comments on other people's videos. And so I started doing so whenever I had something on my mind. And I have kept doing so until the present day. Sometimes I would stumble upon a very old comment of mine, often to my amusement. Sometimes also I'd see a comment from only a couple of years back that made me think "Was I really like that two years ago"? :P However, I only realised recently, in March of 2021, that I could get a list of all my comments up on YouTube, and thus see what the oldest are, and also see how many I've made until now, by using Google Takeout (this does only work if I go there via YouTube, as otherwise I will just get the 3 comments that I apparently accidentally made in 2015 with my personal Gmail account).
I wonder what the numbers are?
While I'm waiting on the new Takeout to finish (I reckon I've made a significant amount of comments since March, as it is July 2021 at the moment of writing), let me point out that the numbers here should be lower, maybe significantly lower, than the amount of comments I've actually put out. Because these are just the comments that are on YouTube at the moment. Removed comments won't show up. Now, I don't think I've removed many myself, nor do I see a reason why my comments would've got removed by YouTube or channel owners. However... there are lots of videos that have been deleted from YouTube that had comments from me on. SupraDarky's channel, for example, was removed last year, and I know I had commented on quite a few of his videos. Also, at the end of 2019, I got quite upset when I learnt that YouTube would be enforcing more rules on children. Among this was something that had been done here and there before, but is now stuck to a lot more strictly: comment sections are disabled on videos uploaded by children under 13. That's a few of my comments gone, probably not too much, as I don't think I ever followed many channels ran by children. However, what upset me more personally is that YouTube would also disable comment sections in videos targeted at children. But how would they decide what channels were targeted at children? Well, channel owners were required to specify themselves, and risked big fines if they mislabeled their channel, and if the owner wouldn't respond an algorithm would decide. This has removed many of my comments. Lots of video game soundtrack uploads, for example, have been marked as targeted as kids, even though the games were released when the kids wouldn't even have been born yet... I was most worried by this because my favourite music group's primary target audience is children, and so I figured that they would have to mark their channel as marked for kids, and all my comments there would be removed. Well, fortunately, they ended up not doing so, and so far I don't think they've got in trouble for it!

Anyway, my Takeout has finished, let's see what is still up on YouTube. The funny thing is that I wouldn't want to make this file public, even though the comments made are public anyway. Being able to see them all together, without having to find the videos they were made on, is very different, however... I would be very interested to know what percentage of my YouTube comments has been in Dutch. Dutch is my mother tongue, but I mostly follow English YouTube channels. I do not currently have a way to do language recognition, however. To get a rough and quick idea, though, I'll search for occurrences of 'ja ' versus 'yes ' and 'nee ' versus 'no '. ... or so I thought. Turns out that's not going to work. Apparently I use these words very little in my comments�which makes sense, I suppose, as I am usually not answering questions in my comments�and I get way too many hits on 'no ' as it is in various combinations such as 'no use'. Comparing ' en ' and ' and ', then, suggests that only about 8% of my comments is Dutch.

So, scrolling to the very bottom... the first of my comments was made on the day I made my channel, one day after my birthday. It was made on one of my father's videos, asking for the music used. I could've just asked him in real life, of course; he didn't know, anyway. Next are some comments on videos on my own channel, replying to comments I got. I remember I was quite surprised that people were commenting on my videos! Then follow several comments on Syndicate's 'The Minecraft Project', a comment on a SpongeBob song that people at school were singing, and then, on May 26th, I posted the oldest comment that I knew of. It was made on GilvaSunner's upload of the Ch�teau de Chucklehuck theme of Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga: a video that is gladly still up, even though many other popular video game soundtrack uploads have been removed, also some by GilvaSunner. It reads as follows: "I'ts so scary that when you came out of the barrel maze, mario(or luigi, if you switched positions)is replaced with popple."

One interesting thing about YouTube comments that you might not know: when I got my YouTube channel, it was possible to respond directly to other people's comments. Then, in November 2013, Google+, Google's rather failed social media platform, got integrated with YouTube. As part of this, all YouTube comments that responded to other comments were torn apart. This is why to this day, if you look at comments from before November 2013, it might look like they are responding to nobody. It was also only possible to respond to comments that were made after November 2013. Older comments could not be replied to, which was very weird in the few days after the change, but became normal quickly. In July 2015, the Google+ integration was mostly undone. Since then it has again become possible to respond to all comments.

Some of my comments (but only a small amount) that are currently on YouTube are actually not on videos but on community posts. I thought that this was a recent feature, but it turns out that it's been around since 2016. Time flies. However, what's significant about this is that before that it was also possible to make comments on channel pages, in the discussion tab. All comments there have been permanently removed, however.
So yeah, there have been quite some occasions where lots of comments disappeared at once... maybe I should keep these Takeouts around, even when I make a new one.

But I think I should finally see what the counter's at now. 17725 of my comments are currently up on YouTube. In March, the number was 17036. That means I've made less than 5 comments per day. This is actually somewhat surprising to me. Admittedly, when I saw the number of 17000, I was impressed at the quantity at first, but then I realised that on my favourite forum, Empire Minecraft, which has unfortunately been rather inactive in the past year, I have over 26000 posts. And I haven't been there as long as I've been on YouTube. I do expect that, because the forum is now so inactive and I will probably keep interacting with YouTube for some years, if the web and me are still around in 10 years (and YouTube is also), I will have more YouTube comments than posts on EMC. If not too many are getting removed...
Let's see how many comments by me there are per year.
227 in 2012. I got greatly distracted there, reading comments. :P
406 in 2013, the first full year. It's fun to read my beginner's English. :) "I love how many work you do for this, but I think this makes that antvenom get less views." I also love this cocky comment. xD "The only thing I didn't understand, was why he explains it. I understood everything right after he demonstrated it first." I do hope I got more humble over the years!
1518 comments in 2014. That is a massive increase from the previous year. I think this was caused by me getting an iPad for school in the summer of 2013/2014. I started watching a lot of YouTube on that, whereas previously I could only watch on my desktop pc.
HUH. That is very interesting. I just clicked on a link to a comment from the archive, and it leads to a video that has its comment section disabled. That means that the comments that I thought were removed are actually still there, maybe?!? :o I'm not sure how I would go about checking that, besides checking a bunch more links and hoping to find more... but even that wouldn't entirely rule out there being actually deleted comments from disabled comment sections. Intriguing! It seems that less comments are really 'gone' than I thought, then. In any case, I see that at this point my English was pretty good! Wow, I just found a channel I had completely forgotten about. If you also have years of YouTube comments, and wouldn't mind some recollecting of memories, I suggest you to get a Takeout of them too, it's quite an interesting experience. :) But let me move on to 2015, and finish the tallies for now. ;)
2070 comments in 2015. Again a significant increase. This time it cannot be attributed to me getting a new device. ;) I do come across very few Dutch comments indeed. 2016 has yet another increase, with 2708 comments made. The trend finally stops in 2017, as I 'only' made 2675 comments that year. Or well, that's the amount that are in the Takeout. I'm still not sure how many might be missing; less than I thought, apparently. Maybe I had less comments this year because PkGam, a YouTuber whom I started watching in 2014, uploaded daily, and on whose videos I started regularly commenting at some point, didn't upload as much this year. He only got less active in the following years, so maybe we'll see the number go down further from here? Nope, not quite! 2698 comments in 2018. Wow, very close together in these three years! Hey... I can't recall what link I clicked on, but I just got to a video that YouTube says is private. ... surely comments of deleted videos aren't up on YouTube still? I suppose that this video was actually made private by the uploader, and is still on YouTube. I just remembered a channel that I made a comment on that I still remember that went private, and yes, that's also still in there. Cool! I like that. :D Now, can I think of any videos that I know actually got deleted? Yeah, those of SupraDarky... but I don't know of any specific comments I posted there.
In 2019 I made 2254 comments. In 2020 I made 2028. It is the case that I've been trying to gradually watch less YouTube. But I definitely wouldn't have been surprised if the amount of comments would've stayed consistent or even increased. If I extrapolate from the year until now, it is likely that I will make less than 2000 comments in 2021! Maybe part of there being less comments by me in recent years than in 2016-2018 is also caused by posting less comments that won't do any good anyway and are just a vent? Maybe! I'm not too sure, to be honest. I do hope that most of my comments do good to others as well. :)

That's it. I wrote this in one sitting (well, I got up to get tea), except for the first one or two paragraphs (until the 'wholly uninteresting' part), which I wrote yesterday. Will anyone ever read this in full? Hm, I wonder. :)