explicitClick to confirm you are 18+

Make Minds a Great Video Platform!

jroselandApr 1, 2019, 11:13:01 AM

Youtube sucks! Millions of Youtube creators, like myself are desperate for something better...

In this article I'm going to make some feature suggestions and constructive criticisms of Minds' video platform but first it's important to say that Minds' team is doing a tremendous job! The guys at Minds might not know it but they are playing a really crucial role in (hopefully!) saving civilization, the silicon valley tech giants seem hellbent on soviet, central control over the internet. Minds is one of the few companies making a serious effort to preserve our right to free speech, the fundamental right upon which all our other rights and freedoms depend.

Last week Youtube deleted ANOTHER Youtube channel of mine. This is the second time this has happened. I had a channel about health and mindset with about 12,000 subscribers that received three strikes in very quick succession and was deleted. They terminated several other channels in my niche at the same time; it was clearly a targeted censorship of health related channels. I coordinated with two other guys who I had a lot of overlap audience with, we lobbied Youtube and convinced them to restore our channels. This week Youtube deleted another channel that was about 8 years old with about 2000 subscribers, this time with no warning or strikes whatsoever. It was there one moment and gone the next. All I recieved as consolation was an automated email stating that my account had violated Community Guidelines. The most infuriating thing about getting your channel deleted is that they don't tell you what you did wrongAll they tell you is...

YouTube doesn't allow content that encourages or promotes violent or dangerous acts that have an inherent risk of serious physical harm or death. 

My content was educational and almost totally non-controversial, I wasn't making fun of transexuals or commenting on politics. I certainly didn't encourage violence or dangerous acts, in fact a lot my content was on mitigating and intelligently managing risk as it relates to health.

When you submit the form asking them to reconsider and restore your channel you have to tell them what you think you might have done wrong deserving of punishment. In my life I've been kicked out of bars, parties, nightclubs and a few restaurants and they always told me what I did wrong as I was being kicked out. Any reasonable business will show you a modicum of human decency telling you what you did wrong if they eject you from their space

But Youtube doesn't tell you because they want their creators living in constant fear that saying the wrong thing might get their livelihood pulled out from under them. This creates a downright "soviet" environment where nobody takes the risk of expressing interesting opinions, the only "safe" opinions are repeating the party-line propaganda.

To add insult to injury, last week my PAID account with Vimeo was suspended and all of my content there deleted with no explanation, warning or recourse. Vimeo customer support has been totally non-responsive to my questioning about what I did wrong. This is especially offensive because I had paid $84 for a Vimeo Plus account to host all my educational videos. So on Vimeo there's no free speech, not even for paying customers!

I love vlogging and creating cool animated educational videos about the things I'm passionate about, but it's clear that on these platforms your audience and content can just disappear overnight; even if you follow their copyright rules to a T, even if you don't engage in "hate speech" and even if you do your damnedest to abide by their community guidelines.

A free speech alternative to the internet's mainstream video platforms is badly needed.

I'm one of the more active vloggers on Minds.com so I can point out some strengths and room for improvement...

I'd like to speak my mind for MORE than 15 minutes!

15 Minute Upload Limit - I understand why Minds.com has the 15 minute limit but I'll make the case for why it should be raised. It's probably less bandwidth intensive to limit uploads to 15 minutes and on average people are probably viewing videos for 15 minutes or less. But there's a couple of good reasons why it should be increased. First, the website is called Minds.com, it is by design and intention a social network for a higher level of intellectual discourse, 15 minutes is often not enough time to make a nuanced argument or educational presentation. Minds users seem to be disproportionately right-leaning or libertarian, the kinds of people that watch hour long documentaries about a subject so that they can really figure them out. 

Second, a growing proportion of Youtubers (perhaps the majority of them) that are increasingly irate with Youtube and want someplace better to host and share their videos; a lot more of them will move to Minds if the 15 minute limit can be raised. Youtubers are constantly struggling with how to make money; if they have interesting opinions or discuss the news they face the threat of demonetization or being kicked off Patreon. Minds already has the crypto infrastructure to be a viable Patreon alternative/creator funding platform, expect a lot more disgruntled Youtubers and Patreoners to make the move to Minds if they can upload videos over 15 minutes. 

Thirdly, if you look at Youtube's average watch time back about 10 years ago it was just a few minutes when Youtube was just a website but it increased sharply after Youtube introduced an app for smart phones and devices - it's a whole lot more pleasant to watch video on a device than via a web browser. Watch times and the demand for longer videos will increase if Minds has the good sense to release an seperate video app.

Finally, I realize that larger videos impose larger bandwidth and hosting costs on Minds, so let us creators shoulder that cost. I wouldn't mind paying a few tokens or bucks to upload a larger video. Many Youtubers, especially the kind that would be interested in using Minds, are entrepreneurs we know that there are costs involved with hosting content. So pass that cost on. Offer a premium Minds membership that allows for lengthier videos.

Video App - Watching online video via a website is just not a pleasant experience. The web browser is inherently a high distraction technology, you're distracted from whatever you watching by the website's sidebar and all the links, buttons and notifications of the browser. Watching video on a device is much more akin to watching television. Personally I set up my smartphone or tablet next to my laptop and just binge Youtube videos, while I'm working on my laptop. 

One feature that Youtube has always deprived it's users of is the ability to play a video on your device and then navigate away from the video and do something else on your phone. I'd like to be able to start watching a video on my phone, put my headphones in, close my phone screen then go walk to the store or run an errand or whatever while listening. Youtube does offer this feature in it's overpriced Youtube Premium, it essentially turns the Youtube app into a podcast player but it's really not worth $10 a month! This would feature would make Minds even more competitive with Youtube.

Not exactly a cinematic viewing experience... 

Watching Minds videos on a smartphone device or tablet is an awfully clunky experience, video is one of the main ways that people engage in online social networking, expect Minds to really grow if a dedicated video app is introduced.

Watch Later or Playlists - This one is really obvious; let us save videos to be watched later. Like everybody else I'll often be browsing the web and see a video that I'd like to watch but not right then so I'll add it to my watch later cue. I'll often want to binge the entire video catalogue of a creator so I'll cue up like 10 of their videos and just let it roll. It's super inconvenient to watch a 15 minute video and then go navigate in the browser and find the next video that I'd like to watch. I'd also like to be able to create playlists of related videos for when I want to educate myself on a topic.

Embedding - If you can remember back about a decade embedded video was one thing that really set Youtube apart from the other fledgling video platform of the time. Embedding videos in iframes on websites is a great way to grow a video platform. Adding a video or two to a blog post or article really brings it life! I use lots of embedded Youtube videos all over my website yet live in constant fear that Youtube is going to kill my channel again for some (unfathomable!) reason, I'd love to embed Minds videos instead (if we can get above that 15 minute limit). Also, why the heck can't we embed Minds videos in Minds articles? This seems really obvious and I've seen other people ask for it also. When I try to add Minds video, I get this...

Not good

Newsfeed Page - People love to watch online videos. Why not add a feed of videos on the left side of the newsfeed page and videos tab?

Video Analytics - This is probably more technically daunting but I'd love to eventually have a dashboard showing me what my watch time is, what videos are most popular and maybe a comments dashboard. I'd love a bit more information than just how many plays a video has received!

1080p uploads - I list this last because it's probably less important. 1280 resolution videos look fine on most browsers and devices and it probably takes a ton of bandwidth to do 1080p via distributed video network. Why not allow the pro-vloggers like myself to host our own videos privately that play on Minds.com? I wouldn't mind paying the Amazon S3 cost if users click a little button selecting a higher resolution option.

What about Livestreaming?

I know that Minds has rolled out a livestreaming feature. I see this as a whole lot less important than the video features described above. I've always thought that livestreams were pretty crappy content and preferred the more cinematic experience of watching produced online video. 

Bad idea

Minds needs to consider what sort of conversation is going to occur on their livestreaming platform. Youtube livestreams are well known for being a wretched hive of scum and villainy, the comment section of livestreams  is consistently where you can find the most vitriolic, trollish "hate speech" on the internet. Minds is a place where a lot of people go who are kicked off Youtube for making really spicy comments. Expect people to really abuse Minds' commitment to free speech on livestreams here. Generally people are more respectful and reasonable in the videos' comments sections because they perceive their comments as statements that are going to be enshrined in internet history as something they said publicly.

If Minds launches a legit livestreaming service it's going to attract the most extreme opinions and content that are going to make Minds look really bad. There's already plenty of video streaming sites and services that people can use, why waste the bandwidth on it Minds?

If you liked this article follow me here on Minds

I look forward to a continued conversation with you!