[Air-L] Lost youtube comments

Muira McCammon muira.n.mccammon at gmail.com
Wed Jan 17 06:52:50 PST 2018

Hi, Philippa!

This is a frustrating issue, to be sure.

Though I am not very well-acquainted with YouTube's framework/structure and
know nothing of the Digital Methods Initiative, this is what I can offer in
terms of advice for future research: Webrecorder.io, an open-source project
by Rhizome at the New Museum, gives users 5GB of space, which you can use
to create your own high fidelity web archives.  To give you a sense of how
this works, last evening, to test things out, I went to YouTube and made a web
of this video <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GwN-WixHkAw> of NPR's Tiny
Desk Concert featuring Dessa; as you can see, I included the comments in
the archive I created.

What Webrecorder would let you do is create a reliable archive of the
YouTube comments you want to incorporate into your research. That archive
would then be accessible, and you could link to it, if need be, long after
the comments disappeared and/or were deleted. Normally, if you were just
interested in archiving static material (that is, the comments and not say,
video content), I would suggest you use Perma.cc, an archiving tool created
by the Harvard Law Library Innovation Lab. The problem there is two-fold:
(#1) you'd only get 10 links a month, which isn't much, and (#2) based on
my own use, it just doesn't deal well with any YouTube content, including,
the comments. I should say here that there are other web archiving tools
out there, but Webrecorder.io and Perma.cc are what I know best. Others on
this listserv may have other/better suggestions!

If you go down this road, some folks on this listserv might urge you to
grapple with some of the ethical issues that come with creating web
archives of YouTube user comments, esp. those that users later delete
deliberately; maybe someone will weigh in on that matter. Indeed, perhaps
someone on this listserv has written about the ethics of web archiving
YouTube comments!

That being said, at a technical level, if you're trying to keep track of
thousands of comments or hundreds of YouTube pages, you will probably hit
the 5GB data limit on Webrecorder sooner than later.  Good news is that
Rhizome <http://rhizome.org/> just received a grant
of $1 million, so perhaps they'll bump up the space they give new users.
(In full disclosure, I should say that I received a microgrant from Rhizome
back in 2017, so I am, in more ways than one, a fan of what they do. Happy
to help anyone here figure out how to use their tool.)

Lastly, I'd be curious to know if anyone here, apart from myself, is
actively using Webrecorder in their research, especially if it's
qualitative and engaging with deletion on social media platforms. Would
love to talk to you, if you exist!

All my best,
Muira McCammon

Muira McCammon
Ph.D. Student <https://www.asc.upenn.edu/people/students/muira-mccammon> /
Journalist <http://muira.me/>
Signal: Available upon request
Annenberg School for Communication
University of Pennsylvania

On Tue, Jan 16, 2018 at 5:22 PM, Philippa Smith <philippa.smith at aut.ac.nz>

> Hi Everyone
> My latest research project involves linguistic analysis of
> comments/replies under a specific youtube video.  Interestingly I cut and
> pasted the comments from a particular youtube url in July last year and
> saved them in a word document. However in going back to update this in 2018
> I find that those original comments are no longer accessible in that the
> site does not automatically load more comments beyond the last three
> months.  This leave me with an incomplete data set.  I find this situation
> rather intriguing.   If anyone who is better informed than I am  might
> enlighten me as to whether this just reflects a change in youtube policy or
> might relate to settings of the youtube poster - that would be helpful. And
> if there is any solution - even better!
> Kind regards
> Philippa
> [AUT]<https://www.aut.ac.nz/>
> Philippa Smith
> Senior Lecturer
> Auckland University of Technology
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*Muira McCammon*
*@muira_mccammon <https://twitter.com/muira_mccammon>*

Recently out: "Persisting in Dark Times: Lessons from a War Crimes
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