Thursday, 7 December 2017

Take the spin, now you're in with the techno set...

The New England by election went more or less as predicted with Barnaby Joyce receiving over 65% of the primary vote, and we have 9 days until the Bennelong by election.

In between, I'd like to take a slightly irregular look at another, off-brand event(?) in progress(?) in the same spirit as previous examinations of non-political(?) votes.


Basically, I have been spending way too many hours recently binge-watching a gigaton of YouTube videos, and yesterday saw the release of YouTube rewind, an annual, borderline-epilepsy-inducing montage of prominent YouTubers, this year with fidget spinners and a rendition of Despacito.

The thing is, this year has been a pretty bad for YouTube from the perspective of many creators and viewers, from the 'adpocalypse' where videos were demon(it)ised for being 'controversial' (sometimes by simply containing LGBTIQA+ material, covering politics etc.) to technical issues to flagrantly inappropriate content sneaking onto the site's supposedly child-friendly platform YouTube Kids.

Throughout it all, rightly or wrongly, YouTube management has been viewed as acting unprofessionally and yielding too much power to advertisers. Although, with the exception of the limited success of YouTube Red, advertisers pretty well carry the YouTube platform many appear to seem merit in the criticisms of the website's management. In retaliation, YouTuber EmpLemon proposed a deliberate effort to embarrass YouTube with poor ratings on their YouTube rewind video to counter what he sees as a publicity-driven, reactionary mindset where the YouTube donkey kicks the creators behind it in a knee-jerk reaction. His thorough list of reasons and call to arms can be found here (strong language warning), spawning the hashtag #TankTheRewind.

Although that video has only 36 thousand views at the time of writing (I did say I watched a gigaton of videos before that came up), other some other YouTubers have spread the idea to their fanbases. Responses to the idea on reddit and 4chan have generally been positive but very scarce. Steam has been less on-board.

After the internet-wide movement to stand up to the US FCC's attempts at removing net neutrality in the United States and the band-wagoning that made EA's justification of certain features in their game StarWars: Battlefront II the least popular reddit post in history, the response thus far must be underwhelming for the #TankTheRewind supporters. On the other hand, these recent movements have shown that the internet can mobilise when outraged, so perhaps time will tell a different story.

After roughly one day, the rewind video has received 26,382,332 million views. This seems like a fair sample-size, but given the infancy of #TankTheRewind may be unrepresentative. At present, there are 1,184,149 thumbs-up and 502,380 thumbs down, roughly a 2:1 split, which isn't great for an uncontroversial video. (By the way, accurate vote totals are available by hovering over the blue:grey ratio bar beneath the thumbs). Then again, a corporate entity producing a video while trying to join several long-since-abandoned trends may get a lot of down-votes for being #cringe. (Yeah, I'm #downwiththekids, #hip, #relatable, #psephologyiscool).

I'll update this with more data over the next few days, but in the meantime here is how the vote on 2017's YouTube rewind compares with previous years':

Year Views Up Down Approval
2017* 26,382,332 1,184,149 502,380 70.2%
2016 205,690,647 3,194,362 498,594 86.5%
2015 130,062,316 2,419,080 180,075 93.1%
2014 121,351,480 1,351,662 68,273 95.2%
2013 124,284,556 1,257,383 68,385 94.8%
2012 185,717,354 1,202,992 76,606 94.0%
2011 9,532,919 57,042 74,277 43.4%
2010 3,900,723 21,520 2,145 90.9%

So a few things stand out. Firstly, we may be looking at only 10% of the votes counted despite over 26 million views this year.

Secondly, there is a downturn in approval (thumbs up/thumps up+down x 100%) but this is can easily change, and is not inconsistent with a general trend of lower approval since 2014. Perhaps people are fed-up with the rewind series, or having it thrust upon them.

Thirdly, 2011 was an anomaly. It could be because 2010 was the first attempt at a rewind and people were less receptive. Or it could be because Rebecca Black was hosting it.

Fourthly, for #TankTheRewind to claim any sort of victory, we need to be looking at approval figures in the low 80% range or it's indistinguishable from 2016.

If we want ignore the 2011 outlier, a statistically significant (p < 5% = z-score < -1.9603) reduction in approval would require the 2017 approval to remain below 78.8%:

So far, Rewind 2017 is on track to be statistically significantly worse than previous years excluding 2011. Debate as to how important #TankTheRewind was, however, remains to be held.


  1. 8/12/2017
    Views: 53,905,609
    Thumbs up: 1,913,144
    Thumbs down: 899,057

    Approval: 68.0%

    1. 9/12/2017
      Views: 76,255,343
      Thumbs up: 2,258,125
      Thumbs down: 1,131,414

      Approval: 66.6%

    2. 9/12/2017

      Rewind 2017 is currently the 20th most disliked video on Youtube according to

    3. 10/12/2017
      Views: 103,290,344
      Thumbs up: 2,706,083
      Thumbs down: 1,382,460

      Approval: 66.2%

    4. (Very) Early 12/12/2017
      Views: 116,749,314
      Thumbs up: 2,855,532
      Thumbs down: 1,497,345

      Approval: 65.6%

      Late 12/12/2017
      Views: 125,631,840
      Thumbs up: 2,918,433
      Thumbs down: 1,548,904

      Approval: 65.3%

    5. 13/12/2017
      Views: 138,934,907
      Thumbs up: 3,027,763
      Thumbs down: 1,608,496

      Approval: 65.3%