YouTube Shorts - rant and workaround
TABLE OF CONTENTS
I’ve had TikTok blocked on my devices at the hosts level, simply because of its addictive nature with algorithmic suggestions and infinite feed. I recently unblocked it due to certain creators I enjoy who now take advantage of this platform. Yet I don’t find myself being too distracted and browsing the feed.
I’ve had YouTube locked down from distractions with uBlock Origin and DF Tube extensions (as explained here: 5 extensions I regularly use to improve YouTube). No ads, no sidebar or end of video recommendations, no trending or home page suggestions, and search results cleaned up. I only use YouTube for direct links and subscribed channels. That is, until the recent change with YouTube Shorts in the past week or two.
This is YouTube’s knockoff version of TikTok, and was recently enforced on desktop browsers. I hate it.
- Some of the channels I’m subscribed to now release shorts, which is an out-of-context clip from one of the normally posted videos. What I dislike about this is that it’s repetitive. I’m not interested in rewatching content I’ve already seen (unless it was really good).
- All previously uploaded videos that were in vertical orientation and less than a minute are now treated as Shorts.
- Shorts thumbnails show a Shorts logo instead of the timestamp.
- (Side rant about YouTube removing these useful stats, including dislikes - they don’t benefit viewers. Luckily there’s an extension: Return YouTube Dislike)
- Shorts don’t have a seek bar, meaning I can’t see the current position in the video or rewind/fast forward.
- Opening a Short goes to a different kind of view, where when you scroll down, instead of showing comments, it shows other shorts by random people (mostly straight-up rips from TikTok, with TikTok logo and everything, and not even uploaded by the original creator).
- This is the real killer. Because I’ve started wasting so much time on these watching pointless videos unrelated to what I originally intended to watch. It gives novelty dopamine hits, which help me procrastinate on preparing for bed.
Right-clicking on the video lets me copy the video link, which I can then paste into the address bar to be taken to the normal YouTube view with comments at the bottom and no recommendations (blocked)
Then I found a better workaround, the Redirector extension, which automatically forwards Shorts to this view.
YT Shorts to Normal
Example Result: https://www.youtube.com/v/someid
Advanced Options >
This has solved my problem. It works almost perfectly. The only minor drawback of this workaround is that after opening a Short in the same tab, and then trying to go back, I have to go back twice to skip over the redirect. A minor inconvenience that’s totally worth it to fix YouTube making their platform worse.
I can’t wait for a decentralized Web 3.0 version of video sharing, though that’s a long way off. Creators could be directly compensated without a middleman. And there could be different frontends for all the same content, allowing people to pick and customize to their liking.
(P.S. On Android, I use the free NewPipe client for YouTube, which doesn’t suffer from the Shorts problem like the official app.)