Join 3,414 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The Wadsworth Constant
October 18, 2011 5:55 AM   Subscribe

"For EVERY youtube video, I always open the video and then immediately punch the slider bar to about 30 percent." - Wadsworth
Thus was born the Wadsworth Constant, now implemented across YouTube. Add &wadsworth=1 to any YouTube URL to jump 30% into the content.

Lifehacker has a bookmarklet available to make this even easier.
posted by odinsdream (73 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite

 
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0&wadsworth=1

Well someone was going to do it.
posted by alby at 6:06 AM on October 18, 2011 [6 favorites]


Perfect. Also, I hate it when people think they're on TV and put opening graphics on their videos.
posted by Tom-B at 6:07 AM on October 18, 2011 [12 favorites]


Ya think the big throbbing brains at Google can't account for a /constant/ in their ad placement calculations?
posted by clvrmnky at 6:07 AM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


You can also just press 3 (and keep pressing it at equal intervals for a dance remix of whatever you're watching).
posted by theodolite at 6:10 AM on October 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


clvrmonkey. It's not about skipping the ad (you can't: Google will show you an ad regardless of where you start the video), but about that fact that for the vast majority of YouTube videos, nothing interesting happens in the first third.
posted by pharm at 6:13 AM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


What's this about Google showing ads on YouTube videos?
posted by DU at 6:15 AM on October 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


FWIW I just gave Chrome yet another spin and it failed yet again to unseat FireFox as my browser of choice, because it lacked native TypeAsYouFind, but primarily because the Chrome AdBlock plugin does not seem to block Google's ads on videos. Apparently the development version of ABP has something working to block video ads but I didn't find that out until I had declared the trial a failure, uninstalled Chrome, and tweeted about it. FF4L.
posted by Edogy at 6:23 AM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


DU: Google has owned YouTube since 2006, hence YouTube ads = Google ads.
posted by j03 at 6:24 AM on October 18, 2011


From now on, all the content in my videos will be in the first 30%, followed by what would have been the lead in, and then the credits.
posted by hellojed at 6:24 AM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here's the youtuber that added it
posted by memebake at 6:28 AM on October 18, 2011


I do the same thing for porn...
posted by afx237vi at 6:31 AM on October 18, 2011 [13 favorites]


Ya think the big throbbing brains at Google can't account for a /constant/ in their ad placement calculations?

I though this was so that you could go directly TO the ad and skip past the stuff you really wanted to see.
posted by three blind mice at 6:38 AM on October 18, 2011


Great! Now add a ReplayGain constant and let us normalize the god damn audio levels.
posted by CaseyB at 6:40 AM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is genius. I've never heard of the Wadsworth Constant before, but it sures meshes with my YouTube experiences perfectly.
posted by misha at 6:41 AM on October 18, 2011


On topic, Wadsworth is pretty spot-on about the current state of online videos. I find myself constantly yelling at my screen for these people who do logos and intros to just get on with it. Your branding sucks, I tell you.
posted by Edogy at 6:43 AM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


I feel like we need a Metafilter variant on the Reddit Gold idea--no, wait! Hear me out!

I'm not talking about paying for some kind of premium account that lets you self-link on the blue or anything like that, but awarding, maybe, a gold star like jessamyn had to the names of posters who are in the sidebar that month, or made the lives of the mods or the community easier by creating a greasemonkey script, etc.
posted by misha at 6:52 AM on October 18, 2011


Hello, my name is bleep, and I'm a commenter on Metafilter. Youtube videos are something we all look at all day long, but isn't it annoying when the first 30% of the video is a pointless introduction? My theory is that we all learned how to write essays and were taught that essays always need a pointless introduction for some reason. TV also utilizes introductions. Short online videos are a totally different story and someday we'll all understand that.

CREDITS
Written, produced, directed, and edited by bleep.
posted by bleep at 6:54 AM on October 18, 2011 [15 favorites]


A "teacher's pet" award?
posted by inigo2 at 6:55 AM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


I made a video of chickens yesterday. I warn you though that's 20 seconds of chickens you'll be missing.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:09 AM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


This will be a great timesaver when I spend hours watching cat videos!
posted by desjardins at 7:16 AM on October 18, 2011


Finally, a solution for the problem of sub-2minute web-content being too long.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:18 AM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Google has owned YouTube since 2006, hence YouTube ads = Google ads.

I get that part. But I've never seen any YouTube/Google ads on videos. Example?
posted by DU at 7:28 AM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


It'll be nice to skip a worthless third of those Simon's Cat videos. But I don't know if I want to skip over powerpoint slide shows set to dance music...
posted by CarlRossi at 7:30 AM on October 18, 2011


Cjorgensen, I swear those are the cleanest chickens I have ever seen.
posted by misha at 7:30 AM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fastest transformation from a Reddit meme to a feature on a major website ever, I think.
posted by DreamerFi at 7:31 AM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Now time for some beanplating between builds)

The concept of a "wadsworth constant" is neat, but I don't like the attitude that comes with it. The Idea that all content must be accessed Right Now with no time for lead in, context, or buildup, is something I don't like. If you skip the first 30% of Rush's 2021 does that make it better? What about skipping most of the Fellowship of The Rings, starting at the last chapter of it and going right into Two Towers? Or, maybe the first few books of Harry Potter? In some ways, the first book of HP is the most important, but not according to this new paradigm that all the content that we came here for Must Be Here Now with no waiting.

I think that this attitude will only erode the already minuscule attention span of contemporary media consumers. It's no wonder that this showed up on reddit, where the attention span of any particular user (myself among them) is scant at best. I can't sit down and read a book anymore, i have to go do something else too because somehow my time is limited.

Granted, this is just kind of a jokey thing that exists because people are terrible about editing their videos, but I think someone needs to defend the virtue of patience.
posted by hellojed at 7:32 AM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


Misha, those are farm chickens on my commute. I drive by them every day. I recently stopped and bought some eggs. They have the most yellow yokes ever. The chickens have full access of the yard. There is no fence. They just hang out. It's weird and cool.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:35 AM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Aaargh, see also: "suspense". I am in a hurry, don't "tease me" by not getting to the point right away. Suspense as language must die, we are not in a darkened theatre anymore, waiting with bated breath for the curtains to open so we can see your cat do the funny.
posted by Tom-B at 7:35 AM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]




Finally, a solution for the problem of sub-2minute web-content being too long.


It is too long, but I don't' think that's my attention span failing. A lot of video content is just really inane and dull.
posted by Stagger Lee at 7:36 AM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


What about skipping most of the Fellowship of The Rings

Yes please. Also the rest of it. And then the other two books as well.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:38 AM on October 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


hellojed, this is a YouTube-specific thing entirely. It doesn't make any sense to apply elsewhere. It's a direct result of the change in the way media is communicated and consumed, for sure. I see it as a response to the huge number of videos crafted by people who suck at editing. That is, the nature of the content being consumed necessitated such an approach, not the other way around.

I'm hopeful that our new style of consuming media will cause content producers to make videos that take advantage of the technology. The vlog brothers for example, frequently take advantage of the fact that YouTube content consumers always have the ability to freeze and scrub videos. This allows them to give brief flashes of content with the intention that you'd pause the video to review at your own pace.

That's a tiny example, but I think it's representative of some of the ways that this type of media consumption can result in a much richer experience than the linear broadcast model of old.
posted by odinsdream at 7:41 AM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Even though the description repeatedly and unambiguously states that this applies to videos, I like how the reddit thread immediately disappears into "so according to Wadsworth" some completely different thing, like the current sentence, should have its first third removed. Is Reddit always like this, and if so shouldn't it be called "didn't really readit"?
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:41 AM on October 18, 2011


I feel like we need a Metafilter variant on the Reddit Gold idea--no, wait! Hear me out!

I'm not talking about paying for some kind of premium account that lets you self-link on the blue or anything like that, but awarding, maybe, a gold star like jessamyn had to the names of posters who are in the sidebar that month, or made the lives of the mods or the community easier by creating a greasemonkey script, etc.


That's a really slippery slope. As soon as a gold star is available, people will be competing to get it, and in competing to get it low-content, high-comedy posts will inevitably begin to surface to the top. Soon people would be posting inside-joke memes just to get starred and it would become the new Reddit.

The upvote was the worst thing to happen to social bookmarking ever and this would just be another, albiet more rare, form.
posted by gregoryg at 7:41 AM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


hellojed, my father actually does something similar to what you describe. When he watches a movie he's already seen, he'll often fast-forward through parts that don't directly advance the plot. For example, a while ago I was at his house while he re-watched the The Two Towers, and he skipped most of the travel and battle scenes.
posted by skymt at 7:43 AM on October 18, 2011


Then they have to pay to have the star removed. We all know how this story ends.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:43 AM on October 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


I do the same thing for porn...

I believe that is the Wadsworth-Shooting Constant
posted by Kabanos at 7:44 AM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh also, vlog brothers on defying the Wadsworth Constant
posted by odinsdream at 7:45 AM on October 18, 2011


Zen Buddhist training: watch only the first thirty percent of any given Youtube video, then close your browser and reflect.
posted by jwhite1979 at 7:47 AM on October 18, 2011 [5 favorites]


I have also never seen a single googley ad on a youtube video and am now sending the AdBlock dude some cake and a puppy.
posted by elizardbits at 7:48 AM on October 18, 2011


> the last chapter of it and going right into Two Towers? Or, maybe the first few books of Harry Potter? In some ways, the first book of HP is the most important, but not according to this new paradigm that all the content that we came here for Must Be Here Now with no waiting.
    I think that this attitude will only erode the already minuscule attention span of contemporary media consumers. It's no wonder that this showed up on reddit, where the attention span of any particular user (myself among them) is scant at best. I can't sit down and read a book anymore, i have to go do something else too because somehow my time is limited.
    Granted, this is just kind of a jokey thing that exists because people are terrible about editing their videos, but I think someone needs to defend the virtue of patience.


I swear this isn't a "ftfy" thing. I wanted to see what the Wadsworth Constant looked like on a longer comment here.

The 30% rule is, if anything, a more generous version of the editorial aphorism (which I suspect started with Jakob Nielsen but has propagated through many other venues) that half of any web content (not necessarily the first 50%) can be safely removed and improve the message without affecting the meaning.
posted by ardgedee at 7:49 AM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Arrive late, leave early.
posted by Obscure Reference at 7:53 AM on October 18, 2011


I just want to skip the "Hi, guys!"
posted by pracowity at 7:56 AM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


hellojed, this is a YouTube-specific thing entirely. It doesn't make any sense to apply elsewhere.

Part of my ire with this, I should explain, stems from the references to this meme on reddit, where people would quote comments and apply the constant, editing them down, which became incredibly annoying. Maybe misapplication is what I'm bothered by, or overuse.

I appreciate subtractive design as much as the next guy, but there is a point where you can't cut anymore.
posted by hellojed at 7:56 AM on October 18, 2011


I was just debating which translated, but relatively unabridged, version of "The Journey West" or "The Three Kingdoms" I should purchase from Amazon, when I got side-tracked and ended up in the comments here.
posted by panaceanot at 8:02 AM on October 18, 2011


I could see having a lot of fun with this; I want someone to &wadsworth=1 one of my videos only to find that the 30% point has them watching people in gimp suits doing a water ballet while Carmina Burana plays and children made up to look like they are from an oil painting fire ducks into the pool with trebuchets.

When the viewer frantically goes back to the beginning to get an explanation, they are presented with a simple message box that says "No. That time has passed, and now you will forever wonder."

Of course, people watching it normally will be just as confused, but in its own weird way, that works too.
posted by quin at 8:05 AM on October 18, 2011 [7 favorites]


If you skip the first 30% of Rush's 2021 does that make it better?
In fact, I think you'll find you actually want to add about 4.5% to that.
posted by Wolfdog at 8:16 AM on October 18, 2011 [4 favorites]


I just went and re-watched a few of the videos I've uploaded. Of the ones with explosions in them, &wadsworth=1 skipped the "boom" in every one.

I'm not sure whether to be proud of that, or to feel like I'm contributing to the Sesame Street ...er... MTV ...er... Comedy Central ... er ... Adult Swimification of culture.

Whatever. Kids these days have no attention span. Back when I was a wee lad we used to watch hours and hours of nothing but people walking. Accompanied by Philip Glass music. And we liked it.

(of course the experience may have been ... uh ... enhanced, but kids these days have better drugs, too. Right? Right?)
posted by straw at 8:17 AM on October 18, 2011


"For EVERY youtube video, I always open the video and then immediately punch the slider bar to about 30 percent."

...

I do the same thing for porn...

What's the difference?
posted by mrgrimm at 8:24 AM on October 18, 2011


I appreciate subtractive design as much as the next guy, but there is a point where you can't cut anymore.

Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler.
posted by DU at 8:25 AM on October 18, 2011


I get that part. But I've never seen any YouTube/Google ads on videos. Example?

If you have AdBlock, you probably won't.
posted by yerfatma at 8:28 AM on October 18, 2011


Is Reddit always like this, and if so shouldn't it be called "didn't really readit"?

If you let the 30% rule run through to its natural conclusion, you can skip the content entirely and just start commenting.

They do it, we do it, everyone does it.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:31 AM on October 18, 2011


I do the same thing for porn...

I believe that is the Wadsworth-Shooting Constant


Or perhaps the Johnny Wad Constant?
posted by ShutterBun at 8:31 AM on October 18, 2011


I predict that the pointless logo contingent will get over the fake-opening-credits thing and start putting in fake station breaks at 1/3 of the way through the video instead.
posted by nebulawindphone at 8:33 AM on October 18, 2011


This rule is silly for those millions of people who use YouTube to listen to music ... unless perhaps you're a DJ or work at a radio station ... actually, now that I think about it, a 30% button isn't a bad idea ... and an easy bookmarklet.

But actually now that I try it (and remember scanning new releases for the college radio station), something like skipping 35s is better than skipping 30%, at least for music.

javascript:location.search+=(location.search?'&':'?')+'t=0m35s'

not sure if you can drag it to your toolbar ...
posted by mrgrimm at 8:42 AM on October 18, 2011


Yeah this is actually dumb. All you have to do is press '3' on the keyboard after the video loads, and that way you can see for yourself if it has a long, annoying intro or whatever.
I get that part. But I've never seen any YouTube/Google ads on videos. Example?
Have you tried looking at them in a browser without adblock?
posted by delmoi at 8:46 AM on October 18, 2011


Surprising that a "new guy" could implement this feature and get it rolled out to production so quickly.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:04 AM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hmm, this doesn't appear to play well with embeds.
posted by wierdo at 9:30 AM on October 18, 2011


, but on the other hand online discourse has become less and less nuanced over time so this isn't surprising.
posted by whir at 9:37 AM on October 18, 2011


I too am shocked and appalled to learn that some (most?) people see ads when they watch YouTube videos. It's so weird to think how some people are seeing a drastically different internet than I am.
posted by straight at 9:49 AM on October 18, 2011 [3 favorites]


The upvote was the worst thing to happen to social bookmarking ever and this would just be another, albiet more rare, form.

I was going to mark your comment as a favorite, but you convinced me.
posted by CaseyB at 9:50 AM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


The downvote, on the other hand, is the only thing keeping us from chaos and anarchy.
posted by Aquaman at 9:52 AM on October 18, 2011


l;dr
posted by dhartung at 10:04 AM on October 18, 2011 [2 favorites]


Edogy : FF4L.

You need to upgrade. They released FF27 this morning...
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 10:07 AM on October 18, 2011


chrome extension
posted by Ad hominem at 10:35 AM on October 18, 2011


The worst part about Hulu on my iPad is that there is no ad block or no script, so I have to sit through commercials instead of silence.
posted by winna at 10:55 AM on October 18, 2011


The exception that disproves the rule.
posted by Bonzai at 11:40 AM on October 18, 2011


hellojed, are you the guy in XKCD with the pork pie hat?
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 12:54 PM on October 18, 2011


wadsworth constant: All you need to know about being a news video photographer/editor/producer.
posted by hot_monster at 2:26 PM on October 18, 2011


I don't have the patience for videos. Give me text so I can absorb it at my own speed or skip straight to the good bit.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 3:21 PM on October 18, 2011


So given Sturgeon's Law, and assuming that optimal value of the Wadsworth constant is 30%, and an optimal distribution of crud (ie, making up 100% of the Wadsworth portion), we can now look forward to youtube videos which are subjectively only 85.71% crud.
posted by pompomtom at 6:11 PM on October 18, 2011 [1 favorite]


Or, maybe the first few books of Harry Potter?

Actually, yeah, you should skip the first few books. It didn't even get interesting until 5 or so.
posted by BurnChao at 6:51 PM on October 18, 2011


The Wadsworth constant may be a tongue-in-cheek comment about our ability to begin a story, but...

Note my sentence above: it is a waste (no jokes about the rest of my sentences.) The reason it is a waste is it isn't for the reader, it is for the writer-- it's him organizing himself, preparing his thoughts, beginning a rhythm, and once he has his momentum the rest of the video/story/etc comes out.

Part of the blame is elementary school, where we were taught introduction, topic sentences, body, conclusion, which is boring. But the other "blame" goes to the medium: most internet articles and magazines/newspapers exist in an ongoing dialogue. If you've discovered alien life on earth an intro paragraph might be useful, but we don't need an intro paragraph on #OccupyWallSt. Get to it.

But the writer still needs that intro to get him moving, so my advice: write your article, and then simply cut out the first paragraph.
posted by TheLastPsychiatrist at 6:19 AM on October 19, 2011


If you let the 30% rule run through to its natural conclusion, you can skip the content entirely and just start commenting.

They do it, we do it, everyone does it.


I only come to MeFi for the comments.
posted by 999 at 9:20 AM on October 20, 2011


« Older The Great Tech War of 2012:...  |  Penny Postcards From All 50 St... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments