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Are poorly educated YouTube channels as much a hobby killer as a cheap scope?

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#1 Shed9

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 05:11 AM

As in the Topic Title, are poorly educated YouTube channels as much a hobby killer as a cheap scope?  I ask this as I'm seeing a lot of new wannabee's looking to cash in on the popularity of established and informative astronomy YouTubers of late.

 

I've seen some shocking videos recently where the channel host has clearly no idea what they are doing.  In one recent video someone was showing outright dangerous (to health and equipment) practices in their 'mods'.  These new YouTubers obviously and typically have very few subscribers so generally I wouldn't think anything of it, however the comments replying to the videos are from other new astronomers who comment as if to suggest that those videos are educating them or teaching them something important.

 

The early stages of astronomy are those key moments where people either jump all in or put that scope at the back of the cupboard in my experience.  Are YouTubers potentially adding to that hobby killer kill list, like department store kits?

 

 


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#2 Jaylab

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 05:47 AM

Was the subject thinning the Dec axis?



#3 db2005

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 06:03 AM

I think I know what you mean ... drool.gif. This is the main reason I prefer CN over Youtube when looking for info. CN is a treasure trove of information and a gathering hub for competence.

 

I once watched a YT video of an (obviously very inexperienced) amateur observer who was demonstrating his Celestron C8 on an equatorial mount.

 

First mistake: He loaded the scope onto the mount before mounting the counterweight. This is potentially dangerous because the scope can drop if the RA lock fails.

 

Second mistake: He casually wiped the corrector plate with a cleaning rag prior to use. This almost broke my heart faint.gif .

 

It's so easy for experienced amateur observers to forget how little people in general know about astronomy, let alone how to operate a telescope correctly. Incompetent Youtubers spreading misconceptions and bad or dangerous practices doesn't help.

 

Interesting fact: when uploading a youtube video to a channel, one has to check various boxes about the video, and one of the boxes relates to whether the content is potentially dangerous for the viewer. I know this because I have my own Youtube channel.

 

However, I would seriously doubt that some of the poorly educated youtubers even know that what they are demonstrating is even dangerous.


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#4 56S

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 06:11 AM

I remember the good old days when dislikes were easily viewable. Although seeing a large number of thumbs down before you watched the video did help to sort through the BS it wasn't always a real indicator of truthful information.
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#5 Shed9

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 06:21 AM

Was the subject thinning the Dec axis?

Not seen that one yet, so no.



#6 Shed9

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 06:25 AM

The thing is, some of the more established and informed YouTubers are genuinely offering something to the hobby and I suspect are part of the rise in numbers to it.  Just seems a shame that that same platform is encouraging others to springboard off that to the detriment of the same hobby.  I appreciate that was inevitable but maybe that needs calling out perhaps? 


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#7 BFaucett

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 06:25 AM

...<snip>...
 
Interesting fact: when uploading a youtube video to a channel, one has to check various boxes about the video, and one of the boxes relates to whether the content is potentially dangerous for the viewer. I know this because I have my own Youtube channel.
 
However, I would seriously doubt that some of the poorly educated youtubers even know that what they are demonstrating is even dangerous.

 

Not to go off topic, but I don't see such a checkbox when uploading a video to my YouTube channel. Maybe that's because I'm in the USA and you're in Denmark (the EU)??

 

Cheers! Bob F.

 



#8 db2005

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 06:48 AM

Not to go off topic, but I don't see such a checkbox when uploading a video to my YouTube channel. Maybe that's because I'm in the USA and you're in Denmark (the EU)??

 

Cheers! Bob F.

Interesting. Perhaps it only pops up after reaching 1000 subscribers and/or monetizing the channel. I have to answer a bunch of questions about the contents of the video.

 

Nevertheless, it means that YT does care about the safety of its users, like CN does. If I recall correctly CN also has policies about safety, such as banning discussions about making DIY solar filters.

 

The problem with some Youtubers is that that are not competent enough on the subject matter to even realize that they are incompetent on the subject matter.


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#9 BFaucett

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 07:00 AM

Interesting. Perhaps it only pops up after reaching 1000 subscribers and/or monetizing the channel. I have to answer a bunch of questions about the contents of the video.

 

...<snip>...

 

That's a possibility. I only use my YouTube channel for hosting unlisted videos (so I can embed them in posts on some other forums that I use). I only have 3 subscribers and I have no idea why they subscribed to my channel as there is no content visible to the general public. 

 

Cheers! Bob F. 


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#10 Sandy Swede

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 07:23 AM

Can you make comments in a YT channel without subscribing to same?

 

Am I correct that one can upload virtually anything to a YT channel as long as it doesn't violate its TOS?  They are not so-called "fact checkers", right?

 

Yes, I have noticed some astro YTubers who are clearly clueless. 


Edited by Sandy Swede, 31 January 2024 - 07:25 AM.


#11 db2005

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 07:28 AM

Can you make comments in a YT channel without subscribing to same?

 

Am I correct that one can upload virtually anything to a YT channel as long as it doesn't violate its TOS?  They are not so-called "fact checkers", right?

 

Yes, I have noticed some astro YTubers who are clearly clueless. 

 

Correct and correct.

 

However, to leave a comment or to like/unlike a clip you do need to be logged in.
 



#12 RiderRoy

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 07:31 AM

I think the problem isn't so much the content creator posting bad information in a video as it is the reader/viewers not practicing any sort of discernment. But then when you read warning labels you just know that somewhere someone tried it and that's why the label was created. 


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#13 Sandy Swede

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 07:51 AM

Correct and correct.

 

However, to leave a comment or to like/unlike a clip you do need to be logged in.
 

Thanks for your reply.  Of course, the main differences between CN and YT is that one is a profit making venture and one is educational (well, most of the time smile.gif).


Edited by Sandy Swede, 31 January 2024 - 07:51 AM.


#14 TheChosen

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 07:57 AM

There are two ways to combat this.

 

1) You can report a video if it has truly dangerous advice within it. I would assume in Astronomy that would be something that deals with observing the Sun.

 

2) The other way to combat low quality You Tube channel is to start your own high quality channel. I've done just this for several reasons:

 

  • I don't have to repeat the same basic story to anybody who is interested in this hobby. I just point them to watch my playlist on my channel which I've tried to make packed with info but brief at the same time.
  • Helps set the record straight towards proper, honest, well researched & hands-on tested Astronomy.

Contrary to popular belief, there is very little money in making You Tube videos for a niche hobby such as Astronomy. I'd assume even Ed Ting probably makes something like 500$ per month these days.

 

I've had about 40 000 views and 386 subscribers so far.. and I have not even reached the 50% mark of You Tube even allowing me to monetize the channel. After that, it would be literally peanuts. Unfortunately You Tube favors (by a lot) quantity over quality.. so I assume there are some popular channels purely because they churn out videos on every single small topic (like, Barlows 2x.. 10 minute video .. Barlows 3x.. another 10 minute video.. oh look, a Barlow 5x.. another 10.. yay!)

 

But I would assume, or at least hope so, most of these people are not doing it for the money. They may be honestly misguided but eager to share their love for the hobby.

 

So educating them and their viewers in the comments section is always a good idea.. as well as disliking a video. Disliking makes YouTube show the video less to any new viewers... Liking a video has the opposite effect. I have something like 98 - 99 - 100% like to dislike ratio and it really helps bring the videos to new people. Hundreds of new views per day without me doing anything to advertise the channel.


Edited by TheChosen, 31 January 2024 - 08:01 AM.

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#15 Sebastian_Sajaroff

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 08:57 AM

internet helps to spread both information and misinformation.

40 years ago, amateurs like I relied on encyclopediae, ephemeris and books to learn and check facts.

Those sources were heavily reviewed by experts before distribution to the public.

 

That's no longer the case.

As of now, I can launch my own YT channel and broadcast that Elvis is alive on Mars, aliens built the Eiffel Tower and Klingons are hiding on the Moon south pole.

Problem is that misinformation is hitting every possible field, not just astronomy !


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#16 TOMDEY

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 09:03 AM

Good points... but >>> Not just Amateur Astronomy, but really every presentation or discussion >>> The Catch-22 is that no one is qualified to define "misinformation". It's been tried before, often with disastrous results.    Tom

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  • 81 orwell ministry of truth.jpg

Edited by TOMDEY, 31 January 2024 - 09:11 AM.

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#17 TheChosen

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 09:20 AM

Nobody may be qualified to define 'misinformation' .. I agree.. It is very difficult to know about other people's motivations and their intention to spread wrong information deliberately .. but ... I think the vast majority of old-timers on this forum are very qualified to define 'wrong information' and correct it.

 

The good thing about Astronomy is that most of it is scientifically measurable with amazing precision, so not much room left for subjective opinions.. unless the topic happens to be eyepieces ;)


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#18 Shed9

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 09:30 AM

Nobody may be qualified to define 'misinformation' .. I agree.. It is very difficult to know about other people's motivations and their intention to spread wrong information deliberately .. but ... I think the vast majority of old-timers on this forum are very qualified to define 'wrong information' and correct it.

 

The good thing about Astronomy is that most of it is scientifically measurable with amazing precision, so not much room left for subjective opinions.. unless the topic happens to be eyepieces wink.gif

I agree, the jury isn't exactly out on whether or not it's sensible to use power tools up against your face without any PPE or to clean precision optics with whatever you can lay your hands on because it's too far to walk to the shops - which pretty much sums up the video I refer to in my original post.

 

Some things are debatable but there is probably some consensus on health & safety and cleaning optics with a level of common sense (although I concede maybe not so much on the last one).


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#19 manfromplanetx

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 09:34 AM

The internet in general is chock full of what I like to call "internet experts" who seem to read/digest/expel ever circling clumps of misinformation. I will watch Ed Ting and Cuiv on YT but we stray to far away from them it gets almost unbelievable. I notice this in a lot of my other hobbies and interests.

Its unfortunate because we have such a great tool at our disposal here... and its just noisy

 

thanks

MPX


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#20 csrlice12

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 10:27 AM

Why was the position of "influencer" not available when I was young?  Also, U Tubes were something they used on sewer systems....ok, maybe that one is still valid even though it's spelled differently.


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#21 ka1bqp

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 10:43 AM

There is also a lot of old and/or outdated information on the web these days. Much of it posted by people who simply haven't kept up with the new discoveries. When I was growing up and just getting into astronomy as a young lad, Pluto was a planet, Jupiter had only 12 moons, the big bang had become the new "it" theory, and black holes were still only theoretical.

 

Unless people do a lot of reading, or, are professionals, it's extremely difficult to keep up.

 

Being a member of our local club's observatory and outreach committee, I actively encourage people who ask questions to fact check my answers through reliable sources, and to question anything that isn't peer reviewed. I'm not afraid to say I'm not sure, or, I don't know.


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#22 Kevin Kretsch

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 10:46 AM

The internet in general is chock full of what I like to call "internet experts" who seem to read/digest/expel ever circling clumps of misinformation. I will watch Ed Ting and Cuiv on YT but we stray to far away from them it gets almost unbelievable. I notice this in a lot of my other hobbies and interests.

Its unfortunate because we have such a great tool at our disposal here... and its just noisy

 

Tip: click the three little dots at the top right of a thumbnail in your feed. You can tell YT you are not interested, or even not to recommend that channel again.  BUT that ability is not available within in search results, when YT also ignores that you've previously told it not to show you certain things.

 

Noisy? Oh, yes, It's true. I don't about the astronomy world, but in the guitar world YouTube has completely taken over from magazines as how people learn about gear and music and technique etc. And it's a great thing and there is virtually instant access to amazing inspiring content and any song recorded since forever and jeez I sure wish I had that when I started playing back in the late 80s.

 

But yes, there is a ton of BS out there too and some of it dangerous, but not all in the way people think. Personally, I have an account and my own channel and I subscribe to YT premium so as to be ad-free but still have to carefully curate what I watch and my watch history. Why? Because the algorithm is like a young child trying to make me happy. But it's an idiot child. It sees what I watch and looks for the most popular related content watched by other people like me (white males) who watch what I do. That means it doesn't take long before I start getting offered all kinds of clickbait nonsense, much of which is truly sexist or misogynist or racist or some other toxic BS (because that stuff gets lots of clicks). It's worrying and I feel it's getting so much worse that I'm now wary of recommending YT as a learning resource to any of my younger students. And yes you can report the truly dangerous stuff but one report will never get anything taken down. I've reported some videos and some outright scam advertising and it makes zero difference.


Edited by Kevin Kretsch, 31 January 2024 - 10:46 AM.

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#23 Astroman007

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 11:22 AM

"Are poorly educated YouTube channels as much a hobby killer as a cheap scope?"

 

Well, the proliferation of videos stating quite seriously that we live inside a simulation, that the earth is flat and NASA is lying to us all, that the Sun used to be yellow and astronomers are covering it up for no reason, and titles like "Astronaut: I'm sorry I lied" (or some variant thereof) and "OMG latest JWST image disproves universe!!!" certainly can't be helping to educate the next generation.

 

We truly live in a post-truth world, where your fantasy is as valid as my fact. Where any objective reality that disproves said fantasy is declared a lie (or the bearer of such "bad news" a "shill") rather than engaged with on a logical level. That way lies destruction, the advent of a new dark age.


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#24 manfromplanetx

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 11:28 AM

Tip: click the three little dots at the top right of a thumbnail in your feed. You can tell YT you are not interested, or even not to recommend that channel again.  BUT that ability is not available within in search results, when YT also ignores that you've previously told it not to show you certain things.

 

Noisy? Oh, yes, It's true. I don't about the astronomy world, but in the guitar world YouTube has completely taken over from magazines as how people learn about gear and music and technique etc. And it's a great thing and there is virtually instant access to amazing inspiring content and any song recorded since forever and jeez I sure wish I had that when I started playing back in the late 80s.

 

But yes, there is a ton of BS out there too and some of it dangerous, but not all in the way people think. Personally, I have an account and my own channel and I subscribe to YT premium so as to be ad-free but still have to carefully curate what I watch and my watch history. Why? Because the algorithm is like a young child trying to make me happy. But it's an idiot child. It sees what I watch and looks for the most popular related content watched by other people like me (white males) who watch what I do. That means it doesn't take long before I start getting offered all kinds of clickbait nonsense, much of which is truly sexist or misogynist or racist or some other toxic BS (because that stuff gets lots of clicks). It's worrying and I feel it's getting so much worse that I'm now wary of recommending YT as a learning resource to any of my younger students. And yes you can report the truly dangerous stuff but one report will never get anything taken down. I've reported some videos and some outright scam advertising and it makes zero difference.

Agreed Kevin with all of that, being a guitarist/instrumentalist/recording since the 70's I am of the same opinion. And my recent foray into 3D printing is as bad if not worse than music/astro. Of course my own rants could be viewed as the unwelcome opinions of just another internet expert. This is why you usually dont see me posting much :) This situation however has become irritating to me as of late. Unfortunately there is no fact check/filter for these sorts of things, and probably we wouldnt want that anyway, because sometimes the freaks are right!


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#25 Migwan

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Posted 31 January 2024 - 12:05 PM

Not much enamored by YT overall and doubt I'll ever post anything there.   That said, watching some knucklehead (like myself) taking apart a specific tractor or some other mechanical thing has saved me a lot of time and likely, error.   At least the ones they may have committed.   For that I am thankful.  

 

The only astronomical YT videos I have seen are those that are linked in CN.    Like the one above, which is way way too long, I am thankful for the fast forward button.   Another good thing about YT.

 

How they select what I might want to watch is beyond me.   I won't watch anything that I can't easily verify buy other reasonable means.   Most of the disinformation video falls into that category.   If Duck Duck Go takes me to certain supposedly journalistic outlets, then that is a big nope.


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