Tom Leung, YouTube’s Director of Project Management, described the three possible ways to change the I don't like it option (commonly referred to as thumbs down) which the company is considering. The first option is to hide the thumbs up and down counters by default. The users would still be able to express their opinion, but only the author of the material would have access to the results. Tom Leung points out that this is not a new option – anybody can set it up even now. The novelty would be to make it the default way to display thumbs on YouTube.
The second option is an add a window with the question "Why do you rate this film negatively?," which would open when you press a thumb down. In theory, the need to explain one’s decision could reduce the number of people who thoughtlessly give a thumb down, while at the same time conveying invaluable feedback to the creators about what people do not like in their video. The disadvantage of such a solution is the necessity to create a system that would collect the comments given by the users, organize them and provide them in a clear form to the authors. There is also no guarantee that people would take this solution seriously. Probably no creator would like to get a list full of memes, insults and other unwanted content as comments to his work.
The third option would be to completely remove the thumbs down button (or at least their counter). According to Tom Leung, the problem with such a solution is its undemocratic nature - praising films would be much easier than criticizing them.
None of the options presented options are perfect and YouTube is well aware of this. Maybe in the end there will be another solution – one that Tom Leung didn't mention. Something will surely change, though. The thumbs have gotten out of control lately, as can be seen in the case of YouTube Rewind 2018, a YouTube video summarizing 2018, which collected 2.5 million thumbs-up, but as many as 15 million thumbs-down.