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Ask HN: YouTube keeps suggesting vids I marked “not interested”. What can I do?

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Posted on Monday, September 18th 2023 by MaxikCZ | 41 points

I think it started about a month ago, but recently got out of control. I mark ALL videos on my homepage as not interested, refresh the page and see about 20% of videos I just marked suggested again. Or next day, or the day after.

It seems Youtube just decided to ignore my "NOOO" signal.

Anything I can do? Any tampermonkey scripts that will add the video to local blacklist database and hides it from suggestions?


[ Threaded | Bestest | Oldest | Newest ]

@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by ksherlock | Open

Turn off watch history for that fresh homepage feeling?[Here]


@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by laweijfmvo | Open

This has honestly been a blessing and cut down my mindless Youtube scrolling ten-fold. Maybe I'm the minority, but can't imagine why Youtube wants me to close the tab instead of watching more videos.


@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by titzer | Open

I turned it off more than a year ago and then it started nagging me to turn it back on, to the point it would not even show me my lists without enabling it. Dark pattern.

@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by g1184 | Open

The same thing happens to me. The solution was to use a Firefox extension called YouTube Unhook. So I block everything that distracts me.

@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by bombcar | Open

you marked too many, and so it ran out of suggestions and so started suggesting ones you ignored

anyway the suggestion queue is getting very bad

@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by greenthrow | Open

Youtube's recommendation algorithm has gotten terrible. There's a pretty low limit on the number of channels you can block. Additionally, different interfaces won't allow you to mark certain things like Mixes or Movies as "Not Interested" at all.

I have been paying for Youtube Red/Premium since like 2016 and I'm strongly considering canceling it and giving up on Youtube altogether. It's gotten that bad.

My replacement is just supporting the creators I like on Patreon or wherever they choose to put their content for a direct payment.


@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by gremlinsinc | Open

you'd think they could create a chatGPT like agent that basically knows what you like based on your history and just ask it if it would like this video or not, that would be so easy to implement, LLMs love play acting like they're someone Else.

@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by darrylb42 | Open

Do you subscribe to anything? You may need some positive signals. I have premium so it may work different but suggested is mostly new stuff from channels I subscribe to or channels I have watched. Though mostly I just look for what is new in my subscription list and don't pay much attention to the home screen.


@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by MaxikCZ (OP) | Open

I am subscribed to loads of channels. Best is when after 3 days of reloading recommendations to find something nice it suggests me a video from subscribed channel (that I have notifications set to "all") from 3 days ago.

Whole 3 days it was unable to suggest me a video I told it I would want to see. Its mind boggling.

Honestly think scraping the algo alltogether and writing it from scratch could only result net positive, regardless of how broken new version would be.

@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by samcat116 | Open

Gonna go against a lot of folks here and say I think the YouTube recommendation algorithm works pretty well for me. Definitely helps if you watch a lot of certain topics to give it some positive signals.

@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by Cpoll | Open

I bookmark and use the subscriptions page to avoid the algorithmic recommendations.


@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by wolpoli | Open

A slight variation of this: I bookmark specific Youtube channels to only view their content.


@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by throw0101b | Open

I use the RSS/Atom feed of specific Youtube channels so that I know when new things are posted:

@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by collinvandyck76 | Open

This is what I do. It's really awesome that this exists.


@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by the_70x | Open

Is it even possible to have the RSS feed from the subscriptions page?


@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by srcnkcl | Open

you can take out sube data then give it to a rss reader to find all of them. It can be a pain to add to the reader and there would be no thumbnails.


@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by MrMember | Open

I have bash scripts set up to download new videos from specific channels using yt-dlp once a day. I don't even have to visit youtube anymore :)


@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by tennisflyi | Open

This is the only way to use YouTube. Didn't really think people used "Home" or "Shorts." Bad suggestion will still show up in the sidebar though.


@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by kibibu | Open

I use Home. I appreciate being recommended content similar to the stuff I watch, and it's how I've discovered some of my favourite creators.


@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by nextaccountic | Open



@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by Regnore | Open

If you disable all youtube tracking, your homepage is just a message saying

“Your watch history is off
You can change your setting at any time to get the latest videos tailored to you. Learn more”

which is kind of a nice feeling.


@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by anigbrowl | Open

I just use my YT account on Chrome these days, but watch most videos in another browser without being logged in. Downside, it doesn't remember all my preferences/playlists/etc. Upside, recommendations are limited to my actual viewing choices over the last week or so.


@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by Nextgrid | Open

Another option is to use RSS readers. Every YT channel page has <link> elements pointing to RSS feeds, which means you can paste channel URLs into any RSS reader and subscribe to them through that.


@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by kazinator | Open

How can that be used with Android TV?

@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by Syonyk | Open

Stop using YouTube.

Or just use one of the various youtube downloader forks that actually works well to watch stuff you care about, and ignore the referral engine entirely.

I'm quite serious - this isn't a snarky response. You've evaluated that a product is actively ignoring your wishes. So why continue rewarding it with attention?


@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by aldousd666 | Open

They don't provide a fungible service. There's nobody else providing the same service. It's ok to be unhappy about a service you're getting and still using the service, especially when there's no alternative. TikTok is certainly no help.


@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by manquer | Open

There are two components here, the video streaming/ content database has no equivalent peer for sure, however the general app UX has plenty of alternatives and is pretty fungible.

One can consume Youtube, without shoddy recommendations, annoying shorts or intrusive ads if you wish. Most of the peers are legal and comply with YT policy as well.


@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by 3523582908 | Open

Are there YT alternatives for TV/PS5? That's my primary consumption way, I don't watch YT on my computer.


@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by tredre3 | Open

>I'm quite serious - this isn't a snarky response

No, you are being quite snarky. It's clear OP wants to discovery content and wants to be suggested stuff. Telling them to stop using it without suggestion ANYTHING even remotely close to a substitute isn't a solution. It's snark.


@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by cheeze | Open

Totally agree. This is the standard HN response that is frustrating, because it completely ignores the fact that _the user wants to use youtube, there is no viable alternative, and they are annoyed with a specific feature.

This is the equivalent to "don't like how Windows handles X? Just use Linux bro!


@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by AshamedCaptain | Open

But youtube simply doesn't have a decent recovery and/or recommendation system. What do you want to do ?


@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by danaris | Open

Words have meaning, and "snark" isn't just "giving someone a response that absolutely does not fulfill their request."

Snark is very much about tone, and it is absolutely possible to give a response like the GP with no snark whatsoever. If they give their answer with absolute sincerity, it may be rude, and it may be unhelpful, and it may even be arrogant (it may not—those are all very context-dependent)—but none of those things make it snarky.

@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by irusensei | Open

Speed running games. Not interested plus I abhor the idea of skipping a good game in 10 minutes but YouTube really wants to notify me when someone finds a glitch to skip from Kalm to Junon.

@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by mianos | Open

I have a similar problem with youtube music premium. It keeps adding songs that I thumbs down to my liked song list.

It even added a few songs I thumbs downed to my seasonal favourite playlists.

It feels like I must have insulted a developer once and they do this just to annoy us. Or, there are no career advancement opportunities in fixing broken stuff at google. It certainly seems more commercial and quality is rapidly fading as it grows.

@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by snailmailman | Open

I haven't (yet) run into this issue on youtube, but I encounter it on Youtube TV all the time. Every time I open the app, if I scroll down a little bit it has a suggestion for two shows I have zero interest in watching. Every time I see them, i select "don't show me this again" and it will show me them again as soon as I refresh the page.

@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by phantom784 | Open

If you happened to watch/click on a video that you don't want recommendations for, go into your history and delete them, and then you'll stop getting recommendations for similar videos.

@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by anderspitman | Open

You can start investing in open platforms and services that get better, not worse, over time. Centralized tech doesn't result in less pain. It's just amortized over eternity.

@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by netsharc | Open

The "Improve YouTube" extension[1] used to be able to hide the sidebar, and even hide the whole homepage except for the search. Today I noticed YouTube seem to have changed something and the extension is no longer effective.

Seems like a style-modifying extension and adding the CSS rule div#secondary { display: none; } still works. Although it also hides things like live chat and transcripts...


@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by e-clinton | Open

Others similar to you really like that content, so you must’ve mistakenly thumbed it down.

@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by jjoonathan | Open

Ugh, it's absolutely awful. The skin condition / holes / maggot videos are the worst. I didn't even watch one by accident, but I do sometimes watch ASMR videos and I think that's the keyword roping these in. It was bad enough to push me into actually flagging them, but of course that does nothing to stop the recommendations so they keep popping up in my feed.

EDIT: Here's an example, but if my recommendations are jammed up with this shit after watching 0 of them I can only imagine what happens if you watch one intentionally.


@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by MaxikCZ (OP) | Open

Id appreciate a screenshot instead of youtube link, I dont want to bring this plague on me as well.


@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by kledru | Open

it is only logical that maggots take over at some point

@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by freedomben | Open

If you aren't already, I would make sure you're liking/subscribing to things you do want to watch. The algo to me seems primarily driven by thumbsups.

In YT Music especially, this has resulted in some really fantastic recommendations. Being someone who doesn't like most "popular" music (not simply because it's popular, I just think most people have bad taste :-D), I've never had a good experience with music discovery in services until now, and it's gotten on point for me.


@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by joshSzep | Open

YouTube music has been really great for me as well when it comes to discovery.


@ Wednesday, September 20th 2023 by red-iron-pine | Open

my theory is that the unpaid algo is optimized to make money, and that usually means shoveling sponsored shit at you with low effort. paid customers actually get the functional algorithm.

@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by wvenable | Open

I don't mind YouTube's recommendation algorithm because it helps me find new videos and channels to watch but it seems to constantly recommend videos I've already watched. In fact, when marking a video "not interested" you have the option to say it's because you've already seen it before. Are people constantly re-watching videos that this is a thing? Can't YouTube tell the difference between a music video and a long form video on a niche subject?


@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by MaxikCZ (OP) | Open

I have a tampermonkey script that hides all watched videos from recommendations. First I tried to mark all those I watched "not interested because I watched it", and hoped the "we will tune your recommendations" would actually tune them. Instead it just kept falling in, so I had to find other solution.

At least marking videos "not interested" worked till now, but I just cant anymore.
It's like they want to push me away.

@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by xahrepap | Open

Reading through the comments of other people having similar problems makes me question if this is at all related to the specific issue. But I think it's worth bringing up anyway:

When I first started using PiHole, the default filters were filtering out all of the YouTube tracking domains. Which makes sense. However, these are the same domains that the history tracking uses. So it would never remember that I saw a video or how far into it I got.

Perhaps the Not Interested gets similarly blocked by tracking filters?


@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by jjoonathan | Open

I have no pihole or adblock and I have been intensely flagging a particular genre of video (pus / holes / maggots) but it keeps popping up in my feed.


@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by solardev | Open

Lol really? I don't think I'd ever seen a video of that sort recommended to me. (Knock on wood)

Is it possible someone in your household is playing a prank on you?


@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by etrautmann | Open

Sadly that’s popped up for me without any interest from my end.


@ Thursday, September 21st 2023 by jjoonathan | Open

Nope, I'm the only one on the account. I'm pretty sure it's the same stupid dynamic from the "chum box" days (the box of ads at the bottom of articles), just dressed up for youtube. People have a curiosity about the gross and grotesque. Which is fine, so long as the thumbnails/ads don't get grotesque enough to make engagement nonconsensual, but that's exactly what is happening.


@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by taberiand | Open

The algorithm probably sees you as an excellent content filter signal for videos it's uncertain about.


@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by brokenmachine | Open

Holes? Like, literally, holes?


@ Thursday, September 21st 2023 by jjoonathan | Open

Trypophobia stuff -- regular patterns of holes the sight of which triggers a strong anti-parasitic instinct in most people.


@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by soupfordummies | Open

Just in time for the beginning of Halloween season, join us for the spooky tale of jjoonathan's Youtube feed becoming haunted and possessed by disgusting horrors! A ghost in the machine?

Tune in Friday at midnight!

@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by KomoD | Open

The only thing I've found to really work is clearing my entire watch history, subscriptions, comments and likes


@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by MaxikCZ (OP) | Open

Scary. What if it will keep doing what it does, but the rest will be the most common denominator of videos they push onto new people? That would actually be worse than it is, and I thank you for the lesson that "it could be worse"

@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by alrs | Open

The youtube algorithm is very aggressively trying to get you to watch dumb shit, and you are correct that there is no way to opt-out.

It's best at present to not engage with recommendations at all, and instead start following the RSS feeds of the channels you enjoy.

@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by jwells89 | Open

I don't have any suggestions to offer, but have found that the quality of my YouTube front page has degraded considerably in the past few weeks. Sometimes removing videos from watch history can jostle things to make it resemble its past self but it likes to drift, which is frustrating.


@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by timeon | Open

For few days my YouTube front page was just blank page with search bar and some other button. It was so refreshing. Unfortunately those random videos are back.

@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by Alphaeus | Open

In my experience, blocking entire channels rather than individual videos is much more reliable. Clearing out related videos from your watch history also helps a lot.


@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by timbit42 | Open

I use the web browser add-on, "Channel Blocker", to block channels. It puts an X next to the channel name. Clicking it permanently removes that channel's videos from every YouTube page.

I use, "BlockTube", to block keywords in video titles and channel names so those videos never show up in searches.

I use, "Unhook", to remove recommended videos from YouTube pages.

I use, "YouTube-Shorts Block", to block shorts.

@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by karaterobot | Open

I switched to FreeTube, which is a desktop client that can watch Youtube videos.
By removing the YT homepage altogether, it has the pleasant side effect of removing those annoying suggestions, which I agree are badly implemented.

@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by TheAceOfHearts | Open

The state of YouTube recommendations is absolutely terrible, I wish it was possible for someone to build a third-party recommendation system to compete with them. The most frustrating part of YouTube recommendations is that it keeps suggesting videos I've already watched, and which I'm not interested in the slightest in rewatching. It reminds me of years ago when Amazon would recommend more of the thing you had just bought.

If I add something to my Watch Later list, it keeps recommending that video, but it never surfaces older entries.

Recommendation systems in general feel so limited in how much user input they allow as well, I wish we had more knobs to twist. There's definitely whole categories of videos and content that I'd love to blacklist.

It definitely feels like an area with potential for improvements and optimization, but I'm not sure if YouTube's APIs are sufficiently flexible for anyone to build a competitor. And even if you could build a competitor, it would probably end up getting shut down or incapable of being monetized.

Something cool about Blue Sky is that they actually allow you to build customized algorithmic timelines. You're not locked in to a single opaque recommendation algorithm. Would love for this feature to be available on YouTube.


@ Thursday, September 21st 2023 by fuzztester | Open

>The state of YouTube recommendations is absolutely terrible

$ echo "The state of YouTube recommendations is absolutely terrible" | sed 's/recommendations //’

@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by 3523582908 | Open

Yep, I'm having the same issue.

It's extremely frustrating given the amount of really triggering content that keeps being recommended to me (anorexia, body horror, pus, holes, etc)

@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by DamnInteresting | Open

I really wish there was a robust way to block channels on YouTube. There is one YouTuber (Simon Whistler) that I check in on a lot--not because I enjoy his content, but because he is a parasite. He did paid voice work for me for years, but then one day I discovered he had started working with a competitor, and together they were systematically poaching my entire catalog of non-fiction content. They started releasing videos covering the same obscure topics with the same details, sometimes even using my original artwork without permission. It's been going on for years now, across multiple channels and hundreds of videos. What he's doing is (mostly) not illegal, but goddamn is it slimy.

I keep an eye on his channels to catalog the egregious poaching, but as a consequence, YouTube thinks I'm his biggest fan, and keeps recommending his videos. I am tired of seeing his smug, parasitic face in my sidebar. What a scumbag.


@ Monday, September 18th 2023 by timbit42 | Open

There is a web browser add-on called, "Channel Blocker", that will block every video from any channel you block. It puts an X next to the channel name. One click permanently removes all that channel's videos.

You may also be interested in another web browser add-on called, "BlockTube", which lets you block videos based on keywords in the video title or channel name.

@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by tompt | Open

I recently noticed that Youtube has been adding videos to my watch history that I didn't watch. Not just random videos, but ones the algorithm keeps pushing that I'm not interested in.

I know I didn't watch them, but there they are on my history page. It feels kinda icky and I don't know how to stop it.

@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by friend_and_foe | Open

They're not going to stop. They don't care what you want to see anymore, they care what they want you to see.

All you can do is either abandon the algorithm entirely, or live with it.

You can abandon the algorithm with tools like RSS, invidious, and suggestions elsewhere in this thread such as bookmarking channels. This very much limits discoverability, but discoverability is broken with these algorithms anyway and the only way to have real discoverability nowadays is to engage in online communities where people share videos, so it's not really a loss.

@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by whhuh | Open

How about FreeTube? It saves watch history locally, you can set your homepage to just your subscriptions, and IDK if it's just me, but the recommendations are really related to the video I am watching / clicked on, just like early YouTube.

@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by singularity2001 | Open

my current solution reinstall YouTube on iOS whenever I miss-clicked a bait video. manually search for the few topics that interest me afterwards.

@ Tuesday, September 19th 2023 by ManlyBread | Open

You can do nothing. This feature has been broken for ages and YouTube doesn't care. Your best bet is to remove the homepage via some browser plugin and make it redirect you to the Subscription page instead.

@ Thursday, September 21st 2023 by fuzztester | Open

IME YouTube keeps recommending videos I've seen, within minutes after I finish seeing them.

Both your issue and mine seem to be part of their brain-dead algorithms, maybe ML-based.

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