YouTube is testing a new option that would enable creators to deactivate future comments on selected videos, while still keeping any comments that have been posted till that point, in order to provide more ways to manage the discussion around your clips.
To be clear, you can already switch off video comments, both at the channel and individual video level, but in doing so, you also deactivate all comments, even those that have already been posted. You can work around this, by holding comments for review, but there’s currently no easy way to halt comments at a given point.
This new process aims to provide more of a middle ground, so you can maintain a level of discussion, even if you do choose to switch comments off.
As explained by YouTube:
“We’re experimenting with a new comment moderation setting called “Pause” that allows creators to prevent the creation of new comments at the video level, while preserving comments that were already published. If you’re in the experiment, you’ll see the option to select “pause” in your video-level comment settings (gear icon in the upper right-hand corner of the comments panel) on the watch page in the YouTube app or in YouTube Studio on both desktop and mobile.”
It’s a relatively simple, and straightforward process, which will provide more control over your video-related discussion, and could be handy in certain situations where your content is getting a lot of unwanted attention, due to news events, concerted attacks, etc.
When the setting is activated, viewers will be shown a "Comments are paused" notification in the comment section, alerting them to the update, while they’ll still be able to scroll through previous replies.
Creators in the experiment will now also see three categories in their comment controls: "On", "Pause", "Off", along with additional sub-settings for comment moderation.
Again, it could be handy in certain situations, providing more control over your YouTube experience.
YouTube says that it’s testing out the new option “with a small number of channels” to begin with.