Training the YouTube Algorithm

Listening to music and watching dance lessons on YouTube makes me happy. Everything else on YouTube makes me unhappy. It doesn’t matter what the video is, watching YouTube makes me unhappy.

If all of YouTube made me unhappy then I should just not use YouTube. But I like listening to music and watching dance lessons on YouTube. I dislike getting recommendations for non-music non-dance videos. Fortunately, YouTube personalizes its recommendations. I wondered if I could train YouTube to only recommend music and dance lessons.

I created a brand new Google account just for YouTube. I carefully refrained from clicking on anything other than music and dance lessons. I quickly learned that “Don’t recommend channel” works better than “Not interested”. If you press “Don’t recommend channel” then YouTube will stop recommending the channel.

I have trained my YouTube algorithm for about two years now. When I wanted to watch a non-music non-dancing video I did it incognito or on another account. Here are what my homepage recommendations look like right now.

The first 12 recommendations are all music. The 13th recommendation is a clip related to Doctor Who. I think the non-music Doctor Who recommendation came from clicking on The 10th Doctor Epic Suite which got recommended because I was watching music from Sherlock. From there, the next 72 recommendations are all music.

If I just keep scrolling and scrolling until I get non-music non-dance recommendations, they tend to be silly stuff like this, this or this. I think the Lord of the Rings recommendations come from listening to fantasy-themed music.

If you want to use YouTube for a specific purpose without distractions then it is entirely possible to train YouTube to do this. All you have to do is create an account, watch videos on a specific topic and press “Don’t recommend channel” whenever you encounter an off-topic recommendation.