No Right Answer: Is Clickbait Good or Bad?

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Is Clickbait Good or Bad?

Chris and Kyle discuss the proper and improper usage of clickbait, and how sensational headlines aren't necessarily bad. What happens next will shock you!

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Kyle you don't have have to do an episode on what it is like to be fat. A lot of us on this website already know.

Kyle! Don't get my hopes up like that. Had me psyched for an episode that'll never air now.

Question: Is this video clickbait? From the title (and knowledge of the show), one would expect a debate about the good and bad of clickbait. Instead, it was a defense of various people on the website who use sensationalist titles for their stuff, and there was no real debate on whether or not they should be doing so (Both Chris and Kyle were in agreement, which isn't really a debate).

I think the definition of clickbait they use was too extreme. If I see, "5 Crazy Things In The New Ninja Turtles" and the article is actually about Jennifer Lawrence, then that's blatant false advertising. With the same title but an article that talks about Where Meghan Fox went to learn acting and what Michael Bay's style is like, that seems more like clickbait to me: It's irrelevant information that is kinda tangentially related to what's going on, but is not what was promised.

It's in the presentation as much as anything else. Jim makes a living by being bombastic and sensational with his videos, picking sides and defending them with a great deal of enthusiasm. That's not really clickbait. But Bob tends more towards things like taking a (decently written) preview of Black Jesus and stapling a not-really-related topical front page to it, IMO in order to drive up views and comments. It's presenting something as something other than what it is.

I mean, it wasn't really discussing clickbait, it was determining that what Bob and co do isn't click bait.

Those guys provide content, be it articles or videos. Clickbait is the promise of something that it then fails to deliver. If Bob wrote titles like "DC reveal Wonder Woman's outfit, and you'll never guess what part of her body it shows...!", then that would be clickbait. It's irrelevant to the film, it's hinting as a scandal that doesn't exist, and it's something that could have easily been addressed in the title. Instead we're more likely to get the title "Controversy over skimpy Wonder Woman costume", which isn't clickbait - it's addressed the problem in the title, it's given you information as to why it's a relevant thing to read (the "controversy"), and it's not given a false sense of urgency in clicking on the link.

This makes me happy.

Thunderous Cacophony:
Question: Is this video clickbait? From the title (and knowledge of the show), one would expect a debate about the good and bad of clickbait. Instead, it was a defense of various people on the website who use sensationalist titles for their stuff, and there was no real debate on whether or not they should be doing so (Both Chris and Kyle were in agreement, which isn't really a debate).

I have to admit, by about the halfway point of the video I was thinking the same thing. I'm still trying to decide whether that was intentional as a joke or just a result of the show's usual one-side-or-the-other structure being sorta shoehorned into the title.

Kind of off-topic, but you guys brought up an interesting point in this episode. Jim, Yahtzee and Bob are internet personalities. I think it's safe to say that the majority of their income is tied to views, advertisers, etc. For you guys it's kind of different (I think). As far as I understand Chris works for Nintendo while Kyle and Dan have other jobs as well (can't really remember what they are off the top of my head). That said, do you guys actually rely on the revenue from these videos at all or do you just do it for fun? Kind of personal I suppose, so if I don't get an answer I understand :P

Shjade:

Thunderous Cacophony:
Question: Is this video clickbait? From the title (and knowledge of the show), one would expect a debate about the good and bad of clickbait. Instead, it was a defense of various people on the website who use sensationalist titles for their stuff, and there was no real debate on whether or not they should be doing so (Both Chris and Kyle were in agreement, which isn't really a debate).

I have to admit, by about the halfway point of the video I was thinking the same thing. I'm still trying to decide whether that was intentional as a joke or just a result of the show's usual one-side-or-the-other structure being sorta shoehorned into the title.

It was more of a discussion on the overuse of the term, what the true definition would be, and if click bait can be good. Yes, the title was as close to the content as we could get in the space we had.

The original title, which was vetoed, was penisboobmoneysjw show!

Thunderous Cacophony:
Question: Is this video clickbait? From the title (and knowledge of the show), one would expect a debate about the good and bad of clickbait. Instead, it was a defense of various people on the website who use sensationalist titles for their stuff, and there was no real debate on whether or not they should be doing so (Both Chris and Kyle were in agreement, which isn't really a debate).

My question precisely.
The title said the article was about clickbait, they talked about clickbait, but they ended up saying that clickbait is good when it is used for good and it is bad when it is used for bad. No debate. :-)

Verlander:
I mean, it wasn't really discussing clickbait, it was determining that what Bob and co do isn't click bait.

Those guys provide content, be it articles or videos. Clickbait is the promise of something that it then fails to deliver. If Bob wrote titles like "DC reveal Wonder Woman's outfit, and you'll never guess what part of her body it shows...!", then that would be clickbait. It's irrelevant to the film, it's hinting as a scandal that doesn't exist, and it's something that could have easily been addressed in the title. Instead we're more likely to get the title "Controversy over skimpy Wonder Woman costume", which isn't clickbait - it's addressed the problem in the title, it's given you information as to why it's a relevant thing to read (the "controversy"), and it's not given a false sense of urgency in clicking on the link.

This makes me happy.

You've basically hit the nail on the head here. My problem with clickbait is just that. It assumes you'll react a certain way by hinting at something much worse than it really is, and by putting that expectation in your head, you are inevitably disappointed when you realise it's yet another cheap way to get views.

By simply making the title about why it's controversial, it gives you a reason to click the link to investigate more, it's informed you. That's how it's been for years, if it ain't broke then don't fix it.

This video is total clickbait.

No, but there's a huge difference between being on topic and misleading people.

If I feel misled, I will think of it as clickbait. But mentioning current thing everyone's talking about?

Fair play. I will click because I'm interested.

You guys should have promised sex tips next week. Or five deadly things that you might have right at your computer desk!

Zachary Amaranth:
This video is total clickbait.

No, but there's a huge difference between being on topic and misleading people.

If I feel misled, I will think of it as clickbait. But mentioning current thing everyone's talking about?

Fair play. I will click because I'm interested.

You guys should have promised sex tips next week. Or five deadly things that you might have right at your computer desk!

We would have promised that, but then one of those five deadly things scared us from sitting at our desk any more!

Fappy:
Kind of off-topic, but you guys brought up an interesting point in this episode. Jim, Yahtzee and Bob are internet personalities. I think it's safe to say that the majority of their income is tied to views, advertisers, etc. For you guys it's kind of different (I think). As far as I understand Chris works for Nintendo while Kyle and Dan have other jobs as well (can't really remember what they are off the top of my head). That said, do you guys actually rely on the revenue from these videos at all or do you just do it for fun? Kind of personal I suppose, so if I don't get an answer I understand :P

While we do get some sort of compensation for our videos, it's nothing earth-shattering. And we split it fairly three ways, so ultimately, none of the three of us rely on the money we make here at The Escapist but we do get excited when a paycheck comes in because it means we can buy some new toys, video games, or trips to the buffet.

So to answer that question, we do these for fun, or more specifically, since I live in Washington and Dan and Kyle are in Oregon, we use these as an excuse to get together once every two months. :)

Firefilm:

We would have promised that, but then one of those five deadly things scared us from sitting at our desk any more!

Well played, sirs. That put a smile on my face.

My favourite clickbait comes from the Star Wars Christmas special: Fighting the Frizzies at 11!

I think sports journalism is far FAR worse for click bait than anything I've seen on the Escapist or the video games industry in general. You get stuff like "player slams/taunts rival team" which makes you think "wow what could he possibly have said, sounds a bit controversial", then you read the article and the actual quote is a totally reasonable answer like "I think we can win". And don't even get me started on the football (soccer for my American friends) transfer window.

so wait, is clickbait good or bad? I can't make up my mind without the final drinking round.

I get click bait is a necessary evil, counter-point: The Daily Mail.

Mmm Escapist isn't to bad. I mean sure titles at times are a bit sensationalist but that kinda is media these days. Yes the world changed maybe the past posting anything was enough but right now good content and making it look good matters. So I am not against that. The content tends to follow the title.

True Clickbait that would be those darn websites that have all those top 10 lists. And have supposed stories about pictures of actresses etc. That stuff is just crap.

And one get used to it that headlines lie. And yes some television networks love to use them, again content driven to the ADHD generation.

The best way I find to cover something very relevant but to avoid clickbait is to name your show one title and go off a weekly or monthly date to it. Like how Co-optional podcast does it, they count each one in order but each one can have very different themes or subjects. That should be how shows avoid clickbait.

If your show/writing is good it will speak for itself and grow a fan following.

You guys want click bait? Try Cracked.com. They use adjectives like "Surprising, Terrifying, Baffling, Creepy," and "...You Won't Believe." Their article titles change at least twice a day and the commenters rightly call them out on it!
And the issue with Bob's stuff isn't over-sensationalized titles, but the content. He shoe-horns in material that has little-to-nothing to do with the video/column's subject (ex. harping on Green Lantern/Amazing Spider-Man/Man of Steel/ASM2 for a whole minute of a review for some other movie). I noticed Ross Lincoln doing similar stuff, even before he got his own column.

It pretty much killed Cracked.

Click bait is bad, because it is placing lies as links. If you had good links, you wouldn't need to lie.

I would say (and I wish the video would have before they dithered away into justifying their own promotions) this article wanted to address the distinction between clickbait (which is dishonest, implicit in the word "bait") and topical promotions and market analysis. One is dishonest and therefore, "bad", and the other is good business sense. If your article or video actually contains the content you advertise, rather than bait-and-switch into something completely different, you're fine with me.

I absolutely abhor clickbait.

"5 Things Women Under 25 Need To Know. #3 is SO TRUE!"

"This video will change your life. I cried at 2 minutes."

Fuck the fuck off you fucking transparently manipulative fucks.

Darth_Payn:
You guys want click bait? Try Cracked.com. They use adjectives like "Surprising, Terrifying, Baffling, Creepy," and "...You Won't Believe." Their article titles change at least twice a day and the commenters rightly call them out on it!

Cracked has always loved hyperbole in their titles, and the "Baffling Use of Adjectives" thing is practically a joke at this point. It's not really clickbait as they don't seem to usually intend to mislead people, unless a title that only mentions movies for an article that talks about movies AND tv shows is misleading.

The changing titles is becoming a problem, though. It's not every article and it's not every day, but they switch some of them around for no good reason.

Firefilm:

Shjade:

Thunderous Cacophony:
Question: Is this video clickbait? From the title (and knowledge of the show), one would expect a debate about the good and bad of clickbait. Instead, it was a defense of various people on the website who use sensationalist titles for their stuff, and there was no real debate on whether or not they should be doing so (Both Chris and Kyle were in agreement, which isn't really a debate).

I have to admit, by about the halfway point of the video I was thinking the same thing. I'm still trying to decide whether that was intentional as a joke or just a result of the show's usual one-side-or-the-other structure being sorta shoehorned into the title.

It was more of a discussion on the overuse of the term, what the true definition would be, and if click bait can be good. Yes, the title was as close to the content as we could get in the space we had.

The original title, which was vetoed, was penisboobmoneysjw show!

Damn it, Tito, that title was gold! Heck, make Penisboobmoneysjw Show a weekly thing and I might finally join the Pub Club.

I think the whole episode could have been summarized by a single downward pointing arrow, which pointed at the "From the web ads" or whatever you would like to call them. Mostly screaming "TOP 5 SNAPCHAT FAILS OF ALL TIME" and whatever. That's clickbait. Content, no substance. But then again. We all want free content. Or what at least feels free. That is the reason I've got adblock allowing Escapist, because I want all the contributors and the site itself with all it's personnel get their fee. Clickbait is just when you give zero effort for maximum pay-off. Which isn't cool.

I've never really had issue with these videos by anyone mentioned being click-bait. MY ire comes from when a news article is portrayed in such a manner. Which is happening more on escapistmagazine.

An example from this week;

The Sims 4 Release Day Deals
http://www.escapistmagazine.com/news/view/137210-Release-Day-Deals-for-The-Sims-4

Less about the Sims 4 and more a catalog about everything else. But I don't fault The Escapist so much for this. It is clear that dealzon is a rep for sales. But it is portrayed as news.

Comparing this site to others (such as yahoo which is total tripe) The Escapist is much better. But it is gradually lowering the bar of its news articles and 'journalism'.

Yeah, side note on some recent articles: they seem more like they were written by people paid to write about those particular games by the companies that made them. Probably not the case, but it makes my back scar itch whenever somebody starts talking like an ad.

Thunderous Cacophony:

Darth_Payn:
You guys want click bait? Try Cracked.com. They use adjectives like "Surprising, Terrifying, Baffling, Creepy," and "...You Won't Believe." Their article titles change at least twice a day and the commenters rightly call them out on it!

Cracked has always loved hyperbole in their titles, and the "Baffling Use of Adjectives" thing is practically a joke at this point. It's not really clickbait as they don't seem to usually intend to mislead people, unless a title that only mentions movies for an article that talks about movies AND tv shows is misleading.

The changing titles is becoming a problem, though. It's not every article and it's not every day, but they switch some of them around for no good reason.

I know, right?! It's insultingly obvious when the URL is different from what the title really says! Although the "clickbait" accusations get thrown around over there to, mainly in articles that wind up not being very funny or well researched.
Also, you're on Cracked, right? I'm sure I've seen your comments in their articles (and yours are hilarious).

Yeah- I was hoping for a debate at least- rather than what boiled down to "don't accuse this website of clickbait pLease"

I think Jim is mostly accused of clickbait because his job is to talk about controversial stuff, so I can give him a bit of a pass. Bob on the other hand, seems to purposely want to rile people-and, if you check his twitter, you can see him pitch a huge fit anytime people disagree with him.... but thats another issue, I suppose.

Every week a gaming website writes "WILL NINTENDO GO BANKRUPT IN 2015?", you click on it, and its "-Well, uh, probably not." Seriously- that example repeats constantly.
I think all these "An end to all those filthy gamer idiots!" articles coming out now are clickbait purposely trying to offend their readers- but again- inside it's "We mean the sexist ones." or something of the sort.
Take a look at half the articles on Kotaku for more great examples. They're particularly bad about it. They make escapist look much better by comparison.

I would consider this video to be clickbait, since really, nobody but journalists seem to defend this Readers are mostly sick and tired of it. Clickbait shows a disregard for integrity and an obsession with pleasing advertisers.

I mean, I see where these two are coming from, but I just have pretty strict standardson this.

Revelo:

Verlander:
I mean, it wasn't really discussing clickbait, it was determining that what Bob and co do isn't click bait.

Those guys provide content, be it articles or videos. Clickbait is the promise of something that it then fails to deliver. If Bob wrote titles like "DC reveal Wonder Woman's outfit, and you'll never guess what part of her body it shows...!", then that would be clickbait. It's irrelevant to the film, it's hinting as a scandal that doesn't exist, and it's something that could have easily been addressed in the title. Instead we're more likely to get the title "Controversy over skimpy Wonder Woman costume", which isn't clickbait - it's addressed the problem in the title, it's given you information as to why it's a relevant thing to read (the "controversy"), and it's not given a false sense of urgency in clicking on the link.

This makes me happy.

You've basically hit the nail on the head here. My problem with clickbait is just that. It assumes you'll react a certain way by hinting at something much worse than it really is, and by putting that expectation in your head, you are inevitably disappointed when you realise it's yet another cheap way to get views.

By simply making the title about why it's controversial, it gives you a reason to click the link to investigate more, it's informed you. That's how it's been for years, if it ain't broke then don't fix it.

It's just good practice really. The Escapist's facebook toes the line sometimes, but when you're on the site it's usually a pretty good standard

The dinosaur pic was pretty funny.

Also, clickbait is fucking annoying. I deliberately avoid articles like that like the plague. My little contribution towards a better humanity.

Clickbait is simply an extension of the "teaser" on every 11 o'clock local news show that gets some people to stay around until the end of the broadcast - only it's less annoying because you don't have to wait a half hour.

Top of the hour - "What did this guy find in his basement that made him a boatload of money? Maybe you have one in your basement too - coming up on News at 11."
Story of local murder/rape
Man on the street
Weather
Sports
30 minutes later - "He bought a $10 painting at a garage sale that turned out to be a Picasso."

Firefilm:
It was more of a discussion on the overuse of the term, what the true definition would be, and if click bait can be good. Yes, the title was as close to the content as we could get in the space we had.

That's pretty much what I thought. That said, possible alternative suggestion:

No Right Answer: Provocative or Clickbait?

Since that's basically what the discussion was determining - whether a title is misleading clickbait or simply a provocative/topical subject.

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