Let’s Take a Look at the Positive Effects of Plagiarism and You(Tube)

You know the hbomberguy video about plagiarism that destroyed at least one career? I’ll let others talk about that, while I’ll go directly to the end. There’s a section there, where Harris talks about other queer content creators, who he recommends as alternatives to James Somerton. He also gathered these and more in a playlist called Your New Favorite YouTubers. Who knows? They very well might be, although there’s a bunch of people you already probably know.

So, what I’m going to do is take a look at whether this recommendation was helpful to the creators. Admittedly, my stats-fu has largely been lost, since I haven’t needed that skill in about two decades, but we’ll see what I can do. I mean, while the numbers I got might still be useful, I realized after the first round of calculations that I was probably way off in my approach and started again. Anyhow, let’s start with this. This is the list of creators on the playlist:

Alexander Avila
Matt Baume
Lady Emily
Khadija Mbowe
Herby Revolus
Maggie Mae Fish
Kaz Rowe
Kat Blaque
Lily Alexandre
max teeth
Kameno -o
Lola Sebastian
Princess Weekes
CJ the X
Jenny Geist
Mia Mulder
Nick DiRamio
Sarah Z
Maven of the Eventide

There’s a total of 24 of them. I was aware of 14 of those and I am subscribed to six of those. I have been subscribed to others, but at some point you kind of get over certain creators. I don’t mean they get worse or anything, but if they have a very specific field they make content in, at some point you just have to move on, as there is am endless stream of new content and you can’t possibly watch it all. I mean, I had to schedule time to watch the hbomberguy video, because it happens to be almost four hours long. And you know what? If the algorithm sees that a channel has plenty of subscribers, who don’t watch the videos, it will see this as a sign that the channel should not be recommended as much. So, I just unsubscribe. On the other hand, I am a subscriber to some inactive channels in hopes that they will one day return.

So, how are we going to do this? I found each of these creators on Social Blade, copied their growth (views and subscriptions) from November of 2023 to February of 2024 into a spreadsheet and tried to figure out from there what to do. This time period is from one month before the release of the video (on December 3rd) and the full months after that. I could have waited a couple of days to get March as well, but nah. I’m fine with this.

The first thing I figured out is that I’m going to need a control. On the other hand, I didn’t feel like doing too much work on this, so I went through my subscriptions to find some queer creators, who weren’t mentioned in hbomberguy’s list. I left out the ones with over a million subscribers, because they are their own thing and also I would assume hbomberguy’s audience is very aware of ContraPoints, Philosophy Tube and Lindsay Ellis. Here’s the control (much fewer names, but it’s something):

Jessie Gender
Thought Slime
Zoe Baker
Rowan Ellis

There are some other queer creators in my subscriptions like The Serfs (who has multiple channels) and The Humanist Report, but they are more news and commentary focused, so I left them out as well. There’s also a few, who haven’t been active in a while, such as the wonderful Nowhere Grotesque, who made a few videos on architecture from a leftist point of view, but that channel is pretty much dead. I also left out Jim Sterling, as Mrs. Sterling has had a wild ride with her channel due in huge part to toxic attitudes from her audience to her coming out as trans or gender queer non-binary trans-femme, as I think she once described herself.

Why do I need a control anyhow? The business has cycles. People watch videos more in certain months and creators might be more likely to take breaks around Christmas or be more likely to make content around Christmas, if there’s more ad money going around, so there might be variables here. So, we need something to compare whatever we find among the recommended list to. If we see similar bumps for the control group, then those bumps might just be a seasonal thing. I sort of did see that… but there’s more.

Anyhow, here’s some more problems:

Clearly some of these creators were clearing up some videos from their channels during this period. I know why Thought Slime removed at least some of the 1.4 million views worth of videos during December and January, so I can’t really use them when comparing view numbers. They weren’t the only one. Kat Blaque removed over 5 million view worth of videos in December and Kameno -o removed over half a million views worth of videos, which is more than they have left total on their channel. So, I just removed these months from the spreadsheet. That means that there’s a problem with the data, but it’s going to be closer to the truth this way. I thought about interpolating a number for these months, but couldn’t be bothered.

What did I learn?

There was definitely a bump… but it was much bigger for the creators mentioned by name in the video. In general, there was a 575% rise in sub growth and 150% growt in views in December compared to November. The difference between these two is understandable, as old subs probably didn’t go back and watch as many videos from these creators than new subs. This difference is even bigger among the seven creators mentioned by name in the video. They received a 742% growth in subs, but for some reason the growth in views was less at about 98&. Not that that kind of growth is anything to scoff at, but still. Feels weird, but if I bothered to go deeper into the numbers, one could probably find an explanation for this just based on video releases, size of backlog and so forth.

However, what’s weird is that it would seem the growth for those not mentioned by name in the video was stronger in January. While the subs for the seven in the video dropped drastically from December (almost by three quarters), the rest gained about 13% more subs in January than in December. By February, pretty much everyone is back to November levels, with some of the creators having wild changes to either direction, which might – again – be linked to releases.

What about the control? They had decent growth in December as well. They had about 170% more new subs than in November, but that is much less than the group given to us by hbomberguy.

So, with this very surface level analysis, I can tell you that hbomberguy’s recommendation was definitely a postive for the channels, but it’s hard to say about the long term. It would seem that these channels have returned to their normal pattern pretty fast and it’s hard to say whether actual views will grow.

On the other hand, does that really matter? No. Not really. The way I see it, I can’t blame hbomberguy for trying and mutual aid is important. And there’s always a chance that someone out of those hundreds of thousands of new subs found something interesting for them. Maybe someone found that one thing that keeps them sane and feeling that not everything is bad out there. That there’s someone like them and that someone is trying to look out for them or at least explain the world from their point of view.

It’s not mutual aid only for the channels, but everyone benefits.

If you want to take a deeper look at the numbers, feel free. I mean, you could find another control group of random channels and with more channels, you could look at growth from last November 2022 to December 2022. You can take a look at this in the future. You can find release dates for videos by these creators and figure out if they had an affect on these numbers. I’ll leave the spreadsheet here, just in case someone wants to use it, although I do have to warn you that it’s pretty messy, because I wasn’t planning on releasing this or at least I wasn’t thinking about this when I was playing around with it, but here we go anyhow.


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