Staying connected with your audience is critical on YouTube, so we fast-tracked the development of a new comment management page that lets you see, respond to and moderate your comments all in one place.YouTube Comments Management Now All In One Place [youtubecreator.blogspot.com]
From this central page you can easily remove comments, flag comments for spam or abuse, give a thumbs up, or click over to the video watch page and reply. Quickly toggle between comments that are published on the channel, comments that are pending channel manager approval, or comments that have been marked as spam.
Staying connected with your audience is critical on YouTube
Actually you can't reply inline yet which makes it hard to be connected at all.
Google forced a G+ account on everyone who wanted to log in(required for comments) and started sharing comments on those profiles last year. It took a youtube user revolt of large proportions for Google to reluctantly implement these changes. The changes however weren't driven by "staying connected is critical on Youtube", imo they are being implemented to stem the tide of hate towards G+. As always you can find videos on Youtube about that.