Tuesday, November 1, 2016

We Got A Meowing Captioning Problem

A member of our Caption Action 2 Facebook group brought a form of caption vandalism to our attention.


Imagine someone talking, but instead of normal captioning, cat-related words are in there. In this case, the award-winning Phillip DeFranco  YouTube channel. His October 27 video is loaded with cat-related words. One scene has these captions:

"And the first thing we're going to talk about today, the most meowed story of the day."

...and in another scene...

"(sarcastically) I'm going to be like *meow-lodramatic gasp*"


...and he's not even making those sounds, not even a little mew, not even referring to anything related to cats. This form of captioning vandalism is going to get worse before it gets better. I've seen this before in the past.

I could be wrong, but it looks like it's a group of trolls called the "meowers." If you do a Google search on "Usenet meow wars," there are a few pages that tell about this. I've personally seen it happen when they've taken over a thread with "meowing." I used to be active on the newsgroups.

The articles you read of them demolishing the Usenet newsgroups are true. The last I saw of things on Usenet some time ago, groups were either spammed or meowed/cascaded into near-unusability. By cascaded or cascading, imagine a response where there's a response below it with another response below it, and so on, all meows or just plain trolling or some useless spam messages.

The surviving newsgroups survived on moderation and people sending commands to remove those particular messages.

One of the articles mentions Hipcrime. He put me and multiple others on a list some years ago called a "BlueList of Complainers" and a couple others, and it wasn't for meowing. It was pretty funny. That plus other rather funny and not-so-funny things.

Fortunately for this particular video, they didn't "meow" everything.

But it's only a matter of time...

Are you annoyed/outraged by this? Do something about it! Tell Philip DeFranco about it:

Twitter: @phillyd
Email: philipdefranco@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DeFrancoNation/
Tumblr: http://defranco.tumblr.com/
and post comments on the video as well.

Update: Check his video on Facebook. It doesn't have the meows.


Sunday, September 11, 2016

Caption Vandalism!

What is the newest problem associated with closed captioning online? Caption Vandalism! Definition: When people contribute captions to YouTubers' videos, but the contributed captions contain jokes, emoticons, comments, and dirty language.

Examples of Caption Vandalism

One popular YouTuber whose fan-contributed captions are are riddled with caption vandalism is PewDiePie. A Twitter follower sent us examples, the most extreme ones of which are below. (Note: If you go to the video to try to find these examples, they are not there anymore. But the point is, they WERE there for awhile.)

If you think the above is bad....

...This one is worse.

We were also sent examples of Caption Vandalism from Markiplier's channel. To keep this blog post from becoming too heavy with graphics, we are not including the examples, which contained emoticons.

Why It Is Happening

If YouTubers do not review the captions before publishing, the vandalized captions go live. Plus,  YouTube automatically publishes contributed captions once there are enough reviews. On Google Help,  it says "Your community can also review the content, and it'll automatically be published when it gets enough reviews." So, we interpret this language to mean that if enough fans review the content and "approve" it, it gets automatically published after awhile. Without a YouTuber reviewing it first.

Another problem is lack of hearing people understanding and supporting the need deaf people have for accurate captions. A search on Twitter for "Markiplier" and "captions" turned up many tweets from hearing people saying how much they enjoy the vandalized captions! There are some complaints too, but the complaints are outnumbered. What about deaf people like us who actually NEED the damn captions?? It is totally unfair to us! Years of the deaf community pleading with top YouTubers for captions, and this crap is what we get??

Here is just ONE example of a tweet expressing pleasure in the vandalized captions:
Here is another tweet in which someone claims they used the captions to advertise their own YouTube channel.
Deaf Community Reaction

The deaf and hard of hearing who need the captions to be accurate are increasingly getting upset at this situation. Deaf YouTuber Rikki Poynter devoted an entire video to this topic:

Two deaf/hard of hearing people blogged on Tumber: SparkyRider and DeafPokemonTrainer. SparkyRider complained specifically about Markiplier, and Jacksepticeye, two popular YouTubers, while DeafPokemonTrainer complained about Markiplier.

YouTubers' Reactions

Thus far, one YouTuber is known to have quit captioning completely because of the abuse of captions on her YouTube channel. Efforts to persuade this YouTuber to consider paying for it (YouTuber says they can't afford it) or try an alternative method (below) have failed.

What Can You Do?

You can do two things. First, you can make YouTubers with this problem, aware. Second, you can urge YouTubers to use a method called "Pre-Release Captioning." With this method, the YouTuber selects a few TRUSTED individuals to do the captioning, and sends them unlisted (not public yet) videos so they can caption them properly. After the captioning is done properly, the YouTuber publishes the video.

Another thing you can do, if you can make a video, you can join Rikki's #NoMoreCraptions campaign which is in just a couple of weeks on September 25.. Read more about it on Rikki's blog or watch her video about it (on Facebook). Note: Caption Action 2 will not be making a video, but we will be doing our part by promoting videos people create for the #NoMoreCraptions campaign.

Musing: Could Caption Vandalism be why YouTube superstar Tyler Oakley now does his own captioning? We don't know and have not asked Tyler Oakley.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

An Epic Ignorance of Deaf Kids' Needs!

We know, it has been a long time since we did a blog post. We don't blog unless there is something worth blogging about. And this is definitely worth blogging about!

Deaf kids. Inaccessibility. Education.

That's what this is about. Last week a parent of a deaf child, Emily Shaw (emilypottershaw@gmail.com), brought to the attention of Caption Action 2 the fact that she was paying $5 a month for her deaf child to have access to eBooks through a library app service, which now has educational videos as well. But the educational videos lack captions.

Whaa??? How can a service that is educational, free to elementary school teachers and librarians, not consider the needs of deaf children when adding educational videos??

What company is so blatantly ignoring the needs of deaf children? The service is called Epic! Their website is https://www.getepic.com/. Their Twitter is @epickidsbooks. Facebook is facebook.com/epic.books.for.kids. Caption Action 2 already tweeted them and commented on their Facebook page with no response.

Another member of Caption Action 2 wrote an email to the company at support@getepic.com, and received the wholly unacceptable response below, reproduced in full. We have added bold text to the key portion.

Thank you for your email. The Read to Me books (green tags) do have visible text accompanying the audio. The purple-tagged audio books do not have captions or any visual pages to turn, they are just pure audio. We have recently added educational videos, and they are not all captioned. Some of them might be if the publishers provided them in that format, but I would say probably most videos are not captioned. We stream the videos in the format that we receive them from publishers, so we aren't able to add our own captions.
Best Regards,
Epic! - Books for Kids

A new school year is just around the corner! Does your child's teacher or school library use the Epic service? Contact Epic and insist/demand that they immediately remove all uncaptioned videos because they are apparently in violation of the law. (The National Association of the Deaf has an informative page, "Section 504 and ADA Obligations of Public Schools." If a public school library subscribes to this service and a deaf child in that school cannot watch the videos, then it is a violation.) Tell Epic they should be MANDATING captions on any videos provided by their video suppliers.  An educational service for children should not have ANY uncaptioned videos!

Screenshot from uncaptioned video about civil rights figure Rosa Parks. Below the screenshot
are examples of more educational videos, Screenshot provided by the frustrated 
parent who contacted Caption Action 2.