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.Watching Markiplier with captions is always A+ 10/10 pic.twitter.com/6giKaUBC8N— Electricityscape (@mylesmendoza4) September 5, 2016
Deaf Community ReactionI advertised my YouTube channel in @pewdiepie'svideo, using the captions, and people actually came. Lmao— ArbraxDesigns 🌍 (@Arbrax) August 9, 2016
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.
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.