Videos and transcripts June 22, 2016 10:02 AM   Subscribe

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person who would much rather read a transcript than watch a video. Some kind posters do include a link to a transcript, but it doesn't seem to be a convention. Could the New Post page include a nudge to do so, like "If you're posting a video, please also post a transcript if possible"?

Obvs, this is not applicable for cat videos ("meow, meow, prrrr")
posted by Dashy to Feature Requests at 10:02 AM (64 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

Or rickrolls.
posted by Melismata at 10:03 AM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


I don't see us adding that explicitly to the posting page; that's already something where complexity and busyness are unhappy bedfellows that we compromise with a lot, and I'd prefer to avoid yielding more ground there.

That said, I think the instinct is good, and bringing it up here as an awareness-raising thing is totally reasonable. We could also consider nudging a mention into a best-practices type spot on the FAQ if it's not already there.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:04 AM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


I would LOOOOOOVE this to become an established site-etiquette thing.
posted by desuetude at 10:22 AM on June 22, 2016 [37 favorites]


unhappy bedfellows that we compromise with a lot

I did that once. Worst. Pity-sex-threesome. Ever.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 10:22 AM on June 22, 2016 [22 favorites]


I rarely watch videos online, so I am curious. Is this something that people do with their videos when they upload them, is this something that YouTube etc do automatically, or is this something the poster wants people to do for each and every video before they make a FPP?
posted by terrapin at 10:31 AM on June 22, 2016


I'm not going to watch 99% of videos, and 100% of ones that people talking, but I will enjoy a good transcript.
posted by bongo_x at 10:31 AM on June 22, 2016 [8 favorites]


Terrapin, no, I'm not expecting or asking anyone to transcribe videos themselves (that would beget endless debates on the spelling of 'miao', for starters).

I'm thinking of political speeches, interviews, podcasts, etc. Often there is a transcript available, if it's from a major media outlet. It would be wonderful if posting -available- transcripts were a convention here.

For instance, the most recent FPP from This American Life -- as much as I like Ira, I can read the transcript in a few minutes, rather than listen for an hour.
posted by Dashy at 10:39 AM on June 22, 2016 [15 favorites]


And are those transcripts available on the pages to which the posters are linking? Is this an issue with auto-starting videos, etc?

I am not trying to be difficult. For the last 9 years I had satellite Internet and so I never clicked on videos. I just don't understand asking the posters to do the extra work if the transcript is available on the linked page.

Example of why I am asking: I had to go search the FP for the "This American Life" post because you didn't provide a link. I didn't see This American Life in the text on the homepage, and had to use the search field in order to find the post. Should I have expected you to provide a link? Yes. Should I have asked for it be a rule? No.

What I found is a very thorough and well-done post. Why does the poster have to add more?
posted by terrapin at 10:50 AM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


And are those transcripts available on the pages to which the posters are linking?

Sometimes, yes, more often, no.

Example of why I am asking: I had to go search the FP for the "This American Life" post because you didn't provide a link ... Should I have expected you to provide a link? Yes. Should I have asked for it be a rule? No. .

A single comment is very different, and we have different standards for it, than a well-constructed front-page post. Good FPPs are, by definition, more than just a single link; they're often several and sometimes dozens of links. I think and propose that linking to transcripts, if available, would be a good community expectation for a well-constructed FPP.
posted by Dashy at 10:59 AM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


I, for one, demand transcripts for all cat videos, and only for cat videos.
posted by duffell at 10:59 AM on June 22, 2016 [8 favorites]


Dashy has said things like "nudge" and "convention", not "rule" or "have to". Perhaps we can approach this as more of a discussion of site etiquette and less as a cry for some hard-coded law.
posted by Etrigan at 10:59 AM on June 22, 2016 [20 favorites]


I know there are a lot of members here who rarely watch videos, even for subjects that are otherwise very interesting to us. (I'm one of them.) Transcripts help! If you are making an FPP that centers around a video, posting a transcript as well (if possible) will bring more people to your post and help foster better and more-informed discussion.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 11:04 AM on June 22, 2016 [19 favorites]


Yeah, this seems like a simple piece of information to propagate: "Want more people to interact with your post? Post a transcript if it's available."

There's no need for a rule: people post stuff because they want folks to see it. By definition, an unwatched video is a failure to achieve that goal: if there's a transcript, it's an easily prevented failure.
posted by anotherpanacea at 11:11 AM on June 22, 2016 [9 favorites]


> Good FPPs are, by definition, more than just a single link

This is not true, and I wish people would stop thinking like that. The demand for Big Posts hurts MetaFilter.
posted by languagehat at 11:16 AM on June 22, 2016 [68 favorites]


Good FPPs are, by definition, more than just a single link;

By your definition.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:18 AM on June 22, 2016 [5 favorites]


Why does the poster have to add more?

Because it's a Good Thing for human beings to do, the whole "i'm going to try to consider the needs of those who are differently abled than I am" deal, it's pretty great!
posted by poffin boffin at 11:18 AM on June 22, 2016 [28 favorites]


Yes, transcripts please. There's nothing more disappointing than clicking on an interesting link just to find out that it's a damn video or a podcast link.
posted by octothorpe at 11:59 AM on June 22, 2016 [15 favorites]


Why would you intentionally narrow the audience for your post by not providing as much context as possible? I mean, posters gonna post and not everything is for me, but it seems like a not-best-practice.

It's fine to not post additional context if:

-- something is happening, but you don't need narration or context to understand it (cat videos, Buster Keaton jumping between train cars)

--something is happening, but the narrative can be easily interpreted (Cooking shows and how-to shows are very enjoyable on mute, but the news and panel shows are basically impenetrable)

--the point of the video is that it's a performance, like music or a play, so watching it in real time is unavoidably part of the experience

But if you're posting a conversation or a panel or something in an unremarkable setting where the visuals don't particularly enhance understanding and you're posting it because it's an interesting topic...well...we already have a problem with people not reading the article before they comment. Please don't make it worse by restricting the audience of commenters to people who have the ability, inclination, and time to watch and listen to something in real time that could have been communicated in multiple ways and given us even more to talk about.

tl;dr please don't give me a tl;dw post
posted by blnkfrnk at 12:00 PM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


Why would you intentionally narrow the audience for your post by not providing as much context as possible

The post being used as an example has over 35 links, and multiple footnotes. This was a well-researched and, well-presented post.

I dislike Ira's voice as much as anyone, and don't even like the editing of This American Life -- or Radio Lab for that matter -- but I find it ridiculous that anyone can suggest that another link must be included in kliuless's post.

Posters post links to videos all the time with almost no introduction, no description of what is behind the link, no alt text. Every post can't be everything for every person.
posted by terrapin at 12:15 PM on June 22, 2016


I find it ridiculous that anyone can suggest that another link must be included in kliuless's post.

You keep being the only person who's suggesting that anyone is suggesting this.
posted by Etrigan at 12:17 PM on June 22, 2016 [14 favorites]


A MeTa can be inspired by a specific thing without its scope being limited to that thing.
posted by Anticipation Of A New Lover's Arrival, The at 12:20 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


For the record, that is not the post I referred to (but because I don't want to single a post or poster out, I'm still not going to link to the one that inspired this post), and I do like Ira.
posted by Dashy at 12:35 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Could we have a rule that if you link to the transcript, could you also link to an xtranormal reading of the transcript, for vision-impaired folks?
posted by My Dad at 12:38 PM on June 22, 2016


Fretting about rules-not-actually-proposed is one of those things that seems to make MetaTalk threads get bumpier than they have any reason to be.

terrapin, I think you're pretty clearly conveyed your take on this, and that's totally fine, but I agree with the sentiment that that take seems kind of like shadow-boxing given that Dashy didn't propose a rule and my immediate response to the thread made it pretty clear that from the mod side I see this as more in the realm of site etiquette than anything like enforceable policy in any case, so maybe leave it at that?
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:41 PM on June 22, 2016 [6 favorites]


Could we have a rule that if you link to the transcript, could you also link to an xtranormal reading of the transcript, for vision-impaired folks?

Why would someone prefer a reading of the transcript to the original video?
posted by anotherpanacea at 12:45 PM on June 22, 2016


Metafilter: can be inspired by a specific thing without its scope being limited to that thing.
posted by Melismata at 1:04 PM on June 22, 2016


The demand for Big Posts hurts MetaFilter.

It does no such thing. Big posts are part of the Metafilter Mêlange. So are small ones.

Also, people were padding out their FPP's long before megaposts were a thing. They're certainly not the cause of that phenomenon.
posted by zarq at 1:11 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


i think it'd be great if people included transcripts when they remember and if you see someone hasn't included a transcript, just pop it in a comment. seems easy enough.
posted by nadawi at 1:15 PM on June 22, 2016 [22 favorites]


The demand for Big Posts hurts MetaFilter.

I don't know if they hurt Metafilter but I do know that I generally ignore all but the first link.
posted by octothorpe at 1:18 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Good FPPs are, by definition, more than just a single link

Nopenopenopenopenopenopenopenopenopenopenopenopenopenopenopenopnopenopnopenopnopenopenopenopenopenopenopenopenopenopenope

It does no such thing. Big posts are part of the Metafilter Mêlange. So are small ones.

I'm pretty sure languagehat was focusing on the demand, rather than the presence — the "by definition" qualification that seems to require a multi-link post to be in the good graces of the posting police.
posted by SpacemanStix at 1:29 PM on June 22, 2016 [9 favorites]


Every post can't be everything for every person.

if you personally feel somehow harmed by the presence of accessibility aids in posts then you personally do not need to include them on the posts that you make. other people electing to do so in their own posts cannot possibly inconvenience you since you are not making the post and are thus not being cruelly forced by a cold and uncaring universe to acknowledge the existence of people on metafilter with auditory or visual impairments.
posted by poffin boffin at 1:37 PM on June 22, 2016 [23 favorites]


I'll walk backwards on FPPs being by definition more than a single link. I thought I'd read that explicitly somewhere; and reading deleted-metafilter, which is one way to figure out what a good post entails (or doesn't), shows a lot of "single link, kinda thin" explanations.

I do agree that megaposts, while admirable, are also difficult to engage with.

Glad to hear that a nudge towards transcripts is agreeable.
posted by Dashy at 1:41 PM on June 22, 2016


Yeah, single-link posts are a fine and proud part of the MeFi posting tradition, nothing wrong with 'em.

If the stuff that gets deleted is often thin or single-link stuff, that's I think mostly just a natural consequence of it being a lot less work to make an exceptionally lazy/thin single-link post than to research a big fat lousy one. The problem isn't the number links but rather poor judgement about the interestingness/postworthiness of any given link's content, in other words.
posted by cortex (staff) at 2:02 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


> It does no such thing. Big posts are part of the Metafilter Mêlange. So are small ones.

I'm pretty sure languagehat was focusing on the demand, rather than the presence


Exactly right. Big posts are fine when well done; what I object to is the frequent implication—and in this case the explicit statement—that there is something wrong with small ("single-link," oh the horror!) ones.
posted by languagehat at 2:19 PM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


> if you personally feel somehow harmed by the presence of accessibility aids in posts

The OP was posed as simply a preference for reading transcripts over watching videos, not opening up a discussion about accessibility on MetaFilter, and it's my impression that this is the framing people are responding to with their comments.
posted by Room 641-A at 2:55 PM on June 22, 2016


I see this as partly a response to the widely publicized statement by Nicola Mendelsohn, vice president for Facebook in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa...
When asked at Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women International Summit in London where Facebook would be in a half decade in terms of mobile and video, Mendelsohn said the social network would “definitely” be mobile, and would “probably” be “all video.” “If I was having a bet,” she said, “it’d be video, video, video.”
Considering that 'view of the future' is so very similar to society in "Fahrenheit 451" (and Bradbury himself has said the book is less about censorship than about the devaluation of culture in an 'all-video' society) anything MetaFilter can do to oppose a Facebook Vision of the Future should be more than encouraged, it should be part of an oath you take when you join up here.

So, yes, let's encourage linking to transcripts whenever possible, even if it causes additional stress for the site's most epic posters (and I'd personally pitch in for a fund to provide kliuless with whatever de-stressing resources he needs).
posted by oneswellfoop at 3:15 PM on June 22, 2016 [3 favorites]


Could we have a rule that if you link to the transcript, could you also link to an xtranormal reading of the transcript, for vision-impaired folks?

See, this is funny, because if the video were somehow not accessible to people with vision impairment, the transcript would make it accessible to them because screen readers exist! Why are able-bodied people so fixated upon viewing blind and Deaf people as mutual opposites, whose worlds never intersect? See also: whenever I suggest hearing people learn ASL, they get defensive and go "well, how many Deaf people know Braille?!" It's... not like I carry around a slate with me at all times? Beyond that, people realize that ASL is tactile too, right? Right?

Anyway, I send comments like these to my Deaf-blind friends, and we all snort about them together. So thanks for the entertainment, I guess.
posted by Conspire at 3:16 PM on June 22, 2016 [25 favorites]


Posting a transcript where available seems like the polite thing to do. I'll do that in future.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:28 PM on June 22, 2016 [5 favorites]


Nopenopenope ... (etc)

That rendered beautifully.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 3:36 PM on June 22, 2016 [5 favorites]


Count me as another person who really prefers transcripts to videos or podcasts, and would love this gently nudged as a cultural norm too.
posted by mordax at 4:20 PM on June 22, 2016 [5 favorites]


I love this idea and have been wishing for it for a long time.
posted by _Mona_ at 4:56 PM on June 22, 2016 [6 favorites]


But This American Life transcripts are right there on the site linked in the FFP.
It even says " Transcripts". No video, audio only.
http://m.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/589/tell-me-im-fat
posted by Ideefixe at 5:50 PM on June 22, 2016 [1 favorite]


Dashy isn't calling out a particular FPP. It's just a general request.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 6:12 PM on June 22, 2016 [2 favorites]


Dashy isn't calling out a particular FPP. It's just a general request.

This is correct, and also identifies a pet peeve of mine when it comes to MeTa - namely, if you provide an example, people get hung on the specifics and don't regard it as an example. But if you don't provide an example, people badger you until you provide an example ... and then get hung up on the specifics instead of regarding it as an example.
posted by dotgirl at 6:34 PM on June 22, 2016 [20 favorites]


Linking to transcripts when possible sounds like a good idea to me.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 6:44 PM on June 22, 2016 [9 favorites]


But This American Life transcripts are right there on the site linked in the FFP.

It's still nice to link to a transcript because sometimes it's not obvious that one's available. Or at least, it's not always obvious to me. YMMV.

I think the suggestion to link to transcripts is perfectly nice, and I'll try to keep it in mind in the future.
posted by teponaztli at 6:46 PM on June 22, 2016 [7 favorites]


Cool. No send twenty five cent SAE either.
posted by clavdivs at 7:37 PM on June 22, 2016


I would like transcripts, ideally if they are done via YouTube's auto-caption service without corrections:
Fork over and seven ears ago,
our fathers bought fourth, upon this content,
a new notion, conceived in liberty, and dead cat eated to the preposition that "all men are create beagle."
posted by SpacemanStix at 8:01 PM on June 22, 2016 [6 favorites]


This seems like a totally reasonable non-binding suggestion and I'm kind of baffled as to why some folks are being kind of shitty about it.
posted by dersins at 9:18 PM on June 22, 2016 [10 favorites]


meow maaw mooow mauw mauw meow maaw meouw
posted by Namlit at 9:35 PM on June 22, 2016 [5 favorites]


It's like adding a (PDF) warning when you link a PDF; nice!
posted by notyou at 10:29 PM on June 22, 2016 [5 favorites]


But This American Life transcripts are right there on the site linked in the FFP.

I didn't know that, because I never listen to audio or watch videos, so I just don't click through on something that goes to a podcast site (since it's vanishingly unusual for a transcript to be available, I assume that there isn't one unless called out).
posted by the agents of KAOS at 10:48 PM on June 22, 2016 [12 favorites]


Metafilter: Perhaps we can approach this as more of a discussion of site etiquette and less as a cry for some hard-coded law.
posted by MexicanYenta at 11:15 PM on June 22, 2016


I provided the lyrics when I posted this FPP which is a SLYT that links to a song. I transcribed the lyrics myself because I like them and they weren't anywere on the web as far as I could find, and the song is better when you know what the words are.
I would certainly not demand that everyone goes as far as that, just like Dashy is not demanding that, but I personally thought it was a nice touch that someone might appreciate.

Sound is fiddly on my current setup, and I don't always want to disturb others or look for headphones, and I'm one of those people who much prefer to read, rather than to listen, when it comes to absorbing information.

TL;DR transcripts are nice and posting them or linking to them is nice too.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:34 AM on June 23, 2016 [4 favorites]


I would suggest seeking out transcripts and posting them where available if this issue really bugs you - the additional verbiage seems too much like a disincentive to posting.
posted by Artw at 8:03 AM on June 23, 2016


I like this idea a lot, as I'd much rather read a transcript of a speech or interview than watch a video.

Unless it's Chris Hemsworth. Mnf, that man's voice.
posted by Mooski at 8:52 AM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


[Couple of comments deleted. It's really not going to help anything to revive a rancorous standoff about how we talk about disabilities; the transcript suggestion actually under consideration here really doesn't require that at all.]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:00 AM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


I would love it if people would make an effort to link to transcripts whenever possible. Videos and podcasts are my least favorite (and least effective, for my brain) way of getting information. It would be helpful for a lot of people.

(I don't think we should clutter up the posting page with it, but maybe if enough people do it, it could become a site norm.)
posted by wintersweet at 12:42 PM on June 23, 2016


Worst. Pity-sex-threesome. Ever.

They did not vote quidnunc kid #1?
posted by Greg_Ace at 1:00 PM on June 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'd love this to become more frequent.
I often check metafilter where I can't turn on the sound (like public transport).
posted by Omnomnom at 3:40 PM on June 23, 2016 [2 favorites]


Good FPPs are, by definition, more than just a single link
This is not true, and I wish people would stop thinking like that. The demand for Big Posts hurts MetaFilter.

I'm glad you were here to fly this particular flag!
posted by dg at 4:27 AM on June 24, 2016


> Videos and podcasts are my least favorite (and least effective, for my brain) way of getting information. It would be helpful for a lot of people.

Seconded. I just don't absorb information very well via video or podcast.
posted by desuetude at 6:19 AM on June 24, 2016


Documents over videos: me too, with obvious exceptions.

Also, the many links theory has been abused. Some posters have gone to a lot of trouble to curate a complex topic, and the results are mind-bogglingly comprehensive. But ten links when one would suffice dilutes my interest.

Obviously I don't want to read about your damned cat; just show me the pictures and let me form my own opinion. (Okay, I do actually like to read a good cat story, but I still need the pictures to round out the experience. Or and also, just for the hell of it.)
posted by mule98J at 9:38 AM on June 24, 2016


More than once I have posted audio, or video which is more of a talk than a thing to watch, and have said something like [transcript unavailable] in the post (because I DO try to link transcripts), and had someone in the comments say "oh, here's the transcript" and provide a link.

I think it's polite to post a transcript if one can be found while creating the post, and acknowledging in the post that one was not easily found is a good way to cue others who are engaging with the thread who might have found one to link there.

I don't think it should be a rule. But I do think it's polite.
posted by hippybear at 9:58 AM on July 1, 2016 [3 favorites]


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