Let's transcribe, MeFites! July 14, 2016 9:42 AM   Subscribe

Did you know there are transcripts available for several episodes of the Metafilter podcast? Did you know these transcripts are compiled by volunteers? Did you know that it's WAY easy to transcribe the podcast, thanks to transcription software Fanscribed? It's all true! But here's the thing: Metafilter needs your help to transcribe more episodes of the podcast!

Fanscribed allows listeners to transcribe podcasts one 30-second snippet at a time. This MeFi Wiki page has instructions, and the tool is super easy to use. The two most recent podcast episodes--#118 and #117--have been fully transcribed (though reviewers are still needed), but several more recent episodes are still missing full transcripts. Por ejemplo:

#116 (episode | transcript page) - 50% transcribed, 38% reviewed
#112 (episode | transcript page) - 11% transcribed, 0% reviewed
#111 (episode | transcript page) - 7% transcribed, 0% reviewed
#107 (episode | transcript page) - 42% transcribed, 0% reviewed

On the fence about transcribing? Here are some things in a bulleted list for you to consider!
  • If you are passionate about access/accessibility issues, transcribing is a great way to ensure more of Metafilter is accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing folks! It also opens up more of the site to people who just plain prefer reading/scanning/searching text over audio.
  • Some say (OK, me, I say) transcribing is a surprisingly soothing activity!
  • It's super easy to do. The technical barriers to entry are way low! The instructions on the wiki (here they are again!) pretty much lay it out, and Fanscribed is very intuitive. You don't even need to sign up for an account or anything!
  • You don't need to spend a whole lot of time doing it in one sitting, unless you'd really like to. Each block is 30 seconds. BOOM. It's a nice, helpful activity to do in between work tasks to give your brain a bit of a break.
  • If you've been looking for a way to show your love for Metafilter, this is a great way to give back, 30 seconds at a time!
But you don't have to take my word for it! [Reading Rainbow sfx] Here's what jessamyn and cortex had to say in podcast #116, according to its *ahem* partially-completed transcript:
Yeah! Because from an accessibility standpoint, I know there's a lot of people who would really sort of prefer to read through these, and if we can get people to put them together, that would be lovely.
Yep. And transcribing's a lot of work, but the system that folks have worked out previously makes it actually pretty to do it in bits and pieces, so--
Yeah. You can do five minutes.
Yeah. It's one of those things where, if we can get a bunch of people doing a little bit, that'll actually get it done just as well and maybe without as much backbreaking effort as someone trying to [laughs] plow through two hours of us every month.
posted by duffell to MetaFilter-Related at 9:42 AM (44 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

Thanks for posting this, duffell - yes, transcribing the podcast! Give it a try! It's easy and a really great way to do something positive with odd bits of free time.

Podcast transcribers are True Mefi Heroes. Thank you to the folks who have been doing this for years with little public recognition - you are awesome.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:45 AM on July 14, 2016 [1 favorite]

"Fanscribed allows listeners to transcribe podcasts one 30-second snippet at a time"
I had no idea a tool like this existed! I might have to give this a try because of how non threatening 30 seconds is!
posted by pointystick at 9:48 AM on July 14, 2016 [2 favorites]

I tried visiting Fanscribed but their security cert has expired and both FF and Chrome are desperate to warn me away. I'm sure it's legit, but should I trust the site enough to add an exception to Chrome for the expired certificate?
posted by i feel possessed at 10:11 AM on July 14, 2016

As of 2016 February 25, the hosted Fanscribed service has been suspended.

As time permits, a read-only version of the site's partial and completed transcripts may be brought online.

The source code for running Fanscribed 2, upon which this site was based, is available at https://github.com/fanscribed/fanscribed.

The source code for running Fanscribed 1, upon which Read No Agenda and MetaFilter Podcast are based, is available at https://github.com/fanscribed/fanscribed/tree/1.x.

Thank you for supporting transcription and accessibility!

posted by Shepherd at 10:12 AM on July 14, 2016

Ah--I see the confusion. The second link in the post, to fanscribed.com, is not actually where you go to start transcribing, and given the security warnings, should probably just be removed from the post entirely. (Are you OK to do that, mods?)

You can click on any of the "transcript page" links in the post above to actually get to the pages where you can start transcribing.

To access additional podcast transcripts--all podcasts are listed on this MeFi page. You'll see a little green thingy that says "transcript" on many of them. Just click!
posted by duffell at 10:24 AM on July 14, 2016

Sure, removed Fanscribed link from post.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:25 AM on July 14, 2016

Yup, to be clear, Mefi's instance of Fanscribed is hosted by that noble soul, pronoiac. What a mensch!
posted by zamboni at 10:53 AM on July 14, 2016 [6 favorites]

Sometimes I vow to myself I will help out with transcribing a podcast and then I remember all the client hours I had to transcribe for my MA and I start to shake and cry and sort of keen a little under my breath. But I'm going to promise here to help out so that it's public and I'll have to keep my word and oh god oh god
posted by billiebee at 12:01 PM on July 14, 2016 [6 favorites]

billiebee, is there something jessamyn and cortex can do in the next podcast to make it a more fun and relaxing experience for you? I for one would enjoy a full minute of hand-to-mouth farting noises and other juvenile sound effects to transcribe.
posted by duffell at 12:06 PM on July 14, 2016 [3 favorites]

I mean they're busy people and it would certainly be understandable if they felt like taking twenty or thirty minutes to do some silent relaxation exercises somewhere between reviewing Ask and MeTa is all I'm saying.
posted by billiebee at 1:10 PM on July 14, 2016 [6 favorites]

aww i did 30 seconds of transcription and feel like a better person. It's kind of like the smug feeling you get from donating to NPR during a pledge drive.
posted by Suffocating Kitty at 2:12 PM on July 14, 2016

Thanks for posting this- I've been meaning to make a MetaTalk but never got around to it! I've been trying to transcribe a little bit every day or so- I enjoy it. And I love the metafilter podcast, and I want everybody to be able to enjoy it, even if they are hard of hearing or work someplace where they can't wear headphones or just really like reading or whatever.

But when a new podcast comes out and it's almost 2 hours long and you're sitting there, rewinding over and over again, wondering whether Jessamyn said “doot do do blah” or “doot-doot-doot doo, blah” and just trying to get the progress bar to tip over from 14% to 15% .... well, it can feel a little lonely in transcriptionville. So I encourage everyone to give it a try and see if they like it!
posted by Secretariat at 3:44 PM on July 14, 2016 [4 favorites]

transcribing is a great way to ensure more of Metafilter is accessible to deaf and hard-of-hearing folks

and people who spend their entire day at the library but cannot wear headphones due to a long history of double ear infections. And probably other use cases, no doubt.
posted by Michele in California at 4:14 PM on July 14, 2016

Secretariat: "But when a new podcast comes out and it's almost 2 hours long and you're sitting there, rewinding over and over again, wondering whether Jessamyn said “doot do do blah” or “doot-doot-doot doo, blah” "

The secret is you just mark the entire podcast as [crosstalk], and then you're done in 5 seconds!
posted by Chrysostom at 8:25 PM on July 14, 2016 [4 favorites]

I love just skimming through and reading random out of context quotes from the transcripts:
jessamyn: And I'm like, 'What, your phone is racist?' And they were like, euhhh! So yeah, apparently it's only Apple right now.

cortex: i should, there, i, i'm, i've, i'm, i'm growing old

jessamyn: Let's look at some bug mascot costumes.

cortex: But yeah, this month, or, end of last month? I don't know what months are anymore.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:10 AM on July 15, 2016 [2 favorites]

What's really needed is for someone to do an audio version of the transcripts, thus completing the circle. Preferably in kids' voices, like the Haribo ads.

I'd volunteer my kids, but I think they've had enough of dad's stupid projects...
posted by pipeski at 3:22 AM on July 15, 2016 [4 favorites]

This is great, thanks so much for posting this duffell. Someone remind me before August 1 and we can build in some soothing body scans or something right in the middle. I love reading the transcriptions, so much fun.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 8:49 AM on July 15, 2016 [3 favorites]

Thanks for posting this! I've been meaning to listen to more of the podcasts (last month's was the second or third I've listened to all the way through) and I realize that listening in 30 second increments is not the best approach to absorbing the content.... But I am going to find an episode, listen to the whole thing, and then start transcribing. I'm hoping I will get the hang of it and that I can fill in some gaps -- I would love to give back to this community and this seems like a great way to participate!
posted by danabanana at 12:06 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

I transcribed 30 seconds last night. It was actually a bit of a challenge...jessamyn and cortex both manage to fit a lot of words into 30 seconds. Also it was a challenge to not just type out several paragraphs of them saying wonderful things about me.
posted by chococat at 1:39 PM on July 15, 2016 [6 favorites]

I did some blocks today during lunchtime. It's not difficult, some of the blocks are more like 3-4 minutes per 30-second block. I recommend it for keeping your mind off of troubling/sad things.
posted by kimberussell at 3:02 PM on July 15, 2016 [1 favorite]

I appreciate this thread!
posted by Dashy at 5:39 PM on July 15, 2016

Ooh, thanks for the post! I skipped opening some transcripts, and I'll look into adding those, and posting completed transcripts to the wiki.
posted by Pronoiac at 6:26 PM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Thank you, Pronoiac, for all the wonderful work you've done, and continue to do, on these transcripts!
posted by duffell at 6:53 PM on July 16, 2016 [3 favorites]

Thanks, duffell!

Ok, I updated the wiki pages, and the wiki page about the transcripts now has a lot of partial transcripts on it!
posted by Pronoiac at 8:30 PM on July 16, 2016 [1 favorite]

Thank you again for maintaining all this, Pronoiac.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 9:18 PM on July 16, 2016

Yay! for posting and for Pronoiac. I did about a quarter of 116 about a month ago and it is definitely soothing, funny, and addictive. Recommend: Would (will) do the other three quarters when I get the time!
posted by penguin pie at 2:33 AM on July 17, 2016

Yay for transcribing! I'd definitely be curious to hear further from folks who have given it a shot whether there's specific stuff would could to help encourage the process, within whatever limited means we have there.

(One odd thing for me is I have a very hard time getting myself to listen to podcasts I've recorded—I have a hard enough time carving out podcast time for shows that I wasn't present for—but every time I stumble across a bit of transcription I end up getting sucked in and as much as anything enjoying stuff like literal renderings of my filled pauses and false starts. It's fun seeing myself from a little bit of distance.)
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:15 PM on July 17, 2016

First time transcriber/reviewer here--I transcribed a couple of segments from #116 and reviewed a bunch. Question--it looks like transcribed segments go live before they're reviewed, correct? Is the reviewing step just an optional extra set of eyes on each segment?
(I had no idea that transcribing was a need until I read this post!)
posted by bookmammal at 3:27 PM on July 17, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have a very hard time getting myself to listen to podcasts I've recorded

That's so funny to me because I listen to every one because I forget them after I've recorded them (mostly) so I like to know what people are talking about.
posted by jessamyn (retired) at 5:41 PM on July 17, 2016

bookmammal: The sections overlap, so review also includes cleaning up repetition and moving long speeches that overlap multiple sections into a single block.

Transcription tips:
When reviewing, I only listen to enough of the second section to be sure I've stitched the two seconds together correctly, then hit continue.
Only include fillers like "um", "like", etc if they seem to have semantic significance. You'll save a lot of time.
Don't stress over decoding crosstalk or unintelligible sections- just put (unintelligible) or (crosstalk) and move on. You're not required to repeatedly hit backtick to figure out what they're saying.

I guess that's one thing cortex and jessamyn could do- skim through the transcript to see if there's any sections where we couldn't figure stuff out.
posted by zamboni at 5:35 AM on July 18, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah, that's a good idea; it's usually easy for me to remember/decode a bit like that because I know exactly what mumbledyblarg thing I was saying (or failing to manage to say) even though from an outside context it's just sonic garbage.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:30 AM on July 18, 2016

Oh, I didn't know what "reviewing" was- I've been doing some of that, cleaning up repetition and correcting [??] just by editing. I'm pretty good at figuring out things cortex says- I have a few years of experience.
posted by Secretariat at 1:16 PM on July 18, 2016 [4 favorites]

I'm happy to do some transcription but I am not so good with the "who the hell that is" bit. I did a few and noted them as

?; and then snapchat bloopity burp burp blah

So someone reviewing can put the correct name in there, is that cool? I figure that's a lot quicker/easier for someone to clean up than do to the actual typing.
posted by phearlez at 11:21 AM on July 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

If you're transcribing stuff, it's OK by me.
posted by zamboni at 12:05 PM on July 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Yeah, ditto. The more the merrier, and if you're having trouble untangling something, do your best and a reviewer will do the rest!
posted by duffell at 1:10 PM on July 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

?; and then snapchat bloopity burp burp blah

Further note - if someone on the podcast actually says bloopity burp burp blah, that someone is probably jessamyn.
posted by zamboni at 1:18 PM on July 19, 2016 [4 favorites]

OMG, you guys, transcribing is so easy and so much fun!

It took me a while to figure out the interface and controls, but now that I have gotten it down, I am really enjoying the time I spend trying to figure out what people are saying and typing it as fast as I can. There's lots of interesting and funny stuff going on in these podcasts and there is something ineffably powerful about taking wise (or silly but entertaining) words and typing them out for others to read. And it's a great way to contribute to the site. I haven't had it in me to make a FPP or even comment very much, although I do love favoriting things (not the most contributy, but it's something), so this has been a good way to feel like I belong and am contributing. Also, the episode I have been working on is 107, with ColdChef as a guest, and he urges members to go to meetups, which isn't very convenient for me to do because of distance and other things, but it's really nice to hear that the experience of meeting other Mefites is so rewarding, so I kinda live vicariously through typing out the words of other Mefites. Totally not the same, I know, but it's the best I can do for now and I am happy with that.

My problem is that I hate leaving the transcription page in the middle of a sentence, so sometimes I will do more sections than I planned so that I can come to some form of grammatical and syntactical closure. Not such a big problem, though, because it's fun and easy!

posted by danabanana at 2:00 PM on July 19, 2016 [4 favorites]

I'm 46. That's just what everything sounds like to me for about 10 seconds after I hear someone say snapchat.
posted by phearlez at 5:47 PM on July 19, 2016 [2 favorites]

danabanana, you've done it! Beautiful work!

#107 is 100% transcribed! Reviewers needed!
posted by duffell at 8:15 AM on July 21, 2016 [2 favorites]

#116 is now 100% transcribed as well! Reviewers needed there too.
posted by duffell at 2:01 PM on July 21, 2016 [2 favorites]

I've edited a few sections, and I think I'm doing it right. Very absorbing, will do more.
posted by kjs4 at 8:23 PM on July 21, 2016 [3 favorites]

Thanks to everyone for your work on this so far! Quick update: In addition to #116 and #107 being completed (reviewers still needed on the latter), some good progress has been made on several other podcast transcriptions!

I've gone back through the podcast archives; the list below should cover every incomplete transcript to date. Might seem like a lot, but if the desire is there, we can chip away at it over time! Thanks again, all.

#112 (episode | transcript page) - 30% transcribed, 0% reviewed
#111 (episode | transcript page) - 13% transcribed, 1% reviewed
#106 (episode | transcript page) - 4% transcribed, 0% reviewed
#105 (episode | transcript page) - 29% transcribed, 0% reviewed
#104 (episode | transcript page) - 5% transcribed, 0% reviewed
#103 (episode | transcript page) - 0% transcribed, 0% reviewed
#100 (episode | transcript page) - 24% transcribed, 0% reviewed
#99 (episode | transcript page) - 35% transcribed, 0% reviewed
#97 (episode | transcript page) - 2% transcribed, 0% reviewed
#96 (episode | transcript page) - 9% transcribed, 0% reviewed
posted by duffell at 6:54 AM on August 2, 2016 [3 favorites]

OK, I'm a dolt, and completely missed Pronoiac's earlier link to the updated wiki, which not only has links to all of the incomplete transcripts, but now also includes multiple newly-posted Fanscribed pages for some of the podcasts in between. Thank you, Pronoiac! (The mefi wiki page is here.)
posted by duffell at 6:59 AM on August 2, 2016 [2 favorites]

Ok, we have updates -
* ep 119 is open.
* eps 116 and 107 are on the wiki!
If you edit or review an ep after I put it on the wiki, please give me a heads up so I can update it there.
posted by Pronoiac at 1:20 AM on August 7, 2016

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