As you may or may not already know, I am a strong advocate for [proper] closed captioning on YouTube. For the last three years, I’ve made numerous videos about closed captioning from explaining the how-to basics, demonstrating one of the easiest ways to caption, and making actual campaigns regarding captioning.
On September 25th, 2016, I created a one day campaign called #NoMoreCraptions. Although similar to my first born Lights, Camera, Caption! campaign and workshop, the thing that sets this one apart is that it’s about automatic captions and incorrect submissions from those who help their favourite creators caption their videos (and even creators themselves).
In my 3 Ways To Caption video and at my Lights, Camera, Caption! workshop at VidCon last year, I mentioned community contribution and actually recommended it if you were not able to caption videos yourself and if you couldn’t afford to pay for them. I found it to be a really helpful tool. But as time goes on, I’ve started becoming tired of the fact that community contribution existed and that is because of how much more common misusing the tool is becoming.
Closed captions are an accessibility tool. Community contribution is part of that. It is not the place for viewers to add in “craptions” or other unnecessary commentary and “jokes”. Unfortunately, there are viewers out there that like to misuse this tool for their own amusement.
A perfect example is Markiplier fans. (Disclaimer: This is not about all of his fans. I’ve seen some pretty awesome fans out there. This is just about those that actually do this.) I’ve been told over and over again by my followers about the amount of craptions that happen on his channel. Some recent examples that I received (by recent, I mean like a little over a month ago since I haven’t been able to do this article yet) can be seen below:
Of course, Markiplier isn't the only YouTuber who has had this stuff on his channel. People have told me that they have seen it on JackSepticEye's channel in the past as well as others.
If you are someone that wants to contribute to closed captioning on your favourite YouTuber’s channel, this is unacceptable. I know some people will find it funny, even some deaf people maybe (although maybe not to this extent - ableist/audist slurs and all), but I’m someone who likes it when people use technology properly, okay? Especially when it comes to accessibility. That’s just who I am. If you don’t know how to properly write out captions, I made a video of a little guide here.
YouTubers, I cannot stress this enough: please look over the captions on your videos regularly. If you know you can actually afford a service but don’t want to pay for them, look over your captions and make sure people aren’t misusing the community contribution. When the YouTube Heroes program started promoting adding closed captions to YouTuber’s channels, this isn’t what they were referring to.