9 responses to “Politicians care so much they make their message nonsense”

  1. codeman38

    This is what gets me. Not just that they can’t be bothered to caption the videos (which is bad enough), but that they can’t even be bothered to look at the auto-captions to see how egregious they are, much less actually download and correct them. Because yeah, “why does is Stephen Harper dead”? Not exactly the message I think you want to be conveying, NDP.

    Oh, and another advantage of transcripts? They make the content accessible to people without broadband access. This may be due to poverty; it may also be because someone lives in an area of the country with no broadband services. Last I checked, these people still counted as constituents!

  2. codeman38

    Oh, and something I always do when I e-mail orgs to complain about the dismal auto-captioning on their videos? I actually provide quotes, so that they can see just how nonsensical the video is for someone who depends on captioning.

    One of the orgs in question? The US Treasury, which posted a bunch of videos about their upcoming banknote redesign, but didn’t bother to properly caption any of them. Perhaps the crowning moment of funny in the auto-captions was “These US government agencies have to stay ahead of catheters”, though “verify a fan of Israel” was pretty good too.

    Not that this goes any further in convincing them to correct it, though. Those Treasury videos? Still only have the uncorrected auto-captions.

  3. The Nerd

    I have a friend who uploads YouTube videos, and I’ve been telling him over and over again: “if you care about everyone being able to understand this, you must upload your own captions”. Guess the message just isn’t important enough for that.

  4. Emma Jane

    Hey Anna,

    I’m not going to make excuses for any politicians but I know a few things are true: Technology is scary and transcribing takes work. Combine these two things into “let’s use social media to engage the public” and you end up with inaccessible messages from the PM on YouTube and ridiculous captions.

    Hi. My name is Emma and I’m the Science and Technology critic, and federal candidate in a rural riding, for the Green Party of Canada and I know that inaccessible Web sites suck. I’ve dropped a note to our staff and will figure out how to add captions to the clips that exist and see if we can, in future, at least co-publish speech notes when the video is posted. I did this for my nomination speech back in August and I think it worked well: http://www.emmajane.net/positively-excited (my notes were published right after the event and a few days later the video was uploaded for those who wanted rich media).

    You’re right: It doesn’t solve the problem for people who find clips on YouTube first. I’ll let you know as soon as the Green Party has fixed this problem for our own content.

    Thanks for the kick and I look forward to getting this fixed.

  5. codeman38

    @Emma Jane: You could always add a link to the notes in an annotation or in the video description. I see that done a lot on YouTube, actually.

  6. Emma Jane

    I think you’ll find that people *do* care! The Wave review shows a few minor fixes that need to be made on the Green Party home page–some of which extend into the inner pages because of templates. We’ll try and get the fixes rolled out ASAP. I’ve also started a discussion with the team about creating a checklist to make sure future media hits are as accessible as possible from the moment they’re released. If you know of a WCAG-For-Politicians Primer (or you’d like to help me write one) please ping me. I think this could be of huge value to *all* parties…and citizens. :)

  7. Sharon Wachsler

    Along the lines of what Emma Jane said, I agree that technology is scary and transcribing takes work. It’s often (though not always!) easier to do the nonaccessible thing. And when you’re disabled yourself, and life is harder/functioning takes more work, this can be daunting. I know there are many blogs I don’t post and/or don’t finish because the work of captioning and providing a text description can be exhausting, and it’s hard enough to get a post out in the first place.

    However, as someone whose access depends on other people switching to nontoxic products, showering and changing clothes to visit me, etc., I know *I* don’t like the “it’s too much work” argument, so I do feel like, for social justice, kindness, and the greater good, I suck it up and do the hard thing. It’s the right thing. Sometimes disabilities conflict, and then you just do the best you can.

    There is also the fact that youtube’s captioning software sucks, and it is sometimes literally impossible for someone without advanced technical expertise and equipment to make it work.

    I know that watching TV with captions, when it’s real-time captioning, they often suck, too. (I am hearing, but always watch with captions, if they are provided, due to cognitive issues.) It does make me angry when pre-recorded stuff is not captioned or captioned in a way that doesn’t make sense.

    HOWEVER, as you pointed out, Anna, these are paid ads, politicians, and they certainly have way more technical expertise, money, people, and technology to make it work. So, that’s quite a different ball of wax. They really have NO excuse.

    Lastly, I wanted to take the opportunity to mention that anyone who wants to caption their videos should go to dotsub.com. Dotsub makes it easy to caption videos, and much better, than youtube. It was actually Anna who told me about it and now I use it for captioning at my own blog. You can upload videos from youtube to dotsub or post your own videos there directly. It’s a great site/tool.