YouTube’s Community Contributions feature is expected to end after September 28 this year. This news was relayed through Google’s support page and the company is receiving mixed responses.
There are three ways of adding captions in a video on YouTube. One option is for the creator to manually upload it, another is the automatic caption that YouTube provides, and the third one is provided by the community wherein the others can provide captions for a creator – what YouTube calls Community Contributions. Unfortunately, by September 29, only two options will be available. Their reason: “It’s rarely used and people continue to report spam and abuse.”
What YouTube offers as alternatives are the use of the remaining two options for adding captions mentioned above, and using third-party services like Amara.org for which the company will be shouldering the 6-month subscription for creators who have been using the feature for a minimum of 3 videos in the last 60 days. Discounts will also be provided for those who want to use other 3rd party services YouTube has partnered with.
Contributions saved as drafts will be made available until September 28 and must be published before the Community Contributions feature gets discontinued across all channels. Additionally, published contributions will remain.
Many Creators Aren’t Happy About It
For the disabled community, this event can worsen the accessibility of some videos, especially for those who rely on the feature because they can’t afford using third-party services. YouTuber Rikki Poynter, who already caught a whiff of what YouTube is planning, posted a video in May acknowledging that one of the cons in the Community Captions is indeed the spam and trolling from audiences, but this feature has helped a lot of those creators who can’t invest in captioning, especially for those who caption for free in different languages. “There are still more, many more videos that because of this feature are accessible. Deaf people are able to watch YouTube because of [Community Contributions],” Poynter said. In a Twitter post, Poynter said she had a meeting with YouTube about this issue, but the company still went on to announce that it will be discontinued.
Another creator under the YouTube name Thomas Game Docs also doesn’t agree that the feature should be discontinued since there are “huge communities of viewers on YouTube that watch non-English TV shows, Let’s Plays, and more.” “That will be completely destroyed if Community Captions are removed,” he added.
A petition has been started via Change.org and has received more than 352,000 signatures as of August 4.