YouTube is removing their community contributions feature on September 28. In case you haven’t already heard, that’s the feature which allows viewers to add captions/subtitles, translated titles and video descriptions on videos. And YouTube seems to be pretty insistent on removing the feature, despite massive backlash.
Now although YouTube have given their word to keep published community captions (and other contributions) online, there’s a small detail many people have overlooked. Last year, YouTube restricted the feature to only allow uploaders to publish contributions. As such, there are many many unpublished captions, title/description translations stuck in review. Furthermore, no information is given on the fate of Caption Credits (people who opted to have their name shown).
Although unpublished on videos, these contributions are still visible in the community captions editor. So for the last few days we have been developing a tool to archive all this data! We have finally reached a mature enough stage that anyone reading this can now run the “YouTube Community Contribution Archiver” (YCCA) on their computer, to help us collect as many of these contribution drafts as we can:
Ideally it’s best if channels accept their own videos, not only from a moral standpoint but also because this method hides information (formatting, stylization, authors of unpublished captions etc.) So beyond archiving these we’ve also done our best to try and reach out to content creators across YouTube.
The good news is that we won’t be archiving these for naught, projects such as YouTubexternal CC will likely be a new home for these captions and other content which have been trapped for so long.
We also have a Discord server where we are coordinating all these efforts, so feel free to hop on board if you have any questions or want to just meet the team!
Good Luck archiving! Click here to view current stats.
For further context on how we wound up in this predicament, check out our YouTube CC History series:
Part 1: Unusual Beginnings on Google Video
Part 2: Pioneering Online Accessibility
Part 3: Scaling the Waterfall, Captions for All
Part 4: The Untold Story of why YouTube is removing Community Contributions;