How can we encourage more people to transcribe portions of the Stack Overflow Podcasts? Would a reCAPTCHA-like system be appropriate for this? Better yet, how can we encourage people to create a computer program that is capable of generating the transcriptions with no manual human effort? This seems like it could be a fun and challenging project.
Having taken a shot at transcribing, I would say that something that could aid my efforts would encourage me to do it more. What ends up happening is that I hear a segment I think is really good, and I want to transcribe it (because with other material I appreciate being able to locate it later, maybe quote it and send it to someone, etc). So I take 5 or 10 minutes to do the segment, and suddenly it just took 30 minutes! Why? It's tedious.
What would be nice is some kind of tool that is like the transcription machines from days gone by. I never used one but I know that the right features would make this faster. Some ideas:
- Have the text entry and the controls in the same place
- Make it controllable from the keyboard--mousing is time consuming
- Easy way to back up some number of seconds
- Set a bookmark during playing that I can return to
- Set marks around a snippet so it can play repeatedly
- Adjust the play speed; maybe pitch correct it.
Would you be interested in a community podcast transcription service that utilizes the power of your site's tribe/users/community. It would all be driven by a ridiculously simple-to-use UI and API. The goal would be for your users to stay on your site, but hit a little button/link on the side of the page that says something along the lines of "Contribute 10 seconds of your time to help transcribe Podcast #65" (or whatever you want it to say... it's an API, you have the power!!)
It would allow a user to transcribe a 1 to 3 second clip. In the end, it would auto-stitch each "transcriptlet" into the final transcript, then post it. The main goal is an unbeleiveabley simple to use interface that takes the user 15 seconds or less to transcribe a 1 to 3 second clip. If 1,800 (of your 1 mil users) transcribe 2 seconds then your 60 minute podcast is transcribed (potentially in an insanely short period of time).
There will of course be options: like must have 3 (or X) copies/matches of each "transcriptlet" ~roughly match before it is "auto-approved/stitched". And many more, I am not going to get into all of the details here...
Other features: Point-base sub-system, achievement sub-system, ...
Questions for Joel and Jeff:
Anyways, what I wanted to know is, would you guys (Jeff and Joel) be interested in a using a service like this. I need a good beta site to try this out on. You could empower your community and get your podcasts transcribed. And be part of building a (another) great service.
And of course, I want to know: Do you think other sites with podcasts and a community would pay for something like this. I am talking like $5, $10 or $15/hr for transcription (rather than the $200+/hr that some people charge). There will also be a free service (X minutes/month or whatever) too, but the premium service would cost a very small amount. Or possibly it will be ad supported. But I know I just listened to you guys talk about the dissapointment with Google AdSense... Anyways, it's starting out as free for sure (during beta). And most likely free for you guys always :) Because I want StackOverFlow to be transcribed (I will pay the $5 per podcast :)
What inspired this project:
- The end of every single one of your podcasts (wiki comments)
- The fact that I would like to search and replay segments of the podcast for someone, but can never remember which is which, due to the lack of podcast transcribing
- I like your idea of the wiki, but that requires people to listen to the mp3 with a player, keep track of timing and stop/replay/pause the track, and update the wiki properly. It is a bit time consuming.
- After listening to "Tribes" by Seth Godin, it really made me think that this would work no problem with a community like yours.
- It would be a fun little app/service/site to write with my development team.
- We would be solving a problem that exists for a lot of podcast/communities. (Hanselminutes, twit, ...) Anyone with a Tribe really.
- And yes, money. Money is good side-effect of providing an elegant solution to a problem.
Current Project Status:
I had my first meeting with the development team, we have initial database design, very rough Balsamiq Mockups, FogBugz Wiki/Tasks created and a bunch of other planning done. They asked me:
"Well how do you know Jeff and Joel would even want to use something like this if we spent the 6 to 8 weeks (ok 4-6 months) to developed it?"
I said, I don't know, but I have very strong feelings that they would. So that is why I am asking. It would be GREAT if one of you or both of you could respond.
We can make this happen. I am ready to pull the trigger, we might do it anyways. But if I saw a reply from you guys that said "Heck yes we would use that". Then it would be a no-brainer for us to make it happen. If you said "You are a frikin' IDIOT"", then maybe I might back-off and think of another idea
I own/run a small development company in Grand Rapids, MI. We have run and successfully delivered many software products from the very big to the very small. We can rock it out.
Thanks for your time. I apologize for the very long message and the loose grammar. It happens when I get excited about something.
Revisit the idea of making teh Googles work in transcripting these with their rolling out feature of auto-captioning on Youtube.
You'd have to clean it up some later with all those dings and dongs that distract them so from forming proper words in the stream of things.
Bulk of the work would be done for you.
The hard part is actually listening to them talk for clarifications in the transcript.
I've tried some community transcriptions for another podcast, and some thoughts:
- It takes forever. My time estimate is 10-15 minutes for a 3 minute chunk.
- It's not that fun, so people tend to drift away.
- If you can't hear the whole sentence, it's very hard to transcribe it. Context is very important to make sense of garbled words or overtalking. This is a barrier to "chunking" it like ReCaptcha does.
- Attribution is another thing that could be difficult if you split up the audio. Although it might not be a problem with two speakers.
It seems to me that the earlier shows were fairly well-transcribed, but after Stack Overflow went public transcription rates went down. If that's an accurate assessment, it might have something to do with the fact that Jeff was allowing people who helped write down what was said in the podcasts to get into the SO beta.
Why not reward people who transcribe shows with reputation?