Here's Why Deaf YouTubers Have Had It With Bad Video Captioning

28 September 2016, 11:30 | Updated: 6 November 2017, 09:37

We the Unicorns

By Liam Dryden

Deaf YouTuber Rikki Poynter launches #NoMoreCraptions, a campaign for the end of poor captioning across YouTube - but who are the biggest offenders?

If you missed the memo, all of September has been Deaf Awareness Month. And just as we enter its last few days, a movement has begun on YouTube that requires everybody's attention. So if you're one of those YouTubers not properly captioning their videos, #NoMoreCraptions would like a word.


This weekend, Deaf creator Rikki Poynter launched a campaign to bring awareness to the misuse and abuse of YouTube's built-in captioning service. CC'ing is a vital service that makes YouTube content accessible to d/Deaf and hard-of-hearing users. And while there are still many YouTubers who don't bother to caption their videos at all, there's as much of a problem with those who fail to caption their videos in a way that makes the viewing experience equal for everyone.

"A lot of people have had the tendency to argue to us about what closed captioning actually is", admits Rikki in her recent video, before pulling up the FCC's official guide to captioning. "There is one YouTuber's fanbase that is currently taking a crap on the deaf community and and writing insults left and right."

Because the FCC is an American institution, it has no jurisdiction on a global online service like YouTube. Therefore, they cannot enforce adequate captioning on every single video. It's up to the creators themselves to make their videos accessible; and while some do make the effort to write their own transcripts, or outsource the job, the results are often pretty poor. And in some extreme cases, are making the video experience even more frustrating for hard-of-hearing viewers.

markiplier #nomorecraptions

Markiplier is a key example of what #NoMoreCraptions hopes to curb. Mark is an extremely popular YouTuber who leaves his closed-captioning open to his audience; that is, 14 million teenagers who goof around and fill the CC feature with jokes, actions and memes. Often there is never a complete and literal transcript; And d/Deaf and HOH fans often find themselves shouted down by fans of Mark who are defensive of this "running gag".

But luckily, Rikki isn't flying the #NoMoreCraptions flag alone. A concentrated effort of over 40 other YouTubers, all of different hearing ability, have joined the campaign. These creators are spreading awareness across their channels and other social media, hoping to reach the more influential names on YouTube. With luck, they will get the attention of large creators, like Markiplier, and will begin to make some major changes to how captioning is viewed on YouTube.

Watch the full #NoMoreCraptions playlist below.