Google has announced that it is getting rid of YouTube’s Community Contributions feature because it is hardly ever used on videos and when these captions are present, they’re often low-quality, spammy, or otherwise problematic. These captions aren’t going away immediately, however, with YouTube giving its users time to switch their videos to other caption options.
If you’re unfamiliar with YouTube’s Community Contributions feature, it is simple: in cases where a creator fails to provide subtitles or captions for their video, the community can create them instead. In order for these captions to appear on a video, they must either be approved by the video creator or they must receive a minimum number of reviews from the wider YouTube community.
Unfortunately, this feature didn’t work out so well. Very few users are even aware that they can contribute captions to a video and those who are were likely to abuse the system and generate spam. Even in cases where there was a sincere attempt to create the captions, they were often low-quality, according to YouTube. Over the last month, a grand total of 0.0001-percent of YouTube channels have utilized community captions.
Because of these realities, YouTube said that it will remove the Community Contributions feature from all channels on September 28, 2020. If you want to keep captions on your videos, you’ll need to either manually create them using the tools provided by YouTube or utilize the platform’s automatically-generated captions, which are generally high-quality but not perfect.
For those rare channels that actually used community-contributed captions and subtitles, YouTube says that it will pay for a six-month Amara.org subscription, assuming you’ve used the feature a minimum of three times in the past 60 days. Amara is a service that can be used to add video captions and subtitles, as well as translating videos into different languages.