"Save and exit" blocks access to subtitles in progress?

claude.almansi's Avatar


22 Mar, 2012 03:57 PM

Hi, Twice since yesterday, I've found pages where the link to one of the languages is blocked, unclickable and with "(in progress)" after the language:

The issue occurs with Firefox 10.0.2, Safari 5.1.2 (6534.52.7) and Chrome 17.0.963.83 on a Macbook running Mac OS X 10.6.8.

Could you explain/fix it, please? Both videos have been added to the http://www.universalsubtitles.org/en/teams/musiccaptioning team: could that be a reason for the block?



  1. 1 Posted by claude.almansi on 22 Mar, 2012 04:01 PM

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    PS Could there be a relation with the issue reported in https://universalsubtitles.tenderapp.com/discussions/technical-supp... , i.e. a server glitch?

  2. 2 Posted by claude.almansi on 23 Mar, 2012 02:54 PM

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    Actually, I also get a dead link for the French translation I started of the Spanish captions of Violeta Para's "Gracias a la vida", http://www.universalsubtitles.org/en/videos/oIDx7wUNRdl1/info/viole...
    All 3 videos are among the Music Captioning team ones. So I checked the Stop SOPA group, and http://www.universalsubtitles.org/en/videos/bvQsx5myDbfk/info/innov... also has a dead link for English captions, though Russian subtitles are OK.
    The problem does not seem to occur with videos of older teams or not in teams.
    But I didn't do a comprehensive checking. Just mentioning this in case it might be relevant.

  3. Support Staff 3 Posted by npr on 23 Mar, 2012 03:16 PM

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    Claude, we think this may be related to specific team settings for the music team-- have you seen this on any videos that aren't part of that team? We're trying to track down.

  4. 4 Posted by claude.almansi on 23 Mar, 2012 05:34 PM

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    My intuition too: see my former message. http://www.universalsubtitles.org/en/videos/bvQsx5myDbfk/info/innov... is not in the music team, but it's in the Stop SOPA team.

    So I tried to remove Violeta Para's "Gracias a la vida" from the music captioning team, and I got a message saying "All open tasks for this video will be aborted and in-progress subtitles will be published" (see attached screenshot).

    Thats a real confirmation, isn't it? I mean. I'm all for going serious with teamleader's cautionary warnings about proper captioning. But not if that serious setting blocks captions. Can we go back to the happy messy approach that eventually does give decent results, wikipedia-like?

  5. Support Staff 5 Posted by m.shamraeva on 23 Mar, 2012 06:26 PM

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    Can you resume captioning from this page - http://www.universalsubtitles.org/en/teams/musiccaptioning/tasks/?a... - with the use of Perform Task link?

    MusicCaptioning team has a relatively rigorous captioning workflow, which is enforced with the use of task management. Once you start captioning, you get a task assigned to you and nobody else can interfere and edit your captions while you are offline. When you finish captioning and mark subtitles as complete, they will go through the approval process - after that, they will become visible to everyone, but until then, they can be viewed and edited only through the Team Tasks page.

    Sorry it is that complicated; on the bright side, you can exercise more control over the content of the subtitles and avoid random edits.

    "All the tasks will be deleted..." is a normal confirmation message for the video removal action. It means that the unfinished subtitles will go public and become visible to everyone and editable by anyone.

    Best regards,

    Margarita Shamraeva
    Universal Subtitles

  6. 6 Posted by claude.almansi on 23 Mar, 2012 10:40 PM

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    I get a "Sorry, no tasks here." message in http://www.universalsubtitles.org/en/teams/musiccaptioning/tasks/?a... (update: as the software shortens the URL: the /?assignee=me subpage of the tasks page of the music captioning team)

    I've come across such "rigorous captioning workflow, which is enforced with the use of task management" on some DotSUB teams, e.g. "The Zeitgeist Movement"'s, because they were hierarchially captioning the "Peter Joseph Speaks at Occupy LA" vid we also had added on the OWS team and I chanced upon the in progress (back then) transcript. We had a nice e-mail exchange, and the finished result is now here: http://dotsub.com/view/f1611f91-0c9d-43cf-9769-6dfcaf90267b .
    The end result is very good, true - but is it better than would have been achieved by allowing all DotSUB users to contribute? Frankly, I don't think so. And then The Zeitgeist Movement already exits with motivated members who know each other beyond the captioning activity.
    We don't have that "beyond" binding for the music captioning team members: some of us know each other, sure, but we are just a bunch of folks who are keen on captioning, and particularly interested in captioning music and the challenge to make the result as close to the non deaf's musical experience for the deaf and hard of hearing (that's why some of the videos I've added to the team are "karaoke-captioned" first).

    That's for the psychology factor. Now in practice: I was assigned the captioning of the "Inspiring+ People - Chloe Cohen " interview. I started transcribing it, and in spite of the assignment, in spite of the fact Dylan made me co-manager of the team, I can't go back to the transcript i started according to that assignment via my list of assignments for the team (see above).
    And if I go to http://www.universalsubtitles.org/en/profiles/activities/ (my overall activities at univsubs) and ask for view alls, I do get:

    Claude Almansi edited English subtitles for Inspiring+ People - Chloe Cohen.

    But if I click on English subtitles, the page says: "No subtitles yet. Make some!".
    Yet I had transcribed 7:18 of it: see attachment (1).

    So pretty please, by all means experiment with hierarchic work flows for teams. They might come handy for other more structured projects and then they'd better work seamlessly. But not on the videos of the music captioning team, please.

    I've added to the music captioning team video pages I had started before the team was created. On some, others had already collaborated. So they're going to go "WTF" if they find grayed links and don't know your explanation. They might even go WTF all the same if they chance upon your explanation.

    Now if you insist on carrying on this experimentation, what I'll do is remove the videos I've added - and if Dylan agrees, the Chloe Cohen video he very much wants captioned - so that their captioning can go on, and I'll bookmark them on Diigo with a "music captioning" tag., so that they can easily be re-added when the team hierarchic software works. Would that be an acceptable compromise?

    (1) a copypaste I made when my connection got wobbly as I was saving and exiting - saved as .txt as it wasn't timecoded yet, but with (7:18) added at the end so that I'd know where to resume work.

  7. 7 Posted by claude.almansi on 23 Mar, 2012 11:25 PM

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    PS I've now checked the membership of the music captioning team: we are 1 owner, 2 managers, 1 admin (what's an admin and what can s/he do?) and 4 members. Not enough for having work flows.
    Then the team page says there are 2 tasks, but the linked http://www.universalsubtitles.org/en/teams/musiccaptioning/tasks/?a... (update: as above: a the software shortens the URL: the /?assignee=none subpage of the tasks page of the music captioning team) page only has one: approve my own draft of a French translation of Violeta Parra's "Gracias a la vida". No wonder things grind to a halt if someone (or is it the software?) sets tasks without assigning them to anyone.
    But even if they can get assigned to specific folks, said folks should have a way to decline if they are too busy.

  8. 8 Posted by claude.almansi on 24 Mar, 2012 01:12 AM

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    Another example of a mess caused by the workflows: Innovate, don't legislate. Stop SOPA & PIPA. Join EngineAdvocacy.org so it doesn't happen again. was added both to the SOPA and Occupy Wall Street teams.

    If you view it as listed in in http://www.universalsubtitles.org/en/teams/sopa, it has (at least for managers) a label saying "One open task" (see attached opentask.tiff), which links to http://www.universalsubtitles.org/en/teams/sopa/tasks/?team_video=335 (/?team_video=335 subpage) which has an unassigned "transcribe subtitles" message .

    But if you view it as listed in http://www.universalsubtitles.org/en/teams/ocuppy-wall-street, there's no "Open Task" label (see attached noopentask.tiff) and if you click on "Tasks" on the thumbnail, you get to http://www.universalsubtitles.org/en/teams/ocuppy-wall-street/tasks... , which says "Sorry, no tasks here."

    Occupy Wall Street has 17 members, SOPA 7, Music Captioning 8. Having workflows for such small teams is absurd. Why don't you do that with http://www.universalsubtitles.org/en/teams/volunteers/ instead, which has 147 members?

  9. 9 Posted by claude.almansi on 24 Mar, 2012 09:46 AM

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    The evolution of this discussion shows that this is not a tech issue, but a far more general one concerning the principles that shape the structure of Universal Subtitles. So I started a new Access issues in hierarchically workflowed teams discussion in the "General Discussions" board, linking back to this one for those who might be interested in the particular tech effects of the general issue.

  10. 10 Posted by claude.almansi on 24 Mar, 2012 02:08 PM

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    So as to tech side effects:
    As I wrote in comment 7 of this thread, I was assigned the transcription of "Inspiring+ People - Chloe Cohen" on March 22, 2012. I started doing so, following the link to https://www.universalsubtitles.org/en/teams/musiccaptioning/tasks/1... (.../tasks/120/perform) on "Perform this task" in the assignment notice.
    Presently, in page 3 of the team's video list, this video has just got a "1 open task" label linked to http://www.universalsubtitles.org/en/teams/musiccaptioning/tasks/?t... (.../tasks/?team_video=981), which says:

    Transcribe English Subtitles Assigned to me

    But when I started writing this comment, the task was assigned to marisajeanb, and if I follow again the initial link I got in the assignment notice, the page now says I must subtitle the video into French, either from scratch or from the incomplete subtitles (see attached screenshot).
    What guarantee do I have that if I do either or both, the tasks won't be reassigned to someone else yet, cutting me off again?
    Moreover, when I transcribe, I mark the passages I don't get immediately with "...." or "(?)" for special checking when I synch and revise. So if my transcription must first get approved by a third party, chances are the third party won't approve it because it is not complete.
    So I hope Dylan is watching this thread as I asked him to by e-mail. IMHO if we go on messing around with work flows on that 52 minute video, it'll never get captioned in English, let alone in other languages. If it could be done with the work-flows headache, then I could get a pretty decent result within a few days, and then we could ask Chloe Cohen to check the missing /uncertain bits.

  11. Support Staff 11 Posted by m.shamraeva on 26 Mar, 2012 10:48 AM

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    Thank you for such a long and detailed account of your observations. According to your description, everything in the team workflows is working as designed, so it is not a problem from the technical point of view.

    It is a different issue though that this particular workflow set for Music Captioning team did not match your needs and subtitling habits. This is a matter that should be discussed with the team owner. If you need more information on how each of the many parameters in the team setting affects the behaviour of the software, please do ask and we'll be happy to help.

    It is also worth noting that workflow moderation is the option that is switched off by default for each new team, so it is not something forced onto every team against their will. If the team owner has chosen to enable it, he or she must have had some sound reason, e.g. to protect subtitles and video viewers against destruction, spam, and harassment.

    If you have any particular questions about the details of moderation process, I'll be happy to answer them.

    Best regards,

    Margarita Shamraeva
    Universal Subtitles

  12. 12 Posted by claude.almansi on 26 Mar, 2012 01:30 PM

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    Thanks for your reply, Margarita,

    I've forwarded the notification of your reply 12 to the team owner, because my impression is that he is at least as baffled as me by the consequences of the workflow :) And that's one more reason why, as I wrote you by e-mail, I think it would be great if there was a knowledge-base page explaining in detail how workflowed teams work and what are the consequences of opting for them. And links to it elsewhere to make sure that a) team creators don't moderate a team inadvertently; b) people who join a moderated team and/or add videos to it now what they are in for.

    In fact, it's not just a matter of my needs and subtitling habits not being matched. Because the moderation was nowhere announced, neither in the team joining procedure, nor in the video adding procedure, I effectively blocked the normal subtitling of several videos of the Folk DC project by adding them to the team. Had I not noticed the grayed link to a set of subtitles i had just made and asked here, they would still be blocked. As it is, I removed them from the team and now they are OK. But could members also remove videos they've added in the same way? (I'm moderator at musiccaptioning)

    Re destruction and spam: reverting a defaced set of subtitles takes far less time then the hurdles of moderation, and defacement is extremely rare in my experience on Universal Subtitles. Re harassment: well, that would happen in comments, and comments remain unmoderated.

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