User Corrections

2020-11-15 18:00 by Chris

We're very grateful to the users who financially support us by visiting our sponsors or purchasing a subscription. This money helps cover our ever growing hosting costs as well as the services we use to transcribe content.

Previously, our transcript generation was entirely automated using a combination of cheap speech-to-text engines and inexpensive proprietary services. This allowed us to quickly transcribe hundreds of podcasts a month at a sustainable cost. The downside is that the accuracy of the transcripts wasn't perfect.

Tools and services that provide near 100% accurate transcriptions are already available, but they're very expensive. To keep the site sustainable, we transcribe most audio using multiple inexpensive tools, and when those tools can't agree on a transcription, then we use more expensive tools to improve the result. Yet due to cost restrictions, we're still not able to run the more accurate transcribers on all audio. That's a problem we're trying to fix.

For a while, at the bottom of every page, we've had a link to a survey to solicit feedback and suggestions. Since the beginning, the top suggestion has been something along the lines of "Improve your darn accuracy!"

In this same survey, several users have also responded that they're unwilling or unable to financially contribute, but they wouldn't mind helping to correct errors in our transcripts. So we've decided to take them up on that offer. Over the next several weeks, we'll be gradually rolling out a change to all transcript pages that will allow logged-in users to submit corrections.

Now, every transcript will have an "Edit" button near the top of the page. Clicking this button will enable editing mode, as well as color-code sections of the transcript that our system suspects need the most correction. The color code is a gradient going from bright red, meaning the transcription is almost certainly wrong, to bright green, meaning it's likely correct or has already been corrected by a human.

In editing mode, clicking a section of the transcript will display a modal dialog allowing you to submit corrected text. Once the correction is reviewed by our staff, it'll be incorporated into the complete transcript.

We don't expect anyone to submit corrections for free. In exchange for making a minimum of 30 corrections, a user will receive a 1 month subscription to all ad-free content. After that, every 1 corrections will extend the subscription by 1 day. We'll likely adjust these levels as we get feedback.

We hope that this feature opens a new path for improving accuracy while also allowing users to become more engaged with the site.