[FoRK] Videos of talks / presentations considered harmful (and other peeves)

Jebadiah Moore jebdm at jebdm.net
Mon May 24 19:32:41 PDT 2010

Agree with the sentiment, but the thing about these videos, PDFs and the
like is that they're mostly getting posted on the internet not just because
people want to share content, but because they want to share and it's easy.
 Most people aren't going to want to bother to convert PDFs to HTML (which
for most academic papers is a pretty easy thing to do, especially if they
were originally written in LaTeX or even Word), and they're certainly not
going to want to transcribe videos.

In the case where a bigger organization is doing the posting (like TED or a
journal), it might be a little bit less of an issue, but that really depends
on the size of the organization and how much they care.  TED does actually
provide transcripts on most (all?) of their videos, but can you really
expect even the people behind the Google tech talks to spend their valuable
time transcribing?  What's their motivation?

There's a little less excuse when it comes to slides and most PDFs, since
they're pretty easy to convert to HTML (basically any authoring program will
do this).  But PDFs usually do look better, they're usually already
generated, they're fully searchable, and you'd be hard pressed to find a
computer that couldn't display them.  And Google can display them in HTML
for you.  So again, there's really not much incentive to bother.

Plus, the medium's often important.  It's harder to make HTML do some of the
things a PDF can, so it wins if the layout of your slides/presentation is
relevant to the content.  And video is often chosen for a good reason--most
people find it easier to listen than to read, video allows better
juxtaposition of content with slides, it becomes a bit harder to transcribe
if the speaker uses any visuals, and a lot of
humor/"inspirational-ness"/etc. is a lot more effective with audio/video
than with writing.

I agree with you in theory, but... not happening.  Move along, nothing to
see here.

Jebadiah Moore

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