“Real Science” Campaign

History · Donate · Register your support (supporter list)

CAPTIONING SUCKS! is an activity of the Open & Closed Project, an accessibility research project we’re still trying to get off the ground.

For October ’09, we’re writing a quick-turnaround proposal for new research into captioning. We’re doing it in Canada, but it will be applicable to other countries. Our proposal is actually a counterproposal that we will offer to broadcasters, who seem to want to throw good money after bad on an unscientific “report” on captioning. You can help.

Want to read the results?

As of 2009.10.21, the “Real Science” campaign has produced and submitted its response to the CRTC. Thanks for everybody’s support!

Want the history?

The events that led to the CAPTIONING SUCKS! “Real Science” Campaign stretch back a year or more. You can read about everything that’s happened so far, or just start with these important facts:

The project

A friend of the broadcasting industry in Canada – not us – received a grant from a broadcaster to produce an optimistic report on TV captioning in Canada. We’re going to counter that: Working with a university, CAPTIONING SUCKS! will research and submit a counterproposal to study captioning with unstinting scientific validity.


What broadcasters are planning to do

A company called Mediac has been given a grant from a broadcaster – one of the broadcasters that didn’t give us a grant – to conduct an exercise in foregone conclusions. From Mediac’s own description:

Over the course of three years, random broadcast samples will be taken at the national, provincial and regional levels to measure the quality and quantity of accessibility. “Like the first study,” said Mediac’s Beverley Milligan, “at no time will the broadcast undertakings sampled be revealed. Rather, the selection criteria will focus on getting the most favourable results.”

So: This research project won’t reveal its data (an action indistinguishable from fabricating or falsifying such data) and will explicitly produce “the most favourable results.” The amazing thing is Mediac plans to work with a recognized educational institution, Ryerson University in Toronto, which should know better.

That’s not science. It’s public relations. And we’ve got an alternative.

The Captioning Sucks “Real Science” Campaign

From early October to 21 October 2009 (a deadline the CRTC imposed on the CAB), we planned to:

(Update, 2009.10.21: We didn’t finish every task.)

Two points worth emphasizing: We’re publishing all our work. And we definitely want our proposal to be easily adapted to other countries. We’re doing your nation’s work for you.

After 21 October, we’ll begin a series of occasional – and free – educational sessions for people who do captioning. Our first session, “Copy-Editing for Captioners,” will be announced soon. (You can come!)

Two ways to help

The first phase of the “Real Science” campaign is over. When it was active, there were two ways to help out – by donating or by writing in and adding your name to the supporters list.

Coming up

Next, we’ll be explaining how to contact the CRTC and the CAB to ask them to support true scientific research.


Thanks for supporting real research into accessibility. People with disabilities deserve nothing less.

Updated: 2009.10.26