Matt and I recently discovered a bug within the SoundCloud platform that prevented users’ comments from displaying properly in some situations. We reported the bug to SoundCloud’s technical support and the problem was resolved within a week. SoundCloud’s support was impressive; we received a reply from one of their representatives within hours of reporting the problem, and she kept us updated on the status of the issue in the interim. This is very encouraging given our plans to continue to experiment with SoundCloud throughout this research project. Details below.
After uploading some audio files of poetry readings to SoundCloud we started to embed SoundCloud’s audio player into our private WordPress site. This means that the audio files are accessible in 2 places: directly on SoundCloud’s site and indirectly through the audio player on the WordPress site. For copyright reasons we decided to keep the files private on the SoundCloud site. This means that only members of our group can access the audio files, and that members of the public cannot (unlike most files on SoundCloud, which are public). However, this seemed to cause problems.
When the file was marked as private the comments would not display on our WordPress site. This was a serious problem because the time-stamped comments are an important feature of the SoundCloud platform, and we intend to experiment with these in a variety of ways e.g., to display non-poetic transcriptions, to set time-stamped bookmarks, etc.
Here’s what the player looks like without comments (i.e. the bug we reported):
Here’s what the player looks like with comments showing (i.e. after the bug was fixed):
In the second example you can see that the comment bubble is appearing at a particular point in the playback, and that other comments are stamped on the bottom section of the timeline.
Thankfully we were able to resolve this problem. Unfortunately I just discovered another one – not so much a bug but something that doesn’t quite work for our purposes: the comment bubble may be too small for the amount of text we plan to use. While comments tend to be short (i.e. “I like this part of the song”), our transcriptions of non-poetic speech tend to be fairly lengthy. With the current settings (i.e. a fairly small comment bubble) you need to scroll through a fair amount of text to read an entire transcription entry. Adding this issue to the to do list…