Question

podcast show notes/track description formatting (not HTML!)


Userlevel 2
This is a follow-up question to this ticket.

We moved our podcast to SoundCloud because everything in the platform looked fantastic. We found out a dealbreaker after migrating and we're now considering whether to stay or leave.

Currently track descriptions in the web ungracefully degrade when viewed in podcast players. This is because plain text is being used for it and each client interprets this differently.

The standard practice out there is to use CDATA containers with proper HTML in them, but SoundCloud removed HTML support in track descriptions in 2014.

Both things can be made to work together. Since the "risk" according to SoundCloud is that HTML can be malicious, the solution is not to remove formatting but to remove the ability to include HTML directly.

This is a solved problem. Most websites use a syntax parser that allows for plaintext shortcuts to HTML formatting, without providing access to the final HTML. Markdown and its variants is one of the most popular implementations of this. Such a parser could produce the final HTML that goes into a feed without the user being able to control it.

It could even be a pro-only feature, if you want that filter to exist. We're currently with a monthly plan until we find a resolution to this, in case we can't.

As an example, this is what should be possible:

Accidental Tech Podcast #117: Basic unordered lists and linked text (not URLs)



Gastropod: Basic formatting and embedded images:
(please note: Gastropod have their files with you, but they need to write their descriptions elsewhere and hack their RSS file that way, which is precisely what shouldn't be necessary).



Our own episode 57: Basic links



Our episode 58, the first hosted in soundcloud: Format disaster



A common response would be "well, go and put the description outside of SoundCloud and modify the RSS accordingly. The problem is that this indirectly defeats the purpose of SoundCloud as a platform.

The advantages of SoundCloud as a podcasting platform are:

1.-No need to host the files
2.-No need to manage the feeds
3.-Ability to cross-post to places like Wordpress or Tumblr
4.-Good stats
5.-Getting conversation going in SoundCloud's own social ecosystem

If the description can't be done properly, all these advantages collapse to #1. #2 and #3 become moot since they need to be replaced by hand, #4 is a plus but not a critical requirement and #5 breaks if the podcast format relies heavily on the show notes for sparking conversation or clarifying concepts (so anyone coming within SoundCloud would be missing it, as the "proper" description resides in a separate blog or tumblr but is not visible in the place where conversation happens naturally).

I urge you to reconsider. SoundCloud would be an ideal place to post both the audio and description and have that be the sole originator of your podcast

42 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +3
Hi Eduardo,

Thank you for posting on our help forum and for explain your issue so thoroughly. I have gone ahead and forwarded you report to the relevant product team on our end to consider.

All the best,
Mathis
Userlevel 1
Yes please. What is the status on this? I am 100% onboard with Eduardo and have the same exact issue(s).

Thanks
Userlevel 7
Badge +2
Hi,

This is being looked into, apologies for the inconvenience but we only have so many resources and there are more visible fixes that need to be worked on first. We will get to building a solution for this as soon as possible.

Thank you,
Gina
Eduardo has a point here. Podcast's notes really add value to the podcast content. Having them side by side with the audio is vital to the experience of podcasting. Please take his proposal into account.

Thanks.
Userlevel 7
Badge +2
enreas wrote:

Eduardo has a point here. Podcast's notes really add value to the podcast content. Having them side by side with the audio is vital to the experience of podcasting. Please take his proposal into account.

Thanks.


Thanks for your comments enreas, we're working on the issue.

-Gina
Userlevel 2
I need this feature too, so please integrate this soon...
Userlevel 7
Badge +2
Couchplausch wrote:

I need this feature too, so please integrate this soon...


Thanks Couchplausch

-Gina
Userlevel 2
Couchplausch wrote:

I need this feature too, so please integrate this soon...


Can you post a update in this thread, when the feature is available?
Userlevel 1
Yes, I was expecting this to be fixed when I saw the podcast feature come out of beta. It really is a potential deal breaker for a lot of people.
Userlevel 2
Still no update?
Userlevel 7
Badge +3
Couchplausch wrote:

Still no update?


Hi Couchplausch,

Unfortunately not, no. I've pinged our developers again, yet wasn't able to gain further insights as to how and when this feature will be made available. When this changes, first thing we'll do is update this conversation.

Cheers
Mathis
Userlevel 1
Couchplausch wrote:

Still no update?


Is it possible to get an update on why there's no update yet? I really consider HTML formatting of shownotes basic podcast functionality, as I'm sure others will agree...
Userlevel 2
Couchplausch wrote:

Still no update?


You are right. I think Soundcloud don't care about podcasters. But i don't understand why they are launching a podcasters campaign and still don't support one of the most basics of podcasting...
Userlevel 3

Userlevel 1
123 wrote:


Although this is totally off topic, I have to agree that the removal of the play button on the facebook embed is yet another potential reason to cancel Soundcloud membership for podcasters and artists alike...
Userlevel 7
Badge +2
Hi all,

Thanks for your patience. We unfortunately will not be bringing back HTML links in descriptions for the same reason that we disabled this in profiles. Unfortunately spammers abused these links too much on the site and we have to put our user's experience and safety first.

Please let us know if you have any other questions.

-Gina
Userlevel 2
Gina wrote:

Hi all,

Thanks for your patience. We unfortunately will not be bringing back HTML links in descriptions for the same reason that we disabled this in profiles. Unfortunately spammers abused these links too much on the site and we have to put our user's experience and safety first.

Please let us know if you have any other questions.

-Gina


Well, if you didn't implement another solution i think i have to say goodbye to soundcloud. It's a shame to call your service a "solution for podcasters".
Userlevel 2
Gina wrote:

Hi all,

Thanks for your patience. We unfortunately will not be bringing back HTML links in descriptions for the same reason that we disabled this in profiles. Unfortunately spammers abused these links too much on the site and we have to put our user's experience and safety first.

Please let us know if you have any other questions.

-Gina


This is a shame. I wasn't asking for HTML in descriptions but for basic, soundcloud-controlled, descriptions. "Show notes" are a basic feature of modern, serious podcasts and it could easily be limited just to paying customers.

We'll too have to then retire all "podcast" functionality off SoundCloud and use it as just an audio hosting solution with a neat player.

Considering this and that stats for RSS were removed and made much less useful, I can only imagine SoundCloud didn't think what welcoming podcasters would really imply and is now backpedaling. Seeing this confirmation is sad, considering the potential this had.
Userlevel 2
Gina wrote:

Hi all,

Thanks for your patience. We unfortunately will not be bringing back HTML links in descriptions for the same reason that we disabled this in profiles. Unfortunately spammers abused these links too much on the site and we have to put our user's experience and safety first.

Please let us know if you have any other questions.

-Gina


I've just migrated to Blubrry this week for this and other reasons. I was really excited about SoundCloud, but I think it has an identity crisis. Is it the YouTube of audio? Is it podcasting platform? Is it a music subscription service? It seems to be too many things rather than do one thing really well.
Userlevel 1
Gina wrote:

Hi all,

Thanks for your patience. We unfortunately will not be bringing back HTML links in descriptions for the same reason that we disabled this in profiles. Unfortunately spammers abused these links too much on the site and we have to put our user's experience and safety first.

Please let us know if you have any other questions.

-Gina


That's it? Just like that, podcasters are fucked? We have been waiting months for this to be fixed and you are just giving up? Is there anyone left at SoundCloud who isn't completely fucked in the head.

You're already losing customers over this. Are you sure you shouldn't have one more meeting to consider the fact that you won't have any podcasts left for your little investment into podcasting?

Refusing to give podcasters the features they want, especially when your competition is offering those features, is most plain laungue I can understand. You don't care about podcasts, so why should any podcaster stay, or anyone who enjoys podcasts? That's a lot of people you are telling "fuck off, spammers might abuse it"

Hey I got an idea, how about THINK OF SOMETHING TO STOP ABUSE.

Here I thought, there some programmer over at SoundCloud working on some kind of code that will give podcasters shownotes. Something real shows can use to produce their SHOW, you see our show involves shownotes and we can't REALLY have our show fully on your platform until the show notes are there too.

Basicallty, you're a local theater that is refusing to print programs, well then make us an app to do digital programs, be creative and solve this problem. Don't jsut refuse to do something.

DO SOMETHING! Your lack of actions toward this topic shows me how broken you are as a company. Too big to think about it's own actions or see itself fall.

The frustration only comes because you refuse to help us and consider only the past. You think you are protecting us, but really you are just a lazy bully unwilling to workout a small piece of code for your user base.

We don't give a shit about your problems with hackers, spammers, or anything else.

We are paying customers, you either give us what we want or we move on.

Podcasters!
Please consider moving off of SoundCloud when you can. It's obvious we have all been fooled into investing into a platform that was never really ment for us.

Time to choose SoundCloud, you either start competeting and give us what we want or you will be losing montly pro account holers to another site that will slowly grow from all our money and ad revenue.

We will be taking our show and audience to your competition unless you openly change your stance on this issues.

What a fucking shame and waste of money. Just only allow confirmed podcast shows to post show notes.

You are pushing everyone instead of using your fucking brains to solve a problem for your customers. You are telling me you can't find a solution to podcasting shownotes that don't allow spammers to abuse the system? Who's running this company and making this call? That manager need to be told they are pissing off the podcasters.

The majority of top podcasts use shownotes with links if it's relevant to the show.

I guess SoundCloud doesn't want any top podcasts on their platform.

I'm considering this a bait and which, you didn't launch a podcasting platform, this is just money grab and they don't even realize how fucked it is to do something like this. Thanks for wasting our time and our money on the worst paid podcasting platform period.

-M
Talkingholes.com
Gina wrote:

Hi all,

Thanks for your patience. We unfortunately will not be bringing back HTML links in descriptions for the same reason that we disabled this in profiles. Unfortunately spammers abused these links too much on the site and we have to put our user's experience and safety first.

Please let us know if you have any other questions.

-Gina


Gotta say this is really disappointing. We are just launching our podcast and thought for sure SoundCloud would be the way to go. We were planning on upgrading to the Pro plan tomorrow... now we're reconsidering that heavily.
Gina wrote:

Hi all,

Thanks for your patience. We unfortunately will not be bringing back HTML links in descriptions for the same reason that we disabled this in profiles. Unfortunately spammers abused these links too much on the site and we have to put our user's experience and safety first.

Please let us know if you have any other questions.

-Gina


Why can't we use Markdown instead of HTML, then? I host my other podcast with Squarespace and the formating is really pretty over there. I fell a little bit ashamed of having such an horrible description as it is.

Please, find a way to let us edit the description. That make us look bad.
Again, we are NOT asking for HTML, as the title of this thread says.

Thanks and keep up the good work.
Agreed. My institution was about to buy a pro subscription when I ran into this, and I am strongly considering changing our plans as well.
Gina wrote:

Hi all,

Thanks for your patience. We unfortunately will not be bringing back HTML links in descriptions for the same reason that we disabled this in profiles. Unfortunately spammers abused these links too much on the site and we have to put our user's experience and safety first.

Please let us know if you have any other questions.

-Gina


This is really disappointing. This is just basic podcast hosting functionality. We were about to buy a Pro subscription, but I'm now reconsidering. Can't speak for other platforms, but all major iOS podcast apps support this - Overcast, Pocket Casts, Downcast, even the native iOS Podcasts app.

If there are true security concerns, just enable this for pro accounts only - that way, you have identifying info and a credit card as leverage against abuse.
Was just about to pull the trigger on SoundCloud hosting for my podcast until I saw this post. This lack of HTML in description for show notes has stopped that. Moving to Blubrry.

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