Notes From Nature Talk

Squash the bugs in the ornithological collection! Do betatesting!

  • El_Lion by El_Lion

    Guys, seriously, it's not much fun if you have done 35 lines of a total of 50 and all of a sudden the program by hitting the "enter" button jumps to the Zooniverse Galaxy project's welcome site. No idea what kind of glitch made this happen but I definitely didn't do anything else than hit the "enter" button which should lead me to the next entry section. Maybe I can't blame it on the program but seriously, it's totally frustrating to see 35 carefully typed names of some odd thai locations going towards nirwana..
    Everything started with the green line "zipping" to the top when clicked on to move and stays put. Fix this, please! I can't come back and work on this before the major issues aren't solved. Spending an hour on it and then see the work go down the drain? Not fun. 😦

    I just don't understand why don't you do betatesting with a small audience before you release that stuff? We had issues in the other collection programs before, so shouldn't you have learned from that? It's never good to go "life" and then make people turn away totally frustrated.


  • ghewson by ghewson in response to El_Lion's comment.


    (though not frustrated, just relieved, because I got to the end of my first page, a long one, despite the green line bug)


  • reddder by reddder

    The green-line tool is a stumbling block to efficient production. I'm amazed that there isn't a better way to delineate a completed line from those that remain to be done. Also, because my page had one entry with 50 lies of " marks in several columns, I had to write out the data on a note to myself because the info disappears from view as you go down the page. To top it all off, I somehow signed out and who known where my results went.

    this is an interesting challenge, but i think I will return to calbug for a few days & see how your debugging process works out.


  • El_Lion by El_Lion

    Same thought here: I went back to herbarium and wait if anybody looks into the problem. I made a copy of some of the entries to paste them in the next line with "" in a text file on my desktop. But sorry, that's the utmost I'm willing to do. If I have to take notes as what line contains what in order to work around the green line, then the concept of the transcription program doesn't make any sense to me. They rather make xeroxes of the sheets and send them out to contributors who could work with a ruler. At the moment, the analogue solution would trump their digital one. 😉


  • jamac41 by jamac41 in response to dmbrgn's comment.

    Although there could be an innovative solution, I suspect that the green line is close to the best interface option you can get that has minimal use of the mouse, which is useful given how keyboard driven the rest of the data entry can be. Allowing the use of a mouse, there are probably better ways, whether it's nabbing code for drag boxes from Old Weather or simply clicking at the start of each line.

    In terms of the data disappearing off the top of the screen, there are solutions, such as giving a drop-down box with all your entries for that column in reverse order of input, but that would probably require notable fiddling with the current 'default' input system, which would delay the project.

    Finally, for the possibility of losing a fair amount of work halfway through due to a bug or a computer crash or whatever, I would suggest implementing an 'auto-save' system after each row is completed, similar to how Data Rescue At Home does it.


  • CTidwell3 by CTidwell3

    Large redesigns at this point are probably unlikely, but if I could do it, I'd probably take an approach that would divide the current work into two collections:

    One. Ornithological Pages: This first collection would start similar to what we have now, asking for a page number. It would then show the image. At this point, instead of asking for lines, a new interface would ask for the year (unless there are logs where there is more than one year at the top of the page in which case skip this step and make the year part of the next step -- this step is hopefully just to save time and not have to enter the year multiple times). After submitting that, it would bring up an interface that would start with one row asking us Batch and Batch # (and year is we are not building in the previous step), along with tools to add or remove a rows. Submit that would take us to a back/submit page, then a discussion / next page choice.

    This would allow us to quickly go through the 1000 or so pages queued up and get data for part 2. You are making the time to transcribe smaller, and it is more likely that 4-6 people will agree on all the data on a page for that smaller set of data.

    Two. Ornithological Entries: Using data collected from confirmed part 1 entries, it would show the page entriy again and first ask 'Do you see a row for 'Year'-'Batch'-'Batch#'. Yes brings up an interface asking us to type in Scientific name, Location and data (and now maybe other data). Submit that would take us to a back/submit page, then a discussion / next page choice.

    This would also be a small data entry requirement per session (vs the 35-50 mintues it take now for one submission), being more likely to have 4-6 users agree on what they type per row. 1000 submission from part 1 would likely create 30-40k entries to review for part 2.

    Again, probably too late to make such drastic changes, but this interface would need no lines and would be all keyboard driven.


  • annedonnelly by annedonnelly

    If I only manage to transcribe part of a page is it all lost if I don't click "Finish"? I can't spend hours transcribing but can easily do a few records at a time. I'll go back to the Herbarium/Calbug if all the stuff I'm doing is being wasted 😦

    I don't know what problems others are having with the green line, but for me it is consistently too high up the page and so no use as a guidleine


  • darryluk by darryluk

    You can click and drag it with practice!


  • CTidwell3 by CTidwell3

    @annedonnelly -- Yeah, that is the green line problem. What is happening is that if you are on the ledger page where you can add lines, imagine that the ledger page is 3000 pixels long and you can see only the first 600 pixels vertically of the image. When you click add line, you can add it and move it around by holding down the left button and dragging it around the screen. Initially this is not a problem, because the right scrollbar is all the way at the top and you are seeing the first 600 pixels of the ledger paged. Moving the line around with the mouse changes the pixel location of the guide line for 1 to 600 depending on where you put the line.

    Now, image you put the line at 400, then scroll down so that pixels 300 through 900 are showing. The line that is at 400 (out of 3000 pixels) is now showing in the at the relative position of 100 (out of 600 pixels that you can see -- 300 through 900). When you now select the line, hold down the left mouse button, then start to try to move it like you did before, the current code is only reading your relative position (100 out of 600 pixels) and the line immediately adjusts to show up at 100 (out of 3000) relative to the whole image, disappearing off the screen (since you are only looking at pixels 300 through 900). If, however, you keep the left button held down, when it disappeared, your mouse cursor is still on the 100th pixel out of 600 relatively, so if you drag down, after moving past 300 (600 in the whole image), the line appears again at the top, since by moving down 200 relative pixels, you are now at 300 (out of 600) relatively and 300 (out of 3000) image-wise. Since you are looking at rows 300-900 image-wise, you see the line again (200 pixels above your cursor).

    However, since you can only move your cursor down another 300 pixels, the furthest you can drag this line down in this view is to line 600 (at which point your cursor will be at line 900 of the image). If you let go of the left mouse button, the line would be at 600 image-wise (and right in the middle of the screen 300 out of the 600 pixels relatively given what you can see). If you click on the line again, and try to move it again, it will jump up to the top of the screen (300) and again you can only drag it down to 600.

    In other words, those with this bug can not manually move the lines down further than a certain point. I have had to open the code and manually type in number to move rows after that point (see description in other thread).


  • reddder by reddder

    I would like to thank the Engine Room for fixing the Green Line. It works perfectly for me now.


  • nosenabook by nosenabook

    Working for me, too. Windows 7, 64 bit, Firefox latest version.

    I can click and drag that green line anywhere I want now. It stays relevant.


  • darryluk by darryluk

    Hear hear!


  • ammatsun by ammatsun

    In the Ornithological collection, if you fill the fields in a different order than the one expected (number, sci. name, location, date), the boxes on the left get all confused and display information in incorrect location. This needs to be fixed.

    With so many records with the same field value, a much better user interface is needed to allow copying and pasting of values. A spreadsheet interface for this Ornithological collections seems much more effective.


  • rhiannonHB by rhiannonHB

    Having the same problem as El_Lion - it keeps kicking me out to Galaxy Zoo, Planets, Zooniverse homepage etc...


  • tdf4638 by tdf4638

    On Calbug and Herbarium I can right click the Discuss button and choose to open it in a new tab, meaning that I can complete the page normally and post a comment about it. In Ornothological it isn't possible to do this, which means I can either finish the page or post a comment, but not both. I'm using Chrome.

    And it would be speed up the process if the interface made it easier to copy values across multiple entries. The ability to save halfway through a transcription and come back to it later would also be helpful and would probably encourage more people to do ornithological transcriptions.


  • rhiannonHB by rhiannonHB

    I use Chrome and have an add-on called Browser Clipboard. It lets you drag and drop text so I tend to use copy and paste with keyboard shortcuts for the species field and then drag and drop text for location. You can keep multiple items on the clipboard as long as you remember to pin them there. It has made the process a lot quicker and easier.


  • nilremzo0 by nilremzo0

    Ornithological Beta

    I have participated in a number of the other Zooniverse projects.

    I have now spent several sessions on Ornithology Beta, and have the following

    comments (some or all of which may have also been made by others). The comments

    are more or less reported in the order in which they occurred to me as I worked


    1. The first time I logged in I was unable to run the tutorial video; I forged

    ahead anyway.

    1. The instruction to transcribe Location info exactly as shown could result in a

    lot of ditto signs, which I doubt is the intention.

    1. Much of the info to be transcribed is very repetitious. I have been using

    Notepad to copy and paste the repetitive Species and Location info, but it still

    involves more key strokes than ought to be needed. It would be extremely helpful

    to have a "Same As Prior Row" button so that only changing info would need to be

    edited. Much of the time (in the pages I have seen so far) only the BATCH# and

    DATE of collection would need editing.

    1. After transcribing part of a page, I needed to stop working. But I didn't know

    how to do that gracefully, so I tried FINISH (I had not yet been able to view the

    tutorial) and found that it brought up another page. So I tried the on/off icon

    (no helpful hovertag) in the upper right; it worked. Trial and error took care of

    things, but more direct instructions would be helpful.

    1. When finishing a session, when does the last transcribed row get saved? Is it

    as soon as all the info appears in the boxes at left, or do I have to click the NEW

    ROW button before clicking on/off?

    1. I did a partial page (p.173), signed off, did a few more sessions over the next

    couple of days, and then p.173 appeared again with no indication that I (or anyone

    else) had worked on the page before. I had kept sufficient records to know how far

    I had progressed the first time, and continued from that point. Is it OK to

    continue a page that way? Or are we supposed to start again from the top? Or

    maybe we are supposed to skip pages already seen by us?

    1. I find that I cannot come close to an average per page time of 15 minutes with

    the current interface, but can see that as a realistic goal with an interface that

    handles the repetitive content more efficiently.


  • darryluk by darryluk

    These items are all relevant, but after doing a few and using cut and paste off of notepad, it becomes a lot quicker. You can also do all down one side, then move the green line back up and do all down the other side. I believe the page is complete when you click finish. I don't think the programmers are going to implement easier methods, and whilst the pages are transcribed by multiple persons, there should be sufficient accuracy. I think getting a page you have done before was just a coincidence, maybe at a time when not many people were working the Ornithology records. I must admit I don't keep any records and am close to transcribing 6000 records and have had little in the way of problems. Gripes on stuff that doesn't work when it should are soon put right.


  • CTidwell3 by CTidwell3

    I've used this approach too, and it helps when I can visually see that there will be a lot of repeated values.

    Note: Given another 'visual display' bug that exists, when I do this I make sure to fill in all the registration numbers first, then all the scientific names, then all the locations, then all the dates. Otherwise, the 'visual display' bug will make it appear as if the first value I typed in is in registration numbers (even if I filled in scientific names first). The good thing is that this is just a bug in how the data summary box displays what you have typed for each of those four areas. As you go to each of those four, you find that what you transcribed is stored correctly in where you typed.


  • Dermaptera by Dermaptera in response to El_Lion's comment.

    This has happened to me several times now. I've wondered if it's happening because I hit the wrong key, but obviously not. Very annoying, and there is no way back to what you were doing. Presumably it means that there will be lots of half-finished pages to tidy up.


  • nlauze by nlauze

    Two things:
    Given the length of the records, a " quick save" feature would be very helpful. I was near the end of a record and lost the entire page of dozens of rows to my cat hitting the "back" button on my overly fancy keyboard. It pretty much killed my desire to do more on this collection for the day (especially since I really wanted to "collect" and discuss the particular page). The Ancient Lives project is set up so users can keep working on multiple records and saves as you go along, so it's clearly do-able.
    The other thing is that I cannot find a search function on any of the Zooniverse discussion boards. This is a basic feature of any forum or bbs. The tags are nice and all, but if what I'm looking for isn't one of the popular tags, then I'm forced to either sift through dozens of pages (not happening), resurrect a zombie thread that's somewhat relevant on the first page (what I've done here), or start a new thread that might already have an answer on an old thread. It's horrendously inefficient for all involved.