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Has the Request Photo function always had this many bugs, or is this a new development?

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I've just started using BG's Request a Photo function, and am having terrible trouble with it. Because I've never used this function before, I'm unsure whether it always behaves like this and people just put up with it somehow, or whether it has only started malfunctioning.

Summary of my difficulties:

1. A couple of days ago, when I tried it for the first time, I couldn't submit a request at all. I would click the link and nothing would happen.

2. Today it has let me submit requests, but gives an error message every time I try to save. I tried a few times, then gave up. I didn't realise that despite the error message, it was actually saving the request each time, and so it created four identical requests for grave A and two for grave B. I only realised this when different people began responding to each of the duplicate requests.

3. I tried to go in an update each request, to say "sorry about the duplicates, going to delete them all except one", but the Edit function won't work. It takes me to an edit screen, but when I try to save my edited request, it tells me "you can't add a request without a family name". This is wrong because (a) I'm trying to EDIT, not ADD, and (b) the request already HAS a family name! So effectively I cannot edit any requests at all.

So I just went ahead and deleted the duplicates, praying that I wasn't offending the many people who had accepted them.

4. I can see the names of the people who accepted each request - and it appears to be their real names, not BG usernames - but I see no way of communicating with them, not even by editing my requests. I cannot click on their names, and there is nowhere to leave comments. One person even added a comment to my request (I don't know how she managed that), which I saw via email, but I cannot see her comment on the Manage Requests screen, nor can I respond to it.

5. My mailbox is now full of multiple "Your photo request has been completed and is ready to view" emails. (a) This is almost physically impossible. I only requested the photos literally minutes ago - am I to believe half a dozen people were standing at the exact graves, cameras poised, when I made the requests? (b) There is no link in the email to the allegedly completed photos. I even searched on the surnames via the cemetery page just to make absolutely sure no one had managed to complete the request in that tiny amount of time. No one had.

6. Even when someone does complete the requests - how will I be able to thank them if I can't communicate with them? My brother is on BG too, and he recently fulfilled a request at our local cemetery for someone. He said he told the requester that it had been done, but he heard nothing back. He thought that was a bit rude. I told him that maybe they have been trying to communicate with him, and can't.

Someone please, please reassure me that this Request a Photo feature has had a major upgrade recently, that the bugs aren't ironed out of it yet, and that BG is actively working on it. Because if it's going to give me this much grief, it's just not worth it.

Finally, a huge thank you to the several kind-hearted people - about eight of them - from Fremantle, WA, who volunteered to fulfil my two requests. The generosity of spirit demonstrated here is what keeps me using BG in spite of the difficulties I sometimes have with it.
asked Jan 9, 2015 in Bugs/Fixes by Grave_Digger BG Master (91,400 points)

1 Answer

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Hi GraveDigger!

 

We are so pleased to announce the new Request Board. We would reccomend clearing your cache and checking it out. It is much simpler and easier to use. At this time there may be a few errors as this is a new update so we encourage you to report to us either on this page or at http://billiongraves.com/support/.

 

Thanks,

 

BillionGraves Support
answered Jan 9, 2015 by BillionGraves Admin BG Master (156,530 points)
Dear BG Support,

Thank you for your prompt reply, but your advice has not solved the problem.

I have cleared my cache, but your Request Board is still behaving exactly the same as it did yesterday.

I am still unable to edit my requests. I am still getting the same misleading error message when I try. I still have no way to contact the people who responded to my requests (I can see their real names, but not their usernames, and there is nothing to click on in order to contact them privately). I still have no way to followup my requests with a comment. I have not tried to add a new request since yesterday, but I have no reason to believe the other bugs I reported above (error message upon saving initial request; misleading email advising request has been completed when it has only been accepted) have been fixed either.

In short, nothing has changed since I wrote the above post yesterday. I can only conclude that it is your new Request Board which has introduced all these bugs, and the "few errors" you speak of are effectively preventing me from using it. I can add a new request (albeit with an error messge on saving), I can delete a request, but so far I can do nothing else.

Can you please advise when these bugs will be fixed. Thank you.
I thought it time I posted an update on this complaint. I do a lot of grumbling on these forums about various bugs in BG, but I must give credit where it's due, and acknowledge that on THIS particular matter, I've been having a lot of back-and-forth emails with BG Support, and they have been working very hard behind the scenes to iron out the bugs in the Request-a-Photo feature. It's not yet ideal, but it's a long way from the unworkable thing that it was when I made the complaint above.

Specific bug fixes and enhancements that BG has done:

* I can now submit requests and save them successfully.

* I can now edit my original request, and save the changes successfully.

* There is now a blue Review button on the Manage My Requests screen, and this gives me access to all the comments that have been made. I can read them and add a comment of my own.

* I've stopped receiving misleading emails saying "Request completed and ready to view!" just because a new volunteer has jumped on board and no one has taken any photos yet.

* The volunteers who have fulfilled my requests have successfully been able to mark it as Completed, and I can see that they have.

* All of this works in Firefox as well as Chrome. (When the Review button first appeared, it wouldn't work in Firefox. It does now.)

Enhancements I'd still like to see:

1. Remove the requirement to click "Add" after entering the name and date fields. Intuition suggests you should only need to do that after you have more than one name to enter.

2. Last time I added a request, the name and date fields ended up being blanked out after saving anyway, making it rather pointless to have entered them in the first place. I don't know if BG have fixed this yet. I'll find out next time I submit a request.

3. You can see the list of volunteers, but you cannot contact them privately; their usernames cannot be clicked on. The best you can do is add a public comment and hope they see it.

4. I'd like to see some guidelines and recommendations about the use of this feature. For instance, what should a requester do when there are multiple volunteers for the one request? Pick one? Sit back and just wait? The last thing we want is multiple people showing up at the one grave to take photos. I'd also like to see in large letters on this screen: "Please DON'T take photos with an ordinary phone or camera with the intention of emailing them to the requester privately UNLESS you have FIRST okayed this with the requester." I was stunned to have several offers of help from people who didn't have a smartphone and had no way of uploading any photos to BG. One person even went ahead and did that. He had wasted his time - I already had personal copies of photos for those graves. The whole point of the request had been to get them on BG!
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