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Do you need some help Billion Graves?

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It's so rediculous, I keep trying to come back here and use your service, but it just never seems to work, so it's just a waste of my time and I leave again. Here's my experience just now, I opened an email asking me to try the new 2.1, I come to the website, I try to transcribe a couple photos, first, if I select English as the language, then there is NO selection for the U.S., then if I unselect English, I can select the U.S. as the country, but I can't select English as the language, or it changes back to All countries. THEN, I just try to transcribe the photo that is there, I do so, but it WON'T let me save because I have to review ALL the photos there, but the other photos are of other people, so it doesn't work! Now I'm writing to you about it and I'm going to leave and not come back for a few months again, hoping you will finally have a simple, working, transcribing website. I should just be able to see ONE photo, transcribe what is on it, and move on, the photo is supposed to have the location info embedded within, so why do I have to choose a language and country anyway? Make it SIMPLE!!
asked Dec 12, 2015 in Other by junglecrus BG Beginner (120 points)

1 Answer

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1. You're more likely to get a response from BG themselves if you raise this in Bugs and Fixes, and also if you provide much more detail than what you've written above, as well as evidence of what you're experiencing in the form of screenshots.

BG cannot fix what they can't recreate. I've just gone to the transcription screen, set language to English as you described, and it is letting me select US in the country field, with more than 13,000 pictures to be transcribed. So I can't recreate your problem, and BG probably won't be able to recreate it either. And when they can't recreate something, they tend not even to reply.

2. Regarding this part of your complaint:

THEN, I just try to transcribe the photo that is there, I do so, but it WON'T let me save because I have to review ALL the photos there,

It is difficult to be sure of what you mean from such a brief description. But I think you mean you are being presented with one large photo and a set of thumbnail photos, like this:

... and that the second and subsequent photos are of other unrelated people.

BG asks you to click on and examine all the photos just in case you've missed something. Many photographers take multiple shots of the one grave, partly to get a sense of the grave's overall appearance and setting, but also because it is often not possible to get a legible picture of everything on the headstone in a single clear shot. Some headstones are extremely tall, and require a long shot to capture the whole thing - but the lettering isn't legible until you get right in for a closeup, therefore several closeups are needed. Some graves have a headstone at the top of the grave and one or two plaques on the slab, and each one needs a closeup.

More than once, I have transcribed the first picture and then clicked on the other thumbnails with some irritation, just because I have to - and I've discovered a small inscription in one of the others which wasn't visible in the first picture. So it is important that you review all of the pictures in the set.

but the other photos are of other people, so it doesn't work!

That is not BG's fault. BG has nothing to do with linking photos together. Linking them was done either by the photographer, or by some other transcriber who came along before you.

Perhaps that person was right to link the photos - perhaps they really are of the same grave, and it's just not obvious.

But perhaps they made a mistake. It happens a lot. I've been told that pressing a button on the app at the wrong time will do it. You think you're linking photos A and B, but you link B and C by mistake.

If you think they've been wrongly linked, you need to be the one to correct it by unlinking them. Complaining to BG about it here and blaming them for it will achieve nothing.

Details on when to link and when not to are here: http://community.billiongraves.com/5637/when-do-i-link-headstones and details on how to unlink are here: http://community.billiongraves.com/3932/pictures-someone-linked-pictures-shouldnt-linked-together

3. Regarding this part of your complaint:

I should just be able to see ONE photo, transcribe what is on it, and move on,

Why should you? You will see one photo if and only if one photo was taken of that grave and no one has accidentally linked any other photos to it. As I said above, some graves require more than one photo to be taken.

the photo is supposed to have the location info embedded within,

It does, but that is irrelevant to whether BG presents you with a single photo for transcribing, or a set of linked photos.

so why do I have to choose a language and country anyway?

You don't. The filtering is optional. Filtering allows you to narrow down the selection of images. It is particularly useful if you speak a language which is a minority language in the country where you're transcribing. Say you speak Chinese as well as English, and you want to transcribe Chinese graves in the US. You can set language to Chinese, country to US, and BG should give you only images which match those criteria. Or if you only want to work on one particular cemetery, you can filter to that cemetery alone.

But you can transcribe without filtering to anything at all. You will then get any language, and by default, BG will usually give you photos from the cemeteries closest to where it thinks you are located. If those cemeteries have run out of photos, BG will then usually give you photos from a bit further away.

But this isn't always the case. I'm in Australia, and last week I was transcribing images from a cemetery close to home, when suddenly BG presented me with a photo from France. Later on it presented me with one from Israel. And I had filtered to a single cemetery!

It happens. You skip that photo, recheck/reset the filtering, and move on. Also, BG sometimes gets confused about exactly where you are. If that's the case, you should double-check your location setting. (Use the gear icon on the Dashboard.)

Filtering increases the chance that you will only get the images you're interested in, but it's not foolproof. There are bugs in it, and we have raised them, but most of the time it works.

Make it SIMPLE!!

It is simple - if you know how it works. It isn't bug free - far from it - but we raise the bug reports, and then learn to live with the bugs until they're fixed.

answered Dec 13, 2015 by Grave_Digger BG Master (91,420 points)
edited Dec 13, 2015 by Grave_Digger
brief comment: Saturday 12-13 (not sure of the time) the US was not listed ....... there were no transcriptions to be made.   I thought that was odd.  I went to Canada's cemeteries    Today the US is listed but with only one cemetery!

It happened to me with Australian cemeteries, two months ago. Prior to that it happened with another BG user in Belgium.

Right now, I can't see what the transcription screen is doing at all, because it won't load any images or let me use the filters at all. It just hangs. My internet connection is fine, so I'm guessing there are temporary server problems at the BG end. But that's OK, I'll go do something else for a while. A lot of BG glitches are only temporary, and they tend to fix themselves with a bit of patience.

As I explained above, BG is not bug-free. No one ever claimed it was.

As I also explained above, the way to get something done about it if you are sure it is a bug and it's not going away within a reasonable time is to prove to BG Support that there is a problem, with screenshots and step-by-step instructions. Tell them what you clicked on, what you entered, and what results you're getting.

I did it in the following post, when it wasn't presenting any Australian images for transcribing even though I knew there were plenty available: http://community.billiongraves.com/6098/transcription-filters-countries-cemeteries-untranscribed Note the level of detail I provided. And glory be, BG responded, acknowledging it was a bug, and saying "We have been able to reproduce this issue". That is the key. They need to be able to reproduce it.

Eventually they fixed it. I don't know exactly when; they tend to fix things quietly without announcing them. We just stumble over the fix.

Note that in my bug report I was able to prove that there were still untranscribed Australian images, by searching for them outside of the transcription screen. BG needs proof of what we complain about. When we don't provide it, we're likely to be ignored or dismissed. Sometimes even when we do provide proof, we're still ignored or dismissed, as happened with the apostrophe search issue. When that happens, we have to be persistent.

My point is, when we don't provide any proof, we have little or no hope of getting the problem addressed. It's just having a whinge. It might make you feel better to get it off your chest, but nothing is likely to change.