Lost Classifications

We’re sorry to let you know that at 16:29 BST on Wednesday last week we made a change to the Panoptes code which had the unexpected result that it failed to record classifications on six of our newest projects; Season Spotter, Wildebeest Watch, Planet Four: Terrains, Whales as Individuals, Galaxy Zoo: Bar Lengths, and Fossil Finder. It was checked by two members of the team – unfortunately, neither of them caught the fact that it failed to post classifications back. When we did eventually catch it, we fixed it within 10 minutes. Things were back to normal by 20:13 BST on Thursday, though by that time each project had lost a day’s worth of classifications.

To prevent something like this happening in the future we are implementing new code that will monitor the incoming classifications from all projects and send us an alert if any of them go unusually quiet. We will also be putting in even more code checks that will catch any issues like this right away.

It is so important to all of us at the Zooniverse that we never waste the time of any of our volunteers, and that all of your clicks contribute towards the research goals of the project. If you were one of the people whose contributions were lost we would like to say how very sorry we are, and hope that you can forgive us for making this terrible mistake. We promise to do everything we can to make sure that nothing like this happens again, and we thank you for your continued support of the Zooniverse.

Sincerely,

The Zooniverse Team

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3 thoughts on “Lost Classifications”

  1. Just a day?? Wheew, I feel better knowing that. My first thought as I read your notice was you were talking maybe weeks or months. I work in the IT field so you have my sympathies, I completely understand how these things happen. This is a labor of love for me so, as far as I am concerned, I’ll be just as happy clicking away at thousands more classifications.

  2. You’ve done great work on this! I think that is incredible response time, and it looks like the team has been diligent with addressing the issue by quickly implementing a short-term. The long-term monitoring and change management solution seems quite appropriate and responsive.

    Great execution! Thank you for your effort and time.

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