Galaxy Zoo Talk

The second Zooniverse Project Workshop in Chicago!

  • JeanTate by JeanTate

    In case you haven't already seen it: jules' Zooniverse blog post: Calling all Zooites! Your chance to attend the second Zooniverse Project Workshop in Chicago!

    I started a discussion on this, in the Galaxy Zoo forum: Second Zooniverse Project Workshop: 29 and 30 April 2013; feel free to come and join! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

    Posted

  • Terrance_L._Johnson by Terrance_L._Johnson in response to JeanTate's comment.

    JeanTate
    In case you haven't already seen it: jules' Zooniverse blog post: Calling all Zooites! Your chance to attend the second Zooniverse Project Workshop in Chicago!
    I started a discussion on this, in the Galaxy Zoo forum: Second Zooniverse Project Workshop: 29 and 30 April 2013; feel free to come and join! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

    I'm there! I live just outside Chicago!

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate

    So, why not drop in?

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate

    In case you, GZ Talkers (?) don't already know, Planet Hunter's katsee is the chosen one:

    Well it looks like we'll be discussing those things in person in Chicago next month! W00t! I got the email today, and am incredibly humbled and proud to be representing for PH once again. What started as a hobby quickly turned into what could possibly turn into somewhat of a career (through the study of citizen science and astrobiology as somewhat of a metascience), further strenghtening my previous point about PHs influence on science and education!

    So Hunters, I'd love to get the pulse of what you guys feel should be discussed at this conference! Feel free to write to me and chat about whatever your side-projects are (I know some hunters are interested in variables, galaxies, TTVs and such)! I'll do my best to represent our project and the hunters' perspective on this glorious quest that is ours!

    Cheers!
    @Terrance L. Johnson:
    It seems I was in error (and jules apparently didn't notice this thread): "this is a conference that only invited delegates can register for" (source).

    So, even though you live right next door (so to speak), it would seem that you cannot even go, just to be in the audience ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

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  • ElisabethB by ElisabethB moderator

    But if he registers for the conference or asks via Jules or someone else from the Zoo-team, I still think Terry can get in !
    Honestly !

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate

    That's what I thought, Els, but jules' comment - in the Zooniverse blog - seems pretty clear that that's not the case (and she hasn't - yet - written anything to the contrary). I was honestly floored when I read what jules wrote; it seems so contrary to the spirit of the Zooniverse (and to what is, I think, common practice, at least for universities here in the US).

    Perhaps it's just a misunderstanding ...

    Posted

  • Terrance_L._Johnson by Terrance_L._Johnson

    Jean & Els,
    Thanks for your concern. I find this all very confusing and left some comments in the workshop discussion area. Regardless of the results, this is really another example of terrible communications. I'm quickly becoming discouraged with the Zoo's labyrinth of threads and clashing egos. I'm just grateful I'm able to make contact with you and a couple of other zooites when I need some guidance. More later.

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate in response to Terrance L. Johnson's comment.

    [Terrance L. Johnson](#/users/Terrance L. Johnson "Terrance L. Johnson")
    Jean & Els,
    Thanks for your concern. I find this all very confusing and left some comments in the workshop discussion area. Regardless of the results, this is really another example of terrible communications.
    They do rather seem to have put their foot in it, don't they?

    I went and re-read jules' notes from last year's event (she calls it a 'conference', but its name is 'workshop'), Notes from the first Zooniverse Project Workshop Adler Planetarium, Chicago 2012. It's a rather ironic read, in places. For example, the first "un-conference" session was called "Communication"; jules wrote:

    Important to communicate to volunteers (and others) via blogs, Twitter, Face Book, e-mail, the main project site and Talk. Talk needs some improvements. Communication between science team and volunteers is motivating. Also important to build a community early and find good moderators! A well used forum increases the chances of serendipitous findings being reported.

    The second session was entitled "Motivation and Retention of volunteers"; I guess there are some new lessons learned, in this past year.

    I'm quickly becoming discouraged with the Zoo's labyrinth of threads and clashing egos. I'm just grateful I'm able to make contact with you and a couple of other zooites when I need some guidance. More later.

    Again, it's rather ironic that last year Talk was adopted as the standard venue, despite some strong reactions from 'oldbie' zooites (A thread to talk about Talk can be found in the GZ forum).

    I plan to write a submission, which I'll send to jules, Alice, katsee (cc the zooniverse team), with some observations, comments, and suggestions. I do not know if the format of the Chicago Workshop allows such 'zooite submissions' to be discussed - or even acknowledged - but I hope so. And I would encourage you to think about doing the same. As far as I can see, this is the only way to communicate on these sorts of topics, with the Zooniverse team ...

    Posted

  • vrooje by vrooje admin, scientist

    Obviously it's quite standard for an organization to have multiple different kinds of meetings, each of which are appropriate for different audiences. Much of the Chicago workshop is going to be highly technical. (Jules confirmed this quality about last year's meeting as well in a different description than that quoted above.) The scope and format prevent it from being a fully public meeting, but given the nature of the Zooniverse it is still important to involve scientists and citizen scientists at all levels; hence the call for applications to attend. We are currently planning to have a public event in Chicago as well, but being fully public just wouldn't work for the whole meeting.

    On the other hand, very soon after the Chicago meeting there is a meeting in Oxford that is public. I am looking forward to that meeting just as much as I am to the Chicago meeting, and for overlapping reasons, but really I think the meetings will complement each other extremely well. As Chris wrote in a recent blog post, it is a shame that some who would like to come to the Chicago meeting and live nearby aren't able to; it's somewhat understandable that some might find that unfair. But, frankly, using location alone to decide whom of the public to invite could be construed as unfair too. Anyone is welcome at the Oxford meeting, no matter where they come from, and perhaps some future meetings will be in a different location to spread the opportunity around.

    In the meantime, I take some issue with the idea that this is a communications failure. The ZooCon in Oxford has been widely advertised, as was the call for applications for the Chicago workshop. I thought Jules' blog post describing the call for applications was excellent, and subsequent questions were answered and clarifications offered very quickly.

    I am also somewhat distressed by the implication above that the Zooniverse team is not open with Zooites in terms of communication. We receive quite a lot of feedback from people in many different locations working on different projects, and although we cannot always maintain an ongoing dialogue about each topic with each person, all constructive feedback is valued and we try to be available via multiple channels. Aside from communicating via Talk, blog, forum, Facebook, etc., my e-mail address is freely available online and I have also shared it directly with more than one Zooite, including you, Jean. In fact, in addition to welcoming e-mailed comments, I have specifically solicited your comments and suggestions on particular features of the Zooniverse. I asked for your opinion because I respect you and know you are passionate about what we all do together. Yet I get the feeling from the above that you feel this is insufficient, and that saddens me. I don't want any Zooite to feel marginalized or ignored, be they old-hat members or brand new to the Zooniverse community. I wish everyone could participate and communicate instantly from anywhere around the world (though that does sound a little like Twitter), but that just isn't possible for every Zooniverse meeting.

    I look forward to being cc'ed on your message to jules, Alice, and katsee.

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  • JeanTate by JeanTate in response to vrooje's comment.

    Thanks vrooje.

    vrooje
    Obviously it's quite standard for an organization to have multiple different kinds of meetings, each of which are appropriate for different audiences. Much of the Chicago workshop is going to be highly technical. (Jules confirmed this quality about last year's meeting as well in a different description than that quoted above.) The scope and format prevent it from being a fully public meeting, but given the nature of the Zooniverse it is still important to involve scientists and citizen scientists at all levels; hence the call for applications to attend. We are currently planning to have a public event in Chicago as well, but being fully public just wouldn't work for the whole meeting.
    I addressed this with a suggestion, in a comment on the Zooinverse blog post Project Workshop Winners; unfortunately, it is still 'awaiting moderation', getting close to 24 hours' later.

    However, I posted the full content in the GZ forum, here, shortly after I hit "Submit" (in the blog)^:

    [chrislintott]:Iโ€™ll write more over the next couple of weeks and months about what weโ€™re going to do to be more open, ...
    That's really great Chris! How can dedicated and enthusiastic zooites best contribute to the development of the Zooniverse team's plans to be more open?
    [chrislintott]:There were a few comments in the discussion under that last post from people โ€“ particularly locals โ€“ who would clearly have dearly loved to come. Unfortunately, it wouldnโ€™t be possible to run the workshop as a public event; both because of the format (which features spontaneously arranged small group discussions) and also to allow everyone to speak freely about often quite difficult issues.
    I have a few suggestions on how to allow zooites who are able to get to Chicago (because they live there, for example) could go the event, without compromising any existing plans or formats:

    • as you have done with the Oxford ZooCon, allow only those zooites who register (for free) to attend. This would mean the Workshop would not be a public event, and, having successful experience with ZooCon registration, this would be easy and straight-forward to arrange.
    • permit these registered zooites to attend the opening talks, on one or both days, but not the "โ€œun-conferenceโ€ sessions" as jules calls them) which follow. This would ensure the spontaneously arranged small group discussions are not disrupted, and that there'd be no barrier to everyone speaking freely about difficult issues.
    • if they wished to, permit zooites Terrance Johnson and anne - the zooites who posted comments on jules' blog post - to join any small group discussions on communications or how to make the Zooniverse more open. Their first hand experience on these topics would surely be most welcome by the Zooniverse team! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

    I think my suggestion covers each of your points, wouldn't you say?

    On the other hand, very soon after the Chicago meeting there is a meeting in Oxford that is public. I am looking forward to that meeting just as much as I am to the Chicago meeting, and for overlapping reasons, but really I think the meetings will complement each other extremely well. As Chris wrote in a recent blog post, it is a shame that some who would like to come to the Chicago meeting and live nearby aren't able to; it's somewhat understandable that some might find that unfair. But, frankly, using location alone to decide whom of the public to invite could be construed as unfair too. Anyone is welcome at the Oxford meeting, no matter where they come from, and perhaps some future meetings will be in a different location to spread the opportunity around.
    It seems pretty clear that I am failing to communicate my meaning; let me try again.

    As I understand it, the Chicago Workshop is, primarily, a planning, design, and 'how the Zooniverse (and its projects) works' kind of meeting. It is at this meeting that those who do much of the heavy lifting concerning the front-end make decisions, or at least have a chance to interact directly with the key players ('stakeholders', if you will), before they make such decisions.

    The Oxford ZooCon, and proposed Chicago one, is primarily an outreach, 'here's what we have done' kind of event. At this meeting there is no expectation of making decisions concerning planning and design, and few of those who do the heavy lifting will actually be there (I may be wrong; however, they won't be there in 'I need to get important inputs' mode).

    What follows may be hard to hear, but I think it needs to be said: whether intended/implied or not, a strong component of the message that's being received is that ordinary zooites - no matter how dedicated or enthusiastic, no matter what key skills they may have IRL (in real life) - have no place in the planning and design of the Zooniverse and its projects; ordinary zooites are expected to be entirely satisfied with being told what was decided.

    This very venue - Talk - illustrates the above rather well. Last year we - ordinary zooites - learned that Talk was to be the default 'discussion' medium (from jules' notes from last year's Workshop). Many oldbie GZ zooites were openly dismayed. And one of the most dedicated and enthusiastic (Lovethetopics) apparently got an assurance, on 19 September, 2012 - from zkChris - that at least an explanation (or something similar) would be forthcoming: "Ok Kevin and Chris answered, we have to wait for 2 days and Chris will post something here, seems they have a plan." But he never showed. And - to the best of my knowledge - no one involved with, or with close knowledge of, the decision to kill forums has ever offered any such explanation (I would love to be proven wrong).

    There may be very good explanations as to why Talk is better than the traditional forum; however, the strong impression that was created - among ordinary zooites - is that a) they should not/would not/could not have a part to play in decisions like this, and b) they should not expect to ever learn why such (to them) key decisions were made.

    In the meantime, I take some issue with the idea that this is a communications failure. The ZooCon in Oxford has been widely advertised, as was the call for applications for the Chicago workshop. I thought Jules' blog post describing the call for applications was excellent, and subsequent questions were answered and clarifications offered very quickly.
    As I have already noted, it seems we are talking about two quite different things.

    For example, jules did not say the Workshop was 'by invitation only'. Els - a new mod here, and an oldbie zooite with extraordinary experience across the whole Zooniverse - did not know that (see her post earlier in this thread); she clearly felt it obvious that any zooite could just drop in. And it was several days later that we learned otherwise.

    I am also somewhat distressed with the implication above that the Zooniverse team is not open with Zooites in terms of communication. We receive quite a lot of feedback from people in many different locations working on different projects, and although we cannot always maintain an ongoing dialogue about each topic with each person, all constructive feedback is valued and we try to be available via multiple channels.
    I appreciate you saying this, vrooje, and I'm sure you are quite honest and sincere about it.

    However, as my example of Talk above shows, the reality is - to some (very dedicated and experienced) zooites - quite otherwise.

    I have to go now; I'll respond to the rest of your excellent post later (thank you very much, again).

    ^ it's hard to get the formatting right, but I hope the content is conveyed correctly

    Posted

  • ElisabethB by ElisabethB moderator

    Is there any possibility of keeping me out of this discussion, please.
    Yes, I was mistaken about it being open, but do I mind that is not ? No, I do not.
    Tx.

    Posted

  • vrooje by vrooje admin, scientist

    Jean, have you seen a program for the Oxford ZooCon? I haven't. What are you basing your "here's what we have done" assertion on? I personally will be very interested to hear a variety of thoughts on what people would like to see in the Zooniverse's future. (I also hope we'll celebrate the Zooniverse's past accomplishments as well.) I will be there, and Chris will be there, and other Zooniverse science, technical and development team members will too, so I don't really know who you mean when you say "few of those who do the heavy lifting will actually be there"... should I try not to be insulted? ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

    Seriously, though, we wouldn't be having the Oxford event if we didn't want to discuss the Zooniverse with those who have used and do use it; although the format is different from that at the Chicago meeting, that doesn't mean the goals are wholly separate. Zooniverse has always been characterized by a two-way interaction between "science teams" and "the public" -- to such an extent that in some cases that distinction has completely disappeared. We're all doing science together; one of the goals of the ZooCon is to remain consistent with that philosophy. I don't understand the suggestion that it would be otherwise and don't see what evidence that is based on.

    I am not directly involved in planning for the Chicago meeting, but Chris mentioned in his blog post that there is a fully open public portion planned. As you've posted those same comments on the blog post and as he is directly involved in planning that event, I'll let him (or someone else who is organizing the Chicago event) respond there.

    Posted

  • Terrance_L._Johnson by Terrance_L._Johnson

    I find vrooje's assertion that she takes issue with the idea that there is a communications problem just short of stunning. The amount of verbiage spent on this topic provides enough evidence to the contrary. I had no idea when I expressed a casual wish to attend the conference/workshop that it would raise so many issues and generate so much discussion. Clearly, deeper currents run here and miscommunication continues. Stating that the upcoming Oxford conference will be open to all hardly acts as a balm to those not attending the Adler workshop. Is that so difficult to understand? Personally, my not attending the workshop really isn't all that important. It will not put a hole in my universe (sorry, I couldn't resist). I send you all warm wishes and hope for a successful conference.

    Posted

  • vrooje by vrooje admin, scientist

    It's certainly understandable that some who could attend a meeting in Chicago wouldn't be able to in Oxford and might be disappointed by that. I do hope that future ZooCon meetings will be held in many different cities so that a variety of members have the chance to attend without having to travel very long distances. But, although I sometimes get the sense that the public sees the Zooniverse as a huge organization with vast financial backing, we just do not have the resources to have multiple open meetings per year in the diversity of locations we would need to be able to host every Zooite who expresses interest. I really do appreciate your warm wishes and I do hope we'll meet sometime.

    On the topic of communications, I tried to address that in my previous post. If you have a question about something, you really can just send me a message and I hope you will feel free to if need be.

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate in response to vrooje's comment.

    Continued, as promised (rather later than I had planned; GZ Talk kept being unavailable for me yesterday, Friday 15 March 2013)

    vrooje
    Aside from communicating via Talk, blog, forum, Facebook, etc., my e-mail address is freely available online and I have also shared it directly with more than one Zooite, including you, Jean.
    This may surprise - perhaps even shock - you (and other readers): I have been wondering who you are.

    You see, "vrooje" is not a text string I have, in the "From:" field in any of my emails, and it does not appear in the body of any of them either.

    Anyway, I think I've worked it out: you are the GZ forum's Brooke. How did I figure this out? Well, despite the fact that you are not listed as a member of the Galaxy Zoo Science Team - the link takes you to the current GZ Team page (reachable as a drop-down item under "Science") - you quote yourself in a GZ forum post as "vrooje" (I found this post by entering "vrooje" in the Search box in the GZ forum). By tracing the source of the text you quoted - another GZ forum post - I see that it is posted by "Brooke" (that is also consistent with what you wrote, about what you quoted: "I was trying ...")

    In fact, in addition to welcoming e-mailed comments, I have specifically solicited your comments and suggestions on particular features of the Zooniverse.
    After I worked out who you are, the penny dropped (you have no idea how puzzled I was; you may all now laugh at my, um, ignorance).

    Yes, you have Brooke, and I would like to take this opportunity to say - in public - just how grateful I am to all the help you've given me, and the time and effort you've spent answering my questions, providing encouragement, and so on.

    Thank you Brooke, very very much.

    I asked for your opinion because I respect you and know you are passionate about what we all do together. Yet I get the feeling from the above that you feel this is insufficient, and that saddens me. I don't want any Zooite to feel marginalized or ignored, be they old-hat members or brand new to the Zooniverse community. I wish everyone could participate and communicate instantly from anywhere around the world (though that does sound a little like Twitter), but that just isn't possible for every Zooniverse meeting.
    I have mentioned - somewhere in the Zooniverse, recently - that I do not 'do' Twitter or FB.

    If I may, I'd like to share something else. In some respects it's not new, but in others it is.

    On 5 September last year, Karen Masters wrote a GZ blog post entitled "A Bit More on the Chinese News about Galaxy Zoo". From that I learned that GZ has a big fan base in China, something I suspected, but did not know for sure.

    Just five days' later, yimingleon wrote a comment on the blog post:

    [yimingleon]: Hi, I asked a question after your talk, and you mentioned that the existence of a Chinese version of galaxy zoo will be quite helpful for the promotion of this project in China. I wrote an email immediately after the talk to the galaxy zoo group to volunteer a translation to a Chinese version, but until now, there is no mannual response. Iโ€™m afraid I have to put my question here, so how can I help to translate the website?

    And this brought home to me just how much enthusiasm and dedication a zooite in China has to have, to be engaged at a level beyond simply clicking/classifying.

    And I decided to try to be like a zooite in China (albeit one who did not have to struggle for many years to learn English!); to rely entirely on the same media such a zooite has (although I did not 'change timezones'). That means, as most of those reading this know, no Twitter and no Facebook (and probably no YouTube either, but I haven't checked).

    (no doubt it is equally difficult, or more so, to be a dedicated and enthusiastic zooite in many other parts of the world too; trying to put yourself in just one set of shoes is sobering enough though).

    From this perspective, I'm sure you'd agree that it would have been much more challenging for a zooite in China, no matter how dedicated and enthusiastic, to even submit an application to attend the Chicago Workshop, much less to have had a realistic chance of being a "winner".

    I look forward to being cc'ed on your message to jules, Alice, and katsee.
    I'll make sure that I send it to you ... but I intend to post it in the GZ forum anyway, modulo formatting and layout.

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate in response to ElisabethB's comment.

    Yes, will do Els.

    ElisabethB
    Is there any possibility of keeping me out of this discussion, please.
    Yes, I was mistaken about it being open, but do I mind that is not ? No, I do not.
    Tx.
    Els, your post is public, just like the photos in the GZ forum threads which relate to events like Oxford Meet-up, April 28/29th 2012 (I do not know if any of the photos include you; I didn't check).

    And it can be used as data, just as the GZ Science Team uses your classification clicks as data. Should a citizen scientist choose to do a sociology-related project, using GZ Talk posts as data - not as far-fetched an idea as you might think; katsee would seem to have just the background to do such a project! - they may well find your post of considerable scientific value (assuming one accepts that sociology is a science).

    Also, I think it's safe to assume quite a few companies - and possibly government bodies - have already 'ingested' your post, and some have likely used it to make tweaks to the highly detailed profile they have of you.

    [jules]: **Then followed some Zooniverse madness! Arfon and Stuart produced a live world map showing falling tears wherever someone said they were #crying on Twitter!
    That's from jules' notes on last year's Workshop. If Arfon and Stuart can do that - very quickly and easily, no doubt - imagine what others could do!

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate

    GZ Talk is ... behaving strangely again. I'm going to stop now, and try again later.

    Brooke (vrooje), I have read your post, and want to apologize for any insult you felt, on reading my words. Truly, that was not my intention (more later).

    Posted

  • vrooje by vrooje admin, scientist

    Hmm... I didn't realize there was confusion over my username. I use that name throughout the Zooniverse, so I thought it was traceable (and it certainly is by a Google search, though I didn't realize that was necessary; sorry). I may show up as "Brooke" on the forum but my username is vrooje there too. I didn't realize that wasn't displayed somewhere!

    The main message I've been trying to get across with my posts above is that the Zooniverse has always valued public input at all levels, and will always do so. What I disagree with is the notion a few people seem to be advancing that this philosophy requires that all meetings of all kinds be fully open. Even if it were feasible from a resources standpoint, that just wouldn't work for all meetings or conferences.

    Last year I attended an unconference (not run by Zooniverse) where the participants were chosen from among a pool of applicants. I was very vocal in questioning the assertion that the meeting format required a limited number of participants instead of fully open registration. The organizers made a clear case that the flexible structure of the meeting requires a fairly carefully planned attendee list, but I was very skeptical. In fact, I was so critical that they would have been perfectly justified in rescinding my invitation.

    But they didn't; I went to the meeting. And it turned out they were completely right. Ideas flowed, productive discussions sprung up organically, everyone had the chance to talk one-on-one with everyone else, and everyone was strongly encouraged to participate. It was one of the best meetings I have ever been to, and I don't think it would have worked had they taken my advice. I now agree that a supportive and successful unconference environment is essentially impossible to provide if the number of participants is too high or if any one sub-group is overrepresented compared to any other. And, because the results of an unconference are often complementary to those of a more traditional meeting, it's worth it to try and provide that environment some of the time.

    So while it is really not my place to talk specifically about the planned structure of the Chicago meeting, I will say this: if the idea is to bring together all the different parts of the Zooniverse for an unconference, then I agree that no one part should have more or less representation than any other. The volunteers are obviously an essential part of the Zooniverse and I'm very glad that they will be represented at the meeting, but it really wouldn't be right for this particular meeting if Zooites were there in larger numbers than any other part of the Zooniverse team. I feel exactly the same way about the Galaxy Zoo science team: if we have more science team members than some other science teams, then we shouldn't all be invited, either. That isn't my decision, but if that's the decision of the organizers then I fully support it. Likewise, I support the decision to not open up registration for this meeting. I also think it's good that we don't always only have unconferences, so that a future Chicago event might be open to all in the way the Oxford ZooCon is.

    Having said that, I certainly wouldn't mind if there were some kind of fully open public event associated with the Chicago meeting, even if it's separate from the unconference sessions. So I will ask about that, and get back to you.

    Posted

  • vrooje by vrooje admin, scientist

    Even if this were the kind of meeting where the program is fully known in advance, I wouldn't think it was odd that there isn't a detailed program available more than a month ahead of time.

    I am not directly involved in the Chicago meeting planning, but I am aware of its general structure. Chris did mention a public event in Chicago, and you pointed out I may have misinterpreted that statement. If that is the case, I still think it would be appropriate to have a fully open public event around the time of the meeting, so I will look into it.

    I hope that clears up any confusion. I think you've very effectively made the point that I am repeating myself ๐Ÿ˜ƒ so I will stop.

    Posted

  • pmj by pmj

    I can't come to the Chicago meeting even if you invited me. I will come to the Oxford one though. I love a good meeting, especially one where beer is readily available.

    Posted

  • ElisabethB by ElisabethB moderator

    Great ! And there will be beer ! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate in response to vrooje's comment.

    Later than I had intended, and hoped.

    First, though, to repeat: I apologize for any insult you - vrooje/Brooke, or any other member of any of the science teams - my words may have caused. It was not my intention to insult, in any way shape or form.

    vrooje
    Jean, have you seen a program for the Oxford ZooCon? I haven't.
    No, I have not.
    What are you basing your "here's what we have done" assertion on?
    Before replying, I had read through the thread, in GZ forum, on last year's Oxford event: Oxford Meet-up, April 28/29th 2012. Subsequently, I checked several similar threads, on previous public events.

    I did not find any evidence - not even oblique references - to any 'planning and design' activities; as in, the active involvement of ordinary zooites in discussions on plans for, and designs of, future aspects of Galaxy Zoo, or any other Zooniverse project.

    From that, I jumped to a logically invalid conclusion; namely, that future public events would also be devoid of such direct, active participation by ordinary zooites (in planning and design; of course, lack of evidence of such in past events does not mean that there were, in fact, no such activities). In other words, I feel into the trap of equating 'absence of evidence' with 'evidence of absence'; one of the oldest logical fallacies in the book.

    I personally will be very interested to hear a variety of thoughts on what people would like to see in the Zooniverse's future. (I also hope we'll celebrate the Zooniverse's past accomplishments as well.) I will be there, and Chris will be there, and other Zooniverse science, technical and development team members will too, so I don't really know who you mean when you say "few of those who do the heavy lifting will actually be there"... should I try not to be insulted? ๐Ÿ˜ƒ
    It is true that I did not choose my words carefully enough, and that there was a serious logical fallacy in my thinking.

    I think it is also true that I have continued to fail to communicate my meaning, and concerns, well.

    As it is me who is trying to get something across, I bear full responsibility for that failure. Best that I give up now then.

    Seriously, though, we wouldn't be having the Oxford event if we didn't want to discuss the Zooniverse with those who have used and do use it; although the format is different from that at the Chicago meeting, that doesn't mean the goals are wholly separate. Zooniverse has always been characterized by a two-way interaction between "science teams" and "the public" -- to such an extent that in some cases that distinction has completely disappeared. We're all doing science together; one of the goals of the ZooCon is to remain consistent with that philosophy. I don't understand the suggestion that it would be otherwise and don't see what evidence that is based on.
    I think I have addressed this, in what I wrote above.
    I am not directly involved in planning for the Chicago meeting, but Chris mentioned in his blog post that there is a fully open public portion planned. As you've posted those same comments on the blog post and as he is directly involved in planning that event, I'll let him (or someone else who is organizing the Chicago event) respond there.
    I'm not sure what's going on, but my comment is still "awaiting moderation". Further, another comment I wrote, in response to a different blog post (see below) is also "awaiting moderation"; its timestamp is "March 17, 2013 at 11:44 am". At about the same time yesterday (Sunday, 17 March), I posted another comment, in response to a different blog post; that 'went live' almost immediately.

    Here's the comment, in response to the blog post Why the Zooniverse is easy to use. (some formatting is different):

    [Jean Tate]: How do Trackbacks/Pingbacks work?

    #2 on this blog post is โ€œPearl across the Zooniverse: โ€ฆโ€, from the Florida State Tribune.

    However, that webpage has a link, โ€œCheck out the original source here.โ€ Clicking that brings you to a Yahoo! News page, with the byline โ€œBy Caren Cooper | Scientific American โ€“ Thu, Feb 28, 2013โ€ณ

    With some effort, I was able to find the original, the source, the index case: Pearls across the Zooniverse: When Crowdsourcing Becomes Citizen Science

    Interestingly, both the original and the Yahoo! News versions contain formatting and images which are lost in the Florida State Tribune version, considerably weakening the article.

    So, why wasnโ€™t the source โ€“ a SciAm Guest blog โ€“ picked up?

    Also, what is a โ€œTwitter streamโ€?
    Edited to add: I fixed the links in the quoted text (I hope!)

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate

    Hi zutopian,

    Thanks for your comments, and kind words.

    To respond to just one thing:

    zutopian
    You aren't also a (passive) twitter user, are you?
    No, the only tweets (is that the right word?) I read are those which show up on the right-hand side of the Galaxy Zoo blog (and other Zooniverse project blogs), under the heading TWITTER. And most of the time I simple do not even look there at all.

    (My personal views of Twitter are probably best kept to myself.)

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate in response to vrooje's comment.

    vrooje
    Hmm... I didn't realize there was confusion over my username. I use that name throughout the Zooniverse, so I thought it was traceable (and it certainly is by a Google search, though I didn't realize that was necessary; sorry). I may show up as "Brooke" on the forum but my username is vrooje there too. I didn't realize that wasn't displayed somewhere!
    I did a search, in GZ forum, the other day, and "vrooje" has just three hits. One of them was where you'd quoted yourself, with the name "vrooje", and that's how I was able to figure it out.

    In GZ forum, you are Brooke; see this post - by you, just a few days' ago - for example.

    IN GZ forum, you are an astronomer, just like NGC3314, who is not a zookeeper. Here you are (science team), yet the list of science team members does not include Brooke Simmons. From facts such as this I concluded that "vrooje" must be one of Ramin Skibba, Tom Melvin, Sugata Kaviraj, Ivy Wong, ...

    I did not google you (the 'vrooje' you) because I had no reason to; if a member of the GZ Science Team chooses to call himself or herself "vrooje", why do I need to try to find out their IRL name? It was only when you mentioned that you'd emailed me ...

    The main message I've been trying to get across with my posts above is that the Zooniverse has always valued public input at all levels, and will always do so. What I disagree with is the notion a few people seem to be advancing that this philosophy requires that all meetings of all kinds be fully open.
    For avoidance of doubt, I am not one of those. There are many, very good, reasons why some meetings should be closed.

    Last year I attended an unconference (not run by Zooniverse) where the participants were chosen from among a pool of applicants. I was very vocal in questioning the assertion that the meeting format required a limited number of participants instead of fully open registration. The organizers made a clear case that the flexible structure of the meeting requires a fairly carefully planned attendee list, but I was very skeptical. In fact, I was so critical that they would have been perfectly justified in rescinding my invitation.
    But they didn't; I went to the meeting. And it turned out they were completely right. Ideas flowed, productive discussions sprung up organically, everyone had the chance to talk one-on-one with everyone else, and everyone was strongly encouraged to participate. It was one of the best meetings I have ever been to, and I don't think it would have worked had they taken my advice. I now agree that a supportive and successful unconference environment is essentially impossible to provide if the number of participants is too high or if any one sub-group is overrepresented compared to any other.
    Me too. IRL - now rather too far in the past - I used to design, organize, and run just such events.
    And, because the results of an unconference are often complementary to those of a more traditional meeting, it's worth it to try and provide that environment some of the time.
    So while it is really not my place to talk specifically about the planned structure of the Chicago meeting, I will say this: if the idea is to bring together all the different parts of the Zooniverse for an unconference, then I agree that no one part should have more or less representation than any other. The volunteers are obviously an essential part of the Zooniverse and I'm very glad that they will be represented at the meeting, but it really wouldn't be right for this particular meeting if Zooites were there in larger numbers than any other part of the Zooniverse team. I feel exactly the same way about the Galaxy Zoo science team: if we have more science team members than some other science teams, then we shouldn't all be invited, either. That isn't my decision, but if that's the decision of the organizers then I fully support it. Likewise, I support the decision to not open up registration for this meeting. I also think it's good that we don't always only have unconferences, so that a future Chicago event might be open to all in the way the Oxford ZooCon is.
    One 'golden rule' we had, back when, was that closed meetings - meetings 'by invitation only' - need to be carefully planned. And that communication about such meetings needs to be planned particularly carefully. Especially if the wider audience/stakeholders in general is keenly interested.
    Having said that, I certainly wouldn't mind if there were some kind of fully open public event associated with the Chicago meeting, even if it's separate from the unconference sessions. So I will ask about that, and get back to you.
    Looking forward to hearing what you find.

    Posted

  • klmasters by klmasters scientist, admin

    My main take home from this (sorry I don't come to talk as often as Brooke does and perhaps as I should) is that we need to update the website listing the Galaxy Zoo science team. Thanks for the heads up. As Brooke (vrooje) has pointed out we're not a large team. We try our best, but we're supposed to spending time on science (and there's so many galaxies and so little time!).

    If I can make one request - in future could you try to interpret our slowness and/or lack of response as us being busy working on the next Galaxy Zoo science results, not as us ignoring you. We are not NASA. We do not have a dedicated communications team. It really is just a bunch of scientists who are too busy! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    And PS. point of interest - I haven't been invited to the Chicago workshop either (as Brooke points out, the Zooniverse can't risk having too many Galaxy Zoo scientists there). I do hope to contribute to ZooCon in Oxford, although this involves either giving up a Saturday with my kids, or dragging them along with me, so it's possible it'll be too logistically difficult.

    Karen Masters (just to be extra clear!).

    Posted

  • elizabeth_s by elizabeth_s

    Karen so nice to hear from you on this topic. Just want to say that all the science team members are doing wonderful work! I for one think that the job you guys have done is wonderful. After all I myself know you can not be at all zoo's at one time. (insert rolled eye's)
    I like you have a day job (insert wink). LIZ

    Posted

  • klmasters by klmasters scientist, admin

    @zutopian no. Actually I've never been to Zooniverse HQ in Chicago. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate

    zutopian
    vrooje posted yesterday below comment, referring to my posts:

    Chris did mention a public event in Chicago, and you pointed out I may have misinterpreted that statement. If that is the case, I still think it would be appropriate to have a fully open public event around the time of the meeting, so I will look into it.
    I wonder, how you (Jean) had interpreted the statement by ZK Chris? I perceived, that your comments match with my interpretation.
    It's somewhat ambiguous, IMO: "weโ€™ll arrange a similar event in Chicago as soon as possible" is unambiguous in two respects:

    • that they'll try to arrange a ZooCon 2013-like event in Chicago,
    • that event will be "soon".

    However, whether that ZooCon 2013-like Chicago event will be held at (about) the same time as the second Zooniverse Project Workshop (or not) is not clear.

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate in response to klmasters's comment.

    klmasters
    My main take home from this (sorry I don't come to talk as often as Brooke does and perhaps as I should) is that we need to update the website listing the Galaxy Zoo science team.
    That is, indeed, one such.

    A related one might be something like: remove, from the list, members of the science team who have retired from the team (i.e. put them into the list at the bottom).

    It might also be a good idea to spell out - somewhere - what "Galaxy Zoo [country] Support Team[s]" do (and check that the lists are current).

    Thanks for the heads up. As Brooke (vrooje) has pointed out we're not a large team. We try our best, but we're supposed to spending time on science (and there's so many galaxies and so little time!).
    And if I may, I'll second what elizabeth wrote: you guys are doing wonderful work!
    If I can make one request - in future could you try to interpret our slowness and/or lack of response as us being busy working on the next Galaxy Zoo science results, not as us ignoring you. We are not NASA. We do not have a dedicated communications team. It really is just a bunch of scientists who are too busy! ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Yes, I think it's important for us all to be reminded of this, from time to time. (suggestion: a range of good smilies/emoticons, like in GZ Forum!)

    If I may offer a suggestion?

    Ask for zooite volunteers to take on some of the routine, non-science, tasks involved in keeping the GZ Forum, GZ Talk, and (perhaps) GZ blog running smoothly.

    Adam Stevens referred to the work of zooites as "somewhat patronising slave labour" (be sure to read his whole article, for the full context); Caren Cooper quoted William Whewell (1835!) using "the term โ€˜subordinate laborersโ€™ to describe citizen science participants"; and I summarized these views as "zooites acting as zombie automatons".

    By way of contrast, Caren wrote "To understand Zooniverse-style citizen science, instead imagine science based on massively collaborative efforts where tasks are divvied up." True, she almost certainly wasn't thinking of zooites acting as assistant editors (or whatever) of GZ (etc) websites (or some subset thereof), or as members of the development team (of a new, or existing, Zooniverse project), or developing draft communications policies and plans, or ...

    But why not?

    IRL (in real life), the 800,000 zooites definitely do include folk who can code (at least two are now formal members of a Zooniverse development/science team), who are teachers, who ...

    And no doubt many of those zooites, with skills and experience of considerable (potential) value to the Zooniverse and Zooniverse projects, are perhaps as dedicated and enthusiastic as Jules, Alice, Katy (katsee), and Janet.

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate

    A follow-on suggestion:

    The full time Zooniverse team is quite small and very busy, so unfortunately we cannot reply to most of the email we receive. However, if you still want to try your luck you can send email to the team at
    (source)
    Hi Yimingleon โ€“ sorry for the non response. The Galaxy Zoo team email is often overwhelmed.
    (source)
    Non-responses are demotivators; quick responses are the opposite.

    Why not try to find a way for a small number of highly trusted (dedicated, enthusiastic) zooites to screen these emails? And pass the key ones on to the zooniverse, or GZ, team member best placed to address them (and pester them until they do)?

    Oh, and publishing an email address, but telling everyone that it's as close to useless as never mind, conveys what message, exactly? ??? (<- that's supposed to be a smilie) Why not simply remove the option entirely (i.e. no email address)?

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate in response to klmasters's comment.

    klmasters
    As Brooke (vrooje) has pointed out we're not a large team.
    I've taken a quick look at the size of various Zooniverse "Space" projects (other than the retired ones), per what's publicly available on their respectively "Who We Are", "Team", etc webpages. Here's what I found (this is not necessarily complete, nor 100% accurate):

    • AP: Science Team, 6; Development Team, 8 (inc. many$ who are on other projects' teams)
    • GZ: Science, 19 (inc. several who are on other projects' teams); Zooniverse Dev't team, 9 (ditto); {country} Support teams, 17; 'Retired', 8
    • MWP: "Project Team", 17
    • MZ: (I couldn't - quickly - find any such lists)
    • P4: Science, 4; Developers, 8 (ditto)
    • PH: "Team", 13 (ditto)
    • SSW: 'Scientists', 6

    Among the scientists, only a few appear in more than one project; e.g. Bill Keel (AP, GZ), Meg Schwamb (P4, PH)

    $ including zkArfon, Brian Carstensen, zkChris, zkKevin, David Miller, Michael Parrish, and Robert Simpson (in case you hadn't noticed, the $ is doing the work of an asterisk, because the usual symbols for 'footnote' have been hijacked for other purposes, in this version of Talk

    Posted

  • vrooje by vrooje admin, scientist

    I couldn't say for sure whether all of the lists above are current, but I do know that a) the GZ Team website is out of date -- I'm not on it -- and b) I am not sure any of the GZ science team are working solely on GZ, so even 19 science team members does not mean 19 people working full-time on this project alone (in fact, I'm quite sure it's much less), much as every team member might want to do that. There's so much science to do of all kinds, and so little time!

    Posted

  • Katsee by Katsee

    Hey guys, just wanted to butt in and say I read the whole thread, I'm there with you all in mind. I'm a sociology major, my research interests have to do with communities and citizen science is one of my favorite areas of inquiry. I will be attending the much talked about closed-door event, known as thee non-public Chicago Workshop of doom in the underground (ok, just in my head..) with that special interest in relationships between science teams and citizen scientists.

    I sensed a lot of tension in this thread, I haven't had the time to fully explore the forum as a whole, but I've been hinted that GZ was like a big family, and miscommunications happen (especially on the internet..); but mutual understanding and trust is primordial to keep the "system" running, and we have all the ingredients in for a healthy relationship between all parties here. You've got capable citizens with time on their hands and the will to participate, and overworked scientists who're still trying their best to make it all happen for everyone, but eventually only have 24h in a day, and can't split themselves in 4 (even though sometimes I really wish we could do that.. don't you?! Stop funding this immortality research crap, and get us some spontaneous replicating research! That gene must be hiding somewhere...๐Ÿ˜›). Like Jean said, and like I said over on the PH forum thread, if we can find the source of the itch, we can scratch it ourselves (aka put in some of the "citizen" in "citizen science", and keep spreading the knowledge amongst ourselves!). Better communication is not something that's just handed to you from an obscure authority above, but something that you can instill yourselves and cultivate within the community. This conference/workshop thing is not the only way you can participate in shaping the Zoo, you're shaping it every single day through your interactions with other zooites and the science teams, who'll be there to collectively reflect on all that's been said and done and what's the best way to address the feedback they get. At least that's what I gathered from the different reviews of last year's event. You just have to trust that they're all doing it in your best interest as well as theirs, that their interests are your interests and vice versa. If we all understand where we come from, it's easier to work together.

    Feel free to poke me in a PM or otherwise if you feel like discussing anything regarding this Chicago workshop or citizen science related stuff, I'd be really happy to chat with some involved GZ peeps. I will be writing a post-workshop blog post for the PH Blog, on which you can also see my lovely morning face (sorry 'bout that..) in a March 2nd video post about online communities.

    Posted

  • Mjtbarrett by Mjtbarrett

    I've been following this thread from behind a lurker's veil (at a safe distance). I was interested to receive an email notification of a new post to the thread, but was momentarily very surprised to see who [what!??] had signed off as the author... I was further entertained when I followed the link to a page that said the page I was looking for didn't exist. I ended up being asked to classify Bat Calls! It's a conspiracy!!
    "> Dear mjtbarrett
    The discussion 'The second Zooniverse Project Workshop in Chicago!' has been commented on by katsee
    Click here to view the discussion.
    The comment was:
    Hey guys, just ....
    .... in a March 2nd video post about online communities.
    Thanks!

    The Zooniverse Email Robot">

    Edit: !
    Plenty of work has already been done on the motivation, rewards, ethos, status and so on (ad nauseam) of citizen scientists it seems. Not much that I've seen seems to touch on loyalty, sense of ownership, reluctance to be "studied" or resistance to change. Throw into the mix muttered threats of secret meetings to redesign the world. Add in a few "fake" images. Blend in a hint of organisational disarray and season with misunderstandings on both parts. Leave it to simmer for a while then boil it. Hard. For about a week or two.
    Not the tastiest of outcomes to this recipe...
    The Zooniverse is a fantastic thing. It is not perfect. The zooites do extraordinary things. They are not perfect.
    Conflict resolution is a compromise. It is not perfect. This, however, may be the perfect place to air some of the dirty laundry? Then again, perhaps not....

    Posted

  • elizabeth_s by elizabeth_s

    I am sorry everyone but ROFL mjtbarrett are you serious? or are you pulling my leg. katsee I am sure the zookeepers can find zooites to help but I fear they afraid of losing control. If that makes any sense. I agree there appears to be tension in this tread, please note where the tension is coming from and have a great time in Chicago!

    Posted

  • Mjtbarrett by Mjtbarrett

    @elizabeth hilarious! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ you were too bloomin' quick for me! It was a work in progress and I think I clicked "submit" a little early. Story of my life lol... I haven't been serious for more than five minutes flat in my whole life! If you feel as though your leg has been pulled, I hope the experience wasn't unpleasant; hopefully with just the right amount of tension...... ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Posted

  • elizabeth_s by elizabeth_s

    @mjtbarrett I was laughing out loud to ........ I ended up being asked to classify Bat Calls! It's a conspiracy!!

    Posted

  • Mjtbarrett by Mjtbarrett

    So was the manic WWII German officer seen in the
    "The page you were looking for doesn't exist.

    You may have mistyped the address or the page may have moved."
    link at the Batcave Project apparently! ROFL
    No offence taken X
    http://talk.batdetective.org/discussions/DGZ1006bnm?page=5&ticket=ST-1364027824r83977BCB95E1464C3E

    Posted

  • Katsee by Katsee in response to Mjtbarrett's comment.

    I had nothing to do with the Bat Calls, I swear! This workshop thing is the only conspiracy I'm involved in...! ๐Ÿ˜›

    Posted

  • Mjtbarrett by Mjtbarrett

    Hi katsee,
    I have nothing but admiration for your post and your profession. My netiquette is pathetic... I cant even use the quotes properly! For clarification:

    1. I've been following this thread and used the "Watch Discussion" option. This sends an email to my IRL email account every time the discussion is updated.
    2. I got such an email this morning. Your (excellent) post is quite long and the email bot always signs the notification with "Thanks! The Zooniverse Email Robot." This amused me as it looked (at first glance) as if the 'bot had sent (and signed) your post to the thread [instead of just the notification email] I had hoped that others might also be mildly amused.
    3. This put me in mind of conspiracy theories generally (for which I, generally speaking, have little time). This, in turn put me in mind of the AHZ7 series that caused a bit of a fuss.
    4. There are discussions on the Forum in which people have expressed their "reluctance to be studied" quite clearly.
    5. Lots of scientific work has been done on citizen science! It isn't a quick dismissal, just an acknowledgement. I have little interest myself but as a Sociologist you'd probably agree that this particular group is a potentially very valuable cohort to study?
    6. My post was indeed intended to be about the situation as a whole. I rather think that this whole issue may be coming to an end and I, for one, will probably be quite pleased to see it finish. There has, however, been a refreshingly frank and interesting exchange of views, defences of positions and the ability for anyone to enter into the debate. That's why I followed the thread, but I didn't have anything worthwhile to say, so I just watched with interest.
      I would never be so rude as to regard anyone else's post as a snorefest of anything! Your comment on "better communication" obviously applies to me more than most. ๐Ÿ˜‰
      I hope that this helps to clarify it a little? Please feel free to PM me if I can be of any further assisstance.
      As for the batcalls, the irony is that poor communication is at the heart of this thread IMHO and it was probably this link http://talk.batdetective.org/discussions/DGZ1006bnm?page=5&ticket=ST-1364027824r83977BCB95E1464C3E
      more than anything else, that finally prompted my post ๐Ÿ˜ƒ
      Edit: FWIW I have participated in a number of zooniverse projects and have always had nothing but enormous respect for both the zooniverse staff and the participating scientists. On PH the talk facility is an excellent tool and works really well. I have to say that the GZ Forum was daunting at first. I formed the opinion early on that having two separate discussion areas was cumbersome and occasionally counter-productive. I am now aware of the massive amount of work that has already been published there and have changed my opinion since learning how to better navigate and integrate the two. You might say that learning has taken place ๐Ÿ˜ƒ
      [insert conspiratorial whisper] I hope that you enjoy the meeting, katsee, and look forward to reading your blog.
      Have fun. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

    Posted

  • Mjtbarrett by Mjtbarrett

    @zutopian,
    I'm shocked and saddened by your decision. You were amongst the first people ever to help me when I first joined the GZ project five months ago (and you helped me a great deal). You have a phenomenal work rate and have always been a model of courtesy. I am very grateful to you.
    I would be delighted if you'd change your mind. If not, I would love to see you taking part in the next phase of the Andromeda project, the Lens Zoo or another, similar project.
    Regards,
    And with very best wishes (and grateful thanks),
    Mike.

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate in response to Katsee's comment.

    Lots to say about your great post, katsee (and many, many thanks for tearing yourself away from PH; I imagine classifying light curves - and similar - is probably what you most like doing!)

    I'll highlight one thing, for now, because it is (I think) very important:

    katsee
    You just have to trust that they're all doing it in your best interest as well as theirs, that their interests are your interests and vice versa. If we all understand where we come from, it's easier to work together.
    Add in these:
    [mjtbarrett]: Add in a few "fake" images.
    [mjtbarrett]: the AHZ7 series that caused a bit of a fuss.
    The history is what it is, and we can't change it.

    But how did it come about, this misunderstanding which left such a bitter taste in the mouths of so many zooites (among them, several of the most enthusiastic and dedicated)?

    From the science side: 'controls' (for want of a better word) are an absolutely essential part of all experimental/observational science; as I said in the GZ forum thread, keen zooites should rightly be suspicious of the quality of the science being done in a Zooniverse project if there are NOT any controls.

    From the GZ zooite classifiers, those doing all the clicking: a big part of why it's interesting, almost addictive at times, is the prospect of finding something new, something odd, ... as the current GZ headline says: "Few have witnessed what you're about to see". And every one of the enthusiastic, dedicated zooites knows the story of Hanny's Voorwerp, of the Green Peas. Come across a bright blue, star-like thing, surrounded by an odd-looking blob, in a Hubble image? The pulse quickens, excitement mounts, "oh, oh, what's this?!?!?!?"

    As I understand it, in PH, every zooite knows that there are 'simulated transits', and while it's a bit of a disappointment to discover what you just classified is one of those, it's no big deal. So why was it such a BIG DEAL in GZ, when the 'fake AGNs' story broke? Why so much gnashing of teeth? Because, up until then, the only experience GZ zooites had had with 'fake images' was the mirror experiment (there's an exception, which is interesting to consider; maybe later). And that was, if memory serves me correctly, announced and explained.

    Yes, it was a big deal because trust had been broken. For the best of reasons. (Of course, something good came of it; as I understand it - perhaps you can confirm this, while you're in Chicago katsee - Zooniverse projects are now very careful about 'controls', explaining the need for them up front, revealing that it was a control that you just classified immediately after you did so, etc).

    Another example of broken trust: At last year's Workshop, we all learned - thanks to jules' excellent notes - that Talk would replace the SMF forum GZ zooites had been using, for all future projects, and for the next iteration of Galaxy Zoo. Why? No explanation was given - and still hasn't been, to the best of my knowledge - despite many requests. The broken trust in this case is that major changes which affect zooites' experiences would be fully communicated (at least) and discussed (at best). It was an implicit trust, and it's likely that the zookeepers did not fully appreciate how dear the forum had become, to many zooites. And again, trust was broken for the best of reasons (i.e. Talk can/should produce better science results than an SMF forum ever could).

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate

    zutopian
    @mjtbarrett
    Thank you for your kind words. You are welcome! It was nice to meet you!
    Well, I am still here, but I don't know, how long I will stay. I still use the forum and Talk, but I no longer classify and so I don't post GZ images. I think, that I will no longer comment images, which were posted by others. I am not interested in taking part in forthcoming projects. I took part in the 1st phase of the AP, but I am no longer interested to take part in the next phase.
    Actually, I was looking forward to take part in the Lens Zoo, but I think/hope, that I will resist!

    I second mjtbarrett; it'd be a sad day, the day you decided to leave GZ, and all citizen science projects.

    Would you consider this, before you leave? In the GZ Forum, LankyYankee (and egalaxy) had a cool idea; collect all the SDSS images of NGC objects, and post them in a structured way. They asked the technical team to set something up so they could do that. The modification was made, and they (especially LankyYankee) began. Six months' later, the first part of their project is over (for those who don't know about this, I wrote it up as Celebrating a Zooite Milestone. And the NGC catalogue list had ~100k hits then (and almost 130k now, just six weeks' later).)

    Did the zookeepers imagine - back when they were designing Galaxy Zoo - that a zooite would become so interested in galaxies that he'd take the initiative to think of, design, and undertake such a project? I very much doubt it.

    Does the NGC catalogue list project require LankyYankee to classify galaxies? No.

    Has interest in, and knowledge of, galaxies (and the science of astronomy in general) been expanded, among the general public, as a result of LankyYankee's efforts? Yes! (where do those tens of thousands of hits come from? certainly not from GZ zooites!)

    Given you past enthusiasm and dedication, is it not possible, zutopian, that there's a 'NGC catalogue list' project for you?

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate

    zutopian
    @Jean
    Thank you for your kind comment. Ironically, it was the topic, which you had started, made me review my participation in the zoo. It wasn't your intention, but it was an opportunity for me to do. So I am thankful for that. I know about that NGC catalogue project on the forum, but I am not thus interested in that particular project. Currently, I enjoy being a retired zooite. I don't miss classifying!
    Again, it would be sad to see you leave, zutopian. Before you do, I would like to do whatever I can to make sure that you do not leave 'on bad terms': what is it that I - and other zooites, zookeepers, Team members, etc - can do to help you understand how Zooniverse projects work, and why they work that way?

    (I didn't mean to suggest that you'd be interested in the NGC catalogue LIST project itself; I was using it as a placeholder, an example, perhaps even a metaphor. Sorry if I wasn't as clear as I had intended).

    In a way, I'm glad that you found that particular OotD (GZ forum's Object of the Day, to those who don't already know) informative; that is one of my aims, in writing them.

    And so a chance to open discussion on a more general point: speaking generally, I think there's a huge ... no, HUGE gulf between the way astronomers (observational, employed by universities, or NASA/ESA, etc) work and how non-scientists (professional; employed at least in part because they have a relevant PhD) think they work ('think' of course, doesn't mean 'consciously'; the perceptions could be quite deeply embedded, as assumptions, etc).

    For example, from the numerous blog posts - in GZ, in PH, perhaps elsewhere too - we can read of the time and effort it takes to go from data collection to successful publication of a paper (even a preprint, in arXiv); of the time and effort needed to prepare a proposal for observing time on the Hubble; etc (Bill Keel has written extensively on this general topic; many thanks Bill!). And those ordinary zooites who themselves have been deeply involved in the work which resulted in a published paper (there are both GZ and PH ones; perhaps others too?) know, first-hand, just how long and how much effort it takes.

    But GZ's serendipitous success has been, perhaps, its own worst enemy in this regard! From "What's the blue stuff below? Anyone?" to an AAS poster, Hubble time, papers, etc; from "Give peas a chance" to Carrie coming to work on the project, to papers, etc; things seemed to move a lot faster than publication of anything from Hubble Zoo (to pick one example). True, the first "Overlaps" paper took forever to get published, but that may be viewed more as 'the exception which proves the rule'.

    The good news is that, in having so many people, without PhDs in science, so actively and enthusiastically participate in Zooniverse projects, the opportunity for a much deeper and better understanding of what the 'doing' of (experimental/observational) science actually involves is great, so great it's hard to imagine an outreach vehicle which with as much potential 'bang for the buck'. The bad news is that ... (fill in the blank; what do you think?)

    Posted

  • Katsee by Katsee in response to JeanTate's comment.

    JeanTate
    Lots to say about your great post, katsee (and many, many thanks for tearing yourself away from PH; I imagine classifying light curves - and similar - is probably what you most like doing!)

    Actually, I've classified about a thousand, and got pretty bored with it... ^^ To be completely honest, I don't really do it much anymore, partly because I only have 24h in a day and am a full time student. However, being on PH and keeping myself up to date with the research in exoplanets and astrobiology got me many fun opportunities: I gave a talk about myths in astrobiology to a gang of religious studies grad students (non-confessional, great bunch!). also will be presenting the video we made for Possible in a sociology of science lecture on citizen science soon enough, I had a few business cards thrown in and even the video and workshop will probably be useful to me in my professional career. Thanks to zooniverse, I now know that I can work within the humanities and yet STILL talk about science and astronomy - without having to actually touch the hardcore maths myself!

    So I understand zutopian sorta... It depends on your personality, but classifying, it works for a while... then when you get bored with it, if you have nothing else to hold you back, like community, or more advanced analysis, like helping assess other people's finds, helping on particular projects (like the NGC catalog list thing I guess), maybe actually classifying the latest data, or awaiting publication with a find, etc. I started feeling like a pattern-seeking monkey after a while, and did not appreciate reading from some forum thread that I was being studied for statistics either! Actually no, I didn't really mind.. but I would've liked to KNOW first, at the very least. That didn't chase me away though, not as much as the actual classifying... (seriously, might just be me, but this shit gets really old really fast!) Besides I wasn't really that good at it, or willing to fight for my finds...

    I had dibs on an exo that wasn't on Kepler's radar then (I posted/confirmed the third transit on Talk, in a thread on the forum, and even managed to figure out how to link a third transit plot from another website, NEA), but when the find was published in a PH paper a couple of weeks ago, along with a list of "helpers" credited on the PH website, my name was not in there (on the paper itself, I'd get it, those kinda creds aren't just handed out, but on this list of people that were linked in the Thank You notes, on a webpage, in a list that has REPEATS in it?!! I was like... okay, they just officially don't give a shit), and I didn't really fight for it. Only poked two people about it, and when I saw nothing was happening, I just shrugged it off.. I don't need this type of recognition to thrive in what I do, I get positive reinforcement through other zooites and friends, and professors that're helping and encouraging me in my research projects, regardless of whether or not I was credited in a paper's footnote links.. I would've appreciated it, but wouldn't push for it: the new knowledge and experience I get out of participating in zoo activities is enough of a reward for me, it justifies my staying, and the friendships will undoubtedly last beyond the project. That is not to say however that I'm completely fine with my work and ideas being overlooked like that, intentionally or not (I do remember suggesting this kind of on-site credits list on Talk way before this publication was even under way, too...), but I won't make a big fuss about it if it benefits most of the community and if it's a good idea, and it was. That's just how I am, my thinking goes.. it'll come back to me someday, somehow! I got to travel to the US twice this year already, for PH-related stuff. Perhaps if I'd been a dick about the credit, I wouldn't have! (I was also commenting pretty often about how educational citizen science is great and all, and how knowledge is the reward for participation... would've been a bit ridiculous to suddenly be like "I wantz my creditz, bitchez!"... ๐Ÿ˜›)

    Posted

  • Terrance_L._Johnson by Terrance_L._Johnson

    I'm glad I receive these postings, despite the fact that I never seem to be able to participate in a timely manner. mjtbarrett is correct about the "click here" to join the discussion. It brings you to the Bat Detective site and the photo from "Doctor Strangelove" of the late actor Slim Pickens riding a thermal nuclear bomb on its way down to Russia (not a mad WWII German pilot!) with the message that the page doesn't exist. Regarding Hubble images: unless there is something we are not being told, I have always considered them to be an absolute waste of time and energy. Anyone seriously interested in classifying galaxies has got to feel a sense of insult and frustration. I'll withhold any comments about continuing as a volunteer while I think about zutopian's observations.

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate in response to Terrance L. Johnson's comment.

    [Terrance L. Johnson](#/users/Terrance L. Johnson "Terrance L. Johnson")
    Regarding Hubble images: unless there is something we are not being told, I have always considered them to be an absolute waste of time and energy. Anyone seriously interested in classifying galaxies has got to feel a sense of insult and frustration.

    Perhaps one of the great things about Galaxy Zoo is that what's frustrating to some zooites is quite a different thing to others!

    While I sometimes, even often, struggle to make sense of a small, fuzzy, pixelated, blob ... by simply reminding myself of just how faint it is, and how far away it (likely) is, I give it my best shot. If I had more time (and this were something I was more interested in than Huds), I'd be scouring other zooites' collections, looking for patterns in the hundreds (thousands?) of strange blobs. An extension of what I started to do, back in the first Hubble Zoo, with cosmic needles and threads (but not cigars), perhaps. (Hmm, I just realized that some of those may be what Brooke (voorje) is keen to collect - blessEos (bulgeless edge-on spirals)!)

    Oh, and wouldn't you be thoroughly enchanted, if you gotten this Hubble image/object to classify (it's AGZ0000e0v)?

    Posted

  • vrooje by vrooje admin, scientist

    I wish I hadn't missed these posts yesterday -- I was at a school festival talking to kids interested in science about the Zooniverse, and the wifi didn't work on my computer, so I couldn't check Talk. I considered doing so on the classroom's desktop computer, but that was hooked up to the projector so it would have been a group session! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

    I noticed the e-mail bug redirecting posts to Bat Detective instead of here and reported it a few days ago, so I expect that will be fixed sometime after the weekend.

    To clear up one point: we present the best images we can on Galaxy Zoo, always. The apparent pixellation of some Hubble images is not a technical problem, but more of an instrumental limitation. We're often looking at such distant galaxies that they are very small on the sky, so in those cases we zoom in to show as much detail as possible. This means that the pixel size on Hubble gets zoomed too, so that it is much larger than the pixels on the screen, which is what makes any image appear pixellated. On our Hangout video I showed a portion of one of the Hubble fields zoomed out, and then zoomed in further and further until you could see the "faint blobs", and the most-zoomed in images look a little pixellated too. Astronomers are in the same boat when we look at the images, too -- we're not holding out on you.

    And, yes, it's possible some of the "cosmic needles and threads" will be bulgeless galaxies. In fact, I think I recognized one or two of them! But perhaps that's best discussed in a different thread...

    Posted

  • ElisabethB by ElisabethB moderator

    In the first Galaxyzoo there were lots and lots of blobs. I suppose they are eliminated from the current dataset.

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate

    @zutopian: good to see that you're still here! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

    Before you go, I was wondering if you would mind saying a few words on how a 'click to classify' online citizen science project could be set up, with sufficient privacy to satisfy you?

    Posted

  • Terrance_L._Johnson by Terrance_L._Johnson

    Returning to Hubble images; I don't see the logic of zooming in to get a better view when, in fact, you enlarge the pixels and distort the images. I worked as a graphic designer for many years and had to deal with resolution issues when scanning, printing, etc. and learned early on that sometimes less (DPI) is better in terms of clarity. The GZ approach is like trying to get a clearer image of Georges Seurat's La Grande Jatte by viewing it from two feet away rather than from across the room as intended. As to the image Jean gave as example of a fascinating galaxy, I was asked to classify that beauty. It was one of perhaps 3 or 4 images that gave satisfactory resolution.

    I have no idea what zutopian's last comment means, but perhaps that was his intent. Finally, I apologize that I didn't report the Bat Detective glitch weeks ago. I thought someone would have already fixed it.

    Posted

  • vrooje by vrooje admin, scientist

    I agree that there is a sweet spot in image size versus clarity, and because the zoom level isn't individually hand-set for each galaxy in advance, we don't always hit that, but we're usually pretty close. Also, the images are not actually distorted in a scientific sense -- all the information is still there and in the correct pixels, and we intentionally avoid other tasks like smoothing that might give the appearance of having more information than we actually do.

    In our Hangout on Friday I showed examples, and I subsequently made a single-image example of different zoom levels in the HST images:
    CANDELS_HST_zoom
    In the image on the left, most of the galaxies on the image are so small on the screen that you can't see any useful detail, even when it's there. The zoomed image contains the same information -- you just don't have to work as hard to pick it out. For the faintest, smallest images it becomes pretty obvious that it's been zoomed-in, but even then the classification information is very useful. For example: in the image at right the fuzzy blobs likely still take up enough pixels to be able to tell whether there are large-scale "features", and even just the roundedness of the object can help us determine whether it's likely to be a disk seen edge-on. All your clicks are used.

    Posted

  • Terrance_L._Johnson by Terrance_L._Johnson

    Thanks for sharing this with us, vrooje. Now we can see what people have been talking about. I was wondering when that would happen. To tell you the true, this example is not entirely honest. The image you show here is a good deal clearer than most of the crap we are asked to classify. My figurative use of La Grande Jat is truer to the mark. I understand perfectly well that information can be gleaned from our efforts and I believe you should have understood what I meant by the word distort. What I question is how many flakes of gold are worth the tons of slag we 49ers have to labor through. Also, not to belabor the point of zooites stumbling through GZ because of lack of guidance and/or communication, I didn't even know you had a Hangout (or what that meant) until yesterday. Most of us don't have time to click hither and yon to explore every corner of GZ. It's like trying to read a technical manual when you don't even know what you are looking for!

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate

    In the first Hubble Zoo, one zooite - swengineer - used Photoshop (?) to produce images of objects which seemed to have been seriously mis-aligned (i.e. the 'blue' and 'orange' - or 'yellow' - images which made up the composite zooites were given to classify were mis-registered, by angular displacements that were large with respect the characteristic size of the object being classified). Here is one example:

    The SDSS images, in the current iteration of Galaxy Zoo, can - relatively easily - be viewed in several different versions.

    For example, there's the image we get to classify, e.g. AGZ0004w5t:

    The thumbnail:

    The SDSS (DR8) version:

    And the raw data, in five bands, with five different 'stretches' (linear, logarithm, square root, arcsinh, and power); here's the g-band arcsinh one (its URL is ... awesome! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ):

    In converting 3-band raw to color .jpg, both GZ4 and SDSS (in DR7 as well as DR8) de-pixelate (is there such a word?) the image. This also happened in Hubble Zoo. However, in Hubble (CANDELS) images - and in swengineer's Photoshop-processed images - the pixels remain.

    In the original Galaxy Zoo, not only could zooites view an inverted image (i.e. one with the colors inverted), they could also zoom in and out. In GZ4, inverting is possible, but zooming is not (at least, not while classifying). It is also not possible to change stretch factors, thresholds, color weights, etc.

    That at least some zooites - including some with simply vast numbers of classifications under their belts - grew quite adept at classifying by following quite different strategies is certainly true (at least anecdotally); even a casual skim through old GZ forum threads shows extremely zoomed-out images, many inverted images, and discussions of how features can be better seen in one (or several!) version(s) than any other. (I also have much more direct evidence of this, albeit with a very small sample).

    So here's a question that I've often wondered: are zooite galaxy classifications more robust if zooites are given the freedom to do some image manipulation of their own?

    What do you, dear lurker reader, think?

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate

    Here's one reason why I think classifying faint, blobby, pixellated Hubble images is (likely) a VERY GOOD THING, a most worthy goal for a GZ project.

    In Galaxy Zoo 1: Data Release of Morphological Classifications for nearly 900,000 galaxies (link is to v4 astro-ph preprint abstract), zkChris and team present the first Galaxy Zoo Data Release, morphological classifications of 893,212 objects, from SDSS DR6.

    A majority of these objects - 667,945 - are in Table 2 (not every one of these is a unique galaxy; why? ask me if you'd like to know more!). That table includes two columns called "Debiased votes", and three called "Flags"; at a high level, these can be understood as 'how likely is it that the object is really (truly) a spiral? vs that it is an elliptical?' (the two values do not have to sum to 1.000), and 'Spiral, Elliptical, or Can't Say; choose one'.

    As a morphological catalog, GZ1 was a huge advance over everything that had been published before. But, with Hubble, machine classifiers, etc, we can see why it may seem like the Red Queen is alive and well (if you don't know what this is a reference to, ask me!).

    Table 2 includes only objects with spectroscopic redshifts < 0.25, as then known. Since then DR9 has been published, there's lots more spectroscopic redshifts, and many tens (hundreds?) of thousands of new objects imaged. And z=0.25 to SDSS is z~1.2 to Hubble (it's a lot more complicated, of course, but that'll do for now). So the HZ1 ("Hubble Zoo 1: Data Release of Morphological Classifications for nearly {a big number of} galaxies", or similar) will likely contain a "Table 2" with debiased classifications, in which the likely "true" shapes of the Hubble Zoo galaxies will be tabulated, out to z~1.2.

    But what about the SDSS galaxies beyond z=0.25? And the Hubble ones beyond ~1.2? The latter is, in particular, a very very interesting question, in astrophysics and cosmology! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

    Now I think that, with some training, at least some zooites can robustly classify small, faint, blobby SDSS objects, especially those with z>0.25. Or at least can robustly classify enough of them to significantly extend 'Table 2'. Ditto with respect to the objects with z<0.25, but which were not included in Table 2 (they're in Table 3, which "contains classifications for galaxies included in the Galaxy Zoo sample for which bias corrected morphologies are not available").

    Similarly, post-GZ4, I think that, with some training, at least some zooites could robustly classify small, faint, pixellated Hubble objects, especially those with z>~2.

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate

    Zooniverse projects and language: as we are extremely interested in having at least some Zooniverse projects open for use in education, and for minors (however defined) to have the opportunity to become citizen scientists too (by classifying by clicking), to what extent should we be censoring the language of zooites who post in Talk?

    As I understand it - and I'll freely admit that I don't, much - some schools, and some parents, use various programs (software) to restrict students'/pupils'/children's access to the internet. One strategy employed by such software filters is to blacklist websites in which 'swear words' are found. Such filtering can be intelligent, or robotic; perhaps it can be over-ridden (i.e. a teacher or parent may move a 'blacklisted' site to an 'approved' one, if they know how), perhaps not.

    Has the Zooniverse team considered this? If so, what did they decide? Is it, for example, a recommendation given to new project teams? Or an item on the Development Team's To-Do list? If not, should it be?

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate in response to Katsee's comment.

    katsee
    Hey guys, just wanted to butt in and say I read the whole thread, I'm there with you all in mind. I'm a sociology major, my research interests have to do with communities and citizen science is one of my favorite areas of inquiry. I will be attending the much talked about closed-door event, known as thee non-public Chicago Workshop of doom in the underground (ok, just in my head..) with that special interest in relationships between science teams and citizen scientists.
    I sensed a lot of tension in this thread, I haven't had the time to fully explore the forum as a whole, but I've been hinted that GZ was like a big family, and miscommunications happen (especially on the internet..); but mutual understanding and trust is primordial to keep the "system" running, and we have all the ingredients in for a healthy relationship between all parties here. You've got capable citizens with time on their hands and the will to participate, and overworked scientists who're still trying their best to make it all happen for everyone, but eventually only have 24h in a day, and can't split themselves in 4 (even though sometimes I really wish we could do that.. don't you?! Stop funding this immortality research crap, and get us some spontaneous replicating research! That gene must be hiding somewhere...๐Ÿ˜›). Like Jean said, and like I said over on the PH forum thread, if we can find the source of the itch, we can scratch it ourselves (aka put in some of the "citizen" in "citizen science", and keep spreading the knowledge amongst ourselves!). Better communication is not something that's just handed to you from an obscure authority above, but something that you can instill yourselves and cultivate within the community. This conference/workshop thing is not the only way you can participate in shaping the Zoo, you're shaping it every single day through your interactions with other zooites and the science teams, who'll be there to collectively reflect on all that's been said and done and what's the best way to address the feedback they get. At least that's what I gathered from the different reviews of last year's event. You just have to trust that they're all doing it in your best interest as well as theirs, that their interests are your interests and vice versa. If we all understand where we come from, it's easier to work together.
    Feel free to poke me in a PM or otherwise if you feel like discussing anything regarding this Chicago workshop or citizen science related stuff, I'd be really happy to chat with some involved GZ peeps. I will be writing a post-workshop blog post for the PH Blog, on which you can also see my lovely morning face (sorry 'bout that..) in a March 2nd video post about online communities.

    I've copied the whole of your post, katsee, because I think, that way, it'll get more visibility ('reads' or 'views'), something it deserves!

    From your perspective, and given your training and interests, I'm curious to hear from you on the topic of disappointment, and what should be done about it.

    My starting point is something I vaguely remember from material I read (or maybe a corporate workshop I attended), back in my zooniverse pre-history: 'word of mouth' marketing is one of the most powerful, and cost-effective, means of reaching your intended audience ('target market' if you have goods or services you wish to sell); people who are excited about Galaxy Zoo will tell their friends and family about it, and the 'personal recommendation' will motivate those so told to at least have a look. However, there is a dark side to this too; if they have a bad experience, they'll also tell friends and family. And they will be more motivated to share their feelings if they are negative than if positive: I vaguely remember '5/11', if you're satisfied you'll tell, on average, five others; if dissatisfied, eleven (I'm sure the numbers don't matter, it's the asymmetry which does).

    Do you - or any other lurker reader - know if this positive/negative experience asymmetry is true in general? And if it is, does it follow that - if the Zooniverse wishes to maintain its 'global leadership' in this kind of citizen science - looking out for, and dealing with, 'dissatisfied zooites' has a special importance?

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate in response to Katsee's comment.

    Another really great post, katsee! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

    Again, just one thing for now; more later

    katsee

    katsee
    Lots to say about your great post, katsee (and many, many thanks for tearing yourself away from PH; I imagine classifying light curves - and similar - is probably what you most like doing!)

    Actually, I've classified about a thousand, and got pretty bored with it... ^^ To be completely honest, I don't really do it much anymore, partly because I only have 24h in a day and am a full time student. However, being on PH and keeping myself up to date with the research in exoplanets and astrobiology got me many fun opportunities: I gave a talk about myths in astrobiology to a gang of religious studies grad students (non-confessional, great bunch!). also will be presenting the video we made for Possible in a sociology of science lecture on citizen science soon enough, I had a few business cards thrown in and even the video and workshop will probably be useful to me in my professional career. Thanks to zooniverse, I now know that I can work within the humanities and yet STILL talk about science and astronomy - without having to actually touch the hardcore maths myself!
    This is, I think, a good example of the 'word of mouth' I mentioned in my last post. And there are a great many examples on show in various GZ forum threads (Alice, in particular, is quite tireless about promoting GZ, and in astronomy outreach; where she finds the time to even sleep, let alone attend lectures, do assignments, and pass exams, I have no idea).

    That participation in a Zooniverse project inspires such enthusiasm and dedication is wonderful!

    And it's wonderful to think that, in the initial stages of a Zooniverse project, such enthusiasm arises quite spontaneously; it seems that people (or at least some people, at least a substantial minority of people) have an inherent curiosity which at least some Zooniverse projects appeals to, particularly strongly (why was the Andromeda Project so ... addictive?)

    What should - could - the Zooniverse team do, to foster this?

    Myself, I think it's all about creating the environment, the framework; once the spark lights a firestorm of enthusiasm, the framework for the emergence of Els's, Jules's, katsee's, gumbosea's, c_cld's, Half65's, Aida's, ... makes that emergence smooth and easy. In this regard, I think a good forum helps.

    Having been hooked on a project, where does one's enthusiasm take you? If the environment is right for serendipitous discoveries, they will happen (of course, it's impossible to predict when, or what!); if not, likely not. If the environment is right for enthusiastic zooites to embark on their own (sub-)projects, they will happen (there are many examples, from Galaxy Zoo, of just this happening); if not, likely not. Ditto education, outreach, publicity, ...

    But what sorts of things constitute a nurturing, fostering, environment/framework? What (more) can the Zooniverse team do to ensure that a waveney could kick off an interesting sub-project in MWP (for example)? To help a Seafloor Explorer Alice find a university with a suitable masters program in marine biology? Help a future Phil Marshall identify Budgieye's to reach out to as possible core team members of a Comet Zoo?

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate

    zutopian

    zutopian
    @zutopian: good to see that you're still here! ๐Ÿ˜ƒ
    Before you go, I was wondering if you would mind saying a few words on how a 'click to classify' online citizen science project could be set up, with sufficient privacy to satisfy you?

    I don't know, where the problem actually lies.: In the Internet and/or in the Zooniverse or in myself?

    Thanks.

    You've put a lot of thought into this, and I for one would like to be able to better understand what a 'click to classify' online citizen science project would - could - look like, one that you (or someone like you) would feel comfortable participating in. And if it should turn out that there's no such thing, well, that would be a profound discovery (if also a sad one).

    So, would you mind considering this question then? How - in general, broad terms - do you think a Zooniverse project should present itself, to the general public, so as to allow people who really would not feel comfortable classifying and clicking online to decide, quickly, that it's better that they do not participate? (if the question is hard to understand, please say so; I'll try to re-phrase it).

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate in response to vrooje's comment.

    vrooje
    I noticed the e-mail bug redirecting posts to Bat Detective instead of here and reported it a few days ago, so I expect that will be fixed sometime after the weekend.
    Again trawling through dim memories from my GZ prehistory, a golden rule goes something like this:

    • swiftly acknowledge receipt of the 'here be [s]dragons[/s] bugs' report
    • thank the reportee
    • provide a realistic estimate of the likely time needed to fix (or estimated 'will be fixed by' date)
    • when fixed, say so, directly to those who alerted you to the problem (and thank them again)
    • if the estimated 'time to fix' is more than {some threshold}, provide regular 'progress reports'
    • if there's a slippage (i.e. you estimated it'd be fixed by the 10th, but you later realize it won't be until the 15th), let everyone know ASAP (and provide a revised estimate)
    • in working out the estimated 'date by which it'll be fixed', be conservative; it's FAR better to exceed expectations (i.e. fix early) than disappoint (i.e. fix late).

    Maybe the Development (or whatever) teams could a) find out what current 'best practice' in this area is, and b) adopt it as SOP?

    Posted

  • JeanTate by JeanTate in response to Terrance L. Johnson's comment.

    [Terrance L. Johnson](#/users/Terrance L. Johnson "Terrance L. Johnson")
    Also, not to belabor the point of zooites stumbling through GZ because of lack of guidance and/or communication, I didn't even know you had a Hangout (or what that meant) until yesterday. Most of us don't have time to click hither and yon to explore every corner of GZ. It's like trying to read a technical manual when you don't even know what you are looking for!
    Here's where one of katsee's earlier posts might be very relevant ...

    If a Zooniverse project is all 'top down', almost all participating zooites will have a 'Terrance L. Johnson' experience, sooner or later. And it's a quite ineffective (and inefficient) use of Science Team members' time to trawl through each and every discussion thread, commenting and including links to the rich resources that exist beyond the discussion thread itself (not that they shouldn't! more on this later, perhaps).

    Rather, a vibrant community of zooites ensures that knowledge and information will diffuse very quickly indeed ... provided the community has an efficient and effective means of communicating (such as, dare I say it, a forum like the GZ forum). (Katsee can, surely, explain this far, far better than I can). And, also quite quickly, zooites will - spontaneously - take on various 'specialist' roles, that make knowledge and information diffusion better.

    For example, one of the most active threads in the GZ forum is Newbies, Post your Interesting objects/queries here. (The Newbies Thread) - over 2000 pages of posts (>30k 'Replies'), and >750k reads ('Views'). There's a relatively small number of dedicated and enthusiastic zooites who welcome newbies who post in that thread; answer their (direct) questions; and (often) point them to other GZ forum threads, OotDs, blog posts, even external resources (but, almost never, a GZ Talk thread ... an important lesson here?).

    With such a community, who needs a technical manual?

    Posted

  • vrooje by vrooje admin, scientist

    Some interesting points above.

    Yes, definitely, some of the faint Hubble images are even fainter than the example above. Some are being tagged with #toofainttoclassify for good reason! But the sentiment behind that tag isn't just based on brightness -- if that were the case we'd have an easy way of removing the unclassifiable sources. Much like everything in the Zoo, deciding whether an image is classifiable is ultimately a task that humans are best at. CANDELS is a new dataset to GZ and we chose what to put in the sample based on finding all the flakes of gold (I like that analogy) rather than only looking for nuggets above a certain size.

    However, we're possibly just far enough along now that we may be able to use your clicks to find a better way of identifying essentially unclassifiable blobs in the first place, and I'm looking into that. I don't know how long that will take, but I agree it is really important that we keep using your feedback to make the experience of classifying even better.

    The hangouts are a relatively new feature of GZ. They were fairly experimental, and now that we've seen that people do actually watch and that the format works reasonably well, I think we'll be making a more general announcement about them (watch your inboxes). We have been advertising them on the GZ blog (as well as on Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter), but not yet here on Talk. Why? Um... good point! I will make a discussion topic about the hangouts and keep it updated from now on.

    Posted

  • Katsee by Katsee

    @Jean "From your perspective, and given your training and interests, I'm curious to hear from you on the topic of disappointment, and what should be done about it."

    From my point of view, if you come in with the idea of making a discovery by yourself, you're missing the whole point of citizen science, hell, of science, of knowledge, of civilization altogether.. maybe it's a bit extremely put, but it's how I feel. Those who're usually bitterly disappointed either had false expectations or the right ones, blown out of proportion. Whether you're a part of a discovery, or whether you're a part of the larger community that made it, the truth is, the whole community had to be there for that person to make that one serendipitous discovery, even the noob that never classified a star or galaxy in his life and is clearly doing it wrong is providing data to the meta-research, which is complimentary to the knowledge you acquire. I view it like a system, so it's a more holist point of view. Some have a more personal goal, of getting their names published, of discovering something and officially being recognized for it, there's a bit of an Indiana Jones in all of us, don't get me wrong, but some will get really possessive about the time they spend on here, and feel like they're being used after a while, or just get bored with it. If you don't have the curiosity or initiative to come on the forums and dig further, you're bound to find video games far more rewarding/entertaining. The learning is what makes it a fair trade, at least that's my opinion, and I feel like this is the aspect that needs more building on. If not from that, there's only the individual quest for scientific recognition or personal glory left, and getting involved into that intellectual market of scientific papers is a tricky road to engage on, considering it's the scientists' bread and butter.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I feel like I kinda get the thing zutopian is describing, that lack of motivation that's perhaps caused by the fact that once you've "peaked" in a particular project, all that's left to do is either start on a new one, or linger around and appoint yourself to a new, more complex related task (be it already underway or stemming from your galactic 6th sense). It could just be that for his particular case that he's just bored with the object of the research itself too, no longer curious about blobs or transits, and wants to move on. I went through a similar phase, kinda sorta. The community aspect got me to stick around, and I found/made new learning goals. Those new goals might lay elsewhere for someone else (spend more time with loved ones, concentrate on another hobby, work harder on keeping up with school readings coughs...and that's all very good reasons), but those who wish to stick around and "move up" in their knowledge quest need to have a place to do so. They do right now, but it could evolve within the Zooniverse framework at the same time as Talk. They need to evolve together I guess is what I'm trying to say and failing to synthesize! ๐Ÿ˜› A zoo-elder doesn't have the same "needs" as a novice zooite, and that needs to be acknowledged and built on perhaps a bit more reflexively. The questions is.. if the scientists clearly and understandably have better things to do with their brains, in order to keep us all afloat, who should/could do it? I wonder.

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  • JeanTate by JeanTate

    "A zoo-elder doesn't have the same "needs" as a novice zooite, and that needs to be acknowledged and built on perhaps a bit more reflexively" (from katsee's post, above)
    "I might be overreaching, but I feel like there's already inner reflexivity within each project, and serendipitous events, although they should definitely be encouraged, according to their scientific merit, can't really be forced." (from a katsee post in the PH Talk thread The second Zooniverse Project Workshop in Chicago!, p4)

    I'm struggling a bit with this term, katsee; would you please explain it a bit?

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  • c_cld by c_cld in response to vrooje's comment.

    vrooje
    I agree that there is a sweet spot in image size versus clarity, and because the zoom level isn't individually hand-set for each galaxy in advance, we don't always hit that, but we're usually pretty close. Also, the images are not actually distorted in a scientific sense -- all the information is still there and in the correct pixels, and we intentionally avoid other tasks like smoothing that might give the appearance of having more information than we actually do.
    In our Hangout on Friday I showed examples, and I subsequently made a single-image example of different zoom levels in the HST images:
    ![CANDELS_HST_zoom]...."This isn't exactly the same colormap as the images used on GZ, but it uses the same data, and the colors are close enough to show an example.")
    In the image on the left, most of the galaxies on the image are so small on the screen that you can't see any useful detail, even when it's there. The zoomed image contains the same information -- you just don't have to work as hard to pick it out. For the faintest, smallest images it becomes pretty obvious that it's been zoomed-in, but even then the classification information is very useful. For example: in the image at right the fuzzy blobs likely still take up enough pixels to be able to tell whether there are large-scale "features", and even just the roundedness of the object can help us determine whether it's likely to be a disk seen edge-on. All your clicks are used.

    In the same manner an astronomer wrote at the beginning of Galaxyzoo in 2007:
    http://science.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=250301&cid=19866277

    It was also true with the 'Harvard computers' around the turn of 19th to 20th century (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvard_Computers "Pickering's Harem" )

    Actually are Zooites in the same "harem effect" as E.C. Pickering put his workforce?

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  • Mjtbarrett by Mjtbarrett

    Interesting response to that first (2007) link that appears further down the page (and that I can't attribute through incompetence)

    "You can't target this at geeks and not a get a weird grin. Computers actually could recognize those galaxies fine, AND mark the unusual, weird and wonderful for additional review. It's a matter of putting in a simple threshold of matching features when you analyze the patterns.

    computers can do certain stuff super well, but when it comes to a lot of things, they sputter and die. image recognition is going to be one of those things that computers don't do well for many many years.

    feels good not to be obsolete. yet.

    Feel good while you can, we've been around for millions of years, and computers have been around for around 50 years, and we're already going into multi-core hardware. Sooner than later, massively parallel hardware patterns will emerge, and coding super-fast neural networks in those will be a child's play. All that's left at this point, would be training the computers to do what you want them to do, like you would a little child."

    Can't help but compare that to the stated philosophy of the Zooniverse ๐Ÿ˜ƒ
    "Citizen science data sets naturally provide large and powerful training sets for machine learning approaches to classification problems. This is an essential part of our future; as data sets continue to grow we will need to hand off more and more of the routine tasks to machines; by doing citizen science today we can help train them."

    Actually are Zooites in the same "harem effect" as E.C. Pickering put his workforce?>
    Not really. They got paid more and were better dressed ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

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  • Katsee by Katsee in response to JeanTate's comment.

    JeanTate
    "A zoo-elder doesn't have the same "needs" as a novice zooite, and that needs to be acknowledged and built on perhaps a bit more reflexively" (from katsee's post, above)
    "I might be overreaching, but I feel like there's already inner reflexivity within each project, and serendipitous events, although they should definitely be encouraged, according to their scientific merit, can't really be forced." (from a katsee post in the PH Talk thread The second Zooniverse Project Workshop in Chicago!, p4)
    I'm struggling a bit with this term, katsee; would you please explain it a bit?

    I just meant the structure has to evolve with its constituents' growing "needs" when it takes time to reflect upon itself. There's already some of that going on within core groups of zooites in each project and within each individuals in different measures, we all get something we want out of our citizen science engagement, or else we move on. Taking that time to assess whether people are getting what they signed up for is crucial, and the reflexivity I'm referring to is about making sure that the volunteers are able to provide what the scientists need, while also getting the kind of fulfillment that they're looking to get out of their engagement. If the structure hinders volunteers from participating fully, or doesn't recognize the abilities/opportunities that lies within their "expert citizen" base, it risks long term issues: in short, if people get bored, and nobody does anything about it and treats it as a "one lost, ten more found" kinda manner, we could end up over-exploiting our science geeks resources, lose the balance needed to sustainably keep people motivated and interested.

    Like vrooje said, "All your clicks are used." There's no doubt about that whatsoever. The question is, what are you using your clicks for? That "harem effect", or human screening technique, is indeed at work here, only its a voluntary exchange of goods (all your data/knowledge are belong to us), rather than a domination relation (all your workforce/discoveries are belong to us). Maybe I'm naive, but I'd like to think that cheap labor is not the only drive to citizen science.

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  • anned75 by anned75

    Well, whenever there is a public talk on Zooniverse in Chicago, please let me know.

    Anne (same one that posted on the Zooniverse blog) @lifelearneredu
    I really really don't have the money to go to the Oxford one.

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  • anned75 by anned75

    Off topic, I wish GZ had a skip button. Some off the GZ images are hard to classify. But, I'll post this in a more appropriate discussion board. Skip doesn't mean skip forever, just pass, move to the next one, and maybe later come back.

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  • anned75 by anned75 in response to JeanTate's comment.

    Very cool. I wish I knew how to photoshop the images.

    JeanTate
    In the first Hubble Zoo, one zooite - swengineer - used Photoshop (?) to produce images of objects which seemed to have been seriously mis-aligned (i.e. the 'blue' and 'orange' - or 'yellow' - images which made up the composite zooites were given to classify were mis-registered, by angular displacements that were large with respect the characteristic size of the object being classified). Here is one example:


    The SDSS images, in the current iteration of Galaxy Zoo, can - relatively easily - be viewed in several different versions.
    For example, there's the image we get to classify, e.g. AGZ0004w5t:

    The thumbnail:

    The SDSS (DR8) version:

    And the raw data, in five bands, with five different 'stretches' (linear, logarithm, square root, arcsinh, and power); here's the g-band arcsinh one (its URL is ... awesome! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ):

    In converting 3-band raw to color .jpg, both GZ4 and SDSS (in DR7 as well as DR8) de-pixelate (is there such a word?) the image. This also happened in Hubble Zoo. However, in Hubble (CANDELS) images - and in swengineer's Photoshop-processed images - the pixels remain.
    In the original Galaxy Zoo, not only could zooites view an inverted image (i.e. one with the colors inverted), they could also zoom in and out. In GZ4, inverting is possible, but zooming is not (at least, not while classifying). It is also not possible to change stretch factors, thresholds, color weights, etc.
    That at least some zooites - including some with simply vast numbers of classifications under their belts - grew quite adept at classifying by following quite different strategies is certainly true (at least anecdotally); even a casual skim through old GZ forum threads shows extremely zoomed-out images, many inverted images, and discussions of how features can be better seen in one (or several!) version(s) than any other. (I also have much more direct evidence of this, albeit with a very small sample).
    So here's a question that I've often wondered: are zooite galaxy classifications more robust if zooites are given the freedom to do some image manipulation of their own?
    What do you, dear lurker reader, think?

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  • JeanTate by JeanTate

    [Public lecture on the Zoonniverse, at the Adler Planetarium(http://www.adlerplanetarium.org/events/zooniverse-lecture "")], on 30 April (2013):

    Zooniverse Lecture

    Join us on Tuesday, April 30, at 7 pm in the Samuel C. Johnson Family Star Theater to hear a panel of three scientists with online citizen science projects tell us about the exciting research they are able to do thanks to the international efforts of over 800,000 volunteers.

    From Lions to Black Holes: How Citizen Scientists are Changing the Face of Research
    Presented by:
    Dr. Margaret Kosmala (Snapshot Serengeti) University of Minnesota
    Dr. Philip Brohan (Old Weather) The Met Office UK
    Dr. Brooke Simmons (Galaxy Zoo) University of Oxford

    What does an astronomer who studies supermassive black holes, a climate scientist who uses data from ships logs and an ecologist who tracks lions in the Serengeti National Park have in common? These extremely diverse fields of research all have online citizen science projects that people everywhere can and do participate in. Join us to hear a panel of three scientists tell us about the exciting research they are able to do thanks to the international efforts of over 800,000 volunteers.

    Dr. Arfon Smith, Director of Citizen Science here at the Adler Planetarium, will introduce Dr. Brooke Simmons an astronomer from the University of Oxford, Dr. Philip Brohan a climate scientist from The Met Office in the UK and Dr. Margaret Kosmala from the University of Minnesota.

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  • JeanTate by JeanTate

    I have posted my submission to the Chicago Workshop in the GZ forum; click here.

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  • JeanTate by JeanTate

    Workshop agenda now posted (GZ forum, post by jules).

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  • JeanTate by JeanTate

    Posted in the Galaxy Zoo forum, by jules:

    Terrific final workshop day with excellent talks. The afternoon sessions were a little chaotic as we had a lunchtime board meeting (which Janet and Katy also attended) and we were slightly late for the unconferences. Janet and I attended one on machine learning. I have a few notes from that which I'll write up later but we did discuss such issues as projects which might require machines and people working closer together, projects which require people to check computer classifications, what happens to serendipitous discoveries, all projects must be up front about the role of machine learning and must still have a good science case.

    The second unconference I attended was about an upcoming project about sunspots and I think Katy went to one about translating zoo projects.

    We attended the evening public lecture which featured 3 mini talks: Brooke Simmons on bulgeless galaxies, Philp Brohan on the reason Old Weather was set up and Margaret Kosmala on why Snapshot Serengeti was set up. Three good stories. A reasonable number of people attended too.

    I'll write up an overview of the workshop and as much about the unconferences as I can. Janet and Katy will also be blogging but the really good news is that all the main talks were filmed and will appear on You Tube eventually. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ ๐Ÿ˜ƒ I'll post a link as soon as they go up but I understand that might take a couple of weeks.

    Really must go pack and check in on line.....
    More soon!

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  • JeanTate by JeanTate

    Posted in the Old Weather forum, by Janet Jaguar:

    OK, I'm back and it was marvelous.

    The Workshop was set up with prepared presentations in the morning and "un-conferences" in the afternoon. All of the morning sessions (including Philip's which was spectacular) were videoed on 2 cameras. Chris is having them edited together with the slides used, and all will be posted, probably next week. So I will just say they were all interesting.

    At lunch, anyone who wanted to start a discussion wrote the topic on an easel board and everyone voted for what they wanted to attend. Any that got votes were scheduled in a room in either the 1:30 or 3:15 session. 8 topics could be scheduled each day, and people could attend 2 of them. (Some went half-and-half with 2 in the same session. ) Someone involved in each stood up in the closing session and summarized what was talked about. I took notes of the summaries, and this is what was talked about.

    • Making use of Talk - More an introduction of a brand new version, at the time of the session only up on Planet Four. All current Talk panels will get it. They will have search functions and sticky posts for the first time, and may have long forum-style conversations now. It needs participation by science team to generate interest and community. It needs still an explanation of hashtags and a tutorial.
    • Building a smarter Zooniverse - Increase accuracy and make it informed and informing for the members but also productive for the scientists. (They've made having a designer on staff mandatory, not writing code but making the interface complete from the scientists POV and easy-to-use from the members POV. See Snapshot Serengeti and Planet Four.)
    • Emergent Classifications - A work in progress; find a way to allow volunteers to define what classes would be useful to put on the interface. And allow volunteers to see how in-agreement with others their own results are.
    • Diversifying from white men in specs - Do we want to? Yes! (from the women present. ) Look for new markets (Facebook?) in which to advertize for volunteers. Find a way to make people who "feel unscientific" to feel confident they can do this without "breaking" the science.
    • How to keep 10,000 research assistants happy - Make public and use the 3 rules of Zooniverse
    • Don't Waste People's Time. Make a good case for the science. Make it bug-free or get quick fixes. Educate the volunteers.
    • Volunteers are Collaborators. Include volunteers on beta tests and development. Be honest about what is happening, and share data and results. Communicate, encourage and give recognition.
    • Only present tasks machines cannot perform. If data the data collected allows a good machine algorithm to be written, inform the members of their success before closing the project down as "finished".
    • User Weighting - Should we be tracking results-per-user and how should we treat data from those who are most or least consistent with others?
    • Translating Interfaces into Different Languages - Zooniverse is going to Open Code, making it possible for knowledgeable members to make various interfaces work in Dutch or any other language in order to find new members.
    • Sunspots - This was about designing a project about Sunspots - turned out to be largely over my head but still interesting.
    • When Do Machines Take Over - We are never asked to do something machines can already do, but how to make volunteers know they are honored and successful when a project gets to the point of handing the handling over to machines.
    • How Do Volunteers Learn Science? - What kind of outputs can be consulted to find out if and what members are learning? How do we know if we are successfully teaching science literacy? How does this get measured?
    • Making Side Projects and Tools - All about creating code, they decided to hold their own Workshop.
    • Education is Awesome - Practical outreach possibilities for classes of kids of different ages. Making up helpful kits of teachers and students? Set up a ZooTeach? A National Citizen Scientist Association is being set up.
    • Google Hangouts - Using YouTube to have select scientists/expert talk to members. See Hangouts|Galaxy Zoo.

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  • JeanTate by JeanTate

    Posted by katsee, in Planet Hunters Talk:

    Hi there, just wanted to drop in and say my recollection of the workshop/unconference events will be following shortly! Both accounts up here are fabulously spot on. All the presentations were fascinating (and filmed!), and I can confidently say that us zooites are in very good hands with the Zooniverse team!

    All I will add for now is that you guys (well.. us guys I guess!) were truly the focus of this workshop! Volunteer profiles and statistics are being gathered by different teams under different angles, discussions of including zooites into development for projects were had, as well as fostering the right kind of environment for citizen scientists to grow and get the maximum out of their Zooniverse experience, while of course enjoying themselves. Teams from new upcoming projects were in attendance, so we also got to inform them about the zooite community and what we have to offer them. Planet Hunters didn't present a morning conferences this year, but was definitely included in many discussions! I'll take time to elaborate on some of the unconference sessions and general interest presentations, I flew in early this morning and slept so little in Chicago (too many great things to think about, my brain just would not rest!) that writing a blog tonight would almost certainly result in disaster! But fear not, and brace yourselves... a Planet Hunters citizen blog is coming! Tommorow... ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Edit: Oh one last thing, when Janet mentionned " Set up a ZooTeach?" up there, she meant set up a ZooTeach Talk probably, as ZooTeach is well on the way already! I'll talk a bit about that in the blog.

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  • jules by jules

    Day 1 notes finally written up! Day 2 to follow, then unconferences and a final summary. Photos are not great but at least you can watch the videos when they are available.

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  • jules by jules

    And more notes are up - just follow the links on the right hand side from here.

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  • ElisabethB by ElisabethB moderator

    As mentioned over on GZ forum : Thank you !

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  • vrooje by vrooje admin, scientist

    Indeed, thank you so much, Jules, for writing these -- they are fantastic!

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