[Geysers] Geyser time entries

Jacob Young jakefrisbee at yahoo.com
Mon May 23 10:57:56 PDT 2016

Hi all,GeyserTimes founder here.  There's a couple different issues going on here with GT.  The first is the Primary/Secondary system.  We do have a proposal to change how GeyserTimes handles "primary" and "secondary" entries that is awaiting implementation.  It is one of the most contentious issues in GeyserTimes that I hear about from many parties.  It is a system that perhaps was good enough several years ago, but hasn't kept up with the improving technology on the webcam side nor with the way that GeyserTimes is used in practice.  A better way to combine entries is coming (eventually).
The second issue is the idea that the webcam is little brother to in-basin observations.  The webcam has come a long way since I started GeyserTimes 5 years ago.  In the beginning, it was possible that observed webcam times could differ from reality by several minutes due to poor internet connections, faulty NPS servers, incorrectly set computer clocks, etc.  With the advent of the streaming webcam, our community has scrutinized webcam timings to know when the webcam is "off."  It still happens from time to time when the NPS or affiliates are changing the technology around bringing the webcam stream to the public.  Overall,  I'm very comfortable with webcam times being accurate now (within 1 minute, mostly due to when to call an eruption start when it happens around the turn of the minute).  I'm also confident that we know when the webcam is off reality based on cross referencing in-basin times. We now have plenty of evidence of webcam time accuracy.  It's to the point now where the webcam is no more likely to be off time than a person in the basin who hasn't adjusted their watch recently.
I didn't read Udo's original statement as belittling of webcam observations, but rather a warning against complacency for in-basin users.  I've been a part of that myself when there are several GT super-users present for an eruption and everyone assumes that someone else will record the observation.  Then no one does.  Then someone notices it missing later and enters it.  It's possible that some eruptions go observed by many and are never recorded.  Personally, I have been one to not record the Beehive eruptions when in-basin simply because I felt bad for diligent webcam watchers.  I could throw them a bone and let them have a primary eruption.  I shouldn't be thinking this way.  Because it's not about owning eruptions via having the primary entry, right?  Right??  And yet, I do think that way.  Even with a system that I designed!  If the system makes people *not* want to enter data for any reason, that's a problem.
Another part of the problem is that data entry itself is no fun.  Especially when we all want high quality data on several aspects of the eruption.  Not just a start time but also whether it was major or minor, what the build up was, special details on the vents, etc.  All of that takes time and extra clicks or taps on a touch screen.  I want to make it as painless as possible so there are fewer reasons not to record observations.  Thanks to all that enter data!
I just wanted to let the community know that we do hear your concerns and want to improve.
Thanks,Jake Young
      From: David Monteith <dmonteit at comcast.net>
 To: Geyser Reports <geysers at lists.wallawalla.edu> 
 Sent: Saturday, May 21, 2016 4:52 PM
 Subject: [Geysers] Geyser time entries
Concerning geyser eruption times entered into Geysertimes.org, it was
recently stated:

> Entries from the basin are assumed to be more accurate and will
> override webcam data, the latter being still better than nothing.

Because of this bias, webcam times that record an earlier start time
are overridden by in-basin times that have a later start times
(obviously someone in the basin wasn't looking the correct direction
when the geyser started).  If the concern is that the webcam stream may
introduce a delay, then using a later start time doesn't make sense.
Secondly, if a recording of the webcam stream is utilized, the recorded
video can be reviewed and accuracy determined. Even in-basin observers
have asked that something be reviewed on the webcam capture in order to
verify something they saw. Lastly, the timestamp on the recordings
posted on the GOSA page https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCaqzeYjrgAHI-Q
0wDN4-CuQ are accurate to within 5 seconds.  

Observational mistakes are made both on the webcam and in the basin. To
instigate an automatic bias seems unreasonable. 

One last word, it is unfortunate to characterize someone's contribution
as "the latter being still better than nothing". We should always
encourage participation and acknowledge the effort the person took to
record the observation. 


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