Duplicate updates on homepage

Platform: Website

Browser: Firefox

URLs: https://www.inaturalist.org/home?tab=updates&from=1711460661

Description of problem:

When I have a lot of updates to view (>50) and click the “More” button, there are often a few duplicates from the first page at the top of the second page. Normally this isn’t much of a problem and I’ve ignored it until now, but yesterday I participated in Experiment 0.3, and this morning when I went to the second page I got a full page of duplicates, and more on the third page.

From the URL, it seems the second page is a list of notifications which are older than the last entry on the first page. What I think is happening is that the query is generating a result for each update on each observation, instead of only the most recent update on each observation. So, when there were half-a-dozen IDs added overnight to each of the 42 observations I was asked to identify as part of the experiment, interleaved, my list of updates exploded.

What I expect to see: each observation should appear at most once in the list of updates. When someone views an updated observation, they see both the current state of the observation and the sequence of events, and thus don’t need to see further notifications for each individual update.

In addition to being more sensible for users, querying only the timestamp of the most recent update on each observation seems likely to be less computationally intensive than querying the timestamps of all updates on each observation. So, potentially a performance win as well as a usability win.

1 Like

I’m not sure this is a bug. I like getting separate notifications for the same observation, especially when comments are added in addition to IDs. But I don’t look through my dashboard very much anymore, so I could see how that would be cluttered there.

I know almost nothing about how all this querying works, but the current system seems less complicated to me: anytime there is an update that generated a notification, a new entry appears on the dashboard. Having to check whether a previous update is from the same observation and whether or not that update has already been viewed seems more complex.

Seems like a bug to me: the count of notifications (red thing with a number in the upper right) only counts each observation once. So I had to go through three pages (50 per page) to find 46 updated observations this morning.

As for performance, if the timestamp of the most recent update is stored with each observation, that’s one thing to look at per observation, instead of looking at the timestamps on every identification and comment on each observation. (“If” says the laconic pedant.)

1 Like

I would like my notifications collapsed to one per obs. I open that obs and look thru everything fresh. Really don’t want my dashboard (which I use) as it is, comment, ID, @mention - each one with its own notifications, interleaved neatly as and when it happened. Midnight confuses it, and some notifications bob up ‘yesterday’. Keep scrolling, keep reading. It is hard to accomplish reading ‘all my notifications’. Can’t Mark as Read, or Keep Unread.
But we are promised better notification management, one day.

1 Like

Maybe I’m misunderstanding.

I get multiple notifications for different IDs, comments, etc. on the the same observation. Are you saying you don’t have that?

I use this this was originally shared by forum user, pisum. It’s much easier than trying to juggle the list iNaturalist gives you. Especially if the page happens to reload and then the whole list is gone.

I have tried that. But doesn’t suit me.

In this case I got one notification per observation for multiple IDs, but in the past I have gotten 3 notifications at once for an ID, a comment, and an @ on the same observation. So, in the first case one notification for multiple entries in the list of updates, and in the second three notifications for three entries in the list of updates.

I’d prefer one notification per observation in both cases, but this bug report is only about the first case.

Note also that in the first case each observation will only appear once per page. This is one of the reasons I think this is a bug: it looks like the intention was for an observation to appear only once in the list even though there were multiple IDs, but the paging query is buggy.

1 Like

It sounds like your report is referring to homepage “updates”, not the drop-down “notifications” that appear in the upper right corner of any page, so I updated the title of the topic. Please feel free to correct my change if I’m mistaken.

1 Like

That sounds correct. Talking about things which one doesn’t know the names of is difficult. :sweat_smile:

If you follow a place then you will receive feeds of any updates relating to it. If you follow a person, and that person is in your place of interest then you will get two notifications. One for the place, and the same for the person.