Gross data errors when taking time to upload via Firefox

Platform: Website

Browser: Firefox 72.0.2 on Mac OS 10.13.6

URLs: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/upload

Description of problem:

Step 1: Drag and drop numerous photos to the web upload page

Step 2: Spend more than an hour inputting data and/or dealing with various interruptions (I have not tested what is the minimum time to cause this error)

Step 3: Make sure all observations have photos, times, locations, and IDs

Step 4: Press Upload

Step 5: Examine the resulting observations

It has happened to me now several times that if I am slow in using the web uploader, for example if I get a long telephone call after I’ve loaded my photos but before I’ve finished entering the data, or spend time to input data for several score observations, I find missing data and errors in the observations after I’ve uploaded them that could not have been there when I entered it. This has happened to me both using my own @dlevitis account, and the @sec_research account.

Most often I find that some of the observations lack IDs or photos, or that multiple photos that were combined in one observation are now separate observations without IDs, or even that photos and/or data that were in different observations are now together. The number of observations that appear does not always match the number that the upload page reported were being uploaded. I do not receive any time out warning, nor a warning of missing metadata when I hit upload, nor do these missing values show when I inspect the observations before I hit upload. The only solution I have found for this is to check and fix each observation, or delete the whole set and input and upload the observations again.

If there is an intentional time limit, this should please be made clear. If it would be helpful, I can likely replicate this error simply by starting a set of uploads and then waiting to upload them for an hour. Please advise if I am unintentionally causing this somehow. Thank you.

2 Likes

I tried this with about 6 observations last night in FF 73 and couldn’t replicate. About how many photos are you adding to the upload page?

Anywhere from 50 to 100 usually. How can I best document this next time it happens, please?

Please take some screenshots of what the upload page looks like before you hit submit, as well as URLs of any affected observations after they’ve posted. Please don’t edit the observations.

1 Like

I failed to take screen shots before I hit submit because I didn’t take so long this time. Today at 7:36PM I dragged and dropped 82 photos into the Upload page. I organized these into 45 observations, checked that all had all the required metadata, including initial IDs. I hit upload at 7:53PM, and got no error message. I then immediately looked over my observations and found that several of my observations were identified only as “Something…” The number of observations is correct, and I have not noticed any other data errors with this batch except the missing IDs.

Can you please share URLs of some of those observations?

1 Like

https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/39073568
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/39073565
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/39073564
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/39073563
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/39073562

Also this one, from the same batch, which I had labeled as a Belted Kingfisher, ended up with the label Western Grey Squirrel, which disappeared from another during upload.
https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/39073569

And this one, https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/39073560 which is a family of Raccoons, inherited the muskrat label that disappeared from another observation in the same batch https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/39073557

For those last two observations, the observations were submitted as western gray squirrel and as muskrat. If they were displaying a different ID on the upload page, then it sounds like a bug, but we would have to see a screenshot of the upload page before you hit Submit so we can compare what the user interface is showing and what was actually submitted in code.

Okay, I’ll try to always take screenshots of the upload page before I submit, just in case there are any problems. I am certain those identifications were attached to different observations on the upload page. What about the ones that lost their IDs during upload?

They were submitted without an ID, according to our records.

If I had failed to attach an ID, the upload page would have given me a warning. It did not.

The upload page only gives a warning pop-up if the observation is missing an ID and another crucial bit of information, like a location, media, or date. I was just able to submit this without an ID, and received no warning:

However, if it’s missing a date, I get a warning:

I am entirely certain that these observations all had IDs on the upload page. I will continue to document this bug as it occurs.