Online meeting with teachers of the Learning 2gether network about Amara + upgrade aftershocks and new editor

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Claude Almansi

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Jul 15, 2013, 5:24:53 AM7/15/13
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Hi All

As I already told some of you by normal e-mail, yesterday (July14, 2013) afternoon, at the request of Vance Stevens, Lucia Bartolotti and I animated an online meeting with the teachers of the Learning 2gether network about Amara (event description - YouTube recording - subtitling page). It was lively, with a lot of questions and ideas.

We had asked the participants to take a dive into Amara first, because describing a tool in a meeting, whether F2F or online, is boring. But also because the June 29 upgrade happened between the announcement of the meeting and the meeting itself: so amidst the baffling aftershocks of the upgrade, in particular the still undocumented new editor, we didn't quite know anymore how to present Amara. This way, it went well.

Still, for ourselves, Lucia and I needed to understand these aftershocks, or at least try to. I am bookmarking with Diigo the resulting posts on the Amara general help forum and tagging these boomarks upgrade_aftershock. Amara's line of only replying to topics on the TED help forum because TED pays for it, but not on the general one, seems particularly self-defeating in this instance, as even some TED team members continue to post about TED video issues on the general help forum.
Mami Kawade is a TED team member and she posted about two important upgrade issues on the general forum. One was also raised by Dharma Lee on the TED forum, but less completely. In the end, getting no reply from Amara staff on the general forum, she did as I suggested: reposted on the TED forum yesterday.
Shatha Nasser, also a TED team member, posted about an issue of a TED team video that might be connected to the upgrade (no activity on that video since the upgrade). I made the same suggestion to her.

Also, why add the ONE tutorial so far about the new editor - http://ted-support.amara.org/support/solutions/articles/107527-the-transcript-is-missing-when-i-resume-my-translation  - only to the TED help "Solutions" section, and not to the general help one, when the same issue was also raised in the forum there? And even if it hadn't, this is not a TED-specific issue.

A slightly preferential treatment for the TED team as TED is a paying customer is understandable. But this gives the impression that you've not only sold services to TED, but the whole of Amara, lock, stock and barrel. And even if you have - I hope not, though I admire TED and am a member of the TED team too - this obstinate ignoring of other Amara users' feedbacks is not going to improve TED subtitlers' experience either.

Claude

Nicholas Reville

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Jul 15, 2013, 10:47:26 AM7/15/13
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Hi Claude,

We’re delighted that you gave an Amara demo, thanks for helping us reach more folks!

As for the new editor, it’s still very much beta and not finalized at all.  It is very important for everyone to spread the message that the new editor is ‘beta’ and is not fully supported.   

We are preparing documentation and help videos for the release, but since the functionality is still changing, that stuff is also.  And TED is one of the only users on Amara that *had* to use the new editor, because they had specific problems that were blocked by the old editor.

We will be rolling out the new editor as the main editor soon and providing documentation and more support as we do.  We are a tiny team and can’t provide full support for beta features at this stage, but once we get through this transition, things are going to be much simpler.  

nicholas




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Claude Almansi

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Jul 17, 2013, 6:10:03 AM7/17/13
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Thank you for your reply, Nicholas.

Between your lines:


On Monday, July 15, 2013 4:47:26 PM UTC+2, Nicholas Reville wrote:
Hi Claude,

We’re delighted that you gave an Amara demo, thanks for helping us reach more folks!

As for the new editor, it’s still very much beta and not finalized at all.  It is very important for everyone to spread the message that the new editor is ‘beta’ and is not fully supported.

I do, but I also encourage people to try it with subtitlings where its potential glitches can do no harm, saving regularly, as Margarita advised on the TED help forum. And so re:
 
We are preparing documentation and help videos for the release, but since the functionality is still changing, that stuff is also.  

One thing that several people pointed out is that the visible part of the 2 transcripts is very short, making comparison and editing difficult. Mami Kawade has now added her remark about that on the TED help too, in a reply to Dharma Lee's I am translating talks, but appears the transcribing system topic.

And in New editor: translating existing subtitles on the main help forum, Zikoinak suggested enabling hiding the whole upper part with the players and the list of keyboard shortcuts.
That's a bit drastic, but as I wrote in my reply, the early designs of the new editor, as published by Craig Zheng on his site under A full redesign of Amara's subtitle editor (in progress) , did show a "Hide video" command link beneath the player, and the subtitle part was much longer. True, back then the design only foresaw one player and one set of subtitles. But would it not be possible to have that "Hide video" command beneath each of the two  players?
If that's not feasible, could we have longer visible subtitle lists, adding a scroll bar for the whole page, as in the present legacy editor?

And TED is one of the only users on Amara that *had* to use the new editor, because they had specific problems that were blocked by the old editor.

Ah OK then. But could you make a short sticky post on the general help forum redirecting TED team members to the TED team help, please?
 

We will be rolling out the new editor as the main editor soon and providing documentation and more support as we do.  We are a tiny team and can’t provide full support for beta features at this stage, but once we get through this transition, things are going to be much simpler. 

Will the "Bad Gateway" and other loading difficulties mentioned on the general help forum disappear too? Running two systems, as presently, is  heavy on the server,  probably?

Last thing (well, for now): issues with keyboard commands. Several people wrote - on the forum and off it - that the tab and shift tab commands for navigating between subtitles don't work for them (for me neither: I use a Mac with Firefox). And some  find the shift space command to start and stop the video awkward. Then one person wondered if it'd be possible to let users customize keyboard commands, as e.g. in Audacity. It seems more complicated in an online app, but I thought I'd ask.

Best

Claude

Nicholas Reville

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Jul 17, 2013, 10:17:08 AM7/17/13
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Hi Claude,

A few quick responses:

• Yes, we are going to work on the heigh issue— probably the ‘hide video’ button and a scroll option.

• I’ll look into that TED notice, thanks

• Yes, we are working on the bad gateway problems, which are basically database overload.  For some reason, we have been repeatedly hit by outside servers overloading us and we’re trying to block them and have a solid response system.  We are also optimizing the database.  It should get more stable over the next few days.

• The keyboard commands are going to be changing a little, I think most people prefer the old style better, and we are going to have some kind of option for better accessibility, so stay tuned!

nicholas




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