Notes about the moderation process

Every bGeigie data file that is uploaded goes through Safecast’s moderation process before it is approved and included in our maps. The technical process of moderation is pretty simple. But judgement and alertness are required:

— Every moderator on the <approvers@safecast.org> mailing list will receive regular automated emails from <mailer@safecast.org > with the subject “A Safecast import is awaiting approval.”

— In the body of the email it will say, “There is a Safecast import awaiting moderator approval. Click here to view it.”  Other information about the upload will be visible in the email.

— Alternatively, moderators can go to https://api.safecast.org/, and use links on the left-hand side under “bGeigie Imports for moderators.” These include “not processed” and “not approved.” These will open lists of files in each category. Only “not approved” will generally be useful.

— The list of unapproved files in the API can also easily be accessed from <https://api.safecast.org/>, by selecting “bGeigie Imports” from the left-hand column. In the page that opens, results can easily be filtered using the horizontal control bar at the top of the page; moderators will generally want to select “Submitted.” Clicking “Uploaded At” will sort the results to put the most recent at the top.  The link below will open this page with these filter settings set:

https://api.safecast.org/en-US/bgeigie_imports?by_status=submitted&order=created_at+desc

— Upon clicking the link to an upload file, the upload will appear in a familiar Safecast API upload page, with several moderator controls visible.  These include “approve” and “reject” buttons, as well as a “send email to uploader” link, to be used for queries.

— Please examine the data closely. Basically, if any data points well over background are visible, we discuss it among ourselves, and if necessary, email the uploader for clarification. Other cases will require judgement as well, and it’s best to discuss them with the others.

— We rarely reject an upload outright. If it’s questionable, we send an email to the uploader, and from time to time it’s clear that there was an operator error, or device malfunction, or other problem which means the file should not be approved. If you think the file should not be immediately approved because of outstanding questions, please add a note to that effect in the metadata, such as “Moderator comment: Hold for approval pending verification of hotspot.”

— Other things to keep in mind:

— Sometimes users have not correctly indicated the “type of measurement.”

— If it’s taken in an airplane or helicopter, it should be set to “cosmic.”

— “Drive” files should be at about 1m height.

— Ground-level measurements should be “surface” type. Users sometimes measure at ground level without switching out of log mode, and include those measurements in a “drive” upload. This tends to happen when they find “interesting” radiation levels and forget. If you think this might have happened, discuss it and send an email if it seems advisable.

— Sometimes users submit readings that were taken on the upper floors of buildings. Generally these are not useable.

— Generally we approve data taken from boats, but by all means discuss it if you have questions.

— We accept a certain amount of GPS drift, but sometimes it’s clear that the GPS is way off. These cases should be discussed.

— Mistakes happen. Sometimes an experienced and trusted user will mistakenly upload data they later realize is bad (because they had sources in the car next to the bGeigie, for instance), or a moderator will approve something that had errors in it. Errors like these can be masked out of the map after they’re approved, but it’s a major pain. Please be alert.

— Regarding files which remain in the “Processed” category, users often neglect to click “submit” on their uploads. We periodically send them inquiries, but this list tends to get very long.

Feel free to send questions to the other moderators.

The API is a work in progress, with constant incremental improvements for both users and moderators.  feel free to suggest improvements!