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How to make important time sensitive announcements?

lmk's picture
lmk
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A nice thing about the old email discussion group was that anyone could post a notice of an important event (such as a major outburst) and that would be "instantly" sent to everyone's Inbox.

Unless I am missing something, this won't happen anymore here in the new style forums? It seems everyone would need to check the aavso website frequently to find any such announcement appearing on the top of the front page.

Now, if things get busy, a new message could easily "scroll off" the page well before everyone could check, thereby missing an important discovery?

Maybe there is some way to do it now, that I am not aware of, but if not, it seems we really need to bring this feature back ?

And a related issue, what forum is currently best suited for such time semsitive announcements? This general discussion one?

Thanks,

Mike LMK

time sensitive announcements
HQA's picture
HQA
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Hi Mike,

For outbursts, etc., the best spot is the Campaigns and Observation Reports forum.  Note that you can "subscribe" to any forum or all forums (the clickable link is at the bottom of every post), and if a new post is made on a forum to which you are subscribed, you get an immediate email.  So the "alert" aspect is still available.  In addition, MyNewsFlash will immediately alert anyone looking at a particular star or set of stars, as soon as you upload the outburst observation through WebObs.

We're heading into the era of real-time transient object alerts, as evidenced by CRTS and MASTER.  The best way to pass on those alerts to the amateur community will take some thought.

Arne

Notification
lmk's picture
lmk
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Well, there is still the issue of someone needs to subscribe to the "correct" forum to receive the important outburst announcements. Which forum is the right one is not perfectly clear. One could make a case for the general forum vs. the campaigns/obs one too.

Maybe we should just create a new forum explicitly for important time-sensitive observations alerts? And inform everyone with an interest to post/subscribe to it exclusively.

Regarding how to distribute the new realtime alerts to the community, I think the answer will certainly lie in AAVSO acting as the central point of acquisition of the realtime alerts from the various missions, then immediately forwarding those alerts to everyone interested by emails/texts to mobile devices and such.

Mike LMK

 

Notification
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Doesn't the cvnet outburst list do this already?

Re:
GKI's picture
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'Maybe we should just create a new forum explicitly for important time-sensitive observations alerts? And inform everyone with an interest to post/subscribe to it exclusively'

Hello Gents, Yes, i think I agree with Mike on this one, as this is bound to be put to the test sooner or later. I would fear also that as Mike states, some people may actually miss an opportunity because perhaps they simply did not quickly know that an event had taken place recently.

Could this be done? Would people whom have subscribed to the cvnet list be happy to do both?

Keith GKI

Outburst announcements
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CVnet is the place to do this.  Once the outburst (or other unusual CV activity) has been announced on cvent-outburst, it usually gets added to the CVnet web page by either Mike or myself pretty quickly so that 'everyone' can see it.  I don't see the point of announcing ANY major/unusual VS activity on a forum unless it's up for a discussion topic.

The other option is to notify either Mike S or myself in a private e-mail and we will see that the message makes both CVnet and the web page in good time - immediately if we are able.

Gary  (PYG)

I hope it's not a case of
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I hope it's not a case of chucking out the baby with the bathwater.  If I remember correctly (not guaranteed!), the original issue was that the Discussion Group postings were being clogged with chat which meant that people could miss time-sensitive notifications.  So the forum was created to divert the chat (and naturally to provide a 'meeting place' for AAVSO members & observers).  But the Discussion Group was terminated and unfortunately almost all of the archives were lost.  CVnet might be OK but is that the appropriate place to report noteworthy changes in variables that aren't cataclysmic variables?

 

Cheers -

Rob Kaufman KBJ

Bright, Vic, Australia

archives
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I wouldn't say the archives were "lost". According to the statement on the discussion list archive web page they were just taken offline after the move to the cloud. This implies they were not transferred to the cloud due to a technical reason, but will be available again.

Using CVNet-Outburst is a little problematic because it is limited to CVs in outbursts. There are non-CV objects, and non-outbursts that are also time sensitive. Perhaps a rare RR Crb fading? Or a blazar outburst/fading?

I think the Campaigns and Observation Reports forum is the appropriate place for this. It looks like it is already being used for that purpose by many people. I'd recommend the moderators create a stickey forum topic that always appears at the top of the forum. Call it something like "Time Sensitive Observing Requests" or "Targets of Opportunity", etc. Then write up a brief AAVSO web site page that describes how people can e-mail subscribe to that thread alone (and offer to do it for those who are technically challenged). That should do it. It gives people a quick way to disseminiate a request,a quick way to receive such a request,  a mechanism that is high profile on the AAVSO web site and easy for people to join/leave, and it does'nt require changes to currently successful programs (like CVnet).

Important announcements should be distributed directly
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lmk
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I think Aaron's suggestions to make a sticky topic in the campaigns and observations is a good one. Then, anyone with an interest in being informed of important findings by observers could subscribe by email and would have a direct connection to the observing reports.

As Aaron says, cvnet is a specialized group, separate from AAVSO, and there are many other classes of variables that could do unexpected things. Even though Mike and Gary are very dedicated individuals, its still quite possible both could be unavailable to relay during an important event, and such announcements could "sit" for a while in one of their inboxes...

Direct automatic dissemination is best.

Mike LMK

 

Archives...
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Aaron Price wrote:

I wouldn't say the archives were "lost". According to the statement on the discussion list archive web page they were just taken offline after the move to the cloud. This implies they were not transferred to the cloud due to a technical reason, but will be available again.

Thanks Aaron for clarifying the situation, that's great news!  I did ask the question before, here:

http://www.aavso.org/aavso-discussion-archives

but I interpreted the reply I got as indicative of a wholesale loss of the archives, in view of the link provided:

http://www.aavso.org/sites/default/files/archive_restore/

The 'crash' must refer only to the 2006-07 archives.  A lot of valuable information on CV outbursts & other variable stars is in the archives.

Anyway, the latest suggestion sounds good to me!

 

Cheers -

Rob

announcements
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Yes of course CVnet is for CV's only.  I mentioned it here because Mike L. used an outbursting object in his initial e-mail as an example.  I think it's pretty important for outbursts - especially rare'ish ones - to be sent to CVnet right away, as we have observers both Pro. & Am all around the world who can jump on it for early data/confirmation.

Lets not also forget VSnet, which has mail distribution for all types of objects - Mira's, ZANDS, etc.  If you want fast news of any of these objects delivered to your mailbox in good time, VSnet is as good a place as any.  The problems of the past are now long gone.

Speaking with my BAA hat on, there is also BAAVSS-alert group which I know a few AAVSO people subscribe too.  If you can live with the odd 'in house' BAAVSS news, all types of unusual behaviour for lots of different objects are reported here.  Traffic isn't too heavy with our group.

For any VS information I really do think that the message needs to be delivered to your mailbox, so that it can be picked up on phones, tablets etc. whilst your out under the stars or at work.  Logging into forum's, chat rooms etc.  for alerts just doesn't work in my experience.

Gary (PYG)

time sensitive announcements
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HQA
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I think Aaron's sticky topic suggestion is a good one; I'll get it implemented.  I think there are enough alert email lists that we don't need to make another one.  I think the wave of the future will be something like VOEvent alerts; we just need to complete the loop and make good mobile apps to access them.  There does exist an LSST transients app for the iPhone as an example, for those who are interested:

http://uanews.org/node/31233

it currently uses the CRTS transients, but could be expanded.  I followed the iTunes link, and the app is not currently in the store, but I probably can find a way to get it to people who are interested. I think it would be neat to create something similar, but AAVSO-centric, with observing information for any transient that might occur.

Arne

sticky thread created
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RebeccaTurner
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FYI - As discussed, I have created a sticky in the "Campaigns & Observation Reports" Forum titled Time Sensitive Alerts.  Instructions for subscribing to the thread are included.

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