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Linking VSX name aliases to other apps?

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lmk
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Unfortunately, it seems difficult for us to come to an agreement on a concise, meaningful naming convention for stars. My (TYPE:LOC,<10chars) suggestion seems good, so I have adopted it for my personal use to replace these ridiculous long names. I have successfully entered "TTS1408-40" as my personal alias into VSX for the awful "1SWASP J140747.93-394542.6".

Now, when will these aliases be linked to WebObs, LCG, Quicklook, VSP? The sooner the better, I hope!

Another thought, maybe we can setup user groups, similar to the Unix world "owner:group:world", so that other observers who share my likings for this "Var type: Harvard desig" name, could link to them via the other apps as well?

Thanks!
Mike LMK

Name aliases
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SXN
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Mike,

No one ever promised you we would link your personal aliases in VSX to any other AAVSO tools. We certainly haven't agreed to adopt your naming scheme, and for us to do what you are requesting would require us to either come up with one way of creating aliases for everyone or a way to dupe check between users creating their own aliases to avoid confusion, data loss and duplication. That would require a serious investment of staff time. There are solutions to your non-mission-critical issues that do not require staff time to make things convenient for you. 

You can create your own spreadsheet with your aliases, the actual names and the AUIDs- and use that if you want to limit key strokes on the input side. Then submit your data using the AUIDs. I think you'll find that for the few stars you observe with license plate names you'll start to memorize the AUIDs, and WebObs will prompt you with an auto fill-in when you begin to enter them individually also. 

Or you can plot custom charts with the AUID as the primary name in the title so you can easily write it down at the telescope when you're observing. You don't need to remember anything. That's how I do all my SDSS stars, for example.

Aliases are not a problem
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lmk
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Hi Mike, Well Arne can correct me if I am wrong, but he does have plans to include our personal VSX aliases into the other tools. Its just a matter of when, not if.

The concerns of the difficulties you raise, I don't think are a major problem at all. Granted, I dont work on the tools, nor do I know the intimate details of how they work, but as an old programmer, I can tell you that this implementation appears to be quite easy, if not trivial.

VSX already allows entry of personal aliases, once the user is logged in with their VSX account, and their AAVSO login has been entered into it as well. I have tested it and verified that. Since one has to be logged in to use WebObs anyway (as the most important example), the unique personal alias should be already available from VSX. You just do a simple table lookup from the user's alias list and grab the AUID and transfer that to WebObs. I say unique, because I assume VSX will check for personal accidental dupes? If its not already done, that is also fairly trivial to program. No need to worry about other users alias conflicts, because the personal alias is unique for each login.

So, I do not believe this is going to be a "serious investment of staff time". WebObs should be the first and highest priority for linking to the personal aliases, and also likely to be the easiest to implement. LCG/Quicklook would be next, then VSP, in my opinion.

Your suggestions to create one's own spreadsheets to keep track of personal aliases puts more burden on the shoulders of every observer who makes aliases. I do not think that is the best approach. Problems like this should be tackled centrally at the servers, for maximal efficiency. Eg. What if you dont have your spreadsheet available when you need to enter the observation?

The AUID is not a serious name, in my opinion. It has no indication of what type of variable, nor its position in the sky. Its just a sequential and random internal data pointer type of name. Good for computers, bad for humans!

One other problem in using these long, complex and/or random meaningless names - they are too impractical to use for referencing them to other observers either verbally or in writing! The next time you go to a meeting and talk to a colleague, could you imagine saying "have you been observing 1SWASP J140747.93-394542.6 lately?" or "nice catch of that 000-BJQ-628 outburst Mike"... LOL.

Mike LMK

HQ and personal aliases
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HQA
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lmk wrote:

Hi Mike, Well Arne can correct me if I am wrong, but he does have plans to include our personal VSX aliases into the other tools. Its just a matter of when, not if.

TMike LMK


Just to clarify things, I told LMK that I was going to have staff investigate what would be involved in using aliases, as that is the first step before considering whether or not to add them to other AAVSO tools.  I also said that the study would not happen soon, as there were some high priority projects that had to be finished.

While the basic idea of personal aliases has some merit and would handle LMK's concern with long star names, it would be foolish to proceed without knowing the cost to the organization.  My apologies if this message was misinterpreted.

Arne

Tower of Babel - coming soon
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KTC
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One other problem in using these long, complex and/or random meaningless names

Your bias is showing.  The names are not merely long, they are complex and/or random meaningless names.  Really?

...too impractical to use for referencing them to other observers either verbally or in writing! The next time you go to a meeting and talk to a colleague, could you imagine saying "have you been observing 1SWASP J140747.93-394542.6 lately?" or "nice catch of that 000-BJQ-628 outburst Mike"

Who says that anyone else will adopt your naming scheme?  Someone else will want to use their scheme...and a third will want to use their scheme...and then we have....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tower_of_Babel

Or, if you want a more recent example:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ten-code

Excerpt:

While ten-codes were intended to be a terse, concise, and standardized system, the proliferation of different meanings may render them useless in situations where people from different agencies and jurisdictions need to communicate. For that reason their use is expressly forbidden in the nationally-standardized Incident Command System as is the use of other codes.[4]


Your suggestion creates more problems than it solves problems.

Wrong topic Tom
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lmk
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Sorry Tom, here we are discussing personal aliases, which are already a part of VSX, thanks to some great foresight by the developers of that app :). Since this alias is associated with a login, I could name a var after my cat or dog, and nobody would care! The issue remains linking this alias to WebObs, LCG, VSP, etc.  Right now, you can only look at it in VSX, not do anything useful with it.;(

But, just to answer your complaints - I think a short, concise naming convention for variable stars is something that will eventually have to come into the general community. The way its going now is just too random, long and disorganized. It makes almost everyone's life a pain. Why name a star after a catalog for "heavens" sake? At least, put in its type, constellation, etc., something useful.

So, the community needs to come up with a good naming system that the majority can live with. As in any "democracy", you can never satisfy everyone. At least, we should come up with a workable solution.

If you think my system is not satisfactory, how about suggesting a better one? I would be willing to go along with a reasonable alternative, which is also short, meaningful and easy to use. So far, the only other alternative I heard mentioned was to use constellations instead of the "Harvard RA/Dec" in the name. But, given the size of some of these regions, some further scheme of narrowing down the location and uniquely identifying will need to be created.

Mike LMK

Pay attention to the big-data surveys.
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KTC
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You want to link a personal alias to WebObs, LCG, VSP, etc.?

That's ok for personal use, I suppose.

And track everyone's personal aliases...I suppose that can be done as well.

I don't see how that lets you chat with others about those renamed/aliased objects...in an easy way.  Everyone is potentially on a different sheet of music.

I think a short, concise naming convention for variable stars is something that will eventually have to come into the general community.

This sounds like wishful thinking.  Keep wishing.

So, the community needs to come up with a good naming system that the majority can live with.

Yes, you continue wishing....

As new 800-pound gorilla/big-data surveys come online...new naming systems will be developed.  Again and again.

Look at the history.  One of the early ones was a list of Arabic names, then   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayer_designation   followed by  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flamsteed_designation  and Heny Draper, the BD catalog, SAO numbers, etc...... (this is not an exhaustive list, and it may not be in chronological order...and I intentionally do not mention the early AAVSO/Harvard naming schemes).

I need to pay less attention to this thread, and pay attention to the upcoming, next, neater, now-er wow-er, bigger-data surveys...that will drive the next naming scheme.

Well, I enjoy history. The
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lmk
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Well, I enjoy history. The take home message of that is we should learn from it, but unfortunately that doesn't happen as often as we would like. Take these old naming schemes you mention as an example.

But, this is all the more reason to stop the "endless" cycle of new miserable names. It need not be just "wishful thinking" if we set our minds to it and come up with a good system once and for all, instead of just brushing it off and living with the status quo.

Since AAVSO is the leader in the business, if we decide on a good system, others will likely adopt it as well. So, the task is not as "hopeless" or gargantuan as it may seem!

The personal alias approach is a good measure in the meantime, and should be propagated to the other tools as soon as feasible. It solves most of the difficulties of these long names, except as you say, when discussing them with our colleagues. That will have to wait until we all decide on a universal system.

Why dont we start a contest where everyone interested submits their proposal for a good name. We can then all vote on them, and the winner becomes the adopted standard. What's so difficult about this?

Mike LMK

AAVSO 49 Bay State Rd. Cambridge, MA 02138 aavso@aavso.org 617-354-0484