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Multiple Database/SSO Accounts

After our problems with SOTAwatch on Friday I have been looking into doing some housekeeping.

The first thing that needs cleaning up is all the people with multiple accounts. There are 701 out 19982 database accounts where the same callsign occurs more than once. Quite a few of these are test accounts created by myself, Andrew VK3ARR, Jon GM4ZFZ but there are many people who have multiple accounts for no good reason. It’s a more manageable number when I ask how many people have more than 2 accounts where it’s only 50. That’s where I shall start the cull. Well I will actually start with G3PSB who is one of our record holders with 5 accounts, 2 of which are verified, 3 of which look like they were created when BT was doing its normal act of failing to deliver any email to its paying customers and 1, yes just one with QSOs in it.

Some of these will predate SSO accounts but there are many with multiple SSO accounts too. The grim reaper will be calling on SSO as excess DB accounts get removed.

You, the users don’t have to do anything but you may receive an email telling you the QSOs you had spread over multiple accounts have been merged into one account.

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Andy,
Sounds like a worthwhile cleanup. I dare say most duplications of accounts are accidents as very few people actually want multiples.

Thanks for your work on this problem. The wheels keep turning only because such maintenance is carried out.

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

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Most are people who forgot they had an account and created a new one after a period away from SOTA. Or people who never received an email and kept creating accounts, despite being told the username the just created was not available. The fact I could create an MM0FMF account and then a few minutes later get told I can’t create an MM0FMF account should always set alarm bells ringing that something has happened.

So this reaping session is simply to remove all the multiple accounts of the same callsign. There are some people who upgraded licence and have, to use UK centric examples, an FL, IL and Full callsign and 3 separate accounts. That’s a harder job to identify and merge them.

The question is, do they want them merged? :confused:

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They don’t have any choice!

There’s a distinct difference of some having upgraded their licence level and having multiple accounts for each licence type but only now using only the topmost grade licence and people having multiple licences of the same type and an account for each licence. It’s the first category only that will be merged at a later date.

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Likewise, a considerable number of people sign up more than once for the SOTA Reflector. As well the reasons this happen are almost the same as Andy lists above and similarly it doesn’t seem to occur to some people that when you are told on signing up that your call sign is not available that you clearly already have an account so need to use the Forgotten Password process to get access to it and reset your password. Of course if you have changed you email address and no longer have access to it, you need to ask someone who has an admin role to fix it for you.

I started the big multiple account cleanup today.

Over 30 multiple accounts have been created this year in the Indonesian association and in this case I think it is probably an issue with language.

I have also cleaned up all the people with 4 or more accounts. That’s 30 people times 4 accounts plus more, about 80 accounts. Now to start on the 3 or more account holders were there are 43 such users so another 86 accounts to remove.

It’s difficult because every account needs checking in case there are logs spread over the accounts and those logs need moving to the final account these 43 users will have. The big one is the list of people with just 2 accounts, 687 people. I’m going to do that cleanup job in stages.

Hi Andy, I am not sure that naming names on the reflector is possibly the best way to welcome a newcomer to SOTA.
I found " getting in" was a trial and, as you said, BT does not always help.
Perhaps a helping hand or a constructive email might be a better option to welcome a new boy to our wonderful hobby.
73 Dave G3TQQ

He lost the record to an LU station who had 8 accounts all with derivatives of his call as username and a DJ with 7 accounts.

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Well I’m down to the 22 people with 3 or more accounts with the same callsign down from 40+. I’m also working on removing or fixing the 133 accounts where people have not set a callsign. Looking further 48 of those people who haven’t set a callsign have a Home Association of Bouvet Island - 3Y. This is amazing and the scientists on that remote island have done a great job of keeping those 48 extra people well hidden all these years. Well actually 3Y is the first association in the list when registering, so these are people who never set their home association and probably are ripe for automatic removal as they will not be participating in the program!

The painful job will be working on the 682 people with only 2 accounts in the same name. :frowning:

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One month later…

of the 42 people emailed who had not set a callsign and claimed to be on Bouvet 3Y, only 3 added their callsign but they didn’t update their home association. They now have XXX- No Association yet as a home.

Examining the other accounts showed many accounts were unverified or never used and so have been deleted.

A few more people decided that if one account is good then three must be excellent, the logs have been coalesced into a single account and excess accounts have been culled.

That leaves now 134 people who think they live on Bouvet Island and 732 who had 2 accounts with the same callsign.

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If the first entry in the country list was Mars, i dare say the same number would claim to live there too. An artifact of the first entry being the default value.
Big job, thanks for all this.

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

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We’re now down to only 190 people who claim to live on Bouvet Island.

Just this morning F4IYV, K7ET, ZR6NC, ZS6JOS, PY1KG & K1VTX all signed up claiming to live there. In fact with so many hams claiming to live on Bouvet, why are people spending $700,000 to put it on the air for DXers? Can’t we just get the SOTA stations to get on the air?

Seriously, every account that has no callsign, a rubbish home association or multiple accounts for the same call needs to be personally inspected before any remedial cleanup work can be done. We’re down to only 400 multi accounts. I’ve removed over 600 spurious accounts and in about 15% of cases there are QSOs spread across the accounts.

I have tried emailing people but in most cases they do nothing. The standard action now when someone creates an account and doesn’t set their callsign or claims to be on Bouvet is their account is locked. As soon as they contact the MT to ask why, they can be told to update the missing data. It seems that stopping access is the only way to get people to do anything otherwise they ignore polite requests.

Of the current 190 Bouvet dwellers, the last 100 to create an account have now had their account locked for 7 days. Not one single such account holder has been in touch asking why they cannot log in. I could probably delete 90% of these accounts and nobody would be affected.

Slowly we are getting towards “net zero” dubious accounts. :wink:

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For the sake of sanity could the default value be an entirely fictional place with a nonsense prefix, which perhaps could pull up a page bringing the error to the notice of the registrant? Alternatively would a change from “XXX - No Association” to “000 - No Association” put that as the default? The problem then would be that it would inundate those that genuinely have no association.

Just a thought…

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Or pick/suggest a starting default based on the callsign?

Yes, but it needs the signup page customising on the off-the-shelf SSO system. We have talked about things that could be done but most have other unintended side effects that still result in work for the MT. The reason this is such a problem was it wasn’t touched for a while and so grew unchecked. Some of the multi accounts are 15years old. Some are from this week.

Bouvet is first in the list and I think quite a few people don’t see it so don’t set their home. Others don’t understand what to pick when they cannot find something suitable and so leave it at Bouvet because they don’t see it as an issue when they should select “XXX - No association yet”. And for people who don’t have English as a first language I am much less concerned, they just need a helpful nudge often via Google Translate.

Once the count is down to zero the amount of effort needed to keep it at zero will be negligible.

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If it mattered to them, or if they understood it better, they would fix it or ask for help. I suspect some registrations are done on a suggestion from a SOTA activator or chaser but when they see the registration page they balk at completing it, or don’t bother with details.

Some people are genuinely unhappy when filing in web pages and don’t know what is being done with their information. They need to be reassured that it is benign and will help them enjoy the SOTA thing.

I worked with user interfaces on web sites, applications etc for many years and even in a corporate environment, such problems occur quite frequently. It may look like passive resistance but I think its often due to fear and misunderstanding.

That said, I think you’re doing a great job cleaning up the database. It is the kind of thing we users take for granted but I know there is a lot of background work that makes it all look simple, automatic and reliable.

Thanks Andy,

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

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Forever the optimist Andy. :wink:

When you see how high it was then net zero is definitely on. Although my friend from Japan has just created yet another dupe account, this will be his sixth in 2 weeks. Time for an email via the JA AM who is excellent at these things.

Gerald, I will have a look this evening.