Mid-State: Report your Own Trail Hours 2011

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Re: Mid-State: Report your Own Trail Hours 2011

Postby dauber76 » January 21st, 2011, 7:33 pm

Di_bear wrote:Hm...perhaps this is something worth touching on at the state board meeting so we can come up with some guidelines.

For the FAFL awards, I am simply interested in the total number of hours that each person has worked. That's all I need. That's it. I can definitely understand the value of collecting hours for each trail within each chapter, but I feel that is a chapter job.

My recommendation would be to collect the total number of hours worked from each member of your chapter. For example, one year I worked in Copper Harbor and I showed up for a trail day at Luton, but joined the Northeast Chapter (neither trail is in that chapter) and my total hours were reported through them.

For chapter purposes, ask *everyone* to specify the number of hours they worked on each Mid-State trail, so you can use that for local advocacy reports.

Next year, we'll be more prepared and we can put the request in the December newsletter that goes out to everyone.


We are talking more than just the FAFL threshold. We are talking about getting an accurate count of all the hours we spend on the trails performing free maintenance. There are thousands of ways to do this, we just need one simple way to work across the state or chapter and this spreadsheet is a great way to start. I'm sure it won't be perfect and things will need to be tweeked, but waiting until December to ask people how many hours they worked over the last 12 months doesn't work. This needs to be implemented before spring thaw because that is when the majority of work seems to be done.
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Re: Mid-State: Report your Own Trail Hours 2011

Postby jonw9 » January 21st, 2011, 7:51 pm

Di_bear wrote:Hm...perhaps this is something worth touching on at the state board meeting so we can come up with some guidelines.

For the FAFL awards, I am simply interested in the total number of hours that each person has worked. That's all I need. That's it. I can definitely understand the value of collecting hours for each trail within each chapter, but I feel that is a chapter job.

My recommendation would be to collect the total number of hours worked from each member of your chapter. For example, one year I worked in Copper Harbor and I showed up for a trail day at Luton, but joined the Northeast Chapter (neither trail is in that chapter) and my total hours were reported through them.

For chapter purposes, ask *everyone* to specify the number of hours they worked on each Mid-State trail, so you can use that for local advocacy reports.

Next year, we'll be more prepared and we can put the request in the December newsletter that goes out to everyone.


Well, if the state board or IMBA want to institute something for next year, then I am all for it.

This year, I want to implement a device to try and keep up throughout the year, for the Mid-State Chapter. Honestly, I am not at all concerned with the Northeast Chapter, or how they do their reporting.

I was given a rag-tag assembly of hours for local trails. If I am responsible to report ALL hours performed by every Mid-State member, then this was not communicated to me.

It will take 17 seconds at this point to switch the spreadsheet from trail-centered to individual centered. Clarification as to what is desired from the organization would be ideal.
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Re: Mid-State: Report your Own Trail Hours 2011

Postby Di_bear » January 21st, 2011, 10:22 pm

Jon, the Northeast example was just that, an example.

For now, we need an individual-centered count.
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Re: Mid-State: Report your Own Trail Hours 2011

Postby jonw9 » January 21st, 2011, 11:19 pm

Di_bear wrote:Jon, the Northeast example was just that, an example.

For now, we need an individual-centered count.


I completely comprehend that NE was an example, I was just stating I don't care what other chapters are doing, I am trying to work with this chapter.

I am undecided on the format. Perhaps I can get clarification at the Expo, the good news is we have some time before trailwork begins full-swing.
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Re: Mid-State: Report your Own Trail Hours 2011

Postby Di_bear » January 22nd, 2011, 9:20 am

jonw9 wrote:
Di_bear wrote:Jon, the Northeast example was just that, an example.

For now, we need an individual-centered count.


I completely comprehend that NE was an example, I was just stating I don't care what other chapters are doing, I am trying to work with this chapter.

I am undecided on the format. Perhaps I can get clarification at the Expo, the good news is we have some time before trailwork begins full-swing.


Well, I already stated my suggestion and Chris quoted it. If people are entering their own hours, it shouldn't be difficult. For now, a Google spreadsheet is an excellent choice. There are paid services that will do this for you. If you don't care what other chapters are doing, then perhaps the expo won't be any help to you.

I'm done with this.
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Re: Mid-State: Report your Own Trail Hours 2011

Postby c0nsumer » January 22nd, 2011, 10:28 am

jonw9 wrote:
Di_bear wrote:Jon, the Northeast example was just that, an example.

For now, we need an individual-centered count.


I completely comprehend that NE was an example, I was just stating I don't care what other chapters are doing, I am trying to work with this chapter.

I am undecided on the format. Perhaps I can get clarification at the Expo, the good news is we have some time before trailwork begins full-swing.


I've given some thought to a web-based volunteer hour reporting app before, and I think the biggest problems are

1) Ensuring that people don't accidentally double-report. For example, what if a TC puts down all the hours for a trail day, then the volunteer reports all of their hours separately? How does one constrain this without a lot of manual review?
2) Controlling names so you don't end up with someone's hours being reported under a bunch of different name variations / slight misspellings.

I've yet to come up with a straightforward solution for these problems. One way for #1 would be requiring someone to specify a date and a trail system when entering hours, then only allowing a given name to have one entry per trail system per day. This would require maintenance of the trail system list. #2 could be addressed by pre-creating all names, but this would require someone to review the list and make additions / corrections.
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Re: Mid-State: Report your Own Trail Hours 2011

Postby dirt » January 22nd, 2011, 11:02 am

c0nsumer wrote:
jonw9 wrote:
Di_bear wrote:Jon, the Northeast example was just that, an example.

For now, we need an individual-centered count.


I completely comprehend that NE was an example, I was just stating I don't care what other chapters are doing, I am trying to work with this chapter.

I am undecided on the format. Perhaps I can get clarification at the Expo, the good news is we have some time before trailwork begins full-swing.


I've given some thought to a web-based volunteer hour reporting app before, and I think the biggest problems are

1) Ensuring that people don't accidentally double-report. For example, what if a TC puts down all the hours for a trail day, then the volunteer reports all of their hours separately? How does one constrain this without a lot of manual review?
2) Controlling names so you don't end up with someone's hours being reported under a bunch of different name variations / slight misspellings.

I've yet to come up with a straightforward solution for these problems. One way for #1 would be requiring someone to specify a date and a trail system when entering hours, then only allowing a given name to have one entry per trail system per day. This would require maintenance of the trail system list. #2 could be addressed by pre-creating all names, but this would require someone to review the list and make additions / corrections.


I think the trail list would be pretty complete from the start, but yes, some updating would be required. But, I think the edits would quickly downward trend as the list matures.

I would suggest allowing people to add names to the list themselves, if their name doesn't already exist. Sure, you'll still get dups, but catching/correcting those would be still less work then trying to get the majority of the names at the start. Again, as the list matures, it'll become better. Most of the work would be at the start.

But, even if we don't put all of these guards in place and don't normalize the data, and just output a large CVS file at the end of the year, and someone in the chapter can cut away the data for trails outside of their chapter, sort thru the names and dates to catch duplicate hours reported and multiple spellings of trails and volunteers names, they are still probably going to be getting better data then we do currently, and it'll probably still be less work then its currently taking. We may not be able to produce a perfect solution, but we can certainly capture more data easier then we are currently.
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Re: Mid-State: Report your Own Trail Hours 2011

Postby jonw9 » January 22nd, 2011, 11:44 am

c0nsumer wrote:
jonw9 wrote:
Di_bear wrote:Jon, the Northeast example was just that, an example.

For now, we need an individual-centered count.


I completely comprehend that NE was an example, I was just stating I don't care what other chapters are doing, I am trying to work with this chapter.

I am undecided on the format. Perhaps I can get clarification at the Expo, the good news is we have some time before trailwork begins full-swing.


I've given some thought to a web-based volunteer hour reporting app before, and I think the biggest problems are

1) Ensuring that people don't accidentally double-report. For example, what if a TC puts down all the hours for a trail day, then the volunteer reports all of their hours separately? How does one constrain this without a lot of manual review?
2) Controlling names so you don't end up with someone's hours being reported under a bunch of different name variations / slight misspellings.

I've yet to come up with a straightforward solution for these problems. One way for #1 would be requiring someone to specify a date and a trail system when entering hours, then only allowing a given name to have one entry per trail system per day. This would require maintenance of the trail system list. #2 could be addressed by pre-creating all names, but this would require someone to review the list and make additions / corrections.


1) I think going trail based (or document which trail), and having a date would help eliminate this. Additionally, with the handful of people that show up at a Mid-State trail day, I don't think this would be too much of an issue. The TC could then verify. Part of this is to prevent the TCs from having to track all of this themselves.
2) If an individual inputs their own data, then this wouldn't be an issue. Perhaps moving to a name-centered format would alleviate this as well.

Most of the sheet is unlocked, so people will be able to add their own tab, and spell their name correctly.
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Re: Mid-State: Report your Own Trail Hours 2011

Postby jonw9 » January 22nd, 2011, 11:51 am

dirt wrote:I think the trail list would be pretty complete from the start, but yes, some updating would be required. But, I think the edits would quickly downward trend as the list matures.

I would suggest allowing people to add names to the list themselves, if their name doesn't already exist. Sure, you'll still get dups, but catching/correcting those would be still less work then trying to get the majority of the names at the start. Again, as the list matures, it'll become better. Most of the work would be at the start.

But, even if we don't put all of these guards in place and don't normalize the data, and just output a large CVS file at the end of the year, and someone in the chapter can cut away the data for trails outside of their chapter, sort thru the names and dates to catch duplicate hours reported and multiple spellings of trails and volunteers names, they are still probably going to be getting better data then we do currently, and it'll probably still be less work then its currently taking. We may not be able to produce a perfect solution, but we can certainly capture more data easier then we are currently.


Are you referring more to a organization wide tracking chart? That would work nicely by trail, then each member can log on the correct location. As it has been pointed out, individuals crossing chapter boundaries is where the confusion rolls in.

Such a program will require more than a Google doc, and more effort than I can put forth right now. There may be somebody with said skills that could "throw" something like this together quickly.
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Re: Mid-State: Report your Own Trail Hours 2011

Postby jonw9 » January 22nd, 2011, 12:17 pm

Updated the first post, and transferred to an individual based format.
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Re: Mid-State: Report your Own Trail Hours 2011

Postby c0nsumer » January 22nd, 2011, 12:24 pm

jonw9 wrote:
c0nsumer wrote:
jonw9 wrote:
Di_bear wrote:Jon, the Northeast example was just that, an example.

For now, we need an individual-centered count.


I completely comprehend that NE was an example, I was just stating I don't care what other chapters are doing, I am trying to work with this chapter.

I am undecided on the format. Perhaps I can get clarification at the Expo, the good news is we have some time before trailwork begins full-swing.


I've given some thought to a web-based volunteer hour reporting app before, and I think the biggest problems are

1) Ensuring that people don't accidentally double-report. For example, what if a TC puts down all the hours for a trail day, then the volunteer reports all of their hours separately? How does one constrain this without a lot of manual review?
2) Controlling names so you don't end up with someone's hours being reported under a bunch of different name variations / slight misspellings.

I've yet to come up with a straightforward solution for these problems. One way for #1 would be requiring someone to specify a date and a trail system when entering hours, then only allowing a given name to have one entry per trail system per day. This would require maintenance of the trail system list. #2 could be addressed by pre-creating all names, but this would require someone to review the list and make additions / corrections.


1) I think going trail based (or document which trail), and having a date would help eliminate this. Additionally, with the handful of people that show up at a Mid-State trail day, I don't think this would be too much of an issue. The TC could then verify. Part of this is to prevent the TCs from having to track all of this themselves.
2) If an individual inputs their own data, then this wouldn't be an issue. Perhaps moving to a name-centered format would alleviate this as well.

Most of the sheet is unlocked, so people will be able to add their own tab, and spell their name correctly.


Someone will still need to check up on all the numbers. After all, it's not uncommon for people to show up at trail days "just wanting to help", and then they'll need to be told about the tracking tool, how to access it, how to update it, how not to *beep* up everyone else's numbers, etc.

I'd love to write an app to do this, but it's a huge task and I simply don't have the time available right now. I can't help but wonder if IMBA already has some sort of volunteer hour tracking application in place. What we really need is not dissimilar to an employee hour time tracking tool, and those are generally not developed in-house.
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Re: Mid-State: Report your Own Trail Hours 2011

Postby jonw9 » January 22nd, 2011, 12:30 pm

We will still have somebody to verify the hours somewhat. The trail days aren't as much of a concern as the individuals who come out after work and spend a couple hours trimming.

The majority of trail workers in the chapter already know about the sheet, but we will make an effort to spread the word.

I thought about "locking" an individual's sheet, but I think it requires a google account, or at least logging in. I guess those with a google account can request to have their page locked can request to do so.

That was the other consideration is I didn't want to go too far with this, knowing that there may be some IMBA thing coming down the pipes.
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Re: Mid-State: Report your Own Trail Hours 2011

Postby jonw9 » January 29th, 2011, 10:51 pm

Alright,

I again updated the way the sheet works based on a from I saw on in the linked thread in the first post.

The sheet is now a form to fill out, which should be more reliable, and repeatable to fill out. Additionally this will protect your information from being seen or modified by others.

The link has been corrected on the first post, and in my signature. Take a moment and let me know what you think.
www.tinyurl.com/MidstateTrailHours

Thanks for your patience.
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Re: Mid-State: Report your Own Trail Hours 2011

Postby spwrozek » January 31st, 2011, 11:53 am

Looks good, just can't click the link to get the wavier form.
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Re: Re: Mid-State: Report your Own Trail Hours 2011

Postby jonw9 » January 31st, 2011, 2:41 pm

spwrozek wrote:Looks good, just can't click the link to get the wavier form.


Yeah, it doesn't link, I have not tried adding the html code to see if it will work. Another option would be putiing it in the header.

I will work on that when I get a chance.
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