Here come the results from the survey!

siovene
06 Mar, 2018 09:55
Dear all,
the moment you have awaited is finally here! I am ready to announce the results of the 2018 survey.

First of all, thank you so much for your participations. Frankly I did not expect so many, but you totally blew my socks off: the survey received 1575 responses!

Let's dig into analysis.

Who you are:
  • 82% of you do backyard astrophotography
  • 50% travel to dark sites
  • 6% own remotely hosted equipment
  • 5% rent time on remotely hosted equipment
  • 5% post-process data acquired by others
  • 4% post-process professional data (Hubble etc)
What you do:
  • 95% do deep-sky astrophotography
  • 47% lunar
  • 30% planets
  • 28% comets
  • 27% sun
  • 20% terrestrial
What you like in AstroBin:
  • 85% like the fact that most images are annotated with gear and acquisition data
  • 68% like the fact that AstroBin is a centralized searchable repository
  • 60% like the fact that AstorBin is a large, focused community
  • 50% like the fact that AstroBin hosts your images at full size and uncompressed
How satisfied you are with AstroBin:
  • 3% of you are less than satisfied with AstroBin
  • 97% are somewhat satisfied to very satisfied
What you would like to see improved on AstroBin:
  • 38% want a better gear database
  • 34% want a better search engine
  • 31% want an official mobile app
  • 21% want more contests
  • 19% want a Buy&Sell section
  • 17% want a better plate-solving
The IOTD/TP:
  • 92% of you are either satisfied or have no opinion about the IOTD/TP
  • 8% would like to see it improved significantly
  • The majority aspire to winning the IOTD/TP
  • The majority think that the IOTD/TP should be the objectively best image
  • Contradictorily, in my opinion, the majority think that IOTD/TP should reward intent
  • The majority think that it's unfair that remote hosted setups compete for IOTD/TP in the same category as backyard and traveling astrophotographers
  • You are very divided on whether or not big budget setups should compete for IOTD/TP in the same category as less expensive setups
  • The majority of you would like to see themed contests
  • You don't have a strong opinion on whether or not the IOTD/TP should be selected by an appointed jury of industry experts
  • You don't have a strong opinion on whether or not the IOTD/TP selection should be expanded to the whole community in a more democratic fashion
  • However, most of you are interested in investing 5 minutes a day to contribute to the IOTD/TP process
Payment and price:
  • 60% would like to pay yearly with auto-renew
  • 42% would like to pay yearly without auto-renew
  • 6% would like to pay monthly
  • The majority would still pay for AstroBin if the price went up
  • The majority of those who are on a Free account do not pay because they do not take enough images to justify the price
  • The majority of those who are not on AstroBin at all do not have an account because they object to the fact that AstroBin is not free
  • The biggest competitor to AstroBin, i.e. the place where people who are not on AstroBin post their images the most, is Facebook

How is this survey influencing the future of AstroBin?


  • The IOTD will remain as one. I will not split into multiple IOTD per day according to categories, and I will not have a different IOTD theme each day of the week. I subscribe to the theory that doing so will devalue the IOTD. Despite all the regular controversy surrounding the IOTD, only 8% of you think that the IOTD process should change significantly.
I plan however some minor adjustments:

  • The submission stage will be extended to the whole community. Only the top N submitted images will make it to the Review stage.
  • The Reviewer group will grow in number, and only images that receive at least N votes will make to the judgement stage.
  • The final IOTD will need at least 2 judges to vote for it, independently and unaware of each other.
  • Optionally, a Grand Judge will be able to change the days for some selected IOTD to avoid consecutive images of the same subject, for example.
  • I will add the following tags/badges to be added to all images by the uploader:
    • Backyard: image acquired from home
    • Traveling: image acquired by traveling somewhere with one's equipment
    • Remote: image was acquired from home, controlling a remote setup
    • Downloaded: image was the result of post-processing data that was ordered and downloaded
    • Professional: image was the result of post-processing data download from a professional observatory
    • Other: none of the above
  • The tags/badges above will categorize the Top Picks and be available to filter searches
  • I will work on the following features, in the order:
    • A new Equipment Module to address all the problems with the current one (mainly data duplication)
    • A better Search Engine with better capabilities
    • A Contests Module to allow generic themed contests. This will allow for one-time or repeating contests, and everybody who will be interested will be able to participate with images and with voting. E.g.:
      • Galaxy of the month
      • Hubble Palette nebula
      • Leonids shower 2018
      • Etc
    • An Android/iPhone app
    • A Buy & Sell Module
  • The features above are quite massive in terms of development time, especially the Buy & Sell, the mobile app, and the Contests Module. When I release them, I plan do doing it as part of a "Premium Plus" membership, with price yet to be determined.
  • Finally, I plan to start showing ads to Premium members too. Most of you are not opposed to this, as per the survey, and you would be able to opt-out. The ads would be non-intrusive and astronomy/astrophotography only. And as I said, there will be a button to opt-out.

On a final note, I would like to reiterate on my motivations and situation. I have a full time day job for 42 hours a week, two children aged 2 and 5, and another hobby that is not related to astronomy and is an important part of my life.

Currently I get to work on AstroBin for about 4-8 hours a week. This is not enough of course, to support a community that is this large.
In full disclosure, AstroBin more than pays for itself. It makes me solid money-on-the-side, but it's not enough to live on and support my family. I also live in one of the most expensive countries in the world, Switzerland.

My end goal is to make AstroBin profitable enough that I could dedicate myself to it entirely. I know that some people out there think of it as a money grab, but it's not: AstroBin is a work of love and I enjoy working on it, and I truly think that this community needs a tool like it, and it needs it to be the best it can be.

I am hoping that when the planned new features will be released, I can convince most of you to move to the Premium Plus plan and get me closer to making AstroBin a full time job, so that it can truly take off from there. Imagine what I could do if I worked on AstroBin 40 hours/week :-)

But please note: this is very ambitious and it will take a long time. AstroBin is, frankly, bigger than one man can handle. This is why years ago I made it open source in hopes of receiving contributions. I did receive some minor ones, but not nearly as much as I hoped.

If you can program and know or are interested in Python, Django, Docker, Celery, Elasticsearch, Postgres, etc, please head over to the source code repository and send me some pull requests :-) https://github.com/astrobin/astrobin

Thank you all for reading, I'm looking forward to reading your comments on this topic.

PS: I didn't forget that some prizes were offered for this survey. I will announce the winners soon!

Salvatore
Edited 06 Mar, 2018 10:08
patrickgilliland
06 Mar, 2018 10:24
Great work Salve - democracy in action smile
Look forward to the updates.
Paddy
swag72
06 Mar, 2018 10:45
Salvatore Iovene
The majority think that it's unfair that remote hosted setups compete for IOTD/TP in the same category as backyard and traveling astrophotographers

Interesting …….  So the majority think it's unfair…………. yet there will be no change to IoTD to reflect this unfairness felt by over 50% of those who answered the survey….. Have I understood that correctly?
RRBBarbosa
06 Mar, 2018 10:50
Sara Wager
Interesting …….  So the majority think it's unfair…………. yet there will be no change to IoTD to reflect this unfairness felt by over 50% of those who answered the survey….. Have I understood that correctly?
Yes Sara, you understood correctly  smile.

I was not surprised by the actions to take. Nor was I satisfied.

Clearly, the key question we were discussing was not posed in the survey and this conditioned the conclusions.

I could add more thoughts but, as they are against the commercial current, I prefer to reserve it for myself.

Maybe one day a different thought will arise.

Best Regards.
Edited 06 Mar, 2018 10:51
siovene
06 Mar, 2018 10:52
Sara Wager
Interesting …….  So the majority think it's unfair…………. yet there will be no change to IoTD to reflect this unfairness felt by over 50% of those who answered the survey….. Have I understood that correctly?
Yes. The decision is based on the fact that I don't feel that images coming from remote setups are over-represented in the IOTD (there was also some hard data to back this feeling, provided by Roberto Colombari; additionally, I plan to use the tags that I will add to actually confirm the data).

In my eyes, AstroBin should be a reflection of the astrophotography community, and it looks like only about 10% of the pictures come from remote observatories. I don't think it makes sense to segregate them.

The planned Contests Module will address those who wish to have contests for specific themes. So you can have a "April Star Party contest for the Astronomical Association XYZ", or the "Monthly low budget contests", the "Monthly AZ mount contest", or whatever.

I will re-evaluate my position after having collected some data via the new tags and seen how the themed contests go.
swag72
06 Mar, 2018 11:02
Thanks Ruben and Salvatore for confirming what  thought I had read.

Thank you Salvatore for taking the time and effort to make the survey and analyse the results for us.
Edited 06 Mar, 2018 11:04
DavideCoverta
06 Mar, 2018 11:21
Paddy Gilliland
Great work Salve - democracy in action
Salvatore Iovene
Sara Wager
Interesting …….  So the majority think it's unfair…………. yet there will be no change to IoTD to reflect this unfairness felt by over 50% of those who answered the survey….. Have I understood that correctly?
Yes. The decision is based on the fact that I don't feel…
smile
swag72
06 Mar, 2018 11:23
Davide Coverta
Paddy Gilliland
Great work Salve - democracy in action
Salvatore Iovene
Sara Wager
Interesting …….  So the majority think it's unfair…………. yet there will be no change to IoTD to reflect this unfairness felt by over 50% of those who answered the survey….. Have I understood that correctly?
.
smile
Oh the irony …..  LOL!!!
Edited 06 Mar, 2018 11:25
rob77
06 Mar, 2018 11:38
Paddy Gilliland
Great work Salve - democracy in action Look forward to the updates. Paddy

Salvatore Iovene
The IOTD/TP:92% of you are either satisfied or have no opinion about the IOTD/TP
8% would like to see it improved significantly
Paddy has probably not taken into account that the questions are linearly indipendent.
I mean, it's not just the 8% of the AB population that stated that it is not fair. It's the whole.

Cheers
Edited 06 Mar, 2018 11:39
siovene
06 Mar, 2018 11:45
Please consider the tags and the categorization of TP as a trial. We might extend it to IOTD in the future. Or IOTD might become obsolete because of the generic Contests Module. And my decision was not based on "feel", but on the data provided by Roberto's script, showing that remote images are not over-represented in the IOTD. Also based on the fact that 92% are not dissatisfied by the IOTD.
rob77
06 Mar, 2018 11:51
Yeah, let's see how things are going on.

I think it is reasonable to test categories in TPs. And actually in TPs - just my feeling hey - purchased data have much more weight than they have in IOTDs.

Cheers
siovene
06 Mar, 2018 11:52
We will know soon. I plan on adding the tags soon.
patrickgilliland
06 Mar, 2018 11:55
Roberto Colombari
Paddy has probably not taken
Sara Wager
Oh the irony …..  LOL!!!

I had read the answers and like others see the contradictions but…..
Salva has gone to the effort of conducting the survey and 'great work' was a nod to him for trying - not a conclusion on the results and outcomes.

Unfortunately, this is democracy in action (Churchill - 'democracy is the worse form of government - apart from all the others'smile - it means some of us get what we did not want or even expect from time to time.

The data is clear yet contradictory (which really highlights the problem across a large demographic) a decision (governance) was required and was taken as I read it.  We can carry on complaining about it as much as we like or get on with the hobby and stop whining, the site is going to evolve more and some nice new features.  I'll focus on those positives rather than knocking the efforts that have been made.

I am sure these features will improve the site and evolve further with time.  I can live with progress  smile
Edited 06 Mar, 2018 11:56
swag72
06 Mar, 2018 12:04
Paddy Gilliland
……We can carry on complaining about it as much as we like or get on with the hobby and stop whining……

I wasn't complaining nor whining Paddy - Just seeking clarification and then making a comment.
khrrugh
06 Mar, 2018 12:45
Great Job, Salvatore. Just carry on like this. Visiting AstroBin feels like coming home for me - even after only a few month of membership smile
hbastro
06 Mar, 2018 13:09
Great Job Salvatore!
There are as many great opinions, as great images, and imagers here!
Edited 06 Mar, 2018 13:09
patrickgilliland
06 Mar, 2018 13:40
Sara Wager
I wasn't complaining nor whining Paddy
Sorry I clearly misunderstood - net position at end of it was it is ironic.  Maybe that is a positive smile I don't see
While closer to an Electocracy maybe, Salva simply went with the element that had the higher %, seems democratic to me, not really seeing the irony in that.  Had he have gone the other way you could have still levelled irony as a response, as he had not gone with the 92%.  Lose, lose based on that.  You don't always get what you want in a democracy and sometimes governance is required to resolve contradictory requirements.
I am going to make a picture - seems like the best solution to me  smile
whwang
06 Mar, 2018 14:52
Regarding the " contradictions," let me offer a theory that can make the contradiction go away.

As the data show, most users think it is unfair for remote setup to compete with backyard/travel setup.  However, what if  the remote group has been given a higher bar in the IOTD selection process so it is more difficult for them to get IOTD?  In such a case, although the competition starts with some unfairness, it is balanced in the selection process (this could be supported by the analyses made by Roberto ) and most of the users are OK with the outcome.  And therefore at the end, most of the users do not demand a change to IOTD.

If you think along this line, then there is unnecessarily a contradiction.
cosmophoton
06 Mar, 2018 16:09
Salvatore Iovene
The majority think that it's unfair that remote hosted setups compete for IOTD/TP in the same category as backyard and traveling astrophotographers

Is it possible to give a percentage?

Thanks in advance,
Luiz
rob77
06 Mar, 2018 16:27
Just for sake of curiosity, I went back to the survey.
We have the following questions about IOTD:

0. What are your feelings about the IOTD (Image of the Day) contest? *

  • I don't like it and I want it completely gone
  • I think it works well because it mostly selects images that deserve the recognition
  • I think it works well but it needs some minor improvements to make the selection better
  • I don't know / I don't care

1. The IOTD/Top Picks something that I aspire to. *
2. The IOTD/Top Picks should always be the top quality image for that day. *
3. The IOTD/Top Picks should reward intent and effort just as much as quality. *
4. It's unfair that astrophotographers with remotely hosted setups compete for IOTD/Top Picks in the same category as backyard or travelling astrophotographers. *
5. It's unfair that astrophotographers with big budget equipment compete for IOTD/Top Picks in the same category as those with less expensive equipment. *
6. I would like to see more themed and specific contexts. *
7. The IOTD/Top Picks should be selected by a jury of industry experts that are universally recognised for their achievements. *
8. The IOTD/Top Picks should be selected by the AstroBin community via a voting process that involves as many people as possible, for democracy. *
9. I am interested in contributing to the IOTD/Top Picks selection by investing 5-10 minutes a day into it.

Where does the following conclusion come from? –>

Salvatore Iovene
92% of you are either satisfied or have no opinion about the IOTD/TP
gnomus
06 Mar, 2018 16:30
Thanks again for this Salvatore.  What a pain it must have been compiling all that data.

I see no contradiction.  Whilst a majority believe (rightly or wrongly) that some folks have an advantage over others, they still think that the best image should be IOTD.  Maybe this is simply an acknowledgement of something that applies generally in life - that whilst ‘unfairness’ exists, as often as not, the solutions offered to eradicate it are worse.
siovene
06 Mar, 2018 17:21
Luiz Duczmal
Is it possible to give a percentage?


Roberto Colombari
Where does the following conclusion come from? –> "Salvatore Iovene: 92% of you are either satisfied or have no opinion about the IOTD/TP
37.7% said it works well
26.3% said it works well but could see minor improvements
28.1% said "don't know / don't care"
jeffbax
06 Mar, 2018 17:26
Great job smile

Thks Salvatore.

JF
rob77
06 Mar, 2018 17:34
Thanks. Now it is far more clear.

I would read the numbers in a different way, however, otherwise it seems a plebiscite, which is not IMO.

We have 37.7% + 26.3% that we can correctly say that are satisfied about the IOTD quality (I am one of these, I really think that nearly always IOTDs are outstanding images - with some exceptions, of course).

But once asked if IOTD is fair, 2/3 of the site states "no" (and I am one of those, again).
That is why, IMHO, we should really pay attention to the exercise we are going to do for the TPs (categories) and maybe apply it to the IOTDs as well.

Cheers
Edited 06 Mar, 2018 17:35
carastro
06 Mar, 2018 18:08
Salvatore Iovene
The majority think that it's unfair that remote hosted setups compete for IOTD/TP in the same category as backyard and traveling astrophotographers

Then the majority of Astrobin members are going to be disappointed with the final decision, but as the site owner Salvatore of course has the final word.
It is appreciated that Salvatore has limited time to work on Astrobin and for that we must all be very grateful and for the provision of such an excellent and useful site.

We will have to see how the new ideas Salvatore has will work.

Carole
Edited 06 Mar, 2018 18:09
 
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