I read the explanations about the algorithm and I think I understand where the discrepancy in the conversation is.
There are two different sets of “goals and points of view” here. Tomnod’s and the user’s.
You are right, from TN point of view the mission will be accomplished anyway. The algorithm sends new nodders to priority tiles. Each nodder will be placed on a different tiles than the others depending on the tiles priority matrix set at that time point by Crowd rank (CR).
It is an effective way to search the entire map. I use similar techniques on my technical data sets to search for optimal values in my system.
But there is also another point of view, that of the user (nodder).
I rarely find myself jumping from tile to tile by the “jump to priorety area” button. too often there is an object to tag on the edge of the adjacent tile and so I move to that tile next. and to the next one. I might follow a road if I fancy tagging road blocks or just consistently walk to cover the damage in a multi-tile area. In areas I do not find anything immediately like in Houston, I do a “1 on 1 off” sampling of the map as it is quicker than moving to every tile until I start seeing something to tag and then will resume visiting adjacent tiles. only when I get frustrated I will zoom out and start fresh in a new point, or use the “jump” button.
I do that because I try to optimize my time expenditure. I am selfish in that respect. I choose to spend my time and effort (“my resources”) and I do that willingly but I try to optimize my spending of that resource for selfish reasons. I have a slightly slow (though new) computer so the tiles do not load instantly. Waiting for an empty tile to load is a waste I would like to avoid.
I am sure that if TN will look into “tile visiting patterns” it will find some interesting stuff related to human behavior and psychology. I wonder how many employ similar techniques in effort of optimizing their time. I know some are more patient than me and just go row by row or column-wise to cover the entire map, but I rarely do so.
But the point is this, regardless of the the nodder’s search pattern he or she would probably like to skip those tiles that contain nothing. Time is a personal resource (mine is spent very late at night or early morning [4am] ) that we choose to spend at tomnod not because we have nothing else important to do but because we believe we are doing an important thing and helping someone in need. That time is a precious commodity, and the reason why the user need to be considered too. We will continue to “grit teeth” through maps as @cageycat said but I would love to keep mine whole as long as I can .
I am not saying we should trash the system or that it is the worst ever, on the contrary it is a great system.
I just think it can be slightly better.
Regardless, of the actual solution TN would use (when resources availability allow it) to help us optimize time on the site, I would be very appreciative for TN for doing so. and I think it would result in faster campaigns.
A big thank you. (especially if you read the whole thing through )
I have some UI suggestions that might be simple to implement (again I dare not assume anything about the way the system is built or other constraints.)
- instead of black only, color the unvisited tiles according to the current CR priorety matrix or a simplified form of it.
- “no data voting” button and ability to toggle visibility of empty tiles on and off. a ranking system ( CR maybe?) might be used to filter out ‘spammers’ and the like.