Attempt to keep log of issues

Hi there, i’ve not been logging every time there’s an issue, because it’s quite a lot of work to do so, but now I’m gonna try for a little while. My reports will always be the German server.

Tue 22 Feb - tried to meet a member of staff from a local council on their work computer. The Security Settings gave them a warning about the website, but did allow them to go ahead anyway. However, on both Edge and Chrome they couldn’t connect to audio (using headphones) and weren’t given a choice over mic. It was my first time talking to them, so i obviously didn’t ask for much more - but this is a person whose job is to promote worker co-ops and employee ownership in South Yorkshire, so it would be good if she could get on.

Sunday 20th Feb, Radical Routes gathering - one user couldn’t get their audio working on meet.coop and we didn’t have anyone volunteering as tech support (a crucial role for our gatherings), so there wasn’t capacity to deal with the problem, we switched to Zoom. Sorry i didn’t get more details, was facilitating.

Sunday 20th Feb - Rad Routes gathering: we had to switch to Zoom so we could get closed captions, for participants with access issues (plus we were in a really echoey hall). Here’s a comment from remote participants:
“Attending the business meetings and workshops was difficult as it was hard to hear what people were saying in the room; when captioning was turned on in Zoom it did help somewhat, but for the workshops that used meet.coop, our members found it impossible to engage due to poor audio quality and lack of captions.” " Until meet.coop has a captioning function, we think that online meetings should continue to be held on Zoom - the lack of captioning excludes participants who are d/Deaf, hard of hearing, or have auditory processing problems."

thanks @leedscath for reporting this. I’m sorry to hear this, and we discussed last week in the ops all hands meeting to improve our support processes. One thing is to get more details from users when they experience an incident. We’re preparing a more detailed question form for this purpose, with questions like these:

  • a description of the issue (can’t complete echo test, choppy audio, client disconnects, specific error messages, etc.)
  • time and date of a recent meeting where they experienced issues
  • whether these issues started/got worse recently without any client side changes
  • technical details:
    • device type/brand/model
    • OS version
    • browser version

Often times its something to do at the participant’s side, sometimes simply the user’s browser and changing to Firefox or Chrome may help. But other situations may occur.

What your participants say about captioning is very interesting. One the one hand you may know that captioning does work inside meet.coop rooms by default. The room owner/moderator can activate captions by language inside the room (from the left hand configuration wheel). But that still does require a human simultaneous translator. We know that some collectives use this for assemblies and multi-language gatherings, so participants can choose which subtitle language they want to see on the whiteboard. An additional feature to be developed might be to have automatic subtitles with some voice-to-text engine, and even nicer if we could also add automatic translations to that. If that’s something many people want, then we might set a crowdfunding goal for it and pool resources to develop these features.

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Thanks Wouter, that’s all helpful - when you say ‘simultaneous translator’, do you mean someone typing really fast? I suspect that will be a luxury for most meetings i’m involved with, so the auto translator would be great - it’s something people are used to with Zoom, so they go back straight away. It’ll be good to let RR know if there’s a crowd-funder we can support to make it happen.

I’ll carry on reporting here.
Sun 13th March 6.45-7.15pm UTC - only 3 people in an informal meeting, so we were able to trouble-shoot, which is often not possible.
User on iPhone Safari - mic kept cutting out, so she had to rejoin multiple times - in the end worked out that when her screen went to sleep, the mic cut out. So she had to keep touching the screen to keep it awake.

After forgetting for a few months about my attempt to log issues here, here’s a sad one, Aug 30th - the new UK worker co-op federation (workers.coop) has been attempting to use meet.coop for its meetings, but when people have less-than-perfect wifi, the connections/audio become impossible. And although dodgy wifi is still an issue with Zoom, it is at least usable, so we’ve decided to move to Zoom for workers.coop mission circle meetings.

I don’t know what the specific causes of our problems are - at various stages several of us had deteriorating connections which were improved by leaving and rejoining. At least one person had their input audio mysteriously stop, which was fixed by refreshing - this is something i’ve seen more than once. These days my advice is always to refresh at the earliest sign of problems, but, frankly, that is disruptive and makes meetings more difficult than they often already are.

I also have a problem that after a while (usually about 40-45 mins) either meet.coop seems to lose interest in my connection or my laptop seems to lose interest in meet.coop - I’ve started taking it as a sign that maybe the meeting should end soon. But that’s not how most people approach the issue!

I realise there’s not much constructive/useful detail here to work with, my apologies for that.

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Thanks Cath for sharing these issues. It’s sad to here. And it’s true that BigTech corporations like Zoom have been able to invest many millions in audio Codecs to be more tolerant to less-than-perfect internet connections.

In general though a critical aspect for good audio connections is the time lapse from/to your device to the server. That should be less than 150 ms ideally for reasonable quality audio connections.

Personally I have been in locations where the ADSL internet connection was slower and when I switched to a mobile hotspot through a mobile phone and things worked (much) better.

Then there are audio/video connection issues that are solved in the newer versions of BigBlueButton. And I have to admit that we are behind, because upgrading takes testing, migration etc. But we’re advancing on that part. One important aspect is that we have set uip and migrated to the Single Sign On server, which makes migrations much easier.

Now our plan for this month is to set up a new server, with the generous support of Agaric, with the latest BBB version, that all members will be able to make use of. And right after we’ll start migrating the other servers. So watch this space.

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