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I’m drained

Please don't discard work when redirecting to login

I just spent quite a bit of time writing a biography for an individual. It took quite a bit of time as I consulted all the notes of the research I have been doing. When done, I submitted my work but my session had timed out so I was redirected to a login page. My biography was discarded. I don't have the time or heart to go back and recreate what I wrote. So my suggestion is: when redirecting a user to a login screen, preserve the work he/she was doing so that it can be submitted or completed or whatever action he/she was attempting when sent to login.
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  • May not be appropriate forum. I thought I was submitting a suggestion to familysearch developers. This appears to be a user self-support forum. I'm not looking for suggestions on preventing this in the future. Hopefully, lesson learned from my end.
    • From my understanding, this IS an appropriate forum for suggestions as all notes here are read by employees of Family Search. The discussion that usually follows such suggestions can also be useful, both to FS (Alternatives and more efficient ways of implementing the suggestions can be revealed) as well as to all other participants (ideas for work-arounds until changes are made frequently can appear here).

      I'm not an employee of FS, but thanks for your participation and suggestions here as I benefit from them as well!
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  • 2
    In such a situation - realising that stretches of inactivity will see you logged out - when preparing such a document, do it off line in a word processor then simply copy and paste to where you want it in your records on FS Family Tree.

    Maybe even convert it to a pdf format and upload it to your memories Gallery for tagging/attaching to those mentioned.
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  • Welcome to the community support forum for FamilySearch. FamilySearch personnel read every discussion thread and may or may not respond as their time permits. We patrons, having various levels of knowledge and experience do our best to help each other with concerns, issues. and/or questions.

    The problems associated with the no activity time out are not tied to FamilySearch, but to your particular internet/network connection. When the connection is broken after twenty minutes of no activity, the FamilySearch site requires your system to re-establish the connection with the credentials. Any work is automatically lost that was waiting to be finalized by the patron.

    Because of the time-out, which was established to prevent nefarious individuals from working with the site from any computer, regardless of where it is located, FamilySearch has basically said that the time out will not change as a matter of security.

    My recommendation is and continues to be, work off-line (locally to your computer) for any entries that require extended typing and would be lost if the patron was called away from their computer for any reason.

    That way, when the material is ready, it can be copied and pasted into whatever field it was prepared for. That way, you avoid the disconnect when you do not work actively within the site.

    Is there a solution between your computer and FamilySearch? Yes, there is, but I'm not sure what would have to be done. The solution involves sending a "keep-alive" to FamilySearch to reset the twenty-minute timer. It involves monitoring all activity in any field where this kind of extended activity may take place.

    However, that will not resolve the problem when a person simply walks away from their computer to do something else and leaves it unattended. That is also the real reason the time-out exists. No activity means an abandoned computer and in a public place, that means that anyone can walk up to it and use it without the patron's knowledge. That represent a major security breach, especially in a public setting, such as a library.
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  • As others have said this is due to a 20 minute "security" timeout. It is one thing on a public computer, but on a home computer it is at best intensely annoying and at worst a time-wasting menace which loses a great deal of work (as your situation demonstrates).

    The 20 minute "security" timeout is necessary on public computers. On private computers it is useless security theatre. However it is arguable that the time limit on public computers is actually far, far too long. A great deal of damage can be done in 20 minutes. 5 minutes, or perhaps even less would be much more appropriate timeout on a public computer.

    It is also very, very clumsily designed. The login process should never, ever, EVER lose work like that. Other sites manage to do similar things without a screen-blanking interlude, so this site should be able to do so.
    • And for privately-owned computers in a public setting on a pubic Wi-Fi?

      That's the reason the timeout is applied across the board on all computers that connect to FamilySearch.

      The only true private setting is in your own home. And even then, how is FamilySearch to determine that your computer is on a fixed IP address that is being provided to your home?

      The answer is that with the number of internet connections in existence today, we are all working on a shared network (the internet) and our IP address can and does change without our knowing it.

      Sorry, but the timeout, if it is going to be applied, has to be applied across the board because we users in our homes do not have a guaranteed IP address for our internet connection. The same is true for almost all internet connections from local networks into the internet.
    • Incidentally, the very reason for the timeout was because a person who wanted to cause problems for the church would walk around the Family History Library looking for a temporarily abandoned and signed-in computer.

      In many cases, that computer was not a computer supplied by the Family History Library, but a private computer that had been brought into the library to be used by its owner.

      Yes, the timeout should be shorter, but that would cause even more problems. I don't know how the twenty-minute timeout was reached, but if I remember, there was a discussion that mentioned that the twenty minutes was the ideal time length through studies at the FHL.
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  • I’m sympathetic to the max
    1
    Michael,

    I feel your pain! Many years ago, after crafting a very important email with a lot of though and rework, I hit the "Send" button and was immediately appalled by the fact that it not only refused to be sent because of a timeout, It also disposed of the entire text I had created in an unretrievable way.

    Ever since then, EVERY TIME I create an email or posting that I know I have to think through a bit more and spend a bit more time on, I always do it in a text editor of some type on my PC. I can do frequent saves if it is really long, and when done, I copy-paste the entire thing into the posting or email.

    It is a complete nuisance, but there has been SEVERAL times that this saved me much grief! Also, in the intermediate area between short quick thoughts, and long highly massaged texts, I have pushed my luck many times and regretted it as well.

    Yea, developers should know how to produce durable code, but the challenges to that include:

    - Inexperienced developers (no FEMCA and mitigation understanding)

    - Inexperienced developers who THINK they are really experienced.

    - Other unstable systems that must be used together with the system being developed (no amount of web mitigation will really help when the power in your house goes out because the power company feels they don't need to provide warnings when they are going to shut down the power for part of your block on a Saturday morning. Another would be an ISP that doesn't believe in using UPSs on their fiber optic repeaters)

    You will probably eventually take matters into your own hands and protect your work with your own backups. You cannot rely on technical developers to really care about that. And with the dearth of really good Requirements Engineers, you're not going to find many system requirement specifications that can appropriately spell out durability type requirements, especially for software.

    Learn from the pain. You'll be a happier camper :-)
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    Michael

    Even where there is a regular "auto save" function (like when I am typing an email) a competent typist could lose a lot of information in between the "saves". I'd advise ALWAYS typing any extended piece in Word (or similar) and saving every two or three sentences. At my last place of work we regularly had power outages and there were frequently cries of anguish from my colleagues at their loss of what they had just diligently typed!
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  • To help direct this issue to the correct people, can you explain what page/section you were on when writing this biography?

    Were you on a person page on the Details tab, and were you entering the biography as a Note, Life Sketch, or Source? or were you on the Memories tab and entering the biography as a Story? Or some other page or section of the site?
    • Thanks, Logan. I had just filled out the Life Sketch section of an individual's page. If that's not unambiguous, specifically, I was on this page: https://www.familysearch.org/tree/per... , had just added a Life Sketch, and clicked on the Save button. In case it makes any difference, familysearch pages display in French on my PC, I assume because of language preferences set on my PC. Also, to be clear, I am not suggesting eliminating time outs or compromising important security safeguards. As a perhaps naive user, it just seems to me that a session could be re-established without necessarily resetting the page the user is working on and erasing work in progress. Thanks for addressing this.

      Mike
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  • Logan,
    Another place where this can get annoying is with entering sources. I usually remember to refresh any open page of Family Search if I have been away from the computer for a while to see if I need to sign in again or not. But the other day it slipped my mind.

    I was on a person's detail page and had a source to manually enter. I clicked Add Source, typed it in, and clicked save. The entry box closed but the source was not there. "That was odd," I thought. So I tried entering the source again. Once again it did not show up in the source list. I tried a third time, wondering what was wrong with the system at the moment. Then it occurred to me to refresh the page which went to the sign in page. After I signed in I was taken back to the detail page and entering the source worked just fine.
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