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Changes to Live Streaming & Chat

Posted: Friday 15th May 2020 by Emyr MWT

We have improved the DOP Live Streaming and Chat

Building the Dyfi Wildlife Centre in just seven winter months was difficult enough, but dealing with the coronavirus in March, when we should have been testing the new electrical supply, broadband, microphones and cameras, was nigh-on impossible.

Despite this, we still sent live before schedule at the end of March.

Yesterday our new super-computer finally arrived and this should solve a lot of the problems and restrictions we've been struggling through over the last six week. This is what it will mean for you:


Picture Quality

You will see an improvement in the picture quality you see on your device. We have taken off all compression, lifted the bitrate, maxed our the frames per second and tweaked the picture settings.

In billy-basics talk, it will just look better and smoother.

'Just better'


Pan-Tilt-Zoom

The new PC will allow us to pan-tilt-zoom the camera now and again meaning we can focus in on small details such as hatching chicks, pan over to intruding birds quickly or widen up to give you a more panoramic view.

There is nobody at the Dyfi Wildlife Centre - the new PC and remote-access software means I can control the cameras from home.

Telyn & Idris' eggs - due to hatch 23rd onwards


A Second Camera

In time, we hope to be able to run a second camera at the same time as the main Live Streaming camera. This will give you the flexibility to watch camera 1, camera 2, or both at the same time if you configure a split-screen operation, a second monitor or a second device.

Dinas arrives back, an alternative view

Live Chat

We've also listened to your feedback and made some changes here too.

The Live Chat should be an enjoyable, immersive and educational way of engaging with other people whilst watching the Dyfi ospreys. We've tried to improve the Chat on several fronts:

Emojis

Now and again we get unwanted 'trolls' or 'bots', usually kids messing around or adults with more sinister agendas. It doesn't happen often, but we need to delete these posts as soon as they appear.

Most of these unwelcome posts tend to use a lot of emojis, so they are easy to spot and delete if, as a general rule, our regular chatters don't use emojis.

However, we recognise that emojis can play an important role in better understanding someone's true meaning when they type.

Digital communications can be inherently difficult. We can't see faces, eyes, body language nor the intonation in someone's voice that we have learnt to understand over millions of years. We just see a bundle of words.

Emojis can help decipher or understand someone's interpretation, so we are bringing them back.

But please, use only one ☺

That way, we can hopefully still easily spot the trolls who tend to use several at a time.


Moderating

Clearly, each Chat channel needs a moderator to try and keep everything on track and within sensible guidelines. We have sadly seen many similar wildlife projects pull their Chat service due to the lack of moderator capacity.

Moderating is a very difficult job, it is much like refereeing a football or netball match. You try your best, you make quick decisions, you have to use your judgement and, just occasionally, you may not get them right. It can be an unpopular role and often a lonely one.

We pride ourselves on our DOP Chat being inclusive, informative and friendly. However, like anything in life, it is not without fault.

Sometimes questions get missed, often people talk over each other, sometimes people feel like they can’t join in. It is also easy for people to misread a short answer as an abrupt one.

Often the response has just been quick because the moderator was short of time or distracted. As I mentioned, it is notoriously easy to misconstrue the tone or implication of a post in digital communication. Add to this, we are all experiencing a very strange and stressful time with reduced social contact.

‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” If your question gets missed, wait for the chat to slow down and ask again. It would be a real shame to disregard it all together because of one bad experience. Equally, if you feel spending time on the chat has caused your stress or anxiety levels to rise, take a break. Five minutes, an hour, a week. Whatever you need to keep on top of things.

With these issues in mind, we have made some changes to chat. You will now see one Moderator Role. This will be managed by a selection of volunteers who will take on the role in shifts. Hopefully this will be less confusing for chat users and will protect the welfare of the moderators who are doing this work in their own time and completely for free.

They try their best to be equal and tolerant with everybody, please be tolerant back, it is not an easy job.

You will also see MWT staff (just me this season) under the role of Dyfi Osprey Project in yellow. We will do our best to answer questions and guide things along where needed.

 

And Finally

We are still very much in testing mode, the PC only arrived yesterday afternoon, so you may see the picture buffering for a few seconds now and again, especially if I am changing cameras to allow you a better viewing angle. There is no getting around this.

The chicks are due to hatch in around 10 days, I'm delighted that we have been able to make these changes in time for what I know is a life-saver for many people, especially this year.

Finally I want to thank all of you that have donated to our DOP Appeal. This money has allowed us to make these changes, buy the equipment, and keep one member of staff working. As I often say, there would be no DOP without you.

Thank you so much.

 

Here is the link to the Live Streaming and, just as a reminder, the Chat Guidelines are below. See also the description under the Live Streaming window for all the key 2020 dates and links to recent blogs.

Happy viewing.

2020 Live Streaming

 

Chat Rules

1. People of all ages and backgrounds watch the DOP Live Streaming and log on to the Live Chat, including school children. Please use language that is appropriate for children to read, and be kind and respectful at all times. There is no 'watershed' time where it is acceptable to let your hair down.

2. No swearing of any kind including any form of abbreviations, character filled w**ords or mis-spelt words. Swearing directly or by implication is simply not acceptable.

3. Avoid personal attacks on other people. Winding people up, sarcasm, having a go, making names up for people etc. Simply not acceptable.

4. Please avoid talking about sensitive issues such as religion, politics, race, orientation and personal health. These topics are not appropriate for discussion here.

5. Do not give out personal information - phone numbers, emails, addresses, people's names etc

6. Please do not give out information or allude to other nests of ospreys which are not in the public domain, or any bird that is protected by law (most of them)

7. Sense of humour. Most of us like jokes and we all have a different sense of humour from each other. Joking is completely acceptable of course. It's all about boundaries, understanding them and a pinch of common sense.

8. Please don't be aggressive or rude. Remember that writing in capitals is a form of SHOUTING.

9. Please only use ONE emoji per post.

10. Subject matter. This is an osprey website where we talk about ospreys and wildlife. Of course it is acceptable to talk about other day to day things, notwithstanding point 4 above. Again, it is just a matter of common sense. Remember, we are focused primarily on the Dyfi ospreys.

11. We all like a good discussion and sometimes things can get a bit heated. However, please avoid excessive negativity and criticism, or supporting a stance with dubious or fictitious information.

12. If you ask a question and don't get an answer, please don't feel you are being ignored. Copy and paste then ask the question again a few minutes later. It can get hectic at times, questions easily get lost.

13. We get many emails and messages regarding excessive use of "Hi-byes". Coming onto the chat, quickly saying 'hi' to numerous people, then 'bye', before quickly disappearing then starting the pattern all over again some time later. Again, it's just common sense really.

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