It's tempting for site developers like us to spend all our time working on shiny new site features, but we haven't necessarily done the best job of communicating how to use CoralNet's existing features. So we're rolling out a couple of updates in that regard.

Help portal

Probably the closest thing we've had to a CoralNet tutorial or user documentation has been our Vimeo channel, created by Oscar. However, it hasn't been updated since 2014 - before CoralNet Beta - as we quickly realized it would take a lot of effort to keep updating these videos to reflect the current state of the site.

So we're launching a new Help portal for CoralNet users, with most of the content consisting of written pages with screenshots. These should be much easier to update incrementally as we make changes to the site. Help sections include:

  • Frequently asked questions.
  • A 'site map' providing a summary of the functions on each page. Can't find the export function? Check here.
  • Tutorials on common CoralNet workflows. This is still a work in progress.

This is not to say we won't make more videos in the future, but from here on out, written guides will be the more comprehensive help resource, while any videos will only cover select topics.

From now on, the Help portal will be available via the "Help" button at the site footer (bottom of every page). Of course, the Help portal also clarifies how to ask for help - which leads us to our next change:

Updated points of contact

For some time now, CoralNet has provided two points of contact for reporting problems and giving suggestions. One was the Google Group forum, and the other was the website's Feedback form, linked from a "Site Feedback" button at the site footer.

Unfortunately, we never got around to tying the feedback form to some kind of admin-notification system. So over the years, we've mostly forgotten to read the submissions from this form, checking extremely infrequently. Also, since most of the submissions were months old when we finally noticed them, we didn't know which specific issues still needed a response, and in most cases we erred on the side of not replying.

Now, we've decided to just remove the feedback form, and use the Google Group forum for all questions, problems, and suggestions. This will make it easier on our small support team (basically just Oscar and I) and ensure that we're not neglecting any support channels. If you previously asked something via the feedback form and it is still unresolved now, feel free to bring it up again on the Google Group forum. We apologize for any confusion and the poor communication on our part regarding the feedback form.

The Google Group forum is public, and we encourage everyone to take advantage of this and learn from past questions and discussions - there is a search bar available on the forum. Note that if you are asking a question and you end up having to share private data or information with us, then we can continue in a private email conversation to address that.

Other announcements

  • There is currently an issue related to the zoom feature on the annotation tool. Point locations appear incorrect when you zoom in far enough; see this forum thread for more information. The issue only affects Chromium-based web browsers such as Google Chrome, so the workaround for now is to use a non-Chromium browser such as Mozilla Firefox. My current understanding is that it's a Chromium bug, and that it has been fixed on the Chromium developers' side, but it may take a couple of months for the fix to make its way to official (stable) releases of Chrome. We'll keep an eye on the situation - if it takes too long for a Chrome fix to become available, we may experiment with other workarounds.

  • You may notice an empty 'Events' box at the bottom of your source's homepage. That's expected for now; we'll make another announcement when we start adding events to the site.

You can discuss this article on the forum:!topic/coralnet-users/w15lVi6bHXw