I keep accidentally moving collections/subcollections

More often than I would like, one of my collections/subcollections disappears from where it should be in the collections/subcollections hierarchy of my Zotero library and shows up in another, seemingly randomly chosen, location in that hierarchy. I have no clear idea why this is happening, but it's not drag and drop because a) I'm not doing that intentionally and b) I'm pretty sure that I'd notice if I were doing it accidentally.

The problem seems to happen when I'm navigating through collections, perhaps lingering on one and clicking it to open that collection's subcollections, and then moving on to examine other collections/subcollections. Somehow, whether I'm clicking on something inadvertently or what, I don't know, I move a collection/subcollection into another collection/subcollection that I subsequently visit. Later, sometimes days later, I can't find the original collection/subcollection where it's supposed to be and have to go hunting for it. This is not easy, since I have a very large library.

So far I've been able to recover by remembering a keyword in the title of an article that the collection/subcollection contains, searching for that keyword in the library, clicking on the reference in the search results and then using to find collections/subcollections in which the article is located. I then move the wandering collection/subcollection to where it belongs.

This is clearly not a good or reliable way of dealing with the problem. Can anyone explain to me what I'm doing to cause it in the first place?
  • There's been one other report of this, from someone with a huge number of collections (1000+).

    Approximately how many collections do you have, and what OS is this? When it happens, is it always between collections that you had open and were interacting with around the same time? Are subcollections and items always still in place in the new location? Are you using syncing on the computer where this is happening?

    We haven't seen this ourselves, so if you're able to figure out specific steps to reproduce the problem, we'd certainly want to know.
  • Thanks for getting back so quickly. I don't know how many collections/subcollections I have, but certainly in the hundreds. Is there a way to determine this, btw? Also, it would be great if I could have different libraries on local disk, not the cloud, that are accessible from a single instance of Zotero and not reliant on using different profiles.

    OS is W7.

    The problem seems to only affect/involve collections/subcollections that I have interacted with. On the other hand, it would be hard for me to know if a subcollection has been moved if I am not looking for that subcollection, and as I say, I have a lot, some of which I use quite infrequently. Luckily, all subcollections and items appear to remain in their original positions.

    I am not using synching.

    I will keep you informed if I get any additional clues as to what triggers the moves, etc.
  • Hi @AucMGris: I am the other user that has been working with @dstillman to sort out this problem. I've been having the exact same issue and can report that it too seems to happen with collections I have been recently interacting with. Although, the problem is not apparent immediately. It could be a couple of hours or a few days when I notice that collection and sub-collections have disappeared.

    We've yet to find a fix. Could I ask you: you mentioned that you are able to keyword search for an article you know that's in the missing collection and you are able from the search result to see the path back to the collection. How do you do that? As that would be a great way to hunt down the errant collection besides using the +-type solution to search the tree. Let me know. thanks!
  • @AucMGris: OK, thanks. The fact that it's not from syncing is helpful, and good news, since it greatly limits the scope of potential causes.
  • OMG @dstillman thanks so much for the "option" key tip, that's a big help. So today after I responded to @AucMgris post I had a heavy Zotero day going through my emails and adding articles to my collection. I had several collections move into other collections on their own. @dstillman the use of the + really saved me from going out of my mind. I experienced an issue that might help to note. One of my sub-collections that had gone missing a few days back that I had located and moved back to it's proper place (on my home computer) was not it its proper place on my office computer after synch. So I found it and moved it back. Over the course of an hour, it kept disappearing. Finally, I decided to create a new collection for it (in order to create a new ID) and I moved the citations into that new collection and it stopped disappearing. @dstillman is basically what I had been doing in the past when I thought I was saving a collection. But this time no panic. I knew the collection was only moved. So the thing learned today is possibly the bug could be somehow related to a specific collection and its ID and possibly it's with that ID (maybe in synch). It felt like it was looping. I don't believe it moved to the same location each time and the creation of the new collection fixes it. The collection in question is "Phrases (Quotes)" which is the collection that I deleted and replaced with the new "Phrases (Quotes - New). So @dstlillman if you look for those two ID's you might be able to see what was going on with the first one. As it was the one bouncing around. Thanks tons. The tips and knowing I'm not crazy makes this easier to deal with ;)
  • Yes, knowing that there is at least one person out there with the same problem that I have makes me feel a bit better. Fingers crossed on a solution!
  • Just checking to see if there have been any developments on this. I'm still having the problem, and it makes me quite nervous.
  • We never heard back from @shakyegg with a Debug ID in the other thread. If you're able to reproduce this, a Debug ID, as requested there, would be helpful.
  • This has happened several times in the last few months, but seems not to be as big a problem as before. I installed emilianoeheyns's plugin, and now I (almost always) see when a collection jumps on its own and immediately move it back. If the problem occurs again, I'll try to get you a debug log. I haven't done that before, because by the time that the problem recurred, I had forgotten that I could.

  • We're in the process of rewriting the collections tree from scratch, so whatever weird issue is causing this, it'll likely be fixed in the near future.
  • Ah. Excellent!
  • As fate would have it, a collections jumping event occurred just now. I have the debug output. I think. What should I do with it, if anything?

    The context is that I was clicking through open collections to close them when the addon triggered, alerting me that a collection that I had clicked to close had been moved. I checked, and it had become a subcollection of another subcollection that I had closed after I closed the subcollection that moved.
  • You can either submit it and provide the Debug ID or zip it and email it to support@zotero.org. We'll certainly look at it, but we're probably unlikely to do much with it, since we're very close to rolling out the rewritten collections tree, and hopefully whatever is causing this will just go away.
  • Happened again. Again I closed a subcollection and again another subcollection that I had previously but recently closed jumped into the subsequently closed subcollection.
  • I'll just wait for the new and improved!
  • I'm still having this problem. If it weren't for emilianoeheyns's add in, which flags the jumps (and which I usually notice), I would be in deep trouble.

    Did the collections tree in fact get rewritten? If it did, it unfortunately didn't fix my problem. Either way, what should I do next?
  • The new collections tree was written but it hasn't rolled out yet.
  • Good to know that it's written. And fingers crossed that it gets rolled out soon. Now you know that there's an even greater need for it than may be perceived!
  • @dstillman anything I need to/can prepare for in BBT? I have overlays that augment the collections tree.
  • It'll be in the beta for a while, so you'll have time to figure it out.
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