How to prevent automatic attachment of "comments"

  • edited October 31, 2020
    If users (and even some developers) aren't expected to understand what it is, the feature should be redesigned.
    I have nothing to do with the decision to include these — the fact that I don't know what's in this data is irrelevant.

    This isn't a "feature". Translators save all sorts of data, and can do so to any field. Not everyone finds all of it useful. I don't think it even makes sense to talk about it as a singular thing. We just might make a policy decision that web translators shouldn't save things like arXiv comments to notes, and should instead save them to Extra. But there might be some cases where the data is closer to what people think of as notes being for (e.g., a paragraph of text).

    I suspect a technical issue here might be that some translators (like WorldCat) use RIS or BibTeX, which have generic mechanisms for creating notes. We'd have to decide if it makes sense to override those to Extra or delete them for web translators when importing the same RIS or BibTeX directly would produce notes.

    But beyond those general decisions, there's really no point in talking about this across translators. We should make individual decisions, in separate threads, about specific sites. I'd start by moving arXiv comments to Extra if we think significant numbers of people find them useful.
  • This isn't a "feature". Translators save all sorts of data, and can do so to any field.
    This isn't going to fields. It's going to notes (I'd call that a distinct feature). The reason is that there is no field in Zotero for "has index" or similar, because Zotero doesn't need those fields.

    Hypothetically yes this could be useful in some scenarios. But that's not what it's being used for now.

    Additionally, although this does vary by translator, it could also be fixed by addressing the most common translators: in this case, I've only seen Worldcat and arXiv mentioned here, so those translators could just be fixed to not import this data and/or import it differently. Then if rarely a less common translator imported a note, we could manually delete it.
  • Yeah, the reasons for including it differ.
    - arXiv we added it because it was explicitly requested
    - Worldcat we're just adding it because it's in the note field in RIS and we're not explicitly removing it. This may happen for other translators too, in some cases simply because of bad metadata, especially with RIS: e.g. I just saw a DOI in a note.
    - Other library catalogs we're using various fields in the 500 range of MARC in notes which contain anything from ToCs to additional publication info such as funding etc.
    - For Espacenet, we're adding various Patent classifications.

    Those are the ones I know about. I personally have always preferred having these out of my way and _not_ in the Extra pane. I'd also say that Extra isn't great for some of the longer ones, but overall I don't have strong feelings about this -- given that I review & write a lot of translators, the current behavior does probably reflect those preferences, though.
    I'm happy to change this for new/updated translators if there's clear guidance, but I won't spend time cleaning up old translators, leaving that too people with stronger opinions.

  • (Why not add a thumbnail of the book cover from Worldcat also? There's a lot of information that is not added to Zotero, which makes sense when the focus is only on the information that would be of use to the average user. Other users can manually add whatever they'd like.)

    If preferences do vary for this, then that goes back to the original request to add a preference option to disable this. But previously it was stated that it wasn't clear how to label/explain that feature, because it's too hard to explain to users.
  • In terms of post-save data cleaning, deleting a field from Extra is easier, so my general preference would be to put these under a generic “Comment” in Extra and leave it from there.
  • In terms of post-save data cleaning, deleting a field from Extra is easier,
    I disagree with that, though. I can select 10 notes and delete them all in the middle panel without ever having to go to Info and scroll down to Extra. And that doesn't even take into account the tagging option I mentioned, nor the fact that I might want to keep part of Extra such as the current pseudo-CSL.
  • I agree with bwiernik, and in fact I often have to post-edit the imported data anyway (including removing the unnecessary OCLC number, so this would all be condensed to one step for me).
    If you're importing many items, adamsmith, you probably would want to check the data in each one for accuracy, or at least glance over notes you're deleting, so it wouldn't be entirely a batch operation anyway.
  • I understand that these may be useful to some people, but for me, it has cluttered my library with plenty of useless notes, making it harder to find actual notes that I have made.

    The issue of how a particular translator should deal with additional data aside, my personal preference would be for a global zotero setting that blocks import to Notes (i.e., if the translator produces a note, zotero should just discard that data), similar to the setting that blocks the import of tags
  • I can select 10 notes and delete them all in the middle panel without ever having to go to Info and scroll down to Extra.
    I think a counterargument here is that, if they're in Extra, they're much easier to ignore, so it's less necessary to delete them in the first place.

    But Extra is really only an option for the ones that we're going out of our way in translators to extract, like arXiv comments. I think we should change those, but the ones that come from note fields in import formats have to go to notes no matter what, so the only possibility there would be a preference to discard them. But I think we would only want that preference to apply to translation other than file imports (so, from the web, Add Item by Identifier, feeds, metadata updating…), which makes it pretty hard to describe coherently.
  • I think “importing from the web” describes those all reasonably accurately.
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