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Dynamic Process Tracing Environment User Discussion

IMPORTANT: Bug in DPTE Datasets (since corrected) MAY require action

The following email was sent to all DPTE users in our system on May 24. Please use this thread to comment on the issue or ask questions.

We have just learned from our software development team about a bug in the DPTE database that MAY have an impact on your data. It is important that you take a look at this email and consider whether it has any impact on you.

Let us first note that there is no issue with regard to properly recording what happens when you run “real” subjects through the system. Data are being stored as expected and as documented.

Second, if you have NOT run any experiments using DPTE yet, you can ignore this email. The bug referred to here has been corrected and all experiments going forward will not have this problem. So in that case, save yourself time and don’t read this long email.

However, if you HAVE run ANY studies up until today, please note the following:

In the specific case where TEST subjects have been run using the TEST IN PLAYER function (on the Experiment Setup screen) AND the test subject was run entirely through to the end of your experiment – that is, the test subject is completed – the system is failing to properly record this as a test subject. Instead, in this limited case, the test subject ends up in the database as if it were a regular completed subject.

THIS ONLY OCCURS IF YOU RUN THE TEST SUBJECT ALL THE WAY THROUGH TO THE END OF YOUR STUDY – THAT IS YOU COMPLETE THE STUDY WITH THE TEST SUBJECT. It does NOT occur if you partially run a test subject. Such partially run subjects (closing before the end of the study) are NOT recorded as real subjects, and are NOT downloaded when you download your data.

The result of this bug is that ANY TEST SUBJECT RUN ALL THE WAY TO COMPLETION will be included in the data you download as if it were a “real” subject.

What you should do:

You should examine any data you have downloaded to look for unexpected subjects. This will be simple if you ran “real” subjects on specific days or times, and ran “test” subjects on other dates. In this case you simply need to delete the incorrect subjects by date.

If you intermingled test and real subjects or don’t know what dates you ran real subjects, you will probably be able to determine which ones are TEST subjects by looking at the data. If you are like us, your test subjects have clearly invalid data in them. In particular, look at the rectangular dataset since there is one record per subject in each datafile there.

You can then delete those subjects from any data you have downloaded. Remember, any data to be deleted would have to be deleted from ALL datasets – subject data, recorded events, and the rectangular datasets.

We can have the programmers fix your data in the system if you find any test subjects. You will need to send us the subject ID and the date for each subject to be deleted. We HIGHLY recommend this since it will correct your data permanently in case you re-download it at any time. Please let us know if you find problem subjects and would like to have them removed.

If you have any questions or problems please use the new blog at https://dynamicprocesstracing.wordpress.com to ask the question so others can see it and respond. That way we can share any problems in addressing this issue.

We certainly appreciate your interest in DPTE and we’re sorry for the inconvenience. We are hopeful this will have a minimal effect since most testing is not done with the test subject run all the way through to the end. For those who signed on to DPTE early, we especially appreciate what you’ve done to help us improve the system. There have been a number of recent updates and enhancements. Keep an eye out later this summer as we will be releasing a major update that will create a set of “social experiment” functions which we think will be quite interesting.

Again, thanks for your involvement and we hope you are finding DPTE to be a valuable research tool.

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