Verification status of a changed address

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aebrown
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Verification status of a changed address

Postby aebrown » Sat Mar 03, 2012 3:50 pm

cdw3423 wrote:One guy here had damage to his house on 71st St from a tornado and while it was being fixed he lived in another house on Cedar Ln. His map location is marked as verified at the house on Cedar Ln, but he has been back at the house on 71st St now for quite a while (over a year I think). Wouldn't changing his street address to a completely different address (probably the same zip though) key the map to unverify his location and then do an address look-up to find the approximate new location?


No, changing the address doesn't unverify the address. The challenge is that some address changes are the result of address standardization, spelling corrections, or other changes that are unrelated to any move. In those cases you wouldn't want to have to reverify the address. But clearly it's also possible to move within a ward. Apparently the developers favor the first case over the second in how they treat address changes.
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Postby RossEvans » Sat Mar 03, 2012 4:19 pm

aebrown wrote:No, changing the address doesn't unverify the address. The challenge is that some address changes are the result of address standardization, spelling corrections, or other changes that are unrelated to any move. In those cases you wouldn't want to have to reverify the address. But clearly it's also possible to move within a ward. Apparently the developers favor the first case over the second in how they treat address changes.


I, for one, dissent from the developers' decision, which I think results in the most egregious defect of maps.lds.org today. It would be much better to favor accuracy. A changed address should simply reset the status and trigger geocoding the address anew. Not only is it difficult for clerks to manage the current process, but the display of seriously wrong locations, especially those flagged as "Verified," can only undercut the credibility of the product.

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Postby cdw3423 » Sat Mar 03, 2012 8:02 pm

At the very least, when a clerk changes an address, he should be forced to answer the question is this just a clerical change or is it an actual change of address.

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Postby russellhltn » Sun Mar 04, 2012 1:01 am

RossEvans wrote:I, for one, dissent from the developers' decision, which I think results in the most egregious defect of maps.lds.org today.


I agree. While the current situation prevents unnecessary work, it allows wrong and misleading information.
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Postby jdlessley » Sun Mar 04, 2012 12:56 pm

+1. You can add me to the list of those who find themselves doing unnecessary work and not liking it one bit.
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Postby aebrown » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:07 pm

jdlessley wrote:+1. You can add me to the list of those who find themselves doing unnecessary work and not liking it one bit.


What's the unnecessary work you're referring to? It seems to me that the proposed change is the option that creates unnecessary work in some cases -- the cases where the address is adjusted for reasons (e.g., address standardization or spelling corrections) that don't involve an actual change of address. If an actual move occurs, a clerk is going to have to verify the address anyway (at least in my experience, the automatic geocoding is so inaccurate that it is rare that the marker is even placed on the correct lot).

cdw3423 wrote:At the very least, when a clerk changes an address, he should be forced to answer the question is this just a clerical change or is it an actual change of address.


Although this implies some changes to the back-end systems that are probably not trivial, this is probably the best solution of all, since it allows clerical changes to be made to the address without creating unnecessary work of moving and verifying a marker that was already correct, and also allows the marker to be "unverified" when an actual move takes place.
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Postby jdlessley » Sun Mar 04, 2012 2:42 pm

aebrown wrote:What's the unnecessary work you're referring to?
A household moves within the ward boundaries yet the position does not, nor is there a notice of a change. I am not the membership clerk and the membership clerk is not into keeping the map locations current. So when there is a change I do not know about it. I have to go through each household to find those that have moved and relocate the map location. That is a lot more work just to find so called verified locations and then move them. I would prefer that if a change has occurred to have the location revert to unverified. Trying to keep so called verified locations up to date following a within boundary move is more work than needs to be.
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Postby russellhltn » Sun Mar 04, 2012 3:15 pm

aebrown wrote:
cdw3423 wrote:At the very least, when a clerk changes an address, he should be forced to answer the question is this just a clerical change or is it an actual change of address.


Although this implies some changes to the back-end systems that are probably not trivial, this is probably the best solution of all, since it allows clerical changes to be made to the address without creating unnecessary work of moving and verifying a marker that was already correct, and also allows the marker to be "unverified" when an actual move takes place.


I'd make the rules this way: If it's a clerical change, then don't move a verified marker. If the marker isn't verified, then it should be moved based on the new results of the geocoder as the original non-standard address may have confused it the first time around. (Of course, if the change isn't just clerical, then the marker should be processed just like a new move-in.)
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Postby RossEvans » Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:38 pm

RussellHltn wrote:I'd make the rules this way: If it's a clerical change, then don't move a verified marker. If the marker isn't verified, then it should be moved based on the new results of the geocoder as the original non-standard address may have confused it the first time around. (Of course, if the change isn't just clerical, then the marker should be processed just like a new move-in.)


I can endorse suggestions to enable the clerk, when changing an address in MLS, to expressly check a box to leave the maps location unchanged. But I think the default behavior should be to reset the geocoding when addresses change.

The current system does not save effort on the part of ward clerks, but can actually increase it, because among the users of maps.lds.org who are deceived by wrong "Verified" information online are the clerks themselves, at both the ward and stake level. No one can be confident that a "Verified" address is really verified. If someone is newly called as a ward clerk, and finds that his predecessor has "Verified" many or all addresses but some are obviously wrong, the only method he most likely would have to be sure is to reverify every address because he cannot rely on the "Verified" status he sees online. Stake clerks, emergency coordinators, quorum and auxiliary presidencies, etc. -- any users of the data -- are also potential victims when the reported status online lies to them. Is it really a good idea, when the flood hits, to show the widow Jones at a "Verified" location on high ground when her true address is in the flood plain?

As for level of work, typically there is more than one person within a ward with MLS privilege to change an address, and our clerk's office is barely controlled chaos on Sundays. The clerk or assistant who updates an address handed to him on a scrap of paper may be the one updating MLS. If a conscientious clerk absolutely wants to avoid introducing errors into the map when updating a moved family that is "Verified," he must:

  • Login to maps.lds.org and unmap the family.
  • Change the address in MLS.
  • Wait a day or so for the change to propagate to the maps site.
  • Login to maps.lds.org and manually map the family's marker.
Frankly, I doubt that happens very often, if ever.

By contrast, if the new address were just automatically regeocoded when it changed, it would most probably be plotted at a location very close to its true lat/lon, and classified as "Unverified," just like any move-in. Then, filtering by "Unverified" status online, ward clerks can prioritize these addresses for verification because that status would be trustworthy.

If the concern really is to reduce the redundant work occasioned by address standardization by clerks, the right place to attack that problem is at its source. The best way to mitigate this inefficiency is to standardize and validate new move-in addresses before they are even sent down to local MLS systems. (This could have the additional substantive benefit of trapping invalid addresses from even being disseminated to wards in the first place. Right now our ward roster is burdened with more than a dozen invalid addresses sent to us, mostly missing apartment numbers, for less active families. They never should have gotten past Address Unknown because the true addresses are actually not known)

But meanwhile, developers should just get the current tool as it exists functioning according to the overriding principle that getting the data right online is paramount, and users should be informed reliably if it is ambiguous. This principle trumps any concerns about efficiency.

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Postby aebrown » Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:27 pm

RossEvans wrote:The current system does not save effort on the part of ward clerks...


I certainly agree with almost everything you said in your post, but that particular statement is certainly not correct. Yes, the current system can increase the effort required, and certainly will in cases where the address change reflects an actual move. But in cases where the change of address is simply a correction or standardization, your proposal will definitely increase the effort on the part of ward clerks, because it will once again require verification of an already-verified address. In this particular use case, the current system works perfectly and requires no extra work on the part of the clerk.

Please note that I am talking here only about the use case where the address change is a correction such as a standardization or spelling correction, not about an actual move. I know that the frequency of these two different kinds of address changes will vary dramatically in different stakes, and particularly in different areas of the world. But in an area (such as my stake) where the wards are very small geographically, the number of moves within a ward is very small (a handful of such events in the whole stake per year), whereas the number of address corrections and standardizations is much higher.

RossEvans wrote:If the concern really is to reduce the redundant work occasioned by address standardization by clerks, the right place to attack that problem is at its source.


That would be a great improvement. It's probably a challenge to implement worldwide, but could be done fairly reasonably for countries that represent a large portion of the membership of the Church. Once implemented, it would render much of the previous discussion moot.
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