ActivityStatus codes - mixup of descriptions for codes 3 & 4?


(Bill Anderson) #41

With the greatest of respect four people do not create a consensus - even in the relatively closed world of Discuss.

While no one would disagree that this is a mess and needs fixing, I happen to agree - and always have - with @Herman’s comment above:

Agree, the current definitions are confusing. The problem though is i.m.o. not the description, but the naming of the code. Post-completion suggests that this status comes after the completion status. This is not true though. The 'post-completion’ status comes before the completion status.

In other words, rightly or wrongly, code 4 (“Physical activity is complete or the final disbursement has been made, but the activity remains open pending financial sign off or M&E”) was defined to come before code 3.

To change the logical order in the meaning of the codes is a breaking change. This may well be a pedantic judgement and the bug fix may well be a pragmatic solution, but messing with standards is a slippery slope …


(Yohanna Loucheur) #42

This is not true. Post-completion indeed comes after the completion status, and makes sense if you think of having completed the activities of the project. This is in line with the IATI standard, where project activies (rather than other aspects or phases of the project) tend to be the focus.

You and Herman base your opinion on the descriptions that were added in 2.01. However, until 2.01 everyone understood the codes and agreed that 4 came after 3 (even though the wording was a bit weird). In 2.01 descriptions were added, and unfortunately got mixed.

Again, not true. We are asking for a bug fix precisely because there is no change to the actual meaning of the codes, which is determined by their names. Post-completion is indeed, and will remain, after completion (of activities).


(Mark Brough) #43

Thanks @bill_anderson for explaining @IATI-techteam thinking here. So, just to be clear:

EITHER (A):

  • the English descriptions (added v2.01) are wrong

OR (B):

  • the codes (added v1.01) are wrong
  • the English names (added v1.01) are wrong
  • the French names (added v1.04) are wrong

By consensus, yes I meant everybody else in this thread has come to the same conclusion (A). I agree that we should not change the standard without good reason, but I think we need to choose between the two options to fix this glaring logical inconsistency soon (again, it has been three years, so we are hardly being impatient or knee-jerk here).


TAG session on reviewing the need for a next minor or major IATI standard upgrade
(Bill Anderson) #44

Or ©

The codes are not wrong, but the names are wrong.

The descriptions (definitions) were, in my recollection, the original intended definition.

In my view Code 3 = Closed and Code 4 = Finalisation is a valid bug-fix.

I wasn’t aware of any knees jerking. Should I have been??


(Steven Flower) #45

Strangely - I can’t see this addition of the ActivityStatus in the 2.01 changelog, nor the original proposals.

There is an indication that this code list might be modified in the color-coded table view for 2.01, but I can’t see where the text is derived from.

At GitHub, we can see that the all changes on this list were undertaken in 2013 & 14.

NB: I’m not trying to “blame” anyone here, but find it interesting in that we can’t pinpoint the exact source of the issue we’re discussing - this is also very important for standards!


(Mark Brough) #46

Come on Bill. Changing the order of the codes clearly changes their meaning. And for newcomers to IATI, the idea that 4 comes before 3 will only add more confusion.

Do you have a source for this? Because I cannot find the current descriptions in any of the original consultation documents, whereas the codes and names have remained the same since 1.01. @stevieflow, the first time the descriptions appear is in the 2.01 upgrade process, right at the end in iteration 3, so it is not surprising that there was a mistake introduced here (below screenshot is from the linked Google Doc, clearly showing the descriptions did not exist before).

In which case, changing the English-language descriptions (introduced only at 2.01) would clearly also be a valid bug-fix, as it does not involve both re-ordering the codes in an illogical way (so that 4 comes before 3) and changing the English and French names.


(Andy Lulham) #47

So how do we move this forward as a bugfix? What sort of signoff do we need? What’s the protocol here?

Is there some documentation of process that you can refer us to, @bill_anderson?


(Yohanna Loucheur) #48

Bringing this back up after the summer break.


(Yohanna Loucheur) #49

I see this is now listed as part of a potential integer upgrade:
“[Fix Activity Status Mix Up 2] (agreement reached, but solution changes the meaning of the code and is therefore not backward compatible)”

I disagree with the statement that the solution changes the meaning of the code. Bill, you stated that clarifying the names was a bug-fix. Hence, correcting the descriptions cannot require an integer upgrade, it’s simply fixing a mistake.

Unfortunately the Discuss post listing the potential changes to the standard is not open for discussion, so I cannot put this comment there.


TAG session on reviewing the need for a next minor or major IATI standard upgrade
(Andy Lulham) #50

There’s now agreement on resolving this as a bugfix, by swapping the descriptions for codes 3 & 4. Please refer to the following post:


(Michelle Levesque) #51

I understand this is now in the job queue but can someone help me understand when this change is going to take place? We have custom scripts written in our accounting system to assign the codes based on dates and system status. We will need to adjust the script when the definitions change.

Kind Regards,
Michelle


(Yohanna Loucheur) #52

Michelle, if you are assigning proper codes to projects, you probably won’t have to change the script. The codes won’t change.

If you were assigning codes based on the definitions instead of the names, then your projects are miscoded & I’d recommend changing the script as soon as possible. No need to wait for the bug to be fixed since the codes are not changing.


(Michelle Levesque) #53

@YohannaLoucheur

We assigned codes based on our understanding of the definitions assigned to the codes. I’m still confused now as to what is going to change.

Can someone confirm if I have this correct?

Currently:
3 - completion - physical activity is complete or the final disbursement has been made
4 - post-completion - same as above BUT the activity remains open pending financial sing off or M&E.

Change will be:
3 - post-completion - physical activity is complete or the final disbursement has been made BUT the activity remains open pending financial sing off or M&E.
4 - completion - physical activity is complete or the final disbursement has been made

That sounds strange to me but I sure wasn’t around when all of this was initially discussed. If 3 (three) is really supposed to be something between implementation and completion then wouldn’t it be better to call it post-implementation rather than post-completion?

Happy to discuss this next week at TAG but we go to publish a new set of data the week after so I’d love to make sure we have our scripts right before that.

Sorry if I’m just making a mess of this but, well, consider me a great example on how newbies get lost in all this documentation.

Kind Regards,
Michelle


(Yohanna Loucheur) #54

Hi Michelle

Ha, that’s where the confusion lies! You misunderstood the issue: the names and definitions are mismatched, not the codes and names.

The change will be:
3 - completion - physical activity is complete or the final disbursement has been made BUT the activity remains open pending financial sign-off or M&E
4 - post-completion - physical activity is complete or the final disbursement has been made

(Sorry, it’s IATI jargon: “completion” describes the state of the activities on the ground, from the point of view of stakeholders / beneficiaries. The project looks like it’s completed on the ground, even though stuff remains to be done on the admin side. “Post-completion” is the real end, nothing remains to tidy up. A project can go from Implementation straight to Post-Completion if everything ends at the same time.

Don’t shoot the messenger, I didn’t come up with these terms :slight_smile: )


(Herman van Loon) #55

@YohannaLoucheur Yes, I think this change in the description of the status nails it.


(Michelle Levesque) #56

@YohannaLoucheur
Thanks for your patience.

Change will be:
3-Completion = physical activity is complete or the final disbursement has been made BUT the activity remains open pending financial sign off or M&E
4 - post-completion = physical activity is complete or the final disbursement has been made (and no more financial sign off or M&E - all is done, done,done)

I can get my head around that. No need to shoot anyone. On the contrary I may owe you a drink in Kathmandu.

Merci,
Michelle


(Bill Anderson) #57

Before @IATI-techteam implements this can we have final agreement on the wording. We have agreement on the logic (i.e. 3 comes before 4) but there are differing opinions on naming and the description for 4. Can I propose:

3 - Finalisation
Physical activity is complete or the final disbursement has been made, but the activity remains open pending financial sign off or M&E

4 - Closed
Physical activity, financial sign-off and/or M&E are complete.

re: the description for 4 - I would assume physical activity and financial sign-off are necessary conditions, but M&E could go on for years after an activity has been closed, right?