iTelescope.Net - Fair and Acceptable Usage Policy


Version 3.0 Date 13th May 2016



Summary:


  1. All members are allowed one reservation each evening for a maximum of 4 hours per telescope.

  2. All members are allowed one reservation each evening for a minimum of 15 minutes per telescope.

  3. All subscription plans now have a maximum number of hours they may reserve at a time across all telescopes following the table below.

  4. Any member found to be cancelling reservations excessively will first receive a warning from iTelescope Staff.

  5. Any member who does not show or run a plan during a Standard Reservation (No-Plan) when the observatory is open and conditions are suitable for imaging may be charged a 20 point fee. The 20 point charge will NEVER apply to any Launch-a-Plan (LAP) reservation.

  6. Failure to follow these Policies after initial warnings will result in Reservation Suspension and eventually forfeit of all points and Account Closure if a member continues to abuse the Reservation System.


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As iTelescope has seen growth in both the number of telescopes we offer and its membership base, our administrators have a number of deeply concerning issues to deal with in regards to certain practices in the use of our Telescope Reservation System by some within its community of users.  These practices can be both a cause of great frustration in the iTelescope community as well as a significant impact on the viability of any iTelescopes affected.


As a Not-For-Profit organization, the practices listed below can lead to the systems becoming unviable if they can no longer cover their running costs, which in turn forces us to either take systems off of the network or increase usage cost of the systems - something everyone would like to avoid.  


To that end, we have decided to officially release a Fair and Acceptable Usage Policy to govern the use by our membership community of the Reservation System on iTelescope.Net.  Most of these policies are hard coded into the reservation system, but you must still be aware of two that are not.


These policies deal with two very distinct practices that affect the systems and user community in similar ways and are detailed in the document below.



1) Multi-Block Reservations


The first issue we would like to address involves the creation of large or small multiple reservation blocks by a single user during the same night, in such a way that a particular telescope’s availability to fellow members drops significantly.  This can appear for example as a single member making 2 separate 3 hour reservations in a night, or as a member making 10 separate 10 minutes reservations spread out during a single night.


The problem with the 2 x 3 hours reservations is that this blocks the particular telescope for an entire evening, often during peak times, and more often than not, the entire 3 hour block is not used, leading to idle time on the telescope.


The problem with 10 x 10 minute separate and spread out reservations during a night is similar. It blocks the telescope out for an entire evening, as each of those runs will likely only image for 3-5 minutes, yet will block the telescope out for 15 minutes with each new plan, as well as only leave 30 minute gaps for other members to run a plan in before the next reservation begins.  This usually results in those gaps not being used, and therefore in the telescope remaining idle for long periods of time in a given night.


With the 2 x 3 hours example, taking the entire evening and preventing other members from using the systems, this will eventually lead to a loss of members, which in turn means a loss in revenue from those members, the end result of which will be increase in cost to cover the expense of operating the telescopes, or removal of telescopes from the network to lower the overall cost of maintaining the network.


With the 10 x 10 minute block example - by creating and leaving only small free gaps between plans, which often leaves the system idle, as well as only shooting images that will bill for the minimum usage fee, the system can no longer support the cost to maintain the power, electricity, maintenance and pier rental, resulting in it being removed from the network.  This can be seen most recently with the removal of T4 and T1 from the network, which suffered greatly from these type of member reservations.


To that end, members are now limited to NO MORE  than one, single four hour reservation in a given evening per telescope.


Members who wish to run multiple, small plans in a single reservation period can do so by creating a Standard Reservation, of up to 4 hours, and run as many plans as they wish during that time frame.   Keep in mind that with this option, if more than 5 minutes pass without a plan being run, the system will automatically cancel your reservation and the telescope will become available to all members.


Another, more advanced option is using the #chain directive to link multiple plans together into a single reservation.  We highly suggest you read the entire FAQ if you wish to attempt this option.


If you have special requirements or an urgent need to use a single telescope all night please send an email to support@itelescope.net discussing this need, as long as we are aware of your needs in advance (2 weeks minimum), we will do our best to accommodate your requirements that would require violation of this policy.


Violations of this policy will usually first be met by an email requesting that you adjust your reservations to fit the policy, followed by iTelescope staff deleting your reservations if you do not comply.  However if the violation is deemed extreme by iTelescope staff the bookings can and will be deleted immediately upon detection.


Continued violation will result in the suspension of your ability to create reservations for a 2 week period.


Further violation will result in the forfeit of all points and the closing of your account.



2) Standard Reservation – No Show and Cancellation


At iTelescope.Net, we offer two forms of reservations, Launch-a-Plan Reservation and Standard Reservation (No Plan). 


The Launch-a-Plan reservation allows a member to schedule a previously created session plan to automatically run while the member is not present or even logged into the telescope. This offers great freedom and convenience to members who wish to collect data without the need to actually monitor their session.


There are many members however, who enjoy watching the images come off their telescope in real time and enjoy being at the computer during their reservations, as well as having the ability to run multiple plans during a single reservation period without the need for complex directives and plan scripting. 


These Standard Reservations (No Plan) require the user to log into the telescope they wish to use within 10 minutes of their chosen reservation time slot and begin their imaging session manually, and allow the member to run as many plans as they wish during that time frame, so long as they do not let the system sit idle for more than 10 minutes between plans.

 

In both forms of reservation, we allow members to cancel their reservation in the event that circumstances prevent them from utilizing the reservation properly.  We allow these cancellations so long as they are submitted at least four hours in advance of the reserved time slot, to ensure other users have the opportunity to utilize any available telescope time.  


This service is primarily offered for emergency purposes only, however, like being unable to make a planned Standard Reservation time due to an unexpected situation that will prevent you from logging in to the website to start your plan, or wanting to change telescopes for a Launch-a-Plan Reservation because you find it will yield better results, or another member cancelled a reservation and opened up a better time slot for your plan.


Lately, however, we have noticed a trend where some members are repeatedly cancelling their Launch-a-Plan Reservations if the weather is forecast to be slightly unfavorable, or purposefully allowing their Standard Reservation to turn into a NO SHOW when the observatory is open and observing conditions are suitable for imaging because they no longer wish to use the time slot.


The result in both cases is that the telescope often sits idle for long periods after these actions.  Most members check the reservation system once or twice a day and will not log into a telescope again if they see it completely booked.  This means that they will rarely see a Reservation being cancelled or be online to manually begin a plan when a member does not show for their reservation.  s


In both cases, it will have the same result in that the system will remain idle, which in turn will lead to the system being unable to support itself and eventually being removed from the network.


To that end, if a member does not show up for a standard reservation while the observatory is open and conditions are suitable for imaging, they will now be charged a 20 points penalty.


If a member is found to be consistently cancelling their reservations in the final hours before the reservation, they will receive an email from iTelescope Staff requesting that the behavior cease.


If it continues, iTelescope staff will delete all the member’s existing Reservations and they will be suspended from creating new reservations for a 2 week period.


The 20 point charge will not apply when the observatory is closed, if there is a system problem, or if a member contacts support at support@itelescope.net with a valid reason for missing their reservation.


The 20 point charge will NEVER apply to any Launch-a-Plan (LAP) reservation.


Repeated breaking of either of these policies will result in forfeit of all points and account termination.