Get involved in Repair Data with MiscCat!

We did our first run of MiscCat on Open Data Day - but you can do MiscCat at any time (from anywhere) - details below!


Get started with the activity here: MiscCat :cat: and read on below for more info :arrow_down:

MiscCat - sorting through the Misc

We’re sorting through the items brought to repair events such as Restart Parties and Repair Cafes. In order to keep track of what we’ve fixed, these items are placed into an item category.

This categorisation of items helps us to report on things like the reparability of different types of products :hammer_and_wrench: , and the environmental impact of fixing :earth_africa: .

:bulb: However, some of these items get categorised as “Miscellaneous”. We’d like you to take a look and see if there is a better category for those items!


So what do I do?

MiscCat presents you with an item brought along to a repair event that is currently ‘Miscellaneous’. Here’s what you can do:

  • First, read the problem. Some objects may also have a brand or model.
  • Decide if the object uses electric power of any sort, or not. Or click “I’m not sure”.
  • If you think there is a better category than “Misc” then simply click on it.
  • Then click the “Go with” button to confirm your choice.

That’s it! Keep going through as many as you like, and share your thoughts below.

We think it’s a fun way to discover community repair data. Every single item you see is an item a person has brought to a repair event and looked at (and hopefully fixed!) with a repair volunteer. And each item can feed upstream to discussions on our right to repair :hammer_and_wrench:


FAQ

click here to see Frequently Asked Questions

:question: What if there’s not enough info to decide on a category?

Sometimes it can be hard to choose a category because there is not a lot of information recorded. The data has come from a lively, sociable community repair event where volunteers are busy trying to fix things and don’t always have the time to write down a lot of the detail.

Don’t worry if you can’t decide - just press “Go with Misc”. It is in fact very useful for us to know where we lack information as we are looking for ways to improve our data collection.

Try and fit the item into one of the existing categories. But if it really doesn’t fit anywhere, you can post a suggested category in this thread for discussion.

:question: What are all the categories?

The categories are based on the existing list of categories in our Fixometer part of Restarters.net.

click here to see category descriptions
Category Comment
Desktop computer PC towers and all-in-ones
Laptop large Any laptop larger than 15” - mostly for graphics and gaming
Laptop medium Most laptops
Laptop small Netbooks or ultrabooks
PC Accessory Mice, keyboards, computer speakers, and laptop chargers
Printer/scanner Includes laserjets and inkjets
DSLR/Video Camera Includes analog SLR
Handheld entertainment device iPods, Walkmans, handheld DVD players, portable game consoles
Headphones Both earbuds and over-ear
Mobile Includes smartphones and dumb phones
Tablet Any screen over 6”
Hi-Fi integrated Ministereos and boomboxes
Hi-Fi separates Any component of a stereo
Portable radio Analog and DAB
TV and gaming-related accessories Set top boxes, gaming consoles, DVD players
Decorative or safety lights Bike lights, fairy lights, Christmas lights
Hair & Beauty item Hair straighteners, hair dryers, toothbrushes, shavers
Power tool Garden tools and DIY tools
Small kitchen item Blenders, food processors
Vacuum Includes hand-held vacuums

In addition, we have included categories that we think might be common enough to be included in the Fixometer categories, as well as non-electrical and non-electronic items that we will be adding to the Fixometer soon.

:question: Where does the data come from?

Volunteers around the world collect the data at repair events and log it in restarters.net.

:question: Can I see all of the data?

Yes. We share the data collected via Restarters here. We also include our data in the larger collection of open repair data available here from the Open Repair Alliance.

:question: Do I need an account?

No - you don’t need to sign up to restarters.net to play with MiscCat. We’d love it if you did create an account and tell us what you think of MiscCat. You can then also get involved in events, data collection and discussions about community repair.

:question: What do you do with my answers?

They are pooled together to see if we can reach consensus on the item category. Once we have a good level of confidence in the categories, we can use this information to help complement existing knowledge on fixes and failurs and the barriers to repair.This will feed into campaign work for the Right to Repair.

:question: This is cool! Any other stuff I can do?

There is also FaultCat! :cat:

We’re working on more repair data apps - stay tuned! In the meantime, there are lots of ways to get involved with our data work.

:question: What if I find something weird or have a suggestion?

Please share it in this discussion :slight_smile: :arrow_down: (you will need an account to do so)

4 Likes

Very neat, done a handful of devices this morning before breakfast (it is Open Data Day after all). Really neat work!

There are quite a few devices that I had to keep the label as “miscellaneous” e.g. TomTom/lawnmower. Wondering if maybe it would be possible to slightly tweak the category names. Maybe we could “hack” the system and use some of the labels from Amazon/Ebay’s site map to label ours (https://pages.ebay.co.uk/sitemap.html) . Given they sell millions of items and need to have good searchability, they probably have done a lot of work on making a label for everything. There are possibly too many labels, so I’ll try to whittle this list down and share it today/tomorrow

4 Likes

Funny you should mention that, I did some research around exactly that idea with some interesting conclusions. The outcome of MiscCat will feed into that and there will be further work exploring the options. We’ll be taking into consideration categories used by other repair organisations and initiatives as well. Thanks for your feedback, very useful!

2 Likes

As part of my research I used Google’s list of around 5,000 categories and shaved off everything that wasn’t an object/device of some sort (e.g. food, drink etc.). Amazon’s product tree is only available if you have a seller account. I didn’t think of eBay tbh.

What really floats my boat is the categorisation method used by Netflix: How Netflix Reverse-Engineered Hollywood and I dabbled with a few ideas around that.

3 Likes

Something we are noticing with categories being dependent on the EEE status is that where there is uncertainty over the EEE status but there is a category you either stay with “Misc” or take a guess as to whether it might be electrical or not… e.g.


Also, some items fall between the two sets of categories… e.g.

Just noting here for the record that I’ve come across a number of non-specific chargers :electric_plug:

There’s a category for 'PC accessory` that would cover laptop chargers. But for the others, I’ve just been selecting miscellaneous (electronic)

2 Likes

Same - e.g. ‘Battery charger for mobility scooter’.

DVD players - these could be categorised as “Hi-fi separates” (which is probably what they’re most like, in terms of weight and CO2 impact) or “TV and gaming-related accessories” (which is a closer description to what it does). So one categorisation maybe gives a more accurate impact metric, but the other makes more sense?

3 Likes

I’ve been putting TV and gaming-related accessories for these since forever but you make a good point. Some guidance there would be good.

Just came across a 65" flatscreen TV :tv: . At the moment, the categories for flat screen TVs only go up to 37"…

Might need some new categories for these bigger sizes

2 Likes

Agree that the flatscreen sizes, and the clusters they are in, are a bit dated

3 Likes

There seem to be loads of bluetooth speakers and/or iPod docks/accessories. Is it worth considering a solution for these?

2 Likes

A few others I’ve seen a number of times:

  • laminators
  • scales (kitchen & bathroom)
  • pressure/jet washers
  • Satnavs/GPS devices
  • powerbanks
1 Like

I’ve seen… in category of emerging categories…
• e-bikes
• drones

We’re signing off from the online session for Open Data Day now - thanks everyone for coming :slight_smile:

For today’s session we had:

  • nearly 1200 opinions given
  • and over 250 records so far with a majority consensus on what the item can be recategorised to - ~13% of all Misc items, good stuff!

You can keep recategorising with MiscCat at any time - keep those opinions coming :smirk_cat:

Also lots of great feedback on the categories we are using - we’ll sum it up and report back soon.

4 Likes

Yup categorization does depend on what you are using the categorization for. Perhaps in MiscCat giving an idea of why we create statistics (e.g. for the Fixometer) might help people decide which is the appropriate category, like with the DVD player example you give

Glasses and sunglasses may be a good category to split out and watch on non electrical side because they often contain precious metals or titanium.

Also there is an aweful lot of electric bikes. Put all into misc. Maybe be worth adding a category.

1 Like