To log or not to log? - Not end of life, but not fixed...and just user-error

At our repair events we quite often we have something that’s brought in to be fixed and we can’t fix that element, but it’s not going to be binned as some of it still works? e.g. this month a digital radio that’s display had gone…we couldn’t fix that element, but he could still use the radio. Or a stereo where the CD player element wouldn’t work, but she could still use the radio. A TV that came in as a bit of plastic was stuck in a USB port…we couldn’t get it out, but there was another USB port so he could still use it, and just live with one.

So they aren’t fixed, but equally it’s not end of life as they’re going to carry on using.

How best to categorise them without messing up your data? Should we simply not log those items?

There are also a few where it’s actually just user error…so we’ve fixed the person’s use of the object, rather than the object :wink: Should we log them in anyway? If so, how?


This is a great question Clare. I agree that it’s not obvious how to classify these unfixed-but-still-usable devices.

I think ultimately, our aim is to make sure participants can continue using whatever item they bring in; repairing it when it’s broken and/or giving advice on how to get the most out of it. I’d argue it largely depends on what the owner plans to do with it next. So there’s probably always an element of subjectivity around how these edge cases are classified.

In the cases you mentioned, it sounds like those might be ‘repairable’: they could be fixed in theory, but they weren’t on the day and are unlikely to be thrown away/recycled (because they still mostly function).

What do you think @Monique?

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Yes, a great question.

Here’s a suggestion:
think of “repaired” as meaning “saved from the recycling bin”, since that’s what we’re trying to do, rather than any more technical meaning

So, for things that are “broken, but still working” … I would suggest that there are 2 cases:

  1. If the owner arrives thinking that it’s unusable and is ready to throw it away,
    but a repairer explains to them that it is still usable, so they decide to keep using it:
    the item has been saved from the recycling bin, so in my mind, that counts as a repair.
  2. The owner arrives knowing that it’s still usable, but would like the rest of the functionality to be restored, but it can’t be:
    in that case you haven’t changed the e-waste situation so that doesn’t count as a repair.

In the “User Error” case, again, if you have saved the item from being recycled, then AFAICS that counts as a repair.

Maybe we need a “User Error” classification in our fixing data @Monique?


Yep, I agree with this.

There is a case for it, have come across quite a few where there is no actual fault and only advice is required to solve the client’s problem. Far from a majority though, so I wouldn’t add another repair_status but there could be a separate “flag” to note it. (Not my decision btw, will mention it in discussions though)

For now, I would probably leave such “repairs” with repair_status = “Repairable” and put some explanation in the problem text.

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