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t-hall
Member

IMPORTANT! - Time tracker calculation costing clients extra $$$ ?

Noticed today that the time tracker is booking in 10 minute intervals AHEAD of the work done.

 

Notice the image below actually charging and extra 10 minutes even before that 10 minute block has even started.

 

At the 29 minute mark, my client is being charged for 40 minutes.

 

Multiply this by how many contracts are open on Upwork and one can easily see God knows how much extra $$$ being charged to clients for work that never happened.

 

Kinda a really big issue.

 

 

time tracker reporting issue.png

46 REPLIES 46
petra_r
Member

No, unless there is a new nasty bug it does no such thing.

 

Chances are you worked 10 minutes on that contract earlier in the day (UTC)

 

The green number at the top is the current session. Every time you stop and restart the tracker it resets to 0.

 

The lower number is the total of the day (day being midnight to midnight UTC)

 

So if you tracked anything (another 10 minute block)  earlier that would explain it.

 

Go to your work diary, set it to UTC and see where the 4 segments are.

 

tracker.png

vladag
Community Manager
Community Manager

Hi Tony,

 

Clients are not being charged ahead of time and there isn't an issue here. I've checked your Work Diary and do see four screenshots which support the total time you logged today, as shown in the Team App. The first screenshot was taken at 7:29am, at the very end of the first segment, which would account for the low activity level of that segment.

 

Petra explained the rest.

 

 

Untitled

You are right that there are 4 blocks, and this is where the issue comes from as far as I can see it.

 

I only turned the time tracker on & off for one straight period today. At no time did I stop it & resume.

 

I was out the rest of the day. You can see the 4 blocks are all during one period, so you can tell I did not log on earlier in the day for a few minutes.

 

Perhaps it does not bill for the actual time spent working. Perhaps it has a cut-off?

 

A screen shot is usually taken 1 or 2 minutes after the tracker has started.

 

So let's assume I started work at 11:27 or so. As you can see the first image is taken at 11:29

 

If the Upwork has a cut-off in 10 minute segments starting on the hours... so 11:00 / 11:10 / 11:20 / 11:30 etc.. would it make sense that Upwork billed by 3 or 4 minutes before 11:30 as 10 minutes of work?

 

Would it count my last few minutes (maybe 7 or ๐Ÿ˜Ž as a full 10 from 11:50-12:00?

 

That would equal 40.

 

However... as I mentioned I did not log on & off at all during the one session today, which is shown as 29 minutes of work.

 

The 29 minute session was the only session today. Client was charged for 40 minutes. Believe me or not.. this is what happened.

 

 

time log issue.png

 

The tracker show time booked between 11:29 and 11:53 It shows 29 minutes logged.

 

Give or take a couple minutes work before the first screen shot and after, you can easily and properly see how 29 were actually logged working.

 

Had I turned the tracker on/off during that time, it would make this issue even worse as within that short period, even less time would have actually been bookable.

I know the issue Tony is talking about - it happens frequently. I have already had to delete one 10 minute block a couple of times in order not to overcharge the client.

I will delete the extra 10 minutes before the week is up, but for now am leaving it to show proof of the issue and will inform my client of the problem during our next chat tomorrow.

 

I seriously hope there is a good explaination for this as not only is it an issue once multiplied by who knows how many open contracts, but also I'm sure many freelancers have discovered this and learned to game the system.

 

If I am correct (seriously hope I'm wrong.. but evidence suggests I am), this is by design not a bug. Clients would never know and freelancers would never tell.

Tony it could also be picking up time from the previous day. It's not broken as I also watch this very closely. If you worked 8 minutes the last time you were on the app and there was no screenshot for those 8 minutes it then carries over to the next time you start the tracker. 

 

I've also noticed that the first time I turn the tracker on and get the screenshot it is often 20 minutes before the next one that gives me 10 minutes of time.

The point to all of this, is that the tracker timing CAN be improved easily by varying time frame, block times or many other simple things.

Nothing is set in stone. Especially when it has obvious deficiencies.
---- easy like Sunday morning ----

I've seen the longer times as well.

 

I often check when the last screen shot was taken as I get closer to finishing the job and often it will be around 15 or more minutes since the last shot. I'm still using the old tracker so maybe that's the difference.

Here's more proof the tracker is billing the client for time not worked.

 

Image #1 shows when I started the time tracker. Note the clock on the computer 7:49

 

time tracker issue 2.png

Image #2 shows the time just under a minute from the last screen shot taken. Note the time on the computer 8:02

 

This clearly shows I had the tracker on for exactly 13 minutes... maybe a few seconds more, but under 14 regardless.

 

Upwork has just charged my client for 20 minutes.

 

time tracker issue 3.png

 

Image #3

To test again to make sure no minutes were being prorated from the last session, I started the timer at 8:18 and ended it at 8:20. You can see the tracker showing 2 miutes work - correct.

 

Note though, it billed my client for 10. That's 8 minutes in advance for work not completed.

 

time tracker issue 4.png

 

Image #4

 

As above. I started the tracker at 8:28

It took a screen shot at 8:30 or just before

You can see 2 minutes logged.

Client was billed for 10

 

Still don't beleive me?

 

Now... I actually DO have work to get done so will stop making my point here and now need to delete 30 minutes from my work diary - however, I will do so after my client has a chance to review the issue.

 

time tracker issue 5.png

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hi Tony,

 

Petra explained that to me some time ago. 

 

The tracker works in 10 minute segments, starting at XX:X0.

Your first segment would be 11:20 - 11:29 with a low activity level because you only worked 3 out of the 10 minutes.

 

Also, a segment only counts if there is a screenshot taken.

If you start working at 11:30 and turn it off at 11:38 and no screenshot was yet taken for that interval, the client is not charged for the work you have done in that segment.

 

It evens out. Sometimes you start working at X:X5 and it takes a screenshot, sometimes you stop working at XX:X5 and no screenshot was yet taken.

 

I prefer to only work in full 10 minute segments so I make sure to always start at XX:X0.

 

Like many other threads before, Tony is correct.

It will only even out over long periods of time. But the client will suffer for short timespans.

The point however, is not if it evens out. The point is that the tracker system is inefficient as it is. Someone loses - the client or the freelancer.

Neither of these outcomes is necessary.
---- easy like Sunday morning ----

Sebastian,

 

I replied before you submitted your post. View my images above.

Tony, the tracker bills any 10 minute segment which had a) activity and b) a screenshot.

 

You have billed nearly 900 hours, the tracker has worked this way for every one of them.

 

To make sure your clients are getting their full 10 minutes for every 10 minutes billed start working at the BEGINNING of a 10 minute segment, not at XX.X9 which WILL bill the client for 10 minutes even though only one was worked.

 

To make sure you get paid for the last segment during which you worked make sure a screenshot was taken during that 10 minute segment.

 

There is nothing weird going on. It's just working exactly as it always did.

 

This has ALWAYS been like this.


@Petra R wrote:

 

 

To make sure your clients are getting their full 10 minutes for every 10 minutes billed start working at the BEGINNING of a 10 minute segment, not at XX.X9 which WILL bill the client for 10 minutes even though only one was worked.

 

To make sure you get paid for the last segment during which you worked make sure a screenshot was taken during that 10 minute segment.

 

There is nothing weird going on. It's just working exactly as it always did.

 

This has ALWAYS been like this.


A 10 minute segment does no begin at XX:X1, its is an arbitrary time frame. Hence it does not matter where you start the clock in real time.

 

The clock can run up to 19:59 without a screenshot, if the previous screenshot was taken at the start of the segment (which happens).

 

The point that "this is how it has always been is irrelevant" if a system is not efficient or correct. What you are suggesting is an Upwork solution to an Upwork problem. The tracker can run like a 'normal' tracker and function properly (independent) of screenshots.

 

In other words, the random screenshots does not have to (and should not) be linked to payment segments. It is flawed, and there is always room for improvement.

---- easy like Sunday morning ----


@Setu M wrote:

 

This has ALWAYS been like this.


1) A 10 minute segment does no begin at XX:X1, its is an arbitrary time frame. Hence it does not matter where you start the clock in real time.

 

2) The clock can run up to 19:59 without a screenshot, if the previous screenshot was taken at the start of the segment (which happens).


 1) On the Upwork tracker / billing system it starts at XX.X0 and ends 10minutes later.  Provided the tracker is on and  screenshot is taken that 10 minute time-segment is billed to the client.

 

2) I don't undrstand what you mean, can you clarify?


@Petra R wrote:

 1) On the Upwork tracker / billing system it starts at XX.X0 and ends 10minutes later.  Provided the tracker is on and  screenshot is taken that 10 minute time-segment is billed to the client.

 

2) I don't undrstand what you mean, can you clarify?


  1. If I start the tracker at 10:32, the 10 minute segment starts at 10:32. The screenshot can be taken at any time in that 10 minute period (so at 10:33 / 10:34 / 10:35 etc. If I start the tracker at 10:30 or 10:39, the same principle applies. Because the tracker works irrespective of actual time (real time), but in relative time - 1 minute ago, 2 minutes ago, 3 minutes ago etc.
  2. If I start at 10:32 and the first screenshot is taken at 10:34 (which is usually the case), 10 minutes is billed although I have worked 2 minutes. Now the tracker must snap once within a 10 minute period so it can literally snap again at 10:35, which covers 20 minutes of logged time but only 3 minutes of work. The tracker will now have to wait 17 more minutes before it can snap again (3 mins + 17 mins = 20 mins). But of course I could have finished working at 10:40 - there lies the problem. Edit: The first snapshot is the most difficult to understand because it behaves different from the rest. It covers 10 minutes worked exclusive of all other time frames.
  3. On the flip side. The tracker starts at 10:32 and snaps at 10:34, it bills 10 minutes work for 2 actual minutes worked. I continue to work until 10:51 and there is no snapshot (19 minutes), I stop the tracker and lose 10 minutes of pay. This is possible because the tracker must snap once in every 10 minute period (not every 10 minutes). The first snap at 10:34 covered the period 10:32 - 10:42, the second snap covers the period 10:42 - 10:52 but came at 10:52 (within the specified 10 minute period) but I stopped the clock at 10:51 without checking if the tracker had snapped.
---- easy like Sunday morning ----


@Setu M wrote:

@Petra R wrote:

 1) On the Upwork tracker / billing system it starts at XX.X0 and ends 10minutes later.  Provided the tracker is on and  screenshot is taken that 10 minute time-segment is billed to the client.

 

2) I don't undrstand what you mean, can you clarify?


  1. If I start the tracker at 10:32, the 10 minute segment starts at 10:32. The screenshot can be taken at any time in that 10 minute period (so at 10:33 / 10:34 / 10:35 etc. If I start the tracker at 10:30 or 10:39, the same principle applies. Because the tracker works irrespective of actual time (real time), but in relative time - 1 minute ago, 2 minutes ago, 3 minutes ago etc.

 Not true. What you describe above is absolutely NOT how the tracker works at all.

 

The 10 minute segments are from XX.X0 to XX.X0 ten minutes later. ALWAYS.

 

If there is any activity AND a screenshot between say, 10.30 and 10.40 that segment will get billed and a new segment begins at 10.40 lasting to 10.50 and so on and soon.

 

If you log in at 10.36 and work then there WILL be a screenshot BEFORE 10.40 and that segment gets billed with 4 minutes activity showing on the diary.

 

If you log in at 10.33 a screenshot will be taken BEFORE 10.40 as that is the time segment.

 

"

  • If I start at 10:32 and the first screenshot is taken at 10:34 (which is usually the case), 10 minutes is billed although I have worked 2 minutes. Now the tracker must snap once within a 10 minute period so it can literally snap again at 10:35, ."

that is absolute nonsense. There will NEVER be two screenshots in any one 10.30 to 10.40 time segment. You don't understand how the tracker works.

 

" The tracker will now have to wait 17 more minutes before it can snap again (3 mins + 17 mins = 20 mins). "

 

NO! Nononononono!  if there was a snapshot at 10.34 there will be another one between 10.40 and 10.50. It could be at 10.41, 0.42, 10.43 and so on.

 

It is possible that there is less than 1 minute between screenshots, I had one at X.39 and the next at X.40 for the next segment. But the segments are always XX.X0 to XX.X0 (10 minutes later)

 

 

 Say you work from 10 to 11

 

There will be one screeshot between 10.00 and 10.10

One between 10.10 and 10.20

One between 10.20 and 10.30

One between 10.30and 10.40

One between 10.40 and 10.50

One between 10.50 and 11.00

 

Those are the time segments. Look at the work diary. It's pretty clear what the time segments are, they arefrom XX.X0 to XX.X0 I am stunned how this seems to be such a difficult concept to understand.

 

If people don't want their clients to pay for time not worked and don't want to not be working without it being tracked they can just start at the beginning of a segment - for example at 10.20 and work to the end of one, like 11.50 - That way 1 hour 30 minutes was worked, 10 hour 30 minutes was tracked, 1 hour 30 minutes gets billed, and 1 hour 30 minutes gets paid.

 

I am not saying it's the best system to do it this way, but if we're criticising it it helps to know what actually DOES happen to understand how it could be improved.

 

 

 

 

 

This happened a while ago.

 

I started logging time at 2:30. The first screenshot was taken at 2:33 [14:33] - it shows that 10 minutes have been logged, while I've worked 2 minutes.

 

 

Started working at 2.30 - 1st screenshot at 2.33.png

 

At 3:22 it had logged 1 hour, while I have worked 51 minutes.

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 15.21.56.png

 

 

Total logged time on my work diary: 1 hour.

 

 

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 15.44.11.png

 

@Petra,

 

This is a know issue. In straight blocks (several hours worked) you or the client will always lose 10 minutes of money, if you are not correcting for the tracker (ie. waiting on screenshots or deleting screenshots).

 

In stop starts (disjointed blocks) the client suffers 10 minutes loss per block easily.

 

Upwork is just unwilling to change anything, like with s many other things. And this one is a simple fix - uncouple screenshots from time logged, increase screenshots, or just track time by the minute (like a regular clock).

 

You can refer to this post.

https://community.upwork.com/t5/Freelancers/Snapshots-Activity-level-and-EPM-Inconsistencies/m-p/109...

---- easy like Sunday morning ----


@Petra R wrote:

@Setu M wrote:

@Petra R wrote:

 1) On the Upwork tracker / billing system it starts at XX.X0 and ends 10minutes later.  Provided the tracker is on and  screenshot is taken that 10 minute time-segment is billed to the client.

 

2) I don't undrstand what you mean, can you clarify?


  1. If I start the tracker at 10:32, the 10 minute segment starts at 10:32. The screenshot can be taken at any time in that 10 minute period (so at 10:33 / 10:34 / 10:35 etc. If I start the tracker at 10:30 or 10:39, the same principle applies. Because the tracker works irrespective of actual time (real time), but in relative time - 1 minute ago, 2 minutes ago, 3 minutes ago etc.

 Not true. What you describe above is absolutely NOT how the tracker works at all.

 

The 10 minute segments are from XX.X0 to XX.X0 ten minutes later. ALWAYS.

 

If there is any activity AND a screenshot between say, 10.30 and 10.40 that segment will get billed and a new segment begins at 10.40 lasting to 10.50 and so on and soon.

 

If you log in at 10.36 and work then there WILL be a screenshot BEFORE 10.40 and that segment gets billed with 4 minutes activity showing on the diary.

 

If you log in at 10.33 a screenshot will be taken BEFORE 10.40 as that is the time segment.

 

"

  • If I start at 10:32 and the first screenshot is taken at 10:34 (which is usually the case), 10 minutes is billed although I have worked 2 minutes. Now the tracker must snap once within a 10 minute period so it can literally snap again at 10:35, ."

that is absolute nonsense. There will NEVER be two screenshots in any one 10.30 to 10.40 time segment. You don't understand how the tracker works.

 

" The tracker will now have to wait 17 more minutes before it can snap again (3 mins + 17 mins = 20 mins). "

 

NO! Nononononono!

 

 

 

 

 


So I have some time on my hands. Yes I gave a bad example with the timeframes, but the point still stands. The point which you seem to be skirting around.

 

The time tracker will always snap once in every "real time" 10 minute interval as I stated here, sorry about the confusion in this thread. But what about the point that there can be 19+ minutes in between snaps, during which time the freelancer is bound to stop tracking. Or the times when there are 2 minutes between snaps, in which case the client is overcharged.

 

While I appreciate the correction re the difference in the "real time" 10 minutes, don't forget what the thread is about and the point I have made. The tracker inevitably shortchanges the client or the freelancer without our error correction.

 

The tracker can snap at 10:39 and again at 10:41 (2 minutes in between) - if the clock is stopped the client is shorted.

The tracker can snap at 10:31 and 10:50 (18 minutes in between) - if the freelancer stopped tracking between this large gap, the freelancer is shorted.

---- easy like Sunday morning ----


@Petra R wrote:

I am not saying it's the best system to do it this way, but if we're criticising it it helps to know what actually DOES happen to understand how it could be improved.

 


 Try not to get cheeky, we are having a civil discussion.

---- easy like Sunday morning ----

I am surprised that you are defending such a poor system.

 

I could easily do this 5 times a day:

 

Start at 10:09 - Clock snaps - $15 earned - 1 minute worked

Clock snaps between 10:10 and 10:20 - $30 total earned - 11 total minutes worked

Clock snaps 10:21 or thereabout - $45 total earned - 13 total minutes worked

 

Should I continue?

By devising these complex systems - Upwork only opens clients to abuse. How about using time for what it is - time.

---- easy like Sunday morning ----


@Setu M wrote:

I am surprised that you are defending such a poor system.


 I am not defending it. I am merely explaining how it works (and how it doesn't)

 

Personally I just work within its restrictions by working from the beginning of a segment such as starting at 11.00or 11.40 or whatever, and work to the end of the one where I'm done. That way I get paid for all the time I've worked and the client is charged only for work time. Simple

If we want to make sure clients get their full 10 minutes work per segment paid, and we get paid for each segment worked, we can start at the beginning of a segment (say at 10.30) and work until the end of a segment (say at 12.30)

 

That way 2 hours were worked, 2 hours were tracked, 2 hours are billed, and 2 hours are paid.

 

The hourly system is not suited to stop-start jobs, it works best for working for longer periods of time, but in that context doing the above means nobody is short-changed at all.

Or how about unhitching the screenshots from time logged. That way the freelancer would always get what they log without watching the clock (like an employee); and the client would always get what they paid for.

You are suggesting work-arounds for a broken system, rather than a simple age-old solution.
---- easy like Sunday morning ----

Petra, it seems your time tracker is working as it should. But if you look at the screenshots posted by Tony and myself, I think that it becomes obvious that something is wrong, so it seems to me you're choosing not to see the evidence.

No, nothing is wrong. If a screenshot happens the segment is counted and charged.


@Olga Q wrote:

Petra, it seems your time tracker is working as it should. But if you look at the screenshots posted by Tony and myself, I think that it becomes obvious that something is wrong, so it seems to me you're choosing not to see the evidence.


 You are mixing up time worked, time logged, and time billed ๐Ÿ™‚ the upper green number counts the time the tracker has been on and the lower shows the time billed to the client, which is always in 10 minute segments, so 30 or 1.40 or 4.20 and so on.

 

Tony had 4 screenshots with activity and 4 x 10 minutes were billed. That is the way it works.

 

Your client gets billed for each segment where 1) there is activity and b) there is a screenshot.

 

If you work from the start of a segment (starting at 10.20 or 3.40 or 5.10 and work to the end of the last one you get paid for all segments you worked and the client only pays for all the segments where there was work.

 

My work diary tends to look like below. I start at the beginning and finish at the end. Nobody loses out.

 

work diary.jpg

 

 


@Petra R wrote:

 

[โ€ฆ]

 

If you work from the start of a segment (starting at 10.20 or 3.40 or 5.10 and work to the end of the last one you get paid for all segments you worked and the client only pays for all the segments where there was work.

 

 


 I have just worked from 5:30 to 6:30 - I think this is what you call a segment. The screenshot, taken at 6:28 shows that I have logged 1 hour [it shows 2 because I've worked 1 before] despite the fact that I have worked 58 minutes. I'm only posting this to show you that what you've been saying (that nothing is wrong) is not correct. Anyway, this is my last attempt to convince you.

 

 

Last screenshot taken at 18.28 shows 1 hour logged vs 58 minutes worked.png


@Olga Q wrote:

@Petra R wrote:

 

[โ€ฆ]

 

If you work from the start of a segment (starting at 10.20 or 3.40 or 5.10 and work to the end of the last one you get paid for all segments you worked and the client only pays for all the segments where there was work.

 

 


 I have just worked from 5:30 to 6:30 - I think this is what you call a segment. The screenshot, taken at 6:28 shows that I have logged 1 hour [it shows 2 because I've worked 1 before] despite the fact that I have worked 58 minutes. I'm only posting this to show you that what you've been saying (that nothing is wrong) is not correct. Anyway, this is my last attempt to convince you.

 

 

Last screenshot taken at 18.28 shows 1 hour logged vs 58 minutes worked.png


 Olga, that's because at the time a screenshot has been taken 27 seconds earlier. That means the relevant segment gets charged to the client. Time is billed, charged and paid in those 10 minute segments.

 

As they always have been.

 

As time is charged in 10 minute segments it means 6 x 10 minute segments are being charged because there were 6 segments with activity and screenshots.

 

Again, I am not defending the way the tracker works. It works that way and always has done, and yes, it could and should be improved, but your tracker works exactly as designed, and the way it always has done.

Just throwing this out there...  But maybe the descrepency has to do with the UTC clock.  You are tracking in local computer time, then the screenshots are uploaded.  Screen shots can be tracked during internet outtages, so who's to say the screen shots were taken in ~10 minute intervals?  The UTC clock should correct any issues with the time, but I'm thinking it's possible that something is out of sync. 

 

In my experience, I usually lose time to the tracker.  I work for 19 minutes and get paid for 10.  Or when I stop for 10 minutes to take notes or sketch something out.  Smiley Frustrated

@Petra,

Lets call it a day, since you are deliberate about missing the entire point.
---- easy like Sunday morning ----

This issue still persists in 2019. Most of the cases I need to delete the first screenshot, so that I do not have to overcahrge the client. 



Anik S wrote:

This issue still persists in 2019. Most of the cases I need to delete the first screenshot, so that I do not have to overcahrge the client. 


Start working at the beginning of a segment (for example at 10.00 or 3.20) not the end (for example at 10.08 or 3.29)

 

I strongly suspect that there is a bug here.

 

I could accept that it was "working as designed" if the probability of a segment being charged was proportional to the time worked, e.g. when you worked the last 2 minutes of a segment you had a 20% chance of being paid for the whole segment (and 80% chance of earning nothing for those 2 minutes of work). That would mean the correct amount was being paid on the probabilistic average.

 

However, this appears not to be the case. It seems that, when I start work late in a segment, I have a very high probability of being paid for the segment. As I have a degree in statistics, I'm well aware of the danger of confirmation bias and of the difficulty of making such judgements based on informal observation. So I didn't come to this conclusion quickly. But after months of paying attention to whether I get paid for such segments, I'm pretty confident that there's a problem.

There's also another problem with tracking of partial segments. The activity level shown for partially-tracked segments is averaged over the whole segment, and not just over the time that you've tracked, e.g. if you started tracking 8 minutes into the segment then the recorded activity level will be at most 2/10. This is unfair to the freelancer. If your activity level was very high throughout the time you were tracking, it should be recorded as 10/10.


Richard wrote:

I strongly suspect that there is a bug here.

 

I could accept that it was "working as designed" if the probability of a segment being charged was proportional to the time worked, e.g. when you worked the last 2 minutes of a segment you had a 20% chance of being paid for the whole segment (and 80% chance of earning nothing for those 2 minutes of work). That would mean the correct amount was being paid on the probabilistic average.


No.

If there is activity (keyboard / mouse) in a segment a screenshot is taken and if a screenshot is taken the segment counts, is billed and charged. That's always been the case.

 

That is why it makes sense to start working at the beginning of a segment and work through to the end of one, or tidy up afterwards. (Because you lose the last segment if you stop tracking before a screenshot was taken.)

 


Richard wrote:
There's also another problem with tracking of partial segments. The activity level shown for partially-tracked segments is averaged over the whole segment, and not just over the time that you've tracked, e.g. if you started tracking 8 minutes into the segment then the recorded activity level will be at most 2/10.


Of course... The activity over the whole segments was whatever it actually was. The client is charged a 6th of your hourly rate per segment. The segments are clearly defined. If there is one minute frantic activity for 10 minutes pay, why should that count as "10 out of 10 activity?"

 

 


Petra R wrote:


No.

If there is activity (keyboard / mouse) in a segment a screenshot is taken and if a screenshot is taken the segment counts, is billed and charged. That's always been the case.

 

That is why it makes sense to start working at the beginning of a segment and work through to the end of one, or tidy up afterwards. (Because you lose the last segment if you stop tracking before a screenshot was taken.)


Petra, these two paragraphs contradict each other. The first paragraph says that the client is charged for a segment if there is any activity during that segment. The second paragraph describes circumstances in which there can be activity in a segment without the client being charged for that segment.

 

I suspect that you mis-spoke in the first paragraph. But in that case I can't work out what you meant. Perhaps you meant this: if there is activity during a segement and a screenshot is taken during that segement, then the segment is charged. That's certainly true, and nothing that I said is inconsistent with that.

 

The point I'm raising is about the probability of a screenshot being taken. To illustrate, what I mean, suppose I work and track time for only 1 minute of a segment, and suppose (for the sake of example) that there's a 99% chance of a screenshot occurring during that 1 minute. Surely you would agree that this would be overcharging the client. She should not have a 99% chance of being charged for 10 minutes work if I only work for 1 minute.

 

Now, I'm not saying that the actual figure is 99%. But I'm saying that it's disproportionately high. You could disagree with me on the grounds that, no, the probability of a screenshot being taken actually is in proportion to the amount of time the tracker is on. Or you could disagree that the scenario I've described amounts to overcharging. But you haven't disagreed on either of those grounds. I think that's because you didn't understand the point I was making.


Richard W wrote:

Petra R wrote:


No.

If there is activity (keyboard / mouse) in a segment a screenshot is taken and if a screenshot is taken the segment counts, is billed and charged. That's always been the case.

 


Petra, these two paragraphs contradict each other. The first paragraph says that the client is charged for a segment if there is any activity during that segment. The second paragraph describes circumstances in which there can be activity in a segment without the client being charged for that segment.

 


No. They do not contradict itself in the slightest. The client is charged for a segment if there is activity *AND* a screenshot is taken. If you start the tracker before the end of a segment and there is activity, there WILL be a screenshot and the segment WILL be charged.

 

The second paragraph describes a situation where a freelancer turns the tracker off before there is a screenshot hence the two criteria (activity AND a screenshot) are not met. Ergo there is no screenshot and the client is not charged.

 


Richard W wrote:

The point I'm raising is about the probability of a screenshot being taken. To illustrate, what I mean, suppose I work and track time for only 1 minute of a segment, and suppose (for the sake of example) that there's a 99% chance of a screenshot occurring during that 1 minute. Surely you would agree that this would be overcharging the client. She should not have a 99% chance of being charged for 10 minutes work if I only work for 1 minute.


If there is activity in the first segment, and the tracker has time to take a screenshot, there will be a screenshot and yes, that segment will be charged. It is not a bug - it has always been this way. My main point was in response to your statement that you strongly suspect that it is a bug. It is not a bug, it is designrd that way (rightly or wrongly, but designed that way nevertheless.)

 

If you turn on the tracker at XX.X8 or XX.X9 - the system will, if it has time, take a screenshot during XX.X8 or XX.X9. On subsequent segments the screenshot can happen at any time (XX.X0 to XX.X9), but if you start tracking late, obviously the screenshot can not happen before you started tracking, so it will always happen late in the segment as it wasn't onearlier in the segment.

 

I have (deliberately) made no judgment call as to if that is "fair" one way or the other. I merely pointed out that this is the way the tracker works and always has worked. Hence not a bug or the system malfunctioning. Clients also have the option to dispute segments with low activity.

 

In my opinion / experience (14k+ hours) it generally evens out when people work naturally and for longer stretches (an hour + at a time) because there will be some segments at the beginning of a work session where there are less minutes than worked, and some at the end that are more minutes worked than charged (because the freelancer logged off before the screenshot happened.) Hence my suggestion that it works best to work beginning of first segment to end of last segment - wheich means everyone gets what they paid for and go paid for everything they worked. That is the way that comes closest to "far."

 

I don't think anyone ever suggested that it was perfect (only a "by the minute" system with more "control" would be) - but this is what we have and have had for years.

 

 


Petra R wrote:

Richard W wrote:

Petra R wrote:


No.

If there is activity (keyboard / mouse) in a segment a screenshot is taken and if a screenshot is taken the segment counts, is billed and charged. That's always been the case.

 


Petra, these two paragraphs contradict each other. The first paragraph says that the client is charged for a segment if there is any activity during that segment. The second paragraph describes circumstances in which there can be activity in a segment without the client being charged for that segment.

 


No. They do not contradict itself in the slightest. The client is charged for a segment if there is activity *AND* a screenshot is taken. If you start the tracker before the end of a segment and there is activity, there WILL be a screenshot and the segment WILL be charged.

 

The second paragraph describes a situation where a freelancer turns the tracker off before there is a screenshot hence the two criteria (activity AND a screenshot) are not met. Ergo there is no screenshot and the client is not charged.

Understood. Your previous post didn't include the proviso "If you start the tracker before the end of a segment...". The first paragraph of that post appeared to be making a claim about ALL segments with activity. Hence the contradiction.



If you turn on the tracker at XX.X8 or XX.X9 - the system will, if it has time, take a screenshot during XX.X8 or XX.X9. On subsequent segments the screenshot can happen at any time (XX.X0 to XX.X9), but if you start tracking late, obviously the screenshot can not happen before you started tracking, so it will always happen late in the segment as it wasn't onearlier in the segment.

OK. That's what I suspected, but I was charitably suggesting an explanation that was not quite as bad as this. This is flagrant overcharging. I'm inclined to put it down to incompetence rather than dishonesty, but either way Upwork could well be in for a class action suit if it becomes known to clients (and their lawyers).

 

It would have been easy to avoid this overcharging. All they had to do was generate a random number between 0.00 and 10.00, and then only take a snapshot if the tracker was on at this pre-calculated time through the segment. That would have made the probability of charging for the segment proportional to the time the tracker is on.

 

In my opinion / experience (14k+ hours) it generally evens out when people work naturally and for longer stretches (an hour + at a time) because there will be some segments at the beginning of a work session where there are less minutes than worked, and some at the end that are more minutes worked than charged (because the freelancer logged off before the screenshot happened.)


No, it doesn't even out. The partial segment at the end of a working session appears to be just "fair" to the client, i.e. the probability of charging is proportional to the time the tracker is on (as long as the freelancer doesn't go out of his way to bias it against the client). So it doesn't compensate for the unfair (to the client) segment at the start of the work session. To compensate, it would have to be better than fair, to the same degree that the initial segment is worse than fair.