Paul Kei Matsuda

Reporting Technical Problems

Many people, when they report technical problems, just say that something is "not working."

Well, it may be the case, but that's hardly informative--there is not much that can be done with that little piece of information. It's not even the tip of an iceberg--it's more like a glare off the tip of the iceberg.

The problem could come from many sources, including your hardware, software, Internet connection, web server, web design, database, data, or data entry. It helps to eliminate some of the possibilities first.

Before you report the problem, try at least the following:

  • Try different search terms (if you are doing a search)
  • Try removing (or adding) special characters such as diacritics (if the search term might include or not include them)
  • Check other websites (the Internet connection may not be working)
  • Trying the same website later (the server may be down temporarily)
  • Restarting the browser (the browser may be logged into the website, which can change the behavior)
  • Trying a different browser (the browser may not be compatible or not correctly configured)
  • Try a different device (the device may be incompatible or not working properly)
If none of these seems to solve the problem, then go ahead and ask for help.

To figure out the problem and to address it, it is helpful if you can provide as much information as possible. Here are some of the pieces of information to include:
  • Computer model (e.g., Macbook Air 13-inch, Mid 2013)
  • Operation system version (e.g., OSX Yosemite 10.10.1)
  • Browser type and version (e.g., Google Chrome Version 39.0.2171.95, 64-bit)
  • Time and date of access (the server may have been down)
  • The URL of the site that is having the problem
  • A screen shot of the window
  • A description of what you were trying to do, steps you took to do it, when the problem happened, and what the problem seems to be (be as specific and detailed as possible)
  • Any error messages you have received
  • Which of the possible solutions listed above you have tried. 
Following these guidelines could help solve the problem quickly.


AAAL 2015 Online Program: Personal Schedule

AAAL 2015 Online Program is available at:

Theoretically, it allows users to log in and create their own customized program, but due to design issues involving two databases and three websites (none of which I have full control over), logging in is extremely difficult (as of December 24).

So, here is a hack:

  1. First, log into the conference proposal system at: (Use the big login boxes in the middle, not the one at the top.)
  2. Once you are in the proposal system, click on the "View the Online Program" link.
Now you should see "Welcome YOUR NAMEat the top of the page, which means you have successfully logged in. You can now create and view your personal schedule. 


CFP: SSLW 2015 (until February 27, 2015)

The online proposal submission system for SSLW 2015 is now open. The call for proposal is available at:

As always, we welcome proposals that address various topics within the field of second language writing, broadly conceived. The proposal deadline is Friday 27 February 2015. 

SSLW 2015 will be held November 19-21 at AUT University, Auckland, New Zealand. For more information, please visit: 

We look forward to receiving your proposal!

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AAAL 2015 Hacks

Since I do not have full or immediate control over the choice or configuration of AAAL websites or database systems, and since there are many technical and usability issues that I cannot do anything about, I have decided to share some hacks on my blog. They are under the label "aaal2015 hack."

I will be leading a taskforce (again) to improve the usability of AAAL website, membership database and proposal systems.

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AAAL2015: Organization Information

Due to an error in the membership database, some people's organization information (aka institutional affiliation) has been accidentally deleted. AAAL is aware of the problem and is working to correct the situation. Sorry about the inconvenience.

If you are on AAAL 2015 program but see "--" after your name instead of your institutional affiliation, please take the following steps to add your organization information back:

  1. Log into the AAAL website and change the information in the profile:
  2. Log into the conference proposal website in order for the change to be reflected in the program: (Use the big login boxes in the middle of the screen.)
Please allow at least 30 minutes for the changes to be reflected in the program. 

Hope this helps. If not, please contact


Last update: January 6, 2008