Linked Records Suddenly Changed in Base -- Please Help!

Hi there!

In the last 12 hours, the linked records in my base have suddenly and mysteriously changed! Please help!

I run a diaper bank. We use AT to track requests for diapers by size. A text field tells us what size of diaper is being requested, and then, using a linked record field, we manually link it to another table that contains diaper sizes (diaper come in sizes Newborn, 1-7, and pullups). The text and links are easy to match. As of 12 hours ago, it looked like this:

Before

(*Note: in the image above, the record created on 9/3/2020 7:25am is wrong (5 and 7). I’m not sure if that was human error, or the beginning of my problems with AT linked records. Keep reading for the main problem.)

However, this morning, the links for diaper sizes 5 and 6 went haywire. 5 turned into 6s, and 6s turned into pullups (which in the table we linked to, are called “T(Large)”. It now looks like this:

after

As you can see, some of the 5s turned into 6s, and some of the 6s turned into T(Large) pullups. Can anyone tell me why this happened? It’s severely messed up our inventory count. How do I fix it?

For reference, here’s a sample of what the table of diaper sizes looks like.
reference

Thanks!

You can look at the activity log for any record to give you information on when those fields were changed, along with who changed them.

Thank you, that’s helpful! I can see the record’s history, so now I know when the change occurred, and that it came from one of my accounts. So far so good!

However, can you shed any light on why it happened? I know I didn’t manually go through and switch hundreds of linked records.

Further, I picked one of the changed records as a representative sample. In the record history it says that the linked record was changed one day ago… (see below, in the bottom part of the image)

InkedInkedrecord activity_LI

I went back and created a “Last Modified time” field for the linked record field, which tracks when the link record field was modified… in this case, “6” to “T(Large)”. I have highlighted the same record that I used in the image above. As you can see in the image below, “Last Modified Time” field says that nothing has changed in this linked record field since last September. Clearly, however, the records own history suggests a change was made yesterday.

modified time

Any ideas? I’m stumped! Thanks very much.

Did you change the value of the existing linked record, or did you delete & re-add the link?

I could be wrong, but this is my understanding of it:

  • A linked record field will only show as modified in THIS TABLE if you actually add/remove links from the linked record field.

  • But if you change the field values within the actual linked record itself, it will show as modified in the OTHER TABLE. So, for example, if you changed the name of the linked record itself, that’s a change to the other table, but it’s not a change to this table.

However, what makes this extremely confusing is that the activity log & the date modified fields show 2 conflicting things. The activity log shows that you changed the record in the other table, but you did it through this table. And the date modified doesn’t recognize that as a change.

I think this is a current design flaw in Airtable.

You may need to email support@airtable.com about this, and ask them for clarification and to please fix this behavior. Please post back here with what they say.

Thanks ScottWorld, your observations allowed me to correct the problem! I went back into the other table, applied a “Last Modified Time” field, and found the record names that had been changed in the last day. I still have no idea how these names where changed, but I changed them back, and everything worked as originally intended. So, I’ll call that a win!

I’m not enough of an expert to know if there is a design flaw in AT regarding activity logs and date modified times, but I’ll send it on to support, so that they can have it as a reference.

Many thanks for your help–you really saved me a lot of work and confusion!

You’re welcome! Glad I could help! :slight_smile:

I think the design flaw & inconsistency here can be fixed if Airtable changed one of two behaviors:

  1. The Activity Log should not show changes that were made to records that reside in OTHER tables outside of THIS table.

or

  1. If the Activity Log does show changes to records that reside in OTHER tables, than the “Date Last Modified” field in THIS table should reflect that as well.

Ironically, I would actually prefer #2, because then we could trigger automations in THIS TABLE based on changes to the linked record in the OTHER TABLE.

But either one of the above 2 behavior changes would be a win for consistency.

p.s. @Michael_Reed If you’re still confused about how your field values changed, you might have some external automations (for example, from Zapier or Integromat) that are making changes via your account’s API.

Thanks! We do have external automations, but none that would affect the table in question. Bit of a mystery there, but it was more than likely human error.

I’ll pass on your comments!

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