Frequently Asked Questions:

Stuck? We’ve compiled our most frequently asked questions here to help you! Click on one of the section links below that pertains to the issue you’re having:

I am interested in helping, but I might not have the background, and I’m not sure where to begin. Can I help? Where do I begin?

Yes, you can help! You don’t need a science background! We want you if you:

  1. can read!

  2. are willing to learn

  3. want to help

That’s our criteria for having you join us. Fit this? Here are three ways to help us:

  1. Go to Click 'start now' to train for the task. Once you've completed all the training steps, do as many of the quests as you can. You don't have to do everything in one sitting, so come back often and keep contributing. (Please note that the tasks and training on this site are best done from a computer or laptop, with a mouse.)
  2. Give us feedback on anything that caught your attention. We improve only if awesome people like you share their experience with us.
  3. Tell your friends about how you are contributing to science. They don't need to have a background in science or medicine, just a willingness to learn and a desire to help. We need more people like you to join us.
Okay, sold! I am having issues on the very first (‘basics’) page. What do I do?

Please be sure to access Mark2Cure using a desktop or laptop computer with a mouse (mouse not necessary, but does improve the experience). Mark2cure currently does not work well on mobile touch screen devices like phones and tablets. If you still are having difficulties, please contact us (help button, bottom right hand corner). Be sure to include your email address, and (if possible) a screenshot of the issue.

Tutorial help (prior to registration)

I’ve highlighted what I was instructed to, why can’t I continue?

Sometimes the sentence has multiple instances of things that should be highlighted. If this is the case, you need to highlight everything the previous instructions taught you to highlight as well as the current instructions.

I’m having trouble highlighting phrases that span two lines. It’s really frustrating. What can I do?
  1. We know this is difficult and can be frustrating, and we hope to improve this in the future. It’s one of the reasons why we really suggest the use of a mouse. In the meantime, here are workarounds our clever users have come up with: Highlight words from the bottom line up. Note that this works because whenever the cursor leaves the grey border, it’s like having a ‘mouse up’ event.
  2. Resize your browser. The page is responsive, so when you resize your browser, you can often move text from one row to the next. If you resize the browser and get all the words on one line, it makes them easier to highlight. (Thanks, Melinda!)

Registration and Login help

I participated in the Beta Experiment, how do I login? Do I have to do the tutorial over again?

Go to and click on the ‘login’ button on the top right-hand corner of the page. Login with your username and password. Please note, the tutorials/trainings have changed significantly since the beta experiment, so you will still need to do them.

I’m having trouble registering because the system will not take my information.

The system does not allow users to have the same username or email address.

  1. Verify that you have not registered before:
    1. Go to and enter your email address. If you receive an email from us, the email address has been used to register before. Reset your password following the instructions if you cannot remember your login credentials.
    2. Be sure to allow emails from ‘’ or check your email spam box for the email from us.
  2. If you have not registered before, try registering with a different username.
I’ve registered before (in this campaign), how do I login? Do I have to do the tutorial over again?

You do not have to re-do the tutorial. Go to and click on the ‘login’ button on the top right-hand corner of the page. Login with your username and password.

I’ve forgotten my username or password. How do I retrieve it?

Go to and enter the email address you used to register with Mark2Cure. Use the username enclosed in that email and follow the instructions in order to reset your password. Our system is properly secured so we cannot retrieve your password and send it to you via email.

Tutorial/Training help (after registration)

I’m stuck. I’m following directions, but nothing seems to be happening?

Prior to the last part of training 4 (machine pre-populated), you will be able to advance only after selecting the correct answer. If you select incorrect answers (that are close) you will receive specific feedback on what’s wrong. Read the specific feedback carefully in order to figure out what the correct answer should be. Don’t hesitate to click on anything that looks correct to you (diseases and symptoms) to learn more about what’s correct and what’s wrong. You aren’t being graded, at this step, and getting things wrong at this stage will help you be a better Mark2Curator in the long run.

An example of a common specific error and how to use it to find the correct answer:

Error message: Sorry, xyz does not appear to be correct (Please check that your selection contains all required words) -This error message suggests that the word you selected is part of the correct answer. Highlight it as a span with some of the disease-related words adjacent to it to get the correct answer.

I’m in Training 4, and am not getting any feedback like I did in the previous Trainings. What am I doing wrong?

The last part of Training 4 is more similar to the quests. You will receive feedback only after you click on the ‘submit’ button. Again, feel free to repeat this step as often as you’d like in order to see how your score changes.

What does the underline mean? Why are there different colors of underlines

The underline is the text that your partner selected. The different colors of underlines indicates the concept type to which the underlined word was assigned by your partner.

The Quests: Common disease marking questions:

Please note that these questions and answers are meant to be guidelines as opposed to hard and fast rules. With natural language tasks like this, there is bound to be ambiguity and exceptions, so it’s more important to use your best judgement given your understanding of the task.

  1. Categories of Disorders and Abnormalities

    When a reference is made to a disease or syndrome and it is related to a broad category of abnormality, is the general abnormality to be included? (i.e., fragile X syndrome is a genetically homogenous disorder)

    Categories of disorders and abnormalities could fall under disease classes such as ‘heart disease’. Please mark these as well.

  2. Deficiencies

    Do you want to have us indicate all deficiencies? When is a deficiency a disease and when is it just a deficiency (especially in reference to genetic deficiencies)? When is a deficiency a symptom of a disease?

    In general, a symptom is considered the physical manifestation of the disease. Genetic deficiencies are usually causes or mechanisms of disease development/progression and not usually considered a symptom. Again, this is not a rule but a guideline. There are a lot of exceptions as to when a deficiency should be marked, such as when a deficiency is considered a disease. An example of this is C3 deficiency.

  3. Symptoms

    With respect to genes, when is a mutation a symptom of a disease?

    Mutations are often the underlying causes of diseases and NOT considered symptoms. Therefore you would NOT highlight references to gene mutations. HOWEVER, there are exceptions. For example, certain rare genetic disease are often referred to by their specific mutation. Eg- CDG1a is a specific form of CDG which is sometimes referred to as PMM2-CDG because of the mutation that causes it. In this case, PMM2-CDG is a specific form of the CDG.

  4. Conditions

    Do you want us to capture medical conditions? When is a condition a disease?

    If a medical condition is a disease or symptom, highlight it. For example, if the medical condition is ‘high blood pressure’, which is often considered a symptom of heart disease, you should capture it.

  5. Disease Modifiers

    Sometimes terms such as ‘Dutch’, ‘early-onset’, or ‘hereditary’ will precede a disease term. Should I mark those as well?

    This one is probably one of the least clear-cut situation since it depends entirely on the context. If the modifying term specifies a particular form of the disease or is part of the disease name, it should be highlighted. Otherwise, it should be excluded. Here are just a few examples of how the context is very important to determining how these should be marked:

    Japanese encephalitis (JE) is a disease spread through mosquito bites....’ --In this case, the term ‘Japanese’ is part of the disease name, and should be included.

    ‘We studied Dutch prostate cancer families and found that...’ --In this case, the term ‘Dutch’ refers to the ethnicity of the families, and is not a specific form of prostate cancer, hence it should NOT be included

    ‘One patient was diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer disease...’ --In this case, early-onset Alzheimer disease is sometimes used to refer to the familial form of Alzheimer disease.

    We cannot provide examples for every instance on how these ambiguous situations should be marked. If it were that easy, a machine algorithm could do it. This is why we need your help.

  6. Hyphenated Words

    Sometimes a disease name will be used as part of a pronoun, adjective, or adverb. In these cases, the word often gets hyphenated. For example, myotonic dystrophy (DM) is the disorder. Reference is made to the “DM-kinase gene.” The review software does not allow highlighting only the “DM” portion of the term. Should the entire hyphenated term be highlighted even though it is unlikely to be the candidate of a user search?

    In general, do not highlight the hyphenated term. Again, this is NOT A RULE, because there are exceptions: eg- PMM2-CDG (such as when it’s a disease name).