I have a slight concern about entering data vertically, in particularly when a transcriber makes a mistake by skipping one field.
Horizontally skipping one field only renders values for one hour incorrect.
Vertically skipping one field will render all hours after it incorrect.
But hopefully that would be negated by the three persons needed to transcribe.
More importantly, it seems that all efforts to attract new transcribers seem to involve technical changes.
Although technical changes can help, and in some cases are needed, I would suggest that more emphasis should be placed on the human or psychological aspect.
Probably new transcribers stop because of the amount of data to enter.
You won't improve that by reducing input time from 10 minutes to 5 minutes.
You'll only get them involved if input is done in a matter of seconds or a couple of clicks, like Galaxy Zoo.
Or have pretty pictures to look at, instead of (sometimes hard to read) boring rows of numbers and codes.
The other point of attraction could be to make it a contest.
Unfortunately that fails because the limited amount of available vessels.
All ships are more or less done in terms of captaincy, not attractive for a starter.
Perhaps the logs should have been made available in many small batches instead of many log-books for a few ships.
Remember how the RN phase had hundreds of ships and you could be captain with a couple of thousand weather reports, there the contest part worked better.
Also, to keep such a contest fair, events should be compulsory or at least should be counted in the statistics.
For transcribers not really interested in weather data, a point of interest could be the story of the ship, what happened on board and the adventures it had.
But again, unfortunately the current vessels are pretty boring in the day to day activities.
Only if you follow a ship long enough you'll understand it had an interesting journey.
During the RN phase the large battleships were the first to be done, because they had a lot of action.
The store ships, river gunboats, and what have you, where the last to be done.
Same sort of weather data, but seemingly less interesting to transcribe.
I also believe that a large number of the British transcribers have stopped transcribing simply because it's now US ships instead of RN ships.
Perhaps there is less bonding with the ships for them.
The places of these lost transcribers should have been filled with US transcribers, but for some reason they haven't.
Perhaps it's one of the reasons I mentioned earlier, or perhaps NOAA hasn't been able to reach out enough.