Help talk:Wiki etiquette


Main Page [9 September 2009]

[concerning edits to the section "be Generous about conflicting opinions"]

When I click on my Watchlist, then on "Main Page" (if there has been a recent change to that page), the "Main Page" reads, "Welcome to the World's Largest Genealogy Wiki." I'm sure that you didn't intend for these discussions to be posted there. --Dquass 00:49, 8 September 2009 (EDT)

That seems a little farfetched (there's no reason to click on your watch list in this scenario, or to think that we're talking about the homepage), but I've changed the language nonetheless.--Amelia 01:07, 8 September 2009 (EDT)
I am lost on this discussion. Help!!!!--Beth 01:14, 8 September 2009 (EDT)
Ok I have figured it out. Never mind.

--Beth 01:43, 8 September 2009 (EDT)


Um... can I delete all the text above? I'm not sure what it has to do with Wiki etiquette, and I fear that its obtuseness will really confuse people-- new and old alike. It would be great if this Talk page focused on Wiki etiquette. jillaine 08:10, 9 September 2009 (EDT)


Well, Jillaine it is ok if you remove it. The conversation was regarding an edit made to the page.--Beth 08:29, 9 September 2009 (EDT)

Oh... A review of the history makes it clear to me now. Sheesh. I could NOT figure out what the heck you two were talking about. Now I get it. Never mind! ;-) jillaine 08:53, 9 September 2009 (EDT)

Living people [9 September 2009]

Hi Jillaine, future project of Dallan's is to remove all living pages. If this is still in the plans; then I would recommend that the user place information in the notes field on the family page. How would you phrase it? Living children of this couple are not listed or some such. --Beth 19:49, 9 September 2009 (EDT)


Be Bold [19 June 2013]

I have been spending some time trying to improve the pages in the medieval area of Werelate, and I have been gradually becoming bolder, to the point where I am starting to wonder where it is best to draw the line. The following sentence from Wiki etiquette is what I am wondering about:

Rather than deleting what's already there, consider adding your information as a second opinion, or adding your information in the primary opinion slot and moving what's already there to a second opinion.

I absolutely agree that if a (reasonably reliable) source is provided for a fact, or at least a note explaining how it was arrived at, it should not be deleted, but at most moved to the alternate space -- if a seemingly better source disagrees. I further agree that on a page dealing with a relatively modern person, with only one or two watchers, even an unsourced fact should be treating with some respect. However, a problem in the medieval area is that there are countless pages which are the results of merged GEDCOMs, where many of the facts are dubious and unsourced, and the authors, in the years since upload, have not even made an effort to correctly format them. The pages look terrible, and not like something that I would even remotely trust if browsing the internet.

Basically, what I am saying is that there is a ton of stuff in the medieval area that is practically begging to be deleted. I have from time to time posted a query the talk page for a person or family asking for a source, and, if there was no response after a few days -- which there never was--, deleted the fact. But I believe this is too time-consuming to be a general procedure in the medieval area, where there are perhaps hundreds of thousands of pages needing some kind of clean up, and only a handful of people who have shown any interest in doing that.

I suggest that on pages dealing with people living before, say, 1500, unsourced facts may be deleted at our discretion, without any feelings of guilt that we are not being good wiki-citizens. If that means that the occasional true fact is deleted, I think that is no big deal. It can always be added later, with a source, if one is found. And after all, it still exists in the page history.

I would actually like to go further, and treat facts sourced to online trees that are themselves unsourced as if they are unsourced (which they essentially are.)

I am sorry if this is not the right page on which to talk about this, or if what I am asking has already been dealt with elsewhere. I don’t frequently participate in discussions here.--Werebear 17:39, 19 June 2013 (EDT)

Hi Werebear. You will find among most active users a similar feeling developed for the same reasons. The benefits of your approach far outweigh the drawbacks. I take a similar approach, I know others do to, and I can count on my hands the number of times that there has ever been an objection, and that was usually because I goofed on something and didn't do what I intended. I will say that I try not to entirely delete information that isn't obviously wrong or contradicted by a good source (i.e., I don't delete it *just* because there's no source), but the rest of what you say is fair game. The space needs help - please do!--Amelia 01:02, 20 June 2013 (EDT)
Hi Amelia. I'm glad to be finally having this discussion. (It's been eating at me for some time.) I agree that some discretion should be used in deleting unsourced information, even in the medieval period, but I feel that requiring that the information be obviously wrong or contradicted by a good source is setting the bar for deletion too high. I think that something like "removed unsourced information" should be an adequate summary of an edit, even if that is not something that I would automatically do. I will try to justify why I feel this way.
Unsourced information in the medieval period on Werelate is very unlikely to derive from original research that would be difficult to duplicate. It is much more likely it originated in one of these ways: (A) It is from an easily accessible source that hasn't been recorded. (B) It has been made up by someone who doesn't like empty spaces in their database. (C) It is simply an error: a typo, a fact that was actually meant to be attached to someone else, and so on. (D.) It has been copied from an online tree which doesn’t itself give sources, but for which (A), (B), (C), or (D) is true for its information.
I think losing (B), (C) or (D) is clearly a gain for Werelate, so at worst, we have to worry about losing (A). But, to me, even losing (A) is also generally a gain. The value of even the best derivative sources is not merely the information that they provide, but also the fact that citing them allows people to check what original sources they are based on and participate in a conversation on their reliability. For me, even if a fact came from, say, the Complete Peerage, but that source hasn’t been cited, that fact is usually just clutter on a page. I can’t put any trust in it, and it probably isn’t very useful in pointing to further research. Even if it were, the internet is littered with unsourced trees. We don’t need Werelate to duplicate that “service.” Can we please, please, please be a cut above that?
Here are a few pages, chosen at random (I searched “Edward I” and chose 3 of the first six or so pages I wandered to from there) and what I would probably do:
Person:William Plantagenet (40) Nothing. If I investigated the facts, I might provide sources, or delete if I could find no evidence for them. I would probably remove the anachronistic “Plantagenet” as a surname.
person:Beatrice of Savoy (1) Remove the Wikipedia and Lundy cites for the birth date (Wikipedia gives no source for the birth date, and Lundy gives “born before 1204.”) Put in “abt 1205”, and cite Cawley, who provides a justification for this estimate. Delete all the alternative birth dates.
person:Marguerite of Geneva (1) I would delete the birth date, cite Cawley for the death date and make that primary, cite Wikipedia for 1252 as an alt death date (or, maybe better, delete it), and delete the third, clearly incorrect, death date.
And then there is this page:
person:Geoffrey Boleyn (2) I don’t think it much matters. There is probably accurate information there, but it would not be hard to find again if it were deleted, and the page is completely messed up in many ways. (Geoffrey is placed as his own grandfather/grandson).
Am I basically being reasonable here?--Werebear 13:40, 20 June 2013 (EDT)