WeRelate:Suggestions/Automate Family pages

Notwithstanding the technical requirements, it seems that most other genealogy systems, e.g. ancestry.com, have moved away from having formal entry of "Family" pages. This makes sense as it makes much more sense for an end user to just add, say, a child or a parent without having to go through the interim step of adding a Family page first. Given that the family pages can propagate automatically, I suggest we move to a system where Family pages can be added automatically. I'm suggesting this with no idea of how technically hard this is, but I do think that failing to do this could hold the site back significantly. AndrewRT 15:59, 16 December 2012 (EST)

As you know, this was discussed a long, long time ago "Do away with family pages". While obviously I am somewhat open to this idea, I suspect it would be a massive change. One of the issues, of course, is that any time a layer of software magic hides some of the underlying data organization, it may make it easier if done right, but every time it makes it more mystical. For example, somebody is probably not going to understand that you can't set the father independently of the mother because they don't realize that underneath the system is still creating and using Family pages. (Or else it would involve a redesign of how the data is stored which probably isn't going to happen.)
So I am left wanting some elaboration on how you perceive the user interface working, i.e., non-technical description, particularly from the point of view of a person entering data. For example, you might discuss the process of adding a child to a father with multiple wives, or to a mother with multiple husbands? Or, adding a child to a father when that does not yet have an association with that child's mother? Would you edit either the mother or father Person page, find the section/tab/box for one particular marriage, and click on a button/link to start a subordinate edit of the family page, much the way Add Child works when editing the Family page? It seems that such an approach still involves editing Person data, and in a different screen, editing Family data.
Alternately, the traditional view in genealogy is the family group sheet, and you enter children on that. The marriages of the children start a new family group sheet. Such an approach would be essentially "Automate Person pages". If that interface was used, and the Person page information was editable from all the Family pages a person participated in, you have the complication that his birthdate is getting changed from his parents family page at the same time as it is getting changed from one of his marriages family page (you know, in the not too distant future when we leave Beta, and have millions of simultaneous users.) There is some simplicity in keeping the current arrangement. --Jrich 17:11, 16 December 2012 (EST)
Thanks for reminding me of this previous discussion - I'd forgotten about that. Looking back, this comment sums it up:
What's needed is not necessarily doing away with the Family page but rather allowing you to input parents/children directly from the person page. AndrewRT 19:25, 17 November 2009 (EST)
I agree. I think that's the number one issue.--Dallan 12:45, 29 November 2009 (EST)
If I go to, for instance, Person:Abraam_VanCampen_(1), there is a box in the bottom left hand corner that says "Add spouse & children". This redirects to the "Add family" page. I guess instead you could have an "Add child" link that would go to a form that added a child and a spouse at the same time. AndrewRT 17:57, 16 December 2012 (EST)
A specialized form to add a child and spouse at the same time seems to me to be unnecessary complication since you can do that and more from the current Add Family screen with its embedded Add Child link. It is probably likely to create confusion, especially for weird situations, like when the Person page for the child already exists (with either the wrong parents, or no parents attached) to be inputting two person's information at once. The current process steps through creating the new family one individual at a time, asking first for the marriage information, then allowing you to add or match the spouse if desired, then to use the Add Child link to create the children one at a time, which seems far more intuitive. --Jrich 00:30, 17 December 2012 (EST)

Note: I've spun out a separate proposal that could be more immediately implemented at WeRelate:Suggestions/Add child (to existing spouse) from Person page AndrewRT 18:04, 16 December 2012 (EST)