WeRelate talk:Watercooler

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Topics


GenWeb Sources [1 January 2015]

Would it be best practice to delete GenWeb "Sources" and transfer their links to their respective county Place pages as Resources?--khaentlahn 18:42, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

Unless I am missing something, I am not even sure it would be a good practice??? The times I have used Genweb, it usually includes a link to specific set of data found on a specific page of their website which I doubt is anyway linked to by the Place page. --Jrich 19:28, 1 December 2014 (UTC)
I should have been more specific. I was referring to the main home page of the respective GenWeb sites, not the various resources that those sites contain. Therefore, the idea is that GenWeb home pages are not actual Sources (which many of them are created as such currently on WeRelate), but the various GenWeb home pages should be linked to 'somewhere' as they can be a viable resource from which to cull specific information, hence the county Place page suggestion. GenWeb pages are more closely related to Repositories, but transferring GenWeb Sources to Repositories has been determined not to be a viable practice and continuing the practice of using them as Sources has been frowned upon. So if giving them a link on respective county Place pages is not viable (so as to start removing the bad Sources), then what should be done with the links to the home pages?--khaentlahn 19:52, 1 December 2014 (UTC)
I still don't understand. Who decided they are bad sources? If they contain transcripts of marriages in some county, which many do, how are you supposed to cite that information, i.e., what to point the source citation at. Perhaps an example would be useful. On my side, an example is Family:Henry Kendall and Julia Grogan (1). --Jrich 23:28, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

I agree with JRich.--Beth 01:49, 2 December 2014 (UTC)


According to the conversations here (beginning in 2013) and here, using individual County GenWeb pages as Sources is incorrect, which appears to be what was used on the example you gave with Family:Henry Kendall and Julia Grogan (1). Whether I agree with this or not, I do see the logic behind why all of these County GenWeb pages are not Sources as they are closer in definition to Repositories of gathered information. The overarching question of what to do with GenWeb pages does not appear to have been determined (they need to be standardized, converted, or removed), but, in all likelihood, they will disappear over time from what I read. If this is incorrect, a determination of some type would be helpful as there is still confusion over the subject. In any case, I retract my initial question (it was going to be too much work) in place of a determination on County GenWeb pages. Should they be standardized, converted to Repositories, or removed? Am I missing other options? As they stand currently, they are a mess.--khaentlahn 03:39, 2 December 2014 (UTC)

I am still at a total loss trying to understand the issue here. If you make Genweb a repository, it is allowed to contain multiple sources, say, one for each county. A insignificant organizational issue that in no way requires deleting the individual county genweb source pages. To make each county genweb a Repository implies that it contains several sources, so each subsection now needs a source page. For example, in the above example, now the Marriages section of LaPorte County genweb would be a source page inside the Laporte county Genweb Repository, instead of having one source page for the entire county website.
I read the cited discussion, filtering out all but Dallan's comments as just someone's opinion, and I do not see that it says using county Genwebs as source is incorrect. Instead, just the opposite. So saying it says one thing or another is rather selective reading.
As far as I can see, the choice here is to have a Source page for each County genweb (since each are administered differently) or have absolutely no page at all, and do them all as citation-only including explicit links to the page used when you are using the Genweb website as a source of information. --Jrich 04:06, 2 December 2014 (UTC)
After a little more information which you provided to me in referencing County Sites?, which I will admit I hadn't read previously, this line of conversation is no longer valid as it appears that my original question was erroneous based on invalid information.--khaentlahn 16:56, 2 December 2014 (UTC)


Why is Find A Grave Template not working? [1 January 2015]

On Person Page Person:Nancy Baile (1), the saved result is (i think) a lot of code. I've tried to change it, but . . What can we do?

Thanks, --GayelKnott 19:50, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

I took a quick look and found that there was a stray '<refname' at the end of the text for S2 on that page. Removed the offending stray and the template works fine.--jaques1724 20:07, 1 January 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, Jaques -- so simple when you know what to look for, but I sure didn't.--GayelKnott 20:16, 1 January 2015 (UTC)

Does WeRelate have a naming convention for slaves? [5 February 2015]

Wondering how WeRelate handles the surnames of people who became or were born into slavery. I'm thinking specifically about the period of slavery in the U.S. pre Civil War. Thanks.--Jillaine 22:32, 17 January 2015 (UTC)


Coincidentally, I have an interest in this question from the other direction: A bunch of my ancestors, sadly, owned slaves, in some cases I have their names. I'd like to document them in case it could be useful to someone else's research. --Trentf 01:40, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

This is a good question. Many of my ancestors owned slaves, but I haven't personally traced any of them. I would think that the 'Unknown' naming convention would apply to slaves (ie Sara Unknown); most genealogists who do black genealogy simply call them by their given names "a slave named Sara", etc. Daniel Maxwell 11:26, 18 January 2015 (UTC)

I did a bit more searching and happened upon this category Category:Slavery, it shows two different conventions being used: The surname of "Unknown" (as Daniel suggested), and a few have the surname "(Enslaved)". I would think the former would be sufficient but I would suggest coupling it with the category, though I might suggest that the Slavery category get two sub-categories: Slaves and Slave Owners. Maybe the general topic of Slavery is worthy of a portal or project of its own? --Trentf 17:51, 30 January 2015 (UTC)

I agree that there should be separate sub-categories for 'Slaves' and 'Slave owners'. I went ahead and created them. I also created these templates: Template:Slave (and equivalent Template:Enslaved person), Template:Slave family, and Template:Slave owner. The templates can be used on a Person or Family page instead of a direct Category: entry, the intended advantage being that the category placement or category name can then easily be changed. For example, currently Template:Slave family causes a page to have Category:Slaves, but it could later be changed to use a 'Slave families' category or some such.
I am beginning to go through the pages presently in Category:Slavery to update them to use the new categories (via templates). Most pages seem to be part of this plantation research project.
A number of pages in Category:Slavery don't fit either of the new sub-categories. So far I've found pages for never-enslaved descendants of slaves and for overseers of slave plantations. Some people in the category are of unclear status: a son of an owner and his slave who was a minor at the end of U.S. slavery and was later sent to college by the slave owner's sisters. I'm not sure if descendants and overseers should be removed from Category:Slavery or put into new sub-categories (of what nature?), or just what. I'm leaving them unchanged at the moment.
--robert.shaw 02:40, 6 February 2015 (UTC)

Top 100 websites [4 April 2015]

WeRelate has featured again in Genealogy in Time magazine's 100 top genealogy website based on webtraffic. We've gone from 86th to 79th. Out of interest, do we publish anything ourselves about traffic? AndrewRT 16:40, 25 January 2015 (UTC)

I would love to see periodic reports of various metrics about the site. It seems like we all spend our days making steady improvements to information on the site, and it would be nice to see some numbers to show where our collective effort is getting us. I have noticed that you, AndrewRT, have made some efforts towards generating metrics in the past. Are you still pursuing that? Could you use a hand? --Trentf 14:57, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
This is not in answer to your question, but I did add the "101-Best" summary related to the Social Media sites on the Community Portal page a few months ago, which is the first primary portal page that comes up when a user hits the "Start Collaborating" link on the main page. --BobC 21:45, 2 April 2015 (UTC)
FWIW, I recently added Google Analytics to the site. We get between 3,500 and 4,000 users visiting the site each day.--Dallan 05:05, 3 April 2015 (UTC)

Hi Trentf - apologies I can see I've only just seen your comment. Yes I did do some work on stats in the past and have kept this. My main focus has been on "number of person pages" which I still believe is the best metric for the site's size although I did discuss some others [[1]]. It easy to help out - just click on this link and add the date & number (in the bottom right hand side) to this page - if you can help by adding stats every now and then this would be useful!

We are currently up to 2.69m pages, an increase of 6% over the last 16 months. I'm afraid this is not sufficient growth to allow us to ever change our scale and as per the other discussions, Dallan is having to use adverts to pay for much needed technical development now that the tentative Wikimedia discussion led nowhere. As previously discussed, the decision to restrict GEDCOM uploads has severely limited the long term growth potential for the site. Even the claim to be "the world's largest genealogy wiki" is sadly no longer true, having been overtaken by WikiTree. Having said that, I still prefer it to share my own tree and I can see it still generates top google hits. AndrewRT 22:11, 2 April 2015 (UTC)

Yes, WikiTree is much larger than we are now. We really ought to change that tagline. Any suggestions?--Dallan 05:05, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
I suggest "It is the world's largest not-for-profit genealogy wiki" AndrewRT 08:43, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
I don't think FamilySearch Family Tree is a "for profit" wiki, so I'm not sure that works, either. Using all three (for different reasons), I remain convinced that WeRelate is the most flexible, and certainly provides the best arena for story-telling --the kind of thing that makes for a good Featured Page, for example. But what slogan can you make out of something like that? --GayelKnott 18:48, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
I haven't really used the FamilySearch family tree - is it, strictly speaking, a "wiki"? Also do you know how many people it has now - I'm struggling to find the stats. AndrewRT 21:21, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
Yes, it's definitely a wiki, although why they don't want to call it that, I don't know. I'm not sure how you would go about getting stats for the number of users, but the person responsible for it is Ron Tanner. --GayelKnott 22:58, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
In his 2015 RootsTech lecture, he said Family Tree had 2.5 million new person pages added each month -- I don't know how reliable this is, but they are being added by a wide range of people. --GayelKnott 23:13, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
Unless you're referring to their "Research Wiki" - this only has 81,000 articles on it so is smaller than the WeRelate wiki. AndrewRT 21:23, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
Please, see these statistics : 1 and 2 + 3 and 4 + 5 and 6 + 7 - Amicalement - Marc ROUSSEL - --Markus3 01:32, 4 April 2015 (UTC)
Dallan ... "WikiTree is much larger than we are now." --> Yes, but WikiTree "works" with living people ! And every day we are removing more as 100 or 200 persons and "orphan records" in our WeRelate. I saw also a WeRelate-member for 6 or 8 weeks removing his tree (about 2000 persons). See these links : 1, 2, 3
AndrewRT ... On your page User:AndrewRT/Size, you give a number for GeneaNet ! This site (which is very appreciated used in France) is really an horror, because its incredible proportion of duplicates and errors ! Amicalement - Marc ROUSSEL - --Markus3 02:08, 4 April 2015 (UTC)
The FamilySearch family tree (not the wiki but the tree) has more people, more page views, and more users than WeRelate and WikiTree combined. Like you say, they don't like to call it a "wiki", but it has a lot of characteristics of a wiki. What if we stayed away from words like "largest"? In the meantime, I'll change the tagline to just "WeRelate.org"--Dallan 06:17, 4 April 2015 (UTC)

What do other people do when they find their WeRelate pages copied elsewhere without attribution? [4 February 2015]

Just found another page on Ancestry that had a scanned page from WeRelate that I recognized as one I had posted - but with no attribution, and no indication that it came from WeRelate, other than the formatting of the sources. I don't care if my name is not mentioned, but if WeRelate is being mined for data, I really do think the site itself should be credited. And that is also my understanding of what the Open Commons agreement is about -- go ahead and copy, but provide attribution. Am I wrong? (I did leave a comment, thanking the person for circulating my information, and pointing out that it come from WeRelate, with an URL to the page.) What do other people do? Thanks, Gayel --GayelKnott 19:48, 1 February 2015 (UTC)

Yup - that's exactly what I do on ancestry, i.e. provide a comment stating where the information is coming from with a link to the WR page.--Cos1776 20:00, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
Ditto - I literally just had this dilemma 12 hours ago.--Amelia 20:38, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
Since Ancestry is a pay to use service, uploading material may be a violation of the Open Commons agreement. I would be interested in what a copyright lawyer has to say about that. People can't go around profiting from Wikipedia for instance. --Artefacts 20:59, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
This is one of several reasons I dislike Ancestry.com. I think the only thing that can be done is make a copyright violation claim, but there isn't going to be a one size fits all solution. It is going to be a game of whack-a-mole. There are even worse instances of this same problem - several photos I personally scanned from my grandmother's album and put on Findagrave found their way to Ancestry.com like they were just free for the taking. Now I watermark all of my scanned, non-public domain images 'Daniel Maxwell Collection'. I also do not keep a tree on Ancestry.com since I dislike how they handle non-Ancestry approved sources. Daniel Maxwell 21:33, 1 February 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, all. Very reassuring, and response policy now in place.. And, Artefacts, can't you just see a Judy Russel blog on this? I don't think she would pull her punches. But Daniel 's right -- it would be like playing whack-a-mole to deal with officially. Gayel--GayelKnott 01:45, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
If there's a silver lining to plagiarizing WeRelate, at least they're hopefully spreading good data, for a change. Ancestry enhances people's ability to copy data, good or bad, that bad data often propagates faster than the correct data, until suggesting the right answer is swimming against the current. I have been told that Ancestry owns almost no actual data, mostly just indexes made in India, and as more and more stuff is put online, Ancestry will have less and less to offer. Devil Take the Hindmost: venture capital fund to buy Ancestry, that is. --Jrich 04:23, 2 February 2015 (UTC)
The Legal Genealogist would do a great blog on this. Wikipedia has a whole apparatus to report copyright violations, I don't understand why a commercial company like Ancestry does not have to have one. I think the willingness of government records agencies to outsource record provision to Ancestry is incredibly stupid as they are giving up a way to show their relevance to the taxpayer and justify their existence and Jrich is right about Ancestry's usefulness and relevance decaying as the Internet keeps expanding its offerings. --Artefacts 18:13, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
I have to say I disagree about Ancestry's relevance decaying. Ancestry has a long, consistent history of buying out or neutralizing all the potential competitors it can, and doing well at that. Rootsweb was put on ice years ago; census sites, general genealogy sites, even some government data provision pulled in; Billiongraves to counter FindAGrave, deals with FamilySearch for holding original document images and limiting usage outside the Ancestry paywall; the list goes on and on. I'm sure they are continuously figuring on how to acquire or neutralize other emerging or established resources like WikiTree and FindAGrave. Although there are an increasing multitude of smallish, scattered resources on the net, only a few major resources of interest to them, like Archive.org and Google Books, remain out of their reach (or so it seems to me). --robert.shaw 19:42, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
Most of that is a different issue. I agree that Ancestry has to fight tooth and nail to retain commercial viability, because with a few well placed free sites, they would go out of business tomorrow. To be honest, I don't like the idea of most commercial genealogy sites unless they offer something copyrighted and not under public domain (See NEHGS's site for an example of this, which has a large selection of recent genealogical journals, something Ancestry doesnt offer) but Ancestry mainly has people thinking that they have to pay for access to the census and other non copyrighted government records and I don't like this. Oh sure, they index the pre 1850 censuses but there is no reason Familysearch or someone else could have done this and put it all up for free. Ancestry has other problems too, such as creating 'sources' from people's GEDCOMs. Daniel Maxwell 22:54, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
I don't think you would have a case against Ancestry unless they refused to remove copyrighted material that was pointed out to them. Since individuals are creating and sharing their personal trees with each other, I think fair use rules would apply similar to here on WeRelate. As far as my work is concerned, I don't care who copies it or whether they attribute, although unattributed anonymous data loses its value. I just assume that anything I put on the Internet could be copied and am not shocked if I see it. And when I see them copy something I put together on this site, I take it as a compliment. It isn't something I would ever bother going to court for. (This is my opinion, and I am not a lawyer.) -Moverton 17:32, 3 February 2015 (UTC)
While I agree with you in general, the fact is that all material on this site is copyrighted and this is clearly indicated at the bottom of every page (see WeRelate:Terms of Use). The terms of the copyright ([CC-BY-SA]) clearly indicate that any materials can be copied provided credit is given and that they place no restrictions on further copying. As long as they abide by those terms, then there's no problem (though, I am not a lawyer). But if they take the information behind their paywall and augment or improve it but prevent further copying, then I have a huge problem with that. That would entirely negate the goal of putting information here under CC-BY-SA, which is, as I see it, to improve the quality of genealogical information on the internet. --Trentf 14:57, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
If you post genealogical information on any site with the expectation that it won't be "copied" or "shared", then you likely also believe in Santa Claus or the Tooth Fairy. First of all, some of what people "think" is copyrighted simply isn't because they don't include any "original thought" or "originality"; this includes many transcriptions, etc., also "facts" can't be copyrighted. If the information we add on WeRelate is high quality and source-based, we should be accepting of others copying that information without first asking for permission or using proper citation. Much of what I've added here I've seen on other people's websites, including some of the maps I've done and other narrative that COULD be considered "copyrightable". In the beginning, I got a little irritated, but after I thought about it more, I figured it was good to have "better information" on someone else's site, instead of other questionable information... Remember "a rising tide lifts all boats". John F. Kennedy --Delijim, 4 February 2015
More like a "rising tide profits Ancestry" and makes suckers out of the novice users there who don't realize how much stuff behind the paywall they are financing is available here and elsewhere for free. --Artefacts 21:33, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
I don't believe WeRelate has ever espoused itself to be a "be-all, end-all" in genealogical research like Ancestry has. For better or worse, Ancestry will continue to be the most comprehensive place to research your ancestors. It has more way more sources than probably all of the other sites combined, and in spite of its many flaws (especially the Ancestry Member Trees, many with little or no sources or documentation), it is still the best thing around, and yes, with a fee attached. Until there is a better site to use, I'll continue to be happy to shell out the $25 or bucks a month or so to have access to their vast source of records. Like it or not, it sure beats trudging around the country to visit local courthouses, graveyards, LDS research centers or genealogical libraries... As they say, nothing good in life is FREE. Best regards --Delijim, 4 February 2015
It most certainly is not the best site for research and it is not even remotely comprehensive. The coverage on Ancestry is good for censuses and some vital records (which governments should be providing themselves) and some specialized collections and that is about it. It sucks for pre-19th century sources. FamilySearch and Google are better for church records, without doubt, which is the meat and potatoes of anyone who is not a novice.--Artefacts 22:55, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

On Wikipedia and inclusion of content therefrom [16 April 2015]

Hello -- I have been active from time to time in adding people, particularly scientists, who have Wikipedia biographies to WeRelate. I created a template over at Wikipedia to be added to a biography talk page indicating that the person has been represented in WeRelate (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Werelate). I wanted to express my negative feelings about bringing content from Wikipedia over into WeRelate. There was a time a few years ago when I liberally used the template which would bring content over from Wikipedia to this wiki. However, in recent activities, I've not been using this template, rather focusing on the basic genealogical information. Frankly, I believe it is this basic genealogical information which is the core of what WeRelate is about, not the linkage, for instance, the linkage between Person:Amos Alcott (1) and Person:Ralph Emerson (4) via the passage "Alcott became friends with Ralph Waldo Emerson ....". This is an example I stumbled across when adding Person:Charles Haskins (6), but it pricked me into writing this. Such connections are not along the critical path for WeRelate, and we should be relying on Wikipedia to provide the rich text of a biography, while we here work to systematize that information. There have been inklings/dreams/rumors that WeRelate and Wikipedia might merge via the Wikimedia Foundation. If that happens, I would see WeRelate as a specialized adjunct to WikiData rather than Wikpedia per se, drawing on the organized information in Biography Infoboxes and explicitly not replicating Wikipedia biographical narratives. It is this state, looking at the genealogical systematization of content as oppose to florid narrative, which I see as the true future of WeRelate. --ceyockey 01:03, 10 February 2015 (UTC)


Just created Person:H Wells (1) (for H. G. Wells), which kind of exemplifies the minimalist approach to representing Wikipedia in WeRelate. --ceyockey 01:37, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

I think the better approach is to use the sources that Wikipedia uses. Citing the page itself would be like citing another WeRelate page as a source on WeRelate. But in practice Wikipedia is cited as a source in itself, despite Wikipedia's infamous inaccuracies, hence one of the several reasons I am not a fan of Wikipedia. Daniel Maxwell 08:01, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
In general, yes, use of the sources the WP article cites is to be preferred. They can be directly cited if one actually consults the source and finds the information (and sometimes more, like birthplace Brooklyn for Person:Charles Haskins (6)). However, if one is only relying on WP's citation, then I think it best that WeRelate's citation reflect both the (supposed) original source and the fact that it came from Wikipedia. For instance, in Wikipedia, H. G. Wells' death date (and birth date?) cite Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, so both that and the WP page version doing the citing, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=H._G._Wells&oldid=646374101#cite_note-Parrinder-3 (available via "Permanent link" in tool menu) should be used. I prefer this to be in the form "Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, as cited by Wikipedia link", but "Wikipedia link citing Oxford Dictionary of National Biography" would also be reasonable. --robert.shaw 18:22, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

Re WR's H. G Wells page. With no parents and no spouse? I thought this was genealogy.

I just came over to Watercooler to take a break after working on the village of Bredon in Worcestershire, England. The Wikipedia page mentions a William Hancock with a date of 1718. WR has another William Hancock who died in Bredon in 1676, no descendants listed. Anyone want to tie up some loose ends? --Goldenoldie 11:11, 10 February 2015 (UTC)

"With no parents and no spouse?" - It's still useful, because it gives birth and death dates and places. It's just one person, but still a contribution. --robert.shaw 18:38, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
Re: Your comment on Person:H Wells (1). It also the practice at WR to use full birth names, not initials in person pages. So H Wells needs to be Herbert Wells. Daniel Maxwell 12:11, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
I agree, sort of. I've renamed the H Wells page to be Person:Herbert Wells (9), but have left the primary Name as "H. G. Wells". I think this is the right thing to do because when a person has many names, if one stands out as the well known name that should generally be used. Certainly "H. G. Wells" is much more recognizable than "Herbert George Wells". This helps, for instance, when doing a search for "Herbert Wells" -- one can immediately go to it, if that's who you're after, or skip it if you're after someone who is not the famous H. G. Wells. --robert.shaw 18:33, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
I agree with both of Robert's points above relating to the famous Mr. Wells. And to Ceyockey's minimalist approach, Bravo! That's what the community approach to genealogy here at WR is all about: plant the seed, let the community water it, and we can all benefit by it's growth, maturity and propagation. You can look at it now and see it is nothing like it's Wikipedia cousin page, not to mention the related pages created and linked from page on Mr. Wells. Isn't that what the now-dormant Genealogy Contest here at WR was all about? Planting the seed and letting it grow... --BobC 15:31, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

Following the discussion, I think you will find this person record more along the lines of what most people would find useful and acceptable (?): Person:Louis Mordell (2) . --ceyockey 18:16, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

The basic problem is that some of us actually like the "florid narrative" that you think should be restricted to Wikipedia. I don't think you can say that narrative belongs to one place and "facts" belong somewhere else. And it's worth pointing out that there are multiple ways to reference/link to Wikipedia, including the one you have just used. --GayelKnott 18:54, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
You think it is a problem? I am not stopping anyone from adding narrative, nor have I said I would remove it if it was there. I'm saying I prefer not to have it and, therefore, will not be adding it myself. --ceyockey 19:28, 14 February 2015 (UTC)
I think Louis is a great example of a page that benefits from the WP extract, given that I have no idea who he is unless I go to WP. The flipside of that is that writing a good, well-sourced summary of someone truly high profile like, say, George Washington is hard to do correctly and takes a lot of time, whereas we can leverage a crowd-sourced, cross-linked version from WP unless and until someone feels they can improve it. (And, on that vein, I love it that we get the cross-linked content to other WP pages. I think it's fun to be able to instantly see other people and where they came from to end up in the same place.)
Now that I've been moved to comment, however, I'm not sure what the original issue was. People add narrative if they want, and don't if they don't want to, right? As long as the people that don't want to add it, don't object to other people coming along and doing so, then we don't have a problem.--Amelia 23:47, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

Married surnames for women [21 February 2015]

Hi Markus3. Recently you have moved the married surname from the married surname field to the married given name field, leaving the married surname field blank, on several of the pages I watch. Can you explain why you are doing this and how you decide which pages to do it to? It doesn't make sense to me, and it removes a data point from the page which affects searches. Regards, --Cos1776 13:33, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

Hello, Cos1776 ! Please, at first excuse my very bad english. You seem to be not the only contributor who has a different opinion and experience with this use. See the "revert" of Jaques1724 ---> http://www.werelate.org/w/index.php?title=Person%3AAbiah_Hitchcock_%281%29&diff=21602835&oldid=21602718
I really don't understand why what I changed ... "affects searches". Can you explain and give examples ? I believe instead that my changes are absolutely necessary because otherwise the "count tool" always give an exaggerated number of persons (it's the same problem with Geni and WikiTree) ---> see this page - Amicalement - Marc ROUSSEL - --Markus3 14:03, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

I agree with Jaques1724. When you remove data from a page, you remove the ability to search on it. You may have noticed that the "Surname in place" search no longer appears on the left side of the page for the married surname of these women. Regarding your analysis program - if your "count tool" is not working properly, then you should fix the "count tool" itself, not change the data until you get the results to come out the way you want them to. I can not analyze your code from the link you provided. Does your program know to exclude data from the Married Surname Field if you do not want to count married women? --Cos1776 22:15, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

Hello Cos1776 ! Please, be more attentive ! It's not my... "analysis program" ! My "count tool" works perfectly ... it's nothing particulous but just a basic MediaWiki table with rows and columns. Amicalement - Marc ROUSSEL - --Markus3 08:28, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

Markus3: I too came here to ask why you were moving the last name of women's married names from the surname field into the given name field. A page I was watching had this change, and I saw that you had done this kind of change for a bunch of women on 16 Feb. I don't see any point in doing this, and it will have serious consequences for the search mechanism. I think most English-speakers, at least, expect the married last name to be in the surname field, and will search for it in that position. That convention is the one that is used on major genealogy sites like FamilySearch. I don't think you should continue doing such changes unless and until some consensus to do so is reached (say, on the Watercooler page). Please let Cos1776 and I know your thoughts about this. --robert.shaw 04:53, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

Hello, Robert ! It's for me not so easy, my english is very poor. It's difficult to explain all the details of my "position". And I saw very often since my activity on WeRelate that a lot of contributors write on several points/topics in terms I am unable to really understand (and GoogleTranslate is "diabolic"). About your opinion and argumentation, it's for me exactly as the argumentation of Cos1776. You are staying on generalities and explaining nothing. You wrote for example : "it will have serious consequences for the search mechanism". What do you mean ? Amicalement - Marc ROUSSEL - --Markus3 07:19, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
Yes, Cos1776 and robert.shaw ! it's obvious . I "have noticed that the "Surname in place" search no longer appears on the left side of the page for the married surname of these women.". But 1) this possibility has very serious consequences on the general number of persons with a particular surname. 2) the "search mechanism" is really not destroyed ... it's only not so direct. 3) I have noticed since 2 years that the very vast majority of records on WeRelate don't use this heavy problematic search method. Amicalement - Marc ROUSSEL. --Markus3 08:19, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

Regardless of why it is being done, if the information being entered in the "given surname" field is the married name, not the name they were born with, then it is incorrect.

I think that is the point being made.--Jonmcrawford 12:42, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

No, what is being discussed is not the primary name for an individual (which all agree should use the maiden surname), but rather an additional name for a woman, which can be labeled as "alternate name" or "married name". The question is whether to have the surname (taken from husband at marriage) in the "surname" field, or in the "given name" field. To make this clear, here are two screenshots of how it looks while editing:
Image:MarriedSurname.PNG
versus
Image:MarriedSurnameInGiven.PNG
--robert.shaw 21:32, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
Yes, Robert ! And the field where this "married name" is tipped is bringing consequences (advantages and disadvantages). The problem is : "Which of these two methods brings more benefits and fewer drawbacks ?"
Yes, Jonmcrawford. The option labeled "married name" also divides the input between given name and husband's surname. It's also theoretically "incorrect" to put a surname in the entry field that is dedicated to the first name. But ... Amicalement - Marc ROUSSEL - --Markus3 07:44, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
This dialogue reminds me of how i am struggling with family names in the part of Holland where i grew up. When a man married into the farm of his wife, he would - at any given time, perhaps when their third child is born - take on the name of his wife, or - to be more precise - the name of the farm where she came from and where they live. The first and second child may be named after their father, but then the father changes surnames, and the children get their lastname from the place where they were born. My solution to this is to have the surname field follow the father's name, and in the alt_name i enter the farm name. Example see Eimert and Janna. Note Janna Goormans is also called Janna te Roller, while some of her children have "ten Brundel" as their surname.

woepwoep 22:27, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

Markus3 - When I say that it is "your" counting tool, it means that "you" are the one using it to count something that "you" personally wish to count. Obviously, it is not working perfectly for your needs, because you have to edit pages by hand, one at a time, to eliminate the married surname field in order to get the counter to return the answer that you want. Instead of getting into a back and forth argument about this - why don't you explain exactly what you are trying to count (I think I know, but you seem to think I am missing something). Then we can help you with a solution to your problem that doesn't negatively impact everyone else. --Cos1776 13:08, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

Cos1776 ... 1) I especially do not want to ..."negatively impact everyone else" ! 2) I think, my goal/project it very clear and very simple --> to obtain (when possible without writing an other/new (light or heavy ?) part of programm) an exact number of persons who have a particular surname and precisely excluding surnames obtained by marriage. I don't want to remove any information on person pages and family pages, making poorer the records and obstructing the work of others. 3) No and no ... I am not the (only) "one using to count". There is a big competition between genealogical sites and the vast majority of them are using this "total number of persons" as advertising, propaganda and recruitment. Many give false statistics, with duplications and confusions (intended or not). I can cite several sites and genealogical associations in France. I have had several debates and (sometimes heavy) conflicts about it, including Wikipedia ... When WeRelate wants to be better than its rivals (that use comparisons on the number of records), we are needing undisputed and indisputable arguments and numbers of records. Amicalement - Marc ROUSSEL - --Markus3 09:43, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

On the fringes there may be some value to external search engines in having married names entered, though the exact value is far from clear as the names exist in very close proximity in Family page titles already. As it has largely not been done in any systematic way, it seems pointless to have it exist on, say, 0.5% of the pages. Further, I believe it is pointless until the feature is supported by software that keeps it up to date, so that when somebody changes the spelling of a husband's name from, say Curtiss to Curtis or Curtice, or vice versa, the married names of all five of his wives is correctly updated as well. Up until recently, believing it to be an annoyance brought in with people's GEDCOM uploads, because it is something they do on their own system, or their software does, I have been deleting it. I have put that on hold hoping this conversation would establish whether WeRelate values it and is going to add software to maintain it, or it is realized it is a maintenance headache, because it duplicates data on the woman's page to data whose natural place is on her husband's page, creating a non-normalized data model, which suggests it should not be done at all if not by software. The simplest arrangement is, of course, to simply know people by their birth name, and much like the system for place names, some people may not like that system, but it allows us to have a common understanding and work together.

Whatever this counting tool is, is a separate issue that needs explaining. I would hazard a guess that somebody needs to figure out a different way to count surnames as it appears to be concerned with one person's project, which does not make a good justification for changing how things are done. --Jrich 16:03, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

Re: a common understanding - I would put forth that we already do have a common agreement for at least one part of a woman's page - the wiki Page Title - which could technically be anything, but we have agreed to use a person's birth name (first and last) to provide the unique identifier for their page. It would seem to me that Markus3 should probably use the Page Title to count people born with a specific surname for his project. Depending on what exactly it is that he is trying to count, he should probably also incorporate the name variant database, which brings me to ...
Re: maintenance issues with using different names - It is true that name variants used to cause problems in genealogical databases, but remember that WR now handles name variants very well (recall this project), so I do not agree that including married surnames introduces the potential for a maintenance headache. It is not necessary to use the same spelling for every member of a family. They rarely all appeared in the records with the same spelling anyhow.
Re: should we even include married surnames on pages for women - I say YES, mostly because a woman was usually known for more years of her life by her married name(s) than by her maiden name. She therefore would appear in official records more often under her married name(s), which means that it is often beneficial to be able to search for her that way. That data point is very relevant to who she was. I would be interested in exploring the concerns surrounding this issue further, however. --Cos1776 19:28, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
You can search for Family pages with wife's given name and husband's surname filled in. You can search for Person pages using the given name and fill in the spouse's surname. Since the married name has a given name and surname separate (and half the cases I see only fill in the surname part of it anyway), it does not create a contiguous string you can search for anyway. So I see little actual searching value. --Jrich 20:22, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
I think it's important to remember that someone's married name may change in unpredictable ways, such as combining both spouses' surnames, etc. This field seems to serve a purpose in disambiguating what the actual married name of a person was. IMO, I think that if the field is given as "Married name", with a first name and surname, then people will fill it out with the married name in the surname field. Moving this to the first name is confusing. --Jdfoote1 20:44, 19 February 2015 (UTC)

Marc asked for an explicit example of how his preferred data entry causes searching problems, so: Suppose you want to find out if WeRelate has anything on a person you know as "Amanda Boyer". Perhaps you know or suspect that was a married name, but perhaps you think she may have been single at the time you know about her. One natural way to search for her is to go to the "Search" dropdown and select "People" search. On the search Person page, you naturally would fill in "Amanda" in the Given Name field and "Boyer" in the Surname field. Doing this search will not find one of the candidates (as the WeRelate database exists right now) because the candidate, Person:Mariah Frost (1), who was known as "Amanda Boyer" during her first marriage, does not have the name "Boyer" in the surname field of her alternative Married name (or any other alternative name). This is because "Boyer" was moved out of the Surname field and into the Given Name field of the Married name. The correct name was actually given on her page, but was modified so that the person can no longer be found through using this straightforward, natural form of search. --robert.shaw 22:25, 19 February 2015 (UTC)


It sounds like the solution to the use case presented by Markus3 is to provide direct access to the underlying WeRelate data rather than via the user interface. With direct access, he could query the surname field and exclude all but the primary name from the results. How might such direct access be granted? --ceyockey 13:52, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

ceyockey, perhaps a solution ? Would it be possible to bring together in a single field (without heavy modification of the source program) for the option labeled "married name" ! But actually, the vast majority of this information about the "married name" is labeled "alt name". With this modification (only one field for this only line) the search can perhaps work as hoped/wished by other contributors ? Amicalement - Marc ROUSSEL - --Markus3 14:25, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Marc, It looks like your counting is done with simple searches. If this isn't yielding proper results, then the search functions need to be modified. Reporting tools should be made to conform to the data in the database, and the data should never be modified to accommodate the reporting tools. You may not like hearing this, but you may just be stuck with what you've got until a developer can improve the search functions for you. -Moverton 17:15, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Agreed. I said the same thing (using Marc's terminology) on 14 Feb and was told to "be more attentive", after I had taken the time to review his project page and tried to offer solutions. It does seem like it is more about arguing than it is about finding an agreeable solution. In this case, I still vote for searching the Page Title, instead of any Surname fields, since it is the most consistent place where you will find a woman's maiden name. (I will refrain from opening the Name Fields can of worms again at this time.) --Cos1776 17:57, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Cos1776 ..."searching the Page Title, instead of any Surname fields" ? ---> May I have a real example, with a link and/or a screenshot ? I have tried often since weeks ! The result is not as expected, because the "married name" always appears ! What works wrong ? What I did not understand ? Marc ROUSSEL - --Markus3 19:30, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Marc, HERE is a link to such a search. It returns Person pages which have the surname "Carrier" and which have "Carrier" in the page title (note that 2 fields have entries: Surname, and Keywords, which has "Title:Carrier" in it. The search returns 53 person pages. If one removes the "Title:Carrier" specification, it returns 55 pages. The 2 additional returned pages are: Person:Martha Allen (69), returned because she has a "Married name" entry with "Carrier", and Person:William Caryer (1), returned because he has an "Alt Name" entry containing his surname with the spelling "Carrier". Note that it is important to put the name in both the "Title:" field and the "Surname" field because some names, such as "George", can be used as either a given name or a surname. --robert.shaw 22:42, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
It's fine, Robert ! Thank you ! Here is the reason why I did not understand !. I had read many times yet this help page. Is there somewhere other informations and tips about all search possibilities ?
I only chose one time "page title" in the first field on the top which offers 3 options. I did not know I had also to add "Title:...." in the last field "Keywords". It's very interessant to have this (new for me) possibility, but what is returned is not perfect. I wish I could obtain real alternatives but do not take into account the "married names". No luck ! And I know, the very vast majority of contributors are using "alt name" instead of "married name". One more time thanks for your "patience" and the quality of your explanation and clarification ! Amicalement - Marc ROUSSEL ---Markus3 15:32, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
I found out about "Title:" and other options from the Help:Search page, but I had to think about it awhile and try some test searches before I decided it was best to use Title: and Surname. --robert.shaw 18:57, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
Yes! Thank you for the example, Robert. I think this is going in the right direction and will work just fine for one specific spelling of a Surname. If Marc also wishes to include Surname variants in his final count, the Search will have to be adjusted. I've been working on it, but haven't figured out how to get variants (for Surname only) returned when searching on Page Titles. Any ideas? --Cos1776 20:55, 21 February 2015 (UTC)

Markus3, I suggest you end this silly Watercooler controversy about a married woman's given name (i.e. personal name) versus surname (i.e. family name), and just chalk it up to language or procedural misinterpretation. This seems to me to be an almost embarrassing argument you can't win and has no basis in commonly accepted genealogical recordkeeping. Please review the Person Page Tutorial for further rules for designating names here at WeRelate. Hopefully that will clarify the rules and format for data entry of names and end this fruitlessly trivial argument. I also invite you to review the definitions and historical use of "Given Names" and "Surnames" at Wikipedia. No response to me is necessary, because I don't want to share any further in this senseless discussion, and that is why I write this here on your Talk Page rather than add to the Watercooler Page. Take care. --BobC 15:43, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

BobC ... it's very funny, ... courteous and friendly ! --> "silly controversy" + "fruitlessly trivial argument" + "this senseless discussion" + "you can't win". Where do you read I search and hope to "win" ? This is the "watercooler page" where ideas are discuted ... Why do you think it's a "controverse" full of violence and intolerance in the arguments ? WeRelate is a collective "tool" and site ! I do not try to always have the last word ! Genealogy is not "war"  ! Marc ROUSSEL - --Markus3 16:26, 20 February 2015 (UTC)

Open external links in new window (tab)? [26 March 2015]

One of the things I find quite useful about Wikipedia is that when I click on an external link it does not open in the same tab/window as the article I am viewing. Is this something which could reasonably be implemented here, either as a default or as a personalization (selectable behavior parameter)? Thanks for considering this. --ceyockey 01:03, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

Well, I think most browsers that support tabs allow you to right-click on a link and choose to open a new tab instead of in place. So you already more or less have control of what you want to happen. --Jrich 02:30, 27 March 2015 (UTC)

Unwanted Ads [7 April 2015]

Over the last couple of hours I am getting bombarded with a wide variety of advertising in various locations on werelate pages. Is anyone else experiencing this or is it my computer? I know I won't be working on werelate much longer if I can't figure out how to stop these. --Susan Irish 02:39, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

I agree that in the last couple of days, the ads have gotten really intrusive. Now we have them below the name box on person pages. I don't mind them on the left bar, but having 3 areas of ads is too much. Daniel Maxwell 02:43, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
Agreed -- these are gross! Not only to work with, but they sure don't present the kind of image that is likely to attract new users. You can get rid of them, one at a time, by clicking the very small grey x in the top right corner of the ad, but you have to do it for every page. --GayelKnott 04:14, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
Ditto. They make the pages look awful and junky. The bigger ads on the right and left are pretty bad, but the one at the top is a dealbreaker, as it makes the page impossible to read and is the type that would only appear on a site whose primary purpose is advertising. Do ad blockers kill them? If not, I think I'm out until they're fixed.--Amelia 05:46, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
Yes, ad blockers kill them. I've been blissfully unharassed by ads. --robert.shaw 06:36, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
For the sake of getting revenue for this site, I urge you not to use Adblocker on WR. We could use the income, though I can understand doing it under these circumstances - I myself have it on until this is sorted. Dallan has assured me that this is a WIP measure, and we will be experimenting with different placements/ad types over the next couple of weeks. I find the placement of the ad on the left side very non-intrusive, and actually an improvement compared to the old placement on the right side, where it caused the person columns to shift over.Daniel Maxwell 07:49, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
I'm happy to donate, or use affiliate links, but I won't use the site with the giant ads, and may stop even with an ad blocker. They look so unprofessional (and I say that with the middle text ad in place) that I think they undermine the entire purpose of the site in promoting serious genealogy and discussion, in which case there's really no point in my spending my efforts here. I spend a lot of time online looking at the spammy, scraped, semi-illegal marketing side of the internet for work, and that's where I think I am with these. I get the need for money, but please look at other options.--Amelia 14:43, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
Don't like the ads on the pages at all, but the nature of the ads (drugged out mug shots, cheezy medical ads, questionable businesses, etc.) will push me out as well. They drown out the serious and respectable work on the pages and give WR the appearance of just another junky name-scraping site. This is a horrible idea, and I hope that we can come up with a different answer. Wondering if this is happening as a result of the relatively minor, yet very vocal, opposition to joining forces with, dare I say it, the blissfully ad-free world of the Wikimedia Foundation? - here it comes :) --Cos1776 17:01, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
The new plethora of ads substantially detracts from the site. It really makes it seem like a trashy commercial site (of which genealogy has way too many of these days). The banner under the header block on Person and other pages is the most problematic (disruptive and misleading), although some of the ads in other locations are pretty bad too (mug shots, arrest records, find anyone...). The site would do best (IMO) by emulating Wikipedia -- the ad-free nature is welcoming and helps invite new content contributions. Maybe there need to be higher profile ways of soliciting donations, but the heavy ads really are alienating. --robert.shaw 18:47, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

Experiencing the same in the middle of the pages I'm working on ! I have enough trouble with new bifocals. Can't the ads stay on the side ?--SkippyG 02:48, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

I am going to contact Dallan about this. Ad placement is something I have wanted to talk to him about for awhile now anyway. Daniel Maxwell 02:49, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
Notice that the way the logo on the top left of the page is now out of alignment because of the width of the ads on the left. Pages are displaying strangly now. If Dallan doesn't respond here, I will keep trying to get ahold of him behind the scenes. Daniel Maxwell 03:36, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
The ads are an attempt to get the site to make some additional money so I can afford to hire a developer every once in awhile to improve the site. I'm planning to try different ad placements over the next few weeks to find out which set of placements have the highest $/annoyance ratio. I'm not particularly wild about the middle ad, though google recommends that's the best place to put an ad. But I agree that annoyance factor is pretty high. I just switched the middle ad to text-only. That makes it less annoying I think. Another possibility is to remove it entirely. Other possibilities to experiment with are whether the left and/or right ads should be switched to text-only or removed entirely. I'll be trying these variations over the next few weeks.--Dallan 05:28, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the explanation -- I was afraid it was about money. So, what happens if I click the x to get rid of the ones in the middle of the page every time I change a page -- a nuisance, but sending a message. Who gets the message and what does that do to agreement with Google?--GayelKnott 06:11, 28 March 2015 (UTC)
Dallan, you might want to consider setting up an affiliate link arrangement to Amazon for Source pages which are for books sold there. It might be more remunerative than ads, less intrusive, and occasionally actually helpful to the reader. --robert.shaw 06:36, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

Even though I accept the money implications, I've added an ad-blocker. Even with text-only the text of the ads is too large. A margin around them might help. BUT even with an ad-blocker the empty space follows on into edit-mode increasing the time of the editing process. This is important when trying to do a series of similar edits. --Goldenoldie 08:06, 28 March 2015 (UTC)


We should support Dallan on this. I also found the ads fairly intrusive, but also understand the financial implications of hosting a "Free Website", where one of the only sources of revenue is selling ad space.... -Delijim 10:05, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

Well all, Dallan removed the one on the top. I think the ones on the side need to be adjusted a little bit in width, but it is much more tolerable now. Daniel Maxwell 07:34, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

Agreed. Actually, only the one on the right really needs to be made a bit smaller, perhaps allowing more white space on the page (a la Find A Grave). And a third ad at the bottom of the page might work, as well. --GayelKnott 08:08, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

Here are some statistics that may be useful:

  • WeRelate currently makes enough money on ads to pay for the servers, but not for any development costs.
  • With the new ads, WeRelate made enough money today that if it were to continue like this for a full month, we would have $600 extra - enough to hire a junior developer for 20-30 hours a month or a senior developer for 5-10 hours a month.
  • 40% of the ad revenue today came from the middle ad; 35% from the left-hand ad, and 25% from the right-hand ad. These percentages agree with Google's recommendation for ad placement: middle is best, followed by left-hand side, followed by right-hand side.
  • I would prefer not to end this experiment after only one day, but since so many people dislike the middle ad I have removed it. Next we'll find out how much can be made with just left and right-hand ads. After that we'll find out how much can be made if we require the left and right-hand ads to be text-only ads instead of text+picture ads, then with left-hand-only ads, then with right-hand-only ads, then with right-hand-only ads that are 160 pixels side instead of 300 pixels wide. I'd like to run these experiments for several days each so we get more-accurate results than we got from the experiment with all three ads today.
  • FindAGrave has ads at the top-middle of the page, on the left-hand side, and at the bottom.
  • We can't put an ad at the top-middle of the page like FindAGrave does because our drop-down menus would cover it, and google doesn't allow anything to cover their ads, including drop-down menus. We could put an ad in the middle if it were above the drop-down menus. That might look strange though.
  • Over the years WeRelate has typically gotten $100/year in donations, generally from a single person. You know who you are; thank you.
  • Since the beginning of the year, roughly 300 people have made 10 or more edits to WeRelate pages, another 300 have made 1-9 edits, and another 4,000 people have visited the site at least once as a signed-in user but have not made any edits. (If we were to run a donation campaign, my guess is the majority of donations would need to come from the 300 active users.)
  • The majority of site visits: 80-90%, are made by people who have either not registered or who have not signed in. They tend to come to the site from a google search, look at one page, and then leave.
  • I've tried affiliate marketing with Amazon in the past; it wasn't worth the effort when I tried it, though I can provide a special link that you can put on source pages pointing people to Amazon if you want to try that approach.
  • I have not tried becoming an Ancestry affiliate and pointing people to Ancestry (i.e., like the ads like found at the bottom of FindAGrave pages). I believe that most people visiting WeRelate have already heard of Ancestry, though I can try adding the Ancestry affiliate ads if you think these ads would not be more annoying than they are worth.

--Dallan 07:48, 29 March 2015 (UTC)


Thanks for those details, Dallan; it helps to know the facts. I'm stunned by the lack of personal donations. Yes, as Ron below says, people donate time, but if you could make it easier / more visible to encourage people to donate $, that could help you. "Want to keep WeRelate.org from being overtaken by ads? Please donate..." "If you donate at least $___ you (personally) won't see ads" (Don't know if that's technically possible.) Perhaps consider something along the lines that wikipedia or public radio does-- periodic fundraising campaigns where, for a specific period of time, viewers are encouraged to donate money. Set a goal: "We need to raise $nnnn in order to hire a developer to make the improvements you've been requesting; please help us reach that goal..." (and have one of those thermometer things that reports progress against the goal. Off to the donate page now, Jillaine 13:09, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
Suggest that a copyedited version of the bulleted list provided by Dallan be put on a page and placed into the new category Category:Financial support (or a replacement category with more consensus support). --ceyockey 15:24, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

I am one of those 300 active users.

I would like to see these 300 active users as contributors. So my question is: what is the match between me editing a page, or adding a page, and an ad on that same page? Am i expected, when i am looking for the edit button, to see "oh, an ad! let me just click on it", instead of doing my work and edit or add the page?

It does make sense that when i use other people's work, i see ads. It doesn't make sense to want money from me since i already invest my time.

I hope that i can be on a list of 300 active users who - while signed in - are freed from any ads, so that we can do our work.

Thank you, Ron--woepwoep 09:46, 29 March 2015 (UTC)


I like wikipedia's practice of periodic requests for donations and I always give. If this would get WeRelate suggestions worked on, I'm for it because I've given up on WeRelate because of lack of improvement. I don't want those suggestions to just disappear; I want to see them lined thru as completed - so we can know what has been done! So lets give Dallan some help and get this train moving again. Perhaps after an initial push for donations, WeRelate could revert to periodic requests for donations. These ads will ruin us! If wikipedia can support themselves with periodic requests we should be able to do so too - after we get over this 'inactive suggestion list' problem. At least I hope that's what additional funds will be used for! --janiejac 15:29, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

I will add a "Donate" link to the upper-right corner of every page (between Settings and Volunteer) tomorrow. I'm open to other suggestions for emphasizing donations as well. I'm also open to the idea of a donation of say $19/year making it so you don't see any ads.
The argument that "I contribute my time so I shouldn't have to contribute money as well" makes sense, but it means that we're back to ads being the primary source of funding. People who don't spend a lot of time on the site probably aren't going to donate a lot of money to it. And unobtrusive ads make less money than obtrusive ads, so if we want to raise more money, we need to have more ads. On the other hand, perhaps we're generally happy with the site as it is. I'm ok if that's the concensus as well.--Dallan 06:12, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

I consider this a wake-up call, as should all users and supporters of this WeRelate service. To everyone who reads on the bottom of the home page the words, “WeRelate is a free public-service wiki for genealogy sponsored by the Foundation for On-Line Genealogy,” and thinks that the word “free” means “no cost” is either very naïve, oblivious to reality, or an ardent supporter of liberal politicians. Nothing is free! Someone pays the cost: either Dallan out of his own pocket or out of the FOLG organization, generous corporate or personal donators who have no ulterior motive or anything to sell, advertisers who get visibility and a portion of the page space in return for revenue to the site, or the users and subscribers to the service.

Roughly 10-15 years ago I saw the same dilemma faced at RootsWeb, a totally “free” community-based genealogy website, at the time a viable alternative to Ancestry.com. If I remember correctly, as their vision outpaced their capability, as genealogy data contributions increased, and as the need for greater media storage and higher speed access compounded, they asked politely at first for donations, then went to the ad-revenue route, then eventually sold out and fell under the Ancestry corporate umbrella, where they now reside. Whether that is considered a good or bad path to follow, they do still survive and still provide a subscription-free resource to a small slice of the genealogy community.

While I don’t really consider myself an active user here, I guess if based on making 10 or more edits to WeRelate pages since the beginning of the year alone, then yes, I am an active user. I’ve been here off and on since 2008 and have not yet chosen to donate money. So if Dallan feels the only way to fund my use of the service is ad-space, then so be it. As a matter of fact, I think it’s fair I should be provided the choice to either donate to the service or put up with the ads if I choose not to donate. To me it’s worth the “price” of a “free” service. (BTW, a user's "contribution" is not interchangeable with "donation." Really? Quite the opposite, I believe.)

While some may object to the “fat-lady weight-loss ad” showing up on the right side of your grandmother’s person page, either consider that your share of the price for having this service available to you, or consider it an incentive to donate to FOLG and not see that ad again. Those ads will pay for getting that “suggestion list” its much needed attention and should improve the capabilities and use of this site.

Not sure if someone else recommended it or not, but I suggest that every advertisement be immediately followed with a small text below the ad that donations will eliminate the ad for that user.

Thanks, Dallan. --BobC 14:25, 30 March 2015 (UTC)


Thank you, Dallan, for the statistics, those were very interesting! It would also be interesting to know how the ad revenue broke out according to the user level, that is, 10+ edits/month users, 1-10 edits/month users, signed-in-but-not-editing users, and anonymous users. (And not sure if you can distinguish between the anonymous users who view one page and leave, vs anonymous users who view more than one page in a session.) That stat might suggest a useful differential ad policy based on user level (e.g., if most of the click-thru is coming from anonymous visitors anyway, then maybe it's worthwhile to be "heavier" on the ads for those visits and "lighter" on the ads for signed-in editors). TomChatt 05:20, 5 April 2015 (UTC)

That would be pretty interesting, but google doesn't tell me who clicked on ads. I do have access to the number of page views made by new users vs returning users: it turns out to be roughly 50-50: half of all page views are made by people who have visited the site multiple times over the past 10 days. Also, 4,000 people have visited the site multiple times over the past 10 days and 34,000 people have visited the site just once over the past 10 days. Returning users spend an average of 11.5 minutes on the site and view 12 pages; first-time users spend an average of 2.5 minutes on the site and view 3 pages.--Dallan 06:35, 7 April 2015 (UTC)

Foundation for Online Genealogy [28 March 2015]

There are links to http://www.folg.org/ on the main page, the about page and maybe a couple of others. Should this apparently dead link be revised to https://sites.google.com/a/folg.org/family-history/ wherever it appears? --ceyockey 15:22, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

It does seem like http://www.folg.org/ is broken. On Chrome and Firefox it displays as blank; on IE it gives error screen saying "This content cannot be displayed in a frame". The source does look like it's trying to frame the sites.google.com/a/folg.org/family-history/ content. Maybe it should be doing a redirect instead? --robert.shaw 18:20, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

How to donate and Info about donation [30 March 2015]

Suggest that the pages WeRelate:Donate and WeRelate:About donations be merged. Also suggest that the every-page footer include an additional link (making four on the bottom line) to the merged page labeled "Donate" or "Support WeRelate: Donate". The WeRelate:About page should have the donation paragraph removed in favor of a top-of-page link to the new merged donation page. Finally, could a link to financials be placed on the new merged donation page? --ceyockey 15:29, 28 March 2015 (UTC)


I have revised WeRelate:About donations so that it a) cross-references WeRelate:Donate and b) has a working link to FOLG information. I found, and understand why, that I cannot edit WeRelate:Donate. I do think having this as a protected page is best as it contains a bit of functional kit that, if broken, screws us all.

I have also created a new category, into which WeRelate:About donations has been put ... Category:Financial support.

Regards --ceyockey 15:12, 29 March 2015 (UTC)


I find that content at WeRelate:About non-profit status duplicates some information at WeRelate:About donations and suggest that it be redirected. The WeRelate:About non-profit status is protected and cannot be edited by a standard user. --ceyockey 15:37, 29 March 2015 (UTC)


I revised the section WeRelate:About#Please donate to include a word about advertising and to remove the several times said mention of the 'donate button' in the upper right of the page, which I think was there at one time but which I've not seen in a long time. Should there be such a button or link on every page? --ceyockey 15:44, 29 March 2015 (UTC)


I redirected WeRelate:About non-profit status to WeRelate:About donations.--Dallan 05:07, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

Maybe you should put your tax info on a protected template that could be added to the page. You probably don't want people messing around with the tax ID. -Moverton 16:55, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
Good point. I've done that.--Dallan 03:55, 31 March 2015 (UTC)

Method for regular monthly donations [30 March 2015]

Suggest that you look into or describe method(s) for providing small monthly donations which are directly charged to credit or debit card. Thinking in terms of $10 / month as a "sustaining member" donation level. --ceyockey 15:32, 28 March 2015 (UTC)

Good idea, especially if some of us actually followed through? --GayelKnott 08:09, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
There isn't currently a way to have an amount automatically charged to your credit card each month on the donations page, but I could add it if enough people would say they would make use of it. It appears that Paypal supports this.--Dallan 08:16, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

I would do this. It would also be a bonus if doing so would remove the ads.--Wongers 08:24, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

+1, I would as well. --ceyockey 14:25, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
Count me in -- we need to do something to keep the site viable. --GayelKnott 21:43, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
What about a donation of $19/year for no ads?--Dallan 04:59, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
You can count me in as a taker on that amount. Daniel Maxwell 05:17, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
While I think it's a nice kicker to take out the ads for donors, the site for non-donors needs to look professional enough that new people come and stay, or there's no point. I'd rather we focus on raising an overall goal that makes the ads go away as much as possible for everyone. --Amelia 05:38, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
I'm fine with that as well. It's a question of how much people donate and how quickly they want new features to be implemented. An inexperienced developer in the US (i.e., college student) or an experienced developer from Ukraine both cost around $20-30/hour. New features will take from a few hours to a few days to implement depending on the feature, so if we had an extra $300/month, we could probably implement one new feature a month. If we wanted that money to come purely from donations, then each active user would need to contribute $1/month or $12/year. If we wanted it to come purely from ads, then we would need to keep both the right-hand and the left-hand ads. Or we could do a combination.--Dallan 06:26, 30 March 2015 (UTC)
My question would be, is $19 going to be enough? (And is this a one-time donation or an annual donation?) WeRelate desperately needs up-dating, and has for a long time. We are not unique -- there are other free wikis out there -- and we are being left behind because the others offer benefits that we don't. I don't mind being a "niche" site if we survive, but survival is still going to take up-grading. And like Bob C. (above) I am (and have been for some time) seeing "RootsWeb" handwriting on the wall -- not enough money to maintain the site and eventual sale to someone like Ancestry and their ability to gut the good and leave a shell. I agree with Amelia, we need to maintain a reasonably serious appearance in order to attract new users to even a niche site. I can live with one or two discreet ads as a source of on-going income, combined with other means of raising income -- such as an annual donation campaign, for example. If a $20 (or more) donation once a year is enough to make the up-grades and to significantly reduce the number of ads on all pages, then that's pretty small peanuts for the benefits.--GayelKnott 16:39, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

WeRelate and Paypal [29 March 2015]

A couple of observations:

  • I don't see a way via the Paypal site to set up regular donations over time; appears to only support single donations. There was an allusion above to Paypal supporting for payees multiple cross-time payments.
  • I wanted to see if I could find FOLG as a payee in the Paypal interface and could not. I think it would be useful to have the WeRelate payee available as a search return from within Paypal; however, I'm not sure if Paypal supports this for non-profits or only for stores as in retail ventures.

--ceyockey 15:16, 29 March 2015 (UTC)


WeRelate and Allen County Public Library -and- The Genealogy Center [29 March 2015]

The page http://genealogycenter.org/ contains a prominent "Donate" button in the top button bar. It might be useful to clarify somewhere (maybe on WeRelate:About donations) that donation to The Genealogy Center does not directly support WeRelate, though it would support a WeRelate partner. --ceyockey 15:20, 29 March 2015 (UTC)


WeRelate and online charity listing sites [11 April 2015]

I pulled a reference to http://www.guidestar.org/ into WeRelate:About donations and went looking for other online registries, but found some incorrect information:

--ceyockey 16:38, 29 March 2015 (UTC)


Extracted content from the Exempt Organizations Business Master File for Utah; this can be downloaded from http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/Exempt-Organizations-Business-Master-File-Extract-EO-BMF and has an explanatory sheet at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-soi/eo_info.pdf . The file format is puportedly .csv, but could not open it using Libre Office, so went to Google Sheets and that opened just fine.

FIELDVALUE
EIN810660912
NAMEFOUNDATION FOR ON-LINE GENEALOGY INC
ICO% TAYLOR QUASS
STREET724 W 1720 N APT 207
CITYPROVO
STATEUT
ZIP84604-6408
GROUP0
SUBSECTION3
AFFILIATION3
CLASSIFICATION1200
RULING200602
DEDUCTIBILITY1
FOUNDATION15
ACTIVITY0
ORGANIZATION1
STATUS1
TAX_PERIOD201312
ASSET_CD0
INCOME_CD0
FILING_REQ_CD2
PF_FILING_REQ_CD0
ACCT_PD12
ASSET_AMT0
INCOME_AMT0
REVENUE_AMT0
NTEE_CDA80
SORT_NAME

--ceyockey 16:24, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

FWIW, these are all places we've lived since starting FOLG around 2002. The current address is 223 N 835 E, Lindon, UT 84042. We moved here about six months ago. We filed the address change with the state of Utah but possibly not with the IRS yet. We're checking into that.--Dallan 04:57, 30 March 2015 (UTC)

What does FOLG mean?--Chicken Band 10:59, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

Foundation for On-Line Genealogy, the sponsor of WeRelate.--DataAnalyst 17:17, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

Fundraising proposal [16 April 2015]

Over the weekend five people donated a total of $350 - thank-you!

Also, I have switched the left-hand and right-hand ads to text-only. We'll try that for a couple of days.

It looks like several MediaWiki developers are available for $35-$40/hour. (When I checked a year or two ago it was only $25-30/hour, but it appears to have increased.) I think we'd want to hire a developer for at least two weeks in order to give the developer a chance to get familiar with the code and implement a few features. If we were to try to hire someone for just a few days the start-up costs of becoming familiar with the code would be relatively high. Given that, I think we ought to not hire anyone until we have $3,000 raised either from ads or donations. That would be enough to hire someone for two weeks.

So here is a proposal for feedback:

  • We run a fundraiser the first month of each quarter with the goal of raising $3,000 each quarter.
  • We use the excess ad revenue from the prior quarter to jump-start the fundraiser.
  • We need to have some way of promoting the fundraiser each quarter - ideas?
  • People who contribute at least $5 during the quarterly fundraiser will not be shown ads for that quarter. I could add something like Don't like ads? - Donate links to the top of each ad. I have already taken the liberty of disabling ads for the five people who contributed over the weekend.
  • People who contribute more than $5 will be emailed a link to a google form where they can vote on the WeRelate:Suggestions they want to see implemented that quarter. People who contribute more will have their votes weigh more.
  • Someone needs to summarize each suggestion into a single section with examples: the existing (undesired) behavior, and the proposed (desired) behavior. This will make it easier for me and the developer to understand the suggestion.
  • I will review the suggestion summaries and attempt to estimate the number of days required to implement each one. Hopefully this information will help guide the people who are voting.
  • Once we have raised $3,000 we will hire the developer.
  • If we are unable to raise $3,000 during a quarter, we use the money to jump-start the fundraiser for the next quarter.

My guess is that a few suggestions could be implemented each quarter using this approach. Thoughts?--Dallan 05:07, 31 March 2015 (UTC)

Sounds to me that what we need is a Product Backlog and a Product Owner to manage it. For those not familiar with these terms, they come out of the world of Agile Software Development (specifically the Scrum methodology). A Product Backlog is essentially a prioritized list of enhancements and fixes, and the Product Owner is a person from the user community who acts on behalf of the user community to prioritize the backlog and ensure that the developers understand the requirement. Items near the top of the prioritized list are more precisely defined than those lower in priority - that is, we take more time (as a community) to ensure precise definition of the requirement when it is close to being addressed than when we are just talking about how important it is to address.
A rule of thumb in Scrum is that items are prioritized based on return on investment - the ratio of value to implementation cost. Therefore, the higher the value and the lower the effort to implement, the closer to the top of the list an item is. That means that in addition to the community "voting" on value (in whatever way we decide to do that), we also need an estimate of the effort to implement the change. Scrum recommends estimating effort using story points, which essentially is a way to size items relative to each other (without getting caught up in trying to say how many days it will take, which is notoriously difficult to do). I'd be happy if we started with estimating items as small, medium, large and extra large.
The Product Backlog is always visible to all stakeholders.
So here is what I would propose:
  • Implement a better way for users to vote on suggestions. I like the 1 to 5 scale someone else suggested. There should also be a place for people to describe the benefits (e.g., pain avoided, improved capability, attractiveness for new users).
  • As a community, have a discussion about general guidelines for priority. Are we most interested in making changes that will attract new users (e.g., private space for living individuals) or retain users once they come (e.g., reduce pain points), or do we want to balance these? I have set up a separate topic for this.
  • Investigate product backlog tools - I see one called easyBacklog that is currently free. Maybe there is an open source one that could be incorporated into WeRelate, but linking to an external one might work as well. I don't know if the product backlog tool would be the best place to expand on benefits, or if that should be done in the Suggestions list in WeRelate. That might depend on how well we can integrate a product backlog tool with WeRelate (specifically, integration or user accounts).
  • Assign a Product Owner. (I would be willing to give this role a try, with the caveat that I would back down if it became too burdensome from either a time point of view or with having to deal with inappropriate behavior.)
  • Once the voting has established the items garnering the most interest, have Dallan size the top X items so that they can be prioritized based on value and effort. Get this done several weeks before work starts each quarter to give time for final feedback and tweaking.
  • Publicize the process - discussion on overall priorities, voting on suggestions, and where the Product Backlog is.
  • Celebrate success (as we say in my work place) - publicize the implemented suggestions.--DataAnalyst 14:40, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
This sounds like a good approach. The "backlog tool" might be a bit of a problem. Integrating one into WeRelate would be way overkill and absorb needed resources, so I think that's out. Just using easyBacklog might be ok; a problem there might be that it would not be readable by the general public -- each person wanting to read would have to get an account and be given access. (Copying status from easyBacklog onto WeRelate might solve that, but would be a burden.) Using wiki pages on WeRelate would be straightforward but would not have any backlog-management tools available. --robert.shaw 19:14, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
Yes, it occurred to me also that incorporating a backlog tool might be overkill and take too much effort. I'm not proficient enough in wiki tools to be able to modify the Suggestions page to add a sortable column that indicates priority, but maybe that would be all it would take. Although, if we go with the Product Owner idea, we would probably want to control who could set the priority.--DataAnalyst 20:25, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

Great ideas! (And btw, ad-free looks really fine!)--Jillaine 17:02, 31 March 2015 (UTC)


Hi Dallan,

In general i like your ideas. There is just one thing that strikes me. While the focus on money is good, in the sense that money makes the world go round, i feel that money is not the only contribution a member of the community can make.

I added over 10,000 people to the site, each one of them manually. Would you say a genealogy site without quality pages has any value? And if the quality page has value, how to calculate the donation of 10,000+ quality pages?

The second thing is that the donated amount (of money, or in my case, of quality pages) should NOT be of any influence to the weight of their vote. In a society where people don't know each other, the money is the message. But in a community, that which brought us all together should be supported.

This is my 2 cents, after looking up "Dutch treat" on Wikipedia, which article closes with the statement: "Surprisingly no reference found for the most obvious country the Netherlands. Please update with factual references." (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Going_Dutch)

Best regards, Ron woepwoep 18:11, 31 March 2015 (UTC)

Woepwoep, let me add to my statement above where I stated that a user's "contribution" is not interchangeable with a user's "donation," by stating that "Value" does not necessarily equate to "Cost." The value of your material contribution of genealogical data is almost incalculable (especially to you), whereas the cost to store, maintain, and process that data can be calculated pretty easily. In fact, the more you contribute, the more it costs.
I can give you a personal illustration. A few years ago when I hit the half-century mark in age, I began to recognize my own mortality and reevaluate the time and effort I put into pursuit of my interest in genealogy (both "time" and "effort" becoming more valuable commodities to me). I took a long look at the family history and genealogy collection I had accumulated over the previous 30 years and realized that no one close to me valued it like I did, and then I realistically recognized that it all may be lost when I pass. I began to take steps to find a permanent home for it, and was pretty discouraged by the lack of enthusiasm I got from libraries and genealogical societies in pledging to accept it, now stored primarily in binders (upwards of 50 or more of varying sizes) in my home office. The most common response I received was that the space to house it and the cost to maintain it would be too high for such a collection of limited interest (i.e. families and offspring of my ancestors). Unless consolidated into a published book form, I could find none interested in accepting it. That's partly why I am here at WeRelate, so hopefully I can leave the legacy of my family history to those who might value it as much as I in the future.
Do you see my point? The value of your contributions can in no way be translated into monetary terms. Any "credit" that Dallan would apply to contribution of data would be purely a number pulled out of thin air, possibly as an incentive to encourage further contributions. But at this point, actual revenue (hard cash) seems to be the guiding force here to keep WR alive and functioning. Take care. --BobC 20:04, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
Bob, i appreciate your contribution. We are talking different value systems here. The word http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/incommensurable comes to mind. A friend told me about the history of genealogy. He said: "it began with the identification (and define) of the nobility. To avoid intruders. This was according to the male line. That is why a "family tree" or a "genealogy" classically means a male line.
The second phase was tracing back hereditary diseases - this means: the medical side - so that was at that time the factor that pushed genealogy. In this phase, ofcourse, also became the female line involved."
So Bob, i would like to say, if nobody cares, perhaps generations after yours and mine, people will care. Vincent died poor, but he said: "If a voice inside you says you can not paint, then by all means paint, and that voice inside you will be silenced".
Cheers, Ron woepwoep 20:23, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
My basic question is if i would charge my family for a Christmas dinner woepwoep 16:10, 4 April 2015 (UTC)

I think they are all great ideas to be implemented, Dallan. As Ron raised the question above, your use of "contribution" and "donation" should be clarified. I'm sure you are using the word contribution as in "donating money and fund raising," whereas Ron would also like to interpret the word contribution as "submission of genealogical data," a viewpoint which might have merit in my opinion, but how do you measure it?

The weighting of personal donations in the decision-making process of program improvement is a good incentive and hopefully will produce positive results rather than negative backlash by invested users unable or unwilling to donate.

Due to the new reality of tacking dollar amounts against these suggested program improvements, I think you need to look at prioritizing them based on their added value to the program itself and to a better measure of user support. I would suggest adding a scale of 1-5 on each program suggestion improvement area for those who get to vote, rather than just by gauging the number of "Watchers." In my own case, I may be watching a page just because I want to be part of the discussion rather than advocating or supporting for the suggestion. #1 would be least value, low support or low priority in my appraisal for the suggestion, and #5 indicating highest value, support and priority for the suggestion.

That's my input. Appreciate the positive movement. --BobC 16:14, 1 April 2015 (UTC)

Agree with Bob. Like the idea of weighting personal donations to votes as a very nice carrot. Also agree that improvements should be focused on those most likely to bring in/bring back the greatest number of active users, even though they might not be my pet preferences. --GayelKnott 18:56, 1 April 2015 (UTC)

Woepwoep, the time that you and I and everyone else has put into WeRelate to this point has given us a nice place to share our genealogy. Our contributions, which cannot be valued, get converted into the money required to run the site via ads, and the ads generate enough revenue that we don't have to worry about the site being shut down. The contributions that we have all made in terms of our time has gotten us to where we are today: a website that isn't going to be shut down. But if we want to make improvements we need contributions of money (donations). And we need to come up with an incentive for people to donate. Telling people that they can help choose the improvements seems like a good incentive to me.

I agree that the number of watchers is not a perfect (maybe not even a good) indicator of the value of the suggestions. Would people add comments to the suggestions' talk pages arguing why the suggestion should be prioritized as a #1 (least value) to a #5 (most value)? I'm still proposing that those who donate the money necessary to pay the developer should have the final vote, but their vote can/should be influenced by the prioritization comments. I'll assume that suggestions that receive no prioritization comments are low priority.

We have currently raised $450 out of a goal of $3000. Unless there are objections, I will highlight the fundraiser at the top of each page starting tomorrow. Also, instead of asking people to donate $5 every three months to opt-out of ads, I'll mention on the donate page that donating $19 or more opts you out of ads for a full year.--Dallan 06:15, 3 April 2015 (UTC)

Dallan, thanks much for your consideration. Here's an idea for donation. It is not a complete idea, a mere starter.
My daughter aged 15 recently donated USD 25 to Skyblock (http://shop.skyblock.net/category/10202) which is also a community afaik. So perhaps we could find out what makes Skyblock different from WeRelate in terms of Donation? Her decision was based on - if i recall it right - getting perks which she then could give away to her online friends to help them with their part in this collaborative game they play together. Hope this helps. Best regards, Ron woepwoep 07:30, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
It's an interesting idea. I wonder what kind of "perks" we could provide.--Dallan 05:51, 4 April 2015 (UTC)

Dallan could you please add me to your list of people who see no ads? It is very annoying. Thank you, Ron.

Alternative: if action=edit then remove ads ?
I tested the Donate page by transferring 20 dollars to FOLG through Paypal. Now i still get ads.
So perhaps the instruction page should say that a human action is required and that payment does not immediately lead to an ad-free WR.
Also, i am not transferred back to WR page.
Also, how will FOLG know who i am, e.g. how will you know i bought an ad-free year? the paypal transaction only mentions a confirmation number and my company name (self-employed, business account with paypal).
These are my findings during testing.
Best regards, Ron woepwoep 09:46, 4 April 2015 (UTC)
It is now half a day later, and i still see ads, despite the fact that i paid USD 20.--
While i am editing Hendrina's page, adding the information that she died back in 1881, i am polled by google for what age women i like. It says "select an age and view singles in your region." I can choose between 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, or 50+. I feel a little embarrassed, because obviously i like much older women.
Dallan, is it absolutely necessary to use ads ? Is there no other way?
thx, Ron woepwoep 16:02, 4 April 2015 (UTC)

It's a manual process - I get notified by email of the donation, then I look up your user name based upon the email address that you entered in your donation and turn off ads for you. I just added a sentence to that effect on the donate page.

Also, I changed the email address on the paypal account on March 30th. It turns out that changing the email address on our paypal account made our paypal button stop working -- donations made during this time need to be cancelled. I updated the paypal button on the website yesterday. If you made a donation over the past five days and have not had ads turned off, please let me know and I will explain how you can cancel your donation.

If we had enough donations or if we decided that we didn't care about any new features we could turn off or scale back ads. Let's see how the fundraiser goes.--Dallan 20:26, 4 April 2015 (UTC)

thx so much for this adfree workspace ! happy easter woepwoep 00:36, 5 April 2015 (UTC)

Robot for pulling content over from Wikipedia [7 April 2015]

I think that the robot which updates WeRelate content on pages tagged with {{Source-wikipedia}} or {{Wikipedia-notice}} has not run in quite awhile. Is this something which can be turned back on or run manually from time to time? --ceyockey 23:19, 2 April 2015 (UTC)

I have to run it manually and I've forgotten to run it recently. Thanks for reminding me. I'll run it first thing next week.--Dallan 05:08, 3 April 2015 (UTC)

Dallan

Please warn us immediately before you run the Wp update. Those of us who are trying to add our two cents worth at the same time should really find something else to do while it is happening because it really slows down the servers. I know, you'll do it "overnight", but that doesn't help those of us in other timezones.

Thanks. --Goldenoldie 17:57, 4 April 2015 (UTC)

Good point. I will slow down the update rate so it won't slow down everyone else. I plan to start it Monday evening (US time) or Tuesday morning (EU time). I'll post here first.--Dallan 19:59, 4 April 2015 (UTC)

Thanks, Dallan. Having a slow rate of updates is fine, to the point that it might make it through everything in a week or two or more if needed. A monthly manual launch would be a good routine to get into if possible. My thinking is that a) most of the wikipedia articles in the set brought over will not have MAJOR changes frequently (might not even experience edits in any particular year), so that b) the main role would be to get an initial pull over here in a timely fashion after initially placing the {{source-wikipedia}} template. --ceyockey 01:46, 5 April 2015 (UTC)

I started the wikipedia update tonight. It now waits three seconds between each update, so hopefully we won't notice the additional load.
There are two types of wikipedia updates: a) one where the updater just looks for "source-wikipedia" templates and replaces them, and b) one where I download the latest version of wikipedia and the system updates all of of the articles that need updating. The first update is pretty lightweight. Normally it runs weekly, but it looks like I had turned it off inadvertently so it hasn't been running for a long time. I'll start it running weekly again after this full update is complete. The second type of update is the one running right now. This update will take about a week to complete at the slower rate. I'll try to remember to run this roughly once a quarter.--Dallan 06:44, 7 April 2015 (UTC)

I don't mind ads, as long as they are limited [9 April 2015]

In response to the discussion around conditions under which ads would be removed going on above, I'll say that I don't mind ads which are relatively unobtrusive. I've only donated $10, but do plan to do that on a monthly basis (manually via Paypal). I don't anticipate having an ad-free workspace in exchange, but I do want to stave off the addition of more or larger ads, and I want to ensure that the crew have sufficient resource to continue to work forward (albeit slowly) on site improvements and establishment of a future-proofing fund to accommodate potential (inevitable, really) need for porting the content to another platform as technology evolves. For instance, I think the mediawiki software that is underlying WeRelate is not the currently deployed one for Wikipedia ... the option to change version should be available if there is a compelling reason based on the functionality options provided by the change. That takes resource = money. --ceyockey 01:53, 5 April 2015 (UTC)

That particular change - updating the MediaWiki software to the latest version - will take a lot of time. We'll want to figure out whether we want to save our money to do that or implement some of the simpler suggestions.
BTW, I've been experimenting with different-sized ads, in particular a 160-pixel-wide vs a 300-pixel-wide ad on the right-hand side. The 300-pixel-wide ad on the right definitely brings in more money, but it may not be worth it. Right now I lean toward the 160-pixel-wide ad on the right and a 160-pixel-wide ad on the left.. I'm also experimenting with display vs text-only ads. We'll see how that goes.--Dallan 06:51, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
Just offering feedback. I don't mind display ads (of course, what they display is questionable sometimes - some of the ones on my phone flash which is really annoying) but it is easier to train the eye to ignore them whereas text only ads look almost like part of the page. Don't know if bolder borders around the ads would help with that process, certainly predictable locations makes recognition of ads quicker. Prefer 160 versus 300 but can live with either if push comes to shove. All that is better than the ones just below the banner which interrupted the flow of reading and pushed a lot of good stuff off the first screen. Does it help if we, say, click one ad each day, or does that not make any difference? --Jrich 14:21, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
You should avoid clicking on ads just to "help the website". Google (and advertisers) consider this click-fraud, and too much of it will cause Google to ban the website and associated account, losing all revenue. --robert.shaw 20:44, 7 April 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, Robert. I had the same question as Jrich. --GayelKnott 06:14, 8 April 2015 (UTC)

FWIW, the display ads on the left and right work about the same as the text ad on the left and display ad on the right. I think having a text ad on the left is less obtrusive than a display ad, but if others think a display ad would be less obtrusive, I could switch it back. A 300-pixel-wide ad on the right works a bit better than the 160-pixel-wide ad, but I'm not sure the additional real estate is worth it.--Dallan 04:11, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

Can you add a horizontal rule between the left-hand ad and the text above it to provide better separation between the website content and the ad? -Moverton 16:42, 9 April 2015 (UTC)
Text ads on the left and the 300px display on the right seems like a reasonable approach, but I agree with Moverton that some visual separation before the left text ads is needed. Maybe a horizontal rule just after the "Don't want ads?" link, and maybe after the horizontal line an italic centered "Advertisements" before the ads start. --robert.shaw 17:12, 9 April 2015 (UTC)

WeRelate Improvement Priorities [11 apr 2015]

As a follow-up to the fundraising proposal, I want to initiate a discussion on the "big picture" priorities for improving WeRelate features. This is not about which specific suggestions are a priority, but the guidelines on how to prioritize suggestions.

For example, we can focus on one or more of the following areas (please add to and/or refine this list):

attracting new users (which changes might induce more people to give WeRelate a try)
retaining new users (which changes will improve the first impression)
reducing pain points for established users
expanding the possibilities (helping WeRelate grow beyond its initial vision)
support for quality of the data

We might also want to consider relative priority of:

improvement in online data entry
improvement in GEDCOM upload

Then for each suggestion, we could rate it (1 to 5) on how well it fit into each of these areas. For example, a suggestion might be a 5 in reducing a pain point, and a 2 in retaining new users; or it might be a 4 in data quality and a 0 in everything else.

Once we decide our guidelines (relative priority of the above areas) and the contribution of each suggestion in each area, it would be possible to prioritize the suggestions better (see my post on Product Backlog and Product Owner, under the fundraising proposal).--DataAnalyst 14:38, 11 April 2015 (UTC)


As an additional comment on "who gets the most say", Dallan suggested (as a way to encourage donations): "People who contribute more will have their votes weigh more." I'm not actually a big fan of that - as others have pointed out, volunteers who improve the quality of data across WeRelate also contribute to the site. I think that if the person doing the prioritization is a regular on WeRelate, he/she can probably tell which users are highly committed to WeRelate and can take that into account if necessary. If Dallan felt it were necessary to "put a bug" in that person's ear about a donor (i.e., here is another committed person you might not be aware of) that could be done.--DataAnalyst 14:38, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

@DataAnalyst this sounds like a plan ! woepwoep 15:33, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

The highest priority area would be "retaining new users (which changes will improve the first impression)," it seems to me. Growth in participation is the underlying aim, and "attracting new users" is not a priority until the experience encountered is acceptable. Clearly some attention is warranted for "pain point" and "data quality", but those seem secondary to me so that only the worst problems/easiest fixes in those areas should bubble up to the top of the list. "Expanding the possibilities" doesn't seem reasonable at this point since the important improvements there would be too expensive to implement with the likely resources.

For retaining users, I think GEDCOM integration improvement deserves attention the most; to me, the online entry seems adequate even though not the best.

--robert.shaw 19:00, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

I agree with this, but another part of it (for the admins) is being able to maintain the quality of what is uploaded. Several of us are still trying to clean up the mess made from 2007-2010, and while we've made headway, there is still quite a bit of bad material needing to be cleaned/deleted. WR needs more safeguards to prevent a reoccurance of this by users - I still see people uploading gedcoms with blank persons (which are almost always a way to discreetly keep livings from being spotted), people adding them by hand, incomplete dates, etc. Daniel Maxwell 19:03, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

I'm sorry but data quality is not secondary, it is primary - by orders of magnitude over anything else. And until attracting new users brings in a higher quality of user than the normal Internet genealogist user (who think copying from an anonymous tree on Ancestry is doing genealogy, and then posting it again and again all over the Internet is collaborating), or until we have a set of reinforcing eduction and formatting tools, with functional help pages, to organically guide the normal Internet users towards more professional-quality practices, why would we want more? They will just make us look more like Ancestry public trees, only smaller. Look, if I don't care about quality, I'm not even going to come here, and it's not an ease of use issue. Ancestry and various parts of familysearch.org, and probably other sites with deep pockets, are always going to be bigger, have more features and have bigger quantities of data, and if I want an answer without caring if it is right, I'll go there. But they have data, not information. They can't provide quality control because it might scare away naive or paying users.

The type of user that we should be aiming at should want mistakes pointed out, should believe that the most important thing is getting it right, and is willing to donate time and effort in a community effort to collect reference-quality genealogy - not just looking for yet another bulletin board to post their tree on. The people that want to make a long-term committment, not just to post their data and then never participate again, but to interact with future posters, collaborate, and share, even if sometimes if means spending a few hours on a person that isn't their ancestor.

We should require sources, we should flag certain sources as undesirable, we should have formatting tools that format dates and remove _UIDs so people can spend their time researching instead of cleanup. We should revamp the help system, lock up help pages, and develop a formal release with the goal of building a coherent set of help pages that can be counted on to reflect the current policies and conventions and provide articles on good practices - with a separate development area where discussion, testing and development of new policies can go on without confusing the help system. We should have wizards that ensure sources get cited appropriately, e.g., ask for the county name on the census, warn people with annoying popups when entries are invalid, have reports like we do for duplicates that list for a user all the sourceless or subpar pages they are watching. Ideally, I would like to have levels of users with different privileges that require demonstration of certain amount of expertise before you can add people before 1900 (IMHO, the extreme limit of personal knowledge), before 1850 (before the census), before Gregorian calendar, do GEDCOM uploads, create source and place pages, etc., etc.

Yes, volume, ease of use, faster software, etc., will make this site better, but only if the quality is high. Otherwise, it will dilute the kernel of good stuff many patient people have been slowly building through time-consuming manual effort. --Jrich 20:11, 11 April 2015 (UTC)


I was on MyHeritage first, or - to be precise - on a Dutch site Zooover which was acquired by MyHeritage. Then i got smartmatches on the MyHeritage site with a site called WikiTree. So i went there. Somehow i got from WikiTree to WR.

My point is that i believe the collaboration with MH has brought WikiTree a lot of new users. So if WR is to have many new users, there should be a visibility on popular sites like MH.

My 2 cents. Ron woepwoep 21:49, 11 April 2015 (UTC)


What type of person is welcome at WeRelate? Why would they come (and stay)? [16 April 2015]

There have been long term grumblings among the more professional of the genealogists here that the vast majority of people who think they are doing genealogy are just messing things up for the serious folks. I can sympathize with that. However, doing something about this requires WeRelate to take a firm stance on who is welcome to contribute here and who should go somewhere else. There's a telling quote over at WeRelate:Pando for genealogy ... "If you haven't already done so, help Pando grow by uploading your tree!" Yes, this is preceded by some words about including sources and keeping an eye on the pages you create here, but in the end another quote from the page states "WeRelate is different from most family tree websites. We take a shared approach to genealogy." One of the methods for increasing data quality noted above is to ensure the deletion of bad content. I would put it to you that anyone who sees their content being deleted will unlikely become a returning user ... but that is not a bad thing if WeRelate can thrive (financially) by retaining people doing quality genealogy. The world is chock full of people who are not, and in the end it will be those people who are not who will be clicking through the ads on this site, not the few who are.

With this being said, maybe a major improvement would be a walling between the high quality, masters approved content and the rest contributed by the rabble (myself included, though the damage I do is small because I do not do any Gedcom uploads). I think this segregation (which should not be immediately evident to the casual user, because that casual user really would not care) would work toward addressing a number of the line items noted above among the prioritizations.

--ceyockey 22:47, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

As someone who has the done much of the deleting, the vast majority of what I have deleted has been content from users who simply dumped their GEDCOMS on the site 7-8 years ago, and were never seen again. Myself and the others who are behind that process have received few complaints about it, for the simple fact that most of these users never came back. It isn't about 'master' content, but trying to avoid the most poor genealogical content - no dates, living people, no places, etc. Daniel Maxwell 23:00, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

I reflect on my own experience starting almost 10 years ago. I had a nice little 3-4 generation family tree and had just found a family connection on RootsWeb. I went to town on copying data into my personal tree. It took me a few months to realize that I had to be cautious about the quality, which led me to review all my new data and hunt down better sources.

So what if I had found that connection on WeRelate instead of RootsWeb? I would have added my 3-4 generation tree, connected it to previous generations, and voila - a nice deep family tree, without negatively impacting the data that more experienced people had created. So my question is, if this were today, would my newly added, sporadically sourced, all deceased, 3-4 generations be welcomed? I say, yes. Let's welcome this type of contribution so that others can find it and see where they fit. Let's encourage/coach the newcomer to add sources and grow their genealogy skills, but if they are not interested, let's keep their contribution (ensuring that living persons are deleted) and let them go on their way.

The problem comes, of course, when the newcomer has already enhanced his/her tree (as I did) with information from RootsWeb, the Ancestral File, Public Member Trees, and (worst of all) OneWorldTree. We have already limited GEDCOM imports to post-1750 so that newcomers are limited in the damage they can do via GEDCOM (we probably want to formalize the process by which a newcomer who has established his/her serious approach to genealogy gets that restriction lifted, and maybe the cutoff year needs to be refined). Maybe we also need to put some serious effort into reworking the message on the Pando for genealogy page to limit the damage newcomers do via manual data entry.

I would be willing to work on some messaging if I got the sense that there was some consensus on what the messaging should be. Are we okay with un-sourced new (not duplicate) data from, say, 1850 on? Should we expect at least some minimal completeness of data (e.g., at least one year and/or place on each page)? Do we encourage people to "test out" their contributions to well-established pages on the Talk page before making changes to the Person/Family page? Do we want to offer coaching? Do we have sufficient resources to offer coaching or do we "coach" via a bunch of static pages?

Admin types - please let me know if some rework of the Pando for genealogy and Wiki etiquette pages would be welcome. (I know I have a tendency to wordiness - I promise to keep it under control and submit my write-up for editing.)--DataAnalyst 23:57, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

I view the term Pando for Genealogy as being akin to World Peace, a noble, idealistic-sounding objective, but unrealistic and unachievable. It like knowing statistically that everyone is related to everyone else in the 15th or 16th generation removed. Interesting bit of trivia, but meaningless in terms of finding factual data about the other unknown offspring of my European-born 2nd great-grandparents (unless, of course, one of those offspring are also using WeRelate - the basic concept of Pando). So I'm not sure what bit of advice I can provide regarding it.
On the other subject page, I added suggestions for the remainder of the missing ABCs on the Help talk:Wiki etiquette page. Please feel free to edit, enhance, change, or whatever to better fit the subject prior to moving it to the Help Page.
Hope that's helpful. --BobC 13:00, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

Anyone - Assuming some new messaging is welcome, let me know where you agree/disagree with my opinions, or have additional considerations to include. Thanks.--DataAnalyst 23:57, 11 April 2015 (UTC)

when i first entered WR, i tried to upload my MyHeritage export file. which was not much of a success. then i tried to upload a partial, which also did not succeed. but instead of giving up, before i could even think of giving up, two wonderful ladies here at WR (Jennifer and Lidewij) found me and have actually made me feel so much welcome that i decided to completely disregard my gedcom and type the entries one by one (now well over 10K entries). Hope this helps, Ron. PS thank you Lidewij and Jennifer !!! woepwoep 00:19, 12 April 2015 (UTC)

I really hope in the midst of discussing good genealogical work vs. other genealogical work, that we don't inadvertently create a "caste" system. I'm not fond of elitist genealogy; everyone should have a chance to contribute to WR, no matter where they are on the learning curve, as long as rules are abided and honest attempts to cite are made.
What I'd like to see is a more visible attempt to reach out to new users as happened when I joined WR. Interaction between contributors seems to have slowed in the last few years. Perhaps we should remember to "help" other contributors rather than plop them into a category of unworthy or inept genealogists. If we have a chance to teach what we know to another contributor, we shouldn't hesitate. Then perhaps the unworthy and inept can become worthy and competent. Neal--SkippyG 06:52, 12 April 2015 (UTC)

Totally agree with Neal. My own experience is that just entering date -- and getting even minimal feedback from others, has increased my sensitivity to quality issues. Similarly, my experience with FamilySearch's Family Tree, which started with an incredible ton of garbage, is cleaning up much faster than I would ever have expected simply because so many people are involved. (Admittedly, still has a long ways to go, but the point remains, the more people involved, the faster it happens.) In this sense, the more active users WeRelate has, the more likely that inexperienced users will learn and become experienced users.
I also agree that the Pando for genealogy page needs rewriting -- we are not really all that unique anymore, for one thing. And we do need to offer more than "help us grow" -- some excitement? some celebration? Something.--GayelKnott 07:08, 12 April 2015 (UTC)
I invite you to take a look at many of the mobile applications on the market today (some probably on your own cell phone). Many of them are built, propagated, expanded and popularized on "reward points" and "privilege levels." You might refer to it as a "caste" system, but the younger generation accepts the concept that the more you use an application, the more you contribute data to the app, and the higher level of proficiency and competency you display, the award of "points" alone (i.e. status) is a sufficient enough reason alone to continue using, continue building, continue adding data to the app to keep their interest alive.
Let me show you some examples of some of the apps I use or know about: GasBuddy, a program that provides real-time fuel prices throughout the U.S., awards points to users for entering fuel prices in the app when they visit gas stations. These reward points can then be entered into a weekly sweepstakes drawing for a chance to win hard cash. The Waze program provides real-life traffic conditions for travelers. Users who contribute data, such as traffic congestion reports, roadside hazards, speed traps, stop-light cameras, or weather reports are awarded points for their contribution and get newer user icon choices and additional reporting functions for their achievement levels.
My daughter and her friend (along with a million other enthusiasts), drive around the state she lives and skateboards around parking lots she visits either attaching or scanning (they call it deploying or capturing) Munzee QR-code stickers attached to the back of light posts, parking signs, and other man-made and natural objects. Why? For the points! The app shows their achievement levels, and they are awarded bonus points or specific icon-IDs for their achievement or are given recognition on the website showing their skill-level and compete with other app users based on point accumulation and higher achievement levels.
If we in the WeRelate community are going to grow and bring in a larger audience of younger users, I feel we need to transform WR into a program or application they can relate to and are encouraged to use and contribute to, not only based on WeRelate's unique approach to genealogical record-keeping and the ephmerical concept of contributing to a Pando for Genealogy, but supplemented by skill levels, competition, rewards and achievement recognition. Please don't mistake my suggestion as saying the program needs to be "dumbed-down," but I do think that competency or proficiency levels should be considered based on a balance between quantity of information contributed, quality of data inputted, and impact on the community (whether as a donator, editor, mentor or administrator), and access or reward privileges associated with each of those levels.
Does that make sense? --BobC 13:53, 16 April 2015 (UTC)
Your alluding to a type of gamification. It would be interesting to apply that to code forks that draw on the same data and bring back into the core elements which were popular / successful. I'm not someone with the skills myself, but such people are becoming both more common and more in demand. At my workplace, there are a number of software projects which aim to gamify both internal and external activities. --ceyockey 23:43, 16 April 2015 (UTC)

It is not about building a caste system. It is about people who are life-long researchers being willing to expose their work to people who just started, without worrying it will be corrupted by somebody who doesn't understand the nuances of harder genealogy situations. It's about minimizing new garbage when we're still digging up from under the old garbage. And its about being able to be open to all, without sinking to the abysmal quality of general Internet genealogy that always results when there is no quality control.

It is hard to know what you don't know, so you can't expect new users to police themselves. They will all think they're doing fine. They have been conditioned by other sites to think incorrectly. They need a system that gives them feedback, not after they've uploaded their entire GEDCOM, only to get frustrated by the resulting complaints and leave, but from the first page that's wrong.

It's about giving them limited access at first so they can discover this isn't just another Ancestry, to make sure the goals of WeRelate are compatible with their goals, but then having a path to give them access to everything when it is appropriate. It's about collaboration, so hanging around and participating. It's about sharing, so telling where data came from and presenting it so it's useful to others. And it's about building a data source that serves the community, not just them, so being willing to have it corrected, and to feel some responsibility to get it right because other people have to use it, too. --Jrich 20:16, 12 April 2015 (UTC)

Excellent comment !!! Yes my enthousiasm for the site was definitely skyrocketing when the two aforementioned ladies taught me how to work on the site. I would delete a person and then add an new person, but Jennifer kept pushing me to try the compare function. I didn't get it at first, wanted to give up and do my old way. But now i am so happy that she never gave up. Also i had a three hour phone call with Lidewij, after she had helped me a great deal by correcting the places that i had found (my search is a 30x30 miles area in the Netherlands called "Achterhoek" where all of my family originated). There is much synchronicity at work when you share a same higher goal. I work on this genealogy without knowing much more than that i am called to do this work - a vocation if you will. I just follow my gut feeling, don't know if my forefathers tell me to. So perhaps it is a passion? Perhaps emotion is a strong advertiser for the work that we do?
Best regards, Ron woepwoep 20:32, 12 April 2015 (UTC)

So...if we give new users 'limited access', what does that mean ? Do we tell them what they can or can not do ? Are certain pages "off limits" ? Do we tell them up front that only a certain group of contributors can do A, B, C and D ?

And if at the end of (for lack of better words) a so-called Probationary Period, do we give them a passing or failing grade ?..and if found wanting, do we tell them to take their Trees elsewhere and boot them out the WR door ? I can't imagine encouraging a new contributor to WR, and telling them she/he will be limited in their involvement/privileges until a committee decides they qualify to "join" with full privileges.

Rather, I'd suggest that the "weeding out" should occur on the front end, requiring new users to read certain guidelines, how-tos, etc. before any GEDCOM is accepted. Among these should be a strict discouragement of relying on certain sources, the coverall "My Source" usage, and whatever the premier genealogists, and the rest of us, would like to quell before... rather than after. It seems that we are receiving less junk, than in the earlier years, due I would suppose to better reviews of GEDCOMS. And periodically perhaps we could touch base with absent users to see why they are not updating their pages, if they have concerns that have shyed them away from WR, etc.

I can't conceive that we should be discouraging every new user who hasn't been bent over a microfilm reader since shortly after teething and potty training. If you want responsible, accurate contributors, then nurture them. Good genealogists aren't formed in a test tube, they're taught. So why can't we adopt a familial attitude toward a variety of contributors ? WR should be a basic pleasant, learning experience as well as a quest for perfection. Fini for me. Neal--SkippyG 01:16, 13 April 2015 (UTC)


Surname pages from Wikipedia and the opportunity they provide [16 April 2015]

I was a bit surprised when I saw Template:Wp-Thompson (surname). Surname pages from Wikipedia (at least that I've seen to date) have not come into WeRelate with the list of biographies attached. At the moment, I do not understand how the import software decides to link to WeRelate pages vs. linkout to Wikipedia pages ... but one of the features of this link revision is that person names are sometimes link revised to point at WeRelate Person pages. Given a surname page with content from Wikipedia, it occurred to me that one expansion potential would be to systematically create person pages for notable (dead) people listed on those surname pages. Just wondering whether anyone thinks this is totally crazy or a valid workstream that might be instantiated as a WeRelate Project.--ceyockey 03:18, 12 April 2015 (UTC)


I see now that the Wikipedia page has had a section header added which will prevent the list of people from being brought into WeRelate. Probably not a bad idea, considering the lack of segregation between living and non-living people in the list.--ceyockey 23:51, 16 April 2015 (UTC)


Usage of the East End of London as a WR place [16 April 2015]

The East End of London is a geographical region or area, but it is not an administrative place. It is not a London borough (1965 to the present); it never was a metropolitan borough (1900-1965). Before 1900 the area was made up of many, many parishes. It is necessary to go these parishes, boroughs, and the register offices of the time in order to obtain formal "source-able" family history information.

My personal feeling is that the "East End" ought to be deleted from our database--along with many other places in London that have been identified as districts and should be called neighbourhoods. In most other cases these districts were part of a metropolitan borough and, in many cases, part of a parish.

It does, however, cover a wide area and some people may want a descriptive term to cover an as-yet-to-be-found vital statistic--just like using "England" for a first generation of an American colonial family. For this reason I accept that some people will disagree with me.

But, may I make the plea that when the "WeRelate agent" goes to work on updating entries from Wikipedia that the East End of London is linked to Wikipedia (i.e., [[Wikipedia:East End of London|East End of London]]) and not to our place database. But [[Place:Tower Hamlets (London Borough), Greater London, England|London Borough of Tower Hamlets]] now exists in our database, along with the other 30+ London Boroughs, and I would hope the "WeRelate agent" could identify them. Currently (and there was an update last week) the London Borough of Tower Hamlets is being referenced to Wikipedia.

The London Boroughs were introduced fifty years ago in 1965 and each one is a Register Office--time enough for people to find their way into vital statistics.

This note has also been posted on the East End of London "talk" page.

--Goldenoldie 07:22, 16 April 2015 (UTC)--Goldenoldie 07:27, 16 April 2015 (UTC)


Newspapers as sources - different source each time the name changes or one source to rule them all? [17 April 2015]

Newspapers change over time. They merge, split, change ownership, change names, cease publication, restart publication ... they are dynamic beasts when considered over a time frame of a couple of centuries, which is the time frame we are all familiar with here. Wikipedia tends to take the approach of "current newspaper and all predecessors to be covered by the same article". However, I think that from a genealogical point of view, the different incarnations of the newspaper could (should?) be considered as distinct sources. In using the http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/ site, I have in a small number of cases so far, applied the "different name, different publisher = different source" approach to representing newspaper sources. I think my edits have reached a critical mass that I should ask what the community thinks of this. This particular post was prompted by my addition of Source:Evansville Courier & Press. This newspaper has, as usual, changed its name and ownership many times; the source representation reflects the wikipedia approach in the 'year range' parameter. The question which looms now is should I split this source into the fragments indicated by reviewing http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn98063103/ and tracing through preceding titles, or should I leave the Source intact and just refer to each of the other entries in 'chronicling' via the Repository tag set?

my personal feeling = different sources for different incarnations of a pubilcation.

Thanks for providing your (expert & amateur) input. This will become more of an issue over time as scanning of old publications continues to ramp up and copyrights expire.

--ceyockey 01:00, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

One question comes to mind is how to define "different incarnation". Different owner/publisher? Different title? Or if one person owns the entire archives, even preceding their management of the paper, is it then one beast since they presumably inherit all the copyrights? And how does a typical WeRelate user determine which incarnation it is? What they know is the title at the top of the page they are looking at.
What we are trying to do by citing sources? I suspect we want to enable people to find it. --Jrich 02:45, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
A source citation is mainly for exactly that: identifying the source so that it can be found. It can also serve to characterize the source, which is useful for quick evaluation, and essential if the source is not generally available.
To serve these ends, I believe there should be a separate Source: page for each newspaper title (or, rather, for each title used in one or more citations). For finding the source the actual title used at the time the cited newspaper item was published is the essential information. The issue cited may be available in some collection that has only issues under that title, whether or not other collections or repositories have the issue included with issues of predecessor or successor titles of that newspaper. For repository that includes successor titles, the repository can be expected to provide for access via the title actually used (e.g. "Evansville press. (Evansville, Ind.) 1906-1998"), so the cited issue can be found via that name. A different repository may only have it accessible via the actual title used (e.g. "Evansville press"), and may not even know about earlier or later titles. Thus the actual title needs to be used in the citation, and should be used in the Source: in order to properly document where issues of that title may be found. The Source: page can list the names of predecessor and successor titles in notes (and perhaps link to Source: pages for them. --robert.shaw 04:38, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
The WeRelate Source Portal Page shows that the titling convention for newspapers is simply: Title (Place issued). So if that guidance is still valid, then the source page title should only change, or a new one added, if the title of the newspaper or the place of publication changes. If looking for guidance in writing an individual citation within your page reference, you may want to consult one of the many university publication standards pages, such as Dixie State University's Newspaper Citation Guide. --BobC 20:04, 17 April 2015 (UTC)

New set of templates for crude sequence information [19 April 2015]

This is related to the newspaper source discussion. I've ported from the English Wikipedia as set of six templates for creating a crude 'succession box', in this case aimed at presenting preceding and succeeding titles for newspapers. The master template which uses five utility templates is Template:Sequence; I've implemented this in two articles so far: Source:Evansville Courier & Press (Evansville, Illinois) and Source:Free Trader=Journal and Ottawa Fair Dealer (Ottawa, Illinois) . It's not terribly pretty, but it provide some functionality which would otherwise be placed into narrative. --ceyockey 04:17, 19 April 2015 (UTC)

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