WeRelate talk:Watercooler

This page is for discussing anything you want to discuss unless it relates only to a single page. Let people know what you like and don't like about WeRelate. If you don't want to leave comments on this page, you can email them to dallan@WeRelate.org.

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Volunteer Community on WeRelate [21 January 2016]

I have always been impressed with the way that wiki projects attract volunteers, I have worked on several over the years and found the vast amount of knowledge added by volunteers to be impressive. A little more difficult to quantify is the level of administration volunteering, as sites get larger there is more need for volunteers to check and if necessary correct errors, settle disputes and generally ensure that the site is an effective tool for users.

WeRelate has had a vast input from volunteer administrators which makes it easier for people to add more data and for researchers to find information they need. Many volunteers have done marvellous work but cannot keep up with the workload year after year, the small number of active volunteers now on WeRelate are probably not enough to keep up with the workload.

I have been talking with Dallan about this and he has suggested that, with my experience of administrating wiki sites, I start to build up the administration community again.

To be effective the admin community does of course need people to volunteer, but volunteers do not need to commit themselves to onerous timetables or dozens of hours of work a week. Just spending an hour a week doing something you enjoy can be a great help, whether you are helping a new researcher, checking for duplicates or suggesting sources for unsourced pages it all helps.

If you are currently an admin please feel free to give feedback on how things could be improved, it would also be nice to hear from you if you think everything is fine as it is.

If you want to offer some time to give something back to the community please look at the Volunteer link at the top right of most pages, you can join in by posting to the talk page of a project that interests you or discuss the requirements here. If you prefer to contact me direct you can do that as well.

Let us see if we can work together and make 2016 the year when WeRelate matures into the best free genealogy webite. Rmg 10:25, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

i added a lot of info but am no admin volunteer yet ... i think.
how can i help?
thx Ron woepwoep 12:50, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
Hoi Woepwoep. Thank you for offering your help. A lot depends on where your interests and experience are, perhaps the Nederlandse groep might be a place for you to start. Of course you could join with any of the projects that takes your fancy, I am still sorting out housekeeping with Dallan, but I will message you later in the week with more details. -Rmg 13:53, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
Thx Rmg ! Am already a volunteer on the Nederlandse groep, although not officially. I have a certain area in the Netherlands (around Zieuwent) that i feel comfortable enough to add to, or sometimes even edit, other people's contributions.
My first experience on WeRelate was a warm bath, where i had a problem importing my GedCom from MyHeritage (too big, also the GedCom created by MyHeritage seemed to throw many errors at that time for WR) and then i decided to manually enter all of the records. The two admins helped me by editing my first pages, and while i deleted pages because i could not understand how to merge pages instead they were patient with me "Ron this is how to do it". These days i feel comfortable adding Persons and Families; i still edit new Places very basically and then wait for a more experienced admin to add to the Place.
I would like to learn how to review GedComs; but my previous - one and only - GedCom import made me believe that manually adding (now 14,855 people) is best. So i would like to try reviewing one GedCom and have one of the admins reviewing my review.
Hope this helps. Best regards, Ron woepwoep 20:36, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
Once I get things a bit more sorted I will upload part of my NL tree, just a dozen people or so, for you to review, then we can discuss how it went. - Rmg 09:32, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
I have a suggestion. Some of us prefer to focus on one task at a time, but not necessarily always the same task. For example, I have dabbled in resolving duplicates and deleting living individuals, and am now intensely focused on cleaning up an old GEDCOM. For volunteers like us, admins who regularly monitor issues could post a note on the Volunteer Portal whenever an area is getting particularly backlogged. Then those of us who like to float can "swarm" that area and catch up on the backlog. This could even get as specific as Daniel Maxwell's request to me several months ago to focus on a particular old GEDCOM.
But I would caution that this be used judiciously, so that only one area at a time is posted as needing attention.--DataAnalyst 17:10, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
Yes, faster ways to clean up backlog and remove some of the lower quality material are still needed. I suggested some awhile back but they weren't implemented during the updates. BTW, I apologize for dumping that particular gedcom on you - I see months later you are still working on it! It was pretty bad one, in a number of ways. Daniel Maxwell 20:27, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
No need to apologize. It was my choice to spend time researching rather than just deleting incomplete pages, and I have been able to save a lot of pages that way. I know there will still be bad data when I am done but at least it will be much better.--DataAnalyst 21:34, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

One of the things that seems to make a difference, both here and on other sites, is the extent of communication between active users. We are all human, and even the most dedicated like to receive some recognition, even if it's only some sort of acknowledgment that we are here and that we are heard when we have a comment or question. There are any number of examples -- on the Water Cooler, on the Suggestion Pages, and elsewhere, where a person asks a questions, and no one answers.When that happens, potential new users are turned off, and more experienced users begin to develop an attitude of "Heh, who cares?" There is an Oversight Committee -- is it still active? Does it do anything? Could communication begin to come from there -- possibly some kind of "Here's what is happening/here's what we're thinking about" report, asking for feedback and input. Getting people interested can be as much of a motivation to getting them to volunteer as anything else. --GayelKnott 20:14, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
PS -- One of the pages that would probably benefit from an occasional contribution -- on a random basis -- is the Featured page nominations page.--GayelKnott 20:32, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

I had mentioned to Dallan awhile back about doing monthly (or maybe bi-monthly) skype meetings between the admins to discuss these kinds of issues. Maybe good a time as any to start doing them? Daniel Maxwell 20:25, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
These are good ideas. --DataAnalyst 21:34, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

Lots of good suggestions here, and some indication of the 'hidden' work that gets done, thanks to everyone just doing their little bit here and there.

One of the nice things here, at least for me, is the fact you can be left in peace to 'do your thing' on some sites I get thousands of messages a day and things get lost in the pile. WeRelate does seem to be a bit to far the other way as Gayel points out. In an ideal world people should get feedback to questions and gedcom uploads the same day at a minimum, the low number of active admins does lead to delays. While you do meed to be an admin to do some things, or be technically involved to answer some questions, anyone can answer questions, if only to let the questioner know they are not alone or to clarify the problem. Perhaps we could add a featured user to the home page? A way to acknowledge the hard work that people do, even if it is just a list of the top 5 contributors the month before.

I was somewhat surprised at the lack of communication between admins, as Daniel points out, I have some plans along those lines I am discussing with Dallan.

Thank you for the suggestions, keep them coming. -Rmg 09:02, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

We've done 'featured user' before, or at least featured user page (DataAnalyst was featured once), but I have to say I'm against the concept of a featured user, which I think implies favoritism. There are a number of different styles that we use here, and so far we have resisted a hard standard of what is 'right'. We're a small site anyway, a feature like that would probably cycle between the same 10-15 users. Daniel Maxwell 11:38, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
I must admit I am not really in favour of spotlighting a user based on contributions or style, I was just throwing the idea in to see if others wanted something like that to help give a feeling of belonging and being appriciated. I much prefer a compliment on a talk page for something I find interesting or usful. -Rmg 12:00, 17 January 2016 (UTC)
I agree that the occasional thank you and/or compliment is more meaningful, as well as enthusiasm for collaborating. Avoiding expressing frustration with each other (particularly on early encounters) also goes a long way. (Note that my user page was featured primarily because I had added some stats on the effort for cleansing and uploading a 20,000 person file.)--DataAnalyst 19:51, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

One problem I've noticed is the slow response to Gedcom submissions, which I expect significantly impacts participation. (At the moment, for instance, there are two Gedcoms waiting for admins, one apparently waiting nearly 3 days.) Handling this requires admin status (as well as judgement, experience, and a diplomatic touch), so ordinary member volunteers can't help out with reducing the response time. Maybe more admins or better coordination might be able to help. --robert.shaw 19:38, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

I agree. I assume we need more admins to deal with tasks such as GEDCOM upload that deserve quick turnaround. I'm sure the admins we have do the best they can, and there's only so much we can expect of them.--DataAnalyst 19:51, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

Two brief thoughts -- I'm one of those who likes to 'float', so I like the suggestion above to centralize projects that could benefit from focus. We also used to have an admin email list. It got a little unwieldy eventually and was retired in favor of the committee structure, but I have to admit I miss the community of admins on there, and getting to know each other in a less public forum. It was also, practically speaking, a good way to cover things like the gedcom person going on vacation.--Amelia 01:44, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

Gedcom reviews and answers to help questions are, I think, the biggest problem for attracting new members. A lot of people seem to want instant gratification and websites that allow uploads with no data checking offer that, we rightly require more input from the uploader and then a significant investment from an admin, depending on the size and quality of the gedcom. We definitely need more admins on this task but it one of the more complicated tasks that may not be popular. [-Rmg 08:53, 18 January 2016 (UTC)]
I think to a point we're trying to discourage the most casual user from a GEDCOM dump and run. I think of that as a feature, not a bug. There are plenty of places that have drive-through, fast food genealogy, and the entire point of WR is to encourage the best sources to get together, which requires discrimination to a point. How we find that middle ground has always been the challenge of the site, and I think what should be worked out over the course of this discussion. Daniel Maxwell 00:36, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Long delays of Gedcom reviews are not a feature.--robert.shaw 04:39, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
GEDCOMS full of Ancestry sources containing nothing more than APIDs or otherwise acting as advertisements for an expensive fee-based service that makes no effort to enforce quality or accuracy is not a benefit to this website. --Jrich 06:17, 19 January 2016 (UTC)
Amelia, I am waiting for an answer from Dallan about an admin community. -Rmg 08:53, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

I have been following this discussion for the past couple of days wondering where to put my two cents worth in. A couple of years ago I volunteered to join the gedcom reviewing panel, but on finding I did not understand the instructions well enough to guide others through the procedure, I reverted to improving the British place pages. The latter job is stil far from complete, but like others I want to vary the tasks at hand.

Perhaps there are other would-be gedcom reviewers in the same boat.

A suggestion: Could we ask those offering gedcoms to provide a brief (only a short paragraph) account of their family: how many people, what countries are covered, how far back does the family go, how much research has been done. If this information was provided with the gedcom, someone with knowledge of the place and time might be able to act as a mentor. --Goldenoldie 19:07, 18 January 2016 (UTC)

This brings up another point, some of the instructions pages seem over complex, perhaps some should be rewritten? I know from other sites that gedcom checking is quite complex at times, the only way at present, to tell anything about a gedcom without opening it is the size and I like the idea of having a bit more information about what you are checking before you start. I am also very much in favour of people doing other tasks occasionally, variety makes life interesting. If anyone wants to try a simple gedcpm check there is one waiting from me, only 9 people from 19th century UK mainly, should not take long. - Rmg 09:28, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

A small comment re: updating help pages. The most helpful pages for me are ones that point to an actual page(s). One actual example is worth as much or more than several paragraphs.--SkippyG 17:49, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

Another suggestion: For those who don't want to become admins, but would like to contribute more, perhaps each admin could tandem with one or two other contributors for particular projects that don't necessarily require admin status. That way projects get done faster, and contributors acquire additional skills skills and a greater sense of involvement in WR. I've seen some of this already, why not broaden ?--SkippyG 18:08, 19 January 2016 (UTC)

Dallan and I have set up a private Admin Community page. All admins will get an email to join the group, it is separate from the WeRelate site. To invite you I will need your user name and email, rather than sending a message through WR then waiting for a reply please send your details to werelate (at) rhima.info. Same applies if you are not an admin but want to join in the fun. Those admins that have missed this discussion will be contacted through the WR mail system.

SkippyG, I am thinking about the best way to impliment this suggestion, for none admin tasks it just really needs a page for admins to ask or volunteers to offer help which should be easy to set up, but someone may have a better idea. -Rmg 09:21, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

For me, at least, one of the problems with tackling the Help pages is fear of being wrong -- this is where having a group of other admins to consult would be helpful, so thanks for set up. --GayelKnott 21:28, 21 January 2016 (UTC)

Publicly Called on the Carpet [1 February 2016]

Oops. Marie Le Mahieu and Marie de Lannoy the wife of Jean Pesyn are two different people. It would be great if one of the watchers for these people or a WR Zuid-Holland Huguenot expert could fix this. (The text on the Jean Pesyn page also needs to change.) --pkeegstra 13:58, 31 January 2016 (UTC)

Most of the watchers, myself included, are only listed because we posted to a relative in such a way that one of the infobaxes may have changed, and it does not imply any kind of interest, participation in Marie herself, and certainly not agreement. So I can add little. I do note that the Hamlin Family source cited on Jean's page does say she married again to Pesyn (here) so there is a reason people think this. There is a lot the article didn't do, that it could have done, to really help show this is a myth, such as providing who and when Jean Pesyn did marry and lived and died, and identifying what became of Marie de Lannoy after her first husband allegedly died. But obviously more research is needed to do that.
One of the things I like about WeRelate, when you find these kind of errors (and there are plenty), you have the power to correct it, hopefully with enough evidence that a later poster won't repeat the error. That is the difference between WeRelate and most Internet genealogy websites: here an upset person like the author of the article could fix things, instead of having the error continue to exist, being seen and copied by naive readers. On those other sites, complaining is about all you can do, because the oblivious author is the only one who can fix it. --Jrich 21:00, 31 January 2016 (UTC)
OK, thanks for your comments. I made the separation and fixed the various person pages and family pages so that they match. n.b. as per Gary Boyd Roberts American Presidents there was a second husband of Marie de Lannoy and he was named Robert Mannoo. --pkeegstra 21:32, 1 February 2016 (UTC)

Contest Update [23 feb 2016]

I tried having a consistent contest every week announced on my blog but it really fell flat. With all my responsibilities I really have no time to promote the contest. But I don't want to be a whiner and I'm not ready to give up the idea so I am going to change it a little - I'm not going to have an ending date - I am just going to try to promote one subject for two or three weeks or longer if there is interest. And this time I am really going to try to promote it. I included handy hashtags you can easily copy to Twitter or Facebook. Thanks for helping me out by sharing a link. You can share by talking about it and linking to the front page of WeRelate. Here's to more collaboration! Our current subject is civil rights activist Rosa Parks. Here is what I am writing on Twitter We are crowdsourcing the genealogy of civil rights activist Rosa Parks! Hashtags #crowdsourcinggenealogy #collaboration #WeRelate #RosaParks http://www.werelate.org/ --cthrnvl 17:35, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

For Twitter - We r crowdsourcing the genealogy of activist Rosa Parks #crowdsourcinggenealogy #collaboration #WeRelate #RosaParks http://www.werelate.org/--cthrnvl 17:41, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

nice ! how can i help? thx, Ron woepwoep 20:53, 23 February 2016 (UTC)

Donations and Advertising [28 feb 2016]

I decided this morning to make a donation and remove the advertising from WR screens. When I attempted to fill in the form for a Visa payment, I found that it would accept only American addresses and zip codes. Apparently, the only online payment system it accepts is PayPal (with American addresses) and I live in the United Kingdom. The instructions should be adjusted for your international users. There is no point allowing logos for other payment systems that will not be accepted.

Second, the right hand adverts strip is far too wide. I reduce the standard inbox screen to about 14 inches on a 18.5-inch wide monitor and use the remainder of the screen for StickyNotes filled with templates that I am using in WR. The right hand adverts strip reduces my screen space by a further 4 inches. Other websites I use do not use such a large advertising strip.

BTW, the advertising I get is from British firms.

I know there are other ways to prevent adverts, but they do not replace the wasted 4 inches of screen width.

--Goldenoldie 11:02, 28 February 2016 (UTC)

I just had a look at the page, it seems there are two ways to pay with PayPal, one is using a credit card, which as you say is limited to US address' it seems, the other is to log into your Paypal account and pay from there, if you have a PayPal account then it is already confirmed and does not need an address.
I assume you were not using a PayPal account, or have I got it all wrong again? Rhian 13:06, 28 February 2016 (UTC)

on the plus side, once you pay and login to your phone, the ads are gone there too! (just to say that once it works, it works great. i paid 2016 already in 2015 because i now understand that it is the right thing to do. compliments to Dallan for the implementation) thx, R woepwoep 16:55, 28 February 2016 (UTC)

Genealogy in Time ratings [12 March 2016]

Genealogy in Time magazine has just published their ratings for the "Top 100 genealogy websites" of 2016, which some people here may be interested in. Their rankings are based on website traffic - number of visitors, time spent on the site and content consumed on the website. Clearly it's important for a website like WeRelate that relies on ad revenue to pay its operating costs that we continue to attract attention.

Unfortunately the steady decline has continued. WeRelate is now rated #100, down from #79 last year and a high of #54 in 2013. The list of free family tree websites is topped again by WikiTree at #15, with the French Geneawiki and Ukrainian Rodovid overtaking WeRelate this year.

I've dusted off my person count figures and the growth here has more than halved in the last couple of years and now stands at less than 250 per day:


Note the dip in 2013 was due to deletion efforts rather than a reduction in gross new person pages.

Having tried other sites I keep coming back to WeRelate myself as I find it the best site for what I want. Is there any way to reverse the decline, or is this site destined to become quieter and quieter, with presumably ever more intrusive ads? AndrewRT 22:18, 10 March 2016 (UTC)

Our site tools seem a bit dated compared to some newer sites like Geneanet. We've done upgrades, but there is still alot of work that could be done. I think the cleanup has helped the site presentation, but again, alot more still needs to be done. Daniel Maxwell 22:29, 10 March 2016 (UTC)
There is no promotion for WeRelate and never has been. WikiTree is promoted by people interested in genetic genealogy. And it uses a lot of psychology to keep people interested. As a result, there is a "buzz" there that simply doesn't exist here, or hasn't pretty much since the system switched over to volunteer admins with relatively little support. --GayelKnott 01:09, 11 March 2016 (UTC)
It seems there are several problems that contribute. One is the general inactivity of most members and it must be said many admins, only a hand full of admins have requested a login for the admin community page and nobody has proposed any discussion of how to improve WeRelate. It seems many users do not read any help pages for example thousands of potential pages are uploaded as gedcoms each week, almost none are reviewed by the uploader and fewer request admin review and upload, most have problems that prevent upload, a few go through OK. If there are problems the uploader normally ignores requests to correct the problems and is gone, if it is uploaded they often download a copy and never contribute anything more.
I am not sure if measuring the number of person pages is a good way to measure any site. Generation of parent and child pages with no data or sources is not genealogy, copies of other peoples inaccurate work with no checking or sources is not genealogy. I prefer less pages but accurate pages with a minimum standard, to that end I try to add sources to several pages every day, one not yet connected to me, if people see others improving their tree perhaps they will be encouraged to do more.
In the past few weeks I have got the backlog of speedy delete pages down from 400+ and 6 months old to about 40 less than a week old, gedcom review, which could be the first problem for new users, is normally done within 12 hours, time zone dependant and help page requests usually get some response, if not an answer, the same day. If everyone were a little more proactive in helping less experienced users perhaps they would contibute more. - Rhian 08:57, 11 March 2016 (UTC)
I wonder how many of those sites use a single shared tree like WeRelate? -Moverton 16:29, 11 March 2016 (UTC)
Most I think are sites that contain multiple copies of the same erroneous data, but wikitree is near the top although most of it data is also rubbish genealogy, there are some good libes there.
Both Family Search's Family Tree and WikiTree are single shared trees. Like WeRelate, both claim to be unique because they have a single shared tree. WikiTree has several project groups active in "cleaning up" duplicates, unsourced material, questionable profiles, etc.--GayelKnott 19:48, 11 March 2016 (UTC)
The "single shared tree" model is for me one of the things I really like about WeRelate. However, it only really means anything if you have lots of people on it, so your chance of connecting with a distant cousin is reasonably high. So yes, numbers matter. AndrewRT 00:16, 12 March 2016 (UTC)

Add child [3 May 2016]

Is it not possible to only add a child to someone? I go to edit a person's page and the option 'Add spouse and children' link is available, but the spouse has already been added and appears for this person. When I click the link it takes me to 'Add a Family' and fills in the same name of the person whom I am trying to edit (to which I am trying to add a child) as the husband (although the spouse name is blank - except that spouse name is known). Confused? Yes, so am I. Why can't I simply click an 'Add a child' link?

In fact, the child is already in the system, but when trying to search for that child's name (with wife) it comes up with combinations that are not close even though I have taken the spellings from the exact page I am trying to link.

With other genealogy-related systems I've used, such as Find-A-Grave, I simply enter the code for a parent on the child's page and it's done. I would think there would be something similar.

I don't know anything except that I'm probably doing something way wrong.

By the way, I'm trying to link Charles Weber (8) and Adeline Jaimet (1) to their son, August Weber (1).--Tom.s.010101 00:54, 3 May 2016 (UTC)

It is only possible to add a child to a Family page. That is why you got the Add Family dialog. I went ahead and created this Family Page for you so you can see what it should look like.
Family:Charles Weber and Adeline Jaimet (3)
You should watch this page for yourself.
Hope this helps you 8-). --Jhamstra 01:08, 3 May 2016 (UTC)

Thanks. I think that fixed the issue. At least it appears the son is now connected to the parents.

So, Charles and Adeline weren't already added as a family? But, I would swear they were already added as husband and wife. Wouldn't that be a family by itself (since some relatives may have no children)?--Tom.s.010101 01:29, 3 May 2016 (UTC)

What's with the My Heritage Adds appearing in the text section of person profiles? [5 May 2016]

When you are not logged in, the text section of the person profile page has a paragraph and links touting vital records and historical information supposedly for that person at My Heritage. Have we signed some sort of deal with them? Are they paying for this advertising? --GayelKnott 18:25, 5 May 2016 (UTC)

You may want to review and join the discussion of this topic begun earlier this week at WeRelate:Support Talk Page. --BobC 19:30, 5 May 2016 (UTC)