WeRelate talk:Watercooler/Archive 2015



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 [28 September 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)

Once again, WeRelate made it into Family Tree Magazine's 101 Best Genealogy Websites listing for 2015. I thought it interesting to note that WR's closest competitor in the category, WikiTree, was curiously dropped or moved from the Social Media category in this year's listing. Interesting also is that Family Tree Magazine is still describing WeRelate as “The world’s largest genealogy wiki,” which as stated in the above discussion, seems to be no long accurate. Hope this designation draws additional interest in WR. I've updated the Community Portal to reflect this year's designation.

Anyone familiar with the new competitor on the block, Family.Me? If so, is it worth exploring? --BobC 20:21, 28 September 2015 (UTC)

Thanks, Bob. Was wondering about the 101 list. Had a look -- Wikitree has been moved to Best Family Tree Websites with Geni, Puzzila, RootsWeb. Why WeRelate is in Social Media I don't know. Had a quick look at Family.Me -- it really does seem heavy on the social media aspect, and is intended to bring in younger people. It does sync with FamilySearch Family Tree (for records, etc),Think I'll stick with WeRelate. Gayel --GayelKnott 04:12, 29 September 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:
--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)

Fundraising and Donations

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 [11 mei 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)

Great article about why donations are not effective for open source projects see http://opensource.com/business/13/7/donations-open-source-projects --woepwoep 09:43, 11 May 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.

STREET724 W 1720 N APT 207

--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)

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 [20 April 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)

I see we're slightly over our $3000. goal for hiring some help. But I haven't seen any more talk of how the priorities will be set. Is work on the priorities going on someplace else? If so, can the selection process be made more visible? I know everyone will have opinions they want heard. I'm all for attracting more new people, but if we can't keep them once they're here, what's the point? So for my part, higher priority should be given to relatively easy to fix pain points so that folks enjoy their work here and don't leave frustrated. Let's look at all those suggestions that have been languishing to determine what hurts the most and which of those are easiest to fix. --janiejac 23:57, 19 April 2015 (UTC)

We are currently 60% of the way ($1800) toward our goal ($3000). At the end of the month I'll take any suggestion with five or more watchers and add it to a google form, so if there are any suggestions below that number, then watch them so they make the cut. I'll make the form available here on the watercooler for anyone to fill out. I will also encourage people to read the various discussions here on the watercooler about which types of suggestions would be in the best interest of WeRelate.
Everyone's votes will be taken into account, but people who have contributed cash will have their votes count more because the developer needs to be paid in cash. I'll supplement the donations with the extra money we've been making on ads. I will then hire a developer and have them work on the highest-voted suggestions.--Dallan 03:15, 21 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)


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)

What type of person is welcome at WeRelate? Why would they come (and stay)? [6 June 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)

Neal, I think what Jrich was getting at is that we don't want new users coming in who don't understand the nuances of working in older genealogy and making big changes such as merging family, renaming instances of 'unknown' to whatever purported wife is listed on OneWorldTree, etc. I had to deal with a user of less than a week old awhile back who was doing just that with a major line, 'fixing it' so it matches whatever says on Ancestry.com. This is what we want to prevent, and if there were an increase in members it would be bound to happen more often. All I believe that should happen is that 1) new users are restricted from editing (and especially merging or renaming) other people's pages for say 30 days, or a certain numbers of edits. That way they will have a track record and probably a better understanding of how we operate here before making changes like that. The rest of JRich's proposal is more radical, and one I have privately advocated for awhile, but I think at this level of activity we don't need to go there yet. It isn't about 'grading' users, but simply users showing that they 1) understand the difference between real genealogy and the mindless copying that passes for genealogy on the rest of the internet and 2) That older genealogy is not simply a matter of finding a 'John Smith' baptism in the early 17th century listed on Familysearch. There are more than a few users that I know who started off coming off of Ancestry, but over time learned something from reading several of us and looking at how we do edits and now I have zero qualms about these people editing the older genealogical pages. It may sound *mean* to some, but this dare I say it, discrimination, is necessary for keeping the quality of this site high. No one would be grading anyone. But for the moment, it has only rarely been an issue because our user base isn't high enough yet. Daniel Maxwell 00:48, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
+1 quality first, ego second. woepwoep 13:58, 20 April 2015 (UTC

I appreciate the comment above, regarding someone leaving WeRelate because their contributions have been eliminated or distorted. The implication from the comment was that it would be the less-serious genealogists who would leave WeRelate. That is not the case in my situation. I have sent the following note to the active WeRelate user who has chosen to discard too much information I have submitted. I am a professional genealogist / family historian and have been searching for a site to share and maintain my research for the future. I will be leaving the WeRelate site, for several reasons. My note:

"Thank you for all the positive, informative additions of data and source citations which you have added to numerous individuals and families which I have recently entered into WeRelate. This is the spirit of cooperation and collaboration I had hoped to find by beginning to place my genealogy / family history materials into WeRelate.

"I have attempted to explain to you my background of genealogy / family history / local history involvement. I have been working in this field since the late 1980s, retiring a few years ago as the archivist and genealogist at a county historical society. I have given numerous workshops, presentations, and personal assistance to others for many decades and have been involved with and on the board of several local genealogical societies. I have always encouraged well sourced genealogical research from a range of resources. I also have a PhD in the social sciences and have taught on the university level in three continents.

"I have also become involved with my wife's family history and have been working with other family members and published researchers to update the standard genealogical resource, which was a standard genealogical publication 50 years ago but now needs serious updating. I had concluded that WeRelate would be an ideal site for placing that earlier work and then to expand on it by collaborating with the other researchers to produce a more thorough family history.

"I have now decided that WeRelate has too many inherent weaknesses. I will not be entering any more data at this time. In the past 90 days I have added over 2,000 pages, one by one. I view the GEDCOM process of data transfer as very limiting.

"The primary weakness of WeRelate, and wiki pages in general, is the ease with which one can remove or erase information that someone else has entered. This can obviously be done an hour, week, year, or decade after information has been plaed in WeRelate. I essentially do not want to see my careful research, placed into WeRelate, discarded by someone else in the future. The way you eliminated events and sources I had entered (such as a marriage intention, in favor of the actual marriage event) has been incorrect and unethical in my opinion.

"Two other WeRelate weaknesses have added to my decision to stop using WeRelate: (1) There is apparently an inablilty to cite a parent / child relationship, seemingly only through a birth event. Several genealogical software programs have the same weakness. This is a very basic, essential part of genealogical research which needs specific source evidence. (2) The jurisdiction of a location is too limiting. Documenting the larger political connection to a place, which has changed over time, is cumbersome. For example, the standard entry for Plymouth, now a town in the state of Massachusetts and the nation of the United States, always has to be in that primary form and not for a 1650 event within the jurisdiction of Plymouth Colony and the nation of Great Britain, then later in 1700 or so as within the jurisdiction of Massachusetts Bay Colony.

"I wish you well with your genealogical endeavors. You have obviously done extensive, careful research and have many positive additions to make to WeRelate and others.--Reammann 11:00, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

This is truly unfortunate. I do not know who was wiping-out this work and I will probably not take the time and trouble to investigate. But it might finally be time to create some kind of appeal or adjudication mechanism so we do not drive-away serious users. --Jhamstra 15:21, 31 May 2015 (UTC)
Reammann, I'm sorry you feel the need to leave. Your comments do raise issues, though, that are true for any wiki site, one that is open to editing by others. There are always going to be disagreements about information, and the only way they can really be resolved is through reference to sources, the quality of the sources, the quality of the information contained in the sources, the breadth of research, and so on. In other words, by following the guidelines laid out in the Genealogical Proof Standard. I, too, spent much of my adult life in and around academia, where the same calls to seniority and other credentials abounded, sometimes to the detriment of quality research. I've also interacted with non-academic researchers on Ancestry and on FamilySearch, who cite relationship closeness as "proof" that their information is right, again to the detriment of quality research. This makes about as much sense as claiming personal credentials in support of information posted. We all make mistakes. I know I do. And none of us can check all sources.
If someone posts information you disagree with, you can always ask them for their source. If they don't respond, you can post a "citation needed" comment. If someone posts information you question with a citation to a source unfamiliar to you, you can always check that source and see where it leads. That was something I did recently with a page I watch -- and it led to information that neither I nor the other poster had seen previously that improved both our work. If someone removes information that is supported by source citations, you can always contact them and ask them why they did so, and begin a dialogue that way. And yes, sometimes dialogue can be heated. Alternately, repost it with an explanation of why you feel it's important. (Proof, after all, is ultimately in how you explain your data, not in the data itself. And, as I'm sure you know, disagreements about the logic of explanations ultimately lead to more research, which in turn usually increases our understanding.)
I do understand your frustration with the place citation, but again, that is a problem that is easily solved. Simply use a pipe in the place name to display the place name as you want it displayed. That way, the hyperlink goes back to the "correct" place page, but allows for variation in the political boundaries. (This is a situation where computerization, with all its benefits, falls short -- it really isn't able to deal with the extent of variation that we had pre-computerization.)
I know it can be hard, at first, to have other people edit pages you've created, but you can learn to deal with it. (Okay, so sometimes I stomp around a bit before responding, but that's human.) On the other hand, one of the benefits is that you can also post "incomplete" information that you have discovered and hope that someone else will complete the research. This is especially useful for very extended family research, for example, or for the information that ends up in a miscellaneous file because it turned out to be a dead end that you were following. In a sense, the same is true for what will happen to our work in the future. We've all had to deal with old compiled genealogies, many without source citations. They were often surprisingly well done for the resources available at the time. Today we have easier access to more resources. Some of those old genealogies hold up, some don't. Presumably the same will happen to the work we do and post today. Some, hopefully most, of will hold up, but some will probably fall as a result of new information. This seems to me to be a better heritage than becoming outdated. --GayelKnott 16:48, 31 May 2015 (UTC)

We lost User:Persisto, a professional genealogist, because he was unable to deal with folks changing some of his well researched person pages without first contacting him or giving reason for the change. I've pondered this a bit and wondered if it would be possible for a user to create 'private' pages that could be edited only by persons the user has invited?? This would still enable a controlled collaboration element but eliminate unexpected edits. Someone wanting to edit such a private page would need to contact the original user to discuss the changes or request an invitation. I realize this may be very low on the priority list right now as it would involve additional programing, but just a suggestion to hold in mind for the future. --janiejac 15:03, 4 June 2015 (UTC)

Absolutely not. That goes against the whole mission of this site, and page 'ownership' is in part responsible for the low quality of almost every other genealogical site on the internet. I also see that that user hasn't edited in years. We've said before that eventually there will be a means of linking WR pages to a user's own private genealogical site, where they can do whatever they want with it, but that is a bit in the future. Page ownership will never happen on WR. WR deals in facts, and sites that have page ownership allow a user to control data he doesn't like, even if it is true. I could tell you stories of the world of problems I had with users on 'Find A Grave' who don't understand the basics of genealogy or how genealogical research is published. WR's method isn't going to be for everyone, and if they are that upset about how things work here, there are plenty of other genealogical sites that do allow them to own pages. Daniel Maxwell 15:04, 4 June 2015 (UTC)
Daniel, that may not be totally correct, because according to Help:User pages (if still valid), User Pages are password protected so that they can only be edited by the original creator, and Shared Research Pages are community pages that can be edited by any registered WeRelate user. I know I have created a number of User Pages under the assumption of the protection from edits by other users. Unfortunately, the somewhat heated controversy about the use and function of "Surname in Place" pages and categories back in 2010 muddied the definition and description of the "Shared Research Page" concept, but that should not have impacted the privacy & edit protection of "User Pages," but I may be wrong. Would appreciate clarification by another administrator. --BobC 16:10, 4 June 2015 (UTC)
Here I basically agree with Daniel. I too have had some strange experiences with those in custody of Find A Grave pages. Most are very cooperative if you have information for them. A few are very strange. They maintain information on their pages when they have absolutely no idea where it came from.
Regarding private spaces, I am an advocate of having some kind of release control mechanism to provide for private or selective collaboration for "unreleased" pages. But the visibility of such pages would also be strictly limited. Once you release a page to public visibility it must also be available for others to edit. That is the essence of a wiki.
And I must say that most of the collaboration I have with others on this site works quite smoothly. If you have issues there are always Talk pages where you can sort things out. There have been a few cases where things did not go smoothly, but fortunately only a few. I guess it depends on whose toes you might happen to step upon. Some toes are more sensitive than others 8-).
Overall I think the biggest problem with the wiki interaction is those who have basically gone away but are still listed as "watchers". How long do I wait for someone to respond to my Talk comments before I take action?--Jhamstra 16:21, 4 June 2015 (UTC)
We are discussing opinions, not ownership, right?
If i understand correctly, opinions should not be decisive in changing the contents of a page. Facts should.
My 2 cents suggestion would be that any change can be overruled by a WR admin.
woepwoep 16:27, 4 June 2015 (UTC)
The Maintenance Portal page identifies so-called "Quality Patrols" for quality reviews of primary pages. The Overview Committee page identifies one of this committee's roles as "helping find solutions to problems or disputes." Unfortunately many of these disputed edits between page content contributors do not come to light until much after the event and quite a while after one of the contributors has made the decision to leave WR and move on. I have faced the same dilemma at least a couple times in the last seven years (although not because of a dispute with another contributor, but because of over-zealous management of my GEDCOM uploads by a senior WR administrator making premature irreversible deletions of active files I spent a lot of time perfecting).
Many of these disputed edits could be adverted through active discussion on the relevant Talk Page and active communication between the interested contributors, but many times do not until the damage is done and one party walks away in frustration. As previously pointed out, I think this may happen with experienced genealogists almost as often as newbies.
Relating to another comment above, I challenge the assertion that "Once you release a page to public visibility it must also be available for others to edit." That does not necessarily have to be true here at WR. As indicated in Help:User pages, the original intent of User Pages was that they could only be edited by the original creator. Not sure that is still the case, but I am just relaying the information cited on the page. I see no problem with that. To me that only enhances the capability of a wiki and personalizes select contributions. Each User Page's associated Talk Page is still editable by any contributor who chooses to challenge the content of the primary page. Who would have a problem with that?
I'm tempted to pursue responses to other issues, but don't want to make this lengthy and will limit my remarks to these points for now. --BobC 17:09, 4 June 2015 (UTC)
I think you misunderstood what I wrote about release control. I was not referring to User Pages but to the public pages that form the bulk of this wiki.--Jhamstra 18:04, 4 June 2015 (UTC)
To Bob - of course I didn't mean user pages. I was referring to basically everything else - person, family, source, etc; as well as probably many of the MySources here, sadly (the bulk of which on this site are actually not what MySources were meant to be, most are in fact real sources such as the censuses that when transferred to WR, were made into Mysources). If the MySources were used properly on the site, most of those would fall under user-controlled pages, but for now they are basically a source 'sandbox' of unprocessed sources. To Jhamstra, I don't agree with the idea of released pages, because that is still bringing the private page ownership problem in here, but the private tree link will eventually solve that problem. FindAGrave is probably the best example of the pitfalls of page ownership, but I know 'Geni' and 'Wikitree' have the same concept. Don't worry Bob, I wasn't trying to take your userpages away from you! I should have been more clear what I meant with 'page ownership'. Daniel Maxwell 21:45, 4 June 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the clarification to both Jhamstra and DMaxwell. --BobC 00:32, 6 June 2015 (UTC)

I'd like to add a quick comment: some of this can be addressed in the manner in which information is presented. For example, a citation with no abstract about what the sources contains is not very useful to a person who hasn't seen that source. They're likely to ignore it. Also, many people have seen different sources which the poster may not have seen. That is one of the reasons I think actually trying to clearly present the proof: not just which source, but also what the source says that tells us how the fact is known, almost as if proving it to a judge, is a good defensive strategy that will protect postings.

There are always going to be people that simply dump their stuff without reading what's on the page. Happened to me just a couple of weeks ago. There was already a source and discussion showing why so-and-so wasn't a wife, and a GEDCOM upload put the wrong wife back anyway. That's why constant monitoring of the watchlist is part of what a user must expect to do.

I feel we need to do more to notify people this is not really a place for preserving their research, so as much as them contributing their research to a collection of genealogy when it makes sense. I heartily agree that page owners is a bad idea. --Jrich 23:04, 5 June 2015 (UTC)

Maybe what we need is a way to lock a page against future GEDCOM updates. I'm not sure what the criteria would be for a systematic lock or if it would be a manual method of locking, but that might be a way of forcing people to edit certain pages manually and think about what they are doing. -Moverton 23:51, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
I think things would become too complex to do that completely. Now, I strongly agree with the pre 1750 (I can't remember the years) rule for GEDCOM uploads, but if you are just adding your family from the 19th and 20th century there is a good chance they aren't on here at all...is the average user really going to spend the time to add a couple hundred people by hand? GEDCOMs haven't been a problem for a few years since the process has been monitored, though I wish it would exclude people who don't have any dates and a few other things. Daniel Maxwell 23:55, 5 June 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, Jrich, you just ruined my day. :) Preservation is the primary reason I'm here. Yes, collaboration by other interested parties is encouraged, welcome and accepted for the most part by all of us, but wholesale data dumping cannot be accepted when it replaces existing information backed up by solid source references.
Regarding Moverton's comment about "locking" pages against future GEDCOM updates, yes, I think that is worth considering, at least from contributions by non-established and non-proven newbies. I know, that brings up the dreaded subject of an "elitist clique" structure within WR, but maybe we need to accept that WR is not for everyone and that various progressive membership levels should be gained and earned through experience, competence and proven track records.
Still would like an answer to the privacy and edit restriction (if any) of User Pages versus Shared Research Pages. --BobC 00:32, 6 June 2015 (UTC)
BobC, I'm not an admin, but simple testing shows that I can see (apparently) user subpages such as User:BobC/House of Moytoy but cannot edit them (the latter indicated by "View source" rather than "Edit" appearing, for me, in the lefthand menu). AFAIK, judging by help pages, the only "Shared research pages" are "Surname in Place" main-space article pages, such as Barker in Georgia. These pages are normal pages, and I can see and edit them. --robert.shaw 02:24, 6 June 2015 (UTC)

I think a lot of the problems raised by this discussion could be solved by using the associated "Talk" page instead of editing the Person page. If we check the history of a page to see who has made the most edits, and when these have been made, we can quickly learn who produced it in the first place. If it is a name we often see under "Watchers" or here in the Watercooler, we ought to realize the care that has been taken in presenting the facts. A note on the "Talk" page, politely expressed, may persuade the originator to look at his/her sources again.

From the point of view of the person producing pages, there may be times when an alteration cannot be made in one session at the computer. Adding "UNDER CONSTRUCTION!!" at the top of the Text box, may stop another person from making changes to facts that have not yet been presented in their final form.--Goldenoldie 09:11, 6 June 2015 (UTC)

Active Quality Control [20 April 2015]

Last year I had some private conversations with Dallan regarding how large complex enterprise databases address the problem of varying data quality and accuracy. Basically you need to actively track and manage the degree of confidence you have in your data. The primary focus needs to be tracking the DATA rather than the USERS, and providing tools to evaluate and improve the quality of the data. To some extent the GEDCOM import process already applies this concept. The technology exists to do this, but it would not be a trivial upgrade. Though I think it could be made fairly seamless given sufficient development resources.--Jhamstra 15:30, 20 April 2015 (UTC)

Would it help if we implement some kind of "workspace" idea? One workspace could be "production" which is the actual site: "one person, one page". And one workspace could be the private space for the user, where they could dispatch a person or a family to the production workspace. And may a third workspace where the user can do "what if?" analysis.
Just a thought.
Best regards, Ron woepwoep 15:41, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
I'd like to make this a separate conversation. Hope that's okay with everyone. I think it has great potential to get dragged out or at least have side-issues beyond the above discussion.
I think the primary approach needs to focus on educating incoming users, recognizing that they will not read any more than they have to. I think revamping the Help page system is a big component, because how do they know what to read? what do they believe? But I think adding feedback mechanisms is critical (this is a bad date, you have not entered a source, that place name is not recognized). Maybe this feedback is what you mean by tracking the DATA? But ultimately, if a user creates an unacceptable number of subpar pages, I think there needs to be feedback on the user level as well.
I am not sure how the computer can manage the "degree of confidence you have in your data". When "reference" genealogies like say Source:Bond, Henry. Family Memorials. Genealogies of the Families and Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts, Including Waltham and Weston (1855) or Source:Savage, James. Genealogical Dictionary of the First Settlers of New England includes massive and numerous errors (sorry for my New England bias), it is obviously not as simple as saying is there a source there? You can't count the number of sources. It only takes one correct source to counter a million mistaken sources, and a source that is right 98% of the time is still wrong 2%. The computer can give an indication of when pages need attention, but ultimately it takes an investment of time by knowledgeable persons to actually do the improvement. Even something as trivial as cleaning up bad dates, such as "2-4-1742", should really involve looking up sources to find out which of the several possible answers is right. The computer can flag this as needing attention, but any attempt to fix it without research, is merely guessing. Assuming it is right, it could conceivably intend to be February, April or June.
As far as a data quality tool, workspaces sounds like they would require a user to police themselves as to when to put something into production, and ultimately this is the same problem we already have. That involves training the user so that the entire community has similar understandings of what is desired. I see a lot of interesting applications of the idea for other reasons, though I'm not sure about the complexity they would add. --Jrich 16:34, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
I agree with Jrich -- we need to focus on educating users. It can be a bit time consuming and tedious, but I think it can be done. Gayel --GayelKnott 17:08, 20 April 2015 (UTC)
If we want to educate new users to provide better genealogy, perhaps those of us who know what we are doing should improve some of the genealogies that are already on our pages, even if they are not ones we have provided ourselves. Just this morning I was taking some notes from a Wikipedia page where Robert the Bruce was mentioned. I decided to link my WR entry to one of our "Person:" pages. After discovering that the Robert the Bruce in Wikipedia was Robert I of Scotland in WeRelate I decided to have a look at his previous generations. Three generations back I came across Robert de Bruce and Isabelle Huntingdon (with a marriage year of 1209). Those of you who know your medieval genealogy ought to cast their eyes down the birthplaces of their children. It looks like the only one on WeRelate who had a go in making corrections was the "WeRelate Agent" and he didn't do a very good job.
A supplementary question: Why do we keep finding places with two commas and a space (or maybe no space) in between? e.g., "Of, , Carrick, Scotland"; ",,Huntingdonshire,England"; "Isleworth, Middlesex, , England". Now there's a lesson to teach newcomers. --Goldenoldie 18:56, 20 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)

Is survey legit? [20 April 2015]

Received an email this morning with a link for taking a survey about WeRelate. Just want to verify that the link is legitimate before I reply ;-) Thanks ... --KayS 20:38, 19 April 2015 (UTC)

It's legit. It's market research for a project that I'm working on jointly with a genealogy society. I'm hoping that the results will be beneficial to WeRelate users and other genealogy developers.--Dallan 02:36, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

Mapping County Cemeteries [23 April 2015]

I am intrigued by this map of Hopkins County, Texas indicating all the cemeteries and would love to work on such a map for a different county. http://www.hcgstx.org/index.php/records/burial-sites/cemeteries-mapped I have the cemetery info but not the know-how to create the map with push pins and a scroll down index. Could there be some sort of template built that would have the info for creating such a page with just the long/lat to be added for a map of any area and then whoever is interested could add the info on the various cemeteries? Is such a template possible? (I inquired of the Hopkins Co. folks about their map and they had hired someone to create their map.)

When working on Wood County, WV I realized how helpful it would be to be able to visualize in what locality each of the many cemeteries were located. And the more I think on this, the more I like the idea of being able to create such a map to be linked to each county page. Is this a possibility? If so, we would need a page telling about the template and just how to add what is needed to the template in order to locate the area and then locate a cemetery in that area. Maybe a wild dream; so is it possible? Better yet, does anybody else think it would be helpful? --janiejac 23:23, 19 April 2015 (UTC)

Hi Janiejac. To get many of the same features you are looking for in a graphic display for any area of the United States, you may want to go to Billion Graves and search their cemetery maps. From the home page, hit the Search tab, hit the Cemetery Lookup tab, type in your filtering parameters (down to the county level if you want to see all the cemeteries in a particular county), then hit Search. It will display in textual format all the cemeteries it lists for that particular county. At the bottom of the page, you can hit the Cemetery Map tab for a satellite image and scroll it to the geographical area you are looking for. (It does not show political boundaries below state level, although it does show city names and highways.) Hope that helps. --BobC 14:59, 20 April 2015 (UTC)

Thanks Bob, I'll give it a try. I just may have to try to learn how google maps work, but I'd rather research than create pages! --janiejac 02:45, 21 April 2015 (UTC)

I use the Histopolis website to find out which township a cemetery is located in or if it is within city boundaries. -Moverton 07:06, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

Sort feature adding children [2 May 2015]

I've been adding children & sources for 'John Robinson and Hannah Wiswall (1)'. Usually the children sort chronologicaly quickly; this time the sort hasn't happened yet (20 min). Some maintenance going on ? Neal--SkippyG 21:09, 2 May 2015 (UTC)

WeRelate enhancement survey [4 June 2015]

We raised $2,000 in April! We are now ready to move on to the next phase, selecting which feature requests to implement. Please fill out this survey and rate the suggestions on how important they are to you by May 22. I will then hire a developer to implement the highest-rated suggestions that are also the quickest to implement.--05:58, 8 May 2015 (UTC)

So where are we now? It looks like the 'donate' page needs updating to reflect May's progress toward the goal! And what happened to the suggestion of putting a goal thermometer on the Home Page? I liked the idea but don't have the know-how or authority to do it. --janiejac 15:10, 4 June 2015 (UTC)

Related - Free Kindle download today [10 May 2015]

Happy Mother's Day! Just a heads up for you genealogy buffs who are also Amazon Kindle owners. Today's free download is "After You're Gone: Future Proofing Your Genealogy Research [Kindle Edition]" by Thomas MacEntee. It is a quick read (44p) that provides a good reminder to us all to get a plan in place NOW for our work after we are gone. Includes many helpful ideas and resources.
Best Wishes! --Cos1776 14:48, 10 May 2015 (UTC)

National Portrait Gallery, London [11 May 2015]

NPG allows usage of its images for non-commercial work ("online in scholarly and non-profit publications and websites, blogs, local society newsletters and family history"), and I assume our work here fits in that category. It appears we only have a few NPG images on this website so far. I took the initiative to create a template (Template:Image-NPG London-CC BY-NC-ND) that can be used for NPG images. It adds a category specific for these images to the Image page, but I haven't created the category in case it is decided that the category needs to be renamed, etc. -Moverton 18:57, 11 May 2015 (UTC)

How would you advise new WR users? [12 mei 2015]

I've suggested that a number of former Wikitree users check out WeRelate as a potential new home. I myself am returning after a long absence. Seeking advice from veteran WR users: what advice would you give such users? Where would you point them (including me) to how best to get up to date and the best way to engage at WR? Thanks! Jillaine 11:31, 12 May 2015 (UTC)

Hi Jillaine, my advise where to guide a new user would be to select the "Start Collaborating" link on the Main Page and peruse the various portal pages where they can discover what they can do on WeRelate, starting with the Community Portal page, where I would suggest they watch some of the "Getting Started" videos. Then they can view some of the outstanding individual pages on the Person Portal and Family Portal pages, highlighting some of the techniques that makes WeRelate stand out, which includes referencing sources, using related images, linking places, and creating articles for subjects that interest them. Then I'd suggest guiding them back to the Community Portal page and have then look at some of the "Special Interest Portals" and "Community Projects" here at WeRelate. After they've gotten an introduction to WeRelate through those pages and topics, show them that they can post their own questions at the New User Support page, and then more technical questions at the Watercooler page. When they think they're ready to load a GEDCOM file, advise them to limit the numbers of individuals and families on their first try (my suggestion would be under 50 or so), because the process can be discouraging to a new user to make all the necessary checks for a successful upload if they have to work on more than 100 people until they become better accustomed to the process. Good luck. --BobC 20:32, 12 May 2015 (UTC)

do we have supergreeters in the community? (a must-read: Into the Magic Kingdom, book on Walt Disney) nothing beats personal contact. especially when the supergreeter shows interest in the work that the new user is doing. from personal WR-experience, Ron. woepwoep 20:37, 12 May 2015 (UTC)

"Supergreeter" is a job I volunteered to do last year, but I was simply told to check GEDCOMS at the accept or not-accept stage. I felt I was working with data rather than the person who contributed it. But supergreeting has to be done by someone who knows the part of the world that the GEDCOM is concerned with. That is, the supergreeter has to know where to look for the next bit of information the new user needs as well as guiding them in presenting the material they already have. (Pat) --Goldenoldie 21:43, 12 May 2015 (UTC)

this is *exactly* the type of communication that i was referring to. not data but real people with a shared passion, looking for a way to express. thx Ron woepwoep 21:46, 12 May 2015 (UTC)

Advice from Elizabeth Shown Mills' blog [16 May 2015]

Just came upon Your 7 Basic Rules for Identifying Sources. Just 7. by Elizabeth Shown Mills, and bookmarked it. Seven point to remember when citing sources, particularly for those of us with slow handwriting and poor typing skills who, all the same, want to present things properly. --Goldenoldie 08:21, 16 May 2015 (UTC)

If you REALLY want to upgrade your skills, go to IGHR at Samford some summer and take Elizabeth's "Professional" course (though you may want to work up to it with the mid-level and advanced courses first). Runs a week and is worth every second. --MikeTalk 12:19, 16 May 2015 (UTC)

Category pages for English places [23 May 2015]

I am making a "Category:page" for each place in London, England, because I found that a Category:page will list all the sources that go with a Place—a useful list to have, perhaps.

However, many places in London are currently listed in the neighbouring counties of Middlesex, Surrey or Kent, even though they have been part of London since 1889. When I rename a place to bring it into London, all its sources can then be found under "What links here", but they do not come up in the Category:page for the newly named place.

For densely populated outlying boroughs and parishes that joined London in 1889 (like Lambeth, Westminster and Stepney to name three), there may be more than 100 sources for each place. The "What links here" list is not ordered alphatbetically.

Currently, to amend each of the sources, I must

  • Go into "What links here" on the place page
  • Switch the number of links to view at a time to 500
  • Scroll down to a source that I haven't worked on yet (which may be a long way down a list of 500 sources) and open the source
  • Go into "edit mode" on the "Source:page".
  • Find the "place" line on the page (pages vary in length) and change "Middlesex" or "Surrey" or "Kent" to "London"
  • Save my edit
  • Click on the amended place name on the source page to return to the "Place: page"
  • Go through the same process again

Each of these changes takes a couple of minutes and it's easy to get diverted and find you are forgetting the order of the steps. It is beginning to do my head in.

Please, can someone who knows how to code put a line in the software to link a redirected place to the Category: page for the place it is being directed to? --Goldenoldie 10:32, 23 May 2015 (UTC)

This is a good opportunity to thank "GoldenOldie" for all the work she's doing on bringing some kind of order to English place pages. I doubt that any of us on this side of the pond have the expertise to tackle the problem. In my own work, primarily 17th and early 18th century New England, I run into any number of places in England that were then in one jurisdiction and have been shifted to another, sometimes more than once. Thanks again!--Bill Carr 23:47, 23 May 2015 (UTC)

Articles [1 June 2015]

Under summary of "Clarified sources", a page recently had the source citations of two articles changed from (source pointing at a magazine, giving article title in the record name field) to (source pointing to source page dedicated to this article). Nothing else was changed.

The help page Help:Source page titles says "Please put the author and title information for the actual article you're citing in the "Record Name" field or the "Text/Transcription" field of the Source Citation on the page citing the periodical. The practical reason for this is that most articles have such a narrow focus that they do not really need to have separate source pages devoted to them. However, if an article contains broader, more important information on a number of people which you believe will interest many descendants, a source page may be created for the individual article, using the rules for authored sources."

Which is uselessly vague, though as I read it, it seems to say they shouldn't be created unless there is really a need. But others interpret this differently, such as, if I think I am going to cite an article, say, 10 times, I create the page.

Personally, I dislike article type source pages because when I am looking at a page in edit mode, you cannot tell it is an article, and you can tell what magazine it comes from. It looks just like the citation for a book. In fact, it causes conflicts with source pages that are created to describe reprints.

I also dislike them, because such a small fraction of article source pages have been created, it is almost a waste of time looking for one. If the article universe was fully populated, the number of source pages could be increased by millions cluttering up the drop-down list.

When I know they exist, they make it easier to cite the article. I have almost never had a serious need to have a discussion of an article justifying a source page for that reason. There is some usefulness to documenting all the installments of articles that spread across multiple volumes of a periodical. But most other information is really handled by the periodical's source page, such as repositories, including links to online copies.

I am curious what other people think. Right now things are being done differently by different people, and I think that is the worse of all situations. It would be nice if perhaps a slightly more concrete set of guidelines could be defined? --Jrich 17:25, 1 June 2015 (UTC)

For me, it just depends on the number of times I am going to cite a single article. The number is arbitrary, but I like to say about 10 or more citations, give or take. If it's a single cite or two, IMO it isn't needed to create a separate source page. Daniel Maxwell 17:39, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
But a single generation of a colonial family should generate 10 all by itself. And we have no tools for going back and converting the first nine non-article pages to articles after you hit the threshold. What value do you feel accrues after ten that isn't there after two? I think arbitrary is the right word, hence the desire for concrete guidelines. --Jrich 18:17, 1 June 2015 (UTC)

IMHO, both methods may be just as valid depending on the use, number of times referenced, and potential relevance to other records. It would be helpful to see the page you are referring to.
If used as a reference for just one or two WR file pages, my real question would be whether it should be created as a "Source" page or a "MySource" page. A Source page is considered a community resource which is publicly available and may be of interest to a wide variety of individuals. A MySource page is specific to a particular individual or family that may not belong in the general collection of WR Source pages. While unorthodox, it may also be appropriate to include the periodical as the Source page, and then the specific article as the MySource page. --BobC 18:00, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
I believe they should, if anything, be a source. They are publicly available, usually residing in a library, not some object that is private property, that the general public can't get acess to, like a family Bible that resides in somebody's attic. Most articles, except for "Notes" and Queries and those kind of brief articles, most seem to touch on multiple individuals, if not multiple generations of families, so have interest to a wide audience. Some even qualify as the definitive work on their surname.
Both styles are valid, in the sense that the system can handle both. The problem I see is that doing things both ways makes the system more confusing, and reduces the benefit of either approach. For example, I think whatever value there may in creating an Article-type Source page, is damaged by having it cited sometimes that way, but other times differently so it isn't linked there. --Jrich 18:17, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
I don't use any threshold. When I cited an article on the Townsend family tree, I used the Pennsylvania Genealogical Magazine as the source. (You can see a number of Townsends linked to it.) But for this article and this article, I used the individual articles as a separate source which allowed the ability to create lists of the ships discussed. -Moverton 22:53, 1 June 2015 (UTC)
There are at least five ways a journal article can be cited:
  1. By reference to a Source: page for the article
  2. By reference to a Source: page for the journal plus author, title, volume, page data in fields of the citation
  3. By reference to a Mysource: page for the article
  4. By reference to a Mysource: page for the journal plus author, title, volume, page data in fields of the citation
  5. By a citation-only entry giving author, title, journal, volume, page, and year data in its text
All of these are valid because they all can (and should) serve the essential function: supplying the reader with an understandable description of the source of the data and (usually) information to gain access to it. Some provide extra convenience by giving extra information, such as places where a journal can be accessed, or, for article Source: pages, information from or about the article, or additional ways to access the article such as its presence in an article reprint anthology like English Origins of New England Families. Such extra information can be beneficial, but I see no need to require use of a particular citation form or try to convert existing citations into a single format, or even to convert the various forms citing a particular article to use a single central page. They all serve to (A) give the reader an immediate basis for rough assessment of the source of a fact, and (B) a way to find the original source for detailed evaluation.
I noticed other problems in the article section of Help:Source_pages page so I've made a few changes to it. The main change was to remove the suggestion of using the "Text/Transcription" field for article author and title data; using the "Record Name" field will cause the citation to display the article author and title first, as is normal and most useful. The Text/Transcription field can be used, of course, but the author and title should be up front and not buried in the body. --robert.shaw 00:45, 2 June 2015 (UTC)
There are at least two others: cite the periodical and just put the volume and page number because that's all you have, and simply name the cite in the body of your narrative with no attempt to use the WeRelate source feature. The point being that there are many ways to do something, but benefits accrue from following conventions. For example, some of the periodical Source pages have extensive collections of links to online copies which would not be made available to the reader of a page where the poster uses mysource or citation only, e.g. the reason it is nice to have a single, centralized source page in the first place is to share information about the source. I would like to cite articles in the way that is desirable by convention. Once I know what is desirable, I can adjust my work habits and it will be a matter of seconds more at most. The problem is that I don't see a clear consensus what is most desirable. I outlined several issues on both sides, probably my biggest worry is that drop-down lists will become unwieldy - already prolific authors like Robert Wakefield and Robert Charles Anderson have dozens of entries, hiding their books, and raising the possibility that all their entries may not fit in the drop down list someday. --Jrich 01:45, 2 June 2015 (UTC)

Enhancement requests being worked on [10 September 2015]

I've been on vacation for the past month. I thought I would get to this before starting my vacation, but I didn't have time. Since returning I looked at the enhancement-request survey results. Here are the top five suggestions. We raised $2000 in the fundraiser. Because of this, I believe we will be able to complete them over the course of the Summer.

It was difficult to go through the contents of the first two suggestions and understand exactly what was wanted. I've listed what I believe are the main (and do-able) points above. Please let me know if I'm not capturing something important from the suggestions.--Dallan 03:37, 22 June 2015 (UTC)

For cleanup purposes, I think that the 'source matching during GEDCOM upload' should also be coupled with the ability for mods and page owners to be able to merge what MySources that really should be sandboxed sources into the actual sources. The alternative right now is to do a million redirects, which isn't practical. If you type 'census' in the mysource search field, you get over 17,000 results that would be better served being merged. One caveat though is that in a merge process the 'sources' should not have an option to retain aspects (names, details) from the mysources since they are usually threadbare. Daniel Maxwell 03:42, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
I don't think I understand you here. What do censuses have to do with MySources? When I'm reviewing sources during the GEDCOM review (and I do a lot of them), if I want to match, say, the 1910 census for Shasta County, California, I type "1910" into the TITLE field. And since I do this all the time, the browser shows me a drop-down for all the things I've typed in there before, including "1910 U.S. Census Population Schedule". And under PLACE, I type in "Shasta, California, United States" -- although that might show up in the drop-down list for that field, too. And the search function is smart enough to supply me the proper source at, or very close to, the top of the list, nine times out of ten. You just have to think about what you're doing. --MikeTalk 11:40, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
Try all of this: http://www.werelate.org/wiki/Special:Search?sort=score&ns=MySource&watch=wu&br=0&dr=0&mr=0&k=census&rows=20&ecp=c
I don't upload GEDCOMs; all of the people I have added have been by hand, but what I do do as an admin is cleanup, which is what I am talking about. Daniel Maxwell 15:33, 22 June 2015 (UTC)
Censuses was just one example on this site of real sources that became 'mysources' because (as I understand it, I dont know, I dont upload gedcoms) there was no source matching in the upload process. It doesnt have to be just censuses. Pick another common source - marriage indexes, WWI draft cards, there will be MySources for this that should be able to be merged with the actual source for cleanup purposes. Daniel Maxwell 15:36, 22 June 2015 (UTC)

We had a lot of interest in the possibility of updating the site but no progress report. Is it dead-in-the-water? Or have I missed something? Please, if you complete a suggestion, don't just remove the suggestion from the suggestion page. We may never realize that it's been completed. Just line thru it and date it so we can see the progress. --janiejac 15:07, 10 September 2015 (UTC)

Deleting trees [10 July 2015]

The tree I have up is severely outdated and am thinking about deleting it and uploading a more updated gedcom file. Would that be wise or should I upload more current gedcoms? If I upload more current gedcoms, what will happen to the tree with information that is still good?

Lee Martin--Fastwarhorse 18:45, 6 July 2015 (UTC)

I'm not the best person to answer this, but maybe if I do, other people will chime in. My understanding (which could be wrong) is that a page watched by another user will remain if you delete your tree. If you re-upload a gedcom, anything in the new gedcom that matches what is already present will have to be merged. (So, if you have deleted what you previously uploaded, but you share a large number of pages with other users, those pages would still be there, and would have to be merged with the new gedcom.) Some things you might want to think about: if most of what you want to do is correct what is already there, you might consider making the corrections/additions by hand; it would probably be easier/quicker in the long run. If most of what you want to do is to add earlier generations, then perhaps up-loading a gedcom restricted to those new people might be the way to go. But again, this is not something I've ever done, so maybe someone else will have better suggestions. --GayelKnott 22:43, 7 July 2015 (UTC)
Gayle is right about how things work.
How you might want to handle this depends on what you mean by your previous tree being outdated. If your previous tree had gaps that you want to fill in, you might want to load a new tree without deleting the old. WeRelate will match what it can, and ask you to merge your new GEDCOM (person by person) with what is already in WeRelate. This allows you to add new dates, places, sources and notes, and also to replace incorrect data with revised data. If your previous tree had a lot of incorrect relationships, you might want to delete those portions - possibly manually.
What I would suggest is for you to load a new GEDCOM and review the outcome to judge for yourself what changes are needed. You can choose to merge some information and track other information to be updated manually (incorrect relationships, for example). You can then proceed with processing the GEDCOM (uploading new people) or cancel the processing - if you cancel, the merges you did will still be saved. You can repeat the process as necessary. I would caution, though, against doing a lot of manual corrections to your original tree (outside the GEDCOM function) in between uploading the GEDCOM and submitting it for processing. I can't remember for sure, but I think that if you do a lot of manual corrections during this stage, you can end up creating duplicates when the GEDCOM is processed.
Good luck, and ask for help if you need it.--DataAnalyst 02:31, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
Agreed with Gayle and DataAnalyst on how things work. I would add that, if you are talking about your 5000-person plus tree, that you please not attempt to delete it. Over a thousand pages in that tree are watched by others and will not be deleted, so you would have to correct them by hand or reupload and merge anyway. Moreover, I and others have probably cleaned up hundreds more of your pages, changing, for example, MySource pages to Source pages and the like, as part of a variety of similar editing projects that go on. Most of us doing this do not watch pages that have been fixed. Unless you have or plan to do redo this work (e.g., changing census sources to county-based, then linking all of them during your upload; replacing WorldTree citations with more reliable sources), all of it will have to be redone if you delete your tree before re-uploading.
In short, while uploading and merging may seem like a lot of work, it will be significantly less work than starting from scratch. --Amelia 04:47, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
Amelia, I agree completely, but please take a minute to review the answer to the FAQ on this subject at Help:GEDCOM#Can_I_update_my_tree_by_re-uploading_an_updated_GEDCOM.3F. It specifies the procedure to follow is specifically what Lee had intended to do. The FAQ answer may need to be modified to reflect age, size, subsequent edits to the file/data, or else that will be the process well-intentioned people will use for all "re-uploads." --BobC 12:31, 8 July 2015 (UTC)
Note that the effects of "deleting a tree" are not well defined. The documentation (the Help: pages) contain conflicting statements. On the one hand, Help FAQ for 'Can I delete my tree? What happens to the person and family pages?' says "Every person and family page that is not being watched by another user will be deleted. If the pages you delete have been edited by you or other users, all changes will be lost.". In contradiction to this, Help FAQ for 'Can I keep others from deleting pages I'm interested in?' says "No one else can delete the page if you have edited it or are watching it. If a page has more than one contributor, it can only be deleted by an administrator". So either edits are important and prevent the deletion of a page, or they are not important and do not prevent deletion. (In any case, it appears that others having a "Watch" on a page prevents its deletion.) I'd edit the Help: text, but I have no idea which statement (if either) is correct. Really, this issue greatly needs to be correctly documented. --robert.shaw 17:47, 9 July 2015 (UTC)
If you don't have Admin delete privileges, we can test that out. You could create a dummy page and let me know. Then I could edit it and not watch it and you could try to delete it. Then you'd have your answer. If you can't delete it, let me know and I can, since I have Admin delete privileges. Let me know if you want to test this.--DataAnalyst 13:19, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
I can almost guarantee it requires watching, editing is immaterial, as I believe a page I edited once and then didn't watch was deleted by its creator, I getting notified through the propagated change to the Family page. Didn't verify it though. I don't think admin privileges are needed as, you can edit and unwatch it, or you edit and unclick the watch box when you save, or you temporarily set your preferences not to watch page you edit (which I used to do for the duplicate project). Nowadays I watch everything precisely so people can't delete them. There was a discussion once, suggesting, the pages are contributed, so why let somebody delete their tree, and remove, say, five out of ten children from a family, that other people didn't edit because there was no need at the time - they were there when the family was being worked on. --Jrich 14:22, 10 July 2015 (UTC)
An experiment by DataAnalyst and myself has confirmed that a page with multiple editors can be deleted (if not watched by others), so it seems that only watching, not editing, inhibits deletion. I've corrected the Help FAQ for 'Can I keep others from deleting pages I'm interested in?' to reflect this. --robert.shaw 02:04, 11 July 2015 (UTC)

The Domesday Book [17 July 2015]

Why do we care so much about the names of places in England at the time of the Domesday Book (compiled in 1086)? The placepage I am looking at gives three alternate spellings discussed on p78 of "Domesday Book (1985)". The number of alternate spellings of this sort can mount up to ten, covering the better part of the introductory screenful of information about the place. Although I have seen genealogies starting in the 13th or 14th centuries reported in WeRelate I have yet to see any going back to 1086. Isn't reporting these alternate spellings a waste of time and space? --Goldenoldie 08:30, 17 July 2015 (UTC)

I think if it assists the individual who made the additional historic placename entries or if it benefits the research of others in the community now or in the future, then it is appropriate and reflects excellent utilization of space and a worthwhile investment in his or her time adding the information. --BobC 20:00, 17 July 2015 (UTC)

Consolidate/update Donation and Contact info? [29 October 2015]

I just donated a few days ago, and was trying to see if my employer will match my donation. But to do that I need the full contact information for FOLG. I found bits and pieces of the information on a number of pages, and am still missing a phone number, which they require in order to file the request. I found the Tax ID number on WeRelate:About donations, I found the address on WeRelate:Donate, I found the contact email on [2] (which is linked on the main page), I noticed that www.folg.org (link on WeRelate:About) is a blank page, I found a phone number on WeRelate:Contact us, but, that appears to be out-of-date information. Perhaps some of these pages should be combined and/or updated? And what phone number should I put down? ++Thanks! --Trentf 23:31, 29 October 2015 (UTC)

Thanks so much for pointing out the pages haven't been updated in a while. I think everything has been corrected.--sq 03:05, 30 October 2015 (UTC)

New features resulting from fundraiser [8 nov 2015]

New features voted on during the fundraiser have finally been added to WeRelate. They are:

WeRelate:Suggestions/Improve dropdown Place search

Dropdown place search now lists:

  • higher-level places before lower-level ones
  • primary names before alternate names
  • places following the located-in path before places following an also-located-in path
  • places that link to existing people before places that don't link to anyone
  • single-word place names before multi-word place names

In addition, you can now select an alternate name or an also-located-in path and the title-bar-displayname format will be entered into the place

WeRelate:Suggestions/Source matching during GEDCOM upload

When you upload a GEDCOM, sources in the GEDCOM are automatically matched to Source pages if:

  • you previously matched a source with that title/author, or
  • at least two people have previously matched sources with that title/author (ignoring minor punctuation differences, etc.)

In addition, the source-matching process has been streamlined. An unnecessary screen and a click has been removed.

WeRelate:Suggestions/Suggestions for improvements to Search

  • Countries can be excluded by entering "-country" in the Keywords field
  • What-links-here list is ordered alphabetically (titles are ordered alphabetically within namespaces, but the namespaces themselves are not ordered alphabetically)
  • The search button is no longer covered by the place-dropdown
  • A woman's husband's last name is matched (lower-priority) in searches. So Jane Doe married to John Smith will be returned (lower-priority) in searches for Jane Smith.
  • Searches for people include facets on: Surname, Given name, Country and State, and Birth Century and Decade

WeRelate:Suggestions/Allowing picking of Green Boxes in merge

Green boxes can now be selected.

WeRelate:Suggestions/Adding of Baptism/Burial date field on 'add person' page

You can now enter a birth or christening date, and a death or burial date when adding a new person.--Dallan 22:16, 4 November 2015 (UTC)

Thank you.--GayelKnott 00:26, 5 November 2015 (UTC)

That's great. Thanks.--DataAnalyst 00:59, 6 November 2015 (UTC)

I just got around to playing with the facets - they're wonderful. A great way to analyze your tree, look for missing birth info, narrow a search to an exact spelling of a name, etc. Fun to just play around in. I love it. Thanks.--DataAnalyst 02:45, 6 November 2015 (UTC)
I'm glad to hear it!--Dallan 06:39, 8 November 2015 (UTC)
Yes, I am glad to see that these have finally been added. What I had in mind was a little different for the Baptism/Burial date entry, but what was done was actually better than I had imagined it. Daniel Maxwell 06:49, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

entering Chr date on search works like a charm. upon Add it adds in the correct field (Chr date instead of Birth date).

also, i was a bit surprised to suddenly see multiple versions of the same place. but it looks like the first item on the select list is the original one (the one i use consequently). so that is also a great feature for those who need it, while it does not bother me when i use my preferred method.

all in all a great success, wonderful job done. congrats, Ron woepwoep 10:34, 8 November 2015 (UTC)

Given and surnames: what language to use? [15 November 2015]

Recently I came up on the pages of John I of Avesnes and Adelaide of Holland. and was surprised by these English designations.

I was wondering why the translations of their names are being used.

To start with the simplest: Adelaide of Holland is not a name you will find in a primary middle-aged source. As Countess of Holland you will rather see "Aleida" or "Aleidis van Holland". So why not use the original Dutch name?

Sometimes it is a bit more difficult like with her husband John. He was most likely named and baptized in French "Jean d'Avesnes" and also in Dutch as he became Count of Holland, beside being Count of Hainaut: "Jan van Avesnes".

So, what is the rule here to designate a name to a person? And in case their is a choice, how do we choose the primary language.

I remember there was a discussion on this topic before, but could not find it any more (nor some conlusions in the help section).

Edwin--Edwin 17:01, 15 November 2015 (UTC)

Edwin, My understanding is that you are supposed to enter the person's name as it was at the time and place of birth, then add alternate names where appropriate. Sometimes people forget, for various reasons, and use what seems most familiar or comfortable to them. I would think you could go ahead and change them. Gayel --GayelKnott
The convention says to enter their birth name. It does not say "as it was at the time and place of birth". For example, almost nobody enters Elisabeth even though it was commonly used in New England 200 years ago, and certainly they don't enter Elisabetha if the church record happened to be written in Latin. Instead, these records should be documented in a source citation, being careful to attribute to the source in the citation the spellings and place names it uses. From Help:Naming conventions:
  • Use the name the person was born with; other names should be listed under alternate names.
  • When the surname of a family has multiple spellings, the most commonly accepted spelling
Most commonly accepted spelling is almost impossible to measure in some cases, but usually the spellings used in articles or books will provide a reasonable and widespread choice, realizing that fundamentally they only represent that author's choice.
If a page has been developed in a one language and you wish to show a different language, it would seem like using an alternate name would be an appropriate way to do this. I would not throw away the non-native transliteration unless it is wrong and you are replacing it with a better one. --Jrich 18:53, 15 November 2015 (UTC)

Family Tree Maker Software Retirement [25 December 2015]

This may have been posted elsewhere here on WR, but on Dec 8th, Ancestry announced the discontinuance and retirement of their Family Tree Maker program on this Ancestry blog posting. Looks like it's due to the declining market of desktop genealogical software, but can also be seen as a corporate "doubling down" to make the Ancestry.com subscription service even more lucrative for the company. So come the new year more and more FTM users may be looking for a new home for their genealogical data. That may pose both potential growth opportunities as well as interesting challenges (i.e. quality data problems) for WeRelate. Anyone else have views on this? --BobC 06:41, 24 December 2015 (UTC)

Personally I've used GRAMPS (cross platform) for several years now. Daniel Maxwell 06:42, 24 December 2015 (UTC)
I've been using RootsMagic for my internal program about 5-6 years. I mentioned it primarily because I'm interested to see how others might view this as an opportunity for WR to capitalize or prepare for this slice of the market. Take a minute to read the disgruntled attitude and scathing remarks from FTM users on the blog below the news posting. Many of them are so upset they swear they'll never use (or will also stop using) the Ancestry.com subscription-based application. --BobC 06:50, 24 December 2015 (UTC)
I have used Gramps for over 10 years with no problems, I would never pay ancestry because of the poor quality of much of the data users have stored there. It might be better to make a fuss about sources if people are hoping to transfer lots of unsourced data here, just to keep it in their mind that sources are good. We would also need a faster turn around on admin control of gedcoms.Rmg 15:45, 25 December 2015 (UTC)