WeRelate talk:Watercooler/Archive 2016


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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)

I never used Family Tree Maker, but with it's retirement announcement late last year I had wondered if there would be any other software that would be able to search and synchronize with Ancestry the same way that Family Tree Maker did. I have wanted to disassociate myself from and cancel my subscription to Ancestry for quite awhile because of its high price and business practices, but have felt trapped because of the number of family members and amount of genealogical data I've used and saved as sources for those names over the years. I have reluctantly paid the annual fee to Ancestry for access in order to secure my data until I was able to transfer, download or save that data and its connected sources to another program. I had hoped that would be WeRelate, but do not have the time or patience to do so manually, record by record, with the amount of data I have at Ancestry.

Now I just discovered that the desktop genealogy program I have been using for years, RootsMagic, has announced a search, synch & import function utilizing Ancestry data which will allow me to download people, events, and even pictures from my Ancestry family tree without having to use GEDCOM. Hopefully that will include complete source citations and references used to substantiate events and facts recorded and linked there.

I'm excited about the prospect of quickly and completely transferring my data from Ancestry before my subscription comes up for renewal. Then I can decide rationally whether or not I want to opt in for another year to take advantage of the tremendous amount of sources there, rather then feeling like I have to subscribe because my data is being held captive there.

Anybody else feel like they are in the same boat? --BobC 16:49, 12 May 2016 (UTC)

Volunteer Community on WeRelate [21 January 2016]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Publicly Called on the Carpet [1 February 2016]

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

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

Contest Update [23 feb 2016]

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

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

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

Donations and Advertising [28 feb 2016]

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

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

BTW, the advertising I get is from British firms.

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

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

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

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

Genealogy in Time ratings [12 March 2016]

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

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

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


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

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

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

Add child [3 May 2016]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Revenue and Advertisement Changes at WeRelate

Extension of discussion at WeRelate:Support Talk Page.

What's with the My Heritage Ads? [5 May 2016]

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

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

MyHeritage Ad Survey [19 May 2016]

Since it's been two weeks since the MyHeritage ads started appearing in the Personal History portion of Person Pages here at WeRelate, and since there seems to have been no public response from WeRelate management to the concerns raised at this WeRelate:Support page topic, it's probably time to conduct a survey to compile and compartmentalize the opinions of the community. (For those who have contributed funds in support of WeRelate improvements, you won't see these ads when logged in under your UserID, so you will need to log-out and view a couple Person Pages without signing in to see the placement and impact of these ads.)

Users are invited to leave a vote here of either their support or objection to new policy of including MyHeritage ads in the Personal History portion of Person Pages.

Please follow the table format below in edit mode to ensure conciseness and uniformity of appearance, and please keep your statement of support or objection short. Lengthier comments and opinions can be included in the related topic at the WeRelate:Support page topic or in additional notes below the table.

SampleI support itI object to it
BobC Please remove completely or move to ad space
Rhian Please remove completely
GayelKnott Remove;move to ad space and label "Ad"
janiejac move to ad space
Pkeegstra Move to ad space (w/label) or mitigate (See Note 1 below)
SkippyG Remove completely or move to ad space (agree w/Note 3)
goldenoldie Remove completely or move to ad space
HLJ411 Remove completely or move to ad space
DataAnalyst Remove or move (See Note 2 below)
JBS66 Remove or move (See Note 3 below)
robert.shaw Placement is deceptive and unethical
jhamstra (agree with Note 3 below) (added Note 4 below)
Bronquest remove, move or make easily identifiable as add or advertorial (note 5)
Amelia Deceptive. Remove or label in ad space. +1 for Notes 3 & 4.
Jrich Should be clearly marked as an ad, prefer different placement after or around user content.
cos1776 Remove completely or move to ad space.
Note 1: If the finances of WeRelate are so tenuous that modifications to these ads would render WR insolvent, please implement as soon as possible the ability for a user (for an appropriate fee) to clear ads from his or her watched pages for all users and no user. --pkeegstra 18:01, 14 May 2016 (UTC)
Note 2: WeRelate has insufficient infrastructure capacity since enhancements last fall, resulting in intermittent but frequent painfully slow response time. If these ads are using WeRelate resources to search and/or to format output, I would say consider dropping the ads. Otherwise, just move them to the ad space - I'm sure we need the revenue.--DataAnalyst 19:57, 14 May 2016 (UTC)
Note 3: I don't support removing the text only for paying users. This text would still be viewable to all other people using or considering WeRelate and puts forth a negative image for the site. If we NEED to keep the MyHeritage ads for revenue, I could support a move to the ad space with clear notation indicating it's an ad, but I still think the text itself is inappropriate. Perhaps something similar to FindAGrave where the sidebar says "Other results for" with links to Newspapers.com and fold3? --Jennifer (JBS66) 21:43, 14 May 2016 (UTC)
Note 4: I am establishing contact with a distant relative to exchange genealogy information. Normally I refer others directly to WeRelate to discuss my work. I can no longer refer others to this web site because of these deceptive ads. --Jhamstra 01:29, 15 May 2016 (UTC)
Note 5: It should be clear from the lay-out that this is something MyHeritage has added. So move to add-space or (similarly as in magazines) show as advertorial in the text. Showing as if it is part of the user content is deceptive and does not really add value to the pages. Maybe the MyHeritage machine doesn't handle dutch surnames with prefixes very well. What I saw was completely useless (and doesn't do credit to MyHeritage). Today (May 15) I saw no adds by the way. [-- Bronquest 04:32, 15 May 2016.]
Comment- looking at the code pages Dallan added it and has been tweaking the code, last update 12 hours ago, if he does reduce the frequency and increase the quality it is still wrong to have it where it is.--Rhian 12:10, 15 May 2016 (UTC)
A response would probably be helpful given the apparent unanimity of the comments? --Jrich 13:34, 15 May 2016 (UTC)
Hi all, i stopped using MyHeritage when they said that becoming a non-member would still leave all my data with them. So i first deleted all my data there before unsigning up with them. I doubt that members of WR are looking to join MyHeritage, when in the add there is a temptation that there is more data to be found at MyHeritage while sometimes there is not. So my vote would be to find some other donation than MyHeritage. Thx, Ron woepwoep 13:53, 15 May 2016 (UTC) PS i paid up for WR 2016 as early as december 2015 - once i understood the message i thought yes this is the only way, we heavy users should not give responsibility for financing the site out of hand. My 2 cents.

I just recently saw the ad on one of my pages, and was shocked. Will print off these comments and study them more carefully to understand the situation. In the meantime, my vote is: remove or move the ad to an ad space, mark it as an ad, and make it brief and in smaller print. I surely want to keep the site viable, and thank you all for all you do.--Diane Hosler 03:44, 19 May 2016 (UTC)

Where is WR going? [20 May 2016]

I've been following the MyHeritage conversations both here and on the support page. There is one piece to this that I'd like to introduce. BobC made a comment on the support page that included "Dallan has always been very open to and respectful of user opinions, and I'm sure he's gauging the thoughts and opinions of the community in general (through thoughtful discussion and reasoned critique like this) and the professional advise of the Overview Committee" and JRich commented "A response would probably be helpful given the apparent unanimity of the comments". I want to be clear that at this point in time, there is no Overview Committee. In mid-2014, I withdrew from the committee due to a terminal illness in a close family member. It is my understanding that remaining members tried to continue contact/meetings with Dallan but were not successful. In May 2015, Dallan commented "The overview committee hasn't met for about a year. It's my fault. I haven't spent a lot of time working on WeRelate lately, and things seem to be going well without an overview committee. If someone were interested in starting it up again, I'll do what I can to help get it re-started".

I am deeply concerned, as I am hearing others are as well, about the status of WeRelate and its continued operation. I have used WR exclusively for my work and have invited numerous people to collaborate on their Dutch ancestry. Now I hesitate to refer people here. I wonder, where is WR going? Can WR survive in its current state, with painfully few site improvements, increasingly intrusive and deceptive ads, limited new members/growth, and no real oversight to keep us moving forward? Dallan really is the keystone to WR's operation, and that's a lot for one person to shoulder. --Jennifer (JBS66) 14:57, 15 May 2016 (UTC)

Thanks for the update, Jennifer. I've felt for some time that we really need to have someone who assumes regular responsibility for administration -- and the world being what it is, that person probably is going to need to be paid. As a question, does anyone have suggestions for how much time per week would be reasonable to ensure that there was someone in a leadership position?--GayelKnott 19:43, 15 May 2016 (UTC)

Jennifer, I am sorry to hear about your family situation.
Thanks for putting this concern on the table. Here are some thoughts I've been having:
  • WR needs permanent paid development/support staff, to react quickly to significant issues, and to continue to enhance the site in small and larger ways. From what I gather, we only have funding for intermittent development personnel right now.
  • Just saw Gayle's question - I would say at least 25-30 hours per week, which would include making improvements to the site.
  • WR also needs an overview committee (or board) that maintains/evolves the vision, interacts with the WR community, provides direction to the staff, and is responsible for ensuring adequate funding (through ads, fund-raising, sponsorship, etc.).
  • In my experience, the personality that makes a person a good developer is not the same personality that makes a person keen on calling meetings. So maybe it is time to re-instate the overview committee headed by someone with a penchant for organizing people. Dallan (and any other technical staff) need to have a voice on the committee, but should not be burdened with organizational responsibilities. No disrespect meant to Dallan - he's been awesome - but my bet is that calling meetings is not his favorite thing to do.
  • BTW: I also am of the personality type that shies away from calling meetings, so will not volunteer for that, but would be willing to participate in an oversight committee or board.
  • WR also needs a site that is consistent with the vision. A lot of work has gone into eliminating duplicates, and I think we are not too bad from that point of view. But we still have lots of questionable and uninformative pages from early GEDCOMs, and it makes the site less appealing to newcomers. I'm plugging away at old GEDCOMs, but it is slow going. And like you, I wonder if my effort will be lost if the site does not survive.
Just some thoughts. Let's keep the conversation going.--DataAnalyst 20:11, 15 May 2016 (UTC)

Totally agree with DataAnalyst. So the next question would be: would those of us still hanging on be willing to pay some kind of membership/user fee just to keep the site going? I cringe somewhat, but based on my experience with other sites, I would probably be willing to make some sort of payment, just because WeRelate is, in terms of what it has to offer, really the best thing going. I'm not sure how much more volunteer time I could contribute -- age is becoming an increasing factor that totally messes up time -- but with more confidence that WR will continue into the future, again, perhaps I could take on a bit more (but I'm also not a group oriented person). Gayel --GayelKnott 20:29, 15 May 2016 (UTC)

Personally, I would like to understand the ad situation before there is talk about permanent paid position whose salary would probably dwarf any previous budget. It used to be that ad revenue kept the servers going and the effort to get extra money was for development. Is that still the case? Or is the My Heritage ad revenue needed for support of the status quo?
I also believe that there is a lot that could be done with volunteers but what is missing is a process for making decisions that would lend authority and clear direction to the activities of those volunteers, i.e., formalized processes with adequate documentation. My personal approach would be to have an overview committee direct things, posting and accepting suggestions, entertaining public comments for an appropriate period, and then deciding, setting priorities. The Help system should be locked from user edit, and Help pages should reflect the currently in-force policies of the overview committee, with all the arguing and discussions that occur during formulation stored elsewhere for archival reasons, but removed from the Help page to minimize the ambiguity of interpretation that we have today. Perhaps a volunteer judicial committee could handle enforcement questions so that questionable activity could be resolved in a way that is not as personal as one user sending a message to another, and at the same time, creates useful precedents.
Probably developer time is the scarce resource and I would rather save funds for that. As the duplicate project showed, people can and will cooperate on non-development projects. If volunteers are to administer with confidence that they are not, and so that it is clear to others that they are not, advancing personal positions, there needs to be a clear vision statement and documented policies to refer to. --Jrich 21:13, 15 May 2016 (UTC)
As I see it there are several problems all coming together. I had thought about offering to buy WeRelate from Dallan, but as so much of the data stored here for years is rubbish I am thinking it would perhaps be better to start over and restrict input to quality data from trusted genealogists with the site being totally advertisement free for contributing members and what advertising there is would be affiliate links for pay sites, but all genealogy related. I envision 3 to 5 paid staff initially which would grow with membership.
As for WeRelate there is a big problem in that members do not talk to each other, even admins do not talk to other admins. When Dallan brought me onboard last year to help build the admin community my first action was to ask all admins to join the admin forum, so we could discuss problems like this current one before it got out of hand on public pages, only half a dozen admins joined and none have instigated any discussion, a few have joined in with some discussions but nothing was achieved.
I am in fact working 40 hours a week+ on administration tasks, as I see to be the only person dealing with gedcom imports I have changed from quantity to quality, I have cut back on speedy delete as the site is now so slow and the MyHeritage ads pop up on every speedy delete page. I am every day more disappointed with the lack of feedback or interaction from members in general and admins in particular, with a few exceptions.
A core problem is the shortage of quality pages, with no quality pages there are no people visiting to find data, the Google search ranking drops and then there are fewer visitors. It is visitors who should be paying to use the site (by advertising) members should not be required to pay to work here, donating to help get new features or just because you want to is a choice. To attract visitors who would pay the running costs we initial need more quality, if every page had at least one primary or secondary source the WR would immediately be more useful and would lead to lines being extended adding quantity which makes WR even more of a resource, Expecting members to pay for the privilege of adding quality is totally wrong, none members contributing to costs for the privilege of taking data is reasonable.--Rhian 08:08, 16 May 2016 (UTC)
Rhian, I'd not noticed this before, but your account is running under admin bot privileges. Your edits only appear in Recent Changes when I click on "Show bots". WP has a Bot policy, is the use of your account as a bot in keeping with general wiki guidelines? Are your edits to pages triggering the same notifications as expected (like emails when a user is watching a page)? I'm just curious what your overall intention is since I've only come across Dallan using automated bots when there are really minor edits to make. --Jennifer (JBS66) 09:44, 16 May 2016 (UTC)
You also made User:Woepwoep a bot. Woepwoep does some great work, and I can understand making him an admin, but changing his rights to bot??? These are not accounts created for specific automated actions, which is what (as I understand it), bot accounts are reserved for. --Jennifer (JBS66) 13:03, 16 May 2016 (UTC)
Thank you Jennifer. I also received compliments from www.geldersarchief.nl for sending 280 improvements over the last couple years on incidental records; and one in particular was a placename that they had not yet on their file, which means that couple of hundred more records need to be updated (update table set placename = 'Den Bosch, Lichtenvoorde, Gelderland, Netherlands' where placename = "'s-Hertogenbosch" and gemeente = 'Lichtenvoorde'. They sent a special thank-you note for that one :-)
For all those who do not know me: i have not imported a single gedcom, i type everything by hand or copy-paste from Geldersarchief (my main source). So i am not a bot :-) Yes i offered to help with importing a gedcom once in a while, but my first attempt left me with more questions than answers. So i guessed i'm unfit to help and no longer volunteer. Perhaps i should try again, but i feel more comfortable with my one source that i know best, www.GeldersArchief.nl
Thx, Ron woepwoep 20:13, 16 May 2016 (UTC)
I would be ecstatic to hear of anyone investing the time to do things via 'bot on WR. Sight unseen - I'm apt to trust that the work needed to do it is a sufficient dis-incentive to those with ill intent. Still - keeping activities in the clear is important to maintaining trust - so, transparency, etc... --jrm03063 18:13, 16 May 2016 (UTC)
I too am wondering, "Why should they not use the Internet bot?" If the program owner(s) and site manager(s) have properly screened administrators and talented volunteers to perform certain maintenance functions and repetitive editing tasks here at WeRelate, why not allow them the simplicity, speed and functionality the 'bot application provides? The whole purpose of a 'bot is to automate repetitive online interactions -- at multiple times the speed a single individual could perform it manually. So if they can be trusted to perform the maintenance or edit functions they have been appointed or tasked to perform manually, then give them the capability and functionality to do so using the ease and speed of an automated web robot. --BobC 19:50, 16 May 2016 (UTC)
That's true, if this were a case of using an automated bot. Automated processes are used on WR and can be helpful, like for Welcoming new users and there was some talk here about bots for page maintenance. Bot accounts are usually separate accounts that are clearly defined as bots (like User:AndrewRTBot), and are programmed for a specific function. That isn't the case here. I'm not at all implying malicious intent, this may just be a case of an admin assigning an incorrect level of user rights for themselves and another user. I'd like to better understand what the need for bot user rights are and what the ramifications are (like edits not being as visible in Recent edits). --Jennifer (JBS66) 20:17, 16 May 2016 (UTC)

Let's put some cost factors to this suggestion of hiring a Digital Media Developer or Programming Expert at WeRelate. Please note that these costs would be for the technical guru only.
Here would be the apx. monthly wage for three levels of computer experts to provide the programming development responsibilities you are talking about at WeRelate based on how many hours of work that would be required or expected on a daily basis. These are average hourly wages/salary levels for these positions taken from PayScale.com. Obviously variables and additional benefit costs are not calculated into it.
Monthly Cost of Hiring Computer Programmer(s)
Job Title/LevelAvg Wage2 Hrs/Day4 Hrs/Day6 Hrs/Day8 Hrs/Day
Computer Programmer (Recent Grad)$15.00$650.00$1,300.00$1,950.00$2,600.00
Digital Media Developer (BS Degree)$18.44$799.07$1,598.13$2,397.20$3,196.27
Programmer Analyst (Experienced Professional)$31.00$1,343.33$2,686.67$4,030.00$5,373.33
Here would be the monthly cost per user (whether figured as a donation or subscription) for the same experts employed at 6 hours per day (32 hours per week) based on the number of donors or subscribers there would be to the WeRelate site.
Monthly Donation or Subscription Needed per Subscriber to Hire & Pay Programmer(s)
Job Title/LevelMonthly Wage
32 Hrs/Week
Computer Programmer (Recent Grad)$1,950.00$19.50$7.80$3.90$1.95
Digital Media Developer (BS Degree)$2,397.20$23.97$9.59$4.79$2.40
Programmer Analyst (Experienced Professional)$4,030.00$40.30$16.12$8.06$4.03
Hopes that provides some perspective. --BobC 06:25, 16 May 2016 (UTC)

Thank you, BobC, for giving us some figures on the cost of hiring programmers. But we need more financial information to consider where we go from here. Has anyone produced a balance sheet for a recent year? Has it been published?

How much do we receive from "side adverts"? How much from My Heritage? How much from voluntary givings? How much does it cost to run the servers we are using? How much would it cost to increase the server load to meet our needs? We probably have other expenses besides these, and those of us who are administrators ought to know what they are.

Whatever committee WeRelate has at the top now, or might have in a month's time, needs to know the answers to these questions. Is anyone in a position to provide the answers?--Goldenoldie 10:56, 16 May 2016 (UTC)

We definitely need some concrete knowledge on what it takes to "keep the lights on". I'm a little less worried about development, since some of the active users appear to be strong enough to dive in if it came to that. --jrm03063 18:06, 16 May 2016 (UTC)
I would totally support (and welcome!) someone taking over administration responsibilities. That person isn't me. By the way, my experience with hiring developers is if you are fortunate you can find a good junior developer (3-5 years experience) living in South America or Eastern Europe for around $15/hr.--Dallan 03:33, 17 May 2016 (UTC)

I posted this on "Support", but the Search feature isn't working for me. Anything to do with the new ad on the search page ? I'm one of those who contributed and still have ads. --SkippyG 21:34, 18 May 2016 (UTC)

Both problems should be fixed now.--Dallan 22:21, 18 May 2016 (UTC)

I know that this never really went anywhere last time, but as you all know, I still think that trying to work with the Wikimedia Foundation to accept WeRelate as one of their projects is the ideal way forward. They have the resources and expertise to help us with both the technical and financial issues that are currently (IMO) holding WeRelate back. -- Jdfoote1 02:44, 20 May 2016 (UTC)

One of the two projects I'm working on right now may be help move us in this direction. Let me know if you're interested... --jrm03063 20:17, 20 May 2016 (UTC)
Re: Wikimedia, I know there are serious concerns about coming under their umbrella, but I would support such a move if it meant keeping WeRelate alive., which was the basis for my support previously, --GayelKnott 01:23, 21 May 2016 (UTC)

I seriously hope Wikimedia is a last resort, after exhausting all the possibilities.--SkippyG 01:51, 21 May 2016 (UTC)

Perhaps we are incorrect to see this as an all or nothing choice. I believe that middle ground choices exist. --jrm03063 02:45, 21 May 2016 (UTC)

MyHeritage Ad [19 May 2016]

I haven't read the discussion yet. (I will.) There's a lot to digest.

Ad type and placement is a difficult balancing act. You need to make advertisers happy and not upset everyone else too much. WeRelate makes roughly 75% of its income from ads and 25% from donations. Specifically, it's about $600/mo from ads, about $50/mo in donations, and $2,000 from the fundraiser last Summer. I personally have put in about $100,000 in developer salaries over the last 10 years as well as several years of my own unpaid effort (I don't get a salary). It costs roughly $350/mo to pay for the servers. The ads are a necessity to keep WeRelate running. WeRelate does not get enough donations otherwise. A $20/year donation exempts you from ads.

The MyHeritage ad has not been in place long enough yet to know how much revenue it is bringing in. I hope to find out in a few days. I've been exploring alternate ad placements with MyHeritage. One option would be a bordered banner ad across the top of the page; another is an ad on the search page. --Dallan 02:27, 17 May 2016 (UTC)

Just a couple of additional comments. MyHeritage contacted me about a month ago asking if they could post ads. We've only had google ads for the past several years and it seemed like a good idea to try something else. I didn't expect the placement would annoy people as much as it has. I want to wait it out until we gather the revenue data in the next couple of days, then we'll re-think the placement.--Dallan 03:13, 17 May 2016 (UTC)
Ok folks - this is embarrassing. $50 per month - from all of us? Having WR available is certainly worth $35/month to me - even if I don't get every little thing I want. I'm not trying to sound like a public broadcasting ad - but nine more committing to that each month and we keep the servers running. Maybe we can't really afford to pay Dallan what his development contribution is worth - but he shouldn't have to sweat where the monthly server budget comes from. That's just pathetic. Can't we at least get the donations up to $350/month? It's tax deductible after all - so ante up! --jrm03063 03:19, 17 May 2016 (UTC)
If things keep going as they are, the MyHeritage ad is on track to generate over $1000/mo - almost twice what the google ads are generating. I also added a MyHeritage ad on the search page. We will also be experimenting with a non-inline ad soon. Just like everything else, there are trade-off's. Additional ads bring in revenue, which means money for improving the site. Or we can drop the additional ads and keep things the way they are. My vote is to continue testing alternatives and gathering data so we can make informed decisions and re-visit this question in a month.--Dallan 21:24, 18 May 2016 (UTC)
Does the arrangement require that it look like user input? Newspapers usually have a line around an ad and "advertisement" in small writing to indicate it is an ad, especially when it is formatted like an article. TVs tell when programs are paid infomercials. DVDs tell you the comments are not the opinions of the studio. Can it be boxed? I have seen MyHeritage ads on other sites and they do not mimic the page content. --Jrich 23:07, 18 May 2016 (UTC)
Second JRich's concern. As was pointed out repeatedly in the poll above, the fact that these ads look like user content is central to the problem with them. To my mind, it isn't a "tradeoff," it's simply unacceptable, and I'm more than a little concerned that that wasn't obvious at the outset or considered more of a problem right now. I'm one who hasn't renewed my donation yet this year, and as long as these ads run in-line, I'm not making any edits, let alone a donation. --Amelia 23:38, 18 May 2016 (UTC)
Please let Dallan do his work and trust him while in this painfull fact finding time. Think of your local dentist :-) woepwoep 23:42, 18 May 2016 (UTC)
Okay, I can't resist. Taking the above Dentist analogy to an extreme, it would be like my dentist unknowingly engraving a bright Coca-Cola logo on one of my front teeth during a simple cleaning visit and telling me, "Don't worry, it won't affect you. You have good insurance and you won't see it at all (unless you look in the mirror). The extra money I get for the logo placement allows me to stay in business and serve you longer." --BobC 16:53, 19 May 2016 (UTC)
BobC i appreciate your sense of humour :-) My point is that we are not enemies, we are a collective trying to figure out what is best for our project. People being upset i can understand, ad hominem i oppose since this is in no way helpful to the group. [13:38, 19 May 2016 Woepwoep]
OK, I'll bite. I don't want to get off topic, but where is the ad hominem response? --Jrich 21:49, 19 May 2016 (UTC)
@Jrich Perhaps i am offroad in an objectively sense. what i mean to say is we should not go against our fine webmaster Dallan. I read things like "I will not be inviting others to view the pages I've created until that embedded advertisement is removed. I hope that is not a long-term contract because you've surely read the unhappy comments by active users being left on the support page." on @Dallan's talk page. Which in my 2 cents is a conditional statement. Hope this clarifies a bit? Thx, Ron woepwoep 21:58, 19 May 2016 (UTC)
In no way did I mean my analogous comment to be a personal ad hominem attack on Dallan, because I deeply respect his leadership, talent, and competence. I meant to lighten up the moment by playing off your comparison of a dentist and his patients. Perhaps it would have been more accurate to state that my own humorous comparison was metaphorically based.
Of course we are not enemies. We are in our own ways, and in varying degrees, trying to provide our dentist with an indication of the degree of pain we're in when something he does causes us discomfort. Some people can take dental work with no anesthesia or can get along just fine with Motrin. Some need a hefty dose of nitrous oxide or general anesthesia to bear up to the pain. Not to beat the metaphor to death, and I'll speak for myself only, but my discomfort with those ads was painful and I was trying to get his attention -- like tapping on my dentist's shoulder while my mouth was locked open that I needed relief and there was no reaction. And then, when he finally responds, he says we'll need to let it go awhile longer and evaluate my degree of pain and the possible side effects before offering me pain relief.
Does that help explain it? Yeah, probably not. Although I mean it somewhat in fun, I also mean to make a point, whatever you want to refer to it as. And that point, however made or interpreted, does not mean that it diminishes my respect for Dallan, our Dentist. :-} --BobC 23:02, 19 May 2016 (UTC)
Apparently I don't see the big picture or don't have all the facts, or else the results of the survey and the pretty one-sided opinions from WeRelate users would be more impactful and have more weight in this decision to maintain the status quo. Best of luck. --BobC 00:28, 19 May 2016 (UTC)

If I read Dallan's last response correctly, there will be a switch to a non-inline ad soon. I don't think the issue is that no one is listening to the user community, I think it is that making a change is not something that can be done overnight. Maybe pulling the ad entirely could be done easily, but that might violate a contract and lose us this revenue, and I think Dallan is looking for a way to keep the revenue and respond to users by moving the ad to a better location. The less-than-immediate response from Dallan underlines my opinion that we need permanent paid staff (even if only one part-time person). It is a bit much to expect immediate turnaround from someone who has a full-time job elsewhere. Personally, I can't face reading my email every evening, so I understand why a volunteer is not there for us every day.--DataAnalyst 02:45, 19 May 2016 (UTC)

So during this fact-finding time, as woepwoep puts it, do we need to take this discussion off of the Watercooler page and start a new page dedicated to finding facts and discussing alternatives? Then we (or whoever is invited) can debate the boring management details, such as breaking down mandatory costs (i.e. fixed operating expenses) necessary to keep the lights on, prioritizing discretionary costs (i.e. variable non-operating expenses) that may include a strategy for implementation of improvements, and analyzing other pertinent facts, assumptions, way-ahead options necessary to make future decisions and provide knowledgeable and informed recommendations. It might also be the time and place to restore and reinvigorate the Overview Committee to provide rational critique and objective consent rather than less-than-useful emotional expression, so that whatever comes out of this will be a group concensus rather than having all the heat on Dallan alone. --BobC 16:53, 19 May 2016 (UTC)
There is a need to do something -- and I agree with DataAnalyst -- the biggest priority is to get at least a part-time paid manager, someone who has the time and the responsibility to forestall these periodic crises that seem to be sapping morale as much as anything else. Even an Overview Committee needs to have some form of organizational structure.--GayelKnott 18:25, 19 May 2016 (UTC)
I like BobC's idea about another page, not the Watercooler, to work toward consensus. I just hope it is open and not invitation only. In either case, I can live with anything that will move us forward. --janiejac 23:14, 19 May 2016 (UTC)

Wikidata Fact [16 May 2016]

Since the beginning of this year - I have been populating appropriate Person pages with a fact defining their association with Wikidata identities (see this page). It struck me as a logical evolution of the former Biography Inclusion Project. Now, when I discover new WP page associations, I add the Wikidata fact instead of the former practices associated with biography inclusion.

I find this a better way to accomplish the goals of the Biography inclusion project actually - for a number of reasons:

  • It steers clear of the never-ending "WP as source" argument
  • Wikidata is language independent (there's only one Wikidata - for all language versions of Wikipedia)
  • The Biography inclusion project was really an implicit statement of a "Person" being known in the MediaWiki universe - an explicit Wikidata id seems more simple and direct.
  • The Wikidata fact will make it much easier to write programs that share/compare data back and forth with the MediaWiki universe.
  • GEDCOMs exported with the fact will preserve an identifier that is apt to continue to be relevant in the future
  • Other identity specifiers could be used - but Wikidata has done a great job cross referencing many of those

I've added this to something like 1600 pages with many more to go (there are potentially about 22,000 pages where this could be added).

I would like to know if the community will agree to this practice on a large scale.

--jrm03063 18:50, 12 May 2016 (UTC)

I don't agree.
In my opinion the use of wikipedia as a biography and wikipedia as a source are two different things, and so the wikipedia as a source does not impact the biography inclusion.
The biography inclusion adds information to under-developed pages as a stop-gap until the page is developed by a dedicated and knowledgeable user. The wikidata adds nothing that the moreinfo wikipedia doesn't provide, except perhaps in some small fraction of cases, language independence, and it requires one more click to get that.
I have followed some wikidata and I have yet to see one that references anything other than wikipedia. My sample size is small, maybe two dozen.
Sharing data with wikipedia is anathema to me. Their genealogy continues to be horrible. Installing data programmatically without human review is viewed likewise.
I find the appearance of the wikidata fact obtrusive amongst a bunch of textual facts. I would prefer it was confined to the bottom of a page, like category membership, if it has to be there at all.
--Jrich 19:55, 12 May 2016 (UTC)
I'm shocked.
  • I would be happy to see a better sort order applied to facts on a Person page. A date isn't sensible for facts such as "Ancestral File Number", "SSN", "DNA", "Namesake", "Nationality" and "Reference Number" (and many more in GEDCOM 5.5). Those facts (at least - when appearing without any date) should sort to the end of a Person: fact list.
  • I would be happy to see a different cosmetic implementation of the Wikidata Template if the community arrives at a consensus.
  • Plainly, GEDCOM expects reference numbers to be represented as facts - it provides an explicit tag (and GEDCOM 5.5 provides several).
  • Some Wikidata references are pretty modest, but they strike me as the exception. I invite interested parties to search the "Person" namespace with keyword "Wikidata" - set the results count to 200 per page and move beyond the first few groups of 200 to get to non-household names. After picking on a Person - click through to their Wikidata reference number. A great deal of potentially useful metadata is to be found (much more than just different language versions of WP).
  • When pages in different databases are known to refer to the same people - they can be automatically compared to check for differences. I don't immediately anticipate applications that automatically move data between WR or Wikidata. Rather, I anticipate applications that identify and report differences, intended for follow-on human review.
  • The best way to protect the WR database - is to make it useful and relevant for a wider community. We should not just look at alignment with Wikidata as a way for WR users to find other data - but ultimately - as a way for the wider MediaWiki world to find its way to WeRelate.
--jrm03063 22:17, 12 May 2016 (UTC)
While I don't know much about it yet, I'm guessing that many think that Wikidata is probably the future direction of wiki media, combining a huge knowledge base and a structure or logical cataloging of data for easier processing by a wider range of applications and formats, including easing the path for as-yet unknown future developments. When you are talking about encyclopedic information, that's one thing, but when you're talking about genealogical data, quite another.
With my 30-year experience in researching family history, I've seen genealogy programs come and go, formats and applications rise and fall, and data freely given, stolen (by individuals or by commercial ventures), compiled and redigested, then sold back to an eager public for a profit.
I went ahead and added a Wikidata reference to one individual in my family hierarchy who has a Wikimedia/Wikidata presence, and at this point don't see the benefit or the value added to the Person Page. Like Jrich, I think the barcode reference image is distracting and misplaced, and should not be placed in the chronological listing of Facts and Events. I agree that it would seem to fit better and work more logically in the Category listing at the bottom of the page, or even in the far right side of the namespace block at top under the communication app link logos.
Relating to your reference of the Biography Inclusion Project, at what point in time will WeRelate feed back corrections and improvements to Wikipedia? Really? That's pure fantasy! In all the Wikipedia pages I've viewed, never have I seen WeRelate used as a source for anything. Rightfully so, because if we are doing our job here correctly researching, citing and referencing original sources, then any source reference to WeRelate would be suspect, just like using Ancestry or MyHeritage as a primary source is almost worthless. We (and they) are, in fact, repositories not sources.
So, for our use here at WeRelate, I see potential in Wikidata referencing as an aid to structure development and creation of further automated cataloging. But that's probably it. --BobC 22:31, 12 May 2016 (UTC)
  • I'ld rather keep it as a fact - for the sake of GEDCOM conventions and output - than to keep the bar code. So I've changed it to a simple clickable number.
  • Maybe we can get some help fixing the fact sort order to move non-chronological stuff down
  • I wouldn't ever expect WP to cite WR. As others before me have observed - that wouldn't be strictly proper - since WP sources are supposed to be published.
  • The reason that I stayed with the Biography effort as long as I did - was because I didn't have a better way to establish when a WR Person corresponded with a MediaWiki biography.
  • I also agree that - in the most orthodox sense - WP can never be a genealogy source by the nature of what's supposed to be used to create a WP page. Maybe a bibliography item - but you don't even need that if you think that traversing through the Wikidata link is sufficient.
  • I agree that programs/systems/repositories rise and fall - gain/lose acceptance and so forth. I also agree that this sort of thing has been done for profit elsewhere. Those are among the excellent reasons to use the Wikidata number as a database registration hallmark. Things that can be easily done for free are not going to become someone's intellectual property.
  • The Wikidata identifier is really about making the WR database more usable by the wider world - thus more relevant - and thus more apt to survive.
--jrm03063 00:39, 13 May 2016 (UTC)
You've made some great points. I appreciate your understanding of the concept, the implementation and potential use of the Wikidata registration in standardizing and hopefully protecting the end product of our genealogical data as a public domain dedication. But I fear big A's and MH's capability to recapture, repackage, and resell the same data back to us in a commercial environment. For example, the couple of individuals in my extended family who have warranted pages in Wikipedia, I've seen far too many near-duplicate pages elsewhere on other commercial sites with almost word-for-word reproduction with only scant source credit back to Wikipedia, and in a couple cases, primary sources and references completely eliminated.
One question to you specifically. I acknowledge your expertise with pre-medieval European royalty. So, related to the points made in the Wikipedia Biography Inclusion Project, when you make independent, genealogy-related edits and family connection links to these names who also have lengthier, more complete Wikipedia pages, do you duplicate the edits and updates on WP as well, or do you expect that WP will at some point (possibly thru this WD registration) refer or synch to WR for the additional data?
Thanks for your outstanding work at making this a better community. --BobC 06:06, 13 May 2016 (UTC)
  • Genealogy is just one of the kinds of IP that gets hoovered up for commercial re-use - without appropriate source credit. I don't think there's a good way to prevent the practice. You can try to make sure that the WR presentation is good enough - and reliable enough - that it will be understood to be preferred and credible. Regular users will know the difference - but the random google search will still yield some frustrating hits.
  • As to the rather vast European Noble space - I don't really have special knowledge. I took on work with the space to try to fight off the enormous amount of duplication created by the early GEDCOM uploads. Many of the pages (for European Nobility) arising from those uploads were pathologically weak - but it was possible to find a corresponding WP biography page (or an entry in either Cawley or Lundy). Ultimately, I found the best way to fight off the duplicates in that space, was to pro-actively add pages to WR corresponding to known WP biographical figures. I would then discover WR tree fragments that aligned in the normal course of work (facilitating their de-duplications).
  • I don't duplicate much at all, from WP pages, on corresponding WR pages. Only family connections (which will appear in WP narrative) and key facts such as birth/death/battles/house of nobility.
  • Very, very rarely - do I find serious problems with WP biography pages (arguably, I'm not looking for them so I wouldn't find them). However, I do review corresponding content from Cawley and Lundy when appropriate - and have sometimes found ancestry on WP that isn't accepted in the wider community. In those cases, I may make note on the WP Page's "talk" page - flagging the issue and pointing to support on Cawley, Lundy, and/or WeRelate as appropriate. I've sent numerous messages to Darryl Lundy. In some cases he had a line or connection that has been debunked - but much more commonly - I discovered cases where he had duplicates. On occasion we have communicated with Cawley - but that's even less common (he's very, VERY good).
  • The work I'm contemplating with Wikidata and WR may eventually be of direct use to various WP language versions. Perhaps Ahnentafel charts would be generated from Wikidata - instead of painfully by hand. Wikidata already contains many ancestral connections as metadata relating different people - but the Biography Inclusion project has created a more comprehensive set of connections (readable by software) on WeRelate. So I'm interested in saving that information - latent in WeRelate - and getting it fed back to Wikidata as concrete metadata. I also expect to use Wikidata metadata to confirm WeRelate connections and note situations where connections are missing. I could go on - there are many possibilities...

--jrm03063 00:01, 15 May 2016 (UTC)

If I were in charge . . . [26 May 2016]

If eventually we are fortunate to get even a part-time paid administrator, what do we hope that person will do? Lets compile some ideas so that person will know what ideas and/or features are most important to the future growth of our community. To me it would not be housekeeping chores; it should be the creating of a collective goal and building a community spirit; bring hope again to a bunch of discouraged users. And yes, I agree that will be nigh impossible without at the same time getting some programming work done; so the admin and the programmer need to be on the same page. (BTW, I don't like the term 'user'; I would prefer 'member'!)

I just went to the Home Page to learn what could be found there (since I never enter through the home page). I clicked on volunteer and it took me to Portal:Maintenance which is NOT exactly what I had in mind. But I went ahead and clicked on ‘Help: Projects’ where I read a discussion which was posted 2009 and 2010. Looks like nothing posted since then. This is NOT conducive to encouraging folks to volunteer!!

If I’m any example of a user who doesn’t even enter via the Home Page, it is likely that the only people entering that way are folks new to the site. And folks who are new need a better introduction to the workings of the site than to throw them immediately into the Maintenance Portal! I’ve been a user since 2008. I have no idea of what an admin does. Since I was not a pro-genealogist and was completely ignorant of wiki when I became a user, I was on a learning curve, a long one. I never even wondered at the time about admins and what they do. I see now my education was sadly lacking.

“If I were in charge”. Ah! I’ll bet we could come up with a long page of suggestions of what we’d like to see done differently. I’d start with the education of our new users with an introductory page as to how the site is set up and functions. I’d make a newly created ‘introduction to admins’ page a default watch page for folks who have been active users after a certain period of time so they would gradually learn and know more about the community they have joined.

What other ideas would you suggest to a new admin leader? I hope it is not too early to think on this! Maybe we'll come up with things that the current admins will consider. --janiejac 04:58, 22 May 2016 (UTC)

Nice question! I would think that people are not random in their visits to the site. Speaking for myself, i key in the people from my home village and nearby villages. If their children are going further away, i will leave it to others to follow their trail. So my suggestion would be to continue with the forming of groups. My group would then center around my home town.

As a matter of fact, i encourage people to join me on WR. But most stay with MyHeritage because they already paid their subscription. Best regards, Ron woepwoep 09:15, 22 May 2016 (UTC)

Thanks, Janie, for starting the discussion. "If I were in charge", I'd get someone to do all the things I'm not good at -- 1) Promoting WeRelate. The competition to attract new users to a site (or members of a community) is vicious. We can't compete with the big guys, but we need to maintain a visible presence wherever we might be attractive. (Which means we have to figure out what makes WeRelate attractive -- another discussion.) That could also include making the "first encounter" of the site more appealing -- again, requiring some consensus as to who we really want to attract. 2) As you said, rebuild the sense of community among currently active members. As for programming needs, I don't think little fixes are going to make much difference, and big changes would probably be way too expensive. Gayel --GayelKnott 15:37, 23 May 2016 (UTC)

I have been in touch with Dallan and it has been agreed to restart the overview committee, one of the aims is to digest posts here to produce a consensus of what users want. Apart from the 'in line ads' most discussions ramble this way and that and he finds it difficult and time consuming to find the things that will please most people, he has asked me to lead the committee or find someone who wants to lead it. Anyone who has interest in going the committee or in leading it should contact me by email, I hope to have a basis group set up by next week.

As for a paid admin, Dallan and I do not really understand what a paid admin would bring over a volunteer admin, apart from costs. There are several admins who work more than full time on WR already, Goldenoldie for example does a great job with British places pages, DataAnalist is tirlessly working on one large gedcom upload from years ago correcting all the errors and adding sources. I am here 6 or 7 hours a day every day filling in by doing the admin tasks that nobody else seems to like. Three or four times a day I check gedcom uploads, as the first contact for many new members it is important they get swift attention, I message every uploader with advice and offer mentoring help if they seem to be in trouble. this can take a minute or 3 hours a day. I check new users contributions, offering help if they need it or thanking them if they are doing things 'our way' this also helps to catch spam posters. I check speedy delete for new additions and search for sources that would prevent deletion or after a couple of weeks I delete the lines, which can be a living person and several hundred living descendants. I spend time sorting out categories, moving occupations from the place field to the descrition field or correcting place name spelling so they match our place names. I also have been making a start on rewriting some help pages, these need to be made to look better so people might read them.

Dallan has suggested that another task for the oversight committee would be to find a way to get a few more admin volunteers, we could share the load and it wouldn't be much of a burden for any one person.

There are of course other tasks that could be done by anyone, perhaps to see if you like to carry out admin style tasks. Sources needed has several hundred pages that need at least one source, it is interesting to search outside your usual line. If you do add a source you can remove the template.--Rhian 08:19, 24 May 2016 (UTC)

Rhian, Through this latest discussion I have known who I would nominate as a volunteer admin (-in-charge?). I am so glad you have stepped forward.

For the benefit of others, Rhian and I have had numerous chats over the past few months--sometimes about a specific person or family who has found their way into WR, sometimes about how things work on the site. I always come away feeling I have had a great discussion.

Is this the place to second the nomination? --Goldenoldie 08:39, 24 May 2016 (UTC)

Yea! Hoping this Overview Committee takes off with new vigor! I envision that gathering and maintaining a consensus of wishes and wants and suggestions from all this discussion will be the leader's main job. And presenting it to everyone on an 'article' page and keeping it current. We've needed someone who is available to listen and respond to suggestions or problems. Someone with authority to speak to whatever problem comes up. Will Dallan give the new leader the authority to fix that out-of-date donation page??

I hope the new leader will create an article page for current consensus and let it be a user page that only he/she can post to so that it doesn't bog down with everyone's discussion. Have the new 'Admin Projects Page' be just the compiled summary of various projects that the admins plan to work on. If regular users have specific messages for the admins, perhaps they can be put on the 'talk' page? Or just keep discussion on the watercooler; that's what it is for!

Perhaps it would it be helpful to now-and-then put out a 'Help Wanted Sign' to ask for help with just one particular tree hoping that someone will take a notion to work on it whereas they wouldn't volunteer to 'review GEDCOMs' or 'delete duplicates' which really isn't specific enough to generate any interest. In other words 'Yes, I'll bring a casserole; but don't ask me to sign on as Cook'.

One more thing - we need to SEE the progress. I tried to suggest to Dallan that instead of just removing completed suggestions out of sight, that he advertise them by putting a line thru the text with a date completed so that we know somebody is working on it. So much of the time all we see is a list of suggestions made several years ago which sure looks like nobody is home! And that's discouraging!! So if the newly organized Committee and/or the Admins do something/anything - advertise it somehow. Maybe even a weekly email to members so that we begin to see some activity. Until now activity has all been behind the scene and unknown. --janiejac 22:21, 24 May 2016 (UTC)

I was not aware that we had regular (daily) volunteer admin support. Since that is the case, I withdraw my suggestion to have paid support. Over the last several years, people have complained about not having GEDCOMs reviewed in a timely manner, and not having concerns responded to in a timely manner, but maybe that is no longer the case. The only issue with volunteer support is making sure volunteers are not getting burned out - having more than one person (especially to cover vacation and sick time) would be a good idea. If we already have that, great.

With the restarting of the overview committee, I hope it means that the community does not rely as heavily on Dallan, and always wait for his response to things. Members of the overview committee should be able to respond even if questions are addressed to Dallan.

As for software improvements to the site, we still need those, and if we have no sense on how realistic it is to expect changes, people will become disenchanted with the site. Setting expectations and making things visible is really important, as Janie has pointed out.--DataAnalyst 02:54, 26 May 2016 (UTC)

The aim is for the community to rely on a large group of admins instead of just Dallan, one thing we do need is active admins, I do not mind doing most of the setup and working full time for some time but I do see the need for others to step up at times and share the load. Is there a list of software improvements? I have not seen one and it would help if there was a requests page perhaps.--Rhian 08:11, 26 May 2016 (UTC)

Overview Committee [26 May 2016]

The overview committee is being restarted and I am updating the committee page and have added an outline agenda for the next meeting. If you want to comment on the agenda, please edit the agenda talk page. Committee members are not yet confirmed and after a long time of not meeting there already items listed for a July meeting, the page will be updated as things progress.--Rhian 09:30, 25 May 2016 (UTC)

Update. A core committee has been formed and discussions are ongoing with other potential members. The June agenda is arranged into more of a priority list, items at the top are what seem from posts here to be most important to members.--Rhian 11:00, 26 May 2016 (UTC)
Good luck - thanks for your interest in keeping the site moving. --jrm03063 16:21, 26 May 2016 (UTC)

New Community Project [28 May 2016]

I have created a new project to help improve the quality of data on WeRelate. The shortcut to Data Quality Improvment will give you the current task for anyone to work on, as much or as little as you want.

I will change the task to another one one at irregular intervals, so everyone will find something interesting and fun to do outside their own trees.--Rhian 15:11, 25 May 2016 (UTC)

Went to 'Data Quality Improvement', nothing there. --SkippyG 15:23, 25 May 2016 (UTC)

No list on 'Sources needed' page.--SkippyG 21:12, 25 May 2016 (UTC)

Not sure why you do not get a list of pages it works for me.--Rhian 08:02, 26 May 2016 (UTC)

Got the list a few hours after I posted. Neal--SkippyG 20:40, 26 May 2016 (UTC)

Great idea, Rhian. Can you add a link to the Data Quality Improvement page on the WeRelate Maintenance page? I'm not sure if it would qualify as a "Quality Patrol", since I assume this will be more retroactive work than an active patrol, but it fits under the general concept of making WeRelate a better place.

Also, while I appreciate the concept of changing things up once in a while, I wonder if the bottom of the Data Quality Improvement page could include permanent links to opportunities such as old GEDCOMs and anything else you add to the page from time to time. As new members get settled into WeRelate, they might want to see the variety of things they can do to improve data quality. Thanks. --DataAnalyst 02:43, 26 May 2016 (UTC)

My intention was to add a list like you suggest at the bottom, so it would grow into a link page for lots of volunteer opportunities, but starting small would not put people off as it looked to complicated.
The page is listed as a community project on the community page, I thought it sat there better than under maintenance, but I will add it there as well.--Rhian 08:02, 26 May 2016 (UTC)
Rhian, I went to the Quality Improvement Page, watched it, then noticed there are no categories at the bottom of the page to navigate forward or back. Shouldn't this new page be linked to something? I think part of our problem is that we are researchers; we'd rather research than build a website. But it's not going to grow without structure and it looks like any future build is up to us. BTW, I think we need TWO suggestion pages. We already have a WeRelate:Suggestions for suggested improvements in the software but I believe you will be compiling a list of suggestions that have nothing to do with software and everything to do with how we function as a community. --janiejac 23:45, 27 May 2016 (UTC)

There may have been other good results from this project but Thomas Thompson stood out janiejac started work and when a problem arose Jrich stepped in to help, they collaborated to make a real improvement to a page with details that will help connected pages. Thank you both, and anyone else who is adding sources.--Rhian 14:05, 27 May 2016 (UTC)

Questions and Comments [3 June 2016]

In following the conversations, I can only contribute as a fairly new user. Questions I have are: • What does the organizational chart look like? • How is the website supported, funded? • What is its relationship to Allen County Library? My experience/comments are: • I needed a site where I could preserve years of family research, and, equally important, as a place for family members to learn about the family history in a clear way. • I selected this site because it seemed to be serious, wanting to attract users who were careful with their research and citations. I also liked the one-tree concept, and the fact that other family members are encouraged to contribute. I like the individual person page that gives the person’s history in one view. Would like to see direction to the family page and tree more noticeable on the person page. • I send very short ‘how to’ instructions to family members and so far no one has had a problem using the site as read only. A side comment: I understand that some want citations to be complete, with all details, but for the casual family member, I think that looks like too much fine print and make the source harder to understand. • I found using the site challenging at first, and even yet. (I still enter through the home page, not realizing there was an alternate way.) I’m a manual reader. The personal genealogy programs I’ve used have had good manuals and supporting reference books. To me, that is a significant weakness for WR in attracting new users. It’s not a real user-friendly site. How-to information feels patch-worked and located in several places. • From a marketing point of view. I first learned about WR through the Allen Library monthly letter. Most people I’ve told about it have never heard of it. Again, thanks for all you do, and for the active discussions to make this site outstanding.--Diane Hosler 19:04, 27 May 2016 (UTC)

Welcome Diane, many of the questions you raise are currently being discussed by the overview committee. The original committee ceased functioning about 2 years ago and WeRelate has floundered a bit since then. There is no organisational chart, the site was initially funded by Dallan and is now funded solely bt advertising and donations. I am not aware of any official connection with Allen County Library.
We all hope this will be a site preserved for years, many researchers are using it as you do, and linking into other trees is a bonus. There are discussions about software improvments and requests like yours do help build a consensus. Perhaps a sample of what you consider good sources and complicated ones would help.
I fully agree that the site can be difficult to understand, especially for people with no wiki editing experience. Your points about help pages is a known concern, the overview committee are discussing a plan to update all the help pages, some pages are already in draft form, you can expect to see improves coming online throgh the summer.
Perhaps you would like to consider becoming an administrator? A couple hours a week working on admin tasks would help make WeRelate a better place. Message or email me direct if you want to discuss possabilities.--Rhian 07:52, 28 May 2016 (UTC)

I came to this site looking for a place where I could get my work reviewed and, when necessary, corrected. I am interested in attracting other users that do the type of research capable of providing those corrections. I am not a professional genealogist (what professional would give away their research?), but I have been researching my family for over 20 years. Needless to say, I don't want people simply saying no, you are wrong, the correct value is such-and-such. I want them to tell me how they figured out the right value, and what I missed. Hence, the only thing of real value is the citation of sources.
Most websites can preserve one's family tree (as long as you pay the annual subscription) and people can come read it without much trouble. Personally, I make CDs containing linked webpages generated from my GEDCOM and give them to various family members at periodic intervals, so the work is available to the people most likely to be interested, and hoping they will pass it down until another serious researcher pops up in the family. But I can't help getting a feeling that each generation is redoing the same work. Why? Because we get given dates and names, but have to rediscover why those dates and names belong in our family tree. Instead, we need to preserve the proof as well, the sources, so future researchers can start from where we left off, and not simply redo all our research.
What makes WeRelate unique is that people doing research in different areas of the county, using different sources, can add information to our contributions. One case I read about, the best estimate for a person's death date came from the neighbor's deed, which listed the bounding land as belonging to the heirs of that person. As a researcher of that person, I probably never would have looked at the neighbor's deeds, but descendants of the neighbor would. Collaboration allows access to sources one might not have considered, or might not have access to.
The single tree forces people to reconcile their facts with the research of others. Anticipating that there will be discrepancies at times, clearly the thing to do is document where the data came from, i.e., provide source citations. Simply saying there are two different values gives no information that might allow them to be compared and assessed for validity. And I do not presume to change others' work simply because I haven't seen such information, or have different information. I try to understand why they believe in data that I think is wrong. This is very difficult to do if they don't provide source citations. And I support my changes with sources so that readers can see there is reason to believe the change is correct.
Who hasn't sent an email to a website explaining that they had an error, and gotten no response? One website claiming to have all people of a surname in the United States once responded to an email about an error by removing the individual in question altogether. The error was not that his surname changed! Usually, however, nothing happens, and the wrong data continues to sit there, misinforming who-knows-how-many readers. At WeRelate, no page is owned by any single person, so as long as one takes the responsibility of due diligence, errors can be corrected, probably helping others by providing unknown information, and contributing to a shared collection of quality genealogical data. But the authority for such changes resides not in the poster, who is essentially some anonymous Internet user, but in the source citations that they posted to support the correction.
Source citations are *the* important part of this website. --Jrich 14:44, 28 May 2016 (UTC)

Diane, as Rhian said, the site is funded by donations and advertising. The computer server costs are apparently easily covered by this, but there hasn't been much to pay for people, e.g. for paid developers to work on improving the site. A funding push last year did manage to put enough together to have a number of (smallish) improvements made. Most things depend on volunteers, and that naturally has limited the amount of site improvements accomplished. (This is a wiki, however, so some aspects of the site, such as 'help' pages, can be improved by volunteers with just a bit of editing experience.) --robert.shaw 19:24, 28 May 2016 (UTC)

Thank you for all the responses, so quickly. And for the new home page. Jrich expressed well why some of us use WeRelate. It's exciting to be part of an organization where so many respond to program challenges and improvements.--Diane Hosler 01:14, 2 June 2016 (UTC)

Thank you for all the responses, so quickly. And for the new home page. Jrich expressed well why some of us use WeRelate. It's exciting to be part of an organization where so many respond to program challenges and improvements.--Diane Hosler 01:15, 2 June 2016 (UTC)

I have checked the name WUNDERSITZ and find that the death of JOHANN FRIEDRICH CARL WUNDERSITZ (also JOHN FRED CHARLES) has been entered in some of the Sources as 3 March 1866 - I have his death certificate and details from headstone and this date should be 1886. Hope this can be rectified before it reaches to many family trees. Thank you, Jann--Jannwalker 02:27, 3 June 2016 (UTC)

Jan, your comment has been copied to the Talk page for Person talk:Carl Wundersitz (1) where it can be seen by the person who originally posted the information, and the date has been changed based on rechecking those sources readily available on-line. --GayelKnott 14:49, 3 June 2016 (UTC)

Royalty for Commoners [30 May 2016]

Does anyone have any comments about the use as a source of Royalty for commoners: the complete known lineage of John of Gaunt (4th ed.) Son of Edward III, King of England, and Queen Phillippa. Author Stuart, Roderick W.

There is a WR souce page for the book but no indication of the quality of data.--Rhian 12:55, 29 May 2016 (UTC)

By trying to exhaust the biographical content of WP - I think I wound up covering a lot of that ground. I encountered WR pages that cited that source in passing but that's about all. --jrm03063 15:03, 29 May 2016 (UTC)
This Amazon review sums it up well:
"In my title I almost said "remarkably bad genealogical scholarship," but anyone familiar with the previous editions of this book will recognise that it would be inaccurate to associate the word "scholarship" with this book.

All of the serious flaws present in the earlier editions remain in this book: rampant spelling and transcription errors, erroneous and misleading bibliographical entries, and the presentation of purely conjectural genealogical theories as though they were a part of "the complete known ancestry of John of Gaunt." These kinds of embarassing errors are found repeatedly on every single page of this book. Due to the great amount of inaccuracy and genealogical nonsense, anyone seriously interested in royal medieval genealogy would do well to steer clear of this book."


AndrewRT 20:06, 29 May 2016 (UTC)

Thanks for the feedback, there are a lot a pages quoting it as a source, some claiming primary or secondary quality, I can correct them as I come across them. Or better yet add reliable citations from trusted sources.--Rhian 08:43, 30 May 2016 (UTC)

New genealogy puzzle for US Memorial Day [30 May 2016]

I have a new contest for Memorial Day. Go to front page and look in lower right corner. Even though a lot of the contests may seem USA-centric, this one, for example, has links back to Germany and opens up just one of the cross-cultural aspects of genealogy - Germans who immigrated to the US and their children or grandchildren who fought against Germany in the war. Did the children try to hide their heritage or just down-play it? In my own family, we have a bit of an ambiguous surname and I think that my grandfather may have said "oh, yeah, we are French" when in fact we came to America from Germany in the 1700s. Or maybe he didn't know. He was in WWI. He actually never left America. But he was drafted. Does anyone happen to know about any books written on this subject? German-Americans fighting against the Germans in the World Wars. I have always been curious. --cthrnvl 14:03, 30 May 2016 (UTC)

Allen County Public Library [29 June 2016]

Initially there was an informal arrangement with Allen County Public Library, they offered help and guidance to WR and members.

Allen County Public Library went through some budget cuts many years ago. They have not had any involvement since. We haven't removed their name from the website, I does have some research guidance pages, but perhaps we should remove the link?

Also, we haven't met with the advisory board for several years either; the Overview Committee took over that role, which is probably more appropriate since the OC is made up of frequent contributors. --Rhian 07:40, 4 June 2016 (UTC)

Since Allen County Public Library has no involvement with WeRelate now, I think we ought at least to re-phrase the sentence at the bottom of our Home Page and any other places where they are mentioned. People are still joining WeRelate because they think it is part of the Allen County Public Library. We ought not to delude them. On the other hand there are places in WeRelate where we ought to give credit for the Libray's early assistance.--Goldenoldie 10:04, 4 June 2016 (UTC)

Ofcourse it is possible for two parties to do their own thing and not communicate. But more often than not, if two parties communicate first and then act, new opportunities arise. Especially when there was a bond in the past. Goodwill is like wine, when not touched the aging process makes it better.

I don't live around, but my suggestion would be to meet with the board and not propose a solution, but to propose the question without any needed feeling of solving this alone nor with the intention to wait for someone else to solve it. A meeting with a friend, someone who listens and by speaking one can sometimes find the solution. Without this friend listening there would be no speaking, thus no solution found.

My 2 cents, Ron woepwoep 10:15, 4 June 2016 (UTC)

I updated the home page to show there was a cooperation in the past, the link is there still as they have useful help pages, especially for new genealogists.
Ron, I think due to their budget cuts there may not be an advisory board to meet. We are just trying to clarify that while we worked together in the past there is no formal connection between WR and them, and some members think WR is part of the Allen County Public Library. [ --Rhian 11:40, 4 June 2016 ]
yes i agree this needs to be sorted out. My point is that there is a mutual statement to be made. If the other organization does no longer exist, then that is a different situation. Thx R woepwoep 12:39, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
It's disappointing to hear that the association with Allen County may have withered. If that isn't able to be rekindled - why not approach other genealogy libraries? Even if the library is only operating in an advisory role - perhaps contributing a member to the overview committee - it gives WR some credibility. --jrm03063 16:11, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
I think you'll find it's very difficult to find a major public library system these days that ISN'T undergoing budget cutbacks to their genealogy collection. I'm retired but I'm still plugged into the genealogy librarians' grapevine, and things are very, very tough all over. Genealogy, unfortunately, doesn't rank very high in budget priorities when users are demanding expanded "youth centers" and more public-access computers and whatnot. I know of several large, well-known genealogy collections that have been entirely stripped of dedicated staff and had their materials budgets cut to the bone. Frankly, I'm glad I'm retired. . . . --MikeTalk 23:11, 11 June 2016 (UTC)
Has anybody talked to Allen County Public Library, or contacted them in any way? Their website still says their Genealogy Research Centre "collaborates with" WeRelate. One of the few places that actually "advertises" WR --GayelKnott 19:09, 4 June 2016 (UTC)
I reached out to them a few days ago. Am waiting to hear back. I will report when I do. I'm afraid Mike is right though.--Dallan 02:36, 12 June 2016 (UTC)

I have been re-familiarizing myself with many older pages and came upon this one which I had forgotten about, Repository:Allen County Public Library, Fort Wayne, Indiana. I thought I would post it here in case others have also forgotten or don't know the history and to demonstrate what this relationship once was and why it is valuable. I don't know exactly what the nature of the partnership was before vs. now (perhaps Dallan can explain), but I don't think that their budget cuts have to mean that we can no longer "partner" with them in some way. I agree with the others who stated that affiliation with them lends credibility to our site which is very valuable in attracting serious members. Unless they insist on it, I do not agree with the decision to remove the partnership from our pages. --cos1776 18:13, 12 June 2016 (UTC)

I didn't get a response to my email, but I'm planning to go to FGS in August. I will try to connect the someone from the ACPL while I'm there to see what our relationship should be going forward.--Dallan 04:41, 30 June 2016 (UTC)

Great News on the WeRelate facebook page! [9 June 2016]

A significant target was reached last week. DataAnalyst updated the Main page as we reached 3,750,000 person pages. I just promoted this on our facebook page, could any members who know anything about other social media sites repost to spread the word.

I intend to post things on facebook more often, at least once a week. While there are less than 400 likes of our page there are more people there than active users here each week, so maybe we will get more activity here as people see we are still growing.--Rhian 08:10, 8 June 2016 (UTC)

I looked yesterday and got 2,752,253 person pages! Have I been doing it wrong all these years?--HLJ411 14:36, 8 June 2016 (UTC)

I was wondering too - we've been at about 2.7M for quite a while - which doesn't strike me as particularly bad... --jrm03063 16:28, 8 June 2016 (UTC)
I suspect that larger number may be a combination of Person pages (2.75M) and Family pages (1.02M). --BobC 18:28, 8 June 2016 (UTC)
The main page edited by DataAnalyst says we reached 2,750,000 and the FB post says "WeRelate has reached 3.75 million pages for people! With about 500 more being added each day we should reach the next target, 3 Million, soon." Looks like the 3,750,000 is a typo. --Jennifer (JBS66) 18:50, 8 June 2016 (UTC)

Typo corrected to 2.75--Rhian 08:06, 9 June 2016 (UTC)

I think we're all troubled that the gross number of person pages isn't a great measure - it certainly doesn't show well against sites that aren't attempting to create a unique tree. What about averages per Person page for:

  • users watching
  • total edits
  • total facts
  • total references
  • total facts attached to references

--jrm03063 13:45, 9 June 2016 (UTC)

On the basis that all publicity is good publicity, and with genealogy even an obituary is good, the OC is intending to push more news items onto social media, and anyone familiar with twaating or splattering what ever they are called is free to repost any news on the facebook page.
The suggested items to post about sound good but as at least half the people pages are fact deserts these numbers might compare even less favourably with other sites, extracting data like pages that have sources added per day might be interesting.--Rhian 14:32, 9 June 2016 (UTC)
Keeping things simple on an external promo page like the Facebook page is advisable, but having something (besides number of persons) that shows our emphasis would be good. If we know (or could know) the total number of source citations given across all persons and families, that statistic might communicate something of our intent to have reliable, documented family history. --robert.shaw 18:16, 9 June 2016 (UTC)
While I agree that person numbers and page counts are somewhat effective promotional draws for prospective new users and an interesting internal gauge for experienced WR-users, I too think that counting up Person Pages alone tells very little in comparison with other genealogy sites, because WeRelate ideally is a living and growing community tree (probably 99% unique names, many with shared contributors, and many pages watched by multiple users), versus sites like RootsWeb's WorldConnect Project that advertises an accumulation of 640 million names (but which contains mostly stagnant pages reflecting research done up to a single point in time when contributed, probably only about 75% unique names and therefore having many duplicates, owned by single users, with little ability for others to provide input except for messaging).
So, yes, it's an interesting number to watch over various time spans because it reflects growth and activity, but does little to reflect the quality and interconnectedness between supporting details, such as associated events, sources used and references cited. I would like to see those numbers and stats mentioned by James, but only if that could be calculated automatically within the program itself rather than by someone manually number-crunching those details every month (especially if that ate up valuable monetary resources). --BobC 19:48, 9 June 2016 (UTC)
On any particular day you can find out how many person pages we have by clicking here and noting the number on the top right. The number of person pages with at least one source is shown here. I have compiled a graph of person pages over time here. In the last three months there have been a net increase of 2,060 pages - an all-time low of 23 per day. AndrewRT 20:11, 9 June 2016 (UTC)

Double commas [10 June 2016]

Just a curiosity. Why do so many of our users present places in which there are two commas and no place in between the commas? Sometimes there is a blank space between the commas, sometimes there is no space at all. --Goldenoldie 18:47, 8 June 2016 (UTC)

In some genealogy programs I've used (including the Ancestry app), two commas seem to denote unknown mid-level geographical placenames, such as county (e.g. "Harlingen, , Texas, United States" with the county name of Cameron missing), or unknown Kreis in Germanic countries (e.g. "Dammwald, Siedlec,, Posen, Preußen, Germany"). This usually seems to come from GEDCOM imports where people may not have taken the time to look up the county or province or can't figure it out because of border changes over the years. I remember earlier versions of Personal Ancestry File (PAF) were famous for starting this in their effort to standardize geographical placename listings (i.e. to differential between a city and a county with the same name, such as "Los Angeles,, California" to specifically refer to the city, and " , Los Angeles, California" for the county designation with unknown town or city).
There may be other reasons as well, but if you note them, please feel free to try to correct or make them complete placenames. --BobC 19:28, 8 June 2016 (UTC)
This is what I suspected, but I thought it was worth checking with the wider community. It's a point (one of many) we should take up with new users when they provide GEDCOMs. Well-presented genealogy is what we are looking for in WeRelate. Correcting the double commas scattered all over our database is a giant undertaking, particularly in dealing with European entries. --Goldenoldie 06:36, 10 June 2016 (UTC)
No, it shouldn't be a giant undertaking - it would be quite simple to do it with a bot. AndrewRT 20:56, 10 June 2016 (UTC)

Source Linking [16 June 2016]

I am planning a disambiguation page on the various Jacksons of Stafford & Prince William, Virginia. Since most of the court records of these counties were destroyed in the Civil War, the descendants are not readily determined via Will. Land records have been helpful but need some interpretation detail to figure out the relationships. A friend and I have transcribed actual full deeds and some wills and have posted them on google drive where we both could work on them. Now when I prepare the disambiguation page, will it be better to copy those records over to WeRelate articles or maybe I should abstract them on the disambiguation page instead of linking to the full deed at google drive?? --janiejac 16:52, 13 June 2016 (UTC)

Is there a reason to prefer using google over WeRelate? If they were here - you could link both ways (person -> transcript and transcript -> person)... --jrm03063 18:06, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
The deeds were transcribed several years ago when images of the copies were posted there so both of us could help transcribe them; especially as some were barely legible. Google docs was the only way we knew to share them at the time. The transcriptions should be easy enough to copy and post on WeRelate. My concern was that I may need up to 15 of them to verify relationships and I didn't know if that was too much to add since it concerns just mainly one family line. The deeds are very wordy; would you suggest I abstract them? If anybody was interested enough to try deed-mapper on them, they would need the whole description. Neither my buddy nor I felt capable of using deed-mapper :(
None of that sounds all that frightening. Transcriptions are really tiny compared to images. I definitely wouldn't abstract them if you've gone to the trouble to create complete transcriptions. --jrm03063 19:23, 13 June 2016 (UTC)
Thanks!! Now to figure the best way to present this! --janiejac 00:29, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
Wills have a source and a single will should not be a source unto itself. What is the source where the transcriptions made from? That is what should be cited. Deeds also. If you rented a film, most of those were pre-entered into the Source namespace from the Family History Library catalog. Put the film number in the keyword field and search for a Source using that criteria, and it should tell you the source pages to cite. MySource would be appropriate if you have an original document that was never recorded.
If you want to keep the transcriptions in a group, instead of putting them on the page of the Person to whom they belong, it would be reasonable, I think, to create an Article, or use the Transcript name space, and link to that. But the source would still be the source the transcriptions were made from. --Jrich 02:25, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
  • I'm not going to engage a back and forth on this, beyond asserting that Jrich's advice isn't entirely consistent with guidance I've received over the years. The examples I offered above were satisfactory to the community - at least at the time I last worked on them.
  • The important thing here is to get your work out there for both safe keeping and use by the wider world. Presentation details can be revisited and refined at leisure. --jrm03063 13:07, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
Thank you both for the ideas and examples. AND the encouragement to work on this! I can see this project will probably be "under construction" for awhile! No, we didn't work from film. Don Wilson, a volunteer at RELIC made large copies of the original docs and mailed them to User:JackMc who mailed half of them to me and we each posted them to google docs so we could help each other with the transcriptions. Now I find that my conclusions differ from published unsourced genealogy so I figured I should post what I can and try to prove either the published record or my conclusions. We'll see if that can be accomplished. I thought it should be posted as a disambiguation page because so many are named Samuel, Francis or John and it can be difficult to note which man is being referenced. I started the page last night here: Disambiguation. Jacksons of Stafford and Prince William, Virginia if interested in checking the (slow) progress now and then.
Meaning if somebody wanted to see the wills for themselves, they would probably use the sources Source:Prince William, Virginia, United States. General Index to Wills, 1734-1951; Wills, Inventories and Accounts, 1734- 1872, and Source:Stafford, Virginia, United States. Will Book, 1865-1929 ; General Index to Wills. Assuming he copied documents at the respective courthouses. Or maybe those copies were even made from the films (most Family History Centers or libraries with film collections have equipment to print images from films, but also particularly easy to make copies using a digital cameras: some have a whiteboard mode that is great at sharpening up the image)? --Jrich 16:56, 14 June 2016 (UTC)
Actually, IMHO, original Wills, as primary documents, are sources unto themselves. They would be housed or located in a physical repository (such as a courthouse or library) or scanned and hosted on an on-line repository. (See the Portal pages for both Sources and Repositories for the definition and use of both.) --BobC 13:04, 16 June 2016 (UTC)
I have read thousand of wills and thousands minus one have been on a film, or digitized film. The one was an accident of opportunity, and probably could have been read on film if I had looked. The film is not a repository. The philosophy of the WeRelate Source system seems to be to minimize the number of Source pages sources that describe essentially equivalent sources, so that discussion of the Source can be centralized in one location, to the benefit of all users of that information. Hence it doesn't matter if you view a census record on Ancestry, Family Search, Heritage Quest, a film at the library, it is cited as the same source. So by that thinking, even if you actually go to the courthouse to read the will, if a source has been defined that already describes the collection of wills available at the Courthouse, a new source would not be created. I am pretty sure this violates one or many rules in the 885 pages of Evidence Explained but it seems like this has been the intent of the Source Page design throughout the time I have been at WeRelate.
You could add the repository to the Source page for the courthouse, but I think in general, Repositories are mostly used for online sources, since naming a specific physical location across the country from many of the interested users is pretty useless compared to an online location. --Jrich 14:23, 16 June 2016 (UTC)

Merging Question [16 Jun 2016]

Now I'm in trouble (again). I've created a person page and find that I had created a page for this person back in 2011! If I compare pages and ask the system to combine them, what happens to the links in the text in the two pages? Are the links in the 'dropped' page broken and need to be rewritten? And what about the text itself? Will the merged page then have all the text of both pages and will need to be edited to remove the duplicate info? What a mess! It also happens one of the person pages has children from a unknown first wife and the duplicate person page has children from a second marriage. Greater mess! I think I'm in over my head. --janiejac 19:16, 16 June 2016 (UTC)

Not to worry. During the merging process, there will be check boxes next to most of the information on both pages, allowing you to pick and choose what you would like to have included. You can also clean up the merged page after the process if you missed something. The existing links in text will not be broken - they will be redirected to the newly merged page. As far as the 2 marriages, I would have to take a look to advise you of the best way to handle it, but Family Pages can be merged in the same way. Would you like me to help you through it? If so, please provide a link and we can move over there to that page to work on it. Best Wishes, --cos1776 19:30, 16 June 2016 (UTC)

Communication [21 June 2016]

Dallan posted this to the suggestion page back in 2011: "I've also been thinking that maybe a monthly email to every user might be beneficial. It could include a summary of pages that have been changed by others but the user hasn't visited yet, warnings, duplicates, general news and new features that have been added to the website, and whatever else we can think of to encourage people to revisit the website.--Dallan 22:47, 5 December 2011 (EST)"

As far as I know, it was never implemented. Is it even possible to get that info? Could it still be done? Who would have access to that info and authority to do this? Are there any new features to talk about?? He also said earlier this year (on his talk page) "I'll think about a new fundraiser. We need to find out if there's enough interest.--Dallan 23:29, 2 May 2016 (UTC)"

But that hasn't happened yet. Would it help if we did the survey? Would Dallan be willing to give someone else authority to hire a developer or would he be willing to do it himself? The improvements from last year are very helpful but there are suggestions from 2011 and 2012 still not done and I know this lack of continuing improvement is discouraging to users. If it takes a fund raiser a year, I'll buy into that just to see this site be a vibrant, growing site. --janiejac 01:51, 22 June 2016 (UTC)

Hi, Janie. I would suggest that you take a look at (and watch) the Overview Committee page. Things are happening, but it looks like it is taking a while to reboot after the hiatus of an active overview committee. I agree that we need to get some more development going soon (paid and/or volunteer), but I am willing to give the overview committee a bit of time to get on their feet again, especially with summer upon us (where I live, we need to appreciate every minute we can spend outside during our short summer :) ).--DataAnalyst 02:16, 22 June 2016 (UTC)

Crowdsourcing the family tree of Elizabeth Warren [27 jul 2016]

Yes, I went there. I've put a link to my blog post about how to work together to learn about the genealogy of US Senator Elizabeth Warren on the front page of WeRelate. (Look on the lower right side.) This is my effort to generate new members for WeRelate by getting people interested in a subject. I hope you join in - this one should be interesting! --cthrnvl 15:47, 4 July 2016 (UTC)

I'll join in by removing your link. In my opinion a link to an external website is inappropriate and much too much like stealing advertising space. Further, such a project should cover all candidates. --Jrich 16:16, 4 July 2016 (UTC)

Jrich I linked directly to my blog to save time since I have about 5 extra minutes a day to spend on things like this because I am the full time, only, caretaker of my partner who is paralyzed from a stroke. Thanks for asking! And the reason I blog is not because anyone reads my blog, they don't, but I have 9.5 thousand Pinterest followers. so I blog and then pin it in hopes that I can get more users of WeRelate. I thought that was our goal.--cthrnvl 01:07, 27 July 2016 (UTC)

wow ! how do you play these numbers? i have 18k+ connections on linkedin if that helps? thx Ron (woepwoep on just about every social media site) woepwoep 05:04, 27 July 2016 (UTC)
cthrnvl's link has been there for a long time, and has always had just one person, usually a person who has been in the news recently. Elizabeth Warren's family history has become an issue recently. Why not let genealogists try to sort it out, rather than leave it to politicians? And why does everything have to be so negative? Gayel --GayelKnott 18:14, 4 July 2016 (UTC)

I see no harm in researching Ms. Warren's ancestry. And by the way, Elizabeth Warren isn't a vice-presidential candidate yet. If and when that happens, we can give equal time to the opposition {;>) Neal--SkippyG 19:04, 4 July 2016 (UTC)

I do think that there should be an obvious way to get from the homepage to her person page here on WR (which is allowed to exist since she is an exempt well-known person). (Maybe the word "crowdsourcing" could point to the crowdsource project page and then "Elizabeth Warren" could point to her page.) (n.b. her parents do not qualify as well-known persons, so if living, they should not have WR pages.) --pkeegstra 19:49, 4 July 2016 (UTC)

that's very helpful and I will use a new format from now on. --cthrnvl 01:07, 27 July 2016 (UTC)

Creating a Bot [15 July 2016]

I'm interested in creating a bot that works a bit like what we currently have for Wikipedia. While I know WHAT that bot does pretty well - I'm weak on the specifics of how to get it done.

Would like to hear from someone who can help.... Thanks!

--jrm03063 17:26, 15 July 2016 (UTC)

Removing Derivative ("Secondary") Source citations [21 July 2016]

In the highly commendable effort to improve the quality of information found on WeRelate pages, there apparently is a move afoot to remove source citations that reference someone else's tree rather than an actual source. This action is understandable when the actual (i.e., original) source is cited on the page, although some researchers may want to maintain the derivative source (the reference to another tree) as a measure of respect for another researcher's work. (In this time period, when the human attention span seems to be atrophying rapidly, probably irrelevant.)

However, removing a derivative source, however bad it may be, when no other source is attached, does other researchers a major disservice. It may also be based on a misunderstanding of the rationale for source citations.

The first, and most important, reason for citing a source is to try to keep us honest -- or more formally, the Principle of Replicability. If another researcher can get the same results you got by following the same research procedure you followed (i.e., go to the same resource you cited), then you are being honest in your reporting. Whether or not the source you are citing is wrong is a different issue, and needs to be addressed through discussion and/or explanation, not deletion.

The second reason for source citations is that they are a form of communication between researchers. A reasonably structured source citation will not only tell other researchers how to find the specific source being cited, but will also give some indication of it's quality. If the source citation is "cousin Suzy's gedcom", or "Ancestry Trees", or whatever, then it's a huge red flag that this is not a reliable source, and this is something that other researchers need to see. If having it on a page without other sources bothers you, then you can always flag the source in any number of ways -- rate it as questionable, add a red flag symbol, add the Citations Needed 1 template, or simply provide your own comment.

Please, do not remove these derivate sources unless you are willing to replace them with original sources yourself. If this apparent tendency to remove them without replacement in the name of quality control becomes widespread, it seems to me that it puts WeRelate in the position not only of snobbish puritanicalism, but also works to shut down potential collaboration. Quite frankly, when I get to adding information on the mother-in-law of a mother-in-law, I'm quite willing to rely on derivate sources, with the hope, since this is a wiki site, that someone with more information and a greater concern will add more/better information. (There are other reasons for adding individuals based on derivative sources, that's just one.) If people are going to go around stripping those pages of source citations, then there really is no incentive to add them in the first place. And if other people also stop adding these speculative individuals, then I'm losing the possibility/opportunity of finding connections I probably would not have found otherwise.

I understand and appreciate the concern and effort of many WeRelate contributors to improving data quality, but it seems to me that it really needs to be more balanced, more nuanced, than simply deleting derivative sources.

My apologies for what may seem to some to be a rant, but I think we need to all be clear about the WeRelate policy here. Gayel--GayelKnott 19:46, 18 July 2016 (UTC)

I don't recall an articulated policy - but I do recall that we had a practice of leaving that sort of thing unless someone was going to actually replace it with better content.
Still - if someone was trying to remove worthless/pathologically weak sources of a given type - it might be easiest to start at source/mysource page - then work through all the person pages found to link there. They may not want to remove the originating mysource/source until everything it pointed to was removed.
On the other hand - it might be better to NOT try to clean up that kind of page content by hand. Maybe the better approach here would be to collect together the weak sources/mysources - then we put together a bot to work back through all the sources/mysources thus designated - handling the removals more safely and systematically?  ???
--jrm03063 20:11, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
Before we get too excited about arbitrarily removing family trees as sources, from what I understand as a member of the OC, we are discussing the possibility of removing the Quality selection field in the Source Citations listing of Person & Family pages while in edit mode (among other minor improvements). There apparently are many pages with multiple uses of the same source citation for events and facts listed on Person & Family pages, and that seems to be part of the problem (e.g. listing a death record as a primary source for death and burial, and a secondary or questionable source for birth of the individual and the residence for the parents as examples), among other reasons unknown to me. The Quality field in source citation area for events for many persons and families are not used at all. So we have discussed removing that field (encouraging users to add their own freeform quality citation in Notes), and adding possibly one or two other fields (like two date fields, one for the actual date of source creation and a separate date field reflecting the accession or retrieval date the user found or entered the source data in WeRelate).
I too am against removing the ability of using family trees of people in other website or in printed form as sources (as long as they are identified appropriately as derivative, questionable, unreliable, discredited, or negative). There are many good family trees out there (published and on-line) that can and should be used as sources of data, especially in the discovery stage; on the other hand, there is a lot of junk genealogy out there that should be appropriately identified as such. In many cases, family trees are a starting point, containing information that should be improved upon and researched further to verify the data or substantiate errors in the data. I am against removing sources once used as well, but identifying them accurately for what they are and for the quality of the information they contain. Even identifying, citing and qualifying junk genealogy in source citations helps future researchers in their own research.
Hope that clarifies the matter (from what I understand). If others can contribute further information, please add it. I am certainly not the final word, and you may be privy to conversations and talk in other pages that I am not watching. --BobC 21:08, 18 July 2016 (UTC)
Why don't genealogists use the simple terms 'primary source' and 'secondary source'?
The experience level at WeRelate varies too much to expect any consistent identification of source quality. Some people use primary because it was their chief source of information, etc. More upfront statement of standards desired by posters, some considered required, others desired as goals, is needed plus more emphasis on giving users feedback when they violate those. For example, it might be nice if when certain Source Pages were flagged, use of those sources would create a popup that says "This source is generally unreliable. Can you provide a better alternative source? For more information see here." Same type of mechanism when pages are saved that have no sources (or perhaps even if any single fact on the page has no source), or no location, or no date. This might actually solve some of the problem before hand instead of having problems later. Plus educate users from people that don't realize into useful contributors.
In general, fixing these problems (the right way, meaning providing the documentation the original poster didn't) can take hours, if possible at all. So the extent that these problems can be avoided, that is obviously better than fixing them later. But formulaic approaches such as simply deleting all of this source or all of that source disrespect the small percentage of those that are valuable. (If that approach is desired, it would be far more consistent, impersonal, and effective to use a bot, anyways.) But bottom line, if you can change a page without consulting a source, you probably aren't really making an important or necessary change that couldn't wait for a better informed or more interested editor to come along. --Jrich 00:01, 19 July 2016
The information in the link you posted above illustrates specifically why the Quality field in the Source Citation function is not adequate. I understand the intent of the existing Quality field, but it does not follow or support the Genealogical Proof Standard. As formatted now, it is an incomplete analysis element in assessing a source's quality as evidence for most any fact event listed. In an ideal environment, I would rather see the source Quality determination expanded rather than eliminated; I would like to see a more detailed analysis for each source that would include the SOURCE TYPE (Original, Derivative, Authored), the INFORMATION DATA that makes up the source (Primary, Secondary, Tertiary, Undetermined), and EVIDENCE QUALITY reflecting the relevancy of the source to the fact event (Direct, Indirect, Negative).
Unfortunately there seems to be little interest in adding those elements here in WeRelate as separate additional fields to the source citation block. If the present Quality field is not being used (or is being used incorrectly as stated by Jrich above), then would expanding the quality analysis into three fields provide any better or more accurate information? For those of us who want to cite that evidence analysis (i.e. Quality) features, we can do that using the Notes feature to each source citation. And if another researcher analyzes a source differently, then they can add another Note to reflect their own analysis.
That's my point of view. --BobC 12:24, 19 July 2016 (UTC)
Thanks, Bob, for your input. I'm one of an obvious minority who actually likes having a quality selection box for sources, since many of the source citations used at WeRelate are not structured in way that allows them to be read for quality. The biggest problem I have is that the terminology is incorrect, but I can still use the existing terminology to tell me, when I go back and look at something I did several years ago, what kind of source I was using without having to chase it down for another look. I've argued before that the source quality terminology should be changed to reflect currently accepted usage (Original, Derivative, Authored), but that doesn't seem to go over well. As for adding fields for information quality, that would have to be done for each event/relationship, rather than for the source, and even I'm willing to concede that's probably not going to work, for a whole lot of reasons. I could live with your suggestion of putting a quality notation somewhere in the text box for the source, but I also see wiki sites as potential educational opportunities. I know I've learned a lot from using a wiki (actually, I use three.) Getting people to recognize and deal with the difference in source quality would be one potential benefit of retaining some form of quality statement.
I like the idea of having both a Date of Record and a Date Accessed (for web sites). I'm not so sure about adding "link" to the Vol/Pg box -- I tend to add links wherever it seems appropriate to me. If the link is quite long, I usually format it in the Text box, preview, and then copy/cut and paste.
I'm not sure how practical Jrich's suggestion for a PopUp box for some sources is, but if it could be implemented, it might be useful. I can see it being used for "Ancestry Trees", for example, or for one of my bete noires, Ramon Tingley Meyers. Some of the more unreliable sources have comments (sometimes extensive) on the source page itself, but who reads them? Then again, we would probably get involved in long "discussions" as to whether or not something should be labelled "unreliable". Gayel

@Gayel pray tell the incident that made you post this issue. i would like to learn. thx Ron woepwoep 01:45, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

Ron, I think the original action was well-intentioned, and then discussion degenerated. Some things are better left alone, although I often share your curiosity with regard to other matters.

Could an additional box titled "Link" be added to the 'Source' in addition to the "Vol/Pa" box ? instead of squeezing a long link into the Vol/Pa box ? --SkippyG 02:17, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

As you know, a source citation link can be added to both the Title and the Record Name fields and imbedded within the text using brackets in both fields. I frequently include links within both, so the primary advantage of adding the link to the Vol/Page field would be to show the actual link within the referenced source citation on the main page. That may have the side benefit of having citations more accurately follow the Chicago Manual of Style Online or the APA Style Guide for website citations.
Since the subject has been brought up here, the following graphic illustratively reflects the discussion between the OC and Dallan related to the discussion of modifications to the source citation block for Person & Family pages (while working in edit mode). Your comments are invited. --BobC 13:20, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

I don't want to throw an obstacle in the way of progress, but I think this discussion about quality is one of the least important changes that are needed to the source system. If it disappeared, I don't think it would change the value of WeRelate to me in the least. It is a potential for argument when in 99% of the case, the value of sources is a matter of simple common sense. I don't want source quality to become a shortcut for finding evidence. In the hard cases, the analysis is lengthy, makes your head hurt, and cannot be contained in a check box or a rating system.

I would really like to see more help given to people that don't understand the source system. Mostly in my mind, this involves adding more source types, and based on the type, having the boxes labelled differently (even if they go to the same field behind the covers) so that people are guided into constructing more uniform citations. A type for US Census, would be nice that prompted for the information needed to cite a census record, because very few newbies and not all experienced users cite them to the county level. A type for Find a Grave that prompts for the information needed to cite a Find A Grave memorial so that the link to the memorial uses the fgravemem template and is stored in a consistent spot in the citation, not sometimes the record, sometimes the page number, sometimes in the text field. Etc. Let's get the features that are there used correctly. --Jrich 20:14, 19 July 2016 (UTC)

I very much agree with several of the sentiments above. The quality field is almost never of interest. Images and Notes are sometimes of interest - but that's rare. Most of the time - they're noisy consumers of screen real estate. On the other hand - I think the source editing presentation is driven by the expressive capabilities of GEDCOM - which we probably don't want to give up.
This may be one of the few times where we could have it both ways:
* The pool of potential fields is defined by GEDCOM - consisting presumably of what we know as "Title", "Record name", "Volume / Pages", "Date", "Quality", "Images", "Notes", and "Text"
* We could add new fields to each source, to designate which of the source fields are of primary importance to a source of that type, sequence of appearance, lines to allow, etc. (perhaps even, adding specific prompt information - or even a link "?" - taking someone to information on conventions for the fields of a source of that type).
* When editing a person, selection of a particular source would bring up the set of fields listed in the source - in whatever sequence - with whatever added prompt information.
* If any of the full set of GEDCOM source fields are omitted for a Source, then the editing display would also include a check box. Selection of the check box would cause editing entries to appear for any fields not normally present for that source (or something like that). Thus, every field remains accessible for edit - just not by default.
* Another - perhaps easier way to do this - adding an entry to the source pull down. Presently, "Citation only", "Source", or "MySource". Make it instead "Citation only", "Source", "GEDCOM Source", "MySource". "Source" would provide a presentation of fields customized for the specified source. "GEDCOM Source" would provide an unspecified presentation of all fields.
--jrm03063 15:17, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

With respect to the original question about removing weak/derivative/whatever sources. I think the better practice may be to nominate the originating "Source" or "MySource" for speedy delete. We should create a bot that would look for pages that reference the source page - handling those individual deletes - finishing with delete of the "Source" or "MySource" page proper.

Removal of such content would still be legitimate in the context of other edits for a particular person or family page - but editing solely to remove such references wouldn't be a preferred practice.

--jrm03063 15:31, 20 July 2016 (UTC)

I would be strongly opposed to removing Rootsweb and similar sites as sources. There are a number of family stories in my family for which the most obvious place to point is Rootsweb (the alternative being "Personal Communication"), and where the tree in question is by a direct relative whose genealogical competence is known to me. Just because a source can be misused is no reason not to allow its use legitimately.
As for removing sources, my opinion is that "clutter" only applies to the free-text box on a person page, and sources and notes don't count as "clutter". Since storing plain text is cheap, that means there is no reason ever to delete a source unless it is so bad as to be incoherent. --pkeegstra 23:48, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
I think my suggestion probably addresses specific items to keep - a source/mysource nominated for removal would presumably be subject to extended review before action. --jrm03063 23:55, 20 July 2016 (UTC)
If that's the intent, then "speedy delete" won't accomplish that. Even if I'm watching hundreds of person pages referencing a specific source page, slap "speedy delete" on that source page and I won't see a thing. I'd need to watch every source page I ever add, and that sounds too much like an excuse to inflate the size of my watchlist so I can be charged extra to clear it of ads. (My single highest development priority is a way to pay to clear ads from all the pages on my watchlist for everybody, signed in or not.) --pkeegstra 11:05, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
Defining clutter is an issue that I don't believe has been answered, and I suspect it going to be in the eyes of the beholder. My approach always starts with the idea that the reader is either discovering the displayed information for the first time, or disagrees. So the essential question they want answered first and foremost is going to be, how do you know? Now some people may think this requires documenting every source that mentions a person, but that is my definition of clutter. I would prefer some distillation else I must wade through a lot of stuff that isn't important. If I need to disprove something or show something different, tell me the strongest source that for the other case. This is the one I need to disprove or overcome, and all the people who copied it don't matter. The number of sources parroting a fact does not make it right, it only makes it harder to discern what is actually known.
Defining clutter is not a simple issue (it affects other things such as how to document probate files: when to use a transcription giving all the real estate boundaries and religious testaments, when to use an abstract just providing the relationships expressed in the will, etc.) But in the case of sources I think Robert Charles Anderson's Great Migration Study has provided a good model. When he gives a fact, he cites the best source he knows of for that fact. If it is not clearly known, then he usually provides a discussion in the comments. The problem is, that as a single editor, he can easily apply a consistent standard, but this is something that is difficult when there are many posters.
"nominate the originating 'Source' or 'MySource' for speedy delete" sounds to me like exactly the type of approach that is being complained about: mass deletion without even investigating if something of value is deleted. Such an approach should not be used until there is nothing in the What Links Here for the page. Anybody that has ever stumbled across the obscure document that broke open a brick wall for them would cringe at the thought of throwing away such potential without checking first. --Jrich 14:59, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
I suggested "speedy delete" because it's the thing most like what I'm thinking. It wouldn't really be a speedy delete though. The candidates would be looked at to see what they add in various Person and Family pages down stream. If they seem pointless - then there would need to be some kind of public comment period. If substantive objections don't arise - then the actual delete would be handled by a bot that walked all the back-links to the source/mysource - then delete the source/mysource page in question.
It's a process/mechanism - not a policy. --jrm03063 16:57, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
Just like the original issue, this suggestion is attempting to get to a preconceived result, without verifying that it is appropriate. This process is backwards, avoiding the hard part of the process. In genealogy, each person deserves to be investigated as an individual. Just because a source is wrong about one person does not make that source wrong about another (Savage offers plenty of examples of this). The evidence for each person must be painstakingly collected, analyzed, and a result arrived at for that individual. It will have little effect on another individual mentioned in the same source unless they happen to have some relationship and some of the data carries over to them. Everything is done in the context of the individual, not the context of a source. Source citations shouldn't be deleted until each use is replaced by citation of a higher-quality, more authoritative source, making the original citation no longer necessary (even if it is wrong, a citation may be necessary in order to refute what it says, if it has enough of a following). When all the citations are deleted, then maybe the source can be deleted.
Even as a mechanism to signal people to reinvestigate their source citations, it suffers from the shortcomings brought up by pkeegstra, in that most people citing a source usually are not watching the source page of that source. --Jrich 19:00, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
Please LISTEN. I'm saying HOW to do a global remove IF WE AGREED TO DO SUCH A THING. The claim that it shouldn't ever be done ought to be considered in light of some real examples. --jrm03063 19:56, 21 July 2016 (UTC)
Thank you all for the lively discussion of Sources and some of the potential solutions, "fixes" and alternatives to maintenance issues associated with quality and use factors. I can assure you that as slow as things move around here, there will be no change to the Speedy Delete policy or to the process in the foreseeable near-term future. I think we have far too many other maintenance issues and blank (unused, unwatched, unlinked, uncategorized) page space existing now that would be higher priority than tackling such a clean-up function as you describe in subjectively deciding what source citations are worthy to be included for possible removal and what citations are not. I'm grateful to see any source citation for facts and events on person and family pages, and if they contain a Quality analysis, I'm absolutely overjoyed!
Would I delete a reference or link to a source with Quality labeled as Unreliable? Absolutely not! I'd be thankful the person who input the source citation made that evaluation and took the time and consideration to post that. And to delete or remove that source on the basis of its lack of reliability or its failure to prove a fact beyond doubt would be foolish in my opinion, because another researcher a year from now may find it somewhere and not be able to evaluate its reliability and think it a perfectly acceptable source for the fact or verification of the event. That's part of the reason why I hesitate in supporting removal of the Quality analysis field, but would rather see it expanded to meet the Genealogical Proof Standard. But I suspect I'm in the minority in that viewpoint.
I'll ensure that this thread is discussed further within the OC channel. Thanks again for the productive discussion. --BobC 21:14, 21 July 2016 (UTC)

Removing records and talk pages [28 July 2016]

Is WeRelate now exactly as other (french) wiki sites ? ... I am "furious" ! Please, recreate ALL THAT I WROTE ... Amicalement - Marc ROUSSEL - --Markus3 03:53, 28 July 2016 (UTC)

I wrongly thought no one would care as these were lines that only traced to me, however I have undeleted most of what I hastely deleted and will undelete the rest tomorrow.Daniel Maxwell 04:24, 28 July 2016 (UTC)

Surname in place pages [25 August 2016]

I am about to create a few "surname in place" pages, as I think they will be useful for research I am doing, and I have found them useful in the past. Not having done it in a while, I went to the Help:Surname_in_Place page and figured I'd follow the directions. Perhaps I am confused, but the directions appear to be broken. I'm suspecting that some of the mechanisms that construct my user profile page may have changed? Here are the specifics of my difficulty: Under the subheading "How do I create a Surname in Place page?", I followed steps 1-3. Step 4 is where it breaks down. Having entered a "surname" and "place" as described in steps 1-3, it suggests that on the left-hand margin there should be a heading "Research", and under that, a link to the appropriate surname-in-place page, which may or may not be created yet. What I see instead on the left-hand margin is a new heading "Browse", under which is an entry for "Chatt in Northumberland". That entry, however, is not a single link to the desired surname-in-place page. Rather, the surname and the place are two separate links to pre-populated searches. At the bottom of the page, I also see that my user page now belongs to "Category:Northumberland, England", and on the right-hand margin, under a new heading of "Users Researching", there is a link labeled "Chatt" which is a different kind of prepopulated search. But nowhere do I find the promised link to my surname-in-place page. Am I just missing it? Or was it lost with the addition of these other features? --TomChatt 19:47, 14 August 2016 (UTC)

There was discussion of "surnames in place" in Watercooler back in May 2013. This may lead to some answers to your questions on the instructions on the Help Pages. You might also have to check the History of the Help Pages in question. --Goldenoldie 08:14, 15 August 2016 (UTC)
Hi Tom. You are correct. The directions on that Help page no longer work the same way as before our Search function was upgraded, and they do need to be updated (along with many other Help pages). Updating the Help pages is on the very long To Do list of Maintenance Tasks :)
I am not too sure that many users create Surname in Place (Article) pages any longer, but it can still be done. I can walk you through it if you still want to do that. However, many users prefer to simply use our Search function to locate pages linked to a specific Place or to place notes relevant to specific persons or families directly on their pages. Some use the Surname in Place (Category) pages as well which have Talk pages that can be used for messages. The best solution for you depends on what you wish to accomplish. hth, --cos1776 17:06, 25 August 2016 (UTC)

Citing in the narrative body [20 August 2016]

Can someone remind me of the syntax for referencing enumerated Source entries in the body of a narrative?

Roland very kindly added sources for James Heard, but they the simple wiki style (not using our Source: pages). I added the Source: pages - but I'm not sure how to hook up the narrative locations with the WR style references...


--jrm03063 22:29, 19 August 2016 (UTC)

There are at least a two or three ways to do what I think you are referring to (in order of my favorite or most used methods):
(1) Create a source reference at the end of a text line like this: <ref>Footnote or source reference</ref>. Then be sure the </references> tag is used at the end of the narrative. (Example[1])
(2) Create a reference tag within or at the end of the narrative like this <ref name="S2"/> and/or as further described here. (Example[2]) This is normally used when multiple use of a previously used citation is needed.
(3) Use the citation template method by using something to the effect of {{cite|S1}} or {{cite|S1|1880 Census}} (which produces S1 and 1880 Census).
  1. Footnote or source reference
There may be other methods that can be used as well. Good luck. --BobC 04:41, 20 August 2016 (UTC)
Wow - Thanks for the Extreme answer! I couldn't remember the <ref name="S2"/> syntax. --jrm03063 14:43, 20 August 2016 (UTC)

Fact Sorting Improvements? [25 August 2016]

I was wondering if the fact list sort might be revisited the next time that the software is touched? Some facts - for example - "reference number" or "AFN" - can't have a sensible date. Such facts should be sorted to the end of the list - and perhaps - shouldn't even accept a date.

Is there a location where such matters are undergoing active discussion? The pages I've found do not seem to be active lately.

--jrm03063 00:44, 22 August 2016 (UTC)

Agree. Please log this requested improvement at WeRelate:Suggestions and hopefully it will be given some attention soon. Regards, --cos1776 15:39, 25 August 2016 (UTC)

A Bit About Bots [14 September 2016]

A proposal is being floated around to use a bot to post data from a book automatically to pages on WeRelate [1].

I believe there are both larger and smaller issues involved here that need to be discussed. --Jrich 15:33, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

I hope you don't mind that I've added your WR handle to each of the sub-entries you made below. I think it important to view the author in each section, as each may be subject to separate responses.
As I understand, yes, it is a proposal made by a single user who sees value in it, but no action has been taken on it. IMHO, I really doubt any wide-spread approval or even serious consideration will be made for doing so. I believe even select usage, if approved, should and would be severely limited to specific functions subject to trial evaluation and review. With the limited activity here at WR now and noticeable absence of active management oversight, I really doubt any such proposal will be acted upon in the near future. It might be otherwise if we experienced an extensive surge of long-lasting activity, but I think the handful of us experienced active users now compose the bulk of activity here. I'd be curious to see an updated use/growth-chart from AndrewRT. --BobC 22:56, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
I have been tracking the number of person pages (less person:talk pages) since the beginning of July. We added a net of 8,254 person pages between Jul 1 and today. The rate of growth in July times 12 months gives an annualized growth rate of about 1.86% (or about 51,000 pages/year).--DataAnalyst 02:42, 24 August 2016 (UTC)

Administration of Bots

Bots have pretty much been a tool used by Dallan to automate some changes having to do with naming and formatting. As long as their use was limited to that, there was not much to worry about. I am not sure how much that has changed, but have heard that at one time, at least one other user was reputed to have bot privileges.,

I have already argued against GEDCOM since automating any process allows bad work to be done faster than manual cleanup can correct it, as, for example, illustrated by Data Quality Improvement.

Hopefully, at a minimum, any bot would require submission of a detailed proposal, extensive testing including running it in the Sandbox, and ideally, execution by a special administrators, so that it is not something any administrator or user can do. --Jrich 15:33, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

I think I addressed most of this topic above.
I too agree that the GEDCOM function should be limited, both by numbers of individuals in the file uploaded, by usage and time between submissions, and by experience level of individual users. I argued that point years ago for the GEDCOM import feature and lost it. I think use should be considered an earned privilege and the number of names imported should be graduated as an incentive and based upon time and experience of the user. IOW, I feel a new user should only be able to import a small file, say up to 50 individuals which would be closely reviewed; a moderate user (based upon number of edits during the past 90 days) with a positive experience level of previous imports would be authorized a larger file import; and an experienced user with repeated previous successful imports would have unlimited import ability.
I also argued against the GEDCOM export feature, and having lost that viewpoint, also argued for a graduated approach to it as well, and once again lost that argument. I feared exports would be used to immediately load the data (via auto-bot or human-being) to subscription-based bulk family tree collection services such as Ancestry and MyHeritage. --BobC 22:56, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

About Savage

Many users at WeRelate who don't work in the New England area may be unfamiliar with Dr. Savage and his Genealogical Dictionary. But it is believed all the issues discussed here could well be proposed for various other works as well so they probably should be interested in this discussion.

In 1860 Savage published a 4 volume dictionary attempting to provide the current state of knowledge (as of 1860) for all persons living in New England by 1692. A sample entry might be found under surname ATWATER (transcript page here):

JONATHAN, New Haven, s. of David of the same, m. 1 June 1681, Ruth, eldest d. of Rev. Jeremiah Peck, first min. of Greenwich, had Joshua, b. 21 Feb. 1682, d. in few days; David, 5 Aug. 1683; Jeremiah, 31 Jan. 1685; Mary, 31 Dec. 1686; Ruth, 31 Dec. 1688; Jonathan, 1 Nov. 1690; Lydia, 18 Apr. 1693, d. next yr.; Joseph, 9 Dec. 1694; Stephen, 4 Dec. 1696; and Damaris, 9 Oct. 1698; Lydia, again, 31 July 1701.

The question is whether Savage is important enough that he should be posted on the page of every person he mentions.

To this specific question, personally I would argue no.

  • In 1860, writing about people that were in New England at least 168 years or more before the writing, Savage is clearly merely reporting what various records say, and thus, like any secondary source, somewhat expendable once the primary source of the information is identified. Further, many articles have been written correcting Savage's errors, and citing those articles, again, tends to make citing of Savage pointless.
  • Savage rarely identifies where he found his data, and based on researching several of his errors over the years, it is clear in many cases he simply copied from manuscripts available to him. Often these sources were things like Bond, Deane, or others (e.g., here where he mentions having relied on a "memo. slightly confusing"). This means that Savage does not really give much help in discovering how things are known. You either believe him blindly or you are left trying to confirm his data with very few pointers telling where it came from.
  • Savage made errors. Over 400 have been documented in the WeRelate transcript, coming from the fraction of Savage sketches that have independent research in WeRelate. These aren't simply misspelling or errors of omission. These are errors where something is asserted that simply is false. Example errors may be viewed here, or here, or by searching the Transcript namespace with keywords "Defect 1". --Jrich 15:33, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
Although I haven't really needed or used the Savage transcripts, I think I have to disagree with you strongly on this point. I feel that the transcribing user is doing an extremely valuable service here at WR in adding those transcription uploads. I myself have thought I would like to do a transcription of Emmett Starr's History of the Cherokee Indians and Their Legends and Folk Lore and his Genealogy of the Cherokee Indians, and while they also are not perfect, are difficult to understand and follow, and some of the data too may be guess-work or even incorrect, they are extremely valuable aids in researching families and ancestries connected to the original Cherokee Nation. So no, Starr's work cannot be considered a "Primary" source, but it comes as close to a "Secondary" source as ever was recorded. --BobC 22:56, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

Questions of Execution

The proposal advanced merely shows excerpts culled from Savage, with no details on how these would be applied to WeRelate pages. This raises several questions:

  1. Why excerpts? Savage is already abbreviated enough, so why not the whole entry? Some Savage entries can be as long as a page, but most are similar to the example shown above.
  2. In the sketch for Jonathan Atwater, it names his father, a wife, the wife's father, and 11 children. How many people in this sketch should have Savage posted to their page. Will the same sketch be repeated verbatim on all 15 Person pages and 2 Family pages.
  3. The data in Savage is very sparse. If a page must be created for each of the 11 children of Jonathan Atwater, should it be name and birthdate only? Should New Haven be assumed as their birth location even though that location may not be where they were born. In some sketches a child is mentioned with no birthdate. Should pages be created that are simply a name and parents with no dates, no location, no details?
  4. How should pages be handled when the WeRelate page already has data on it. The pages may have the same data but supported by higher quality (primary, or more modern, more academic) sources than Savage. The pages may have different data than Savage because either Savage is wrong, or they are wrong, or one or the other source is simply more precise (e.g. 23 Apr 1689 versus 1689). Should Savage be entered as alternates? Certainly, a bot is not capable of resolving such discrepancies. Pages may already have Savage cited in different ways, or cited to explain why Savage made an error. How will the bot avoid overwriting or duplicating those entries?
  5. For the documented defects in the Savage Transcript, how will those entries be presented on the page? The meat of the defect is to be found on the Talk page, not on the Transcript itself. For somebody that wants to know more, because it is their ancestor, saying something is wrong without the explanation is frustratingly unhelpful.

Manual editing will be able to apply common sense in melding disparate sources into a coherent page. Bot edits are likely to end up with contradiction, clutter, and repetition in complicated situations. --Jrich 15:33, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

Beyond Savage [23 August 2016]

Beyond this specific proposal, there is the question of how this sets a precedent that will be applied to other sources. What determines when a source is important enough to push pertinent content to every page it discusses? There are many encyclopedic/dictionary type sources out there (e.g., Montgomery in Berks, PA to name one I have used a lot, even Bond and Deane mentioned above, others). What about family genealogies? Past users have shown themselves very partial to Wheeler Family in America or Eddy Family in America. Another user wanted to include the descendant number found in their favorite family genealogy as a fact on every page. What happens when one of these want to use a bot to post the information from their favorite family genealogy on every person they cover? What about the wikidata tags that JRM03063 is adding to pages? A future proposal might well be forthcoming to import genealogical data from wikipedia using that mechanism.

I believe if Savage, or any of these other sources, need to be cited, excerpted or quoted on a page, it should be done by manual edit so that it fits in with the other data on the page, because it contributes to the usefulness of the page, and hopefully so that it is combined with additional research and analysis needed to overcome its deficiencies. I don't believe blindly copying any secondary source is a good genealogical practice. --Jrich 15:33, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

If properly cited as a "secondary source" or even "questionable source," I believe it has value. I think these citations even have value when superceded by a "primary source," because it creates a relative genealogical value for another user to evaluate and scrutinize. I myself have no problem citing "questionable sources," or even sources I might consider as "unreliable," and I do identify them as such. Part of the reason I think it important to add them and evaluate them is to aid future researchers who can independently see how I came up with the conclusions I did and encourage them to find and add other more accurate sources. If you delete the secondary source when you find and add a source considered primary, what's to stop another more inexperienced user down the road from adding that secondary source because he or she thinks it's more accurate? Had you added a comment to show why the secondary source was not totally accurate or complete, then the new user would see how you came to that conclusion and save him some work, or invite a discussion of the data or information. --BobC 22:56, 23 August 2016 (UTC)
Like Savage or don't - it's in every library and new copies are still available for sale. Folks are going to continue using it for the lifetime of anyone on this thread. The best way to address its limitations is to explicitly lay them bare. So it would be for any prevalent source. --jrm03063 23:35, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

Response from the presumed target of the above... [14 September 2016]

The previous commentary is more than a little bizarre - the author provides specifics of a proposal that has not been made (and may never be made) - with specifics that have not even been established. Plainly he fears the potential of "bot" software in the WR context. To those inclined to share that fear - I would offer that anything done by a bot - can be recognized and reverted at a later point if desired. In any case - bots don't get created and cut loose without agreement at very high levels and lots of discussion.

It is true that I am actively interested in making WeRelate users a lot more productive. I have some ideas on a novel approach to genealogy which is made possible by a common shared tree. Orthodox genealogy is exquisitely slow, focusing on individuals and then moving to an unbounded search for widely scattered reference materials which may or may not exist. Practitioners need to develop a lot of knowledge on different references to become even modestly effective. It can be an effort of years in the pursuit of limited results - and it's fine if you're satisfied with that.

I am intrigued by the possibility of focusing not on the things we don't yet have - but instead - focusing explicitly on the reference materials that we do have. Focus instead on the distribution of known reference materials. Depending on the reference in question, software could be used to make distribution of the material to Person pages quicker and more consistent - perhaps even automatic. Keep this in mind though - automatic DOES NOT mean unpredictable. Indeed - a program is absolutely predictable.

I have reached out to a handful of folks on a preliminary basis - making use of our transcript of Savage to explore and demonstrate some possibilities. I would be happy to hear from anyone with interest in developing this idea toward a community proposal using Savage or any other transcription. That said - until a specific proposal is made - I reserve the right to confine my discussions on this subject to those with an open mind. Such folks are welcome to reach out to me on my talk page.

--jrm03063 23:21, 23 August 2016 (UTC)

I only hope BobC is right and this will never go anywhere. The original commentary was not bizarre. It was a logical addressing of the issues of having a bot update genealogical information, and one would think the points could be answered logically, without resorting to such a characterization. The "fear" you sense is a reasonable fear that a poorly-written bot could easily damage hundreds or thousands of pages that I have spent hours and hours working on before it could be aborted. Your own proposal talks about programs pushing citations out from Transcripts, and one would assume also data based on the formats of your Savage excerpts, and the questions I asked are issues I believe should be addressed based on logical inferences from your own presentation, to see if such a thing is even feasible or desirable. You and I have different views on how this website can or does provide value, and what you somewhat rudely imply as not an open mind, simply reflects that difference. My overarching concern is that we make accuracy of our genealogy the most important goal, and that we make collaboration next most by providing enough information and sources to enable others to review, verify and build on our work. Your choice of Savage for this project, and the absence of sources on most pages you create, suggests your goals are different. --Jrich 07:31, 24 August 2016 (UTC)
Whether or not I have an open mind is perhaps debatable 8-). Nevertheless I will add my comments here which you are free to consider or ignore.
1) I have actually added a couple of links to the Savage transcripts on the pages of a few of my early NE ancestors where appropriate. I will be VERY upset if some BOT wipes-out my work.
2) In my opinion some of the Savage citations are better placed on Family pages rather than Person pages (eg I submit that lists of children in the Savage transcripts rightly belong on Family pages).
3) Acknowledging the problem of zero citations on some of the early "drive-by" GEDCOM uploads, I have some concrete suggestions.
a) BOT-generated suggestions for changes to a Person or Family page rightly belong on the associated Talk page. Only after a human has investigated them, should they be incorporated on the Person or Family page. And then they can be properly linked to other information.
b) If nobody responds to the Talk page after some reasonable amount of time (eg 3 to 6 months) then someone on a "cleanup" crew could go ahead and edit them properly into the Person or Family pages.
c) Under almost all circumstances (absent egregious errors) the person doing the "cleanup" should defer to existing citations and explanations where these have already been supplied by other contributors.
--Jhamstra 01:27, 15 September 2016 (UTC)

Not how to do genealogy [17 September 2016]

Well I have tried to discuss this with the user, but my posts are simply deleted - poor etiquette if you ask me. So the next place is here. It's not like I'm calling him names, there are specific points to be addressed. I am going to make one final comment, then the resolution is up to how other people respond. If nobody else says anything or if you are wishy-washy, you are going to get more than the 64 postings that seem to have occurred so far. If, like me, you think this is not how to improve the genealogical quality of these pages, then you have to speak up, as I am done after this post. You can now see the results for yourself.

Some of the predictable problems have occurred:

Nobody is proof reading how these edits go as evidenced by the Sources Needed banners remaining even after sources are being added, so nobody is checking to see if edits are appropriate and well-integrated. A more troubling aspect of this below.
Incorrect links in the Savage transcript have caused postings to be added to inappropriate pages, e.g., on page, two Savage sketches were linked to the same person, apparently due to a misreading of one of the sketches causing it to be linked to the wrong place. Also see the next item.
Existing Savage entries are being wholly deleted and replaced by the new entries. In this diff an existing entry crafted by a previous user is replaced by a new entry that deletes the potion about who his father was (another instance of a bad link in the Savage transcript in this case, no link, so the entire passage was missed). I don't believe an automated entry should ever replace a human crafted on. But hey, my perspective may be different, because I have actually spent hours creating some of them instead of a indiscriminate bot.
The previous example also shows how very peripheral information is being added by the wholesale addition of any entry mentioning the person. So the largest addition in the previous example was a paragraph describing the family of the maternal grandfather. Often pages have six or more paragraphs mostly focused on children, in-laws, ex-husbands or subsequent husbands, in the ever useful alphabetical order, because a bot can't be expected to be able to present any useful organization like relevance (.e.g, here, here). An extreme example may be the middle paragraph about Elizabeth Mayo where a paragraph from her brother-in-law's sketch is pulled in out of context and requires several readings to figure out it is calculating how many grandchildren the father-in-law had.
The bot, of course, does not know if or how the information ties into the facts listed on the page, so the inserted source can never be attached to a fact by the bot. In fact, because old entries are being removed, it is causing facts to be left sourceless that originally weren't ([2], death date of 29 Nov loses its source, leaving it sourceless, and apparently delete-able, since the alternate death appears to be the only sourced death date on the page). It will require a human to process this data to see that it actually gets integrated into the fact list. The Savage extract could completely contradict what is on the page, and there will be no awareness, no comment, no explanation, etc. ...Because human processing is what is (wrongly in my opinion) trying to be avoided.
This is from 64 postings. Imagine if you scale this to the thousands of sketches in Savage... --Jrich 00:17, 15 September 2016 (UTC)

@Jrich i sense some deep frustration. My story: i started couple years ago on WR using my MyHeritage gedcom, which was not accepted for several reasons. I then decided to key in each and every single occurrence. Am now at 18K+ pages. I think bots have no place in WR. Not if we are serious about the quality of each page. My 2 cents, Ron woepwoep 00:24, 15 September 2016 (UTC)

Likewise I am highly sympathetic to the BOT-generated problems related here. I am highly skeptical that using BOTs to actively contribute information, will result in a higher-quality web site. Lower quality is far more likely. However, rather than "Just say NO" I have offered some specific suggestions above, that might actually promote improved quality. --Jhamstra 01:33, 15 September 2016 (UTC)

As noted elsewhere on this page, I remain glad to discuss what I've been doing and contemplating with Savage (or anything else), with anyone capable of civil discourse. So far, that's everyone in the WeRelate community with but one exception.
Please keep the following facts in mind: 1) no bot has been deployed. 2) there are many possible specifics of how a bot might work which have yet to be determined. 3) I have reached out specifically to a number of people for their thoughts on the matter. 4) I have previously made it clear that I would be glad to hear from folks with opinions (provided they can manage civility). --jrm03063 03:34, 15 September 2016 (UTC)
jrm asked me to review his proposal, which I have just gotten around to doing. I have posted a response on the Talk page of his proposal (and I just realized that I did not address all concerns, but I have to run, so I'd like to do that later). I would ask others to read what I have written with an open mind. I realize that there have been tensions over this and other topics in the past, but I would ask you to put those behind you and see if we can come to a compromise that everyone concerned can live with. I would be shocked if everyone agreed wholeheartedly with my suggestions, but please ask yourself "could I live with this?" and if you find parts you could not live with, please request a rethink or suggest an alternative. As an IT person, I can come up with any number of proposals - so let's please neither go ahead without alignment, nor shut down the whole thing. Thanks in advance for your open-minded consideration.--DataAnalyst 20:07, 17 September 2016 (UTC)

Cohabitation without marriage formalities [31 August 2016]

I've moved this discussion to the project talk page. That seems a more suitable location for discussion of specifics of any of the assertion templates.

This project began in late 2012. As the project developed, the OC committee's guidance (13 Jan 2013) was to create help pages and place them as they are presently found. It had generally reached its present form by the middle of 2013.

--jrm03063 19:28, 31 August 2016 (UTC)

The expansion of the Cohabitation to, what is it? 10 varieties? seems to show someone completely enamored with the technology who has lost sight of the original goals. In the case of the "cohabitation" and refuted parents, of course, it is to alert people to potential genealogical errors if they, like many, practice genealogy by assumption or reliance on single secondary sources. As in assuming one spouse is dead because the other spouse remarries, or making similar assumptions when determining which parents a child goes to, etc. Now it seems like the templates are becoming judgemental, instead of merely being an objective warning that normal conventions don't apply for the current case. Plus the number of times it can be proven *by actual evidence* which of the many cases is appropriate is getting smaller and smaller as distinctions get finer and finer. A simple "Not married" in the description field accomplishes much the same thing. If you're interested, then read the sources and narrative to find out more.
A related discussion on another page listing other similar templates for combat roles and other historical events seem me to tread all over the purpose of categories, and seem to be an unnecessary cluttering up of pages, much like various banners popular in some circles. These appear to be important to one person but perhaps not to others. A true descendant may well rather write about some of these things in some detail in the narrative, and a category is like to provide all the necessary grouping functionality needed. Then on top of that is the realization that not a single page that comes in by GEDCOM will have these templates, nor is there a mechanism to automatically insert them, plus the fact that any number past say 7 (e.g. telephone number length) are likely to be too many for uninterested people to remember easily, and all the templates being so gleefully discussed will end up being implemented by one person only, because they are his creation, and will end up being useless because they are not used by a critical mass. Not to mention that "facts" needs sources and proof so suggest that even more thorough documentation may be required.
A question was asked on yet another page related to this topic about data management. Well, most data management starts with a central data dictionary that ensures data use is consistent across an organization and meshes with the corporate purposes, i.e, reflects how the whole organization uses the data. Then good data management will have active enforcement so that these definitions can be counted on. How weighty of a source has to propose an incorrect set of parents to justify adding a Refuted Parents template? Surely some random website wrongly identifying the parents would not justify a RefutedParents template? Any book in print? Any error printed in at least 2,3, or some number of books? If the purpose is to warn of errors, how do we warn of errors that give parents not in WeRelate so that the RefutedParents can't link to anything? What about parents that never existed because they were erroneous themselves? Do we need to provide the sources and explanations on both RefutedParents and RefutedChild, or can we assume RefutedParents will link to a Family page that provides the sources? Will a bot be developed to find unmatched Refutes? How much evidence is necessary before SpeculativeParents become RefutedParents? Will the presence of a RefutedParents block some GEDCOM from reattaching that child to the wrong parents, much the way the nomerge template is able to prevent merges? --Jrich 18:14, 31 August 2016 (UTC)

Autosomal DNA [31 August 2016]

Is there a format for using autosomal DNA as a source? How would one cite autosomal DNA without disclosing the details and identities of the living persons involved?--HLJ411 20:21, 29 August 2016 (UTC)

I'm not really DNA hip - but it seems more like a fact than a source. Is this a situation where you have DNA from living descendants - and you want to say something about the DNA of ancestors on that basis? --jrm03063 00:12, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
Maybe it's a MySource? Perhaps you give it a Vanilla name permuted from the nearest generation deceased ancestors to him it applies? Then in the MySource note how the living person - who's DNA was tested - is related to the people who have passed on? Regrettably though - determined folks could probably determine who the living person was by knowing how they're related to the deceased ancestors. But anyway - put in whatever data you can scrubbed of identifiers that make the living person absolutely obvious. Hmm... --jrm03063 00:21, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
I'm not really DNA hip - but it seems more like a fact than a source. Is this a situation where you have DNA from living descendants - and you want to say something about the DNA of ancestors on that basis? --jrm03063 00:12, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
Interestingly enough, I created a source entitled, "Source:Yates, Donald. Nomalous Mitochondrial DNA Lineages in the Cherokee," for relaying information and data on a sampling of 52 individuals of Cherokee lineage who purchased mitochondrial DNA testing to determine their female lineage. I wanted to record and save the test results because I suspected the original source page would be a temporary, short-lived link, and my guess was correct, as it no longer connects to the original site. My WeRelate source page is more of a general haplogroup analysis rather than by-name listing, but I suspect you could post something similar as long as it did not include living individuals. Or you could create a site for results from living individuals at RootsWeb or another free hosting site, and then summarize your results or analysis here at WeRelate to connect with ancestral lines or to collaborate with others with related lines. Does that make sense?
There are a number of other DNA projects posted as sources here that you could review and see if they might be able to provide inspiration or insight to what you may be thinking of developing.
And Jim has a point above, maybe an Article or MySource would be a better format for your data rather than a Source, which ideally should be a readily accessible public site that can be viewed or resourced by anyone."
Good luck. It will be interesting to see what you come up with. --BobC 00:36, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

I'm assuming that you want to cite triangulated matches as a source of proof of a shared common ancestor. A proper reference would include the kit numbers for the three (or more) tests (with the name of the site where they are located), and the names of the test takers. GedMatch kit numbers are about as anonymous as you are going to get, and you would still need permission from the other test takers. That information could be posted on the MRCA page as a MySource, but would still be a very "soft" source, since it would not include the despondency information. The bottom line for using autosomal DNA is that it isn't and probably won't ever be supported by WeRelate -- I've been told that the programming needed to support use of DNA information is outside the bounds of reasonable. This is unfortunate, as DNA is becoming a significant source, and will eventually become an essential source for establishing "proof". If you are really serious about using DNA as a source, the site you want to look at is WikiTree.

Sorry about the negativity, but this has been an irritant for some time. Gayel --GayelKnott 15:42, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

Forgot to add, the proper citation would also include chromosome number(s) and segment start and stop points for each kit. --GayelKnott 15:53, 30 August 2016 (UTC)
"Significant" and "essential" may be overstating it. I took a couple of DNA tests just to see what I could get out of it, and I didn't get much. I would say it was informative and put me in touch with a very distant cousin (and I'm still not sure how we are related). But it hasn't helped me with any of my family genealogy. The biggest help for me was having an internet full of millions of bits of data that are easy to get to that researchers didn't have a generation ago.
Out of curiosity I took a look at some of those source links above, and it appears they are mainly being used to reference second-hand genealogical data. I don't see any need to change WeRelate for that type of sourcing. -Moverton 19:35, 30 August 2016 (UTC)

Thanks for the comments. I have a 3rd great-grandfather that, as far as I know, is only documented in a book published just before 1900 - “soft” evidence. I have an autosomal DNA match with a descendent of the brother of my 3rd g-grandfather - also “soft” evidence. Until something better or contradictory appears, I would like to remove some of the ambiguity on 3rd g-grandfather’s WR site.

It is understandable that DNA is suspect, especially for distant relatives, however I can confirm that I was shocked to find that a near relative, although family by association, was shown by a zero DNA match not to be in anyway related. Now when I ask a genealogist if they have tried DNA and they reply “I don’t need it, I already know my ancestors”, I smile and reply that they may be in for a surprise. I haven’t yet read the book The Stranger in My Genes: A Memoir by Bill Griffeth but it appears he experienced the jarring effects of a DNA test. HLJ411.

Reply to Moverton -- No, I don't think the words I used are over-stating. A growing number of genealogists are using DNA to "confirm" or "prove" their paper trail evidence. While I have problems with the term "proof", DNA is an independent source of information about one's ancestry that is unique -- and cannot be falsified. That, alone, makes it significant. As more people are tested and actually explore and use the information from their DNA tests, the more it is becoming clear that most, if not all, of us have somewhere in our ancestry biological links that differ from what the historical records say. As for it's becoming essential in the future, the discussion is already out there among some of the most experienced genealogists, although admittedly the time frame is most likely well in the future. The biggest problem is learning how to use and work with DNA information -- and it does take a lot of work (sort of like doing good paper trail research can take a lot of work, or at least used to.)
Reply to HLJ411 -- Thanks for the example. I still haven't worked out how a really strong, triangulated match to a neighbour shows up on one of my lines -- nor have the other two test takers involved, both of whom are certified genealogists. Unfortunately, the ancestors were living on the frontier, with very few records, but it's certainly a reminder that, ahem, parents may not always be who they are reported to be. Gayel --GayelKnott 16:01, 31 August 2016 (UTC)

Savage Transcript Status [22 September 2016]

The effort to annotate our transcription of Savage's Dictionary has reached a significant milestone. Savage's work contains about 22,400 individual person sketches. The subjects of about half of those sketches are now associated with WeRelate Person pages (via ordinary wiki annotation of the transcript text).

An interesting additional finding is the number of times that Savage apparently created two (or more) sketches for the same person. The initial count of such cases being 149 - which may seem like a lot - except that 11156 Person pages are subject of a sketch (so 99% of the assignments are unique). While those duplicates will be further reviewed and marked in due course, the number seems remarkably small in light of the research limitations Savage worked under - and the lack of precision he faced in old records.

Current statistics on the effort may be found here. --jrm03063 16:03, 22 September 2016 (UTC)

WeRelate down for 8 hours [27 September 2016]

The WeRelate server crashed today (26 Sep 2016) and WeRelate was down for about 8 hours while the data was copied over to a new server. It is back up now. I apologize for the inconvenience. All of the data should be preserved.--Dallan 03:08, 27 September 2016 (UTC)

Thanks. Glad it's back. --Goldenoldie 07:54, 27 September 2016 (UTC)

Beta on RootsCity available [8 October 2016]

As you may know, I've been working on a website to help people share their genealogy with their non-genealogist relatives. The goal is to make it easy for people to capture the records, stories, and photos about their ancestors and present them in a way that is accessible to non-genealogists. It looks as much like a social-media site as a genealogy site. Hopefully many people will be interested in putting their genealogy on this site, and eventually we can help them connect their trees with the trees on wiki-based sites like WeRelate, WikiTree, and FamilySearch.

This is a freemium site, meaning that it is free for basic use, and will charge $2, $4, or $6/mo for access to premium services. We have or will soon have a number of features that I haven't found in any other online trees. I've been working on this site for about two years now and I'm pretty excited. I hope it will eventually attract sufficient users to support full-time employees so it can continue to improve over time.

I'm looking for people who are interested in helping to beta-test the site before we go live early next year: help find bugs, offer suggestions for improving the features, etc. To show my appreciation, I'm giving all beta testers a 1-year subscription at the $6/mo level. I really value your help and feedback.

You can sign up to be involved in the beta by going to RootsCity and entering your email address. This will subscribe you to the newsletter, which will contain periodic announcements and tips throughout the beta period. You will then receive instructions for accessing the beta site.

Let me know if you have any questions.--Dallan 23:47, 4 October 2016 (UTC)

Dallan - how exciting for you. I'd love to help out as a means of giving something back; I'll sign up straight away!--Wongers 01:33, 5 October 2016 (UTC)

Dallan - how exciting for you. As a person who has spent 8 or 9 years contributing to WeRelate, I am interested not one iota, even disappointed. It sounds like it is even further removed from source-based genealogy, and not of interest to me. --Jrich 02:25, 5 October 2016 (UTC)
Actually, I have tried it out, and it is source-based - or at least attempting to make it more natural for people to capture source information as they go. It might not be perfect, but it is source-centric, in the sense that you can capture pertinent info about multiple people from the same source, encouraging people to start with the sources. The intent was to reach an audience (particularly a younger audience, accustomed to social media) that would normally not bother with source citations - and we certainly know there are plenty of people like that. The source citation capability is too light-weight for a serious genealogist like you, but it has its place. I'm not quite sure how Dallan plans to allow RootsCity users to connect their trees with WeRelate - I hope in a way that will help WeRelate grow with trees that have sources with pertinent info (such as birth date, names of parents, etc.). I know you won't find it of personal interest, but I didn't want to let your comment go about it being so far removed from source-based genealogy, as I don't think that is fair to the design Dallan has put together.--DataAnalyst 03:03, 5 October 2016 (UTC)
Thank you for pointing that out. I clearly was not interested enough from the description to even look at it. It does not read like it cares about sources. Not that any professional genealogist is going to give away their data on WeRelate, but targeting a website at "non-genealogist" certainly does not seem to imply a high degree of quality expectations, and it is not encouraging to those of us concerned in the first place about the viability of WeRelate that the creator is using WeRelate to advertise his interest in a different website, while development here languishes. At least leave us alone, or suggest a transition plan to show that the efforts of people like yourself aren't going to be abandoned. --Jrich 03:33, 5 October 2016 (UTC)
To clarify, RootsCity's goal is to help genealogists share their work with their non-genealogist relatives by making genealogy more accessible/interesting to non-genealogists, and also to be a site where non-genealogists can be encouraged from the beginning to enter sources along with their facts. I think sources, especially when they include document scans or transcriptions, make genealogy more interesting for non-genealogists.
Regarding being source-centric, when you enter an event, you first enter the event details, then you can enter document scans and a transcription, you can choose a source by an auto-complete over the sources on WeRelate, and the most interesting part: you can enter the names of all of the people listed in the event record, along with their relationships to each other and additional facts about them listed in the record. So if you had a marriage record for example, you would enter the marriage date and place, an image and/or transcription, then the source of the record, then the names of the bride and groom along with their ages (if given) and the names of their parents (if given) and maybe even the minister. When you save that record, new people listed in the record would be added to your tree, families would be created or updated, and marriage and approximate birth dates would be added (if the ages were given). All of those events would show the marriage record that you entered as the supporting evidence. We have a video explaining the process.
If it seems that most people won't go to all the trouble to write down all of the information on the record, I agree. To address this problem at the end of the month we will launch a chrome browser extension to make it easy for you to copy information from various webpages into your tree. That is, if you are looking at a record on Ancestry or one of the other major genealogy websites, clicking this extension will bring up a popup window with the RootsFinder event data-entry form, which will be pre-populated with the information from the record you are looking at. You can review the information before saving the record to your tree. No copying and pasting.
Regarding how WeRelate and RootsCity could possibly interact in the future, one possibility would be to create a side-by-side comparison screen, where people would be able to compare an ancestor in their tree to a matching ancestor in WeRelate and copy information back and forth between them. If there was enough interest, it might be possible to go further and allow RootsCity users to check a box that says "I want to automatically copy all events for people in my tree to WeRelate, and automatically copy all events for the matching people in WeRelate into my tree", thus implementing the "wiki" editing model between RootsCity and WeRelate. Whether these ideas (or other integration ideas) get implemented someday depends upon how much interest WeRelate users have in the integration. I'm also ok with the "leave us alone" option if that's what people prefer. WeRelate ad revenue pays for hosting costs so it's not going away. Also, the WeRelate source and place pages are now benefitting RootsCity users as well. And RootsCity links to WeRelate place and source pages.--Dallan 06:06, 5 October 2016 (UTC)
Thanks for the video link. It explains a lot more. But the video looks good because somebody already did the hard work of finding the primary source, the marriage certificate. It wouldn't be so impressive watching somebody enter data from one of those Ancestry indexes like the Edmund West Family Data collection. Like canning fruit, you have to start with the best available material, because it doesn't improve during the citation process, no matter how easy you make it.
Also sounds like there is no single tree? Which removes one of the big quality checks. But I'd be surprised if people paying a "fremium" would be happy having their data overwritten, even if it is to correct an error. --Jrich 19:26, 5 October 2016 (UTC)
There is no plan to have a wiki-based tree on RootsCity. Enabling collaboration between distant family members is a goal for 2017. I'm thinking of two approaches: First, make it possible for people to compare the people in their individual trees to people in wiki-based trees on other websites like FamilySearch, and maybe WikiTree and WeRelate if there is sufficient interest, and copy information back and forth. I don't believe the world needs another wiki-based family tree; better to interact with the ones that already exist. Second, we will rate individual users' trees based upon the number of sources, date inconsistencies, etc., and we'll allow people to see how the people in their trees compare with matching people in others' trees including how those trees are rated.--Dallan 06:06, 6 October 2016 (UTC)

Do you expect to add a "Search and Synchronize" Feature with a researcher's Ancestry data to export inbedded and linked sources to individual and family data at Ancestry to RootsCity?? --BobC 15:52, 6 October 2016 (UTC)

I know you can export a gedcom from Ancestry, and we have spent a fair amount of time making sure that Ancestry-exported gedcoms, including source bibliographic information, import well into RootsCity, but I'm not aware of any way to "Search and Synchronize" with your ancestry sources so you could get the images for example. Are you familiar with other software that does this? If there is a better way to get data out of Ancestry, I'd be very interesting in learning about it.--Dallan 05:35, 7 October 2016 (UTC)
I religiously download my Ancestry GEDCOM monthly, but that is only the bare data file of facts and events, and does not include the supporting and connecting sources, photos, stories and media files associated with those people and that data. The all that is held captive by Ancestry.
According to an Ancestry blog for former Family Tree Maker users, there are two options to preserve their data:
  1. Software MacKiev, has acquiring the Family Tree Maker software line as publisher for both Mac and Windows versions, and
  2. RootsMagic, a desktop genealogy program, has made an agreement with Ancestry to connect the two programs.
According to the RootsMagic site summarizing this agreement, it will allow users to do three interrelated functions between RootsMagic and Ancestry:
  1. Search - Search Ancestry’s extensive collections of historical records from around the world and let you download those records into a user's separate file.
  2. Sync - Share data between your RootsMagic files on your computer with your personal Ancestry online trees. You’ll also be able to download people, events, and even pictures from Ancestry onto your computer through RootsMagic.
  3. Import - Import your Family Tree Maker files, without having to go through an intermediate GEDCOM file, giving you the cleanest, most complete transfer of your data. RootsMagic will also be able to download your online trees from Ancestry.
Can anyone else think of another option to get my data? --BobC 22:10, 7 October 2016 (UTC)
In general - that's a pretty hard problem. Maybe someone could write a cute workstation app that would let you open the same Person in two different windows on two different systems - then coordinate moves to spouses, children, parents, etc. between both displays. --jrm03063 17:07, 7 October 2016 (UTC)
I could probably do that now on my two monitors having both programs open side-by-side, but I seriously couldn't imaging moving 4330 people, 1377 photos, 470 stories, and 4829 records (in just the largest of my two databases) from Ancestry screen-by-screen in that manner. Not sure I have enough years left to even attempt that. I hate knowing that I'm caught up in the Ancestry trap, that is, having my data held hostage for payment of a hefty annual subscription to them, but I have only myself to blame. And they make it so darn easy to get into that trap, don't they? Anyone else share my frustration? --BobC 22:10, 7 October 2016 (UTC)
That Ancestry trap is a main reason I've avoided using Ancestry, the other being their attempts to dominate internet genealogy. Before I started using WeRelate, I made sure I could retrieve my contributions should I need or want to. --robert.shaw 02:04, 8 October 2016 (UTC)
Bob, I'm not sure what you mean when you say you did not get the supporting sources. I downloaded a small file from Ancestry, and the citations to sources came through fine, with notes re: relevant data on those sources. The images and links did not come through, but those are only "loaned" to your pages by permission from Ancestry. (Judy Russell wrote a blog about this which, unfortunately, I can't seem to find). Since most of what shows up in a "Gallery" is images from those sources, that's probably why any stories you added didn't get downloaded either. I recently uploaded GedComs from WeRelate to Ancestry for DNA matches, but consider data at Ancestry a "core dump". To be honest, will probably end up doing the same at RootsCity when it is further along, as it is non-wiki. As someone who is well along in the so-called "golden years", I can understand the frustration of where to leave your research when your kids and grandkids aren't interested.--GayelKnott 15:31, 8 October 2016 (UTC)

Towns [6 October 2016]

Is there any way to separate the Towns of states like New York from the Inhabited Place list in the Contained Places box? I would prefer to have these county subdivisions broken out from the larger list of incorporated and unincorporated places. I don't know if that box is hard coded to perform certain groupings. I don't think this would be as simple as grouping Towns with Townships because in some countries towns are actually inhabited places. Thoughts? -Moverton 16:41, 5 October 2016 (UTC)

Coming from experience with the UK part of our database, I heartily agree. Towns, cities, villages all fall automatically into "inhabited places" along with others which simply have the sentence "--- is an inhabited place." Towns, cities and villages have no definition as to size in the UK--they are just as people "see" them. On the other hand, "civil parishes" take the place of "incorporated places". And we should always remember people who lived on farms within a township or parish who may have lived several miles from the nearest built-up place. --Goldenoldie 07:00, 6 October 2016 (UTC)

Quality Field [17 October 2016]

Judging from the behavior a couple of us just observed on the page Antje Minnolts Dijkstra it looks like one may specify without difficulty the quality field when one first constructs a source entry, but any edit to that source entry will cause the quality field to be dropped. Is that the intended behavior? --pkeegstra 00:40, 17 October 2016 (UTC)

There is something going on with several of the source citation fields (see the Support page). We are waiting for a report from Dallan. Hopefully we will hear back soon. --cos1776 01:04, 17 October 2016 (UTC)
Many thanks! I thought that might be the case but wanted to mention it so it wouldn't be overlooked. --pkeegstra 01:06, 17 October 2016 (UTC)

Free Access this week (Oct 18-25) to Early New England Resources at NEHGS [19 October 2016]

[from NEHGS, reprinted here as a courtesy to our users:]
"Discover your early New England ancestors with free access to some of our premier databases. From October 18 to 25, NEHGS is making all early New England resources and databases available to Guest Members. (These resources are always available to our Paid Members.) Guest Users can search nearly 300,000 records in our exclusive early New England databases: the Great Migration Study Project; Early New England Families, 1641-1700; and Torrey's New England Marriages to 1700. Also check out our how-to guides and webinars for research tips, information on location resources, and advice from the experts at NEHGS. Click here to open the door to your early New England ancestors. Login is required, but registration is free."
--cos1776 14:29, 19 October 2016 (UTC)

Estimating Birth Year [26 October 2016]

I'm looking for discussion/opinions on the advisability of estimating birth years. Here are my thoughts:

  • PRO: WeRelate is getting larger, and when you add a new person with a common name (e.g., James White), there are a lot of names to go through to see if you have a hit. If 10-20% of them don't have any indication of when the person was born, it can be laborious to check each one to ensure you are not adding a duplicate. By estimating a birth year when no source for an exact or approximate birth year is available, you at least have an idea of which century the person belongs to.
  • PRO: Estimating birth years in older records, where exact or approximate birth years might be missing for a few generations, can help to find errors (e.g., too few or too many generations between person X and his/her supposed ancestor person Y).
  • PRO: I am currently looking through old GEDCOM's to ensure we do not have pages for living persons - and I start by filtering on unknown birth century. I'm sure there will be other tasks in the future where filtering by birth century or having an idea of birth year will be useful (e.g., an automated edit that looks for children born to parents who are too young).
  • CON: An estimated birth year that is wrong by 20+ years (which is the nature of an estimate) can bias future attempts to find the actual birth year (or parents, etc.) to the extent that correct information is overlooked or worse, incorrect information is accepted because it "matches" the estimate.
  • CON: An estimated birth year that is wrong by 20+ years might cause someone to discard it when determining if they are creating a duplicate. A missing birth year might cause them to look more carefully.

I just started filling in estimates for my own trees where they were missing, but the CON's above have me thinking twice. E.g., for person Abijah Estes, I would estimate the birth year to be about 1745 (very likely accurate within 10 years). However, for this person, neither of the first 2 PRO's above applies, and I am concerned that the CON's might outweigh the PRO's.

BTW: I am not a fan of WFT estimates that have a broad range of years. Besides being rather ugly, I find them next to useless for finding errors, and very difficult to build on.

Anyone have any advice or protocol that they follow? Are there WeRelate guidelines on this? Should we set some? Thanks.--DataAnalyst 19:55, 23 October 2016 (UTC)

I use estimated birth dates very sparingly. I only offer an approximate date if I think it is accurate to within a couple years. Otherwise if I give an estimate, I simply say "before xxx" or "after xxx", and that only when I can bound the date either before or after, with rather high degree of certainty. I have simply found too many estimates that were way-off when I was able to check them.
For example, in the family of Dr John Bowers, it is possible from his will and some other surviving legal documents (eg assignments and releases of conservatorship) to reconstruct the birth order of his children, and for some their dates of majority. So I was able to provide a combination of estimated dates with "before" and "after" dates. I consider my reconstruction and how I chose to specify the birth and marriage dates, to be reasonably accurate, resoanbly precise, and above all, not misleading regarding what is know vs what is not known. --Jhamstra 20:44, 23 October 2016 (UTC)
Ditto, big time, the comment about WFT estimates. Of course, the ability to provide good estimates is limited by what you know. I prefer not-wrong expressions of the actual constraint, like Bef 1760, rather than estimates that may not be close, such as Abt 1755. But the most important thing is to explain the basis so others can realize their estimate is better (or not) and replace it. Pages with no dates are often a waste of my time when scanning search results, and commonly lead to duplicates since they are harder to recognize for who they are, and usually don't show up near the top of search results since they don't match a targeted search well. --Jrich 00:18, 24 October 2016 (UTC)
Agree as well re:WFT estimates being mostly useless. Otherwise, I actually think the pros outweigh the cons when it comes to adding birth estimates.
Re:duplicates, I've had good luck finding them by using keywords (such a parent, spouse or child names) when dates are not present. I also tend to believe that as we keep adding data and sources, the duplicates will eventually reveal themselves, so it is not the end of the world if they occasionally slip in during this process.
As to my method, if there are no solid clues, it is hard to narrow down the formula I use, since it depends on the era, what I might already know about the family and the source(s) from which I am working.
Re:policy - I don't think there is a specific one now, but I'll report back if I come across something hidden somewhere. I don't think that I would be in favor of creating another internal policy or Help page in this instance, but I would support the addition of Helpful links to external resources for estimating dates to the existing Dates section of the WR Help:Style guide, such as FamilySearch, Family education, etc. These are just some quick examples. --cos1776 23:31, 26 October 2016 (UTC)

Free access this weekend (Nov 12 & 13) to Swedish church records [10 November 2016]

[from ArkivDigital, reprinted here as a courtesy to our users:]
ArkivDigital is the largest private provider of Swedish Church Records and other Historical Records online! All images are newly photographed images of the original document. This upcoming weekend they are granting free access to their database. Details
Enjoy! --cos1776 22:00, 10 November 2016 (UTC)

A Crazy Idea [20 December 2016]

I haven't been active here for a while, and feel a bit guilty for posting anything, but I'm doing it anyway. :)

It seems like things have been quiet here for a while, and that we've reached a stable point - money from ads keeps the site running, but it isn't enough to make improvements or fix any but the most egregious bugs and issues. The core set of users are content with things as they are, and are effectively using WeRelate for their purposes, and are doing good work.

This is an argument I've made before, but personally, I think that the real benefits of a shared tree result from having lots of people working together and sharing / arguing. I just don't see any real possibility that our current situation leads us to the large userbase which I think is ideal.

To me, the clearest path forward is what was proposed long ago - letting Wikimedia take the reins of WeRelate. This was not met with a lot of support, and there were a lot of great reasons given. While I still think that would be the best solution, I thought of another option which I don't think was discussed at that time. What if we "forked" the WeRelate project? WeRelate would continue to run as it is, supporting itself through ads. The community would give permission to Wikimedia to use the content that we have created in a new site, created and run by them. In some ways, this seems like the best of both worlds. Those worried about the quality declining would be able to stay on WeRelate, while those who think a larger community would be worth the risk to quality could move to the other site. Thoughts?--Jdfoote1 16:11, 17 November 2016 (UTC)

I agree with your assessment; things are quiet and drifting here, hardly ideal for developing a unified tree. A significant problem I see with your suggestion, though, is that there is noticeable resistance (as well as some support) on Wikimedia to having a genealogy project, whether WeRelate based or otherwise. That is probably a bigger difficulty to overcome than the issues here on WeRelate (which might not even be important since the material here has Creative Commons licensing). --robert.shaw 17:54, 17 November 2016 (UTC)
I'm actively working on an alternative. Explicit alignment with Wikimedia via Wikidata references (and presumably, a reciprocal Wikidata "WeRelate" property). Wikitree is already heading down this path... --jrm03063 20:00, 18 November 2016 (UTC)
What is the alternative that you are working on? --Jdfoote1 20:55, 20 November 2016 (UTC)
Wikidata has a bunch of genealogical properties for "Humans". Relationships for Mother, Father, Brothers and Sisters can be explicitly established. Something beyond 3500 WeRelate Person pages have been given a Reference Number fact - described by a Wikidata ID. Programs should be able to compare and contrast the relationships described by Wikidata and WeRelate - finding content missing from each - providing a basis to expand the coverage of both. If full developed, part of such an effort would be to start adding WeRelate references to Wikidata people. --jrm03063 02:35, 21 November 2016 (UTC)

Since two years i have been working with Odoo https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Odoo This is an open source project, changing directions to open core model.

Odoo introduces the Python programming language and Postgres as their database. Difference with Wikimedia is that we can have, and share, our own module within the Odoo community.

We'd have to start from scratch, but i see a next generation support today's tools easier than yesterday's tools. My 2 cents, Ron woepwoep 09:53, 18 November 2016 (UTC)

I've been pondering similar thoughts as I try to envision what the next 1-5 or 5-10 years will look like for WR. I am not against the idea of an offshoot, leaving a version of WR as is for those who insist on remaining the same, and venturing onward with a slimmed down, more flexible version that can be easily upgraded when necessary. I'm not sure becoming a WM project is the route I would choose, however, and I remember their final thoughts on partnering with us the same as @Robert.shaw. I still believe the WR collaborative model is one of the best out here, but have no illusions that anything close to the Pando ideal will be realized in our lifetimes. And that is ok!!! Chasing Pando causes decisions to be made that significantly compromise data quality, and the results are often a mirage. Think of the ongoing maintenance headaches we are still dealing with ten years after initially opening the floodgates. I would much prefer a smaller, better trained user base entering higher quality data into a more stable and secure program that will still be here tomorrow, even if that means slower growth today. So I guess, I am open to an offshoot idea, but with a different primary goal than quickly broadening the user base. --cos1776 14:52, 18 November 2016 (UTC)
Forking isn't the worst idea - but I would want to try just about everything I could before going there. Then again - we're still waiting to see if an oversight committee will reform... --jrm03063 20:05, 18 November 2016 (UTC)
Cos1776 - Very good points. But I don't think that user growth necessarily has to be combined with tons of terrible work. I think that only allowing N people to be uploaded by GEDCOM at a time, or not allowing uploads for new users, etc. could all help to stop the problem. But I do think that growth is necessary. With a lot more people, the site would be much more useful for all of us. Whether that happens through Wikimedia or through some other means, I do see community growth as a primary goal. -- Jdfoote1 20:55, 20 November 2016 (UTC)

"I think that the real benefits of a shared tree result from having lots of people working together and sharing / arguing."

Personally I agree, and also think whilst WeRelate is sustainable (and valuable) as it is, but is very unlikely to ever get to that stage. For this, I would recommend WikiTree (https://www.wikitree.com). It shares much of the same philosophy of WeRelate - eg the wiki, the "pando", the free licencing, being freely accessible. The main difference is that the operators are a for-profit company but I haven't found that getting in the way. On the contrary, having seven paid staff means they have the human and monetary resources to be able to invest in maintaining and developing the site. They are now up to 12.5 million pages, some four times the number on WeRelate. I would certainly recommend everyone who wants to join a volume site to give it a try. AndrewRT 21:21, 20 November 2016 (UTC)

I haven't been over for a while - but last I knew - it didn't preserve GEDCOM source/note structure. If you work there and then try to export your data - I think you'll get a lot of unstructured globs back. WeRelate does a reasonable - if not perfect - job retaining the GEDCOM structure for later export. I also had a lot of trouble getting attention to merges that I needed - such that I wound up with a lot of duplicates that I couldn't clear. I gave up on most all of them - just deleting everything except the most recent bits of my immediate family. I hope they're doing a better job with that sort of thing now.
Even if Wikitree has reached a greater genuine population than WR - they're also looking at alignment with Wikimedia via Wikidata. They may be doing that as a way to de-duplicate their tree (which is part of what I did via references to english Wikipedia). The way to a really large database going forward - could be a collection of different databases - with common Wikidata IDs providing alignment between different databases. --jrm03063 02:15, 21 November 2016 (UTC)

I'm relatively new to WeRelate and make limited postings, but I think it is the best of the wiki-type genealogy sites. It has the cleanest looking layout for each person, though I do find the data entry process a bit awkward. I especially like having sources given.

It seems to me that many of the other genealogy sites often give just names and dates with little if real data or documentation. So my concern is that WeRelate would become just another commercial site trying to suck people in without providing worthwhile information.

I primarily post to WeRelate to correct known misinformation or to share data not found elsewhere and to make it public—hopefully for the long term. I would add more if the process was easier.--KayS 22:48, 20 November 2016 (UTC)

Kay, I am curious to know what you find particularly awkward about the data entry process. Thanks.--DataAnalyst 02:59, 21 December 2016 (UTC)

How to find template [24 December 2016]

I found a GEDCOM with what appears to be no sources, but I didn't know where/how to find a template to mark it 'needs sources'. Even if you tell me where to find it, I may not remember it. (Memory NOT improving with age!) So is there a way to easily locate this kind of thing? Where it is hiding? Maybe we need a link at the top of pages to an index of sorts. That might help lots of folks. --janiejac 02:20, 22 December 2016 (UTC)

Hi, Janie. I think the template you want is Template:Sources needed. You can find any template by searching the Template Namespace (Select Search from the top menu, then All, then Template). I entered "Sources" in the title and found the template, although I did have to look a bit because there are a few that are similar. Take your pick.
I agree about making it easier to find these things. I'm hoping that this is one of the things that will come out of Overview Committee work over the next year.--DataAnalyst 02:43, 22 December 2016 (UTC)
I believe {{Sources needed 1}} is better as it includes a message that encourages referencing contemporary documents and not just copying from other unsourced items (i.e., passing the buck). --Jrich 03:22, 22 December 2016 (UTC)

If there's one thing I have used more than any other this year on WeRelate, it's #redirect. It's absolutely vital in working on Places, but it would probably be just as useful for bringing together Templates and Sources that really ought to be together. Merry Christmas! --Goldenoldie 16:48, 24 December 2016 (UTC)

Seasons greetings from the Overview Committee [24 December 2016]

On behalf of the Overview Committee:

Seasons Greetings! The Overview Committee is back in action after a few bumps this year. Getting ourselves organized is taking a while, but in the meantime, 2 members (Cos1776 and DataAnalyst) have initiated a refresh of WeRelate Help.

We've put a considerable amount of thought into how to organize Help, but we need to do some more work before it is ready to share (hopefully by the end of January). In the meantime, I have requested further community discussion on a couple of date conventions so that they can be included in Help pages (and hopefully even automated). Bear with us. While this is a slow time for one of us (off work for 2 weeks), it is a busy time for the other (lots of Christmas activity and travel).

Best wishes for 2017 from the Overview Committee!--DataAnalyst 14:33, 24 December 2016 (UTC)