Sunday, July 14, 2013

Collaboration in Family Tree is Working Well, But More Needs To Be Done

I am not the only one that is enjoying the fruits of Family Tree, referring to the collaboration that is emphasized. As we common descendants work together to build an accurate pedigree, with sources attached we stop duplicating each others work, we challenge each other (nicely) on our conclusions, and we provide sources and documentation that only one of us has located or thought about.

I see in my Bingham line that so much is being done by others it gives me comfort I can leave that line alone for awhile. As my recently found cousin Gaylynn has taken on the Osborne line (even written a book because of her exciting research) and she has challenged me to work on the Whitaker line. The Whitaker line is a mess, a mess getting cleaned up by my research and the research of a few others.

Good genealogy research principles teach that we should focus. I call the many paths we can take, "Bunny Trails". In genealogy there are lots of trails so I assume there are lots of bunnies. And like rabbits these trails multiply quickly.

With the watch feature I can keep an interested eye on the work others are providing, while I try and stay focused on the Whitakers.

Since we all benefit by working together, how about turning on a feature in settings that makes something in your contact info public - like your email address? Please.

It's a topic of importance and I will past a thread below from Ron Tanner that shows where the developers are at on the topic and offering you might provide your suggestions.


Something else we are discussing is having an internal messaging system where people can send messages to each other without email addresses. FamilySearch would send messages to people who have email addresses and notify them that there are messages. Also we could, when a person logs on, tell them they have messages

Actually a valid email address is required at registration time. However, email addresses seem to be a challenge to many users of the system. They forget, they change them, they believe they cannot get their email unless they are on their home computer, etc. 

Also, many have expressed concerns about exposing their email to others. 

All of this being said, I do believe the communication is one of the key principles of an open edit system. So we are exploring other options to facilitate communication - one that seems to be reasonable is to provide an inbox/message board/wall whatever you wish to call it that is internal to FamilySearch. Then when someone sends a message to another within FS, then FS will send a message to the external email. This way communication is facilitated without email address exposure. 

I also believe we should be asking, at least every 6 months, for people to verify their email addresses. 

Maybe because of stubbornness, I don't necessarily feel the need to stop contributions if they do not have an email. I figure if they do not want to collaborate, then just change the data. If they abuse the edit privilege, then report abuse and they loose access or have other restrictions for a time. 

Any other suggestions?

1 comment:

  1. Not sure how I found your blog, maybe it was a friend's link on Facebook or Pinterest, but I'm so glad I did, and that I decided to follow. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I'm commenting today because I married into the Whitaker family. You're right that it's a giant mess in Family Tree. Years ago we decided that even though it was a mess, we wouldn't spend too much time worrying about it, because the temple work was done (multiple times!). Thank you for trying to straighten it out now. We really appreciate it! (We're focusing on a different line now as well, but would be happy to assist if possible. My husband descends from George Whitaker, who was born in England in 1820 and died in Utah in 1907.)