Did you see the new "Genealogist Section" on your profile?

+71 votes

Hi WikiTreers,

Today you may notice that your profile page looks different. As an active member, your profile now has what we are calling a "Genealogist Section."

This section contains the things that make a member's profile different from any other person profile on our tree: DNA tests taken, tags followed, badges, etc.

It will also contain your "Communication Preferences" once you have set them. These say:

  1. who you want to communicate with about genealogy, and
  2. whether or where others can see your family tree.

As you'll see, the text is fully customizable, and the entire section can be hidden.

The Genealogist Section is what will be most visible to you, but there are even more significant changes for new members today. New members no longer need to "volunteer" to help grow our tree and then wait for confirmation from a Greeter. See Help:New Member Process if you're interested in the steps for a new member.

Today's changes are the culmination of a large project we first started discussing here in November to welcome more genealogists as members and improve communication between WikiTreers and those who do their genealogy elsewhere.

If you're interested in the background, see these G2G conversations: 1, 2, 3. Note that we have not created any new member types (something we discussed) nor have any permissions for member types changed.

For more information, see these two new help pages:

As with any big set of changes, there may be bugs, and we will almost certainly be able to make further improvements. If you see a problem, have questions that aren't answered in the help pages, or want to make suggestions, please post an answer here.

Since I expect a lot of members will have input in the coming days, I'd like to ask everyone to post with an answer instead of a comment on this initial post. Then, if you have more input, edit your answer or post a comment on it. Every answer will be read. If you want to suggest significant changes, new policies, etc., that is best done in a new proposal.



in The Tree House by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)

57 Answers

+41 votes

Thanks, Chris. Things look great so far. Our appreciation to the Team for all the hard work and keeping us in the Loop.

Debi & the Greeters

by Debi Hoag G2G6 Pilot (309k points)
We're really impressed with seeing the thoughtful comments new Family Members are adding as they fill out the Communications Preferences section.
Great addition to user profiles!  Very nicely done - congrats Chris and team!!!
+32 votes
Well Done, Chris and Team!

I've updated my Genealogist answers and I like the 'new' look.  I like that I can hide the Genealogist section if I choose to.  I don't, but others might!
by Amy Gilpin G2G6 Pilot (117k points)
+31 votes
Hey Chirs!

I can't wait to see how this builds our great big ole shared Tree! Playing around with my Genealogist sections now!

It's certainly BIG. lol I think adjustments will be made to make it more...or less? I prefer the tags shifted left with the descriptions following. It's hard to follow the way they are now. But I know things will shuffle out as this gets more comments.


by Mags Gaulden G2G6 Pilot (536k points)
edited by Mags Gaulden
Ah so Bob, well I don't have mine displayed so ....

Bob, if there is as you say a disparity from one profile to the next then that would be a WikiTree Tech matter because it would seem that the matter of display is dependent upon #5 and how the PM deals with it -- some hide the whole, some do not answer all 5 questions etc and so forth  

But make a separate Q for WikiTree Tech about this and see if there's something they can do to address this 

Susan and Melanie,

I see no "grid" at the bottom right corner that allows for resizing the box. Can you post a screenshot?

What box?  frown

I posted about the flashy blue thing for spambook, not some box.

Jillaine, based on Bob Howlett's response to Susan, I think this is what she meant:

Sorry it's so small.  If I were as clever as Melanie, I'd know how to make it expandable by clicking on it.  This link should go to the full-size image:


@ Julie -- when you add the image, before you click "add comment", click on the pre-posted image (or sweep across it so it is highlighted), then click the chain to add a link.  This allows the full url to work for the image in the same way it works for text.   Example : Julie's image is here.

Thanks, Melanie!

No worries.  smiley

Thanks for this. I just shrunk the box quite a lot and it appears not to make any difference on the profile.
@Jillaine -- The bottom right corner of the free-text box allows you to expand the box when you're editing. That does nothing to the size of the box when it's displayed on your profile after you click "save."
+28 votes
Thanks, Chris and Team! It looks wonderful!

Very clean and user friendly!
by Azure Robinson G2G6 Pilot (194k points)
+28 votes
Love the new Genealogist section will help keep track of who I have been working on.

Updated my tags earlier so more surnames I am interested in are on my profile.
by Hilary Gadsby G2G6 Pilot (158k points)
+31 votes
I joined in 2011.  I changed my email address in 2017, and realised that it would now look as though I joined in 2017.  But with the 'new look' profiles it is much more prominent - is there any way at all to show my original date of 2011?
by Ros Haywood G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)

Ros, I have the same problem, joined in 2011, after a merge it now reflects as 2015.

I feel proud to have been part of the Wikitree family for so long, would love if it could show my original date of 1 June 2011.

Similar situation.  If we can't change to original signing, could the date phrase be less prominent? As it is now, the time span isn't accurate for the total number of contributions.
I'll make sure it's on our to-do list to figure out a solution. I'm proud that you've been here since 2011 as well.
Mine's the same from an e-mail change. I definitely started on 1 April 2017 and not four days before I began leading the England Project lol. Thanks for looking at this, Chris :-)
Jamie commented to another post talking about the same issue that they're looking for a way to run a script to repair issues like this.
Thanks, Julie (and Jamie) :-)
Ditto with my date ... the right data is on the profile on the 'Volunteer' badge.  I'd think that date would be easy to access and fix the problem.
Same for me but I didn't change email, I changed my LNAB from Anonymous to my real name, perhaps around May last year. Which is where it puts me at having joined. 60k contributions in a year would have been a bit insane :)

We decided to emphasize the date on which you signed the Honor Code instead of hacking at the confirmed-on dates. See https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/1052724/did-you-see-the-signed-on-date-on-your-profile

Looks much better now.
Thanks, Chris. It's nice to see my WikiBirthday up there :-)
+25 votes
Looks good so far, bossman. Less cluttered. Now to update some answers. Done.

Let the cousin baiting begin!
by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (431k points)
+43 votes

Sorry, I just don't like it, and have hidden it already.  It is too big and glaring.

Who is interested in that big green blob of tags on the left?  New people won't even know what they are for. Without the comments on each one, seasoned Wikitreers won't know why you are following a certain tag. Wow - I'm not even interested.

Space constraints (probably) have meant that fewer badges can be displayed - and if you were keen on badges, that is a serious change.  In fact, when I hide the new section, all the badges go away.)

Thanks for all your hard work on this - but, no thanks.

by Ros Haywood G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)

I appreciated being able to see the notes other members left regarding their reasons for following a particular tag. I have not been able to find any way to see this information now (whether or not the member has chosen to display tags on their profile.  Have I overlooked an instruction about where to find this information now?

I hid it, but it did not remain hidden when I navigated away and then back.  I had to re-hide it.  Do I have to re-hide this every. single. day?
Never mind the "won't stay hidden".  I figured that out.
If you hide it, is that only for what you see yourself or is it hidden from everyone?

If you hide it in your settings, it will be hidden from everyone.

Yes, and I think that's a bad idea.  How do we know who is a Leader, for example?  A Mentor?  There are useful and important reasons for WikiTreers to be able to view each other's roles.

Update:  This is discussed at length following Linda Peterson's answer below (which I hadn't got to when I wrote this.)
Ok, thanks Ellen for the answer. I do not hide the badges myself, with the exception of the 80 contribution badges.
I don't like it either. Too big and intrusive and then when I hide it I can no longer see my badges etc. The old layout worked a lot better. As far as I'm aware the only thing that's new is the communication preferences, but that's something that members could use their biography for.
Same here. Got it hidden, and got rid of the tags, badges at the same time. For what I've done in WikiTree and intend to do in the future, all this clinky stuff is useless.
I did see other profiles which kept the badges and tags. It seems there's advantages: Like the links that come with them. So I added 1& 2 back in with 5 which I had to reduce a bit. I am happy with  it again but wonder for how long ...
+39 votes
I'm with Ros Haywood on this. To me, this seems like pointless rearrangement of the profile, for no real added benefit.

I wish that other, major items would get addressed that everyone keeps asking for instead of constant rearranging of a profile.
by Eric Weddington G2G6 Pilot (234k points)
I wouldn't mind displaying my tags only, without the badges. It seems that this now cannot be done. Why is there so much emphasis on displaying the badges? If I go to a person's profile then I find it useful sometimes to know what tags (last names) they are following. I don't care so much about their badges.
Hi Eric, you can hide the badges you don't want to show via the link [view/edit all .. badges] on the left under the badges.
Most of this update had to do with the registration process, it wasn't just a trivial cosmetic change. But since most people participating here are already registered, the profile change is all they will notice.
Ok, that part is fair. Still, I'm not quire sure why it warranted rearranging the profile.
+21 votes
I like the changes but I've only had a couple of minutes getting used to them. Time will tell!
by David Carlson G2G6 Mach 9 (94.6k points)
+24 votes
I agree with Mags that the new section seems very big.  It looks like the font used in Communication Preferences is larger than in the biography. I think it would make it seem less invasive and more pleasant if that section, as well as the Honor Code signatory section were in a smaller font.

4th column of Badges is cut off on iPad in vertical mode.  They are not cut off on Android phone.

Biography is very difficult to read on Android when there are stickers on biography.  Stickers are taking up so much room, leaving about 6 characters to the left of the biography, so they should probably be shrunk like the badges are to make it look better

Thank for the work!
by Linda Peterson G2G6 Pilot (501k points)
If hiding the section hides the badges, I think that is a problem.  There are important badges that help others.  When I mentor someone, I review people's badges to see what projects they are involved in, to see if they are Pre-1700 or Pre-1500 certified, whether they are a Data Doctor, how many contributions they are doing monthly, etc because it helps to know their activity. When I am going through Data Doctor Suggestions, sometimes I check the badges to see if they are also a Data Doctor, so I might explain a Suggestion that they don't seem to understand.

I assume that 'Leaders' can see the Badges, even if hidden, but there are reasons for others to see Badges, also, and I worry that if people don't like the new section, the Badges are also being removed.
Badges are not in the Wiki-ID menu of the member either - but you can access them through the Family Tree & Tools page if the new section is hidden.
You are correct, Linda. I ended up hiding the whole section because I didn't like the "surnames" part. With the way I work it's just a completely random collection of names. It's a name with an invalid character that I've been busy fixing that comes on top of the list.
After playing with the 'settings' a bit, if you hide the questions, the badges, DNA, and surnames remains, but selecting the bottom to hide everything, they are all removed for sure.  Selecting Hide on the profile looks like it only temporarily hides that section, so you have to go to settings to remove it.

I don't think the Badges should be removed at any time.  I have verified if settings is changed to hide that section, even Leaders cannot see the badges easily.  That will make it harder for Mentors, Leaders, Rangers, etc who frequently use the Badges for review.
The surnames list means nothing for me because of doing so many Data Doctor Suggestions, but recently I did a lot for Scotland, so I have some of their frequent surnames. That doesn't bother me unless people with those surnames come to me for assist or think I am related, which I can't help them with.
Everytime the profile is loaded the badges/tags have to be hidden again.
Linda has a point about the badges. I hid mine because I didn't like the appearance of the tags and badges in such a large block of the top of my profile. But, as a mentor and greeter, I won't be able to see "who's got what" if people hide their badges.
Pat, you have to go to Settings and change the option in there so that it is permanently hidden.  Selecting the Hide button on the profile page is just temporarily done.

Oh, dear -- Leaders, Greeters, Rangers, etc., often need to be able to see the badges of another member. At a minimum, we need a link on every profile that says See all badges and takes us to the badges page for any member who has decided not to display them on their profile.

I just added Blue to some of the badges I mentioned in my #5 only 800 character summary. Does that help the greeters?
@ Ellen .. you can still access badges.  You just need to jump through several extra hoops to get there.  They can be found under the tab "WikiTree Tools" under the "Family Tree & Tools".
@Linda and @Ellen - you can still see badges and the link if you access their G2G profile.
Family Tree and Tools is not available for members who do not have public family trees.  And in that situation, the only way to find the g2g profile is to find the person in g2g -- either by finding a post they made or finding their name on the Users list (been there, done that, and it is a royal pain). If they have never participated in G2G, there will be no way to find the G2G profile.

WikiTree has historically treated badges as a communication tool to facilitate collaboration and management of the community and projects. Making them inaccessible defeats that.

EDITED: Earlier I forgot that it is also possible to get to a G2G profile by inserting the user ID in the URL field after https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/user/ . For example, my G2G profile is at https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/user/Smith-62120

I think you should respect the privacy settings members have on their profiles. If they don't want to show badges or tags you should not be devising ways to get around it.

+24 votes
Very "crisp" looking,

I've never explored by top surname contributions before (It might not have been anywhere I ran into it) Very interesting.
by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)

It's still a very new feature on WikiTree. It was just announced back at the beginning of April: https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/1011916/have-you-seen-the-new-surname-contributions-feature

+32 votes
I am not thrilled with it. I will hide it most of the time.
by Dale Byers G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)

laugh I don't look at my own profile page very often ... do I approve or disapprove of what has been done to it? 

crying I have not decided and probably will not decide unless and until something occurs that indicates this change (not of my own doing) is affecting my own WikiTree Life 

cheeky I will say the colors are amazing ... there's colors there I have not identified which makes me wonder about this older model Chrome Notebook I'm using ... either that or the programmers are wizards with code 

Hi Dale, I'm just curious - you mention hiding it most of the time. Under what circumstances would you not hide it?
Eowyn, I can not think of anytime I would not hide it. but You never know I might not hide it for a reason I have not encountered.
Dale, selecting the Hide on the profile is only hiding it temporarily.  You have to go to settings to hide it from people seeing it.

laugh I would never have pegged you as shy.  Huh. 

So, now, to see another members contributions, we have to look at their G2G profile, then to look at their family tree, go to the big profile ?

An extra step when someone asks for help with something but doesn't include enough in their g2g question

It frequently happens someone asks for help with Great gramma Annie, and doesn't include a link to the profile or hasn't made a profile yet, but, checking contribs then the tree, I can get an idea of where Gramma goes and start looking for sources to answer the g2g

now an extra couple steps ! ! !

heavy sigh

p.s. added


I see contribs on big profile now


another heavy sigh


After some time to play with this I feel I should clarify

I find this change distracts from the actual data section and biography section. After all this is a Genealogy site and those sections should be the most important not what tags you follow, badges you earned, or communication preferences.
Dale, I see what you are saying. However, we aren't just a genealogy site.  We are a collaborative genealogy site.  It would be a different story if this were on ancestor profiles but as they are on the profiles of the members who are here to collaborate I think it's great change. I can easily go to a member's page and see what they are interested in, how they want to communicate and what they are here for.  A slight scroll down to then see the rest of their profile isn't that much of a hindrance.
Eowyn, I am glad you like it but there are enough answers and comments on this thread to see that others do not agree. The stated goal  to see how we wish to communicate could have been accomplished with a far less drastic change, and using far less page space, as many others have said.
I appear to have hidden mine so effectively that I can't find it at all. Therefore I have lost all reference to my badges etc.

I can't say I like it and I can't see why it was done. Of all the things that need doing in Wikitree this would not have got onto my priority list.

I presume there is no option to retain the previous and much-loved Profile format?
You can find your badges from family tree and tools tab which has a link to badges.

Settings is where the option is to show the new section, which also hides the badges because it is positioned in the new section.
+31 votes
After noting that I could remove my answers any time, I answered a couple of the multiple choice questions.  When I looked at my profile, I decided that I did not like the way it looked, so I went back to try to remove the answers I had entered, but cannot do that because radio buttons are used, which means that once a selection is made, it can only be changed - can never be restored to no choice selected.  Bottom line - the promise of being able to remove these answers is false, so I just hid the whole thing.

PS  It could be fixed by adding one more radio button to each question with the label "none of these" and the software could be set to de-select the radio buttons when that is clicked.
by Gaile Connolly G2G6 Pilot (874k points)
Chris, I saw that before I edited the section.  My problem is that I don't want to simply hide my answers to questions 1 and 2 - I want to un-do them and the only way to do that is to select different answers.

Gaile has a good point, Chris. The text at the end of the form states, "Answers can be edited or removed at any time." However hiding input or modifying input are functionally different actions than removal of input. Hence the text at the bottom is misleading: It makes a promise to users which WikiTree fails to keep.

It's like going to a store, expecting to be able to return an item for its original value after being promised that it was an option, only to discover that the store is only willing to allow you to exchange for an item of equal value.

"Removed" is a link to Special:Settings#Genealogist where you can remove the answers from your profile. Calling that a false promise seems like hyperbole, but we certainly don't want to be called liars ... so the line now reads, "Answers can be edited or removed from your profile at any time."

An edit which might do it better justice: "Answers can be edited or hidden from being displayed on your profile at any time." The use of "removed" is still confusing, since I think most people would understand "removed" as meaning "eliminated" rather than "hidden". Hidden means that it's still there, just it cannot be seen. 

I tried to complete "5" without selecting 1&2, but it refuses to accept submit, so I just gave up and put something in the bio instead. 1 & 2 are compulsory to answer. It even highlights the two questions in bold red if you haven't selected anything.So there is not really a choice.
Yes, answering those questions is compulsory for submitting the form. That's what the form was designed for: setting communication preferences.

If you do not want to communicate with anyone about genealogy you should not be using WikiTree.

If it's that none of the current answers seems to fit, you could propose adding a new answer.

If it's that you don't like how the answers appear on your profile (I don't, as you can see on my profile) you can customize with question five, or remove the entire section.

As for "removed from your profile" vs. "hidden from being displayed on your profile" ... this seems really pedantic.

I agree with Louis that we shouldn't be required to answer questions 1 and 2 if we only want to answer question 5. We should be given the OPTION of answering questions 1 and 2 and/OR answering question 5 (could probably include questions 3 and 4 in the latter option).

edit: added italicized word

I respectfully request that my answers to questions 1 and 2 be manually edited to remove them (as I was led to expect that I would be able to do) and restore the questions to nothing selected.  If that is done then I will be happy to un-hide the section from my biography.  Thank you.

Maybe it is just me and English, but I don't understand why I should select a communication preference when I am happy with my current status where there is a [send private message]
on my profile and a section Leave a message for others who see this profile.
This implies that anyone can contact me responsibly.

By selecting "Anyone" on the questionnaire, I give express permission for anyone to contact me for whatever reason including getting spammed.

Regarding question two. My setting on my profile is private for my connection, if any, to the main tree as such I am reluctant to answer it.

Chris I can only hope and pray that you will understand my reasoning from a foreign language point of view. I also do not understand what warranted the remark

If you do not want to communicate with anyone about genealogy you should not be using WikiTree.

Do you mean that because I am not comfortable with the communication preference change that WikiTree is not the place for me? This is very confusing because no one in the rest of the thread said anything to which that remark could be directed.

Thank you for the word pedantic. I never saw it used before.

Louis, being called pedantic should be considered a word of honour among genealogists smiley

Other than that, I support your last reply 100 per cent.

Thank you Leif for your support, and I must say that I could identify with your reasoning very comfortably smiley

+26 votes

I think I will like the ability to give a summary of why I'm here and what I do in the Communication Preferences box. I just need to take the time to write something more meaningful than what I have right now. 

A couple of things I would like to see as part of that feature:

  • A preview button
  • The toolbar that we normally see in the free-text area of profiles
by Julie Ricketts G2G6 Pilot (385k points)
I love what you wrote!

Thanks! laugh

I agree with Chris, very nicely written!  And very truthful!
Thank you, Linda!
Julie, I see that you entered the email icon link in your text. How did you do that? Whenever I try to insert html coding the changes are removed when I save it!!
Hi, Joyce!

The email icon is in the standard text that appears at the top of the Communications Preferences / free text box. I see it in mine, but I don't see it in yours.

I was thinking it might have something to do w/ how you answer Q's 1&2, but I just tested answering them all differently, and the icon didn't go away. Did you maybe not answer Q's 1&2??

I think Chris or another Team member might have to answer this one for us. ;-)
I thought yours was all from Q#5, but now I see it's from #1,2,&5. Never mind!! I'll have to work out something else.
Julie, How did you get your comments to show while hovering over the tags. My comments just printed out alongside the tags and looked awful.
Pat, on my windows computer, hovering over the tags will shows the comment, which will go past the edge of the window, if it is not a full screen window.
Pat --

If you have any formatting or links in your tag comments, it's going to mess up the display. Once you remove those, your tags will line up nicely, and when you hover over one w/ your cursor, text will pop up containing your comments.

I had the same problem. :-)

I have a Linux operating system and the comments show just right of the hover point and aren't large enough to run off into oblivion.


I didn't have to change anything, the next day, it worked just fine. I wish the links would function.
+23 votes
The new style looks great. I think it is clearer than the old one.
by Dieter Lewerenz G2G6 Pilot (912k points)
+22 votes
Thank you, Cris and Team, for the new improvements and new look.
by David Selman G2G Astronaut (1.0m points)
+15 votes

On first impression, I really like the new look. yes

And I would like to use the new text at the top (Communications Preferences) to communicate information to people who visit my profile, but I would like for all of the questions to be optional. Specifically, I have no particular interest in answering  Who are you interested in communicating with about genealogy?.  It seems to me that half the world is already using WikiTree to send me email about genealogy and WikiTree, so I am not eager to openly invite even more people to write to me, but I also do not want to say I am not interested in hearing from people. Accordingly, I would prefer to leave that item blank. But I definitely want to fill in some of the other sections.

by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
Ah, I now see that I can hide my answers to questions 1 and 2 and use question 5 instead. Thanks!
+20 votes
My first impression is that the DNA tags and badges are being given way too much importance.

I do like the across the page layout - but I was thinking that perhaps that section (on the gray background) could be moved down to above the comments?

I dont think I want them to be quite so In-your-face!!
by Robynne Lozier G2G6 Pilot (899k points)
OK so I filled in the little blurb about my interests. Now that grey section is not so bad. I think this will grow on me!!
+19 votes
It's probably an improvement to be able to hide the tags and badges. At the same time, I took advantage of the text area to clarify my primary field of research and why I'm here.
by Leif Biberg Kristensen G2G6 Pilot (107k points)
I like what you've done, Leif.
Thank you, Isabelle.

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