More flexibility needed in One Name Studies

+21 votes
533 views

While I generally like a lot of the recent overhauls of different projects (e.g., Global Cemeteries), there are certain aspects of the One Name Studies project overhaul that don't make a lot of sense to me.

I understand the idea of turning an individual One Name Studies project into a "hub" of sorts, to allow more flexibility and collaboration when it comes to research areas (see: Setting Up The Name Study).

This works well when there are multiple people working on a One Name Study, or when the One Name Study is of a common-enough name, as to warrant having to break out the study into multiple work spaces.

However, there are One Name Studies where the last name is uncommon, or there is only a single researcher. In these instances, why should a One Name Study be divided into a single "hub" page, with a link to only a single "research" page? Why not retain the single One Name Study page, that contains the current research? When the time comes, and the criteria is met, to break out the study to multiple pages, then do it at that point. To force this new organizational structure, where it is not needed, creates additional, unnecessary work. And in my mind, it creates confusion as well to have a single "hub" page, with only a single "spoke" (research) page.

This is not some theoretical musing. I currently manage 8 One Name Studies. I "co-manage" another One Name Study, but I'm really the de facto manager. I have contributed to yet another One Name Study. Out of these 10 studies, only one of them has more than 2 people contributing to them (the one that I'm just a contributor on). Out of these 10 studies, 3 others have someone else other than me working on them. This leaves 6 One Name Studies where I am the sole contributor. This doesn't bother me, as I am active on all of the One Name Studies that I manage. 

But these 6 One Name Studies are fairly unique-enough last names. No one else has stepped up to really contribute. And I lead the research effort. To then go back and change all of these One Name Studies to match this new "hub" template, and to then move all the research work that I've done to yet another page, will leave me with yet more unnecessary work to do. I will not only have a One Name Study project page to manage, but then my own research page will have to be managed and maintained as well. All for this idea that somehow there will be lots of people who will be flocking to join the One Name Studies that I work on. 

If there are multiple people who work on these One Name Studies, then it makes sense to break out the work. I can see where this would be useful for one of the studies I contribute to (e.g. Binkley). But it does not make sense to do this for others that I maintain (e.g. Weddington, Vanover, Longan, Cresap, Rodewald, and Hoxsie).

Having said all this, I'm all in for creating standardized sections in a One Name Study, and making sure that it is inviting for all to participate, that the scope is global, how to join, membership, etc.

But what I would like is to have some flexibility in the rest of the One Name Study. That research can be included in the main body of the study and not forced out to some other unnecessary page, until the One Name Study grows big enough that it makes sense. There is a note on the Getting Started with a One Name Study page, under the "Main ONS page" section that states "Note: This is the preferred format for the main ONS page; however, some leeway and customization is allowed. If you are unsure on how to setup your main Name Study page, please contact an ONS Leader for assistance." This is in reference to the sections included on the page. But I would like this flexibility extended to the idea that all research has to now go on separate pages (which is discussed further down the page).

Because if I have to go separate all the work that I have done, it will just create more busy work for me, and I will seriously have to reconsider whether maintaining these projects is worth my time. Because at that point, this is no different than if I stood up my own pages, outside of the scope of the ONS project. At that point, I would have to ask myself why would I need the ONS project.

Steve, Natalie: please reconsider.

in Policy and Style by Eric Weddington G2G6 Pilot (242k points)
edited by Eric Weddington
Eric, thank you for posing this question. It is an important one for the managers of one-name-studies which were established long ago. I asked to join an established study yesterday. The main page is wonderfully full of information and resource links placed there by the original "sole manager." When I asked to join that study, he made me a co-manager. I've never participated in any project, much less co-managed one. As a newbie to projects, the thought of re-organizing the wonderful work already done by the person who originally set up this study is daunting. I'm not sure how the original sole manager would feel about having to approach that task, but he would probably feel much as you do since he's put so much work into the original study pages. Besides, it is just so well-done, with so much information right there on the landing-page for the study. I've looked at a couple of your linked one-name study pages and they are likewise very well done, in my opinion. I'd really like for us to be able to keep these pages the way they are with only some slight modifications to include some things the overall one name study managers want on the "hub page." I'm hoping when you get an answer here you will be told the older one name studies can be "grandfathered in" just as they are currently organized with only slight modification.
Nelda, that's wonderful that you were lucky to join a name study with an open-minded manager. This is not always the case, and some members have been denied access to studies and told to create their own studies. This is not a way to have friendly collaboration.

Additionally, all "main" study pages should be open privacy.
Natalie, yes, I do think I've been very fortunate on WikiTree. So far, everyone I've dealt with has been open to collaboration, working together. I just checked--the one name study I joined and now co-manage does have an open privacy level. I've contacted the originator/the co-manager and alerted him to this discussion and asked for his thoughts. The study was established in 2014! And, he's done lots of great work on it. No way am I unilaterally going to do anything which doesn't preserve that work even if a new "structure" has to be applied to the study.

6 Answers

+11 votes
This change seems to add confusion instead of clarity to the one name study process, which I already found confusing.  Glad you brought this up, and I hope someone with power considers what you said.
by J. Crook G2G6 Pilot (203k points)
Personally, I find it less confusing. You have a surname, we create a hub page for all research. Members link to their research pages, whatever they wish to focus on. Some want to do their own line, some want to do all of the lines in a certain region, etc. Every page is available in one click from the main page and nobody feels they are stepping on another's research, which has been a complaint in the past.

Things are often less confusing to those who design, or set up, whatever it is.

It takes time for "everyone else" to adjust, especially if they have previously worked under a different system.  For those coming in new, it will be much easier as the new way will be the only way.

I think patience will be required by all, especially during the transition period.

Thanks to Natalie and Steve for their work in moving the ONS forward.


I mean no offense by anything I have said, but apologise in case offense is taken - and this post is not off topic, but directly addressing concerns expressed.

To clarify my position even further, I never said that the new changes were confusing to me. I can't speak for others. I have said that parts of the new changes (creating a hub-and-spoke model) creates "busy work" for little benefit, for a certain class of One Name Studies: namely, already existing studies that are small and only have one person working on them. My issue is very limited in scope, but very relevant to me. And all I'm asking for is flexibility in this one area. All the other changes to One Name Studies, I support.
I don't understand. I just started my first One Name Study (Casteel Name Study) and the project leader created a page for it. What are these hub pages for research, and where are they? I don't see any.

The "main" page is what I created for you to coordinate, J. On the page, there is a section for Teams/Research Pages. Members who wish to study a particular line or family, or focus on some topic related to the name can create a page and link if there under Teams/Research Pages. If you do work on your own line of Casteels, you should also do it that way and link it to the main page (as anyone else would.) This way, the main page is a hub for the research of the surname, not just one person's line of research.

An example is here:https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Space:Zornes_Name_Study in the Zornes Study. Emma is the coordinator and has linked her Family Mysteries page to the main study page. If you click that link to her Family Mysteries page, you will see that she linked it back to the main page via the sticker and category.

Oh, well I have done that with a research page, but there was nothing about the "Team" section to tell me what it was for. Thank you for the explanation, Natalie. I may move the link to my research page from "Resources" to "Teams/Research Pages."
+3 votes

I know that some of those changes seem to be arbitrary in nature, especially for those who have been 'doing their own thing' for so long now; however, these changes have been discussed with Team members and hashed out over a couple weeks in order to better facilitate collaboration between members interested in the same name.

In the past there have been complaints of uncooperative ONS Coordinators, locked Name Studies, and even statements that members did not realize they were able to participate in a Name Study because ‘that Name Study exists and xMember is already working on it…’ This has led to duplicate name studies, hurt feelings between members, etc. You may not personally see this within your work, but please understand that you are currently only seeing the small space that you work within, not the bigger picture of the project as a whole.

It is also important to note that no two people will ever really work the same. They will each have different methods of research and documenting their data, distinct objectives and goals, etc.

However, there are One Name Studies where the last name is uncommon, or there is only a single researcher. In these instances, why should a One Name Study be divided into a single "hub" page, with a link to only a single "research" page? Why not retain the single One Name Study page, that contains the current research?

For these questions, I would like to start off with a question of my own: What happens to a Name Study when the ONS Coordinator is no longer active (or maybe no longer interested in continuing the research)? What happens to that information when a member wants to take up the torch and continue on with the Name Study? In most cases, the original work of another member is hard to decipher, or so very limited in scope, that it will most likely be wiped from the page and relegated to the change history.

When the time comes, and the criteria is met, to break out the study to multiple pages, then do it at that point. To force this new organizational structure, where it is not needed, creates additional, unnecessary work. And in my mind, it creates confusion as well to have a single "hub" page, with only a single "spoke" (research) page.

Your current method of research may only create the one “spoke” page, but let’s reflect back on what I mentioned earlier - how no two people work the same - and then think about this in a global perspective:

What type of Name Study would be easier to join and participate with? One that is packed full of information crammed into a single page or limited in scope, or one that is open and invites you to join in and start your own research by simply creating a new team/research page? From the short time this initiative has been up and going, we are already seeing that the new format is inviting more collaboration… Just ask Natalie how busy we have been with new requests, and the amount of new comments that are popping up on all of the individual Name Study pages of people wanting to collaborate, share information, or join in on existing studies! We have been wading through over 100 emails in the last few days alone!

by Steven Harris G2G6 Pilot (506k points)

If there are multiple people who work on these One Name Studies, then it makes sense to break out the work. I can see where this would be useful for one of the studies I contribute to (e.g. Binkley). But it does not make sense to do this for others that I maintain (e.g. WeddingtonVanoverLonganCresapRodewald, and Hoxsie).

When I look at the Weddington, Vanover, Longan and other Name Studies mentioned, there is one very large issue that stands out to me - which is that they are all very limited in scope (restricted to a single country and immigration to that country). Back to my question posed above, does this invite the collaboration of other members, or does it perhaps prohibit or sway them from participating because they are not interested in the same scope?

One Name Studies are meant to be global research initiatives, including all names found within all countries and time periods - while your specific area of focus is great, it is not a full Name Study that encourages collaboration, it is only centered around specific research objectives (as stated on those pages).

In closing, you may not agree with the changes, but we have already seen an uptick in responses and collaboration requests - so I am confident that this is the correct direction for the project to move in. We are always open to new suggestions, so please don’t hesitate to reach out with ideas for consideration.

Steve,

  • You describe how my current ONS pages are limited in scope. I already said in my original post that I was prepared to make changes to open up the scope, make them in line with the new direction, and make them more inviting to any potential new members.
  • You said that these changes were already discussed with team members. Really? Where? Because I never saw any discussion of them. Were they discussed here on the G2G forum? Or were they discussed off-site in a Google Group? If the latter, then I have never been on such a ONS Google group.
  • Agreed that I have not seen the wider problems with other One Name Studies. I never said that I don't like all of these changes. I can see where a lot of these changes are beneficial, and solves exactly the problems that you're seeing. However, you point out that these are problems with a ONS where the manager has been unresponsive or uncooperative. Neither has applied to me. I am not asking to go back to the way things were. All I am asking for is flexibility with the "hub-and-spoke" model for small One Name Studies that do not have multiple contributors yet. I have 3 One Name Studies now (Blackburn, Crippen, McBrayer), where there are now two people working on them (myself and another person). I'm more than willing to modify those to the new hub-and-spoke model. But to do so on these others is busy work for no benefit. There have been no others that have come forward to say that they want to work on them, despite information on these pages on How To Join.

I already said in my original post that I was prepared to make changes to open up the scope, make them in line with the new direction, and make them more inviting to any potential new members.

As I referenced earlier, the best way we can see to effectively do this is through the format identified, what you call the hub and spoke model. If you have another method, there is nothing saying that you cannot use it. We just see what is working best and suggest that.

You said that these changes were already discussed with team members. Really? Where? 

WikiTree Team members...

All I am asking for is flexibility with the "hub-and-spoke" model for small One Name Studies that do not have multiple contributors yet.

See my response above. No one has demanded that you conform. I am sure this is related to a comment left on one of the studies that suggested the new template format to invite more collaboration, and assistance with that task was even offered in order to help lighten that load.

In short, you do have flexibility to work in the ways you desire, but under the ONS model, the main Name Study pages are an extension of the Project itself and should strive to adhere (as best they can with the flexibility given) to the model outlined. Will it work in all cases? No - we understand that. So use your best judgement...

Ok, thanks Steve. I appreciate the flexibility, and I also appreciate all the work that you and Natalie have done on this project. As I mentioned, I like the general direction that the overall ONS project is going.

Give me some time to make the changes on the individual ONS projects I oversee to get them in line.
+6 votes

I must say, looking at the new "Getting Started" page of One-Name Studies, I am truly pleased and impressed. This is not to dismiss those who find it "confusing". Name studies are difficult and it seems that the message to date has sounded like "it's easy"... just click here to start your study. (And, I'm not dismissing the effort by Ros Haywood to make it easier to get it set up. The WikiTree logistics were harder when I first set up the study.

What I like is the tie-in with the Guild of One-Name Studies. And yes, the Guild's "Seven Pillars" statement is also diffiult. The trick is, to define what the "thing" (ONS) is... how it might look in its fully developed form. It is a plan to build on.

I'd like to point out (having looked at the "Change" list for the page) Steve Harris composed the page just 7 days ago (23rd). If I recall correctly, just about everything about ONS, and WikiTree, for that matter, is a work in progress. Tying it in with the Guild is progress, in my estimation.


When I first signed up with the Guild in 2010 I found it a puzzle, but I was happy to hitch my wagon to SOMETHING. It wasn't until a few years later, that the Guild included the "Seven Pillars". That seemed overwhelming, but it gave shape to what it could be. I'd be surprised if many of the Guild studies are fully developed according to the Pillars. I know I'm not even close. And yet, it offers a direction... a shape for what might be.

I think this is an effort to give shape to the meaning of ONS at WikiTree. I don't imply any demand to make your study look like that right now. Nor do I see it as a rigid rule. It is a direction and we are one week from its first public view. What WikiTree page or profile is in its final form just out of the gate.
I'm sorry if I'm incorrectly stating the concern about "being more flexible". To me, it seems more like "this is overwhelming... give me a break".


Actually, I've been struggling with how to make WikiTree more useful for the Beasley Study. I look forward to trying it on for size. One piece at a time.

by Douglas Beezley G2G6 Mach 2 (28.4k points)
Thank you, Douglas. We are just getting underway and trying to organize and set up new studies. I thank you for being patient and understanding.
@Douglas: Interesting that you bring up the tie-in to Guild of One Name Studies. Every time I go to their website, it makes me appreciate the flexibility of WikiTree even more, and our own One Name Studies here. I wouldn't be surprised if, one day, we surpass the Guild in quantity and quality. I hope it comes about.
@ Natalie: I don't know when you and Steven find time to sleep!

I like that in the start page you have cut and paste examples.  Makes setting up an ONS a snap.
+3 votes

I do not like the new "hub" template. It goes too far with "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" This is just too religious of a phrase to use on a genealogical site. Too much to learn. the first couple steps are okay but then goes down hill quickly. Publicizing the Study? I want to do WikiTree not a bunch of other sites.

by Pat Credit G2G6 Pilot (145k points)

Responded via private message.  heart

I hope as a newbie to WikiTree I'm not saying anything too heretical here, and maybe the model is no longer open to alteration, but don't you think the image of research as a series of steps (on the 'Getting Started with a One Name Study' page) mixes the metaphors? And in so doing it might unnecessarily make people feel they are going to be forced into a strict linear process involving a steep learning curve? It should go without saying that some data has to be collected first, but after that if you think about the descriptions of each of the other 6 'pillars' under their headings, don't you think that most of them can happen in any order, or together?  Don't our brains often synthesise at the same time as analyse, for instance? And as for publishing, it might be a final step in print-based research, but isn't simply creating a profile on WikiTree publishing that item of research? Google should pick it up. And you can do that in WikiTree immediately you have found (collected) some fact, and then later you can go on to analyse it or categorise it if an idea comes to you.

Separating research out into 6 or 7 activities is useful, however, especially perhaps for people who haven't thought of themselves before as researchers, but it's probably what most seasoned genealogy buffs do instinctively anyway. Maybe a plan view of the pillars in a circle might be less threatening? Without any arrows implying any direction. Or an elevation view with a roof on? Wouldn't they fit the metaphor better – 6 or 7 equal supports for a grand edifice.

Preserving the research is definitely an issue in wiki genealogy, and perhaps more so with one-name studies which have a larger identity than single profiles, but do you think it's a research activity as such? Isn't it to do with the protections and controls put in place by the WikiTree system? And isn't it the overarching reason why we are doing the research? Perhaps it's the roof the pillars are supporting?

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Publicizing the Study? I want to do WikiTree not a bunch of other sites. I think the new guidelines have gone way to far.

I think the section on Publicizing the Study was taken out of context. The focus of publicizing your study is to:

  • gather interested researchers;
  • help maximize the study's exposure;
  • help grow the number of contacts and amount of additional information that those contacts can contribute.

There are tons of methods and means to do this - and we all know how to do this through WikiTree - so the sites and methods presented were suggested simply as items to consider. The project is not dictating that you do them. If you feel this section can be worded clearer, please let me know and I will make the changes.

It goes too far with "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" This is just too religious of a phrase to use on a genealogical site.

I have to say I am slightly confused by this statement. The Seven Pillars of Wisdom as presented are in relation to general principals in order to help your name study, as presented by GOONS. See the footnotes within on where this information was extracted.

The perception that "Seven Pillars of Wisdom" is somehow "religious" is going too far. It's a generic phrase. Phrases like this can be found in almost all philosophical schools and multiple religions. So if it is perceived as belonging to any one particular religion then it is in the eyes of the perceiver only and not necessarily shared by others.

If anything, I think that calling them pillars of "wisdom" in the model is a bit of a stretch. We're only talking about genealogy, not philosophy. ;-)

Regardless, this is off-topic to the original thread (which I started). I got my question answered sufficiently. Let's start a new conversation on this.

Sorry, Eric. I already typed this out, so I'm gonna continue even though you said to cap this particular thread. angel

Hi, Adrian; and welcome!

I tend to agree with you, and that's why--when I finally put my primary one-name study online a few years ago--I decided to present it a little differently. I decided to approach it broadly with, "What kinds of information are we dealing with?" and "What are we doing with that information?"

Like you, a stepwise approach didn't appeal to me. Strangely enough (unless someone peeked at my website) it was more the hub-and-spoke structure that I decided upon in late 2016. For the "What are we dealing with?" I opted for a Venn diagram:

For the question of "What are we doing with it?" I chose to borrow a concept from noted genealogist Thomas MacEntee. He formulated a theme of "The Seven C's" for genealogical investigation, and I modified them to better (I felt) represent "The Seven C's of One-Name Studies": Collect, Curate, Calculate, Create, Connect, Conserve, Continue; explained here: https://casestone.com/threlkeld/about/objectives-scope.

Yep; essentially just a different form of the Guild's Seven Pillars. But Douglas said it well:

"I'd like to suggest that the Seven Pillars, among GOONS, is rather distant to typical discussion...something to have on a shelf to look at but not so central in practice. I don't know of ANY One-Name Study at GOONS that is measured in terms of the Seven Pillars."

Writing about the Seven Pillars, the organization itself says: "The Guild feels that it is impossible to prescribe the 'right' way to carry out a One-Name Study. Much depends on the size of the study, the researcher's objectives in performing such a study, and also of course their resources in terms of time, skills, and equipment." And in there is the presupposition which directed the Guild's work over a decade ago. The Seven Pillars was derived from material contributed by Guild members to their early-2000s website, and almost everything being done by Guild members was an individual effort, an individual researcher with individual objectives who was facilitated and/or constrained by his or her "time, skills, and equipment."

In numerous places the Guild is quick to point out that the Seven Pillars is not prescriptive. On their Wiki introduction to the Seven Pillars they even state, "It is, though, not a prescriptive way of developing a study." So in that regard I do think we might want to consider rewording that section on WikiTree's ONS "Getting Started" page. "These pillars provide a solid framework on how to progress..." is not strictly correct, even in the way the Guild views them. I can go into detail, having spent the past two decades of my career working significantly with frameworks and standards, but the Guild doesn't use the Seven Pillars as a framework--which is technically a structured system--but as a collection of principles...which, again technically, would be termed a model, not a framework.

Oh, and the image we're using of the Seven Pillars is no longer correct. With their updated website and new Wiki, the Guild states: "Note that the pillar previously labelled 'respond' has now been re-named 'communicate' to allow for the coverage of a wider range of topics." They're catching up to "The Seven C's of One-Name Studies."
cool

All good stuff, Edison. I particularly like your diagram.
He does good diagrams, does 'our Edison'.

It is also interesting that this hub-and-spoke structure is not completely new.  It has been that way for years: linking a separate freespace page to the main page.  My Stanton Name Study has links to freespace pages on migration, heraldry, and end-of-line Stantons and their locations.  A list of Stantons on WT, G2G posts tagged Stanton, Stanton orphans, unsourced Stantons, and unconnected Stantons.

I wouldn't have dreamed of putting all that info on one page.  Separate freespace pages was logical, and was what I advocated when anybody came to me asking what they should do.
Well this is where I might agree, or I might not. My background includes software engineering. There are trade-offs in any kind of data structure, which is really what we're talking about. If the volume of data is big enough to warrant a hub-and-spoke model, then I would use it. But there are costs to clicking to yet another page to find what one is looking for. There are also benefits to having a "one-stop shop" where all related data (and topics) are on a single page, but at the trade-off of a having a larger page to scroll down. Sometimes it's just a matter of style, too, and there is not a single right or wrong way of looking at it. All I was looking for is flexibility instead of a rigid prescription.

I did not mean for my post to derail this conversation. My post must have been poorly constructed as my main point was not addressed:

"Publicizing the Study

Publicizing your Name Study typically starts in the study's infancy (to gather interested researchers) and continues on through the life of the Name Study. You should 'advertise and advocate' for your study in as many places as possible to help maximize the study's exposure, and to help grow the number of contacts and amount of additional information that those contacts can contribute. You should consider:
Maintaining a WikiTree Name Study should not require going to other sites, some of which require a paid subscriptions (Ancestry, Guild of One-Name Studies). Where are the sources in Rootsweb WorldConnect? Nothing wrong with it being an option.
Eric posted:
"Regardless, this is off-topic to the original thread (which I started). I got my question answered sufficiently. Let's start a new conversation on this."
I did not intend this to be off topic. But since this is your thread, I will not address any of the comments above. Starting a new conversation would not be appropriate as most of the above has nothing to do with genealogy. If I could delete this entire answer with its comments, I would. I apologize for any misunderstandings.
Hi Pat,

You're fine. I'm not upset. I agree with you about publicizing elsewhere. The way that I look at it, is that if you have a page on WikiTree that publishes information about your ONS then you are publicizing, according to the GOONS.

All of this is an interesting topic in its own right, and deserves its own discussion thread. I suggest we move it to a different thread, though, since my original question has been addressed.
+5 votes
I see that the matter of the new ONS template has hit a nerve among some WikiTreers. The template that Steve has made has not, as far as I can see, been formally announced on G2G, so the concerns might be much broader.

I have been referring to the object of our discussion as "the Guild", which, come to think of it, probably sounds a little stuffy. Mostly, we use the acronym for the full name of the organization, "GOONS".

I'd like to suggest that the Seven Pillars, among GOONS, is rather distant to typical discussion... something to have on a shelf to look at but not so central in practice. I don't know of ANY One-Name Study at GOONS that is measured in terms of the Seven Pillars. I wasn't active in GOONS during the time that has formulated so I don't know much about the how and why. But I'm aware that there must be a sizeable number of GOONS studies that are not highly developed.

The one measure that is actual to this day is that studies are self-rated on a three-point scale:
Category 1: A study where research of core genealogical datasets and transcriptions is in its early stages.

Category 2: A study where research of core genealogical datasets and transcriptions is well underway, but in some countries only.

Category 3: A study where research using core genealogical datasets and transcriptions is well under way on a global basis.

There are difficulties with registered studies that are abandoned or not up-to-date. There is substantial evidence that GOONS itself is experiencing an ongoing transition to greater relevance.

If I had been at WikiTree at the same time I joined GOONS, I would not have been recommending it to WikiTree. In the beginning, I took it as not much more than a label. I felt it was unhelpful and the practices I was seeing felt completely foreign to what I was doing.

Since then, GOONS has been really trying to get updated and more relevant. To that end, GOONS has been making some wonderful progress, but so has WikiTree. In fact, come to think of it, when I first joined WikiTree (2014), I found it to be incomprehensible and not useful. Only by coming back a couple of years later, I was beginning to see the light and gradually came to appreciate WikiTree.

WikiTree and GOONS are good for each other. Both are learning and growing and never really finished. Let's collaborate.
by Douglas Beezley G2G6 Mach 2 (28.4k points)
These are great point Douglas!

In the past, ONS here on WikiTree were not intended to be, but frequently seen as, little projects that focused on a singular goal - the research of one person and their specific interests. As Ros put it, "...nothing more than glorified message boards, whereas a true Name Study is so much more and there is so much more involved."

And this is the perception we are trying to expand on - that Name Studies are much more than just message boards and the research of one specific family.

Through GOONS, there is less focus on how you do things, such as where you store your data or how you collaborate with others and publish your data. Here on WikiTree, we hope that the site itself can serve as the data storage mechanism, and the means to facilitate collaboration.

So while the intent has always been there, these changes, even if they are unpopular with existing Name Study Coordinators, is to ensure these items are reflected and managed in the best way possible.
That's been my hope: That GOONS could partner with WikiTree on the "how" of the research, and the "where" of data storage.

When you really look at it, WikiTree can provide the mechanism for all 7 of their pillars of wisdom for a One Name Study.
That would definitely be nice Eric, but there are quite a few GOONS members who are intent on keeping their research public and accessible, but not directly editable by others. As you can imagine, that poses issues for WikiTree...
Yeah, agreed. Disappointing for sure. I'm a big believer in collaboration.

Well, WikiTree will never be able to serve as the "where" solution for ONS storage. It simply isn't built for that. A few reasons:

File support. WikiTree has an extremely limited MIME-type it can support for upload; many different file types are completely prohibited. All that's supported are JPG, GIF, PNG, and PDF files 10MB or smaller. I have original PDF research reports I can't even squeeze down to a 10MB PDF without removing some of the embedded images.

Storage space. If you're truly collecting ONS information, you'll blow-up WikiTree pretty quickly. I don't know if there's a limit to the number of files you can upload to a single Freespace page, but--let me go do a quick properties check--for my small study of a fairly rare surname, the "assets" area currently has 1,299 files taking up 5.2 gigabytes. The WT ONS category shows 3,006 subcategories, so...

Search capability. For uploaded files, WikiTree has none. Well, next to none. We can use Google Advanced Search to look for the titles given to uploaded files, but that's all; the comment/description included with the file is not searchable, and the contents of PDF documents are, likewise, not searchable. Everything uploaded would not only need to be manually indexed, but the inability to search within PDFs means nothing there will be available unless opened and read...or transcribed. And to be honest, I think the biggest knock against WikiTree from brand new members is that it's darned difficult to navigate...to find even the correct help pages, much less hundreds of records associated with a thousand or so one-name studies.

GDPR. Everything being visible to the public (well, ignoring the lack of search capability) means that WikiTree is highly restricted for ONS documentation. We can't post anything that might reveal identifying information about living individuals, which would include, but not be limited to: personally supplied artifacts like family bibles and compiled genealogies; family stories within the past few generations; photographs that might include a living person; obituaries or the transcriptions of same; household member detail from census enumerations more recent than circa 1920; newspaper articles or clippings from more recent than 1920 unless we're certain all mentioned are deceased or that we have redacted identifying information. In 1920, the global population was between 1.6 billion and 2 billion; today it's about 7.8 billion. It's grown by 410%. For anything other than anonymized statistics, the GDPR effectively takes a scalpel to a massive chunk of a one-name study's relevant information. Heck, even the UK's FreeBMD resource shows vital data with names up through Q1 1988...but we can't put those data directly on WikiTree.

Copyright. Unless we're dealing with personally created work, we need to be scrupulous about copyright and WikiTree. Here's one example of a work for which I was easily able to obtain permission to reprint on my small, focused ONS website, but for which the author had no interest in seeing it on WikiTree: https://casestone.com/threlkeld/threlkeld/ancient-cumbria. Also, having records that are only accessible to a private few allows ONS sites like mine a bit more leeway to collect and curate than is present at WikiTree.

Interactive collaboration. WikiTree is a static website; i.e., you make a change to static code, save it, and it is then rendered in a browser. It has no capacity for actual interactivity a la Google Docs or Microsoft Teams; no granular record-locking capability that allows real-time work on something like a spreadsheet.

Back to the hub-and-spoke notion, I think WT can serve as the hub, but it's simply far too limited to be able to supply all the spokes. There's no way I could envision running my primary ONS without external resources.

Hi Edison, in regards to the "where" solution for ONS storage, I meant to for profiles and connected trees. It was not meant that you have store all of your research, transcriptions, pedigree files, etc. on the site. If we were to completely disregard the profiles and trees part, then an ONS on WikiTree would be nothing more than a landing page to take you to another site - which as you know, would not be a beneficial endeavor.
My stand on that is that WikiTree is an excellent place for collaboration, linking, finding others with common interest, but it will never be the totality of the study. When you have thousands of people and families in the study, properly entering and documenting everyone is impractical. I consider my ONS work to be of singular historical value and needs to be preserved as a whole. Each study should have an organizational structure and practice that should be maintained. A study may contain descendants who don't bear the surname or not, depending on the structure of the study. But there must be boundaries or it gets to be developed "sideways" to the point that it looks more like a try at a One-world family tree. WikiTree is that, but a specific name study is not. Even as a collaboritive body outside of WikiTree, it can be collaborative and the structure maintained. On WikiTree, one must be tolerant of a variety of approaches within the WikiTree structure.
Excellent explanation, Edison. My idea of a study is that there is a location for the whole of it. A single surname can get lost in WikiTree.
I still contend that everything on an ONS can be done on WikiTree. I have yet to see what can't be done here.
Source data collection/recording is hard to do on WikiTree. You would need to settle with tables, limited width pages, etc.

I currently have a spreadsheet that has over 15 columns and 30k rows of data (not a lot by any means) and that is only one spreadsheet I am using. Even I were to have placed that information in WikiTree somehow, it does not offer features for filtering, running advanced queries, or producing charts, reports, and maps.

Eric, there are three terms in your contention that I would need to define: "everythiing", "an", "can".

First, if "an" means "any", then we need to say so. Otherwise "an" is selective. If selected is what you mean, I would agree. Select the studies that apply. So, let's go with "any".

What, exactly, is "everything"? Every person? Every family? Every descendant? Every source? Every form of display? Which variations do we consider? Are descendants not bearing the surname included? Why, how, and with what limits would that be circumscribed?

The size of a study might be of, say 100 or so or millions depending on the surname. That could make for a substantial "everything". My estimate of size of the Beasley study is about 85,000 living adults in the world bearing the name. It could be more but I doubt it woud be less. But, it isn't dozens and it isn't millions.

That doesn't include adults-to-be, ancestors-to-be, or non-Beasley's who wish to be identified in relationship with other Beasley descendants. There are presently about 120 lineage trees in the Study (defined as descendants of any given EKA). The number is 120 because I had to stop myself from expanding because it was more than I could manage. The size of a tree ranges from dozens to thousands. The last time I framed the study in a form that I could easily count (nearly a year ago) the total comes just short of 40 thousand individuals.

Finally, the word "can". I take that as a conditional term. Maybe yes, maybe no... depending on the scope (size, shape) of the study, depending on the goals of the study and how it is to be used and preserved. Any container has some limitations to size and shape. WikiTree is no exception. IF I'm willing and able to define and shape the study in such a way that it fits the WikiTree system, then yes, I "can" do it. If I'm willing to costrain it.

I could go into a lot more detail about how and why this study is as it is. I have compared notes with other One-Namers. I have not yet found two the same.

Above all, it is my intention to preserve the study a free-standing body of knowledge at a Guild supported website here  I will be pleased that WikiTree is an important venue.

+1 vote
Since in the new world of the One Name Study there isn't flexibility for what goes on the main page, why do you need a manager of that page at all?  All those pages can just be opened up and orphaned, and if we have research, we can make our own pages, and easily link to the main page.
by J. Crook G2G6 Pilot (203k points)
Well, those pages can't be orphaned, because the ONS Project needs to stay on there.  And the person who is the Study's Coordinator needs to keep an eye on things.
There is some flexibility, J. I have edited a few name studies with full pages of information and didn't remove anything, just moved it a bit. Others have had quite a bit of "personal" research that I did remove to its own research page. I look at each one with an editor's eye.

We have many, many inactive or undeveloped name studies, so most of the work I've done so far has been on such studies.

Ros edited her own page to add the information, and everyone else can do that as well. As long as the main page does not contain things like we are studying "this line" or families from "this country" or that sort of thing, the information can stay put. We would like all who wish to study the surname to feel welcome to do so.

As long as the main page does not contain things like we are studying "this line" or families from "this country" or that sort of thing, the information can stay put. We would like all who wish to study the surname to feel welcome to do so.

-

Because I am not at all versed in ONS - that kind of thing ("this line" and "this country") would be ok on separate pages linked from the main page, yes?   As in - main study is "Smith" (and whatever variations), but sub-studies on separate pages might be for "Smiths in Northumberland, England", "Smyths of Paramatta, New South Wales", or "descendants of (name) Smith", thus allowing for more specialisation - or am I totally off base?

(Apologies if this is considered a threadjack.  If it is, let me know where I should place it, and I'll repost.)

As stated in the 'signup' thread:

"From here, individual team studies and research pages can then be used to branch out into specific methods or areas of interest; such as geographically (SURNAME's of England), by time period (SURNAME's of the 18th Century), or by topic (e.g., SURNAME DNA, SURNAME Occupations, or SURNAME Statistics/Facts)."

https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/1076102/do-you-want-to-participate-in-a-one-name-study

I apologise for not having read the signup thread/s.blush 

I've never had an interest in ONS (because my family has so many different names), and saw the sign-ups as being specifically directed to those with an interest, so never took the time to read one.

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