Why do we use stickers--what is the benefit?

+12 votes

I am one that does not like the old fashioned stickers, and would like to know what the benefit is? 

What I don't like about them! (my personal opinion)

  • They are outdated, poor quality images, from early computer days, and not so very professional. They take away from the overall presentation quality of the profiles and Wikitree. 
  • They seem to me, to be an equivalent to categories, so a duplication that just uses more space on the site. with out adding anything beneficial.

in Policy and Style by Jean Skar G2G6 Mach 1 (16.8k points)
You may be mixing up your levels.  A 'Top Level' category is one like 'Category:One Name Studies'.  Technically, by adding a profile to (for example) 'Category:Haywood Name Study', you are not adding it to a Top Level category.  If you wish to subdivide into counties, that is up to you.  As far as WT is concerned
1) Category:One Name Studies is the Top Level
2) Category:Haywood Name Study is the narrowest applicable category.
3) Category:Devon, Haywood Name Study is your personal system

Stickers which add the profile to a category do not add them to the Top Level category.  They add them to the 'narrowest applicable category' ie 'xxx Name Study'.

What makes 3) Category:Devon, Haywood Name Study a personal system? 

I would understand the logic it if all project categories only could have one sub category. For me it is a sub category just like other sub category-- It is not just for you personally? It is for a project. So I suspect that is the project definition? What is the benefit of defining it as a personal category instead of a sub category?

There are WAY TOO MANY inconsistent rules that make Wikitree impossible to understand and follow. They are often project preferences (that in my opinion, should not differ unless it is absolutely necessary or beneficial in some way.). Very irritating to not have consistency, when it is possible. Something we really need to address, as it would lead to many less errors and irritations among users, make WikiTree easier to use,  which should be one of the main priorities of projects

It means that it is optional to the WT system.

1) Category:One Name Studies = Top Level that you are not supposed to put profiles into
2) Category:Haywood Name Study = narrowest applicable category that all person-profiles go into
3) Category:Devon, Haywood Name Study = purely optional.  I could make 'Category:Purple Bananas, Haywood Name Study' and that is MY choice

Why can I add Purple Bananas to some categories but not others? I would have though Purple Bananas should be on a space or thing page after Wikitree definitions? 

What defines a category you can add purple Banans too and what defines a category you can not? How are people suppose to know the difference? To me that just goes to show categories do not have universal rules on Wikitree.

I suspect often this is a result of peoples preferences at some point in time to make exceptions -- which is my point. 

THE FACT is too many different preference based rules and not enough unified preferences are all making Wikitree more difficult than it has too be. Really difficult when you are new or trying as I do, to get people to use Wikitree, when it is not necessary. Can also lead to unnecessary conflicts which could easily be avoided if the rules/preferences were more unified.

Back in 2018 

*I spent HOURS making categories for my ONS 
*Along came the Category project and said I had to use space pages for the extra info and the Category hierarchy
*I then spent hours again redoing everything to follow the rules

*Then along comes ONS summer 2020 and makes their new rules a project box/sticker and an exceptions to the category hierarchy. 
*This means all the hours of work I have done are wasted because of a project box/sticker  -- which is of no real added value???  Not OK!!!! 

'Purple Bananas' was just a joke.  A silly, throwaway example.

Take a more serious one.  My Haywood Name Study wants to have a subcategory for all the Haywoods in Devon.  The format for creating this is to put the county name first, thus
Category:Devon, Haywood Name Study

It is optional, not mandatory.  It's my personal requirement.

WIKITREE definition- A personal category is a category that is named with your WikiTree ID.

Please give me the link to WikiTree link that define how to add other categories for personal requirements outside of the Category hierarchy and the requirements if that is what we are  suppose to follow and confirms--

If the English Project want a sub category under England called Devon it is a not a personal preference but a sub category that follows the Category -and you have to use Devon- the help pages is found here https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Help:Category_Names

Does Devon not have to be used according to the Category help page? According to you, I can use what I want as you say it is my person preference?? So I can use Devonshire?? Doubt that would be accepted by all??

If a One name Study wants a  a sub category under England called Devon  that is a personal preference and the help page is found ????

'Category: Devon, Haywood Name Study' has nothing to do with the England Project.  It is a subcategory of a NAME STUDY.  

This is a link to my Haywood Name Study category page:

Here is your requested Space page about how to categorise a Name Study.  Look at the section: 'Name Study Location Categorization'.
Thanks for the link and your answers as they help me understand how WikiTree works. I see the help page is new summer 2020 which means exceptions were being made once again, and then needed a new help page.

The only reason I can see that this change for an exceptions to the category hierarchy for ONS was necessary was the because the sticker adds to a top category-- as stickers are some peoples preferences but not at all necessary. Which is my point.

In which case it was and is completely unnecessary to have  or was there a better reason for the exception than the use of Stickers?

Also are you saying you can use Devonshire instead of Devon for ONS? My point was not that England used Devon- but whether ONS can use Devonshire instead of Devon as you said it was personal preferences what it was called.
Stickers do NOT add to a top level category.  They do not add to Category:One Name Studies, which is the top level category.  They add to what you might call a 'subproject'.

Please don't use 'Devonshire' instead of 'Devon'.  It was known as Devonshire hundreds and hundreds of years ago.  It is known as Devon.  If you use it, you will get well-meaning and knowledgeable WikiTreers correcting it.  In order for person-profiles to be collected within your Devon category, they will need to have Category:Devon, xxx Name Study put onto their profiles.  When I said that you can use personal preferences, obviously you have to use common sense i.e. you wouldn't put Scotchland, or Whales, just because you felt like it. :)

I do not use Devonshire --I was using that as an example that it is not OK to use what you want as you insinuated it was "your choice", as these are personal for ONS, so you do not have to comply to category rules--your claim not mine. 

I believe you have to follow the category preferences as that is at the top of the hierarchy and do that for all the geographic names and other requirements. I also believe the exception for ONS is not beneficial for anything and was completely unnecessary. It seems to be an exception, that confuses some people  and it was made because of some peoples preferences. 

My conclusion so far is based on what I have seen and the fact you have not been able to provide any good reason for the exception as I asked for. 

Your claim not mine --Category:Devon, Haywood Name Study = purely optional.  I could make 'Category:Purple Bananas, Haywood Name Study' and that is MY choice

6 Answers

+25 votes
Thank you for your question, Jean. I like the stickers for exactly the opposite reasons for which you dislike them.  I feel they add to the biography, are attractive, relevant and draw instant identification with key points raised in the bio. I do not see stickers as equivalent to categories, but complimentary; often using the mechanism for adding the category.  Everyone is entitled to their likes and dislikes. Stickers also aid in the collaboration process, being a 'talking point' between members associated through a profile. Regards, Ken
by Kenneth Evans G2G6 Pilot (215k points)
I agree with Kenneth.  If the stickers were relegated to Categories, you don't see Categories unless you scroll / jump to the bottom.  When someone was in US Rev War, WW I, etc, the sticker quickly identifies that the person was in the War, which may help someone to immediately know if that is the person they are looking for or not.  If they have a sticker for Vietnam War, without looking at dates, etc, you would know that you have the wrong profile.  There are many stickers / project boxes that identify projects that they are associated with and relegating everything to a category, again, you can't see them as easily as the stickers.

I can agree, sometimes they might add to the profile for one key point, i there is only text, and some will think they are attractive. If there are other good quality images on the profile, then they don't improve the profile quality wise. Can you honestly say the one name study sticker that I HAVE TO USE here, makes this page more attractive relevant and draws instant identification with key points ?


That is one sticker. Your question was Why do we use stickers? What is the benefit?  We are giving you some reason for why stickers are added to profiles. If you have a problem with one particular sticker, then it should be taken up with that group to see if a different image could be used, if you have a better image.

I suspect better quality images would not be cost effective so probably not a solution. I used one as an example but in my opinion it is most of them.

As for benefits i have received a couple answers

I did and do agree with Kenneth that, they might add to the profile for one key point and that then could be seen to be a benefit. 

Then the possible benefit that in a few cases it might tell you its the not the profile you are looking for.

I may have missed something else but the rest seems to just be personal preferences that we agree/disagree on and not benefits. Stickers do not replace all categories so you still need to look at them, even though they are not as obvious.

I agree with Ken.  

Plus, they are fun.  They make me dig a little deeper into the genealogy of the individual.  I especially like the war stickers, which I feel dress up the profile nicely.

But each to their own.....
+3 votes
It is no problem to add text at the top of a profile, that should have the same benefits as the template/sticker, that in my opinion looks more professional.

I have added text so you can see both

by Jean Skar G2G6 Mach 1 (16.8k points)
One of the advantages of the sticker I see is the automatic link to the project page, and the linking from that back to the profiles. With text one would need to create that link and update it (on all profiles) if something would change to it.

The general look of the stickers is not really what the average European would find attractive (if I may say so). Upgrading the looks would require one or more people with knowledge of graphic design to upgrade the stickers/boxes. In my experience these people are rather hard to find, but one can always request help (I am no graphics designer myself)

I believe that is actual a official Project template with a sticker, it is used also as a link to the project pages, as such is not classified as stickers. I have now learned (thanks to some of the replies)  there is a difference, and they do not follow the same guidelines for use. 

+4 votes
I use stickers to help identify what Australian colony a person is born in eg

{{Australia Born in Colony|colony=Colony of South Australia}}

{{Australia Born in Colony|colony=Colony of New South Wales}}

{{Australia Born in Colony|colony=Van Diemen's Land}}

{{Australia Born in Colony|colony=Colony of Victoria}}

and hope that the place is not changed by a do gooder later to state name, Australia. Unfortunately, some do gooders remove the sticker for some unknown reason.
by Leslie Cooper G2G6 Mach 3 (36.6k points)

This is OK for the profiles you manage-- If stickers are added  to profiles I manage, I would remove them as I do not like the look of the stickers at all.

Stickers should not be included if any contributor does not want them there.

Stickers can be removed by any contributor to the profile. They should not be added back without communicating with this contributor.

The stickers I use are approved by the Australia Project, so I will put them back when I find they have been removed.
As far as I understand the guidelines you are not allowed to do that. It is NOT OK to put them back just because they are approved and you like them if the profile manager is against it.
PM does not own the profiles.
Most of the profiles are orphaned.

Do gooders remove stickers and sources on profiles that I manage, or have created, but they can do what they like according to you.

There are guidelines as to who should and shouldn't place/remove/replace  stickers. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Help:Stickers#Rules_on_adding_and_removing 

I have removed English county flag stickers that were,  out of the blue, placed on profiles I've created and continue to manage.Personally,  I find them distracting and the county of birth is already  written in the location field and bio. I think the guidelines were written to acknowledge the fact that there are clear differences in opinion about them.

( English county flags have only very recently come into existence, no ancestor would recognise them). 

Stickers are not for any benefit

They are ONLY FOR YOUR OWN PERSONAL USE on profiles you contribute to or manage. According to following Wikitree Guidelines for stickers

  • They are not intended to serve a unique functional purpose. So there is no reason to put them there for a purpose.
  • Profile Stickers can be placed on any profile on which they are appropriate by anyone  (note there are conditions to be able to place them on profiles)
    • who is on the Trusted List and has 
    • been following changes or  has been 
    • contributing to the profile

(So just adding stickers to orphaned and other profiles is not allowed)

  • They should not be placed by someone who does not actively follow the profile and who has not otherwise contributed to it, unless they communicate with the Profile Manager before or when the Sticker is placed.

  • Stickers can be removed by any contributor to the profile. They should not be added back without communicating with this contributor.

  • Stickers should not be included if any contributor does not want them there.

Stickers should not be included if any contributor does not want them there.


That means any contributor to the profile, not just someone essentially "passing by" who happens to dislike stickers.   If you have done nothing to enhance a profile, you should not be removing anything from it.

It is correct no one owns a profile. In my opinion, it should be about respect for others preferences, and for the time and work they have used on profiles and improving them.

No one should remove a sticker from profiles others have done work on , just as no one should go around adding stickers to profiles they haven't worked on, without permission.
Thank you.
The way the rules are written, any contributor can remove a sticker, even if the only contribution to a profile that person has made is to remove a sticker.
Leslie, you do much great work on WT, which I admire. But, please, there is no need to label those who remove a sticker as 'do-gooders'.  Indeed, by adding a sticker to illuminate a person's colony of birth is probably the act of 'doing good'.  My preference is against that range of stickers as I do not feel they make anything clearer than it is already else. Regards, Ken
+5 votes
I've created several stickers along the way, sometimes using brand new digital images. The problem I notice is that the image must be 75 pixels or less. When they get that small, they get "unclear" In addition we're using a tiny image in the sticker. I have rejected several, trying to get attractive images.
by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
I suspected that was the case. Is it correct to say they will seldom look better, unless they are kept very simple?

Is it correct to say they will seldom look better, unless they are kept very simple?


Not always.  These images scale well enough (well, in my opinion) in a sticker :

Please note that my "boarding house" (also used for a hotel keeper) is anything but "simple".


If you can't tell from the sticker text that the person was a weaver, you can click the image and see the larger size.

Thanks Loads I will work on it
That's why I tend to use a simple letter.  Such as a large 'H' for the Haywood Name Study, and a large 'M' for the Murch Name Study.  When I was running the Stumbles Name Study, it was a large 'S' on a child's block.

@ Ros - your H works really well for the name study!  I like it. :)

I do letters for profile images, but like to have pictures of the occupation/s, or something related to the occupation/s for using in occupation stickers.  If I can't find a public domain image I can crop and adapt, I will create one - - such as my boarding house (which took me hours, and a huge dose of satisfaction when it was done).

Joelle Colville-Hanson also has a fine collection of images that scale well, or are already at "sticker size".   And I don't think we are the only two who have decent images for sticker use.

Thanks for the kind words. Here are where I keep most of the images. https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Space:Religion_Images  (There are more than religion images despite the name)

Joelle and Melainie some great work
+2 votes
Everyone is different. I am a visual person. I comprehend better with images with words. So stickers and photos and backgrounds work better for me and others like me. Takes all kinds!
by Joelle Colville-Hanson G2G6 Pilot (130k points)
Your preference or my preference

I and others that do not prefer sticker- do not go around removing them from your profiles--for me that is your right to have them there

Unfortunately the reverse is not the same loads of people go around adding them to other profiles they do not manage and argue that it is also there right to add them there.
Visual elements are great especially photos that relate to one or a few profiles. I also think they improve the profile.

General stickers are different as they are not really anything special except for a few. Often are not the main achievement that should be emphasized and the person should be remembered for. They can steal the attention from more important facts written in the profile

What cemetery he is buried or where he was born etc etc etc. do not really add to the persons life and achievements

Hi Jean. I was answering for myself as a visual person as to why stickers are helpful. You’ve already established that they are not helpful for you. As I was talking about why they are helpful for me and others *like me* I’m not sure you can argue and say “no they aren’t helpful for you” anymore than I can say they *are* helpful for you. 

PS Cemetery stickers direct you to the space page for that cemetery which many people also find helpful. 

I’m sorry, Jean I must have misunderstood the question. I thought it was why people like stickers. That’s the question I meant to answer. If the question was should people break the rules and add stickers to profiles they have nothing to do with when the manager prefers not to have them then my answer is no of course not. I believe the manager should have the last say about format. I confess I will add a cemetery sticker or a one place study to profiles I don’t manage for my studies but if the manager removed them that would be the end of it for me.
+2 votes
I agree with you Jean. If someone puts a One Name Study sticker on a profile I have put work into, I usually replace it with a category. Since everybody has a name, every profile is potentially part of a one name study. No need to spam every profile with the ONS sticker.
by Chase Ashley G2G6 Pilot (254k points)
Not everybody has a "surname" in the Anglospheric sense of the word. For instance, my surname Kristensen (or Christensen) is a patronym which is shared by all (mostly Norwegians and Danes) who happened to have a father or paternal ancestor named Kristen (or Christen). You can't build a one name study on that.

The same goes for all the Andersons and Johnsons of the world.

Actually, there already are one name studies for Andersons and Johnsons (not yet for Christensens, however). https://www.wikitree.com/index.php?title=Category:One_Name_Studies&subcatFrom=A#Subcategories Some people don't seem to care that there is no biological relationship.

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