long profile? [closed]

+5 votes
I'll be significantly updating McKay-479 soon with documented information I gathered over the last 6 months. From this information I wrote a biography of her which is 20+ pages, not including the Addendum chapters. I've tried to condense this for wikitree but can only get it down to 5 pages. I even had someone else see if they could eliminate anything and they couldn't. 5 pages (8.5x11) still seems like a lot. I know that the style guide says that for long profiles to add an introductory paragraph or 2, but still ...

Thanks in advance for any suggestions!

closed with the note: with appreciation I have enough guidance to make a decision
in Policy and Style by Beth Golden G2G6 Mach 1 (18.4k points)
closed by Beth Golden

[Moderator]: added biographies profiles and style tags

6 Answers

+19 votes
You can always make a free space page to put the full bio on. Then you can do a minimal bio for the profile with a link to the free space page.
by Marion Poole G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
+6 votes
Long profiles are not really a concern unless it is information that is outside the scope of a Biography. If you are concerned that the profile would be too long still, you could always do the intro paragraphs, and provide a document as an attachment to the profile (upload as a PDF). This is typically the simplest method.

Alternatively, you can do as Marion suggested and create a free-space page, but then you have to battle with formatting differences, etc.
by Steven Harris G2G6 Pilot (572k points)
+7 votes
I'd add to the existing suggestions that the profile page can focus on the genealogy and you can add one to many free space pages for any other history and link them from the profile page

For example, you could have a free space page for property, career, military, etc. Think of them as novellas or chapters about special aspects of a person's life. Also, if any of the information applies to ancestors or descendants, such as property, all their profiles can link to the free space page.

I definitely concur about the summary either way, that is imperative for a long profile. Check out most pages on Wikipedia and that is pretty standard, including the pages for people. Wikipedia also breaks up long pages using multiple pages, just as I'm suggesting. Web pages can be as long as you want, but you'll lose your audience pretty quickly without a summary and headings (which create the table of content).

Another option is to think about self publishing a book or even publishing to PDF and posting it JSTOR or Academia. There are a lot of options these days. While you could fill a profile and free space pages with the contents of a book, that may not be the best presentation option for a full life. If you did this, you could provide a link to the publication from the profile and it would live beyond you, just as the profiles here at WikiTree.
by Allison Mackler G2G6 Mach 5 (56.9k points)
+3 votes
Thank you everyone for your great ideas! My draft of her profile includes an introductory paragraph as well as headings. A lot of the space is taken up by the numerous citations. Since creating a free space page means cumbersome re-formatting,  I'll opt for a pdf attached to the bio.

As for self-publishing, yes, my intention is to do so with all of the biographies I've written. The full biographies are copyrighted with all commercial rights reserved. However, I believe in freely sharing information and collaborating and am always glad to assist others.

Thanks again, everyone!
by Beth Golden G2G6 Mach 1 (18.4k points)
edited by Beth Golden
+1 vote
Thanks for posting this, Beth.  Longer profiles can be subdivided into sections (for instance, formative years, retirement, major achievements, etc), giving readers the opportunity to click straight to a pertinent event or time period.  At twenty pages though, I'd create a free space page as others have suggested, and leave the profile at, say, no more than 1,000 words.
by Kenneth Evans G2G6 Pilot (215k points)
Thanks, Kenneth! I think I have this figured out. I decided to do a highlight with headings for the main profile and attached in Images a fuller profile. Both have my request that if someone wants more information, detailed descriptions, etc. to please contact me.

+4 votes
I don't understand why the length of a profile -- by itself -- should be considered too long.  The computer certainly doesn't consider it a problem -- one long written narrative takes up far less space than one photograph.   

I consider it your editorial judgment call on what needs to be presented and the best way to do it.  When ==Biography== is one of the mandatory headings on a profile, why should we be ashamed to write one which is adequate?  Why hide the full biography on a separate page, if it contains information you consider it important for people to see?   

I have just spent a month working on the profile of a prominent colonial Marylander about whom there is a huge amount of misinformation on the internet, but about whom there is a lot of documented material.  In his case, I have a long profile -- almost 10 pages of biography with subdivisions, another almost 10 pages of Research Notes discussing a dozen major errors attributed to him and why they are wrong, followed by 5 pages of comments people have posted.  I am doing whatever I can to reduce the size of this, but it will still end up long.  He has 10 documented children and almost as many more fake children people have tried to add at one time or another, and each of them need at least a few words to document why they belong -- or don't belong -- in his family.

AND -- I have created linked free space profiles, one for his complete will, one for all the land documents he's named in, and one for the documents relating to enslaved persons on his plantations.

So I would say, you are the writer, have the reader in mind when you create the profile, but don't write it with imaginary complainers nipping at your heels.  Sometimes forgiveness is a lot easier to obtain than permission!
by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (385k points)
Thanks, Jack! Your research efforts sound a lot like what my last 6 months have been - straightening out the incorrect and un-sourced information regarding a colonial MD ancestor. My research also resulted in a bio and research notes. Also I conducted One-Name Studies on the associated surnames, created maps to show migration, etc. So, all in all, my 'publication' totals 60 pages.

What fun we've had, right?!

I'll have to investigate using free space profiles and perhaps use them.

Thanks again!

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