Should these Changes to Merges on Pre-1500 and Pre-1700 become official WikiTree policy?

+34 votes

This change proposal is to address the Pre-1500 and Pre-1700 profile merge settings. It does not propose a change for initiating merges or approving them. The current ability for any member to propose a merge or approve them should remain in place. This will continue to help locate duplicate profiles in these time periods. Manager's ability to approve proposed merges would continue to help in completing merges in a timely manner.

The ability for members who are not Pre-1500 and Pre-1700 to set merges as ‘Unmerged Matches’ or ‘Rejected Matches’ should be re-evaluated. Currently, there are members who are using these settings who are not Pre-1500 or Pre-1700 badged. The effect is that it delays merging duplicates that need to be merged. This especially affects Projects that are trying to complete profiles.

If a member is required to be Pre-1500 or Pre-1700 badged to edit or merge these profiles, then should the same rule apply for setting merges as unmerged or rejected? These badges mean that a member has demonstrated that they are experienced in sourcing and evaluating profiles in these time periods. Merges have to be sourced and evaluated before they can be merged. Should we also apply the same standards to setting them as unmerged or rejected? Proposed merges should be evaluated and sourced before deciding to set them as unmatched, rejected. This is often not done.

I propose that the WikiTree system be changed so that the same guidelines for editing and merging Pre-1500 and Pre-1700 profiles be implemented for setting merge proposals as unmatched or rejected. This change would not allow members who were not badged for that time period to set them as unmerged or rejected, in the same way, it does not allow them to edit or merge them. Can the system be programmed to do this? In addition, I propose that this information be added to the Merging Help page.

This is an example of what would be added to the Merge Help page:

• A Pre-1700 badge is required to set a Pre-1700 merge proposal as an unmerged or rejected match.

• A Pre-1500 badge is required to set a Pre-1500 merge proposal as an unmerged or rejected match.

This would decrease the number of profiles being set as unmerged/rejected without being evaluated further or by members who are unfamiliar with sourcing and evaluating the profiles in these time periods. It would reduce the number of duplicates that need to be merged. It would assist Projects in completing profiles.

I will post two answers below. Choose one and upvote it. Leave your replies, opinions, and thoughts as ‘Answers’ not ‘Comments’ unless you are responding to a specific answer. Comments made directly to this post will not be discussed so please ‘Answer’.

Note: This was subject was first suggested in 2018. You can view that discussion Here.

edited tags

in Policy and Style by Laura DeSpain G2G6 Pilot (438k points)
retagged by Laura DeSpain
Just to point out, the merge help page does not actually say that "Merges have to be sourced and evaluated before they can be merged.", just so you know.

If a merge is done by somone who do not know anything about customs of a country, nor how to research these profiles, two profiles with wrong LNAB will end up being merged into one profile, but will still have the wrong LNAB.

Any 'wiki' is Opensource not ClosedSource so even with education, guidelines, rules etc can only go so far in the element of order and control. Wikipedia and Wikitree are not professional business grade Encyclopedias or Family Tree tools. If you need more detail please message me.

Citing: 'Currently, there are members who are using these settings who are not Pre-1500 or Pre-1700 badged.'

Philip, could you please post an answer and explain clearer what you are referring to? Since this a discussion, I am sure that others would appreciate it also. That way if we have a question or comment it will be easier to follow.
Maggie, you are correct it does not explain that, unfortunently. That is another topic and I do believe that it should be addressed in another discussion. Thank you for bringing that up.

There are guidelines about making any major changes to a profile. They are supposed to have sources to verify and validate any major changes. Pre-1700 and Pre-1500 badged members are supposed to know that. Merging is the highest level of a major change there is because it is the one that can not be reversed. That is what I was referring to about sourcing and evaluating. I should have been clear.

You are right about understanding customs, naming conventions and even time periods. That is why I propose the same standards should apply to setting them 'unmerged or 'rejected' that apply to editing or merging them. There should be a good reason for using those settings. Too often right now there are not.
I am paying attention. I appreciate every one of you who has voted at this point. I would like to hear your experiences and thoughts and/or opinions on why you agree or disagree.

5 Answers

+72 votes
Yes, I agree that the same process for editing and merging pre-1500 and pre-1700 profiles should be applied to setting merge proposals as unmatched or rejected.
by Laura DeSpain G2G6 Pilot (438k points)
Until you raised this Laura, I didn't realise that pre-1500 merges could be rejected or set as unmatched by members without the pre-1500 badge.
I found out a few months ago after proposing a merge. It was set as an unmerged match. Their reason was the last names were different. The last names are the same and they have the same spelling. Since then I have noticed the same thing happening with other duplicates.

IF you do not have a Pre-1700 badge, you cannot complete a merge of Pre-1700 profiles.
THEN it is logical to assume

If you do not have a Pre-1500 badge, you cannot complete a merge of Pre-1500 profiles.

Yes, but:  The question was not about completing merges, but non-qualified people setting them as "Rejected" or "Unmerged Matches."
Good call. Maybe you should make this an "Answer" so that we will have another option to vote on.
+11 votes
No, I do not agree that the same process for editing and merging pre-1500 and pre-1700 profiles should be applied to setting merge proposals as unmatched or rejected.
by Laura DeSpain G2G6 Pilot (438k points)
+11 votes
I think this could be done with respect to the pre-1500 profiles.

I don't think it can be done with respect to the pre-1700 profiles, as currently the system doesn't seem to recognize the pre-1700 badge to make any restrictions. I believe members without the badge can still make these merges
by Lois Tilton G2G6 Pilot (177k points)
If you do not have a Pre-1700 badge, you cannot complete a merge of Pre-1700 profiles.
OK - and that's good
+5 votes

Technically speaking wikitree policies, official or otherwise are not able to control and protect against irrevocable actions such as pre 1500 merges. A badge in technical terms means nothing. In moral, psychological or tribal/community terms it means you have read and understood then agree to adhere to the Honour Code as that is one of the requisites for pre 1700 and pre1500. Then you have additional layers such as proving you know what you're doing etc. Opensource means it is not controlled by an organisation or company and anyone, even a bot computer, let alone a wayward human can add, read, change and delete in a technical way. Closedsource is when only people who have paid money can join/access and then they are subject to ticking a box at purchase that locks them into agreements that if broken, cause a consequence such as a fine or legal action. Their account is also technically restricted as they have no say on how the system and/or software works. At one point Wikipedia were asking for donations (hard cash) as the Wiki opensource models are precarious at best. Collaboration and working together is a great achievement and opensource is always much more social or 'from the heart'. An example is here Wikipedia and Wikitree do indeed have no integrity whatsoever. Excerpt: 'Other more ethical or experienced researchers, including myself, remove it and explain why.  But others come and change it back.'

Wikipedia is not citable source is most Academic arenas, thus Wikitree is the same. Biased  Tabloid Example:

by Living Swift G2G6 (9.3k points)
edited by Living Swift
Well much of what you say is uncontroversial but on the key point I believe you are mistaken. Pre 1500 profiles really do have some blocks in place stopping many editors from performing most actions on them. The certification is therefore not merely tribal or psychological.
Good call Andrew
WikiTree has mechanisms in place to project-protect profiles which is what was enacted upon in the post you linked to. The post you used as an example to say why WikiTree has no integrity, was actually evidence of the opposite.

Moreover, Pre-1500 profiles have additional technical safeguards around them to prevent most actions on them for regular users.

I understand Laura’s post as a request to improve  this system further.
+9 votes

Laura, did you ever present this to the Wikitree Team?  We still have an issue of people that aren't pre-1500 certified rejecting merges (and from their comments they have absolutely no idea what they are doing).  Most recently a newbie rejected dozens of pre-1700 and pre-1500 merges, causing a lot of work for a lot of people...

by Darlene Athey-Hill G2G6 Pilot (560k points)

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