What will remain for deleted or redirected BCE profiles and branches?

+11 votes

This BCE profile is a god, who has been mythologized into a vast lineage as a chain of real European royalty ancestors, which in turn has been propagated into WikiTree.

So, what actually will happen to this, and is it worth my while to provide any redirect links first, in the bio, in the Comments, in G2G?

The guideline says that the redirect will be to Wikipeida. Well, in cases like this, the Wikipedia article is about the god, not the ancestor. And more problematic is that his surrounding relatives do not have any evident Wikipedia articles.


So if he gets a redirect link to that, but the rest of the line around him just gets deleted, what's the point? The tree branch will disappear. His only known prior existence as a profile will be if somebody happened to have him linked in a remote bio somewhere, I guess.

On the other hand, there are numerous trees that would provide a better link, such as


or related Wikipedia pages which are not direct profiles of the person, but which make relevant references to the person's status as an ancestor, such as


So I am just wondering it it would be a complete waste of valuable time to provide any of this source linking for any of these BCE profiles beforehand. Because if the tree branch will get broken, I think it would be a waste of time, even for a profile that has a good Wikipedia profile article to be redirected to. Because nobody will ever find the profile, by the usual method of clicking through the tree.
Not to mention any loose duplicates or branches floating around, which will no longer get matched to anything that can be found as a prior profile.
On the other hand, if I am wrong, what would be the protocol for providing such Wikipedia (or other) links?
Not to be cynical, but my gut tells me that the whole redirect concept as stated is a bit of wishful thinking, and that the real-world practice by powers-that-be will be a whole lot of profile deletion. Which is maybe okay as well, as long as I don't spend much time on profiles that just go away. And then also, such lineages are likely to be replicated again, when people look and cannot find them on WikiTree.
The whole guidelines on this seems a bit sketchy, so I welcome any thoughts or plans or instructions.
WikiTree profile:
in Policy and Style by Steven Mix G2G6 Mach 4 (42.7k points)

First, as I stated, I was thinking outloud. uncertain.

Second, I did not (above) suggest a pre-1000 block, but a pre-1000 review. I do concur that even that (the human review) would be tricky.

Third, apologies for not being more explicit about "delete" -- my understanding of how to do that here is to merge. The result-- in these cases-- is the same, though. Profile merged away.

As for all the time spent researching to determine something is junk, that is a drag. And not sure what to do about that. Maybe the freespace pages you're suggesting is the answer. I just worry about that additional time it would take to do that.

I'm also trying to figure out how to explain that sometimes we have to spend time on the betterment of Wikitree that results in the removal of content. Something I'm spending DAYS and DAYS on because a former wikitreer decided it was okay to plagiarize content from elsewhere and post it across hundreds if not thousands of wikitree pages. I'm not happy about it at all, but it's got to be done.

Well, we are just kicking the ideas arounnd a bit, to see if anything besides the current planned protocol is do-able (worh it or possible).

Hmm, maybe we are talking a bit past each other, but as I understand it, delete is delete. So, the profile of the child of Godwulf will be deleted. There is nothing to merge there.

Therefore, Goduwill, whether redirected to Wikipedia or not, will cease to exist as a tree member. At best, he would be a profile link in some obscure place, which will simply redirect offf-site. Otherwise, he will just go to "page not found." And his link will display in red. Which will, by the way, be a blatant invitation for somebody to create him anew.

I am not seeking an alternative solution that takes additional time.

What I presented as a tech proposal, as stated, is a specifically one-click conversion. So no extra work to execute. Presumably it takes one click to delete the profile. So ideally it would take one click to convert the profile to a free-space page instead, with all the retained data as described.

Or something very basic, which would give the same result in a few easy steps.

I don't know how soon the mass deletions are scheduled to begin, but my sense is that they are not far around the corner. The whole program is all very sketchy, from what I have seen.

So this is how I am supposed to get clarity on it, I think. Ask about it in G2G.

I missed your response initially.

It is already policy to disallow BCE profiles. Contributors get around this by placing false AD dates into the birth fields.


in the meantime, you might want to copy the profiles of those BCE's you worked on most into free space pages.

Given the absolute lack of response from anyone on staff, I am beginning to interpret the silence as "not likely to happen anytime soon".
Seem like good points made here (though, admittedly, I haven't read all of the above carefully).

This I feel strongly about: Steven would indeed be wasting his time by investing in BCE profiles. I'd hate to see that.

The problem of BCE profiles should be decreasing. We work hard to prevent them from being imported through GEDCOMs. To manually add them, Wiki Genealogists don't just need to sign the Honor Code. They now have to do the Pre-1700 Self-Certification. There's really no good excuse for someone forcing a BCE date into a CE date field so that one of these can be created.

Using free-space profiles sounds good and there's no technical reason we can't redirect to them instead of Wikipedia. Investing time in creating free-space profiles that explain and debunk BCE genealogical myths would seem like a good investment of WikiTreers' time.
Thanks Chris,

That clarifies that we could redirect to free-space pages in lieu of Wikipedia articles that may or may not be easily found.

The technical question I still have is if it would be possible (simple) to create a tool that would automatically do a conversion from the old profile into a new free space page?

The main task of the conversion would be to take all the family member links and names that currently exist on the profile, and to convert them into clickable names in the body of the free-space page.

That would be most useful.

Or for greater simplicity, and less free-space clutter, perhaps the tool could convert a whole family group, as above, but into a single free-space page. A scheme like this would allow clicking through family members who were prior profiles in the tree, and further clarifying work can then be done on each free-space page, without losing the chain of claimed descent.

For instance, Julius Caesar, as mentioned above, is a real BCE lineage. Not worthy of a profile chain, but worhty of a free-space family group chain.

Theoretically, somebody could even do this from scratch, if they want to. I don't see any stated WikiTree policy against it. Any free-space page can be built to miimc a profile, and thus to mimic a clickable tree, although without the tree view option.

As long as it is separate from the real profile tree, since they are not real profiles, I see no problem.
I guess I still have the question: why would a genealogy web site want any content on it about fictional individuals?
Jillaine, I think the idea about that is that if we simply remove a whole bunch of information, and leave no clue at all about where it went to, then somebody is bound to come along and notice that it is not there in any form whatsoever. And so they would be inclined to then helpfully add it. Over and over again.

So we can either provide a convenient dumping ground for this stuff which would be maintained somewhat orderly, or we can hope that volunteers will step up as an ongoing deletion patrol to keep getting rid of it without a trace.

 And that last solution is a bit awkward, since WikiTree does not have any kind of auto-delete function. Perhaps one can be developed.

But then it also leaves the need to have to prove over and over again why any particular profile is fictional. So who says so? On what basis? With what level of substantiation?

The devil as always is in the details.
Jillaine, Blyzzard-1 is an example of a fictional individual who warrants a profile.  I would guess 90% of the Internet Genealogies dealing with this family have Mary Catherine Blyzzard in it.  Research reveals how this individual came to be imagined to be.  She is now a vital part of many peoples' family trees, despite not existing.  

Therefore I  believe she warrants a profile so that if anyone is importing a Gedcom they will see her and not try to re-create her, and she warrants a narrative describing why it is believed she doesn't exist.  The profile itself contains links to the various people who have been considered her parents, husbands, and children, and their profiles contain descriptions of how she probably got invented, and links to her profile if someone wants to read further.  

I would certainly agree that we should not have profiles for fictional people that do not contain a good explanation as to why the person is fictional and link within the profile to the real people to whom one should be directed!.
Jack, thanks for adding the questionable template to Blyzzard-1.

I would suggest however not introducing a new phrase, "Lighthouse Profile." We have enough terminology to get familiar with already. Please see how other questionable existence profiles draw attention to the disputed existence.

The rest of what you've added to the profile is wonderful. Thank you.
Darn, I love inventing new phrases.  I was getting ready to trot out "Hallowe'en Profile" to describe a profile that contains only a skeleton and no flesh.

3 Answers

+10 votes
Steven, I feel that these kinds of profiles should not be allowed in a genealogy program. It's okay for Wikipedia, but not for a genealogy site like WikiTree.
by Maggie N. G2G6 Pilot (944k points)
Maggie, I do not disagree with you, that the profiles do not belong here. But, my question is about, well, then what?  

I think ahead on these things. If we just blanket remove the hundreds or thousands of profiles, we lose all trace of them. So looking ahead, they will be replicated by well-meaning people who do not have any idea why the profiles do not exist. Because they exist on Geni, on Ancestry, etc. I am hoping to see some solution that will show somehow that the profile did once exist, and why, and who it was connected to, and even better if there is some information about why it no longer exists..

Maybe instead of deletion or redirection off-site, they can be converted to an Open free-space page? Then the managers, etc. could continue to work on the page, and the links could be maintained, and any hyperlinks to Wikipedia etc. could be included, to explain why it is no longer a profile.

I think WikiTree techies *could* develop a tool for that, which would have a one-click convert operation, to grab all the linkable family members and data fields and bio section, and lump it all together into a more or less tidy free-space page.

Any subsequent duplicate profiles that get created could be simply redirected to the free-space page counterpart.
I don't really care how this is decided, but I'm stirring the pot because we need SOME resolution.

WikiTree was not designed to support BCE profiles.  Despite this limitation, many BCE profiles were either uploaded or created prior to the automatic stystemic limits being instituted.

The proposal here, I think, it to create FreeSpace pages for the WikiTree BCE profiles, rather than redirecting them to Wikipedia. This recommendation is based on the amount of research that went into creating some of the excellent BCE profiles, which would be lost in the redirection.

Unfortunately, the biographies of most BCE profiles are empty or contain only links to other websites.  Is it reasonable to create a FreeSpace page for an empty profile?  I think that is a waste of effort to create the FreeSpace page and a waste of any reader's time in following what is really an empty link.

Also, if we use FreeSpace pages, who is going to police it so that duplicates won't be created or will be merged?  Will people be able to create FreeSpace pages for BCE people not already on WikiTree?

This issue has been around for a long time.  Let's bite the bullet, make a decision and, whatever it is, implement that decision. Continuing to have active BCE profiles just causes people to wonder why they can't crreate them, too. Step up.
Thanks, Vic, for verbalizing how I also feel about this issue as well. It will make WikiTree a better place if these profiles are not floating around.
The free-space pages are a great idea for say, Julius Caesar and his family.  We can certainly re-direct to them, as Chris said.  The question is, who will make them?

BCE Profiles that have nothing in them should be deleted.  If we can categorize them, it's easy enough for a team member to go through and clear it out.

I don't see why people couldn't create free-space pages for BCE people who aren't on WikiTree.
Is is possible to create a free-space page/s that groups some of these BCE profiles.  So you could have a page for Egyptian Pharaohs, and a page for early Romans, a page for the Anglo-Saxon/Germanic descendants of Woden etc.  That way if all you have is a name and a link of some sort, they can all be grouped together rather than having a page for each person.  Or is that just complicating the issue?

The other question is where is the cut-off point?  Is anything AD allowed? (in which case you could include all of the Roman Emperors, including most of Julius Caesar's family, plus some of the Anglo-Saxons).  Or is it later say 400AD, which is about the point where some of the royal/noble families emerge from myth into history.

Although there are obviously historical figures pre 400AD (all those Roman Emperors for instance) I think I am correct in saying that there are no proven links between them and the next group of dynasties that arise in about 400AD.

Or again does this provoke too many complications?
I upvote John's comment.

Cut - Off point around 400 AD sounds good to me.

What so we do with some of the post-400 AD ones in this category ?


Clarification: I was upvoting John's comments about having pages for say, Egyptian Pharaohs, etc.

I don't think we can change the cutoff from 1 AD to 400 AD.

As for the profiles currently categorized as Disputed Existence (includes those marked with the {{questionable}} template), I can only speak from the perspective of the PGM project. In that project we have MANY cases of bad genealogical research done especially in the late 1800s; if they couldn't confirm a parent or spouse (usually female), it has been subsequently shown that many of them created people. Sometimes they guessed names based on the naming patterns of children.

In such cases, we keep these disputed existence people around, linked to from the narrative for a person under "Disputed Origins". We keep their profiles, so marked, so that someone else doesn't come along and recreate them.

This is similar to Steven Mix's concern about the mythological and BCE people.
Eowyn, to make a point here that I think gets missed, it is not really the deletion of the profiles that is the hard work. The hard work, 95% of it, is how to identify those profiles to be deleted. That means that somebody has to go through and do a whole bunch of research, and post it to the profiles, and template them for deletion or in need of further research, etc.

With nothing but deletion as the outcome, the end result of all that hard work simply means that sysops or whoever is assigned to the 5% deletion part of the task will then simply delete that profile, and also along with that will delete all trace of that hard work that was done in the 95% effort..

So, if that is to be the result, I for one will not spend any time doing any of that research on any profiles that *may* look like they might just end up being deleted. Even if they are valid profiles, it would not be worth my effort to try to figure it out.

John, your idea of a group free-space page for a fictional or BCE family group is a good compromise, which I kind of discussed somewhere in here earler, and it could be flexible as needed.

Take the deity ancestor linked to this thread for example. He is fictional, but his children are real, as I recall. So it would be helpful if the links of the children to him as a parent were to remain intact, but anybody clicking into his profile from those children would be redirected to a free-space page that emulates a profile.

That would also prevent anybody from replicating him.

It would be nice if we could have a template that would automatically categorzie such profiles. There should be a preliminary cateogirziation stage (Questionable), a review stage (Questionable under review) and a conversion stage (Questionable to become Free-Space) and/or (Questionable to be deleted) That last stage would have to be restricted to Leaders, or some such assigned persons for the task, to prevent improper deletion or conversion.

Another nice option might be to have a "no parents" check box available. Or some kind of blocking tool that would prevent certain profiles from being linked to older ancestors, once we prove that there is no valid ancestry.

These are just a few ideas, whcih I think would be workable without too much re-engineering.
I think a template is a great idea, but I'm not sure why there needs to be so many stages?

Couldn't it just be under review and then something happens to it (whatever is finally decided)?
John, I use template stages in another project. It helps keep the profile resolution process organized. The particular stage tells the proifle manager, the reviewer, the deleter, etc., exactly which part of the review process the profile is in.

Otherwise, consider that anybody could maliciously, recklessly, or inadvisedly go through a whole bunch of profiles, and template them all as questionable, whether they really are or not.

So a stage system allows people who are close to the task to rely on a bit of system guidance, rather than having to independently assess every bit of every single templated profile to decide what the outcome should be for it, with no prior guidance at all, other than that some random person at some point had decided to put a questionable template on it.

So with template stages, you can have anybody free to put questionable on any suspicious profile. Then a designated volunteer quality review team can go through that category, and move any of those profiles to the next stage for resolution, if ready.

So they won't have to keep looking at the same questionable profile. Then the Leader or sysop can simply rely on the presence of the profile being in the final stage, and by that they will know automatically what to do with it, after nothing more than a quick spot-check.

Thus a whole team of different folks with different levels of skilll, interests and permissions can work efficiently with each of the designated stage tasks between them all.

I find through experience that three stages tends to be ideal in such a system. But a two-stage system can also work.

Since we are discussing outcomes of both deletion and conversion to free-space, and also real BCE people and imaginary BCE people, etc., it seems to me that a multiple stage system would be most advisable, in order to sort the different kinds of profiles.
This may be moot. It looks like the BCE profile redirect project has moved into redirect mode.
I did redirect some profiles before I reactivated this question and before I realized that there was this controversy.  I have stopped until we have a resolution.
Vic, I think you're not the only person redirecting.
+5 votes
I wouldn't necessarily say you're wasting your time, but I wouldn't doubt to see a day when all profiles without a sourced connection to the present could be placed into a category by themselves.  There is so much speculation and guessing  with such profiles that for me they lose their credibility.  It seems to me like this would be more at home on a history-wiki or a fantasy wiki for children.  It's like somebody showing up on poker night with a deck of tarot cards.  I mean that in a nice way, but don't doubt it if one day a strict check of the validity of our present work will leave many sorely disappointed.  For me I struggle to get the twentieth century in order yet.  I admire that you have managed to connect yourself all the back through so many centuries, although I don't see it displayed yet.
by Vincent Piazza G2G6 Pilot (241k points)
edited by Vincent Piazza
He's not difficult to connect to, though you have to work round the Relationship finder's 25-generation limit.  King Alfred is a direct descendant of Woden, descendant of Godwulf, and a direct ancestor of Roger le Bigod, Saher de Quincy and Robert de Ros, at least.

Most of the Gateway Ancestors are descended from one of those 3 Magna Carta barons, so you only have to find your line to Ann Hutchinson or Henry Batte and you're done.
I can envision a top level category "Deleted Profiles" which would be a parent category that would contain the redirects to the free-space page replacements for all deleted profiles.

It would have subcategories as needed, such as "Category:BCE Profies" then ":Category:Ancestors of Odin" which would make it easier to find the relevant free space pages which replaced the profiles, in my detailed scheme (see other G2G posts here for details).

This nested categorization would serve to locate where the redirects are supposed to go, for when any new newly created or found duplicate profiles pop up, and need to be deleted (redirected) in turn.
+5 votes
Regarding the surrounding relatives who lack Wikipedia articles, you could contribute new articles to Wikipedia.

If it turns out that some of the individual people aren't notable enough to have individual articles on Wikipedia, create articles about a group or lineage.
by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
Regarding creation of new Wikipedia pages for the purpose, I have found that site to be aggressive about article deletion, often inappropriately so. That is the main reason I abandoned it years ago.

But even so, it des not solve the main WikiTree problem that I am struggling with. If a WikiTree profile gets either deleted OR redirected off-site, it immediately loses any connection that it once had to any family member. Even if a chain of WikiTree lineage each has a good, solid Wikipedia article, only the first WikiTree profile that one finds a redirect for will take you anyhwere, in the WikiTree universe. Once you redirect from a son to Wikipedia, you lose all access to the father's WikiTree profile, for his own redirect. Wikipedia does not always include the chain of lineage in their own articles, for example.

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