What do you think of these Correct-a-Thon ideas? [closed]

+43 votes

Hi WikiTreers,

As you may have seen, we've been discussing ideas for making accuracy a year-long theme on WikiTree in 2021.

For the last two years we have had a Scan-a-Thon in January. For this year, at least, we're thinking of changing it to an event that's focused on fixing mistakes instead. It would be a kick-off event for our Year of Accuracy.

We're thinking about calling it a Correct-a-Thon. That sounds an awful lot like Connect-a-Thon, our summer event. That's intentional. The Connect-a-Thon is about adding new family relationships. The Correct-a-Thon would be about fixing mistaken relationships.

I'm envisioning us focusing on a small subset of Ales's Data Doctor suggestions. Ones that point to problems in relationships, such as:

  • 112 Person is father and mother
  • 203 Father is female
  • 205 Father is too young or not born
  • 206 Father is too old
  • 207 Father is also a child
  • 208 Father is also a spouse
  • 209 Father is also a sibling
  • 210 Father was dead before birth
  • 303 Mother is male
  • 305 Mother too young or not born
  • 306 Mother is too old
  • 308 Mother is also a spouse
  • 310 Mother was dead before birth
  • 404 Marriage before birth
  • 405 Married too old
  • 406 Marriage after death
  • 407 Lived too long after marriage
  • 413 Marriage too long
  • 414 Marriage End before birth
  • 415 Marriage End too old
  • 416 Marriage End after death
  • 417 Lived too long after Marriage End
  • 418 Partner is also a sibling

Most of these aren't easy to fix, or the low-hanging Data Doctor fruit has already been picked. So, this would be a low-scoring event. But if you enjoy genealogical research, it could be fun.

What do you think, would you participate? Would you captain a team?

Please post your questions, comments, and suggestions here.



Update: After this discussion, we came up with a new idea. Please see the new post and answer there.

in The Tree House by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
closed by Chris Whitten

The latest errors and warnings report:  What the report looks like.

Ye I am already participating in this.  So I guess under comment would be a correct_a-thon (parents, siblings) or something similar

27 Answers

+29 votes
Dear Chris, this is a great idea.
I started on WikiTree because I liked the fact that all data has to be provided with verifiable sources, which considerably reduces the overall number of incorrect entries or connections.
If you now make a competition out of it, a six-monthly marathon perhaps, it is a great incentive for all members to eradicate further errors.
I would be the first to register to take part in the marathon.
by Dieter Lewerenz G2G6 Pilot (481k points)
+23 votes
I think that even sourcing is kind of "correcting" or "improving the quality" of the Tree, because it shows that a person was really alive and is no fairytail of the person who created the profile. Most of us want an improved Tree. I don't know why we should limit the "acts of improvement" to a set of errors. Let's make it an "Improve-A-Thon", limited to the existing profiles (to add new profiles to existing ones should be allowed, but we should focus mainly on already existing profiles), but let the users decide what they want to focus on. Some might want to source profiles, others might want to correct locations, others will focus on proving relationships, again others want to build biographies. All of this will improve the quality of the Tree.
by Jelena Eckstädt G2G6 Pilot (616k points)

I love the way you express yourself!  smiley

Well, sometimes even a deadly tired brain can tell in a foreign language what it means  :)
The current "Thons" all have one thing in common. They involve something that can be measured easily. Clean-a-Thon is measured by suggestions cleared with tracker clicked, Source-a-Thon by the UnSourced template removed and tracker clicked, Connect-a-Thon by counting connections made, Scan-a-Thon by number of images added.

Adding more sources to existing profiles may or may not be feasible to measure and i assume that building Biographies would have similar issues of how to measure it.

Your ideas would improve the quality of the tree but would not be easily measured which negates the "Thon" expectations of easily measured changes. Even in the Sourceathon it isn't the Quantity or Quality of sources added that is measured it is limited to those profiles that have no sources and have the sourced profile challenge tracker clicked to record a point.

I agree limiting it to the subset of suggestions listed does limit the correcting that can be done but it becomes a question of measuring the corrections easily as to what becomes the focus of the Correct-a-Thon.
Connect-a-Thon uses a phrase - x added y as k - to track.  Why couldn't a similar tracking work for "improvements".  That is, have there be an agreed upon "message" when clicking the tracker, and  that's what actually gets tracked.

I like Jelena's idea of improving being something outside a set of pre-determined errors.
The purpose of listing those errors above as a point of focus is because other thons promote the addressing of low hanging fruit, such as correcting the spelling of a location. These errors above highlight the significant accuracy problems. In the source-a-thon, many people add one source to a profile and then move on to the next one, as this meets the minimum requirement for the thon. This method may not find an error though. Sometimes it takes gathering sources of several events to highlight the error.
+27 votes
I think this is an intriguing idea and would certainly participate in it!  Since these are often more difficult to fix, should/could we consider pairing newer members with experienced members on our teams, to provide a teaching element?
by Amy Gilpin G2G6 Pilot (101k points)
Absolutely, Amy! We've had team captains take that approach in other marathons where newer members have joined their teams.  It's a great opportunity for them to bond with other members in the community and get a good understanding of what WikiTree is and how to participate on the site!

Wonderful!  I'll be looking forward to it... with my coffee cup in hand!wink

Excellent suggestion Amy!
It's a great idea.
+31 votes
The Mighty Oaks team are up for what ever you throw at us.  We will take part.
by Joan Whitaker G2G6 Pilot (108k points)
What Joan says. This sounds like a jolly good wheeze.

The Mighty Oaks rock. laugh

+19 votes

You know Team Virginia will be there! This is another great way to improve the health of our tree. I think any team captains will need to check with team members ahead of time, to make sure they understand how to fix some of those errors. It's a good thing we are already a collaborative site wink We can buddy up with those that have questions. 

by Mindy Silva G2G6 Pilot (499k points)
+16 votes
I would captain a team (usually the Mid-Atlantic team) and would be very happy to help newer members work through these corrections.
by Lucy Selvaggio-Diaz G2G6 Pilot (492k points)
+19 votes
It would be great to have a consolidated effort on these types of errors. I would love to participate, and would be able to support an Australian team.
by Gillian Thomas G2G6 Pilot (151k points)
+12 votes
I think this is a great idea.  I would participate for sure, but can hardly touch the quality of my current team leader!  These are mostly problems that are somewhat difficult to fix (not all of them) and often require sources for that place and era.  We'd want to do a good prep job with the teams so they have the resources they need (good to do anyway).

My only other suggestion is that some people will not have the skills to fix these.  Can we find some other categories that are easier fixes so a broader range of people can participate?
by Cindy Cooper G2G6 Pilot (141k points)

Idea from the year of...post. Suggestions on your watchlist.
I agree with you Cindy. Newbies will need something easier they can work on. and we want them working on it because any improvement (easy or hard) is good. Team Roses veterans will be very happy to commit to working only on the hard stuff.
Some other random thoughts...

Add the GEDCOM cleanup suggestions.

With more advance work come up with a category for profiles created by GEDCOM import. Review the 47000 profiles from 6800 GEDCOM to assign a cleanup/sources category. This could include profiles that have nothing more than...created through the import of... and those that have bio text that identifies possible sources but don't specifically identify the sources (e.g., mention a census year and location but the census isn't a source). Another are GEDCOM imports that have FSFTID but don't have a full reference or bring in any of the sources that might be on that person.

On the issue of errors being too hard to fix, maybe you guys could see my comment below to Paul and reply there?

+16 votes
In theory suggestions 131, 132, 133 and 134 are all potentially related to the ones listed.
by Kay Knight G2G6 Pilot (382k points)
LOL!  Emma and I posted within a minute of each other and must have been typing at the same time. It must be a Team Roses thing....
+18 votes

I absolutely support replacing the Scan A Thon with something like this where we can improve the accuracy of the Tree. 

I would like to recommend adding the suggestions for no dates on profiles, but require a source be used to add dates rather than just putting in an estimated date. There are tons of profiles with no dates where even a single source can provide the needed data.

some of the main reasons I suggest adding these is it will help prevent duplicates, help with connections and when I worked on these during the SAT, I was able to clean up a lot of incorrect relationships.

Team Roses is up for anything you throw our way!heart

by Emma MacBeath G2G6 Pilot (720k points)
Me too. I have always said that the Scan-a-thon should not be an annual event. But perhaps every 2 or 3 years. It does take time to collect new documents...

I don't know if I personally would lead the Kiwi Crew for this - These kinds of errors are not my cup-of-tea - but I am sure someone else on the Kiwi Crew would be happy to do so.
Thanks, Emma. I like the idea of adding sourced dates, but if someone searches for a sourced date and can't find one we'd still want them to estimate a date if they can. That would be following our policy. If they estimate a date they should mark the suggestion as completed. We'd have to find some way not to count the point, which adds some complication.
I agree with replacing the Scan-a-Thon and working on accuracy within the tree.
+11 votes
I think it is an awesome idea. It would help and give practical experience to the novice, such as me. I'm currently using Ancestry to put my family trees together with the goal of switching it all over to Wikitree. I have started a tree but boy did I ever make a lot of mistakes and not providing sources, then not watching to see if the person had already entered in a tree or not. I've been going through a rough patch personally for the last little while and haven't been able to get into the "Thons" I either signed up to or wanted to sign up to. I'm not really into this for the points so that doesn't bother me. But I would like the opportunity to participate in the Correct-A-Thon.
by Valora Frazier G2G3 (3.4k points)
Hi Valora. A lot of us would say, "I've been there." Thanks for joining our community and helping grow our shared tree.

Thank you! smiley

+14 votes
Bravo! Great idea--and I'd be interested in helping. Why limit it to January?
by Shanna Leeland G2G6 Mach 5 (54.6k points)
Hi Shanna. Making improvements on WikiTree is never limited to a challenge! But more seriously, we are developing ideas for other challenges and activities for the Year of Accuracy. I hope to organize some of what people have been suggesting into a new post soon.
+14 votes
This is a great idea! In fact, it's such a good idea, I'm surprised it hasn't come up before!
by Alex Stronach G2G6 Pilot (299k points)
+13 votes
This does not attract me. It sounds like a focused cleanathon and exactlt like some of the weekly data doctors challenges. If you want to gamify improvement in a thon, you need something for more people to work on at all levels (like working on old profiles before current standards). Or if the goal is to have teams work together on improving existing profiles, then why not a thon focusing on projects that would be most useful for teams. I am not motivated by high scores so perhaps my thoughts reflect few other people's.
by W Robertson G2G6 Mach 6 (69.0k points)
Your thoughts reflect mine to a large degree, W. I am motivated by high quality, not by high scores.
Hi W. and Jan. These challenges are definitely not for everybody. WikiTreers contribute in so many different ways and all improvements are welcomed and encouraged. If you are interested in challenges at all, I'm going to be posting again soon with other ideas that are being discussed regarding "52 Weeks of Accuracy" mini challenges, perhaps hosted by projects.
I participate in the clean-a-thon. I see this as a focused clean-a-thon. I could see focusing the clean-a-thon on these errors as part of the year of accuracy rather than on easy things to rack up points. What I would like to see is a focus on something that has not been done previously - things that have not already been part of challenges ad various efforts. The bio check app is amazing and is an easy way to find many profiles that lack any current standards. These profiles are awful and are extremely common. We have to clean up these old profiles if you want to showcase accuracy.
+13 votes
I don’t have a scanner, so I’m in favor of there being a Correct-a-Thon in its place.
by Tommy Buch G2G6 Pilot (144k points)
+10 votes
While the idea might be ok behind it, could we please avoid another C-A-T? Surely we are much more creative than that. Since this ultimately are suggestions that "relate" one profile to another how about we have a Relate-A-Thon????

Also, are we going to have links to targeted reports by state/province/country that we can use like we do in other Thons?

I also note 1 suggestion conspicuously absent. Married too young. I know the modern convention of 18 being the norm is fairly new but even in olden days 12 was very uncommon. I would think anything below 15 would be questionable.
by Steven Tibbetts G2G6 Pilot (280k points)
+13 votes

I really like this idea. These "errors" are true genealogical challenges and they take some real work to solve. 

Amy's idea of helping out newbies who want to participate is excellent.  We'll definitely need some instructions for all to look at about how to edit relationships (which I remember used to really confuse me when I was new).

Scan-a-Thons were fun, but I really don't know where I'm going to come up with more images to scan. wink

by Kathy Zipperer G2G6 Pilot (301k points)
+9 votes

Yes, for sure, any thon is good to clean up (and I would not partake in the scan a thon).

No, picking a subsection of the suggestions makes it a real difficult thing to "win" or "get credit points". I looked at the country I would work on and problems are either easy-peasy, or way to difficult to fix without a pre1500 badge.

by Michel Vorenhout G2G6 Pilot (176k points)

Hi Michel. We'd have to make sure that there are errors that everyone could help with. If you lead a team you could help coordinate that. See my related comment below to Paul.

Michel - you can work on the easy peasy errors at any time. I have been doing a few 19th century Dutch errors that can be easily solved with proper sourcing, but would be happy to share them with you. :-) It has been quite a while since I looked at these; all the sticker and unique name suggestions have kinda driven me away from those reports.
+10 votes
I find these types of errors very difficult and frustrating. I have a lot of experience, but they frequently require information that is not available online. Plus, when I find some on my lines, I rarely am able to correct them because they are so far back.

I would probably participate, but not for as many hours. I might do a lot of pre-research, but the lack of online resources with so many in-person resources still closed will make it difficult.

However, Scan-a-thon is my least favorite since most of my pictures are for private individuals. So a replacement is good. You can give it a try - especially if you can identify other errors that relate and are easier to resolve with publicly available, searchable online information
by s Davenport G2G6 Mach 1 (16.4k points)

Hi S. See my comment below to Paul. It was really to both of you.

+14 votes
These are important errors to fix.  However I know from working on them that they are often not easy to fix, they often have profile managers whom I like to keep informed, and they often need access to paid data sites.  So they can be slow to fix and not just a weekend. I think this could be changed to a one week exercise conducted by small groups of 2-3 people. At least one person should have Ancestry or similar access.  When the team solves the specific issue, there are usually relatives whose profiles could also be immediately fixed using the discovered info. And the small team format would allow that task to be shared.
by Paul Gierszewski G2G6 Mach 4 (47.2k points)
Not having enough solvable problems to work on is a significant concern. It would be discouraging.

I wonder if it would make sense to think about having a policy where you indicate what you're working on (so others don't duplicate efforts) and if you can't make progress within some amount of time, you create a Research Notes section and move on. You'd choose something for the status indicator and get credit for the contribution.
From what people are saying, I think this would be a challenge that would require a lot of team coordination. Maybe we would actually have to divide up errors by team, and teams would have to divide up errors by member, or otherwise coordinate who is working on what.
Saw your note re my comment on needing some simpler errors and asking me to read this.  I agree with Paul about the difficulty of researching these errors (as I said in my own answer).  Maybe small teams would work, consider building them by topic: geography and time frame (not a N'oreaster team but maybe a Quebec team or a Nova Scotia team, for example).  Has the way we run Teams in Challenges posed problems with who works on what in the past?  I've not found that to be true but maybe is for others.  We still need to address easier to solve problems to appeal to a broad range of participants.  Or maybe run them as concurrent challenges:  relationships and locations?

Setting the example of teams and small groups collaborating to solve problems is a great theme to start the year. Also, with things that might take some time to investigate and resolve some type of "Work in Progress" on the profile is an excellent idea.

It is difficult to find relatively "simple" problems that keep with the theme of dates/relationships. Perhaps because I am currently looking at GEDCOMs that keeps coming back as a thought. There are many (1.7M?) GEDCOM junk suggestions already. There would be many more if we also searched for No more info is currently available. Can you add to this biography? and This biography is a rough draft. It was auto-generated by a GEDCOM import and needs to be edited. In perspective, there are about 6800 GEDCOM with more than 100 profiles that total close to 3.9M profiles. Just a random sampling of 32 of the GEDCOM found about 46,000 profiles of which 75% had some style issues and nearly 50% may be Unsourced (and 1800 were already marked Unsourced). Many of these should be fairly simple to correct, although most require a source added.

The listed errors would not work broken up by team. You may find one parent with incorrect dates that causes most/all of these errors to appear. More appropriately they might be divided by location and/or family.

Kay has been doing a lot of work identifying gedcoms that are a hot mess. She's got 6800+ gedcoms. During the SAT I know some of us on my team worked by Gedcom. This makes for some awesome clean up because you're following the whole family (and their records) over time. You get to see whether the connections at WikiTree are correct in addition to other corrections made.

Throwing this out there, but what about small groups/teams or full teams (depending on size of gedcom) working on cleaning up whole gedcoms? We're talking about 10s of thousands of profiles needing real clean up on all levels--dates, sources, connections, bio that would get attention.

I don't know how this would be accomplished as far as who works on what, but the outcome could be amazing.
Pity any one who gets assigned the Decoursey gedcom?
Chris - yes, we'd need to have some way to coordinate the work, even though there are about 100,000 of these errors.  I've just completed two, one was a one-hour project and the other a 10-minute task.  It would not be helpful for someone else to come in and start working on one while I was researching it and developing a draft biography.
I like the coordinated GEDCOM cleanup idea. I think this is a much better idea than the specific list of suggestions. It would have something for people at all levels and probably all geographic interests
I agree, Gedcom Junk needs to be eliminated by cleaning them up.
I am uncomfortable with focusing a high-profile challenge on particular GEDCOMs. That's essentially the same as focusing on mistakes made by particular individuals.

Don't get me wrong. I think it's awesome that members want to help clean up this old junk. I just don't like the idea of making it a high profile challenge. I think it's better to keep challenges focused on the type of mistake.
@Chris - focus first on those GEDCOM where the profiles are managed by Closed Account WikiTree, or perhaps those imported before 2012.
I like that idea. I think there are plenty of orphans like this we can focus on. Perhaps active people could also volunteer their old gedcoms for cleanup, if they wish to.

Chris, would it be acceptable to have the focus be to add current standard headings and add the unsourced template when needed? This would make them appear more consistent and if unsourced, let them be found for the sourceathon. I am not trying to find fault with anyone; our standards and defaults have changed in the last 12 years and I think focusing on cleaning up the first 3 years of profiles could be very beneficial.
After your helpful feedback, we took a closer look at how this would work and tossed my idea out the window. :-) Please see https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/1141375/what-do-you-think-of-this-weakest-link-correct-a-thon-idea and answer there. Thanks!

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