New: First name variants, search by ID, G2G flagging

+111 votes

Hi WikiTreers,

We just released a round of technical changes. Most are little bug fixes and background improvements, but there are a few notable things.

First, we updated the software here in G2G. One functional addition is that if you flag a message you can explain why, e.g. if it's spam, a duplicate, or a rule violation. That explanation will appear for others to see.

Second, you can now enter a WikiTree ID in the Last Name search field. Many members have asked for a way to search by ID. Now, for example, if you enter Adams-12 in the Last Name search field it will take you to the profile for John Quincy Adams.

Third, and most importantly: first name variants in search. A search for Betty or Liz will match with Elizabeth, etc.

The implementation is more limited than our system for surname variants. We had hoped to utilize a database with hundreds of thousands of first name alternates but it slowed down search too much. Instead, we're only using the confirmed given name variants from WeRelate's Name Variants Project.

If you find that a first name isn't matching in the way you think it should, please register at WeRelate and edit their database. We will regularly import their database to update our system. We will also be updating our surname alternates more regularly.

If you notice any problems with the systems described above, or anything else unusual or problematic around WikiTree, please post here. Thanks!

Onward and upward,


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

Tres Bien ! 

I’m so excited to see this happen. Even I get confused sometimes with first name variables. It’s nice that we will be able to check now
Nice changes.

14 Answers

+41 votes
VERY glad to see the flagging explanation!
by Nan Starjak G2G6 Pilot (254k points)
I've already seen it in action. It may help to reduce false flagging. What I mean by that is sometimes someone may press flag in error.
+37 votes
Really appreciate these changes. Even the limited first name search will be useful. And I do like the flagging explanation. Perhaps that will slow down some of the unwarranted flagging by people who do not understand its purpose.
by Shirley Dalton G2G6 Pilot (476k points)
+31 votes
I like the idea that you can explain why you flag an answer.
I hope that people who flag answers or questions also have the courage to explain why they did it.
Only then it is possible to rethink your own formulation and learn from it.
by Dieter Lewerenz G2G6 Pilot (424k points)
Myself also, fabulous idea
+28 votes
Great improvements. Hopefully the first name variants will help us even further with preventing and spotting duplicates.
by Emma MacBeath G2G6 Pilot (716k points)
+23 votes

Like the idea of searching by ID very very very much.  Don't know how often I have had messages about xyz#___ with no link nor full name to quickly get to it, so always having to cast around.

On given name variants, took a quick look, not going to go there to give the WeRelate anything, but in New France days, Élisabeth and Isabelle are mutual nicknames / variants.  Keep finding people who enter both in the first name at birth box.  Sigh.

Totally agree on the flagging explanation requirement, good move.

by Danielle Liard G2G6 Pilot (332k points) is my own and I replace with

As far as a reason for flagging, that should be mandatory. I've wondered if some give it as sort of a star for liking it.

I agree. Wished we had an Agree button!
+23 votes
All fantastic improvements! Thank you so much. The flagging explanation will also help cut down on accidental flagging, I believe.
by Natalie Trott G2G6 Pilot (754k points)
+22 votes
These are really good changes. Especially, the flagging explanation. This may help members understand that it is not a 'like' or 'save' button, or at least let others know it was a misunderstanding.
by Laura DeSpain G2G6 Pilot (270k points)
+13 votes

I just came across my first flagged posts and I can't read the reason for the flag at all. It is obscured by the clear flag, flag, etc line. I'm on a desktop, Chrome browser.

by Emma MacBeath G2G6 Pilot (716k points)
edited by Emma MacBeath
I can see a reason on a flag - - using Edge, and I also checked on IE.  It's a little obscured on the right, but I can see the explanation ok.  But then, I don't also have "clear flag" "edit" etc that you would have.  Maybe this is a problem for moderators/leaders/whoever has the same ability/ies on g2g.
Great feedback, thanks Melanie.
I'm seeing the same thing, also using the Chrome browser on a Windows 10 desktop
It looks ok on questions and answers, but comments... not so much. I'll have to mess with it a bit, but probably not until after Thanksgiving.
I haven’t tried, but I pray it works on Safari for Macs.
+22 votes
This is all great.  Thank you.  But... Can you make it clear/obvious to all users that the surname field can now be used as a go-to-profile box?  I imagine many people don't read G2G so they won't know this.  The First Name field has 'First Name' visible in the box. I think, for members, the last name field is usually filled with a last name, so we don't see the empty box, which for non-members says 'Last Name'.  How about putting a little text above the box to say 'Last name / Wiki ID' or something similar?

Also, I think for members who do come to G2G, a go-to-profile box would be useful on these pages (I have one through my extension, but most people don't).
by Ian Beacall G2G6 Mach 3 (33.7k points)
edited by Ian Beacall
+14 votes

Thank you for the Search by WikiTree ID feature.

Now, I can quickly navigate from one Buch profile to another Buch profile by simply adding a hyphen and the profile number.

by Tommy Buch G2G6 Pilot (139k points)
Of all these changes, that is the one I'm already using time after time.
+12 votes
Thanks!  These changes will be very helpful!
by Jessica Symons G2G6 (6.9k points)
+15 votes

Someone flag this answer, please, just so I can see 'the why.'  Pretend I said, "xyz," where xyz breaks a discussion rule.  Pick one.

by Anonymous Britain G2G6 Mach 2 (24.8k points)
let me know when you're done & I'll undo the flag
Thank you so much!  I know of no reason to undo it, but if you do, then please undo.  If you leave it, then other people can 'see' what it looks like, here.

If someone else flags it, the "reason" will be lost.  Better that the flag is cleared - and people can see what it said here :

Thank you, Melanie.
I think the big red box takes WikiTree into punishment rather than reward.  It looks like either CEO Chris or the WikiTree Management Team did the flag and the reason for it.  There is nothing to suggest that it was flagged by someone else, even a G2G moderator.

Since all of this G2G is public, then how does this big red box further the goal of good Public Relations?  I suggest you keep the box, make it normal print on a white background, and add the person-id.  That would be 'for now.'  Later perhaps reconsider the whole of the flag process.

I would like to see green flags for when there is more than just one Best Answer, perhaps even a Best Comment.  Where red flags decrease points, green flags would increase points.  Flags get attention.  Please flag writing content that you want to persist, highlight and point out as appreciated.
It's not supposed to be for reward.  A flag means that the post is inappropriate or spam.  Definitely not equivalent to a Facebook 'like'.
I politely disagree, Ross.  A flag alerts a moderator to please look and decide.  With the reason for the flag now stated, it gives the moderator information on what the person doing the flag was thinking.  It is not supposed to be a down vote with teeth.  It does look like people in the moderators group needed something that could be more easily seen (especially in a really long list of responses), hence the big red box.  Unfortunately, now it looks like WikiTree Management is responsible for the flag.  I think a person who flags should have their name on it, so it does not look like WikiTree censorship.

Second, many times people have written that if a 'comment' were an 'answer,' then it would receive a Best Answer.  So why not a green star (er: flag) for Best Comment?

When viewed together, there is balance.
A flag, per se, does not decrease points. A flag alerts the monitors. A second flag will hide the post until the monitors can make a determination.

Usually, when the monitors make a determination, they remove the flag and the big red box, either hiding the post permanently or removing the flag, so it isn't a permanent feature.

Or so is my understanding of the current setup.
The flag has *always* meant 'spam or inappropriate'.  Hover your cursor above the word 'flag' and the box that pops up actually says 'Flag this comment as spam or inappropriate'.  The process is that *then* a moderator looks at it and decides whether it actually is 'spam or inappropriate'.  The flag does not only mean 'moderator please look at this'.
Flagging should NOT show the wiki-id unless it is only to moderators. I think they see it anyway. If everyone sees who is flagging it could cause retribution flagging. Don't underestimate human pettiness. LOL
The formatting was determined by the extension we installed, and I didn't think to change the color. The previous "flag" marker was exactly the same color, it just wasn't as big since it didn't have as much text in it.

The extension did originally include the user ID of the flagger, but I removed that for the reason Steven mentioned.
Thank you, Jamie, for the detail box.  As Lois explained, the flag is just temporary.  "Retribution flagging" will no longer be possible, as the 'inappropriate' (Thank you, Ros) is rooted in the discussion rules (link at start of this answer).  Yet, I need to keep what Steven said in mind, as I do tend to keep the down voters click-happy. Now, I would click on a 'thank' link...

Stay Well,

+13 votes
Thanks for the help and the explanation, this will be extremely helpful especially for us who are somewhat computer challenged.
by James Brooks G2G6 Pilot (356k points)
+13 votes
All great improvements!
by Veronica Williams G2G6 Pilot (142k points)

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