Current Gedcom Import Process Feedback

+10 votes
186 views

Hi All,

I wasn't aware of the current gedcom import process, as I do not import in gedcom's, but would like to provide some feedback from the perspective of what happens when a new member attempts to add people already created on wikitree. And also I suspect many other active members don't realise this is what happens.

Firstly, I received a change notice on the e-mail newsletter I get as I follow changes to some of my rarer surnames. It had a comment that read "Imported data from GEDCOM upload #184439, Person P307". Which on first read, didn't make a lot of sense. Perhaps this could be made a bit clearer and friendlier? maybe Imported data from GEDCOM upload #184439 may have added extra information to this profile, which needs review?

Secondly this import over wrote the birth and death dates on my profiles with baptism and burial dates. The profiles were fully sourced so it was easy to spot, but an automated process couldn't spot this - unless we had a baptism and burial date field. Or would it be possible that when a gedcom matches an already exising profile that it not overwrite the birth and death dates? it could just add them suggested changes in the notes to be reviewed.

Lastly where a profile already exists and a gedcome attempst to bring it in again, could the gedcom process not put a statement on existing profiles saying the profile was created by the person who is importing in a gedcom?

I think if you know the above issues come up as part of an automated process its pretty easy to fix them as long as you know they have happened. But, if you didn't realise it was part of an automated process it would feel like a new wikitree member wasn't reading the biography you had written, so was deliberately introducing mistakes to a record you created and was then claiming credit for creating the biography you had written.

in Policy and Style by Paula Dea G2G6 Mach 6 (63.6k points)
retagged by Ellen Smith

I'm afraid that there is nothing anyone can do about this. I asked the following question a month or so ago: https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/1216826/can-something-done-about-unnecessary-and-disruptive-imports (related to this question: https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/1213670/why-then-still-this-import). See also the comments on this feed: https://www.wikitree.com/g2g/1222413/where-can-find-the-instruction-page-wikitree-for-the-wikitree

3 Answers

+11 votes
The way it works is that the user can opt to chose what fields are used in the updated profile. In your case the other user has chosen to use the Gedcom fields and not keep the ones already present. There is nothing automated about it, it is all choice by the user.

It is very hard to prevent this, especially with new members that are always happy to find matches.

You can revert every change if you do not like them, but that is of course not what you prefer. Most new members take a few hundred edits before they realise what sourcing is and how to do it. This takes time and patience, you can be a great help with this by discussing your view on the changes with the new user.
by Michel Vorenhout G2G6 Pilot (223k points)
Certainly true about new members. Part of the problem, from my perspective, was I felt like I had only a month to get the Gedcom across, so it made me feel rushed.

It would be nice to have a presentation to watch, on what new members have to go through, in the process of joining Wikitree. Because I can't remember, and it's would be nice to be able to advice people more accurately.
The point on the perceived deadline is a good one. There is none, so that really leaves the wrong impression.

With presentation you mean something like a video? What did you think of the instructions you received from a greeter?
Hard to recall. It was 4 years ago. And I think I was so enthusiatic about getting into putting family in, that I just got into it as fast as I could. I know I caused some duplicates, on names that were put in differently, so didn't come up in the suggested names already in existence. I'm glad that existing members were patient with me, while pointing me in the right direction. Certainly, taking the Pre-1700 test was a good wake up, to the need for sourcing. Maybe pre-1700 certification should require something else, like a number of contributions, or a month or so of activity, just to try and make people realise that sourcing is more important that getting your tree in.
Ben, you brought up some very valid points. I am more of a visual learner and a video would be very helpful. I know WikiTree wants everyone to feel welcome and wants to make it easy for our new members, I like your idea of contributions or some sort of certification to help new member understand the importance of citing sources. I feel WikiTree is a more prestigious genealogy site than the others because we DO strive for accuracy. Thank you for your input.
When. GEDCOMpare was first introduced (a few years ago), there was a time limit for importing profiles, but after about a month, that was changed.

 There is no deadline for working on a GEDCOMpare. As long as you are working with it somewhat regularly, your GEDCOMpare will remain available. It will get deleted 60 days after you last used it.
+7 votes
Paula, I agree with you. The email you received was rather cryptic. I liked the way you suggested it should be worded. I am unsure how the system works internally; maybe it could be tweaked to put this new imported information under one sub-heading:  

== New Information Imported from New Member Wiki-ID ==

This way the profile manager could take a look at the information (all in one place) and incorporate what is useful and delete inaccurate information. Then the Profile Manage could send a message to the new member thanking them for their recent import and explain to them the changes they made and why.
by Loretta Corbin G2G6 Pilot (166k points)
+6 votes
I have added thousands of names to WikiTree using the older GEDCOM Import and the newer GEDCOMpare.  Probably had about 2% of these where I matched an existing Profile.  The older GEDCOM utility caused the bulk of the junk data Members complain about. GEDCOMpare is much better, but still permits some problems such as yours Paula to occur by newer members who aren't used to WikiTree Usage Guidelines and more importantly the etiquette involved in a shared tree.

Being a user of GEDCOM files I personally believe that GEDCOMpare should not permit any merging of the file data being added to any Existing GEDCOM Profile that has a Manager other than the member using GEDCOMpare.  If you are the Manager or if the Profile is an Orphan, by all means go for it or be bold as our guidelines state.  If however, it is managed by another member.....NO!  You would need to contact the manager of the matched Profile and explain to them your wishes for any additions or changes.  Of course, they can bypass this prohibition and still add manually, but I think if GEDCOMpare had a box that popped up and told the user to contact the existing Profile Manager before making any changes this would work for the benefit of the Profile Manager so they don't have to retrace their research and for the GEDCOMpare user, who is more than likely new to WikiTree, on how to make changes to existing Profiles manually through the guidance of a more senior member.  This would take some perceived auto changes out of the mix which seems to be one of the bigger gripes about GEDCOM files beside the spurious data they may add. A Win-Win to me.

This suggestion only deals with Matched Existing Profiles during the GEDCOMpare process, adding new Profiles would continue as is.
by LJ Russell G2G6 Pilot (179k points)

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