What do you think of this page on participating in pre-1700 projects?

+20 votes
Hi WikiTreers,
There's been a lot of confusion about what this new rule means. What does coordinating with a project actually entail?
In an attempt to clear things up we redrafted this:
Does this new page clear up questions? What questions still remain? Post here and we'll try to work through them.
Onward and upward, for the single family tree,
in Policy and Style by Chris Whitten G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
Hi Vicki,

There isn't a process like that at all. The main thing we're trying to promote is working with projects on these profiles. If you are a member of say, PGM, you have made contact with one of the Leaders and understand the style guide as well as any specifics of that project, then you should be able to just work along without much interruption. No need to run every merge or change past them. The goal is working relationships-they know you understand the project expectations, and you know what they expect, and if questions arise, you get in touch. Beyond that initial connection, it shouldn't change how you work around WikiTree that much.

Does that help?
Just a clarification question, while my watch list is relatively small, I want to tackle going through all of my pre-1700 profiles and categorizing them properly. Am I understanding correctly that I do not need to consult the PM of the project if I'm simply adding a template and tag to the profile?
At the risk of oversimplifying, this entire change could be paraphrased like this:
If you're working on pre-1700 profiles, take time to find out if others are working on the same profiles.
If others are working on the same profiles, you should be aware of them and they should be aware of you.
Maybe that is an oversimplification, but people are definitely interpreting this as more complicated than it was intended to be.
RJ, how a project like "England" would relate to this rule is something that we still need to work out with the community. My thinking is that at most this sort of broad project would just be something that Volunteer Coordinators would make the person aware of, and make some personal introductions.
This really is all about communication and awareness.
As such, it was never aimed at you. It's aimed at those people who rush to create duplicates that other good WikiTreers have to devote all their time to cleaning up. It's aimed at those people who never communicate with other members.
By the way, this is not an appropriate comment: "99% of Americans who've uploaded English ancestors couldn't find England on a map of England."
I appreciate that you've already edited your post. You might want to edit it again to find a kinder, more friendly way to make your point. Courtesy is not optional on WikiTree.



RJ, do you have any suggestions to fix the problems you're talking about? For instance, you mentioned that the Old World and New World should have different pre-1700 quizzes; what do you think should be different between them specifically?

There have been questions about how this applies to merging.

Since this thread is long, I started a new, more-specific one:

Oh lord!... I finally just read this thread. Serious delay on my part. It's a good thing I've been so busy, I had to put editing on hold for most of this month.


But I think the policy is probably a good idea, now that I notice a lot more overlap between groups who tend to run into some of my edits. ... Plus, I keep seeing more duplicates slip through... not to mention there's plenty of merges still lurking somewhere in the WikiTree ecoverse.


I'm sure it'll work out over time... Collaboration is good. Gives us all a chance to yap. Maybe we could ease the pain if we used google video chat or something. I'd love a real-time chat function to be used for the projects I'm a fan of!


The only thing is that I almost feel sorry for some of the managers of profiles I like to edit ... because they tend to manage a lot of ancestors, and I don't want to blow up their inbox:)

11 Answers

+8 votes
Alright - after all the confusion from the earlier thread, this is much clearer. Thank you. :)

I'll think it over, but at the moment, I don't think I have any questions. This did a nice job of explaining.
by Scott Fulkerson G2G Astronaut (1.0m points)
I agree with Scott. The new page clears up my questions. Thanks!
+6 votes
Question: What time frame delay will exist between a pre-1700 certification, and the Volunteer Coordinator making first contact?

The problem is that many people now simply certify just to get through the roadblock, and then immediately jump into creation of unsourced duplicates, as they wanted to in the first place.

So if the delay is only a day or so, I would like to see a two-stage process. The first stage is passing the certification. That delivers a message that the person will be contacted by a Volunteer Coordinator shortly.

"If you wish to create or edit pre-1700 profiles now, then contact a Volunteer Coordinator now."

Then once the Volunterr Coordinator makes first contatct, and only then, the certification block gets lifted.
by Steven Mix G2G6 Mach 4 (41.3k points)
Interesting idea.  Maybe on the certification quiz there should be some additional questions about what area(s) of the world and what timeframe(s) the person is most interested in.  I would think those questions are ones that a volunteer coordinator would ask anyway.

What would the volunteer coordinator do in this "first contact" after which certification would be lifted, per your suggestion?
We're still getting our sea legs with a schedule, but at this moment it looks like anywhere from 1-36 hours for first contact. (I think all of the Volunteer Coordinators are in different time zones, so I can't promise anything until we get into a groove and I know when people are online.)
Well, I would expect the response time to vary, I'm sure. But I would think that anybody who initiates first contact will immediately get whoever happens to be on call.

My main idea is about possibly delaying the lift of the block until that first contact is achieved. So it would be the first thing for the Volunteer Coordinator to do, depending on how the technicals work.

It would also allow a bit of human guardianship over the process, if it is blatantly obvious that the person who just certified still needs a whole lot more mentoring first.
+5 votes
by RJ Horace G2G6 Pilot (565k points)
edited by RJ Horace
+6 votes

I think it would be helpful to point out that most people born before 1700 who have living descendants have many living descendants, and this is why there is a high probability that someone has already created their profiles.

Also, it seems to me that even before people contact project members for advice, they should be advised to search in WikiTree to see if the person they propose to add already has a profile. Anyone who proposes to add a pre-1700 profile should first look at the WikiTree Genealogy page for the person's last name, and alternate spellings of the last name, to see if the person (or their close family members) already has a profile. Click on "Birth" to sort the list by birthdate -- for most names, there aren't very many people born in the 16th and 17th centuries, so it's usually pretty easy to skim the list for those periods. Then check the end of the list (or do an alphabetical sort) to see if your person has been added without a birthdate.

by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
+6 votes
by RJ Horace G2G6 Pilot (565k points)
edited by RJ Horace
+2 votes
This seems on the surface like a great idea. A possible interpretation could be seen as support for projects "owning" profiles?

I agree that thiscould be a great idea, If some sentences were added to address the possible interpretation of projects "owning" profiles. The focus should be on collaboration and not control.

I believe the correct person(s) to address the question to would be the Project Leaders. Project Leaders should not take over the creation, but be available to guide in the creation.

This brings another question to mind -- what if the PM or PM's don't want their ancestor to be covered by a project? Does a PM have a right to exclude their ancestor from a project?
by Terri Rick G2G6 Mach 3 (39.4k points)
Hi Terri.

I don't think members can exclude profiles from projects. That would be like saying they could exclude them from collaboration.

Essentially, projects are just what we call it when people are collaborating on a certain group of WikiTree profiles.

The origin of projects and their most important function is to work out the styles and standards for a narrower group than the whole of WikiTree.

Hi Terri,

One thing to remember is that this is dealing with people that lived 300+ years ago.  So the person is the ancestor to thousands (and in some cases millions) of people.  It's not just the PM's ancestor; it's the ancestor of thousands.  And we always have to remember that, just because you're a PM on a profile, you don't 'own' the profile. That's against the concept of Wikitree.  We're allowed control on our more recent ancestors, but those 400+ years old 'belong' to a huge group of descendants.  I think it's great that there are so many projects out there for all of these profiles, as it stirs up interest. So you will hopefully end up with someone that has delved more deeply into the research and end up with new interesting information about an ancestor.  Gotta love it!

Thanks for the answer, I've received several questions on this.
2015-1700=315, also, Millions of ancestors?  :D
+5 votes
In my experience, projects are the most mysterious aspect of WikiTree for users such as myself, who fundamentally view WikiTree as a wonderful platform to publish personal research, where it can be useful to others rather than moldering in a corner. of the attic. It's also wonderful to find family and interested "neighbors", close and distant, with whom to collaborate on personal family history. Truly one of the most rewarding aspects of WikiTree.

Projects can be difficult to find, difficult to understand and overlapping. With respect to my own research -- Southern Colonies? 1776? French Hugenots?  All? Does one have priority? Are there others that apply?

If this is how WikiTree is to be organized -- and it makes sense to me - there should be an emphasis on project education and simplification.
by Ellen Curnes G2G6 Mach 6 (68.9k points)
edited by Ellen Curnes

Hi Ellen,

Making projects more accessible and easier to understand is a huge part of what this change is all about. What you say about projects is spot-on, I think.

This change is really all about communication.

I do want to nit-pick about something you said here, because I think it's important. You wrote that WikiTree is "a wonderful platform to publish personal research."

I appreciate you saying that, but I think this phrasing can encourage a misconception that a lot of new members have. Many people initially assume that WikiTree is a way to publish their research so other people can see it.

It's so important that people understand it's about collaboration. The research on your ancestor has to be put together with the research of others. It all has to be merged into a whole. The discrepancies have to be worked out through careful sourcing and friendly communication.


Not a nitpick at all.  Well said, and certainly how I understand WikiTree.



Project and associated categories have evolved over time, with some being sidelined or abandoned. The problems I experience working with projects and categories is primarily with the organizational structure they have. For instance, I created a category (Chronicles of New France) as a sub-category of

Canadian History. When the chronicles became a topic of interest by others, I was appointed its Project Coordinator, ---not under Canadian History---, but under the Southern Colonies Project. Why? I don't know! Do I find it logical? No! Do I find it effective? No! Why does it stay that way, despite endeavors to have it changed? Mystery to me!


Personally, I need to see the hierarchical structure consistent and logical, before I can begin to comprehend the implications of lateral (cross-project) collaboration.

+2 votes
The new guidance seems intended to promote greater collaboration on pre-1700 profiles.  Well and good!  But that does seem to raise some questions:

1.  There can be multiple projects interested in a particular profile.  So if you want to work on that profile, how many projects do you need to contact?

2.  The concept of documenting changes and being able to change back, with its attendant note on be daring, be creative, take risks, if you make a mistake it can always be fixed -- seems a bit at variance with this.  

3.  So far in my experience on WikiTree, there's been trial and error involved in getting the right proportion of checking things out ahead of time, and just going ahead and doing something, figuring somebody will straighten me out if I did something controversial.  If I KNOW something is likely to be controversial, i.e, making a change that will destroy a thousand WikiTreer's link back to Charlemagne, collaboration seems like an excellent way of spreading the blame!

4.  It would seem like promoting collaboration before creating a pre-1700 profile would put a major crimp in people uploading GEDCOMs that include pre-1700 people.  Will this new approach actually have an impact on unsourced GEDCOM's?

5.  My experience so far is that the "Project Protected" label is an indication, "be careful, somebody cares" about this profile.  It has not stopped me from actually doing something.  I'll look at the content and the changes section, and see if anybody ACTUALLY seems to care.  If yes, then there are people to collaborate with.  If no, then no matter what the labels, nobody seems to.  

6.  If "Project Protected" meant that there was an actual block on editing without an advance OK, I think that would be a serious impediment to the attractiveness of WikiTree.  The wikipedia model assumes that a lot of the collaboration will come from the actual process of editing, "I'm making it this way.....no, it needs to be this way.....hmnn, we need to get our heads together to resolve this."

7.  It is easier to get forgiveness than permission.
by Jack Day G2G6 Pilot (349k points)

I'm not going to address all of your questions.  I'll leave that for others.  However, the primary reason the EuroAristo project puts the PPP designation on a profile is to protect the LNAB (last name at birth) field.  The PPP designation locks that field so that it can't be changed.  Another reason is to make people aware of the project and ask them to coordinate with the project members, particularly when dealing with historically significant ancestors.

I certainly disagree with you as far as asking for forgiveness rather than permission and figuring people will contact you if you do something controversial.  One of the major problems of our project is that people create profiles that already exist and that don't adhere to the naming standards.  This is one of the things we are trying to avoid, because we are ending up with hundreds of new duplicates every week.  So if you're dealing with a pre-1600 profile, we respectfully request that you contact a project leader before creating any new profiles.  As far as editing, though, if you have good sources we appreciate the assistance of people going in and cleaning up the biography or adding information and sources.  smiley

Darlene - Co-Leader, European Aristocrats Project

+1 vote
I have a suggestion, in the Genealogy feed  could there be a section for Pre-1700 profiles activity or a link to a specified Pre-1700 Project Page on G2G where you can submit names to be doulble checked prior to adding them

another suggestion would be that if a Pre-1700 profile is being created, a requestor that opens another tab on your browers takes you to the Pre-1700 Project Page on G2G where you can ask questions concerning your entry to make sure that there are no duplicates

Pre-1700 Project Page it would good if the page had a monitor to answer any questions prior to the releasing the profile for completion
by Paul Curran G2G6 Mach 1 (15.4k points)
edited by Paul Curran
+2 votes
I have to ask  about what if we cannot seem to get collaboration that will help give a definitive answer?

I posted this a month ago

by Jacqueline Clark G2G6 Pilot (159k points)

You might get more response from the PMs of that profile if you included a post on the profile itself that requested their participation. I saw you included a link to the G2G thread but without explanation. Consider posting a message along the lines of:

"Profile managers, please visit this g2g thread to discuss need to change the LNAB of his profile and his England-born children. Thank you."
I understand what you are saying.

However, when we post in G2G and include a link to the profile and tags it automatically places a link on the profile to the question.

On the Wiki Genealogy Feed email we receive it is included, if we are a profile manager of the profile in question and/or if we have chosen to receive email about that name.

When a comment is made on a profile it is also included in the Wiki Genealogy Feed email.

Make me wonder if I am the only one that reads the emails. I am one of I think 10 plus profile managers on the profile tagged.  

All of his children were born in England. This is not my first attempt to get collaboration for this profile and changes that may be needed... Jacky

My understanding is that profile managers do NOT receive notification when g2g posts are made that attach to profiles they manage. I've long requested that all PMs receive a separate message when that happens, like when we do if someone posts a comment on the profile. Apparently it's too resource intensive on the network to implement that.

Now, if the g2g post has a TAG that I'm followingn, yes, I'll receive notification in the email that lists all my notifications. But if I'm busy, I might skim the list and miss the one that's aimed specifically at me.

That's why I add a message to the profile in question, so that the PM(s) will actually get a separate message, and I make sure that post has sufficient information in it.

I don't like that I have to do this-- seems like duplication of effort. But until the system will send a separate message for each g2g post (creation only) linked to a profile, I don't see another option.
But as you see  I did post the link in comments. Yes it was just a link but there is the saying do not wiki when angry.  I do get frustrated also.  

Ever since I joined I have  worked to untangle and sort the Mendenhalls  proposing merges  adding to bio etc.  Sometime all I have added is the list of children but that is more so I dont have 20 plus windows open on each computer here when I am researching.  

I check the Mendenhalls daily and post information in comments to help other and offer assistance via Private messages when new Mendenhall profiles are created.

Just because I did not have time to post more than the link to the G2G feed is not a reason not to collaborate.
As I said earlier, most of the PMs will have just copied what they found on another website into their gedcoms.  They rarely have anything to add to what it says in the family book or the family website or the family Society stuff.

You're very likely the only person to have looked into this.  The others may wonder why you're bothering.  They may even wish you weren't, since questions have a habit of stirring up hornet's nests.

But if there is anybody to contact, how to find them?  Most people don't follow surname tags in G2G, for 3 reasons

1 - too much stuff about branches of the surname you're not interested in

2 - if it's also a placename, you get stuff about the place

3 - you're only allowed 20 tags, and you need some of those for general topics, so you can only follow a fraction of your surnames.  I've got about 60 surnames in my wheel chart, but I only follow 3 via tags.  Come to think of it, none of those 3 is in the wheel chart.  You could be asking about my grandmother and I wouldn't see it through tagging.

Then there's profile comments.  I don't know if they go to the whole TL or just the PMs, but it doesn't make much difference.  The person you need to contact might have got there by merging a duplicate from his gedcom.  But he might have avoided creating a duplicate.  He might even have built his tree by hand.  Then, he doesn't collect the nuisance rights and respect-entitlement which are the automatic reward of those who operate in a less desirable way.  Ironic that still even now we give the status to those who create the hateful duplicates that we really really don't want, and the large majority of pre-1700 PMs actually got there as duplicators.

But if your quarry didn't acquire PM or TL status by creation or orphan-adoption or merging, they're unlikely to have asked for it.  There isn't much need - unless you want to push a merge through by self-collaboration.  Apart from Leaders, I don't remember ever seeing a Change Log entry for a person being added to a PM/TL list on an Open profile.

No I don't know an answer.  Pre-1700 was a tight-knit world and people who work in it will know a lot about families that they wouldn't register an interest in.  The channels are mainly about going through the motions of respecting the people you're supposed to.  Then you do what you think, and 3 months later somebody will say it's all wrong.
+1 vote
by RJ Horace G2G6 Pilot (565k points)
edited by RJ Horace

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