Is there a way to classify profiles for goodness/completeness?

+9 votes
Is there a way to classify profiles for goodness/completeness?

One thing I like about wikipedia is that there is a review process for accuracy/style/completeness: and good examples are shown to the community each day on the daily wiki page, etc.

Does this community have that, or intend (roadmap) that?
in Genealogy Help by Bill Jennings G2G6 (8.8k points)
retagged by Chris Whitten

4 Answers

+5 votes
Best answer
I looked more into this on Wikipedia. (I'm posting this as a new answer instead of in the comments so more people see it.)

For reference, see the Wikipedia featured article criteria:

Obviously, the criteria do not translate perfectly from Wikipedia to WikiTree, but I think we can get inspiration from there. For example, profiles should be well-written, well-sourced, stable, include images where it makes sense, etc. If there's lots of text about a place, event, etc. it should be removed and split off into a Space page.

I agree with what Brian said, that sourcing should be the most important criterion. Nice looking profiles are great, but only if they are also reliable.

I like Chris's idea of maybe making this part of the Profile Improvement project. This is that project's area of interest, and would help to give group members something to focus on, which that project lacks in comparison to the other groups.
by Liander Lavoie G2G6 Pilot (435k points)
selected by Bill Jennings
I started a discussion for this on the Profile Improvement project talk page:
+4 votes

We don't have anything like that right now. That would be kind of cool. I'll look into how it's done on Wikipedia and see if maybe it's something we could have some version of here.

The one thing like this that we do have is Category:Examples, where we put profiles that are good examples of what a well-developed profile should look like. But it's not really meant to hold every awesome profile on WikiTree, so it's not quite what you're asking for.

by Liander Lavoie G2G6 Pilot (435k points)
A photography blog reviews the photos of the day, and posts a "spot light" winner on it's home banner each day: encourages everyone to do their best, and the community rallies around the winners each days with congrats, etc.

You could check out that one as well, if looking for ideas to motivate investing in creating exciting/readable profiles.
Ooh, I like that idea, too! People could nominate profiles to be spotlighted. I agree it would be great to motivate people to spend more time writing bios, etc., on their profiles.
I have some photos on aminus3: some made the spotlight: check this website out: - this photo made the spotlight: and it really motivated me for some time on this blog.
"This profile is a stub.  Perhaps you'd like to help?"
Michael ,

I may be able to help : but I don't know which profile that you are referring to.

Which profile is a stub?
Bill - I wasn't asking for help, I was giving Wikipedia-style example of how incomplete articles / profiles might be marked, in response to Lianne's comment. :o)

- Mike
OK, Mike.  I misunderstood.  Thank you for the clarification.  Best,
Lianne and Mike,

Yes Wikipedia will mark a page as a stub, when it is just the start of a page: it could be analogous to having a name and a few entries of info (simblings, parents, etc. and dates; but not anywhere as complete as it may become later).

Also, wikipedia grades each page: here is a link to that criteria:

Each page has a 'talk' tab, when enables relevant discussion; without modifying the actual page itself : this allows comments on style, formating, content, etc. : without churning the main page.

Excerpts of very strong articles are put on the main wikipedia page each day: as a way to encourage creating strong articles as well.

Perhaps some of this would be meaningful for the Wikitree.

Great thread! I'd support anything in this direction.

I'd thought of highlight new pictures. That could be fun. features a page on their home page. It rotates at least monthly if not more frequently.

There's a nominations page, for nominating features.


And then they have an archive of previously featured pages:
Thank you for the link on "We Relate" : that's a very relative link for this discussion.

I agree with earlier comments: that the completeness/goodness is neither about the pretty-ness of a profile, nor is it about how good the genealogical information is for the profile: it's about both.

In many cases one may not know much about a person: but what is known can be well documented: and what has been researched can be described.  Sometimes knowing the research notes for an ancestor: where one has been; can keep others from treading similar ground.

Any pitfalls: such as similar names in similar counties at similar times would be meaningful.

Any information about related genealogical societies that may discuss a family would be useful.

I think there can be much more within the nice free-form page that just sources or a bio: it can also be hints/crumbs for others to pick up and collaborate.

I don't believe anyone should be expected to be able to write PHP code to contribute: they should just be able to communicate what they know; what they are pretty confident that they don't know; and also leave hints as to what a next thread/avenue may be for future research.
However we handled a feature like this, you definitely wouldn't need to know PHP. This is a wiki, so it would be using a wiki page of some kind.
Agreed.  I read earlier on the thread that one shouldn't have to know how to program a webpage; and that is absolutely true.

The value of a wiki is that you don't need to know the underlying programming language, etc.
I think all this sounds great.

We could think about having a project, or using the Profile Improvement project.

We could try to get all project members to nominate at least one profile per month, and participate in the discussion about which is best.

We could write up some criteria on the project page, starting with what Bill wrote above and what Brian wrote below.

We could think about doing a badge for the project participants and/or the manager of the featured profile.


See this new question:

This is a proposal for doing a "Family History Photo of the Week," i.e. a photo instead of a profile. It's more in line with what Bill commented about having his photo highlighted (great photo, BTW).

+1 vote
Some members do not have extensive web page development experience or time to spend on each page, so improvements as to content, ie sourcework and documentation should be the priority and if someone wishes to volunteer to pretty the pages then that would be the profile managers call i think... any comments?
by Gloria Lange G2G6 Mach 1 (11.4k points)
+2 votes

I think this is an interesting concept and am all for "promoting" profiles that explifiy good formating approaches. When I read this question though it opens up a host of other questions I have been wrestling with lately.

First and most importantly is how are you defining "goodness" or "completeness"? Is it that they are visually appealing and have interesting content to read? Are not filled with the gobbly-gook that comes from multiple merges or GED imports? Or are we talking about how well they follow  the Genealogical Proof Standard (

It has always been my desire since joining this site to see it fulfill its mission of creating one world tree, but more than that a healthy one world tree. To me that means as much as possible accuracy so when I think of "completeness/goodness" I am starting to think more about the BCG proof standard. I have actually stepped back from a lot of my research work so that I can try to better understand the standard and make sure that what I have done and what I do in the future is more "accurate" or at the very least points out its potential inaccuracies. I am not someone who is a hardcore "You have to have X number of sources for each record" but I think better accuracy, transparency and documentation of our research just makes things better for everyone. So for my two cents I would love to continue to see well formated "pleasing" profiles, but also a more concentrated effort (I know some of this is done already) to encourage better sourcing and documentation.

by Living Chelton G2G6 (8.2k points)
Having good sources would definitely be part of it. No article on Wikipedia would get featured article status or even good status without being properly sourced! It's a combination of things that make a profile great. Making a profile "pretty" but with no sources is not great.

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