What could we do to inspire more people to participate in our mission?
I see WikiTree's mission as comprising several important components, such as:
* to preserve our family histories for ourselves and posterity;
* to remind us that humankind is just one large extended family;
* to integrate DNA information with that family tree of humankind;
As regards the second component of WikiTree's mission, I am concerned that the peddling of estimated ethnicity percentages by DNA companies perpetuates ethnic and racial divisions. If I am asked for my "race" or "ethnicity" on a census return or elsewhere, I have always just written "human race". If "race" or "ethnicity" is something inherited, and I have not confirmed even the full names of all of my great-great grandparents, how can I put a label on their, or my, ethnicity?
The DNA companies should point out that the estimated percentages which they sell are no more reliable than opinion polls before elections, and therefore should be treated with the same scepticism as struggling politicians treat opinion polls.
Furthermore, the emphasis on ethnicity both hampers the far more productive use of DNA analysis to break down brick walls in individual family trees and denies the WikiTree message that we are all related.
Since there is clearly a huge demand for ancestral percentages, perhaps WikiTree could add a tool to show similar percentages, but based on the birth countries of end-of-line ancestors, or of closer ancestors if the birth countries of the end-of-line ancestors are blank.
As regards the third component of WikiTree's mission, the links between GEDmatch and WikiTree should be better known. If you have a match on GEDmatch with a Wiki link showing only a handful of ancestors, then you will probably still use these as clues in your own search for a common ancestor. Having done that research, then you can (and should) add what you find to WikiTree, which will help all that match's other current and future matches.
My efforts to get people to upload GEDCOM files to GEDmatch and to the other DNA websites have not been as successful as I would have liked. Now I realise that it might be more efficient and more successful in the long term if I encouraged people to register at WikiTree as soon as they have registered at GEDmatch, and to at least add themselves and one or two more generations to WikiTree.
The customers of the other DNA websites should be crying out for links to WikiTree. It was only as I answered this question that I discovered that 23andMe allows users to add links to WikiTree, and I immediately updated my own 23andMe profile accordingly. I have not yet noticed any of my own 1504 23andMe matches with a link to WikiTree, nor found a way to search my 23andMe match list for matches with WikiTree links.
In short, more people could be inspired to participate in WikiTree by better two-way integration with all the DNA comparison websites, whose tens of millions of customers are all potential WikiTreers.
Do you have any tips for someone who wants to get more involved in our community?
I hope that I have inspired anyone who has read this far and who is not yet on WikiTree to sign up. If you set a target of 100 contributions a month, you will gradually learn about many of the useful features of the website.
If you want to start slowly, then just find someone related to you who is already in WikiTree and start adding profiles to connect that person to yourself. Anyone who is closely related to me, and most who are not, will need to add only a handful of close relatives in order to connect to the 26 million or so people who are already connected to each other on our global family tree.
If you want to dive in, then upload a small GEDCOM file, maybe starting with just your direct ancestors, and allow the system to search for whichever of those ancestors are already on WikiTree.
Finally, to help us all to get the most out of WikiTree, don't forget to add the links to your DNA kits. If you are not already in the DNA system and "fishing in all the gene pools", and if you don't have family secrets to hide, then spit for AncestryDNA or 23andMe and copy your DNA data to the other DNA websites. Once you are on GEDmatch and/or 23andMe and/or WikiTree, then link your accounts here for WikiTree and here for 23andMe.