What on Earth Did You Do ??? Praise for people who explain their changes!

+60 votes

When making edits to profiles, there is a box provided in the center of the edit-form labeled "Explain your changes".  This is an extremely useful but often overlooked feature.

Along with other changes on the edit-page, make sure to include an explanation before clicking to save changes!  This will forever make note of what was done and include the information on the activity feed for the profile.  We and others can use the information in the future to help make descisions and improvements.

Without explaing changes, a member's contributions to profiles say little more than "x edited data" over and over again.  (I have been guilty of this in the past without realizing that others who recieved notice of the edits in their activity-feeds had no idea what I had done, hence the title of this posting).

Some members are extremely good at explaining what they have done to a profile.  When they add a census they explain "Added 1880 census".  If they change the birthplace the log says "Changed the birthplace to match census information".

One example of a member who really shines at explaining their edits is Cynthia B.  Her contribution list shows exactly how I believe it should be done.  Another I strive to emulate in this area is Jillaine Smith.  These are top-notch contributors who take the time to do it right.  I know there are others; bless them all!

If you consistently use the "Explain your changes" field when making edits, awesome!  If you don't..... please start today!

in The Tree House by Keith Hathaway G2G6 Pilot (606k points)
retagged by Robin Lee
thank you Robert. I'm guilty as a rookie. I sometimes go back several times to make edits to the same person and am concerned that people will think I am incompetent to explain every little change. Sorry for you on the other end of my edits if I miscontrued the important reason for explanations. Still learning.
I would just like to add one more tip if I may.. Please I am just as guilty explain even the changes in your own profile so that in the tragic day of your passing others will know why you did what you did, not just on other people's profiles
Thanks for this information. I know it is difficult to clean up others messes. Appreciate patience as I learn. Glad you all don't get to see my "red" face when I realize I have done something wrong, don't know how to correct it, don't know yet where to look for the answer, and that someone out there is saying "what a nut"! I know you're not really, but . . .I just don't want to be kicked out of this because of blunders. I'm really am trying to learn the right way.


Thanks Robert for the Do you kow how to Wikitree info.
Bill I'm new at this too and I can't seem to get even the basics in the biography all in one go and have to go back and edit numerous time. I'm sure it will get easier with the more we do. The main thing is that you want to do it the right way and that speaks volumes to me.
I have started to explain my changes after reading these comments, but, is there a way to go back to explain changes that have been made in the past, without erasing them and reentering the change.  Something simple I would hope.

3 Answers

+25 votes
Best answer
Thank you , Robert ! This is a great reminder to explain any changes I do at WikiTree , especially when I am editing after a merge. Lianne Lavoie is another WikiTreer that has made a great habit of citing her changes.  In my book, these people set great examples !

When I am working in the EDIT form, my Firefox browser populates the EXPLAIN YOUR CHANGES field automatically ( by filling it in ) when I am using repetitious explanations. I think a Google browser can do it as well.
by Maggie N. G2G6 Pilot (882k points)
selected by Mags Gaulden

I also find Firefox's autofill feature helpful in this area!
Sigh ... I at least do a quick one liner when I've finished for the day. I often save frequently, particularly if I'm away from the computer for a while so not every save gets a comment.
Thanks for the reminder, Robert.  I didn't think about the alerts that others receive when I make a change to teir profiles, and I'm sure I've made peple wonder what on earth I did to their Grandpa's profile.  I know I infrequently enter explanations, so I will make it a resolution to do a better job in this area.
Hello Maggie N.  Yes, Google does do a pretty good job of filling these in when ever I miss putting one in Iv'e found.  However, have just recently, learned from looking at Cynthia B's list of contributions that there are quite a few that at least my Google Chrome Browser has left out.  So, will check out a few more lists and will really work hard on remembering them all and trying to add all of them I learn and will try to remember to do them all the time.  I jotted down the one's that are new to me so I can refer back to them...promise I'll really try hard.  Thank's again to all of you on WikiTree for what you do for all of us here... Your Really Appreciated!
+12 votes
Robert Hello!  Thanks, for reminding all of us to do this and explaining it so well to those who are new to WikiTree.  I personally, want to thank you for referring us to the contribution lists of Cynthia B. and Jillaine Smith.  I thought I was doing fairly good at explaining things and trying to remember to do it all the time.  Great job Cynthia B. on entering the things you have improved.  I for one appreciate the time you have spent doing these.  I found 14 changes I have not been doing simply because I thought they were done automatically.  Found a three things I have not changed or edited before but, atleast I know how to do so when I do finally enter those.  Jillaine Smith's is on my to do list for tomorrow.  Sorry, Jillaine I'm sure your's is just as enlightening! Then I am going to check your contributions out as well Robert, cause you have really been very helpful with things that other's did not dare to even undertake.  Thanks, again Robert, for helping me with my big task of figuring how to get everything set up on my To-do List.  Am still working on it.  You went the extra mile to not only answer my question when no one else did but, you also went the extra mile and actually set about finding out how to set one up.  Hope, I won't embarrass you but, you are my hero for doing that. Barbara Jean
by Barbara Jean Duren G2G6 Mach 3 (35.1k points)
Hi: Can you see the explanation on the "Change Details" page? If so, please let me know where it is. I can only find the explantion in parantheses in my Family Feed, but not on the "Change Details" page. Thanks, Kent
+14 votes
I would like to ask that each of the people that lead projects, make sure that your active project members read this G2G. I spend a lot of time checking over changes that were made to profiles I manage, plus, now I have a feed for the US Presidents project. What I find is that a majority of the changes are template and category adds. When there is an explanation, I don't even look at the change, so,if the person adding the information would just put "added category/template" in the Explain your changes block, it would say me and, I suspect, others a lot of time. Is that a reasonable request?
by Robin Lee G2G6 Pilot (712k points)
YES, YES, YES, that's a very reasonable request! I'd give this 5 upvotes if I could!

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