Program Trusted Lists for PPP Profiles

+31 votes
Is this now the time to talk about Project Trusted Lists for Project Protected Profiles?

With the increase in new members, lack of understanding, combined with the learning curve then throwing in the current burn out rate of our talented leadership - perhaps we should give some serious thought to how we can protect these profiles from further misguided assistance from the general public.

Our Project Leaders have done a tremendous job in continually cleaning up messes ---

Could we consider some type of "privacy" designation for protecting these PPPs?

We could have 3 profile managers per PPP that would serve to collaborate with those relatives that have valid contributions and add those individuls to trusted lists?

Another leader brought this idea to me -- and I believe it has some merit.. With the risk of, once again, upsetting people -- I'm encouraging some serious debate on this issue.

Perhaps, if I'm lucky the person that presented this idea to me will step forward and describe it better.

Terri --- Reynolds-2390
asked in The Tree House by Terri Rick G2G6 Mach 3 (36.7k points)
edited by Maggie N.

Hear hear, Thanks Albertus - you make quite a few valid points by personal examples (even if already made and clear in this feed and other G2G feeds) - I have never made a GEDCOM in my life and spend about 3/4 of my time on WikITree clearing up the mess that other's made with their GEDCOM's. I'm all for a ban on GEDCOM pre-1800. As untouchability of profiles go - no, but nearly a yes - meaning they [those profiles that have attained a certain level of quality not implying every PPP'd profile] should be closely managed and only edited after well regulated collaboration (see the suggestions of others in the comments and answers in this feed). I think the many responses (many with good suggestions and interesting solutions) in this feed alone shows that WikiTree is ready for a systemic & procedural overhaul though I'm not technically schooled enough to offer any help as far as the technical bit goes ....

Leigh, I am assuming that if you have something to add, you will be approved relatively quickly by the manager group.  If we find that does not happen, we could look at some system enhancement to help?

Albertus, I agree about GEDCOMs.  The proposal I drafted earlier says no merging with Proof Profiles, which would help.  I would go so far as to say that unless we can improve the import of GEDCOMs we should not allow them to be imported because I agree with you that the result is terrible!

I also agree about the matching algorithm.  I look very carefully but still don't find profiles that ultimately turn out to be there.  I think this one is hard.  If we find profiles that exhibit this behavior, we need to document how we looked and be able to demonstrate the the existing profile is not found.  If we can do that then a developer could replicate the problem and enhance the search algorithm.
Another genie wiki that allows gedcom uploads puts a limit on them -- no uploads of people born before 1750.

smiley Thanks Jillaine 

If we do outlaw GEDCOMS, which I agree with, reference to that act must be withdrawn from the DNA Welcome letter:

First paragraph says:

Click the myFamilyTree button on your home Welcome page and enter the details of your family tree.  Do this by uploading a gedcom (click the little gear icon in the bottom right corner) or by entering your ancestors manually.



HI guys :)  We're not going to outlaw GEDCOMs.  Also, just to clarify, with all the GEDCOM changes made in the last year, especially in the last few months or so, there really aren't that many pre-1700 profiles being created via GEDCOM anymore, far less than most people seem to think.  Pre-1500 individuals are not allowed at all and individuals born between 1500 and 1700 are pretty heavily screened.

Hi, Thanks to everyone who has answered my comments, I really appreciate the open way you have answered me.  My issue, I guess, is at heart I am a liberterian!  I just that if certain profiles are now going to be controlled by a few people, then to encourage collaboration (which is the ethos of this great site) then there should be enhanced processes to enable people to contribute, eg appeals, speedy turnaround, maybe PMS should even share their credentials as to why their view prevails over someone else's when it comes to making changes to a profile.  At the end of the day, It's going to be a subjective choice of the profile managers whether or not someone has something of value to add to a biography - and note here I agree with limited rights to add extra kids, last names, parents etc.  that should be stopped.  I understand the frustrations of PMs, I really do, but I hope that if this proposal is implemented, then there is some fair balance so that Wikitree Remains a Wiki, ie open access to all smiley. My vote would be to keep the biography open access.  Thanks for listening.

On a lighter note, "enhanced processes" is way too formal a phrase that I used, I am sure these things can be sorted informally
I feel the same way, Leigh.  I too am a libertarian.  Alas, I feel that we may sometimes border on anarchy and sometimes on dictatorship.  I hope that this isn't just some ploy to keep me away from my ancestors!  However, in my own lines there are many ancestors who seem to attract additional children, spouses and parents.  Many merges are required and many more are likely.  If this proposal does not allow us to put some source requirements in place, then it doesn't mean much to me.

Thanks to everyone for allowing me to participate.


Leigh and Erin, the stauts quo is that WikiTree has been an Open Wiki on everything older than 200 years. For those members who have been around long enough to see the change, it used to be 300 years. So somebody trying to edit an American profile for a person who lived in a time before there was a United States could have found themsleves locked out by the former Privacy setting.

And there used to be a very difficult process to get any good edits or attachments or merges done on those ancient ancestors, because many managers had these deep ancestors locked down as Green Public Privacy.

So what newcomers have not seen is that in the past years, WikiTree has become much more Open and collaborative, not less.

Also, the community of contributors and family members has grown much larger.

The issue here is that many of the best contributors and researchers are being driven away, because the Open Wiki format has proven to be a great waste of their time. So we are trying to come up with a contributor retention plan here.


Thank you Steven - I had to hilight your excellent explanation of the history of open or closed profiles at WikiTree. It was eye-opening to this newer memberblush

13 Answers

+15 votes


I like it. I think we need something like it.  

I suggested something similar recently (  On the Samuel Smith profile offered as an example, there are currently nine profile managers and seventeen trusted list members. 


Kitty, the special needs of profiles with common surnames (like Smith) are clearly one of the reasons we need Proof Profiles. The work on some of these Smith profiles represents dozens of hours of work and documentation - and wasn't one of them elected Profile of the Week? This link to the discussion only four days previous to starting this thread is important, too. Hoping you like purpleblush

answered by Kitty Smith G2G6 Pilot (467k points)
edited by April Dauenhauer

Kitty, I would have chimed in on your post if I'd seen it. I'd like to quote some of the thoughtful snippets here for consideration.

* Darlene Athey, referring to Project Protected Euroaristo profiles:

These should be the crown jewels of the site.  And normally you 'protect' your crown jewels.

We have many lovely "Crown Jewels" - profiles that have won awards, or that many have polished to near perfection. How can we protect these?

* Chris Whitten on restricting access with Public level designation:

Would Leaders still be able to edit these profiles, without needing to add to their Watchlist?

What if you just want to fix a category or a typo? You have to request to join the Trusted List?

Being on the Trusted List means adding the profile to one's Watchlist. Most of us want just our relatives there - I hadn't considered this complication... or fixing typos etc. Eowyn doesn't like the idea either, and I want to agree with her and with Chris.

What is the solution? Consider all the safeguards Chris has implemented:

  1. Project Protected Profile
  2. Restore data option for bad edits
  3. Must have dates and sources on GEDCOMS
  4. Pre-1700 Badge
  5. Rangers
  6. Mentors
  7. Red and Yellow Badges

Did I miss anything? We all work so hard to improve WikiTree, and we are here because we believe in the power of a Wiki. What is missing? What more can be done?

PPP and a Purple edit level can work together, with some profiles only needing PPP and others needing Purple protection on top of it. As Robin Lee says, anyone can add their source and links in the Comments box.

With all the brain power and technology in WikiTree, surely there is something more that we can do? If a Purple Edit Permission button isn't the answer, can we find what is?

Here is my solution proposal, combining some of these other ideas:

1) We already have Profile of the Week

2) Profile of the Week will get nominated for Proof Profile

3) Proof Profile will be Purple status

4) Purple status is a completely locked profile, similar to a Help page. NO changes should be possible except as done by an elite group

5) the elite group for each Purple Proof Profile is a minimum of three and a maximum of ten managers, probably filled by, but not limited to, Project Members, Leaders, etc. There only needs to be a Leader if a LNAB needs to be changed, wiich should be very rare, and such a Leader can be added as an elite group member for that profile only long enough to get that task done

6) Anybody can be on the Trusted List for a Purple Proof Profile, to have their ancestors in their Watchlist. But they cannot make any changes, merges, etc., unless they are specifically on the elite group list of that profile

7) If the elite group list drops below three members on any profile at any time, then the profile automatically reverts to an Open profile. Any restoration of status to Purple Proof Profile will need to go through the whole Profile of the Week reveiw process again. This will allow mistaken or later disproven profiles to be simply abandoned by the elites, to get merged away, deleted, massively changed, etc.

8) The elite group membership additons after the first three must be voted on as approved by each prior elite group member. The first three positions are completely open to anybody to join, who is interested in the proflle (pre-1700 test still applies). So, the first three simply join. The fourth person needs three affirmative votes. The fifth person needs four affirmative votes, one from each of the prior four elites. And so on. Any elite group member may drop off at any time. If a tenth slot opens up, then anybody may join, if they get all nine of the prior votes. New terrific people show up all the time, then soon gain the trust of a project membership tem on a particular group of profiles, and so this election process should be fairly smooth, for people who collaborate and communicate well with others.

9) Any elite group member can be unanimously removed from the profile Purple Trusted List if all other members vote to remove him or her. This will take care of sudden disappearances, or promotions which really should never have happened, or which should no longer be, for whatever reason. It may be a private process. The particular former elite might simply find himself no longer able to edit that profile. Or a member may volunteer for self-removal, to be replaced by a more capable new manager. This point might be a bit controversial, but mabye it can be subject to something like the Mentor Referral process. The bottom line is that each individual in any profile group of elites is there because they care intensely about the profile contents. So any strong differences of opinion among any particular elite group simply need to be worked out politely and collaboratively, as on any other profie. But presumably all of the majore differences will have been resolved in the first two stages anyway, first as Proflie of the Week, so long before Purple Proof Profile status is even first applied.

10) Matching new profiles will not be *merged*, but instead will simply add the matches' Trusted List to the Proof Trusted List. But if the merge is just not clean enough, it can be tagged for profile deletion. No automatic Trusted List transfer would ensue in that case. Instead, individual Tursted List requests would need to be made, if any descendant cares that deeply about it. There should really never be any reason to deny any such request on an Purple Proof Profile, since that person cannot make any changes.

11) All new sources, new data, etc., can be presented in a G2G. The elite team members can then follow the G2G feed, and make the changes if proper.

Thank you for your thoughts on this Steven.

It takes this in a different direction entirely, though. John S.'s idea, to have 'project Trusted Lists' is about the opposite of what you are talking about, although both ideas incorporate groups. I think with the projects, we already have the groups, and they are not elite, just regular members who have an interest in a specific group of ancestors. So John's group of project members would be large and flexible without adding a new layer of organization to WikiTree, and they already are knowledgable about the profiles on their projects.

No offense, but I am the great-grand-daughter of a "red-haired, fiddle-playing Irishman", who was a small farmer and blacksmith. I just don't think in terms of 'elite'.

If we examine John Atknison's thoughts on what profiles most need protection and which ones don't, we see that many of the king's and queen's profiles are not in danger, but Gateway profiles - some of them - are likly targets of confusion. This comes back to my thoughts that the project members know best which profiles need special protection.

BTW, in case it isn't obvious, I am merely trying to restate Steven Mix's ideas (which I like) in a way the addresses April's concerns (which I agree with) and other comments.  Hopefully, we can develop this into a statement we can all agree to.

  1. Profile Team: Each profile already has a profile team including all managers and trusteds.  Technically all active members who have made a change but if some of those are not managers or trusteds, we can perhaps assume they don't want to be.
  2. Proof Profile Candidate: This is a profile that the profile team feels meets all the standards and submits for review by the Editorial Board.
  3. Editor: Member that has actively worked on 5 Proof Profiles, including at least one solo and one group (2 or more on profile team).  The profile did not have to be created by the editor candidate, only taken from sub-proof to proof quality.
  4. Editorial Board: At least two Editors not on the profile team.  The editorial board will review the profile, make suggestions, etc. The profile team will then implement, counter, etc. until the profile is approved.
  5. Proof Profile: The security status of the approved proof profile will be set to Proof (icon color will definitely be purple).  This new security status will operate much like the current Public except that it will no longer be eligible for merging.  Further, the new status will be an acknowledgement that this status is about "quality" controlling the profile rather than security.  The status, once attained, will stay with the profile even through abandonment and adoption as it is a measure of quality.  Each proof profile will have a G2G feed that the profile team can follow. (I'm not sure about the details of this last point but it seems a great way for the profile team to collaborate).
  6. Trusted List: Just as for Public, anyone can get on the trusted list but the form should require the applicant to state their intentions.  If a member just wants to correct a typo, the member should probably just report it in comments or remove themselves after making change.  If you have too much on your watchlist, there's no shame in dropping off trusted lists.
  7. Manager Group: If a manager or group of managers is not keeping up or is overwhelmed by requests, the manager group should be enlarged.  The delay makes things feel unwikilike.
  8. Inactive Members: New category to keep things moving.  Members who have not contributed in over a month should be removed from the manager group of any profiles by the system. I know it is a short time, but it is an eternity when you are waiting for them.  Prior to system capability there will be continued pain and suffering.
  9. Unresponsive Managers: Current definition and process should be applied by the system.  Prior to system capability, if more help is needed in applying the process, ask for help.  Unwikilike.

Points 7, 8, and 9 do not really have to do with the issue at hand but I threw them in anyway because they came up repeatedly in our discussion and I feel the pain!

First, please disregard any conntoation about the term 'elite'. It is merely a throwaway word, to distinguish it from the current Trusted List.

As far as any editing, merging, or attachment goes, it needs to be an involved team which will supercede any current Trusted List. This is because the current Trusted List is the precise problem.

For example: Somebody new comes in with a profile match, with very sketchy or discounted data and wrongly attached family members. Then that bad profile is required to get merged in, but some of the bad data gets selected to the data fields, the merged bio gets all whacked, and the new person who did all the new mess is now on the Trusted List.

That is the current untenable state.

Second, my proposal is not opposite to John's. But it is more restrictive. Project Members include the same people who just whacked the merged proposal in the above example. So it simply cannot be open to the whole Project membership, in order to make any big difference. There is NO restriction to allowing people into a project. I

Otherwise, then a new person will just join the project immediately, to get around the restriction. The project membership barrier will just becomes another pre-1700 quiz cheat, just to get past the blockage. And it would unncessarily crowd the project with a bunch of new people who really don't care about the project as a whole. They will just want to slip it in as a workaround for attaching *their* sketchy royal ancestor connection.

Third, apply the KISS principle. We already have Profile of the Week. It ihas an existing process. So le'ts try to simply extend off of that. We do not need any new bureaurcracy or editorial board or any such new thing. It already exists, and it works.

My proposal idea is quite simple. Once a profile gets selected (not nominated) as Profile of the Week, then it immediately becomes available for the first three interested people to adopt it as the new Purple Managers.

This can be an adoption visible in the Privacy tab. I would keep it more or less hidden in there, rather than on the profile face, to keep out speculative or curious or hasty adoptions. And it would not be in any master orphan list.

The three most involved people would immediately jump in there, since they have been working hard to clean it up to get the profile selected. They do not necessarily need to be on the current Manager or Trusted List.

If only one or two people complete this adoption, nothing happens. But as soon as the thrid person adopts, the profle should immediately convert to a Purple Proof Profile.

At that point, it works like a Green Public profile, as far as any editing, merging, or new family attachments. But now at this point, the only allowed editors are the new three adopters. Any prior Managers, who are not the new adopters, are simply dropped to the Trusted List. The Trusted List members all still have the profile in their Wathclist. But they CANNOT change or edit anything.

Any fourth adopter and beyond now requires an affirmation vote from all of the prior three. Etc. A simple 'approved' check box, in the Privacy tab.


That's how I took your 'elite', but it is a charged word, so I took it out of my rewrite.

In your example, why do you say "the bad profile is required to be merged in"?  I'm saying that once a profile gets Proof security status, it is not eligible for merging at all.  Any new information that the other profile has will need to be added like any other data by someone on the trusted list.  I hope the situation will not be as bad as you describe with people doing a workaround but if it is the managers can refuse to add to trusted list.  Woud this address your concerns?

I'm not familiar with the Profile of the Week process.  I took the name literally and thought 1/week is too narrow a channel for the proof status and do not like the notion of "selected" profiles only.  I used the criteria of the team submitting their profile because it should allow wider bandwidth and give members a chance to get some hands-on mentoring.  Can the profile of the week process you describe address my concerns?  Can you describe a bit more how it works?

I rewrote the process to allow individuals working on their own profiles to attain the proof status for profiles they are working on.  This way a team can only be one contributor.

The voting, to me, sounds unnecessary and seems like it might promote bad will.

Erin, the current state is that duplicates must be merged. There is no garbage can option, yet. There is a {{Questionable}} template, for potential deletions, and a mandate that BCE profiles are to be deleted. But everything else must be merged.

I envision merging on a Purple Proof Profile to be different. It would only consolidtate the Trusted List, which in my scheme, would have no ill effect at all, and should actually be quite welcome.

Additionally I would like to see a garbage bin option, it the branch is really just not worthy of a merge.

Trusted List requests may not be denied. Likewise, currently a merge of the same person may not be denied, because WikiTree requires that every person have only one profile. That is why there is so much mandated merging.

Profile of the Week is an existing process. It can simply be expanded, for more approvals on a more regular or as-needed ad hoc basis for potential Purple Proofs. The best desired mechanism is flexible. But the key thing is to use the existing process.

If this goes further, we can take that element up in discussion with that project, or special review committee, or whatever it is. The point being that we do not have to invent anything new. Perhaps merely expand what already exists.

A team needs to be at least three to be effective. People need to be free to drop off and come and go from profiles, as they manage their own Watchlist. After three, it needs to be by unanimous vote. It ensures that the person voted in has demonstrated they he or she collaborates and communicates well with others.

I envision no major problem with that, but yes, perceived problem or unknown or untrusted people will be kept out of any particular Proof Profile team. If they consistently demonstrate their good will, they will be let in. But it has to be, or the whole thing won't work, and so then we might as well just keep it all Open as is.

People do not have their *own* profile, and WikiTree guidelines specifically forbid thiis sort of thinking. There is no ownership of profiles. So no, being a prior manager or Trusted List member gives no authority or privilege whatsoever as to who gets to be on any Purple Proof Profile team.

The team needs to be only the specific most interested parties who have worked together in collaboration and good communication to successfully bring the profile up to ther standards of the Profile of the Week selection bar. Other existing managers and Trusted List members have nothing at all to do with that, no pre-determined rights to anything, if they have not been participatory in that.

That said, in my scheme, if they are just a silent observer of the process, and they like what it has accomplished, they are free to jump in on the first three open team adoption slots, if they are quick enough. Or if they are understood to be a silent but cooperative and trusted party, the other team members will be happy to add them.

It doesn't seem like merging the trusted lists would be required.  If we can skip merging the rest can't we skip the trusted lists as well and simply have them request to be trusted?

The help for trusted list says "An e-mail will be sent to the Profile Manager and you will be informed if you are approved."  So, doesn't that mean that the profile manager could not approve someone, presumably only with a good reason.

I don't understand your comment about required merging.  There are many duplicates out there and many merges requested but not done.  Of course, there are also a ton of merges that have been completed.

What is the process with Profile of the Week?  Can a profile be submitted by the profile team?

I still don't like the voting part, but will let others weigh in.

Sorry for the bad choice of words, gotta be careful!  What I meant by "own" was simply not part of a project and perhaps not of interest to anyone else.  When I say "solo" in the write-up under "Editor", I was intending for people to submit a profile they did mostly by themselves to demonstrate mastery of the process.  I see this mentoring part as an essential element to help us all improve our skills.


Erin, required merging is exactly that. Any duplicate profile must be merged. Eventually.

This is a problem with the mandate, in reality, because every new duplicate profile that comes along is seldom a true duplicate. It usually has a location field diffrerence, often a name difference, a date field difference, sometimes decades apart, and too frequently it comes with parent, spouse, and child attachment differences.

But, the WikiTree law is that if it represents the same person, it must be merged.

Profile of the Week is a community effort. It takes a week or so for a team of interested contributors to actively do the cleanup and full sourcing, and then submit it as a nominee. Then I think the review team spends the week comparing all the nominees, and picks one winner at the end of the week. You can search out the Help page on it, for the actual process. A selected winner gets added to a special category. So you can browse the category for past winners.

But sadly, time goes, by, more merges come in, and eventually it degrades again, as people stop caretaking it well enough to deal with all the new clutter that gets introduced back into it. As mentioned so many times above.


Another 'purple pen raid on your very excellent explanation, Steven.blush

+11 votes


I believe this is the solution to a long term problem that has been plaguing Wikitree and many of the projects covering pre-1600 profiles.   And as far as limiting the editing of the profile, I regularly put a notation or source and links in the comments on a profile where the profile has a well done bio.   I allow the people who created the bio to add the information in a format consistent with the rest of the biography.   It does not bother me that I would not be able to do the edits myself, I am just not that presumptuous to believe that only I can edit the profile.


Thank you Robin for moving this thread forward with your experience on using the Comments field to add to profiles. It is important to keep this in mind as we work on the details of how this could work. Hope you like my purple penblush

answered by Robin Lee G2G6 Pilot (471k points)
edited by April Dauenhauer
+5 votes


There are a couple of ways to help with the problems plaguing the European Aristocrats, Magna Carta, Questionables and other projects.  I've discussed them, and asked for them (as have others), privately in the past, to no avail...

At present, the PPP designation only protects the LNAB field.  For this, I can see a couple options:

  1. Change the PPP designation to lock editing privileges.  The problem with this is that, at present, only a leader can add or remove PPP.
  2. Add a new designation to lock editing privileges.

PPP is useful, and used daily, to protect the LNAB during merges.  At present I work closely with a person working on Magna Carta lines doing this. She sends me her list of profiles needing the PPP, then she proposes the merge. In that way, we are sure of the merge happening in the right direction. We also place it on profiles where we've discussed and agreed on a LNAB and want to be sure no one comes along and merges it away incorrectly.

I would like to see a pre-1500 test.  It wouldn't be handled the same as the pre-1700 certification, which you can pass just by changing your answers.  I would like it to first have a requirement that you had to be on Wikitree for at least three months and have made a certain number of contributions before you could take it.  Too many newbies come to Wikitree and just start creating profiles for nobles and royals.  They don't even look to see if there are duplicates.  And... it can be hard to locate duplicates even if they DO search due to these profiles having names that we've come up with for them (since surnames didn't exist back then...).  They haven't reviewed the EuroAristo naming standards, located here:  If you didn't get the answers right, you'd have to wait a certain length of time before you could take it again and would be required to contact a project leader to discuss.  (The pre-1500 profiles should pretty much, I think, fall within a project.)

Another thing that could be done is along the line of what Terri has suggested, although not messing with the privacy options.  Is there a way, for pre-1500 profiles, to set it up whereas only profile managers and those on the trusted list can edit profiles?  For EuroAristo and Magna Carta (and others), this would be the best.

Philip is right that it isn't just leaders suffering burnout.  A fellow leader recently stated, "Something has to be done to stop the pattern of pushing rocks uphill, just to see them roll down again."

I stepped down as Leader of the European Aristocrats Project yesterday.  This issue is one of the reasons for that.  The other issue contributing to my decision was the new policy of allowing uncertain parents to be attached to these historically significant profiles.



Darlene, for all you have contributed to WikiTree, your comments should carry much weight here. You have stated clearly the need for what we ended up designating as Proof Profiles - in fact you have contributed so many proofs yourself.

I hope you don't mind my decorating your message with my purple penblush

answered by Darlene Athey-Hill G2G6 Pilot (265k points)
edited by April Dauenhauer

Geni handles it via a "Master Profile" desgination. All fields can be independently locked. Merges may still be possible, though.

It may be a bit too sophisticated for WikiTree's technology, though.

I want a garbage bin option for some matches,and fautly lineages.

And a new pre-1500 test would go a long way.


There was a similar question recently, and all agreed that there is a problem.  Although limiting access to editing profiles may not be Wiki-like, I believe that it is essential to control the duplicates as well as the garbage genealogy seen on other sites.

We could talk about the problem until we die or get so frustrated that we leave. Let's not wait that long.  Let's do something now.


Vic, you do so very much work, untangling families, sorting duplicates, etc. you are very knowledgable about the problems - first hand view from the trenches, so to speak. Hope you like purpleblush

I agree with Steven and Vic about faulty lineages.  The further back in time you go, the more there are impossible blends of historical and fanciful profiles on every user-submitted genealogy site including Wikitree, of which the fanciful connections are all unproven.  These could take weeks or months to untangle, but unless there are some safeguards that someone couldn't tangle them up again, why would anyone put in that much time to improve Wikitree?
Yes, I am once more in agreement with all the above said.
Just chiming in here - I am 100% in agreement re: pre-1500 profiles.
+5 votes
I am frustrated enough by the merge process ... or lack thereof ... for my own ancestors.  What is the point of matching up all the known duplicates and then waiting so long (some since November last year) to clean up one family?  I am already pre-1700 certified, working on "open" profiles for my own ancestors, referencing every source I use, but because of these projects I am not supposed to conduct any merges until given permission.  So, where does this authority to stop progress come from?  What is to stop me from cleaning up my own family before you all find a way from keeping me from doing it?
answered by Janne Gorman G2G6 Mach 2 (21.8k points)
I agree with your sentiment, which is why I would prefer we set out some rules for granting authorization that do not depend on availability of manager or the manager's inclination to grant authorization.
Janne and Erin, If you requested a merge and it hasn't been approved, it should become available to you by default after 30 days. If that doesn't work for some reason, another possibility is to use the 'Open Profile Request'. On the profile you want access to, look at the 'drop-down' list at the top of the profile page when you hover over the WikiTree ID, like 'Smith-12345'.  In the alphabetical list of options you can choose 'Open Profile Request'. There are a couple of steps you need to take first, but for a profile manager who isn't responding to you, this is the way to go.
Understood, but that process takes many steps and they each take some time.  I am merely suggesting that we train the system to do as much of the approving as possible.
Kay, I don't think you understand that the source of my frustration is that we have been asked NOT to schedule a merge, therefore the 30 day rule is not applicable.
Janne is talking about profiles belonging to the New Netherlands project which have a very different, and sometimes slow, process for merges as many linages were destroyed previously due to lack of knowledge about patronymics and the repeated use of names through generations.
Jane & Kay, while ''waiting'' for profiles to be merged, there is enough research work that can be done to help the process forward; and by this I mean finding primary sources with the (nearest) to correct spelling of the LN'sAB (baptismal records) and if they do not exist marital records, citing them correctly (!) and so that the project leaders or research coordinator can easily identify the contributors. Other sources (some of them primary and some secondary) will give context. This does not mean that there is always a green light for immediate merging of duplicates with divergent spelling, because of interpretation of (primary) texts and context. It does however give a lot of room to research coordinators like myself to prioritize those profiles with a clear LNAB and have the lowest WIki-number of that particular spelling of the LNAB Project Profle Protected. Also - using spreadsheets does help to keep track of the process, and it is also helps with keeping the level of frustration at a minimum.

I'm new, & considered really I don't think anything I say is going to matter or make any difference...BUT I Agree with -

"I am frustrated enough by the merge process ... or lack thereof ... for my own ancestors.  What is the point of matching up all the known duplicates and then waiting so long (some since November last year) to clean up one family?  I am already pre-1700 certified, working on "open" profiles for my own ancestors, referencing every source I use, but because of these projects I am not supposed to conduct any merges until given permission.  So, where does this authority to stop progress come from?  What is to stop me from cleaning up my own family before you all find a way from keeping me from doing it? answered 1 day ago by Janne Gorman G2G2 "


I've only been on this site a month, and I've seen CONSTANT COMPLAINTS of PPL TRYING TO CLEAN UP bad-downloads & Match-Merge profiles-& "locked out of "inactive-profiles" ONLY TO BE TOLD TO KEEP WAITING & in many instances...they either seem to keep waiting for that match-merge...or....EVEN THO IT IS OBVIOUS SOME OF THE PROFILES ARE DUPLICATES_ TRIPLICATES_or EVEN MORE_...the Matches suggested GET DENIED or IGNORED.  I'm looking CURRENTLY at some of MY Own DIRECT LINE FAMILIES all the way back into the 1600's & seeing...errors everywhere..that I know are wrong....Are any of you..."Project PPL" Aware there are at least 5- Profiles on Wikitree ALL for the Same Barthelemy Bergeron?  Nevermind the number of duplc/triplc/quads for Pierre Comeau!  BUT THE PROFILES ARE PROJECT(s) PRotected a newby does that mean that unless I request to join the specific projects...I am unable to add to my own 6th 7th or 8th or 10th gr.grandparents...??  I don't have the time to join 3 projects or even 2...I'm helping with one, and doing what I can elsewhere on Wiki...but the constant "disagreements"...and sometimes ...the NASTY REMARKS that (have been served to me personally_)...well these things make me wanna either "blow-up" or just "walk-away"... .........& that's all I'll say in G2G.....cauz...II've gotten one helpful response in G2G since I've been here...the rest has been non-existant or ...really rude....said my "peace", u all gunna do what u gunna do..."us peon's...we'll work on the "fixes" till we fed up"...then we won't anymore...Colaboration is sorely lacking on Wikitree....there's a lot of ...."this is mine /ours don't touch"...People who are trying to connect ALL their own Family Direct Lines....will only put up with this stuff for just so long.....

Janne, I understand you might be referring to a special project set of ancestors. No other project has had the level of difficulties as the New Netherlands project. It is normal for merge permissions to be granted quickly by profile managers, and if not, then in thirty days by default with the automatic programming.

The New Netherlands, on the other hand, has had to create a database to keep the names straight because of the large families, names being used and handed down by brothers and cousins, etc. Your experience is not the 'norm' on WikiTree. Atfter the New Netherlands project was trashed, everyone agreed it needed a different process to protect it.

Much of the duplicates you are concerned about were probably uploaded before the new rules went into place with GEDCOM uploads. The new rules have greatly improved WikiTree and reduced the number of duplicates, but we are still left with dealing with the ones that were done before. I'm sorry it is so difficult and frustrating. The only consolation I have found with having many merges is that I become very familiar with particular profiles and more able to use it in a list or tree where I quickly recognize it, that and the pleasure of having it all neat and tidy and correct when done.


The names you list are from the Acadians Project - settlers from France in Nova Scotia or New Brunswick, Canada.I do not see your name on the list of project members. Have you thought about joining the project?

The project page on Google+ is here. It looks like a very informative discussion.

WikiTree has an Honor Code, including section IV We know misunderstandings are inevitable. We try to minimize them by being courteous to everyone, even those who don't act accordingly. I'm sorry to hear your right to courtesy has been violated. It is hard sometimes to not strike back - or as it says above - be courteous even to those who don't act accordingly.

We have a saying "Don't WikiTree while angry". That is because we all get frustrated or disapointed at times. I have no Acadian ancestors, but have seen that it is an especially difficult project, with the 'dit' names, etc. It must take a lot of patience.

Arora: Whether or not you choose to join the Acadians Project, I think you'll find we're a good group to work with! :) When trying to collaborate with our project, it's a good idea to post questions in G2G with the tag acadia so that we'll see them. You can also post comments right on the profiles in question.

Regarding Pierre Comeau, there were actually quite a few men with that name! I did just propose a merge of one duplicate that was imported yesterday, but looking at the rest I didn't see any obvious duplicates.

LOL...laugh.too funny...indecisionJust because someone is NEW to WIKI doesn't make them NEW to Genealogy.surprise ...I am  very familiar with "Acadian, Cajun, Hougenot, Mechif/Metisage/Metis/ etc etc etc....I have been doing genealogical research for almost 17 yrs. 

I am very familiar with Bergeron dit D'Amboise & D'Amboise Castle in France & with the "Lord of Creancy -& the Comeau Manor House ,  the Pierre Comeau's, "L'Aine", "Lejuene dit Loup Marin", etc, etc, etc thru the forward well as all the Jean's, Josephs, Augustins, Hiliare's, Alphonses,  Marguerites...and Lord knows how many "Marie's"...many siblings to each each other with only their "dits" & dites to separate them & their families from their own fathers, brothers, uncles and cousins .  I am familiar with Druin, Tanguay, Fichers,Archives Quebec, & Canada, & Ottawa, & BC, Laprairie,  PRDH, GM, LLC, SHW, MOncton Univ. Archives...Parish St Jean Baptiste & An Acadian Parish Remembered. Ste-Marguerite d'Blairfindie, Belle Ile en Mer, Haiti,  Bay of Comeau, Comeauville, Marshalltown, Digby, etc etc etc.  I'm also Familiar with & wheres of Dawes, Siler, Swetland, Cooper, Drennon, Old Settler, Drennon, Moulay, Muster, Trail of Tears, & Additional "Death Marches" NDN Census, Canadas "very old policies of "population counts"-& I don't mean Census.  I'm also knowledgable about...the names "Savage" & "Huronne" Caddo & others similar...that although at attached as Surnames...they Aren't. Lets see...Vagabonds, Sauvagese, Cour de bois, à la façon du Pays (by the way for anyone who doesn't know "french"or french references....that last one means..."there isn't a marriage record...because there wasn't a Euro-traditional paper marraige.  .  I could go on...17 years of research....does this to a person..when they feel as though they are being talked to like a "beginner" (nooffense to anyone here..especially not to anyone new to genealogy- because starting is what is most important.smiley

As for the a simple google search for Pierre with a birth or baptismal or marriage the same for any other Acadian like Barthelamy Bergeron & include "wikitree" in search question...then click on each and every one, and you will begin to see how many duplicates there really arecool

As for why I'm not in the Acadians....send me a private message if you would like to know, and I will tell you. Since it involves...researching, & some of the so called- truths of Acadian Ancestries of families.  & I do have proof to back up what I won't say here.

I'm not sure what in my comment made you think I was talking down to you or assuming you're a beginner in genealogy. This is just how I talk. :)

I did do a search on Pierre Comeau, using WikiTree's search facility. There were 14 results. They almost all have different birth dates. Several are clearly cases of the same name being used for several generations in one family, and sometimes for multiple siblings in one generation. As I said, there were no obvious duplicates from this quick check. If you see two that are the same person I encourage you to propose the merge.

I'm one of the leaders of the Acadians Project, so it's interesting for me to learn that there's someone who's unhappy with the project, who I've never even talked to before today! I assure you, our top priority is eliminating the incorrect genealogy that plagues Acadian lines on other family trees. But it's a big job, and there are bound to still be problems out there. That's not because we don't care about quality; it's because we are only human and there are only 67 of us, with varying levels of activity and other commitments/interests.

I see no reason to address questions of genealogy in private messages; these things should be in public G2G posts where all evidence can be presented and the conclusion added to the profiles in question.

+16 votes

Thank you Terri for courageously bringing this into the Forum again for discussion.

I'm stepping forward to 'own' my note to Terri, where I made various suggestions to stop the deterioration of the oldest profiles, and the burnout of the PMs.

I like the idea of being able to individually 'lock' the data etc. If that is not feasible, could we have another solution until such time as a more sophisticated answer can be developed? Nothing has be 'forever'. We can choose to have 'interim' solutions to big problems.

My suggestions were simplistic - just make all the profiles that are part of historical projects privacy level Green. Then if someone can add new sources or good biographies, they can send a Trusted List Request and get access.

We are all of us tired of cleaning up profiles, making them correctly connected to relatives, only to have the mess occur again and again.What is the rationale for giving access to historically important profiles to members without requiring them to show what they want to add. It is not as if there are going to be very many people asking to add data - the important data AND sources have already been carefully added to these special profiles. There are few if any sources left to add to them.

Here is what Green privacy is: "Anyone can view all the information on a Public profile. However, you still need to be in the Trusted List to add or change information. "

Why can't Green privacy be used to control access to historically important profiles? Alfter all the work so many of us have accomplished, what is wrong with asking new members to show what they want to add these project protected profiles?

ALL of the profile managers of these projects would jump at the chance to give access to a member with NEW information to add!!

Talking doesn't cut it. We need a solution or we need to just face the fact that our tree will be unreliable, buried under a well-intentioned assault of undocumented and erroneous data.

The little boy who held back the water with his finger in the dyke only had ten fingers. All the project managers at WikiTree together do not have enough fingers to hold back the flood of bad data.

Let's be clear - there is no intention here of preventing members from working on their own ancestors. The project protected profiles are very very few compared to the entire WikiTree database, and anyone would get access to those also if they had something to add.

If we really respect our famous ancestors, we will do something to keep their profiles from being, however inadvertantly or unintentionally, vandalized.

As wonderful as the technical changes are, as faithfully as Eowyn sifts new GEDCOMs, as helpful as it has been to have the Pre-1700 Badge, there are still too many holes in our dykes.

I understand I am asking for a BIG change in policy - but is a big change for only a SMALL number of profiles, and would be a huge encouragement to project members. It is not that great a step from asking that people who want to work on a project protected profile join the project or at least contact the project members - it is just changing that to being enforced with a 'green wall'.

I'm not 'stuck' on using Green privacy. Maybe invent a new Privacy level - PURPLE - and it applies to project protected profiles and automatically admits project members? We have tried many things to address this issue. Let's take one more step.

answered by April Dauenhauer G2G6 Pilot (107k points)
I get it, you are using "green" to refer to Privacy Level = Public and are combining the rule that says all profiles over 200 years old must be Open (indicated by the clear colored icon).

To be clear, I think you are requesting that the rule be changed to allow profiles over 200 years old to be Public. The Public (as opposed to Open) privacy level will be used when there has been significant research already documented in the profile and additional claims are to be proven in a like manner.

I don't think a new color is necessary or desirable, but I do support the proposal as I just stated above.  The manager can be trusted to make the distinction between Open and Public.

Sorry to have been confusing, Erin. Youare correct about the Green being Public level.

I'm suggesting a similar kind of access as the the Green: all data seen by anyone, but to change data, need a Trusted List request.

I'm asking we use a Purple circle to differentiate from Green because it would only apply to project protected profiles (usually 1600s and later but not always - see US Presidents).

These very old profiles are the ancestors of huge numbers of descendants who all want a finger in their ancestors pie. Once a profile that old is documented, the chance of new facts coming to light is small. I'm asking we keep additional protection on these very old profiles because we are tired of cleaning them up again and again. See my comments about fake genealogies and other dangers for people wanting to work on these old profiles.

These are not issues that would affect most WikiTree members or their ancestors before about 1600s, usually.

Again pardon me for not being more clear and I hope I have done a better job this time.


I, for one, am on board with Purple, both because it is my favorite color and because it is the color of blueberry pie, which I now have to go make.  I even have blueberries for some random reason.

Back to the subject at hand, the ONLY caveat I see to this suggestion is that many profile managers are incommunicado (another major issue our projects have had to deal with), and so placing an additional level of "security" on any profiles "owned" by those managers will simply delay the merge/edit process even further.

That said, I find that caveat to be a very small one in light of the massive advantages that such a policy would bring.  It makes me feel sick (literally, nauseous) to imagine putting in tens of hours painstakingly researching an ancestor, compiling and formatting a biography, inputting all the reasons and whys and wherefores that the information I've provided is correct and that other commonly-added information is erroneous for XYZ reasons... only to have someone random come in, delete my proof arguments, and re-add the incorrect information because that's what was in their shaky leaf tree.

Not just nauseating, INFURIATING.  I totally understand - this is a collaborative project and any Wiki'er can and should be able to make any changes to any profiles they want.  But I truly believe that "project protection" should reduce non-project-members' ability to edit the profiles, at LEAST until each project is completed and/or unless the new editor has something majorly informational (WITH A SOURCE!!!!!!!!!) to add to the profile.

A "purple" designation whereby someone must ask permission to add their new information, would be the perfect solution, in my opinion.


Thank you A. Tomkins for giving voice to how many members (not only managers) feel about the current situation. I believe we need to show our hard working and knowledgable members that we respect their work enough to guard it. Glad you like purple, because you just fell victim to my purple edit pen - hope you don't mindblush

Thanks for taking the time to explain in detail April!

However, I am saying that I don't support a special exemption only for project protected profiles.  I think the rule should be changed to give all profiles the ability to be Public rather than Open, at the managers discretion.  Thus, no need for a purple colored privacy setting (although I am fine with changing the Public privacy setting's currently green icon to purple, my favorite color as well).
I don't believe you have thought through this suggestion. Open profiles are only required on individuals born over 200 years ago. These profiles cannot be Open or restricted at the option of one individual; they have too many descendants. It would also negate the whole idea of this tree being a Wiki, open to contributions by all interested parties; not just a few who happen to have started, or adopted, a profile.

It is possible that certain selected profiles in the Magna Carta, EuroAristo, etc. projects may need some extra protection. This cannot be applied to all profiles on the tree.
Shirley, I have read your comments below and have thought through this suggestion.  A Public profile does not mean that the profile is not open to all interested parties but rather that all interested parties need to be on the trusted list.  The number of descendants does not change that someone (the manager) is responsible for the management of the profile.  I think your comment about negating the whole idea of this tree being a wiki is too strong.  To me, the idea is that many people can contribute to the content in a collaborative manner.

I could support the idea that the manager must take on the burden of managing the content come what may, but it sounds like that is too much of a burden.  My goal is not to limit participation but rather to advance the tree by limiting the ability to alter well-researched information based on information that has been deemed unreliable (or no information at all, i.e. the Pocahontas effect).

To me, limiting this capability to project-protected profiles is more akin to excluding us regular folk.
There are problems with the suggestion you have made. If I were on the trusted list for every profile I have worked on, my watchlist would be so large as to be unmanageable. Not to mention that many, many of these profiles have inactive managers. Quite frequently the manager uploaded a GEDCOM, found it too cumbersome to make the needed edits, add sources, etc., and left. If they had set the profiles to Green before they left, no one would be able to edit these profiles unless they went through the tedious process of having the manager declared an Unresponsive Profile Manager and the profiles orphaned.

I totally support the idea of a collaborative effort; that's why I joined WikiTree. But limiting participation, except in very limited circumstances, is not conducive to collaboration. When you allow one person to be the gatekeeper for a profile two or three hundred years old, with perhaps thousands of descendants, you are putting too much power in their hands.

It may perhaps become necessary to put additional restrictions on the types of profiles covered in the above discussion. I am not yet convinced of that. It is certainly not necessary, nor desirable, to put those restrictions on the average, non-notable, profile on this tree.
You can remove yourself from the trusted and/or manager list.

The issue of inactive managers, to me, is a separate source of frustration.  I agree with all your comments there.  I will again suggest that the system be taught to apply the process.

Also totally in support of collaboration.  If power is the issue, and I agree that in some cases it probably is, then the Privacy level should not be used to control anything but access to the near family of the living.  Further, that control should be exercised by the nearest kin, not someone unrelated or only distantly related and unconcerned about the privacy of the remaining family members.  Are there a lot of cases of single managers on old profiles denying access?  If so, I would agree with your comment that we should leave things the way they are.

I believe that it is up to each of us to determine whether the research we donate to wikitree is in need of some small amount of protection or not.  BTW, the most "notable" profiles, to me, are those of my family but each of us likely has a different take on this issue.

My proposal as it has developed in this discussion, is that certain family lines and groups be assigned extra protection where a team of project members would be available to quickly expedite Trusted List access for reasonable requests. That profiles not in these groups could ask for protection based on - as Eriin said - "significant research already documented in the profile".

Where significant research and development has gone into a profile or lineage (family group) - then it is rational and benefits WikiTree to afford these profiles 'extra' protection, as represented in the Trusted List being those who can make changes.

I like the idea by John Schmeeckle (see below) of "project trusted list," Instead of one-by-one access, the project is assigned a Trusted List, and anyone on it can edit the specially protected profiles. This would remove the burden of someone asking one by one for Trusted List access to a line of ancestors who fall into a project. Individual profiles (not in projects) would be still be able to request the access protection because of having significant research displayed.

WkiTree is inclusive and friendly, and we are all regular folk. we all want to know that when we have contributed "significant research already documented in the profile", that it will not be changed by someone lacking documentation.

Shirley and Erin have brought forward concerns which I believe can be made compatible with the proposal on the table.

Remember that all members here are equal in standing with each other based on our Honor Code. BUT not all ancestors are on equal standing in regards to how much confusion surrounds them and how many people want to add unreliable data. My Finnish grandfather, whose profile is extensively documented, is not in any danger of destruction, but my 11th treat-granddfather Edward Bulkeley needed a lot of clean-up (just look at the Changes tab).


Ok, April. You're beginning to convert me. I can see benefits in the idea of a "project trusted list" as proposed by John Schmeeckle and discussed by you. I can appreciate the necessity of providing protection to research already done and documented. I know edits can be reversed at need, but this can be a major irritant if it has to be done frequently.

If something could be set up along those lines -- providing protection but not restricting access too tightly -- then I would be in favor of it.

I did have the unfortunate experience a few months ago of seeing a profile I had worked very hard on merged away by a newcomer into the profile of his own son. Luckily no data was lost and his profile was re-created, but it does help me understand the problems these projects face.

I do think this added protection should be very carefully and conservatively applied. The obvious beneficiaries would be the Notables, Magna Carta, EuroAristo, Netherlands, Acadians -- profiles that undoubtedly need to be preserved. I'm not sure how far outside those projects such protection should be extended. Perhaps on as as needed basis for profiles which include a good deal of documentation?

I think if this discussion continues, we will come up with a solution acceptable to all.


Shirley, you have made the clearest description of the caveats need and the process needed to move forward, and understand where the need for Proof Profiles is greatest. My purple pen thanks you for moving this discussion forward. Hope you like purpleblush

+9 votes


I hesitate to answer, but it might provide a little bit more impetus, and so I do. The current generation of burnt-out project leaders and stalwarts are at least the second generation to burn out. I and others of my generation burned out for exactly the same reasons. Drastic changes are needed.



Roger, your lengthy, faithful, knowledgable and large contributions to European Aristocrats should give a you very strong voice on this subject - hence the purple edit pen, hope you don't mindblush

answered by Roger Travis G2G6 Mach 2 (23.5k points)
Exactly.  If our leaders are burning out and leaving (TWICE NOW) because they disagree with policies, standards and protocol?  Something has to give.
+7 votes
I have hesitated to get involved with this discussion because the projects under discussion are outside my field of knowledge and I would never consider editing any of those profiles.

However, I wonder if some are not being a little extreme in wanting an extra level of privacy protection for those projects. This is a collaborative website. Do you think some people might be turned off by the idea that certain profiles are "off limits" to us regular folk? I do understand that it is extremely frustrating to spend hours and hours of work on a profile, only to have someone come in and make incorrect changes.

I have spent hours working on many profiles that I would not want to be damaged by incorrect, erroneous changes. But they are largely in the US Southern Colonist area. That means they do not go back past 1600. Can I request extra privacy protection for them as well?

Where do we draw the line? Who would decide which profiles get this extra protection?

I joined WikiTree because of its collaborative nature and the premise that we are one global family, working on a shared family tree. I really think that the protections already in place should be sufficient.

answered by Shirley Dalton G2G6 Pilot (408k points)

You raise very pertinent points Shirley. Your thoughts on the collaborative nature of wikiTree represent much of the reasons that we haven't already implemented the security changes being requested.

I do not have all the answers. I can only say that in my concept of a PEP (Purple Edit Profile) anyone could request a PEP for any profile that has had special work done on it, and that possibly would be a target for adding erroneous data. Not all of these would be 1600 or earlier. Consider the problems we've had with Presidents and their wives, with Pocahontas and her relatives, etc. These are not all old profiles.

The issue with the profiles we want to protect is exactly because of being a Wiki- they are not only loved, they are loved "too much" - they get too much attention for the profile managers and project managers to prevent the addition of wrong relatves, false data, etc.We are talking about a very small number of profiles, relative to the huge number of profiles on WikiTree. Everyone wants to be related to a president or descended from royalty. Nothing wrong with that, except that deceptive genealogies have been created and printed (for profit of course) to convince people of their royal heritage.

We have a growing reference section of these erroneous books, which have been identified and debunked by professional genealogists. The concern is that good WikiTree members who don't know about the issue keep adding back the wrong ancestors, using the false data. I was one of them.

While updating the sources on my Bacon line - the one that used to go back to the Norman knight 'Grimbaldus', I discovered that the lineage going back from Samuel Bacon of New Jersey, which I'd used from Bacon's Adventure (also published in Colonial Families of Philadelphia), was copied from work by Gustav Anjou, infamous for his fake genealogies. See our current list of fake genealogies here.

This is only one of the issues faced by the guardians of the early colonists and Medieval profiles. Does this example help with understanding our reasons for needing something like the PEP?

I really am torn. I do understand the frustrations involved in keeping lineages free of false data. And yes, I know all about wanting to be connected to Pocahontas, or royalty, etc. In my family, it was having Native American ancestry. Unfortunately, I upset a lot of relatives when my research never uncovered the desired connection to an "Indian Princess."

I'm willing to keep an open mind and see just how this new level of privacy would be implemented.

Hi Shirley, you asked, "I have spent hours working on many profiles that I would not want to be damaged by incorrect, erroneous changes" .... "Can I request extra privacy protection for them as well?"

In my Purple Proof Profile proposal as outlined above, any such profile would be completely locked for editing, merging, etc., except by an elite volunteer team for that profile.

The process to gain such Purple Proof status would be similar to the process for the existing Profile of the Week, and probably an extension of that process.

So yes, ANY public profile could be nominated, and approved. But the profile would have to always maintain a minimum of three elite team members, to retain Purple status.

Virtually all deceased super-famous people would be good canddates for my proposal.

+9 votes
Perhaps, I am being naive, but couldn't we just put up a warning sign.

"Chalemagne's profile has been researched and is considered complete and correct by the Euro Aristo Project. Before making any changes, consult with...."
answered by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1m points)

It is not naive Anne, it is a good Wiki type suggestion. Many of the Medieval profiles already have prominent notes saying something close to your idea, basically asking people wanting to make changes to first get in touch with the project. And I think that Erin's thoughts on making the system do the work, and others who are concerned about response lag from profile managesr - all these issues are valid. They are all part of why the suggested change is not yet implemented.

What if the PEP profiles had a computer generated permission, with check boxes? People wanting to contribute to those profiles would fill out the computer questionaire, which would ask things like, do you want to add sources? and then, are the sources from another tree? (automatic permission not granted) or are the sources from documents created in the life of this person or by accredited experts on the life of this person? (automatic persmission granted if yes).

I'm not trying to add to the work of the profile managers or create a layer of 'authority' between WikiTree members and their ancestors. My motives are to protect the profiles from unintentional mistakes, and the project members from burnout - however we may do so.

This includes protection from published fake genealogies - maybe it would be easier computerized, since the books and authors in question are listed on our Popular Errors page and could be programmed to sift them out. Hmmm there are distinct advantages to a computerized permission system. The only thing would be the time to program it, so maybe a people-powered permision system would be ok for starters - nothing has to be forever, we can do things in stages, temporarily, in conjunction - many ways to combine a solution.

Another solution would be faster and easier to program and depend on the WikiTree members to answer and act. For instance, just a set of pop up questions, and simple "okay" promising to act on them, would open the Purple profile. Purple wouldn't be a concrete barrier, it would be a 'stop and think' process. It would include questions or rules such as "have you checked the Popular Errors list" and "other trees not accepted as resources for this profile".

The amount of time to think through and follow through on the Purple Edit Permissions button is not greater than what could lost through more burned out members quitting their work.

We have profiles that are Crown Jewels and should be locked in a glass case for everyone to admire and copy, print, download, etc.

We have other profiles with completed sources that just need good narratives and images, which could be protected from random access.

I'm repeating myself and will stop nowsmiley

1. - I would like to make a few quick comments. Not going to take alot of room by detailed procedures I don't have the time right now. So I just want to point out the basic general idea or comment:

- At the begining of these conversations I suggested that people can not directly edit a profile. If they want to make a change, it is made in a "Suggestion" area, complete with acceptable sources (perhaps two per item, e.g. birth, marriage, death, parents, etc., that is ok'd by the Manager(s) of that Profile. This includes sources for biography material.

April quotes a procedure from the Medievil area, which is great and I see that happening from the beginning or at creation of the profile, not waiting until the profile has reached the "Charlemagne Closedown",:) People will say Managers don't respond, etc....that can be dealt with, but just the basic idea is the suggestion box first, for obvious reasons; no more mergining (eventually, higher quality info, etc.)

Once the managers determine the profile is as complete as it is going to get, the Managers can request it be reviewed by a team of "Purple" people and then the Profile may be submitted for "Lockdoown Status".

New facts are unvieled all the time about various ancestors. One hundred years from now, who knows what treasure troves of info will have been found?  People do not always include ALL the children in a Profile, so when it comes time for someone to add a child (so they can continue thier linethru linking that child), they have to add the child and so they will have to again, present a suggestion, and if warranted, the Profile needs to be released from "Lockdown Status" for "X" amount of time.

This is where I see the collaboration really starting to work. It is cutting out a ton of erroneous "Ancestr'ial mis-information, re-works, frustration and introduces and promotes teamwork right off the back to "Newbies" and to those of us who have forgotten. This forum has certainly exemplified the power and need for collaboration which WikiT holds.

I know I have reached a couple of times that has caused me to bail from WT because it seems it's like all the rest...people downloading other people's GEDCOMS , which is usually the same one, children older than parents and "Hey, someone changed my profile with info from someone from a differant family"....and I can go on. But I can see, through all of the suggestions here that WIki is looking really how I imagined it, plus!

I have been working on my family for 51 years, minus some years in the middle, like the 70s and 80s where I had to wait for them to finish the internet becasue I wasn't going to drive all over Massachusetts, RI and CT going to Town Halls!:). Through this hobby, I have developed a special relationship, it seems, with each of my ancestors, as I am sure we all have. I get kinda protective of them, as we all do...and we want the info on their Profile to be correct.

2. Can we loose the terrm "Elite Managers" or "Elite Team"? to me, it doesn't sound "Wiki-ish."

Well this certaily took a differant track from what I thought is was going to do when I started. I forgot the other points I was going to mention and I gotta go. Will bring them up later if I rememebr them and I feel they are still relavent.

Thanks, Jim

"like the 70s and 80s where I had to wait for them to finish the internet becasue I wasn't going to drive all over Massachusetts, RI and CT going to Town Halls!"

Allow me to interject: hahahha.


+6 votes


I like the idea of "purple" profiles for the likes famous old rulers and "popluar" PGM immigrants with tens of thousands of descendants.  However, who decides which profiles qualify?  Many (such as Mayflower ancestors) are obvious, but others aren't...

I like the general idea of having to get on a trusted list of a PPP profile before editing, but the implementation could be a headache, especially for profiles that have a single manager who isn't active anymore.

I'm going to bring up an outside-the-box suggestion to encourage further brainstorming:

How about having a "trusted list" for projects?  The idea is, you can't edit any Euroaristo profile (for example) unless you are on the Euroaristo trusted list.  Getting on the trusted list would be a prerequisite for getting a membership badge.  (Some people might want authorization so they can edit their  medieval ancestors, but they don't want to join a project.)  And to get on the trusted list, you will have to show a minimum level of knowledge about the project's relevant sources and pitfalls.

And with this "project trusted list," if somebody adds bogus stuff, the project leaders can remind that person about the agreed-on project knowledge and restrictions that were part of getting on that project's trusted list in the first place.


Well said John, and thank you for liking purpleblush

answered by J S G2G6 Mach 9 (92.5k points)
edited by April Dauenhauer

John, I like your "super project trusted list" idea. See my detailed proposal above, which incorporated that (I think of it as an elite team per profie), and combines it with the Purple, and with the existing Profile of the Week process. 

In my proposal, each profile so approved as Purple Proof Profile will have undergone nomination, review, and achieved a state of near-perfection, and then locked down completely from all further changes, merges, attachments, etc., except as to be done by an elite team of three to ten elite manager volunteers on that specific profile.

It is very flexible, and I think foolproof, as I have designed it.

There will not need to be any special WikiTree project membership or Leader status for anybody to be an elite member on any particular profile's management team. Their membership is completely democratic, and unanimous, by the team.

Well put Steven; one of the better solutions I've heard so far ....
John, your idea is a good one.  I'm following all of this with great interest...
+8 votes


Although I would appreciate all the European Aristocrat profiles or all pre-1500 profiles being covered by something like this (and perhaps that is technically easier) I don't think that is necessarily the aim.

For instance, most of the Royal family of England from 1066 onwards and even some earlier ones, are fairly well researched and agreed upon.  Wives/husbands, children, dates of birth and death are well attested and even family trees imported from ancestry or anything similar are going to have the same details.  We might get people new to Wikitree creating duplicates because they can't find the existing profiles, but are unlikely to get anyone wanting to jump in and change the basic details already existing on these profiles. The same could be said for most of the major royal families of Europe.

However it's not the same for earlier time periods, or for links from the royal families to present day.  In these situations there is often a discrepancy between what might be found in user-submitted genealogies and even printed family histories and what current research or primary documents actually state.

It's in these situations where people have collaborated on a profile and decided that in fact the relationship between two profiles is uncertain or totally unproven, or in some cases the profile itself has a disputed existence, that we need extra protection.  The sort of work that John S. and others in the Magna Carta project have been doing in sorting the 'real' gateway ancestors, from those that might be uncertain or unproven, and many other people have also completed throughout Wikitree.

So no the aim of implementing some added protection to profiles in these situations isn't to stop collaboration (in fact it should promote collaboration) or stop people working on ancestors, or for anyone to claim ownership over particular profiles and nor unfortunately will it speed up the merge process. :)

The aim is to stop people, mostly new to Wikitree, who have signed the Honor code and completed the pre-1700 quiz, who decide that instead of adding their immediate family and seeing how they might connect to the world wide tree that is Wikitree, they want to immediately add their medieval ancestors based solely on information from those user genealogy websites which we all know contain much that is at best faulty. (And no, I'm not exaggerating)

By doing that they are often ignoring any warning signs on profiles, or quizzes they may have completed and oh so very easily changing the hard work that people have put in to make those profiles as accurate as possible.  We need something to stop that happening time and time again.


Well said, John. As leader of the European Aristocrats project, your opinion is very important to me, and I hope to everyone here. Do you like purple blush? ?

answered by John Atkinson G2G6 Pilot (322k points)
edited by April Dauenhauer

Thanks to everyone who have contributed good ideas in this thread.

Thanks to Jim Wormelle for the suggestion box idea. It could be used for those who don't want to be added to the Trusted List, and combined with John Schmeeckle's idea of "project trusted list," concept.

Thanks to John Atkinson for spelling out so clearly where extra protection is most needed, and where it is not. Thanks to Shirley Dalton for asking who would decide and for keeping an open mind.

Thanks to Terri for bringing this thread to the Forum, and thanks to Kitty for starting the subject four days ago and speaking up here.Thanks to Erin Cole for asking questions that made me think and thanks to Mags for liking blueberries.

Thanks to A. Tomkins for pointing up the issue with absent profile managers, which reinforces the value of John's idea to make them 'project Trusted Lists'. Thanks to Philip Van der Walt for linking to Darlene's answer, which asks us to "protect our crown jewels". (Thank you Darlene.)

Thank you Robin Lee for pointing out the use of Comments on guarded profiles. Thank you Steven Mix for bringing in technology as an answer, even if it is a ways in the future.

Thank you Roger Travis for contributing your experience (and thank you for all you did as EuroAristo Leader!).

Thank you to Janne Gorman and Arora Anonymous for expressing what you find frustrating in the WikiTree process. We need to know what we need to fix.

Thank you to everyone who contributed their ideas, and especially all of you who voted for the color purplesmiley

We can keep talking as long as we can keep new ideas coming. At some point we will have a successful resolution, I know this because it has always been how I've seen WikiTree work.

Time and time again, for three years, now.
+7 votes
Am I correct in stating that what is holding up a resolution of this issue is the perceived conflict between collaboration and being a wiki on the one hand and the desire to prevent inadvertent damage to the work that has already been done on many profiles?

If so let's consider what collaboration means: Is it the lone genealogist at his/her computer at home coming across something he/she believes needs changing and going ahead doing it on the spot or is it more raising the issue with other interested parties, discussing pros and cons, coming to a consensus and making the changes then? The latter strikes me as more collaborative, though more time consuming, than the first. Every Wikipedia article has a "Talk" tab and I do think that the change wars there are getting less and less as the whole system matures.

I think we need stronger emphasis on "discuss before you change" when dealing with well-sourced profiles, even if it requires extra steps and more time. There are plenty of unsourced profiles around that could benefit from some attention while one waits for the discussion of proposed changes to a sourced profile to reach a conclusion.
answered by Helmut Jungschaffer G2G6 Pilot (445k points)

Helmut, it is a bit of a connumdrum, because it wants to be fully and openly collaborative as a wiki, but genealogy on the most ancient ancestors is not really handled well in a wiki format. 

Here are the reasons why it does not work as smoothly as Wikipedia, for instance:

1) Wikipedia has articles of interest to only a handful of persons on each, more or less evenly spread out across all articles. This is similar to WikiTree family members with ancestors back to the 1800s, for example. Only a few people get involved on any particular ones.

2) Wikipedia attracts massive attention on notoriously famous people. For example, before his death, Usama bin Laden would get updated, corrected, and de-corrected numerous times daily. There are very few articles on which this happens in Wikipedia, so it is more or less manageable, in order to keep the article tidy and accurate.

3) In WkiTree, as you get deeper past 1800, the number of people interested in every single ancestor grows exponentially. Because the number of descendants from that person is exponential. But worse, the number of such ancestors also grows exponentially. So unlike Wikipedia with a handlful of massively edited articles, WikiTree becomes a multitude of profiles to take good care of, with a horde of interested people who want to make any particular one conform to their own ideas. I think of the result as the Least Common Multiple effect. The profile and its famly connections does not get stedily improved. Instead, it continuously degrades to a lower standard.

4) Multiply the above degradation by an additional factor the deeper in time you go, and by the (perceived) closer to royalty that you go.

+4 votes

Putting together all the good ideas posted in this thread, here is a summary of what I understand and agree with from this thread - my personal opinions, not WikiTree managament.

We agree certain profiles need to be in a new class of profile, which might be called Proof Profiles, where the deciding factor is quality of documentation, etc.

These Proof Profiles could only be edited by those on the Trusted List. They would not be eligible for merging, (members could connect their trees at the next lower generation). Access to the Trusted List of these profiles would be through belonging to the project supervising the profile, or by direct request.

A question here for Chris: Is it possible technically to carry out John's idea of a Project Trusted List? So that being a member a project would be equivalent in terms of access, to being on the Trusted List of any "Proof Profiles" managed by the project?


How would Proof Profiles be selected and by whom?

How would members get on a Proof Profile's Trusted List? Who would give or withold approval?

Would it detract from our being a wiki too have Proof Profiles locked and not available for anyone to edit?

Would it create an elite group that would rule over regular members and their needs to edit their ancestor's Proof Profiles?

What about profiles that are not managed by a project that have all the other qualifications of a Proof Profile - extensive high quality documentation, vulnerable to confusion because of status (i.e. Pocahontas' relatives) or very common name (i.e. Smith).

What about members who don't want to join a project, but just contribute to Proof Profiles? How can they participate?


Proof Profiles would be selected by project members electing the most vulnerable out of the project's managed profiles. Proof Profiles not under project management would be elected by the profile managers nominating them in G2G and having consensus in comments.

Anyone can join a project, and that would gain them Trusted List access to edit Proof Profiles managed by the project. Some projects require knowledge as demonstrated by passing the Pre-1700 Certification, which anyone can take.

Members who follow WikiTree Honor Code, and guidelines for editing profiles as published on help pages, and demonstrate knowledge of the profile era, are always welcome on projects. Requests to join projects are usually handled within a week or even one day, from request to project membership.

It would not detract from WikiTree's 'wikiness' to have Proof Profiles. Having Proof Profiles would increase collaboration, which is what a wiki is all about.

There is no purpose in creating an elite group to rule over Proof Profiles, because knowledgable members already belong to projects and have the experience to determine what profiles should be Proof Profiles, and edit them accordingly.

Elite is the opposite of community, and a wiki is about community. All the proposals which include G2G discussions, and project member discussions, are pro-wiki and appropriate for WikiTree.

Profiles not managed by a project which meet conditions to be a Proof Profile would be proposed for Proof status in G2G and nominated by consensus.

Contributors who do not want to join a project or use the G2G process can always leave their proofs, documentation, queries and other Comments in the Comment section of a profile, where they can be picked up by members on the Trusted List and added in an orderly way to the Proof Profile.

Please add your comments regarding anything I didn't mention here, keeping in mind the main purpose of this thread, whether or not to establish a special locked status (tentatively called Proof Profiles) for vulnerable profiles where excellent documentation and effort is in danger of being disassembled frequently. Please start other threads in G2G for other specific issues (thank you).

Let's remember what John Atkinson wrote about what profiles in EuroAristo would be suggested for Proof Profiles. We are talking about a small number of targeted profiles, not every profile in a project.

answered by April Dauenhauer G2G6 Pilot (107k points)
edited by April Dauenhauer

Thanks for organizing all these thoughts, April.  Great job.

I still like the simplicity of making all Project Protected Profiles public instead of open.  Those on the profile trusted list can make edits; those that are not can add bulletin board comments and sources on the profiles.  kiss

I threw away the word 'elite' so le'ts please not use it in any of the arguments pro and con. It just becomes a straw man, because some people object to the word..

My idea is to have a *Trusted List,* but one that is not THE Trusted List, which tends to currently be direct descendants, or family members, or just other people who have been randomly added to branches of profiles.

These are NOT the same people who are best involved with bringing the profile up to a state of acceptability. I have worked on many such profiles, and I have not been on the Trusted List, or I have removed myself. But I had a big hand in making them as good as they are. And I monitor some of them to ensure that they stay that way.

Some of these I would want to adopt as a Proof Manager. That status would exist for me only on that profile. Or on any others that I specifically adopt as such.

Each Proof Manager team would differ on each profile, just as now each Manager team and Trusted List differs from profile to profile. Nobody ever refers to any of that as elitist, even on Green Public profiles, which lock everybody else out who is not on that Trusted List. So please follow the concept, and don't get bogged down in misunderstanding of the intent, based on the disliked word.

That said, the Proof Managers should be the only ones with editing privileges, on that profile. The Trusted List could continue to grow as always, so that people can have all their own ancestors in their Watchlist. But they should not edit a Proof Managed profile. Othewise, we would just back to the same Open profile situation, but with the drawback of additionally locking out the good external editors and project members.

Likewise, making Public and closed all PPP profiles just gets in the way of projects and such. I don't want to be Trusted List on every profile, just to add a category and whatnot.


So that said, we have some disagreements about how to proceed. So, let's do the easy things we agree on:

1) Purple color indicator - unanimously and enthusiatically agreed on, partly for historical reasons of royalty

2) Proof Profile - a good descriptive identifier, that seems to be self-explanatory. It still needs a review process of sorts to be worked out, but any recent Profile of the Week might be automatically converted to this, just to start

So far all that needs to happen is to build a Help page, explaining these two concepts. And the Privacy button color needs to be changed on the first example profiles from White Open to Purple Proof.


Everything else can remain exactly as is for now. But on the edit screen of a Purple Proof Profile, there can easily be created such similar warnings as there are with pre-1700, and PPP, etc. We might find that such edit warnings are in time sufficient, and so then simply stop there.

We should be able to get these few things almost immediately. Any problems going forward with just these parts?


Steven - I'm using my wonderful purple pen to hilight areas of outstanding clarity and agreement so that they do not get lost in this extraordinarily long thread - hope you will pardon the remodelingblush

I agree with going forward with those 2 steps.
I also agree with your restatement April.  Are we getting somewhere?
Simple is nice, Kitty, but it would create Proof Profiles where there is no need for protection, and unfortunately, not all project protected profiles meet the standard of well documented, etc.

I agree with beginning with the Profile of the Week for Purple Proof Standard - for those whose PMs request it.  The whole group worked to create excellence on a profile and deserve to have their work preserved.

Thank you Erin, and yes I do think progress is made here. We could use a little more specific agreement on how profiles other than Profile of the Week may become qualified for Proof Profile. The key is simplicity. Anything with too many steps or too many qualifications or restrictions on the process or participants would be too unwieldly to manage.

There are whole sections of lineages in EuroAristo and Magna Carta where it would be appropriate to apply Proof Profile - certain family groups who are easily confused with other people, and have been carefully documented to show exactly who they are. I think it is demanding too much out of the current pool of active project members to approach these on an individual basis and ask for three informed members as profile managers for each one.

It is time for me to go on Ranger duty for two hours, and I am open to any further considerations on these details.

We will be set back on the right track if we go too far astray, as with Eowyn letting us know the situation with GEDCOMS (scroll way above). On the other hand, if we can show agreement and a workable plan, we may be able to at least begin with a trial group such as the Profile of the Week as has been suggested -although it is ultimately in the hands of Chris and he has not favored this direction in the past. We can only try to find a solution everyone can like, since the alternative is to repeat disappointing outcomes.

Keep up the good worksmiley


Steven, Thank you for clarifying your thoughts on elite etc I can see it is a distraction and agree with much of your thinking. I think whether or not someone is a family member is a bit of another red herring. I've seen great work done on profiles by people not at all related, and also by family members. I think the issue is if people are skilled and motivated, not whether they are related. Perhaps much of where we don't agree is mainly semantics, and where it is substantive I think we can find good compromise.
Recent comments indicate we may need to define what a Proof Profile is in measurable results. I'm leaving for doctor's appt and will contribute when able later.

I like the term Proof Profile and I don't see any confusion, but maybe just some clarifying ideas here:

It is similar to the same kind of bar that needs to be reached for a successful Profile of the Week. A Proof Profile is accurate, well-sourced, complete, and adheres to WikiTree style guidelines. It is easy to read, has a nice picture, maybe a good document or two. Family connections are all in order. Additionally, it must be in Open profile territory, or at least a highly notable person if less than 200 years old. It has a large number of people interested in it, either as descendants or otherwise.

On great work done by non-family members, that is exactly why the Proof Profile cannot be at the mercy of the editors from the Trusted List. Those members are often merely very random people, perhaps somebody adopted it at one time, and now all their family members are on the Trusted List.

So there needs to be some other desginated team to manage the Proof Profile.

That said, I am now seeing a problem in that there are not enough proper team members to go around, on all the candidate profiles. They cannot simply be added to the existing Trusted List, because it will grow their own Watchlist too far for comfort.

So here is another thought for a solution. Lock down every Proof Profile. The Trusted List can stay, and does not need permission to add new people. A person can simply *join* any Proof Profile Trusted List. 

That way they get to have their ancestor in their Watchlist. But they cannot do any edits at all.

No Proof Profile will have any designated Manager at all. Any current Managers will simply be dropped down to the Trusted List.

Any edits or new information or sources will simply be presented from the Proof Profile to G2G. People who are interested can follow the surname, or tag, or whatever. There can be a proof_profile tag, for instance.

If a change really needs to be made to the profile, then any three interested people can join a temporary Proof Manager team to implement the change. If less than three people join, then no change is allowed. But as soon as the third person joins, then any one of those three can manage the change. This is similar to a Robert's Rules of Order procedure, in which somebody makes a motion, and the motion gets seconded, and in this case thirded, and is so passed.

The change must be only the one that the community agrees to in the G2G.  there is major disagreement, then joining the list to push the change through would be a clear violation, subject to member sanction.

The Proof Manager team expires after one day.

Mergiing would have to be different for a Proof profile. Any merge attempt would be incapable of completion.

This is very similar to what exists now on merges with Private profiles. I have merge proposals that sit there for years, uncompleted, because the manager is absent.

This would have the benefit that no change needs to be made. Exept that the 30-day default will not apply, which is exactly how it works on any Private merge proposal. An existing exception is that a sysop can complete the merge.

Another benefit is that that merge proposal will allow a comparison view, just as it does now. So people will be able to clean up and match and merge descendants, just like always. But the Proof Profiles does not need to be poluuted in the process.

The only extra technical requirement would be to prevent any disconnects of any existing children, in the event of a merge.of the children. We don't want children to be drawn away from a Proof Profile, and into a new attachment as child of the non-Proof parent.

In this scheme, we could stack up a dozen duplicates on a profile, and then only have to clear them all in a single shot on the Proof Profile every year or so. Openi it up once a year through G2 to the ad-hoc team, for one day. Merge the dupes all at once, without changing any data. All duplicate bios and such would just get wiped. And then the children would be all neatly lined up for merge, or would be already merged.

Trusted List would continue to grow, which would be no problem at atl. And then people could follow their own Trusted List Proof ancestors in G2G, and so be aware when anything is up for debate. If they want to participate in the agreed change, then they are free to join the ad-hoc Proof Manager team for the day.

People would be free to contribute and participate as always, on everything. The only difference is that any direct change on a Proof Proifle would be impossible, in the absence of full consensus beforehand in G2G. If they cannot reach consensus there, then they would simply need to do a better job of presenting their case to the community, as to why the change would be proper.

To lessen arguments and such, researchers need to build related free-space pages, which would explain why certain popular widely accepted myths are disproven. Sources would be clear. It would be easy to repeatedly reference the free-space page section, which can also be linked directly in the profile bio. This would be collaboration at its best.

Some of the methods recommended for handling a purple profile are so complicated that it seems doomed to failure and drama.


Couldn't it be as simple as having a purple lock, the purple lock meaning "The current managers/trusted list feel that this profile is complete. Any new additions or major changes require a g2g discussion. Duplicates will go in a bin (or the like (profiles left as a Unmerged Match that only leaders can see?)) with duplicated branches merged at a newer generation."

To nominate a profile for the purple lock, one would start a g2g discussion recommending a profile that is felt to be complete. There could even possibly be a group of leaders and/or volunteers that review the profile to see if, as far as they can tell, the profile is up to standards, well documented, aesthetically pleasing, etc.

It also might be good to add a category to the profile so that the gedcom reviewers have a place to find popular profiles that are commonly duplicated.

Unless the profile belongs to a notable, profiles less than 150 years old shouldn't be eligible so that folks can still join and work on their immediate family.


Carrie, I hope you don't mind the purple decoration on your message - it is so well stated as to describing a purple proof profile, I just couldn't help myselfblush

I'm not sure how to handle duplicates - maybe there could just be a pop up message saying "managers will be notified to complete the merge into this locked Proof Profile", and then, as you say, the proposed merge would have to go on the "merges awating action by you" for the profile managers to take care of. I don't think we can stop merges, because people would lack having the Proof Profiles on their tree, and I like your idea of the leaders handling the merges, since they know the profile and can quickly link in the new branch.

I do like your summary. Now we just need a good definition of Proof Profile (grabs purple pen and scrolls up)

Lol!  Seems as though we have come full circle, which may be a good thing.

With only the simple relaxation that profiles more than 200 years old can have privacy level set to Public, we get most of what is needed.

We simply say that any profile where security is not really a concern should be set to privacy level Open or Public (we already do say this, I think).  The current rule for 200 years old could be changed to 150 or some other number but should be applied by managers on even "younger" profiles where appropriate.  The only difference between Open and Public is that when a profile gets to a point where the biography is built on well documented sources (e.g. reference to more than just GEDCOM import or ancestry trees) anyone may request a review through G2G to have the status changed from Open to Public.  I like the idea that someone with some level of experience would review the profile mainly as an opportunity to get/give some feedback.  Perhaps we can use the thumbs up/down voting and say the profile needs so many up votes?  Once made Public, it is only a little effort to get on the trusted list or manager list if you would like to make additions/edits.

The Prime Directive with all the ideas presented here is to bring a halt to contributor attrition.

Carrie, the mechanisms might seem a bit complex, but the only failure will be if they are made so simple that they prove to be worthless.

Then good people will just continue to leave.

Erin, a simple Public lock on anything older that 200 years would be a giant step backwards, and would just frustrate more good people into leaving.

The good people are generally not the current Trusted List or Managers of most old profiles.

We need a separate process for ancient profiles. The Trusted List only makes sense for modern generations, in which family members actually do know some facts about their family.

But beyond a certain time zone, 200 years or so, these same family members now become on the average the least qualified to be able to accurately document and prove their real and presumed ancestors.

But by their sheer multitude of numbers, if they are going to continue to dominate or even control the edit status of historically significant ancient people, then anything beyond 200 years can only taken to be utterly worthless, in the long run results.

The experts who would otherwise fact check and improve them will instead find a productive place to put their efforts eslewhere.

And I really would have no intention of asking to be put on any such Trusted List to fix anything, that is otherwise in the full hands of the existing Trusted List of family members and random adopters and their family members, etc.. I would simply abandon the older areas of the tree entirely. I am soon getting to that point even now.

I am speaking from the experience of having worked very hard on many thousands of profiles. And having seen some Trusted List members do some really painfully absurd things.

Trusted List members generally have two areas of failing, that are particularly grating on ancient shared profiles as you go further back in time:

1) They have misconceptions about history

2) They don't undestand how WikiTree tools work

I have little interest in devoting much of my time into fruitless efforts to educate them all on either of those two points, only to keep having to do it all over again, and again.

+5 votes
This key discussion is very long now, and I appreciate every single entry in it!

In order to facilitate reading it for the key points I have edited some of the messages with my purple edit pen. This doesn't mean other comments are unappreciated - it means the purple highlighted comments are especially eloquent at stating the issues or resolutions.

Some of the repeated concerns about this proposal are about being 'locked out' of editing their ancestors.

Absolutely anyone who has high level sources and/or well written original biographical comments with footnotes would be more than welcome to add them to Proof Profiles. Yes, they would need to notify the profile managers of what they want to add. This is not an insurmountable barrier. I see it as a plus, that we can accumulate more and more ancestor profiles with proof level documentation, and we own them, we can print them or download them as members of WikiTree.

The alternative is that the excellent profiles on WiliTree keep on getting changed into confusion by confused members. We really have a very small number of well documented profiles, as compared to the whole tree.

Should we protect Proof Profiles and show respect for the members who created them (it could be you). Or will we continue to ignore the problem and continue to have the most knowledgable members of WikiTree drop out from discouragement?

We need to choose and not continue to delay. This is a dichotomy which is not going away.
answered by April Dauenhauer G2G6 Pilot (107k points)
edited by April Dauenhauer

Guess if  you're a member of Wikitree and you love the idea of this world wide family tree with just one profile of every person that ever lived, you totally agree that this profile should be like a kind of monument to honor the lives of that person, if such a profile or ''monument'' is finished ,so in this case sourced and with a nice Bio, maybe some images etc. we should all be proud we created this together and we should treasure it and yes protect it , with a purple or whatever color ''lock'' . Thousands of profiles that are abandoned or without any source or info, so let's focus on the many others that need sources and improvement . Purple is finished and we should be glad and move on to the many others that need and deserve a finished and nice ''purple'' profile as well  smiley

Maybe we should have a Purple project , for all the finished profiles and the purple project members taking care of /watching over them 

That is a very good reason to make the completed profiles safe, Bea - so we can use the time to finish others, instead of repeating what was already done on a few of the famous ones.

Exactly and there are thousands waiting for some extra care and attention crying

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