Another urgent request not to create templates { {Unsourced} } when they are already within a project

+18 votes
Please, this is an *urgent* but friendly request ''not'' to put the stamp on already templated project profiles (even if the bio's are messy) - it is creating extra work, and it is demoralizing because it is insulting ... with only a few people actively looking for the basic sources (within this project alone there are more now near 8000 profiles) it is a daunting task - the time needed to place (and remove such a template because it isn't neccesary within a project, the goal of a project being to eventually source all profiles, could better be spend searching for sources than creating ever more and ever bigger growing piles of socalled { {unsourced} } which then also have to be categorized ....
WikiTree profile: Hans van Staden
in The Tree House by Philip van der Walt G2G6 Pilot (152k points)
edited by Philip van der Walt
If I''m guilty of this, please accept my apology.  It won't happen again.
Just so it is clear, you mean if the profile is part of a project - any project - don't add the Unsourced template?

Thank you for all the searching you and your project are doing!  It is appreciated.

Thanks Tom! I appreciate your gracious apology.

S.Wilson - I can only speak for the Dutch Cape Colony project, but I can imagine that it applies to other projects as well. In the long term every single profile within this project will be validated with at least the most basic of sources - baptism, birth, marriage or death records.

I understand that when new profiles are now being created without sources, that they automatically get a { {unsourced} } template, and when that profile is merged into another profile which already has the DCC-template (wether sourced or not), the { {unsourced} } profile gets merged as well (in which case we will simply remove it). I have also no problem with profiles with no templates at all or very little on sources, getting this template.

But the request is specifically for those profiles with the DCC project template already attached to it ...

Thank you, Philip.

10 Answers

+14 votes
Best answer
I realize that my message might be miss-understood or that I might not be communicating it well.

So I just want to make the following statements:

* I do appreciate the open [democratic] nature of WikiTree immensely

* I have huge appreciation for those who work tirelessly - leaders, mentors, rangers - not forgetting the CEO

* I have a firm belief that form follows context and that meaning flows from the understanding of that context

* Which means what is correct in one context can be the opposite in another - which in turn implies that I cannot be right all the time and do also not have the intention to be right

* Thanks to all of those who contributed to this feed (by communicating) and who are trying to help in identifying issues and also the solutions to those issues
by Philip van der Walt G2G6 Pilot (152k points)
selected by Ronel Olivier
After a couple of days on this subject...I am going to say it a little differently.  When a member comes across a profile that already has some type of "Unsourced" category/template and adds a new "more specific" template....such as "One Name Study unsourced" or "Euro Aristo Unsourced"....then please remove the other category or template.   I believe that each profile only needs one "unsourced" category or template.   And the category or template of a Project should be the preferred one.  

I just came across a whole family with multiple Unsourced categories on every profile.   Overkill if you ask me....
+9 votes
I agree Philip Thank you for posting

by Ronel Olivier G2G6 Mach 7 (76.8k points)
+12 votes
I'm not sure I agree with this idea in regards to the EuroAristo project.  The numbers of profiles in that project are so vast, that having extra templates or categories can only help in identifying those profiles that need work.

However I can also see that having one rule for one project and a different rule for another would be unworkable.  Perhaps there should be more of a consensus from other project leaders about this issue?
by John Atkinson G2G6 Pilot (439k points)

The amount of profiles in the Dutch Cape Colony project is vast as well. With the template { {Dutch Cape Colony} } attached to near 8000 already (of which only 1150 has been Profile Protected [and still need work], and at least another 10000 wich will eventually include everyone (for one part - the indigenous populations not counted) - this template attachement it is just plain double the work.

It is not about different rules for different folks, it is a question of what is an efficient work process and what is not .... bringing on { {unsourced} } templates on profiles is not going to solve the problem. Preventing the profiles being created in the first place (in recognition of all the atttempts to solve this problem thus far) will be the anwer.

WikTree is exponentially growing, I understand. Therefore running around categorizing profiles as unsourced is like the myth of Sisyphus.

Is this an issue of whether you want help from outside the project?

The point of putting a profile in the Unsourced category is so that Sourcerers or other generous members can find it and try to add sources.
My experience is that few people [only those who really understand the historical / linguistic / cultural] context can really contribute when it comes to recognizing the sources, and the context ... Help from without is always welcome, but quite often when it comes to precise historical / cultural comprehension as far as subject matter goes, it mostly is experienced as a time consuming hindrance, all good intentions understood and appreciated. WikiTree can be a steep learning curve for everyone. For some it is techninical, for others contextual. For many a combination of both. This is the reality as I perceive it .... If there are sourcerers out there other than the Dutch Roots Project who can supply the primary sources for all the deep ancestry validation we need - Palitanate, Scandinavian, French, Germanic to name a few - I'd welcome it ... but then we are speaking in terms of resources - that's why I also tagged this statement with that word. What do I know about the Mayflower project? or Eurostocrats .... ? or bots for that matter? In Dutch they have a saying "Shoemaker ... keep you to your amble" meaning "Do what you understand and leave that which you don't to those who do".

Perhaps another option would be to organize this Wiki platform like SETI and BOINC which simply allow millions of people to productively participate at home, but leaving the actual science of data construct and analysis to the experts [not my idea granted, but I have the lateral thinking capability to imagine this being worth looking into ...].

I agree with John for the US Presidents Project, without all the wonderful people helping with sources and connections, my team would never get it all done.
+9 votes
My understanding (little that it is) is that the adding of unsourced was for two purposes.  1) To make them easily accessible to those who like to add sources and 2) to quantify the problem of profiles without sources.

Some felt that if everyone understood the magnitude of the problem, things would improve.  Some seemed to think (hope) that like dates, eventually sources would be required.

I personally don't think it is possible to quantify the problem, because user-generated "counts."  Just trying to add information here (such as it is).

As a member of the Southern Colonies and Pilgrim Great Migration projects, I do not speak for the projects, but personally welcome unsourced templates.
by Cynthia B G2G6 Pilot (127k points)
One thing I have noticed is that the way it is broken down by state switch in the U.S. is extremely helpful.

But I agree with Philip that just having {{Unsourced}} is generally useless, and can be worse if it just gets in the way. So I narrow them down as tightly as possible with a state switch, even if the state is pretty much of an educated guess.

So then the profile does end up in a category that is workable by the Sourcerers who have particular expertise with the resources of their particular state of interest.

On the default with new creations that are sourceless, it does need to be the general {{Unsourced}}. But in general, people should probably not be manually adding that template in the absence of any appropriate location switch.

Also, some people tend to over-apply it, on profiles that do have something under the source header, or in the bio that can be construed as a source, but that could be a better or more complete source instead. Too much of that sort of thing just makes for clutter, as with the tendency toward over-categorization in general as well.
+7 votes
I for one only add the Unsourced template if I can not find ANY sources and the profile has NO sources.  What that means id that most of the time I could not even figure out what country they were from.  If I am going to have to keep track of which "Projects" want them and which one's don't then this is just going to become more effort than it is worth. I can, and do, keep records of my personal family line on my own system and I do my research without WikiTree. It is easier for me that way, but I thought we were all supposed to work together here and not try to fight about who is "allowed" to edit profiles.
by Dale Byers G2G Astronaut (1.4m points)
You do not have to keep track of which projects want them or not. As with the Dutch Roots project (the way I understood it) if the profile already has a template, there is no need to add another one. Not to say that you can't add categories. And nobody is fighting about the right to edit. Though I would prefer to work on Latin language profile and not on Cyrrilic ones [as an example - I do not speak Russian or Serbian and will make a right mess of it ...]
From the looks of the comments and answers Philip, you and the project you are representing are the only one's that take the position that identifying the profiles without sources is a bad thing. Your own comment about languages shows that you do not know how to read every language and because of that fact attracting others would be a good thing because the sources you seek might not be in a language you understand. From my understanding of the way WikiTree works you have to tolerate others working on the profiles even if you don't want them to. There is almost no possibility of my ever working on any profiles in the project that you are mentioning so for that reason I am leaving this discussion and no longer even reading about this thread so I will be among the hundreds of thousands who will never read any more of your requests, and by association be among those who do not honor your request simply because they may nor even know about it, unless you add yet another template to all of the profiles it affects telling others thay you do not want them in the unsourced category and you do not want more helpful eyes finding possible sources.

<replying in that case is futile, so I'll do the proverbial rolling>


+8 votes
Although I am not a leader (of a project or in general), as the coordinator for the Holocaust Project, I believe I'm qualified to make a statement of the project's policy with regard to this issue.

I have taken the time and trouble to go through all Holocaust project profiles in order to add the Unsourced template to all that (a) have no sources and (b) are open so that I am able to do so.  I find this an excellent means of organizing all the project profiles that should be prioritized for improvement efforts and greatly appreciate any contributions made to these by any member of WikiTree who cares to take the time and trouble to try to find sources.

Unlike you, Phillip, I can not offer any guarantee that all Holocaust project profiles will eventually be sourced by project members, or anyone else for that matter.  I am fairly certain that, for many of these profiles, no sources exist, but that's even more reason for the Unsourced template to appear - in addition to using it to assist in organizing work efforts, it serves as notice to whoever sees the profile that no sources have been found.
by Gaile Connolly G2G6 Pilot (803k points)

It is not me offering any guarantee - the project mission inherently has the aim of profile protecting all the profiles of the inhabitants of the Cape at that period of time, even those who only settled there for some time and died at sea or back in the home country. And that must be with at least some decorum of validation. Now I'm speaking from a colonialist perspective. Coenraad (Buys) de Buys (abt. 1761 - 1821) reportedly fathered 315 children by dozens of wives, as is the local indigenous custom (having multiple wives). These children for the majority will not even get WikiTree profiles, as will most of the population of the Cape during the period this project covers, or indeed most of the indigenous populations of the earth, because it is either not in their tradition to "do" genealogy or they have different ways of "documenting" - such as keeping oral records or reading "songlines" in landscapes .... I certainly do not and in person cannot guarantee anything that our project cannot deliver in time {Rome wasn't built in one day}.

+13 votes
I'd like to address an aspect of Philip's request that I have not yet seen discussed:

"It is demoralizing because it is insulting."

I'm not sure how we can avoid some people feeling this way upon seeing {{unsourced}} added to a profile they're managing or watching-- in a project or not--, but I'd like all of us to be helping people see that there is no personal criticism intended by the addition of this template.

It's simply a flag to identify and organize those profiles that need source  attention.
by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (764k points)
I do not find {{unsourced}} being added to profiles as demoralizing or insulting. I think it is a very good indicator where research is needed.

In my case I took exception to the fact that the profile that I was working on was marked as unsourced seconds after a merge and I did not even have a chance to edit the bio. If the person that added {{unsourced}} so quickly took the time to read the full page he would have realized that the source was in the comment box, ready to be incorporated in the edited bio.

Is it possible that one of the dupes had the {{unsourced}} template prior to merging and that it "came along" when the merge was completed ?
Hi Jullaine

No, on the changes tab it shows that it was added 3 minutes after the merge was completed.
+11 votes

I prefer to encourage the Projects to use a project specific Unsourced category.  The template is useful, and I believe there is value in allowing the projects to use it.  I would go so far as to recommend each Project setup their own Unsourced Category, and have the Unsourced Project members move Project tagged profiles to the appropriate Project Unsourced Category.

Just like you can add {{Unsourced | England}} or {{Unsourced | Virginia}} you can use {{Unsourced | <Project Name>}}.  For example

Category: European Aristocrats Unsourced Profiles

Category: ANS GR Unsourced Profile

Category: Penn Settlers Unsourced Profiles

Category: Quaker Project - Unsourced Profiles

Category: US Southern Colonies Unsourced

I'm sure there are more, but you get the idea.

by Andrea Powell G2G6 Mach 4 (41.5k points)
+5 votes
I agree. And I'm not insulted. I've worked the Unsourced:Massachusetts, and sourced 6 or 8 profiles only to have the total go up instead on down. Is this some kind of "new" new math? Not to worry. I've found hundreds of profiles with no sources that aren't in the cat. There are plenty to go around. How about calling a moratorium on adding new Unsourced until the number is reduced by half? Also, I proposed an Unsourced:Researched cat for profiles the have yielded no source at the present time. This wouldn't reduce the number, but additional time wouldn't be spent searching for something that isn't there yet.
by Bob Keniston G2G6 Pilot (203k points)

This was my point exactly when I said that it is insulting - the logic - here you have hardworking project members doing their darnest best to organize bio's [preparation for sourcing] and actually making the time and effort searching for sources, when there comes another eager beaver from outside to put "stamps" on all the already templated profiles - which by virtue of the project template was already in the process of being sourced - while the time could be put to better use by sourcing them.

Anyhow, as I explained previously, this is just another form of categorization [which in itself is not wrong] that [however] in it's ultimate goal (identifying in order to reduce the amount of unsourced profiles) has the self-defeating result of creating more rather than less work, and also in an insufficient way - that's where Sisyphus comes in.

+6 votes
For our Native American Project, Pocahontas Project, and Westward Ho Projects...having the unsourced category is a benefit as well as the Project title. Now maybe it might be better to put Unsourced Native American which I am willing to do.

I am all for our Sourcerors helping to find sources. They arent changing data, just adding sources where there were none.
by M M G2G6 (7.5k points)

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