Profile Defining Fact

+3 votes
WikiTree needs to support a profile-defining, essential fact/event that identifies the profile and cannot easily be  changed or merged away.  Which fact would vary depending on the source.

For a parish register birth record, the birth date, parish and county for location, and parents names would be the profile defining facts.  Anything else added later by someone else or from another source, such as marriage or death or a child would be open to reevaluate, but you can't alter the profile defining facts.

Another common example is a will.  The wife and children named in the will collectively identify the testator.  And the death date would be sometime between the signing of the will and the date it was proven in court.

These facts must come from a single event or fact to avoid errors in linking up facts.

A profile defining fact should not be required for a profile to be created, but without one anything in the profile could be changed.

Without this type of data classification, there is no integrity in data entered or the profiles that depend upon such data to give them a unique identity.  It would be important to not allow gedcom import profiles to have such profile defining facts automatically (must be defined separately, manually after import).

Without something like this, there isn't much point to trying to create good profiles here.
in WikiTree Tech by Living Anonymous G2G6 Mach 5 (51.5k points)
In fact it's not that unusual for a profile to begin as one person and end up as a different person.
Sources are just text in the bio section - easily wiped out - and not hard linked to the facts in the top part.

Having this would make a huge difference to people who do real genealogy rather than name linking ancestry trees.  If you tried to clean up the mess that's out there the benefit would be obvious.

Doesn't matter to me really except I won't be putting in much effort without this.
well, ending up as a different person may not be a big deal if it was a gedcom import without sources.  If it was linked to others and then change the links incorrectly, you just screwed up multiple profiles.  But yea, in a culture of sloppy genealogy anything goes.  Have fun with your internet trash trees.
Hi Mikey,

Thank you for sharing your thoughts.  Speaking our mind is one of our strong points here :)

In your suggestion, who would determine what facts were sourced well enough to be "hard facts" that would forever define a profile?

Would there be any room for changes to the "hard facts" in light of new information or better sources?  Who would collaborate and decide these issues?

I think right now, only those of us who sign the Honor Code and are members in good standing collaborate together on all of the profiles.  Together we determine which sources and facts apply and shape the profiles accordingly.

I have concerns about limiting the ability to improve profiles.  New information and sources arise and we must be flexible enough to reflect this on WikiTree.  There are already measures in place such as bars as to who can edit profiles from how far back in time, and project-protected status that protects the last name at birth of certain profiles.

You sound very serious about genealogy and like you could be a big benefit to the community here.  Your contributions would be very welcome.

If you invest a little time clicking around WikiTree you will see that it is home to many serious genealogists.  We add new profiles, improve existing ones, and correct mistakes as we go.  As a community we educate each other and improve as individuals and as a group.  The WikiTree is healthy and strong and constantly improves.

Suggestions for improvements are invited can always be posted here in G2G.  Thank you.
We also have a lot of combination people.  Some result from bad merges, and some were imported that way.  Clearly their own PMs don't know who they're supposed to be in any meaningful sense.

We assign an ID to each person, and then we go through all the pain of merging, instead of just parking surplus profiles on a junkheap, in order to create a redirection system so that links will still go to the right person.  Which we then defeat by not being clear about who an ID is supposed to belong to.
When a merge occurs, the text sections of the merged profiles are preserved. If the person's biography and sources are documented there, they will not be lost even if an inept merge removes good data from the data fields.
Nobody reads the bios.  Bad data fields just encourage more bad merges.

The question should be, who is this person, who is that person, are they the same.  Instead, people just look at whether the data boxes match.

Great point RJ:

"The question should be, who is this person, who is that person, are they the same."

Bold notwithstanding, I don't need to justify anything to you.  Nor am I limited to thinking/saying/posting only what you find acceptable.  You're obviously out of your comfort zone here.
Well I've been trying to merge away yet another duplicate of a relatively well-known person.  3 rejections from 3 different people, so far, on the basis of the data in the boxes, or lack of it, although the bio explains exactly who she's supposed to be.
Trudy, I've sent you a PM.
Since my words have been misconstrued, I'm hiding my previous posts on this thread.

1 Answer

+3 votes

I think the solution is a Research plan tab see link. A place were you plan your research and where you discuss and correlate evidences....

Other tools in the Wikitree toolbox

  1. Restore: in Wikitree you can easily restore
  2. Profiles can be set protected by leaders
  3. Privacy tab
by Living Sälgö G2G6 Pilot (296k points)
edited by Living Sälgö
A research plan doesn't really address the same issue for me, and what good would it be hidden on another tab.  Restore is nice to have but it is not as good for identifying the critical fact(s) that identify a particular profile.  Protection by leaders - they would be overwhelmed if we rely on this.  Privacy can't be set for most of the profiles I work on; if that is changed that would go a long way toward helping, but that would upset more people than my suggestion.

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