Why do I observe so much WikiTree activity by newbies who had not signed the Honor Code yet?

+21 votes

In recent weeks I spend a lot of my time (at least 3/4 times a week) greeting people with proper practical advice after they had been active and duplicates appear on my radar.

What I find disturbing is the fact that people have no follow-up for up to a fortnight after the initial welcoming greet. And people are active who only have the volunteer-badge, nothing else. I would feel much more "safe" knowing that at least someone new had taken notice of a Honor Code that is obligatory to sign (acknowledge) before any activity.

I know that the time of greeters, mentors and leaders is pread thinly, but I propose there is still room for improvement. Follow-up could be much quicker than 2 weeks; greeting perhaps a tad less happy general and open ended invitations to "potty around" (in the gardening sense of the word, though in practice what happens often is that the "sand-box" gets unintentionally defiled because of lack of clear instructions).

I have been shown the link to the greeters page: http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Space:Greeters_Message_Samples

My apologies if this seems to be overly critical of other's hard work, but many greets are just too "warm" light toned "happy familiesh" open ended invitations. I have a greet in Afrikaans (because that is where I see most of the duplicates popping up) that is too long I know, but is concrete and clear cut - I'll add it to the list - but it addresses some of the most crucial issues without sending out newbies like tender lams for the slaughter into the giant caverns of Hogwarths which is WikiTree to find & learn to do their magic.

Edit: I saw that there is this feed: http://www.wikitree.com/g2g/217819/honor-code-why-sign-it - Guy's question is really relevant in this context ...

in Policy and Style by Philip van der Walt G2G6 Pilot (160k points)
edited by Philip van der Walt
In my opinion, I think people aren't making decisions instantly, if at all. Again, in my opinion, by signing the honor code you are agreeing to a responsibility that a lot of people either think about before signing (which they should) or don't want the responsibility at all either.

1 Answer

+14 votes
There is really not as much activity by Family members (those who have not signed the Honor Code) as one might think. They are limited as to what they can do on WikiTree.

* They can add only their own extended family.

* They can upload a gedcom for GedCompare but cannot import it to create profiles.

* They cannot edit a profile created by someone else, even an Open profile, unless they are on the Trusted List.

* I believe, but I am not certain, that they are limited as to number of profiles they can have on their Watchlist.

Yes, the messages sent to Guests and new members are usually written in a light, friendly tone. As a Greeter, I know that it is easy to discourage a visitor to WikiTree. This is not an easy site to master and many are daunted by its complexities.

We do try to encourage people to join and we do provide assistance to new members as best we can. I work with them every day. Our Mentors spend a great deal of time working with those who have problems. Kudos to them; they have more patience than I do in the work they do.

Mainly WikiTree wants to be friendly and welcoming; to promote a sense of community. I can't believe that this is the wrong approach.

by Shirley Dalton G2G6 Pilot (500k points)

But I do find new people (I do not like the word "Newbies" that I used earlier) creating post-1700 profiles when they have not yet signed the Honor Code ...

I was under the impression that in order to partake on WikiTree that I had to sign the Honor Code, which I did in 2013 when I joined, and I had no issues with it, despite WikITree being complicated and having a steep learning curve (an immense thanks to all those people that mentored me when I complained and needed help).

Philip -- Could you give us an example of the profile creation by someone who has not signed the Honor Code?  This should not be possible -- see this page for information on what the different member types can and can't do. If there is a glitch in the system, it needs to be addressed. 




Note: edited to correct my misunderstanding

Hi Julie, it was a profile between 1750 and 1600 [post-1700, but as I have stated often before pre-1700 should actually be pre-1800]. Not the only example, but the wikitreer in question have signed the Honor Code after I sent him/her a proper greeting. I cannot honestly remember [as soon as I do, I will provide the link I remembered - it was this profile: http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Pretorius-5333 but I was wrong - the person in question had already signed the Honor Code 30 Dec 2015, only starting to be active on 23 March - notwithstanding he created an immense amount of improperly spelled duplicates].

Here is an example of a nineteenth century profile created & merged before the person in question had signed the Honor Code: http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Du_Plessis-927 (he had been active days before creating many profiles; only after proper greeting did he sign the honour code [providing this information is on the edge of what I consider to be breaching the privacy rights of fellow WikiTreers]).

That profile appears to be his 2nd great grandmother, which explains why he was able to add it since it's in his direct line -- or at least that's the way I understand it; however, I would like to understand better what the limits are for people who haven't yet signed the Honor Code.

Because I'm not sure how familiar everyone is with the process that new members go through these days, I’ll outline here what happens to the best of my understanding:

  • They begin on the front page of the website, which gives them links to the different types of memberships, the About page for Wikitree (which has a link to the Honor Code), the Privacy help page (also has a link to the Honor Code), and a link to the Honor Code.
  • After they complete that page, they receive an email asking them to confirm their email address. This email directs them to How to Use Wikitree, which gives a full rundown of how Wikitree works, and it contains another link to the Honor Code.
  • Once they confirm their email address, they are taken to their profile page which has a checklist of things that need to be done, and this page has two references to the Honor Code as well as a link to the Help page on Collaboration (which has two links to the Honor Code).
That's a potential eight encounters with the Honor Code -- potentially six before they even get to a Greeter.
So, while you might not be seeing the Greeters repeating this information in their messages, guests and new members are receiving ample opportunities to access the Honor Code. 
Through this process, I really think we're giving them all the information they need to get started. Unfortunately, not everyone is going to read everything we give to them. I'm not sure how to remedy that problem. :-/
My stance on this [as I understood it when I started out at WikiTree] is

No Honor Code signature, then no [grand-parent onwards] WikiTree collaboration.

If there is one thing that I personally find frustrating about WikiTree - often way too much info to read through and way too many pages to navigate through, even for exeperienced WikiTreers

Bottom line - providing people with ample opportunity or invites to sign or understand something is different from providing concrete and practical information with mandatory consequences.
B.t.w. the person who created the pre-1700 duplicate of http://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Pretorius-5333 still haven't received his pre-1700 clearance yet ...

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