What keeps folks from doing post-merge cleanup? [closed]

+13 votes
We've done a lot to encourage people to clean up the narrative post-merge. But many post-merge profiles are not cleaned up.

I'm not meaning to point fingers but really want to understand why folks complete merges but don't do the next step?

Thank you.
closed with the note: Obsolete
in Genealogy Help by Jillaine Smith G2G6 Pilot (816k points)
closed by Jillaine Smith
In Vermont we call it "lazy" :)
For me, a lot of the times, I lose the e-mail saying a merge happened, and it's not in my feed that something I suggested should merge was merged.

 And if you’re not in Vermont, try one of these:

idle, indolent, slothful, work-shy, shiftless, loafing, inactive, inert, sluggish, lethargic, languorous, listless, torpid, enervated, slow-moving, slow, heavy, dull, plodding; remiss, negligent, slack, lax, lackadaisical, impassive, good-for-nothing, do-nothing; leisurely 

I wonder how many are left because someone forgot to check for orphans.
I am puzzled by this also. All I can do is to integrate the biographies myself after (someone else completes the) merge, except for when they are locked. Then I get lazy and drop interest. I need to do better.
FYI, I'm talking about the person who completes the merge. And the ones I've been coming across lately are not newcomers.
Keith, this is where we need a "like" button....
What happened to the idea of a "Merge Clean-up Required" category where "Long Profiles in Need of Cleanup" is not appropriate?
I guess this is the same question: What keeps folk from doing a post merge cleanup in stead of just adding a clean-up category?
Category exists, but if you cannot get a person to touch the biography, how are you going to get them to use a category?

What category exists Robin other than "Long Profiles in Need of Clean up".  We all see merges that have not been cleaned up and I would like to quickly add a category that somehow nags the profile managers post one of them doing a merge to revisit the profile they manage.  I am not going to do the clean-up unless I have an interest or it is quick.

8 Answers

+8 votes
I think the major reason is that people are looking for a quick way to enter the tree which took them so long to enter elsewhere.  Once the deed is done they're either immediately overwhelmed by the task, or disgruntled that it didn't come out all neat as they'd expected and stop even coming here.  As I've said before, there needs to be a break-in period where a newcomer shows that s/he knows what a profile should look like and that they can do it by hand and then they have permission to play with GEDcoms if they want.  Either put some teeth in the GEDCOM Equipped badge or have a new badge which is issued when people who know what needs to be shown have verified the new (or old) member can.
by Dave Dardinger G2G6 Pilot (410k points)
+6 votes
I do not know about the other people but after I merged the duplicates between what I had entered by typing in on my first visits, I have to find time to read through and edit each one for appearance and information. I am also in the process of gathering the photo's and copies of verifying documents.

I do see the one comment with no other references of

     created on the import of xyzged on date

with no other information and poor connections. I purposely created the file I uploaded trying to avoid the maybe connections. It is difficult to find the time to learn the language of the editor, gather the photos, and the day to day duties.

I have tried to set aside at least one hour a day to checking./editing the merges in my tree but life sometimes interferes.

by Charles West G2G6 Mach 1 (13.7k points)
I don't think anyone worries about imports which are being worked on, regardless of how much time it takes.  It's the imports which are abandoned which bothers people.
I tried to remove all those before upload but I don't think all people check for orphans.
+13 votes
A reluctance to fiddle with information that was posted by someone else. I think this is especially true if the person completing merge is still relatively new to Wikitree. I have been slow to edit, post-merger or otherwise, information originally added to Wikitree by cousins that I know only through genealogy emails and websites.
by Ellen Curnes G2G6 Mach 7 (79.4k points)
But at a minimum, we could be combining narratives, eliminating duplicate data or text and removing the often still existing extraneous #%€£¥ from old gedcom uploads.
I now enjoy it, makes me feel good to make a profile a little better - and sometimes it is pretty hard - have some that take a long time, because research conflicts or is very scarce, but I try to make them error free and extra junk gone while preserving the sources and whatever is salvageable from both narratives - that takes a while too if there is a lot because you have to try and put them in order so the profile makes sense.  That reminds me, a couple I have to finish doing that to...see y'all later
+11 votes
I think sometimes it is just plain out ignorance and fear.  Being unknowledgeable about what things are and afraid to mess things up by removing them. It was in my case when I first started.  Changing anything someone else had done was difficult for me. Got over it.
by Anonymous Roach G2G6 Pilot (186k points)
I understand Trudy. As I responded above, the ones I'm seeing lately are not newcomers.
Jilliane. , I'm seeing it too. Along with an unwillingness to do merges. Just make them unmatched , excuses needs more research. Alot of these profiles are left in limbo for years. One was a merge between 2 profiles managed by the same person. Her reason was needs sources.  I asked that she source them and merge She orphaned them , but continues to add outsourced profiles. I think this goes hand in hand with the above. I wish there was a way to keep people from adding when their profiles have duplicates and merges and sources are uncompleted. But oh well. The world doesn't work on my whim.
+11 votes
Besides the "laziness" component, I think there are just a lot of people joined Wikitree a long time ago and no one has ever "called them" on all the things they do incorrectly. I have a person I am mentoring who joined before I did, and has NEVER put a source on a single profile.   He just finally got caught and was surprised at my "demand" for sources, because this is how he has "always done it".   I think we have more people watching other people and now we are aware of the ones that need some education on "their responsibilities" as a Wikitree member.
by Robin Lee G2G6 Pilot (751k points)
+7 votes
Cleaning up an existing profile (regardless of whether it resulted from a merger) is a *lot* more work than entering a new profile. In order to be respectful of previous edits, one has to check each existing citation and understand how those citations relate to each other. That can be a lot of work, especially when the citations lack detail. When I clean up a merged profile, I sometimes just throw up my hands and move many of the previous citations into their own category, called "Other Sources".

So, you might ask, why don't you clean up the narrative? Well, the old citations only make sense in the context of an existing narrative. If I rewrite the old narrative, the old citations will make even less sense.

That's why I sometimes don't clean up immediately after a merge. But I try to go back and finish a job.

I'm not defending my habits, but the question was, "What keeps folks from doing post-merge cleanup?". Those are some of the good reasons why.
by Jim Moore G2G6 Mach 1 (13.9k points)

Thanks for your thoughts, Jim.

AND there is basic cleanup that can be done that does not require the steps you list.

  1. Remove duplicate information, if any
  2. Combine the Biography and Sources data into one section for each.
  3. Delete GEDCOM garbage.
Those three steps alone would make a huge difference, and should take only 1-2 minutes to do.
I guess we just have to disagree. You suggested three immediate actions. The first one "remove duplicate information, if any," would typically require changing the prior narratives. The second one, "combine the biography and sources data," would remove the context of the sources. Both steps increase the difficulty of understanding the prior sources in appropriate context. Furthermore, combining the biography has the effect of intermixing two narratives with a consequent loss of understanding. As for "Delete the GEDCOM garbage"... I take an approach which I believe to be more respectful, that is, converting the GEDCOM entry into an Acknowledgment.

I believe that all of the action you suggest must be done. However, doing them in a manner that respects the prior information necessarily requires some time. I believe that they should not be done in a mechanical manner of "1-2 minutes", but in a thoughtful manner. And that sometimes takes a few days.
+3 votes
To be brutally honest, I have merged some profiles only to find that each child listed as a family member is now listed five times, due to previous merges that were not cleaned up.  I have been guilty of bypassing them when that happens.  LOTS OF TIME spent on one family!!  I groan inwardly when I come across them and try NOT to merge them if I see multiples for each child and/or spouse.

I think I still have some in my tree, from adopting profliles that just make me CRINGE thinking about them they are so messed up.


by Betty Tindle G2G6 Mach 8 (81.6k points)
+4 votes
I remember my first merges -I was scared to mess with them!  It was bad enough I had them in the first place - looked for matches of course but did not think about searching name variants - and oh boy my family is BIG on name variants!  Almost every line has great big ole spelling changes in names so I should have known the ones I didn't see were just hiding with one more or less letter there somewhere, the dang things.

I would merge and then it might take me a couple days to work up the courage to attempt cleanup.  I think now with the videos people will learn faster, it sure would have been easier if they had them when I started - have got a few tips I did not know, going to watch the new one and learn more.

I think if we encourage people to watch those they will be more willing to go for it, I think it is kind of hard to learn from the help pages, most of them, but there have been improvements made on those as well.

I guess what I am saying is that we have to remember that it takes a while to learn a lot of the things that need to be done here when you start getting going on your tree work -

I sure got a lot of good helpful advice once I jumped on here at G2G and I recommend it to new folks I come across - that is where I picked up most of my skills here, by reading and sometimes asking here at G2G

So anyone who has helped me out, if I forgot to thank you Thanks!  And if I remembered thanks again!
by Navarro Mariott G2G6 Pilot (150k points)

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