Is there an impending Orphan crisis?

+7 votes
I think we have something like 13 million profiles and members are recommended to have no more than 5000 profiles.  Now this would mean only 2600 WikiTree genealogists having 5000 profiles they're PM for would cover that.  But if you look at the number of active WTers here on G2G, there aren't all that many.  Sure, some will only work on their tree sections but surely most of the active people On G2G are also, on average, the most active in creating profiles or adopting them.  But there are only 327 WikiTreers who have the G2G6 badge.  And even if you only asked a question once a week, I think you'd be G2G6 in about 2 years.  Same result if you picked one question or answer to give a vote for most days.  So are we trending towards having huge numbers of orphaned profiles and if so what can we do about it?
in The Tree House by Dave Dardinger G2G6 Pilot (410k points)
Dear Dave,

   Since I realized that we were supposed to stay under 5000 profiles, I have been orphaning them left and right.  Most of these got my name when as I found and created them while doing "Sourcerer" work.  The theory seems to be that newer or less active members will be happy to pick up profiles of relatives when they see them all alone.

     That would be good!  I wonder if it is happening.  -NGP
You also have people like me who have been active on WikiTree for about a year and 1/2, but it wasn't until recently that I realized I only had 900 profiles on my watchlist. I finally realized that I spend the majority of my time working on profiles that are already on WikiTree and, as a result, had a relatively small watchlist. Since joining the sourcerers project, I've made it a habit to adopt almost any profile I improve that is adoptable. So if there's a lot of people like me, there's probably hope : )
I usually work on my husband's and my lines. For me, I don't intersect anywhere with the main tree except through my marriage. My husband, however, is colonial Virginia and I'm adopting profiles relevant to him.
Well I have picked up a good number of orphaned relatives but it's not a large % of my profiles.  But I still don't have 1000 so it will be a while.

3 Answers

+1 vote
I am basically new here.  Been doing genealogy since the early 1980's taking over years and years of handwritten and typed work my mother had done.  I did miss out on about ten years of the internet growth (due to injury), and thus missed out on the early years of WikiTree.  Joined and started entering my family line.  I found that the system did not match up many of my entries until later on and then I discovered matches when linking.  So I learned about merging.  And as of late, as I have started entering the branches off my main tree, I have been coming across more and more Orphan profiles, which I have been Adopting as they are branches of my main line.  When I look into the history of the creation of most of them, most have come from GEDCOM downloads from members that have been here for YEARS.  So ... I have been seeing that the older members are dropping the twigs & a leaf or two off their branches to keep their count down.  Yes many of the newer members, are finding those twigs, because they are our main branches and not our twigs & leaves.  I think with time the Orphan crisis may continue to climb, but also with time and more new members, more and more of those Orphan profiles will get Adopted ... and maybe solve the crisis!
by Virgil Kester G2G6 Mach 1 (15.0k points)
Well I have started as a greeter and it's amazing how many new guests and then members are being added.  It won't take long at this rate to grow the number of profiles being added to grow considerably.  Whether or not that results in more orphans or not I don't know.
+1 vote
It is basically built into WikiTree that eventually most profiles will be orphaned. Ideally they will be well sourced by that time but life happens, people move on or die and large numbers of orphaned profiles are not sourced as a result. It's that last group that is of concern, not really "orphaned" profiles with their essential sources. Between my wife's family and mine we have about 75,000 people, only a fraction of them has made it onto WikiTree so far. Inevitably most of those will be orphaned, but if they have good sources that shouldn't really matter.
by Helmut Jungschaffer G2G6 Pilot (552k points)
+2 votes
Dave, if every WikiTree genealogist had 5000 profiles we would need to have more than 1,643,510,000 profiles for us to reach the limit. That number is already out dated because we add members all the time, as you well know. This means that we would need to add over 1,632,148,490 new profiles before we could not possibly handle them all. You can not use the G2G numbers for anything accurate with statistics here because less than 3% of the members even use G2G.
by Dale Byers G2G Astronaut (1.6m points)
At his point I am close to the 5000, but I am constantly adopting and improving profiles along with setting them free and creating new ones so I fail to see any problem. Once they have been sourced and improved they really do not need someone constantly looking after them.
I would argue that if anything the good profiles are more in need of being looked after than the bad ones.

Would it not make more sense if new Open profiles were created orphaned by default, and users were only allowed to adopt them (one at a time) by ticking some boxes?

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