What steps do you take to avoid getting embarrased on G2G?

+18 votes
I like to answer questions on G2G off the cuff, but all to often I forget salient points or miss important data either in the question itself or in the profile of either the questioner or the profile in question.  So someone may only have 250 G2G points so you assume it's a beginner's question but if you take time to see when she was confirmed as a member and it's 9 months and she has a thousand contributions.  So what do you do to avoid such red-faced moments?
in The Tree House by Dave Dardinger G2G6 Pilot (410k points)
recategorized by Keith Hathaway
At first, when I make a mistake, it bugs me, but after a while I get over it and go back to see about dealing with a new puzzle.

4 Answers

+16 votes
Best answer

Based on a lot of discussions I see here, there seems to be significant number of people on here who are either perfectionists, or are worried that they are not enough of a perfectionist to be worthy of other perfectionists on here, or who can't stand the withering disdain of perfectionists (perceived or real) and therefore leave.

Examples that I have personally seen

- Discussions about how to write sources according to very specific styles that are only used in academic circles

- Discussions on whether it is a source, reference, or citation, and of course, how to do it properly

- Discussions on how to write a list in a competition

- Multiple proposals of different rules to make sure that newbies know how to do something properly before giving them more permissions

- Multiple posts from people worried if they are doing something properly on this site or not

I could go on. And that's just in the few months I've been here.

Anytime someone is new to any activity, and community surrounding that activity, they are going to accidentally violate some norm in that community. It's natural. It can't be avoided. But it's in how that community reacts to it, is most telling.

Is the community forgiving? Helpful? Flexible? Willing to teach / mentor? 

Or are they critical? Inflexible? Angry? Upset? Wanting to institute rules?

WikiTree is collaborative in nature. That is its power and advantage over other sites, including pay sites.

In order for collaboration to work, the community has to be flexible and adaptable in its nature. It has to self-heal. It has to have the tools to be able to do this. We have this here. If somebody edits a profile, and something is not right, there is always the ability to go back to a previously saved version and fix it. Everything is editable. 

Because of this, we shouldn't worry about "doing it right". There is not a single, most perfect way of doing things here. There never will be. Stop worrying about it. Stop being critical of other people over it. Relax.

And this includes worrying about being embarrassed about answering questions. You took the time out of your day to try and help someone. That's awesome in my book! If your answer wasn't perfect, that's ok. You learn. Others learn. 

Here's my two cents, for what it's worth:

- Lead by example. Be friendly. Be helpful.

- Mistakes happen. I've made them too. Yes, it's terribly embarrassing. Be willing to help fix mistakes when they happen. There's no shame in that. Your mistakes, and others' mistakes.

- If others make mistakes, be forgiving. Be kind in pointing them out. Help people in fixing them. Help in teaching them. Remember, you were once in their place too. We have the tools to be able to fix anything. Mistakes are never permanent. This is the digital world, and all of this data is infinitely malleable.

- This is not ours. That's right. All this work that you do, has nothing to do with you. You don't own the data. So let go. The data will be here long after you're gone, whether that means leaving WikiTree, or this world. The point is that this will be here for future generations. That's what it's all about anyway.

- It's all about Continuous Improvement. Am I a little better today than yesterday? What have I learned? Did I leave the world (and WikiTree) in a better place than when I found it? Each day? Who can I help today? What can I do tomorrow to be even just a tiny bit better? 

That's my current thinking anyway.

So, Dave..... Don't worry about it. It's not about the points. It's not about being perfect. You're here. And you help, in any way that you can. That's what really matters.



by Eric Weddington G2G6 Pilot (385k points)
selected by J Murray
Great answer!  I would give you multiple up votes if I could.....
By far the best and correct answer. I have always wondered where these "PURISTS" come from. I was in the process of giving up with Wiki when I read your answer.Now I'm staying if for no other reason than just to P them off. (if that's possible)
+11 votes
After I read the subject line - have a nose to see if I can help.  Then depends on their status in orange - click on it to see if they are new etc.

Through my own mishaps, now I check to see why something they are struggling with is possibly due to their own status e.g. guest/family member etc.

My very first post on G2G asked a question to which I received an answer which didn't answer my question it was purely to say - "you must edit my content as I referred to a profile owner and not profile manager' - that was a slap in the face for me.  It clearly stated I was a ROOKIE hence NEW.

If it hadn't been for a lovely member who was rather nice, I was literally about to leave the website.  I did award her the Generous Badge and also told her - it is because of the way she spoke/wrote to me - that I decided to stay.

From thereon I ensure I'm polite, courteous and show them respect - yes we all get red faced but hopefully learn from our experiences :)
by Living Bowling G2G6 Mach 6 (60.0k points)
+11 votes
First of all, Dave, we all make mistakes and there is no need to be red faced! All contributions are appreciated!  I especially appreciate your eagerness to participate in g2g.

It does help to check the link, if there is one, or the profile if one is mentioned. It also helps to check the person's contributions, as you mentioned, if that seems relevant.

You can ask questions for more information if you are not sure you understand the context.  I wait and watch for any question where I know there are people more knowledgeable than I am.

But sometimes it is just nice if someone answers you, whether they have the solution or not! So if a question has gone unanswered, go ahead and answer and say whatever you have to offer.  Do not hesitate to participate in g2g!!

There are some things on WikiTree that you only learn with time by paying attention.  If you are involved, you are learning things!!
by Paula J G2G6 Pilot (257k points)
+9 votes
If you are making the effort to help someone and you provide sources or links for your answers, you have nothing to be embarrassed about.
by Doug Lockwood G2G Astronaut (2.5m points)

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