After qualification for pre-1700 badge message that project membership is required ... doesn't make sense ...

+25 votes

I'm getting exhausted and really disillusioned with WikiTree - I now have to spend major project time reserved for research and write welcoming notes to "new" project members which also implies all the behind the scenes admin (google groups, project homepage) and as well coaching and guidance because since we all understood (there was some G2G-correspondence - also see here, here - about this as well) members who have succeeded the (not very difficult) test of obtaining a pre-1700 profile badge, gets this in my eyes rather "mustard after the meal" (as we Dutch call it) message: "Hi ___, I see that you just did the Pre-1700 Self-Certification. That's great! This certification requires participation in a project related to the profiles you wish to edit. Is there a particular time period, location, or topic you're interested in? Maybe you have some historically-significant ancestors? Also, check out our Volunteer Hub to see our projects that really need new members! Let me know! I can help you figure out if there's a project and introduce you to the project leaders. Welcome aboard!"

We already have enough people in the project (COGH). Some aren't even active anymore for various reasons, one of them that they realised that participating in a project is not merely a walk in the park but a serious endeavour. It is a learning proces (even for us project coördinators such as myself) that we do not want to deny others, but my suggestion is make people project certified first before having them join projects on the basis of pre-1700 certification alone.

I have quite a few "new" project members that I now have to welcome. The last one I checked still had created a lot of unsourced profiles. A project is not a place to learn how to source one's profiles. It should be a requirement that one should have to know that (though admittingly even though I myself started this project with help of a leader, there are still many of my own personal profiles I'd dearly like to source properly - let alone correct with the correction database).

See the comments here and here - the last argument Ellen makes, carries the most weight for me ...

I'm truly tired and not inclined to be a mentor, nanny, project coordinator [and unofficial leadership role] and still have no time for my own proper project management let alone personal genealogical research. Somewhere something has to give.

in Policy and Style by Philip van der Walt G2G6 Pilot (160k points)
edited by Philip van der Walt
Hello Philip

Personally I see all the profiles I've created as a 'work in progress' - continually improving them, adding to them etc.

I volunteered for two separate projects - never heard anything back e.g. it's been six weeks on the one.  Given up waiting offered assistance on another.  Now given up on receiving replies.

For me it would have been a distraction/break from my ONS.
Hi T, on behalf of WikiTree I do apologise for nobody having gotten back to you. I do not know which projects you applied for and why there was no follow-ups or an answer or response - this is not the warm and attentive friendy way of welcoming new members that WikITree inspires to have. I hope after reading your experience people (leaders) will take notice. I honestly do hope it has not dampened your enthousiasm for WikiTree, and wish you the best of time on your own genealogical adventure ...

Your comment does illustrate the poignancy of what is happening though - certain processes (decisions) imply other processes that cannot make true the goals and ambitions. More thought needs to go into what constitutes a certification and what constitutes a project.
Hi Philip, I tend to agree, I don't think being pre-1700 certified should require participation in a project.  I am not sure we have projects that would cover every single pre-1700 profile in any case.  

Perhaps the wording could be revisited so that members are encouraged to find a project that matches their interests and the pre-1700 profiles that they are PMs for.
The wording has been changed from "required" to "strongly encouraged."

Well no clear cut answer here as well, it of course has two or maybe even more sides, we all really want to help new members, so they will learn and understand how WikiTree works more quickly and easy than we did when we started a few years ago. And to hopefully prevent they will make the same mistakes we made. 

We all of course share one dream,(I hope), we all want our WikiTree and all profiles to look great and as accurate as can be and just one profile for each person that ever lived. 

Projects are a great way to divide our huge shared Tree into smaller ''chunks'' (or maybe chapters is a better word), and because of all wonderful members joining and participating in the projects these ''chapters'' can get corrected, sourced and improved a lot quicker than if we had to work on them alone or by ourselves. All contributions and help are so much appreciated. 

But if people don't want to join a project that of course should be no problem either, if someone is only adding sources to the unsourced profiles, that's of course a great thing as well and even within projects we of course have different types of members some are very and some less active and it all is ok (maybe depending on the project, but we are all volunteering and one has a lot and the other just much less time to work on things here, some members will spend some time working on this and than some time on a different project they also are member of) The projects were and probably still are the easiest way to catch and  finally and hopefully get the thousands of duplicates merged that were imported or created in the past (and new ones that still are imported or created) and get them all corrected, sourced and improved a lot faster. 

WikiTree of course is Wiki and we all would like to keep it as Wiki as possible, but..we also have a accurate well sourced profile for every person that ever to keep things Wiki and at the same time trying to achieve this goal is just not the easiest combination and because of that we have to sometimes think of ways to make sure achieving our goal is and stays a real possibility's logic that if thousands of members in the past have imported (+ many duplicate lineages) almost all very early Pre-1700 lineages one can think of already, this at some point has to either stop or must be prevented in every possible way, so I think this message: This certification requires participation in a project related to the profiles you wish to edit ...just was one of the ways to try and prevent creation or imports of new Pre-1700 duplicates. The participation in a project strongly encouraged and maybe not required, but communicating about which Pre-1700 profiles or lineages people were planning to add or import was what the word ''required'' probably was meant for I guess.

 Of course you're absolutely right, people should always first try and search for profiles and if they are present here themselves, but the problem with searching for a lot of the Pre-1700-1811 (Dutch and other) profiles isn't easy and not always showing the profiles, many names were corrected, the modern names people didn't use were replaced by their real names, sometimes patronymics, so if people only search for them here with still the modern (wrong) names they aren't going to find them and probably will end up creating new Pre-1700-1811 duplicates, contact with someone from the project maybe could prevent this (even the Gedcompare doesn't recognize them as duplicates, so we can't expect a new member to recognize them of course) 

Things that maybe could help the new members get to know how Wikitree works without this taking a lot of your time could be : 

Start or ask if maybe a small group of maybe your project members are interested in setting something like this up, a beginners course in the language of your Country or a South Africa Portal. For the Dutch speaking/reading members, as you know, we now can direct them to the beginners course or a specific subject added to the Nederlands Portaal

Joop started the Portaal and the beginners course because he experienced how hard to understand WikiTree actually was for members that are not that good in English, it's really very helpful and new members can learn everything about Wikitree here themselves and in their own tempo and time and without having to join a project if they don't want to and..... it is a great time saver for the project team (Coordinators/leader)  I guess WikiTree even if you're good in English can be very hard if you're not used to this concept and just arrive, so a beginners course for all members might be very helpful not only for the new members but also for greeters, project leading teams (coordinators/leaders) , mentors , rangers and anyone who is helping or trying to help new members to learn how everything works around here. 

Something else that maybe is an idea and this was mentioned a couple of times in different G2G 's already as well, is maybe some sort of introduction period for new members and maybe a specific amount of contributions, before they can take the Pre-1700 test ? Or maybe a combination is an idea, a beginners course + introduction period before people can take the Pre-1700 test ? 

4 Answers

+11 votes
Best answer
This actually explains some of the messages I have gotten.  I guess I'm considered a leader now as the named person on the Witch Trials Project.  You know what I tell people when they ask, "How do I join the project?".  I say "Just start working on the profiles and your'e in!".  

Maybe it's just luck, but I haven't had anyone who seemed to want or need mentoring, but then I haven't really looked that carefully at the work of those that have "joined" my project as of yet.  

I suppose I could be doing this wrong, but I, like you, don't have time to be a mentor and/or part of the welcome team.
by Kyle Dane G2G6 Pilot (102k points)
selected by Jerry Dolman
(Kyle, I see no Leader badge on your profile. You do have a Project Coordinator badge, though. I think it's important we distinguish the roles so as not to confuse folks. Leaders have specific roles, responsibilities and access that the rest of us don't have.)
Here's one thread about project coordinators.

I'm trying to find another thread where I shared my current understanding of the hierarchy of roles.
That is helpful, either my memory is not very good or the role wasn't explained very well to me.
+13 votes

Phillip,  I'm going to paste below, a part of my answer to this from last time. You already know I agree with you on this one.  I don't think it makes sense either, but (as we Americans say) "Don't shoot the messenger."   I haven't been here for long and I could be way off about this, but I think project participation has evolved quite a bit.  

 "While working the Pre-1700 badge feed, I see so many people who barely even know how to use WikiTree, get their pre-1700 certification immediately after signing up.  I honestly think Pre-1700 should not be self-certified, but it should be given by project Leaders only, and only once a member is actively contributing in a positive manner. know what they say about opinions."  I still believe this......but I do have to ask the question to begin with..why is project involvement required?  There are a lot of people here who do not want to participate in a project, but only want to do profiles for their own ancestors.  Why should they have to participate in a project?  Not everyone is project material. 

Then again...working on pre-1700 profiles can be quite difficult because of sourcing.  So, they SHOULD be monitored, project or not.  Perhaps there should be a separate ranger group for this or someone to strictly monitor these?  I don't know the answer because I'm not privy to all the inner workings and behind the scenes stuff....

But, I do definitely needs to be revisited.



by Summer Orman G2G6 Mach 8 (87.8k points)

Also, I've proposed a change in wording to the VoCo group and leaders, to change "required" to "strongly encouraged."  (in regards to project participation).  The reasoning behind it is, as long as the badge is self-certified, there's no way to make sure someone actually is participating in a project, and we can't force people to do so.  

It's fine to change it Summer. I'm not sure how required got in there in the first place. It wasn't in the original wording. Thanks!

Summer, you have "voiced" almost all of my thoughts on this subject. I do feel Phillip's frustration & understand it. From a personal standpoint I feel that there is a fine line between choice and necessity here. When I first joined Sept 2014, I was warmly welcomed, confirmed, signed honor code and bamn overwhelmed and intimidated, all because I didn't understand. I left and it took 6 months and the patience of one man to get me to where I am today. Now I have more confidence, more experience and more thought and attention to detail than before. In the last week I chose to join a project. I am really glad I was accepted as I am enjoying it immensely. I was also invited to join another which I chose to accept.

I accept and understand the need for extra care and sourcing for pre 1700 profiles and more so for pre 1500, but i honestly believe that requiring someone to join a project which in his/her eyes is solely for the purpose of adding his/her pre 1700 ancestors could predominately chase people away, put them in a position where they might unintentionally mess something up within the project and also put a strain on the ever increasing role of leader. Your idea of a ranger group specifically tailored for safeguarding these profiles or a specialised mentor group to help with "the proper way to do things" for pre 1700 I think is a good one, or even a mentor within each project that could answer the "how do i" questions that are at present being directed to the leader. However again we don't want to turn Wikitree into a police zone.

IMHO We are a collaborative team so there should be a way that this can be solved without technically "forcing" someone to do something they either do not want to do, have no time to do, or are not ready to do, whilst protecting the integrity of all our ancestors however old they are.



I couldn't have stated my position any better.  I have been doing  (about one a day because I'm not very fast on the computer) unsourced profiles from New York State.  I find many from the 1600s so I automatically have gone on to those in the 1700s.  Yesterday the pre1700 test showed up on my computer, so just for FUN I took it, thinking I might be able to do some of the 1600 easy to find sources for, and help eliminate the backlog.  I didn't read anything about projects and do not intend to get into any deep research for them.  If nothing shows up on my first scan of I move on to another one.  Philip can erase my name from any contact or training he has to do for me because I know I would cause more work for someone to correct my work than I am worth.
Beulah please dont ever think that. We all have to learn how to do things in a way that is comfortable for us and acceptable to others. We all work at our own pace, give as much time as we choose to our hobby and have pride in our achievements. As your experience grows (as it does every day) you will find you have picked up more knowledge than you realised and those profiles that you put to one side will get another look and maybe a snippet of info added.

My point was more that the admin side of a project leader could be more fairly distributed so everyone has time to work on their own profiles, or the project (which a project volunteer has the choice of). A leader does not have that much of a choice, he/she is always multitasking. That is why I feel an "in project" mentor would be useful to relieve some of that work.

Every profile you add to Wikitree is valued, YOU are valued and appreciated so please, don't think otherwise:)

Happy researching

Beulah adding sources always is a great thing and very much appreciated, so just keep up the great work :)
Sorry I'm late Beulah (kids!) but Bea and Wendy are right....every single contribution is valuable and we all love sources!!  :D
@ Summer

Project involvement for the deeper ancestors probably is the best approach and probably the only way to make it all work in the future, of course we all at some point will reach the Pre-1700-1800's even when we are working only on our own tree...this means there probably at some point will be hundreds if not thousands of members that will have to share just one profile or these early families (just one profile for each person that ever lived) , because this is an ancestor they all are descending of.

Many projects now have a project profile that is added to the early profiles as manager (projects can add it to all early profiles part of the project, or just to the PPP't ones, but they all are added and become part of the project this way), the project profile which has his own google group attached, makes it possible for all project members to watch over and keep track of these profiles, so if someone is working on or changing things at the profile, all members will notice this if they joined the project (profile) google group.

So if in future thousands of members have to share just one or all these early profiles, this is probably the best and most easy way to make sharing just a few profiles with so many members possible. one ''owns'' a profile... the projects and project profiles are part of WikiTree and just a great way to make it all possible.

And thank you Summer for the great work you do it's really appreciated by all of us ! :)
Good post Bea, but with slight clarification. Not all projects have a project profile and a google group. PGM is one (unless things have changed very recently). Not all project leaders have the bandwidth or the desire to work that way.
Thanks Jillaine and yes you're right of course minor correction ..not all but many... ;)

I'm in complete agreement, Bea.  I manage a project account and several google groups myself, so I know how they work.  :D  

Here's my own idea for Pre-1700...

1) the ability to edit pre-1700 profiles (without a certification) should be limited to biography edits only, not the ability to edit relationships or approve merges...this way it protects the integrity of those things, 


2) The Pre-1700 badge is given by project leaders, once a project-participating member has demonstrated understanding of all of that....and for those not involved in projects (because we can't force that), the decision goes to someone else, like with the pre-1500 team...someone who can check their contributions and history, and then their contributions are monitored on the ranger feeds like normal.

+5 votes
Philip, just a couple of cents worth on this for background going back to the early days of the 1700 certification.

1.  It was supposed to be that ALL pre-1700 profiles being worked on REQUIRED A "PROJECT TAG" and that "project tag" in place before/or during the Edit process.  (This basically entailed a new search to make sure there were "no other dups" involved before going forward with edits, (some re-research, etc. to identify) etc.

2.  You (individually) did not have to "Join a Project" but did have to find out "which project to assisgn" and "get familiar with the project goals (as posted).  Of course, you could join if you wanted to, but not required to.)

3.  If you could not figure out "which project" applied, it was best to ask the question in G2G and post the profile ID.


by Sandy Edwards G2G6 Mach 7 (73.7k points)
I'm aware of this. Why are you posting this answer?
Note that there is a goodly number of pre-1700 profiles that do not currently fit within any active projects, except perhaps an umbrella project like United States History that is not focused on pre-1700.
Philip - Sandy specifically stated in the first line of her comment that it was the early background of the certification.  It isn't necessary to be discourteous with your reply.

Sandy, I didn't know the background so thank you for clearing that up for me.

I didn't see it as being discourteous. Only missed the context. In relation to what I said (the wording of my original question above) I know I sound rather blunt and ungracious, but there is only so much mentoring and greeting and administration one can do because there are only so many hours in a day and a project - once again - in my very humble but firm opinion (I know that there are leaders who disagree with me on this) is not a sandbox to learn the basics of wikitree in. There has been countless suggestions in numerous G2G feeds on this and still people can as easy as that self-certify pre-1700 (which should be pre-1800 as I have repeated again and again) and either manually of by gedcom create duplicate profiles which costs enormous amounts of energy and time to fix. I realise this sounds whiny and ungrateful,

One doesn't give a baby or child a gun or put them behind a steering wheel of a car to drive. We all had to learn. I have people with less than 100 contributions or even slightly more than that with no knowledge of how hard working in a project can be, who "demand" to have a badge. What to do?

+5 votes
There should be a limit of the number of active members a project should have. Some projects can be large because they are the starting point and can and must have large group of inactive members, but only if it has a good documented startpage. Because with a large project you can welcome every new member personally.

The limit of project should be 25 members. If it larger it is a list of people with the same focus. That is only is reading what a small group tells.
There is a big difference between be a member or a follower of project or a discussion. The same that you can have a large watchlist, but a limited number of profiles you manage. But a lot of people are manager of a profile so that they can follow and watch the profile.
by Jeroen Mathijs Willem van Dijk G2G6 (6.0k points)
The larger the project the more difficult and tricky to keep check on everything that's happening. As I have said before, many ''competent'' hands make light work, but too many cooks in the kitchen kan spoil a dish or menu.
I feel like I can help some of the new New Netherland Settlers Project People get started, but really I am pretty new myself and I do not know much yet about a lot of the things here at WT - so I get stuck when they ask the hard questions - I see where there ought to be more encouragement to look in the G2G for help to learn more as most of what I have learned is reading these threads and looking and when really stuck asking - but I think we really should have more miles here before we start doing pre 1700 work - the myths, unsourced junk and confusion is real bad some of these branches and it will just get worse

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