Users complaints

+25 votes
Hello, correction officers. I got complaints about PMs sent to users.
"I have been contacted today about two of my profiles
with a not so polite request to make them open.  I
eventually discovered that the person was involved in
your project.

This was not such a positive experience and I am
disappointed in the way that it was handled.

May I please respectfully ask that you remind your
project members of the stated goals of being polite and
not making profile managers feel like they have been
singled out for the naughty corner.

Thank you and good luck for the future"
The PM looked something like this
“The person in this profile xxxxx. Please xxxx. Thanks”

Message looks kind of ok, but it should be extended, it should include informations about the project, and should state that the user is not guilty of anything. Just that computer found this possible error an if he can correct it.

The person that complained, suggested something like this

I am helping out with the Corrections Project here on
Wikitree.  Our aim is to make the tree a lot more
accurate and easier for everyone to work with.  You
can see more about it here (insert hyperlink).  So,
with this in mind would you please change the privacy
status from Public to Open as the Wikitree rules
suggest that everyone who died more than 200 years
ago should have this status.  That would be very much
appreciated.  Thank you and keep enjoying the tree! 
Person’s name to be used as a sign off”

 Maybe we should prepare standard messages to be sent to as PM for each error and put them on help pages, for correction officers to copy/paste.

in The Tree House by Aleš Trtnik G2G6 Pilot (659k points)
retagged by Dorothy Barry

FYI  Aleš Trtnik I added hardcoded line breaks...  as floating seems not working.... in the G2G land

Question: Should we add a section on the DBE_Error_Help pages with suggested messages or that we in a comment add a link to the help pages explaining the purpose..... 

I don't see much wrong with the PM that was sent.

A standard message to be copied/pasted doesn't help very much because the spam-control checks on similar messages.

The person receiving the message does not know anything about Database errors project, so if it is to short, he/she is kind of lost. I saw a few other messages with really too little information.


That was my Idea to add one or two (in case of different causes for error) standard messages for each error.

@Aleš Question Do they need to understand about the project? An potential error is an potential error...

I like that you added help icons to errors reported.... Maybe make them bigger and the user finds the error easier and can learn more about the project if they like......

See WTWeb/errors.htm?UserID=11528532 

110 Profile should be open (death date)Help

I did use the same size Wikitree page uses. I can make them bigger.

I think suggested messages that can be cut and paste are a fabulous idea.
I think that part of the problem is that there are many profiles for people who WERE "born less than 200 years ago" (and thus CORRECTLY set as Public) when the profile was created.

All that has happened is that a couple of years have passed, and so the person  is now "born more than 200 years ago".

There was no "Error" in setting it a Public.  It should be just a REQUEST to update the status because time has passed.
I totally agree with you on this. Just finding a comment on a profile telling me to do more work on it is very frustrating.  Stating why the comment is there and why you have chosen my profile to comment on is much better. I had one person comment on a profile of mine where I had copied information from a family genealogy that had the city Y, Somme, France as the city of death asking for further documentation of the fact made no sense to me, until, when I responded and received a much more clear description of a common error that actually showed that the city was actually most likely entered by the person originally entering the information, that they were entering a Y for Yes. Had the original message contained the information they were working on and the reason they had found my profile been disclosed, the intent of the message would have been much more readily understood and full-heartedly agreed to. By providing more information, the person making the original comment actually collaborated with me to make the profile better.
@ Janet Gunn
Nowadays that problem is not so bad. For when I added my grandparents early this year, who are born about 120-130 years ago, they got the open privacy as a default. The problem will rise again when I and my siblings have passed away, then someone should alter the privacy of my parents, who are born about 105 years ago. Otherwise someone else has to do it in 2112. :)
Privacy settings are only mandatory for living people.  If they're dead, you can Open them as soon as you like and there's rarely any good reason not to.
"Public" is DEFINED as "The default for non-living people under 200 years old except when added as nuclear relatives of living people. "

You should not need an additional "good reason" to use the DEFAULT value.
I'm a member of that project and I like to include where they can find their individual error report (drop down menu). I don't mind helping but the more profile managers can do for heir self, the more time some of us project volunteers can spend expanding our own family tress or working on other projects.

@J Murray do you want to have that information on the help pages? My feeling is that people who has found the help pages has found the drop down menu..... 

I suggested 2016 Jun 6 a tighter integration always visible like below

Maybe Chris could make it more Visible during a DB_ERROR focus month.... or always for profiles with an error....

I feel lesson learned the last 3 months that people active in WikiTree has  no errors on the profiles its just profiles never or seldom accessed that still has severe errors so the load on the server will not be high.... 

That sounds wonderful!  I am sometimes tentative to write to these folks because I do not want to offend.  Written emails/messages can certainly be misunderstood very quickly as you cannot hear tones of voice in print.  Thanks again!

6 Answers

+10 votes

I did a draft of a help text section and added it to DBE 101

See Special:Whatlinkshere/Template:Db_errors_msg

If its a GO we can add it to the top of Template:Db_errors_G2G ==> its on all Help pages....

by Living Sälgö G2G6 Pilot (275k points)
edited by Living Sälgö
Magnus I didn't think of one message for all errors. I think it should be customized for each error. That message is ok for 109 error, but could include links to Database errors project, DBE_109 error and the profile (s) in question.

When writing such message, forget everything you know about db_Errors and read it.
Ok maybe add a parameter if it works......... as its easier to change in the future

Something like
109 is the error number ==> can be used for links ;-;-)
And xxxxx is the customized error text...
Maybe first paragraph could be the same for all errors, and second written in template definition.
I'm sorry I only have a few minutes here, but just to make sure: Magnus, are you talking about using a template inside profile comments or private messages? That could cause a number of problem, especially regarding the e-mail that members receive.
He is talking of a template on a FreeSpace page. In message would go processed text.
Oh, right. Thanks, Aleš. Just a reminder, Magnus: boilerplate in messages is also bad because it looks robotic and spammy. It's part of why we have the limit on daily messages, the one we exempted Corrections Officers from.

With Magnus we created this message for error 109. You can see it on page Second part of the message will be different for each error. Comments?


I am helping out with the Corrections Project on Wikitree. Our aim is to make the tree a lot more accurate and easier for everyone to work with.

Our error detection algorithm found the following error: 109: Profile should be open (birth date) on profile xxxWikiTreeIDxxx.

So, with this in mind would you please change the privacy status from Public to Open as the Wikitree rules suggest that everyone who was born more than 200 years ago should have this status.

Thank you and keep enjoying the tree!



Should we add a link in the message to a FAQ page?

Suggestion of topics in the FAQ version 1.... 

  1. How to be part of this project?
  2. This is not an error?
  3. What is false error/ temp hide?
  4. Why do I get this request?
  5. I don't want to get those emails?
  6. How do I bulk remove profile managers?
  7. I need more support. What to do?
  8. How can I help the project?
  9. Where do I find the database error report?
  10. Why is the error still there even when I have corrected it?

We could also add a link to a survey to get feedback...

See example of a survey bold or polite

  1. Form to fill in 
  2. Answers  bold/polite


+12 votes
They did say " please " and  " Thank You  " :)
by Anonymous Vickery G2G6 Pilot (241k points)
They did, but the followup communication was even shorter.

It is not very bad, but could definitely be better.
+15 votes

Actually, it's profiles of persons BORN over 200 years ago, not died over 200 years ago, that have to be Open.

While we should always be polite in our requests, I'm not sure that we should say that wikitree rules "suggest" this.  It doesn't say suggested, it says must be Open --

by Nan Starjak G2G6 Pilot (318k points)

Good comment I think WikiTree should be correct and clear that we have some rules that we call the Honour code.

Question: Why not just change those profiles? See G2G

Profiles over 200 years old MUST be open, so there is no need to attempt to contact the profile manager first if they are of just one manager (although it is probable polite to send a message to the manager first).

From Privacy Open

Any profile of a deceased person without any sensitive information in it should be Open. Profiles of people over 200 years old must be Open. Open is not an option for living people.

The Honour Code

  1. We collaborate. When we share ancestors we work together on the same ancestor profiles.
  2. We care about accuracy. We're always aiming to improve upon our worldwide family tree and fix mistakes.
  3. We know mistakes are inevitable. We don't want to be afraid to make them. We assume that mistakes are unintentional when others make them and ask for the same understanding.
  4. We know misunderstandings are inevitable. We try to minimize them by being courteous to everyone, even those who don't act accordingly.
  5. We respect privacy. We privacy-protect anything we think our family members might not want public. If that's not enough for someone, we delete their personal information.
  6. We respect copyrights. We don't knowingly copy information that's owned by someone else. If we ourselves want to preserve a copyright, we're clear about what's copyrighted so others don't accidentally copy it.
  7. We give credit. Although most genealogy isn't copyrighted, researchers deserve credit for the work they've done.
  8. We cite sources. Without sources we can't objectively resolve conflicting information.
  9. We are united in a mission to increase the world's common store of knowledge. We always respect copyrights and privacy, but we keep information as free and open as possible.

Its 19 723 profiles that missed the message that it should be opened regarding to Database_Errors_Project_2016-06-19.... Feels it should be built into the WikiTree software.... or?

109 Profile should be open (birth date) 18208   221 179 3086 14722      
110 Profile should be open (death date) 1515 639 4 60 141 424 245 2

Magnus, you wrote:
Any profile of a deceased person without any sensitive information in it should be Open.
But privacy Public is the default for non-living people under 200 years old except when added as nuclear relatives of living people.
(Although I do not understand what is meant by nuclear relatives)

Nuclear tends to refer to normal family relationships as it was recognized during the "nuclear age" - or essentially husband-wife-child relationships. The intent by using Nuclear is to focus on the genetic mother and genetic father from the genetic child standpoint.
Was that a funny about the nuclear age?  A nuclear family is parents and children.  Most people are in two nuclear families.  The one with their parents and siblings and the second one with their spouse and children.

Encyclopedia Brittanica:

nuclear family or elementary family is a family group consisting of a pair of adults and their children.

And likewise, the term "nuclear" didn't evolve until the middle of the 20th century, hence the term "nuclear family" could not have been used prior to the development of nuclear materials. The term is generally accepted to have been developed in the 40's-50's.

That doesn't mean that nuclear families didn't exist prior to that time period - just the term was not used to refer to them. So perhaps my statement was poorly worded - I was more referring to the terminology than the relationships.

"Nuclear" family might also relate to the nucleus of a cell (not necessarily an atom).

Regardless, I think it would be more understandable to call these the "immediate relatives of living people."

Thanks for the explanation. Maybe it's a normal expression within the US, but I, in the Netherlands, have never heard of this and so I vote for the solution by Ellen Smith.
I would have to agree - nuclear family is not a very clear term and I think the intent is for immediate family. Ellen is correct in my opinion.
In the Palin household I guess that would be immedieart famly.  :D
Nuclear family and nuclear materials are related, but parallel. One did not derive from the other:  "

nuclear (adj.)
1841, "of or like the nucleus (of a cell)," from nucleus, probably by influence of French nucléaire. Alternative adjective nucleal is recorded from 1840.

General sense of "central" is from 1912; hence "nuclear family," originally a sociologists' term, first attested 1949 in "Social Structure," by American anthropologist G.P. Murdock."
With 'nuclear' I think of radiation. So maybe 'family nucleus' would be more strait forward.
Instead of radiation, think of the nucleus of an amoeba...
+10 votes
You missed out the bit about what a great profile it is.

Do people really expect other people to waste their valuable time like that?

Or are they that impressed by BS in standard form messages?
by Living Horace G2G6 Pilot (572k points)
+13 votes
Maybe the issue with the message described here is that it was worded as a directive, rather than simply advising the recipient of the problem. When I write messages on non-Open profiles, I usually say something like "If this person was married in 1817, they must have been born more than 200 years ago, so the profile should be Open according to Wikitree rules." (That wording would be for a profile without a birthdate.) That kind of message, which doesn't tell the recipient what to do, usually gets the desired results.

PS - I'm not a Corrections Officer. I routinely post messages like that when I see problems like that. I will not be adopting standard messages that suggest that I am posting the message because of the Corrections project.
by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
edited by Ellen Smith

I agree.  Last week I got absolutely pelted by one certain person who was demanding I open all of my profiles.  She was going into each one, sending me a private message "Please open this profile so others can assist you with adding sources. To open a profile click on the Privacy tab near the top of the page. Scroll down and click on White (Open) profile. Thank you."  The message itself was harmless enough, a little snippy but not offensive, however, the issue was she was going into each profile and sending the SAME message.  She KNEW I was PM for each of them, she could have sent ONE message with a list instead of sending 10 emails back to back.  

And, they weren't even born more than 200 years ago, a couple didn't die until the early-mid 1900s.  One, in 1978!

Ouch! Dictatorial and condescending at the same time! (Not to mention contrary to WikiTree policy regarding privacy settings.)
And I've just asked somebody to send me individual messages.  It seems much the easiest way to get it right.

You should need a really good excuse to have privacy settings on people who've been dead that long - people you never knew.  "Privacy Not Control".
+3 votes
I've sent a few messages to PMs.  I try to keep them as short as possible, so I don't mention the project, but I also try to provide information that they wold find useful.  For example, when I find parents listed in reverse, I write a public note on the profile:

Thought you might want to know that William is listed as the mother of his children, and Jane is listed as their father.

This is short, explains the problem, doesn't blame anyone, and doesn't demand that they do anything.  I also check to see if someone else has left a message regarding that profile - even if it is for another issue - so tat the PM is not overwhelmed by requests.

Personally, I think it is a good idea to limit the number of these messages per day so that we don't overwhelm PMs with requests.
by Star Kline G2G6 Pilot (566k points)
This is brief and nicely put, but then people are asking around (G2G, PMs to me,...)  how to do that.
Good point, Aleš.  I'll expand the message to explain how to make the correction.

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