Who wrote the Wikitree guidelines?

+6 votes

"For example, English-speaking WikiTree users know William the Conqueror. But French-speakers know Guillaume le Conquérant. Even if 90% of current WikiTree users speak English, William should be Guillaume in our database because he himself spoke French. We can all share one profile even though we don't share one language."


Modern French speakers know him as that but his name at the time was not spelt in modern French, or for that matter spelt consistently or always in French. This is a clear case of a little learning being a dangerous thing.

It would be more sensible for Wikitree to allow for names to appear in more than one language especially for historical figures. This might involve some additional name categories in the forms. 

On the other hand, it should be noted one wouldn't and doesn't find historians writing in English referring to King William I a.k.a. William the Conqueror or William the Bastard or William of Normandy, etc., as Guillaume le Conquérant all the time.

I suppose this is what leads to the nonsensical use of Cyrillic characters to display some of the names of the Duke of Edinburgh's Russian imperial ancestors. Political correctness mixed with a little learning. This is P.C. poseurism and obscurantism when taken to its logical and ludicrous conclusion.

Wikitree naming conventions need to be developed in ways that allow users to be multilingual in a more sensible way than that! After all, we want people to be able to read and understand the biographies entered (I presume).



in WikiTree Tech by Upton Criddington G2G4 (4.1k points)
retagged by Robin Lee
Thanks Magnus, I got the quotation I began with from that very page. It does not, however, state how that set of guidelines was arrived at.
There are two quite separate issues here, though they do get muddled.  One is about the usability of the site for members and public users whose native language isn't English.  The other is about historical authenticity.

The latter is greatly overvalued.  The way things are going, it will soon be the policy that Macbeth's bio has to be in Middle Scots Gaelic, a language that was never written in the days when it supposedly existed.

1 Answer

+7 votes
There's no way to solve language situations completely.  One way to improve things would be to link to translations of biographies or crucial historical figures.  But this requires making the biographies more restricted than is usually the case for open profiles.  Presumably all such people should be project protected so that at least peoplein the project would be aware if a bio of an important historical figure was changed so that any translations would be modified to match.  But I don't know if this done or has been contemplated as being done.
by Dave Dardinger G2G6 Pilot (410k points)

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