Should the "Public Comment Box" on profiles be scrapped?

+8 votes
Public Comments placed in Profile Pages can be very off putting and humiliating  to the manager of that page.  It is not a positive way of communicating, rather the reverse.  People do not like being told off publicly and made to feel inadequate and humiliated by this process. Thank goodness these messages can be removed.  Is this a Military Model?  The better way would be to use the direct email facility of WikiTree to make contact with people.  TIME FOR A CHANGE.  Dump these boxes, and make people feel better.
in Policy and Style by Athol Henry G2G6 (7.9k points)
Rather than removing one of the primary tools for communicating, we should be encouraging better communications. If anyone has trouble with a given person, they should seek help. Obviously, attempt polite conversation with the person. If they persist in rudeness, follow the steps in Problems with Members under Help.

8 Answers

+18 votes
Best answer
I use it as a primary mode of communicating with the multiple profile managers on some profiles. I would hate to have to send multiple emails to people.

However, if I have negative comments, I send them by private message.
by Anne B G2G Astronaut (1.2m points)
selected by Maggie N.
+15 votes

Hi Athol,  Do you mean the public bulletin board spot on each profile?

I use these all the time, usually to record a source that should be added to the profile.  On public profiles that I can not edit, I post source messages on the public bulletin board.

Rather than deleting the entry field, we need to teach everyone how to use them properly.  It all comes back to the Honor Code:

Our Honor 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.
by Kitty Smith G2G6 Pilot (586k points)
Kitty, what you say is valid and I would agree, if the comment Box was used for sources.  Sadly, mostly, they are not. Instead you often get a comment like this ' You have not given a source, please read such and such, you signed an Honor Code please read section 2,4, & 6. etc.  My point is those sort of messages should be made privately.  Perhaps the Public Comment Box should be relabeled.  Source Suggestion Box or similar.  Drop the off putting comments totally and replace them with " have a Look at The County Families of Shetland"  or similar.
I agree, Kitty.  Perhaps we need to send the honor code out once a month to all members as a friendly reminder?
+14 votes
No. When you send a message by Wikitree, the other person gets your e-mail address, there is no privacy. Since using wikitree private messaging I have had an increase in inappropriate spam emails, probably due to the person on the other end getting a virus or malware which then harvested my e-mail address from their computer. I now never use the PM facility. What would be better is if your e-mail address was anonymised like it is when using selling sites.
by Gillian Causier G2G6 Pilot (261k points)
Hi Gillian

In future I will be very careful to send private messages again. I sent one to request that the person look at his outstanding merge proposals and he did not take kindly to my request. Although Wikitree has now blocked him from the system he has my e-mail and is sending me very insulting mails.

The problem is that if you want to request a profile to be opened, you have to send a private message to the Profile Manager before you can complete the "Open Profile Request".
+3 votes
I've sent private emails that were not of a critical nature, just a request for additional information, and never heard from the person and then posted the same message on their profile and had them respond.  I think some people either don't check their email or they get so much email my private email was over looked.  If you can't get an individual to respond to private emails and you have no other way to contact them your at a dead end.  We need to keep the comment box.
by Carol Wilder G2G6 Mach 6 (60.2k points)
+9 votes
The comment box is critically important for communicating information about people whose profiles not open for editing by the commenter -- because the profile is not Open, because the commenter is not a member, or because the commenter lacks pre-1700 or pre-1500 certification. Additionally, the profile comment can be seen by anyone, not just the person whose name is on the profile as profile manager.
by Ellen Smith G2G Astronaut (1.3m points)
+2 votes
I agree with you Athol and believe that the comment boxes should be reserved for messages pertaining to sources for that profile only.

What I would love to see is an in-house message system.  When someone sends me a private message, the only way (if I understand correctly) to reply is to go to their profile and send my own private message.  There is a lot of back and forthing.  I don't wish for my private email to be sent out with each private message either.

And why are people sending out negative comments to other volunteers? This is causing my like-level for Wiki to decrease with each message.  Can we not change the environment here to one of "We are all professionals who want to learn and help each other?"    I totally agree that the whole--how we interact with each other--needs to be improved, especially since the whole point of Wiki Tree is collaboration.
by Emma MacBeath G2G6 Pilot (940k points)
I don't believe people are intentionally sending negative messages... I think people are just being terse and to the point, and maybe not in their native language. It easily comes across as overly negative.

I didn't mean to imply people were sending negative messages on purpose, but many are worded very negatively--what you would call terse and to the point. I would call it using an imperative tone.  In other words--"You are wrong, you must fix this, stop doing this incorrectly." I am speaking from personal experience as I have received several lately from other English speakers. 

#3 and #4 of the honor code are getting by-passed:

  1.  We assume that mistakes are unintentional when others make them and ask for the same understanding.
  2. We know misunderstandings are inevitable. We try to minimize them by being courteous to everyone, even those who don't act accordingly.

I have been in tears over the recent bombardment of messages I have received.  A little courtesy and understanding go a loooooong way to keeping good volunteers around.

humm... I'm sorry to hear that. That really is unfortunate.

I, myself, have been known to be unintentionally negative. A few months back, I think I made someone mad at me here on the discussion forums, and to this day, I'm still not sure why. (they've since left). And maybe a couple of other encounters too. But it was never my intention.

And in my very first encounter on WikiTree, someone called me "stupid" for a merge request I proposed. It took me days to respond back. I tried very hard to be as courteous as I could, admit my mistakes where I could see them, but still call him out for the uncalled for rudeness.

But overall, I still try to see the best in people - even if I still don't like them :)

But you're right, it still should not be an excuse. I just see two sides to the same coin.
Erin, when you receive a private message, the "reply to" address on that message should be email address of the sender. There is no need to come back to WikiTree in order to reply.
Thank you Ellen, this answers a question I have had from the beginning.  I have not been able to discover how to answer emails sent through private message any other way.  I tried to use the "reply to" option before but got no answer.  I just assumed it didn't work.  Instead, I guess, I just didn't get a reply back :)
Most email software allows you to see the email addresses of the email senders, as well as the addresses of people you are replying to. What system are you using for your email? After you reply to a PM, can you check your "Sent" folder to see if the message was sent?
What I wasn't sure was whether my reply went through a relay system or the person's actual email.  I see now that I could have clicked on her name and seen her personal email.  She did get the email, but did not reply.  I still wish we had a relay system though so our personal email isn't given away to everyone--especially newbies we don't know yet (just my 2 cents).  Thanks for the info!
+5 votes
I do not want to communicate privately for public profiles regardless of the perception of negativity.  If someone has the nerve to post or alter info about my ancestors, they need to be able to defend/justify it.  Forcing anything perceived as negative to be private is the same as hiding it from public view.  Open discussion is needed and should be encouraged.  On the contrary to your suggestion, it's the use of private messaging that I would like to see limited, not the public comments.  But I do favor moving them to bottom of profile page, or having a separate tabbed page for discussion for each profile (G2G isn't quite the same as having it on the profile or an associated page).
by Living Anonymous G2G6 Mach 4 (47.5k points)
+4 votes
I leave comments not just for the profile manager but for other people reading that profile.  Sometimes profile managers are not active for a period of time, for a number or reasons.  They do not always reply.  I want to let a wider audience know that I have additional source material for that profile.
by Fred Blair G2G6 Mach 1 (14.0k points)

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